With approximately 3 months left for CAT 2016, aspirants who are yet to start the preparation can complete the syllabus provided they follow a systematic plan and strategy. In this expert interview by Careers360, Arks Srinivas, CEO, VistaMind Education, shares preparation strategies to be followed in the last three months of CAT 2016.

According to Arks Srinivas, aspirants should not wait to complete the entire syllabus for taking mock test. They should start taking mock test from the very beginning and assess strengths and weaknesses to improve them. The expert further mentions that CAT paper has a balance between easy and difficult questions, and it’s important not to ignore any topic or a concept. Read his full interview about CAT plan and its focus areas. 


Interview excerpts:


Careers360: What must be the strategy to prepare or CAT in 3 months?

Arks Srinivas: Three months is still a sufficient time to prepare and ace CAT!


Step 1: Writing Mock CATs:  Many students make a mistake of not writing the Mock CATs in the fond hope of completing the syllabus first. I recommend that from now till the last week of CAT, you write a Mock CAT every week.


Step 2: Strategy for the Exam: The Mocks should be used to discipline yourself into writing the exam in a particular manner with all the time limits being adhered to. Over the first few weeks, you should experiment with your Test Taking Strategy and check out which strategy works best for you.


Step 3: Preparing for the Sections: Between every Mock CAT, you should assess your relative strengths and weaknesses and concentrate on improving ONE or TWO areas of your relative weaknesses. For these topics/concepts, it is imperative that you go back to basics, learn concepts, solve problems and take individual topic tests to get yourself familiar with that area.


Step 4: Use the Mock CAT of every week to reassess your strengths and weaknesses and ensure that there is an improvement every week.

Even though one may start with a bad score, over 10 weeks there is a very good chance of improving close to 90 to 120 marks (improve by 3 to 4 questions every week).

arks_srinivas-pic“It is important that in your preparation for CAT you spend at least 20 to 21 hours a week. Even though one may start with a bad score, over 10 weeks there is a very good chance of improving close to 90 to 120 marks”

Arks Srinivas, CEO, VistaMind

Careers360: Should there be a plan or a routine for the students to follow?

Arks Srinivas: Most aspirants would either be working professionals or students! It is important that in your preparation for CAT you spend at least 20 to 21 hours a week. It may not be possible to spend 3 hours a day during the weekday. However, ensuring that you spend at least 1 to 2 hours a day for the preparation would ensure continuity in preparation.

During the weekends, you can spend 5 to 6 hours for preparation for CAT. This will include the time taken for writing the Mock CATs and Analysing them.


Careers360: What must not be avoided by the students during the preparation and at the time of test?

Arks Srinivas: It is important that you should go through all the areas (call it syllabus if you will) and be proficient in at least the fundamentals of all areas.


It is a different issue that you may not be good in some areas (say Permutations and Combinations!). However, it pays to remember that the CAT exam has easy questions too along with some difficult ones. By ignoring any one topic/chapter or concept, you could be losing out on sitters.


Similarly, it is very important in your Test that you read all the questions in each section. You never know which question(s) is (are) easy and hence a strategy which does not take care of the above problem would be counter-productive!


Careers360: What must be the focus in each section for the test takers?

Arks Srinivas: Quant: The focus will remain Numbers, Geometry and Mensuration. That is not to say that you can forget arithmetic or algebra! VARC: You have given sufficient time to the Reading Comprehension (RC) areas and not avoid the same. Though it is possible that all verbal ability questions could be non-MCQs, the chance of getting marks in RC remains high if you give sufficient time to that in the exam.

DILR: Focus has to be on Data Interpretation as well as Logical Reasoning. It is very important that you should NOT leave out one area for the other OR give more time to one area against the other. There will be equally easy and difficult questions in both these areas within the section!


Careers360: How can one avoid negative marking in CAT?

Arks Srinivas: The idea is NOT to avoid negative marking but to ensure that despite negative marks, you get enough score to get the high percentile. For that, you have to ensure high attempts in all the sections. This, however, does not mean that you should blindly guess. It only means that even if you eliminate one choice out of the four given, it may be prudent to go ahead and mark the answer.


Careers360: Any tactics to score well in CAT?

Arks Srinivas: The following are a few points that may help in scoring well in CAT

1. Don’t get bogged down by any question. If you have given about 2 minutes and you are not able to get the answer, quit!

2. Give sufficient time to each area within a section and enough time to each sets (in DILR or RC). However, don’t spend more time that you have budgeted in the first place

3. Get the discipline to leave a question /set by the time limit you have prescribed for yourself.

4. If the paper is extremely difficult, then realize that the same would be true for others too and hence do not panic and solve those that you know (keeping exactly the first three points in mind)

Also Read:

CAT Convenor interview

CAT 2016 Eligibility Criteria

CAT 2016 FAQs

CAT Topper Interviews


Stay tuned to www.bschool.careers360.com for more news and updates on CAT 2016

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Questions related to CAT

Showing 8301 out of 8301 Questions

Does anyone has enrolled to Takshzila online lectures for CAT 2020 please mention name.

Harshita Sharan Srivastava Student Expert 31st Mar, 2020
Hello aspirant,
Takshzila online classes is one of the best options to prepare for CAT exams online. The faculties are really good at the subject knowledge and provides a clear concept clarity. There are various packages offered by the Institute which you can purchase from the following link:-


The level of teaching provided by the faculty is good enough for a serious aspire to crack CAT. For demo lectures you can visit their youtube channel and free resources available on their website.

Good Luck

I have 76% in 10th, 88% in 12th and 80% in graduation. Addition to that i have a 2 years work experience. How MUCH percentile do i need to score in cat to get a call from IIM ABC ?

Harshita Sharan Srivastava Student Expert 30th Mar, 2020

Hello Aspirant,

As per the details provided, you have decent academic record and its really good that you have 2 years of work experience. It'll give you an edge in selection process. Also, if you belong to general category, then to get a call from IIM A,B,C you should focus on getting a minimum of 98 percentile in cat.

All the best


Hlo....mam or sir! Im Rajlaxmi frm Odisha.. How to preparation for CAT ... during bba 2nd yr... how to crack CATexam ..

Prateek Sinha 30th Mar, 2020

Prepare for the syllabus according to the weight age of each section.  Give mock tests and improve upon your timing skills. if you join a coaching class it would be good as you will get a clearer idea.


why these exams are conducting

Aniket Sharma 29th Mar, 2020

hi lramprasad,

CAT is commencing on 25th November in 2020. So it does not need to get postponed/cancel due to corona virus. The situation should get better till November. So, we can't argue why CAT is conducting.

Please elaborate your query and provide more details so that we can help you better!!



Can i apply for MBA at JK Lakhmipat University if i have not given CAT?

Megha 29th Mar, 2020

Hello Abhishek !

Yes ,you can apply at JK Lakhmipat University if you have not given CAT , because as per their eligibility criteria for getting admission their the candidates must have appeared in CAT/MAT/ATMA/XAT/CMAT or any other national level entrance test.

In case the candidate has not appeared for any of the mentioned tests, they will have to appear in the JKLU Management Entrance Test (MET) to qualify for the programme.

So, you can apply there by appearing in their Entrance test.

Hope it helps !

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