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'Rankings don't matter for an IIM graduate!'

Last updated on: November 7, 2011 16:28 IST

'Rankings don't matter for an IIM graduate!'

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In two online chats wid readers on October 28 and November 4, 2011, ARKS Srinivas, ex-director of T.I.ME. addressed reader queries related to cracking CAT 2011 and other b-school exams. For those who missed the live chats, here are the combined unedited transcripts.


ARKS Srinivas says, Hi Friends, Back again with more answers! Arkss


auro asked,
hello sir, kindly suggest one week strategy for CAT. should i simply focus on mocks and practice more problems or work out on improving my concepts?

ARKS Srinivas answers, at 2011-10-28 15:57:28
Hi Auro, Yes, the last one week should be on solving problems from your solved Mock CATs or Original CAT papers. Do not take up too many tests at this stage. At this stage trying to improve concepts is going to be futile.
rishi asked, hi sir ,what should i do for english vocab & for speaking

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Rishi, For CAT 2011, there is no time for Vocab. However, over a long term, please spend time on books such as 'Word Power Made Easy' and read Newspapers regularly. You can only improving your speaking skills by speaking in Public. Participate in Elocution and Debate competitions at your college and you will start improving too.
deepak asked, I am weak in mathematics. how can i overcome that and score better in Quant section? what chapters/problems should I focus on at the last minute. please advice

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Deepak, Since there is very little time, I suggest that you spend time on the Most important chapters in Math (at least for the last few years). Geometry and Mensuration, Numbers, Algebra would be the areas that need concentration.
veera asked, 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? is there no other way to study at IIM, sir?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Hi Veera, If you want to do a PGDM from an IIM, I am afraid that is the only way. For an NRI, GMAT also opens options.
crackcat asked, Sir, any idea what are the changes in the new CAT? is it better than last year?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
The changes are well published on catiim.in itself. Just as a refresher. Here are the salient details. There are only two sections instead of three. And the number of questions in each section are 30. (total of 60). The time per section is 70 minutes.
supriya asked, sir, tell me what are the most important chapters for quant section?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Supriya, Geometry & Mensuration, Numbers, Quadratic Equations, Logs, Progressions, Percentage Profit and Loss, Averages - these will be the important ones. While others are important too, since you may have less time, concentrate on the above.
Ash asked, Hello sir. Major fluctuations in the difficult level notwithstanding, what should be the overall score to get a 99+ percentile? How much, for example, does a score of 90 translate into percentile?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Hi Ash, 90 marks should translate to around 97 to 98 percentile. If you touch 100, very likely to get 99%ile plus.
Shalini asked, What is your observation of this first 4 days of CAT?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Shalini, The first four days have gone without any major incidents not major surprises. If you have solve the CAT papers of yester years, you can score in this year's papers too.However, the key is to keep your cool and do all questions that you are good in. The difficulty level is moderate it appears.
rahul asked, how to start preparing from now for cat 11?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
CAT11? or CAT 12? If It is CAT 11, then very little to prepare depending on when you are writing the exam.
Shalini asked, What is the difficulty level? Some are saying it's very easy while some are saying it's quite tough. Am geting confused about what to expect!

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Shalini, The difficulty level also depends on people. For eg, a person who is very strong in Quant may find the papers very easy whereas the same person may find the RC to be really tough. Same is the case for a person who is inherently good at English. What I can say, is that there is nothing different that is happening out there and it is as normal as the other CAT papers of yesteryears. Some questions will always be difficult and some questions will always be easy whatever the slot and CAT you are writing. Please go with your preparation without bothering too much about what others are getting in the exam.
Illustration: Dominic Xavier


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'There is no shortcut to getting into IIMs'

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rahul asked,
how to start preparing from now for cat 11? i have exam on 17 nov? Sir i met u in kol time seminar

