Books That Helped Me Score 99.87%ile In CAT 2016

Before anything else, preparation is the key to success“. These are the words of Alexander Graham Bell, a Scottish-born scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator who is credited with patenting the first practical telephone. 

His quote is as relevant to CAT preparation as it was to his successful career. In this post, I share the list of books/materials that I used during my CAT preparation. I have kept the list of books as nimble as possible, listing only the ones that actually improved my concepts and in turn, my CAT percentile. In my experience, if you’re able to persevere through ~70-80% of this list, you should find yourself comfortably in 99.5+%ile range.

So, without further ado, let’s begin:

Verbal Ability


TIME online sectional tests

Manhattan/Princeton GMAT Critical Reasoning

Manhattan/Princeton GMAT Sentence Correction

Word Power Made Easy

Reading Comprehension


TIME online sectional tests

Manhattan/Princeton GMAT Reading Comprehension

Total Gadha 1000 Reading Comprehension sets – You may download this file from here (it’s available to public for free)

Data Interpretation


TIME online sectional tests

Arun Sharma’s Data Interpretation for CAT

Logical Reasoning


TIME online sectional tests

Arun Sharma’s Logical Reasoning for CAT

Quantitative Aptitude


TIME online sectional tests

TIME Quantitative Aptitude modules

Arun Sharma’s Quantitative Aptitude for CAT

Previous Year Question Papers

Solving past CAT questions is of utmost importance during your preparation. In addition to taking mocks, one must definitely try to solve all the previous years’ questions. If you are constrained on time, I would recommend solving questions from 2001-2008. That would give you immense look-and-feel of the question pattern in each section. You can easily find these papers online. If not, you may buy the compilation here.

Happy Studying!

I’d be more than happy to answer any queries you may have. All the best!



About the Author:

Akshita Agarwal is a student at IIM Ahmedabad PGP class of 2017-2019. She scored 99.87%ile in CAT 2016 and bagged final admission offers from IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, and IIM Lucknow. You can find her blog on CAT preparation strategies here.

Akshita Agarwal

Akshita Agarwal is a PGP student at IIM Ahmedabad.



Pushparaj Singh

Thanks a lot Ma’am for these tips. But, I am from commerce background and that’s the reason I have been facing lots of difficulty in quant. Although, other sections are good but for me quant is out of the box. What should I do to improve from the basics?

Akshita Agarwal

Hi Pushparaj, The books I’ve mentioned for QA work irrespective of your background. The strategy for you should be to familiarize yourself with all QA topics by solving exercise A from each chapter in TIME modules and solving LOD I exercises from each chapter in Arun Sharma’s Quantitative Aptitude for CAT. After you are through with these, you can move to exercises B and LOD II respectively.


Hello Akshita, can you suggest a good strategy for verbal section too? Please also share your view on Arun Sharma ‘s verbal book.


Thank you very much ma’am.This will be very helpful for me.
I want to ask some other thing.How much should I aim for old IIMS. 10th-91%,12th-84%,grad-68%, OBC.

Tarini Mohanty

Hello Akshita,
I have average academic throughout.
7.24- B.TECH
Currently I am working in a non technical job in a company for last 1 year.So is there any chance of converting any IIM even if I scored good percentile in CAT(I’m in general quota)??

Akshita Agarwal

I think you stand a chance. IIM C, for instance, would not weigh your grad scores a lot, so that’s a positive for you. Although you would have to aim for 99.5+ in CAT to get calls from A,B,C,L

Mayank Kumar

Hey Ma’am congrats.. I’m a literature student.. I scored 8.2 52% and 64% in 10th 12th and graduation respectively… Do i have a chance to get into IIMA if I score a 99+ in CAT..??

Mayank Kumar

Thanks and one more question… Like other courses like HR and finance is there any course for international business in IIMs??


The 10th, 12th and graduation marks do occupy a lot of importance while getting calls for ABC and other institutes. But the question to ponder here is can you really change any of them now? The only thing under your control is probably your CAT percentile, and that goes out to anyone an everyone who is eager to know if X% , Y% and Z%(where X,Y and Z are real numbers) in 10th,12th or Graduation would suffice.
Be safe, try to get your best percentile, probably 99.7+, because there are folks who have secured a 100%ile and yet have no calls.
TL DR; score a 99.7+ and stop worrying about the past.

