How 99 percentilers prepared for CAT
Urvashi Dalal, 19 Oct 2016, #CAT
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As students, we have always been taught to learn from the experiences of other people who have successfully walked the path. The same goes for this year’s CAT aspirants. To know the answer of 'How to crack CAT’, it is first important to learn and absorb from the experiences of previous years aspirants who cracked CAT. And, who else will be the best teacher but CAT toppers themselves!

Careers360 brings ‘How 99 percentilers prepared for CAT’to let the CAT 2016 aspirants know the strategies and preparation mantra to crack the most coveted management entrance exam. As CAT is now less than two months away, the candidates who appeared in CAT and secured 99 percentile or above share their techniques and strategies to support you in your preparations.

How 99 Percentilers Prepared for CAT?

For CAT 2016 aspirants, the most pertinent and significant aspect is to develop a preparation strategy for the test. As a part of learning from the experiences of CAT Toppers, they must extract the success essence from each topper. Let’s begin with the Success keys of CAT toppers.

Smart Planning: CAT is a test to judge candidates' sectional knowledge and time management skills. The mantra to complete the exam within time depends on how you plan and practice for the test. It is important to have a strategic preparation plan to tackle the exam on the D-day itself. A well-prepared plan is the key to secure a high percentile. 


In an interaction with Careers360, Harshveer Jain, who cracked CAT in his first attempt itself with a perfect 100 percentile, speaks about the necessity of a smart preparation plan to improve speed and accuracy. He says, “For achieving 100 percentile, all I had to do is to prepare my schedule smartly in order to improve my speed and accuracy as well as work on the factors where I am not 100% confident. Same goes for the candidates who wish to secure percentile in 99-100 bracket”.


Harshveer-Jain-picRead here full interview of CAT Topper Harshveer Jain


Take Mock Tests: “Mock tests were most helpful in my preparation. It gave me an idea of the exam pattern and the kind of questions I could expect in my actual CAT exam. Most importantly, mock test helped me to manage my time”, says IIT Bombay alumnus and CAT 100 percentiler Vibhu Gupta.

Mock test is the most effective method of evaluating your current preparation level and re- strategize your future preparation plans. It also makes you familiar to the type of questions which might appear in CAT. If you solve past 10 year’s questions of CAT, you have high chances to crack the exam with a good percentile.

Adding to the importance of Mock Test, Anuraag Ready, a 100 percentiler says, “My weak area was VA and LR, for which I took mock test classes, which are important to keep a track of your performance”.


Another 100 percentiler in CAT , Vishesh Patni suggests, “Take regular mock tests and analyse them as it is the key to crack CAT.


It is important for a candidate to put all his focus in his weak areas and take mock test classes to crack CAT. Whether, you take coaching or not, practicing from Test series and Mocks will support in securing a high percentile.

Vibhu-Gupta_picClick here for CAT Topper Vibhu Gupta


Time Management: Focus on Time Management is an important aspect for cracking CAT 2016, since it has a sectional time limit. Candidates must learn to manage the time in the exam and not to lose focus.

Raghav Mishra secured 99 percentile in CAT and is currently pursuing PGP from IIM Indore. Raghav focused on time management since there were 100 questions to be attempted in just 170 minutes. He valued the importance of time to crack CAT with a high percentile.


“For the CAT 2016 aspirants, time management must be the area to focus, as there is a sectional time limit. Students must focus on managing their time to attempt and revise the answers”, says Raghav.


He further adds that a student must divide time for analysing all the questions, so they get to know which questions are easy. It is important to attempt easy questions of a section first, and later focus on solving the difficult questions.

Raghav-Mishra_picRead CAT Topper Raghav’s interview


Improvise on Speed and Concepts: As CAT 2016 has a sectional time limit, it is important to improvise on the speed of attempting questions section wise. According to Raghav, to tackle CAT and secure a good percentile one must work on time, speed and the concepts.

The clarity on the basic concepts improves the chances of securing a good percentile in CAT. If a candidate has the basics clear, he will be able to complete the exam on time.

“First solidify the basics for all the four areas and then deep-dive into each one of them. Go for an exhaustive numerical practice and individual topic tests for each section,” advices Tanya Gupta, 99.47 percentiler in CAT and IIM Kozhikode student.


Fast Calculations and Improved Vocabulary: CAT 2016 test takers will be allowed to use basic on-screen calculator for doing calculations. But it is important not to lose focus on doing calculations without the help of the calculator.


Maram Maheedhar from Andhra Pradesh secured 100 percentile in CAT  in his first attempt. He shares with Careers360 how fast calculating speed helped him to bell the CAT.

“On the D-Day; I first attempted Quant section, did fast calculations, as they take time and then moved on to LR and at last VA. It is important to first attempt calculation section and do speedy calculations”, he states.

Verbal Ability in CAT checks a candidate’s quotient for English language. It is important for the students to put extra effort in improvising vocabulary to score more.


