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.

Togetherness without being together

We have fun loving people all around us, but very few of them love people more than fun, and that makes all the difference.

I always wonder the meaning of being together. Is it about being able to look at each other, talk or even touch each other? Save the “touch” part, looking and talking is now-a-days possible no matter you are physical near to each other or not, thanks to the technology in the form of Skype or Hangout.

But, I believe that being together is much more than this. It is when we are together even if we are unable to hug, see, hear, or touch the other person. It is when our hearts are together, our heartbeats are in sync even if we are away, our memories make us feel as if we are still next to each other. This, I believe, is true togetherness.

Usually, in one’s life, family and close friends are the main source of strength and motivation. I am no different. Even while living at different places, unable to meet many of them for months, even years, we are still together. Many times, when I felt low, they inspired me, took my hand and made me stand up to the challenges of life.

Once I was unable to visit my home for 8 long months. I was working thousands of kilometers away from my home while also preparing for MBA entrance exam. Sometimes it became very hectic but my family stood together and kept me going, even though they were so far away from me.

My closest friend lives in my hometown and we are friends from our school time. We rarely chat on line and once in a while on phone. Even then, when we meet even after long duration of time, we feel as if we are meeting each other every day for the last so many years. The bond is unaffected by distance because it is nurtured by love and care.

When I was in Hyderabad, working in a very hectic job on weekdays, preparing for CAT on weekends with no time to spare for roaming around or parties, my roommates helped me out in every possible way. Even away from home, with them I found a new home. I feel lucky to be there, together with them at that time. Sometimes I felt as if they were more worried about my exam than I was. And it all worked out pretty well.

Love and care are the main ingredients of togetherness, mixed with goodness of heart. In the absence of these ingredients, there is no meaning of being with someone. It is as if one is alone even when surrounded by crowd. We have fun loving people all around us, but very few of them love people more than fun, and that makes all the difference. is encouraging people to be #together. You can visit them here:

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.

When Pilot Pen was a precious possession

PilotPenThe other day, I was resting on my bed after a stressful day in the office just when I felt a familiar fragrance. I felt delighted and opened my eyes and found some new books which had just arrived and were kept on my bed side table. I turned the pages of one book and smelled the soothing air rushing out of the turning pages. That fragrance reminded me of the beautiful childhood days when I was at my home.

During school days, each year, when the new session started, I eagerly waited for the new syllabus books. I enjoyed the visit to the bookseller with my father and buying all the books. I loved to read all the stories in the English and Hindi books as soon as I got home. The pleasure of holding the new books, with new plans for the new class cannot be expressed in words.

The course books were given to binders to get them binded with rexene paper. The decision of rexene colour (black, grey, blue, maroon) was a hard one.

After the course books, came the turn of the notebooks. My mom and dad covered the notebooks by brown papers. Selecting from among the beautiful cartoon nameslips was my task. Deciding which slip to paste on which notebook was a tough task, atleast for a kid. Then it was covered by plastic sheets, kind of laminated.

Likewise came the practical files, drawing files, and stationery like new geometry box, Stick pens, Natraj HB pencils, Natraj sharpener (we used to call it cutter), Apsara eraser, Natraj ruler (we used to call it scale) and pencil box. Most of the times, a new school bag too.

New class meant new school dress. Choosing from the colours which best matches the colour prescribed by our school was again a challenge. They said grey trousers and I dont know why somehow my grey was always different from their grey. It was a burden to keep those white shirts white till the school got over in the afternoon. New shoes, new white socks, tie and school belt.

I remember that my school was even more important to my parents and they stopped all their work to prepare me for the school. Ironed dress, polished shoes, tiffin full with delicious hot food it was all ready before I even woke up. When I went to school, my mom used to bade me bye till my rickshaw disappeared from the view.

It was a tradition that I lost atleast one water bottle every year. Sometimes the cap of water bottle had a game of small steel balls where the balls were to be put in the middle ring of the maze. I loved playing that game on my way from school to home by the rickshaw.

I feel amazed to realize that at that time, how important was each and every thing to me. Owning a Pilot pen (Gifted by my father on my birth day) and using it for writing in examinations was a moment of pride. The cardboard pads with clips for exams, with cartoon characters were awesome possessions.

Suddenly my mobile rang. A reminder to wake up. I came back to present. Some work to do. I have to read a report which is on my laptop. As we all use technology now-a-days, with environmentalists loudly appealing to minimize the use of paper, I wonder will it be a real life for the new generation to read and learn without the fragrance of new books.

I still feel delighted to remember old days, not just because of the memory, but also due to some stimuli like fragrance of paper which is still the same as it used to be. Sensing these things today, I feel like reliving those moments for a while. But if the present generation kids will not have any fragrance attached to their memory, all they will know is the silicon based material (used to make computing devices) for everything they do. In that case, when they will grow up, how will they embrace and cherish the golden moments of their childhood as much as we can do today…