Should I Drop a Year for CAT Preparation?

Should I drop a year for CAT Preparation? We are sure this is that one question which would keep you awake in the wee hours of the night, and rightly so, as which career to choose is one of the biggest dilemmas in life.

‘Should I drop a year for CAT Preparation?’ is a common question among MBA aspirants and one can easily observe them having queries about it on different social forums. While we understand the apprehension is right on your part, let us delve deep into the issue and see how should we arrive at an informed decision when it comes to the question ‘Should I drop a year for CAT Preparation?’

How to Score 99 Percentile and crack CAT in the first attempt?

Should I Drop a Year for CAT Preparation: Reasons to Drop a Year

Should I drop

  • Not getting enough time to prepare for CAT along with a job, especially after long 9-10 hours of job and hectic travelling.
  • Could not bag a job after Graduation. Should I now search a job or rather drop a year and prepare for CAT?
  • Joining date of job is late, around October. Should I get the joining date further postponed and focus only on CAT Preparation?

Click HERE to know how CAT Mocks can help improve your score in CAT 2019 Exam!

Myths around what if I drop a Year for CAT Preparation

It is not normal to go for a drop?

Yes, it is normal.

Many people in the past have taken a drop of 6 to 10 months for CAT Preparation and have made it successfully to top IIMs. So, you are not the first one to do so.

Just stay focused during the gap period, prepare well and score high. This will take care of your gap easily.

Is it tough to justify your drop in Personal Interview?

No, it is not tough.

As mentioned earlier, people have easily converted the calls with a drop in profile. They justify it easily by getting a high score and telling the truth in the interview, that they decided in favor of a drop to focus on their CAT preparation and their decision is reflected to be a wise one with a high score which they have achieved, because of which they are sitting in the interview of a reputed IIM.

So, there is no point to worry even at this front.

Will having ‘Zero Work Experience’ impact my shortlisting?

No, it will not.

If you analyze the shortlisting criteria of top B Schools, except few B Schools in top 15, there is no B School which gives such a high weightage to the work experience in the selection criteria that it will impact your chances of shortlisting.

If you analyze you will find that colleges like XLRI, FMS, MDI, NITIE, NMIMS, SIBM etc. have no weightage for work experience and hence if you can score high to fetch their calls, having dropped a year will hardly matter.

Even for IIMs, the only significant weightage is for 2-3.5 years of experience. You having 0 or 6 or 12 or 18 months experience will hardly make any difference; if you can back the drop with a high score.

Hence you may safely get rid of the apprehension that having no work experience or less work experience will deter your chances of getting shortlisted by top IIMs.

Building a decent profile with a drop year for CAT Preparation

There are multiple ways in which you may build your while you drop a year for CAT Preparation.

Enrich your skills

There are many online courses and certification which you may go for during the gap period to enrich your skills.

Just make a note of one thing that whatever course or certification you go for, is in sync with what you want to pursue as a career post MBA.

Certifications you may go for

  • If interested in Finance, you may go for CFA/FRM/FLIP certifications.
  • If interested in Marketing, you may go for Digital Marketing/CRM certifications.
  • If interested in Consulting or IT, you may go for PMP/CAPM certifications.
  • If interested in Supply Chain, you may go for CSCP/CPIM certifications.
  • Do Career Anna Nanodegrees across business functions and profiles offered in B Schools.

Be associated with a Social Cause

You may also get associated with a Social Cause, like an NGO to enrich your exposure and to get to speak about something constructive in your interview.

Do not try to treat NGO as work experience, as you cannot show it as work experience unless you were on a full time payroll of the same. Since most of the NGOs may not take you for the same, you may showcase your work for NGO in Extra Curricular and Social Activities, to demonstrate your different skills.

Some of the NGOs you may consider for joining are:

  • Teach For India
  • Protsahan
  • GodParents
  • GreenPeace
  • Social Action for ManPower Creation, among many others

Be a Freelancer 

Why join anywhere if you already have some skill, hobby or a passion which you may use to become a Freelancer and showcase in your Personal Interview.

Some of these could be Photography skills (send your photographs for publications), Writing Skills (become a writer with a website), Communicating, Planning and Coordinating Skills (Freelance with an Event Management Company), Teaching Skills (Freelance Faculty or Mentor with an offline or an online coaching), Painting, among many other skills.

Golden Advice for CAT Aspirants

“Just drive away all the negative ideas and thoughts, focus on what is your goal for next few months and that is to score high. Drop or no drop, decide on the basis of their impact on your CAT Preparation. If you believe that working will not leave you with any time to prepare for CAT, go for a drop. But even if you may take out 2 hours on weekdays and 5-6 hours on weekends for CAT Preparation, do not go for a drop. Rest stay focused, determined and nothing can stop you from securing an admission to the coveted B Schools of the country”, says Varun, Founder at Career Anna.

Join Career Anna CAT Online Courses NOW – And stay ahead of the masses to score 99.9 Percentile


How to Score 99 percentile in CAT Verbal?

How to Score 99 percentile in CAT Verbal? Is this question bugging you? Maybe you can solve equations just fine; it’s this “fuzzy language stuff” that gets you down. Maybe your teachers never gave you a good solid foundation in grammar. However, after reading this article, you will be clear with the approach needed to score 99 percentile in CAT Verbal. 

How to Score 99 percentile in CAT Verbal?

99 percentile in CAT Verbal

Maybe English isn’t your first language, in which case I sincerely admire you.

Or maybe you’re not so bad at English, but you want to do great in the CAT Verbal section, because you’re actually really worried about the math – and you want to get all the points you can.

Whatever the cause is, you are concerned about the verbal side of the exam.

Fear not!

6 straightforward verbal tips to help score 99 Percentile in CAT Verbal:

Break down Sentence Correction

Grammar isn’t fuzzy at all. Grammar is the set of rules for putting words into sentences. In fact, grammar is very much like a puzzle, sentence parts fit together precisely.  Master the fitting rules, and Sentence Correction becomes practically mechanical.

True, English grammar can be a little tricky, because no central authority holds sway over the language. So you have to study how the CAT makes certain controversial calls, particularly if you’re a native speaker. For instance, consider the following two sentences.

  • I play sports like lacrosse and soccer.
  • I play sports such as lacrosse and soccer.

Study how CAT specifically applies stylistic principles, such as clarity and concision. In the wider world, these concepts may be sprawling. But on the exam, concision always means something very specific; for instance, you should say indicates rather than is indicative of

Practice past year papers as your primary source material for Sentence Correction problems. And to master the rules of CAT grammar and style, you can also refer to our Sentence Correction Course.

Rewrite Sentence Correction sentences to retrain your ear

Even though I’m a native speaker of English, my ear pick up wrong information. Even with my command of the grammar rules, I can sometimes get Sentence Correction practice problems wrong just like the next person.  So, what do I do to improve?

Any time I get an SC problem wrong, I apply a great technique to hone my ear and my grasp of subtle rules. What I do is burn the correct sentence into my mind. All it takes is one patient minute of review, during which I rewrite the sentence in a notebook with the correct answer inserted. As I do so, I analyze the rules that make this version of the sentence correct, in comparison with the wrong answer choices.  Finally, I say the sentence aloud.

Store the sentence in your head using two different senses – sight and hearing.  Force yourself to produce it two different ways – on paper and aloud. Then you’ll always have it somewhere inside you, and you’ll remember the associated rules that much better.

This technique is especially helpful for idiom mastery. By the way, don’t go off and study huge lists of idioms that you find on the Internet or in non-CAT-specific books. You need to grasp and recall the idioms that appear on the real CAT, in sentences as they appear on the CAT. So reviewing a CAT-specific list is useful. Making such a list is even more useful. And writing out past year CAT Prep sentences that contain those idioms? That’s super-useful.

