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CAT 2009: 'How can I improve my percentile?'

Last updated on: August 17, 2009 12:42 IST

What will CAT 2009 hold in store for test-takers?

What are the time management strategies students will need to employ in order to crack CAT?

What topics in DI should students focus on?

Will the RC passages be longer or shorter now that the test will be computer-based?

To answer these and many other CAT related queries, R Shiva Kumar, director -- Academics and R&D, Career Launcher, hosted a chat with GA readers on August 13. For those of you who missed the chat, here's the unedited transcript:

cf asked, hi, when will the CAT forms come out?

Shiva Kumar answers, Aug 30th the notification will come...will be available from the next day

fds asked, sir,w at topics to focus on in quant?

Shiva Kumar answers, Algebra, Geometry, Numbers...the main topics

by asked, I am scoring at arnd 75-78% in mocks in the given time can i improve to get 99+ ???

Shiva Kumar answers, Ofcourse you will need sustained practice and analysis of all the tests that you are taking

by asked, i know how to solve questions , even in DI and Qunat but m just not able to get them rite in the mocks, m just missing the mark tht i want to reach . wht to do ? i lack in speed

Shiva Kumar answers, Focus on getting whatever you know right. Take a couple of mocks without bothering about how you will perform...It seems that what you are lacking is practice...Are you spending 2 to 3 hours each day ...if not start doing that right away

by asked, I left my job in august 2008 and since then have been preparing , dint make it the last time. Do u think it will hamper my chances in IIM's and all other institutes like IIT's XL and FMS . I have not been working since august 2008

Shiva Kumar answers, There will be questions doubt about that...How long did you work before quitting ? Do you believe your decision is right and have answers to justify it ? These are important...But at this point I have one sincere suggestion...Do not worry about that fact now...You must do well in the exam...all these are problems to be sorted out later...

cs asked, hi sir, can u recommend books for DI, quant parctice

Shiva Kumar answers, If you have enrolled with any institute...please finish their material thoroughly...That will suffice...If you still insist you must enrol for a an extra test series

by asked, will completing whole of the CL mateila be sufficient? wht else shud i do along with it?

Shiva Kumar answers, It will be more than every bit of it...including the tests on your test gym..

rrrrrrr asked, Hi, Can you explain,how they will manage difficulty level in all slots of the exam..

Shiva Kumar answers, Any testing engine is based on "statistical" details of every question. What %age of people who have attempted that question got it right...what kind of people got it on. Once a databank of such questions is available, then it is pretty easy to create tests of the same levels of difficulty even if the questions are different.

u asked, hi, i am scoring in the 96 percnetile. can u gimme tips on time saving since the cat will be online

Shiva Kumar answers, I think you are on the verge of hitting a 98%ile ...One of the time tested ways of increasing attempts and hence the liklhihood of percentiles is the ability to decide fast whether to attempt the question or not...This ability is a function of training your mind to identify the core of the question...This can be done through practice... The other strategy is to scan the must develop your own method of scanning an online have to experiment while taking tests...

Sriharsha asked, Hi, I had written CAT-06 and got 96.1 %le....... dint write CAT'07.... I am working from past 1year(passed out of UG last year)... I am very eager to convert the coming CAT and get into top 10 instis, but many time due to some or the other reason i lose Focus!! In a bit of a dilemma

Shiva Kumar answers, Losing the deadliest disease in CAT preparation. It can happen only if you are not very " hungry" for success and "unwilling" to put that extra effort...96.1%ilein CAT 2006 !! I do not see any reason why you can't break into the 99 %iles this CAT...Pull up your socks...dedicate 3 hours to CAT every day...come what may.

rrrrrrr asked, is it also expected the pattern also will be different in diff. slots

Shiva Kumar answers, 99.99 % it will not be. In most probability the IIMs will announce the pattern of the paper along with the notification...wait and watch

Sriharsha asked, I do well in paper Mock-CAT, but inspite of my fullest concentration not able to score well in Online Mock CATs.... Please suggest some tips

Shiva Kumar answers, Sriharsha...Do you take an online Mock CATs as Mock CATs...By the way are you referring to the paper based tests ?...If that is is only because you seem to have not tried enough online tests...

by asked, Thank you sir!! kindly give me ur mail id!! thanks a lot for ur guidance

Shiva Kumar answers,

Sunil asked, I am doing studing basic concepts for mmaths,also parajumbles.RC verbal section online since last 2-3 months. Also I already statrted English Grammer preparation 5-6 months ago? I am planning to give test(Full Length) from 20 Aug.

