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CAT 2006: Which section to attempt first?
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July 25, 2006

The Common Admission Test is scheduled for November 19 this year.

Many of you have the same question about your D-day strategy: Which section should you attempt first -- Quant, Verbal or Data Interpretation/Logic?

AKRS Srinivas and Rahul Reddy of T.I.M.E (an institute that trains CAT aspirants), who chatted with readers for an hour on July 20, recommend that you start the paper by first attempting the area you are strongest in.

For those who missed the chat, here is the transcript:

Part I: CAT 2006: 'GK, essays highly UNLIKELY'


DheerajNarayan asked, Apart from personal preferances, is there any order or sequnce in which the CAT papers if taken can be helpful in general?

Rahul answers, 
Hi. Basic principles. Start with a strong area. Try to sandwich the weakest in the middle. Try out various combinations in AIMCATs. Use the one that works best.


mani asked, whether I can join TIME Jaipur at this point of time for CAT 06? if i join, what wud be taught, basic concepts or Practice tests only.

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Yes, both. Please talk to the director there.


DheerajNarayan asked, Can u give me the approximate percentile at which people got calls from TAPMI this year? is there a sectional cutt offs also for institutes other than IIMs?

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
90 percentile +. Yes there were but less than the cutoffs required for IIMs


RK asked, IS T I M E Available at Bangalore?Can I avail any Evening course in T I M E as I am Working?

Rahul answers, 
Hi. Of course. TIME is available at bangalore in four or five centres. Check www.time4education.com for details or e-mail bangalore@time4education.com


Simran asked, hi sir, i m working & get very little time to prepare. I hve joined weekend classes. If i take leave for 1 month before ExAM & STUDY 10-12 Hrs. Would it be sufficient to get a good score. What is ur say on this?

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Hi Simran. I think that if you do want to take leave, the best time would be in either Auguest or September. Doing so in the last one month may not be useful as it would be now.


wannabi asked, Hi, I have over 8 years of experience in IT with about 3 yrs in Project and Program management. Will I have an edge/concession :) in the form of my CAT performance consideration?

Rahul answers, 
Hi. Your work experience would be valued, but CAT is still the key. Also, look at one year full time programmes. 


srinivas asked, hello sir.i have 3 years of work exp in Capital Market(as a dealer to manager)but working in a samll company.is that effect my chances during the selection?

Rahul answers, 
Hi. Not at all. The work experience is relevant to MBA. And if you can show your expertise in the interview, then you would sail through.  


Saurabh asked, Hello Sir!!!I happen to be a business analyst in a IT company with almost 4 years of IT experience-will that help me in getting into a top B-School?

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Yes Saurabh. However, you still have to clear the written test.  


rajneesh asked, i am a phd scholar in biotechnology in third year of my research. does my research experience would count as a work experience as there is no column in the cat application form to write about my degree?

Rahul answers, 
Hi. Research work done as a part of the required curriculum would not count.  


sandeep asked, Hello Sir, I have been preparing haphazardly for last 3 months .what should be the ideal thing to do to take a serious attempt at CAT'06?

Rahul answers, 
Hi. Daily preparation for four to five hours. Keep in touch with all areas of CAT every few days. Take AIMCATs regularly. Get some guidance on CAT strategy


sunil asked, Sir I am an agriculture graduate doing my post graduate now.In august total I have my exam.Now I have comleted truly only 30% of basics 1st set .If I finish my 1st set by september 10 will it be too late?

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Hi Sunil, it will be a bit late. After September 10, if you can make up for the lost time it would still be okay. Spend some time everyday on CAT.


krazyketan asked, How much attitude matters while studying for C.A.T ???

Rahul answers, 
Hi. The ability to take pressure and perform is critical. The ability to understand your weaknesses and work on them is also important. 


Saurabh asked, Sir I would like to know whether experienced professionals are given some weightage in CAT or not???

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Yes to the extent of 10 per cent in some IIMs.  


Simran asked, Please reply my earlier question also tell me i hve work exp of 1 year to my credit. Would it help me in my admission to Cat

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Hi Simran, it will give you some marks but the written test is still the key.  


