List of Important CAT Preparation Books

Important CAT Preparation BooksA lot of candidates ask me about the important CAT Preparation books to be referred while preparing for CAT. They are also confused about whether to join any coaching center or not. If yes, then which CAT coaching institute to join.

In this post, I will try to clear these doubts. I will give you important books list for CAT Preparation. Also, I will share some good resources/material which will help you a lot in your CAT preparation.

I have included links to most of the books & resources. This list is the latest list of books updated for CAT 2016 preparation.

List of Important CAT Preparation Books

Quantitative Ability

There are two good books for Quantitative Ability. Practicing only one of these is enough for your preparation.

How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Arun Sharma

This is the most popular book for quant preparation. It is a very good book with questions segregated into different difficulty levels.

Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT For Admission into IIMs by Sarvesh K. Verma

This is another good book. It was suggested to me by a friend and I referred this book for my Quant preparation.


Verbal Ability

This is the most important section of CAT which becomes the reason for unexpected CAT scores. Following books should be referred for this section.

Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis

This is the most important book of your entire CAT preparation. Read it from end-to-end as per the instructions in the book and your vocab would never be the same.

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

This is a good book for Verbal Ability and can be used as the base reference.

Apart from these two, you will also need to refer to study material for Verbal preparation which I will explain later in this article.


Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning

DI & LR are very scoring sections of CAT and should be handled very efficiently. I have listed three books here- two individual books for DI & LR each, and one book for both DI & LR. Do not get all three. Either get first two books, or the third one.

How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for the CAT by Arun Sharma

This book by Arun Sharma is a popular choice for DI.

How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for the CAT by Arun Sharma

This is a book on Logical Reasoning by Arun Sharma.

Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT by Nishit K. Sinha

This is a good book which covers both the Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning. You can practice DI & LR questions from this book.


Previous Year’s Papers

Once you get through the basics, start practicing previous year’s papers. It will give you a good idea about the exam.
There is one book with last 25 years question papers published by Career Launcher which may be useful.

CAT (Common Admission Test) Topicwise solved papers 1990-2015


Study Material

Apart from books, you can use the study material of any one good coaching institute. No need to collect material from multiple institutes. I would recommend either to use TIME material or Career Launcher’s. I used TIME material and it was good.

For quant you will get a lot of questions in various books. But the study material is very much beneficial for Verbal Ability, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning. Try to practice all the questions from these topics.

The study material can be bought from the websites of these institutes or from the local market.


Bonus Material

I have no information about Erudite, but I found this CAT Preparation material from Erudite on Amazon and it has good reviews. In case you are unable to get material from other coaching centers, you can buy this from Amazon.


Coaching vs Self Study

A lot of students are in dilemma whether to join any coaching or not. Coaching is usually good to ensure regularity in our preparation. However, in case you are working or have less time to spare, you can do without it.

Working candidates with limited time can either opt for weekend classes or no coaching at all. Exhausting yourself too much with added burden of coaching will not help.

For college students and non-working candidates, coaching is recommended.

Regarding CAT coaching institute, you can join any good coaching center available in your area. Some of them are TIME, Career Launcher, IMS etc.


Here is my detailed article about How to start preparing for CAT.


More Digital Resources (To be updated)

I have some additional digital resources which I will share with you shortly. I will update this article with the link of those resources. (Please check back in some time for the same)

I hope this information would prove useful to you and you will crack the CAT and secure a seat in an IIM.

All The Best.

“New IIM” vs “Old” Private B-School

The new IIM dilemmaEvery year, a lot of students get confused between getting into a “new IIM” or established “non-IIM private” B-schools. I hope this article will help them in making a choice.

In last 8 years, we witnessed 13 new IIMs which brought the total number of IIMs to 19 in India. CAT aspirants, who are unable to secure admission in older IIMs and get selected in new IIMs, find themselves in a huge dilemma whether to join these new IIMs or some already established premier non-IIM B-School.

With a lot of opinions of so many so-called “experts”, it is obvious for a prospective B-school student to get confused. So, lets try to find a solution to this problem by analyzing some facts.

Let us first look at what is the current general perception. I heard many people say that new IIMs are not good. They swear by other established non-IIM B-Schools. The sole reason for them is good placements in those colleges compared to new IIMs. Other than that, old established colleges have good faculty, thus good education, good infrastructure and finally good alumni base (which is again good for placements). I do not think there is any other reason due to which these people prefer other B-Schools over new IIMs.

