The resources which I used were

  1. Online material
  2. Arun Sharma Books
  3. Mock Cats

Week 1:

In the first week of preparation, I brushed up the concepts in Quant. I used online notes for this and sometimes used my 10th and 12th standard books to refer.

Week 2:

From the second week onwards, I solved one question paper every day . I had made it a habit. I solved either previous year or mock cats. This was particularly useful as I was familiar with almost all the question types by the time of real CAT.

When you practise at home that too timed, it gives you the confidence to take on CAT just like any other mock exam and keeps you stress free which is absolutely important .

Week 3:

I had figured out that logical reasoning was my forte and DI was my weakest area. So from the third week onwards, I spent more time in solving DI questions.

As said earlier, I had resigned my job and so that meant I had nothing to do except preparing for CAT (wrote GRE and TOEFEL also in these 1.5 months).

So life was becoming monotonous and I realised that after the first week itself. So I thought full time preparation is not a good idea as it puts a lot of stress on you.

So I had to find a way to manage stress. I signed up for yoga classes and attended 3 classes in a week. Doing yoga helped me to focus on the studies as well as helped me remain fit in spite of eating a lot of junk food.

Week 4+:

Addition to that, I returned to my old hobby of painting and sketching. So whenever I was bored of studying, I took time out for my hobby. This strategy made those 1.5 months fun.

When I started taking mock cats, my scores were pathetic starting with 65 percentile. I analyzed my performance each time and focused on areas where I was weak.

I focused on two or three areas at a time and made sure I crack all the questions in that area in the next mock cat. Gradually my percentiles increased t0, 70, 75, 85 and finally to over 90.

So my advice here is that don’t be disheartened even if the mock cat scores are low. Use mock cats as a tool to improve yourself and you will see your score increasing.

So this is the overview of my strategy to crack CAT 🙂

Subjects
Verbal + Quant = Aptitude Index
Number System , Theorem of Divisibility, Highest Power in a factorial
Remainder System, Progressions
Averages, Alligations, Percentage
Profit and Loss, Percentage, Partnership Theory, Laws of Indices, Equations
Time and Work, Time, speed, distance, Geometry
Permutation and Combination, Probability

Rajat Jain, 100%ile CAT 2015. 99.99 DI/LR; 99.98 Quant

This is the question which haunts a lot of people, but actually it’s really simple to see. There are four cases: –

Good at Maths & VA: – You can prepare for CAT in 3-4 months, start in July/August and give a study time of 3-4 hours on weekdays and 7-8 hours on weekends religiously. (No distractions during the study time)

Good at Maths only: – Prepare in 6 months time. You need to put in extra effort on VA. Start your preparation around March/April and give a study time of 3-4 hours on weekdays and 7-8 on weekends religiously.

Good at VA only: – Start preparing 9 months in advance. Around Dec/Jan is the ideal time. Same study time.

Not good at either: – Start preparing 1 year early. Preferably in September/October the previous year. Same study time.

Why only maths have an edge? Because practically DI is nothing but quant + speed + logic(little bit). Hence because of 2 sections strong, maths people (read engineers :p) have an edge.

If you are appearing for CAT 2016: –

Build a strong vocabulary. This comes in handy during RC passages in CAT. The best way to do that is to learn frequent words as provided in various books for CAT preparation. For eg. Arun Sharma has high/medium/low frequency words. Learn all the high frequency ones at least, most of the medium frequency and leave the low frequency words (unless you have a lot of time and nothing else to prepare).

Also, read The Hindu editorials (hard copy reading, their app doesn’t have full articles), Quartz, Scroll, The Economist articles and The Indian Express editorials. (Best way is to read is to subscribe all the channels on Play Newsstand, and download scroll app).

If you are planning to appear for CAT 2017: –

Build a strong vocabulary by reading as much as you can. This will give you a lot of time for preparing important topics during the last 6 months. You can begin with reading The Hindu editorials (hard copy reading, their app doesn’t have full articles), Quartz, Scroll, The Economist articles and The Indian Express editorials. (Best way is to read is to subscribe all the channels on Play Newsstand, and download scroll app).

Also, write on topics related to whatever fields you are interested in. Economics, Politics, Sports, History etc.. Read and form opinions, and learn to express your opinions in a convincing manner. (This will be great in writing skills after CAT)

Solve Sudoku/Kakuro daily. I personally solve more than 5 sudokus everyday. I will recommend this as the best website Billions of Free Sudoku Puzzles to Play Online or through their app on playstore for phones but any app will work fine. Solve hard puzzles or increase your level slowly and try top be in top 5-7% of solvers. Don’t use pencil or checks or guess work, only logic.