On Reading Comp and Critical Reasoning, practice taking stripped-down notes.

More than Sentence Correction, these two verbal types force you to imagine.  In Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension, you have to imagine a situation, a controversy, a set of objects and actors and events in the real world.

First paragraph of a sample RC passage: In the mid-nineteenth century, one of the most expensive metals, pound for pound, was aluminium. Emperor Napoleon III is said to have served his most eminent guests on plates of aluminium, reserving golden plates for less-favored visitors. The reason for aluminium’s high cost was not its scarcity; in fact, aluminium is the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust. Rather, aluminium was very difficult to extract from any of its ores and in fact was not isolated as a chemical element until 1825.  Not until 1886 did two 23-year-old chemists, Charles Hall and Paul Héroult, independently discover an electrolytic process that required only relatively common materials and electricity (even if in large quantities) to produce aluminium.

If, on the test, you just let your eyes run over that paragraph, you would be sunk.  If you never awakened any corresponding thoughts or images – if you never imagined the aluminium and all the rest – you wouldn’t be able to answer questions correctly.

How do you force yourself to imagine? By writing a little bit down.

Don’t copy down the whole paragraph, word for word. You don’t have time, and you’ll get lost in details. Remember, you don’t have to answer the questions using only these notes!

Rather, try to capture the gist – and the gist ONLY! Rephrase to simplify. And make sure it’s all connected.

1800’s: Alum – super-$.

    Ex: Emperor

Why so expensive?

    Not b/c scarce!

    But b/c hard to isolate

1886: 2 guys found easier way

After you’ve created notes like these, you understand the basic point of the paragraph – because you’ll have imagined the important parts. Practice such a note-taking technique, and no crazy topic or convoluted argument can really throw you.

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On Reading Comprehension, do extra passages on topics you dislike – and pretend to be interested.

You might not like history. Or chemistry. Or the history of chemistry. In that case, the paragraph above might have made you gag.

Get over it!

Whatever distaste you feel for the subject, whatever self-pity you experience for having drawn the “aluminium” passage – laugh it off. And then get into the subject. Pretend that you care.

Wow, I had no idea that aluminium was once super-expensive! That’s strange!

Wonder why it was so expensive?  Was it scarce?  No. Oh, I see – it was hard to get out of the ore.

Go ahead and be geeky. No one is listening to your thoughts. Everything can be interesting. If you stop telling yourself that you don’t like a certain subject, you might just taste it for the first time – and discover that you actually don’t mind it so much. Then it’s so much easier to learn. 

Guess what – you have to temporarily learn something about four subjects (on four passages). And it’s almost impossible to learn something that you hate. So give this liking thing a try – and practice it on extra passages. By doing so, at least you won’t be afraid any more of the topics you dislike.

To a lesser degree, the same thing holds true for Critical Reasoning. If certain argument situations or topics annoy you, bore you, depress you – well, pretend you care.  Get into the situation.  And do extra problems.

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5) On both Critical Reasoning and Reading Comp, review by finding the proof.

On these two question types, four of the answer choices are lies. Only one is the truth.  (The exception is “except” questions, of course.) This observation may seem obvious, but it points to a review tactic you should always take advantage of: analyze how the truth was there all along.

This does NOT mean you should always try to predict the answer from the question stem. In some cases, you can “fill in the blank” before looking at the answer choices. For instance, if you’re asked to Find the Assumption on a Critical Reasoning question, and the argument has a logic gap, you may be able to articulate the missing puzzle piece ahead of time.  Likewise, for a Specific Detail question on Reading Comp, you should go find the truth in the passage and boil it down to fighting weight before looking at the answer choices.

In other cases, you should definitely NOT try to predict the answer. For instance, on general Reading Comp questions, you should generally dive right in and try to eliminate the lies. The right answer may be expressed at a level of abstraction that you didn’t anticipate.

However, the right answer must always be right. It must be true. So, as you review the question, study the heck out of how it matches up to the passage or the argument.

Understand how vocabulary works in context
Learn how words function in context. A great way to do this is by looking up example sentences online. For instance, let’s say your flashcard defines perfunctory as performed merely as a typical duty; superficial. You can ingrain that definition into your head and still be totally flustered if perfunctory shows up as one of the answers in a Text Completion. That’s because you really aren’t equipped—by that definition alone—to know if perfunctory fits on the blank.
On the other hand, if you go read several example sentences, or use flashcards with well-thought out example sentences, then you are far more likely to get a grasp of how to use perfunctory in a sentence.  
And that’s the key to success on the CAT Verbal: knowing not just the denotative (dictionary/flashcard definition) but also the connotative definition (the ways—both figurative and literal—that a word can function in a scholarly context).

Likewise, study how the “close-but-not-right” answers are false. Don’t simply stay content with fuzzy understanding.

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CAT 2019 Mocks: Things to do to Improve CAT 2019 Score

CAT 2019 Mocks: Mock Tests are unarguably an excellent way to identify what mistakes you make, what are your strengths and topics which you find difficult, etc. If you have not started taking mock test yet, you should start doing it. It is important that one should take mock tests as this has not only been recommended by the exam experts but also by the regular CAT Toppers. One of the common mistakes which students do is that they postpone taking mock tests until they have a grasp over the subjects. The next most important thing is to analyze the answers in the mock test series. You cannot improve in these tests if you do not know what mistake you are actually making, analyzing your weak and strong points is the foundation for your success.

With season gearing up, many of us out there falter between, getting discouraged by the mock scores, and starting to feel that CAT is not their cup of tea and much more. While everyone should introspect at regular intervals and do what is best for him/her, the decision to give up on CAT should not be based on CAT 2019 Mocks performance. Hence to address all the demotivated minds, here I share with you some of the things which you should do after taking CAT 2019 Mocks to improve Score.

Click here to know more about CAT 2019 Online Course.

CAT 2019 Mocks

What after CAT 2019 Mocks?

First of all, remember that CAT 2019 Mocks are nothing but just a means to measure your current level of preparation and not any indicator of how will you do in actual CAT. There have been many 99 percentilers of CAT Mocks not ending up even at 90 percentile and many 85-90 percentilers of mocks ending up at 99.5+ percentile on the D Day. Hence, just treat CAT Mocks as thermometer to measure the performance, to cure the gaps and then to emerge with flying colors on the D Day. 

Also, do remember that you are taking mocks to improve your performance and not to impress people by tuning your preparation as per their mocks. You should tune your preparation as per your strengths and weaknesses so that you are better prepared for the D Day. 

What to do after solving Reading Comprehension Questions in Mocks?

With the increasing indications of CAT 2019 set to have high weightage in CAT, importance of Reading Comprehension has increased multifold. 

  • Attempt the unattempted RCs from mocks and then analyze and decide if your reason to skip them in the mock was right or wrong. Will help you in fine-tuning your ability to skip or attempt an RC. 
  • Find the meaning, synonyms, and antonyms of the new words you came across in RCs.
  • Find out the reasons for questions that you marked incorrect. Was it the understanding of the passage or getting confused between 2 close options or did you miss out at a sitter?
  • Identify the type of RC Questions which you should revise every week and ensure you are practicing them every week from now on.

Click here to know more about Reading Comprehension Course

What to do after solving Verbal Ability Questions in Mocks?

  • Find out the meaning, antonyms and synonyms of all the new words encountered. 
  • Mark the specific type of questions or concepts you are getting wrong in Sentence Correction and Grammar. Revise them every 2-3 days to ensure you neither forget nor miss at applying them while solving.
  • Go through all the ParaJumble, Critical Reasoning, Para Completion questions to see where you went wrong and what you could have done better. Chalk out the plan and work on it with high focus on these topics on regular interval of 2-3 days.

