CAT Strat, Motivation
Comments 9

Getting ready for CAT D-day

You have about 3 days left and some of you might still be awaiting answers  to some questions such as should you listen to what happened in the earlier slots, what should you do if you know you might not get sleep Saturday night etc.

Last year I made audio clip (initially shot as a video) that answered all of these queries, queries that deal specifically with the three days leading up to the test and all the pending questions.

As promised I am also taking a stress buster session — Anything But CAT — along with my colleagues at 8 PM today.

We will host five rooms where we will discuss specific non-CAT topics of interest: Cricket & Tennis, Football and other sports, Harry Potter & Fantasy Books, Music Room, Quizzing.

I’ll be handling the Cricket & Tennis room along with Amit Sir and Param sir (and all of our other stalwarts will also be there in each of the other rooms).

I am looking forward to evening sessions and interacting with all the cricket, tennis and sports fans among you. We will discuss the Tennis GOAT Debate, MSD, and sports heroes, and answer/discuss all non-CAT things in the Q&A!

Here is the link to join the same:

Anything But CAT

ABC (Anything


  1. Herat says

    Hello Tonny sir!
    I want to share my horrible experience with D-Day. No tests have gone in this way. It was the morning slot. When the test started initially for 20 minutes I couldn’t even concentrate on a single line even. The harder I tried to concentrate, The harder destruction I was getting. Throughout the exam, I was blank totally. Wasn’t able to find the proper set in DILR, I did S=T/D. Only my eyes are reading words my mind wasn’t there. I tried everything to get a concentration. Definitely, I will forget about this & concentrate on other exams but I am still unable to figure out what happened at that time. Whether it was my panic mode, or it was my luck. I literally took my pens down during the exam & wasn’t able to do 1 sum properly. I felt like I don’t know anything & like I am wholly new to this. I know I am an average student, But what I was scoring on simcats at the same scores (according to predictions) I could have managed to get 85+(I wasn’t even aiming at 99 though). I completely forgot my strategies, Formulas everything. If you can answer me what was that, Please help me to figure out what happened? I literally start shevering while I am thinking about it. I felt like my whole work wasted, my efforts wasted, even I would say my 1st simcat was better than CAT. I did everything possible genuine practice, Homework, Time to time mentoring, Masterclasses, Tested different strategies, everything, still, that was my worst nightmare!! Not Expected this!


    • Hi Herat,

      I wish I had an answer to why you froze/blanked out during the test. That’s exactly what happened.

      I can think of two possible reasons – this is the first high-stakes entrance exam that you have taken in your (you did not take one to get an admission into your graduation college).

      The second might just be that you got overwhelmed by the occasion, I don’t know if you actively talked yourself into the plans that you will execute during each of the sections, I don’t know how you spent the time after you reached the test centre, whether you managed to collect yourself.

      I don’t think any of the efforts will be wasted since that means you do not know how to solve an RC passage or an Arithmetic question. You have more tests to take, and those capabilities will not vanish overnight.

      Let me know what you think was reason based on what I have suggested.


      • Herat says


        After reading your response, I could recall & find the most conclusive reason is the second one. I really didn’t think about sections, How I will perform, How much to attempt, etc. I think you have used a proper word that actually says everything about how I was before the exam “Overwhelmed”. Because anyway I have taken GRE & IELTS, So definitely it was not my 1st such exam.

        Moreover, I can figure out my mistake. Since morning I just tried to keep myself calm (Which I am not). I was more conscious of keeping myself calm, but in that case, I completely forgot to warm up & prepare myself for the exam. So basically I was physically prepared but not mentally. Such a silly mistake And I have paid the biggest penalty for it. Much regression.

        Thank you so much for giving me a link about my situation, which I wasn’t able to conclude.

        You are like jadibuti “Har problem ki solution mil jati hai aapse aur sikhna bhi!!”

        Can’t Thank you enough!!


      • We can most of the time trace things back to a process mistake 🙂

        Good to see exclamations and energy in the message and a readiness to move on!

        All the best!


  2. Hi sir,
    CAT 2020 was my third attempt. (CAT 18 – 70%cile, CAT 19 – 87%cile). CAT 2020 was well …
    Last time I had such a horrible low performance was maybe during JEE(Advanced), 2013.
    Couldn’t solve a single DILR set in slot – 2. Could only solve a single question from Car Parking set. Went through each set, but just couldn’t come up with anything.

    To be honest, mocks were not going very good. Only quants looked decent, VARC and DILR were highly variable. I tried a lot but couldn’t see much improvement. The only confidence booster was when I gave CAT 17,18,19 all 6 papers. I was able to score in range of 130-140 out of 300 and get decent enough marks to clear each section cutoffs.

    The most important question which now comes to my mind is can skills for CAT be really developed?
    My brother has never prepared for this exam. On the other hand, I have been preparing for nearly 2 – 2.5 years (along with job). In each exam that we both took(CAT18 and CAT19), he has comfortably scored above 90%cile. In CAT 2020, as well, his slot being 3, he has attempted a good number of questions. He has not prepared anything and I have been struggling for last 2 years. Now I am proud of him, but when I think about myself, I just wonder if something is wrong with me. Do I have the brains for this type of exam. Am I fit, suitable? How are people able to do it with such ease? Can skills for CAT be really developed?


    • Hi ES,

      I think the barometer of test readiness is always the performance in the SimCATs if that was inconsistent then for sure doing well on the actual exam is almost impossible.

      One of the ways of thinking about it is by questioning one’s skills, the other way of looking at it is purely by knowing exactly which skill one lacks. If you had asked me — Sir, can reading speed be developed or is innate, can reasoning skills be developed or is it innate, can selection skills be developed or is it innate? You need to figure out what is the skill that is preventing you from getting consistent scores — speed, technique, or selection & time-management.

