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One of the most challenging management entrance test - CAT, is a few months away. Every year over two lakh aspirant gear up to take the most awaited exam of the year with a hope of clearing the entrance exam with exceptional scores. According to the official notification released by IIM Lucknow, the exam pattern for CAT 2017 will remain the same.
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Gautam Puri, Co-founder Career Launcher, Vice Chairman & MD in an interview with Careers360 shares his insights on CAT preparation strategy for each section and the importance of mock tests. He also shares key points on time management for each section of CAT 2017.
To guide prospective candidates, Careers360 brings you an expert interview of Gautam Puri, Co-founder, Vice Chairman & MD of Career Launcher.
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"Whenever there has not been a change in the CAT pattern, the level of difficulty has tended to be slightly higher, thus, keeping the same trend in mind, this year the students should expect CAT of a higher level of difficulty, which could mean a drop in the cut-off percentile".
Read the full interview below:
Careers360: There are less than four months left for CAT 2017. What should be the strategy for aspirants at this stage?
Gautam Puri: Focus on all the three sections and don’t leave anything for the last moment. Aspirants are also advised to write a full-length mock test every 10 days and spend a qualitative time on its analysis. The next few months should be focused on your strengths and strengths alone.
Careers360: Please share a detailed preparation plan for the three sections, namely, Verbal and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Ability.
Gautam Puri: Most B-schools require the aspirants to clear the sectional cut-off. Every section requires a different approach.
VARC: Practice RC sets of the commonly asked genres and try to read articles and books online to get comfortable with reading lengthy passages on the screen. Practice solving the verbal logic questions through selection and elimination method.
DILR: One need not solve all the sets. Just pick the ones that you are most comfortable with. Regular practice would help you identify the sets that would be suitable for you. Practice LR based DI sets as these are gaining more weightage as per the previous year exams.
Practice diverse types of applications of class 6-10 concepts. Stay focused on the topics that are your strengths and master these topics.
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.
Gautam Puri: Algbera and Arithmetic hold the key in Quant. RC and Verbal Logic in VARC and Reasoning based DI in DILR section are some topics that the students must focus on.
Careers360: How should final year graduation students vis a vis working professionals balance their daily routine with CAT preparation?
Gautam Puri: Both categories of students need to spend three to five hours per day on their CAT preparation irrespective of their vocation. If an aspirant is a CAT repeater, tests/mocks and their analysis are sufficient. However, for a fresher, more time needs to be dedicated to revising the concepts and practicing the same.
Careers360: When is the ideal time to start taking mock tests? What should be the frequency of taking mocks?
Gautam Puri: An aspirant should start taking mocks the day they realize they have to write CAT. If you haven’t started with mocks yet, you should start writing mocks right away. After each mock spend a considerable amount of time for qualitative analysis. One should write one mock in every 10 days and increase the frequency of mocks in the last month before.
Careers360: Share some tips for analysing mock tests and the way forward.
Gautam Puri: When you start with the analysis, do not view the answer of the incorrect answers first but try to solve the question again. Perform a SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of the paper, this should reveal, to you, the questions that you must attempt and the questions that are best left alone.
Careers360: What should be the section wise time management strategy for CAT?
Gautam Puri: Try to attempt each section in three rounds. In the first round pick the questions that you are sure about and can solve without wasting time. In round two, pick questions that are an opportunity for you, while in round three, pick questions that you think you can solve but are time-consuming and ensure you answer all the non-MCQs as they do not have any negative marking.
Careers360: The CAT 2017 exam pattern has remained same as last year. Do you think the same pattern would impact to the higher level of difficulty?
Gautam Puri: Whenever there has not been a change in the CAT pattern, the level of difficulty has tended to be slightly higher, thus, keeping the same trend in mind, this year the students should expect CAT of a higher level of difficulty, which could mean a drop in the cut-off percentile.
Careers360: How should CAT aspirants balance their preparation with other entrance tests like XAT, IIFT, NMAT, SNAP and CMAT?
Gautam Puri: Preparation for CAT and non-CAT exams must go hand in hand. The variation between CAT and Non-CAT exams ranges from 20-25 per cent, to expect to cover this percentage at the last moment would be wrong. Every exam has a different pattern and getting comfortable with different exam patterns would require aspirants to practice non-CAT mocks well in advance.
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You have to score a minimum of 99 percentile to get at least one good IIM call as your academics are not good. You could get a call from new IIMs if you score 99 percentile as the top tier IIMs will not give you a chance due to your poor acads.
Colleges you could look for are like IIM Nagpur, Kashipur, Shillong, etc. These colleges if you study well will provide you with a good package of 10-12 lpa.
Hope this helps. Thank you.
You will not be able to get any good business school like top IIMs, MDI, IIFT, or FMS. However, you can still get a good MBA tier 3/4 college if you increase your percentile to 98 percentile.
However, according to your grads, you must not be disappointed if you don't get a call at 99 because your marks are not good.
Hope for the best. Thank you.
Eligibility for CAT is graduate in any discipline from a recognized university with 50% aggregate, for SC/ST/PwD it's 45%.
So, people from any background can apply for CAT, provided they have required aggregate at their graduation level against their category.
Now, coming to the syllabus for CAT, there's no specific syllabus for CAT, one needs to rely on past years sample papers to get a fair idea about the pattern and weightage given to each topic and section.In general, questions are mostly from middle school level English and Mathematics.
There are mainly three sections in CAT-
Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation which includes topics such as Tables, Graphs, Data Caselets, Seating Arrangement, Blood Relation, Syllogism etc.
Quantitative Aptitude which includes topics such as Geometry, Algebra, Time and Work, Mensuration, Number System etc.
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension which includes topics such as Sentence completion, Questions based on reading comprehension, Para-jumbles & para-summar, inferences etc.
To know the detailed topics, kindly go through the following link-
Honestly there is a difference between just finishing the syllabus and preparing for selection in cat. See you can finish the syllabus if you'll work really hard in one month but trust me only unless you are extraordinary you won't be able to get selected for iims or other good colleges. But don't loose hope you should fight till last.
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