Click here to know more about Sentence Correction Course.

What to do after solving Quantitative Ability Questions in Mocks?

  • Compare the solutions of questions you solved correctly with the ones given in solution booklet. See if you could have solved it earlier through some better means. 
  • For unattempted questions, check their solutions and then decide if you did a mistake by skipping it or would you actually like to skip it in the exam due to the Return of investment of time from the question.
  • Check if some logic could have been used to reduce the given options by elimination method.
  • Revise all the new questions and concepts encountered every week.

Enroll in our Geometry Course and Numbers Theory Course

What to do after solving LR & DI Questions in Mocks?

  • Attempt all the data sets which you did not attempt in the test. Then decide if you should have solved them or left them. 
  • Identify the data set types which you could have solved with just options and not had to use paper and pencil. Mark such type of questions and revise them weekly so that you do not miss at the speed part.
  • Identify the questions in which you could have applied the shortcuts directly and revise them regularly.
  • Identify the type of caselets which you should have actually left in the exam so that you may work on them better.

Click here to know more about Data Interpretation Course and Logical Reasoning Course

Many students make this mistake that they just keep solving the mocks but never revise or analyze the stuff done in those mocks. Remember that you can only improve accuracy and speed with the help of revising and analyzing the mocks solved. Never move ahead to a new mock without having done with the analysis of the previous one.


How to master Reading Comprehension for CAT 2019?

Reading Comprehension for CAT 2019: Reading Comprehension has always been an important section of CAT Exam. It is one of the key areas of CAT Verbal Ability preparation. Reading Comprehension also called as RCs can be a bit challenging for aspirants in terms of commitments and efforts.

The Reading Comprehension section from Verbal Ability holds around 70% weightage (VARC). Out of the total 100 questions divided in 3 sections in the CAT exam, VARC consists of 34 questions and out of them 24 questions in CAT are RC based questions. This proves that RC is a critical section for CAT which aspirants cannot afford to neglect.

Considering all these factors, we can say that Reading Comprehension is a scoring area in CAT Exam. So it is very important that aspiring candidates master Reading Comprehension. But what should be the right approach to master Reading Comprehension for CAT? Cracking Reading Comprehension depends on the following factors.

  • Accuracy and Analysis of the questions efficiently
  • Comprehension and Retention
  • Speed of Reading

Reading Comprehension can be a tough section for aspirants not only because of the difficulty level of the questions but also because of the length of the paragraph and the time allotted to read and solve it. RC can be tough but it can be improved and mastered by aspirants with some smart work. Here, we are providing some tips on how to master Reading Comprehension for CAT.

How to score 99 Percentile in the first attempt in CAT 2019

Reading Comprehension for CAT 2019

CAT 2019 VARC Section
Reading Comprehension Composition
Section Name
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
Total VARC Questions
Number of Reading Comprehension Passages for CAT
Type of RC Passages for CAT
3 Long RC Passages; 2 Short RC Passage
Total questions Based on Reading Comprehension passages for CAT
Bifurcation of RC Based Questions
6 Questions follow each Long RC passage (Total 18 questions);
3 questions follow each short RC passage (Total 6 questions)
Type of Questions Based on RC Passages in CAT
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension Time to attempt the complete section
60 Minutes
Marks for Each Correct Answer
Negative Marks for Each Wrong Answer
Difficulty Level of Verbal Ability Questions
Moderate to High
Number of Reading Comprehension questions with No-Negative Marking

Changes in the CAT 2019 Reading Comprehension section

  • Earlier, there existed around 16 questions out of 50 based on 3-4 Reading comprehension passages for CAT prior to year 2015. However, of lately, the number of RC Passages have gone up to 5 and the RC questions have gone up to 24 questions out of 34 questions.
  • All RC Passages are followed by MCQ type questions with negative marking. This, notably, is one point of difference between Verbal Ability questions and Reading comprehension questions. While almost all the Verbal Ability questions are of no negative marking type, the Reading Comprehension questions in CAT are of MCQs type carrying 1/3 negative marking.
  • The length of the long RC Passages in the CAT has been reduced from 1200 words to 800-900 words, and of the short RC passages to 500 words. However, the number of questions following the long RC Passages have increased.
  • The RC Passages in CAT have difficult vocabulary words, which need consistent preparation. There are 4-5 questions from Vocabulary following the RC Passages, which ask you to identify the meaning of the word used in the RC Passage.
  • A few questions following the RC passages in CAT are of Reasoning type like Assumption, True/False statement, Inference among others. Notably, such questions did not appear in the CAT Exam prior to 2015.

Mission CAT 2019: How to master Reading Comprehension for CAT 2019?

Reading Comprehension for CAT 2019

Make a habit of reading

Reading Comprehension can be very difficult for candidates because of the time it takes to read the full passage. Not only they have to read the whole passage but also remember all the points so that they can answer the questions later. One of the most important and easiest things that aspirants can do to retain what they have read and increase their reading speed is, making a habit of reading a lot. Candidates can read different books, magazines that interest them and should read the newspaper and editorials on a daily basis.

Tip: After reading the passage, make a summary of it, which should ideally be one-third of the passage size. Check that all the key points are covered in the summary of RC passage.

Improve Vocabulary

Vocabulary means knowledge of words. Candidates who do not have a good vocabulary will have to stop at every new word while solving Reading Comprehension. To improve vocabulary aspirants should start reading anything that will keep them immersed in English like newspapers, comics, stories, etc.  They should keep a book to note down the new words that they are learning in the process. This can help aspirants to improve their vocabulary easily.

Time Management

Competitive exams like CAT not only test a candidate’s knowledge but also their skill of time management. Time management is one of the main components for preparing for any exam. Candidates should be totally aware of the CAT 2019 Syllabus and CAT 2019 Exam Pattern before starting preparing for the exam and they should divide their time according to their strength and weakness. Practising many reading comprehension problems with the help of a timer can be a good strategy to improve time management skills.

Candidates preparing for CAT should keep these points in mind while practising the Reading Comprehension exercise. Solving previous year’s CAT 2019 Question Paper can also help candidates to improve their skills to solve Reading Comprehension.

Tip: Monitor your time to attempt the CAT RC passages. One RC passage followed by 5-6 questions should not take more than 15 minutes to answer. 

CAT 2019 Study Plan for Working Professionals


CAT 2019 Preparation – Study Plan for 6 months!

CAT 2019 Preparation: We have nearly 6 months till the feline strikes and 6 months is more than enough time for CAT 2019 Preparation! However, a structured approach is required to tackle the same!

About the  CAT 2019 Exam

CAT 2019 Preparation

CAT 2019 will be held in the last week of November. CAT 2018 was held on November 25, 2018 and saw over 2.40 lakh registrations, out of which 10,000 were re-takers and the ratio of female candidates appearing in CAT 2018 was also on a rise. Quite obviously, these students would have worked night and day to achieve the score that would steer them towards the B-school of their dreams.

Where preparation for the CAT 2019 exam is concerned, it can be done both online and offline. But since we are living in a technology-driven industry, resorting to online coachings and study material is the new norm. Let us attempt to understand through his article how to prepare for CAT 2019 in 6 months and how CAT 2019 Preparation will be helpful to get a good score in the CAT 2019 Exam.

CAT 2019 Preparation – Study plan for 6 months!

Phase 1

Setting weekly targets & aiming to achieve them before time: While working/studying work may come up suddenly (ad hoc work/surprise test) and we understand that one needs flexibility to do well in the CAT 2019 Exam. Hence, juggling between CAT 2019 Preparation and office work/college becomes all the more necessary. Also innovation in preparation also helps a lot.

