Seven common mistakes to avoid while preparing for CAT

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” is a famous quote of Walt Disney. A very apt quote for those who are preparing for CAT and other management entrance exams.

Success, as with most things, starts with correct attitude and effective planning.Quite often MBA aspirants who prepare for CAT exam and other management entrance exams often tend to do blind hard work without any proper planning in place. One should remember that to succeed in an exam of the nature like CAT, it’s not just only the hard work which is required! Hard work coupled with smart work is the main key to success here. Apart from this, one should also try and avoid some common mistakes which usually the CAT takers commit. In this article we will try to highlight such mistakes, so that you would be careful of them.

  1. Not having a daily time table
    While most students work hard, but many of them do not prepare a daily/weekly time table. It is advisable to every aspirant to plan her/his daily preparation by making a schedule and stick to it religiously. This time table should be prepared in such a manner that it can be practically followed i.e., “promise more, deliver less’ kind of situation should not arise because of your over ambition, else this might lead to demotivation.
  2. Dearth of regular revision
    One needs to regularly revise all the concepts, formulae and shortcuts learnt, else it might become difficult to recall them on the day of final CAT exam. In this regard, you can keep half a day aside every week or fortnight, wherein you would be revising all that you have covered so far.
  3. Not gaining conceptual clarity-
    Quite a few MBA aspirants wrongly believe that they can master CAT 2017 subjects by memorising formulae and short cuts. They need to remember that the only way to cracking the CAT exam is by gaining conceptual clarity. In this regard, it would be advisable to understand all the underlying principles while solving questions If needed, you should collect your doubts and discuss them with a faculty member on a regular basis. One should remember that no doubt is worthless – do not hesitate in airing your doubts and queries.
  4. Judging ones preparation only in terms of ” number of hours spent “
    You should not quantify your quality of preparation in terms of number of hours spent in studying, rather you should look at your preparation in terms of number of topics covered,number of concepts learnt and so on. Doing this will ensure that you will be finding yourself in a much comfortable position with regards to CAT syllabus.
  5. Skipping AIMCATs
    Many a time, students skip AIMCATs because they feel that they first need to finish off their entire CAT syllabus. What they tend to forget in this is that the AIMCAT series is designed to help them build concepts, prepare strategies, identify weaknesses, and take steps to eliminate them. The AIMCATs simulate a number of variations that CAT could come up with, which could be of immense help to the students in developing accuracy and speed. We believe that this is the vital aspect that enables a student to perform well in the CAT exam.The AIMCATs are also a tool that helps the student to evaluate performance over a period of time and take necessary steps to improve accordingly. The detailed AIMCAT analysis is such an invaluable part of preparation which any serious CAT aspirant would vouch for. Were you to miss these tests, your preparation for the CAT 2017 would surely be incomplete! Therefore never skip the AIMCATs.
  6. Not doing proper analysis of ones preparation
    One should bear in mind that IIMs and few of the other premier B-schools look at the sectional cutoffs while issuing the calls for the WAT/GD/PI round. Hence not working on the entire CAT 2017 syllabus by ignoring few sections/ types of questions could prove to be a big mistake. One needs to properly analyse ones AIMCAT performance, figure out areas/chapters which are trouble makers and work on them diligently. This will surely enable you to ace CAT 2017 exam.While analysing your performance also keep track of your accuracy levels across the sections. If you are committing a lot of mistakes, try to figure out the reason and take corrective action immediately.
  7. “Giving up” in the middle of the journey
    One should bear in mind that preparing for CAT exam is like running a marathon, and not like participating in a 100 meter race. There will be moments ( esp when you do not perform well in the AIMCATs ) when you feel like giving up on your preparation for the CAT exam. It is precisely the time when you need to self-motivate yourself and push towards working even harder. We need to learn from our AIMCAT performance, figure out areas which need improvement, and work towards it. A lot of successful T.I.M.E. students have made it to the IIMs, despite not doing well in the initial AIMCATs. They could succeed in their endeavour only because they did not give up, took these failures in their stride, learnt from their mistakes, and at the same time kept faith in their abilities and eventually realised their dream.Finally, keep in mind that you still have a few months to go for CAT 2017 exam. Prepare hard, and you can make a world of difference in this time.

XLRI student secures Rs 5 lakhs stipend during summer placements

XLRI has seen extraordinary summer internships for their 2017-19 PGDBA and PGDHRM batches. They secured 100% summer placement mark within 2 days!.

A total of 364 students participated in the process. The average as well as median stipend offered rose by 20 percent, when compared to last year’s figures. The highest stipend offered on campus during the summer placement process was whopping 5 lakh rs!

More than 90 companies participated in the selection process. They offered diverse roles in consulting, marketing, finance, human resources management, operations management, industrial relations domains. Some of the top recruiters this year included Mondelez, HUL,Boston Consulting Group, PWC, Coca-Cola and HCCB, ITC, P&G, TAS, RB, RPG, Microsoft, Uber, GSK CH, and Aditya Birla Group.

The following table shows the break up of students placed across sectors


Percentage of students placed





Banking and Finance








The sales and marketing roles topped the charts closely followed by finance. In financial management role many offers were made by Kotak Wealth Management, Mondelez Corp Fin, Avendus capital, GoldmanSachs, JPMC Markets.

This year also saw a significant increase in operations roles offered to students.

The following table shows the break up of students placed across various roles/domains


Percentage of students placed

Sales and Marketing






General Management






With these kind of summer placements XLRI has once again proved that it is without doubt one of the most desirable destinations for every management aspirant in the country.

Non-Engineers have the best-ever chance to get into IIM Ahmedabad now!!

