“In the last month, write 2 full-length mocks per week” – ARKS Srinivas on CAT 2014 Strategy

InsideIIM’s Weekly Test Prep Live Chat Series with ARKS Srinivas and the Vistamind Team continues. The Live Chat Series is aimed at guiding you towards your goal of cracking the top MBA exams coming up over the next few months(CAT, XAT and IIFT), and helping you every step of the way. Tune in at 6:00 pm this Saturday (11th October) for more Test Prep related gyaan on the Live Chat. Meanwhile, those of you who missed the last chat can read the abridged transcripts below.


Ashwin Ramesh  I am a qualified CA with average academic scores. Should I be giving NMAT ? Will it be worth considering NMIMS?

ARKS Srinivas Ashwin, I would ask you to write the top 4-5 MBA entrance exams. The decision to join or not can be taken once you have the offer in hand. Also, once you prepare well for CAT and XAT, all others would become easier.


AkhileshKumar Sir, I have to give CAT next year. I’m a 3rd year engineering student. I have very poor academic performance 10th – 76 % ..12th – 61. Im from Chhattisgarh but I’m doing B. Tech in Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology. No coaching institutes are present here in Sikkim. What should I do? Any books I can use for reference sir and What should I do for my bad academic record?

ARKS Srinivas Akhilesh, bad academics cannot be changed now. You can only work hard in this third year of yours and show some really good scores. This will help you a lot in interviews. VistaMind is offering online coaching for CAT 15. These are live classes taken by very experienced faculty. You can attend the complete CAT 15 course online. Mail to a.srinivas@vistamind.com for these classes. You can refer to Arun Sharma for Quant. Honestly, there are not many good books for Verbal and Logic.


Pratap Singh Rathore As CAT pattern is changed does giving previous year CAT papers will help or should I go for only new pattern mocks.

ARKS Srinivas Pratap, last year’s CAT can be taken for the sake of knowing about questions but not as a Mock. The pattern change is drastic hence it will be better if you practice keeping the upcoming CAT in mind.


Visakh Nair Sir, Could you please comment on the possible/expected split/number of questions of DI/LR/RCs as IIM Indore doesn’t disclose anything regarding this.

ARKS Srinivas In section 1, the split is expected to be 32 – 35 from Quant and the rest from DI. Same is the case in section 2 where 32 – 35 is from verbal and rest from logic. PnC is a vast topic. If you look at the previous questions from CAT, you will realize that almost all parts of PnC are covered.

Visakh Nair Handling the pressure at last days/at the time of test/towards the last minutes of test. Shall we get some insights from sir?

ARKS Srinivas Yes Visakh, we will have this discussion a week before on this forum.


Sagarwal Sir, which type of questions is asked pertaining to PnC? Can PnC be clubbed with other topics?

ARKS Srinivas Sagarwal, PnC as such is an independent topic. It goes along with probability. But the chances of it getting clubbed with other topics is very less


Bikash Sahoo Hi Sir, My academics are as follows 10th:95 12th:89.6 Btech-80% (up to 4th semester) . But I have some apprehensions about the extra-curricular part in my resume, those are next to nothing . Considering the case, do you think I can make it to older IIMs?

ARKS Srinivas Bikash, Your acads are excellent. do well in CAT and you stand a very good chance to be in the older IIMs.


Deepakram Hi Sir, roughly one and a half months to go. What should be my strategy?

ARKS Srinivas Deepakram, Write Full length mocks. About 2 per week. Analyze them. Revisit the chapters where you are making mistakes or leaving questions. Finalize your sequence of approaching the paper.


Hitesh Chawla Hi Sir, Do you believe the Quant section in CAT will be easier this year?

ARKS Srinivas Hitesh, not only Quant, but all sections will be relatively easier compared to last year. The fact that the number of questions have increased as compared to the increase in time tells you that CAT will be have more number of easier questions to pick and solve.


Samir Jyotishi Hi Sir, I have completed around 90% of the syllabus. But my Mock CAT scores fluctuate from 74-95.5. Is it possible to crack the CAT (99+) with just a month to go? If so what should be my strategy? I am working professional with 30 months of experience.

ARKS Srinivas Samir, you should aim to attempt 30 – 35 questions in the Quant + DI section and 40 – 45 in the VA + LR section. Are you near these attempt rates?


Samir Jyotishi Sir my attempt is around 25 with around 83% accuracy.

ARKS Srinivas Samir, you should increase the attempts to 35 in section one. I don’t think your accuracy is a problem if you can hit 35.


