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How to maximise your CAT score
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November 17, 2006

How can you maximum your score in the Common Admission Test to be conducted on November 19? 


Sai Kumar and Sunil Kumar, CAT trainers from T.I.M.E., shared a simple time management mantra that could do the trick during a chat with CAT aspirants on November 16:


'Spend 45-45-45 minutes across the three sections and the extra 10 to 15 minutes in the section that will fetch you the maximum marks.' 

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




Sai answers, 
At least 98.5 per cent. And this is bound to be lower for those belonging to the reserved category.



appu asked, my another question is regarding preparation for SNAp test with one month to go how should i prepare for the gk n reasoning sxns?

Sai answers, 
A good way to begin is to go through magazines like MBA Education & Careers, Competition Success Review, etc, which contain, in brief, the latest current affairs.



Vijay asked, I have prepared for CAT. I want to know will it help me for GMAT, if yes then how much?

Sunil answers, 
GMAT has a much higher level of critical reasoning than CAT. QA is much simpler than CAT. There is practically no DI in GMAT when compared to the CAT and there is nothing close to the GMAT's Analytical Writing Assessment in the CAT. So, the answer is different for different areas. Overall, it does help considerably.




Sai answers, 
MDI and NITIE are around 96-97 percentile, with NITIE is asking for at least 90 percentile in QA. IMT is around 93-94.



Sai answers, MDI and NITIE are around 96-97 percentile, with NITIE asking for at least 90 percentile in QA. IMT is around 93-94.



coolmanu4u asked, I want to have an advice for one of my friend. he is an engineer with about 6 years of experience in india and abroad. he is about 31 yrs old and want to go for MBA. but his confusion is whether is he too old to go to full time studies? does age really matter? this is because, if he join MBA in 2008, and pass out in 2010, may be he is about 35 yrs of age. any other better suggestions please?

Sunil answers, 
Age is absolutely not an issue. If your friend has a decent profile (academic + work ex), then he can definitely look at an MBA from a good school and benefit.




Sai answers, 
True to your name, you have an excellent chance of getting calls provided you are just as consistent on November 19.



Nandita asked, Respected sirs, too early to post a question, but I would like to take some advice. I am appearing for CAT 2006. I started preparing from July onwards but have not enrolled my self from any institute for training. Also i have written no formal mock cat, but yes some papers were solved at home. I dont know how i have been doing amongst others, but i get a feel that i am less prepared. What is the best time strategy for CAT

Sunil answers, 
45-45-45 minutes across the three sections and the extra 10 to 15 minutes in the section that will fetch you the maximum marks.



Romy asked, what are the chances of word meanings coming in the paper ...

Sai answers, 
Just as much as with other topics. Romy, you have to keep in mind that not everyone will be able to crack such questions and also that the paper will have many more questions from other topics which might be your strong areas.



radha asked, Dear Sir: I am scoring around 15-18 in English and not crossing cut-off in all simcats. I want my strategy to be English 20+30=50 mts, DI and QA 40 mts and then come back to spend 20 mts in DI/QA. In DI, will give preference caselet questions. Is it fine? thanks.

Sunil answers, 
If English is your problem area, then your time distribution is fine.



sonia asked, Sir, with regards to your reply to IIM hopeful, what marks do you think can convert into a 98.5%.

Sai answers, 
Sonia, you would agree that it depends entirely on the difficulty level of the paper. An easy paper could have a score of say 90+, converting into a 98.5 percentile and with a very difficult paper on the lines of CAT 2005, a score of 44-45 would translate into a 98.5 percentile. All in all, it is just 'relative grading' that matters.



Ashish asked, What kind of paper are u expecting on Sunday?

Sai answers, 
A neat, clean smelling, properly bound and stapled paper is what we expect this Sunday. Of course, we are not privy to its contents and so is the case with everyone else in the country.



abhi asked, sir, if one is getting around 85%ile in simcat what percentile should he expect in main cat assuming he permormed very much similar in main cat?

