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CAT Preparation Tips: 2 Month Study Plan, Last Minute Preparation Tips & Online Resources

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Urvashi Singhal

Exams Prep Master

CAT Preparation is something every MBA Aspirant should give out their heart and soul for, as CAT 2021 is going to be one of the most competitive and challenging exams. One of the major factors is that CAT Preparation is not dependent upon memorization or rote learning, but it is completely dependent on the candidates hard work and consists of mostly application based questions. CAT measures the candidates aptitude in terms of analytical skills and verbal skills

However, sometimes the preparation would not be possible due to various factors, so here are some detailed CAT Preparation Tips, 2 Month Study Plan, Last Minute Preparation Tricks and Best Online Resources for CAT 2021. 

You can also check out the CAT Online Preparation for Extra Tips. 

CAT Preparation Tips Highlights

CAT Preparation Tips - Highlights

Here are some general things candidates need to know before going through the CAT Preparation Tips and 2 month study plan - 

  • CAT 2021 is going to take place in November 2021, tentatively. Check CAT Exam Dates
  • Is Coaching necessary or is self study enough for CAT 2021? 
  • CAT 2021 Exam Pattern will consist of three sections: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning as well as Quantitative Aptitude. Check Detailed CAT. Exam Pattern.
  • CAT 2021 will have approximately 75 questions, and each correct answer will get you 4 marks whereas every wrong answer will cost you 1 Mark
  • Is it possible to cover every important topic?

Must Read Advantages of Final Year Students in CAT 2021

CAT 2021 Exclusive Study Plan

CAT 2021 Exclusive Study Plan - 1 Year

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning Quantitative Ability
Topic Number of Days Topic Number of Days Topic Number of Days
English Usage/Grammar 8 Arrangements 11 Number System 15
Sentence correction 8 Venn Diagrams 6 Averages 6
Fill in the blanks 8 Set theory 8 Percentages 5
Para completion 20 Selections & Ordering 11 Profit, loss & discount 6
Jumbled paragraph 20 Networks & Routes 6 Simple & compound interest 5
Odd sentence out 20 Games & Tournaments 8 TSD 6
Para summary 20 DI based reasoning 8 Time & work 4
Verbal reasoning 6 Tables 8 Mixtures & allegation 4
Critical Reasoning 6 Graphs 19 Ratio & proportion 4
Reading Comprehension 24 Charts 14 Linear equations 4
- - Caselets 8 Quadratic equations 5
- - Combinations 6 Inequalities 4
- - Data Sufficiency 6 Logarithm 4
- - - - Progressions 4
- - - - Surds & Indices 4
- - - - P&C 9
- - - - Probability 5
- - - - Functions 4
- - - - Geometry 15
- - - - Coordinate geometry 3
- - - - Mensuration 8
Total 120 Total 120 Total 125

Time Required for Each Subject

For the candidates convenience, find a breakdown of the ideal time that should be devoted to each subject for each day. This timetable can be modified based on the candidates preference. 

Day 2 hours 1-2 hours 1 hour
Tuesday QA DI/LR VA/RC
Wednesday QA DI/LR VA/RC
Thursday QA DI/LR VA/RC
Saturday Take a Full-length Mock (3 Hours)
Sunday Mock Analysis( 2-3 Hours) and retaking the same mock (3 Hours) 

Get acquainted with CAT section wise Syllabus and Pattern

6 Month Preparation Plan

CAT 2021: 6 Month Preparation Plan

For month 3, your sole focus should be on making yourself comfortable with the exam pattern and working on efficiency and accuracy. Given below are the things that need to be done in the last months.

  • Start attempting mock tests, sample papers, or solving previous year papers.
  • Attempt 1 mock in 2-3 days.
  • After attempting mock, analyse the entire mock test. Check for other approaches that could have been used to save time and solve the questions where you got stuck.
  • Revise your weak areas. The areas where you get stuck while attempting mocks.
  • Read Hindu Editorials daily, and start reading in your leisure time. 

2 Month Preparation Plan

2 Month Preparation Plan for CAT 2021

The primary task is to start preparing for the CAT examination while keeping efficiency in mind. Follow the steps given below every week while preparing:

  • Your days should revolve around solving questions from each section every day. When you get bored of one section, try the next session. 
  • Keep 1 day to take a break and revise all the topics that you have done in the last week. 
  • Skip very difficult topics as they might confuse you and waste time during the exam and while preparing. 
  • Start reading newspapers regularly.
  • Attempt topic tests to help you prepare better. You can purchase online test series of reputed institutions for the same.
  • Read newspapers or books in your spare time, give up on fruitless activities such as binge watching for 2 months. 
  • Make short and summarized notes. Do not spend too much time writing down notes, instead read and condense your material in a few sentences.

