CAT Aspirants Interact with Patrick D’Souza in an engaging VARC training session


In this article titled “Tips and Tricks for Decoding CAT Preparation,” Patrick D’Souza and PaGaLGuY bring valuable insights to boost your CAT preparation, guaranteeing a flawless performance for CAT 2023 and helping you achieve that perfect score.

Preparing for the Common Admission Test (CAT) can feel overwhelming, considering its competitive nature and extensive syllabus. Achieving success in CAT Exam requires a strategic approach and unwavering dedication. However, by employing effective tips and techniques, you can unravel the secrets of CAT preparation and significantly enhance your chances of excelling in the exam. First and foremost, a crucial tip for acing CAT is to develop a well-structured preparation strategy. It is essential to divide your study time wisely among the three sections: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI-LR), and Quantitative Ability (QA). Each section necessitates a distinct approach, so allocating sufficient time to cover all the topics and engaging in extensive practice is of utmost importance.

PaGaLGuY recently had the opportunity to interview Patrick D’Souza, a six-time CAT topper, who shared his comprehensive CAT preparation plan with us. This article contains all the tips and tricks employed by Patrick D’Souza during his CAT preparation and exam, enabling him to achieve a perfect 100%iler for CAT.

Patrick D’Souza, a seasoned professional at the age of 45, specialises in imparting knowledge and training in Quantitative Aptitude, Logical Reasoning, and Data Interpretation. With an impressive track record spanning over thirteen years, he emphasises the significance of adapting and modifying strategies while tackling entrance exam papers to unlock one’s full potential. Throughout the past 13 years, Patrick has consistently delivered outstanding performances in the Common Admission Test (CAT), as evidenced by his remarkable percentiles. Here are his CAT results over the years: 2005 – 99.93%ile, 2006 – 99.95%ile, 2007 – 100%ile, 2008 – 99.98%ile, 2009 – 100%ile, 2011 – 99.98%ile, 2014 – 99.98%ile, 2015 – 99.99%ile, 2016 – 100%ile, 2017 – 100%ile, 2018 – 100%ile, 2019 – 100%ile.

“In my pursuit of becoming a successful teacher, I have personally undertaken the CAT exam on multiple occasions. This choice was motivated by my firm belief that comprehending the exam’s strategy and psychology would greatly augment my effectiveness in guiding students. Through these personal experiences, I have acquired invaluable insights into the dynamic nature of the CAT exam, while also fostering a profound understanding of students’ perspectives.”

My CAT Exam Endeavours: 

Patrick D’Souza has taken the CAT exam twelve times in the last 15 years. His motivation behind this unique endeavour was to closely observe the changes implemented by the CAT committee each year. By repeatedly immersing himself in the exam experience, Patrick remained up-to-date on the exam pattern, difficulty levels, study material, syllabus, and time management requirements. This firsthand experience expanded his knowledge and allowed him to empathise with the pressures and challenges CAT aspirants face. As a result, Patrick can adapt his teaching methods effectively to cater to the evolving needs of his students.

“Taking the CAT multiple times helped me better understand students’ perspectives and tailor my teaching techniques accordingly. I focused on alleviating anxiety, enhancing problem-solving skills, understanding the CAT exam pattern, and maximising time efficiency during the exam. By sharing my personal journey, I aimed to inspire and guide students towards success.”

Also Read: CAT 2023: Ultimate Guide to Crack CAT – Registrations, Exam Day, Syllabus, Patterns, CAT Topper Tips & CAT Preparation Plan | Pagalguy

The Pursuit of 100 Percentiles: Tips and Tricks to Ace CAT

Patrick achieved a perfect 100 percentile score on six occasions: 2007, 2009, 2016, 2017, 2019, and 2019. These remarkable accomplishments not only validated his unwavering efforts but also served as a powerful testament to the effectiveness of his teaching approach. These preparation tips and tricks instilled a profound sense of pride within Patrick and motivated him to continuously enhance his knowledge and refine his teaching methodologies for the benefit of his students.

How do I increase my reading speed for the reading comprehension section of the CAT?

To increase your reading speed when preparing for an MBA entrance exam like the CAT, concentrate on your reading and understand the meaning of words while acknowledging the author’s point of view. Throughout my undergraduate years, I struggled to read swiftly and effectively while comprehending the subject. I attempted a few other approaches, including enrolling in CAT coaching, which aimed to improve the basic information processing processes for reading. However, I wasn’t having much luck with it at the moment. 

What I discovered, later on, was that the key to improving my reading speed and comprehension was to cultivate a genuine enjoyment of reading itself. By developing a love for reading, one can naturally enhance verbal skills and become more proficient in understanding written content.

