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CAT 2006: Top study mistake
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June 09, 2006

Preparing for the Common Admission Test scheduled for November 19?

We followed up the article CAT 2006: Reading Comprehension made easy, with a chat on June 8 with CAT trainers ARKS Srinivas and Rahul Reddy from T.I.M.E. They pointed out a common mistake made by CAT aspirants and came up with a useful suggestion.   

'It is important to read newspaper editorials daily as well as WRITE a short summary of the articles you read. For every article/editorial, make it a point to write the gist of what you read and re-read the passage to see if you missed any important points. One mistake most people make: they try to do the summary orally and think that they have understood everything, which is never the case. So please do so rigorously. Take the AIMCATs every SUNDAY and see if your comprehension is improving.'

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

Rahul Reddy says, Hi This is Rahul Reddy from T.I.M.E. Kolkata. Arkss and I are going to tak questions on prep for Rc and VA today.

ARKS Srinivas says, Hi Friends, Please try asking questions based only on Verbal Ability (VA) or Reading Comprehension (RC) preparation. For other aspects we can have a chat later. Welcome to you all.

amitcat asked, Sir, I hav got 96%ile in AIMCAT0720. It was my first mock. I cleared my cutoffs in Quants & DI, but messed up with verbal. How should i improve on that as that is my weak area.

Rahul Reddy answers, 
Hi. VA requires good vocabulary, decent grammar, and some logic for questions like paragraph forming and para completion etc. Please work on each of these areas regularly.

Praveen asked, Hi ,I'm a B.Tech 2003 passout with 66% & having 2+yrs exp in the SW field..My Q' is at the time of joining any Institute (IIM or any Ins.)..object ..taking in to the consideration of my Percentage??

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Hi Praveen, there is a certain weightage attached to your academics and hence it will matter albeit in a small way.

Gaurav asked, Hi Rahul,In CAT-2005 the verbal section was totally unexpected kinds.So can u suggest as to how to go about solving such paper wherein the difficulty level is so high?

Rahul Reddy answers, 
Hi Yes, there were a few suprises in CAT 2005. For most people scores were lower than in AIMCATs. But if they did not panic, their percentiles remained the same as the exam is relative. Specifically, RC in two marks meant that questions would get very inferential. So you need to practise tough passages, especially in the subjects like philosophy, religion, economics, psychology, etc.

Ritesh asked, I have 48% in Grad and 63 % in PG, am I eligible for taking CAT 2006

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
At this stage nothing can be said. The IIM directors have hinted that from this year the minimum percentage required at the degree stage would be 50 per cent. However, no notification has come and the same is expected around July 15.

race asked, i just want to ask how to tackle CATS properly

Rahul Reddy answers, 
You need to have a clear strategy. How to divide time between different sections, how to identify and solve the easy questions, how to leave the difficult questions and not struggle too much, how to ensure that you clear the cut-offs in all the subjects.  

wmanoj asked, Hi ARKS, this is Manoj from Bangalore. I have taken CAT coaching at TIME-Hyderabad 2 years back. Have even met you at that time reg. my CAT/ATMA/MAT scores.Well, eventually i joined a software company in Bangalore.I am planning to take CAT next year. Can you please please suggest me on what schedule we need to follow being a software engg (tight office schedules) Please Please answer. Thanks

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Hi Manoj, I am glad that you are once again looking seriously at CAT. One of the most important things at this stage is consistency of preparation. Most people think that they can take leave around October and November and make do with it. This is not going to help. Spend time in the early mornings when you are fresh so that the intake is better. Also, it is impossible in your kind of jobs to be able come back home early. Start writing the AIMCATs (next one is on June 11). You can get proper feedback from our office in Bangalore or e-mail me.

amitgupta asked, sir , is there any benefit of mugging up the word lists like barrons or even cue cards ?
Rahul Reddy answers, Hi, don't do blind mugging. Try to learn more about the word than just the meaning.

i. Usage, synonyms and related words, ii. Words with the same roots, iii. Secondary meanings, iv. Noun form, verb form etc

Mayank asked, Hi ARKS, This is Mayank from Chennai. Just randomly logged on to rediff and saw this chat in progress. No questions from me for the time being...just popping in to say hello. Will mail you letter.

