CAT 2018 Expert Interview: Practice adequately to find what works best on D-Day, says Erudite Director, Mr. Kaushik Kapoor
Aditi Garg, 13 Aug 2018, #CAT
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CAT 2018 Expert Interview - As the CAT 2018 is on the horizon, and with only four months to go, it is time to spruce up preparation for the big exam. Careers360 brings to you the expert interview of Mr. Kaushik Kapoor, Director of Erudite who shares his expert tips on how to prepare for CAT for the benefit of aspirants.

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According to Mr. Kaushik, as time is limited, it is advisable to shortlist the most important topics and prepare them extensively. For the aspirants who have still not started with CAT preparation, he advises them to join a crash course. The Director also elucidates a detailed section-wise preparation strategy for CAT and the top books and study material. With the help of guidelines outlined by Mr. Kaushik, aspirants may prepare their own CAT study timetable, if they haven’t already. Read CAT 2018 expert interview on how to prepare for CAT to know more.

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Kaushik-Kapoor“Handling of different types and variations of questions is essential. In order to achieve this skill, students must start practicing simultaneous engagement with the different topics and areas. The final skill level is efficiency, which is achieved through the perfect balance of speed accuracy. If the students had been targeting accuracy, it is time to move on to the next level, that is development of speed while maintaining accuracy.”

Excerpts from the interview:

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Careers360: CAT 2018 is almost four months away. What should be the strategy for aspirants who are yet to start preparations for CAT?

Mr. Kaushik: It’s high time to gear up for people who lie in this category. The CAT requires in-depth understanding of topics, as CAT questions verge on inferential and innovative. Thus merely a functional, even a regularized understanding of the topics and questions will not be enough.

Variation is key to preparation for the CAT. The said candidates should divide the time available into three periods. These should be as first a month and a half of basics and theory with practice of standard question patterns, secondly a month and a half of advance level preparation and short-cuts, and finally a month of rigorous practice with innovative question types.

As time is limited it is advisable to shortlist the most important topics, that are expected to have questions in the CAT exam and prepare them extensively. The estimated time for preparation should be taken as three months as the last month is required for testing, analysis and self-study for practice.

Aspirants may choose to join a crash course. The basic strategy would be to attend the classes and cover all concepts preferably in around two months. The study material should be completed in this period, after which the candidates can move on to further suggested practice materials. The last two months should be spent on mastering the test taking strategies via mocks and sectionals.


Careers360: Is enrolling in a coaching institute a good idea for aspirants who have not started their preparation with just four months or less to go?

Mr. Kaushik: Yes. The coaching institutes have expertise on the tests and preferable methods of preparation. They train the students on not only the finer points of the test, but also matters of selection, and provide in depth training for unexpected question types. The institutes help the students formulate plans for preparation and also to implement them in the best possible way.

Also through simulation and teaching tools the students are made to learn the nuances of the test taking process. Institutes also integrate personalized attention, one to one mentorship and involvement programmes under which the students aim at a holistic and synergistic increase to scale in terms of preparation.


Careers360: Please share a detailed preparation plan for the three sections, namely, Verbal and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Ability.

Mr. Kaushik: The detailed plan for the three sections should be as follows:

Reading Comprehension and Verbal Ability: The first step is to clear the concepts relating to the various topics and understand the rationale behind proper comprehension to facilitate the capacity to answer tricky questions. Next you need practice of questions and assessment of both the correct answers with the logic of qualification, and the logic of elimination for the incorrect answers. Further you need to move on to online practice tests. You can also start giving mocks alongside.

Along with this you need to build up reading habits. That can be done by reading newspaper editorials and articles. This not only helps in improving comprehension of the passages, but also with retention of key ideas and further inference. You can also solve GMAT RCs for advance level RC practice. For the Verbal Ability section, the handling of non-MCQ questions is of paramount importance.

DILR: This section is proving to be the nemesis of all CAT aspirants for the past three years. The basic material must be completed quickly and you must move on to past papers. After completing past papers you need a lot of practice with innovative levels of questions, and preferably appear for mocks and sectionals.

Further the questions, answers and solutions have to be analyzed very carefully for this section in order to identify and eliminate common mistakes. Along with this you can also solve Sudoku and puzzles from books and web based sources.

Quantitative Ability: Conceptual clarity is most important in this section. This entails beginning with the fundamentals of various topics, theories and formulae. Next the same process works very well i.e. completing the basic material and moving to sectionals and mocks. An important thing to do in this section is to identify your weak areas and strive towards improving them.