Varun Saxena, Founder of CareerAnna, found himself in a similar kind of a dilemma during his CAT 2019 Preparation phase: Whether he should work or study, what should he do and how much time he should allot. That is when I decided that he need to do something. He used to set targets like:

  • Half an hour a day of reading
  • Two Quant concepts a day (theory)
  • 1 DI set, 1 LR set (preferably from old mock papers)
  • Half an hour a day of quants practice

Varun followed this for around 2-3 months and did feel that it helped him a lot. If you look at this as a bunch it will take you 1.5-2 hours a day but if you segregate it into smaller sessions then around 6-7 15-20 minute sessions will suffice, and this amount of time you can easily take out in between your work.

Also, find ways to use the time you think goes waste every day. For example, Varun used to read while he used to commute in the Mumbai locals. So, he used to make use of that 1 hour in the train which would have gone to waste otherwise.

Phase 2

In the later 2–3 months,  Mocks will start pouring in and giving them enough time and attention is of paramount importance. So it is wise to finish the theoretical part of preps before Mocks, and do start right away if possible! If not then learning through Mocks (as good Mock Series mostly cover all the types of questions asked in  the exam) is another way but one must not lose heart because of low scores as the end goal is to score well in CAT 2019! Also one should thoroughly experiment and finalize on a strategy for the actual exam.

Keep a track of the following factors while analysing Mocks :

  • Accuracy – there’s always a tradeoff between accuracy & speed – so figure out what is working for you and what is not!
  • The best approach to solve a problem – What is the best way to solve a problem; have you used the same?
  • Strong-Weak areas – Are there any weak areas left – if yes, go back to the basics and put in the required hard work!

Start slowly with 1 Mock per week – taking at least 3–4 days to analyse them and later on promote yourself to 2 mocks per week – slowly you will see that the time taken for analysing also reduces!

So to summarise:

In the first 2–3 months:

  • Start off with learning concepts
  • Learn to apply them
  • Practice as you learn
  • Try to complete your topic wise learning before mocks start

In the last 3 months:

  • Take 1–2 mocks/week – Analyze them – Experiment

Have a look at the articles given below for more comprehensive insights on CAT 2019 Preparation:

CAT 2019 Study Plan | 5 Laps of Preparation for 99+ Percentile

75 Day CAT Study Plan | How to Use them Best to score High

Also, the below-mentioned courses will help you prepare for the feline. Please have a look:

Thanks for reading!


How to Score 99 Percentile to Crack CAT in First Attempt

CAT is certainly among the most competitive entrance exams in India when it comes to Post Graduation and Management degrees. The major reason for the same is that it opens its doors to some of the most coveted management institutes of the country. While the aspirants gear up for one of the toughest exams (majorly due to the level of competition), there are multiple questions which goes around in his mind.  Some of these are, ‘Where should I start from? What should I study? What are the books I should refer to? How to crack the CAT exam in the first attempt and many others. In this article, we at CareerAnna, have tried to come up with the most recommended strategy to score 99 Percentile to crack CAT in First Attempt. 

Strategy to crack CAT in First Attempt

crack CAT in first attempt

Here is the set of most recommended strategies to crack CAT in first attempt. All these need to be backed up with strong determination and confidence of the aspirant that irrespective of what happens, he/she will surely achieve the dream to Crack CAT in First Attempt.

Coaching or Self Preparation 

The first and foremost thing you need to choose is whether to go for coaching or to take self-preparation. Cracking the CAT exam in first attempt without proper guidance or regularity is not an easy task. Many have cracked the exam even without coaching, but you at least need to prepare under the mentorship of a helpful expert (can be Alumni of top B Schools, students of top B Schools or MBA Faculty with more than 5-6 years of experience) to help you at different moments of the CAT journey which eventually turn out to be the make or break for an individual come the big day.

If, in case you plan to enrol in coaching, choose the best institute in your city which suits your requirements. Before choosing the institute, not only check the past records but also the time which its faculty gives to the students to help them resolve their doubts.

Know the Syllabus

Go through the CAT Syllabus thoroughly and start preparation from basics. This is so as once you clear with the basic parts, you will be able to understand the rest of the part clearly. 

Check yourself at Concepts

To check your knowledge on the conceptual part, start attempting the mock tests of the previous years or a couple of past CAT papers. In the attempt, you may not be able to score too well, however, you must not lose your strength and confidence. Keep your focus on the weaker sections and practice well. Every year the CAT Exam style and Pattern may vary, even though attempting the previous question papers to know the difficulty level of this exam is advisable.

Know the Expected Trends

To know the important sections, the applicant must analyze and be familiar with the previously asked question papers. After knowing the same, candidates can prepare accordingly. Focus on the important topics expected in the CAT examination of the year, in this case, CAT 2019. Some of the most common ones across the years remain Reading Comprehension, Sentence Correction, Selection and Arrangements, Geometry and Numbers. 

Time Management

It is one of the basic factors for success in any competitive exam and it doesn’t undergo any changes, not even for the CAT Exam! The CAT Exam is all about managing your time for preparation and problem-solving. Therefore, you must prepare a strategy to attempt to complete each section comprehensively and assign more time on a high scoring section to ensure you have not only met sectional cutoff, but have also maximized your overall score. 

Focus on Accuracy

To crack CAT in first attempt, the candidate should focus on accuracy as there will be negative marking for wrong answers. Do read the question twice or thrice before marking the answer correctly. At times, students do make the mistake of marking an incorrect answer, despite having solved it correctly. 

Prepare Selectively as per the time in hand

To Crack CAT in first attempt, the candidate should work hard to reduce the problems arising before the exam because, sometimes, the candidates feel burdened to cover all the topics on time. Therefore, they will be more tensed and sometimes they become stressed and forgetful due to the upcoming exam. We all know that the CAT Exam is all about your mental strength, as a depleted mind can’t help answering the logical questions. For better results, the candidate should work hard by making at least a 15 mins time interval for every 2 hours study to absorb the topic which they have learnt.

Welcome Shortcuts

Focus on general and shortcut formulas for quicker answering and to save money. Try to solve the problems on time, for success the optimization of time is imperative.

Mock Tests Analysis and Improvement

Post complete preparation of the CAT Syllabus, religiously take the Mock Tests everyday to gain good practice and time management. This tradition will help to crack the CAT exam in first attempt. Check out the Mock Frequency suggested by Alumni of Top B Schools HERE.

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How to Solve Questions on Circular Seating Arrangement in CAT 2019?

Circular Seating Arrangement Problems in Logical Reasoning Section of CAT can be most ambiguous of all the problems. This topic includes a variety of subtopics with multiple variation and integration of them. One such topic in arrangements is Seating Arrangements, which is one of the most important and consistent questions in CAT. Seating Arrangement questions can be confusing, Time-consuming and at times brainstorming in Logical Reasoning section. But don’t forget that around 3-4 questions are based on this topic in CAT 2019. So answering them correctly can boost your percentile and a little mistake can cost you significantly. These problems can be categorized into two types namely,

  • Linear Seating Arrangement Problems.
  • Circular Seating Arrangement Problems.

As the name suggests Circular Seating arrangement is the type of seating arrangement where people are sitting or standing in circular, square or polygonal way. Linear seating arrangement problems are those where arrangements are made in rows or lines. The arrangement can be in a single row or there can be multiple rows but generally, two rows questions are asked. And in two-row arrangement objects are arranged in two different rows facing each other.

This article brings to you all the shortcuts to solve CAT Circular Seating Arrangement Questions. We have seen students finding this as one of the toughest topics in CAT, XAT and other MBA Exams and hence we have tried to compile a list of shortcuts for you to solve CAT Circular Seating Arrangement Questions.   

