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How to prepare for CAT Exam | CAT Preparation Tips

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CAT exam is one of the toughest competitive exams to seek admissions in top B-schools like the IIMs. You need to start for the preparation, at least, as soon as the examination date is announced. The mode of preparation is your choice. You can go for regular coaching classes if you are a graduate. You can also choose the weekend classes if you are studying/working. Hard work really pays. Dedicate about 6 hours a day on weekends and 3 hours on weekdays. Practice as many sample papers and CAT mock tests as possible to get the confidence. You can also go through the online question papers to get a hang of the nature of questions. Review the mock test results and analyze the weak areas for improvement. On the day of the examination, avoid stress so that you can concentrate on the questions. If you are confident on the already marked answers, do not overthink about it. To help you perform better we have made an article about how to prepare for CAT exam and CAT preparation tips from toppers.

CAT toppers have a great set of tips to prepare for the test, the smarter way. This article provides preparation tips as given by the CAT toppers, based on the revised exam pattern of CAT 2017.

Complete details : CAT EXAM 2018-19how to prepare for cat exam - cat preparation tipsCAT Exam Preparation Tips From Toppers as Per The Revised CAT Exam Pattern :

CAT toppers have given their consistent and dedicated effort to achieve their goal- admission in the IIMs. They have shared the preparation strategies with the aspirants.

  • Preparation and consideration for all the parts in every section should be done equally – for the Mathematics or Quantitative Section, English or Verbal Section, Analytical Reasoning Section, Data Interpretation Section. It is important if you wish to seek admission in the IIMs. Attending a 2-year post graduation management program from an ordinary university or college is not equal to doing MBA from IIM Bangalore, Calcutta, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, FMS, SPJIMR or MDI. The toppers have got admissions in the IIMs with their efforts.
  • CAT 2017 Revised Exam pattern: The revised pattern of CAT 2017 comprises 3 sections instead of 2 sections. The total number of questions will be 100, comprising of both MCQs and Non-MCQs. The time limit is 3 hours, which is divided into 1 hour for each section. The toppers say that how you score depends more on the preparation done in 5 months before the test. The updated version of CAT exam was started by IIM Ahmedabad in 2015. The pattern was then followed by IIM Bangalore the following year. The exam pattern for 2017 was announced by IIM Lucknow and will be followed as such, henceforth.

CAT (Common Admission Test) is the first step to top MBA programs in India. A high score in CAT exam can make a great transformation in the career prospects. A number of experts, mentors and CAT toppers have a unanimous opinion that a 4-5 month planned preparation for CAT can get you to the ‘dream score’, thus clearing the path to reach the top MBA programmes and colleges, for the coming year(s).

how to prepare for cat exam - cat preparation tips

Tips for Gearing Up from The Toppers

CAT toppers have suggested a smarter way to prepare for CAT 2018 instead of going for a long and boring method. A few of the CAT toppers had used a different strategy, however, they all had something in common – the regular and tough study schedule.

Build The Basics

During the first 2-3 months, you need to focus on few basic concepts to be familiar with, to take CAT. Building the basics should be the first step as told by one of the toppers who scored 100 percent in CAT.

Solve Practice Questions and Sectional Mock Tests

One of the toppers in CAT 2015 suggested that, even before getting into your preparation properly, you need to solve CAT online question papers on Mathematics and Statistics. You can find different types of questions on various websites. If you are weak in a specific section, there are CAT mock tests to be taken. The sectional time limits have to be strictly followed. If a specific topic is confusing or difficult, you can do enough practice on it starting from the basics.

Overcome The Weakness

A 100 scorer CAT had started her journey of preparation in a serious manner during May-June. One of the important tips shared by this topper is to overcome the weakness in specific topics and improve the speed and accuracy by taking up as many mock tests as possible. There is another topper who has suggested to focus more on the strengths. At first, try to attempt the types of questions where you can improve the level of accuracy. If an aspirant is not able to score well in the initial stage, regular practice and mock tests would definitely help in improving the score and thereby crack the section with a high score. Toppers have also suggested that you regularly read English newspapers, especially the editorial section in them. They also suggested reading of English magazines to improve the reading speed and vocabulary as it helps in scoring well in Reading Comprehension and Verbal Ability in the revised CAT exam. Syllabus & pattern of CAT comprises 24 questions on RC alone and 34 questions in total in this section.

Find Alternate Methods to Solve The Questions

As told by one of the toppers, as the CAT preparation goes on in full swing, it is ideal to have multiple methods in solving problems with more accuracy. Professor S. K. Agarwal, an expert in Verbal Ability and a mentor for CAT preparation said that after completing the study of a particular section and planning to take up some practice questions, you need to set your own way to solve those questions, instead of the normal solutions. CAT toppers have named it the ‘Smart way’ of CAT preparation. This way you can have the shorter and quicker way to solve the problems.

how to prepare for cat exam - cat preparation tips

Important- Equal Preparation For All The 3 sections

The toppers have stressed on the point that you should consider and give equal importance to all the 3 sections of CAT 2017. Other top B-schools like FMS, SPJIMR etc. also consider sectional scores as one of the key factors for shortlisting the candidate.

  • Use hobbies and habits as preparation tools: You can include your childhood hobbies and certain habits as the preparation tools for CAT 2018. For instance, if you love solving crossword puzzles, it would surely help you to solve VARC (Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension) questions in a faster manner; analogy or data related puzzles can help you score well in Data Interpretation (DI) questions. Interest in riddles based on blood relations, clocks, direction sense and other similar topics will take you to a top score in Logical Reasoning (LR) questions. Similarly, music lovers can benefit themselves by incorporating the idea of recording factual information over the modern voice recording devices and mobile phones. Then they can listen to those recordings by plugging earphones into their ears. This way, hobbies would be of a great help in solving questions in different sections of CAT .
  • Focused CAT preparation- Need of the hour: Aspirants are into “full-on” preparation for CAT to get themselves into one of the IIMs or other B-schools like FMS and SPJIMR.


These ‘smart’ CAT exam preparation tips from the toppers would definitely be of great help for the CAT 2018 aspirants. Use these suggestions and plan a proper preparation schedule and strategy to Crack CAT the Smarter way!

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