Shiva Kumar answers, Start today...CAT is not a test that you should wait for the syllabus to get over before taking the tests...DO you realise that taking full length tests is exceptionally important to manage a good performance ? I wonder what you are waiting for...You just have 100 need to take atleast 25 tests to get an hang of the testing experience...And 25 days of analysis too !!

Sudhir asked, I have 6 years exp in IT sector with avg(about 56%) academic record. Not started preparation yet. Please suggest if I still have chance for CAT or GMAt is better option?

Shiva Kumar answers, It is a tight scene...Take a few tests to see where you are...100 days is sufficient for someone in touch with academics...6 years off academics could be a challenge...GMAT is a good option but even GMAT would need a dedicated 4 months of practice...Take a couple of tests on line to judge where you are !!

Jaideep asked, Hello sir, Do you think 100 days preparation is enough if I start studying for CAT now?

Shiva Kumar answers, If you have a fairly good Math and reading skills it is sufficient...Practice a lot

Sudhir asked, I have 6 years exp in IT sector with avg(about 56%) academic record. Not started preparation yet. Please suggest if I still have chance for CAT or GMAT is a better option for experienced guys? Best Institute to join in south Delhi? Thanks in advance!

Shiva Kumar answers, Try CL :)

rakhi asked, It is difficult to concentrate in online exams. Will thr be break like in GMAT

Shiva Kumar answers, Am not sure...wait till 30th...I think in most probability no!!

Dharam asked, on CBT test it is diffcult to solve quant and DI problem..when it tough..what should be do?

Shiva Kumar answers, No way out !! You have no option but to practice and get used to it...Use the rough sheets judiciously

Sriharsha asked, w.r.t to my previous Qn:'I do well in paper Mock-CAT, but inspite of my fullest concentration not able to score well in Online Mock CATs....' I am taking Mock CATs from T.I.M.E(both Paper-based and Online) and I see a vital difference in my scores(comparing Online and Paper-Mock CATs)

Shiva Kumar answers, My personal opinion on this ...Paper Based and Online are miles apart...There is no point taking a paper based test when the actual test is online...Maybe the concepts are same...but CBT CAT is not just about fundas...It is also about the Medium...Take as many Online Tests as Possible...If you have done well in Paper based Mock Test you should do well in the online Mocks as well...Give enough time for Online Tests

chetan asked, hello sir i have completed my master of commerce study before 1 year. now i am working. now i apply for what benefit to me? please suggest.

Shiva Kumar answers, I am not clear with the question...Are you talking about applying for an MBA ?...if that is the case it builds greater career options for you that M COM

Sudhir asked, Thanks for advice sir! I'll follow that but I fear my avg acadec record will be a problem for me. please comment.

Shiva Kumar answers, Do not worry about it...Yes it is a fact that you do not have the best academic record...but there are other things that you may be good at.

SANJU asked, hi...i hv a Q...i passed 10th in 2002 wid 45% n 12th in 2004 wid 46.5%. after tat i had taken 1 yr gap. den i jnd engg in 2005. bt i found it vry difficult so aftr 2 yrs i.e. on 2007 i lft it. n in d yr 2007 i had takn add in bba frm a reputed col. til nw my agr % in 59.45. dis is my lst yr.means nxt i.e. 2010 i am planning 2 jn mba col. n also m prep 4 tat. i questin is- wid my % n gap wl it affect my future career. if yes what should i do? thnx.

Shiva Kumar answers, Yes it may for the top 10 to 12 colleges in India...Do well in the still have some chance to redeem yourself on the academic front :)...If possible pick a job, that would add value to your profile when you go for a B School...


Shiva Kumar answers, Graduate degree which is recognised by UGC/AICTE...Minimum 50 % in graduation

erewr asked, scmld kaisa hai

Shiva Kumar answers, On a scale of 1 to 10...maybe at 5

s asked, I constantly Score 98-99 percentile. How ever hard I try not crossing 99.5 percentile. How should I o about achieving that?

Shiva Kumar answers, Verbal is the key !! The other relevant question is : Do you use choices while solving questions ? That will increase your attempts

Jaideep asked, Do you think average length of the RC passages will be lesser this time compared to the same in paper based tests?

