CAT 2009: 10 Q&As every CAT entrance exam aspirants should read

Friday, July 24 2009, 12:00 AM answers the top 10 frequently asked questions on CAT 2009

With CAT 2009 just round the corner, scores of MBA aspirants are still writing to every day asking questions about the schedule of CAT 2009, exam methodology, and how to prepare for CAT 2009. We at decided to cull out the key frequently asked questions, and answer them with the help of our panel of inputs provided by IIMs, testing company Prometric, CAT & MBA experts.
Read on for answers to the questions puzzling you...
Q1. When will CAT 2009 be held? Has it been announced yet? What is the procedure to apply for CAT entrance exam?

A: According to the information available with, CAT entrance exam for 2009 is going to be held during a ten-day window starting from November 28 to December 7, 2009. While the IIMs have not released this information formally, has learnt about these dates from reliable sources. We broke the news of these dates on June 26 (
In fact, IIM Ahmedabad on July 1, 2009, confirmed the dates indirectly. According to the IIM Ahmedabad website, CAT 2009 will be conducted during a ten-day window starting at the end of November 2009. (Click on this link to read the official IIM Ahmedabad document:
According to IIMs, you have to buy the CAT 2009 voucher from the designated locations/bank branches after the advertisement appears in the newspapers. Candidate Testing Fee has been fixed at Rs. 1400 for general and Rs. 700 for SC/ST candidates. After registering yourself for the CAT entrance exam at their website, you will receive an email containing CAT 2009 Admit Card. Please ensure you have a valid email id.
Q2. When will be the CAT bulletin released by the IIMs?

A: expects CAT Bulletin will be published on August 30.
Q3. What is 'computer-based test'? How is it different from paper & pencil test? How should I familiarize myself with the computer-based test?

A: From 2009, CAT entrance exam is going to be a computer-based test and it has been formally announced by the IIMs. Instead of reading the questions on a paper booklet and darkening the ovals on the answer-sheet, you will read the questions on a computer terminal and choose the answer by clicking a mouse. The format of the test will remain more or less the same. You can only take the test at designated test venues.
At the test venue, you will be seated at a desk with a computer terminal and will be provided with a writing pad with numbered pages for calculations. This pad will be retained by the examiners.
In order to familiarize yourself with the computer-based CAT exam, you should take more and more computer-based Mock Tests. All MBA coaching institutes offer computer-based Mock Tests nowadays. Also, you can check out online MBA coaching and test providing portals. Read the two article series of, CAT 2009: MBA coaching portals logon to new computer-based format
Q4. In spite of being an average student/not from an engineering background or a reputed engineering college, can I get admission in top MBA schools?

A: The eligibility of taking CAT entrance exam is to obtain 50 per cent in graduation from any stream and any recognized college. The IIMs prefers candidates with work experience, but admission in a top MBA school depends on your performance of CAT entrance exam. If you do well in the written exam, you will get calls from various MBA schools for Group Discussion and Personal Interview. Depending on your performance in all three steps and quality of your CV, you will get admission offers.
During the selection process, the educational qualification is also taken into account as it is not possible for everyone to cope up with the rigorous pressure of the MBA programs provided by the top MBA schools.
Among the CAT 2008 toppers, interviewed by, there were students who did not belong to engineering backgrounds such as Vipul Goyal. Vipul had done B.Com from Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University. He scored 99.87 percentile in CAT and is now in IIM Indore. Also Sitaram Agarwal (99.53 percentile holder), and Anurag Goyal (99.56 percentile holder), were students of B.Com from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata, University of Calcutta. Both are now students of IIM Ahmedabad and FMS respectively. Read their interviews here:
Vipul Goyal:
Sitaram Agarwal:
Anurag Goyal:
So there is no reason to believe that only students from engineering backgrounds can bell the CAT.
Q5. How much time is required for CAT entrance exam preparation?

A: The earlier the better! CAT entrance exam experts say you should ideally start your preparation at least five to six months before CAT entrance exam. You should ideally allot minimum three to four hours per day for preparations. Frequent Mock Tests should be taken and regular analysis of your strengths and weakness should be done. You can also visit MBA forum and speak and connect with other MBA aspirants to form study groups for the ease of preparations.
Q6. MBA coaching institute: How do they help & how should I select the best?

