Why the name?

Looking up the word “catholic” in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, we find the following definition:

Catholic (adj): open-minded, having a wide range of interests.

The name CAT-holics is a pun on many levels. At the most basic level it is a blog by (and hopefully for) people who are crazy about the CAT exam, in its many changing avatars over the years. But excelling in the CAT also requires an ability to think outside the box and an interest in a wide range of things, to push one’s boundaries; to be catholic in the oldest sense of the term.

Why this blog?

In the course of our work, teaching at and creating material for IMS, we noticed that there are many things which could not be efficiently taught in a rigid classroom coaching scenario (such as vocabulary and strategy), and that there are many interesting approaches (besides the standard formulae) to the problems which we encounter in various tests, which could be of assistance to MBA aspirants. We felt that a blog, which would provide small daily doses of ‘gyaan’, would be a good way to provide students with a practical approach to handling competitive exams.

While we will focus primarily on the IIM CAT, we trust that our posts will prove relevant and edifying to people writing various other MBA tests as well, and even for tests, like the GRE, which have a significant component based on Vocabulary.

What would be the structure?

Initially, we plan on one post every day, in either of two main sections.

One section, which will be posted 4 times a week (usually Monday through Thursday), will involve the quantitative aspect, where we would discuss a problem or a concept in Maths or DI or LR in every post. The focus would often be on solving it from an exam point of view rather than on going into mathematical intricacies; the aim being more to explain how to approach a problem in the exam. So while some problems might be solved using a formula, others might be solved using logic, by eliminating answer choices, by rough approximation, or by any other means that could yield a correct answer. In the first few weeks we would focus on simpler problems or concepts, and more standard approaches, and slowly move to more complex problems as the exam season draws near.

The other section, thrice a week (usually Friday through Sunday), would focus on words and phrases, and on English usage, using various approaches like roots, word groups, word origins etc to introduce the reader to a few words every day. This would be done partly through the medium of two characters Akbar and Verbal (see below)

In both sections, we eventually hope to have guest posts by other CAT experts on their specialities or strategies.

What’s the deal with Akbar and Verbal, anyway?

Words and usage can be a dry topic to study. The duo of Akbar and Verbal, a bumbling emperor and his polite but firm minister, were created by IMS to introduce a fun element to the usual monotony of word study, and we felt they would be suitable ambassadors to convey our message.

Imagine if the young emperor Akbar were to be somehow transplanted to today’s day and age – an era where it is difficult to get by without a working knowledge of the English language. He would most certainly be forced to try and learn the language – and in doing so he (like all of us) would surely make errors. Enter his new minister and English teacher, Verbal – an expert who undertakes to correct his majesty’s well-intentioned blunders and instruct him on the nuances and finer points of English usage.

42 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. Thanks for such an initiative. I am sure it will not only help me but many other during the journey of belling the CAT.

  2. Hi J and T,

    I just came across your blog, it’s really great.Two of my concepts(which I thought I can never understand) got cleared.Thanks for the same.I was wondering if there are any posts related to games and tournaments, venn diagrams, clocks and calendars? If yes then please provide me the link for the same, I will be really grateful.


    • Hi Garima,

      Glad to hear we could be of help.

      As for your queries – games and tournaments, might do something in the future. Haven’t looked at DI much as yet. Venn Diagrams, haven’t been able to think of anything seriously “value-adding” which we could post. Clocks and calendars, no plans as of now (they haven’t been coming in CAT for many years). However, we plan to do some posts on circular races, will probably do some clock-based questions along with that as there is a lot of synergy. I doubt it will be in time for CAT 13 though; already have some stuff planned for the next 3 weeks or so….


    • At the end of the previous solution 🙂 I didn’t want to just give a puzzle and immediately give the solution – I wanted my readers to think and break their heads for a bit before getting the answers. Even if one doesn’t get the answer, the act of grappling with the logic develops a way of thinking (which is finally what is being tested in a puzzle interview). Anyway, thinking is a habit worth cultivating, don’t you agree? 🙂


  3. Sir
    I’ve been closely following your blog and it has helped me a great deal.
    Its an earnest request “some calculation intensive DI stuff plzzzzzzz.”
    The SIMCATs have begun sir.
    And if it is already provided plz mention the day & month of the blog.
    Thank u 🙂

  4. Hey J,
    What an awesome way to explain daunting DI sets. Looking forward to see more of Logical reasoning sets on the same line. Thanks you

  5. Brilliant blog I must say. For anyone looking for a comprehensive study material covering all possible topics, I’d totally recommend this! *salute*

    • If you are sure that Analytics is where you want to be in your career, it could be a pretty good program. All the institutes involved are very reputable in their respective fields, the program has apparently been created in response to an industry requirement and fills a hitherto vacant niche, and Analytics is currently looking like the “next big thing”. However, it is an expensive program (quality doesn’t come cheap!) and like anything new, it would be a risk – until the first couple of batches are placed we won’t really know how the industry at large responds to it.


    • Yes I know 🙂 Life is tending to be a bit packed right now (CAT approaching fast after all!). When I get the chance will add a few more on Probability!


  6. How much helpful would it be, if I just study from your blog? I mean all the posts from the beginning. Will it be sufficient to get 100 percentile?

    • Definitely not. (Look at it logically – hundreds of people follow this blog, and all of them cannot get a 100 right? Or even a 99!) It is a supplement to your regular study, a different way of looking at some problems on some topics. And even after 500+ posts it is not remotely comprehensive, nor intended to be.

