CAT Strat, Motivation
Comments 33

CAT 2019: A plan for the last leg

At this stage, I realise that all of you are suffering from a different set of problems that occur at different score-levels. It is quite tough to come up with posts for the specific score ranges that different people are in and absolutely stupid to come up with a do-this-everyday-for-the-next-30 days sort of a thing (if you even think that is possible then you are preparing for the wrong exam). This post is intended to help you devise the best plan for yourself over the next thirty days.

Fix your desired set of colleges, tests, and percentiles

While everyone should and still aim to get into the old IIMs, each of one of you should also have a clear idea as to what the good colleges are for your profile for you apart from the IIMs.

When I say a good college for you, you should measure it in terms of the outcomes that will be commensurate with your profile at this stage.

An MBA primarily amplifies your current profile, this means that it will multiply whatever is your curent earning potential by a minimum of 2-2.5.

If your current potential is 6 or lower multiply it by 2.5 if it is between 6 to 7 multiply it by 2.25, 8 and above multiply it by 2.

If you are a fresher or studying in a good college, top 5 in your state, and have a good academic profile, you should get a job that pays at the least 6 LPA. This means that you need to look at an MBA college that has an average of around 14 LPA.

If you are a fresher or studying in a college, that will give you a salary of 4 LPA, you need to apply to colleges that will give you a salary of at least 10LPA.

The same applies to working professionals as well, irrespective of number of years of work-ex you need to look at your current salary and do a multiplication by 2-2.5.

Those who are in the higher pay scales should do a multiplication by 2 and also note that in the top-tier colleges the average might be 17-18 but the upper limit, the number of jobs with salaries above the average will be good enough to get you the desired jump.

Based on this list of colleges you need you to fix your desired tests and the respective target scores and percentiles.

The desired list and percentiles though cannot be looked at in isolation, the elephant in the room is your current potential on the CAT and other tests. So you have to choose the colleges both based on your profile and the percentile you are likely to score.

If you have a really high potential on the CAT and other tests as demonstrated in your SimCAT scores, you should aim much higher than your current earning potential. (More than a decade ago, I had a 2.5 lakh job out of campus but I was sure my aptitude on the CAT was good enough to get me a call from IIM-A, which eventually did happen, so I applied only to 2 schools apart from the IIMs) 

Estimate your actual percentile from best Mock percentiles

On the actual CAT, if you perform at the same level as you perform in the Mocks, your percentiles will be much higher.

The simple reason is that the Mocks are taken by the most serious CAT aspirants.

While more than 2,00,000 register for the tests, the Mocks are not taken seriously by more than 25000 students. On test day, out of the registered students around 30000 do not even turn up.

So the fraction that is percentile, x/y, will increase on test day since the denominator and numerator will become 6-digit figures and the rest of the crowd that shows up on test day is not going to do better than those who are preparing (India does not have that much bench strength).

What happens to the value of a fraction less than 1 if the numerator and denominator keep increasing — 2/3 < 3/4 <4/5 — it keeps on increasing. The question is how much will it increase by?

By half of the difference between 100 and your current percentile. If your current percentile is 80, it will become 90, if it is 90, then 95 and so on.

If you feel that you can increase your current mock percentiles by 5 more, then estimate your actual percentile after adding 5 to your current percentile.

On the CAT the scores correlate with the percentiles as follows:

95 percentile – 85-90
99 percentile – 100-105
99.5 percentile – 115-120
100 percentile – 140 and above

Now that you know your target scores, set incremental scores towards reaching them.

You are at 75 and have to reach 105, start with a target of 85-90.

For some of you, this increase might be evenly spread across sections and for others, it might be lop-sided, you have to do the break-up of the increase between the sections.

This is not easy to do. For example, if you are scoring 80 and are scoring above 30 in two sections and below 20 in the third, then your first area of focus should be on the one below 20 since the maximum scope of improvement lies here.

A good way to ensure that you prepare optimally is to execute the plan below.

A plan for the last 4 weeks

If this is your second attempt and you have cumulatively taken more than 40 Mocks, take only 8 tests in the last 4 weeks, 1 test every three days.

