From 75.91%ile To 99.15%ile In CAT 2016 – How I Did It

First of all, let me introduce myself.

I am Siddharth, an engineering grad from DDIT, Nadiad, working currently as a freelancer.

My journey of CAT had started way back in 2014 when I took CAT for the first time. It was an impromptu attempt and ended up scoring 58.13 percentile. After graduating in 2015, took CAT again with some preparations but could score a meagre of 75.91 percentile only. However, I then worked for 8 months and started preparing again for CAT’16. This was the time when major improvements came in my preparation plans, exam resources, exam strategies and the biggest was ‘attitude’. Starting with preparation plan, I had 5 months of time which had to be utilised in the best possible manner. I had divided the time frame into 3 sections of 2-2-1. The first two months were given to aptitude part and solving part, next two months for mocks, advanced level concepts, shortcuts applications, test-taking strategies and so on. Last month, I just referred to the mistakes made in last 4 months so that they don’t get repeated in the final CAT.

I will outline some guidelines regarding CAT which may be helpful to aspirants regarding mocks, resources, test-taking strategies, analysis etc.

For Verbal – Focus more on reading diverse content and comprehend better. Read novels, newspapers, articles etc. Refer websites like,, for content. READING is the key to ace verbal ability section. Practice RCs daily and know your lines of reasoning behind answers to types of questions such as title, inferences, tone, main idea etc. Focus on words like all, some, not, many, most, but, however, etc.

For DILR – Focus on right selection of sets, accuracy, mock to mock strategies of leaving and attempting. Take up national level mock series by CL or IMS or TIME and practice well. Don’t increase attempts without accuracy, it can cost huge.

For Quant – Just sticking to basics can seal the deal. Selection of questions is the key here. Identify your strengths and polish them. Work on your weak areas and convert them into strengths. Take more sectional tests here so as to know what you lack from a particular area.

Above all, do not compare your mock scores with your friends and get disheartened. Everyone has different speciality, different strength, a different way of thinking and a different way of performing. Just focus on yourself, improve yourself and stay happy.

Keep analysing mocks regularly which will ensure your progress in a right direction. Stay positive and hopeful till the end.

All the Best!




I had many calls this year but could convert scmhrd, dse only.
New iims and iim shillong are waitlisted as far as IIMS concerned


Graduation marks have consideration ranging from 5 to 15% at various IIMs and IITs.
Apart from it, shortlisting also includes some weight of graduation marks.


Books as such you can pick any institute’s material. TIME modules are good for quant and di lr. Arun Sharma is good for DI,quant. For verbal, only reading and mock RC can help. However, refer some websites like cracku and wordpandit for RC tips and VA tips.


For shortlisting, IIM Indore gives 40% to 10 and 36% to +2. Apart from Indore, other IIMs also have some weights for 10 and +2. Check admission criteria of various IIMs for more info.


I did not have a single old IIM call due to engineering background and academic scores of graduation. So, yes 10,+2,graduation scores are crucial.


For RC, you can refer where you find a combo of RC’s from GRE and GMAT. You can also refer websites like cracku,wordpandit, 2iim for RCs and VA. Other than that, keep reading articles from newspapers like the indepedent, the wsj, the NY times, the Huffington Post, the telegraph and so on.


There is nothing like cat level. CAT is unpredictable. It changes its difficulty level year on year. Practice past cat papers from 1990-2008 to understand the pattern where cat has moved on.

Avneet Khosa

Thankyou for valuable advice. I read editorials from The Hindu and recently started refering to wordpandit as well.Hope it will help ace verbal section to an extent 🙂


Frankly, I was not good at geometry on the whole. However, you can always do certain things which you are good at. Try knowing the properties related to lines, angles, triangle and circle, trapezium and so on. Properties knowledge and utilization of that in application will make geometry easier. Just know how the properties are used. Triangles and circles are a must as far as properties are concerned.
For parajumbles ,
Check noun pronoun appearances in sentences, check articles a, an , the in sentences describing something, check time frame like some years mentioned, check tenses like past, past perfect, future , check the activities in terms of reasoning, etc.. just understand the logic of solving pj. Daily solve 6-7 pj and understand your mistakes and correct them. Over a period of time , you will be on higher accuracy.
Practice them from all areas like science ,philosophy, politics, history and so on.


plz share your strategy june onwards — since i have started preparing now from the basics


