+91 8999-11-8999 (9 AM - 9 PM)
+91 7304-30-4237 (9 AM - 7 PM)

How to crack CAT exam: 10 Tips to crack IIMs

In India, getting into an IIM is probably every MBA aspirant’s dream. The (Common Admission Test) CAT, is the only way of getting into one. Many times, students give up their preparation for IIM midway due to the misconception of it being tough. But in reality, it is merely another exam. Let's get on with the 10 tips on how to crack IIM: How to crack CAT?

Prepare for CAT 2020 with our course curated by IIM and SP Jain Alumni

1. Prepare a study plan for your CAT exam:

catking study plan prepareWhether you are a working professional or a fresh graduate, spending a minimum of 2 hours daily on studies becomes essential. As a working professional, you may find it difficult to juggle between your work and exam studies. However, it is not impossible to give a minimum of two hours on daily studies. For those who are either students or not employed currently should consider themselves lucky in terms of the time they have in hand for exam prep. Such people can give 3 to 4 hours daily depending on one’s grasping ability to crack cat.

In a nutshell, you need to create and stick to a timetable in such a manner- where you can give 2 hours of your day for studies alone. Also, before preparing a study for CAT, learn about the exam pattern which is one of the biggest aspects to crack CAT as it later helps in developing a strategy to crack CAT. Try to allocate equal time to all section, since sectional cut-offs also apply to get a call from IIM. While you should focus more on your weaker areas, do not neglect your strengths, keep practicing topics under all sections, and remember to include them in your timetable.

Also read: Lowest percentile required to get into IIMs

2. Polish your basics for all CAT sections:

catking basicsDevote the initial months of your studies on only getting your basics right. Start working on your vocabulary, mathematics, or any other area you do not feel confident about. Set a target of learning 5 new words and attempting 5 new problems on a daily average.

Without your fundamentals in place, you are bound to fare poorly in the mock papers irrespective of the frequency of having attempted them. Students from non-engineering backgrounds will have to work on their mathematics. Generally, students from engineering backgrounds are naturally equipped with quants. However, they need to work hard on their language skills including verbal ability and logical reasoning to crack CAT.

3. Attempt CAT mocks:

This is one of the main tips you should keep in mind for all exams, especially to crack CAT and get into IIMs. Allocate the 2 months before exams specifically for CAT mock solving. Take a mock or even a sectional test daily and do a post- mortem analysis for the same. Here, post-mortem analysis means solving a mock so thoroughly that the next time you come across a similar problem, you can solve it with ease. Solving sample mock paper is the best way to prepare for any entrance test including CAT and thus cracking it. It will give you an idea of the various questions that may appear for the paper. And, this will help you to accordingly prepare for the same.

Try to take one CAT mock every week in the initial months (6 to 4 months before CAT). Gradually increase the number of attempts. In the last month, you should be solving one mock every 2 days, one allocated to solving the mocks and the next day for analysis of the mock. Overall, you would want to solve around 23-25 mocks before your actual CAT exam. Also, make sure that the difficulty level of these tests are good enough as there’s no point in attempting questions which are below par as compared to the Common Admission Test(CAT). If you are looking for a good CAT mock series, you can check out our mock courses that are custom made to crack CAT!

Click here to give CAT Mock tests prepared by IIM alumni and do your CAT preparation the right way

4. Evaluate your performance in CAT mocks and tests:

catking evaluate your performanceThis is very important in order to get an idea about where you stand in terms of competition to crack CAT. After giving multiple mocks and question papers, you will be able to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Focus on your weak areas and try converting them into your strength.

This must be done after giving every sectional test or a practice set. Evaluating your performance includes seeing your mock scores (consistency in them), the mistakes you are committing, and the amount of time you spend on each problem. Keep a track of your mock scores and see whether there is an improvement in them! If your test scores are inconsistent, then you need to ask yourself where you are stumbling frequently. Identify that particular type of problem and keep practicing it.

Also Read: Everything you need to know about CAT exam

5. Keep practicing for your CAT exam.

catking practisePracticing to crack an exam like CAT to get into IIM is like genuinely following a gym routine. If you do a workout meant for a week within a day, then it will take a severe toll on your health. The same applies to your IIM preps as well. So, instead of studying at the last moment, why not practice daily!