Shiva Kumar answers, atleast 20 % ...which means average words should not be above 700 words per passage

SANJU asked, sir actaulli i already lost my 3 yrs aftr 12th. so i dnt wnt 2 give any gap. so m planning 2 do mba immediately after bba.

Shiva Kumar answers, Do well in BBA...You have to ensure that you have a good aggregate in the graduation. Work hard on words, English and NCERT Maths till class 1oth right away

catIIM asked, sir, i score around 90-95 percentile bracket. hw wud u rate my chances of getting into IIMs

Shiva Kumar answers, pull that to 98 %ile plus...That is the IIM bracket...Needs a 10 % improvement ...that is it move from 95%ile to 98 plus %ile

nkg asked, GHSMIR , Kanpur what is the scale?

Shiva Kumar answers, I am not too sure...Maybe 3/10

SANJU asked, sir, while giving pi, HR wil ask about my gap. so what should be my reply?

Shiva Kumar answers, Will cross the bridge when you get there...focus !! Focus now on the test...All these questions can be handled

abhi asked, I'm a BE from NIT. I started preparing for the CAT 3-4 days back only. Although I took CAT in 2007 and scored 87 %ile without much preparation. But do you think the time left now is enough to crack CAT?

Shiva Kumar answers, Yes...I think so...Do you have 4 hours for CAT each day ?...Spend practice...Learn fundas while you not wait till you learn fundas to start the practice :)

Ris asked, Hi Shiva, I am having 3+ yrs of exp as a PMO in a MNC...Gave CAT in 2008 & got thinking of appearing again this year. Can you please tell me how good can Great Lakes be in my case?

Shiva Kumar answers, Great Lakes has moderately good placements...defintely not comparable to the IIMs...maybe comparable to colleges in the rank 11 to 15

roooorrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaa asked, actually i gave last time CAT also but nt score well.........i gt only 35 percentile in CAT-08.I completed my grad in this very May in Engineering. But now i very keen to do well in CAT-09.I dnt join any institute this time but i'm planning to take part in TEST series. would u help me ,give me the imp topics abt al three sections. Is it possible to get start again at this time ............can i'l be able to score well this around..

Shiva Kumar answers, Your ability to score well depends on what you do for the next 100 days. Focus on basics of Arithmetic, algebra, Geometry... DI is all about not skip the Analytical Reasoning sets... Verbal ability...Grammar, Vocab, Critical reasoning...

SRKN asked, Hello Sir, Do you think Online Type Exam work out without any system failures or any fault?

Shiva Kumar answers, I think system failures would not be a big issue...

CLPTTCY asked,, have emerged as clear leaders in online cat preparation. where do you think traditional classroom coaching centres can reach?? They (specially tcyonline) is giving test comparison among thousands of students and that too nominal charges of 850/-.... would national ranking by CL, Time really matter now when their content offered is also at par..

Shiva Kumar answers, Content has always been on offer...It has moved to an online medium now...I guess every institution would have to emerge as a online player too...You would be surprised to find that the number of test takers on CL SIS would be far higher than either of these players...:)

BigB asked, tobays mba coleeges producing breed of there any college which produces social managers?

Shiva Kumar answers, TISS...has been focussed on such programmes

sak asked, I finished mca in 2000. Presently I am working as Lecturer.I want to do executive MBA. Is CAT required.

Shiva Kumar answers, Yes...If not is GMAT / XAT

Sunil asked, What are good test series for gives mock test online or paper based? I want to purchase it. I want such type of Test Bank ,which covered lot of mock test with explanatory answers.Please help me for selecting that one.Or if posssible mail me on

Shiva Kumar answers, Paper based makes no sense when you are preparing for CAT...There are many players who offer Online Mock Tests only...Please do a google search...CL, Tesfunda, TIME, IMS...all of them offer test series...check out which one suits you best.

defdd asked, is CAT format now same as GMAT?

Shiva Kumar answers, Wait till 30th August :)

catman asked, Sir, shud i quit my job given that i hv only 6 months exp. and am a passout of 2008. i m scoring around 90-95 percentile i n the mocks

Shiva Kumar answers, If you feel that you cannot do without quitting do that when you have 60 days left for CAT...Moving from 95 %ile to 99 %ile needs 10 to 15 % improvement in the performance...3 hours every day would suffice.

savi700 asked, sir are the online forms available for CAT this year yet? please reply. i want to write cAT this year.

Shiva Kumar answers, Not yet...after August 30

Shiva Kumar says, Ok ...bye for today...