Now lets see what it actually means to be a “good MBA”. As per my understanding, apart from classroom teaching, MBA is mainly about “peer learning” while performing different tasks together in teams. Unlike technological courses, it does not require any sophisticated infrastructure/laboratories other than decent classrooms, auditorium, seminar hall, computer lab, library and faculty/staff cabins/offices. Other than that, any good college will provide some sports facilities and a decent residential facility (hostels).

As per my knowledge, all new IIMs, though operating in makeshift campuses, provide decent level of all these facilities through various means. So, good infrastructure may not be a differentiating factor.

Then comes the learning part. First we consider peer learning which means we need to have good students. As we know, the criteria for getting into IIMs is CAT which is considered one of the most difficult exams of the world due to its very low conversion ratio. For less than 4000 seats in IIMs, 2,00,000+ students are competing every year. This means that the conversion rate is less than 2% which is very low compared to top B-schools of the world.

Even for new IIMs the general cutoff has been near 97 percentile which is higher than or equal to cutoffs for most of the non-IIM B-schools. It means no general student of new IIMs has got percentile less than nearly 97. If good CAT percentile is indicative of hard working, sincere, intelligent and talented students, most of the students admitted to new IIMs are good and thus facilitate good peer learning.

Same is the case with faculty. In most premier colleges, there is a tradition of employing visiting faculty who are experts in their respective fields, along with permanent faculty. As a part of a new IIM with 15+ permanent faculty and 150 students in a batch, I have seen visiting faculty from old IIMs, other top B-schools and industry veterans for various courses. I do not think that I missed any superior kind of learning which I could have got in any non-IIM B-school.

Regarding the course structure, the pattern in new IIMs is almost similar to the older IIMs with similar subjects, electives and exam criteria.

The spirits of students are high in new IIMs as well. They organize events/fests, take part in (and win) various national/international competitions, celebrate majority of festivals, write research papers, attend conferences etc. I did not find anything significantly better in the description of such things happening in premiere non-IIM B-schools from people studying there.

Till now, we saw that when compared to premiere non-IIM B-schools, new IIMs does not have any significant difference or disadvantage in terms of infrastructure,learning, environment, and student spirit. Then where is the actual difference.

This brings us to a very interesting and highly controversial topic of placements. I do agree that old IIMs and a couple of non-IIM B-schools provide excellent placements. Apart from these, I find good placements in some other colleges, but not excellent.

And this is the case even with their huge alumni base. A new IIM without any alumni base getting placements comparable to long established non-IIM B-schools is a huge indication of the excellent quality of an IIM. It shows that the quality of students in IIM makes them not overly dependent on alumni for placements and industry is ready to offer them good profiles.

Moreover, the source of information of placements of any college is the placement report prepared and distributed by that college. There has been a history of highly inflated and misrepresented placement figures by many colleges. Can we actually believe the placement report of any college? I think, it would be better to consider more than just numbers. Though, in case of an IIM, you can try filing RTI to get true information.

May be the new IIMs are new, may be their inception (in 2010) coincided with the world-wide recession which caused them to begin with somewhat less but still decent placements. But is this slight “apparent” difference, the reason to miss the opportunity to study in an IIM?

Also, most of these non-IIM B-schools are expensive than new IIMs in terms of fees. Is it really worth it?

I have shared my viewpoint. You have to take your own decision while considering realistic facts and avoid getting influenced by irrelevant hype and rumors.

After all, an IIM is an IIM and its equally difficult to get into a new IIM.

CAT vs GMAT- Dilemma of every MBA aspirant in India

CAT vs GMATCAT vs GMAT is a tough choice and a lot of factors should be considered to make it a good one.

GMAT is considered easier to crack than CAT based on very low conversion ratio in CAT. However, GMAT is much more expensive than CAT, both in terms of application as well as college fees.

Also, Indian B-Schools are more inclined towards lesser work experience of candidates. In contrast, B-Schools abroad have minimum work experience requirement.

I personally feel that IIMs, XLRI, FMS etc. are more suitable and make more sense if you want to remain in India in the initial years of your career.

So, based on the above scenarios, you need to make a choice as per your circumstances.

Just sharing an interesting fact. Many of my friends who could not clear CAT even after 3-4 attempts finally took GMAT and got into some decent colleges abroad.

For preparation, the content of both the exams is mostly similar however exam pattern is quite different. So, basic preparation can be same for both the exams but you need to subscribe to different test series to practice for the actual exam.