      The thing is, if you have potential and willingness to work hard, this blog is a tool which will help you realise a dream. If you don’t have either of them, then maybe visiting a temple would work better; I am only human 🙂


    • Well Vinay, I am not sure. For one, I have finished posting on most of the topics wherein I had anything to say (at least in Maths). I don’t want to post just for the sake of posting and compromise on the quality! For another, I have been having a problem with eye-strain and consequently have reduced my “screen time” drastically. If I do start posting again soon, it will probably be on vocab (since I have neglected that for a while)…


  7. need help with di lr section
    i have already solved applicaton builder i didnt found that of CAT level
    so pls suggest some practice material.

  8. HI J & T!

    I have no idea if you guys are still active on here since the last post was more than a year ago but I thought I’d still ask away. So, here goes:

    VARC:- I feel like I’m well-versed in English but my VARC scores tell otherwise. Whilst analyzing questions of RC’s, I notice that I was correct in narrowing it down to two options out of four, one of which actually is the right answer. But yet, somehow, I mark the wrong one half of the time.

    Q: How do I improve my accuracy in RC? Would a better option be to skip 1-2 questions in every RC and use that time for VA?

    DILR:- I manage to solve 3 sets in the time limit, 4 if it’s a good day. When analyzing, however, I manage to solve around 16-20 questions easily in one hour, some of them from the sets that I left during the test. More, if I give myself an extra few minutes.

    Q: How to identify and pick the easy sets or questions?

    QA:- Similar to DILR, I am only able to attempt around 13-15 questions in QA within the time frame (with 70% accuracy). Upon revising, it turns out that the logic for 90% questions overall was very simple and I could’ve solved 22-24 problems easily with 90% accuracy, given my current level of preparation.

    Q: How do I go about it to maximize my number of attempts as well as score?

    Sorry if I made it a tad too long to read and asked at the wrong place, but I’d appreciate it a lot if you could answer my queries and guide me towards the strategy that you guys go through when attempting the test.

    Thank you.


    • Not the wrong place, but definitely the wrong time. I would strongly advice against trying to change your strategy at this point; that generally never ends well. Rather than addressing your specific queries, therefore, I will just say this: Believe in yourself. Psyche yourself up for the test. Tune your concentration to its peak. Make full use of the 3 hours. Don’t give up even in the direst straits. And yeah, the best advice I have ever heard – “Don’t Panic”

      All the best!


  9. Hello J and T sir,
    I am a student of simcats. Getting around 80 Percentile always..
    Really want to attend the club 100 classes by scrabbler sir.
    If possible, could you please allow me to do so..?

    • There’s nothing like worthy (though if you can lift Mjolnir, I may take that statement back). Anyone can teach you if you have the right aptitude and attitude, and no one (certainly not me) can do so if you lack either of them 🙂 I am just a Maths teacher, nothing more…


  10. The blog very clearly mentions IMS no? If not I need to recheck 🙂 I teach in Mumbai but there is no specific batch or anything, I may teach in any of the batches at my centre depending on requirement. Do not join on that logic. Join because if you are serious, IMS will provide you a good experience regardless of who is teaching you. You can connect with the centres to know more, this isn’t really the place 🙂


  11. Hello J & T. Saying I’m grateful for these blogs would be an understatement. They have helped me immensely in reflecting upon what went wrong in this attempt. To put it plainly, I’m more of a verbal guy and math happens to be my nemesis. This is evident from my mark-sheet where I managed to clear the cutoff for VARC and tanked the other two sections(Slot -1). Throughout the test taking process I’ve realised that the end result is a function of many variables and there’s only so many I can control. Nonetheless, It is because of this very reason I wish to bounce off whatever I have been able to gather regarding the latter mentioned above for the next attempt as I feel I have just about one more left in me. (Will have 23 months WE in July).
    1) To begin with quant, I feel understanding the concept is not an issue for me, it is the application where I stumble. I used the “Check solution and move to next” method initially but invariably after every 4-5 questions I found myself in a situation where I could not wrap my head around the approach required at all, even from Topics I used to think were my strong suit. In short algebra and forming equations seem to be my achilles heel.
    2) A similar story follows in DILR wherein DI sets are the thorn in the flesh whilst LR, at an easy to medium level given enough time is something I can get through.
    3) For VARC I have been able to assess that after a point I start to gauge questions intuitively instead of a back and forth rigour.
    4) Lastly following the process, as cliched as it sounds, is what I have finally resorted to in every sense and because of which I am not setting any target as such, just to maximise whatever I have on the plate.
    Of whatever I have been able to understand as the measure of the aforesaid situations, in the chronology of approach according to me should be: NCERTs – PYQs – Material of the Big 3 – GMAT Guide – As many proctored mocks as possible. Would love to hear from you as to any tweaking required in this approach!!! Also should I entertain the thought of referring to JEE books?
    P.s: Reiterating myself, the sole purpose of this query is to be sure of the way I’m approaching it so as to have no regrets irrespective of the outcome. Eagerly waiting for your response. Grateful! And yes many many congratulations for CAT 2022, another feather in the cap!

    • Couple of small things. First – GMAT will probably be of no help (as far as QA/DILR are concerned anyway). Can skip that. Second – even for VARC, read books instead would be my take. Third – NCERT works for QA theory if the basics are shaky, but the solutions to examples rely on formulaic approaches, don’t get stuck in that rut. For DILR, PYQs are the best (though also harshest) prep. And fourth – it isn’t about as many mocks “as possible” but rather “as necessary”, and detailed, almost obsessive analysis is at least as important. A total of 20-35 mocks should be ideal for a retake – for the last 2-3 months take 2 a week and analyse, till then take 1 a week (after you’re done with a decent chunk of basics, so say May onwards).


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