Vashistha asked, i had a good score(>98percentile) last year but quant pulled me back as i was unbale to crack the initial few quant ques and wasted my time .i took uup quant section first. my question is how should i do it differently this time

Rahul answers, 
Hi. Do not take any particular question as an challenge. Dil pe mat le. Any question that is not going anywhere, quit quickly and move on.


KALYAN asked, hello sir, i have 5 yrs of experience in a telecom psu as an engineer. will it help me ..?

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
YES very much.


shefali asked, Hi sir, Are you 100%sure that C.A.T.-2006 would be having only 3 sets. Are there any chances of adding General Awareness section?

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
If I was preparing the paper I would be 100 per cent sure. But we are reasonably sure that it would be three sections. Also, GK is very very UNLIKELY.  


aravind asked, am having only 7 months of experience so i ll be considered as a fresher itself know sir...

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
You need to have more than six months to get some marks for the experience.  


vineet asked, sir i asked u a question which has not been replied yet. Sir, kindly let me know from where can I get the latest rankings of b-schools in India?? Thanx

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Hi Vineet. There are so many magazines which come out with the rank lists. But not one is fully reliable. I suggest you wait for our RANKING too (which would be put up on our web site)


Aparajita asked, which is the most scoring part in CAT papers?

Rahul answers, 
Normally Verbal Ability/Reading Comprehension.  


aspirant asked, sir , thank you for answering but i'm sorry i could not get the answer . am i eligible?

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Yes.  


Vashistha asked, i had a good score(>98percentile) last year but quant pulled me back as i was unbale to crack the initial few quant ques and wasted my time .i took uup quant section first. my question is how should i do it differently this time .

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
If you ask me, YOU WILL CRACK it this time. I guess it was a simple case of nerves last year. DO NOT WORRY.  


Vashistha asked, i had a good score(>98percentile) last year but quant pulled me back as i was unbale to crack the initial few quant ques and wasted my time .i took uup quant section first. my question is how should i do it differently this time .

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
If you ask me, YOU WILL CRACK it this time. I guess it was a simple case of nerves last year. DO NOT WORRY.  


srini asked, sir, regarding the New Rules for the CAT, i have a query, What if the Person undergoes 5 year integrated Course , comprising of 10 semesters, he/she will receive only the final degree ie MSc not the Bsc degree in that is the person ineligible for C AT , how will the CAT persons normalize the grades

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
No the person is also eligible if the first three years scores are more than 50 per cent.


mamta asked, hello sir i m a CA. is there any special course available for CAs in IIMs

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
MBA is a general course and hence no special course is required for CAs.  


Manish asked, How do you see the increase in the duration of the CAT on its structure? Do you expect any new sections to be introduced, or would the number of questions in the existing sections be increased?

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
NO.


GOPAL asked, Presently I have 3 years of Marketing experience in a reputed Transformer Manufacturing Organization. Is this experience count in CAT 2006 ?

Rahul answers, 
Definitely.  


Simran asked, Please reply my earlier question also tell me i hve work exp of 1 year to my credit. Would it help me in my admission to Cat

Rahul answers, 
Will count.  


abhisek asked, SIR HOW MANY MOCKS A PERSON NEED TO MAKE HIMSELF ACCUSTOM TO THE DIFFICULTIES OF CAT?

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Would say one every Sunday should be more than sufficient. To be a lot more confortable, take one during the week at home.


farhansk asked, Dear Gentlemen : Are reservations for OBC's being considered in CAT 2006...

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
We guess so. But nothing is for sure.


ragu asked, Do We have Negative Marking in CAT Exam?

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Yes.  


vinay asked, hi sir, if we clearled the cutoffs in all section and still if marks variation is too much in 2 or 3 sections will it makes any effect in getting call from IIMs

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
As long as you cross cutoffs and the total overall cutoffs is reached, you should get calls. .


aravind asked, which section is to be attempted first while taking CAT?? is it quant or verbal or ds/di??

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Your strenght area.  


abby asked, sir i too asked u question.. plzz reply me.. do work ex of marine engineers count??? which institutes we can get through if we crack cat..

