How to Crack CAT: 2 cents from CAT students toppers!!

Based on survey and interviews conducted on Cetking students who got admission into IIMs. We asked them what were the most important things required during their CAT 2011 preparation.

Top tips – things to do for CAT – by CAT last year toppers compiled by Cetking

Overall preparation tips

I think the key to belling CAT would be keeping your basic fundas in its right place and right time-allocation in the test, these two things will ensure decent percentile.
I think it is very important to formulate an exam strategy. Predetermining(on the basis of your mocks and stuff, but not very rigidly) things like, which questions to mark, how much time to leave for reviewing your answers/entire paper, etc. does help.
There are no golden rules to crack CAT, there surely are some to break it!!:
a. Unnecessary attempts, losing accuracy
b. Not preparing very tough caselets, solve difficult mocks
c. Ignoring the basic funda and key numbers (Geometry formulas, Special numbers, key percentage ratios)
Percentage of Geometry and number based questions change every year so Don’t have a prefixed notion about an area having a fixed weightage. Be open minded, and u will rock it.
Don’t divide your time equally among sections. Keep sufficient time for tough section, every year there was one tough section this year it was DI.


DI / LR tips

Don’t get stuck in difficult caselets which is kind of “speed breaker” questions. Being an engineer I used to spend infinite time to solve difficult sets but last year DI & LR was unusually lengthy so it will be a good idea to choose questions wisely
Keep sufficient time for tough section, every year there was one tough section this year it was DI.
My Suggestions: try to master calculations; this will save you tonnes of time.
For DI… only one thing helps Speed & Fast Calculations.. Either work on this or allocate more time to the DI. Here also CAT 1999-2002 papers will be helpful.
Quick calculations definitely help but quite a few problems could be done with the options itself rather than complete solving.
Give up the ego, don’t spend time solving every DI question esp. the difficult ones. Use your time in solving more easy questions.
DI -practice hard and some option were wrong so check for that, if there is a wrong option then don’t waste your time on that question move on!! I have heard from friends that they wasted 5 mins for each of wrong question. Remember if it’s wrong for you then it’s wrong for everyone!!
In DS, 1,2 3,4 have different meaning than we commonly see, for my set, 1 meant cannot be answered with both A &B together, which is normally option 4 in most books, so make sure u read the instructions properly.



Staying calm and cool would help you a lot during the exam. One thing that i noticed was, the questions are very logical and a clear understanding of basics is required for cracking it. No flashy formulas, no special preparation, just a solid foundation is the key to the exam. But that’s just my 2cents, more like 2paise
Solve CAT 1999-2002 papers for quant and you will crack IIMs cutoffs
You can ignore your mock CATs. Plz ignore higher maths like Euler Theorem and all
For Quant, revise all formulae from your coaching institute’s basic material or Arun Sharma or whatever for all topics mentioned therein. It will really help. Get your basic concepts in place urgently – Important Topics should be Number System, Sets, Geometry, basic Logarithm etc.



For VA, solving the past CAT papers would be enough. The length of RCs is around the same. But expect a bit more tricky questions
RC was a bit ambiguous, so do not answer VA sequentially. Finish non RC and then come back to RC.
tips from toppers of cat exam

One day before tips

Have complete rest a day before exam, do not touch any books at all. One day is not going to change the equation
Do try to have a nice sleep night before your test, One really feels sleepy. I know of friends who had not slept for 2-3 days because of stress level of CAT
I would give two comments firstly Time-management is very important secondly, some people were turning up at the wrong centre so guys please check the route map on the CAT site.
You are going to get 10%ile more than your mock percentiles. Before the exam day remember your best mock score and try to relax without much worrying.


Tips on the D-day and before the exams

Don’t let any negative thought come to you. Try to be as positive as possible from the time you get up in the morning and till you finish the exam. You will get enough time to analyse the ifs and buts after the exam.
You have taken 10 plus mocks so take CAT as one more mock and treat it like a normal exam don’t make it larger than life!!
You need high concentration for the duration of exam therefore I would recommend a Red bull before the exam. This will definitely help you improve concentration if you feeling sleepy.
The timings of the afternoon slot are very awkward as most of you will have to skip their lunch. So, if possible, do carry some chocolates along with you. Have them before entering the examination lab.
Enter the examination lab as late as possible. Sitting idle in front of the screen can make anyone fall asleep. So avoid sitting in front of it for longer time.
Have coffee if you get a chance just before the test to get your adrenaline flowing.


Tips while solving paper

Read the questions properly even if they seem sitters or familiar – there might be twist in the tale. Similarly lengthy questions might be much easier then what you have imagined.
Do not sit in the CAT with a fixed number of attempts in mind. Be flexible and go with the flow and attempt according to the level of difficulty. Accuracy is the key here.
Paper patterns may change over the next slot/day/week don’t go with the rumours from friends; these Chinese whispers can do more harm than help.
Remember the golden rule if the section or complete paper is tough for you than its tough for everyone and don’t get bogged down by any questions
Chillax don’t get nervous, keep your cool throughout the test and success will be yours
Some of the questions in the paper will be wrong it happens every year so please do not waste time if you believe a question is wrong.. Believe in yourself.
• My sincere advice would be to prepare you mentally. What you don’t know until now, you cannot learn in the next few days. Just give yourself a pep talk and charge.
Finally, don’t forget that feedback from your friends and forums mere reviews of what has happened. So don’t have any pre-conceived notions about the difficulty level of your particular slot.
I guess I’ve gone a little overboard with the number of attempts but fortunately got most of them correct – remember accuracy is more important than attempts.
At least go through all the questions in the section and leave no question unseen this will insure that you have left no easy question


Online CAT tips

I always used to underline things while doing RC, highlighting option in the online version of the exam really helped me in RC.

Do try to have a nice sleep night before your test, one really feels sleepy sitting 2 hrs doing nothing in front of PC, before the test begins.
Relax and don’t get bogged down by tech glitches , for e.g. after my screen went blank.. The paper restarted from the point I had left… same minute and the same question I was attempting. So if such a thing happens with you, don’t worry.
I felt I mismanaged time while shuttling between sections so could not attempt more number of questions. Therefore stick to fewer movements between the questions.
Do not leave any topic. We got 4-5 geometry questions unlike previous slots. So it can change dynamics of the game
Once Test has started Keep the KEYBAORD away as you don’t need it as by mistake the enter button on the lower right hand corner can be pressed and the highlighted thing will take it as click… that’s what happened with me but it did not cause any harm
Just Keep your FOCUS on screen… It was little hard for me to concentrate during the last 15 mins don’t know why but still i could get my FOCUS back
Make good use of review button on the screen
you don’t have to wait for the entire 1.5 hrs. In front of computer and feel sleepy all the time. I came in late so was called in a little late. Went to the rest room a couple of times just to waste some time, and in no time started the exam felt energetic.
Though i reach well in time 7AM, i enter in test lab around 9:30. I kept waiting in waiting hall until all others were done with their biometric process. So no wait for long time before starting the test. Don’t rush to lab very early, everyone was able to start only after 10 o’clock.

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