Sidenote: – CAT is an examination which checks your temper and aptitude. So, someone who has prepared for a week and appeared for the examination and manages to keep his calm for the next 3 hours of examination will be able to score better than someone who flusters as soon as he is not able to solve 2-3 questions.

It all paid off finally. 🙂 Just comment if you have any queries related to anything I can help.

What worked for me: I went through the official GMAT guides (both the comprehensive and quant) doing all quant questions. I used a stop watch (iPhone) to record my time on each question. I reviewed the ones I got wrong and the ones that took >120 seconds regardless of result. I redid each of these questions and iterated on this process until I felt comfortable. I was extremely disciplined and followed a constant routine.

In the meantime, I worked through the Manhattan GMAT topical guidebooks (which are fairly cheap as a set – I will sell you mine, PM me).

I took a practice exam every week or two up until test date and tracked my scores by type and difficulty of question. It really helps with motivation to see improvement.

I took the GMAT once.

My three (four) keys to doing well:

1. Pacing is absolutely critical. If you cannot finish each section with a bit of time to spare you will not score well. Once I got the pacing down it all kind of came together for me. With practice you’ll develop an internal clock that will tell you you’re over your time limit on a particular question (I became remarkably accurate at feeling the 120th second pass). You must be willing to give up questions when you’ve gone over your time. The way the test works, you can get ~40% incorrect and still score extremely well so long as you follow my next point.

2. Don’t get the easy questions wrong. Your score is based on the difficulty of the questions you’re getting right/wrong, not necessarily the quantity of correct answers. If you can get all the easy/moderate level questions correct (and some of the hard ones) you will do very well. Eliminate your silly mistakes and you’ll see your score shoot up.

3. Learn the tricks. The GMAT quant section is just a series of trick questions. The writers are fairly lazy and use the same tricks again and again but in different context, so they can be tough to spot. If you do enough practice problems you’ll figure out the tricks and problems that first took you five minutes to solve will take 30 seconds (the Manhattan GMAT guidebooks really helped here). This is knowledge that is absolutely useless in the real world.

(4. Do not consume any alcohol within a month of the exam.)

This may not be the most “efficient” way, but it worked for me and it was very inexpensive (as compared to the classes which can cost >$1,000 — which is *almost* as crazy as hiring an MBA admissions consultant).

However, don’t expect to find shortcuts in preparation. Unless you already spend your free time doing high school math problems you will need to practice. It won’t be “thousands” of hours, but it also won’t be “a dozen.” So get used to it.

For verbal…I don’t know. Read Crime and Punishment cover to cover and you’ll do fine.

Finally – I would set your goal at 750 instead of 700. 700 is rather pedestrian when dealing with top 20 schools. If you aim high you can miss and still be OK. Hell, shoot for 800.*

Sabarinath Warrier, scored 99.7+ three times (XAT 2011-2013).

You’ll need the following.

A good vocabulary & reading comprehension. Learn to read fast. Learn new words every day. This takes time to build, but once you have, half your work is done. XAT questions(even quant questions) use a lot more ‘language’ than the other B-School entrance tests.

Speed. One needs to be able to solve 90 problems in 2-2.5 hours. Believe me, each one of those is a ten minute problem. Your best allies in this area are: Confidence, speed reading, and ability to do fast mental math, especially approximations.

The second and third are obvious, but where confidence comes in is- you might have the fastest brain in the whole world, but if you keep re-checking your answers to be sure, trust me you’re going nowhere with XAT. Plus, confidence helps you take risks.

You’ll need that too. Make educated guesses. Eliminate options, and if it comes down to one out of two, guess. Odds are still in your favour. Attempt as many as you can. I had over 90% attempts in all the years. Make sure you’re attacking the test, not defending yourself in the examination hall.

Stay calm. Never panic. A little adrenalin is okay, but stay calm. Breathe, do yoga/pranayam/tai chi or whatever shit you need to do, but get your shit together. Do not fuss too much over one question or section. Manage your time well.

Be good. Be honest. Do the right thing. See both sides of any story. Be mature. Remember “for the greater good”. Aaand you’ll be through the dreaded decision making. XAT is tuned towards selecting a certain kind of people(rather, people with certain kind of thinking). And for a bloody good reason. And again, always move fast.

That’s all I can think of now.I’ll update if I can think of anything else. PS: The thing about XAT is that everyone thinks it is difficult. And that’s exactly why its easy to crack.

  1. Release of Advertisement – end of July
  2. Online Registration for CAT – August and September month
  3. Admit Card Download Window – End of october till exam day
  4. Test date – First week of December
  5. Release of results – tentatively 2nd week of January

Eligibility for CAT

The candidate must hold a Bachelor’s Degree, with at least 50% marks or equivalent CGPA or 45% for special category

Candidates appearing for the final year of Bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification examination and those who have completed degree requirements and are awaiting results can also apply

After CAT what next?