Types of Circular Seating Arrangement Problems

  • Facing Inwards – Here the participants are sitting facing towards the centre of the circle. 
  • Facing Outwards – Here the participants are sitting facing away from the centre of the circle.

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Case where Participants are Facing Inwards

Two rules of thumb in the case where participants are facing inwards are:

  • All their “rights” refer to Anti Clockwise Direction. 
  • All their “lefts” refer to Clockwise Direction.
So, if someone asks who is sitting left to A, you may just recall the above rule of thumb and mark the answer as B.

Case where Participants are Facing Outwards

Two rules of thumb in the case where participants are facing inwards are:
  • All their “rights” refer to Clockwise Direction. 
  • All their “lefts” refer to Anti Clockwise Direction.

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How to Seat in Circular Arrangement

This is the question that bugs most of us out there. Which participant to seat first, where to make which participant seat and more. Let us try to have a look on how to address these problems. The best way to solve is:
  • Draw a circle and mark the positions as 1,2,3,4 … (till the number of participants given in the question) in a clockwise manner. 
  • Arrange the information given in the problem in the drawn circle and start marking positions 1, 2, 3, 4 … as the name of the participants given in the question. For Example: A is 2nd to the left of B, while sitting inwards. You may mark any position as A (generally begin with position 1) and mark position 1 for A. Now look for the position 2nd to the left of A, and mark it as B. In this case, it would be position number 3. 
  • If incase there is a dilemma that a particular participant can occupy 2 or more positions, go ahead with one position and arrange the rest accordingly. In case, you find any given condition getting violated, understand that you picked the wrong position for the participant. Quit this case and allocate the other position to the respective participant. 
  • However, if you were able to solve without violating any condition given, then the position assumed by you for the respective participant was right and there is no need to retry with the other possible positions.
  • While solving, first allocate the position to those participants whose position is easily identifiable and you can accurately see the position. Delay the allocation of position of those participants for whom there is uncertainty or there is a dilemma between two or more positions. 
  • If there are 4/6/8/10 persons, i.e., even number of people and all facing one particular direction – then 2nd/ 3rd / 4th / 5th to the left or right is always the person sitting opposite!
  • If the question says that few people are facing inwards and few are facing outwards, then use the arrows to mark the same for the positions to refer to the same. This is illustrated in the diagram below. For example, in the below diagram – A and D are facing outwards while B and C are facing inwards. 
  • Last but not the least, the golden key to ace CAT Circular Arrangement Questions is to practice. Keep practicing and analyzing your approach vis a vis the solutions given. Discuss with your mentors the difference in approaches and why either of the approaches could be the better, in case you solved in a different manner as compared to the one given in the solution.

Henceforth using the above simple steps, we can solve many circular problems swiftly. But don’t forget that “practice makes a man perfect”. Thus, perfection can only be achieved if we practice questions. So, keep on solving several types of questions as many as you can.

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When to leave a question in the CAT Exam?

When to leave a question in the CAT Exam to ensure that accuracy doesn’t take a hit is one of the most popularly asked queries by MBA Aspirants. In this article, Team Career Anna will try to share some insights on Question Selection and when should we decide in the exam or mock to leave a question. 

When the CAT Exam is just around the corner, candidates are generally palpitating out of fear, yet are fully prepared with the syllabus to the best of their ability and want to attempt as many questions correctly as they can. However, just like every exam, even the CAT exam paper has certain curveballs which are either hard nuts to crack or must be left unanswered to avoid wasting much time.

Attempts in the CAT Exam

Generally, the number of attempts for a majority of students is around 18-20 in each section with 12-15 of correct answers, which leads to an accuracy of around 70% after spending approximately 4 minutes per question. However, the big question here is, how do you define an attempt?

Most students (and faculty) define attempts as the number of questions for which an answer was marked. However, the general definition of attempts includes:

  • QA questions which require around 100 seconds to form equations, do calculations with no answer being marked.
  • The DI/LR sets where you spent a considerable amount of time in making the table. However, you turned out to be unsuccessful and abandoned the set without marking answer(s) to the questions.
  • The RC questions whose answers were not marked post reading the passage
  • The Critical Reasoning, Para Completion & Para Jumbles questions which were left unmarked after a couple of minutes of working on them.

Therefore, the accurate representation of ‘Attempts’ in the CAT Exam is the number of questions which consumed over 1 minute of yours, regardless of if you marked the answer or not is not important. In every section there are at least 5-6 such questions, therefore, most of the students are attempting 25+ questions with 12-15 answers marked correctly, 6-8 incorrect answers and 5-6 questions for which the answers were not marked even after spending quite some time on them.

When to leave a question in the CAT Exam?

leave a question in the CAT Exam

To start off with putting a message across, we would like to say “CAT is like a game of cricket, where you need to play (Attempt) every ball (question) at its merit.” However, this merit will vary from player (student) to player (Student). So just because some verbal god can solve a verbal question, doesn’t mean that you should be able to solve it as well (Remember that what might be the ball to hit for Sachin, might not be the ball at which Dhoni may hit as well).

Now, these balls (questions) could be coming to you in four different forms: 

1. Questions from your area of interest or from topics you are comfortable with (i.e. from topics which are your strengths) and can be solved in less time.

2. Questions from your area of interest but the ones which will take time to solve. 

3. Questions from not so good areas from your perspective, but which may be solved if worked around properly.

4. Questions from not so good areas from your perspective, and cannot be solved by you unless you spend at least 7-10 minutes on them or maybe even longer.

Therefore, the CAT Exam Paper Attempting strategy should accordingly be drafted:

Phase 1

You solve all the sitters from your strong areas in this phase. All the questions falling in this category are attempted.

Phase 2

This phase comes when you are done with sitters. Here you solve all the questions which are from your strength areas but take slightly longer time. 

Phase 3

This phase comes after Phase 2 and you give a shot at these questions. If you are able to solve them in 2 minutes or are about to reach the solution, you invest upto 1 more minute in them and solve them. Else, you should leave them after 2 minutes itself and not invest more time in them. 

All the questions which do not fall in top 3 categories, should be left unattempted by you in the examination unless you are done with all the questions falling in top 3 categories and still have time in hand (with the sectional time limit being introduced, this will be a very rare case). You should not be even wasting 1 minute for the question (unless done with first 3 categories) which falls in the 4th category i.e a non-sitter from your weak or not so strong area. 

Quick Important Tips to Keep in mind while attempting the CAT Question Paper

1. Read the question
2. If you think you can solve and in less time, solve it.
3. If you think you can solve a question but which will consume more time, mark it for review and come back to it later.
4. If you think you cannot solve, leave it.
5. If you get stuck at any point, leave it, mark of review and come back later.
6. Don’t mark unless you are sure of the answer.

Hope you are solving CAT 2019 Question a Day Questions HERE

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Top MBA Colleges Accepting 80 to 90 CAT Percentile in CAT 2019

Top MBA Colleges accepting 80 to 90 CAT Percentile: While we endorse pursuing an MBA only from some of the best institutes, as it is generally the last education degree one will pursue, and hence should be a memorable journey, we also understand that some of us might not be able to score that high or fulfill all the criteria. This coupled with personal obligations may make us opt for a college which might not be in the dream list. 

The problem here we face is that while all the B Schools seem similar, make similar fake claims, use similar websites for misleading claims etc. and we get lost in the web. Hence, as requested by our wonderful Career Anna buddies out there, we bring to you a filtered list of decent MBA colleges which you may opt for, if in case you score in the range of 80 to 90 CAT Percentile. So, without any further delay let us get to MBA Colleges accepting scores between 80 to 90 CAT Percentile.