A: MBA coaching institutes are indeed very helpful. They provide proper guidance by offering study materials and mock tests. Some of the leading MBA coaching institutes in India are T.I.M.E., IMS Learning, PT Education, and Career Launcher among others. The best way to select the right MBA coaching institute is by taking feedback from last year’s students or by comparing the products and services offered by them from your friends who are enrolled in other MBA coaching institutes.
According to survey of all India and city wise MBA coaching institutes, TIME and PT Education were ranked the top MBA coaching institutes of India followed by IMS Learning and Career Launcher. Click the below given links for more:
Q7. Can I do well in CAT 2009 without taking MBA coaching from any MBA institute? Is self study & preparation for CAT entrance exam possible?

A: Nothing is impossible! Where there is a will there is a way. So, self preparation for CAT entrance exam can also bear desired fruits. But it should be also kept in mind that it is possible only for those aspirants who are very strong in academic fundamentals and are highly motivated. If you are serious about going for self study plan, you must start your preparations earlier than those enrolling in MBA coaching institutes. Analyze your areas of strengths and weaknesses and spend more time preparing for the weaker sections.
You can refer to the study materials from correspondence programs offered by the MBA coaching institutes and important CAT entrance exam preparation books which are mentioned below. You should also take regular mock tests and analyze them thoroughly.
Make sure you work on the mistakes committed by you in the mock tests. For more tips on self study read exclusive article on how to develop a self study plan here:
You should also create a study group where you can share study materials and ideas for CAT entrance exam preparation. Read exclusive article on how studying in a group can help you in MBA entrance exam preparation like CAT. Click the link:
Apart from this you must keep your motivation level high. Don’t immerse yourself in too much preparation. Keep some time for relaxation and practice your hobbies. It will help you keep your mind fresh. Determination and self confidence are the keys to success.
Q8. Please suggest some good books for Verbal Ability.

A: The best way to prepare for Verbal Ability is to read as much as possible. Read newspapers, magazines, fiction, and non-fiction. Read just anything. The main criteria to excel in Verbal Ability or any other section in CAT entrance exam is to get the basics right. So for Verbal Ability, start with the basics of English grammar.
Some of the basic books which are recommended by CAT experts for Verbal Ability section are:

  • ‘High School English Grammar and Composition’ by Wren and Martin
  • ‘Word Power Made Easy’ by Norman Lewis
  •  ‘Verbal Ability’ by Arun Sharma
  •  ‘A Communicative Grammar of English’ by Geoffrey Leech
  •  ‘Business English and Communication’ by Clark Grade C
  •  ‘A Word A Day’ by Anu Garg
  •  ‘All about Words’ by Rosenblum and Nurenberg
  • ‘30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary’ by Wilfred Funk and Norman Lewis
  •  The Hindu, The Times of India, Economic Times, The Statesman.
  •  A pocket-size dictionary!

Q9. Please suggest some good books for Quantitative Ability.
For Quantitative Ability also, one needs to be sound with the basic mathematical knowledge. The books suggested by CAT experts for Quantitative Ability are:

  • The NCERT Maths Books of class 8 to 10
  •  ‘Quantitative Aptitude for CAT’ by Nishit Sinha (Pearson publications)   Any one of Objective Arithmetic, Mathematics for MBA, Quantitative Techniques all by R.S. Agarwal 
  •  ‘How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT’ by Arun Sharma (TATA-McGraw Hill publications)
  •  ‘Quantitative Aptitude for MBA Entrance Examinations’ by Abhijit Guha (TATA-McGraw Hill publications)

Q10. Please suggest some good books for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning.
A: For excelling in the Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section, some of the best books suggested by CAT experts are:

  • ‘How to prepare for the Data Interpretation for CAT’ by Arihant Prakashan
  • ‘Course in Mental Ability and Quantitative Aptitude’ by Edgar Thorpe
  • ‘Reasoning and DI for MBA Exam’ by Arun Sharma
  • ‘Fundamental of Reasoning: A Logic Book’ by Robert M. Johnson 
  • ‘How to prepare for the Data Interpretation for CAT’ by TATA-McGraw Hill publications
  • ‘Verbal & Non Verbal Reasoning’ by R.S. Agarwal (S. Chand and Sons publications)

Apart from studying directly from books, you need to learn from your environment in order to excel in this section. You can also do well in this section by regularly solving Sudoku, puzzles, crosswords etc.
Stay tuned to for more news and articles on CAT 2009.