Everyone else should take 15 tests in the next 4 weeks, 1 test every alternate day.

Take-Home SimCATs are actual SimCATs from the last 3 years they are authentic or difficult as the current SimCATs, they feel different because you do not take them under any pressure.

After the tests and during the days between the tests focus solely on one area per week in whatever order is necessary for you, W1— DI-LR, W2—VARC, W3 — QA, W4 — Overall.

Obviously, this cannot apply to everyone. For those who are doing really well on QA and VA-RC and have a problem only with DI-LR, work for two weeks on DI-LR, you have to customise this plan.

What should you be doing during these weeks?

The four levers to higher scores

The four levers that you have to use to propel your scores are — Selection, Accuracy, Concepts, and Speed

No matter what your score the first thing you have to get right is selection.

Why Selection matters?

When you are consciously selecting the right questions to do you are taking the test and the test is not taking you.

All of you want to (or rather should since you are spending 20 lakhs for an MBA education) become a CEO or Founder in the future. What is fundamentally involves is to decide where and how to invest your money.

If 100 people come to you asking you to invest 2 crores each in 100 ideas and you have 200 crops at your disposal, what will you do?

  • will you give everybody 50 or 100 each and then depending on how they do will you give the rest or will you first do a quick evaluation of the soundness of the idea using some strong first principles and then decide to invest?
  • will you give money to ideas that are in industries you like or will you give money to ideas that will definitely generate money (if the goal is to make the most of your 200 crores)

During the CAT, you are investing money. So by not selecting questions and spending some time on each question you are investing money without evaluating ideas.

During each section, you are first supposed to play the role of CEO, deciding whether to do the problem or not, then be the worker solving the problem, and in parallel play the manager who is aware of the clock.

If you select and solve the right 75 questions and leave the remaining 25 by spending less than 20 minutes you will end up with a percentile above 99.

So the first task before anything else is for you to go and watch all the videos on how to select the right questions  in the CHANNELs section of the new myIMS, just go there and watch the LMTC videos in the recorded tab. If you have already watched this or attended LMTC sessions and are successfully implementing the methods then you can skip this part.


If you select and solve the right 50 questions and leave the remaining 20-25 by spending less than 10 minutes you will end up with a percentile above 99.

60 48 132
55 44 121
50 40 110
45 36 99
40 32 84

But this, as you would have realised, is contingent on you solving at least 80% of the questions right.

If I am guessing right, accuracy, is the biggest problem in VA-RC for almost all test takers and that is solely because there is in the way of a technique that test-takers apply.

While a lot of students have told me that the methods I suggested in RC-1 have been useful, they have also told me that they still are getting tougher questions wrong. They have seen RC-2 but they feel the methods are time-consuming. Yes, they will seem time-consuming to those who do not think in English.

But there is no way you can answer the questions correctly by reading passively all through and waking up right at the climax when you are caught between options.

All of the gyaan about eliminating extreme options, skimming and scanning, and their ilk are pure quackery, nothing more than candy to children.

There are no shortcuts to crack VA-RC, set a realistic target and solve questions in the technically correct way, else attempt more and be happy with a 60 per cent accuracy as long as you clear the cut-off, do not expect to boost your overall score through

If you have an issue with accuracy in VA-RC, go to the CHANNEL section on the Masterclasses and watch the RC-1 and RC-2 Masterclasses and the VA Masterclasses.

If you have an issue with accuracy in QA, go to the posts on this page —


Once you are selecting the right passages, sets, and questions, and solving 4 out of 5 you pick correctly, you need to be able to solve a wide range of questions.

In QA, if you are only attempting questions from a few areas and are still not attempting questions from Logs and Geometry, then do so at your peril, there were 10 do-able questions from the two areas last year.

To quickly master concepts and application, go to the LEARN Tab in the new myIMS and watch all the videos there to get a good grasp of basic concepts and application.

If you are facing troubles in higher-level application in a particular area, then do all the problems from the e-MAXIMISER module.

