‘Crack CAT 2015 by Keeping Buffer Time’, says CAT Topper Rubal Bagde of IIM Trichy
Urvashi Dalal, 22 Sep 2015, #CAT
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Great Lakes Institute of Management

Keeping Buffer Time keeps you ahead of your deadline. It lets you have a good amount of time to revise the test and correct mistakes if any. This strategy of keeping buffer time also helps in cracking top management entrance exams like CAT.


Rubal Bagde, a Computer Science engineer from Nagpur secured a high percentile in CAT 2014 and secured admission in IIM Trichy. In the series of ‘CAT Topper Strategies’ by Careers360, where toppers share strategies they followed to crack CAT 2015, Rubal shares her success mantra of becoming a topper.


Rubal’s strategy was to devote equal time to both sections keeping a minimum of 10 minutes of buffer time. According to her, keeping buffer time is the best time management approach for CAT. While preparing for CAT 2014, she devoted 2 to 3 hours every day after office for her preparations. During mock tests, she practiced by allocating equal time to both sections, keeping buffer time. This extra or back up time was kept for half solved questions, or to review the test. This strategy prepared Rubal for the D-day.


Read this interview to know Rubal’s strategy which she followed during her preparations till CAT day.


[Click here to Enroll Complete CAT 2015 Online Test Pack to get admission in Top IIM B-schools or call 011-40360360 to talk expert counsellors.]


Careers360: What were your initial thoughts behind pursuing MBA?

Rubal: Being from IT field, MBA was in my mind once I started working with a start-up. The working approach of a start-up and the importance of managerial skills made me pursue MBA.


Careers360: How was the overall experience of appearing in CAT 2014? What was your preparation strategy for CAT 2014 as the pattern was changed?

Rubal: Pattern change was significant in CAT 2014. Increase in questions and timings along with the liberty to switch between sections were major changes which were introduced in the test. This was a test to check time management skills of the candidates. My strategy was to devote equal time to both sections, keeping 10 minutes of buffer time.


Careers360: Please share your preparation strategy for the Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning separately?

Rubal: My strategy for Quantitative Ability and Data interpretation was simple. Work the most on your strong topics and know the approaches for the weak topics. I focused on the topics of speed time distance, time and work, number systems and probability. Data interpretation was more about practice and understanding the questions. For Verbal Ability, I read articles and solved exercises. Logical Reasoning was again worked upon through practice. The most important thing was to devote apt time for each question. Learning to implement let go strategy was important.


Careers360: What was your Time Management formula for the CAT?

Rubal: Being a working professional, time management was a tedious task for me. I had to plan every hour after my work. I gave 2-3 hours every day after office for my preparations. Weekends were the most hectic in terms of studying. All mocks, analysis and research were done on weekends. During mocks I practiced for proper time allotment to both sections with the buffer time. Buffer time was kept for half solved questions, or to review the test. This prepared me for the D-day.


Careers360: What were your strong and weak areas? How did you tackle your weak area in the exam?

Rubal: My strong area was Logical Reasoning and weak areas were Quants and English. To tackle them, I practiced various questions on Quants, and for English, I stuck to more reading and solving exercises. Because only when you practice and solve questions it helps you understand where you are going wrong and how to improvise upon the same.


Careers360: After the exam, how did you prepare for the PI-WAT rounds?

Rubal: Preparing for PI-WAT rounds, I firstly reviewed different PI questions and WAT topics from past PI-WAT rounds. This gave me an idea about what the topics could be. Reading newspaper daily to keep up with the current topics is also necessary. Reading articles from newspapers, magazines etc. and doing a proper introspection about my educational and professional life was on top of the list.


Careers360: How did you prepare for your PI? What are the key factors that influence your selection at PI stage?

Rubal: PI is Personal Interview hence I prepared from the scratch. I started with meaning of my name, history of my home town, current news about the city, college history, company information, technical skills and their usage etc. In all, a thorough research on who you are, from where and how, each answer has to be structured. I was always helped by my mentors through the preparation phase.


Key factors which influenced my selection process were Confidence, Honesty and Preparation.


Careers360: What was your WAT topic and how did you structure your write up?

Rubal: My WAT topic was ‘Can India become a super power by 2020’.

