10 tips for CAT exam

cat exam tips

10 tips for CAT exam

10 must-know tips for CAT exam

What is CAT?

Common Aptitude Test- CAT is a computer-based test for admission in postgraduate management programs in India. CAT provides admissions for more than 500 MBA colleges in India including All 20 IIMs, FMS, JBIMS, SPJIMR, MDI, IMT, DoMS IITs, IISc, etc. In this article, there are 10 tips for the CAT exam that can help you with your preparations.

For Preparation Join our CAT 2020 Courses


To start with CAT, we must know what is the exact pattern of CAT. Understanding the pattern, helps you to have a deep dive into how and what to concentrate on while preparing for the exam.

CAT paper pattern:

CAT (Common Admission Test) is an MBA entrance exam to get through B-School. Before we jump onto the CAT strategies lets understand the pattern and weight of the marks.

CAT is primarily divided into 3 sections viz Quants, LR / DI, and Verbal ability. The following table helps understand the no. of questions & time duration for each of them.

Subjects Questions Duration
Quants 34 Question 60 Minutes
LR / DI 32 Questions 60 Minutes
Verbal 34 Questions 60 minutes

There are a total of 100 questions that need to be solved in 180 mins i.e. approximately you have 1.8 mins per question.

Also Read: Things every CAT Aspirant should know

10 tips for CAT exam

First of 10 tips for CAT exam: Set deadlines to cover CAT syllabus

Plan well and set deadlines for yourself. For CAT 2020 you need to cover a huge amount of syllabus in a small time. To prepare well you have to plan well and setting up deadlines serves as a check for your plan and keeps you motivated.

CAT with its vast syllabus and multiple questions in its test paper has increased its galaxy further. The dilemma can be cleared if the student has a clear picture before him in regard to the factors that would guide the preparation journey. 

Plan Time-bound practice

Learn strategically and complete your IIM dream come true

Time management is the key that can help you open the doors to the IIMs via CAT 2020. The trickiest part of clearing CAT is to get to the right answer in the least amount of time. This can be done only if you practice with a check on time whether it is MCQ or Non-MCQ type of question.

There is no substitute for hard work, this especially holds true for CAT. The more you practice the better you will get. 

Make a good peer group

Working with other motivated individuals preparing for 8 will help you to continue even in tough times. You can also discuss tough questions. It also helps while preparing for GD/PI. 

Confused? Book your free mentorship with experts.

Always take expert opinion

Talking to an expert – mentors at coaching classes or online tutorial helps you to gauge your performance against others. They can help you in working on your weaknesses and teach you important time-saving tricks. 


Many books confuse more

Too many books create confusion. Some of the books have questions much tougher than those asked in CAT. Preparing for them won’t do any good. 

Move on-leave the sticky topic

With a vast syllabus covering so many topics it is easy to get stuck on a hard subject. You should remember that everything is relative and spending a lot of time on one subject is not advisable. 

Time to go for Mock test series

Enroll for a mock test series for CAT 2020 new exam pattern. Be consistent in taking the mock CATs. Perform a thorough analysis after each mock. The analysis will help to figure out the loopholes and your weak areas so that you could improve on them and further fine-tune your strategy. Above all, go about your CAT preparation with a cool head. The winning position in CAT 2020 will be because of your own self. It will depend on the way you handle things, your discipline in the preparation you have undertaken.

Also Read: CAT exam tips on how to improve your vocabulary

Don’t quit your jobs for CAT

CAT type of exams can be cracked with a stepwise preparation approach. You need not study for many hours but need to prepare as per the CAT exam syllabus to gain more in less time.

Overall CAT percentile doesn’t matter but your individual sectional cut-offs matter a lot in sectional percentile score which can get you through CAT 2020. Nobody knows how many times after giving the CAT exam I will definitely get one of the prestigious IIMs. People who have quit their jobs or dropped a year, tried for CAT, scored a decent percentile but did not get a call from any IIM. These aspirants fought again with the same fate.

They lost 2 years after graduation, gave-up their jobs, and again remained at the same ground. Although they scored high overall percentile, candidates of this group faltered behind in scoring high sectional percentile in one or other section.

Looking at the other side of the same coin, a number of students who have juggled between work and the CAT exam because they have less to fear as they have a job at hand, keep their clam and serene composure and score high overall and sectional percentile and converted more than 2-3 IIMs of their choice.

A year’s drop quitting the well-paid job or doing nothing after graduation to crack CAT 2020 will be a bogus decision. Utilize the time you have as everybody will only have 24 hours in a day.

Check out the important quant topics for CAT exam

Plenty Vs. Scarce time: Waste or utilize 

Those who dropped the year or quit the job could not manage the plenty of available time with them as it was not well managed. They also now and then deviated from their preparation schedule. Instead of realizing and improving their other skills also on other components of IIM selection criteria since the CAT score is only one of the many shortlisting and selection parameters, they did not look-up to work upon the other components which have a higher weight in IIMs selection process.


Besides, with the changed CAT exam pattern of the increased number of sections from 2 to 3 and many content level changes, many candidates do not realize that more practice is required at the equal level for the newly created DILR section as it now plays a key role in shortlisting criteria. These candidates who are stuck to old patterns are lost in the race to cross the CAT score cut off in the new scoring system in place. 

Full day study not needed

You need about 3-4 hours a day to prepare well for CAT 2020. Planned strategy for the next 75 days which will need around 3-4 hours a day. Please spare out of your busy schedule to improve o your weak areas. 

Last of the 10 tips for CAT exam: Follow a different preparation plan

CAT Preparation: The Do’s and Don’ts

To achieve your career goal of getting into IIM-A, IIM-B, or IIM-C, devise a preparation strategy that can balance between the study and job very well.

Please note highly competitive CAT 2020 may not be tough but it has inherent risk. You cannot be sure of getting into an IIM despite scoring 99 and above percentile in CAT 2020. The admission to batch 2021-23 in IIMs reveals the painful story of many such toppers who could not get a call from any IIM although they scored a percentile above 99. So it is not only a CAT percentile of 99 but you need to target each and every part of the CAT 2020 exam to get into the IIM of your choice.

I hope these 10 tips for CATexam help you with your preparations.

Don’t give and keep going!

Happy learning and All the very best.

Related links:

Quant Preparation for Non-Engineers

How to increase accuracy in CAT?

CAT Exam 2020- Dates, Eligibility, and, Syllabus

IIM-A interview experiences and their tips


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