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CAT: Focus on accuracy, not speed

July 08, 2009 10:59 IST

What is the minimum qualification to appear for the CAT?

How will the CBT CAT be different from the traditional testing method?

When is the best time to begin taking Mock CATs?

How can you improve your vocab or DI skills?

To address these and many other related queries, Vishal Gupta and Rakesh Singh, examination experts at, chatted with readers on July 6. For those of you who missed the chat, here's the unedited transcript:

Vishal Gupta says, Hi, This is Vishal Gupta from and I am ready to take your queries regarding CAT 2009.

Rakesh Singh says, Hi Everyone, We are ready to take your queries regarding online CAT 2009

se_dude asked, When is it best to start preparing for CAT?? I am a CAT 2010 aspirant and want to know if i should start my endeavor from 2009 itself.

Rakesh Singh answers,  Good! You must work on your Verbal and Quant foundation in 2009 so that you may focus on acquiring higher order skills in 2010. Basic areas are Numbers and arithmatic and Maths, Logical games in DI and a regular online reading.

Neeteesh asked, Sir what will be the process for the online CAT? How will they manage so many test takers to take the test in this environment?

Vishal Gupta answers, Neetesh, CAT 2009 will be conducted in a time span of 10 days and all the candidates will be accomodated in one of the time slot on these days. Computer based CAT will be similar to previous CATs with the difference that now it will be on Computer screen not on paper.

nagaraj asked, Dear Singh What is qualification for taking CAT ?

Rakesh Singh answers, Minimum qualification for CAT is Graduation with 50 % for general and 45% for Sc/St students

Sukhada asked, Dear Sir, Is it true that online CAT scores will be valid for a successive 5 years?

Rakesh Singh answers, No. The scores will be valid for admissions to 2010 MBA / PGDBA sessions only.

satwik asked, hello sir by what tym do u think we shall starting concentrating on only test taking and using previous year papers?

Rakesh Singh answers, Hi, Its the right time now to start taking previous years papers and MOCK CATS for your preparation. You should also start practising online because CAT is online now. There are sites like from where you can practice last year papers

chaits asked, I am planning to give CAT this year.I have appeared last year also but fumbled.wht should i do to have a clear cut focus and wht is the ideal preparation time per day

Vishal Gupta answers, Sometimes it happen that you may feel stressed while performing in the actual test. Mock tests are suggested to give the candidate a similar environment as that of actual paper and check his/her preparation. The ideal preparation time depends on individual needs, but for you it will be less as you have given the CAT last year also.

Ravi_Harne asked, How is CAT online different than the previous examination pattern. Many students are in unaware of this.

Could you please through some light on this. Would appreciate if you could explain in brief. Many students will be benefited.
Rakesh Singh answers, Hi As we all know that CAT pattern is unpridctable. But it the test will run for 10 days period in three slots each day. examination centres and other registration related details will be there in CAT bullettin. All sets will have same level of difficulty and you have to prepare accordingly online so that it will be adaptable for you.

Hitesh asked, I appeared for CAT 2007 and CAT 2008 where I got 98.18 and 84.XX percentile respectively with a 40s something percentile in VA both the time. I have a family business in manufacturing tools and a couple of retail outlets for Levis and Reebok which provides for financial stability very well but there isnt much scope for creativity and versatility as it is in with a small scale industry and also the fact that it is situated in a small city. My question is should I appear for CAT again as I didnt prepare at all last year and got 84.XX percentile and only prepared through mock CATs the year before to get 98.18 percentile? In my current scenario I feel that I am not doing justice to my capabilities. Please answer.

Rakesh Singh answers, Please take a logical look a your experience in both its facets Qualitative and Quantitative. There are many ways and places to do your MBA from. After all, CAT or MBA in India is not the end of life. If the experience is substantial and your clients and distributors can swear by some of your managerial qualities. You stand good chances of doing an MBA from Europe or Asia.

ZoyaSeher asked, i have joined a famous coaching, but after 3 months, my Quabt speed on actual CAT questions is still very slow. My Verbal is strong. The instructor seems knowledgable and explains things pretty nicely, but with his approach, and my slow computational speed, i m not gaining. shud i change my coaching place?

