How to get through to an IIM

There r 3 kinds of people I know

  • the people who are already doing their MBA or have completed it. I would ask these guys to share some of their experiences, strategies n other gyaan.
  • the aspirants, who want to make it big…
  • the junta who is uninterested in doing MBA. these people should just sit n watch with great amusement, how a simple exam of maths, english n reasoning can be made complicated thru application of various game plans n strategies….:).

Well friends, the title may be a bit misleading. This is certainly not a key to crack CAT n get thru a good B-School. this is just a portion of my experiences with this exam, considering the fact that I went thru this ordeal 3 times including the leaked one… :).

VA section

Reading Comprehension –  You should make it a habit to read the newspaper daily. And, reading newspaper means going deeply into various events happening in different sectors like politics, finance, sports and so on. Reading newspaper means reading ‘Hindu’ rather than just browsing the glossy and scantily clad models in the DT section of TOI. This would not only build better understanding of various kinds of topics, also improve the reading speed. Later, during the GD/PI part it is certainly going to help a lot. If you don’t have a habit of reading this transformation can be a bit painful, but it is certainly going to help in the long run.  Don’t waste time on reading fiction…  that’s generally useless, unless provided you are an avid reader.

RC section tests:
Take up a regular RC section test. something like (30 minutes 5 passages), the target should be to attempt four passages. 3 passages thoroughly + easy questions from 1 passage. (if you think you’re better than that target 5 passages… you can tone down targets depending on the kind of passages/difficulty level/ type of questions etc). You will most probably be leaving 1 passage (look at the passages first… lengths, glance through content… decide which you will leave, (Maybe first 1 min for it…), alternatively if a passage looks very easy jump ahead and do it (better).

For each passage you attempt, get a hang of the passage and a general idea about what is being talked about in which section of the passage. Go ahead to the questions. If any answers seem very evident mark it. Else go back to the part of the relevant para – re-read it slowly try to identify the answers. You shouldn’t be taking more than 8 minutes for any passage, so 8*3 = 24. In the remaining 6 minutes pick the passage, out of remaining  two, which looks easier/has more direct questions and try to read the questions and pick the answers.

Simple isn’t it? If you read questions first, you generally don’t know what the passage is about, you won’t be able to relate to the questions. Also, if you read the passage thoroughly once before attempting questions, it is a waste of time, because there may be tough sections in the passage which you pored over and has absolutely no questions on it. Many of the answers might be fairly direct and could be picked up in a rough reading. You can go back to the passage only if you absolutely need to.

Usually what happens is you will complete a passage in about 4 minutes, read the questions, then have to again go back and read parts of the passage because you’re not sure of the answers. This is a total time waste.Data interpretation and Logical reasoning

Vocabulary – this is one of the most over estimated part of CAT exam. CAT does not ask direct vocabulary related questions. But sometimes you need to have a good vocabulary to have a better understanding of the passage. Start with Norman Lewis and then move on to Barrons. Try preparing your own flash cards with around 20-25 words written on each card. Try to relate words with something to improve the recall. Eg. relate word ‘Bacchanalia’ to Amitabh Bacchan to recall its meaning of being drunkard. Carry those ‘word cards’ (TIME issues them.. or still better you can make them yourself!).

Verbal Ability – Para-jumbles should be attempted by finding out the suitable link between two sentences. Try to find a sequence of 2 or more sentences and then eliminate the choices. Try to find if a pronoun is used for a noun used earlier. The other way would be to take a holistic view of all the sentences and try to arrange them in your head, till it sounds right. Although this is tough, it takes a little time to get used to, but it will help in getting a higher accuracy level.

Arranging the 6 sentences type :
It is actually easier when the 1st and 6th sentences are given as now you have more ways of solving the jumble. Since the 1st sentence is given, it is not always tough to find the next sentence as it will logically follow. Use this method and then again go on an elimination spree. Also, the 6th sentence is given. Once you get the flow of the sentence, to guess the preceding sentence is not again too very tough. So all you have to do is battle with the 3rd & 4th which again should fall in place once you have guessed the others right.

Grammar – It’s not necessary to have a detailed knowledge of grammar. You do not need to know about gerunds and other similar sounding stuff ( I do not know about them till today). Just try to have a decent understanding of various grammar sections i.e. where to place an article n which article to place. the basic grammar knowledge helps in finding the correct/incorrect sentences.

Further few links for VA/RC I gathered from internet…….

P.S. – Some part of the above post has been taken from I don’t have any intention of claiming it as my own.

About the Author: Amit completed his Computer Engineering from NSIT, Delhi. He completed his MBA from IIM-Ahmedabad.