For the DI-LR week or two weeks, the task is clearly cut out —20 sections or 160 sets — 16 SimCATs with 8 Sets each + 4 Actual CAT Sections (2017 and 2018 both slots)

If you need to learn to how to solve DI-LR sets better  —


And yeah, at this stage honestly I have no tips to increase reading speed in general except to say that concentrate harder and read faster (if only we could embed the Blinkist app in our brains).

To increase solving speed I have no tips but to ask you to stop writing entire solutions on your paper, you do not need to show homework to your teacher. The test-takers scoring above 135 are not writing equations and cancelling out terms on both sides.

Where should I solve questions from

Irrespective of your level you should know how to solve every question in each of the proctored SimCATs and the e-Maximiser.

You can practice executing strategies between tests by solving Section Tests (apart from Section Tests in the Application Builder, you also can use the Take Homes as Section Tests by using exit section option).

You are really weak in an area and need to practice basics then solve the Concept module.

A quick summary

  • 10-15 Tests every alternate day.
  • 1-2 weeks dedicated to one section depending on where you are.
  • For each section move from selection to accuracy to concepts to speed.

Have a plan for each SimCAT

For every SimCAT you need to have a section-wise target score and a plan to reach that score.

  • VA-RC — I am going to get more marks from VA by solving them before RC and applying the right technique
  • DI-LR — I need to select sets better, I am still choosing one wrong set.
  • QA — I am going to get more marks from Geometry

To do this you should analyse a test well. When you analyse a test, especially the incorrect questions ask yourself — should I have attempted this question or set, did I follow the process of solving correctly (VA-RC), did I not read the misread or miscalculate (QA-DI-LR).

When you analyse a test, look at the skipped questions in QA and figure out the areas you need to strengthen and go to the LEARN Module videos.

I want to do well, I will kill this test — these are not plans they are dreams and feelings.

How to manage your feelings

In short, taking a test is not about feelings.

Getting disheartened when you see a low score, starting to feel pressure, anxiety attacks, all of these are things have nothing to do with solving a question.

The only questions to always ask are — Why did this happen, what did I do wrong, did I select the right set, did I pause after reading the RC question frame a shadow answer and then go to the options?

If you cannot get rid your feelings and get the job done when the task involves you and a piece of text on a machine, then you can forget managing others and leading firms. Honestly, you should consider another profession where someone else will handle the pressure and tell you what to do.

If you want to increase your concentration levels and manage work as well go through these posts:

I usually refrain from giving our set prescriptions like a does doctor, do these things every day because I do not think such things exist for test prep. I can only name problems and solutions, the better you are at diagnosing your problems the better you will be able to tailor a solution.

I feel this is an important part of the test itself —  if you cannot maximise your own performance using all the resources at your disposal, how will you maximise a company’s resources later in life!

Even an MBA will give you all the insights of what successful firms did and some technical knowledge specific to certain areas but when it comes to your first job post your MBA, you cannot cut, copy, paste anything that you learnt at business school, you have to tailor a customised solution using the resources you have.

To get rid of test-day jitters taking the Pre-CAT is not a bad idea since it will be conducted in an actual CAT Centre with similar pre-test formalities —

Cut the flab and the feel-good

I hope you have already deleted all the social media apps on your phone. If you have not then all I can say is that you are not committed to achieving your goal.

I hope you have no marriages to attend, no new year or Christmas parties planned, nothing other than CAT and other tests till the end of the first week of Jan. If you have other plans are then all I can say is that you are not committed to achieving your goal.

And the most important part of the last four weeks — get off all online CAT groups and CAT forums. Do not waste precious time discussing any more prep strategies with peers and finding out how much they have scored and commenting on the great scores someone else is getting.

As far as I know back then when I was preparing to take the test and right now when you guys are preparing to take the test, the goal was the same — squeezing every drop out of oneself and the test.

Everything was IRL then and I never went up to the guy who was topping my city (despite knowing him from college and being in the same test-prep institute) and told him — bhai tu toh phod raha hai.

I do not remember even discussing one thing about my prep with my friends who were preparing with me, we hung around after classes for some banter but that was it, I did not think there was any need to discuss anything with my peers since it was just me and the test.