Ganesh kumar Krishnan

Hello Akshita,
First up, congratulations for success and wish you many more to come.
My academics are as mentioned below, please do share your opinion on my chances of IIM – ABCLIKS.
89 -10TH
93.4 -12TH
7.94- B.E – Mechanical Engineering
Currently I am working in an Engineering services company for last 2 years. So what are my chances for IIMs and at what percentile..? I’m a GEM.

Subhrajit Saha

Hi Akshita,
I am a CAT repeater, in CAT 2016 though i scored a decent 98+ in QA and VA my DI LR percentile was an abysmal 81…i am unable to form a strategy around it…what will you suggest?

Akshita Agarwal

I would simply suggest that you practice as many questions as possible in DILR. There is no simple strategy for this section. You have to solve multiple sets to understand for yourself which type of questions are easy and which ones aren’t. Devote maximum time on practicing DILR sets as I see you have a good hold on QA and VARC.


Hi Ma’am
Congratulations! Can you please share the links of Manhattan GMAT resources?
Would be of great help.
Thank you.

Kalinga Kishore Pani

Hi Ma’am
Congratulations!! and all the very best for your future endeavors. I have past years mocks of TIME ,CL,ims ,etc.. are they enough to use or I should look for a formal coaching from any top institute. Are these mocks enuf to use as a book itself ?

Akshita Agarwal

Past year mocks would not give you an assessment of your current standing between test takers. I would suggest you join a test series. You don’t need to enroll for a full-time classroom program.

iim a

congrats ma’am for all your efforts,
Can you share
1) your attempted questions in cat 17 and
2) your initial and final scores of 5 mocks
3) your va-rc avg percentile in mocks

Saikrishna Bodavula

Hi akshitha
I just started my CAT preparation and I wanted to give CAT 2017. I am doing good in quant and DI.
But I am lagging in verbal and RC . In AIMCATS I am scoring 84 percentile.
My 10th class percentage is 91
12 th-96.2 9.3 /10
So please give some tips to me



Sorry for a big post.Need you suggestion.Please read through

Will it be a good preparation strategy if one studies or does the following :

1.QA section – (Mon and Tues) from only TIME QA material and nothing else ,solve all the problems in the TIME QA material and nothing else,solve the problems of AIMCAT 2017 mocks. Analysis of mocks.

2.LR and DI :(Wed and Thurs) from only TIME LR and DI material and nothing else,solve all the problems in the TIME LR and DI material and nothing else.,solve the problems of AIMCAT 2017 mocks.( Focussing mainly on AIMCAT mock questions-solving and resolving the same ).Analysis of mocks

3.VA and RC :(Fri and Sat)-from only TIME VA and RC material and nothing else,solve all the problems in the TIME VA and RC material and nothing else.,solve the problems of AIMCAT 2017 mocks.( Focussing mainly on AIMCAT mock questions-solving and resolving the same ).Analysis of mocks.

Sunday: 3hrs for each section.

Finish the syllabus and problems solving part by September 2017 and revise In Oct and November.Join another test series IMS or CL by mid Sept 2017.(already enrolled for AIMCAT)

4.HINDU newspaper for 1.5 hr/day and 20 words per day.

5.Regular TIME sectional tests.

Please suggest if anything has to be added or has to be removed from the above plan( as only 4months are left out and it’s only I recently started solving TIME materialso very less practice under my belt)

Mba Tzos

Hello, Akshita. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Please tell me about the GMAT books to enhance VARC preparation. This is abig hurdle form me.

Ankush Chavan

Hi Akshita,
Since GMAT VA_RC is a bit different from CAT(just heard about this), how beneficial would it be to study from Manhattan/Princeton GMAT material?
Also for VA-RC is IMS material better than TIME.

Thank You!

Diya Mitra

hi Akshita, congratulations for your success, and thanks for sharing these. but also i want to know how i should prepare for GDPI rounds, how should i improve in that field?

Arbaaz mun

Hello mam
I’m from a commerce background and I am weak in all four areas
If I worked hard I know I can achieve this
Then too I can utilize my time in cat or should I go to to other opportunities

Saiessh Ch

Hello Akshita, first of all congrats for your admission into IIM A. How much should I score in Cat to get a call from the old IIM’S.
My profile
Class 10: 90.5%
Class 12: 92.9 6.42(Mech)