A Detailed Guide About How To Prepare For CAT In 2023
Students who are preparing for CAT now is the time to start your journey. It’s better to start early and be prepared. The more you practice the more confident it will make you while you give your examination. CAT which is known as Common Admission Test gives you access to top MBA institutes. It gives a boost to your career. Learn here how to prepare for CAT.
CAT exams are held annually in November. CAT is one of the toughest exams in our country but stops panicking over it. Focus on increasing your knowledge and skillsets to ace this exam. Get a head start, strategize, create a plan meaning a schedule and you will be able to nail this exam and secure a 99%ile.
Here’s a step by step approach to Prepare for CAT and crack this exam:-
1. Firstly you need to know the pattern of the exam which consists of three sections they are
i) Verbal Ability Reading Comprehension (VARC)
The marking system is a total of 34 from which VA is 10 and RC is 24.
ii) Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
The marking system is a total of 32 from which DI is 16 and LR is 16.
iii) Quantitative Aptitude (QA)
The marking system is a total of 34.
The total number of questions is 100 and the students get a total duration of 180 minutes to complete their paper. Each answer earns you 3 marks but for every wrong answer, 1 negative marking is applied for MCQs. There is no negative marking for Non-MCQ or TITA.
2. SYLLABUS FOR THE EXAM
The main topics to be covered for all the subjects and how to ace them are as follows:-
VARC (VERBAL ABILITY READING COMPREHENSION)
The best way to clear this section is to READ as much as you can. If you aren’t an avid reader build this habit. It is difficult to inculcate any habit but trust me it will prove beneficial for you. Gather information from newspapers, articles, novels, short stories anything to increase your knowledge. Along with improving your grammar and vocabulary, it will also help you increase your analytical skills.
This section usually contains jumbled-up sentences, idioms, and phrases, para jumbles, logical and critical reasoning based questions along with para completion which you are required to solve. To get past this barrier you will be required to the rules of grammar and general knowledge skills.
a) Reading Comprehension
You will ace this section if you are well versed in reading. Since maximum questions are asked from this section it is advised to focus on it. These passages are usually based on topics like inferential, philosophical, current affairs, economics, medical or literary.
Chose the ones you think you can excel in and attempt those only. This will give you a sense of how many marks you can secure in this section.
These questions include synonyms-antonyms which you will be able to answer if you know the correct meaning of them. In a single go, you can decide if you know the answer to the question or not. Attempt the ones you are confident about and don’t ponder over the ones you aren’t sure of. Time is a constraint in these types of exams.
c) Sentence Correction and completion
Sentence correction is related to the rules of grammar and vocabulary. A lot of students get confused over these rules and end up with negative marks. So attempt the ones you know are right and guesswork should be completely avoided here. Sentence completion is actually Fill in the Blanks based on the same grammar and vocabulary.
You could use guesswork in this section if there are more than one blanks in the sentence. The choices usually help you figure out the answer if you read the question thoroughly.
d) Para jumbles and logic
They are logic-based questions obviously and this section can help you gain marks. Eliminate the choices in a line of logic and select the correct one accordingly. Identify the action and eliminate the choices which don’t work with it.
e) Para completion and Reasoning
Go for this section if your logic is strong and you can eliminate the choices to get the correct answer in a fast manner.
Practice mock tests to understand which sections you are lacking in and practice more and work on those areas. For securing 99%ile in the first section attempt the grammar questions as mentioned above like Sentence completion, Grammar, Vocabulary, and so on.
In the passage, once scan through them then attempt the ones you are confident about the answers. Also, don’t forget to practice Non-MCQ questions, you will have to write descriptive answers too.
Then go through the next 2-3 passages and attempt their questions. In the end, see which passages are unattempted and read through quickly which questions you are capable of answering and are confident about. Don’t waste time reading the passages which seem difficult to you instead secure your marks in the easy ones.
Don’t pick the options that seem right to you instead chose the ones you know are right. Read as many comprehensions you can it will help you during summary-based and descriptive answers.
