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Top 10 Tips to Ace CAT 2018 in One Month

Last Updated - August 27, 2018

Common Admission Test or CAT conducted for admission to the prestigious Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) will be held this year on November 25, 2018 (Sunday). IIM Calcutta is the coordinating authority for this edition of CAT and more than 2 lakh candidates are expected to appear for the test. CAT 2018 Online Registration has started from August 8 and will continue until September 19, 2018.

CAT 2018CAT SyllabusCAT Exam Pattern

According to Experts, a 3-month long comprehensive preparation is necessary to crack CAT as it is the most competitive management entrance exam in the country. However, the last one-month preparation for CAT 2018 is perhaps the most crucial phase as it is going to make the difference in the final scores.

  • Focus on solving as many previous year papers and mock tests as possible.
  • Try to figure out the pattern and trends in questions based on CAT previous year question papers. 
  • Understand your strengths and weaknesses in each section and prepare accordingly.
  • In the VA and RC section, concentrate on solving more reading comprehension passages as they carry more weightage. 
  • DI and LR section is usually quite lengthy so focus on building speed through practice. 
  • Have a week wise robust plan to get the most out of last month of CAT Preparation.
  • Distribute your time evenly for preparing all three sections

In this article, we will be discussing some of the key aspects that are crucial for CAT preparation and also suggest 10 useful tips to follow CAT 2018 in the last month.


CAT 2018 Exam Pattern

CAT 2018 Exam Pattern is expected to remain same for the large part. The online test is of 3 hours duration, comprising 100 questions of multiple choice and objective type. There are three sections in the paper: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Ability. 

Each section is equally important and candidates need to attempt all the questions in each section. Total marks allotted is 300 with each question carrying 3 marks. There is also provision of negative marking. For every incorrect response, 1 mark is deducted. Hence, candidates need to be careful before making any guess in CAT Exam.

The distribution of question and marks from last year is mentioned below.

SectionNumber of QuestionsTotal MarksDuration
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension3410260 minutes
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning329660 minutes
Quantitative Ability3410260 minutes
Total100300180 minutes

Ratio of MCQs & Non-MCQs in CAT 2016

SectionNo. of QuestionsNo. of Non-MCQs
VARC3410
DI & LR328
QA347
Total10025

10 Tips to Ace CAT 2018 in One Month

Aspirants need to stay composed while preparing for CAT 2018. Control your excitement and anxiety while preparing for the test. Your temperament is crucial in handling the exam paper. Experts say, “Always act, never react”. Just 1 month before the entrance exam, remember you’ll have only 10 days to cover each section – Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Ability.

The last 30 days to CAT 2018 should be strategically planned in such a way that there is time for preparation, revision, taking mock tests, and analyzing your performance.

Check CAT Paper Analysis

Some of the important guidelines that candidates can keep in mind for preparing for CAT 2018 are mentioned below.

  1. Take online mock test and practice a lot: Practice 2-3 mock tests every week. Take mock tests in online mode only as this way you get accustomed with the actual test environment. Attempt all previous years’ question papers and sample papers. Analyze the papers. Regular mock tests will prepare you for the actual CAT test of 3 hours. Regularly practice and revise the formula, vocabulary and grammar rules. Know your syllabus thoroughly.
  2. Analyze your mock test: You must analyze your performance after every mock test and evaluate your scores. Access both the correct and wrong answers. The key to success in CAT is both hard and smart work. Don’t get disappointed with low scores. Focus on all 3 sections, giving time equally to each section. Take time to analyze your mistakes and learn from them.
  3. Know your strengths: Since you evaluate your own paper, you can very well evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Focus more on the sections and topics which are your strengths. Divide topics from each section based on their difficulty level as hard, medium and easy. Pick a hard topic chapter from one section and an easy topic from the remaining two sections in your daily plan. In this way, all three sections are focused daily
  4. Time management: You have 3 hours to complete 100 questions. Time management is very important. Make sure that you complete your mock test in 3-hours time. Evaluate which section takes more time to complete, work on it. The thumb rule is to attempt those questions first which are easier and quicker to solve.
  5. Plan your strategy: Remember, to crack a competitive exam like CAT, proceed with a strategy clubbed with positive attitude, hard work, careful guidance and lots of practice. Avoid anything that is distracting you.
  6. There is no short cut to success: Focus on all sections equally. You require a thorough and dedicated approach in preparing your sections well. Prepare a proper time table, dividing time slots for each section.
  7. Balance your studies: All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. So balance your studies well. Take a break in between. Go out for morning or evening walks, listen to music, meditate and relax in between your studies. Take a break after each mock test so that you can evaluate your answers with a cool and calm mind.
  8. Distribute your Time for Preparation. A week-wise plan is given in this article. You should fix your daily hours for CAT preparation. If you are working, try to get up early in the morning so that you have some time at your disposal for preparation before going to office. Utilize after-office hours efficiently.
  9. Stay Focused Till Exam: While attempting the mock tests, if you find the question paper too difficult or if you fail to obtain a good score, do not lose heart. Remember, this is just the mock test. Put all your energy to get the best out of it on the D-Day.
  10. A day before the D-Day: Last minute preparation seldom assures a great performance and often results in self-doubt & confusion. Spend the previous day in a stress-free environment. Forget about your weaknesses and have confidence in what you know. No more mock tests now. Sleep for at least 8 hours the night before the CAT exam and reach your exam centre well in time.