Why MBA?

80 to 90 CAT Percentile

‘Why MBA?’ is the most pertinent question which comes in the mind of every CAT aspirant. This is, however, an ignored question in general as most students want to pursue an MBA as part of the rat race. Some want this degree to have better pay and job security and others as only an additional degree to add to their existing qualification and resume. However, just like we ponder and research properly before buying real estate, property or even electronic gadgets for that matter, when it comes to education and building a career, one must not slack and have clarity on whatever they are getting into, especially when it comes to a management degree and career.

What is an MBA?

Masters of Business Administration (MBA) is a Post-graduate programme which aims to provide a complete understanding of management in terms of conceptual, theoretical and practical training in various aspects of business like economics, operations marketing, basic accounting, corporate finance etc., regardless of the specialisation. However, if you are inclined towards pursuing a particular stream or specialisation like Human Resources, Finance, Sales and Marketing among others, you can always opt for a  specialized MBA in that specific facet.

Notably, most MBA programmes in India are accredited by AICTE or UGC, and many others come with prestigious international accreditations. For example, the prestigious IIM Calcutta’s programs are accredited by AACSB and AMBA, making it the only Indian B-school with both these global accreditations.

MBA programmes can be divided into two types, depending on the kind of degree and the duration required to complete it. One is the two-year Full-Time Program and One-Year Executive Program. The former is extremely common and highly sought after, and offers both a Diploma (PGDM) and a Masters degree (MBA) as well. Notably, MBA is offered by colleges that are affiliated to a university and PGDMs are provided by colleges not affiliated with any university. However, the said degrees don’t make a difference to recruiters as they go by the reputation of the college and the potential and aptitude of a student.

Notably, IIMs and XLRI are two of the most prestigious B-schools of India.

What does an MBA comprise of?

An MBA programme typically has 6 terms (also known as trimesters) of 3 months each. Both the years have 3 trimesters each. Also, a student is supposed to undertake a 2 month long summer internship after the end of the first year.

There are also certain MBA specialisations and electives which are domain-specific and intend to provide in-depth knowledge about a particular stream of management. The most common specializations are Finance, Sales & Marketing, Logistics & Operations, Human Resource, IT. Most B-schools, however, have a General Management program, wherein the first year is about learning the basics of all the various streams of management. In the second year, the student can choose his specialization and the electives he intends to take.

MBA Colleges accepting scores of 80 to 90 CAT Percentile

For 85 and above bracket

Please note that institutes are NOT listed in ranking order.

  • Goa Institute of Management, (GIM) – Considers Profile so you may get a call at around 85 Percentile as well 
  • Institute of Management Technology, Nagpur
  • IMI Delhi – HR Programme
  • XIM Bhubaneswar – Rural Management Programme
  • Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai (2 Year course)
  • Fore School of Management, Delhi
  • Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management, Delhi (LBSIM)
  • BIM Trichy
  • Faculty of Management Studies, FMS BHU
  • Xaviers Institute of Social Services, XISS Ranchi
  • University Business School, Chandigarh (UBS)
  • TAPMI Manipal

For 80 and above bracket

Please note that institutes are NOT listed in ranking order.

  • MICA Ahmedabad (Need to take MICAT as main entrance exam)
  • Delhi School of Management, Delhi Technological University
  • Institute of Rural Management, Anand
  • Welingkar Mumbai
  • Institute for Financial Management and Research, IFMR Chennai
  • K J Somaiya, Mumbai (IB Program)
  • Loyola Institute of Business Administration, Chennai (LIBA)
  • NIRMA, Ahmedabad
  • Alliance School of Business, Bangalore
  • XIME, Bangalore
  • Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal

Feel free to shoot your queries through comments and we would be happy to answer.

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CAT 2019 Syllabus CAT 2019 Eligibility Criteria 


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How to Analyze CAT 2019 Mock Tests?

Mock CAT Analysis: A large number of aspirants try their hand at anywhere from 5 to 50 mocks before the actual CAT exam. However, a lot of them do not realize the fact that what matters the most is not the number of mocks that you take but what you learn from it. Analyzing a mock CAT is perhaps the most important thing than taking a mock CAT because that is where you learn and improve your scores and percentile. With a series of simple steps, this article explains you how to analyze a Mock CAT and derive the maximum benefit from the exercise.

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Mock CAT Test Analysis

Mock CAT Analysis

By now you must have read and experienced for yourself the importance of mocks for every aptitude exam such as the ones you are gearing up for. Once you have written a mock, what follows thereafter is as important as taking the medicine for fever. In direct terms, your post mock activities should be corrective in nature and should help you in performing better in the next mock. The main objective behind enrolling yourself for a mock test series should be to understand the intricacies of the test-taking process through real-life scenario simulation, understanding your preparation status with regards to your strengths and weaknesses and trying out means to get into a better shape with each passing mock. 

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Steps to Analyse CAT Mock Tests

STEP 1: Process of analyzing the CAT Mock Test should begin the day you have the mock solution with you. Do not keep it pending. If you keep the analysis pending, you will not be able to improve Mock on Mock basis. 

STEP 2: Once you have the scores with you along with the solutions, have a check on the accuracy as well. Jot down the topic vis a vis accuracy list with you and this is something you should be tracking mock on mock basis. Rule of thumb is to score 40-50 % score in every CAT Mock Test and if you are not scoring this much as of now, ensure that you are progressing towards this percentage score with absolute improvement from one CAT Mock Test to the other.

STEP 3: With the above points noted, first start going through the questions that you solved correctly in the CAT Mock Test. Look out for shorter methods or tricks mentioned for the questions in the solutions and cross check if you solved through the longer method or did you adopt the apt and the shortest approach to solve the questions which you solved correctly. CAT is not only a test of aptitude but a test of your time management skills as well. Hence it is important to do questions in the shortest time possible. This will help you save enough time for difficult questions.

STEP 4: Once done with the questions you solved correctly, go ahead with the questions that you solved incorrectly. This is the most important part. Make sure that you never make the same mistake again. Note down the mistakes that you made somewhere and go through them periodically. With regard to the incorrect answers, you will encounter the following scenarios:

(a) Silly mistakes: In spite of cracking the logic and going all the way, you ended up getting entangled in the paper setter’s trap, because of reading the question incorrectly or comprehending it wrongly or because of a calculation mistake. It is a crime to make such mistakes and you should find the reason and fix it as soon as is possible. This is more critical in case you are attempting fewer questions and so, cannot afford to make such errors due to lack of concentration, minor lapses or pure carelessness while taking a mock.

(b) Conceptual errors: You might have read a concept somewhere and have imbibed the same in your system to be plugged in next time you see a question. Paper-setters thrive on this naivety of aspirants and play around oh-so-slightly with words. There is a lot of difference between 4 cards put into 8 boxes, 4 identical cards put into 8 boxes, 4 identical cards put into 8 identical boxes and 4 cards put into 8 identical boxes. If one blindly applies the ‘number of non-negative solutions to an equation’ concept in each of these cases, it would be incorrect. The better thing would be to make sure that you understand a concept fully along with all the relevant wordplay before considering it ready-to-use.

(c) Inappropriate shortcuts: A lot of aspirants get impressed by shortcuts and reverse-engineering techniques propagated by seasoned takers and past/present toppers and try to replicate the same. These techniques are a result of years of hard work and dedicated preparation and crystal clear understanding of concepts. Just because it looks easy doesn’t mean that it is easy. Many aspirants fall into the trap of blindly going for these techniques without understanding the hidden connections and end up getting a lot of incorrect answers. If you are unaware of the depth of a concept, shortcuts won’t help. Most of the time, it is better to swallow your ego and do it the conventional way unless you have mastered the art of shortcut.

