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'What's the key to cracking CAT?'

June 30, 2009 12:09 IST

Are there are ways to improve your Reading Comprehension skills and vocabulary?

How do you prepare for DI?

Is an MBA degree an option for engineers?

Will your work experience give you an upper hand in the admissions?

To answer these and other related questions, Atul Prashar and Rakesh Singh, examination experts at hosted a chat on June 29. For those of you who missed the chat, here's the unedited transcript:

Rakesh Singh says, Hi i am ready to take your questions.

Atul Prashar says, Hi Everyone, We are ready to take your queries regarding online CAT 2009.

red asked, how to prepare for CAT?? kindly answer in general and the specific topics to be coevered at??

Atul Prashar answers, 
Focus on Arithmetic, Elementary Algebra and Geometry in Quant; RCs in Verbal and Graph based questions in DI first. Then, do or revise other topics

sanjeev asked, what strategy to adopt to crack online test

Rakesh Singh answers, 
The only thing required is enough practice. you can get unlimited number of online tests on for free of cost

vignesh asked, Wont it be unfair to have different question papers (if CAT ehld over a period of time) eventhough it has same level of difficulty?

Atul Prashar answers, 
Prometric is very experienced in managing such question papers. A reliability co-efficient "Alpha" measures the extent of alignment in difficulty of various question items. Prometric will ensure that alpha for all the tests is similar. You may visit to see how Prometric ensures this in GRE.

debdripta asked, hello,i have just started preparing for cat 2009..can u plz help me with the verbal section n rc

Rakesh Singh answers, 
practise one RC daily for 2 months. At the same time learn 10 words a day from the roots.

R asked,  I will start preparing for CAT 09 from july onwards and heard that this time CAT is scheduled to be held in december. So is 5 months sufficient fr good preparation?

Atul Prashar answers, 
5 months are more than enough given that you will spend quality 18-20 hours a week on the preparation and testing together.

R asked, I will start preparing for CAT 09 from july onwards and heard that this time CAT is scheduled to be held in december. So is 5 months sufficient fr good preparation?

Rakesh Singh answers, 
If you follow in a systematic way 5 months is more than enough. Practise one RC, one Ar puzzle, DI table and one speed test on daily basis.

coolguyvijay asked, hello, i am mechanical engineer passed in 2007, i have 1.3 years of exp, if i take cat this year , how should i prepare for it. and is mba good for mechanical engineers

Atul Prashar answers, 
MBA is good for a person who is determined to become a tough manager - No matter what is your background. However, being an engineer it will be expected that your approach towards business problems is logical. Additionally, 1.3 yrs experience will help you decide your management strengths and weaknesses and youmay then choose the right line and direction to move ahead.

Hardik asked, hi i just wnt 2 ask how 2 start preparing 4 MBA as a fresher.i dont understd how 2 start.

Rakesh Singh answers, 
Hi Just start by brushing the basics, quant and verbal both. Then work on speed building then finally start solving last year CAT papers

Hardik asked, which r d basic s book 4m which we can start preparing i m planning 2 giv it in 2010.

Atul Prashar answers, 
There is a lot of content available online and offline. Offline you may refer to R.S Aggarwal for math and Wren & Martin for Grammar and Vocab and online you may refer to for e-books for Class IX and X to develop your foundation. In addition, there are thousands of FREE online tests available on

Meet asked, whats the key to clear CAT.. what aspects to concentrate on??

Rakesh Singh answers, 
Hi Basic aspect should be speed and accuracy, which can be build by practice of basics again and again, speed building excercises, learning to manage time. Regular practice of last year CAT papers

zippy asked, Its recession time, do you think I should even write CAT. I have a little over one year exp in s/w industry. Do you think I should do my MS.. ?!

Atul Prashar answers, 
Decision to go for an MBA or MS is based on your technical and managerial strengths NOT on recession. 1 year experience is not enough to help you choose between these. Just evaluate your managerial and technical expertise and interests and choose a career option.

Ghajini asked, Will CAT 09 be Adaptive like GMAT???

