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CAT Exam Strategies for the Management Aspirants

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CAT exam is known to be the big boss of all MBA entrance exams. This exam is considered as one of the toughest exams in the gamut of MBA. But, if aspirants prepare well with hard work and dedication, they can crack the CAT exam easily. Meanwhile, many aspirants have started preparing for this exam and working hard to be in any prestigious IIMs.

CAT or common admission test is a national level exam conducted once in a year. CAT exam is an entrance test for admission in business schools and IIMs to pursue management courses such as PGDM, MBA and various post-graduation courses. Moreover, IIM conducts this exam for the selection process.

What is different in CAT today than that was in previous years?

To begin with, the CAT authorities have brought some changes in the CAT exam pattern and syllabus. As per the new exam pattern, there are three sections. Firstly, the Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) comprising of 32 questions. Secondly, there is the Quantitative Aptitude (QA) section, consisting of 34 questions. Similarly, there are 34 questions in Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC).

List of colleges utilizing CAT scores

The marks of the CAT are accepted by many Business schools and twenty IIMs. List of colleges accepting CAT marks are as follows:

Firstly, IIM Amritsar

Secondly, IIM Bodh Gaya
Then, IIM Bangalore

Next, IIM Jammu

Then, IIM Kashipur

Next, IIM Kozhikode
Then, IIM Nagpur

Next, IIM Lucknow

Then, IIM Indore

Next, IIM Rohtak
Then, IIM Ranchi

Next, IIM Raipur

Then, IIM Sambalpur

Next, IIM Sirmaur
Then, IIM Tiruchirappalli

Next, IIM Udaipur

Then, IIM Calcutta

Next, IIM Shillong
Then, IIM Visakhapatnam 

Next, IIM Ahmedabad

Eligibility criteria for CAT exam

Age limit

There is no age limit for the candidates.

Academic qualification

Firstly, a candidate should have a bachelor’s degree from any recognized university. Secondly, candidates from OBC and general category should at least have 50% marks in their graduation. Then, the reserved category candidates should at least score 45% in bachelor’s degree. And finally, the final year candidates can also apply for CAT exam.

New important updates for CAT 2019

             Exam updates Important dates
      Firstly, the test registration datesStarting week of August 2019
     Secondly, the admit card for the CAT examFrom the third week of October 2019
       Then, CAT 2019 exam datesStarting week of December or last week of November
     Finally, the result declaration of the ExamStarting week of January 2020

What is the selection process of the CAT exam?

  • To begin with, the selection process for all B- schools and IIMs is the same.
  • Secondly, the selection process consists of two simple steps which are as follows:
    • GD or WAT- The selected candidate who cracks the entrance exam are informed for group discussion (GD) and writing ability test (WAT).
    • Personal interview (PI) – This is the last part of the selection process and candidates are considered on the basis of their general awareness skills, academic knowledge, and vocabulary skills.
  • Finally, the merit list – There are similar criteria for the admission of all MBA colleges (including IIMs). The merit list is based on CAT marks, higher studies scores, and general performance in selection rounds.

CAT Exam Pattern and Syllabus

Exam format

Firstly, the language of the Test


Secondly, the type of examination

Then, the duration of the Test

180 minutes

Next, the total number of questions

100 questions
Then, the number of sections

3 sections

Also, the total numbers of MCQs in test

72 MCQs
Finally, the marking pattern of the exam

Addition of 3 marks for right answer and deduction of 1 mark for the wrong answer

Syllabus for the CAT exam

The CAT exam pattern and syllabus change in some years but mostly it depends on previous year question papers. However, the easiest way to crack this exam is to learn about exam paper pattern and syllabus. Therefore, the syllabus for CAT exam consists of:

Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

To begin with, this section is mostly based on mathematics, calculation including fundamental problems. The motive of this section is to check the mathematical and calculation knowledge of candidates. Hence, the candidates should have a habit of performing quick calculations including providing accurate solutions. Moreover, the weightage of the QA section is excellent which consists of around 40%, and it’s favorite for math’s scholars. Moreover, this section comprises of 34 questions and 60 minutes are allocated. Also, some of the important topics for the QA section are as follows:

  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Mensuration
  • Number System
  • Work and time

Verbal Ability (VA)and Reading Comprehension (RC)

To begin with, here, comprehension and language skills are the main concepts of VARC section. Overall, this section checks the ability of the candidates to understand every puzzled question given in the test. The questions engraved in the test related to the passage are based on understanding point of view including tricky questions. Also, the problems in VARC sections are in objective form. But, the verbal ability questions are Non-MCQs type. Therefore, mostly 10-11 Non-MCQs and 24 MCQs are expected in the CAT 2019.  Similarly, mainly 6 questions from 3 RC passages and 3 questions from 2 RC passages are expected this year. Overall, some of the important topics for VA and RC section are as follows:

    • Inferences
    • Para summary and para jumbles
    • Questions based on RC passages
    • Sentence completion

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DI & LR)

This section also comprises of MCQs and Non-MCQs. The data interpretation section mainly tests the candidate’s ability to understand and answer the given data. Logical answers based on an individual’s daily routine appear in this section. More than a set of 4 questions consists in the LR section. DI and LR section mainly include 8 Non-MCQs and 24 MCQs. There are 12 questions from logical reasoning and 20 questions from Data Interpretation. Some of the crucial topics for DI and LR are as follows:

    • Blood Relation
    • Data Caselets
    • Graphs
    • Syllogism
    • Tables
    • Seating Arrangement

Essential tips for the exam day

    • All management entrance exam tests are mostly computer based, a pencil and sheet of paper are enough for the rough work. Candidates can bring a pencil or pen as per their choice. Candidates should compulsorily carry essential documents and calculators for their convenience. Female candidates applying Mehendi, carrying fancy purses and wearing jewelry are not allowed during the examination. The vital documents required in the examination hall are:
    • Proof of identity – Candidates has to carry their photo identity in the examination hall. Documents such as Voter Id, Driving license and Pan Card are applicable.
    • Admit Card – The admit card is mandatory during the examination. If any candidate forgets or loses the admit card, in any case, will not be allowed to sit for the examination.

Last minute preparation tips for the examination

    • Some weeks before the exam candidates should practice questions without the calculators which will improve the speed and accuracy.
    • Exercising each topic before some days will be helpful for candidates to grasp the basics of concept.
    • Focus on the weak areas; candidates should practice more on their weak sections.
    • Practicing mocks is excellent to practice and know the mistakes before the examination. Candidates can refer online mocks to practice well before the exam.
    • The more mocks you practice, the chances of scoring marks will increase without any confusion. Taking 1 mock test on alternative days is enough for the preparation.
    • Preparing different topics will ruin the exam, it is advised that candidates should focus on primary topics rather than new ones.

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