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Hey, great. Will call you.

Raj asked, I aim for the IIMs this year. But haven't started preaparing full fledgedly. I have a good base in mathematics and a good enough base in English too. What do you think I should start with and how long would it take? What study materials should I follow?

Rahul Reddy answers, 
Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel as well as try to gather material from a variety of sources, the best would be join up for classroom coaching.  

Ruch asked, Sir, I am working and I do read the newspaper editorials daily. I read TOI, Hindustan Times and Hindu editorials. Also, I do keep on working with dictionary to get meaning of any difficult words. Is that enough or I need to read more? If yes, what should I be reading?

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Hi Ruch, it is important that you read the editorials daily as well as write a short summary of the articles you read. For every article/editorial, make it a point to write the gist of what you read and re-read the passage to see if you missed any important points. One mistake most people make: they try to do the summary orally and think that they have understood everything, which is never the case. So please do this rigorously. Take the AIMCATs every SUNDAY and see if your comprehension is improving.

wmanoj asked, Hi ARKS, thanks a lot for answering. Can you gimme ur mail ID for other queries. Thanks again.

ARKS Srinivas answers,

karan asked, i am a working professional and do get very less time to prepare for CATie barely an hour on weekdays, so how effort should i put in

Rahul Reddy answers, 
Hi karan. Many students with work experience are giving CAT and cracking it every year. Make it your priority and it will change your life. If you commit yourself, then you would be able to work out some T.I.M.E.

NIMISH asked, Sir, I am Nimish. currently working in R & D of an MNC since last one year. I have given CAT 04 & 05 but not succeeded...What do you suggest to practice for RC in CAT? I am currently practising to read articles on Current affairs from diverse fields with monitoring my reading speed. I achieved 200 WPM (averaged over 25 days, 40 mins/day, AVG std deviation 22 wpm/day).

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Hi Nimish, I have just answer a question by Ruch. Please check that. Also, make sure that you do some RC tests every week. At this stage, you should be looking at taking a test or two every week. 200 WPM should be decent for CAT (YES - it is true) provided you also get close to 100 percent in comprehension. Concentrate on comprehending what you read. Familiarise yourself with various areas/ topics. You would do yourself a favour by that!

arun23 asked, please give me some good books name apart from the study material for practising for english rc and va section

Rahul Reddy answers, 
For vocabulary: Norman Lewis' Word Power Made Easy and 6 Weeks to Words of Power by  Wilfred Funk RC. Practise reading material on different subjects -- technology, economics, philosophy etc

rahulvasireddy asked, hi sir, i want to crack CAT this year. rightnow i am working for a software company in bangalore. basically i am from non english medium (telugu medium) background .so i am unable to cope up with my verbal section ( both verbal ability and reading comprehension).suggest me how to improve in these areas.

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Hi Rahul, I think the first thing you need to start is reading a good English newspaper. I have posted a couple of messages on how to prepare for RC as well as the article on rediff will help you for the same.

Jeetu asked, Im plannin to take the CAT this year im a PG in Stats but kind of weak in English, can u suggest me as to what would be the best strategy for me to crack the CAT

Rahul Reddy answers, 
The section in CAT is about English usage. So the more you use it the better it becomes. You have to read a lot, magazines, Internet articles etc. Also work on vocabulary as well as some basic grammar

kamal jindgar asked, hi ARKS, I am Kamal and would like to do my MBA but my main problem is financial i would like to get some advise from you

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Dear Kamal, DO NOT worry about the financial constraint at all. IF you secure a seat in any of the top 30 MBA schools, there are enough banks, which give loans without even a collateral. Please concentrate on getting that coveted seat.

kamal jindgar asked, hi ARKS, another question for you. though i am good at speaking english but my written and grammar english is not that good. so i would i like to know which books to read and improve the language.

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
For that any good newspaper is advised. IF you can get hold of THE HINDU, it is good.

vinumj asked, IIFT is starting a new center in Kolkota. Keeping in mind IIFTs reputation is it a safe bet to join a b school in its first batch??