It takes a village to raise a child, the saying goes, I do not think it takes a community to get a score, it takes a lot of brains to figure out where one is going wrong and more importantly why one is going wrong, and a lot of mental stamina and drive to push oneself to just max out.

Only two things should exist in the world for the next 9 weeks (till the XAT is over) — you and your test-prep material — no one else and nothing else.


  1. Hello T, How do I analyse VARC section of the the mock (SimCATs and AIMCATs)? How to select RCs ? (I currently do using Qs, ie., based on Low Hanging Fruits (Database questions, summary, tone, structure). My scores have been improving continuously (actually just the accuracy is getting better and VA (i am getting 15-17, will hopefully get 21 soon), however I am unable to touch the 5th RC passage in most tests(what to here?)
    My scores which started from 89 in SimCATs are at now at 127. (In AIMCATs, it is more consistent with average 110). Please do reply.
    Also, P-to-A approaches do work in SimCATs which tend to have tough Database questions but I find it time-consuming in other tests. What to do?


    • Hi A,

      Well after a point it boild down to speed. I feel selecting passages based on questions might not be a good idea since toughness of an RC question usually depends on the closeness of the options rather than the nature of the questions.

      I suggest selecting the passage by the nature of its content and readability but if you want to anyway solve all 5 passages then I feel passage selection goes out of the window doesn’t it? Maybe you can save the time you spend selecting and directly jump in? It is just a suggestion that you do not lose anything by trying out.

      If you do not select and allocate 45 minutes for 5 passages, which means 9 minutes per passage, then you should be able to use the Paragraph to questions approach to knock off around 2 questions at the least (irrespective of type of question) and have around 6 marks in the marks in 5 minutes, the task is to then get another 6 marks from 2 more questions in another 4 minutes. Essentially 12 marks per passage in 9 minutes, even if this drops to 9 marks per passage in 9 minutes, you can get 45 marks in 45 minutes and atleast 60 overall in VA-RC.

      Please watch the RC-2 Masterclass on the Channels TAB of myIMS and the feedback to SimCAT 10 that I have where I have focussed a lot on the process to solve and get every question right irrespective of type.

      Your comment got lost in the flurry of SPJIMR profile related queries!

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!


      • Hi again!

        I am facing trouble again. My RC accuracy has gone drastically down ever since I switched to Para-to-Qs method. Maybe lack of practise (of this strategy). Earlier, I used to do writing and map entire passage (keywords only) and then attempt Qs. My accuracy was ~70% then, though I rarely crossed the 4RC limit.
        But now in last SimCAT it fall as low as ~53% even when it was supposedly easy RC section (14 out 24, I attmepted all RC for VA was tough). I have used the Para-to-Qs in atleast 4 SimCATs now with 47/50/87/53% accuracy in RC. The one with 87%, I solved only 4 RC, 14 correct out of 16.

        I have decided to test both Para-to-Q and Passage-to-Q equally (say 5-5 SimCATs) but I am afraid I am losing it now. Please guide.

        On analysis, I have found it might be some silly mistakes, Very small but subtle last two option elimination mistakes in many Qs. But this can’t be an excuse as I also get some Database Inference Qs wrong. Worse is that the Main Idea question I am getting wrong. Almost all. Maybe due to stop in the flow while reading the passage? I used to get most of them right while using Passage-to-A approach and Rules (of Byju’s Sathosh).


      • Hi A,

        As I have always mentioned, reading the passage fully and then going to the questions is the technically correct method and the one that I use. If you have seen the VA-Rc feedback for SimCATs 10 and 14 that I have taken, I do the same there as well. The para to question approach is something I suggest for students who find reading through a whole paragraph painful are never able to make a passage map. So instead of asking them to do something that they are not capable of this was a better approach and some have said their scores have jumped up.

        If you feel comfortable with mapping out the passage and then going to the questions with getting 70% accuracy, you should stick to that.

        But two things that you should be clear about:

        Going from 70 to 85 has a lot to do with two things:

        1. The right speed and attempts for you: If you got 87% accuracy by attempting 4 passages then maybe for you to really comprehend and solve well, 4 passages is the limit.

