CAT 2019 – the countdown has begun

With the countdown on for CAT 2019, the moods and anxieties are varied. Some of you will be studying hard, some may be fine-tuning the strategy, some of you will be looking for shortcuts, while a few will be quite confident! Here is a list of Dos and Don’ts in the run-up to the CAT on November 24.

Have a positive attitude
Be positive, you know you have prepared well, and that positivity will help you keep your spirits high and give you confidence. If YOU believe YOU can, only then will YOU taste success!

Set/review your goals
Give yourself a realistic goal for the CAT (if you haven’t yet), and if you have already done so, see how you can achieve it. Take into account your current performance in mock-tests while setting this goal. Decide your daily study hours; create a study plan, and stick to it.

Firm up your test strategy
Now is the time you freeze your test-taking strategy – and get used to it. You need to fix the order in which you will attack the questions within a section. Finalize the time you have allotted yourself across areas and questions. Maximise your attempts in a section by applying the ABC approach – as we have always recommended in our test-taking strategy workshops at IMS.

Practise with a purpose
Now is the time when you have a definite objective to your practising. Don’t simply take simulated test after test just for the sake of it! Try and identify areas where you can improve in the limited period available and also those that give you the highest returns in the test. Since the CAT is a computer-based test, it’s quite obvious that you should be practising on the computer – imagine not being comfortable with the CAT software on the day of the test.

Practise with a PC, practise with friends
Group preparation can be very helpful, giving you various perspectives that will help you during the CAT. But ensure that you work with friends who have a goal similar to yours – warna har ek friend kamzori hota hai!!

Be disciplined in your practice
Make sure to practise in a distraction-free environment. Take a practice test like the actual test, and focus on the task at hand. Keep track of time while you’re practising. You will soon know what a 10 or 20 or 30 minute stretch feels like!

Create formula charts for ready reference
Post these charts on your bedroom walls, cupboards, study table, PC desktop — in short, wherever you will be forced to see them on a regular basis.

Don’t cram!
At this juncture, with less than a month, don’t try to mug up anything, or cram new concepts into your head. If you haven’t understood a concept by now, it certainly won’t lodge itself in your brain overnight.

Questions to solve per day

Choose these questions randomly across areas and question types.

  • Solve 35 to 50 Math questions per day.  Time: 100-120 minutes.
  • Solve TWO DI sets every alternate day.  Time: 30-45 minutes.
  • Solve TWO LR sets every alternate day.  Time: 30-45 minutes.
  • Solve 20 to 25 VA questions per day.  Time: 30-45 minutes.
  • Solve 1 RC passage per day. Time: 30 minutes.

Take a simulated test every 3 to 4 days
Make sure you take this test regularly and analyse your performance, review your progress against set benchmarks. Execute your test strategy and build your test stamina. Also, try and take the test in the slot in which you’ll take the CAT. This will give you an idea of how you will perform.

Don’t keep looking for the light at the end of the tunnel!
You need to endure the length of the journey to reach the end.

Nov 23: The Day before

Don’t overstrain yourself
For instance, taking three simulated or mock tests back to back is quite a bad idea. In fact, I would recommend that you don’t take any test at all.

Find out where your test centre is
Make sure you know how to reach there, how long it’ll take to get there, and plan accordingly.

Be ready with all you need to carry
Don’t wait till the last minute to collect everything. Remember to carry your admit card and the required ID proof as mandated.

Relax in the evening – watch a movie
Take the evening off to do something fun and relaxing. And don’t do anything stressful that might disrupt your emotional balance. De-stress by watching any comedy movie or your favourite sitcom. Have a good night’s sleep and be fresh for the D-Day.

Do not give up at this stage – it is important that you reach as close to your destination as possible and who knows that might just be sufficient to get you through THIS YEAR!!



10 thoughts on “CAT 2019 – the countdown has begun

  1. Hello Sir,
    I have been consistently score in the range of 120-130. However, in the last three mocks, my score suddenly took a dip and I scored in 90s. I seem to have lost my confidence and I can’t figure out why would this happen. Please suggest.


    • Hi Vartika,
      First things first: there is no point getting disappointed or frustrated, it will anyways not lead you anywhere. So, be positive. Imagine your next test is your first one. Evaluate if you have changed something in your strategy recently – maybe it is not working. Identify areas where you can improve (as suggested in my blog) and work on them. Work on your question selection approach – ensure you are using your time judiciously while taking the test. Your scores will come back to normal.

      All the Best!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello sir,

    My score fluctuates between 120 and 160. While I have scored a good percentile in the SimCATs now and then, I have problems clearing the sectional cutoffs, especially in Quants.

    What’s the average percentile score I can hope to get in CAT with a score of around 140? Also, how to raise my Quants score by atleast 10?

    Liked by 1 person

    • @Rahul, While the fluctuation in score could simply be reflective of the changes in the level of difficulty of the test, it could also mean that there are certain topics/areas where you have not improved during the course of your preparation. When the proportion of questions from these areas increases your scores dip and vice-versa. Identify if such areas exist and work on as many of them as possible in the few days left. An increase of score by 10 means solving 2 additional questions rightly and one less question incorrectly. Read my blog posted today on how to increase your attempts and it may help you achieve this objective.


  3. Hi Sir,
    Today in SIMCAT15 Proctored DI Section was tough compared to last one. Can you please suggest some tips how to improve in DI Section. And how to use ABC approach in DI.


    • @Satabdi Will soon put up a blog on how to apprroach the DI & LR section – hope that will help. However, in short you need to apply the ABC approach at a set level instead of question level. The trick is in prioritising the order in which you solve the sets in this section.


  4. Hello..Sir
    Myself Ombikash, I have completed my from NIT…I am belong to sc category student, I am appearing all Home based test series, I am getting 70-80 percentile.

    Sir I request you for kind consideration and suggest for trick to perform better in Real CAT exam.


    • Hi Ombikash, unfortunately there is no shortcut to success. The only thing I can suggest at this moment is that you pick a few areas across all 3 sections- preferably areas that need lesser effort to master and have a higher weightage- and solve as many questions from these areas as required to improve your confidence in taking them on in the actual CAT. Do this religiously for the next 6 days and you will definitely see some improvement


  5. Hello Sir,
    I have been giving the SIM CAT home revised tests and my score is fluctuating from 80-160 range…with attempts ranging from 65-75..Please suggest some ways on how to improve consistency….Also in Verbal Reasoning section questions without the options is proving to be very difficult and on most cases leading to very high incorrect attempts….suggest some ways to reduce the same. Also Sir please share how much percentile we can expect from a raw score of 140-160.
    Thank You


    • @ Aditya Such a fluctuation can possibly be explained by 2 reasons.
      (a) When you have more questions from your areas of strength, you score higher and vice-versa. (b) The other factor that can contribute to the inconsistency, especially in the verbal section, is if you answer questions by gut feeling rather than conviction. So, on a lucky day when your gut feeling goes right on most occasions you will score higher, but scores will dip otherwise.
      The only way to improve consistency is by working on the above factors. As far a score of 140-160 is concerned, in the actual test last yeat it corresponded to a 90+ percentile.


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