During your mock tests see where you are losing your marks and rectify your mistakes. It will not only increase your marks but will also get your confidence up for the real exam.
Find the list of Top CAT Coaching Institutes in Mumbai here
DILR (DATA INTERPRETATION AND LOGICAL REASONING)
This section has its own set of worries, being the tricky and unique part you never know what could come in the exam. The puzzles are asked in the form of
- Venn diagrams
- Caselets and Tables
- Bar Graphs and Column Graphs
- Pie charts
- Logical sequence
- Matching logics
- Binary logics.
- Calendar, Cubes, Blocks
- Seating Arrangements
- Blood Relations
- Number and Letter Relations
- Combination of two or more types which are linked to each other
There are many more ways they could use to confuse the students. The best solution for this to crack the logic behind every sequence you see. Select the two sets you feel are doable and crack the logic behind them. You could easily secure 16 questions here if you prepare diligently by solving as many puzzles and logical questions as you can.
Once you sense the easy sets then you can secure the section. If you see the pattern in the recent papers there are 2 sets that are quite difficult to solve and it could waste your precious time. So avoid those sets and chose wisely.
Get familiar with cases also, they are one of the most prominent questions. According to the past papers, a case is usually of 3-4 sentences. The DI section is the data that is related and the RI section consists of family trees, blood relatives, seating arrangements, and more.
Learn to manage your time. Divide the sections and tackle them accordingly. Try solving the difficult questions before the easy ones. Focus more on the difficult ones and prepare. Built-up, your memory for those mental calculations.
Solve the maximum number of mock questions to get the hang of the questions. If you want to secure a 99%ile you will have to target 4 sets in all that is a total of 16 questions. Every time you solve the DILR section make it a point to secure those 4 sets. With practice, you will be able to get a hold of those and identify the parts you can score in.
First practice solving puzzles and then keep a mock test for yourself every 10 days to give yourself a hang of this process. In that period you will be able to recognize your forte.
QA (QUANTITATIVE APTITUDE)
This is considered as the haunting section for a CAT aspirant as the difficulty of the questions keeps on increasing every year. The vast topics make it more exhaustive in nature and they are:-
- Number System
- LCM & HCF
- Speed, Time, and Distance
- Profit, Loss, and Discount
- Simple Compound Interest
- Ratio & Proportion
- Linear and Quadratic Equations
- Sequences & Series
- Binomial Theorem
- Set Theory
- Mixtures and Allegations
- Permutation and Combination
- Surds and Indices
- Coordinate Geometry
This part mostly contains Mathematics the one subject more than half of the students despise and the remaining are luckily good with numbers. So the first step is to get your basics straight. Create a strong base for yourself then go ahead with the remaining parts.
You could start with Arithmetic with covers major questions then move on to Algebra, Geometry, and Modern Maths. A good tip would be to keep your calculations at a good pace. From the beginning try to calculate at your pace and then gradually increase it.
Till the time you start solving your mock papers who will be well ahead and fast in your calculations. Memorize cubes, squares to maintain your speed. Make a list of formulas and revise them on a daily basis to get well versed with them by the time of exams.
Attempt the questions you are familiar with and don’t experiment during the exam. Focus on getting a minimum of 20-22 questions right in the first round if you want to achieve the 99%ile. In the first round (R1) attempt the questions you are comfortable with. Meaning when you read the question on the first go you can crack the math behind it.
Then go for Round 2 (R2), attempt the questions you feel aren’t lengthy, don’t confuse you at a level. In the last round (R3), only go for the questions you are confident about. Among these three rounds chose one that is your forte and solve maximum questions from there.
Go forward with subjects in it and bifurcate them. Start with Algebra or Arithmetic whichever is your strength. Commercial Mathematics is usually easy as the questions are formula-based. Arithmetic consists of easy questions you should just learn the trick to solve them quickly.
