Strategy for CAT

Strategy for CAT

Strategy for CAT

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is a computer-based test for admission in a graduate management program. Also, the most awaited MBA exam of the year, for which lakhs of students prepare for, is none other than CAT. As it provides admissions for more than 500 MBA colleges in India including All 20 IIMs, FMS, JBIMS, SPJIMR, MDI, IMT, DoMS IITs, IISc, etc. And in this article, you will know about the CAT strategy that can help you with your preparations.

CAT online courses

CAT sections

  1. Verbal Ability
  2. Quantitative Ability
  3. Data Interpretation & Logical reasoning

CAT exam paper pattern

  • Total Number of Questions: 100
  • Score awarded for each correct answer: 3 marks
  • Negative marking (Applicable for wrong answers in MCQs): -1 mark
  • Questions with negative marking (MCQs): 75
  • Questions without negative marking (Non-MCQs or TITA): 25
  • Duration of Exam: 180 minutes (3 hours)
  • Language: English

Guidelines that will help you with your CAT preparation:

1) Basics:

Always begin your preparation from the basics. There hasn’t been any CAT Topper who hasn’t had his basics cleared before the exam.

2) CAT Calculations strategy:

Your speed of calculating things will be a huge aid in quant and even more so in Data Interpretation. The faster you are at calculating stuff, the more time you will get to spend on the logical aspects of the DI & Quant questions.

  • Learn the
  • Tables from 1 to 30
  • Squares and cubes from 1 to 30
  • Common fractions with respective decimal and percentage values  and also,
  • Vedic/Speed math techniques.

CAT Syllabus

3) Concepts:

Questions in CAT are based usually on concepts. Therefore, avoid devoting time to mugging formulas as it won’t be too productive. Keep giving tests and mocks. That is one of the best ways to clear your concepts.

4) Need-to-Know:

You do not have to be an expert on any subject. While studying, you just have to learn everything that may come in the exam. Moreover, you should not concern yourself with terms and concepts that dive deep into the subject. So, study strictly on a need-to-know basis.

5) Basic to Advanced:

Once you are proficient at basic topics like Averages, Percentages, Time, Speed & Distance, Time & Work, start with advanced topics. Get yourself comfortable with Numbers & Number Systems, P&C, Probability, Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry. This will help you get over with a lot of concepts and terms.

Also Read: CAT Preparation

6) Breaks:

It is tempting to take a topic and dive into it for 3-4 hours. However, it isn’t advisable. The longer the session, the weaker your concentration and attention will get, towards the end. It is better to study for 2 hours, followed by 15 min breaks. The efforts then put in, will be more productive.

7) Verbal:

A lot of people find Verbal to be their weak area. The only solution is to read a lot and get yourself accustomed to the English language. Also, RC is the most important section for Verbal in CAT. Therefore, reading articles/books daily is something that cannot be skipped.

The next step would be to keep increasing your vocabulary by learning new words. A good vocabulary also helps you to read faster and understand better.

For Grammar, strengthen your basics. Keep solving questions to get a good grip on grammar.

8) Connect the right dots:

Remember that Logical Reasoning is nothing but connecting each and every piece of information that is given to you. Once you start approaching questions from this viewpoint, it becomes much easier to solve the sets in LR.

Also, get yourself familiarized with the different types of questions for LR. This will help to adapt to any surprises in the exam. The same holds for DI as well.

Check-out: CAT Exam: Data Interpretation

9) All of it:

Since the CAT has sectional cut-offs, it would be wise to cover all the topics in each subject. Do not leave out any topic or concept. The more topics you leave, the lesser your chances of maximizing your score.

10)  Time Management:

Allot more time to the areas you are weak in. Most of the students make the mistake of devoting a lot of time to their strong areas.  As a result, their weak areas do not get much stronger in the end. So, try to avoid this by devoting more time to your weak areas.

CAT Exam Pattern

11)  Change:

Do not spend too much time on the same topic. If you go on for days studying one single topic/subject, you will eventually get fed up with it. So, keep shifting topics to keep it interesting. Also, different topics will introduce you to different challenges and therefore, keep you energized.

12)  Mocks:

Take as many mocks as you can. After that, analyze these mocks, right down to each and every detail. If the time spent analyzing the mocks is more than the time spent giving the mock, then you are on the right track.

CAT Mock Analysis

13)  Pressure:

Keep an alarm/timer while solving questions. This will help you to give you a fair idea about the time taken to solve each question. It will also help you to get accustomed to the test-taking pressure in the exam hall.

14)  Cheer Up:

Do not get de-motivated by my mock scores. The mocks are there to tell you where you are lacking. They aren’t the absolute final measure of your standing in the CAT exam. As long as you are learning from your mistakes and taking steps to improve them, you are on the right track.

15)  Keep Calm:

Do not stress yourself during your CAT prep. It will affect your decision-making ability. You may then make incorrect decisions regarding your preparation strategy or in your mock-taking strategy. Keep going on whatever schedule you had planned. Further, make sure that you learn from whatever mistakes you’ve made.


16)  Get proper sleep.

That’s a huge list of guidelines. That’s the purpose of this article: to cover your CAT preparation from all aspects. Follow these guidelines with discipline. None of these tips will matter if you don’t put in the required efforts.

Some other aspects of CAT:

  • The sequence of the sections is fixed i.e. The exam starts with VARC followed by DILR and finally QA. Applicants cannot move about the three sections and have to wait for one hour to end to move to the next section.
  • CAT Test takers can’t leave their seats in between the exam.
  • Every MCQ question has 4 options to choose from
  • For Non-MCQs (TITA) you are expected to type in the right answer on the PC screen.
  • Each right answer in CAT exam example will be granted 3 marks whether it is MCQ or Non-MCQ
  • There will be no punishment of negative checking on wrong responses to Non-MCQs in CAT 2019 exam design
  • CAT exam design stays in line with the official Mock test that is released by IIMs a month prior to the CAT exam. (Don’t forget to attempt this Mock!!)

All the Best!

Related Articles:

How to increase accuracy in CAT

Reading Comprehension CAT

How to crack CAT Quants

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