Careers360: For the ones who have already started preparing on their own without coaching classes, please recommend a strategy for the next four months.

Mr. Kaushik: Such students would have started with the basic levels. As the test date is on the horizon, it is high time to go to more advance levels. You need to first complete the basic material of all areas.

Next, mocks should be taken very seriously. Handling of different types and variations of questions is essential at this time. In order to achieve this skill, students must start practicing simultaneous engagement with the different topics and areas. The final skill level is efficiency, which is achieved through the perfect balance of speed accuracy. If the students had been targeting accuracy, it is time to move on to the next level, that is development of speed while maintaining accuracy.


Careers360: What are the must prepare topics in each section which should not be avoided at any cost? Please share some preparation tips on those topics.

Mr. Kaushik: Aspirants must focus on the important topics below:

Verbal: Para jumbles, odd statement out, critical reasoning and summary. Practice of questions and the logic of solutions is essential. Special emphasis must be paid to answering non-MCQ type questions.

RC: Different levels and topics of comprehension passages. Reading and practice with special emphasis on inferential understanding is the key.

DILR: Logical puzzles and tables. Sudoku and similar puzzles help a lot.

QA: Arithmetic, Algebra and Geometry. Solving a lot of CAT type questions does the trick.


Careers360: Please mention some top books and study materials to be referred by CAT aspirants.

Mr. Kaushik: Preparation can be done using:

  • Arihant CAT books by Arun Sharma

  • Tata McGraw Hill CAT books by Nishit K. Sinha

  • Erudite basic study material, mocks and advanced sectional tests.

  • Tests series by various other institutes.

  • Apps on CAT test training and practice questions (as available on Android and iOS platforms)

Careers360: How should final year graduation students vis a vis working professionals balance their daily routine with CAT preparation?

Mr. Kaushik: The normal and effective routine is managing two hours of study daily during weekdays and five to six hours during weekends. Final year students can generally dedicate a little more than this basic study time, between college classes and curriculum. It is not advisable to take semester studies and exams lightly, but the CAT also requires regular grappling with the subject matter, if only for the bare minimum of time for those with very busy schedules.

The focus should be the handling of different subject areas and topics in a limited timeframe, as the actual test demands.


Careers360: When is the ideal time to start taking mock tests? Also mention the frequency in which mocks should be taken.

Mr. Kaushik: Mocks should ideally be started from July. Once a week is ideal and can be increased to two tests per week.


Careers360: How can one analyse their performance in mock tests? Please share some tips for analysis and the way forward.

Mr. Kaushik: Analyse all questions (whether right, wrong or unattempted) and compare your solution to the one given. Also analyse where have you wasted time and where you question selection could have been better. Identification of questions is an art which can be learnt very effectively from taking mock tests. The test series of the various institutes generally give in depth analysis of accuracy rates, and speed and strike rate analysis in the analysis of the mock test papers. This can give great mileage in creating, implementing and course correcting study plans towards achievement of remarkable CAT percentiles.


Careers360: Please share detailed preparation strategy for three months, two months and last month for CAT-takers.

Mr. Kaushik: The strategy for the last three months should be to clear concepts and sectionals. Mocks and analysis of mocks should be in the plan for the last two months. In the last one month, take rest and carry out revision aimed at regular practice. Some mocks are advisable.


Careers360: How should CAT aspirants balance their preparation with other entrance tests like XAT, IIFT, NMAT, SNAP and CMAT?

Mr. Kaushik: CAT preparation covers almost the entire syllabus for all of these exams. Anything which is unique to these exams can be covered in a maximum of fifteen days.

The Decision Making section of XAT is an exception to this and should be practiced early on in case one wants to appear for the XAT exam.


Careers360: What can one expect from CAT 2018 in term of exam pattern and difficulty level?

Mr. Kaushik: No prediction can be accurately made by anyone. However going by the past trends we can expect certain recurring elements.

A tough DI LR section with emphasis on innovative puzzle based questions is expected. There will be only a few sets on traditional graph based questions from DI. The rest is expected to be logical.

The VA RC section may be tricky as it traditionally deals with very close options. The specific number of non-MCQ questions may vary slightly, but RC in all probability, will remain the more prominent area.

The QA section this year is expected to be harder than that of last year’s CAT.