Algebra and Geometry are sometimes used in conjunction with other topics. So prepare according to the exam pattern and solve the past papers to get a better idea. Alligations and Mixtures are similar to Sequence and Series since the questions are similar in nature. Lastly, Geometry has a lot of rules to be followed so beware of them before solving those questions.
Learn your concepts well, practice as much as possible then go forward with giving the mock tests. They will determine your strong areas and which parts you need to work on. When you see the questions figure out which of them will require lengthy calculations and which can be solved in a jiffy.
Don’t waste your time on the sections that will take up more than 10 minutes of yours. Prepare a list of your strengths and weakness then accordingly solve the mock papers. You are then definite to get good results in your exams if you plan your syllabus preparation well.
Valuable Inputs to CAT Preparation
Strengthen your basics
Go through the topics and make a list of the topics you need to start with. Clear your concepts as you start studying. For Verbal Ability Reasoning Comprehension (VARC) you will have to start reading from the first day itself. Make your vocabulary strong and start getting well-versed with all the grammar rules.
Then moving on to Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR), here you will have to learn your concepts well and crack the answers with the help of logic. Lastly for Quantitative Aptitude (QA), solve Sudoku and puzzles on a daily basis to get a grip on this section.
Solve MOCK Tests
CAT preparations are based on the mock tests you give. They give you a clear idea of your strengths and weakness. Then you need to focus on those topics and solve more questions on them.
You will get an idea about the level of the paper and the kind of questions that are asked. The mistakes you make in these tests will help you make recognize your weak areas. Learn from these mistakes and rectify them. Don’t get disheartened if you score less in a mock test, they are made for you to improve.
GET THE RIGHT STUDY MATERIAL FOR CAT
Find the right resources to study from. There are too many books available in the market to choose one. Research and buy the ones needed don’t go around buying too many books. Get the ones you feel are important and study from them. You can get help from Online CAT Coaching institutions also they could guide you in the right direction.
If you are going to classes then the teachers there could also help you select the right ones. Take tips, bits of advice, suggestions from experts and students who have attempted the exam before and cleared it themselves.
Schedule time for each and every topic in a systematic manner, starting from today you still have 7 months in hand to prepare. Devote time to the subjects you feel are hard and difficult for you to manage. Divide time for the section and take small breaks in the middle.
For a subject like Verbal Ability Reading Comprehension (VARC), you have to start reading from day one obviously. So keep the time of about 30 minutes every day to read a novel, short story, newspaper, or article. Anything to increase, your grammar and vocabulary skills. Then for the grammar allot time to revise the grammar rules every day.
Moving to Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR), solve puzzles first then solve the mock tests. During the mock tests keep a track of how much time you require to solve a particular question.
Keep your logic strong in this section. Don’t attempt the sets that take you more than 12-15 minutes to solve. Since you have just one hour to solve the section go for the easy questions first. Then skip the questions you aren’t confident about or are too time-consuming. Keep at 2-3 hours a day to study this section.
You have the last section Quantitative Aptitude (QA), which requires you to do a lot of calculations. So opt for the questions which are easy in terms of calculations and then go on for the medium ones. Avoid the questions that take too much of your time. Make a sheet of formulas and revise them every day.
Spend at least 3-4 hours studying for the section as Maths usually is a weaker section for a lot of students. Make your mental calculations stronger for a better result. It’s important you save time and ways you can solve the equations faster.
Join an Institute
In the initial month of your preparation to join an online class or an institute, there are many options. You can study at home on your own but I would suggest joining an online class so that you can get the necessary guidance. Often during your studies, you might find a topic difficult or find yourself in the middle of doubt.
Instead of wasting time trying to solve it on your own, the expert will help you get past it easily. They will also guide you to follow a certain pattern as to how to go about your entire syllabus. Continue to study on your own but don’t miss out on any lectures.
We strongly recommend IIM SKILLS for your CAT Preparation.
TIPS FOR VARC
- Read newspapers, articles, novels, watch English TV series if you can for better learning. Note down any new word you learn along the way on a paper.
- Make summaries of paragraphs, practice putting jumbled sentences in proper order.
