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Top 10 Best Books For CAT Preparation

Are you confused by so many options of books that each claims to be the best books for CAT? Find out which are the real great books for CAT according to IIM Skills- online CAT coaching





  1. List of top 10 best books for CAT preparation
  2. How to select a good book?
  3. Syllabus of CAT 2021


It is very important to study from the best books for CAT preparation. You will save a lot of time and will be sure that you are making the best use of your time. Especially when you have such limited time for CAT 2021.


Common Admission Test (CAT) is known as the most important of all MBA Entrance Exams. Through CAT, students get admissions to management programs for over 5000 seats in the top IIMs and other great management programs. 


Many CAT aspirants get intimidated in their early days of preparation thinking what are the best books for CAT preparation. There are different options and everyone recommends different books. 


In their frenzy, aspirants often end up purchasing all of them and then in order to somehow make use of them, they end up destroying their study plan and wasting their limited time. 


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This is why we have prepared the list of the top 10 books for CAT preparation. You can refer to this list.


How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Arun Sharma


A little about the authors first. Arun Sharma is an alumnus of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. He has been training corporates and CAT aspirants for 24 years and has personally trained more than a thousand students who later got into the IIMs and other premier Business Schools. He holds the record of clearing the CAT exam 16 years in a row, with a percentile of 99.99 in CAT 2008. He has authored or co-authored some of the best books for CAT.


Meenakshi Upadhyay is also an alumnus of IIM Bangalore and has been strongly involved in training students for the CAT, CSAT, and other management entrance tests for more than 15 years.


The book features comprehensive theory as per the latest syllabus and pattern of the CAT exam. The topics are divided into small blocks for the convenience of the student. The book also has plenty of shortcut techniques that may come handy during mock tests and the main exam.


At the end of each topic, there is a section called ‘taste of exams’ that has questions from that topic that have come in previous years papers of exams like CAT, XAT, IIFT, etc. in the last 20 years.


The best thing about this book is that the theory is explained really nicely and with patience. The author has kept in mind the requirements of a student and has taken care of as many of them without being present with the candidate.


This is one of the best books for the preparation of CAT. If you buy just this book, you will hardly need any other book for the quantitative aptitude section of CAT. This book provides complete preparation of quant in CAT.


The book is divided into different sections and has these features:

  • Elaborate theory
  • Hundreds of practice questions
  • Practic questions of different difficult level
  • Mock tests
  • Previous years questions of CAT


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How To Prepare for LOGICAL REASONING Arun Sharma


Another book by Arun Sharma to feature in this list of top 10 best books for CAT, this book is specially designed to be a complete reference material for the logical reasoning section of CAT. 


This book provides clear techniques and guides on how to successfully solve the problems asked in the logical reasoning section. A good score in the LR section considerably eases the pressure on doing well in other sections. This book by Arun Sharma is a must-have for candidates appearing for CAT or any other MBA entrance examinations.


The new edition of the book contains new chapters like games and tournaments, set theory, cubes and dice, and network diagrams as per the latest pattern of CAT.


The logical reasoning book for CAT first familiarises students with different types of Logical Reasoning questions in CAT. it provides various ways to solve LR problems and explains in a very clear manner.


It also has added previous year questions and mock test papers for candidates to test and track their progress and preparation levels. How to prepare for logical reasoning for CAT by Arun Sharma is one of the best books for logical reasoning for CAT in the market.




Since Arun Sharma has written books for every section in CAT, this book is nothing short of the other quality books by him. Just like his other books, this book also provides a complete and exhaustive preparation of reading comprehension with a special weight on short passages. Many tips and tricks for sentence correction have been included in the book.


In the new edition, the latest TITA (Type in the answer) type of questions that come without options has been included so candidates can have extensive practice in this new format.


Previous year questions and new questions as per the latest pattern have been included.


Although some students have complained that there are some minor mistakes throughout the book and there are wrong answers every once in a while. This especially becomes a problem for students who are initially not very strong in the VARC section of CAT.


Still, this book has enough theory and practice questions to give you the thorough practice of topics like phrasal verbs, analogies, idioms, word roots, etc.


If you come up across a possible wrong answer, better ask your professor or any other friend. You could also refer to a good grammar book like Wren and Martin.


How To Prepare for DATA INTERPRETATION Arun Sharma


Another top study material from Arun Sharma, that is considered one of the best books for CAT preparation, this book deals with an important section of DILR and that is DI or data interpretation. The book begins with the basics of Data Interpretation – taking the candidate through a well-designed and structured learning experience.


There are separate sections dealing with conventional and logical data interpretation. Just like the usual format, the book first deals with the theory and common types of questions and how to solve them so the candidate gets an understanding of how to treat the problems.


New sections included are some 10-minute test papers in conventional data interpretation and 12-minute test papers in logical data interpretation


There are also fully solved mock test papers that are based on the latest CAT pattern. Many previous year questions from different exams have been included.


  • This book is another essential material for your CAT preparation. It gets updated frequently. 
  • It gives many shortcut techniques and clear logic and explanations of solutions. 
  • It even has separate sections for every topic in DI that has ever come in CAT or any other management entrance exam.