Last Minute Preparation Tips

CAT 2021 Last Minute Preparation Tips

  • Overlook the entire CAT Syllabus and Exam Pattern to make sure you have not kept any topic completely unsupervised
  • Instead of strengthening the topics that you are already good at, focus on improving the areas in which you struggle
  • Make sure you have set aside a daily set period of 3-4 hours for regular preparation 
  • Set aside a major portion of your preparation time to work on improvement
  • Sit for timed sectional and full length mock tests that have different ranges of difficulty
  • Complete your full CAT preparation at least 10 days in advance so that you have time for revision
  • Treat your mock tests like the final CAT exam

Read more CAT Preparation Tips for Working Professionals

Section-Wise Preparation Strategy

CAT 2021 Section-Wise Preparation Strategy

  • The first step is to collect all the relevant study material. Join a coaching center, as they can help immensely. Also, enroll in some test series.
  • Start by learning the concepts of each topic. CAT syllabus includes Class X and XII level mathematics, logical reasoning, and English.
  • Practice with a timer and do not use a calculator, especially while practicing Data Interpretation. 
  • Instead of solving 20 questions of one type, solve 4 questions of 5 types from each topic.
  • Make a list of your strong and weak areas. In the initial stage, emphasize strengthening your weak areas.
  • Start taking mocks as early as possible. Don’t be disheartened if you score less. Mocks are for you to recognize the areas you need to put more efforts in.
  • Analyze each mock you take. The more mocks you take, the better the strategy you will be able to form. It is recommended to take a minimum of 1 and maximum of 3 mocks in a week.
  • Once you finish the entire syllabus, focus primarily on mocks and sectional tests.
  • Attempt previous years’ CAT question papers. Question papers from 1990-2008 are readily available for the purpose.

QA Preparation Tips

CAT 2021 Preparation Tips for Quantitative Ability

Quantitative Ability covers the following areas of Mathematics

  • Algebra
  • Arithmetic
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry
  • Mensuration
  • Modern Mathematics

While preparing for QA, you can follow the tips mentioned below

  • Lay the foundation and brush up the concepts. If you don’t know the basics of any topic, you cannot solve complex questions.
  • Learn time-saving techniques like tables till 40, squares up to 30, cubes up to 20 and percentage equivalent of fractions till 25. 
  • Maintain a formula book. Note down all the essential and direct formulas and go through them regularly.
  • Practice solving questions within 2 minutes. This is the average time you get to spend on each question in Quant.
  • When you attempt QA in mocks, break the entire section into three parts as per the difficulty level of the question- easy, moderate, and difficult.
  • You need to solve more questions in less time. It is better to solve 3 easy questions than 1 difficult question.

Check How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude

DILR Preparation Tips

CAT 2021 Preparation Tips for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)

For the past two years, DI/LR has proved to be the most difficult of three sections. Absence of a set syllabus makes preparing for this section difficult. Practice is the only way to ace this section.

You can follow the tips mentioned below:

  • Get familiar with all kinds of graphs and charts in DI and puzzles in LR.
  • Practice quick calculation. Learn the percentage equivalent of fractions. They are a big time saver
  • Learn to compare fractions in DI. This will help in your massive calculations.
  • Solve puzzles like Sudoku and crossword to sharpen your grey cells.
  • Attempt 20 questions or 4 sets each of DI and LR daily. Each set usually takes 10-15 minutes to solve. Try to solve them within 8-12 minutes.

Read How to prepare for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

VARC Preparation Tips

CAT 2021 Preparation Tips for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension is the section that scares a lot of aspirants. The section is designed to test your English skills in depth. It consists of the following types of questions

Topic Number of Questions
Reading Comprehension 24
Sentence Correction 3
Summary 3
Para Jumble 4

Tips for VA/RC Section

  • You need to read to get better at this section. Read fiction and non-fiction novels, newspapers, business magazines, etc.
  • Learn the basics of grammar like articles, adjectives, tenses, modifiers, etc. and practice them as well.
  • Prepare cue cards. Put down all the new words, you come across, along with its meaning. Revise these cards regularly.
  • Get in the habit of reading questions first instead of passages. Just give a glance to these questions and get an idea of the difficulty level.

Imp. Topics and Answering Tips

CAT 2021 Section-Wise Important Topics and Answering Tips

Quantitative Ability

  • Candidates should begin revision with the Number System section and then follow it up with Algebra, Permutation and Combination and other topics 
  • Important topics in ‘Number System’: Elementary concepts of remainders, Divisibility rules, Concepts of Digits, Elementary Properties of Numbers, Factorization, HCF and LCM
  • Important topics in ‘Algebra’: Linear and Quadratic Equations, Logarithms, Progressions, Functions 
  • Important topics in ‘Geometry’: Similar triangles, Pythagoras Theorem, Fundamentals of Circles, Mensuration, Polygons
  • Important topics in ‘Arithmetic’: Percentage, TSD, Ratio, Profit and Loss 
  • Important topics in ‘Modern Maths’: Set Theory, Sequence and Series, Principles of Counting

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

  • Candidates need to be careful about terms that denote quantities such as “none”, “all”, or “some” when they’re answering questions.
  • Terms like “unless” and “only” also need to be paid special heed 
  • Positive and negative prefixes can also act as a significant “indicator” in a question. For e.g. “non”, “dis”, or “un”
  • Syllogism is a very scoring section and thus candidates should pay ample attention and use venn diagrams to solve important questions 
  • To solve questions that are formed on the basis of inequality, candidates should use the King, Soldier and Public Technique For questions that involve arrangements, candidates should start by solving questions that have a small amount of variables, and then gradually move up to questions that have more. For e.g. starting by solving questions that have only 5 variables and then moving to questions that have 7-8. 
  • Important topics in DI/LR include: Seating Arrangement, Blood Relations, Propositions, Syllogism, Data Arrangement, Puzzles , Statements and Assumptions
  • Candidates should re-read the questions multiple times in this section because it is easy to misinterpret questions that complex logic

