“In Quant, Spend Maximum 2 mins. If you are not close to the answer. Skip” – ARKS Srinivas, CEO Vistamind

InsideIIM conducted a Live chat with ARKS Srinivas. The session was aimed at solving users’ doubts regarding preparation strategies, CAT 2014 pattern and profile related queries

For those of you who don’t have enough time to read the entire transcript, we are summarizing some of his best responses to the questions posed by our users….


Hitesh Chawla: Hi Sir. I am facing problems in the data interpretation questions. What can I do to improve my performance in this section.

ARKS Srinivas: DI in CAT has been a lot more Traditional over the last four days. Hence, your calculation speed matters. Spend time on Speed Math and also the traditional – Tables, PI Charts and Bar Charts – In each week, solve at least 10 sets of DI.


Ankur Aggarwal: Sir,currently i m a student of engineering studying in 4th year….my quant part is quite good,but the English part is very poor..can u suggest the way by which i may be able to improve my VA part in next 2 months..thanks.

ARKS Srinivas: The reason for English being poor is probably because you do very little reading. What I would suggest is this – Make sure that you spend at least 30 minutes on Reading a Newspaper including the Editorial of the Same. Also, make sure that you add 5 to 10 words into your kitty daily. Lastly, take sectional tests on VA and RC on a regular basis – and analyse every question ! It will help !


Akash Udani: Hello Sir… I would like to ask you how important is past academic record while getting selected into an IIM or any other top B school, say FMS or IIFT.. I am asking because my 10th,12th and degree percentages are not so great..However I have a workex of over 2 years..If I do get a good score in CAT, is it possible to get into these top B schools?

ARKS Srinivas: While the past academic record is important, the written test is far more important!. So take heart from the same !


Rohit Baheti:  Sir, this is my 3rd attempt at CAT. I declined admission to SPJIMR and IIM Indore Mumbai campus previously. I want to only go to old 6 IIMs. My percentile has been 95+ always but selection criteria keeps changing. What should be my strategy this year? Should I look at GMAT? I will have more than 24 months exp now so should I apply to ISB?

ARKS Srinivas: If you have been getting 95%ile plus consistently, then it is just a matter of couple more questions every time you have written the exam. However, 24 months is just about the right experience to have to get into the IIMs and probably too early to get into ISB or GMAT based US/European Institutes.


Shashank Jha: Hi Sir, I am strong in quants and DI and I am able to manage the RC part of verbals – because it is quite logical. But i find it difficult to deal with vocab and grammar. Can you give me a strategy for vocab and grammar?

ARKS Srinivas: In VA – there are basically three areas – (1) Para Jumbles and Para Completion (2) Vocab based – Usage, FIB, others (3) Grammar. The first two are still logical (with a bit of Vocab) Whereas for Grammar – the main areas you have to work on are a. Subject Verb Agreement b. Prepositions c. Verbs and Phrasal Verbs d. Modifiers – Please do 100 questions of each of these areas!


Prateek Jha: Sir..i m now in 3rd year btech CS from MIT manipal…but i already started preparation in 2nd yr….i m almost done with basics…with quant,lr and RC being my strength…my profile is 10th-84.6,12th-76.4,btech-7.5cgpa till 4th sem..sir how much percentile i need to get into top 5 bussiness school…and should i settle for any thing less than top 5…my 1st eligible attempt is in CAT 2015.

ARKS Srinivas: Good questions – but too early to answer. You should Write CAT and then look at your performance! and then take decisions for future. For now, the aim should be IIMs!


Ronak Vora: On what criteria does IIM-B give  a call ?

ARKS Srinivas:  IIMB criteria is clear. They take a minimum of 90%ile in CAT but then look at your Acads and Work-ex. There are points given for acads marks as well as CAT marks. The aggregate is taken for a final list.


Deepakram: Hi Sir, should we leave out topics like Permutations, combinations and probability? I find these topics a bit difficult.

ARKS Srinivas: At this stage – close to 100 plus days – you should not leave the topic. There are always easy questions from difficult chapters too! Somewhere closer to CAT and after serious work/effort if you still don’t get the marks in those topics, then may be you can skip them then.


Prateek Jha: One of my senior was telling that accuracy is more important than attempting more questions..is it true?