Upon improving the vocabulary, Maram adds, “At first, I was not confident about my vocabulary portion and VA; but I got hold of that by reading daily newspapers, watching English movies, consulting Oxford Dictionary and increased my power of vocabulary”.


Focus on Weak Areas: Working on your weak areas will let you score more and tackle the exam in a strategized way.


Neha Manglik, 100 percentiler says on improving weak areas, “I was comparatively weaker at Data Interpretation, especially speed math based questions. For that, I did Vedic Maths. I searched for videos online and completely changed my way of calculation, including basic things like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division”.


Maram’s message for CAT 2016 aspirants is to work on their weak areas and focus on the stronger ones. It’s indeed true that practice makes a man perfect.

Maram-Maheedhar-picRead CAT Topper Maram Maheedhar’s Interview


Be Ready, Confident and Adapt:

Confidence in strategy and one’s preparation level leads the way to being a topper. CAT topper Vibhu Gupta also advises future CAT aspirants to be ready, confident and adapt to the changes in the exam. He suggests, “The most important thing that aspirant should learn is to adapt and be ready for any kind of paper. No matter what kind of challenges the paper throws at you, be ready for it and accept it. Above all, work hard. That is the only key to success”.

For CAT 2016 the formula is to start early preparation, do mock tests as much as you can, work hard and perform confidently on the D-day. Adding to this, Soumyadeep Chakraborty a 100 percentiler in CAT says,I adopted a simple and well-known formula – Work Hard as there is no such perfect strategy, nor does any exist, it is just your hard and self-confidence that leads you to be the one”.


CAT 2016 Exam Pattern:

CAT 2016 will be conducted in an online mode on Sunday, December 4, 2016 in 2 slots having three sections - VARC (Verbal & Reading Comprehension), DI & LR (Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning) and QA (Quantitative Ability). The time allocation of CAT will be 180 minutes (60 minutes for each section). The CAT exam pattern has remained same as last year, dismissing the anticipation for a changed pattern. 


The CAT 2016 exam will be conducted by IIM Bangalore under the convenorship of Prof. Rajendra K Bandi


Also Read:

CAT Topper Interviews

CAT 2016: Section Wise Strategy

CAT 2016: These FAQs will enrich your CAT insights

CAT 2016 pattern: This can be a surprise element for you

How to utilize group studies


Stay tuned to for more news and updates


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I have got 84 marks in CAT 2019. Which are the best colleges i can apply for?

Yashu Shrivastava 6th Dec, 2019

Hello Rohit

There are many colleges where you can get admission if you got 80-85 percentile in CAT.

I am mentioning some best college where you can go with this score-

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Here's the top 5 college where you can get admission if you varies between 80-85 percentile,also you can check more information about some other colleges here

Hope This Helps

Good Luck For Your Future!

1 View

I just appeared for the CAT 2020 and my projected percentile is around 88. I have CGPA 8.4 for 10th grade, 76.8 for 12th, and 6.78 CGPA for Graduation. I have 1 year of Work Experience as well. I would like to know if it is worth it to apply for XIMB. Usually the cutoff is around 90 percentile? 5th Dec, 2019

Hello there. Hope you are doing good. The cutoff for XIMB goes around 90 percentile every year. It could be high or low depending on the cutoff scores that varies every year. Since your score is near to 90 percentile and if you have a work experience that is worth considering for admission into MBA program. Then you can at least give it a try. You never know what will be the exact situation in the upcoming admission processes.

So, my suggest for you is to definitely give it a try.

I hope you found this answer helpful. Good luck for your future.

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What is the cutoff for OBC in CAT & XAT for IRMA ? What is the good percentile to get converted in IRMA for OBC NCL? 5th Dec, 2019

Hello there. Hope you are doing good. I would like to tell you that the cutoff varies every year. There are several factors determining the cutoff such as:-

  • Number of candidates appearing in IRMASAT 2020 exam.
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However, based on previous years cutoffs, it is expected that the Cat and XAT cutoff for OBC NCL candidates will be somewhere around 70 percentile. For your reference, I am sharing a link with you which consists of all the necessary information of the exam along with the expected cutoff.

I hope you found this answer helpful. God luck for your future.


Does Nirma University, Ahmedabad, consider CAT scores for admission in MBA?

Harshita Gupta 5th Dec, 2019
Yes, they do consider CAT score for admissions.
For admissions, CAT score has a weightage of 60%, PI 20% and TDP 10% and academic performance 10%.
The last date for application is 26 December 2019.
Shortlisting of candidates will be done in February 2020.
You must have a graduate degree from a recognised university with aggregate score of 50%.

For more details, Check the link below:

Hope this helps!

what may be the expected percentile on 35marks on cat exam

Hello Nimesh,
Hope you are doing well.

You may get here CAT 2019 score vs percentile analysis:

I hope this will help you.
Wish you good luck for your future.
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