(d) Guessing: Many aspirants resort to ‘intelligent guessing’ while taking a mock to boost their attempts. If it is actual intelligent guessing, it is a very good idea to do so (generalizing scenarios as equilateral triangles, integers, squares and so on). But many let go of the ‘intelligent’ part of it and mark options that they ‘feel’ are closer to what they have got. If there is no mention of the word ‘approximate’ in the question, it is a sure shot indicator that you have made some blunder while calculating the answer. In these cases, you can either check your calculation and figure out the right answer or again, swallow the humility pill and refrain from marking the ‘closest’ option.

STEP 5: Solve the unattempted questions setting a time limit of 1.8 minutes per question (For example: If 30 questions were unattempted, you should solve them with a timer of 54 minutes) and then analyze them using steps 3 and 4.

STEP 6: After around 10 days, come back to the Mock CAT Test which you analyzed in detail earlier. Now, attempt the same Mock CAT Test setting the time limit of 3/4th the original time (135 – 140 minutes maximum). It will make you feel great.

All these steps are not easy to follow and require a lot of diligence. But this hard work is what makes analysis not everyone’s cup of tea and ends up as the major differentiator between a 99 percentiler and a 70 percentiler. Remember, analysis of a 180-minute mock test may take as long as 8-9 hours for a detailed analysis.

Do scores in Mocks have any bearing on actual CAT Score? 

Mock percentiles are more of a marketing gimmick than anything else. Yes, you get to know where you stand with regards to the rest of the competition but then again, the conditions are not standardized at all, leading to quite a few variations with regards to time (leisurely over 180 mins vs. shorter duration owing to commitments/lack of time) and seriousness at the very least. This results in either a false sense of security or a feeling of worthlessness and disappointment thus shifting the focus from getting better at preparation and understanding your strengths to that of competing with the others. Even straight 100%iles across mocks would mean nothing when you go for the real test except maybe, an ounce of confidence.

Not able to improve in mocks, what should I do?

Remember that there are no quick fixes when it comes to conceptual knowledge. It takes some time to get used to a concept and apply it in a real test-taking scenario. You cannot force it on your brain to accelerate that process if that is not your learning style. So, it is advisable to stick to your learning process and not worry about the result much (unless of course there is a significant gap between your classroom solving ability and your mock performances in which case, you need to question your faculty or an expert who can advise on the basis of your profile, aptitude, etc.).

Fluctuation of Mock Scores demotivates me, should I quit the CAT Dream?

Fluctuation between a 92%ile and a 99%ile in mocks can be termed as normal as it would be impacted due to either an unbalanced paper, testing conditions, number of takers and so on but a fluctuation between a 90%ile and a 70%ile would point towards a major issue: either you are heavily dependent on being ‘in the zone’ while taking the test and cannot tolerate minor fluctuations or the fact that you are a bit reliant on the guessing game when it comes to boosting your attempts or that there is a conceptual gap and whenever these questions surface, you tend to lose it a bit.

So, as a benchmark, a +4%ile fluctuation is ok and needs no special attention as such but anything consistently greater than that could mean there is something missing. If you have either of the above-mentioned issues, you need to straighten your objective first and then go about taking mocks and analyzing them.

Do not be bogged down by the Mock CAT Test performance. Mocks are the mere indicators of how your preparation is going on and a test of improvement which should be made from mock to mock. However, they are not the testimony of what you are destined to achieve on D-Day. Many 99 percentilers never scored more than 85-90 percentile in Mock CAT Tests but they kept analyzing the mocks and ensured they are not repeating the mistakes in every test which led them to a huge success on D-Day.

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How to score 99+ Percentile in CAT Quantitative Aptitude Section

Even if you aren’t a math genius, better scores and the best graduate schools are within your grasp! As you build your content knowledge for the CAT test, you will need effective strategies to help you get the best Quantitative score possible. Here are ten tips and proven CAT strategies that will take your practice to the level of the highest-scoring CAT student. Try them out on your next CAT Practice Test!

How to score 99+ Percentile in CAT Quantitative Aptitude 

How to score 99+ Percentile in CAT Quantitative Aptitude

Slow down on Word Problems

Make sure you really understand the concepts underlying the question. One or two words can radically change the meaning. Don’t rush these challenging questions, even if the math seems fairly obvious. You’ll also need to spend some time familiarizing yourself with “English-to-Math” translation tables.

Use the calculator judiciously

When you practice for the CAT Mocks, avoid using a calculator unless you really need one. Most CAT Quant questions can be solved within 1-3 minutes without one. It’s provided for the CAT Exam and allows for simple calculations, however, you must not completely rely on it and use it as a crutch. You should only need it for a couple of questions. You’ll save time if you can do simple conversions in your head.

Plan to spend no more than 2 minutes per question in the first go

Some questions you will be able to solve in 1 minute, and some will take 2. If you’ve already spent more than 2 minutes on a question, guess strategically and move on. You can come back to these questions once you have gone through the entire section.

Consider all the given info on Quant Comps

Write down any key numbers, variables, or phrases from the Quant Comp question and write them down on your scratch pad. Don’t just scan the screen and start solving – QC questions are slightly different from Problem-Solving questions, and often don’t require any math at all to solve! Ask yourself: why am I being given this piece of centered information? Always approach it strategically.

Backsolve when there are numbers in the answer choices

Backsolving is a great strategy to check your work as you go through Problem Solving questions. Go through the answer choices and plug each one into the question, starting with either (B) or (D). You’ll have a 40% chance of finding the correct answer based on your first round of calculations!

Pick Numbers as much as possible

Substituting abstracts like “z” for easy-to-worth-with integers like “2” and “5.” Keep the numbers small and make sure they are allowed by the definitions in the question.

Stick to your methods

The CAT Quantitative section contains questions of various difficulty levels. Remember to be methodical in your approach, and don’t abandon your strategies when you’re faced with more difficult questions. Evaluate the question from ALL angles before deciding whether it seems easier for you to do the math traditionally or use a specific strategy.

For Percentages, memorize the answer choices ahead of time

They never change, so become confident with their phrasing so that you don’t waste precious seconds reading and re-reading them. Every little bit of extra time helps!

Analyze thoroughly

For Data Sufficiency questions, don’t rush to the problems. Analyse the questions properly, and decide whether it needs to be solved or no. Read the titles, labels, units, and note the general trends of the data beforehand. How do the variables interact with one another? What general conclusions can be drawn? You’ll know exactly where to find the correct answer if you already have the full grasp.

Always break down complex figures into smaller shapes. Tough Geometry questions like to hide triangles with quadrilaterals, and circles within squares. Look for ways to apply information from one piece of the shape to another. Redraw the figures on your scratch pad if you need to – label everything!

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Here are some tips that will help you apply the above strategies :

Tip 1 : The Silly Mistake epidemic

This is the number one reason why even the best math brains end up scoring low. This phenomenon is so common, that only a very few are gifted with the eternal vigilance necessary to avoid being struck by it. Some are so vexed with that they are doomed to make a small mistake somewhere. By making yourself aware of the common types of silly mistakes you can greatly reduce becoming susceptible to them. What you have to do is to constantly keep them at the back of your mind during the test, and while solving a problem, just run a mental check to see whether your approach falls prey to most common types. Since each individual may find different concepts problematic, the best remedy is to make a list of your own math vices, which can be drawn from the many practice exercises that you solve. After a while, you’ll start seeing a pattern where you make the same kind of silly mistakes again and again. Note them down carefully. For example, some of the common types of silly mistakes are as follows.