Atul Prashar answers, 
CAT is not expected to be Adaptiove, Ghajini. Be relieved and focus on RC and DI which would still pose a challenge for CAT 09 takers.

honey asked, hi i have 5 yrs of industrial exp how should i approach to crack the CAt

Atul Prashar answers, 
5 years experience means you must keep your options open. You may even apply to a few IIMs, ISB and global B-schools via GMAT. In CAT, get a decent percentile and rock the show in the interviews.

don asked, not able to concentrate after the daily job hours so please suggest whether to leave the job and read at a strech

Atul Prashar answers, 
I recommend not to do that at this moment. Complete the first concept building stage, then when regular testing begins, observe whether you are still facing problems in conceptual questions. If yes, that is the time when you would need 1 point focus. Else, manage your time well along with the job.

krishnamore asked,  i pass my grads in 2002, and since then m i plan to give cat and do mba..but im out of
touch since long...can u help me how i should prepare....please guide me

Atul Prashar answers, 
Take an online diagnostic test to loically see where you stand vis-a-vis CAT 09. Then decide what to do. You may get an online diagnostic test at

Alpha asked,  My previous question was overlooked i guess... neways i hadgiven CAT last year as well and had scored 94.68. I have started preparation on some levels but i feel scared and nervous of English. thats what I wanted to ask. what can be expected of english this time

Rakesh Singh answers, 
Hi Can anyone predict CAT? Concentrate on RC, Practice redaing articles of various topics, try selecting passages and create questions, practice English Usage excercises daily.

Mandeep asked, I am an Engineer with 8 years exp in IT.I am particularly intersted in Executive MBA programs which demand CAT score. So is it a good time to start my prepration or i am already later for CAT 2009

Atul Prashar answers, 
You are not at all late for CAT 09 preparation. However, considering GMAT can open up wider horizons for you. 8 years quality experience can get you the best business programmes of the world.

sachin asked, can we prerpare at same time for GMAT and CAT?

Atul Prashar answers, 
Yes. One can. Prepare for Quant of CAT and Verbal of GMAT.

Joy asked, What is the ideal time to start preparation for CAT exam?

Rakesh Singh answers, 
Hi Ideal time is now, You should have enough time to cover the syallabus , a good revision and ample time for tests Hence now is the right time

imrahul asked, Hi Sir, I am rahul, Please advise how to about online CAT preparation, is there any online tests available

Rakesh Singh answers, 
Hi yes there are ample of free tests available for all sections on

hotCAT asked, Dear Atul Prashar and Dear Rakesh Singh, With new CAT what edge QUALITY is a MUST for it.Have 4years Work Exp? Are there any ONLINE MBA Course available in telecom MBA in INDIA. Kindly help me.

Atul Prashar answers, 
With CAT 09 going online, Time Management will decide the winner. Additionally, a balanced scorecard will ensure that your 4 yr experience is put to a better use.

Alpha asked, but dont you think that with CAT being online the RC and long DI questions would be more strenuous. and adding this strain more difficult...

Rakesh Singh answers, 
Hi Yes the medium will make some difference hence it is adivsable to start online practice from this day onwards.

kranthi asked, iam studying bcom 3rd year can i write CAT2009?

Rakesh Singh answers, 
Hi yes this the right time to write the CAT exam.

Rajveer Singh asked, Hi Atul...I am a IT professional having 5 yrs of exp. Want to go for an MBA course. I dont have time to go to institute. Can you suggest some online CAT preparation courses or the ones which send course material to home and help in preparing the cat through online resources

Atul Prashar answers, 
There are a few online courses available that suit your need. you may even join our FREE CAT course at

raju asked, HOW MANY MINIMUM QUESTIONS MUST BE SOLVED TO CLEAR IIM CAT EXAM? I know it is difficult to everyone to solve each and every question .plz tell me?

Atul Prashar answers, 
Attempt 65% of the questions with 85% or more accuracy for a better percentile in CAT 2009.

satyavir asked, can i get studymaterial for cat online

Rakesh Singh answers, 
Hi There is ample of good quality material and practices or people who want to prepare sriosly. it can be done on

hotCAT asked, Thank you Atul. You have any idea about foreign universities providing online MBA. I guess I cannot afford to forgo my two years salary. Thanks Again

Atul Prashar answers, 
I can understand your situation. If leaving job is the problem, the IMT part time MBA is one of the best. Also there are a few foreig univs that offer online course.

vishwas asked, I am studying TY Bcom can I write CAT2009

Atul Prashar answers, 
Yes. you are eligible.

vineet asked, hello self vineet.i m in final year at iit roorkee..i got 90% and 80% in 10th and 12th class board exms..but in my graduation..i have a low cgpa of 5.7 can i make it through if i score very well in cat only?? sir please help me because this tension of low grades really hampers my preparation..thnk you..

