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How to prepare for CAT in three months

Last updated on: July 29, 2011 21:23 IST

In on online chat hosted by Get Ahead on July 26, expert and IIT alumnus Aziz Manva addressed reader queries and spoke about the implications of the new CAT pattern and how aspirants can prepare themselves for the various sections in the following three months.

Here's the unedited transcript:

abhilekh asked,i m gud at DI,and verbal, wt will i have 2 be sure to gt good percentile in quat?
Aziz Manva answers, at 2011-07-26 15:59:11Currently the proportion of DI in the new quant section is unknown and so, right now you will have to assume that quant will be 50-60% of that section i.e. 10-12 questions Accordingly try and attempt 8-9 in quant with an accuracy of approx 7 questions

mamu asked,how can i prepare for the verbal ability section?
Aziz Manva answers,You will need to identify which part of verbal you are weak in and which part you are strong in. accordingly you will be able to customise your prep. In general, read one general newspaper and one business newspaper everyday. Also, subscribe to a good magazine such as TIME. visit the BBC website or the discovery website. This will help u improve your RC. Understand the context of what you read. That is a lot more important in CAT
abhi asked,How much questions, a/c to you will help in cracking CAT?
Aziz Manva answers,Very difficult to say in the new CAT format. But, the time per question has remained the same. Therefore, we would suggest around 24-27 attempts per section with atleast 20+ right in each section
raj asked,am planning to giv cat this year and want to crack the paper. when to start studies?
Aziz Manva answers,As soon as possible. You already have limited left. In fact, we have a seminar this weekend on the same topic in 4 cities. Visit the site for details.

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'Attempt anywhere between 24 to 27 questions per section'

123 asked,will there be only two cut offs or three ?
Aziz Manva answers,Considering that there are only sections, there should be only two sectional cut-offs plus the overall cutoff
cool asked,wat d/f u think it wud create?...hw to prepare for those changes?
Aziz Manva answers,The biggest difference is that you will not be able to partially attempt a section and go back to it. This will mean a HUGE change in attempt strategy. You will now have to try and finish off one section first and then only move on. Secondly, we don't know whether they will give you the option of selecting which section you want to attempt first or they will directly load a section directly. This will be a big impact
Rajesh asked,Is it the split in sessions gonna make the questions slightly tougher
Aziz Manva answers,Can't say because the time alloted per question is still approximately the same. i.e. little more than 2 minutes per question
Abhishek asked,What does IIm's mean by stating Logical Reasoning to be covered in the 2nd section??Does that mean it will also include Critical reasoning and verbal reasoning or whole of critical reasoning and verbal reasoning??
Aziz Manva answers,We believe that Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning will include pure Verbal (RC + Vocab + Grammar) and Reasoning (Critical + Verbal + Analytical. Thus it will be a mix of earlier Verbal section and earlier LR questions
abhilekh asked,there are total 60 questions so how much should i attempt from each section atleast to get close to iims or a top b-school?
Aziz Manva answers,According to us, you should attempt anywhere between 24 to 27 questions per section and aim for an accuracy of 20+ in each section

'You need to do a detailed analysis after each test'

cool asked,at this time wat would u suggest for a 1st timer....just prepare for weak sections after analysing 2-3 mocks....or first prepare all chapters thru study material and then check ur standing
Aziz Manva answers,At this time, it is better if you first take a couple of tests and base don the analysis of your strong-medium-weak areas, prepare accordingly. If you try to do theory first, you will end up spending a lot of time