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Hi Rahul, Since you have only around 20 days for the exam, I suggest that you put all efforts in writing MOCK Cats and reviewing them. Take around 5 MOCK Papers and make sure that you are thorough in those. Spend time on areas in Quant as I have mentioned in the Chat. Solve Analytical puzzles from your Study Material. Take 1 RC test a day and 1 VA test a day. This should help.
Paul asked, What books should I refer while preparing for CAT?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Hi Paul, There are very few good books. Material from Coaching institutes are better. However, Tata McGrawhill and Pearsons publish books on Quant, DI, RC and VA. Please refer to them.
ppsak asked, sir what is the expected cutoff marks for each section?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Expected cutoff depends on institute to institute. Some of them take at 85%ile and some at 90% and some others even at 95%ile. Also, the difficulty level of the paper determines the cutoff in each section. Hence it would be very difficult to give any number. However, getting 45% to 50% of NET marks in the section can ideally put you above all required cutoffs for almost all institutes.
rahul asked, sir i am not able to solve quants prob from my material i have to see solution for it? How to improve this?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
At this stage, please do see solutions. But after that, solve the question once again without the solution aid.
KUMARDK asked, Which is the best IIM

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Any IIM you can get a seat in should be the best IIM ! Rankings don't matter for an IIM graduate !
Shalini asked, I'm taking CAT on 3rd November. Any tips for me?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
hi Shalini, Make sure that you are clear about the strategy you are going to adopt. Since there are no surprises on pattern, this should be easy. Second, do not waste time on any question (s) if you are not able to solve them. Leave and go to the next question. make sure that you attempt as many as possible in both sections. Finally, just enjoy the paper.
gmmec asked, Sir - i want to prepare for CAT 2012 , how should i go with Preparations

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Best way is to join a Coaching institute and follow their instructions.
anushak asked, what is the best way to practice at this stage? should i focus on improving my time or try to give as many accurate answers? what should be the strategy?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Depends on what the weakness is. If you are not able to attempt more than 60 percent of the questions, then plan to take more mocks to reach that stage. If you are comfortably attempting 80% of the questions then the time is to reduce the speed and concentrate on accuracy.
KB asked, ANY TIPS FOR GK

ARKS Srinivas answers,
GK does not come in CAT. But for other exams it will be useful. Read monthly magazines like CSR or CW. And read the newspapers regularly.
rahul asked, any tip for data suffienciency?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
DS has been given in this years CAT too. But not necessarily for all. I suggest that you go through the basics of DS and solve 20 questions per day till the date of your exam!
rahul asked, sir i am in final yr.if i dont crack this year cat...should i try next yr? will it be any harm to my carrer?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
No. It will not harm. I would suggest that you should take this decision after the CAT is done.
rahul asked, sir what should i do...go for job and prepare for crack next yr?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Both, if you don't make it this year.
rahul asked, sir 1 yr work ex matter? sir 1 yr is enough to crack cat and get into iim?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Rahul, Since you are already preparing this year, you don't need another full year. And yes, 1 year of work-ex helps.
Raj asked, Hello Sir...I am doing BCA from IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University)..Am I eligible for CAT and would it be difficult to get admission into IIMS? Please clarify this as I have started preparing for CAT.

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Yes Raj, You are eligible.
rahul asked, sir last but not the list? HOw to crack cat and get into IIM? Your funda? YOur scedule to crack cat? Please reveal it?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Rahul, please reach me on my mail. There is no shortcut to getting into IIMs. You have to work to a schedule and do it consistently.
rahul asked, sir i heard if you dont score more than 70 in ur colleg acad u wont get iim or good cat insttt?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
True only for a few IIMs. If your CAT score is 99%ile and above you have a chance for many of the IIMs and there are 13 now!


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'Easy paper doesn't make much difference, competition will push cutoff scores'

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faizalk asked,
kindly rate the following in terms of difficulty CAT, SNAP, XAT, NMAT. Which is the toughest and how can one optimise their scores for each of these?