        2. Irrespective of para to questions or passage to questions, your approach to question-solving — pausing after the question, framing the shadow answer (something I discuss in detail RC Masterclass 2 and the two SimCATs) will determine your accuracy.

        So yeah, you can use the passage to questions approach, but think about the above two points as well.

        All the best!


      • Thank you sir for the clarity!

        Maybe SPEED is the main bloackade for me. (though I do read Guadian’s Edits and OpEds really fast both with or without Spreeder app; but may be that is something primarily from topics I like current affairs/IR/politics/economics quite unlike the RCs (abstract and sometime even science passages which trouble me the most) we get in exams.)

        I will definitely try a few more SimCATs before finalising anything. It came out more of a frustration. My last comment. 🙂

        I am currently at SimCAT 7 (attempting almost one per day), so I could not watch those Feedback videos from SimCAT10 and 14. But I did watch RC Masterclass 1 & 2 recently (have watched part of RC Masterclass 2 earlier as well when it aired), they have helped me a lot. Especially SELECTION and on PAUSEs. I used to take P1, P2 and P4 but not P3 & P5 (this i found today after analyzing rigourously entire day). The latters contributed majorly to Last Option Elimination problems. At times, I even used to get really clueless (without a shadow answer, P3) until I saw options only to get even more confused and somehow marking the answer (mostly incorrect). AND this happened to mostly RCs which I attemped at Number 4 and 5 for First three RCs I still find reasonable accuracy. (80-80-66.6 in the last one. SimCAT 6). So, yeah, BEYOND a limit my accuracy do falter.

        But I will surely work it out. Thank you, sir. Thank you very much for your comment. It was very reassuring. Especially on Passage-to-Q approach whether it would be good enough for a SPEED-intensive exam like CAT.


  2. Arghae Singh says

    I’ve got afternoon slot for my exam, for the past few months I’ve been taking most of the mocks from 9 am to 12 am and I’m getting good percentiles in both aimcats and simcats(99.5) but when I take the mocks from 2 to 5 I see a drop of 1 percentile mainly because I can’t concentrate with the same intensity and feel sleepy. I’ve taken a 3.5 week leave and am planning to take a mock everyday till the cat exam from 2:30 to 5:30. How do I change my sleep schedule, diet etc to have maximum focus in the afternoon slot?
    Thank you


    • Hi Arghae,

      I have got an afternoon slot as well.

      One of the big reasons for sluggishness is the lunch that we eat that is usually much heavier than breakfast, and your body is now used to afternoon sluggishness.

      I suggest not eating anything from 12 to 6. Have something light when you wake up, fruits and some nuts will be best, and have a protein-heavy (around 3 eggs or chicken should suffice) with a smaller carb portion (you shouldn’t eliminate carbs since that will reduce your sugar levels and you will feel low), brunch around 11. This will ensure that you are full till 6 and by 2 the food will have digested. Also, take a Brahmi tablet around 2, you can carry it to the test centre as well, it is the best thing for alertness and calmness, I use it quite regularly it has no side-effects.

      The change might seem tough to execute but I have tried intermittent fasting where I ate in an 8-hour window and fast for 16 hours, and while it was a bit difficult initially my body adjusted pretty well in a few days.

      Good to see the right kind of thought going into test-taking.

      All the best!


      • Mukul says

        i was concerned about my afternoon slot as well,
        about the last part i too practice intermittent fasting but i do lil longer fast ,twenty two to twenty three hours,but i’m keto as well and fat adapted
        i read your suggestion on brahmi and ordered it few days back. i hope i could do get some control on my impulse while test taking.


  3. concerned student says

    I get 99.5+ in AIMCATs and ~95 in SIMCAT’s…

    I cant seem to understand why?


    • Hi,

      I just got a comment today from a student who says he is getting 99.5 in both AIMCATs and SimCATs and am sure there are students who are scoring higher in SimCATs than AIMCATs

      For me to give you answer only based on the overall percentiles will be next to impossible.

      You have to see which section is the one where you are consistently scoring lower on in the SimCATs and in that section maybe you are comfortable with the type of questions/sets/passages that are asked on the AIMCATs and have a problem with the SimCATs.