  • Not considering zero, fractions and negative numbers while solving inequalities or picking numbers. Remember that when ETS say a number is real, it can be positive, negative, fractional or zero. Don’t assume it’s always positive and don’t draw your own conclusions.
  • Taking leave of common sense. Sometimes we get so involved with the nitty-gritties of mathematics that we start functioning like automatons and stop thinking. Don’t fall prey to this trap. A very common example was the ant question asked in CAT 2013, where aspirants forgot that an Ant can’t fly.
  • Not drawing figures. Drawing figures, especially in questions relating to geometry, speed, etc. makes the question ten times easier to understand. Drawing figures also makes the question more true to life. For example, if ETS tells you that Sally lives 10 miles due west of John and Anna lives 14 miles due north of John, you can bet your farm they want you to use the Pythagoras theorem. Don’t miss the obvious; draw a diagram.
  • Forgetting definitions. If you forget that 1 is not a prime number, you’re making life hard for yourself. Definition questions are the easiest to solve.

TIP 2: Take it easy, hombre!

Take our word for it. The time provided to solve questions is the same for everyone. If you know the concept, you can solve the question within seconds and also be sure you’ve got it right. You must make full use of this to check your answer if you feel you’ve gone wrong somewhere. In the test, there are many instances where one arrives at an obviously wrong answer or feels that his/her approach is leading nowhere. You need to leave that question and move on. If you get stuck in complex math or are left with 2 equations and 3 unknowns, abandon your line of thought and try a different approach. A dead end is a dead end and there’s no way out, except to try a different route. Approach with a cool, calm and composed mind and re-check those answers that you feel are wrong. Come back to questions that you felt are easy but you were not able to solve. Don’t give up too easily. You need to give in your best to get but at the same time, you need to remain calm and composed.

TIP 3: Guessing and Eliminating intelligently

If indeed you do get trapped somewhere, you must not waste too much time on a question that stubbornly refuses to crack open. Eliminating the options is a good choice. Sometimes all you have to do is study the options closely, and voila! You get the right answers. But these approaches don’t work in every question. With practice you will realize which questions can be done by eliminating the options and which can be done by guessing. After you’ve practiced solving a lot of questions, you’ll realize that correct answers have a peculiar knack of ‘looking correct’. What I mean is that when you arrive at good looking numbers, you just ‘know’ that your answer is right. This will come with lots and lots of practice.

TIP 4: The single most important requirement – The ‘open sky’ approach!

 “To perform well in the CAT Exam, you require a free and uncluttered mind.” This is so true. It is pathetic to see so many students on the test day, outside the test center, with open books, cramming something last minute. If you have to keep referring to your book (and unfortunately for them, on the test day) then you haven’t prepared well since you aren’t sure of yourself. Learn everything you can lay your hands on, but on the test day, your mind should be totally blank. Your mind should be like a Swiss Army Knife with all its blades in closed position, but ready to whip out any one when necessary. You never know what concept you may have to use on your test question, but you should feel confident that it’s there somewhere in your mind and that you can recall it when necessary. Sure, you’ll get your share of jitters on the test day, but those should not arise from a lack of confidence.

High scores in the CAT Quantitative Section are so common, that it’s no longer such a big deal. All the more reason why you should get it too. With a little effort and sincerity, it’s not all that difficult to achieve. With a high score, no one can dispute math is not your cup of tea. Good Luck!


8 Tips to crack Progressions and Series in CAT 2019

CAT Progression and Series: The progression and series is one of the most important topics in the CAT 2019 Quantitative Aptitude section. In general, nearly 4-5 questions are asked every year from the topics of progression and series in the CAT Exam paper. So, it is very crucial for the candidates to be well prepared with the topic to be able to ace CAT 2019 easily. Some questions from CAT Progression and Series can be very tough and time-consuming while the others can be very easy. The trick to ace this section is to quickly figure out whether a question is solvable or not and not waste time on very difficult questions. The progression can be defined as the number of things in a series. The progressions can be classified into three different types:

  • Arithmetic Progression.
  • Geometric Progression.
  • Harmonic Progression.

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8 Tips to crack CAT Progression and Series

1) Arithmetic progression

  • If the sum or difference between any two consecutive terms is constant then the terms are said to be in A.P. Example. 2,5,8,11 or a, a+d, a+2d, a+3d…
  • If ‘a’ is the first term and ‘d’ is the common difference then the general ‘n’ term is Tn = a + (n-1)d.

Properties of A.P

If a, b, c, d,…. are in A.P and ‘k’ is a constant then,

  • a-k, b-k, c-k,… will also be in A.P.
  • ak, bk, ck,…will also be in A.P.
  • a/k, b/k, c/k will also be in A.P.

2) Arithmetic Mean

Let us assume a and b are two numbers. And A be the arithmetic mean between two numbers. So a A b are in A.P. 

  • A – a = b – A or,    2A = a + b
  • A =(a+b)/2.

3) Geometric Progression

  • If in a succession of numbers the ratio of any term and the previous term is constant then that numbers are said to be in Geometric Progression. Example :1, 3, 9, 27 or a, ar, ar2, ar3.
  • The general expression of a G.P, Tn = arn-1(where a is the first terms and ‘r’ is the common ratio).
  • Sum of ‘n’ terms in G.P, where a1 is the first term.

  • Sum of term of infinite series in G.P, S = a/(1-r), (-1 < r <1).

Properties of G.P

If a, b, c, d,…. are in G.P and ‘k’ is a constant then,

  • ak, bk, ck,…will also be in G.P.
  • a/k, b/k, c/k will also be in G.P.

4) Geometric Mean

Let, G be the geometric mean between two numbers a and b. So, a G b are in G.P. 
  • G/a = b/G or, G2 = ab.
  • G =√ab.

5) Harmonic Progression

  • If a, b, c, d,.…..are unequal numbers then they are said to be in H.P if 1/a, 1/b, 1/c,……are in A.P.
  • The ‘n’ term in H.P is 1/(nth term in A.P).

Properties of H.P

If a, b, c, d,…are in H.P, then,

  • a+d > b+c.
  • ad > bc.

6) Harmonic Mean

Let H be the harmonic mean between two numbers a and b. So, a, H, b are in H.P. This means that 1/a, 1/H, 1/b are in A.P.

  • 1/H – 1/a = 1/b – 1/H. or, 2/H = 1/a + 1/b = a+b/ab.
  • H = 2ab/a+b.

7) Arithmetic Geometric Series

  • Suppose a1, a2, a3, …. is an A.P. and b1, b2, b3, …… is a G.P. Then the sequence a1b1, a2b2, …, anbn is said to be an arithmetic-geometric progression. An arithmetic-geometric progression is of the form ab, (a+d)br, (a + 2d)br2, (a + 3d)br3, ……
  • Sum of ‘n’ terms of A.G.P series,
    Sn = ab/1–r + dbr(1–rn–1)/(1–r)2 – (a+(n–1)d)brn/1–r.
  • Sum of term of infinite series in G.P, S =ab/1–r + dbr/(1–r)2, (-1 < r <1).

8) Relationship between AM, GM, and HM

Let AM = arithmetic mean, GM = geometric mean, and HM = harmonic mean. The relationship between the three is given by the formula,

  • AM×HM=GM2.

Keeping these 8 Tips for Progression and Series in mind would certainly help in reducing the time taken to solve related questions in CAT. The initial step towards management studies, one of the most rewarding degrees in India is none other than qualifying the CAT exam. Be disciplined, prepare well, work on developing the ability to grasp and apply concepts in different scenarios. Know your weakness and work on how to overcome them. Remember that it is a difficult path that leads you to a better future. To summarize the candidates should remain focused and follow a strategy to crack CAT examination and get into the dream B-school of their choice.

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