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
YES, unless you have better options.  

kevin asked, sir how can i increase my reading speed and retain most of the portion what i have read to prevent regressing and looking back? pls reply clearly

Rahul Reddy answers, 
Hi It is about comfort levels. If you are comfortable with a reading speed of say 200 wpm (it also depends on subject), the first time to go to 250, comprehension will fall. Normally, you would react by slowing down the speed. Bt if you continue at 250 (for a few weeks), slowly comprehension will improve. Once you are comfortable, then up the speed gain

Vivek asked, Hi ARKS, How many RC's should one try to attempt in a CAT paper?

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Hi vivek, if you look at the CAT 2005 paper, there were just three RCs. I would therefore suggest, given a similar situation, you should attempt all. One thing please also understand is that out of these three one may be very difficult (in terms of questions) hence you cannot choose the passages any more. Best bet: answer ALL.

rajece asked, hi in the AIMCAT0720 I cleared quans cutoff and didnt clear any of other. I didnt attend any RC ad DI. In verbal my wrong answer were more than the right ones. Please sugest some plans on hw to approach the question paper. which one to take first and which one next.

Rahul Reddy answers, 
Hi don't use AIMCATs as section tests, attempting only one area and no questions in any other section. Have a strategy that requires you to spend time everywhere.

Sid asked, Hi ARKSS, how much questions do u think will come in this CAT

Rahul Reddy answers, 
Hi How will it make any difference if it is 150 or 250? Please don't worry about unnecessary issues

NIMISH asked, Sir, Thank you for replying to my queries. I have one problem. I am working in Udaipur. Last year I joined AIMCATs from TIMe, Udaipur. But this year, TIME has discontinued MBA coaching & Tests in udaipur. Would you please suggest me to get AIMCAT in udaipur!!! Please consider this as an request on the behalf of all MBA aspirants in udaipur.

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Hi Nimish, the next best options are Jaipur or Ahmedabad. Sorry about Udaipur -- cannot help it as yet.

Shipra asked, Which institute is having the best results this year?

Rahul Reddy answers, 
Hi T.I.M.E. has over 708 students with IIM final offers, out of a total IIM strength of maybe 1,250 -1,300 students. And T.I.M.E. has got its results audited and verified by KPMG one of the world's top firms

Sid asked, Hi Sir, While solving RC problems, do i try to understand the passage or just go blindly with the questions...

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Hi Sid, the way CAT has changed, it would be advisable to read the passage, understand it and then answer the questions. Of course there could be exceptions for a particular passage too, but in general the above is the recommended method

gaurav_mdu asked, hi ARKS, could u pl tell me how to improve the comprehension of whatever we read !!!!!! waiting for ur reply.

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
read the text carefully, this is a test for the same!

ArunKumar asked, Hi ARKS, I am Arun , want to know what type of Magazines, and which internet sites helps in getting hold in RC and VA. Thank you.

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Frontline, India Today, Economist, TIME.

Sid asked, Sir, U said 708 calls..that doesnt mean 708 students..does it ?

Rahul Reddy answers, 
708 students, 1,682 final offers

Chandra asked, What type of books i can read for improving my RC sir. Expecting ur reply. Thanks.

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Dear Chandra, categorise the areas into economics, philosophy, psychology, medicine, genetics, science, art, language, culture and religion. Now, pick up books on these areas and read at least one on each.

sonia asked,  Hello Mr ARKS I am current student of TIME what is the strategy that we should follow while preparing for verbal part how much Time we should spend daily to work on verbal section.

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
About 30 minutes on pure vocabulary. And about an hour on Reading Comprehension daily.

vivekgupta asked, Hi Rahul I am an engineer with IOCL . The problem with me is that at the very start of reading comprehension all things go well but in middle i deviate from concentration and totally in oblivion and if it is exam situation should I cope up with that

Rahul Reddy answers, 
Hi I think you need to:

a. Build up concentration levels. So start with 30 minute exams first and then slowly build up to CAT length tests. I also suggest that your home study be in two hour modules, so you get used to keeping concentration for two hours.

b. Reapply your mind in between passages After every passage, close your eyes, count to five.

