Sohini Deb, a first year IIM Kozhikode student who cracked CAT 2013 gives credit of her success to taking mock tests and regular practice. “I used to give Mock exam on every weekend as Practice is the key to crack this exam.” Before the final show, a mock drill or rehearsal is an important part of preparation. Same goes with CAT or any MBA entrance exam preparation. If you are a serious CAT aspirant, you must have started taking mock tests towards shaping your D-day performance. If not, this is high time you start.

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Change your Mock strategy:

With a changed pattern of CAT this year, students will also need to change their exam taking strategy. Sandeep Manudhane, Chairman, PT Education feels that the new pattern is much better and more candidate friendly. “The new pattern is fantastic, only because it allows the freedom to move between sections, as per will. This can prove strategic: you do what you can do, first. Then you do what you are relatively not excellent at. The standard technique of scan - search - select - solve works wonderfully well in this new system.”


Not only has the test duration increased by 30 minutes, from 140 minutes to 170 minutes, you will also get opportunity to move to and fro between sections. Earlier, the sections were time bound for 70 minutes each.


The following table shares with you the new pattern of CAT.


CAT 2014 pattern



No of Questions

Time allotted

Section I

Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation



Section II

Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning






170 minutes

The change in CAT pattern should also guide you your Mock test strategies. You can now spend less time on the section you are comfortable with and go for extra minutes on the questions which you find time-consuming. While taking the mock test, you should also keep tab on making the recent changes to work in your favour.

Now that there is approximately a month left for CAT 2014, mock tests should form an integral part of your preparation. This article of Careers360 will guide you on why mock tests are important and how to best utilize them.

Why mock tests?

Mock test is the most effective method of evaluating your current preparation level and re- strategies your future preparation plans. It also makes you familiar to the question types. As experts suggest, if you solve the past 10 years questions of CAT, you have high chances to crack CAT.

Also, if you are taking mock test in a proctored environment, which is most likely, you will get used to the exam taking strategy and the time management for the exam day.


Therefore, you must start taking full length mock tests in proctored situation. Kumar PratikIIM Calcutta student who obtained 99.7 percentile in CAT 2013 says, “Give lots and lots of Mock Tests for CAT. Identify and rectify on your weak areas, and once you’ve prepared entirely just relax and have confidence.”


When to start taking Mock Tests

Ideally you should start taking the mock tests around 7 to 5 weeks before the test. By then, you would have completed your basic preparation as well. Make sure that you take mock tests from a noted institute which will not only provide you questions on relevant topics and difficulty level but also a proctored environment and the navigation would be in accordance to the latest changes introduced in CAT. “You should now use mock tests to look at getting advanced level practice on the concepts, along with polishing the strategy,” says Manek Daruvala, Director, T.I.M.E.


How to best utilize mock tests

According to experts and toppers, your method of taking mock test will determine your performance on the final day. Following points share the test taking methods to apply during your mock tests.


Take 3 to 4 mocks in a week – Take at least 3 to 4 mock tests in a week and analyze them in between. Make sure you have at least 1 day gap in between 2 mocks so that you can analyze and prepare for the next test. “I strategized in such a manner that I solved 3 mock papers on Saturday and Sunday, each followed by 2 more during the weekdays. Pre-planning and effective execution of this schedule allowed me to crack the examination,” shares Ajinkya Jain, a first year student of JBIMS Mumbai.


Keep 30 minutes buffer time – Try to complete the test within 140 to 150 minutes. Keep at least 20 to 30 minutes buffer time in hand where you can attempt other questions which might fetch more marks. “Since you know that you need to reach the end of the paper by the end of 150 min, you tend to keep the pace high.  Do this by attempting only the easy and do-able questions. Therefore, solve the easiest questions first, make sure that do not get stuck on any question for long and skip the difficult questions,” advises Daruvala. After completion, you can revise the questions to check for silly mistakes. Don’t compromise on accuracy for speed.


Attempt the easier section first – By now, you must have recognized your strengths and weaknesses. It is suggested that you start the test with easy and do-able questions so that you can gain confidence to attempt the tougher and not so comfortable questions. Sandeep Manudhane states, “The best strategy is to take first what you are best at. Do as much of that as possible, mark all answers accordingly, take a stock of the situation, and having thus completed that preferred section (test area) of yours, move on to the test area you are 'second-best' at.” 


Allot duration for sections and topics – Since CAT 2014 would not have sectional demarcation, you are the sole decider of how much time to allot for each section and topic. With regular mock tests, you would have a clear idea on how much time you require for solving section wise questions. “Use the mocks to identify the time that will be required for each section at various difficulty levels. You need to understand that the time allocated needs to be increased or decreased based on the difficulty level of the paper,” says Daruvala. Suggesting the strategy, Manudhane shares, “You can break up the entire test into test-areas, and within each test-area, you can have 'rounds of attempts' viz, first, second, and may be third.”


Sectional Mock Tests - You may take sectional mock tests as well to check your sectional preparation or right after completing a particular section among Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning. “At the end of each period, take a simulated test and check your sectional performance. If your attempt and accuracy is greater than or equal to the benchmarked percentile, you are ready to move to the next stage,” suggests Vinayak Kudva, PG Head for Mumbai & India, IMS Learning.


What after taking mocks?