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
YES. ALL. One of my students was a marine engineer and he made it to IIMB.


ragu asked, Is there any Limitation for Attending CAT ( Like only 3 times we can attempt for the Exam)?

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Not yet!


rAKESH NAIR asked, hOW CAN I FIND TIME TO STUDY AFTER WORK,IS IT POSSIBLE IF START NOW

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Hi Rakesh, you need to finish just about two to three hours per day to work on CAT. I guess it is very much possible.


sanjay asked, hi, have you guys placed all the students in IIM this year?? if not how many did you place finally??

Rahul answers, 
Hi 710+.  


Jithin asked, sir about the ATTACHMENT OF MARK LIST..i graduated from kerala university and the university DOES NOT TAKE THE MARKS OF ENGLISH AND HINDI IN CALCULATING THE FINAL AGGREGATE..so my final mark list contains only the subject marks of all three years..in that case isnt it enough that i just attach the copy of final mark list alone which does not show language marks but shows subject marks and not that of previous years which shows the marks of language?

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
YOU ARE RIGHT


raj1 asked, hello sir,what is the expected no of questions this year in CAT(on account of the increase in time)?

Rahul answers, 
Don't expect too much of a change.  


aravind asked, if the CAT is for 150 marks due to the increase in the time pattern wht ll be the score needed to get a seat in the iims? is it more than 140?

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Last year with 150 marks (total) the cutoff was just 44.


atul. asked, i am posing this auestion again...nd hope u reply it now if i get a percentile of 98-99 would work ex matter for a call from.. IIMb?... if yes working after nov will do the trick or not?

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Work Experience is counted up to December 31 2006. So if you work after November is it practically zero.  


vinay asked, hello sir, i feel comfortable at quant and DI but not the case with vocab section due to my non-english medium background. how to improve in vocab area.

Rahul answers, Hi lots of reading, work on grammar.  


Akshh asked, Do you see a pattern in the overall marks scored by students in CAT over the past 4-5 years? Is the downward slope going to continue this time as well? What is your opinion?

ARKS Srinivas answers, AS IIMA has given a cutoff mark already, chances are that the marks will be just about what they were last year.


farhansk asked, Dear Gentlemen:I have a work exp. of 1 year in a top IT company as trainee engineer.Will this be counted ???

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Yes.


atul. asked, sir u didnt answer the core...if i get a percentile of 98-99 would work ex matter for a call from.. IIMb?

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
99 percentile + , probably not much.  


Roshan asked, I am an Engineer. Do I have to have 50% in all individual semesters or only in the final year

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Depends on you university. If your university gives your engineering degree by looking at the final year marks then only those marks matter.


ChidduFinanceMonster asked, Will CAT 2007 BE TOUGHER THAN THE LAST YEAR?

ARKS Srinivas answers, If the trend continues -- yes.  


Isha asked, Hello It becomes very difficult for working folks..Can u suggest a rountine besides determination and will to be there?

Rahul answers, 
Hi. Cut out everything from your life other than CAT and your job. Find three to four hours somehow. Take mock CAT tests on Sundays. Also use weekends for review. Take heart that lots of work ex students make it every year to the top B-schools.  


wIsH asked, INCREASING THE NUMBER OF HOURS, from 2 to 2 1/2, TRANSLATES INTO TOUGHER QUESTIONS OR LENGHTY PAPER ???

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Possibly neither.  


harshit asked, sir i want to know about how many students are selected in CAT and then how many are selected into iims thru mba...

Rahul answers, 
Hi. About 2,500 students and about 1,500 after Group Discussion and Interview.


suri asked, hi, this maybe not the right forum to ask this question, but what is the value held by a second mba (executive?!), done from abroad! my plans are to get into the intl. job market

Rahul answers, 
Hi. It is done quite regularly even by people who have done the first from the IIMs. Do it after at least five to six years of experience.  


abhishek sonu asked, Sir QA is my Strength.Yet I have seen that in some Mock Cat i got the lowest score in QA as compared to other sections. wanna knw whts the reason.

