IIM Bangalore, the conducting body of CAT 2016, released the notification for the biggest national level management entrance test on Sunday, July 31, 2016. The CAT 2016 announcement was followed by queries and doubts in terms of the pros and cons of the pattern, test schedule and the preparation strategy to follow.

Careers360 brings you expert take on CAT pattern and preparation strategy, which will guide you about how to plan and prepare for the test.

CAT 2016 is on the similar lines as that of last year. Although the exact number of questions and marking scheme has not been revealed by the officials yet, it is expected that it would be on the similar lines as that of last year.


Click here to check CAT 2016 Official notification


The most important question to be answered for CAT 2016 test takers is whether to change their preparation strategy anticipating a change in the number of questions in each section. According to the experts, despite this slight ambiguity in the CAT 2016 exam pattern regarding the number of questions and marking scheme, aspirants should not change their preparation strategy as the overall paper and structure are same.


Click here to check if you are eligible to apply for CAT 2016


Ramnath Kankadandi, Course Director CAT, T.I.M.E. regarding the CAT 2016 preparations says, “With no significant changes in the test pattern, the students can breathe a sigh of relief as the test strategies that they have been working on, based on CAT 15, need not be dumped.” He further suggests students to take mock tests to ensure that they polish their test day strategies to the hilt while overcoming their area-specific weaknesses.


T.I.M.E. Director, Sai Kumar Swamy, also shares his expert take on CAT 2016 overall and sectional preparation tips. According to him, the continuation of last year’s test pattern is good news for the students and its time to put all the focus on the preparations.


Read the full interview of Sai Kumar Swamy:


Careers360: What is your take on CAT 2016 similar pattern?

Sai Kumar Swamy: In a nutshell, CAT2016 will have three sections – Section 1 would be Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension, Section 2 will be Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, Section 3 would be Quantitative Ability. Aspirants would get 60 minutes to answer the questions in each section and during this time they cannot move to other sections. Like CAT 2015, CAT 2016 will have a mix of Multiple Choice Questions and Direct Input questions – with the MCQs having negative marking for wrong answers and the Direct Input questions not having any negative marking for wrong answers. There is good news for those who abhor calculations as the IIMs have provided for an on-screen calculator. However, the notification has kept aspirants in the dark about the number of questions in each section of the test. There is a distinct possibility that the exam might have a lower number of questions as compared to last year. Aspirants can heave a sigh of relief as the number of changes has been kept to a minimum and the exam is devoid of major surprises in the structure. 


Careers360: Now that CAT 2016 has been announced, what should be the preparation strategy for the students?

Sai Kumar Swamy: Given that CAT 2016 is going to be on expected lines, aspirants should learn from the experience of CAT 2015 test-takers. Successful aspirants last year had reported that they had treated CAT 2015 as one with three sub-tests (on account of the sectional time limits) and gave their best in each of these ‘sub-tests’. They also reported that they had more questions available than what could be done in the allotted time. The successful ones were those who selected the questions carefully and ensured that they had a high accuracy. The same mindset and preparation strategy is required to bell the CAT this year.


Careers360: Coming to the section wise preparation strategy, how should the aspirants prepare for the Quantitative Ability section?

Sai Kumar SwamyThe syllabus of the exam in the Quantitative section is roughly equivalent to the 10th standard level mathematics and can therefore be cracked by anyone who is strong with the basic concepts. A cardinal error that many students commit during the preparation is classifying certain topics as important and others as unimportant; there have been a lot of occasions when there was a surfeit of questions in CAT from topics which were generally considered unimportant by students.

As far as preparation for QA is concerned, one should give priority to understanding the concepts first and not be rattled by the amount of time taken to complete a topic. There is a tendency to compare your speed with that of other students, which will only dishearten you. You must understand that speed comes from having a good grasp over basics and one cannot achieve speed unless one understands the concepts first.


Careers360: Please share the strategy to tackle the Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension.

Sai Kumar Swamy: The verbal ability portion of the section checks reading and working comfort in English. It emphasizes reading skills, as is clear from the high weight-age to Reading Comprehension and reading-oriented VA in the recent years. Hence now preparation should focus on improving reading skills, more in width than in depth. What this means is that CAT is looking at your ability to read a wide range of reading material in some depth, but not the ability to read a small range of reading material in great depth. So concentrate on reading things that you may not have read earlier, e.g. philosophy, spirituality, religion, social sciences, humanities, sciences etc.


A good grasp over verbal ability comes from regular practice done over a period of time and is usually a by-product of your reading habits and other academic interests; however, a significant improvement can be made over time with systematic preparation.


A fundamental prerequisite for doing well in VA is to cultivate the habit of reading (serious) material like newspapers, including editorials. You should try to develop an interest in reading rather than taking it as a chore. Apart from regular reading, you must try to add new words to your vocabulary and keep revising them till they become a part of your long-term memory. While learning new words, pay attention to their usage rather than learning them by rote.


You should try to improve your grammar; unlike RCs, the ambiguity is less here. Also, this takes less time; an effort in this area will pay you rich dividends as the CAT has always accorded high priority to Grammar.


Careers360: What about the Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning section? Since there is not much conceptual learning involved, how important is practicing to ace the section?

Sai Kumar Swamy: Though this is an area which is not as much concept based as the other two, it is quite difficult as it involves understanding complex graphs and doing quick calculations. However, like all test areas, systematic preparation can make a huge difference in doing well in this critical section. To begin with, you must solve problems on percentages and comparisons of fractions. Regular practice in speed math tests will increase your comfort with numbers and calculations.


You must familiarize yourself with all sorts of data representations like pie charts, bar graphs, stacked bars, and line diagrams. Solve at least 10 sets on each of the different types of data representation. Many times you will only be required to estimate the answer rather than calculate it; hence you should keep an eye on the choices and make smart approximations where possible.


As far as problems on Logical Ability are concerned, you must actively enrich your ability to give a ‘structure’ to the data given in the problem, which, in itself can make the solution to the problem a lot easier. Nothing can substitute practice – ensure that you spend as much time as possible on solving as many sets on puzzles as possible.


Also Read:

CAT Topper Interview

What if I don’t take coaching? Can I still crack CAT?

CAT 2016: When and how to start preparations

CAT 2016: Know if you are eligible or not

Must read books for CAT


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

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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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