[Studyplan] CAT 2012 (Common Admission Test): Booklist, Strategy, Tips, How to Get more than 95 Percentile by maintaing diary of mistakes

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Before starting CAT preparation or dreaming to get admission in IIMs, one must take three oaths.

Paheli Kasam [First Oath]

There are two types of CAT aspirants.

  1. Those who’re sharp in maths so they just keep doing maths 24/7 because it feels “good“, but don’t touch the English portion. (Vocabulary, Sentence Correction, Reading Comprehension)
  2. Those who’re weak in maths (myself included), so they just keep doing maths 24/7 in hope to master it.

Both approaches are wrong – CAT is not made up of maths only. There exists a section II (30 questions) on English! So be well prepared for both.So you first oath must be:
I’ll prepare well for both sections and won’t become a quant-maniac..

Dursi Kasam [Second Oath]

From Auguest to November, Most CAT aspirants donot prepare GK, Current affairs, group discussion or profile based interview questions.
They wait until they recieve the interview calls from IIMs and other assorted MBA factories. This is second mistake, you start preparing for GDPI only in January-February and your interview is in March – you cannot do justice to every topic in such a short time. So daily newspaper reading, business GK etc is must throughout the year. And by Newspapers, I mean The Hindu or Indianexpress only.
Second Oath:
I’ll read newspapers Daily. + I’ll note down the difficult words in a diary to expand my vocabulary.

Teesri Kasam [Third Oath]

Many CAT aspirants start feeling guilty and insecure because of their pathetic scores in 10,12 and college graduation, lack of extra curricular certificates, no work experiance etc.etc.etc. It affects their performance indirectly, during the interview. You must remember that there are people who get admissions in IIMs, despite all of above shortcomings. (Just try to score as high as you can in CAT, to compensate whatever few marks you’re loosing the “profile-weightage” and be thoroughly prepared for GDPI.) If your 10,12 and graduation marks are bogus, you cannot go back in time machine and fix it. So please stop feeling guilty or inferior for that.
And thus, the third and final Oath:
I shall not feel guilty about myself for whatever I’ve done or haven’t done.
Now talking about the CAT booklist and strategy. Google search will throw up all the “ideal strategies” for CAT preparation, but many of them are just ‘ideal but impractical‘.
So here I’m sharing my “ragtag” strategy for CAT success (or atleast getting 95+ percentile), based on my misadventures in CAT-2011.

  1. I did not do this for CAT
  2. But I did this for CAT
  3. Finally My CAT result

The Beginning

I gave first CAT in 2011 and was totally (and that means totally) lame in aptitude stuff.
Just 4-months of preparation and coaching from TIME: 2 hours lectures, 3 days per week. (Not a fan of coaching myself but given the short amount of time before exam and absolutely no idea about how to prepare for CAT, I had no choice.)


I did not

The so called “ideal strategies” on google, prescribe following but I didnot do any of it.

  • I Didnot read any philosophy books, novels for “Reading Comprehension” practice. (there is hardly any time left to breath, let alone browse through Alchemist and similar stuff)
  • I Didnot prepare any dictionary / list for vocabulary.
  • I Didnot try any method for ‘speed-reading’.
  • Had totally bogus AIMCAT scores 6, 9 etc, never did ‘post-analysis’ of questions and later stopped giving them altogether, as they were wasting my time and hurting my confidence.
  • Skipped trigonometry, coordinate geometry, games n tournaments and any topic that I couldn’t grasp on first two tries or anything that wouldnot go in my long term memory.
  • Didnot do much arithmatic series and logarithm. because most of them would require application of some special ‘magic-move’, which won’t go my long term memory.
  • Am still confused about Chinese remainder theorem.
  • Skipped most of Pagalguy quant/LR threads & discussions. (Well most of their sums go above my head anyways.)
  • Can’t do much speed-maths or mental calculation of percentages for DI/Quant.
  • Can’t solve most quant-problems without filling up half page+ calculation: Was scolded many times by the coach that I use pen ‘too-much’ for CAT standards.
  • Don’t know squares upto 50.
  • Can remember multiplication table upto 25, but 13,14,17,18,19,23 still give nightmares.