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

  • For unseen passages in the ‘Reading Comprehension’ section, candidates should select the questions and passages that they are comfortable with. Thus, if someone is comfortable with factual passages, they should try to avoid inferential questions that involve critical thinking
  • Candidate’s should not just apply guesswork or answer blindly in grammar related questions or in sentence correction sections that involve applied knowledge. Candidates need to make sure that at least an educated deduction is made on the basis of inference. If a question is too complex, the candidate should move on to the next question. 
  • Use a two step strategy. Divide the VARC section into one section that includes Reading Comprehension and include the rest in the second section. 
  • Due to the fact that para jumbles and deductive logic require logic, candidates can move to and fro between the questions in order to make the most accurate choice.For eg. in para jumbles, test takers can pinpoint the beginning and ending of a logical pair and remove the choice that does not seem to fit. 
  • When attempting the Reading Comprehensions section, read the questions before reading the passage. 
  • Candidates that are currently attaining above 85%ile should focus on the following: Vocabulary and Sentence Completion, Grammar , Deductive Logic , Para Jumbles,Critical Reasoning , Para-Completion, Summary Questions

Must Read News

Preparation Through Online Mode

CAT Preparation Through Online Mode

With the growth of technology in the education sector, online coaching classes have grown in popularity and candidates are opting for them for various competitive exams. Though Online Coaching Centre provide smart tips and preparation strategy, no less than an offline coaching institute, the difficulty lies in choosing a good online coaching learning centre.

Best Online Exam Coaching Institute for CAT are- IMS Learning, Oliveboard, Byju’s and Unacademy Plus.

Benefits of online coaching classes

They are cost effective- offline coaching centres demand a handsome amount of money for the classes and material they provide. Online coachings provide the same amount of money in a reasonable package. The online classes price range is between 10,000 to 25,000 depending on the course. Whereas a candidate has to invest around 50,000 in offline traditional coaching institutes.

  1. Ease of classes- since no commutation is required for online classes, candidates can take classes as per their schedule and routine. The cost and energy invested in commutation is also saved.
  2. No physical presence required- as classes are held in online mode, candidates are not required to visit any centre for classes.
  3. Suitable for working professionals- online classes are popular among management aspirants who are working professionals. As online classes are held in several shifts throughout the day. They can match their timings accordingly.
  4. Matches the candidates learning pace- candidates in online classes like in self study go through topics and classes at their own pace, depending upon their methodology and learning speed.

Check CAT Online Coaching

Join Online CAT Study Groups

There are numerous groups on Facebook and other community portals for CAT aspirants. It is beneficial to join these groups for doubt clearing sessions and practice. Discuss important topics, tricks and strategies by interacting with fellow aspirants. 

Personal whatsapp group with friends can also be created. There are certain moderated forums on Facebook like Handakafunda Facebook Group for like minded aspirants. In Addition 2IIM also has a FB forum. Discussion on a particular topic is quite an affair on these forums. 

To top on, there are a couple of quora threads like IIM preparation which is an interactive space for IIM alumni, CAT trainers students.

Books and Study Material

Books and Study Material for CAT 2021

  • For QA, it is recommended that candidates prepare from Class X and XII NCERT books.
  • The best source to prepare for VA/RC is your daily reading material like novels, newspapers, magazines, etc. 
  • Go through the pages of the dictionary at random. This helps in learning new words.

Given below are additional reference material for each section of CAT:

Reference for CAT Quantitative Ability

  • How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Arun Sharma, Publisher- Tata Mcgraw Hill.
  • Pearson Guide to Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation for CAT by Nishit Sinha, Publisher- Pearson.
  • Quantum CAT: Quantitative Aptitude Common Admission Test for Admission into IIMs by Sarvesh K Verma, Publisher- Arihant
  • Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examination Tips, Techniques, and Short-cut Methods by Abhijit Guha.
  • NCERT Mathematics books for class 8th, 9th, 10th and 10+2.

Reference Books for CAT Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation

  • Pearson Guide to Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning for CAT by Nishit Sinha, Publisher- Pearson.
  • How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for the CAT by Arun Sharma, Publisher- Tata Mcgraw Hill.
  • How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for the CAT by Arun Sharma, Publisher- Tata Mcgraw Hill

Reference Books for CAT Verbal and Reading Comprehension

  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension by Ajay Singh, Publisher – Arihant.
  • 3o Days to More Powerful Vocabulary by Wilfred Funk & Norman Lewis, Publisher- Simon & Schuster.
  • Wren and Martin English Grammar
  • Business English and Communication by Clark Zimmer, Publisher- Mcgraw Hill Ryerson.

Read Best Books for CAT Preparation 

Recommended Magazines for CAT 2021 Preparation

Here are the 5 magazines recommended for CAT and all other aspiring business students.

The Economist 

  • It is a fabulous publication sworn by many IIM students. The Economist prepares candidates for CAT, business schools and for the rest of their professional life.
  • It generally focuses on the world economy. It brings a sophisticated perspective to issues related to micro and macro economics.
  • The magazine also has articles on all kinds of international affairs like politics, culture, sports, art and books.
  • The magazine falls on the pricey side. However, students can read 3 articles per week free of cost.
  • The writing style is excellent and crisp articles with near perfect grammar are published in the magazine.
  • It is an essential instrument for a wholesome understanding of the various issues affecting the world.
  • The Economist’s articles on short words, Lexington and Bagehot columns are very insightful and something to watch out for.