Careers360: What should be the exam day strategy in terms of time management, maintaining accuracy and fulfilling sectional cutoffs?

Mr. Kaushik: In terms of time management, the CAT security procedures get more and more stringent by the year. It is imperative to be on time and thus start towards exam centres with ample time in hand.

As nothing but clothing is allowed inside exam centres, not even watches, footwear or cash, students may take someone along with them to take care of belongings. It is also advisable to locate centres beforehand to avoid any delays on the exam day.

Parameters of accuracy and time management are extremely individual in nature. The best thing to do is to get adequate practice to find what works best for you and then execute similarly on the D-Day. Seeing how last minute preparation is of little or no importance in exams like CAT, the students must reserve the days preceding the exam day and the hours preceding the exam for revision only. A modicum of faith goes a long way to ensure confidence and stress management.

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Good Mba colleges with cat cutoff 80 to 90 percentile

Mayank Chowdhary 17th Nov, 2019

Yes I'll enlist down some of the top institutes for MBA whose cutoffs are between 80 to 90 percentile.

  1. Tapmi Institute Manipal, CAT cutoff was 80 percentile.
  2. KJ Somaiya Institute of Management And research, Mumbai,, 85 was the cutoff percentile -
  3. IIM DELHI - cutoff percentile for cat exam was 90
  4. BIMM Pune - cutoff 80
  5. IIM Ghaziabad - cutoff 90

Thank-you. Best wishes.


how to calculate std10,12and CAT exam persantage/persantile rank for IIM entership?

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 16th Nov, 2019
IIMs shortlist candidates for the interview stage based on their own criteria, which may be independent of each other. The process may include Written Ability Test, Group Discussion, and Personal Interviews. Performance in the CAT examination is an important component in the admission process. IIMs may additionally use other factors such as the previous academic performance of the candidates, relevant work experience, gender and academic diversity and other similar inputs in shortlisting and ranking of candidates at various stages of the admission process. The processes, academic cut-offs and the weights allocated to the evaluation parameters may vary across IIMs. For example, IIM Ahmedabad folliws the following rating scale:

IIM Ahmedabad:


QA       DLR        VARC Overall
General: 70         70         70              80
NC-OBC/Trans: 65         65 65              75
SC: 60         60           60 70
ST: 50         50            50 60
PwD-UR,OBC,SC: 60         60   60            70
PwD: ST: 50         50          50             60

10th Rating:

Percent score        Rating Score

<= 55           1

> 55 and <= 60          2

> 60 and <= 70           3

> 70 and <= 80            5

> 80 and <= 90            8

> 90              10

The same rating score is used for 12th Science /Commerce Streams. For Arts/Humanities:

Percent score     Rating Score

<= 45         1
> 45 and <= 50        2
> 50 and <= 60         3
> 60 and <= 70         5
> 70 and <= 85         8
> 85        10
Minimum cut offs for Average percent of marks scores:
Stream in 12th UR NC- OBC/Trans SC ST PWD PWD -ST

Science 80            75 70 65   70 65

Commerce 77            72    67 62   67 62

Arts & Humanities 75       70 64  59    64 59

From each Academic sectors top 5% from each stream and each Category will be short listed. It might look like:

Category   Upper Limit

General   100

NC-OBC-cum-transgender   57

SC      32

ST    16

PwD    6

After shortlisting the Candidates, the selected Candidates will have to go through WAT and PI rounds. Selection at this stage will strictly be based on the shortlisting of the candidates done separately for each Category ) on the basis of their Final Composite Score. . The numbers selected in different reservation categories will be in proportions mandated by law.

Personal Interview Multiplication Factor (PIF) = 0.50

AWT Multiplication Factor (AWTF) = 0.10

CAT Score Multiplication Factor for Final Composite Score (CATF_FCS) = 0.25

Application Rating Multiplication Factor for Final Composite Score (ARF_FCS) = 0.15

After the AWT & PI round, admission offers are made by IIMA to successful candidates. The final selection is based on a diverse set of attributes which includes performance in CAT, performance in AWT & PI, academic, co-curricular and extra-curricular achievements, work experience, etc.


how to prepare for cat entrance examination

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 16th Nov, 2019
CAT is an online examination of 3 hours duration.The questions in the exam will be of MCQ and TITA type totaling 100 questions. MCQ are multiple choice questions, for which candidates get multiple answer choices. Each Question has 3 marks and a wrong answer takes away 1 mark. However Type in the Answer questions are exempted from Negative Marking.