Rakesh Singh answers, As per your observation, your problem is not of an instructor but of a better source and sequential skill building. Please work yourself on the lower level skills required for - say - your next class. You may refer to a Class IX or X NCERT book to get hold of the concepts from their roots. Additionally, you may ask the instructor about the plan for the subsequent days so that you can do some home work before entering the class. I am sure he will walk an extra mile and may give you his individual time also if you take this initiative

Chetan asked, Sir.wen are your mock test starting from?

Rakesh Singh answers, Hi, You can start taking MOCK CATS anytime you want to on and time has already came when you should start taking MOCKs for practicing to score better percentile

praveen731 asked, hello sir..iam a cat 2009 aspirants...i want to ask u is there any difference in d question pattern this year due to d fact that cat 2009 becomes online?

Vishal Gupta answers, Hi Praveen, every year CAT is full of surprises. So, nobody can surely say about the pattern of the question paper. However, as it can be seen from previous CAT (2008), the trend is to make it more Verbal intensive. So, Hope for the best and be assured that the pattern will be more or less same for all the candidates.

ajit asked, how do prepare for DI

Rakesh Singh answers, Hi, To score better in DI your calculatons should be fast and start practicing diffrent types of graphs and charts to get familiar with every situation. You can practice different types of charts and graphs on

vineet asked, Hi can i start preparing for cat from now and crack it ?? I am good in english and reasoning where as lag in quantitive aptitude

Rakesh Singh answers, Yes, Vineet! you can. Given that your Verbal and Reasoning are good you must start working on your quantitative aptitude. The best way to begin is to take a diagnostic test which will expose your weaker areas. You can then start from the tough parts and move towards the ones you are good at. You may take a diagnostic test at

praveen731 asked, sir what r d best ways to develop di section?

Rakesh Singh answers, To score better In DI you should be aware of different types of charts and graphs. and your calculations must be fast and accurate. Try different types of graphs and charts and just read the instructions given in question very carefully so that it will be clear to you

chaits asked, There doesnt seem to be a prescribed book or syllabus for to develop logical thinking and are there any books with which we can practice and that helps to cope up with DI.

Vishal Gupta answers, Hi, you should learn and use the various methods for quick calculations. Also, try to use these methods to answer various questions whenever you see a graph or table in a newspaper. What will be the percentage change? What will be the change in the quantity over a given period and other similar questions.

ajit asked, how can i improve vocab.

Vishal Gupta answers, Ideally, vocab can not be learned in 5 months. Moreover, vocab does not carry as much importance in CAT as does RC. Still, read more and more on the topics of RC which generally appear in CAT. Note the words you face difficulty in and try to use them in your daily conversation.

Neeteesh asked, similat to the GMAT exam will the questions depend on the way you answered the previous question and will the dificulty level rise accordingly?

Rakesh Singh answers, Hi, CAT 2009 will not be Computer adaptive test like GMAT. It will only be Computer based test And questions will not depend on your answer to the privious questions.

Chetan asked, 1.Sir,I am a 2009 aspirant fr CAT.I am yet to start with my preparations.Is there still enough time for me to crack the CAT exam? 2.Also,Does XLRI consider poor academics or they are strictly good academic record based like IIM B? 3.i want to pursue MBA,social entrepreneurship.What are the top three institutes?

Rakesh Singh answers, (1) Yes. You can. Please start by taking a diagnostic test to see which areas you need to work on. (2) Every good B-school gives weightage to academics. However, an exceptionally good score in XAT will over shadow your academics. (3) IRMA is one, Narsee Monjee (part time program) is another, Great Lakes also focuses a lot on social projects during your MBA.

sonakshi asked, in earlier cat papers we could underline in the RC section which makes it faster. Now how would we do that since its online?

Rakesh Singh answers, Hi, yes it will be difficult to handle RCs in online CAT but you should start practicing online for the better results. Your regular practice on online will definatelly makes you a fast reading and analyser while reading online. and your scores will also improve in RC section. You can practice different RCs on any time and anywhere.

Akash asked, Sir,i will be giving CAT 2009.i am finding my self weak in the QUANT section specially questions on Time speed and time work are proving nightmares for me. Although i am satisifed with my performance in LR,DI and english. Can you help me regarding how to prepare for the Quant section.