I would suggest to identify your situation based on the scenarios I mentioned earlier and choose to take only one of the two exams. No need to ride in two boats. Going for both the exams will only distract you.

However, if you want to take both the exams for the sake of keeping a back-up, you should first go for CAT because it is a fixed date exam. Once you take CAT, immediately start preparing for GMAT. Having already prepared for CAT, you have little to study and just need to practice a lot as per the pattern of GMAT. Once you get your CAT result, schedule a date for GMAT giving a time gap of about 4-6 months.

Meanwhile, if you clear CAT, you will have to devote a lot of time for interview preparation. So, you can plan your GMAT preparation and date of appointment as per your interview schedule.

Below is information about good resources for preparation of both the excams-

For CAT Preparation, you can refer to my article here- How to start preparing for CAT (IIM)

List of most important books for CAT Preparation- List of Important CAT Preparation Books

Here are some good books for GMAT Preparation-

Two years in Infosys…

Two years ago, on this day, I embarked on a journey, a new professional life in Infosys. And today, after two years, when I look back, I am quite happy with the people I met, the friends I got, the knowledge I gained, the skills I developed and the places I visited due to my job.

Life is all about a change. It is something we love and hate at the same time. It is something we desire and withdraw from, simultaneously. Just like the last day of college, I was sure I was going to miss my friends, and I wished I could live that moment forever, but at the same time I was quite excited to start my professional life and wanted the Infosys joining day to come as soon as possible. It seems weird, but on analyzing it, we realize that things are so much complicated.

This state of complication is not what we observe everyday. It happens only when we witness a change in our life. Till then, we do not realize the importance of what we have. We take things for granted. I remember, during my Infosys training days, I never loved my training life. I was living it with fun, but still not appraising it. I was only looking forward to the end of it so that I can run out of it as fast as I can and work as a software developer. I was in love with the future which was unseen but yet seemed perfectly fitting my dreams and imagination. But when I realized that it is about to be changed, I experienced the complication. I started missing my training life, and to date, I do feel the same.

So, we keep missing the past and future life, but when we love and appreciate the present life? When is the moment when we sit and adore the beauty of our present life? Well I think, I found the moment for me. On this second anniversary, chatting with my Infy training friends made me feel nostalgic, but brought me closer to my present life. Out of all the things I got in these two years, this feeling is the best.

How to rock stage if you are not a rockstar

If you have attended a rock concert or any live stage performance by a big star, you know the heat when the performer rocks the stage and audience seems ready to burst with excitement. Even watching this on television, you can feel the beats and thumps.

If you are one such rockstar who is God to your audience, people follow your each and every move, whatever you wear becomes fashion, whatever you do becomes obsession, and so on, then this post is not for you. Rest of us, can follow.

Not all people become real rockstars. If they all become so, who would be the audience, right? Jokes apart, many people among us are very talented and get ample chance to exhibit their talent, whether in a college performance, any organization level event, or may be on cultural level in community or social events.

Many times I get a chance to witness such events and I wonder why, in many cases, they fail to leave an impact on the audience. Though I can see, they are filled with enthusiasm, talent and are very energetic, still audience lose interest after a short time and abandon them performing alone on the stage.

I analyzed many performances on different occasions on different levels and realized it is not about talent. Not being a rockstar doesn’t mean that you are not talented. Its all about meeting audience’s expectations. So, I compiled a list of checkpoints from audience point of view about how audience feel and what they expect from a performer. If followed properly, it will make sure that you rock every performance, no matter you are a rockstar or not.

Also, if you manage to thrill local audience, you may gradually reach the top and who knows you may also become a big rockstar someday.

Here goes the list:

Mind your Attitude, Don’t behave like a superstar, audience wont accept:

When you step on the stage, do not assume that people love you. You have to accept that people have not come for you, rather you have come for the people.

Rockstars enjoy love of the people. Whatever they do, even if it doesn’t make sense, people love it. Why? Because love is blind. But if you are not a rockstar, people do not yet love you, and you have to make them love you first. If you will show attitude or behave like a superstar, it will piss them off because they will not consider you better than themselves. So, whenever you give a stage performance always be gentle, thank the audience for allowing you to entertain them and start the performance.

Don’t choose difficult songs, Choose easy but melodious songs:

I noticed, many times, performers choose most difficult songs to show how talented they are. They forget that audience has come to get entertained and not judge their talent. Always choose easy songs which you can sing even while performing some dance moves and at the same time those songs should be melodious too. However good you sing, if that song is boring or not entertaining, audience will soon lose interest and I am sure you do not want that. So, keep it simple, silly but entertaining.

