How I Cracked CAT?

Swar Grover
BE Chemical (UICET,PU)
CAT Percentile - 99.35

Charu Rawat
BE ECE (GNDU Amritsar)
CAT Percentile - 98.41

  1. When did you start preparing?
    Charu: I started preparing 16 months before CAT.
    Swar: I started preparing for CAT a year before the exam. That's when I joined the coaching.
  2. Did coaching play an important role in your preparation?
    Charu: It played a crucial role in the preparation and helped me in identifying my strengths and weaknesses. It gave me a competitive platform which further helped me in my preparation.
    Swar: Coaching played a very important role as it helped me keep regular with my studies. With faculty's help, I got a better understanding of the basic concepts. Also, my mentors motivated me every time I needed motivation.
  3. How did you handle your college studies and CAT preparation?
    Charu: I gave equal importance to both and made sure I did not miss any classes, coaching or college.
    Swar: By keeping a balance between the two and giving equal time to both - preparation and college studies.
  4. What is your take on CAT's pattern?
    Charu: It's quite good and helps in managing time for each section. Also, the addition of subjective questions is a bonus as there is no negative marking. As far as calculator is concerned, I used it sparingly.
    Swar: CAT exam had sectional time limit which worked for me, as earlier I used to devote extra time to verbal and less time to quant. Also, no negative marking in subjective questions helped boost my score. The calculator was not of much help.
  5. How did online material help you prepare?
    Charu: It was very useful and helpful, helped in making me familiar with the online mode of test. Also, it helped me improve my reading speed.
    Swar: Online articles, videos and tests available on the site helped a lot in my preparation. I read a lot of articles on tricks and shortcuts. They were a great resource and helped in my preparation.
  6. When did you start taking mock tests?
    Charu: I started with tests three months before CAT.
    Swar: I started with tests 6-7 months before CAT.
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  1. How did you analyze those tests?
    Charu: Analyzing tests is an important aspect of preparation. It helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses. A detailed analysis of my right and wrong attempts helped me improve my score with every mock I took. It helped me improve my accuracy of questions attempted. By the end of my preparation, I was ready with my strategy of attempting questions and CAT is all about a right strategy.
    Swar: Analyzing tests is really important, and it is one factor which helped me boost my score by a large scale. Not only did it help me with knowing my strengths and weaknesses, but also it improved my scanning and skimming of questions.
  2. What timetable did you follow?
    Charu: I didn't follow any timetable as such. I tried devoting 2-3 hours on a daily basis.
    Swar: I devoted an hour per section every day. Along with that, I used to read newspapers online to increase my online reading speed.
  3. What was your preparation strategy?
    Charu: My preparation strategy was to have a clear picture of my strengths and weaknesses and with the help of that, to prepare a strategy accordingly.
    Swar: My strategy was to give equal time to all 3 sections, managing time efficiently and working more on my weak areas.
  4. How was your experience on the exam day?
    Charu: It was a good experience. Taking many mocks helped me get acquainted with the pattern. Also, it helped me control my anxiety on the test day.
    Swar: It was an overall good experience. This year's CAT was on the easier side, so speed had to be managed accordingly.
  5. According to you, what are the most important topics for CAT prep?
    Charu: I think every topic is important and no topic should be left.
    Swar: According to me, Reading Comprehension is the most important section. This year there were 24 questions only from RC.
  6. How many hours did you study on a daily basis?
    Charu: I used to devote an hour every day for each section. Apart from that, I preferred reading during my leisure time.
    Swar: I used to give an hour every day for each section, and I gave extra time to my weak areas.
  7. Your advice to future CAT takers?
    Charu: Give equal importance to each section. Taking mocks during preparation will help you make a proper strategy to manage time well on the final day. Before taking CAT, you should have a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses.
    Swar: Each section is equally important. Don't neglect any section. Focus on the fundamentals. Set small targets and work on them on a continuous basis.
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  1. How did you de-stress yourself?
    Charu: I used to distress myself by reading novels and by sleeping.
    Swar: I did that by watching television, reading novels, and spending time with family.
  2. What did you do to overcome your weaknesses?
    Charu: By practicing questions from weak topics persistently and giving extra time to those topics. I also took help from the faculty at coaching.
    Swar: By practicing more questions from topics of my weak areas and focusing on my fundamentals.
  3. How did you balance all the three sections?
    Charu: Balancing the three sections wasn't a difficult task. By focusing on all three sections equally, I was able to maintain consistency in all the sections. Taking mocks helped me with this. Also, I think that the sectional time limit worked in my favor.
    Swar: By giving equal time to all the three sections and working on my weaknesses.
  4. How many mock tests did you take per week?
    Charu: I took two mocks per week.
    Swar: Initially the frequency was 1-2 mocks per week. It increased to 2-3 mocks in the last two months.
Key Learning:
  • Take as many mock tests as possible. Analyzing those mocks is equally important. Develop a strategy from these mocks.
  • Give equal importance to all the three sections as clearing sectional cut-off is essential.
  • Persistence is the key. Be regular with the preparation and stay focused.
  • Last, but not the least, do not panic; relax and do well. CAT is mainly about having the right temperament.
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