Each IIM shall send interview letters to the shortlisted candidates. Shortlisting criteria for different institutes is diferent. The process may include Written Aptitude Test, Group discussion and Personal Interview.

  1. Ahmedabad
  2. Amritsar
  3. Bangalore
  4. Bodh Gaya
  5. Calcutta
  6. Indore
  7. Jammu
  8. Kashipur
  9. Kozhikode
  10. Lucknow
  11. Nagpur
  12. Raipur
  13. Ranchi
  14. Rohtak
  15. Sambalpur
  16. Shillong
  17. Sirmaur
  18. Tiruchirappalli
  19. Udaipur
  20. Visakhapatnam

CAT will have three sections:

  1. Section I: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
  2. Section II: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
  3. Section III: Quantitative Ability

Questions are of MCQ and non MCQ type and there are equal marks for all. But non MCQ type questions don’t have negative marks.

3 marks are allotted for each correct answer and -1 for wrong answers. No marks are given to unanswered questions.

CAT does not disclose the syllabus or the format of the questions

XLRI conducts XAT on behalf of the XAMI. For more than 60 years XLRI is conducting XAT at all India level to select the most appropriate students for management education. The XAT score is being used by more than 100 institutes for the admission.

Application Date Starts (Cost of Form: INR 1600) –> Middle August

Downloading of Admit Cards –> mid December

Date of Exam –> First week of January

  1. The exam shall consiste of the following sections:
  2. Quantitative Ability
  3. English Language & Logical Reasoning
  4. Decision Making
  5. GK
  6. Essay

This examination consists of two parts: Part I and Part II. Part I has three sections A, B and C with 24, 21 and 27 questions respectively, i.e. a total of 72 questions. The three sections of Part I are followed by Part II with 25 GK questions and an essay.

The time for completing the three sections and general knowledge is 210 minutes. You are expected to answer the first three sections in 170 minutes and General Knowledge QUESTIONS in 35 minutes.

All questions carry EQUAL marks. ONE FOURTH OF A MARK may be deducted for each incorrect answer

Leaving a question UNATTEMPTED may result in a DEDUCTION OF 0.05 MARK . However, this deduction will not apply for a MAXIMUM OF 12 UNATTEMPTED QUESTIONS . The negative marks for UNATTEMPTED QUESTIONS shall be deducted proportionately across the three sections.

Exam is pen and paper based exam with each question carrying 5 options.

The duration of the test will be of three and a half hours

Recognized Bachelor’s degree of minimum three years duration or equivalent in any discipline. Those completing their final examination of degree course by a date specified in the prospectus may also apply. All Indian candidates must appear for XAT. However NRI and foreign candidates may apply through GMAT score (except Dubai and Kathmandu wherein candidates have an option of appearing for XAT).


National level entrance examination conducted by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) every year as per the directions of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India.

  1. Registration starts – Mid October.
  2. Registration ends – End December
  3. Exam date – last day of January.
  4. Result – Second week of February.
  1. Applicant must be a citizen of India.
  2. Graduates in any discipline can apply for CMAT exam.
  3. Final year students of Graduate Courses (10+2+3) whose result will be declared before commencement of admission for academic year 2017-18 can also apply for CMAT online exam.


Type of QuestionsNo. of QuestionsMaximum Marks
Quantitative Techniques & Data Interpretation25100
Logical Reasoning25100
Language Comprehension25100
General Awareness25100

Duration of test is 180 minutes (3 hours) .

There shall be negative marking for wrong answers, for each wrong answer 1 mark shall be deducted .

No age restrictions are there for giving the test.

Graduate Management Admission Test is to assess certain analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in written English for use in admission to a graduate management program, such as an MBA. It can be taken up to five times a year. Each attempt must be at least 16 days apart. It has still retained its top spot spot for acceptance by business schools even though GRE too is too accepted by 8 out of 10 schools.

Cost of the exam is $250.

The GMAT exam consists of four sections:

  1. an analytical writing assessment
  2. integrated reasoning section
  3. quantitative section
  4. verbal section.

Total testing time is three and a half hours

Test takers have 30 minutes for the AWA and another 30 minutes to work through 12 questions on the integrated reasoning section and are given 75 minutes to work through 37 questions in the quantitative section and another 75 minutes to get through 41 questions in the verbal section.

  1. Analytical writing assessment – 1 Essay – 30 mins duration.
  2. Integrated reasoning – 12 questions – 30 mins duration
  3. Quantitative – 37 questions – 75 minutes.
  4. Verbal – 41 questions – 75 minutes.

The total GMAT score ranges from 200 to 800 . Average score is 545.