Then start on the next passage. Lot of my students have found it very useful.

reddy asked, Hi ARKS i am working in MNC software company in bangalore and i attend my weekend coaching at hyderabad TIME institute. please tell briefly how to prepare for verbal ability and reading comprension and please suggest any books for both of these sections. and one more thing ARKS is that my age is 32 and if i get into any of the IIM's and do companys recurit me at this age?

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Hi Reddy, we would have suggested some methods in the classes. Frankly that would do if they are followed religiously. As for each area, I have put the same up through articles on Rediff. Please go through the same and revert.

Nikunj asked, Sirs, if RC+VA Section = 50 marks, then how much does 1 need minimum for IIM-A Call.

Rahul Reddy answers, 
The minimum qualifying mark would be about 14-18 depending on difficulty levels of the paper. But to get IIM A, you need to clear cut-offs from other sections, overall score in the 99 percentile area etc Work experience and good academic background also helps.

kamal jindgar asked, hi ARKS, I would like to know whether it is necessary to go for any coaching classes.I would like to prepare for exams by not going for any classess. so can u recommend some good books which will help me and how to improve reading speed.

ARKS Srinivas answers, There is no hard and fast rule that you should join a coaching class. But what a coaching class like ours (TIME) gives is a structure to the preparation as well as the material required for the exam. However, you can pick up Trishna's Quantitative Ability book for Quant. There are no good books for the other areas specifically for CAT.

gaurav_mdu asked, hi ARKS, HELP ME OUT BETWEEN THESE TWO WHAT SHOULD I SACRIFICE Speed or comprehension. Waiting for ur reply!!!!!!!!!!!

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Speed. If comprehension is intact!

nitau_gg asked, Working person. Manager (5 people), selling softwares. get very less time to prepare. Would like to hear some advice.

ARKS Srinivas answers, Hi, Set yourself a target of around 10 hours of work on CAT per WEEK. Achieve it come what may. The increase the time every week. This is the only way to start.

imsarrohtak asked, Hi Rahul could u please tell me how one should analyse MOCK CAT

Rahul Reddy answers, 
Analysing a MOCK is very important, let me give you some pointers:

i. Percentiles in each section and area (only RC or only DI) gives your relative standing. So know your weaknesses.

ii. Look at accuracy ratio. For QA and DI look at accuracy of 85 per cent and for RC/ VA 70 per cent. If less maybe you need to slow down or work on the basics again.

iii. Easy questions in the paper and how many you attempted. Also, difficult questions and how many you have attempted (instead of leaving it alone).

iv. Number of silly mistakes. Questions you solved but miscalculated or marked the wrong answer, etc, There is a lot more but this should give you a good start.

pranjal asked, hi AKRS, 'm doing BA from ICFAI presently. But my concern is I'm not full time. I joined in center of distant education. Will it helpfull??

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
It will not be a hindrance.

IndianBond008 asked, Hi Rahul/ARKS,In CAT 2005 I left the RC's with 2 marks questions and attempted all the rest in English and got 96.5 percentile. Is it a good strategy ?

Rahul Reddy answers, 
Hi It is a risky strategy, though it worked in CAT 2005. Did you know CAT 2000 had 40 marks for RC and 15 marks for VA? So work on RC, attempt at least one passage for safety

Shailander Singh asked, DO TIME offer postal course as well

ARKS Srinivas answers, 
Write to  

sandeep asked, Do you think a person with 3 years of Exp leaving a job and joing CAT is a good move..?

Rahul Reddy answers, 
Hi, do you feel it is absolutely necessary to leave job. Best way is to write CAT, get into a good B-school and then quit the job.  

Next: Part II of the transcript



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Sub: group discussion

I am a college student planning to give CAT next year.How can I face the group discussion with full confidence?

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this is very important in the light of fact that i am preparing for my cat

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Hi this is sujay, first i thank Mr Srinivas and Mr Rahul i have gone through your chat as i am pursuing my MBA i ...

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