CAT 2021: 10 commandments to score above 90 percentile and get into IIMs

If you are preparing for the CAT 2021 here are the 10 commandments the can help you score above 90 percentile and secure admission into your dream IIMs.

CAT 2018: 10 commandments to score above 90 percentile and get into IIMs
CAT 2018: 10 commandments to score above 90 percentile and get into IIMs

Common Admission Test or CAT is one of the toughest management entrances in the country. Out of all the MBA entrance exams that are conducted around the country, CAT is the only entrance exam that allows students the opportunity to secure admission into IIMs i.e. top b-schools in the country. Crossing the 90 percentile mark is no piece of cake when it comes to the CAT entrance exam, it takes a good amount of hard work and persistence. You would also need to acquire certain additional skills that set up apart from thousands of other fellow candidates who are all vying for a seat at the prestigious IIMs.

So here are 10 commandments to help you score above 90 percentile and get a chance at securing admission into your dream campus of the IIMs.

About MBA CAT Percentile Predictor

If you have appeared or are appearing for any CAT entrance exams and want to know which college you can get based on the score secured in the entrance test, then you can use the CAT percentile predictor. To calculate the CAT percentile, the scores are normalized as most of the exams are held in different sessions. A normalized score is obtained which is used to calculate the CAT percentile. Candidates can also use the CAT percentile predictor to calculate their scores. They can get the exact calculation of their performance in the entrance examination with the help of CAT percentile predictor.

1. Steer Clear of Rumours

Rumours are your biggest enemy, especially the ones which are directed at hurting your morale and creating a negative mindset about the upcoming CAT 2021 MBA entrance exam. As the exam day approaches, you will start hearing a lot of rumours related to the CAT exam pattern, CAT exam syllabus and the general trend which would dictate the way you should change your preparation strategy. But, as experience has taught up, such rumours never turn out to be true and will only deviate you from the core preparation strategy you have for CAT 2021. So, if you want to score above 90 percentile and get into the best MBA colleges in India, you must steer clear of such rumours and follow the MBA test prep strategy that you have designed for yourself.

Also Read: Five Smart ways to use your Smartphone for MBA Exam preparation

2. Memorization is not a must

Well, many MBA aspirants and even some MBA gurus would tell you, to bell the CAT and get into IIMs; you must memorize a ton of formulas and shortcut tricks. But the question to be asked here is it really necessary to mug-up all the formulas that are hardly going to be of any use during the actual exam? Again, experience tells us that mugging up formulas do not guarantee success. But, on the other hand, gaining a conceptual understanding of any topic does.

So, try to learn a topic by actually understanding the concept and you won’t need to learn formulas. And even if you have to learn a few formulas, you can always memorize them for short term before entering the exam hall and quickly write them down on the sheet of paper provided to do the rough calculations. Doing so will make sure that you do not mix up any formulas during the exam when the pressure to complete/attempt the question is high.  

3. Scan the Paper/Section first

Like every competitive exam, the key to cracking CAT 2021 lies in actually evaluating the exam paper first and understanding how much time and effort you are going to need to actually score above 90 percentile. Scanning the paper or a section first would give you an idea of where the easy questions lie which require less time and effort. On the other hand, if you follow a sequential order, you will end up wasting a lot of time on questions that you are not completely confident of solving in the given time. So, make it a rule to always scan the entire paper/section first and go through the entire question set; making a mental note of the questions that are easier to solve.

4. Do not pre-fix number of questions to attempt

One of the biggest mistakes that even the most brilliant of CAT aspirants do is to fix the number of questions to attempt from a particular section. While it is a good practice to perform a thorough SWOT analysis and understand your strengths and weaknesses and which sections to focus on, fixing the minimum number of questions to attempt from a section is taking it to an extreme. No mock test or any sample paper is good enough to truly predict the type, style and format of questions that will be asked in CAT 2021. Therefore, fixing the number of questions to attempt in a section is a very bad idea. It would only end up with you wasting a lot of time behind questions that you surely know are unanswerable. Therefore, it is advisable to attempt questions as you come across them without any compulsions and as per their merit.

