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 8327 out of 8327 Questions

10th -70% 12th -56% (Science) bcom - 80% (SC candidate), if I get 100 percentile in CAT, would have I got call from IIM A or C ??

ADIL KHAN Student Expert 7th Apr, 2020

Hii Biton,

Yes, there is a possibility for you as you belong to the SC category. But still there are  alot of factors taken into consideration while accessing your profile for giving a call for interviews bu top Business schools of India. You have a good chance provided you work on your communication skills and other skills. Also try doing internships and building your profile as these things will affect and may decide if you will be getting a call or not.

Hope it helps,



How to start preparing for CAT 2020 from basics? Which are the books to refer from? Will self study be enough? I need an answer that can clear all my doubts and motivate me to start my preparation. Each answer will be appreciated, thanks.

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 7th Apr, 2020
Almost all books available in the market are very similar in the nature of their content of study material but the important thing is what you make of it.

Here I can give you the list of books for each section that can help you accelerate your preparation to ace the tests.

CAT Books For Quantitative Ability:
1.NCERT mathematics books (from 6th to 10th class) ::
These books are a good way to start if one needs to clear their basics and concepts. NCERT books are best to start your CAT Preparation with only if you have a lot of time before your exam date and need to brush up on concepts before solving advanced problems.

2.How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT (by Arun Sharma)
(publisher: Tata McGraw Hill)
This is a very popular book among CAT aspirants and really easy and simple to understand. This book also focuses on the basics first and has different levels of difficulties step by step.

3.Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations (by Abhijit Guha)
This book is quite comprehensive for various competitive exams, for both MBA aspirants and for those seeking jobs who need to prepare for the aptitude tests.
4.Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT by Sarvesh Verma
It is an extensive book for students aspiring to go to IIMs. It has a very simple, lucid and tailor made content revolving around CAT.

5.Quantitative Aptitude for CAT (by Nishit Sinha)
This book by Pearson focuses on in depth understanding of core topics for basic and advanced applications.

Verbal Ability Books For CAT:

1.How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT( by Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay)
This book is good to brush up your verbal and reading comprehension skills. It covers three important topics: reading comprehension, verbal ability and verbal reasoning. It provides sufficient practice and mock papers for self-assessment.

2.Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension For The CAT( by Nishit Sinha)
This book by Pearson provides not only an exhaustive resource for verbal ability. It also includes numerous tests as well as integral problem solving techniques and approaches.

3.Word Power Made Easy (by Norman Lewis)
This is the go-to book to improve your vocabulary. It is not a book to be read but a book to work with daily to enrich your vocabulary.

4.High School Grammar and Composition( by Wren and Martin)
It is a very good book for people who want to improve their grammar skills. It helps to understand and conceptualise different aspects of grammar and it is a must have book for anyone with poor grasp on verbal ability or who wants to make up with the basics of english.

Read books from different genres
The ultimate key to improve your verbal ability is to read extensively and to read books from different genres. This ensures that when the time for reading comprehension comes you are well acquainted with different writing styles and topics. Reading extensively also improves your reading speeding over a period of time. There are no shortcuts here.

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning Books For CAT:

1.A Modern Approach to Logical Reasoning( by R.S. Agarwal)
This CAT book by R.S. Agarwal is to start with the most basic reasoning problem as it is quite simple to understand. It is segregated into different sections such as logic, statements, inferences and arguments, assumptions, conclusions, course of actions, logical puzzles, etc.

2.How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for CAT book (by Arun Sharma)
This book by Tata McGraw Hill contains all topics to be considered under Logical Reasoning for CAT as well as other entrance exams. Each topic is explained with solved examples followed by a series of problems with varied difficulty levels to solve which gives an individual enough practice for this section.

3.How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT book (by Arun Sharma)
This book focuses on all areas of Data Interpretation and Data Sufficiency. It provides and emphasizes on developing our calculations to get an edge with DI. This book also provides you with previous years questions, Model and Sample test papers.

4.Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT (by Nishit Sinha)
This book covers fundamental and advanced topics under the aforementioned section which are explained with the help of solved examples, case lets and exercises to do. It is useful for various other exams as well.

5.Data Interpretation (by Nishit Sinha)
Practice Book for CAT and Other MBA Entrance Examinations( by Nishit Sinha):
This book provides adequate practice and to sharpen the skills for Data Interpretation. It is also quite useful for other competitive exams like NMAT, GMAT, SNAP, XAT, CMAT, etc.

Another CAT Preparation material or book to be considered is Previous Years Solved CAT Paper:
This ensures that you are familiar with the kind of questions that are asked in CAT providing you an edge. They can be taken as mocks and the analysis of the same can provide you with great insights for your preparation.

It is always better to read newspaper for CURRENT G.K. than trying to grasp all info at once. Some of the newspaper sources which you can use to prepare this section are The Hindu, Financial Express, and The Economist.

In case, you dont like reading newspaper daily, you can go with Manorama Yearbook or Current Affairs Yearly by Arihant for General Knowledge which is published every year.

In order to prepare for STATIC G.K. section, you need to broaden your overall scope in following sections: Sports, Politics, Entertainment, Biographies, etc. So, for this, you can use Static General Knowledge by A.P. Bhardwaj and S. Chands Advanced Objective General Knowledge. These books are okay to start with if you are not someone with a newspaper reading habit from the past.

There are plenty of other books for these topics in the market, but these are by far the most popular as well as helpful books for anyone preparing for entrance exams.

if i obtain 80 marks in quantitative aptitude 80 marks in data interpection and 80 marks in verbal reasoning what is my total percentile of cat because my 10th and 12 marks is low ?

Ankit Dahiya Student Expert 6th Apr, 2020
Your CAT percentile has nothing to do with class X and XII marks.
The percentile indicates your performance relative to the other candidates. For example if you get 80 percentile it means your score is more than 80% of the appearing students.
The percentipe is calculated as:
P=(R/N) 100
where R=Rank of student and N=Number of students who appeared.

Follow this link for more information

Good luck

I have 96% in 10th 94 %in 12th and 7 3 cgpa in btech and around 18 months of work experience..how much do I need to score in CAT 2020 to get a call from IIMA/B /C or FMS ?

Prakarsh Kaushik 5th Apr, 2020


For getting in top B-schools of India like IIM-A, IIM-B, IIM-C, FMS Delhi etc. you need good marks not only in in CAT but also in Class 10th, 12th and your graduation. If you have some work experience then it gives you more advantages.

There is no specific cutoff of percentile on which you can get into top IIMs. Since your marks in 10th, 12th is above 90% and in graduation above 7 CGPA with work experience, you can expect a call from IIM-A, IIM-B, IIM-C if you have at least 99 percentile in CAT .

For FMS also you should aim for 99+ percentile in CAT and also keep in mind that if you score 95+ percentile in VARC Section it will increase your chances of getting in.

Click at this link to know more about CAT - https://bschool.careers360.com/exams/cat

Hope this was helpful


which is the best book for cat self study to crack cat examination

KUNAL LANJEWAR 5th Apr, 2020


Given below are the best books to refer for preparing for CAT examination:

1. For Quantitative Aptitude:

  • How to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Arun Sharma
  • Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Nishit K Sinha
  • Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT 2019 by Sarvesh K Sharma

2. For Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation :

  • How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT by Arun Sharma
  • Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for CAT by Nishit K Sinha

3. For Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension :

  • Word Power made easy by Norman Lewis
  • Mastering the Verbal Ability for CAT by Ajay Singh
  • How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT by Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay

Best Wishes.

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