Focus more on the questions you aren’t confident about, but at the same time don’t neglect the areas you’re good at. Divide your day according to your strengths & weak points. Those who are working can spend more time on practice during the weekends. Solve questions after every chapter. Once you get a knack of the questions, you can give a sectional test or even attempt a full length mock. The purpose of practicing is to familiarize you with the various types of questions that will come for the exam. So, don’t time yourself while initially solving sample mock papers. Focus on getting the right answers as cracking CAT is all about accuracy. Once your accuracy improves, then you can focus on improving your speed.

6. Develop a strategy for CAT:

catkign develope strategyReserve a month prior to the exam for intense studying where you can spend 8 hours max on a regular average basis. On the D-day, start with the section that you’re good at & skip the questions that you aren’t sure about in order to avoid negative markings.

It is very important to have a strategy while giving the paper. The best way of developing a strategy is by solving mock papers. Try different strategies and see which works out the best. A plan which gives you more accurate answers within a short time in your mocks is the one that you must implement for the D-day. Also, make a note of the amount of time you spend on each question. See, if there’s a short cut to solve a particular problem.

Don’t spend too much time on one question, skip and you can always come back to it. A great practice you can follow is to keep you rough copy clean and numbered. Don’t just scribble on it. This will help in case you want to come back to the previous question that you had left halfway. You need not solve it from the start, and this will help save a lot of time.

7. Take breaks from your CAT routine:

catking take a breakStudying for long hours can be exhausting and can affect your speed of learning. Take breaks from your study schedule as it helps to rejuvenate your mind.

Remember to stay hydrated to keep your concentration going. Also, make sure that your breaks aren’t long, for it will affect your studying rhythm.

Persistence is the key to crack CAT, and you have to ensure that after you take enough rest, you get back to it.

8. Read a lot:

catkign read a lotA lot of you find the VARC a problematic section, especially the RC since if you do not have a habit of reading regularly, you can’t catch the required speed and retain the details of the passage either. The best way to improve this is to start reading. A LOT! Start reading newspapers, famous books or any other thing that has been trending. This will also be helpful for you while facing the group discussions (GDs) & personal interviews (PIs) for IIMs.

Stay well versed with current affairs- be it regional, National or International. Reading will not only help you gain knowledge or in cracking CAT but also make you develop a viewpoint on various issues.

9. Build your profile:

build your profile catkingIn the lure for getting good scores in CAT, students often forget to build their profile for IIM. Working professionals will have an advantage in this area. Those who don’t have work experience could work in an NGO or even intern at a good company to enhance their profile. Profile plays a very important role in IIMs. Different weightage is given to profiles at different IIMs, however, once you get through CAT and GD, your interview and profile with matter a lot.

If you have a strong profile to support your position, you increase your chances two folds to get admission in an IIM. So if you haven’t worked on it yet, start now it's never too late to get at least one thing better than the rest of the candidates.

10. Maintain your composure on the day of CAT exam:

maintain composure catkingHow you perform on the day of the exam is all that matters! Normally, students panic while seeing a particular type of question and go blank. In such situations, start solving questions that you’re familiar with & leave the tough ones for the end. Try to remember all that practice that you have done the past days, your brain knows it all its just your nerves that are getting to you! Don’t let that happen, take a minute or two if you want to relax, but get back to solving again.

If you feel that most questions you are trying are difficult, go through the entire set, read the questions and mark the ones that you feel are easier and solve only those. This will boost your confidence once again, and you can go back to solving the rest. Also, having a red bull or listening to music prior to the paper can be helpful!


I hope you liked this article on the top 10 tips to crack CAT and get into IIM. Overall, follow these simple yet effective steps and you can surely convert IIMs. Remember, whether you are an engineer or a non-engineer, it always seems impossible until it's done. You all have the skill you need to crack CAT and covert IIMs. It just comes down to who works their way to it. Stay motivated, keep working hard, and make it happen!

Also read: Actual IIM interview experiences of IIM converts