After taking a mock test, take at least 2 to 3 days break before appearing for another one. In the meanwhile, you need to analyze your performance and prepare accordingly. If need be, you may change your preparation strategy as well. Get your mock tests analysed by your mentor or seniors. Some of the pointers to follow after taking the mock tests are given as follows:

  • Analysis – Analysis is the most important task after taking the mock tests. Identify your strengths and weaknesses, time taken to solve each section and area and whether your mistakes are a result of lack of focus and concentration or conceptual ambiguity. “Mock exams provide an insight about your preparations and help you focus on key strategic points like performance, strengths, speed, technique and pattern of questions. A considerable time should be spent in analyzing the performances thereafter. Focus on your strengths and decide on a time management strategy,” says Soumik Biswas who obtained 99.94 percentile in CAT 2013 and pursuing PGP from IIM Indore.
  • Don’t be bogged down by the fluctuation of scores – Your scores in mock tests are not the exact reflection of your performance or preparation. If you take 3 mock tests in a week, you may score 3 absolutely different marks. As Manek Daruvala explains, “This could happen because you have been undertaking unwarranted/not well thought out experiments with your strategy, or have been writing mocks when you are tired or not in a position to concentrate. It is also possible that there were undue disturbances around you while you were giving the mock etc.”
  • Note your error type and change your strategy – If you are observing any particular pattern or mistake in the mock tests, it would be fairly easier for you to rectify it after identifying the cause of the error. Sharing his strategy, Sourabh Sharma, 99.38 percentiler in CAT 2013 and a student of TAPMI Manipal shares his experience, “I analyzed the paper and checked where I was losing my marks. This technique helped me a lot. If you follow this, you get to know the topics and areas which are your weakness. I followed the same strategy for all the sections, revise, mock tests and finally analyze.”

In the last week before CAT, try to take a full length mock test every day. Treat it as your stage rehearsal before the final show. You will not only be well prepared with the sections and topics, but to sit through 170 minutes straight without losing focus from the questions.


Other Feature Stories on B-School and MBA:

Life @ B-School Campus

Changes in CAT 2014

CAT Topper Interviews

MBA Internship Series


Stay tuned on  for more news and updates on CAT


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Questions related to CAT

Showing 8316 out of 8316 Questions

my 10th % is 64 and 12th % is 54 can i get iim or any govt. b school with the basis of cat score or what score i have get to admission in iim ?

Rehan Alam Student Expert 3rd Apr, 2020

Dear Aspirant,

With your profile you might not be able to get any top IIM or baby IIMs. You can expect a call in the baby IIMs like Amritsar, etc @99+ but converting the call will be very difficult.

Moreover, if you are an engineer, you might not get that as well. I suggest you should focus on other exams like IIFT which are the Institute of Foreign Trade and are very good colleges have campus in Delhi and Kolkata. They did not give any weightage to past academic performance and give call only on the basis of exam performance and admission on the performance in interview.

Hope this helps. Thank you.


I have low percentage in 10th and 12th can i get the admission in iim or any reputated govt. b school with the basis of CAT score?

ADIL KHAN Student Expert 3rd Apr, 2020


Some B-schools consider your academics but still Yes you can get into top b-schools, provided you have a decent percentile in the common admissions test(CAT) too a cat percentile of 98+ for mediocre IIMs and 99+ for the top ones. But you can absolutely forget IIMs-  Ahmedabad , Bangalore,v Calcutta,Indore as they focus on acads and you have a very average profile as of now but still there are lots of other factors which govern whether you'll be gettin a call from the top IIMs or not like which company did you work for, if the company is one in which the selection rate is less or the selection criteria is hard, which college you did your undergraduate degree from, which course did you pursue, many other factors which play a role.

Please focus on your undergraduation marks too and do a lot of Internships to improve your profile and hence increase the chances of getting a call.

You can follow the link below for more information

You can reach out to us for more information regarding admissions entrance tests etc.

Hope it helps.


How to know the 2019 cutoff for mtech admisssions for EWS cat in various iits/nits?

Aman Raj Student Expert 3rd Apr, 2020

Hello Veeru

Gate Cutoffs varies from branches to branches and Categories to Categories.

As you have not mentioned an hence i am attaching a link of our Article which will give you the information about each and every IIT's. and NIT's.


Hi there! Im doing engineering in B. Tech Food technology and currently in 6th semester. Which career portion will be good for me , I should go for GATE Or CAT exam.

Aditi Amrendra Student Expert 2nd Apr, 2020

See, no course is good or bad.Both the courses are equally good and can enhance your chances if etting good jobs in future but you its you who has decide what you actually want to do,where your interest lies.MBA is about business,finance,sales,marketing,different types of management jobs etc. On the other hand if you work further in technology field or research/teaching then you should go with GATE.
Both will reward you good jobs in future if you are hardworking and determined.

Good Luck

My class 10th cgpa is 9.4,whereas my class 12th percentage is 94.6 and, graduation (b tech) Cgpa is 7.6. I am planning to appear for CAT in next exam. Is there any chance that i can get good IIMs Or any other good management clg, if I do well in my CAT exam.

ADIL KHAN Student Expert 2nd Apr, 2020

Hi Shivam,

Yes, absolutely. You have good academic scores apart from your graduation score. You can get call from some of the top colleges/universities like FMS, IIM Calcutta, Kozhikode, Shillong and other cap IIMs. Older IIMs are still a bit dicey in the matter and all the admissions will be mainly based on your CAT score. Given you are a Btech student then you should target a score of 99+ percentile to get a call from these B-school.

You can follow the link below for more information

You can reach out to us for more information regarding admissions entrance tests etc.

Hope it helps.


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