ARKS Srinivas answers, at 2011-11-04 16:03:05
CAT and XAT are the tougher exams. Possibly these days XAT is the tougher. NMAT is normally the easiest, though last year SNAP was also quite easy. However this is misleading as an easy paper doesnt make much difference as competition will push cutoff scores.
crackcat asked, what is the average percentile required to get into a good b-school? how many questions should i answer correctly in each section? also pls suggest some good b-schools besides IIMs

ARKS Srinivas answers,
In CAT I would say you start getting good Bschools once you cross 70-75%ile. Good Bschools MDI, NITIE SPJAIN IMT, IMI, XIM B LBS Delhi, UBS, Chandigarh, Kj Som, BIM Trichy TAPMI, Welingkar (WE) IFMR, BIMT, Noida
deepak asked, sir, besides CAT, i am also preparing for NMAT n SNAP this year. kindly suggest how to strategise my preparation. what should i aim for in each of these exams... how many questions should i solve for NMAT and SNAP

ARKS Srinivas answers,
For NMAT 3 Sections Eng QA and LA with seperate time limits so you have no time allocation worries Easy Qs, No negative marking NMAT is effectively about speed. So skip Qs at the slightest sign of difficulty, use options, use approximations, and at the end mark all Qs as there is no negetive For SNAP No sectional cutoffs, relatively easy paper. Easy DI so do more DI visavis QA RC qs are less, Vocab and Usage Qs are frequent Reasoning This could be the key section. So practise solving easy to moderate puzzles
bhbh asked, How good is NMIMS?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Very good.
faizalk asked, thank you sir. i also wanted to know which institute is good for MBA in entrepreneurship.

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Entreprenuership is very difficult to teach. The best option would be the IIMs and IITs which have a good ER cell and incubators for start ups. For example IIMA , IIT Kanpur etc
bhbh asked, Can you be more specific about NMIMS placements?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Avg Placement would be above 10 lacs p.a.
Sidd asked, Is there a specific book that I can use to prepare for SNAP 2011?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Since SNAP consists of different sections QA + DI LA VA + RC GA so no specific book can help. Different Test prep centers can give Mock SNAP papers
Rancho asked, Hello, Whats your opinion of TISS HRM course ? How do you rate it ?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Hi Extremely Good course One of the top 3 HR courses in India


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'Working professionals will never have adequate time to prepare'

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glen asked,
What is most scoring part in verbal section in CAT?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
In my opinion, logical questions like Parajumbles and Para completion are areas where we can score. In Fill in blanks and Word usage Qs, If we are good at Vocab we can score well
sakshi asked, sir, are there sectional cut offs for CAT? could you share last years figures for IIM?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Sectional cutoffs are always in terms of percentiles and they are different for each IIM They range from 80-95%ile
metallica asked, percentile ranking will be provided section-wise or as a whole...and would it be provided to us on the same day?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
You will get both sectionwise percentiles as well as overall. The scores will be released on 11 Jan
metallica asked, Sir, will i be provided any scratch or rough paper for calculations during the exam?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Yes, enough paper two pencils and eraser
glen asked, From where to get this years model CAT papers?

ARKS Srinivas answers,
It is illegal to share this years CAT Qs. Previous years papers you can google or buy in book format
sunita asked, sir, last year i cud score 91 percentile in CAT but this year bcoz i m working , i can hardly devote time and hence i may end up with lesser percentile, what colleges shud i opt for in that case

ARKS Srinivas answers,
For working Professionals, please note you will never have adequate time, we have to create the time even if we upset bosses ate work a bit At 80-90 you can look at KJ Som, TAPMI, IFMR, Welingkar. Also SCMHRD, SIIB under SNAP
HeadInverted asked, 10 days or so left for the CAT Window..Is it possible to pull of the CAT if we start NOW.Pleas give VALUABLE INPUTS to how to go about for CAT in 10 Days..Your KIND inputs would be great BOOSTER..to KICK START the preparation and finish the cat in style..thanks in advance Inverted Head

ARKS Srinivas answers,
Start now for CAT 2012
metallica asked, @sunita....IIPM not at all worth of its claims....it's a hollow institute and pass out students do struggle a lot to secure a "good" job

ARKS Srinivas answers,
I AGREE COMPLETELY
Rancho 2 asked, , Hi again, Please let us know some good colleges which have comparatively later application deadlines ? -- colleges which accept cat scores, probably after 18th november as well. Thanks!

ARKS Srinivas answers,
We have Bschools like LIBA, MICA, TAPMI and IIT Kgp with Jan dates and many more with Dec Dates Also quite a few Bschools will extend the date as they did last year
ARKS Srinivas says, Ok All the Best to all Aspirants. Signing off


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