Preparing for CAT 2016: Tips from an IIM Kozhikode Student

India’s most popular and probably the toughest MBA entrance exam, CAT 2016 is scheduled for 4 December, 2016. MBA aspirants would have started their exam preparation, gearing up to clear the first step towards getting to the best MBA colleges such as the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs)Faculty of Management Studies (FMS)SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPIJMR) and Management Development Institute (MDI).

We interacted with Suhani Popli, a PGP in management from IIM Kozhikodewho had cleared CAT 2012 with 98.2 percentile. Suhani graduated in Economics from St. Stephen’s college, Delhi University in 2013. If you’re looking for last-minute preparation tips for CAT 2016, read on!

Here she shares useful tips for the last few days before CAT 2016:

“My CAT preparation was mainly at a coaching institute that I had joined in December, 2011. However, I feel it was actually during the summer vacations when I really began to study seriously for the exam. In terms of effort, those two months were quite intense, and it was my coaching faculty who guided me through most of what I did. Being pretty comfortable with the verbal ability (VA) section, it was actually the quantitative ability (QA) section for which I had to put in an extra effort.


Personally I feel the CAT is a simple, yet a competitive exam. It requires one to be able to think through problems, which isn’t hard, especially if one has been regular with practice.

CAT Study Material

The CAT preparation material I used was mainly the prep matter/study material given by my coaching institute. Frankly, it is almost the same everywhere. Once you prepare thoroughly, it hardly matters which institute the study material belongs to. No particular test series stands out. I relied just on the online sources that my institute provided to each of the aspirants. But I really took many, many tests!

Preparation in the last few days

Since aspirants would be facing a time crunch now (I was, I remember), the key at this hour is to take mock tests. This would not only familiarize you with the exam pattern, but also teach you how to manage time.

One very important point is to analyze the mistakes you make in a mock test. The analysis part usually takes more time than taking the mock test itself, but it holds significance since the same mistakes can be avoided in future. Go back to the study material/class notes only when you want to revise a concept/formula. ‘Studying’ at this hour might not be of much use, as I see it.

Tips for the exam day

I appeared for CAT 2012 on 25 Oct, 2012. No particular reason for choosing that date though. I think being able to manage time is the key, which I learnt from all the practice tests I took. It is very, very important to not get stuck on any question. There will be times when solutions take longer than you thought they would. The best would be to keep a time limit per question. Once that is exceeded, move ahead, irrespective of whether you have an answer or not. Come back to that question if you have the time. In case you don’t, you’ll probably crack the other questions, so don’t worry! Also make it a point to look at all the 30 questions in a section. It happens, at times, that questions at the end are easier. In such cases, being stuck with questions in the beginning would bring you more harm than help.

Rest on the ‘D-day’, STOP studying at least 10-12 hours before your exam. It helps the mind calm down. Sleep well, and most importantly, smile. It is JUST an exam!”


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