IIM Ahmedabad has been the torchbearer of quality management education in India, thanks to the exceptional education, brand value and outstanding placements that students get here.

In addition to providing students with top-class education and careers, the institute is also ahead of the curve when it comes to moving with the times. IIMA strives to make well- rounded managers out of its students. A key input towards being able to do this is, not surprisingly, students themselves.The reason being that learning at a B-school happens not only from faculty members but from the fellow classmates as well. “Diversity” in an MBA batch has hence become one of the key parameters of judging the quality of education at a Business school. Therefore nowadays all the premier B-schools are trying to increase diversity in their classroom. IIMA is, once again, becoming the torch bearer, of this phenomenon.

Although engineering students still dominate the top B-school seats, there is a steady increase in the number of professionals from varied backgrounds who try to secure an IIM degree for having a successful career in the management arena. IIMA is giving a lot of hope for such aspirants to “make it” into the premier b-school.

This year IIM Ahmedabad’s PGP 2017-19 batch displays extraordinary diversity. Apart from IT/Electronic/Electrical/Mecha

The 2017-19 PGP batch at IIM Ahmedabad comprises students like Gurdatar Ryait, a Ludhiana-based stand-up comedian, Rashmi Teltumbde, who is a tennis player who has represented the country in three junior Grand Slams,Umang Agarwal who has a PHD in animal sciences and Akanksha Choudhary who is a model who won the Miss India Elite 2016 crown.This kind of diversity will surely help this great institution in growing from strength to strength.

The other IIMs  are also trying to do the same. For instance, at IIM Kozhikode, Lucknow and Indore, non-engineers account for close to 20% of the class strength. Other premier non-IIM B-schools are also trying to have more diversity in their batches, at SPJIMR Mumbai almost 25 percent PGDM ( 2017-19) batch comprises non engineers.

Efforts of this kind go a long way in improving the learning environment in a classroom,which in turn will help further improve the brand value and placements at these premier B-schools.  We hope that many other B-schools take the lead shown by these premier B-schools and work towards increasing the diversity of their batches.

Preparation tips for MICAT examination

MICA Introduction

MICA (formerly known as Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad), is a residential institute dedicated to creating Leadership in Strategic Marketing and Communication. It is an autonomous, non-profit institution.PGDM (Communications) is regarded as their flagship program. It’s a 2 year residential program, which offers specialisationsin Marketing Research, Digital Communication Management, Brand Management, Media Management and Advertising Management.Candidates interested in making a career in advertisement industry, brand management, media firms, PR agencies, etc should pursue this program.

Admission Process

Each candidate has to take at least one of the three exams: CAT 2017, XAT 2018 and GMAT. Apart from taking one these exams, all applicants need to take MICAT examination.


MICAT is a Computer Based Test (CBT) and will be conducted twice for selection of PGDM-C 2018-2020 batch. Better of the two MICAT Scores will be considered ( for applicants who have taken MICAT twice ). The following are the dates on which MICAT will be conducted

  • MICAT 1- Dec 17, 2017
  • MICAT 2- Feb 17, 2018

MICAT consists of 6 sections:

  1. Psychometric Test
  2. Verbal ability
  3. Quantitative ability
  4. General awareness
  5. Divergent-Convergent Reasoning
  6. Descriptive Test

Psychometric test is a scientific method used to measure individuals’ mental and behavioural capabilities . Psychometric tests are designed to measure candidates’ suitability for a role based on the required personality characteristics and cognitive abilities. While answering the psychometric test questions the test takers should read the questions carefully and they should answer them honestly and quickly. They should not skip any psychometric question, as this can lead to their disqualification.   For Verbal ability section a good preparation for CAT should be more than sufficient.   The questions posed in Quantitative ability section are usually pretty simple and a good preparation for CAT should be more than sufficient. With respect to preparation for Divergent-Convergent Reasoning of MICAT, it would be advisable for students to revise concepts pertaining to Critical Reasoning, Visual Reasoning, and Data sufficiency. Apart from this students should also prepare for Phrase formation,Idiomatic Usage,Meanings and Usage,Homonyms. For the Descriptive Test students also need to prepare for essay writing and creative writing ( story writing ). Usually test takers are made to write three essays on the given topic, one supporting the topic, one opposing the topic and in the final essay the test taker needs to mention his/her personal opinion. One needs to bear in mind that an essay is an organised collection of thoughts on a particular topic. While writing an essay it would be advisable to include the following three segments

  1. The introduction
  2. The body
  3. The conclusion

The introduction and the conclusion, although pretty important are usually very short ( usually one paragraph each ). The main body deals with the major ideas that support the statement. Each main idea should be mentioned in a separate paragraph and should be supported with reasons and justifications. Examples supporting your argument can be mentioned wherever necessary. For the story writing part, the test takers are usually provided with 4 photos/cartoons ( which are numbered from 1 to 4 ), they need to write a story based on these 4 photos and they should use them in the same sequence as mentioned ( numbered ). While writing the story, test takers should begin by quickly thinking about a possible premise in 3-4 minutes. The basic premise should display the creativity of the writer and should also provide the writer with the possibility of including these 4 pictures in it. Once the basic idea has been generated, one needs to quickly expand the idea into a story. Finally, one should spend couple of minutes of checking the story for any grammatical/spelling mistakes. For preparation on General Awareness, in addition to reading newspapers regularly, it would be advisable for a student to prepare from Manorama Year Book, CSR and CBSE high school social sciences text books. While preparing for this section, it would be advisable for students to focus more on

  • Major business related events, heads of corporations, History of major corporations
  • Advertising Industry related information (Advertisement campaigns, Slogans, Logos etc)
  • Basic inputs about Indian geography,history and economics

Finally it would be advisable to take a few mock micat papers for practice.