Once you have built a foundation,  you must begin practising reading faster while ensuring that you don’t sacrifice understanding for speed. It’s important to strike a balance where you’re reading fast enough to cover a  significant amount of material, but not so fast that you miss out on the author’s intended message. Patrick’s approach is helpful as it allows one to focus on reading with the aim of grasping the author’s perspective. By understanding the author’s viewpoint, you can better comprehend the overall message and purpose of the text.  This strategy allowed you to extract key information while maintaining a good reading pace. 

Tips to help approach different type of questions in the VARC Section: 

  • First, skim through the entire verbal ability section: Make sure you understand the question type and difficulty levels in order to plan your time and mental energy.


  • Begin with simpler questions: Answer easy questions first to gain confidence and swiftly acquire marks. Within the simple question set, priorities high-weightage areas such as Reading Comprehension, Para Jumbles, Vocabulary, Sentence Correction, and Para Completion.


  • Move on to problems of intermediate difficulty: Make additional time and use tried-and-true problem-solving strategies. Approach these issues strategically, taking into account deeper analysis and logical reasoning.


  • Manage your time wisely: Priorities accuracy above answering every question. It is preferable to answer fewer questions accurately rather than rushing and making mistakes. Develop a time-saving approach through regular CAT mock tests and learning from recommended CAT books for VARC.

Also Read: How to Prepare for CAT 2023 Exam: Tips to solve VARC Section – Tricks and Resources by CAT 100%ilers

How many questions should I attempt in CAT for a 100 percentile in VARC?

Getting a perfect 100 percent in CAT VARC is challenging; aim for a raw score of 37-39. No one strategy suits all, but begin with your strengths. Manage time wisely, skip tough questions if necessary, and practise extensively. Stay calm during the exam and trust yourself.

How can I improve my vocabulary to crack the CAT exam?

To improve your vocabulary for the CAT exam, consider following these CAT preparation tips: 

  • Read diverse articles: Engage with newspapers, magazines, and online blogs featuring various writing styles, genres, and topics. This exposure broadens your vocabulary and improves comprehension.


  • Note challenging words: While reading, actively identify unfamiliar words and phrases. Keep a notebook or digital document handy to jot them down for future reference. Instantly check unknown words in a dictionary to understand their meaning and context better. Create your own word list.


  • Maintain reading flow: Avoid taking frequent breaks while reading to enhance understanding. Try to read articles in their entirety before referring to a dictionary for word definitions.

Gain additional assistance in preparing for the verbal section of the CAT exam by watching this informative video by Patrick D’Souza.

How do you solve data interpretation questions quickly?

Tips for Solving Complex Data Interpretation questions quickly for CAT 2023:

  1. Read and Understand: 
  • Focus on key variables and relevant information. 
  • Comprehend the given data thoroughly to answer questions accurately. 
  1. Prioritise Easy Questions: 
  • Begin with easier questions within the set to secure marks and build confidence. 
  1. Practise and Familiarise: 
  • Regular practice is vital for improving speed and accuracy. 
  • Work with various types of data interpretation sets. 
  • Gain comfort by answering different CAT question papers. 

What are the key techniques for improving Logical Reasoning Skills for CAT 2023 Exam? 

The top 3 techniques to improving your logical reasoning skills for CAT 2023 include:

  1. Regular Practice with a Variety of Logical Reasoning Questions: 
  • Expose yourself to different question types, patterns, and formats of questions.
  • Develop familiarity, improve speed, and enhance problem-solving abilities by taking CAT mock test or solving previous years CAT exam papers, like CAT 2022 OR CAT 2021.
  1. Enhance Analytical Thinking through Puzzles and Brain Teasers: 
  • Engage in puzzles, brain teasers, and critical thinking exercises.
  • Challenge your mind, think creatively, and make logical connections. 
  1. Understand and Apply Logical Concepts Effectively: 
  • Thoroughly understand logical concepts like syllogisms, blood relations, seating arrangements, and coding-decoding. 
  • Learn associated rules, strategies, and techniques to score well in the CAT exam.

Effective Time Management Strategies for the DILR Section 

Points for effective time management in the DILR section: 

  1. Find the best way to start: Experiment with different approaches and identify the method that helps improve your performance. This sets the foundation for effective time management throughout the section. 
  2. Limit time spent on technical readings: Focus on extracting important information and noting down key points. Allocate time efficiently by avoiding excessive reading and analysis. 
  3. Take proper notes: Create a structured approach by jotting down essential details, formulas, and patterns. These notes serve as a quick reference, allowing you to navigate through the section more efficiently. 
  4. Interpret questions accurately: Take a moment to understand the questions before attempting to solve them. By interpreting them correctly, you save time and focus your efforts on the right answers. 