Sagarwal Hi Sir, as per your suggestion last time I started scoring in mocks but now I over attempt in one section and under attempt in one. How to tackle this?

ARKS Srinivas Sagar, you now have to look at the time breakup per section. I would say a simple analysis on time spent per question in the over attempt section would help your understand how many questions are solved by taking more than double the time you normally take. These questions are not to be attempted. Check for the past 2-3 mocks for this time spent on such questions.

Sagarwal I take 2-3 mins for longer QA questions, At least five mins for solving sets in DI. If I solve the set the questions become easier. VA section lags behind. I try to solve individual questions first and then go for passages but I end up leaving all passages. How to tackle this? I think my reading speed is low.

ARKS Srinivas Sagar, five mins for a full DI set is good enough. Try not attempting the longer QA questions. You cannot leave RC passages at any cost. Try doing RC first and individual questions later if time permits. This will increase the number of questions you attempt.


Hemanth Pawaskar Sir, as the number of questions is increasing what changes would you suggest in preparation, considering this is my second attempt.

ARKS Srinivas Hemanth, you should mainly practice on picking easy questions. This format of exam tests your ability to pick questions.


Deepa Sekhar Sir, I will be in the US for the next one month for a project. how can I ensure that preparation is not derailed? Should I forget this year’s CAT and focus on next year’s CAT? I am scoring in the low nineties (percentile).

ARKS Srinivas Deepa, it should not matter where you are. You should spend the daily quota of time that you have been spending till now without fail. Do not stop writing mocks. Ensure you write at least one mock a week. Leaving this year’s CAT is not a good idea. I would say give your best shot. Even this will count as a preparation for next year if this CAT fails.


Shashank jha Hi Sir, How can I improve my scores in DI part? I am missing cutoffs because of the same.

ARKS Srinivas Shashank, I would suggest start solving 5 sets per day for the next 10 days without fail. Keep 6 min as time limit per set for each of the 5 sets. But ensure that after the time limit is over, you finish the unattempted problems. This should help you increase your DI speed.


Deepakram Sir, In Quant What topics do you think are easy and I should focus on? And in Verbal, should I focus on RC first? I am not too comfortable with grammar and vocabulary type questions. In addition, Sir what books/magazines or newspapers should I read to improve my RC skills?

ARKS Srinivas Deepakram, the topics that are easy for me might not be easy for you. Easy / difficult is a relative term which changes from person to person. However, topics like percentages, proportions, Averages, Numbers and Geometry should not be left as these will have a good number of questions. Also, never leave RC. Focus on them first and to improve your RC skills you can begin with Hindu – especially their editorials and Economic times.


Parth Tawde Sir, Sorry to ask a non CAT query but with CMAT in the next few days what can be read so as to improve General Awareness?

ARKS Srinivas Parth, for General Awareness, you should be reading paper on a regular basis. At this last moment, you should at least have the latest updates in mind.


Deepa Sekhar Sir, Will working on programming improve my skills in LR? They are both Logical skills.

ARKS Srinivas Not really Deepa, unless you solve questions in LR, you will not get hang of the solving that needs to be done.


Nikhar Mattu Sir, my VA is stronger than my QA, I start with QA and I am never able to finish it before 100-110 mins and that gets me a net score of 50-60 whereas 60-70 min of VA gets me 80-90 marks, sometimes I have to leave an RC because of the time constraint but I fear if I do VA first I won’t be able to clear my QA cutoff. My attempts are 25-30 QA 40-45 VA. Suggestions for attempt order?

ARKS Srinivas Nikhar, Mocks are there for you to test various strategies. Don’t worry about messing around with your mocks. Next time try starting with English and see what happens. This is the time to be finalizing your strategy. Attempts should be 30-35 in section 1.

 Nikhar Mattu Also Sir, How to increase my QA speed? Sir, ideal no of mocks from now till CAT 15-20,20-25 ???

ARKS Srinivas Nikhar, you need to practice a lot of sectional tests for that. Take about a mock a week but more important is to analyze the mock.


Final note by Team InsideIIM: We would like to thank ARKSS Sir for his time. We will have him on out platform this Saturday (11th October 2014) at 6 pm. 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/

Read transcripts of the earlier Live Chats with ARKS and Team Vistamind here

Get a good CAT score and everything else becomes secondary– Nishant Priyadarshi

In Quant, spend 2 mins. If you are not close to the answer, skip – ARKS Srinivas

In the new CAT paper pattern, attempting more questions makes sense – ARKS Srinivas

It is a myth that only people with great work-ex and great academic records get into IIM Ahmedabad – ARKS Srinivas


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