CAT 2016 – The Dos And Must Dos

It’s that time of year again when every newspaper, website and blog opens up its box of cat-themed puns. So let’s get done with that first – “Belling the CAT”, “Getting the CAT into the bag”, “There’s more than one way to skin the CAT”, “How to be the CAT that gets the canary”. With that out of the way, let’s begin with the annual pre-CAT sermon.

CAT 2016 is now about 2 months away. At this point of time, most aspirants fall into two categories. The ones in the first category go on Quora and ask questions on how to prepare for CAT in two months. The ones in the second category are generally done with the basics.

Let’s pretend that you fall into the second category. And you still have a bunch of questions.


I have finished the initial prep for CAT. How do I go about revising it? 

If there are any sections which you feel you need to study from scratch, first check their approximate weightage in the previous papers. Only if it can be justified by a higher weightage should you take it up.

When making a revision schedule, try to match it up with your problem areas, and their respective weightage in the past CAT exams. For example, if you think you need more practice in Numbers, the focus of which is generally higher, prioritise it. If you have a problem in Trigonometry, the weightage for which is very low, either schedule it for the very end or skip it. The payoff for practising Trigonometry is not enough to justify devoting too much time to it. The same can be extrapolated to any subject you might be weak in.

Of course, the best way to revise is via practice. So pick up any question paper set from the past and solve the questions. You must’ve joined some test series (if you haven’t, then please do), so practice the questions from them. Any questions you aren’t able to solve, bug your teacher. If you don’t have one, put the wonderful power of the internet to the test. There are a bunch of forums where people would be happy to help.


How do I improve my scores in the exams?

One technique that could be used when solving the questions during the mocks is to rate the questions. Go through all the questions in the section as soon as the exam starts, and classify them into Level 1, 2 or 3 depending on how difficult they seem, either to read (questions being too wordy) or understand (logic seems to be too convoluted). Make sure this is done within the first 5 min; you don’t want to go about wasting too much time just to classify questions. Once this is done, straight away solve all the Level 1 questions. If you’ve found even 5 of such questions, that should be enough to give you the initial confidence to tackle the next. Progress through Level 2 and then on to the Level 3’s. This way the chances of missing out on an easy question because you ran out of time would reduce.

Your focus should be on increasing the accuracy. After every exam, you’ll always find a smartass going on about how they could only answer 22 out of the 23 questions asked. They’re so doomed and what not. They might very well be. Even if you answer all the questions asked, without accuracy they’re worthless. Accuracy can only be improved by practice. So if you aren’t able to solve all the questions, that’s perfectly ok as long as the ones you answer are correct.

Also, if you’re the smartass mentioned above, just stop. People are already at an edge, you don’t want to push them over, do you?


Ok. So I am done with my revisions. I go for the mock tests as well. What else can I do?

For the next two months, the most important thing would be to take your mock exams very seriously. Which you are doing, so kudos. After every mock exam, take about an hour of your time and analyse the paper. Identify the weak areas, focus on them, and improve upon them. As stated before, the aim should be to not only answer more questions but also increase your accuracy.

Ideally, all the revisions and the mock-test taking should be in tandem with your performance in each, which would affect the focus of your revision sessions.


I am a working professional. I don’t have the time to do all this. Do you have a better suggestion?

I’m sorry, but you have to make time. You get a few extra points for your work-ex, so you’ll have to pay the price for the extra consideration given. I know your boss is probably your biggest enemy right now, but power through it. Cut down on your weekend parties (Yes, everyone knows about them). If your commute allows it, revise a bit while commuting. Keep a small book of formulae and tips-n-tricks handy. Read it whenever you get the time.

One very important thing for you is to start thinking about that “sibling’s wedding” that you have to attend or “illness” you’ll suffer from right about December 4th (Yes, I am alluding to the 2-3 weeks of leave you will take before the exams). If it’s an “illness”, then that can be brought about all of a sudden. If it’s a “wedding”, you have to drop enough hints about how excited you are, and also secure the necessary permissions for the leaves. Do it according to whatever the HR policies at your workplace mandates. And good luck convincing that boss of yours!


I think you’re a hack. All of your “solutions” are common sense based. Why should I listen to you?

Of course, these are all common sense based. You didn’t expect the recipe to a miracle potion, did you? CAT does test your common sense. So if you figured these answers all by yourself, then congrats! You do possess the minimum competency level for clearing this exam. Don’t celebrate too much, though. Get back to your studies.

The next two months would determine a lot of where your career is headed in the future. You have a chance of getting into some of the premier B-schools in the country in the future. Don’t squander it. Study well. And next year you could be the one doling out this gyaan. Good luck and see you on the other side.


About the Author:


Rini is a first-year PGPM student at IIM Trichy. She has worked at Cognizant for 2.5 years  She is a core member of FinvesT, the finance club at IIM Trichy. She is an avid reader and loves music and movies.