      Just like your brother seems to score a 90 (which is not that great btw, it is only relative to 85 that it seems great :-)) without much effort, a lot of sportsmen seem to achieve success without following the basics to the T or training as hard as others (say a Sehwag) but that does mean that it is futile for the others to compete or prep.

      Everyone has a particular natural level, a different starting point, so it can be that your brother starts at 90 and that does not demand much from him.

      What you need to ask yourself is this:

      1. Trace everything in the 40 minutes of the section back to a process mistake from your — did you first select using the methods discussed in the LMTC and then attempt using the techniques discussed in the Masterclass or did you execute both only half-heartedly.

      2. Given your natural starting point do you feel the prep plans you drew up for yourself were the best you could given your prep needs or did you just prep without putting much thought into it beyond a point.

      Once we move from reacting emotionally to reacting strategically we will find out answers — I did not practice with the precise goal to improve my reading speed from X to Y etc.

      Most importantly get your brother out of your rear view mirror, you have to focus on what you need to do rather than question yourself based on what he does not need to do!

      All the best!


  3. Chandan S says

    Hi sir,

    CAT-20 was my first attempt. I`m really confused about what actually happened and what to make of my performance. Writing things happening in my life has always helped me make a clearer picture. Sharing with you so that maybe it can help me in the way ahead.

    Been following your blogs and applying the techniques and strategies not just blindly but because I`ve always found them logical. Also your thoughts have always resonated with my values and the way I look at life.

    I`ve put in a lot of effort this year, seen ups down but overall growth from the first to the last SimCat. Was also pretty confident for the D-day (Slot – 2), the center was 10 mins away from my house, managed by TCS and was the same place where I`ve taken JEE and one other entrance test. So psychologically I was taken care of.

    The test begins, I start with VA as planned and found it to be easy to moderate. Attempted 3 RCs while leaving the Visual Arts one and the questions where I was not sure. RCs were definitely not easy and I told myself not to panic if your attempts go down. Section ends with around 15 attempts. So far not so great but not so bad either.

    Then comes DILR, instructions at the beginning already made it clear that its going to be 2 sets with 6Qs while rest with usual 4. I told myself not to run for 6 Question sets first as it can be a trap and stick purely to selection. Tried to find the easy set(s) but all sets were complicated, had lengthy and very few plugin conditions. I expected there definitely would be atleast one easy set, but I didn’t had a plan for this scenario (Basically now I didn’t knew where to start). Despite knowing it was a wrong thing to do I moved from set to set and not doing the thinking process properly. Barely solved one set properly, did some calculated guesses for TITA questions. Not my best performance, but its gone now. There’s still a minute left…

    Now I know DILR is doomed, I ask myself do you want to ruin Quant too and blame it on DILR or not give up in the middle and maximize Quant. I decided I`ll still be happier with 2 great sections and even a 0%ile in one section than ruining 2 sections and giving lame excuses about it.

    I expected quant to be easier after all this but nothing of that sort happened. Nonetheless, I went with the usual ABC approach and solved around 12-13 questions. Really felt that mental tiredness you mentioned because definitely quite a lot of action happened between the ears.

    I know you haven’t took the test this year and its too early but do you think this year DILR was too tough to be able to differentiate between test takers or was it “Come on, if you want that to be easy then we should not call it CAT !” ?

    Thank you.


    • Hi Chandan,

      You must be feeling gutted right now. To be honest, I haven’t taken the test but from what I have heard from my colleagues who are actually supermen when it comes to CAT, Slot 2 was really tough for them as well, and one of them told me was his worst QA in years. DI-LR you know will make sense only when one sees the actual sets on their entirety but yeah Slot-2 was tougher.

      I think you would have performed above par in the other two sections but as I said until I see the actual sets and solve it myself l won’t be able to make any valid assessment.

      What happened in the DI-LR situation is the worst possible scenario – all sets seem tough – the only equivalent is a modern ODI pitch where a 250 looks tough. To set the bar that low – say 2 sets and just focus on cracking two sets would be unthinkable and the flitting between sets happens.

      Given the number of test-takers the section will end up differentiating between people but not a meaningful one at that since eventually more than differentiation it’s elimination that they are after and so they do not really bother after a point.

      I have always felt the test is not well calibrated like the international tests but as I said they are test of benchmarking and not elimination.

      I actually wanted to address or rather have a session for students who did not perform upto their expectations but I did not feel like I had anything to say that you guys will not know, no point mouthing cliches.

      The other tests are in a way easier since the DI-LR is not so tough.

      Get started with them.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  4. Hi Sir! This was my second attempt at CAT and I completed tanked it this year as well. I was able to perform considerably better in IIFT and XAT last year but missed out on calls due to sectional cutoffs (GK – IIFT, Quant – XAT). After the whole CAT debacle, I need to give my all to XAT and IIFT. I am following what you mentioned in your last year’s blogs regarding XAT :

    RCs and CRs from GMAT OG
    DM – Past year papers and sectionals as and when they get active on the IMS portal

    Now, Quant is something I am extremely worried about. I scored 96%ile in VA and 98%ile in DM with a meagre 55 something percentile in Quant in XAT last year. I did improve quite a bit in quant this year with respect to the concepts required on solving a question but I am finding huge trouble with getting my accuracy up and timing down.
    Will following the posts you put up regarding ‘How to increase your quant percentile’ be helpful in this one month or should I just focus on improving my selection strategy and important topics that are majorly asked in XAT?

    Also, you mentioned in your XAT blog that we should be practising DILR for like half an hour or so?
    But where should I practice LR from since the LR questions are not the kind that is asked in CAT?


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