Implementing these strategies will optimise your performance and increase your chances of scoring well in the DILR section. Start with caution, manage your time effectively, take proper notes, and ensure accurate question interpretation. With consistent practice, you will improve your time management skills and excel in the DILR section. 

Explore Patrick D’Souza’s informative video guide on effective preparation strategies for the DI-LR section of CAT.

Is there a straightforward approach to getting good results instantly for Quants? 

While improving my math skills for the QA section, I realised there was no universal approach. However, I  found an effective method that worked for me. Mastering mental calculations was crucial, time-saving and helped boost my confidence. I practiced mental math to enhance my problem-solving abilities without relying heavily on pen and paper. A strategic approach to different question types proved beneficial. Instead of starting with the 5-to-10-mark questions, I tackled the easier ones first to build momentum and confidence. By thoroughly understanding the concepts, I could identify and focus on the simpler topics, securing important marks without spending excessive time on complex problems. From my experience, I recommend focusing on  4 to 5 key topics that you find comfortable. By concentrating on these areas, you can significantly improve your performance. I recall a fellow student who struggled initially but then focused on a few preferred topics; this dedication led to a score of over 98 percentiles in the CAT exam and admission to IIMA, reinforcing the importance of identifying and strengthening preferred areas of expertise. 

Tricks to approaching different question types in the QA Section

When it comes to approaching the different question types in the QA section,  Patrick found that there is no straightforward way that one can follow that will maximise efficiency and effectiveness. But  some important tricks Patrick recommends are: 

✔ Start with easier questions: After familiarising yourself with the entire syllabus, start with easier questions to build momentum and boost confidence. Scan all QA questions to understand the difficulty levels of the exam, focusing on topics like percentages, averages, and profit and loss, which carry significant weight.

✔ Tackle moderate-difficulty questions: Solve moderate-difficulty questions after easier ones. Build confidence, approach these challenges with focus, and save the toughest questions for later to allocate enough time and mental energy. Effective time management is key. 

✔ Practice, practice, practice: To prepare effectively for the QA section, practice from previous papers and take mock tests. This allows you to become familiar with the question patterns and improves your speed and accuracy. Continuous learning and understanding of mathematical concepts are essential for success. 

✔ Time Management and Prioritisation in QA: When strategies for D-Day, I realised that time management and effective question prioritisation are crucial factors that can greatly impact your performance in the QA section.

Ticks and Tips to Approach Quant for CAT 

Here are the top 5 tricks and tips to improve your performance in the quant section of the CAT exam, as shared by CAT 100%iler and CAT Coaching expert Patrick D’Souza. 

Tip 1: Categorise Questions by Difficulty Levels 

At the start of the exam, I categorised the questions based on their difficulty levels. This gave me an overview of the section and helped me plan my time allocation. I divided the questions into easy, medium, and tough categories. Categorising the questions allowed me to prioritise my efforts, focusing on questions that aligned with my strengths and required less time. 

Tip 2: Set Time Limits for Each Category 

After categorising the questions, I set time limits for each category. I aimed to solve each question within 10- 15 seconds to maintain an efficient pace. This prevented me from getting stuck on challenging or time-consuming questions and allowed me to move on quickly. 

Tip 3: Prioritise Easy and Medium Questions 

Following my time management strategy, I prioritised easier and medium-difficulty questions. By focusing on these questions first, I gained momentum and accumulated marks quickly. This strategy also created a buffer of extra time for tackling tougher questions later. 

Tip 4: Stay Mindful of Time Constraints 

Throughout the exam, I remained aware of the time constraints. Regularly checking the clock helped me track my progress and ensure I adhered to my predetermined time limits. If I spent too much time on a question, I  made a conscious decision to move on and return to it if time allowed. 

Tip 5: Regularly Solve Mock Tests 

Practicing mock tests and previous years’ question papers played a crucial role in mastering time management.  This helped me familiarise myself with the exam format, improve my timing, and understand my strengths and weaknesses. Simulating exam conditions during practice sessions improved my speed, accuracy, and confidence under time pressure. 

Also Read: How to Score 99 Percentile in CAT 2023? – CAT Toppers Success Strategies by Sanjit Sarkar, IIM Ahmedabad

Top 10 CAT Tips and Tricks to Ace the Exam

Top 10 tips and tricks every CAT aspirant needs to follow to ace CAT 2023 scores 

  • Plan strategically – Allocate time wisely for each section of the CAT.


  • Enhance reading speed – Understand content and author’s viewpoint.


  • Prioritise accuracy – Tackle easier questions first for confidence.


  • Strengthen logical reasoning – Practice diverse question types.


  • Master quantitative ability – Focus on key topics for efficiency.