      I also do not know if you have taken the same number of AIMCATS and SimCATs; if you have taken more of the former you might be more comfortable or rather used to those types.

      Maybe the thing to do right now is to look at the type of sets/questions/passages on SimCATs that you are making mistakes on and find a way to fix the same. May be you need to change your RC strategy or may be you need to select better on QA, I can’t prescribe the exact remedy, you are best person to figure it out based on the mistakes you are making.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!


      • Hi Tony!
        Firstly, thanks a lot for the blogs that you’ve posted on your website. They are really really helpful be it the strategy, mindset or motivation.
        I have observed that I perform poorly (percentile wise) when the test is tougher specially in the tougher DILR or QA sections. While I’ll do fairly well if the the difficult level is <= moderate. How do I tackle this?

        Thanks again!


  4. Aishwarya says

    Hi Tony Sir,

    This is my 3rd CAT attempt and giving it on 2nd slot for the straight 3rd time. This is so pathetic for me as I have always wished to get morning slot but every time it’s an afternoon slot. I feel I can score well in morning slot and I’ve also been practicing mocks in morning time. How can I focus well in noon?


    • Hi Aishwarya,

      We cannot choose our parents or our CAT slots, they are what they are 🙂

      You need to do the following to ensure that you are in test-taking mode in the afternoon.

      1. Change your meal times so that you do not feel sluggish post noon. I suggest not eating anything from 12 PM to 6 PM. Have something light when you wake up, fruits and some nuts will be best, and have a protein-heavy (around 3 eggs or chicken should suffice) with a smaller carb portion (you shouldn’t eliminate carbs since that will reduce your sugar levels and you will feel low), brunch around 11. This will ensure that you are full till 6 and by 2 the food will have digested. Also, take a Brahmi tablet around 2, you can carry it to the test centre as well, it is the best thing for alertness and calmness, I use it quite regularly it has no side-effects.

      2. Take as many tests as you can at 2:30

      3. If you are working, take it easy in the morning and go full-fledged into work in the afternoon slot.

      Beyond this I do not think there is anything that needs to be done.

      You have a good 4 weeks and your body should get used to this in a week.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!


    • HI Mihir,

      I personally do not think looking at the options makes any difference since RC questions are tough or easy depending on the closeness of the options. So looking at the question stem might not reveal the complexity of the questions. If your comprehension itself is weak and you know that you cannot answer Summary questions not because of the options but because you have trouble figuring out the main idea then you can choose to look at questions.

      I would suggest going through the e-LMTC webinar and RC-2 Masterclass on the Channel, the technique for RC will become pretty clear.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!


  5. Rohit Gupta says

    Sir, Won’t you even recommend using PG or other forums, not for social media but for benchmarking oneself. These can be helpful at times, right? No offence intended sir, but I just want to have your opinions on this, Sir. Maybe we get someone who can assist another about the chinks in their armor and where we are going wrong over such groups!


    • Hi Rohit,

      We are so close to the CAT and you have already been prepping for a while I suppose.

      I feel that there is only so much that peers who can help you with, in fact how much gyaan can you get from people who haven’t cleared it themselves nor actively taught aspirants of various capabilities. I do not think any group activity can help you really fix problems that are unique to yourself.

      For such specific things, you need a teacher to throw you a problem look at how you deal with it and then figure out what is the core issue is.

      In the end it’s like a support group where you like the bonding but honestly I think it is feel you. Benchmarking you get from SimCAT and AIMCAT percentiles what more do you need.

      Me and my peers got calls from old IIMs, most of us were from the two best colleges in Vizag, colleges that no one out of our state would know, we got through without any of this, we barely spoke about prep with each other as well.

      All of our time went into improving our game and we did not think our peers can help us. I have never asked for help from my peers because it did not make sense – it meant that he had an angle on things that I didn’t and I found that personally unacceptable because it means that any firm or college should take him and not me.

      I will take advice from an expert but not from a group of peers who is also running along with me.

      You can ask one person and have one running mate, but a gang of diverse people giving all sort of gyaan, no way!