Sunil answers, 
Cannot comment on your SIMCAT scores, but an 85 percentile in an AIMCAT should fetch you a percentile slightly higher than 85 in the actual CAT.



adiforking asked, how good is the pgdcm and is it equivalent to the mainstream course?

Sunil answers, 
It is very good indeed and can be considered to be equivalent to the mainstream course.



Inder asked, I think the last thought you should all keep in mind before going in for CAT is that IIMs are not the end of the world. They are the best, no doubt, but there are many other good institutes too. Just make sure you diversify your risk by appearing for exams like XAT, JMET etc. I got a measly 68%ile in CAT2004 because I got nervous but I got healthy 95%ile plus scores in XAT and nice rank in JMET. Today I am in the second year of my MBA, on an exchange programme in Europe for a period of 3 months. I already have an attractive high paying job through a PPO and the placement week at my institute, GIM is about to start. So please remember things are beautiful outside the IIMs too!

Sai answers, 
Well said, Inder! This is the kind of spirit that one should have before going in to take CAT on November 19. This kind of thinking helps one have a stress-free CAT, which is a pre-requisite for a great score. And remember folks, there are plenty of equally attractive options presenting themselves to you after the 19th of this month, so get rid of those creases and the worrying brows.



sonia asked, If we target CAT 2007, when is the right time to start preparations? What should be the methodology?

Sunil answers, 
It depends on your standing in terms of your basics in the various areas such as RC/EU/QA/DI/Reasoning/DS. Try and take a diagnostic test asap. Depending on how you fare, the best time to start then could be anywhere from a year to six months before CAT.



Light-House asked, Sir please tell about MICA AHemdabad and cut off required to get a call from MICA

Sai answers, 
MICA requires a percentile of at least 90 for a call.



radha asked, Sir: I am sorry, I was not clear in my question. In English, I score around 18-20 and in DI/QA around 7/8 and not crossing the cut-off. Then what would be my strategy in time managment ? Also how can I improve on my QA/DI scores though I am revising/analysing tests given these closing days. I am giving only short-duration tests at home in these areas. Grateful for your guidance. Thanks.

Sunil answers, 
Giving time at length, rather than in bits, would help (40 minutes first and then 10 minutes). But then, you need to be disciplined as you attempt the sections. No mulling or wasting time over questions. And remember -- you do not have to answer all questions in a set. So, consider giving 45-45-45 minutes across the three sections first. Then spend 10 to 15 minutes on the section that seems to be still in the red.



kunjal asked, Sir, my main problem is DI.Just suggest what is the best way to handle in exam???what to be done in next two days for this

Sai answers, 
Please go through the transcripts for the DI/LR chat on rediff.



Butch asked, Sirs, I have scored in the range of 75 - 99 percentiles in mock - CATs. Further, I havent been able to identify factors that affect my consistency. Could you advise me as to how I could be my best on 19th? Thanks.

Sunil answers, 
Put all your past and future performances behind you and concentrate on the exam. You should also not let external factors affect your mood just before or during the exam. Just take it easy. You should be at your best.



manu asked, how much time is required for the preparation of if wants to start from the basics and target is iim only only.................sir plz reply will give cat in 2007.

Sunil answers, 
Manu, please refer to the response to Sonia's query.



navin asked, wat was the last year's cut off for IIMs

Sai answers, 
An overall score of 43-45 for an IIM call. QA: 8-9 marks; DI: 7-8 and RC/VA: 13-14



Bharat asked, Sir, I'm a software engineer with 14 months experience... What percentile should i be aiming at to get into (if not IIMs) atleast MDI, IMT, SPJain etc.,.