Dheeraj asked,Hi...I m a working professional...I can spare 2-3 hrs only per day...I have not started prep yet...wat should be my strategy...can u help...
Aziz Manva answers,You should try and attempt a couple of mock tests now. Identify your strong-medium-weak areas and then work accordingly. For medium areas, revise theory and try to solve problems faster. For strong areas, just practice question on a regular basis. For weak areas, you will need to go back to theory and start from there.
kk asked,sir, i scored 74%ile in my previous cat attempt, i want to know how can i improvise apart from practicing mock papers/material/etc....
Aziz Manva answers,More than just practicing questions and learning theory, you need to do a detailed analysis after each test. Identify areas where you either get the right answer but take a lot of time or areas where you solve the questions quickly but get them wrong. These are areas of maximum improvement. Where you are fast but inaccurate, you need to relook your concepts and see if you are understanding the question correctly. Where you are slow but inaccurate, you need to see if there are better ways to solve that problem.
Sudin asked,I am weak in English, Pls advice how can i improve it.
Aziz Manva answers,You need to do a lot of reading. You can start off with general articles in magazines and newspapers. Also read a daily newspaper and a business newspaper everyday. Read The Economist which is published in the UK. Also, identify question types in Verbal where you are weak
raj asked,Which site. i am leaving for holidays and will come bak by august, can i start after that the studies?
Aziz Manva answers,You can start after that but we would recommend that you start as soon as possible because you will also need to practise as per the new exam format
Ankur asked,I am good in DI and quants, but not good in Verbal, I have started preparing this week. Please suggest how should I proceed ?
Aziz Manva answers,Identify areas in Verbal where you are average and areas where you are very bad. Then target each area separately. Also, keep reading as much as you can. More than vocab you need to focus on application of verbal concepts. Read long passages from the net. Try to read the e-paper everyday. That will help you in RC as well.
pawan asked,hi,is this time 2 sections in CAT?
Aziz Manva answers,Yes, this time there are 2 sections in CAT. Quant + DI is one section and Verbal + Logical Reasoning is another section.
harshil asked,I have given cat 2008 gt 59%ile only can i get good score this time
Aziz Manva answers,Yes, you can definitely get a better percentile, provided you study for the next 3 months in a systematic manner. You will have to plan theory, practice and test taking over the next 3 months
Dheeraj asked,Last time I gave cat exam in 2006...I m good in all three sections ie English, DI and maths...My scored strong in english 98, decent in di 91 but not so good in maths overall was 96.6...I m good in maths but a bit can i increase the i earlier wrote i m a workin professional so time is bit constraint...
Aziz Manva answers,It is possible that your question selection in maths is not correct. Split your maths attempts in 4 parts: 1) Fast and Accurate 2) Slow and Accurate 3) Fast and Inaccurate 4) Slow and Inaccurate For the first two parts, you just need to focus on better solving techniques. For the third category, you will need to revise concepts and question types. For the last type, you will need to revisit the entire chapter.
BABLI asked,Do we get loans to pursue MBA? What is the cost of MBA course? What is the interest rate for loans?
Aziz Manva answers,You do get loans. The cost varies from institute to institute. Colleges such as JBIMS and FMS are not so costly. Most good institutes have some arrangements with a bank to get better (cheaper) loans.

'Identify questions that take a lot of time, work on them'

catkiller asked,sir i am an engineer but still scoring very low in di/lr. although i am able to score the questions during practice but in actual mocks i take a lot of time and not able to solve the questions. kindly help
Aziz Manva answers,You will need to select the right questions in the mocks. Some questions in DILR are like that...they are simple but take a lot of time. You will be identify such questions only with more practice.
mansi asked,how to study for quant...i m quite gud at verbal but my DI suffers because of quant nd dt lowers my %ile...??
Aziz Manva answers,The DI in CAT is not very heavily dependant on quant. But you need to know ratio and proportion, percentages, averages and calculations very well to do well in DI. As far as the other quant areas, break each area into which chapters you are really weak at.
pawan asked, can u please also tell if both sections are equally weighted in maximum score?
Aziz Manva answers,Ideally they should be, but we will need to wait and watch
mansi asked,how to study for quant...i m quite gud at verbal but my DI suffers because of quant nd dt lowers my %ile...??
Aziz Manva answers,Just check my answer to this question below
Dheeraj asked,Thanks...can you suggest any good books for DI and Quants prep...i cant join any coaching classes...moreover will vedic maths be of any help...
Aziz Manva answers,Vedic maths may not be very useful for CAT at this stage. It may be useful for some of the other exams. Right now, it will not help you too much
anoop asked,Any techniques on saving time on comprehension?
Aziz Manva answers,More reading right now. For each passage that you read now, make the following: Title Central IDea Summary Conclusion of the passage How to strengthen the passage How to weaken the passage, etc Once you get this habit, you will be able to start solving the RC passages faster
pulkitseth asked,hw is jp noida for mba??
Aziz Manva answers,It will be better if you speak to a student or alumni of that institute
catkiller asked,sir any gud books for lr/di?
Aziz Manva answers,If you already have any DI material just practise from that. Otherwise, TestFunda material is actually sufficient to practise DI
mansi asked,sir one more and hospital management both interest me can u suggest me which one would be a better option and why?
Aziz Manva answers,Marketing will be a much more generalised field which will give you more options later if you want to switch industries. Hospital management will make you a specialist. It will be great if you want to spend your career in that field only.
jeevan asked,is it a good idea to join a coaching class for the last three months, i have been preparing for the past two months on my own
Aziz Manva answers,If you feel that you are not disciplined enough to practise yourself, then you may join. Otherwise no need
prasanna asked,What book would you recommend for a student who is not attending any coaching class.
Aziz Manva answers,You can refer to TestFunda material. It is by itself suffcient. We are anyways revamping our papers to reflect the new CAT pattern
anoop asked,Is the CAT still going to use normalisation process? My life got screwed last time, coz of it. I'm pretty worried.
Aziz Manva answers,I believe yes! My suggestion would be not to worry about normalisation that is anyways out of our control.
cool asked,wat d/f shud be there in approach for other exams like fms, iift for fms verbal shud be very strong...wat abt other exams?
Aziz Manva answers,Right now u shud focus only on CAT. You will get time to prepare for specific areas of FMS, IIFT etc after CAT.
Dheeraj asked,so...any books u may want to refer...or should i borrow some old study material
Aziz Manva answers,If you already have some material, solve it diligently. Otherwise, TestFunda material is also sufficient.
Rohit Bharti asked,Sir, I am only in my second year B.E. right now. However, I plan to give CAT-2011 just to get acquainted with the exam environment. I don't think this should be a problem as there is no restriction on the number of attempts for CAT. Is this a good idea? Is there a possibility that the IIMs may put such a restriction in the near future?
Aziz Manva answers,You may not be able to CAT this year because you should either be a graduate or in the final year of graduation. However, there is no limit on number of attempts
mansi asked,thanks a lot sir :)
Aziz Manva answers,You are welcome

