CAT 2013: How to get the perfect score!
In an online chat with readers, Rajesh Balasubramanian, head, 2IIM, Chennai answered queries on how to crack the Common Admission Test and get into a good business school.
For those who missed the live chat, here's the unedited transcript:
vijay: I gave cat last year and scored 72 per cent. I am an arts student and my quant is very poor. I have taken a break. what to do?
Rajesh Balasubramanian: Start with basics. Don’t rush towards shortcuts. Slowly your confidence and speed will go up. Then take mock CATs to fine tune your preparation.
jitesh: How many hours to practice in a day? Please share some tricks to score more marks?
Rajesh Balasubramanian: 8-10 hours per week for 12 weeks, 15-18 hours per week for 8 weeks and 20 hours per week for 3 weeks would be ideal. But this needs to be intense preparation. Not the TV-mobile phone study sessions.
max: Rajesh Sir, is it necessary to go for coaching for mba? My son is in second year and wants to do mba after graduation.
Rajesh Balasubramanian: It is not necessary to go for coaching. With good study material and a discplined approach one can prepare well for CAT on his/her own.
omi: how to prepare for quant section? my maths is very weak
Rajesh Balasubramanian: Learn in three steps - 1) First learn the theory and basic concepts 2) Do lots of practice. By lots of practice, I mean 100s of questions in each topic and 3) Revisit theory and increase the level of difficulty of questions
adil: Sir can you please tell me what is the new eligibility for IIM-Ahmedabad?
Rajesh Balasubramanian: What do you mean by new eligibility? Any student who has completed undergraduation or is pursuing final year undergraduation is eligible. It becomes tougher to crack the exam if the student has under-performed sometime in the past.
adil: sir will be class 10 and 12 boards be counted for admission?
Rajesh Balasubramanian: Yes. For most b-schools, this also gets counted
tushar: sir what is a good CAT score to apply to IIM-Bangalore?
Rajesh Balasubramanian: For candidates from general category, one should aim at around 99.5th percentile or higher.
Ankur Jain: Sir, which coaching institute is best for preparation TIME, IMS or CL??
Rajesh Balasubramanian: I would rather not make a recommendation on institutes. Especially because I also run an institute for CAT coaching (which is the best :) ).
salim: Sir can you tell me how you scored 100 per cent? You must be a scholar? how you do that every year? Please share your success tips.
Rajesh Balasubramanian: I am a trainer, so I spend 20 hours a week teaching. That is obviously an advantage.
sheetal: Hi Rajesh, where can I find the list of cut offs for last year?
Rajesh Balasubramanian: Pagalguy.com has the best updates on this kind of stuff
Illustration by Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com
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'Besides CAT score what else is required to get into a good business school?'
hardik: sir how many months does one require to crack the CAT?
Rajesh Balasubramanian: Six months preparation would be ideal. One can compress this into three months. But you should shoot to have at least 3 months preparation
Ahmed Syed-Hussain: Sir, I am a graduate with almost three and half years work experience, would a two-year regular MBA be suitable for me or do you suggest the one-year exec MBA?
Rajesh Balasubramanian: 3.5 years exp is middle ground. >5 and Exec MBA is better, < 2.5 and 2-year course is preferred. Ideally, you should try for both
sheetal: Also I am confused how to prepare for CMAT, CAT and GMAT this year?
Rajesh Balasubramanian: Take one at a time. CAT is the toughest. If you have covered CAT seriously, then the rest of the exams should be simple enough. You will still need to make some adjustments, but if CAT prep has gone well, this really sets you up
janu: rajesh sir how many mocks should one take before the actual exam. Also how much should I target in mocks?
Rajesh Balasubramanian: Simple rule -- as many as possible. At least 10 would be ideal.
Do not work with a specific target in mind, try out different strategies. Use mock CATs to try and figure out your best strategy fpr the exam. To get your stamina in place. To decide on how to select the best questions. Do not chase scores/percentiles
alex: How are CAT scores normalised? Besides CAT score what else is required to get into a good business school
Rajesh Balasubramanian: CAT scores are normalised based on level of difficulty. The tougher the question is, the more weightage it is likely to get. The percentiles are based on normalized scores.
Besides CAT scores, your 10th std scores, 12th std scores, undergrad marks, and work experience are also taken into account.