CAT exam paper can be Categorised into 3 parts:

Quantitative Ability
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

The Verbal Ability section and Reading Comprehension has 34 Questions, Data interpretation-Logical Reasoning section has 32 MCQ questions and Quantitative Ability has 34 MCQ questions totalling up to 100 questions. Each Question has 3 marks and a wrong answer takes away 1 mark.

First things first, know the syllabus. And go through the previous papers to analyse and prepare a comprehensive plan and set priorities according to the importance of different topics across sections.Customise your own study plan based on your strengths and weaknesses. Gauge your preparation from time to time by taking mock tests. Solve questions to check your levels of preparation but not to set any targets. Remember, its ok to have cheat days and relax. But make sure you have a plan and stick to it for the next few months because even Rome wasnt built in a day.

NCERT books will sharpen your basics and you need strong basics for preparing for any entrance examination. Once your basics are in place, because the time period for preparation is quite less, your preparation should be extensive and thorough.

Quantitative Aptitude covers almost 30% of the CAT question paper. QA can be categorised into Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry and Advanced Mathematics. Practise chapter by chapter and develop mental calculations. Like practise more of basic summation, subtraction, fractions and tables. Numbers, Percentage, Profit and Loss, Simple and Compound Interest, Ratio, Proportionality, Time-Distance, Time-Work, Mixtures, Averages, Partnership, Permutation and Combinations, Probability, Set Theory, Progression and Series, Line, Angles, Triangles, Quadrilaterals, Polygon, Circles, Ares, Volume, Height and Distance, Coordinate Geometry, Basic Trigonometry are few important topics.

Preparation tips:

Because this section involves mathematics and takes most of your time, your focus should be on solving the problems efficiently in the beginning. Even if it takes time, practise upto perfection. Practise as many questions as you can in the conventional way. As and when you get a grip on the subject, you can go for short cuts. Memorise tables, square roots, cube roots, conversion from percent to fraction, etc. Solve sample papers on Mathematics. In the beginning, do not worry about the time it takes. As you practise, you will get the hang of the subject and it will be easier for you.

In Verbal Ability session, command on your English, Grammar, Vocabulary, Understanding of the given paragraph are of more importance. Reading English NewsPaper will also help you in your preparation.

Preparation tips:

Read articles from time to time. Follow newspapers, magazines, and watch the news channels and browse the internet to keep yourself updated. You will need a lot of reading to help you in the comprehension section. You will need speed to help you in this section and you can achieve that only by thorough practise and reading. Take time to understand the question because most answers are interlinked.

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning needs to be practised as much as possible. Comparison of data, Data Analysis, taking clues, interpreting missing data, coming to conclusions and making future projections will be covered under this Category. The questions here are interlinked and so if you get one formula correct, cracking the next few questions will be easy. So it's important to memorise and practise formulae. You should cover topics like Data tables, Data Charts, Bar Diagrams, Pie Charts, Graphs, Data Comparison and Analysis.

Preparation tips:

As this is the most tricky section, this needs a lot of practise. Solve as many sample papers as possible to get the hang of the section. Make notes when required. Regular practise can help you understand and solve the questions easily as time goes on.

Overall,once you know the syllabus, it's easier from there on.Go through the previous papers to analyse and prepare a comprehensive plan and set priorities according to the importance of different topics across sections. Customise your own study plan based on your strengths and weaknesses. Gauge your preparation from time to time by taking mock tests. Solve questions to check your levels of preparation but not to set any targets. Remember, its ok to have cheat days and relax. But make sure you have a plan and stick to it for the next few months

We can recommend a few books for you:

NCERT books to cover the basics from 6th to 10th Class

Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Nishit Saxena

Quantitative Aptitude Quantum for CAT by Sarvesh Sharma

How to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Arun Sharma

Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Exams by Abhijit Guha

You can also download free downloadable e books at:


unsoveld and soveld cat exam question mba

Aditya kumar Student Expert 16th Nov, 2019

Hello there!


You can get CAT previous year question papers by going through our page for which link is provided below :-

By solving  previous question papers of CAT, candidates like you will  know about the type of questions, topics covered in the exam and the pattern of the exam. By solving the CAT question papers, you will be able to understand the marking scheme of the exam, syllabus, exam duration, etc.

By going through above link you can download CAT sample papers as well.


The question have been saved in answer later, you can access it from your profile anytime. Access now

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