Rakesh Singh answers, 
Hi Let it not hamper your preparation as a good CAT score is what you need now. There are numerous examples of people getting average score and getting through IIMs So All the Best and work hard

shail asked, hi atul and rakesh, i did BTech in electronics in 2005, and i am having more than 3 years experience as a scientist in DRDO, tell me about future prospect of myself in CAT/GMAT...which one will be better for me?

Atul Prashar answers, 
3 years of experience is less wen you look at Gobal B-schools thru GMAT because of the entry competition prevailing today. Prefer, CAT. Else give GMAT and score above 750 and utilize the score after one year.

ps1 asked, what should be the strategy to crack DI questions that involve graphs and charts?

Rakesh Singh answers, 
Hi, For a good score in DI section you should have good analysing strategy and fast calculations. Try to practice different types of charts for speed and fast calculations.

raghav asked, sirs, plz tell about TCY Analytics .... how are these good for me... i want to appear for cat 2009

Atul Prashar answers, 
TCY Analytics not only let you know your performance trend but also les you know your HOLD on a topic at any time during your preparation and an opportunity to compare it with national, regional, citywise and streamwise toppers and your friends. Its Expert reco tool generates new tests on your weaker areas and monitors and store all the unattempted and wrong questions from the past tests.

chandan asked, what is d most importnt chptrs for quan sec

Rakesh Singh answers, 
Hi, average, number system, percentage, algebra, time and distance, and geomatry are most important in quant.

hotCAT asked, Lastly Your Email ID Please..... Thanks again.

Atul Prashar answers, 
You may write to us at

poter asked, hi i am having 4+ years of experience in software field.. am i eligible for cat..suggest me

Atul Prashar answers, 
Yes. you are eligible and if scored a decent percentile stand good chances of getting into an IIM.

argho asked, Sir, Is it difficult for people without work experience to gain admission in IIM ahmedabad consider that i have no good academic record. However in my college days i have performed very well and scored above 7.0 in B.Tech, I am also hopeful to getting close to 100 percentile in written sections. I am also quite good in mock inteviews, but little bit weak in GD. Please reply.

Atul Prashar answers, 
A CAT converted call is a product of many factors. your are 90% done. Just focusing on GDs after getting calls and i am sure you will be able to do it.

abhishek3002 asked, hey rakesh, so do we needa cram those hard vocab words are they being used as such...

Rakesh Singh answers, 
Hi, Yes, its very important to have a good vocablary for CAT exam. You need to learn more and more words because there are ample questions based on that.

sudarshan asked, i m weak in english what i should do

Rakesh Singh answers, 
Hi, You should read and read more. Start practising reading articles on different topics. And you should do english usage excercises also.

SachinGupta asked, Hi Atul, I have 10+ exp. I lost my job during recession. I would like to know about EMBA and MBA. Which one I should apply. Also TCYOnline course is valid for how long.

Atul Prashar answers, 
Please plan for GMAt and subsequent EMBA / one year MBA as you can not afford to waste 2 years on MBA. Target a 720 + in GMAT and go for INSEAD, IMD, or other european B-schools. However, if you need to change the industry, go for 2 yr MBA from NUS or from US.

kaushik asked, hi,iam a dental student and iwnt to do mba will it be of any help to me as far as my profession is concerned?

Atul Prashar answers, 
You need to prove your pasion for doing mBA in your interview if you are able to get calls.

raju asked, Is all IIM as same Selection Cretaria or different one From IIM to IIM ?

Atul Prashar answers, 
Every B-school has its own set of criteria for selection. To play safe, get good percentile and excel in GDs and interviews. asked, Dear Sir, I did BTech in 2003 and have more than 5 yrs of exp in power sector. Last year app for GMAT and scored 690, considered a low score. Should I continue with this and go for ex mba or appear for CAT

Atul Prashar answers, 
5 year experience and 60 score can definitely get you a good global B-school. Try for NTU - singapore, and other B-schools in the UK.

Atul Prashar says, Hi all, this is all we had time for today. All the best for your CAT preparation.

Watch this space for more CAT-related articles and chats.