Vishal Gupta answers, Hi Akash, the key to crack Quant section is to practice more and more. As you try more no. of questions, you will get to know the approach in solving similar questions. Practice Time, speed and Work time questions on by setting the difficulty level in Test Generator.

Bhavin asked, hi sir, i gave CAT last year and scored 80 percentile... am getting not getting admission in top 20 colleges.. i am planning to re appear again is it a good option?

Vishal Gupta answers, There is nothing wrong in repeating CAT. But you must know the areas which brought down your percentile last year. Work on those and you will be able to do it.

Chetan asked, sirs,kindly answer my queries.thanks 1.Sir,I am a 2009 aspirant fr CAT.I am yet to start with my preparations.Is there still enough time for me to crack the CAT exam? 2.Also,Does XLRI consider poor academics or they are strictly good academic record based like IIM B? 3.i want to pursue MBA,social entrepreneurship.What are the top three institutes? 4.I have an 8 year experience in teaching poor children and I dont have any experience in written.I have only worked individually.Will it pose a problem in showing experience?

Rakesh Singh answers, Chetan, your case is really different. please try to get some testimonials from parents, you may even start a blog and upload testimonials in the form of videos. Later on you may give reference of the blog in your application / Resume. All these things would help only if you have been instrumental in getting results out of your students. All that you need is to be creative in projecting yourself.

loknath asked, what is the qualification for CAT

Rakesh Singh answers, Minimum qualification for CAT is graduation with 50% for general and 45% for SC/ST students asked, sir , i had given cat 2008 & got 59 percentile. my prep was not up to the mark. now i m currently working. my job requires me to travel for 25-26 days in a month. how should i plan my prep?

Vishal Gupta answers, Hi, the most effective approach to conquer CAT is Time Management. And in your case, you can use your traveling time to study for CAT. If you have a Laptop and an internet connection, you can join our online CAT preparation program by visiting

praveen731 asked, sir in verbl section,iam very uncomfortable with inference questions???????can u tell me how to tackle it?

Vishal Gupta answers, Dear Praveen, Please do more and more practice on GMAT critical reasoning. It will help you think logically on given premises and develop good analytical skill.

BornForIIM asked, hello sir..i have taken a gap for CAT. Please guide me what things i can do in this GAP year.. without my CAT studies being distracted ? please guide.

Rakesh Singh answers, Hi, If you have taken a year Gap for your CAT studies then just concentrate on that only. and if you realy want to do something you can work part time somewhere. But please make sure that doesnt effect your studies for CAT and start preparing online as soon as possible because it will be more effective for you.

sharan asked, hii , im just starting prep what should b my rgular approch as i can give 3hours only on the daily basis

Rakesh Singh answers, Hi, You can do it now also but make sure that your basics must be strong. Just make them strong and start takeind sectional tests and mock CATs as soon as possible. Distribute your time according to sections and also practice last year papers of CAT.

puy asked, I have 6 years of experience in IT products. My CTC is 9.0 lacs per annum. I am interested in doing MBA for further career progression. Will IIMs be good fit for my profile? please advise...

Rakesh Singh answers, Definitely, Puy! 6 years experience in IT products would surely help in getting through to a global B-school. target GMAT not CAT for this. You may consider IIM-B; the class composition there has always been experience-rich as well as diverse. However, if you do not meet the min experience criteria, you may take GMAT this year and use the score for 2011 admissions. Other better places are - INSEAD, SAID and other European b-schools if you can afford finances

mak asked, Hello, I want to crack CAT 2009. what would u suggest the best strategy for a working professional to prepare for CAT. I am in govt. job and wants to crack CAT. Whether govt. job experience would be considered negative for CAT.

Rakesh Singh answers, Hi, The best way to prepare for a working professional is to prepare online for your studies beacause you can prepare according to your convienient time. And just make sure that your basics should be clear before jumping into tha battle. After making basics clear just practice mock CATs and last yrs papers also.

userdce asked, sir i am currently in 4th year of engg...i am good at verbal and quant,but often score less in do i improve in this section?

Vishal Gupta answers, Hi, as I had earlier said that to crack DI, you should be able to do quick calculations and secondly practice more and more to get yourself acquainted with different type of questions.

zubeer asked, i am preparing for online CAT 2009. My prob is in RC. My reading speed is very slow. When i increase my speed, it becomes more difficult to comprehend. Please advise me how to have a good balance between the two. Is there any way out for me? My quant is very good.