ARKS Srinivas: It is true only when ONE attempts – say 50 questions – and then gets 70%+ accuracy. Else, anyone who attempts 20 or 25 questions and then goes for accuracy will be doomed. So, while the basic idea is right – WHAT is NOT said is that – GIVEN a No of ATTEMPTS – Accuracy is better. NOT when the attempts are not good enough to fetch you a basic score. 10 Right and 0 wrong < 20 C & 10 Wrong.


Ashrith Ananthashayana: Sir,What should be the strategy for Cat 2014? Should it be completely based on accuracy where your attempts will be less with 100% accuracy or taking risks if you are able to eliminate 2 options is OK, where your attempts might be more but you may not be confident that all your risks may be correct?

ARKS Srinivas: It has to be a combination of both. What matters finally is the OVERALL MARKS.


Manwith Shoes: Sir, looking for a strategy to remember words. I recognize a lot of words and phrases, but its hard for me to remember their meanings and relate then practically ! Please help me. Can I build a decent vocab enough to tackle CAT in 3 months ?

ARKS Srinivas: YES you can. Don’t try to mug up too many. Over the next 100 days improve your diction by just about 500 words. If you have already done WORD POWER MADE EASY – by Norman Lewis, I recommend – All About Words by Rosenblum and Nurenberg.


Arihant Jain: Sir what is best way to get admission to FMS delhi , i mean for admission in FMS delhi what we need other than high CAT percentile?

ARKS Srinivas: The higher the CAT percentile – the better chances to get into FMS. This year, the lowest CAT percentile that got in (including Wait List) was around 98.8 percentile.


Saurabh Singh: I left job last year in July for UPSC preparation. I have ICSE board class X % 94.7 and 12 % 93.5 and also CGPA of 9.3 from IITK .graduated in 2012. unemployed (preparing for UPSC) since July 2013. one year job experience. Do i have any chance of getting into IIM?

ARKS Srinivas: Please write CAT 2014 for sure. You have an excellent chance. Get in touch with me on arkss@vistamind.com and I can guide you!


Deepakram: Sir how much time should I spend on a Maths question before deciding to move on if I am unable to crack it…

ARKS Srinivas:  Max of 2 minutes. If you are not close to the answer. Skip


Arihant Jain: Sir does having CFA L1  help during PI of old IIMs ?? (though i belong to engg )

ARKS Srinivas: NO – won’t cut ice unless you have a good CAT percentile and decent academics.


Sambeet Malik: It is said that question in each section will be increased to 50….IN VA from where is the additional 20 questions coming from?

ARKS Srinivas:  If the news report is true – then, instead of say 9 questions in RC – it may go up to 15/18; also for Para jumbles – it may be 7/8 ; similarly more of Vocab!


Siddharth Verma: Gud Evening Sir, Apart from Hindu Which Newspaper would u recommend out of HT and TOI ?

ARKS Srinivas: I recommend “The Mint”.


Cat Aspirant: Sir inspite of reading The Hindu daily, I am unable to solve RCs. I completely understand The Hindu editorials but can not comprehend the RCs given in mocks. Please advise.

ARKS Srinivas: Reading The Hindu does help. And it will help over a period of time. Do not lose hope. Also, please take sectional tests – say ONE every two days with complete analysis.


Arihant Jain: Sir during cat form they only ask for no of months of work ex , Is quality of work ex also play an imp role for final convert for old iims ? If quality plays a very imp role ..then what role/job/work ex we need to improve quality of our experience ?

ARKS Srinivas: Quality becomes critical at Interview time.  Even if you are in say TCS – a BA role will get more value than say a Testing Role!


Prateek Aggarwal: Sir, what is the best way to prepare for general knowledge? Any book?

ARKS Srinivas:  my best advice is this – Read the Newspaper for 30 minutes everyday!


Final note by ARKS Srinivas sir: Thank you InsideIIM.


Final note by Team InsideIIM: We would like to thank ARKSS Sir for his time. We hope to get him on our platform again soon. Till then you can keep following him here vistamind.insideiim.com. To solve questions live on InsideIIM along with hundreds of other aspirants go here: http://insideiim.com/admissions/



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