CAT 2019: Exam preparation strategy of 100 Percentilers revealed

Find out how do 100 Percentilers prepare for CAT exam and make it to the IIMs. The CAT Exam preparation strategy will help you become a 100 percentiler in CAT 2019.

Created On: Apr 25, 2019 12:09 IST
Modified On: Oct 25, 2021 12:05 IST
How do the 99+ Percentilers prepare for CAT Exam?
How do the 99+ Percentilers prepare for CAT Exam?

The year 2018 saw many 100 percentiles in the CAT 2018 exam. Beyond 100 percentilers, there were several 99+ percentiles as well that have made it to the IIMs too. It takes a great deal to enter a top B-school that has kept admission criteria which is tough to match and get shortlisted for admission. However, when we interacted with the CAT toppers, it was interesting to find out their strategy to score high percentile in the exam.  

As rightly said by a famous author, "winners don't do different things, they do it differently", so we gave shared with you some common tips that when applied to practice can help you score 99+ percentile in the CAT Exam. You can be the next 100 percentiler making it to the IIMs in upcoming CAT 2019 attempt. Read on the strategies to crack the CAT exam:

You might want to read: CAT 2018 Topper Jagesh Golwala Scores 100 percentile

CAT 2019 Exam Pattern

It is important for the CAT aspirants to be aware of the exam pattern of the CAT Exam as it will they accordingly design a preparation strategy best suited to their needs.


Number of Questions

Verbal Ability


Quantitative Aptitude


Data interpretation and logical reasoning


Total Question


CAT 2019 Syllabus           

  • Verbal Ability: Comprehensions, synonyms/antonyms, grammar, idioms and phrases, grammar-tenses, verbs, articles, nouns, adverbs, adjectives, gerunds, jumbled paragraphs, verbal reasoning, vocabulary test, inference-judgements, etc. could be a part of the verbal ability.
  • Quantitative Aptitude: questions could be from any topic such as HCF/LCM, Number system, ratio and proportion, speed distance and time, average, complex numbers, algorithms, trigonometry, simple and compound interest, set theory, mixtures and allegations, profit and loss, mensuration, probability, coordinate geometry, sequences, surds and indices, linear equations, quadratic equations, permutations and combination, etc.
  • Data Interpretation and Logical reasoning: mathematical and number Series, clocks, calendars, Cubes, Venn diagrams, blood relations, connectives, syllogism, matching, seating arrangement, puzzles etc. Could form part of the logical reasoning. As far as data interpretation is considered, you might get question based on pictorial representation such as pie chart, bar graph, column graphs, tables, Venn diagrams or anything related.

CAT 2019 Syllabus: Quantitative Ability, Logical Reasoning, Verbal Ability

Read, read and read

Reading is a must. Read as much as you can daily. On an average, a person can read 250-300 words in a minute, however, a speed of 50-700 words per minute is considered effective. Develop your pace. The reason being: CAT question paper comes with around 14-16 questions based on your reading skills. And, if you are not used to reading, these questions could consume much of your time. Obviously, one cannot waste time, when one already knows that CAT 2018 is about speed and accuracy.

Best Books for CAT 2018 Exam

Weak Areas

Identify your weak areas. When I say weak areas, I mean the topics which take you generally longer, or the topics, where you are unable to deliver more than 50% accuracy at least. Make a schedule to cover these topics first. Since there is negative marking as well in CAT, accuracy is essential to get a good percentile. One wrong question could take you percentiles down. Therefore, it is important that you take care of both speed and accuracy.

Meet CAT 2018 Topper Rounak Majumdar

Previous year papers and Mock test papers

Practice is the key. Well, practice does not only make you perfect at things, but it also helps you to analyse your weaker areas. We have read in the above stanza the importance of analysing your weak areas. Practice the previous year papers and mock test papers. Going through previous papers could help you analyse the trend, and you can develop an expectation for this year basis the same. Mock test papers will give you an idea of what the exam could be more likely. You can actually practice and see if you are able to manage things in the time frame and what result you reap, which section needs to be given more importance, etc.

CAT 2019: Previous Year Practice Papers and Free Mock Tests


The right book could land you there. Undoubtedly, any book could give you the advice and insights to syllabus and pattern, but yes, the right book could land you there. A good book is one which is detailed enough to increase your knowledge but brief enough to not make you a wanderer. I must acknowledge that some writers very well know how to keep you engrossed in the subject matter.

Here is a list of few books you could refer to, in fact, some of the must-have books are mentioned below:

How to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Arun Sharma

The Complete CAT Digest, by Arun Sharma,

Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations by Abhijit Guha

How to Prepare for the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT by Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay

Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis.

The Pearson Guide to Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning by Nishit Sinha

5 Data Interpretation Shortcuts & Tricks for CAT Exam

The ROUTINE to Keep

This tip is for a healthy lifestyle. Eat healthy, eat well, meditate daily, go for walks and exercise on a routine basis, take proper sleep- a nap of 7-8 hours is must, read daily, in fact, work on what to read, it would prepare you for post-CAT steps.

The day before Exam

It is important that you rest well before the D-day. A good sleep before the exam is a must. Any disturbance in sleep can affect your energy level, your mood, your ability to focus and concentrate on the exam and I think it is enough to ruin the day. Going with all that you have learned in previous months can be messed up before the D-Day. So, stay calm and relax. Go for a good walk, don't go for fried-heavy food, eat light and healthy, avoid anxiety, avoid caffeine or alcohol, and sleeping pills are a big NO. Make sure to keep your belongings ready well before the exam.

During Exam:

Ahh! finally! This is what you have been preparing for months. The exam day. Now, here is a to-do list:

  • Have a good breakfast before moving out;
  • Reach the exam centre well in time;
  • Start with a cool mind and stay calm;
  • Read the questions thoroughly;
  • Do not waste time on any question;
  • Try solving those questions first, which you think are easy and won't take much of your time;
  • Avoid any sort of distraction by others around, etc.

Also, here are few excerpts quoted from the CAT Toppers interviews.

How to prepare for CAT in 2 months?

Vishesh Patni, 100 percentile scorer, CAT 2014: “Take regular mock tests and analyse them as it is the key to crack CAT".

Anuraag Reddy, 100 percentiler, CAT 2014 says: "My weak areas were VA and LR, for which I took mock test classes, which are important to keep a track of your performance”.

Tanya Gupta, 99.47 percentiler, CAT 2013 advises: “First solidify the basics for all the four sections and then deep-dive into each one of them. Go for an exhaustive numerical practice and individual topic tests for each section,”

I hope you have a good time preparing for the CAT. Give your best, make sure to practice and rehearse well before the final shot, and take it all.


For more updates on CAT 2019, keep visiting MBA section of!

Use Our CAT Percentile Calculator to know your estimated CAT cut offs and predict calls from IIMs and Non-IIMs accepting CAT score for admission.

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