Bloomberg Businessweek

  • This is a lighter and more entertaining version of The Economist. It is a perfect choice for CAT aspirants looking to get a regular dose of business news. 
  • It is a weekly magazine that provides articles on the latest events and trends in finance, technology, finance, management and entertainment.
  • It is a good magazine for introducing students to the business world whereas the Economist is for individuals who already know a lot about business.
  • Apart from in- depth coverage of the business world and events, it also provides financial news and stock advice.
  • Bloomberg Businessweek proves to be substantially worth the cost and effort to read. One of the added advantages is that it is also entertaining.

Outlook Business

  • This business magazine has articles which analyze information from all business sectors.
  • It covers a variety of ventures and enterprises– information through which individuals appearing for CAT 2021 can gain a sound understanding of business dynamics, decisions, and movements.
  • The key concepts covered in this magazine are enterprise, markets and strategy.
  • Outlook Business offers a detailed analysis of market trends, stock prices, and sales strategies of several business undertakings to its readers. It is one of the most popular business magazines in India. It covers the stories and perspectives of all the leading organizations and businessmen.
  • It is the fastest growing business magazine in India with a readership of more than 8 lakh and a fortnightly circulation of 1.41 lakh.


  • It is a fortnightly English magazine published by The Hindu group.
  • Like its parent newspaper, this is one of the most preferred magazines due to its rich content.
  • This magazine offers comprehensive articles that feature stories from all over the world. It provides thorough knowledge about issues prevalent in India as well as various policies undertaken by the government.
  • Frontline magazine can help a CAT applicant to build opinions regarding the events unfolding around him.
  • It is highly recommended for cracking the interview round.
  • One downside is that the magazine does entail heavy reading. It will surely build an individual’s vocabulary because of the usage of different words.

Business Today

  • It is a fortnightly magazine that was established as a solution to increased variations in business trends.
  • Business Today was one of the first magazines to cover management theories and their applications in current and relevant business scenarios.
  • It provides comprehensive reports on the effects of the Indian economy on business strategies and covers a plethora of industries so students preparing for CAT can take away many lessons from on- going stories.

CAT 2021 Quizzes

Previous Year CAT Topper Tips

  • Make sure you keep a record of how much time you spend completing each mock test as well as its distinct sections
  • Revise the formulas for Quantitative Ability before solving the questions
  • If you only have a couple of days left for the exam, do not start anything brand new
  • Keep practicing mock tests regularly and try to improve your timing and efficiency
  • Do not get stuck onto a question you cannot answer, come back to it later if required
  • Do not judge your entire capability and worth on the basis of the mock test results
  • Manage your time well during the examination, do not spend an excessive amount of time on one section
  • Make sure you have slept and eaten adequately before the exam so that you can give it with a cool mind

Preparation Through Mock Test

CAT 2021 Preparation Through Mock Test

The conducting IIM releases the official mock test is an outline of the pattern of the exam. Do not rely solely on it and take mock tests from the beginning of your preparation.

  • It is essential to join a good test series for mocks. They are available with coaching centers like T.I.M.E, Career Launcher, etc. as well as online on site like HandakaFunda, Pagalguy, etc.
  • Mocks tests help in eliminating most of the surprise elements.
  • The more mocks are attempted, the better speed and accuracy get.
  • CAT Mock Tests help in identifying areas of strength and weakness.
  • They also help in accustoming your body to sit for a 3-hour extended test.

Know Management Colleges other than IIMs

CAT 2021 Preparation Tips FAQs

CAT 2021 Preparation Tips FAQs

Ques. How to prepare for CAT?

Ans. First of all understand the syllabus and pattern of exam, appear for a mock test and note down the weak and strong areas, gather the relevant books and study material, cover the syllabus section wise and then again practice mock test. Check Complete CAT Syllabus

Ques.Is their any ideal preparation time for CAT?

Ans.There is no specific rule on time limit, going by strategies of CAT toppers 3 months are minimum required for a dedicated and serious preparation to gain good CAT percentile. 

Ques. Can i self-prepare for CAT 2020?

Ans. Yes, there are numerous candidates every year who score good in CAT by relying on self preparation. Start by gaining a good knowledge of syllabus and exam pattern, gather the relevant study material, prepare a time table, utilise the online sources available and test your preparation by giving mock tests.

Ques.Which is the best institute to prepare for CAT 2020?

Ans. There are a lot of coaching institutes both online and offline. Candidates should decide in which mode they want to prepare and select the coachings as per their needs. Nowadays, online coaching options are very popular and user friendly. Check Best CAT Coaching Institutes.

Ques.How many Mock Test are sufficient to take before the main exam?

Ans. As suggested by CAT topper’s 35-40 mock test should be given before the actual exam. The important point to remember while giving CAT is to analyse the test afterwards and work on mistakes and weak points. Download Now Practice Papers

Ques.  Can I start preparing for CAT 2020 now?

Ans.Yes, around 2 months are left for CAT 2020 to take place candidates should gear up their preparation. Make a preparation strategy and start working on it. There is still plenty of room left to score well.

Ques. Is it compulsory to score 90% or above in 10th and 12th board to get admission in IIM?