Quantitative Aptitude for All Competitive Examinations by Abhijit Guha


This is also one of the best books for CAT but also for all competitive exams in the same format. These exams include SBI PO and IBPS too. Since exams like SBI PO are raising their levels in recent years, the difficulty level of SBI PO is coming closer and closer to CAT.


Regardless, this is a good book for the preparation of quantitative aptitude. However, there are a few issues that the students who bought this book did not like, mainly the absence of solutions in many easy questions. It was assumed by the author that som easy questions did not need descriptive solutions, but this did not turn out good for the students who want to start from scratch.


Some students found it easy for the level of CAT, however solving tough questions all the time is not a great strategy, you also need to get comfortable with the basics. The most important skill this book will help you develop is speed.


The book has a huge selection of practice questions. This will also help you in the placement season if you are in the final year of bachelor’s. 


Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT by Sarvesh Verma


This book is very helpful for those candidates who are preparing for business school entrance preparation. The book is distributed into topic wise chapters. Basic ideas and concepts are explained and the practice questions follow. 


The solutions are properly explained with supporting theories. The book has all the varieties and topics that have been asked in CAT yet. 


The book’s print quality may be questionable but not it’s content. Because this book is probably an answer to everything for the quant section in CAT.


Quantum CAT by Sarvesh Verma has adopted the method of teaching through solutions. The book contains more than 300 concepts with more than 4000 quant problems with detailed solutions. 


The book teaches many shortcut techniques essential for saving time during the CAT, this is why it is featured in this list of top 10 best books for CAT.


The book includes these sections:

  • CAT solved papers
  • XAT solved papers
  • IIFT solved papers
  • SNAP solved papers
  • Fundamentals, Averages, Allegations, Ratio, Proportion & Variation, Percentages, Profit, Loss & Discount, CI/SI/Installments, Elements of Algebra, Theory of Equations, Set Theory, Time and Work, Time, Speed and Distance, Mensuration, Logarithm, Functions and Graph, Sequence and Series and Progressions, Permutations & Combinations, Probability, Trigonometry, Geometry, and Coordinate geometry.


Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Nishit Sinha


This new edition of this popular bestseller has been revised as per the latest pattern of CAT. It has been so outlined as to improve the students’ thought process and make them get the basic aspects of the topic, to advise on every type and variations of the questions asked and in turn assist in answering them.


Divided into 5 sections, chapters are presented in great detail with the help of ideas, tips, and strategies along with a meticulous dissection of the same. Strategically composed practice questions with hierarchal toughness – Warm-up, Foundation, Moderate,  and Advanced will assist students to gain faith in their skills and eventually reach a level of excellence required to score in CAT.



  • 4000+ solved questions
  • Analysis of the CAT exam
  • Revised Benchmark tests for progress tracking
  • New practice tests with varied difficulty level from easy to difficult
  • A special part for Campus Recruitment Exams
  • Previous years papers of SNAP, XAT and IIFT


5 section tests – CAT online exam simulation  in CD


Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis


Any candidate planning to sit for either CAT, GMAT, GRE, TOEFL and any other such competitive exams is sure to benefit from this book. The purpose of the book is to improve the vocabulary and is probably the most popular book for that purpose among students. 


Written by Norman Lewis, who was a grammarian in the United States, also has several other English languages works to his credit, ‘Word Power Made Easy’ is published by Goyal Publishers in India and became successful soon as it was released in 2009.


The book is basically divided into three parts. The author has presented easy to follow tips for increasing one’s vocabulary. After exposing the student to new words and their meaning, the book then goes onto explain how to use them correctly in a sentence.


The book cites several examples to depict the correct usage of words to let the user know about the little nuances of every word. The diction and idioms are properly explained. There are many words that can be used for a purpose if you go by the literal meaning but every word has a slightly different connotation. This is also explained properly in the book.


A part of the book also explains many etymologies that you can easily learn to get a better understanding of the language. The book has been divided into specialized sections that need a response from the reader and there are many challenging exercises that further improve the grasp on the language.


At the end of every chapter, there is an exercise section. Because unless you use your knowledge you will not remember it for a long time. 


The book has trivia about the language at every few pages to promotes the reader’s interest and curiosity.


This book is a great material to improve your vocabulary and get a deeper understanding of the language.


A Modern Approach to Logical Reasoning by R.S. Agarwal


This book from R.S. Agarwal has helped a lot of students become successful in CAT as well as many other exams since it was first published. The revised edition has a new approach to logical reasoning while building on the strengths of the original edition.


The book has a very organized and structured presentation of solutions that make it very easy for the student to understand them.


The book also has many questions asked in previous years in many exams like SSC-CL, CSAT, SBI PPO, RBI grade B, etc. The format is based on the latest pattern and trends of various exams.


The solutions are also explained in a detailed and descriptive manner. 