      All the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sriya says

    Hello sir,
    I am getting 56 marks in my simcat. Is there any possibility of me getting 150 marks at the end of this 3 weeks. I take way too much time to solve questions in every section and I even leave few questions I attempted. There are only 3 weeks left and I am good doing offline but when I am doing online, I get tensed and I think that’s why I am unable to score good marks in simcats. Kindly give few suggests regarding my situation.


    • Hi Sriya,

      Is it possible to go from 56 to 150 yes? In general, yes, but since I do not know your skills ( I haven’t taught you or seen you solve problems) I can’t possibly predict whether you will get there.

      If you think the core problem is that you get nervous during tests and especially so when it goes online then I will be lying if I say I have a cure for the same. As long as you think about this as a student you will be scared and nervous around tests.

      But if you really aspire to be a management professional (the schools that you get calls from if you score 150, expect you to become business leaders in the future) you should realise that a career in management is not a job, it is a responsibility to manage others and not power over others. If you are nervous about taking a test and are not able to just see through the fact that a question is a question and the task is to solve it and solving it requires some thinking and some writing, whether you read the question online or offline should not make any difference and in today’s day and age can you expect to read things only offline. The test and life are not separate things, they are the same thing, the skills needed here will be needed in life as well. Change your perspective and the problem will disappear.

      The specific things about how to solve and strategies I have outlined in the various sections of the blog.

      So keep everything aside and target 90 in the next test, 30 in each section, 10 questions.

      All the best!


  7. Hello sir,
    I am getting 56 marks in my simcat. Is there any possibility of me getting 150 marks at the end of this 3 weeks. I take way too much time to solve questions in every section and I even leave few questions I attempted. There are only 3 weeks left and I am good doing offline but when I am doing online, I get tensed and I think that’s why I am unable to score good marks in simcats. Kindly give few suggests regarding my situation.


  8. Aditya says

    Hello Sir,
    i have been scoring around 110 in my simcats . Will i be able to increase my score to 140-150 in the next 3 weeks . i just need some affirmation from an experienced individual such as yourself who can tell me if its realistically possible or not.


    • Hi Aditya,

      An increase in 45 marks in three weeks from the 110s to the 150s is possible if you had asked me about the same quantum jump but from 150 to 200 I would have been doubtful.

      The way there though is not based on hope but real cold headed analysis that only you can do.

      Firstly, divide the increase across the three sections, it might not be 15-15-15, depending on your skill, current scores and current efficiency in each section.

      Secondly, identify how that is going to come from in section:

      A. Better selection – you still have not perfected the same
      B. Better accuracy – still gut-feel over technique, still making mistakes reading the question etc.
      C. Better concept coverage – there are still areas that you are not getting marks from

      Once you know the path to the marks, the rest is easy.

      There is always a solution, it is just that we have to wear three different hats — the doctor diagnosing, the surgeon operating, and the patient trusting.

      All the best!


  9. Somya Bhardwaj says

    Hi Tony,

    I am unable to solve more than 3 sets in DI-LR during the SIMCATs. I’m using the selection strategies disscused during the LMTC but when I start solving the sets, I suddenly start feeling that the sets are tougher than I assumed while selecting it( mainly the puzzle sets). And therefore I give up mid-way and start with another set. However, when I go back to see the sets after the Simcat, I’m able to solve 5-6 in 60mins easily. Thus maximizing my scores.

    Can you please provide any solution for the same, it is very disheartening to see that I can solve the sets, it’s just that I’m not doing it when required!

    Waiting for your reply


    • Hi Somya,

      To really parse through the problem you need to diagnose the core of the issue.

      Firstly, a lot of students come to me with this — I am above to solve sets/questions later.

      In saying this they are assuming that they have the skills necessary they are not able to do it during the test.

      The fact is that you have engaged for 60 minutes with the section, on some sets you have already spent 10 minutes trying out the basic stuff that you did not work. When you look at the set again at home, you know the set inside out, you know the exact level of complexity in the set and have already half solved the set so all you are left is with the tougher half that you execute, the effective time to solve on a set that you have already spent about 5-10 minutes during the test is 15-20 minutes.