Also Read 5 Ways to Stay Motivated for CAT 2018

Week Wise Preparation Strategy

Lets’ have a look at a comprehensive plan for last one-month preparation of CAT 2018. This strategy can be modified by CAT aspirants as per their level of preparation and understanding of important concepts.

Week 1

  • Start solving one mock CAT paper every day, starting from day 1. By the end of the week, you will be able to solve 6 mock tests.
  • Look at the solutions for every mock test. Know your mistakes and analyze them.
  • Every day, prepare completely at least two topics from Maths section (be it formulae, concepts or anything else of your choice). Also practice few problems. Besides Maths, practice 2-3 problem sets of another section, say Verbal Ability (try 8-12 questions of one or two topics) from that section.

Week 2

  • Practice all concept-strengthening exercises. Read newspapers, magazines, journals etc. as much as possible.
  • Begin working on concept-building of Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DI and LR).
  • Continue with 1 mock test every day.
  • By doing the mock tests, you will get ideas on questions that occur repeatedly in each section.
  • You will also get some idea on which kind of questions are difficult for you and which are more scoring. By this time, you can formulate your test-taking strategy.
  • Now attempt the high-scoring questions (these are your strengths).
  • But at the same time, give some more time on those questions which are difficult for you but manageable.
  • Forget the ones that are too difficult to attempt. Don’t waste your time on them.
  • Also, there would be certain concepts/topics that are used more often than others. Practice them more and strengthen those topics.

Check 5 Recommended Magazines for CAT preparation

Week 3

  • Do not worry about shortage of time now. Keep on practicing more and more.
  • Do not take up any more new concepts or topics now.
  • Revise whatever you already know in this week.
  • Revise formulae and basic techniques.
  • Practice only those topics which you have identified as important.
  • Continue with 1 mock test every day. This will help you to manage time on the exam day.
  • Remember your mistakes.

Week 4

  • Continue with 1 mock test every day.
  • If possible, attempt 2 papers every day.
  • Stay relaxed on the previous night. If you want you can practice just 1 paper.
  • Don’t get scared if you make mistakes in that paper.
  • Stay calm. Sleep early. Wake up fresh and appear for the test with a fresh mind.

On the day of the exam, attempt the questions which are easier and quicker to answer. Do remain flexible for any tricky questions that may come your way. Focus on attempting maximum nuber of questions in the test.


CAT Section Wise Preparation

All the sections in CAT Syllabus are equally important for a good score. However, all sections have separate requirements and demand a specific preparation strategy.

  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension is perhaps the less time-consuming section of the lot. Almost 60% of the section comprises reading comprehension. So even if you concentrate more on the RC in the last 1 month, it is sufficient to score good marks in this section. Aim to do at least 4 RCs daily in the last month.
    The easiest way to do well in Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension is again to practice as much as possible. Refer to CAT Previous Year Papers for different type of RCs.  Do general reading for at least one hour, which will help you to brush up the grammar and the general vocabulary.
  • Quantitative Ability: All topics in QA are equally important. But in the last 1 month, if you are not well-prepared, then concentrate more on arithmetic, Algebra and Geometry. Solve all possible questions from these three topics. In case if you feel that you are fully prepared in all subtopics of QA, then give at least 2-3 hours of time daily to practice all questions in this section from previous years’ papers.
  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning: The best strategy to crack this section is to practice all CAT papers from last 10-12 years. This is considered to be the toughest section in the CAT and hence requires a careful preparation.
    A sectional test every day for at least 2 hours should be enough for you. Study the pattern of questions that have come over the years. More the number of questions you practice, the better outcome will come out for you. Analyze whether there is similarity in the questions that come over the years. If yes, concentrate more on these questions. For DI and LR, there won’t be any concept or theory related question exclusive to any topic. The key is to build your own techniques and strategy for dealing with questions of this section through this section.

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