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-