Ans. No, there is no such rule to score 90% or above in boards to secure admissions in IIM. Overall weightage to CAT scores, graduation marks, class 10th and 12th boards and WAT/GD/PI scores is given by IIMs before offering admissions.

Ques.What are the factors that affect the preparation of a student?

Ans. Factors like relying completely on coaching institutes and not focussing on self study, keeping yourself too mentally tired, lacking time management skills and dedication for the exam, not working on weak areas affect the preparation of CAT aspirants.

Ques.What are some time management tips for CAT?

Ans. CAT test the accuracy and speed of candidates. Hence time management is the key required to excel in the exam. Remember, not to spend too much time on one question, start working on the section you are comfortable with, spare some time for revision. While preparing, time management skills can be acquired by giving Mock Test.

Ques.Is there a limit on the number of attempts for the CAT exam?

Ans. No, there are no limits on the number of attempts for CAT. there is no restriction on age limit as well. The only restriction is the educational qualification, candidates have to be

Ques.Is it required to have 5 to 7 books to study from when you sit to prepare for CAT?

Ans. Having a pile of books and a bunch of notes in addition to it will not help you. You can decide which book suits you best as a complete guide to all the sections will be enough. You can also have a book separately for each section but try to keep the number low as to 2 or 3 books to prepare.

Ques. Is joining a Coaching Center a great investment in studies for CAT?

Ans.The benefit of joining a coaching institute is they provide proper study schedule and material, candidates just have to follow them. Coachings are suitable for candidates who can spare time for the classes. In case of working professionals online coaching websites or weekend classes are an option. Candidates can also opt for crash courses full time caching is not required.

Ques.  Is the Study Material provided by the coaching center reliable?

Ans.Coaching institutes provide updated study Material which is prepared on the basis of past data and can be very useful although there is no harm in referring to a new book if you have time. But candidates should not lose focus on self study despite coaching guidance.

Ques.How can reading prove to help study for the CAT exam?

Ans. The key to excel in verbal ability and reading comprehension is to read a lot of books, newspaper editorials and improve your vocabulary and grammar. Being an expert in english is not required but cultivating a habit to read and write will also help in WAT/GD.PI sessions.

Ques.How does a series of tests help ace CAT?

Ans. Test series are an essential part to score good percentile in CAT. It should be a weekly ritual while preparing. Writing at least 30 tests before giving the final exam will give you an idea of the level of questions and the way to solve them. Also, subscribing to a series of Mock Tests is helpful as it provides you an edge over the actual exam.

Ques. How does having a great deal of General Knowledge helps in CAT exam?

Ans. General Knowledge questions are a part of WAT/GD/PI rounds. G.K might not be part of the exam but is still useful to be updated on recent national and international political and economic developments. Also, good G.K. helps build confidence in a person to face people and converse.

Ques.How can i prepare Current Affairs for WAT/GD/PI round?

Ans. Read newspapers like The Hindu, The Indian Express, Economic Times, New York Times. Candidates can also refer to magazines like Frontline, Business Standard and The Week to prepare for current affairs.

Ques. Does having a full-time job affects preparing for CAT exam?

Ans.With proper strategy in place having a full-time job will not affect your preparation but not to a great extent. CAT preparation can be done parallel to your work. But, you must build a schedule and stick to it to devote the required time for the preparation. Prior experience added in your CV can only benefit from getting the admission.

Ques. Can preparing 2 sections of the exam thoroughly give an edge over the paper?

Ans. It is not advisable to leave any section while preparing. If you want to score well in your CAT exam, you need to prepare well enough for all the three sections of the paper. CAT score comprises of sectional cut-off which doesn’t leave you with many options.

Ques. How many hours of study is enough for a candidate to prepare for CAT?

Ans. Candidates are advised to study for at least 2 to 3 hours daily for good preparation. This schedule will suit in cases where a candidate has enough time to prepare for CAT. It also depends upon the study habits of the candidate and the study hours can always go up relating to every individual’s study habits

Ques. How do problem-solving methods help to prepare for the exam?

Ans. Candidates should make a note of the fact that they should constantly try solving the questions through more than one method with accuracy. Depending on their method of solving and mastering is more helpful than following tips from outside.

Ques. What preparation pattern should a candidate follow to score well in the exam?

Ans. Starting by understanding the syllabus and exam pattern, candidates must pay more attention to concept building. Afterward, mock test and practice papers can be considered to analyse the preparation level.

It is also advised that a candidate should try to study 2 topics simultaneously with 1 easy topic and the other difficult which will save a lot of time for other topics.

Ques. Does CAT preparation for candidates who are in their final year of graduation a difficult task?

Ans. Candidates can divide their study time and utilize them in the best possible way. It is advised to prepare for the CAT exam while completing the graduation simultaneously. Though graduation marks should never be compromised as they are considered in the final selection bt B Schools.

Ques. How long should a candidate study in a day to get good grades in the entrance exam?

Ans. Regularity is important while preparing for CAT. Preparing a schedule that is convenient for you and helps you score better should be implemented Candidates should not over pressurize themselves by studying for many hours, but regularly studying should be in practice.

Ques. What should a candidate do in case he/she has left mathematics as a subject in their 12th standard and is pursuing graduation in some other course?

Ans. Maths is important for Quantitative Aptitude section. Candidates in such case are advised to polish their 10th-grade mathematics as the basic concepts asked in CAT are up to 10th grade only. With a thorough revision of previous math questions can help them prepare well for the paper.

