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Stream No Bar: Here’s how non-engineers can crack CAT Exam

Last Updated - June 18, 2019

CAT is one of the biggest management test for any candidate who aspires to get into numerous elite B-Schoolsaccepting CAT Score. There has been a lot of wrong foundations being built around the CAT exam. A lot of candidates presume that the CAT Syllabus is designed in a fashion, favoring the candidates belonging to engineering background. But this is not true, it doesn’t really matter if you are from engineering or from non-engineering background. To crack CAT all you need to have is perseverance and you should be open to fresh ideas.

Even though it has been observed that the CAT Syllabus has got little bit of topics that are easier for the engineering candidates to solve. Recently, IIMs have taken that into notice and have taken actions to solve the scenario. The IIMs want that their campus should have diversity of students; hence they have modified the CAT Syllabus accordingly.

The IIMs have taken this into account and have introduced a policy by the name of ‘Academic Diversity’. This policy means that a higher weightage will be given to the candidates who do not belong to the engineering background.

Read More about  Academic Diversity.

Are you ready to invest your time and efforts and sit for the most competitive exam of all time? If it’s a yes, then go ahead and have a read about how you should go about it!

Components in the CAT Exam

The number of candidates of CAT keeps on increasing every year. And it is obvious that this increasing number leads to more competition. Hence, you as an aspirant need to really work hard to crack the same.

The CAT Syllabus is majorly divided into three sections. Mentioned below are the names for the same:

  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension
  • Mathematics/ Quantitative Aptitude
  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning

Given below are few of the topics that will be covered under each of the sections. You can go through the topics to get a better idea about what all will be covered under the CAT syllabus:

CAT Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension: Reading comprehension, verbal reasoning, syllogisms, analogies, antonyms and synonyms, fill in the blanks, sentence correction, idioms, etc.

CAT Mathematics/Quantitative Ability: Number systems, geometry, trigonometry, probability, permutation combination, algebra, mensuration, time and work, averages, percentages, profit and loss, quadratic and linear equations, etc.


CAT Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning: Interpretation and analysis of data based on text, tables, graphs (line, area), charts (column, bar, pie), venn diagram, Clocks, calendars, binary logic, seating arrangement, blood relations, logical sequence, assumption, premise, conclusion, linear and matrix arrangement, etc.

As an aspirant, if you wish to sit for the exam and you belong to non-engineering, we are here to help you! You should go through the following article and equip yourself with some prep tips or ideas that you can follow while you prepare for CAT.

Read About  CAT Practice Papers

Preparation Tips for Non- engineers

It is a preconceived notion regarding CAT Syllabus, that it is majorly dominated by the topics that the engineering aspirants have already studied in their graduation time. Especially in the Quantitative/ Mathematics Section. But, this is not exactly true. Let’s talk about each of the section separately, so as to get clear understanding of them all properly:

For Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)

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This section is conducted to test your confidence and fundamentals of English language. This is one of the critical section in the entire CAT Exam. This is a section that will consist of Questions that you may have to mark or correct the grammatical errors. You may also have to go through the Verbal Reasoning Questions so they are designed to test your potential to identify the relationship or pattern within the sentences or group of words.

For this section, it will not make any difference if you are from engineering or from non- engineering background. We have been studying English since we were children, hence attempting questions from this section will not be of any problem. All you need is to have a good command on English Grammar.

What all you can do to crack VARC section?

The best thing for you to get perfect in this section is to READ! Read as much as you can. This will not only help you to crack this section but if you qualify the CAT written exam, the reading will also help you to communicate better in the upcoming PI (Personal Interview) and GD (Group Discussion).

You can read from Print Media (Newspapers, Magazines or Books) or you can also read Online from various good websites. If you will start reading regularly, it will actually help you in your future as well. As it will not only help you communicate smoothly but also improve your vocabulary, which in return will leave a good impression on the person you will talk to.

Also Read About  CAT Participating Colleges

For Mathematics or Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

Now, this is the section which is considered to be in favor of engineers. It is believed that it is comparatively easier for the engineers to crack this section. This is because of the fact that they already have covered these subject in their course time. First of all, you need to know that QA and Math are both different.

As per Mathematics is concerned, it only requires basic maths skills that has already been covered by most of you in class 10th and 12th. Hence, all you need to do is to polish your mathematic concepts from class 10th and 12th and you will be good to go. You should be clear that CAT does not focus on any of the theoretical ideas but in application of basic concepts. This essentially means that your knowledge of basic arithmetic and proportionality tools, numbers, time-speed distance, elementary combinatorics, algebra and geometry is more than enough to help you crack the test.

Basic mathematical skill is just one dimension of the QA section and the other dimensions are more important. The other dimensions are: The ability to perform in a pressure situation, observational skills, decision making, adaptability/flexibility and finally, an ability to comprehend the questions.

How can you solve a CAT quant problem?

Solving a QA question is a step wise process and the basic algorithm is as follows:

Step 1: Comprehension of question

Step 2: Interpretation, that is, what is given and what is required etc.

Step 3: Problem solving (If required)

Before moving to Step 3, however, one should explore all the possibilities of answer option elimination through various approaches such as observation or through finding out the range of guesstimate values after analyzing the extreme cases. To inculcate the above set of skills, one needs to practice hard. Hence, all you need to do as a candidate is to PRACTICE as much as you can. The more you practice, better it is for you. 


For Data Interpretation (DI) & Logical Reasoning (LR)

This is the last section in the CAT Exam, which is again very tricky and requires a lot brainstorming. DI and LR are less knowledge-oriented and more skill-oriented. These areas involve fewer concepts and require regular practice. Practicing under time pressure is important. Whether you are an engineer or a non-engineer, this section is an equalizer in the true sense.

To excel in DI one should be conversant with the application of some of the most repeated tools related to percentages, proportionality tool, averages and alligations. Students should be clear with “how interpretation is different from calculations” and “how one can avoid unnecessary calculations in DI”. In calculation-based DI questions, if you can calculate mentally it will be an advantage. Judicious use of on-screen calculator also saves precious time.

Read More About  CAT Exam Preparation Tips By Experts

We believe CAT being a difficult examination, can still be cracked. All you need is a focused approach with the will to excel. Also, it is believed that the solution is embedded within the problem, hence try to understand the problem first and then answer it. But, you should make sure to not waste time on a question you are unable to understand. We wish you all the best and also hope that your hard work pays off! 



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