  • Analyse mock tests – Identify strengths and weaknesses.


  • Consistency is key – Stick to a regular study schedule.


  • Seek expert guidance – Learn from experienced CAT toppers.


  • Manage time effectively – Categorise the number of questions by difficulty.


  • Believe in yourself – Stay motivated and confident.


Take a look at this informative video presented by Patrick D’Souza, where he shares valuable insights on the approach to Quants.

How can one maintain consistency and discipline during CAT preparation? 

Consistency and discipline are crucial for success in CAT exam. Students who succeeded in competitive exams like CAT discovered effective strategies during their preparation. Firstly, You need to recognise that maintaining consistent effort dedicating a few hours daily, is more effective than sporadic and intense study sessions. By creating and adhering to a study schedule, a routine needs to be established, allowing steady progress over time.

You also need to acknowledge the significance of having a supportive group of like-minded individuals. Surrounding yourself with motivated peers has a profound impact on your preparation. Together, they form a support system, holding each other accountable and encouraging excellence. Taking small breaks and rewarding oneself played a crucial role in maintaining consistency. Incorporating short breaks into your study routine to prevent burnout and monotony. Additionally, reward achievements when completing challenging tasks as it acts as a positive reinforcement, motivating you to stay disciplined.

Moreover, actively sought out communities and resources. Platforms like “The PaGalGuY” provided valuable information and discussions around exam pattern and syllabus; engaging with such communities allowed you to connect with fellow aspirants, share experiences, and seek advice on preparation for CAT. you can also utilised YouTube educational resources, including Patrick100, to clarify concepts and expand your knowledge.

In conclusion, to achieve consistency and discipline through conscious effort and a holistic approach, one must strive to be regular, have a supportive group, take breaks, and seek relevant community and resources. It’s important to remember that each journey is unique, so finding what works best for yourself is key. With dedication, perseverance, and a structured approach, consistency and discipline can be attained on the path to success.

How do I improve my CAT Mock Percentile?

If you’re finding it a bit tough to improve your CAT mock percentile, don’t worry! We’ve got some friendly tips for you, straight from the CAT expert, Patrick D’Souza. These suggestions might just be what you need to boost your performance! 

✔ Identifying strengths and weaknesses: The first step in analysing weekly mock tests is to carefully examine the questions answered correctly and those that were challenging. This helps identify areas of proficiency and areas that require improvement. 

✔ Paying attention to explanations: During the analysis phase, closely examine the explanations provided for the questions in the mock tests. Understand the reasoning behind correct answers and look for alternative approaches or shortcuts to save time in the final exam. 

✔ Targeted practice: Select specific questions from the mock tests for additional practice. By focusing on these questions, you can deepen your understanding of the associated concepts and problem-solving techniques. 

✔ Balancing practise and mock tests: Individuals with lower scores should dedicate more time to practice sessions rather than solely focusing on taking additional mock tests. Practice sessions help improve conceptual knowledge and understanding, rectify common mistakes, and build a strong foundation. Mock tests simulate the actual exam environment, providing familiarity with the format and time constraints. 

✔ Quality over quantity: While taking multiple mock tests can be beneficial, focusing on quality practice is equally important. Thoroughly analysing performance, learning from mistakes, and seeking explanations provided in the mock tests contribute to effective improvement. 

Word of Motivation for CAT Aspirants by Patrick D’Souza

Having experienced the CAT journey, I understand its challenges and pressures. To all CAT  aspirants, here’s my final motivation and encouragement as you begin this path: 

  1. Let your passion for learning be the driving force. CAT is not just a means to an end; it expands knowledge, sharpens skills, and pushes boundaries. Embrace the joy of learning and let it fuel motivation.
  2. Stay consistent throughout your studies. Set a schedule, make every small effort count, and push through moments of demotivation. Consistency yields fruitful results.
  3. Proper preparation is crucial. Create a well-structured plan, cover all topics, allocate time wisely, and break down the syllabus into manageable chunks. Use reliable study materials, solve past papers, and take mock tests. A solid strategy boosts confidence to face CAT’s challenges.
  4. Be open to experimentation and learning along the way. Discover study techniques that work best for the individual. Understand that mistakes and setbacks are opportunities for growth, and failure can serve as a stepping stone to success.
  5. Always remember that CAT is within reach. Dedication, hard work, and strategic planning are essential. Believe in oneself, trust the process, and maintain focus. Surround yourself with a supportive network for guidance.
  6. In conclusion, achieving great things in CAT is possible. Stay motivated, consistent, and determined. Embrace challenges, learn from experiences, and acknowledge that success is a journey. Believe in oneself, give it the best effort, and let passion and dedication shine. Best of luck to all CAT aspirants!

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