• Simran Somani

CAT Do's & Dont's - FAQ Series - 1

Hey guys! First off, the response on the blog has been fantastic! We've already crossed a 100 members!

We never expected the kind of positivity we received. So, Thank you! Thank you! And thank you!


We are making it a point to reply to every query we get, so feel free to write to us here and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

We’ve gotten a couple of queries from all of you and we have decided to run a “Frequently Asked” series. This is its first installment. More to come!


If you are new to the blog, you might want to start with making your CAT matrix & check out how to strengthen each section of the CAT!


Nikunj Rakyan's answers to your Frequently Asked Questions – Part 1





1. Books/Resources recommendation for all 3 sections.


Good news! We wrote a new post on this subject just for you! Check it out here.

2. Where do I start from? Today is Day 0 and I'm confused.


Take a mock. Any mock. Free ones are available online and just a google search away.

Take it even if you’re confident you’ll do poorly. It doesn’t matter.

The point of this exercise is to find out which sections you’re comfortable with (even mildly so) and the ones you’re hate.

Think CAT matrix like the one Simran talked about in her first post (in case you missed it, click here).


Now you have an important decision to make – Do you strengthen what you’re comfortable with? Or do you work on the one you hate first? This decision depends entirely on you and the state of your mind after the mock. Remember, there’s no real one-size-fits-all approach to any of this.


Now that you’ve decided, check out any of the resources we mentioned earlier. I recommend starting off with books/coaching material first.

Since you have enough time to prepare, it doesn’t matter which chapter you start off with.

In my case, I started off with Quant (which I was weakest at) and did Arithmetic.


3. Is solving past papers really that important?

Suppose you come across a problem that’s just the right amount of tricky and takes just the right amount of effort. The best compliment you could possibly throw in its direction is that its ‘CAT-level’ and believe me, you’ll hear this phrase thrown around quite a bit when you’re learning from the above resources.


And that’s exactly why past papers are important. Since they’re from the CAT, they’re ‘CAT-level’. Mocks are great and all but the kind and variety of questions you’ll face in past papers are unmatched!


4. Is it advisable to use the onscreen calculator?


While people generally don’t like the most cliché response of all time, I really don’t think I have a choice here ----it depends


If you’re anything like me, you keep making silly mistakes while doing basic operations like multiplying, dividing, etc. If that’s the case, by all means go ahead and use the calculator. Problem solved!

I wish it were so simple right?

During the exam, your keyboard is disabled so the calculator takes time getting used to (with mouse clicks). Getting good at it is something I’ve covered in a post here so check it out.


Now the problem with this approach is that you lose out on time. If you’re aiming for that 99.5 percentile in QA, I assume you’re already good at stuff like this. In that case, try learning how to effectively use estimates instead and reserve the calculator for those pesky questions where the risk of error ‘feels’ really high. That post I’ve linked above has some tips to help you out too, so *nudge nudge*.


5. How many months to prepare for the CAT?


Whatever helps you start today is the answer to this one.


6. Which site to attempt sectionals from? 1 hour ones?


TIME had a lot of variety. Simran relied on the ones from IMS and free ones from Career Launcher. Just don’t worry too much about your percentile in those.


7. How will I come to know when you have written an article?


See that subscribe button on literally every page? Just fill your email in the box next to it and you’re golden!

Check out our other articles here:


A CA's IIM-A Interview experience

VARC, LRDI and Quant strategies

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