Ques. Is CAT a tough exam to crack?

Ans. CAT is not difficult, it is just competitive. If you have your concepts clear and practice mocks regularly, you can easily score 90+ percentile in CAT.

Ques. What is the syllabus for LR/DI? How do I prepare for it?

Ans. LR/DI is generally considered a tough section to attempt. There is no fixed syllabus for LR/DI. You can prepare for it by practicing previous year question papers and following the type of questions that came in LR/DI section.

Ques. I am scared of Maths. How do I prepare for Quant?

Ans. Start with the basic concepts and refer to Arun Sharma for initial preparation. Develop a habit of solving questions regularly and prepare alternate solving techniques to them. If well practiced through Mocks and previous year question papers candidates can score a good percentile in Quant.

Ques. My English is not very good. Can I still take a CAT?

Ans. CAT requires one to have a decent level of command on English. You can strengthen your English skills by reading books and watching grammar lectures on youtube and such sources.

CAT 2020 : 9 answered questions


Ques. Is the CAT exam tougher than the GPAT exam?

● Top Answer By Supriya Sarkar on 16 Jan 21

Ans. CAT(Common Admission Test) is a national-level entrance exam for post-graduate management programs conducted by Indian Institute of Management while GPAT is a computer-based national-level entrance exam for post-graduation in pharmacy conducted by National Testing Agency.  Important details regarding CAT 2021 and GPAT 2021: Category CAT GPAT Courses MBA/PGDM Masters in Pharmacy Frequency Annual Annual Tentative Exam Date November 2021 22/27 February 2021 Mode of Examination Computer- Based Test Computer-Based Test CAT exam is far more competitive and tough when compared with GPAT for various reasons: CAT is open to all candidates who hold a graduation degree with 50% marks whereas, GPAT is held specifically for pharmacy courses and only final year pharmacy students or pharma graduates are eligible to give the exam. This reduces the competition for GPAT candidates and makes CAT far more competitive than GPAT. Students appearing for GPAT can easily crack the paper with proper study and practice. All GPAT aspirants have studied pharmaceuticals in some capacity which means they are familiar with the coursework. Thus, with hard work and revision, they can crack the paper. If an aspirant is applying for CAT, it means that his/her aim is IIM otherwise he/she can go for less competitive management exams like MAT as well. Management students appearing for CAT must score above 98 percentile to get into top colleges like IIM which makes the exam far more competitive. They must score high in rounds like group discussion and personal interview to get into IIM. Over 2 lakh candidates apply for CAT annually with an aim to get into top premier management colleges. GPAT exam is restricted to pharmaceutical knowledge whereas CAT tests the candidate’s quantitative aptitude, verbal ability & reading comprehension ability and data interpretation and logical reasoning ability.  Management aspirants who appear for CAT come from different educational backgrounds, they may or may not be well-versed or good at the exam syllabus. For instance, candidates with a maths background have an advantage over other candidates.  CAT is much harder to crack than GPAT. While both entrance exams are extremely tough, CAT remains one of the toughest entrance level exams conducted in India with over 2 lakh candidates appearing for the exam annually with an aim to get into the most prestigious business schools.Read more
1 Answer

Ques. What is the difference between MAT, XAT, CAT, IIFT?

● Top Answer By Benazir Parwaiz on 15 Jan 21

Ans. MAT (Management Aptitude Test) and CAT (Common Aptitude Test) both are conducted for granting admission in management and related courses.  MAT is conducted by the All India Management Association (AIMA) and it is a standardized test to facilitate Business school to the students. Exam Pattern: MAT – It consists of objective questions which can be both online and offline mode based on the student’s convenience. The exam has a total of 200 questions and is of only 2 hours 30 mins. CAT – This exam is divided into three sections: Quantitative Ability - 34 questions. Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning - 32 questions. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension - 34 questions. Marking Scheme: In MAT every question carries 1 mark and for every wrong answer, ¼ mark is deducted. In CMAT every correct answer carries +4 marks and every wrong answer has -1 marks.  In CAT there is no negative marking for MCQs and no penalty for unanswered questions. Cut Off Marks: A score of 80 - 100 is regarded as a solid effort in MAT. A minimum of 90 percentile is needed to qualify in the CAT. With a 290-300 CMAT score, you can get into any top business school. XAT is an entrance examination for admission in programs like MBA/PGDM in top MBA colleges like XLRI, IMT Ghaziabad, XIMB Bhubaneswar, and 160 other top MBA colleges in India. The IIFT exam is a management aptitude examination escorted for acceptance to the MBA International Business course offered by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) Delhi, Kolkata, and Kakinada. NTA conducts the IIFT exam on account of the institute. IIFT does not accept any other test scores for domestics students. NIRs and foreign students can get admission based on their GMAT score.Read more
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Ques. Which way is better? Joining XLRI Jamshedpur this year or taking CAT next year again and try for IIM A,B, C?

