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CAT 2016 Preparation Tips by Prashant Sahu

Last Updated - August 19, 2016

Prashant Sahu cleared CAT with 98.83 in 2011. He was offered admission from almost every IIM and took admission in IIM Bangalore. He belongs to engineering background, he is graduated in Electronics and Communication Engineering. He says, follow the websites which provide online study materials and updates related to entrance exam as it helps a lot during preparation. He shares his practical insight of how to prepare for CAT 2016.

CAT 2016 Application ProcessCAT 2016 Application FormCAT 2016 How to ApplyCAT 2016 EligibilityCAT 2016 Important DatesCAT 2016 Exam CentersCAT 2016 Admit CardCAT 2016 Official Notification

Ques. The institutes that offered you admissions?    

Ans. I couldn't clear my interview at Indore, with that exception I have got calls from all the remaining IIMs. I was also offered admission from DU, BITS, IIFT, IFMR, and from B schools like UBS, LBS, AMITY etc.,

Know More CAT 2016 Participating Institute

Ques. Apart from CAT which exams do you appear? 

Ans. Appeared in Symbiosis (SNAP), Xavier’s (XAT), ATMA, FMS, and IBSAT

Ques. Mode of Preparation       

Ans. Classroom Coaching

Ques. Review the Coaching Institutes and what was their role in your story?         

Ans. During my graduation pre-final year and final year vacation I joined IBS. IBS is fairly a good institute with a fee of Rs. 9500/- for 3 months. I couldn't devote much time for practice because of the college after my coaching.
I couldn't clear any of the IIMs in my 2010 attempt with a percentile of 86.4. After completing my graduation I joined TIME, Hyderabad. I managed my job in Vertices IT during the days and attended CAT classes in the evenings. TIME is one of the best coaching centers for CAT and respective examinations. Faculty at TIME were so generous, and were very friendly with students. Basically coaching institutes save time. During every session they will provide us one workout sheet, which almost contains all the varieties of the questions we encounter. They also give perfect guidance for GD and PI sessions they also arrange a mock GDs and Interviews.

Know More Top Coaching Institutes for CAT 2016

Ques. How did you manage CAT preparation schedule along graduation studies/working hours?    

Ans. Time management is one of the crucial factor to succeed in CAT. It is actually quite difficult to cope with your studies along with your hectic work routine. But the key to tackle this challenge is to make a daily planner, scheduling all your daily activities, managing time and preparing a chart for each hour activity. I prepared a complete plan and followed this time table which helped me allot at least three hours every day towards preparation.

CAT 2016 Exam PatternCAT 2016 SyllabusCAT 2016 Paper AnalysisCAT 2016 Paper Analysis for QACAT 2016 Paper Analysis for DICAT 2016 MCQ Questions

Ques. What is Your Five Point Rule to Excel CAT 2015? What Mock Paper You Took?       

Ans. 1. Managing time is the key factor in cracking the CAT. If you manage your time well and solve all the questions within the time slot, half of the CAT exam is cracked.

2. Along with that it is vital to plan a pattern for answering questions. Allocate considerable amount of time to select questions.

3. Start with comfortable areas, don’t take more than 2 minutes for a question.
4. I solved questions in which I was more comfortable first and then went for the rest. Do not get stuck with any question, move on to next. During the exam, be calm and do not think about attempting any particular number of questions.
5. Focus on Accuracy- Joining a test series and regularly attempting mock tests is very important.

I took two online and two paper based test series. Online tests from WhizIQ and Career Launcher. Offline tests from TIME and IMS. These series and mock tests helped me clear my basics, focus on practice and made me ready for the actual CAT exam. They helped me in the following ways
1. Analyze stronger and weaker areas
2. Time management
3. Continuity of exam practice
4. Makes you comfortable on the final date.
Take sectional mock tests to know the types of questions in each of the areas and also your strong and weak sections.

Ques. Rate the role of your coaching Institute (Classroom or Online Both) in cracking CAT? 