Vishal Gupta answers, Zubeer, focus on Accuracy initially NOT speed. As the confidence would develop speed will improve by itself. Moreover, read more and more online - News, Wiki-articles, on arts and science. you may even use TCYonline TEst Generator to generate RC tests only on humanities, arts and literature based RCs and slowly increase your speed. I am sure you can pull it over.

Dory21 asked, Hi Rakesh, I m appearing in Mock tests (both online and off-line). Although my scores in offline tests are OK but online scores are varying drastically especially in VA section .Please help.

Rakesh Singh answers, I am sure the reason is RC, you need to read more and more online. It is a common phenomenon that your comprehension would be 20-30% lowered if you move from paper based practice to online one. The only cure is - exhaustive online practice.

Kanishka asked, I am comparatively weak at math, but very good at verbal and DI..this time I did not prepare at all, and gave the exam for the sake of it and got 87 percentile. Do I have a realistic chance of crossing 95 percentile this time if I start preparing from now.

Rakesh Singh answers, Hi, yes you can score well in maths section also. Just make sure that your basics from maths in all topics should be clear. If you want you can prepare some important topics in maths section like number theory, algebra, geometry, and time and distance. But make sure that your practice must be according to online CAT only start preparing online as soon as possible.

rajat asked, Sir in DI, ususally we could choose the easy sets in paper-pencil test but since we would not be able to see all the questions in CBT, wht should be the new strategy?

Rakesh Singh answers, Hi, Just start prparing online and you will get an way by yourself. Just do more and more graphs and charts available. You will be in a better position if you prpare yourself online for This Online BAttle.

catmat asked, sir, i know in online CAT there are only two names in and all are bakvaas. if i am to choose between these two what shld i choose and why.

Rakesh Singh answers, You may try the FREE CAT course by TCYonline and compare the test interface and analytics with those of others to be sure.

sayantan ghosh asked, I have done my graduation from Sikkim manipal University Distance education am i eligible for CAT?

Rakesh Singh answers, Hi, It depends how much percentage you have got in graduation if its more then 50% then you can appear.

Raina asked, hi sirs, i have been attempting mock full tests and i want to freeze my strategies based on initial few tests. BUT BUT the problem is that my scores just behave like SENSEX..Up Down Up Down. There is so mush of fluctuation that it has become very difficult to just freeze any strategy for the coming tests. plzzzz advise me how to move forward. Otherwise it is very frustrating for me these days.

Vishal Gupta answers, The rules of the game has changed, Raina. The initial few tests will not help much in deciding a strategy. Your score has come down because your average time per question has increased to near 20%. It is happening with many. So do not worry and practice reading more and taking quality notes on the scratch paper of the passages and question statements. DO NOT just read - calculate - answer. Rather read - note down the imp points - calculate - answer. Also, keeping a decent value of your accuracy is MUST.

PK asked, Hi I am prashant, I had given CAT last 2 yrs. My first attempt was without practice I scored 95% every sectional 90+ except DI(71%) last yr I had studied fair enough and secured 92% but Eng(73%) rest above 90%. This year i was not ready to give CAT again but some how i convienced my self give one more try, What wuld u suggest, I accept I m below avg in Eng and gud in Quant cant say abt DI. Guide me abt how shuld i spent my 4 months to get max out of it I m working for MNC I culd draw 3 hrs in morning and 3 hrs in night.....

Vishal Gupta answers, Hi Prashant, if you want to give CAT this time also, aim for the 100%. And for that, 6 hours are more than enough if you will prepare seriously. I hope you have already made your basics clear, so now practice more and analyze your performance for each question and each test to know your strong and weak areas. Then work accordingly to improve it further.

ravi asked, Is writing CAT a good otion for a person with around 10 years of experience

Rakesh Singh answers, Yes, but he must prefer GMAT over CAT as GMAT would open up more avenues for managerial development once a candidate has over 7 years of experience. Moreover, he needs more of interaction with peer group and mot just with the faculty.

Vishal Gupta says, Dear Students, This is all we have time for today. Until next time, goodbye. We wish you all the best for your CAT 09 preparation. will be hosting CAT-related chats every week to address your questions and doubts. So if you need expert advice on how to crack CAT 2009, watch this space!