Don’t try to add professional audio-visual effects to songs if you cannot:

These days, with the advance of technology, we see a lot of audio-visual effects in songs. They are usually done in studios by professional people. If you cannot create that quality effect, never-ever include it in your performance, otherwise you will ruin it. Many people try to put breaking-sound-effect while singing. While a few are good at it, most others suck at it. People end up laughing and losing interest. If you believe that a song will not appeal audience without the desired effects and you are financially or otherwise incapable of including that effect, do not choose that song. Look for an alternative which doesn’t need those effects.

X-Factor may ruin it all:

Many performers are singers as well as good dancers. While they sing, they try to show some fantastic dance moves. But if their singing is not good, these dance moves may prove them hiding the singing incapability behind dance moves. Try to involve X-Factor only when you feel you are singing your best. If you cannot focus on both the things together, then it is better to focus on one, rather than ruining both of them.

Rehearse as much as you can:

You are not a heartthrob of mob and so if you sing bad, people will show you the exit door. So, always keep practicing to be the best. Before an event, perform many dress rehearsals to make sure you are doing it perfectly. In case of rock bands, rehearsal is very important to maintain the sync among all the members. If you are well rehearsed, it will reflect in your performance and people will love it. You know what will follow.

Sync with the audience, unsynchronized excitement may prove fatal:

Many times, stage performers get so excited that they try to jump into the audience or try to involve them into singing. However this is not uncommon for stage performances, people need to be as much excited. If people are silent and waiting for something good to be played, your meaningless stunts won’t work. Rather they may even drop you while you try to jump on them. You know how fatal it can be.

Respect your audience:

Always respect your audience and never be rude to them. If you want to be a superstar, it is the audience that will make you so. So, always try to have a connect with them through soft words, down to earth behavior and ever smiling face. Even if people shout at you, always close the performance with a warm thank you. People will respect you if you respect them.

Always remember the ultimate goal: “To Entertain”:

Finally, the most important part of any performance is audience, and it need to be entertained. Always keep in mind that the ultimate goal of an artist it to entertain the audience. All other things are a by-product of how happy the audience is. If you remember your goal as an artist, you will be more focused towards performing well rather than losing focus by other less relevant factors.

Following above guidelines will surely help you to be a better performer and you can fire up the stage no matter at what platform you are performing, and someday you will become a big rockstar.

Hoping to get an invite to your concert.

If we could be together again…

She was so different from other girls, so pretty & moreover, she was a magician, otherwise how could she get my phone. “You dropped it in the garden. I called you but you didn’t listen,” she offered me my phone & walked away without even waiting to accept my gratitude. Yes, this phone made me meet her, made me meet my life but also…

Many years ago, when my dad brought home a giant black gadget acclaiming it as a mobile phone, I was amazed to see something like this in my hands. He bought this phone for his business requirements & I always used to find a chance to just touch it & play the famous game of snake on it. Being a kid, I would get scolded a lot of times but I could not resist the charm of using it.

Life went on, I grew up from kid to teenager & got to go to the college. I was a good student, my dad was proud of me. I studied hard & got good marks. On the very first day of my college, my father gifted me a smartphone, something I had never imagined. May be he was happy to see my progress & hard work. This smartphone became everything in my life from then. It became the reason of most important happenings in my life.

I remember the day when SHE called me from behind. I was amazed to see my smartphone in her hands. She was so different from other girls, so pretty & moreover, she was a magician, otherwise how could she get my phone. “You dropped it in the garden. I called you but you didn’t listen,” she offered me my phone & walked away without even waiting to accept my gratitude. Yes, this phone made me meet her, made me meet my life but also…

I was attracted towards her. I took her pic secretly & kept looking at it for whole night. I decided to propose her. This phone got me find everything from her Facebook user id to her college student number. She was my classmate & it didn’t took me long to become her friend & express what I had in my heart for her. She liked me too. I was very happy that day. I almost cried out of happiness.

Time kept on flying & we completed half of our engineering. Those two years made us feel as if we are made for each other. She would call me in the morning to wake me up & always wrap a good night kiss in the good night call. She would keep messaging me all the day & I kept replying with all the joy & love. My smartphone had become her image for me when I was alone. I was everything for her apart from her sincerity in her work. She was a merit holder & deserved a good research based job, she had dreamt of.