● Top Answer By Karan Luthra on 06 Nov 20

Ans. XLRI offers a 15 month and 2 years program in MBA as well as a doctoral-level fellowship program. It has been ranked as the country’s best private business school by NIRF rankings. IIMs are famous for its 2 year MBA program. The programs offered by these institutes are accredited by the global accreditation bodies, AMBA and AACSB. IIMs has also formed tie-ups with over 20 leading B-schools across the world for a student exchange program. While IIMs might seem to offer a promising future, XLRI is also a very good option to pursue an MBA. XLRI: Joining XLRI will allow students to not waste an entire year of their professional life and complete their degree on time. XLRI also provides 100% placements to its students and its course structure is well known to cover all aspects of modern educational philosophy. Joining XLRI will require students to give XAT as an entrance examination followed by personal interview and group discussion. IIMs:   The only advantage that IIMs have over XLRI is their placements and reputation. IIMs provide higher placement guarantees in international as well as domestic companies. They also provide a higher average package to its students. However, not all IIMs may provide the same opportunities. Only the top 4-5 IIMs provide good placement offers. Other than this, IIMs require students to give CAT as their selection criteria. CAT is a relatively more competitive exam and is tougher than all other management exams. If you only wish to study under the name of IIMs then you shouldn’t waste an entire year, but rather take up one of the short term courses for a year at one of the IIMs and then give CAT the next year to land a place in their MBA program. Otherwise, XLRI is a very promising institute itself. You can directly opt for the MBA program at XLRI and follow their courses and placements. Thus, it completely depends on you, which course and college you should pursue. Both institutes are promising in terms of quality education and placement opportunities.Read more
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Ques. What is the CAT cutoff for XISS Ranchi?

● Top Answer By Deepika Kunwar on 27 Oct 20

Ans. XISS has been ranked 76th by NIRF amongst 100 institutes in India 2020 and 85th out of 284 in India 2019 by India Today. It offers 5 specializations in PGDM courses such as Human Resource Management, Finance, Rural Management, Information Technology, and Marketing. The admissions at XISS are based on a valid score in CAT/XAT/CMAT entrance exam. Seats available for HRM and Rural Management are 75 and Information Technology, Finance, and Marketing Management specializations have 60 seats each. Of the above, 40% of seats are reserved for ST/SC and Christian candidates (other than ST/SC). The above mentioned 40 percent is with a breakdown as follows: ST - 26%, SC- 6%, and Christians 8%. The total fee for the MBA Program is approximately INR 10 lakhs. For the academic year 2019, the CAT cutoff (Round 1) for the general category was as follows. Program Unreserved CAT Reserved CAT Human Resource Management 66.36 ALL Rural Management 50 40 Information Technology 45 40 Finance 45 40 Marketing 45 40 In addition to CAT, the university also accepts XAT and CMAT exam scores. CAT entrance exam score holds the highest percentage of weightage for admission at XISS which is around 40%. The candidates seeking to take admission at XISS should meet the selection criteria for the entrance exam. Based on the entrance exam scorecard, the students will be shortlisted and further need to appear for admission rounds that include group discussion, writing skill tests, and personal interview. XISS institute not only provides good opportunities to MBA students in terms of education quality but also with college infrastructure and teaching faculty and placements. The overall placement percentage at the institute for MBA programs is around 90%. Packages offered to MBA students here range from 5 lakh to 15 lakh. Furthermore, 100% of students got internships in 2019. Students can make a choice based on facts listed above, and if they are in concurrence with their future goals.Read more
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Ques. What is the CAT cutoff for Nirma University, Ahmedabad?

● Top Answer By Anam Shams on 20 Oct 20

Ans. Nirma University offers a 2-year postgraduate degree in management under 7 specializations. The admission process starts from the month of September and the commencement of the program starts in June.  Students are required to appear in CAT conducted by the IIMs. A separate application form needs to be filled for the Institute of Management, Nirma University. The application form is done online or by electronic mails. For the year 2018 and 2019, the cat cutoff for Nirma university are given below: - Section 2018 cutoff by percentile 2019 cutoff by percentile VRC 40%ile 40%ile DILR 40%ile 40%ile QA 40%ile 40%ile TOTAL 85%ile 85%ile Candidates will be shortlisted on the basis of their performance in CAT which will be followed by a Personal Interview and Theme Development Presentation. Academic performance will also be considered.  Reservation: A total of 85% of seats are reserved for the General category whereas for NRI/ Sponsored candidates, 15% of seats are reserved. Total Seats: 204 seats are available for General seats whereas for NRI/Sponsered category, 36 seats are available. The institute has been ranked as 44th Best B-school overall in NIRF 2020 Rankings and students can consider it as the best option. With international MOUs and experienced faculty members, Institute of Management at Nirma University has all the best possible opportunities for the students.Read more
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*The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College.


sheetal chib
Do I have to apply for counselling for each college separately?
abdul nazir

Hi Sheetal, Yes you need to apply separately for different colleges as CAT does not conduct centralised counselling process. After the declaration of exam results, participating colleges will release cut off individually and those who qualify with that cut off range will be called for WAT, GD/PI process. You need to apply on the official website of the respective college for counselling registration. To get more details visit CAT counselling.

bhagyashri kene
Is CAT tougher than GMAT?
rakhisree chatterjee

Hi, The GMAT has a very well defined syllabus and question types, thus it is easier to prepare for GMAT than the CAT. It is possible to score 700+ on the GMAT with 90 – 120 hours of dedicated preparation. The Quantitative section of the CAT is relatively more difficult than the GMAT. For more information, please refer, CAT Exam.

shreya sarkar
Is every question compulsory?
abdul nazir

Hi Shreya, It is not compulsory to attempt every question as there is negative marking applicable for the objective questions. There is however no negative marking for subjective questions. You will be awarded 3 marks for every correct answer. There will be total 100 questions with section wise time limit. To get more details visit CAT 2021.