Ans. 10

Ques. Name the Coaching Institute (Online or Classroom)

Ans. I joined TIME and IBS.

Ques. What are the websites you followed regularly to practice free sample papers or to get updates?

Ans. I regularly followed many websites to gather material, books, pdfs and previous papers some of them include-
for online material:,,,, and
free online coaching: and
for free tests: and
discussion forums:,, and
for updates:, and

Check Your Preparation with CAT 2016 Practice Papers

Ques. Quantitative Aptitude: Discuss Your Strategy for the Section   

Ans. For Quantitative Ability, I tried to be generic and worked towards strengthening my basics. I also tried solving the problems with alternate possible solutions which helps you a lot in analyzing each questions with different aspects along with increasing the ability of answering the questions right and on time. I practiced more vivid range of problems, to get used to all the difficult ones.

Ques. List the Name of Books You Followed for DI             

Ans. Arun Sharma- Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation book for beginners
Nishit Sinha - The Pearson Guide to Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation for the CAT-- To enhance strengths
TIME Data interpretation and Logical Reasoning for checking out the type of questions which are normally asked. Test Fundas’ Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation Module.

Ques. Data Interpretation: Discuss Your Strategy for the Section      

Ans. For me, the DI section can be divided into two key areas:
1. Data Interpretation asks you to scan and make sense of data given in various forms such as tables, charts and graphs (pie charts, bar graphs et al). This section demands number crunching and computations from the test taker. The challenge to crack this type of questions is to swiftly identify the data, analyze and interpret the data.
2. Data Sufficiency: questions are in form of a logical puzzle. In this type of questions, a question statement is followed by two different statements. You don’t need to actually solve the problem – you need to determine whether the question can be solved using the two statements provided.
Prepare well for Data Interpretation: learn techniques for quick calculations, shortcuts etc. Tables, squares and cubes should be at your finger-tips. The more you practice, both in your concept preparation and in your practice tests, the higher will be your speed and accuracy in the actual CAT.

Ques. List the Name of Books You Followed for Quant      

Ans.Arun Sharma– Highly recommended and since it is popular, it has its own thread on Pagalguy too.
SK Verma– Good for clearing basics, goes into much detail and may get a tad boring for those who are used to this section. Those who are brand new, should buy this book over Arun Sharma as this one is more detailed than the former.
Nishit Sinha– A good book for MBA preparation but the above two shine above and beyond this one.
TIME material of Quant is very good.

Ques. Logical Reasoning: Discuss Your Strategy for the Section        

Ans. This was the toughest section for me. It will be same for most of the aspirants as this section completely consist of puzzles and logics. This section usually contains several statements which serve as clues to solve the problem. Proper selection of problem is really important to manage time as this section takes much of time for each problem if encounter any trivial ones.

What should be the Exam Strategy for CAT 2016

Ques. List the Name of Books You Followed for Logical Reasoning   

Ans. 1. Shakuntla Devi Puzzles\for refreshment.
2. Arun Sharma Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation book for beginners.
3. Arihant Publications Analytical & Logical Reasoning for CAT & Other Management Entrance Tests, this is one of the best book having more number of practice questions.
4. RS Agarwal's A Modern Approach to Verbal And Non Verbal Reasoning, For extensive practice this books is very useful.
5. TIME institute reasoning material is also good in providing a mini Notes on Logical Reasoning.

Ques. Verbal Ability: Discuss Your Strategy for the Section        

Ans. Reaching Comprehension in the verbal ability section plays a pivotal role. RC is always a time consuming section, it was always tough for me in the early period of my preparation to read and understand the massive passages against the running time.
Students who are voracious readers are excel in this section. My strategy for this section was to read a lot...What to read? Read any articles longer about 1000 words than the 500 words passages generally present in the CAT paper. Reading editorial columns in a newspaper like The Hindu or Economic Times will also help in improving vocabulary.
Practice faster reading, also understand the reading and start analyzing and linking each point in the comprehension.
Practice more reading- don’t waste more than 5 minutes in reading, understanding and analyzing each comprehension. It won’t take more than 30 seconds to answer each question.