She was perfect & I always felt lucky to have her in my life. At that time, I felt as if time is on my side & believe me, at such moment, you feel like you can do anything. I forgot that the flow of time is not constant.

It was that time that mobile internet & social networking got a lot of limelight. I had a phone which was much advanced of its time & thus I could use it all in my hands & carry in my pocket. Social networking started eating my time & mind. I spent more time on the FBook & less with her. She became busy in her preparation for competitive exams. She believed nothing more than me. So did I. Therefore we were still happy disregarding the comparably less time we were spending together.

But I was not that good. My smartphone had shown me new ways to enjoy life. One day I added a friend on a new social networking website when I found a girl in his friend list. She was good. I don’t know why, I was just tempted to ping her, & I did it. Surprisingly she replied immediately. She was good at flirting & I was good at social networking. Friends, I don’t know how I slipped. I exchanged phone number with her & actually started talking to her. I was the biggest fool at that time. Within a few days, my smartphone transformed into the image of this new friend. We soon started hanging out on weekends. I was feeling a bit guilty, but the temporary joy of that time made me forget everything.

Time went on. In my final year, I was no more a meritorious guy. I was a spoilt one, always fiddling with my smartphone. I used the phone to copy answers from the internet in the exams. I was happy to get good marks in my mid-session exams. But these fake tricks could not get me a good job in the campus placements. I & a few really useless guys got the worst job offer on campus. The girl I met on internet stopped replying my pings & broke contact.

Finally, it was the day when our final year result was to be announced. She suddenly grabbed me from behind flying with joy. She showed me her offer letter from the most reputed government run research lab of the country. She finally got one of the two things she had dreamt. And the other thing was me. She still loved me even after my failure in getting a good job. She believed in me so much that it was hard for me to stand on the ground in front of her. I immediately rushed to the washroom to hide my tears of guilt. Then I decided to tell her the truth, about how I broke her trust. I wanted to apologise for everything I ruined. I didn’t know if she would forgive me, I hoped she would.

When I got back, she was in tears holding my smartphone. When going to the washroom, I left my smartphone being signed in various social networking websites. She was not a suspicious kind of girl to check my chat histories & thats why I never hid my phone from her. But today, when she was waiting for me to come back from washroom, she just opened the “images” folder & was stunned to see my picnic pics with that internet girl in some very intimate poses. Then she had opened my chats & got to know everything.

I ruined her day, broke her heart. She was crying like a small child. I tried to hold her but she stared at me with helplessness & feeling of being cheated in her eyes. I can never forget those flooded eyes in my life. She left immediately to never come back. I kept watching her going, holding my smartphone still showing a ping from one of my friends. I clicked it to open. It said, “You got caught on a CCTV camera fitted in the examination room while cheating from your mobile phone & thus your scores are suspended. You failed. Your job is also gone.” I dropped down on my knees, crying. Yes, I failed. I failed my love who was the most precious gift I could ever get in my life. I failed my dad who would curse himself for the day he gifted me this smartphone. And I would curse myself for the day I started misusing it. It gave me everything when I used it wisely & took everything when I didn’t.

Today, I have repeated my final year & searching for a job in the open market. I am sitting, still holding the same smartphone. But I am not angry to look at it for what I made my life misusing it. The mirror in front of my chair is showing the sad smile on my face with a little shine of hope in my eyes.

“Next,” the receptionist called. It is my turn. I looked at the big banner in front of me which said “Futuristic Smartphone Designers”. I have to go in to get this job by any means. I have come here with a determination, with a wish to add a feature to my smartphone.

I wished for long to have a feature in my smartphone that can restore time. What if I could set the time back to the second year of my college life in my smartphone & can reach that time. I would fix all the things I have broken.

I know you are laughing at me thinking that how can I make a phone that can restore time. But I know I can. You can call me crazy or mad, just like all the other people here, especially those in the white coats. They are bad people. Earlier, they used to give me electric shocks. But when I complained my dad, he got me these people who make smartphones. I give an interview daily, but they reject me. I don’t know why even after I put all my efforts, I always fail. I suspect the main interviewer. His face looks like the man in white coat who earlier gave me shocks. And also that receptionist, she sometimes dress up like a nurse. Freak, she is.

Anyways, I have to go inside now. Time for the interview & this time I am sure to get the job & then I will add my dream feature to my smartphone. Everything will be fine then.