Sunil answers, 
If not the IIMs, then 97+ percentile for MDI and SP Jain and at least 93+ percentile for IMT.



kunjal asked, how shd i utilise xtra 30 mins given by IIM to solve the CAT paper

Sunil answers, 
The same distribution, as in a two hour paper, increasing all sectional attempt times by approximately 25 per cent. asked, Have been getting around 97% in aimcats. Of the 20 around 11 have been 97/98+. But at the same time my least has been 68%.With this much of variation, i'm scared. How should my mind set be..?

Sai answers, 
The one case of around 68 percentile was an exception. Don't read too much into it. Look at the positives -- For me, your performance of 97-98 in around 11 AIMCATs is commendable and, given your consistency, the IIMs are not too far.



iim_hopeful asked, sir I dont hav good EXTRA CURRICULARS and that is worrying me a lot(although my acads r good).is EXTRA CURRICULARS GIVEN A LOT OF WEIGHTAGE IN iimS SINCE AM A FRESHER

Sunil answers, 
It should not matter to you as far as getting calls is concerned. So, stop worrying about it now and wait till you get your calls. And remember, not everyone is good at everything.



Rajat asked, Sir , i have heard that paper will be relatively easier this year... Can this be true?

Sai answers, 
50-50 are the chances and please don't speculate about the paper at this stage. You should be ready to tackle anything and everything thrown at you.



shefali asked, Sir, I'm getting very low %ile in AIMCATS.Shall i be able to get around 80%ile in original CAT? At how much %ile FORE school of mgmt takes?

Sunil answers, 
FORE looks at around 80 to 83 percentile.



rahul_here asked, I have been consistantly clearing sectional cut-offs in aimcats but my overall percentile hovers around 95. Any suggestions?

Sunil answers, 
Avoid spending much time on any question as such and also check if you are attempting questions that should not be attempted during the exam.



satya asked, when should we stop preparing for cat 06

Sai answers, 
From tomorrow itself. The last two days, i.e. Friday and Saturday, should be spent relaxing. Watch a movie or two. I have heard that The Departed has some rave reviews going for it!



aparna asked, Sir wat percentile scores required to get into B level B schools?

Sai answers, 
Some of the good B level B-Schools give calls at around 50 percentile.



Ratz asked, Sir im getting 90-95%ile in mock cats..what do u think about these scores? My Target is only IIM A/B/C..!

Sunil answers, 
If you are aiming at A/B/C, only then will you need to do better. If the scores you mention are the AIMCAT scores, then you will look only at around 93 to 97 percentile, unless November 19 is really your day. Even with work ex, a 97 percentile in CAT has very slim chances of getting a call. Just give your best and see what happens.



satya asked, what if we see a 200 question paper on D day. Iknow we shouldnt worry abt it. how can i plan individual sections

Sunil answers, 
A very radical change, as the one you have suggested, should not affect the sectional time distribution. But if you are still not very sure, consider 40-40-40 minutes first and then take stock to allocate the rest 25 to 30 minutes appropriately. Also remember that, on the whole, the level of difficulty should vary inversely with the number of questions.



Puneet asked, Sir, i am good at the english section and this my third attempt, as far i hav noticed from the last 2 yrs that DI section is now more based on reasoning than simple data analysis,which is hard to score and i am an average student in math, i hav managed to get 80%tile from the lst 2 yr,wat should my statergy this time for attempting the paper so that i land up somewhere decent.

Sunil answers, 
Perform decently across sections but focus on maximising your total marks to look at the next rung of institutes



Harsha asked, What could we expect cut off for NITIE, Mumbai and TAPMI, manipal to be?

Sunil answers, 
NITIE should be 96.5+ percentile and 90+ in QA. TAPMI should be an overall 90 to 92+.



sonia asked, I would take this as an opportunity to thank TIME for sparing their precious time and sharing their knowledge with so many aspirants thru

Sunil answers, 
Thank you all, guys and gals. That's all the time we have for today. It has been good spending time with you all. Bye.



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sir ihave given cat exam & after matching the key by different institutes like PT,TIME, my score is nearabout 72 in rc section i am ...

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