But I did

  • I did solve Arun Sharma’s book on Quantitive Aptitude (TMH publication) (done twice)
  • I did solve and Sarvesh Kumar’s Quantam CAT (Arihant Publication) (done twice)
  • I did solve Demystifying Number System by Nishit K Sinha (Pearson Publication). (done twice)
  • I did read Word power made easy by Norman Louis (not done twice, only once.)
  • I did all questions from booklets & handouts given from the coaching class (done twice).
  • Please note: IF you’re not a student of TIME coaching class, you can still get their study material at a very convinient price from Flipkart. Here is the link: http://www.flipkart.com/author/time
  • I noted down the methods of solving questions (weight-misuse by shopkeeper, allegation etc) from them and kept revising the ‘moves’.
  • Last 15 days before exam: only did online sectional tests @TIME website. (not Aimcats).
  • Even in those online sectional-tests, I would get Quant/DI/sentence correction answers incorrect most of the time, but it taught me the hard way about :
  • which questions to attempt and what to skip altogether because you get in wrong everytime (sentence correction in my case)
  • and which questions take too much time to solve (LR sitting arrangement, DI graphs in my case).
  • Also whenever and wherever I solved any question (be it maths or english grammaer), If I made mistake or had trouble solving it, then I would note it down in my “diary of mistakes for future revision.
  • Similarly I would note down the difficult words I came across during daily-newspaper reading and find their meaning using a free software called “Wordweb” – and noted down those meanings in a diary.
  • Total 3 full-scape notebooks filled up in this exercise. 2 for maths, 1 for English grammar & vocabulary. Kept revising it in last days.

CAT arun qntqqantamcatqqantamcatnumber systemword power

My CAT result Score card

Finally My CAT-2011 result

  • I got overall 96.00 percentile : Attempt 44/60
  • QA: 90.41 : Attempt 17/30
  • VA: 97.05 : Attempt 27/30
  • Anyways 96 percentile feels good only for a few days – bragging in front of friends and relatives, otherwise 96 is as bogus as 55 percentile – can’t get you admission / interview call in any big IIMs. (Especially when you don’t have those fancy paper certificates to prove work-ex and extra-curricular activities and no good marks in 10, 12th and college and GDPI turns into a fish market.) So try to work harder than I did.

My articles on “Aptitude Made Easy without Formulas” can be accessed by clicking ME
All the best to all CAT aspirants of 2012.
Flipkart.com buy books for IAS,IBPS,CAT,CMAT with discount!

Indian History Freedom Struggle Pratik Nayak

236 Comments on “[Studyplan] CAT 2012 (Common Admission Test): Booklist, Strategy, Tips, How to Get more than 95 Percentile by maintaing diary of mistakes”

    1. Sir my maths isnot good as i prepare for verbal pehaps performing pathetic in every aimcat as my score 4,5,6 and in maths i score( -) minus marking giw to prepare well for cat14?

  1. sir

    i m appearing for CAT 2014,,i m taking dis exam for d first time..plz gv me some guideline so dat i can prepare myself well for dis exam in d given short period of time…

    thank u

  2. Sir, I want to know about 1person who told us he has cleared CAT exam with 99.48% in 2011 or 2012,
    Now he run the classes and because of his score lots of students join his class.
    What should i do sir?
    Where can i go for this?
    Please help me..

  3. Dear Mate

    I dont want to brag about on how to prepare and all.
    I just salute you and from bottom of my heart I feel great for what your doing in throwing light into the path for many average students like me and what you have written itself is enough to instill hope and material being added advantage its really resourceful and helpful.

    Thank you

  4. How do I start preparing for CAT exam 2015 right from the basics? What are the important aspects I should focus on when preparing for the same?

  5. What are the important aspects I should focus on when preparing for cat exam ?
    and from which books should i study for cat ?
    i mean best books for cat

  6. 1) I study Maths in 1st and 2nd year of Bsc. IT only. I got degree certificate like this
    Degree certificate : Bachelor of Science In INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY.

    In UPSC CSE 2015 Online form filling, There is no option to select above one.
    Either Select OTHER or Select mathematics as one subject in my graduation.

    2) IN UPSC CSE 2015 form
    Name: (As per matriculation certificate)
    My 10th and 12th marksheet name KRISHNA RAJESHKUMAR PATEL
    What to write in NAME row?

    Please guide
    Thanks and Regards,
    Krishna Patel

  7. sir I have got 89.8% in 10 , 84.8% in12 and 80% in bsc(pcm). are these %es of marks enough to get into a good iim? with a good score in cat.

  8. Sir, I am average in Quant portion, but I believe I do well in my V.A portion but i am not able to score good marks in Online test. This daunts me. On an average my overall score never reaches more than 45-50 (except for once, that i scored 89) This scares me because one needs to score at least 100+ marks in CAT to score around 94%ile. I find myself weak in LR & DI. Plz help me enhance my overall score.

  9. Sir I want to crack CAT 2015 with the maximum score & I am ready to work 24*7 for it….sir suggest me the books & how to prepare it,I am not too good in maths & English to but ya i am an avg. Student

  10. sir I am a philosophy(hon) student. BT I want to do MBA in one of the IIMs. I want to crack CAT..plz tell me CAT will be tough for me or not?? I am ready to do all the hard work

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