How to bell the CAT – Fighting Demons (Quant and VA)

Note: GK is not asked in CAT but is a integral part of many other Management exams.

Disclaimer: If you are already good in these things, please ignore this post, but if you are wondering where to start your preparation from, then this maybe the thing you were waiting for.

This is 3 of a 5 part article that I intend to write, to share with you what actually went into scoring a 99.49 percentile in CAT after securing average marks throughout my academic career.

This post is dedicated to my friends and acquaintances especially from hinterland, for whom English is a massive road block for pursuing career in many fields. It is also dedicated to people who get nightmares because of GK, and can not figure out where to start from. 

Well but first I will start with how to improve your Quantitative Aptitude i.e. Maths. Well this would not serve as an overnight pill, that suddenly after reading you will have an Eureka moment. To all of you out there, you all have at some point gone to a gym or thought of going to a gym to enhance your body features. You put a lot of thought into what you wear, what accessories you put on, what make up you apply. Why? Well to make yourself more presentable, more appealing and yes, feel good.

But honestly ask yourself what have you done till now to enhance your brain, to make your mind sharper, to make increase your aptitude. If your honest answer is nothing, then till this point in your life if you have invested a lot of time to attend to the physical side of your being, but what about mental side?

If you are an engineer, and want to improve you maths, you will have to lower your ego a bit and but a class 5 book. No, I didn’t require one, my fundamentals were very strong, though I score only 86 in maths in class 10th. In case yours aren’t strong enough borrow a class 6 book, and look into the basics of chapters like Percentage, Profit and Loss, Time Speed Distance. Trust me this is a chapter in which I have seen people with a 100 in maths stutter. Do not rush through this part, read the theory portion of the chapters, understand them, don’t run after getting the right answer or solving a particular number of questions. Just thoroughly understand the concepts, do not worry about time, take as much you want. Because, if you start building on a weak foundation, no matter how much time you invest on the building, it would ultimately fall. Once your concepts are strong you will suddenly realize you are 85-90% prepared for MAT. Yes, yes CAT will take a bit more, namely application, presence of mind and stamina. If you are comfortable with 6th, then move on to higher classes for different topics. The idea is to be well prepared with the basics of each chapter before you actually start with aptitude preparation.

Next is Verbal ability or simply put English. Remember those grammar classes which you too lightly, those one mark answers that you copied in examination. Well now is the time to take out your earlier grammar book and start reading. Again there are not many questions from grammar in CAT but there is a good number of questions from grammar in other exams that you will give as a contingency plan. Again you need grammar to sound and write right in the essay writing, group discussion and personal interview that follows a good percentile in CAT. Reading comprehensions and jumbled paragraphs along with vocabulary are the biggest challenge. To counter all three of these you need to start by doing a simple exercise. Read. Please do not consider yourself a reader, if all you have read is mills and boons and Chetan Bhagat. No disrespect to his books, but the kind of passages that are asked in CAT are far far far more difficult and complex than his writings. also, when you do a reading comprehension, irrespective of whether your answer is right or wrong, try finding the logic behind it. To those of you who haven’t seen a CAT or XAT question paper yet, reading comprehension is more like puzzle, where you need to be at your analytic best and get into the mind of the author. For jumbled sentences too, irrespective of whether your answer is right or wrong, always try and understand the rationale behind an answer. 

Finally for vocabulary, you can’t possibly start memorizing a word list or a dictionary. Go to, create an account, make your own word list and start following the procedure given. If you do this religiously for even two weeks, your vocabulary is bound to improve. Start by referring to any word list that is given in your preparation material. There would be words that you have heard before but don’t know the meanings. Start with them first as you will memorize them faster.  

To those of you who don’t read at all, it’s never too late. I will write another article to explain how to build the habit of reading. You can’t suddenly wake up one fine morning and start reading a 350 page novel, can you? Well there is process that I have suggested to few of my friends and it has helped them start reading. It’s about taking conscious baby steps towards it, to build a very useful habit for future.




2 thoughts on “How to bell the CAT – Fighting Demons (Quant and VA)

  1. Beautifully expressed. Thanks a ton ! Though I am pursuing my MBA, got 92%ile in CAT still I am in Phase where I desperately need some motivation to prepare for another exam… Thanks a lot buddy !! Take care 🙂 What all calls did you get dear ?


  2. Thank you so much… Well if you believe in patterns then your next is 99+, because my first attempt was 92.27. I had SP Jain, MDI, IIFT, New IIMs, IIM Shillong, IMI, MICA, XIMB, IIT-B, IIT-D, IMT-G. Scored a 99 in SNAP but missed because of very poor profile…


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