See Tanya, it’s about how much time you can give to preparation. If you can give 16+ hours a week, then try finishing basics in June itself. So that, you can solve more and more in phase of July and August. Solving more on quant and di-lr will give you idea about how good and speedy you can be at your strengths. For verbal, nobody can assure anything because it depends on way of your interpretation and reasoning. Practice DiLR daily. RC’s too.
Give mocks and analyse them. 3 hours mock and 5-6 hours in analyzing.

ishan chourey

Hey Siddharth,
Your story was inspirational for me.
I have a doubt regarding the work experience. I have about 1 yr of experience (till june) and i am planning​to leave my job in July. Do you think it will affect my profile.
I scored 83.3 in CAT 16


Looking at your cat percentile I feel you can crack it with job too. If you can give 8-10 hours a week, do it with job. Please don’t leave job if you are not confident and even have little doubt over your efforts 🙂
Everyone has different mindset and different way of getting the things in life.

Ishan Shah

Hi Siddharth,
Congrats for scoring such good marks!!
I see your score to be appropriate for recieving calls from IIM I,L,K. Could you specify why you didn’t mange to get the same?


I will not stretch this long. IIM Indore gives heavy weightage to 10 and +2 so I don’t have that creme marks in 10 and +2. For Kozhikode and Lucknow, I think other candidates would have fulfilled their criteria more better than my acads and score 🙂
For more info, you can check their criteria for pgp 2017-19 admit.


In snap, I had scored 99.79% 86.xx marks. For gk, you refer CL’s PDFs which are available during September period. Try arranging them. Also refer some websites like jagranjosh as well. Apart from all that, newspapers are most helpful resource.

yash patel

Hi Siddharth,
I too did my B.Tech from DDIT (2012-16). My acads are – 10th – 92, 12th – 88 and grad – 6.52(with multiple backlogs). Looking at my acad , should I prep for CAT as I see less chances of getting a good B school admit ?


Your 10 and +2 are well balanced. Your grad score can keep you in trouble. You can try for exams like IIFT, SNAP where grads marks are not given that importance. Through CAT, you have chances for FMS since 85% weightage is to the CAT score. I am not sure about the calls you can get at such grad score but scoring 99.8+ can only work.

Shayan Zaman

Great performance buddy. What are your chances of converting the new IIMs based on last year waitlist movements? The reason I am asking is because I too have A low engineering GPA and am planning to give the cat another shot this year. Did you apply to MDI Gurgaon?


I will let you know the converts once the admission process gets completed at various institutes. If you are taking cat again, ensure you score 99.7-8+ to fetch a call from old IIM.

Vedant Hamirwasia

Hi Siddharth . Congrats on your score . I appeared for CAT 2016 and could only score a 72.2 percentile in the Verbal section because of which my Overall Percentile fell remarkably . What should be my strategy to get 99+ in Verbal this year ?


I don’t about how to get 99+ because I never targeted any percentile. All I ensured was to give the best shot. For verbal, I have mentioned the things in my answer above and in some comments also. Apart from that, you can refer my answers on quora as well.
One single tip would be READ, READ and READ alot.


Old IIMs will be possible above 99.5+ other than Indore. For IIM A, check your AR. If around 22-23 then 99.7-8+ for Ahmedabad. For Calcutta, 99.7+ should be sufficient.
Check the criteria later but main thing is percentile now. Bring the score first.


Hi Siddharth … my profile is 10th-85%,Diploma-67%,BTech(2015 passed out)-70%,had 9 months experience in Uber as a Consultant and presently working in CTS as a Developer,want to appear for CAT-17. Evn joined in TIME as well … could u plz tell me What are my chances of getting in old 7 iims/FMS?


Believe in yourself and your hard work. Score hefty for FMS and IIMs. Above 99.6+ ideally.
All the best.

Joydip Dutta

Hi Siddhartha, congratulations for your brilliant score at CAT.
My X -81.43% XII-74%graduation in mechanical engineering from private college 65%
My score for CAT 2016 is 86.42
I working for a year in marketing and sales for a dealer in pump Industry.
Do I stand any chance for getting into IIM ?
If then what should be I aiming at now?


Only single piece of advice is that you work hard. Live your dream by getting the score so that at least you get a token to enter GDPIWAT process at IiMS be it old or new. for old iims, you will have to score heavy seeing your background and academic grades.
All the best. Give ur cent percent.