      So ask yourself, post-test are you even solving the sets that you did not see at all – apart from the selection – in 10 minutes flat? In that case, you are choosing the wrong sets, maybe you need to do the rating better.

      I think it is a mix of two things, you are not selecting the sets perfectly, you can do better on that, and more importantly, even if you select the right set, in the 60 minutes you are either reading the set in hurry or are not being patient and relaxed enough since you are in a hurry to solve 5-6 sets since your skewed at home performance is leading you to believe that you can solve 5-6 sets.

      Start with a simple target of 4 sets consistently, once you make peace with that, focus on flawless selection. Once you are able to do that if there are 5 sets to be solved and you are selecting and solving in the right way you will solve 5.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!


  10. Yash Gupta says

    Hi Tony Sir! (Apologies for the previous post corporate culture has ruined me :P)
    Firstly, thanks a lot for the blogs that you’ve posted on your website. They are really really helpful be it the strategy, mindset or motivation.
    I have observed that I perform poorly (percentile wise) when the test is tougher specially in the tougher DILR or QA sections. While I’ll do fairly well if the the difficult level is <= moderate. How do I tackle this?

    Thanks again!


    • Hi Yash,

      You can call me Tony, I have no issues with not being called Sir if that was what you were referring to by corporate culture 🙂

      If your percentiles are dropping on tougher tests, it can be that you are not able to pick out the easiest sets. When papers are easy, even if do the selection superficially, you can get away with it, especially on QA. When the paper/pitch gets tough shot selection is everything.

      In QA, you should look at being absolutely ruthless in picking out only the sitters in round1 and not engaging with most questions which might be what you are doing. If you make a ruthless R1 a habit, then you will be able to maintain percentiles on a tough paper as well.

      The same thing applies to DI-LR, giving a solid 10 minutes to exactly figure out the right 4-5 sets.

      You might currently be content trying out sets and then switching to others if the sets are not opening up. You cannot afford to scratch around sets for 5 minutes and then see if they are pliant 🙂

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!

      All the best!


      • Yash Gupta says

        Hi Tony Sir,
        Thanks for this valuable insight!
        I realized that you might be okay with not being referred to as Sir, but it felt off that I directly used your first name.

        I did some introspection myself about this and had similar observations. Will try and be more ruthless while selecting sets and questions.

        Thanks again, for your posts have been of immense help in understanding the nuances of how one should go about writing the CAT!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Maitri says

    Hi Sir,

    I remember the strategy with which I’m going to write a mock but in between the mock when I miss the easiest target which I set in the strategy before the test, and then i starts panicking and then I start doing guess work.
    So what should I do in the middle of the test if it seems that
    1) My attempts are not enough Or that I have consumed enough time in very few questions?
    2) The sets or questions I have selected, they seems easy but they are not cracking ( and this is the moment when I starts guessing the answer)?

    I also have one request – Please write a blog on ParaJumbles. Because there is always one digit misplaced in my answer, after taking 2-3 minutes in each of the four ParaJumble questions.

    Thank you in advance.


    • Hi Maitri,

      Firstly, guessing is not an option on two of the sections QA and DI-LR since you cannot guess the answer!

      So there is no way you are going mark an answer by guessing since the whole point is to answer questions correctly and not answer a certain number of questions just because you need to attempt a certain number of questions.

      By now you should have been able to gauge your level and set a target list of b-schools appropriate for that level and aim to solve that many questions.

      Instead of guessing try to figure out why you are not able to solve — you not selecting properly, you are unable to execute solutions, you do not know concepts.

      You are not selecting the sets correctly if you are saying it seems easy — it is cannot seem easy, it has to be easy!

      If you still doing it on feel and not by rating each passage or DI-LR set or classifying questions as A-B-C then you have a problem.

      As far as PJs go, if there were strategies I will have written a blog the same, the best way is to look at solutions of the PJs in the SimCATs. There is a Masterclass also on the Channel tab of the new myIMS on PJs.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!


  12. Anshul Bansal says

    Hello sir
    Can you shed some light on the benefits of EWS category this year as it new to us ?


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