'Spend at least 2-3 hours daily'

prasanna asked,How similar is CAT prep to that of GMAT? Is it sufficient if we just work on the CAT stuff or do we need to start all over again.
Aziz Manva answers,No, CAT prep is not completely similar to GMAT prep. You will need to prepare separately
sneha asked,sir since it is only 3 months to CAT, how should we prepare now, what must be our plan
Aziz Manva answers,Visit testfunda. You will find a complete 15 week study plan to prepare
prasanna asked,Can we buy Testfunda material in the mkt, where would be that available?
Aziz Manva answers,You need to log on to or call on 9930005544
mansi asked,sir i have subscribed to the online test funda test that the pattern is changed, in how many days will be able to launch iCAT in new pattern?
Aziz Manva answers,mostly tomorrow....latest by day after....the free test in the new format will be available by tonight
cool asked,for a starter and 1st timer hw many hrs daily shud be sufficient...moreover from TF material how to approach...some 18 books are there...1 book completely on words - hw to finish that, very less time remaining?
Aziz Manva answers,You will need to spend atleast 2-3 hours daily
sainath asked,how are executive MBA programs (one year full time)in IIM's compared to the regular programs offered thru CAT?
Aziz Manva answers,The exceutive programs will have an experience criterion (in the sense that you have to have minimum 3 years work ex and so on). Plus the way of teaching will be more suited to working professionals.
Dheeraj asked,so should i take mocks regularly...
Aziz Manva answers,Yes, currently you should try to take one mock test a week
varun asked,last year i secured 91 percentile hence cud not get in A grade colleges, now since i m working, i think i may not get even 91 percentile, shud i opt for B grade colleges if i dont get the required percentile
Aziz Manva answers,I would recommend that you target only the A grade colleges otherwise your work experience will not give you the best benfit
anoop asked,Thanks a lot sir! But the failure of CAT 2010 is haunting me. I hope everything goes fine this time. I can't wait for one more year to take the test again, already given test thrice, cleared IIM cut offs in verbal on 2 occasions...
Aziz Manva answers,Lets just hope that evrything turns out fine this year:-). Depending on the result we can then take a call. Right now, we should focus only on the exam.
anusha asked,how can i improve my speed and accuracy in solving sections?
Aziz Manva answers,You will need to analyse your attempts as per your speed and accuracy. Divide your attempts as per the following: Fast and Accurate Slow and Accurate Fast and Inaccurate Slow and Inaccurate Based on which question falls in which category, you will need to strategise accordingly
cool asked,i am doing M.E currently...wud it give some benefit like work experience gives?
Aziz Manva answers,You may not get additional marks but it will be asked in the interview
sainath asked,I have 5 + years of experience as Business Analyst in a Software company, would you recommend a one year executive program or a regular two year program ? Which program is more valued (full time executive, or full time regular) ?
Aziz Manva answers,If you can spare time for a 2 year programme go for it, because it will give you much better lateral placement opportunities

Dheeraj asked,How much time should i invest in per section..each week...keeping sunday free for mock test and self evaluation...
Aziz Manva answers,Rather than spending time for one section in one week, do different section in a week so that you don't get bored
sivakumar asked,What will be the score required to get a 95+ percentile?
Aziz Manva answers,Can't say at this stage
Dheeraj asked,how can i improve my vocabs in these 3 months...i know there is no shortcut...but any method that may help for the cat exam
Aziz Manva answers,More than improving vocab, focus on improving Reading and COmprehension Skills
ashish asked,shd 7 yrs exp person go for CAT or GMAT is better option?
Aziz Manva answers,Won't make too much of a difference. Which college you go to will be more important
prasanna asked,If i get a good score, should i choose a college which has good curriculum or gives me a better job?
Aziz Manva answers,Look for both. Genrally colleges with a good curriculum and teaching also have better placements
ashish asked,do you have GMAT material also?
Aziz Manva answers,NO...we don't have it at this stage
abhishekkk asked,Sir,I have start preparing for cat12 and my problem is that its taking more time to understand a paragraph.So what should I do to enhance my comprehensive power? Please help sir...
Aziz Manva answers,You will have to read a lot more. You can also try the "Free RC Passage" available on TestFUnda on a daily basis
Aziz Manva says,Hope your questions were answered! I will need to leave now! All the Best for CAT!!!