Contents of this book include: 


  • Logic
  • Statement – Arguments
  • Statement – Assumptions
  • Statement – Courses of Action
  • Statement – Conclusions
  • Deriving Conclusions from Passages
  • Theme Detection
  • Cause and Effect Reasoning


The book is useful for not just CAT but also for many other exams like IBPS-CWE Bank PO/Clerical/Specialist Officers, RRB Officers; SBI-PO/Clerical; NABARD &IDBI Bank Executive Offices, SSC-CGL (Tier I and II); SSC-CHSL (10+2); SSC-FCI Grade III; SSC-CPO/SI/ASI, Income Tax, LIC/GIC/ UIICO AAOs, UPSC-CSAT, SCRA, etc; and other State Services Exams, Railways Grade ‘D’ & other Technical & Non-Technical Exam; MAT; CMAT; CET (MBA); SNAP; BBA; BBM & other B School Admission Tests; NTSE; CLAT; Hotel Management, etc.


High School Grammar and Composition by Wren and Martin


This is a bonus 11th book that simply cannot be left out. 


Wren and Martin’s High School English Grammar & Composition by NDV Prasada Rao, is arguably the most popular and most widely used reference book on English Grammar. It not only encourages the students to use the language but also gives a comprehensive knowledge about the language. 


High School English Grammar & Composition presents adequate guidance and exercise in sentence structure, correct practices, comprehension, composition, and other related areas so as to assist the learners with the ability to interact effectively in English. 


The book now comes in two editions with one more for solutions. The regular edition contains everything in a basic and minimal style. 


The multicolor edition contains illustrations and is more interactive in style. It is better suited for children since it contains no extra text than the regular edition. 


The Self-practice edition has been specially made on user demand. It has keys and practice areas to cement the concepts.


So our list of top 10 best books for CAT is complete. We also listed a bonus 11th book for you. Now let us read about how to select a good book.


How to select a good book?


As a student, you must have a proper way and technique of selecting the best books for CAT or for any other exams. There are a lot of books on the market for every subject. So many choices confuse the student and if there are no reviews, the student often ends up with the wrong book. 


The student loses his/her money but they also lose their precious time. Below are some tips to know how to know if a book is good for you.


Are the basic concepts explained


You must take a glance at the book. Just take out a few pages at random and see if the concepts and solutions are explained properly for a student who is starting from scratch. The book must have all the basic theories and formulae explained descriptively.




You should not buy a book from any author without looking up their reviews on the internet. The author must have credibility and accomplishments in the field he/she has written about.


The spectrum of questions covered


Check if the ook is covering all types of questions. It happens that sometimes some books have a lot of questions but do not have descriptive solutions. What is the point of a book if the student does not get to learn anything from it?




Verify how many of the above factors a book satisfies, and see if it is worth buying.


Syllabus for CAT


Syllabus for Quantitative ability

Number Systems

Mean median mode (statistics)




Time and Work

Ratio and Proportion

Profit, Loss, and Discount

Speed, Time and Distance

Quadratic Equations & Linear Equations

Complex Numbers

Simple and Compound Interest


Sequences and Series

Linear equations



Surds and Indices

Set Theory & Function

Permutation and Combination

Mixtures and Alligations


Coordinate Geometry




Syllabus for DILR



Letter Series

Symbol Series

Symbol based Logic

Number & Alphabet Analogies

Odd one out

Direction Sense

Blood Relations and Family Tree

Cryptarithmetic (Verbal Arithmetic)

Inequalities and Conclusions – Coded Inequalities

Data Sufficiency

Approximation of Values


Bar Graphs

Line Charts

Column Graphs

Venn Diagrams

Pie Chart


Number and Letter Series



Seating Arrangement

Binary Logic

Logical Matching

Logical Sequence



Syllabus for VARC


  • English Usage or Grammar
  • Vocabulary (Synonyms/ Antonyms)
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Sentence Correction
  • Jumbled Paragraph
  • Meaning-Usage Match
  • Analogies or Reverse Analogies
  • Summary Questions
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Facts-Inferences-Judgments
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Categories of Passages
  • Writing Styles
  • Tone of Writing
  • Types of Questions
  • Reading Skills
  • The Articles – A, An, The
  • Grammar rules
  • Parts of Speech in English
  • Sentence Construction in English
  • Punctuations
  • Modifiers
  • Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Verbs Tenses
  • Word Usage
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Logical Deduction
  • Statements & Assumptions
  • Courses of Action
  • Para jumbles (Basic Rules, Extra tips)
  • Para Completion
  • Sentence Exclusion
  • Fact Inference Judgment
  • Syllogism
  • Basic Assumption And Inference
  • Paragraph Summary
  • Method of Reasoning and Boldfaced
  • Flawed and Paradox
  • Parallel, Further Application, Evaluate
  • Fallacies
  • Strong Weak Arguments

You can find many similar and helpful CAT guidance from our CAT blog. Check it out now.

Gaurav is a Content Writer at IIM Skills. He has a B.Tech. degree but then he switched to the creative side by doing his master's in advertising and public relations. Gaurav is also a part-time blogger and graphic designer currently living in Mumbai

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