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Traditionally, VA and RC have been the scoring sections. Also, expect in some odd papers, QA is lengthy and hence will take more time in solving than other areas. But you should be relatively better than others. And that is all that counts


srinivas asked,  sir please answer to my questions. i havn't pacipated in any extra cricullar activities.should i go fopr fake to make them my advantage during the selection

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
We do not advise such things. Frankly, your written test, Group Discussion and Interview count more that any other area.


shefali asked, Sir, which are the best institutes to offer a specialisation in finance & also has a reputation? is I.C.F.A.I, hyderabad or M.F.C.,D.U. a good option?

Rahul answers, 
Hi. Both are good. But ICFAI takes 800 students and MFC takes about 30


Roshan asked, Do you think an individual needs to take a break from work to get success in CAT or if he is able to put in on an average 1 hour he will be able to succeed.

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
No Roshan, we do not think so. Lots of people are working as well as preparing for CAT and hence no break from work is required. Yes, you should take time out everyday for the preparation


rkarthik asked, Sir,I am in the beginning of 3rd year Engneering .When should i start preparation for CAT 2007.

Rahul answers, 
Hi. The earlier the better and take breaks for semester exams.  


wIsH asked, Sir, for a corporate lawyer such as me, is MBA worth it [in monetary terms]..specially if its not from Tier-A institution such IIMs ??

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
You should look at the top 15 institutes only


intrepid asked, I am told TIME , Chennai is a franchisee...hIt will be differnet from the branch offices..

Rahul answers, 
Hi.T.I.M.E. Chennai is run by Bala, a good friend of mine. He is an alumnus of IIT Madras and IIM A.Without doubt TIME Chennai is very good centre


ChidduFinanceMonster asked, WHAT ARE PREPARATORY MATERIAL FOR CAT 2007 PLZ GUIDE

Rahul answers, 
Hi. There are a few good books but for complete material contact any leading coaching centre.  


nikhil asked, sir can you please answer about wheter a high work ex can get you a call from IIMS if you have other qualifications and moderate to decent score in the CAT

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
A minimum score (cutoff) is required to get a call for Group Discussion and Interviews. However, once you are called for these, your work experience does count.


atul. asked, sir r u sure about the statistic of final selction of TIME vs IMS... i belive IMS is renowned as providing the maximum no.? going to pay the lumpsum tomorrow sir,,... would seriously love to knoe?

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
It is unnecessarily getting into a debate. But please ask for proof of whatever is available. And Check the web sites of each and then you would know.


atul. asked, if i get a percentile of 98-99 would work ex matter for a call from.. IIMb?
Rahul answers,  For a fresher you might need to be 99 percentile +


abhisek asked, SIR HOW TO INCREASE ACCURACY IN EXAMS LIKE CAT?

Rahul answers, Hi. Take time understanding questions. Select questions. Dont attempt too many


Varsha asked, Sir, for 2006 CAT How many Questions need to solve correctly in the 2 and half hours. What kind of negative marking will be applied?

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
There will be negative marking. It could be one-third of the total marks or any such similar number. What is important is your NET score, not the correct number of answers. I guess if you can get around 33 per cent + net score you should be able to get some IIM calls for sure.


sheetal asked, CAT 2005 had horrible DI! how can we solve similar problems like those ??
Rahul answers, Hi. Please take good mock CAT tests for practise. For two markers select one or two sets and then spend lots of time on them.


Rajeev asked, What is the maximum age limit to appear for the CAT examination?
ARKS Srinivas answers, There is no such age limit.  


Rahul says, Okay guys. Time is over. All the best for all you. For any further queries please mail info@time4education.com  


achint asked, I am working in a software firm and my job is such that its always 12-13 hr per day i have to spend and there are nightouts also.I have broken and revived my preps. momentum 4 times this year and now i feel irritated repeating the same thing.Can you give some ideas as to how i should go about my preps considering the fact that this would be my 3rd attempt.??

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Hi Achint, I guess your's is a typical case just like everybody else who is working. Just keep focused on the goal -- CRACKING CAT. It will help you shrug off any complacency and irritation.  


ARKS Srinivas says, Friends, thanks for patiently waiting while we answered your questions. Wish you all the best for CAT.



Part I
: CAT 2006: 'GK, essays highly UNLIKELY'


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