Do I need to bring black pen for the exam?
abdul nazir

Hi Rashmi, No you don’t need to bring pen inside the center as stationery items are prohibited. You are require dto carry admit card, id proof, medical certificate for PwD, name change certificate, if applicable. The exam center and details will be mentioned on the admit card. Find more details at CAT exam.

dharshini rajendran
Will there be any interview for the selection?

Hi Dharshini

You will have a counselling procedure before you get selected for any college. They will conduct a personal interview. For more information visit on our official webiste of CAT Counselling.

gouri kumari
How many pictures shall I take with me to the center?

Hi Gouri

Take at least 2 passport size photograph with you and carry a valid ID proof and your admit card at the exam center. For more details visit on our official website of CAT EXAM CENTER.

tanishka shah
Can I applyinto this even if am belonging to any state?
rakhisree chatterjee

Hi, Yes, In order to be eligible for the CAT Exam, the candidate has to pass at least their Bachelor's degree with at least 50% (for General Category and for candidates from the NC-OBC caste). For SC/ST and Differently Abled (DA) candidates, the percentage required is 45%. For more information, please refer, CAT Exam Eligibility.

Even after doing BA ,can I give CAT?

Dear Sameer

Greetings from Collegedunia. You can appear in CAT Examination 2021 if you have passed Graduation with 50% marks and CAT scores to take admission in 20 IIMs in India. For more details, kindly go through this link – CAT 2021 Eligibility Criteria

What is the CAT cutoff for XISS Ranchi?
rakhisree chatterjee


CutOff 2019
Unreserved CAT Unreserved CMAT
HRM 66.36 73.31
RM 50 50
IT 45 50
shubham sharma
What is the validity of CAT Result?

Hi Shubham

The CAT Score is valid for only one year after that you need to take the next year CAT exam . You can only use your score to get admission in a good college for a year. No college will accept your CAT score once the validity gets over.

Will coaching like TIME provide mock test as well?
rakhisree chatterjee

Hi, Yes, TIME Coaching offeres mock tests and test series. There are many coaching classes all around the country that offer classroom as well as an online preparation program for CAT exam. For more information, please refer, CAT Coaching.

arushi thankur
Can I get book related to CAT online for free?

Hi Arushi

There are many books you can get online or buy from your local book shop. You can visit on our official website of CAT Preparation Books to get some important books which whill help you for your CAT preparation.

laxmi mishra
What is the validity of CAT Result 2020? Can I take admission next year with my current CAT Scorecard?

Hi Laxmi

The validity of CAT score is for 1 year. You can take admission anywhere with your present CAT score for one year after that it won’t be valid anymore you have to sit for the CAT exam again.

ambar ahirawar
What is the marking scheme?
rakhisree chatterjee

Hi, For every right answer, the applicants will be awarded 3 marks. However, an insight answer will fetch -1 mark. For more information, please refer to the following, CAT Exam Pattern.

surabhi s
Where can I get the mock test paper series?

Hi Surabhi

Greetings of the day

You can visit on the official website of CAT to get the Mock Test series. Visit on our official website to know how you can access the mock test paper.

shiya devi
From where should I prepare for the exam?
rakhisree chatterjee


6 ways to crack CAT with self-preparation

  1. Know your exam. The first thing you prepare for is getting to know the exam pattern and syllabus of CAT in detail. 
  2. Right Study Material. There is ample study material available even for those who do not take coaching for CAT
  3. Online Mock Tests. 
  4. Study Group. 
  5. Buddy up with the internet. 
  6. Confidence and Motivation.
tanishka shah
Can I prepare for the CAT on my own at home?

Hello Tanishka,

Yes, you can surely prepare for CAT examination at home. CAT requires consistent practice and regular efforts. You can refer to the best books and the study materials available on the internet for a guided preparation. Our team has curated some preparation tips that will help you in your exam. Please refer to – CAT Preparation tips

mizna harmain
Is it possible to prepare for the CAT within 2 months?

Hello Mizna,

If you have a base of Mathematics, you can prepare for CAT in 2 months. But it won’t be a piece of cake. You will have to dedicate around 6-8 hours every day for your preparation. For some last month preparation tips, please visit – CAT Last minute preparation tips.

laxmi mishra
If I score 60, 75 and 70 marks in QA, DILR and VARC sections respectively, is there any chance that I can get admission in IIM Ahmedabad?
rakhisree chatterjee

Hi Laxmi, The sectional Cut Off for IIMA are as follows:

  • QA- 70
  • DILR- 70
  • VARC- 70


Hello Laxmi,

Ideally, a QA Score of 60, LRDI score of 75 and a score of 65-70 in VARC will get you 99+ percentile overall as well as individually in each subject. You might get admission in IIM A if you pass the other levels of selection. Kindly visit – IIM A Selection Process for more information.

tanishka shah
Which coaching is best in Delhi for IIM?

Hello Tanishka,

Some of the leading coachings which provide good approach and study material for CAT are- TIME, Career Launcher and IMS.

rakhisree chatterjee

Hi Tanishka, There are various coching centers such as TIME, Jamboree, Demo Classes, CAT Faculties, etc. You can Choose as per your convenience.