CAT Strat
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3 Reasons to overcome your fears and take SimCAT 1

We are on the eve of SimCAT 1 and a lot of students (mostly first-time CAT-takers) are apprehensive and understandably so, about taking it. Over the years we have found the self-same reasons that induce this fear, and this post is geared towards addressing them.

#1: I Have Not Finished The Concepts Yet 

This is probably the biggest reason why first-time CAT-takers who have just started the CAT prep are hesitant to take the first SimCAT. They tell themselves that they will start taking tests once they finish learning the concepts.

Firstly, this is not a school/college test where taking a test means memorizing formulae from a book and reproducing them in an exam.

Cracking the CAT is only 50 percent about knowing concepts, 50 percent is about knowing how to take a test — managing the 60 minutes of a section, gauging the difficulty of questions and choosing the right questions to solve.

Test-taking is a skill that can be honed only through taking as many SimCATs as possible. So if you decide to skip a few SimCATs till you have covered the concepts, you might still perform poorly whenever you take your first SimCAT since you do not know how to take a test!

So even if you feel you do not know a thing, go ahead, take the test and solve whatever you can!

#2: I Do Not Want To See A Poor Score 

There is nothing called a poor score, only percentiles matter.

Those who are re-taking the CAT or are aware of CAT folklore, would know that in CAT 2013, a test-taker with a score of 0 would have secured the 55th percentile. Imagine, even if you slept through the whole test you would still have done better than 55 percent of the test-takers!

In the same CAT (2013), one of our students attempted only 16 questions in each of the sections and secured a 99.89 percentile (and did his MBA from IIM-C).

Whereas in 2014 the CAT was a relatively easy and test-takers had to get a much higher number of questions right to hit the 99th percentile.

So, even if you attempt only 10-12 questions in each section and get 8-10 questions right on SimCAT 1, you will still get a respectable percentile on your first outing.

#3: CAT is tough and I am aiming at other tests

Most students want to do an MBA from a decent school and are probably looking at cracking tests that have a reputation to be easier than the CAT.

If you imagine all the MBA entrance tests in India to be stacked up on a dart board, then CAT is the bulls-eye. And anyone who have ever tried his/her hand at darts would know that you should always practice by aiming at the bulls-eye.

By giving your best shot at CAT you automatically put yourself in a position to maximize your chances on the non-CAT tests for there are very few people who prepare for the CAT alone.

Serious aspirants would be aiming at the IIMs and taking other tests as a back-up,  so even if you do not aspire to ace the CAT,  you will be competing with those who do and having prepared for it they will give you a run for your money on the non-CAT tests.

If there is one thing that all test-takers should keep in mind during the whole test-taking season it is this — Never Miss A SimCAT.

SimCATs offer you the best possible simulation of the CAT in terms of test-structure and level of difficulty, so you should always be not just ready but greedy to take a SimCAT — 

All the best!



    What if someone have fear of poor percentile? Sir, How will I improve my Accuracy?
    As I a first-time CAT taker.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is a test, not an animal that will eat you up; the only way you can overcome or even get used to fear is to take the test.

      Fear and accuracy are the two things that students are always concerned about — I will be doing detailed posts about both over the course of the season; this is just the first SimCAT — to begin with, the task is to turn up for the test and struggle for two hours.

      All the best!


  2. Sandhya says

    Thanks Tony Sir! The PreSimcat 01 was a good way to ease into the mode of test-taking season! Looking forward to simcat 01! But, can you tell us what is a good benchmark to aim (even though percentiles are more important than absolute scores)?


  3. Sandhya Varadharajan says

    Thank you for this article, Tony sir! The Presimcat 1 was a good way to ease into the test-taking season, and looking forward to simcat 1. But, can you tell us what would be a good benchmark to aim (even though percentiles are only more important than absolute scores, since absolute scores are something we can work towards)?


    • Hi Sandhya,

      As I wrote in the post:

      …if you attempt only 10-12 questions in each section and get 8-10 questions right on SimCAT 1, you will still get a respectable percentile on your first outing…

      This is a good goal to set and you can slowly increase this to 12-15 and 10-12.

      Do the math to get target scores 🙂

      All the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Tony Sir
    Sir can we know that what is the ideal number of questions to attempt and (getting it correct) in CAT to score a good percentile ( somewhere above 98)
    and how much score or percentile should we aim for while giving SimCats.



    • Hi Guri,

      A 98 on the CAT will correlate to a raw score of around 140-150 marks out of 300 in a 3-hour test.

      This would mean attempting about 60-70 questions and getting 50-60 right; at a sectional level 20-23 attempts with 17-20 right

      The catch is that you need to set targets for each SimCAT based on where you are right now.

      For example, if you are currently attempting 30 questions then you cannot set a target for 60; the next target has to be 45.

      More importantly, the first goal has to be ensuring an 80% accuracy — think of it as driving a bike at a particular speed and crashing — there is no point increasing your speed if you already crash 4 out of 10 times.

      There will be a set of 5 videos on question selection and time management that will be put up on myIMS, do watch all of them.

      Scoring 96 plus in the SimCAT will translate into a 98-plus on CAT day.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  5. Divya S. says

    I have started my IMS journey since a week , and I’m only picking up the momentum . I have not yet attempted SIMCAT as I was relying on the first hashtag you were pointing out . But now after reading , I guess I am confident enough to go for it. Thank you sir !!

    Liked by 1 person

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