Ques. List the Name of Books You Followed for Vocabulary and Grammar          

Ans. Normal Lewis Vocabulary book-- I found it with almost all of the aspirants.
Vocabulary Booster for the CAT: A Winning Approach by an IIM Alumunus by Siddarth Balakrishna-- This book also contains supporting stories of the toppers.
CAT Vocabulary Builder by Franklin International-- This book is completely high standard book. Better go through if you have more leisure time.

Ques. Vocabulary and Grammar: Discuss Your Strategy for the Section    

Ans. For the questions in the vocabulary and grammar section, it is important to know the incorrect answers too. For this scenario it is a must to be accurate with answer. I have focused on learning vocabulary along with my reading comprehension. Do not casual read, always read with full of concentration and note the words for which you cannot understand the meaning. Also learn both synonyms and antonyms at least 2 for each, for every new unknown word you encounter. Make it in a hand book and glance through in your leisure time.

Ques. What should be the strategy for someone who is starting just two months before the exam?

Ans. 1. Consolidate your preparation, Revise your basics regularly,
2. Make extensive practice,
3. Take more and more mocks, analyze super strong and ultra-weak areas, try to avoid touching the weaker ones to save time.
4. Take every test as a final CAT itself, do not lose your concentration by thinking it as just a trial.
5. Avoid time pass means, relax through peaceful means
6. Care health as well, ultimately your brain is your master, you shouldn't ill treat your body which ultimately affects your master.

Ques. How Would You Rate the Following Preparation Strategy in terms of their efficiency in your story?

Coaching ClassesNCERT Text BooksOnline Study MaterialCoaching Printed Study MaterialMock & Sample Test PapersStudy GroupsSubject Wise ClassesSelf-Study
Very HighVery LowHighVery HighVery HighVery HighVery HighVery High

Ques. What will be Your Prescription for Students in the Last Phase of their Preparation for CAT 2016?        

Ans. 1. Avoid new topics
2. Revise formulae and basics
3. Be updated with the short-cuts and tricks
4. Recreational activities are a must for every student who is preparing for an entrance exam, as it keeps your mind feels fresh and relaxed when you indulge in these activities.

Ques. How was the interview? Share some of the questions      

Ans. I was the 3rd guy to be called for the interview. I was waiting for my turn. A professor came out, shaken hands with me. They started with some personal questions about my bio data, background, Why I opt management?, strengths and weaknesses?, Where you want to be in next 5 years? etc., after that

some other Important questions as:
1. Some from my background (B.E ECE)
2. How does an LCD work?
3. How does an LED work?
4. How to design a bipolar transistor?
5. Find the percent change in volume of a sphere if the radius is increased by 20%?
Some questions were about my work experience?
1. Why you opted a soft-Techie after completing Electronics?
2. Write a program for implementing touch screen feature
3. About some of the projects I handled.
Some questions about business trends
1. What is recession in your view and how can a country get over it?
2. What is NIFTY?
3. How BSE works?
Some current and news topics
1. What is the current news item you have been following?
2. Who is the agricultural minister of India?
3. What is the contribution of agro sector to the Indian economy?

CAT 2016 ResultsCAT 2016 CounsellingCAT 2016 Score CalculationCAT 2016 Cutoff

Ques. List the Name of Books You Followed for Verbal Ability   

Ans. I followed Arun Sharma-- How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT A fundamental book and is very useful for reading comprehensions. You can also practice many exercises.
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT Paperback – by D.K. Sinha-- A good book for practicing RC. I also preferred Verbal Ability & Comprehension for CAT and all other exams by Bharat Patoudi-- this book will help you in all other exams like XAT/GMAT/IIFT/CMAT/MAT/Bank PO/SSC.
Other than those, News Articles, essays, Blog reading are very helpful.



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