I had attempted around 69 questions overall.
VA 29
DiLr 15
Quant 25
Accuracy overall 80-85%

Snap around 105 attempts. Accuracy 85-90%

pk ck

Hi Siddhartha, congratulations for your brilliant score at CAT.
I would to ask you two questions
1.) Are you a G.E.M ( General, Engineer, of course Male) ?
2.) How many and what are the colleges you have applied for other than IIMs and What are the other calls did you get other than IIMs ?


Yes, I am GEM 😀
I had applied to colleges such as sibm p, scmhrd, iift, nm, xlri and so on other than iims


Hey Siddharth, your post is pretty helping. I need some advice.
I am very weak with quants. Could you help in referring a book for quant please? do you think Arun sharma is more than enough?


Focus more on basics like basic formulas, properties, equations and how to apply them in various applications. Once you are thorough with basics and its applications, you are good to go for Arun Sharma. Solve more sectional tests to gain grip over a particular topic. Identify your strengths ,solve more and get the speed.


For basics, you can pick any institute’s basic modules in quant. You can also refer RS agarwal. Try giving more sectional tests on basics so that application of formulas becomes strong.

Swagat Reddy

hello siddharth,please tell how you prepared for GK section in snap…how many mocks have you written before snap..strategy of how you have taken snap2017….


For Gk, get CL’s PDF. do read newspapers daily. Snap is 150 questn test. Do not go with rigid mindset. See the paper and differentiate easy from tough questn. Decide your strengths and perform better in them. Keep the speed and accuracy the foremost. I had written 4 mocks for SNAP

Rushikesh Kavathekar

Hi here a student from gtu
I am having 50%marks in 12th and 86% in 10th continuing my engg degree 7.20 upto 7th sem ,which colleges can i target to get admission ,which exam should i take?

Kanika Madan

Hey siddharth,
I am an mba aspirant and my academics score are 9.2 goa in 10th and 91 percent in class 12 what are my chances to get a good b school and how uch percentile is needed


It solely depends on what efforts you put now.
Your academics are well set. Next milestone for you is to score decent. Post which your next milestone would be clearing GD PIs. Hope you understand the logic behind dividing this journey into milestones. Push yourself to all extents and go aggressive on preparation. You can refer my answers on quora for more queries 🙂
All the Best

Vikash Singh

First of all ..congrats to u sir…sir i appeared in cat 16 …and my percentile is 61 …93 in quant and 72 in lrdi and only 14 in verbal….i start working on my rc …but i don’t know whether i’m doing it in the right way or not …so please suggest me that what should i do on regular basis in these remaining 4 that at least i can get 85 plus in verabal section


For verbal, read a lot and apply proper reasoning to choose an answer. Work in reverse manner which is to eliminate the options and close down to 2 options. Now apply close reasoning in terms of context, grammar, tone and read options twice.

kushak thakkar

Here is LDCE pass out electrical engineer working in torrent power i am refering whole endeavour material plus cat snap xat iift paper solution of Career launcher and for quant arun sharma Lod 1 2 for Lr also arun sharma di depend upon past paper and va rc past paper plus NL plus ims rc 100 rc 99 book after that I am planning to take ims 30 full plus 30 sectional test Am i going right?


practising is a good thing but make sure the applicability of what you are doing gets reflected in mocks. The sources are just the means of settling your momentum for the CAT. However, analyzing the mocks is of the utmost importance as of now. Do practice 4-5 RCs a day and take sectional tests for quant and DILR to improve the selection and accuracy.

Anil Baby

My plus two marks is little low(67%). And am from engineering background. Do i have a fair chance to get into one of the IIMS? And one more thing. I wont be able to spend whole time for CAT. My planning was like 3hrs on weekdays and 6-8 on sat & sun. Is this ok?

Shilpa Thakur

I have decent academic record 93% in 10th, 91% in 12th and 82% in grad (physics hons) but i am not getting a consistent score in mocks. What will be a safe cat score for me to get a call from old iims? I am quite worried


You have stellar acad scores. Around 93-95+ should suffice to get majority of the calls. Try focussing on getting the things in right place as of now rather than worrying for scores. Do as many mistakes as you can , in mocks. Post which you will refrain from repeating those if you analyze the mocks threadbare.

Mayur Jungi

thanks sid for sharing this info of ours. I am starting to prepare for CAT from a scratch and I bet this will serve as torch for my path.