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Last minute tips to crack the CAT 2015

November 24, 2015 12:30 IST

"For QA, you can revise the concepts, but try not to bring in any new concepts at this stage.

"For DI, it is important that your ability to read graphs continuously improves.

"One of the ways is to develop your own graphs and information from random data.

"Also linking aggregate data to more granular data and generating meaningful insights."

Dr Kamaljit Singh, executive director, IMS Noida tells you how to optimise your score.

The Common Admission Test is the entrance examination for admission into the leading management schools in the country including the Indian Institutes of Management.

The CAT is scheduled on Sunday, November 29 this year.

In an online chat with readers on November 23, Dr Kamaljit Singh, executive director, IMS Noida offered advice on how to make the last few days count.

For those who missed the online chat, here's the unedited transcript:


Aprosh Aarsiwala: Please give me some tips for the last minute preparations for CAT 2015?

Kamaljit Singh: It is important to relax, meditate and eat healthy at this point in time.

However, for people who started preparing late, they may acquaint themselves a bit more with the business lingo.

So reading newspapers, some history books helps.

For QA, you can revise the concepts, but try not to bring in any new concepts at this stage.

Aprosh, Examination Strategy, the questions to attempt and leave should be swift.

Non MCQs generally take more time, so which non MCQs you would want to leave and which ones to pick is an important decision and you need to be prudent with that.


Jeswal: How many times can I attempt CAT exam??

Kamaljit Singh: As far as I know, there is no bar to that as well as age limit of the participant.


Ganesh Walke: Which are the best institutes for prepration of cat?

Kamaljit Singh: Ganesh, as a head of Management Institution, I would only endorse self learning and taking tests on your own.

However, there are several popular ones like Career Launcher, Tathagata, IMS Learning Centre, Time, who may have different centres across the country.

I have limited knowledge on this, I am afraid.


dinesh: Is there a break between the 2 sections?

Kamaljit Singh: No. As it is a virtual test, your section would switch to the next one as soon as the time duration of the section is over.


Dinkar Dosanjh: Sir in CAT mocks my marks are fluctuating between 75 to 95 percentile. How can I work on consistency?

Kamaljit Singh: Can you indicate what is the average of the last three mocks you have taken and what is your own analysis of the reason before I recommend anything?


leesha-guwalani: sir what should be the ideal strategy for these last days left?

Kamaljit Singh: It is important to relax, meditate and eat healthy at this point in time.

However, for people who started preparing late, they may acquaint themselves a bit more with the business lingo. So reading newspapers, some history books helps.

For QA, you can revise the concepts, but try not to bring in any new concepts at this stage.

For DI, it is important that your ability to read graphs continuously improves.

One of the ways is to develop your own graphs and information from random data. Also linking aggregate data to more granular data and generating meaningful insights.


Seema Dutt: How to prepare for English reading passages? my speed is very bad

Kamaljit Singh: I am sure you have been reading up a lot of editorials of newspapers like Hindu, ET, Fin Express.

Most of the students are not able to understand the context of the passage and therefore they are slow.

Try to start with a passage, whose topic you are familiar with or are easy to relate with.

Also pick the passages with 5 or more questions and take the 4 or less Question passages later


haresh: Sir, for VA how do we go about with the vocabulary part?

Kamaljit Singh: There is less emphasis on pure VA now, It is more of comprehension, Sentence Sequencing etc.


hitansh: Sir I am unable to break 90 percentile barrier in mocks...what should be my strategy?

Kamaljit Singh: Hitansh, Think you are a champion and go into the exam.

Try to take and leave questions one at a time. You have to be absolutely relaxed.

VA try the passages that are longer and help attempt 6 questions at one go and then come to the 4 question passages.

Also avoid doing the Non MCQs first which have several permutations in answers, for example Sentence sequencing to make a paragraph.


Gajanan Bose: I have always wondered how CAT scores are normalized. Also, what strategy will help to score in QA and LR?

Kamaljit Singh: There is normalisation for CAT scores as well as your 10th, 12th and Bachelors marks vis-a-vis the toppers of the exam and everything is put on a relative scale.

Absolute score do not matter. However, individual section scores of 45 and total score of 150 gives you a good chance to get an IIM call.


anil: Sir, my question to you is, once the Voucher is purchased is registration possible after the last date of registration?

Kamaljit Singh: Please follow up on the CAT helpline and other details on iimcat website, as you have less time left now.


Aprosh Aarsiwala: Sir, which is the best way to tackle QA?

Kamaljit Singh: QA is the most tricky section and it would most probably come in the end in this CAT.

It would have about 35 questions of 3 marks each with MCQ (Carry negative marks) and Non MCQ (which carry non negative mark).

Non MCQ are going to be less in this section, so you have to be clever picking the MCQs

Aprosh, you may want to make less attempts in this section as negative marks pulls down the total score in this section.


Hazal: In case I don't make it to CAT, what are the other options I can try now?

Kamaljit Singh: CAT offers a large number of options in terms of IIMs and Non IIMs, which you can find at the bottom of the iimcat.ac.in.

Please look up the states and Non-IIMs that you are interested in and apply for those for coming year.

Generally non-IIMs close to Delhi (Gurgaon and Noida) or Mumbai are more successful.

Also, you have options to take MAT which happens quarterly in India. XAT happens once in the year.


sheetal: When will the CAT 2015 Results be declared?

Kamaljit Singh: Sheetal, CAT 2015 results are anticipated in 2nd week of January.


Gurshan Gurmeet: Sir, please guide me through the application process for the CAT 2015?

Kamaljit Singh: Well, Gurshan you may have to prepare for CAT 2016 now, as it is time for the exam.


Farhan Aziz: Is CAT the only way to make it to IIMs? what about those who are better with their skills? why do ppl with work ex have to sit through this 140 minute exam?

Kamaljit Singh: There is GMAT eligibility also and 690 scores are generally welcome for foreign residents who are Indians.

Work ex is given weightage, but that is still not considered a surrogate for the computational and verbal abilities tested through a comprehensive exam like CAT followed by other stages


Gambhir Harbir: What are the cut off for CAT in different colleges?

Kamaljit Singh: This year CAT has gone back to the format of 90s and early 2000s, where sectional cut offs as well as the overall Cut-offs.

The IIM ABCL would generally have 80 percentile for individual sections and 95 percentile for Overall.

Next tier IIMs would have approx 95 percentile overall, Followed by newer IIMs, which would have 90 to 95 percentile.

Absolutely new IIMs, which have not placed even a single student, may have below percentile number.


 Lead image used for representational purposes only. Credit: hackNY.org/Creative Commons