After getting the topic, I devoted a minute to take a stand which I could back up with numbers and facts. The topic can cover various aspects related to India and with given time limits I prioritized the points which were significant and relevant to the topic. I incorporated the points which would hamper the growth of India towards becoming the super power.


Careers360: Your message to this year CAT aspirants?

Rubal: Focus on basics and the various approaches to solve a question. Also, proper analysis of mocks should be done before final CAT 2015 exam day. Decide on your strategy while analysing the mocks. Time management has to be a priority. Rest, if you prepare well, then belling the CAT is not a difficult thing.


Also Read:

CAT 2015 Exam Pattern

Expert Interview on CAT 2015

CAT 2014 Topper Strategies

How to utilize group studies 

How to utilize calculator in CAT 2015

CAT 2015 pattern change: Why and how you need to tweak preparation strategy

Other Feature Stories on B-School and MBA:

Life @ B-School Campus

CAT Topper Interviews

MBA Internship Experience

B-School Placement Reports - 2014


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

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I am unable to fill my 10 board marks in the CAT application form. I am from CBSE board and my aggregate marks are 405 out of 500. Please help me out.

Simran Kaur 15th Sep, 2019
Dear Simran, CAT interface accepts marks in the form of nnn.nn format. So for example if your score is 405, pkease enter 405.00 as your marks in the 10th column. This should work fine. For your convenience and many other CAT aspirants, we shall elaborate the CAT Application process:

You need to:


Fill the Application form

Payment and Receipt

For registering you will need to fill in your Personal and Contact details like Name, Email Id, Mobile number and Country. Before you click on 'Agree', make sure you have entered all Correct details because you cannot go back and undo any detail on this page. Generate the OTP and you will receive it at the Mobile no# you have just given. Complete the formalities and you will be given a CAT User Id and Password . These details will be sent to your Registered Email and Mobile no#.

For filling the application form, log in using the user id and password. The application form has 5 Categories which are:

Personal Details


Work Experience



While filling in the form, please remember that Aadhar card is not mandatory but there are clear specifications for photograph and signature file sizes to be uploaded.

Photograph: 30mm * 45mm

Signature: 80mm*35 mm

The file size in both cases should not exceed 80kb. The photograph and signature should be in .jpeg or .jpg format.

Regarding Documents like PWD/DA/OBC-NC/SC/ST: Download the CAT certificate from the website, fill in the necessary details, get it attested with authorities, self attest it and scan it as PDF and upload the same.

Under Academics section, enter the aggregate percentage, total marks, Board/University, stream, subject and degree details wherever applicable.

In regards to Selection of IIM Programmes and Cities, you can select any no.of programmes and cities. Make sure you select the same city for Interview across. And for exam centre, you can give 4 options and the authorities will select your exam city for you. You cannot select the same city more than once. Delhi and NCR Cities have been clubbed together so please remember this.

The application fees for General/OBC-NC is Rs. 1900 and its Rs. 950 for SC,ST,PWD. You can make the payment through NetBanking/Credit Card/Debit Card/Paytm and Pay U. After making the payment, you will receive a transaction number and please save it for future references. Post successful submission, you will receive a confirmation mail. And you are finally done. The last date to fill in the application form is September 18th, 2019.

For step wise instructions, transaction fees, please visit our page at:


Please tell me some CAT EXAM Book

Aniket 15th Sep, 2019
Some of thetop books for CAT preparation include How to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Arun Sharma, The Pearson Guide to Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Nishit Sinha, Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT by Sarvesh Verma to name a few. Other than that, read newspapers and magazines daily to get a grip on your language and comprehension skills along with brushing up General Knowledge.Arvind Menon , another CAT 100 percentiler shares that he had referred to CAT preparation books by Arun Sharma and Nishit Sinha.


cat exam eligibility and how to prepare ourself

Vivek Gaur 15th Sep, 2019
Dear Vivek, CAT is an entrance examination for admission to Master's programmes in 20 IIMs and almost 1000 participating Institutions. 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.

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

mam /sir I want to change my category to EWS in CAT form . Is this possible in correction window and also I had made an error in aggregate %age. Does I rectify this error. pls suggest me the necessary actions to perform for the blunder I create.

Kdh djdjd 14th Sep, 2019
You might be able to make changes to your Academic profile. You might not make changes to your Category. What we would suggest you is to wait for the correction window to make changes to your Academic percentage and regarding EWS Certificate, please wrote to [email protected] They will help you further.
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