5. Don’t lose heart if you fail to do well in one section

Another rookie mistake that MBA aspirants often do during CAT 2021 is to lose hope after not doing well in any one particular section of the CAT MBA entrance exam. While it is natural for one to lose heart for not meeting your expectations in either VARC / Quant / DILR, you must remember that there still are other two sections in which you can make up for the lost ground. Brooding over not performing well in one particular section would only bring down your own morale and put you into a negative mindset that would also adversely affect your performance in other sections. Therefore, never judge your CAT exam performance on the basis of your not doing well in only one section.

6. Don’t get into an ego tussle with yourself

CAT 2018 is an exam that is aimed at identifying and shortlisting the best business managers that India has to offer and this also includes testing not only their knowledge i.e. intelligence quotient but also passion i.e. emotional quotient. Many a time, you will come across questions in CAT 2021 exam that seems very easy and similar to the ones that you have solved earlier, but in reality, they are much different and difficult. In such cases, it is best to realize this in time and take a conscious call to not attempt them; instead of getting into an ego tussle with yourself for solving it. You must remember that ultimately only the things that you are able to do on the D-day of 24th November are the ones that count. So, even if you have solved a particular type of question a 100 times prior to this day, if it’s taking too much time on the D-day, it's better to leave it rather than waste a lot of time on it.

7. Be patient to avoid errors

This one is quite self-explanatory, but still, if you need any more convincing, please read on. Patience is one of the key traits of any business manager and therefore it is thoroughly tested in CAT 2021. In fact, you can easily find a few stories every year after CAT of aspirants doing all the hard work to arrive at the right answer, in a hurry candidates often end up selecting the wrong option. This is all due to the exam pressure and anxiety. Therefore, to avoid such mistakes, it is important to be patient and avoid such errors.

8. Grow an eye for details

Again this point flows from the earlier one when on the exam day, you often end up messing things up due to small errors like not checking the details even after doing all the necessary hard work. One such simple example of growing an eye for detail would be to keep an eye over the units in which the question and answers are posted. For instance, data analysis questions might provide you data in millions but the answers given as MCQs might be in lakhs. Therefore, until and unless you notice such minor details and calculate things accordingly, you might never make any headway with regards to solving the question. So, grow an eye for detail and you will surely save a lot of time and effort in solving CAT 2021 questions.

9. Don’t carry hangover of previous section

After completing one section, you would either be quite happy and satisfied with your performance or be completely down in the dumps; depending upon how you managed to answer the questions. However, when it comes to CAT 2021, it is best to treat each individual section as a separate paper and also not to carry any hangover of the earlier sections in the next one. If you move to the next section with over-confidence then there is a very likely chance that you will end up making silly mistakes in the next ones. Similarly, if you go in without any confidence or with a completely negative mindset, you might again make mistakes which you would not have made otherwise. Therefore, it is very important to be indifferent to your performance in each of the sections of the CAT 2021 MBA entrance exam.

10. Avoid the guessing game

Finally, coming to the biggest mistakes that thousands of MBA aspirants do every year during the CAT MBA exam i.e. playing the guessing game. Even the brightest among the lot fall for this trick. After investing a lot of time in solving a question, when you are unable to come to any logical conclusion, you often resort to the guessing game. This puts you at great risk of not only losing out on the marks for that particular question but also marks you might have scored from other questions, thanks to negative marking. Therefore, negative marking is a complete ‘No’ when it comes to CAT 2021.

These are the 10 simple commandments that you must follow in order to make CAT 2021 a fruitful attempt in scoring above 90 percentile and getting into the best MBA colleges in India i.e. IIMs. If you think that we have missed out on any other important aspects that MBA aspirants must keep in mind for the D-day, please point them out in the comments section below. You can also register yourself for the latest news and updates as well as CAT 2021 study material at


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