- Solve questions from past papers of VARC and you will understand how to approach this subject and make the necessary strategies.
- Increase your reading speed as the demands of this section reading long and difficult passages.
- Download the available PDFs online for free which are filled with such questions related to reading comprehension, correct the sentences or paragraphs. Practice these papers to increase your stats in the exam.
- The students are required to interpret the data and answer the questions accordingly.
- This section turns out to be a little difficult for students who don’t have analytical skills.
- Eliminating the choices with the assistance of data and interpreting the answer with analysis is the key.
- Solve as many questions as you can and practice this section until you gradually develop the skills.
- The only flaw in this section is if you give one incorrect answer out of the 4 questions you lose marks for the entire set.
- Be aware of the sets you are attempting and focus on getting the answers by remaining calm.
TIPS FOR QA
- QA is based on Mathematics which will require you to know the basics of the topics asked in a thorough manner.
- Keep your calculations strong and try to find shortcuts to solve equations in a faster way.
- Solve the mock tests to figure out your weakness and work more on those areas.
- Leave out the questions which require you to do lengthy calculations. They take up a large amount of your time.
- Keep a check on the kind of questions asked in the past papers so you don’t lose sight of the trends.
- TO REMEMBER FOR THE EXAM Go through the previous CAT question papers to get hold of the pattern also learning the difficulty level.
- Make a list of your strengths and weakness, subject-wise and topic-wise. Then solve the papers in that manner.
- Be well versed with the syllabus of CAT, since it’s so vast in nature. The syllabus is based on the questions asked in the past years or removed from them. The past tendencies have made us realize that no paper is the same and the questions differ in every paper. They might be similar but never the same.
- Work on your speed and ability to solve questions on time and correctly. During exams, you are able to finish your paper with the right amount of answers so that you can crack the exam.
- Keep your plan of action ready before you enter the examination hall. Be mentally ready to answer the questions with ease while keeping their difficulty in mind. Hence you don’t lose marks because of the shift in your focus.
- Revise the topics thoroughly. Since you have the knowledge of the syllabus and exam questions so prepare for the exam accordingly.
- Start revising the important formulas, concepts, theorems a fortnight before the exams.
- Increase your general knowledge by reading newspapers every day because usually, students fail to do that.
- Buy the best CAT material, meaning books to study from that will give you the best results during the exams.
- Start early so that you have a good period of time to work on your weaknesses and prepare thoroughly. Make a list of shortcuts you can use while solving the Maths-related questions. You could also reduce the possibilities by eliminating certain choices you know are wrong.
- Mock tests are the best way to recognize where you stand. Solve as many as you can before the main exams. You will clearly understand which sections you lack in, then put extra effort into them.
- These mock tests will help you manage your time due to the constraint in the exam. You will realize which sections you are utilizing a lot of your time and then you can figure out techniques to curb them.
- Mock tests lead to a lot more practice which will reduce your anxiety, pressure, and panic which might occur during your main exam.
- Decide whether you need a coaching class or the self preparations you are doing enough along with some guidance
- Prepare a timetable for every subject topic-wise and tick off them one by one. With that get used to the idea of solving papers, continuously for three hours without taking any breaks.
- Instead of mugging up the formulas try learning the basic concepts which will help understand and remember in a better manner.
- Make sure to complete your entire syllabus at least 15 days before your exam. Then just revise the things you and continue to solve as many as mock papers you can.
- Self-preparation has been named as one of the most important strategies by most of the students. In the end your hard work, continuity, focus, passion, a determination will get you the way to crack the exam.
- Be confident from day one itself and never get discouraged if you get fewer marks in mock tests or even the exams. Try harder every single time and will clear the exams with a 99%ile.
- Remember to sleep and eat well before your main exam. Your health is more important and above all. An exhaustive mind will forget the learned but a healthy mind will crack the exam.
ALL THE BEST for your CAT Preparations and exams, make sure you are calm, collected, prepared, and focused during all of your papers.