CAT Preparation 2023: Generally, aspirants dedicate 3-6 months to getting ready for the CAT exam, irrespective of whether they are graduate students or working professionals. This timeline needs to be divided into phases, in which you proceed from learning the basics to understanding advanced tricks, and finally, building an exam strategy.
The great Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once remarked,“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
So, if you are aiming to crack one of the most daunting entrance tests, you must have a smart preparation plan and strategy in place. Held in the month of November every year, CAT is the gateway to elite MBA institutes such as IIMs, FMS, MDI, and several others. Although different experts recommend different strategies for studying for the exam, here we bring up the simplest and smartest step-by-step approach for CAT preparation 2023.
CAT is a computer-based test with a total time duration of 2 hours. The exam is devised to evaluate your aptitude for management education and the subsequent flair for the corporate professions. Prior to starting the preparation, you must have a clear knowledge of the CAT exam pattern 2023
. Here is a glimpse of the expected exam pattern of CAT 2023, based on the pattern followed in the last year:
|Expected CAT Exam Pattern 2023
|Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
MCQ - 21
TITA - 3
|Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
MCQ - 14
TITA - 6
|Quantitative Aptitude (QA)
MCQ - 14
TITA - 8
|Total No. of Questions
CAT Preparation 2023: Stepwise Guide to Prepare for CAT Exam
Explained below are the major steps to take in order to fare well in CAT 2023:
1. Know the CAT Exam Pattern 2023
Common Admission Test or CAT, as it is commonly known, comprises three major sections namely- ‘Quantitative Aptitude (QA)’, ‘Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)’ and ‘Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)’. As illustrated above, CAT 2022 had 24 questions in VARC, 20 questions in DILR, and 22 questions in the QA. Given below are the important features of the latest exam pattern:
|Expected CAT 2023: Key Features
||Three sessions on one day
||120 Minutes (two hours)
||Verbal ability and Reading Comprehension(VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) and Quantitative Ability (QA)
||Correct Answer: (+3)
Incorrect Answer : (-1)
No negative marking for Non-MCQs
No penalty for unanswered questions
2. Study the Syllabus for CAT 2023
Prior to starting CAT preparation, it is crucial to be aware of the syllabus. Although IIMs do not provide any standard syllabus for CAT, we have listed down the important topics based on the pattern of the last few years.
i. CAT Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension
VARC carries questions of moderate to high difficulty level. After analyzing the CAT question papers, we have shortlisted the most critical topics of VARC here:
- Reading Comprehension: It is a major component in the CAT exam with over 70% weightage in VARC; there are 4-5 RC passages in the exam with 3-5 questions each.
- Paragraph Summary: This part checks the student’s reasoning and analytical skills. Questions related to this topic surely appear in CAT.
- Para-jumbles & Misfit Sentences: Another vital area of VARC, this topic can be time-consuming as the given sentences could be lengthy and arranging them calls for effort and practice.
Some of the miscellaneous topics of VARC are as follows:-
- Sentence Completion
- Verbal Reasoning (Fact & Judgment)
- Grammar & Usage (including questions based on common Grammar errors, Sentence Correction, Confusing Words, & Phrasal Verbs).
- Vocabulary-based questions (mainly Fill in the blanks, Synonym-Antonym based questions, Cloze Passage, Analogies, etc.).
Grammar-based questions mainly require you to be well-versed with the typical rules and conventions of English language and the related questions check your proficiency in the area.
ii. CAT Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
DILR questions appear in CAT in form of sets with 2-6 questions each. The topics of both data interpretation and logical reasoning are given almost equal weightage in the section. Mentioned below is the list of topics that you must study well for CAT DI and LR:
Caselets, Tables, Bar Graphs, Column Graphs, Line Charts, Venn Diagrams, Pie Charts, Combination of two or more types linked to each other
Games & Tournaments, Number and Letter Series, Calendars; Cubes, Clocks, Venn Diagrams, Binary Logic, Seating Arrangement; Syllogism; Logical Sequence; Blood Relations.
iii. CAT Quantitative Ability:-
Known to be the most challenging part of CAT, Quant section mostly includes questions from arithmetic, geometry, and algebra (in the decreasing order of weightage). While the concepts are apparently fundamental in nature, the majority of the related questions are complex to solve. Following are the most important topics of CAT QA:
Number Systems; LCM and HCF; Profit, Loss and Discount; Percentages; Speed, Time and Distance; Time and Work; Simple and Compound Interest ; Ratio and Proportion; Averages; Quadratic Equations; Linear Equations; Complex Numbers; Logarithm; Binomial Theorem; Sequences and Series; Surds and Indices; Inequalities; Probability; Permutation and Combination; Set Theory; Functions; Geometry; Mixtures and Alligations; Trigonometry; Coordinate Geometry; and Menstruation.
Did you Know: From 2009 to 2013, the American firm Prometric had the responsibility of conducting the CAT test. But from 2014 onwards, CAT has been conducted by TCS (Tata Consultancy Services).
3. Strengthen your basics
CAT preparation should ideally begin with understanding the basics of all important topics. Once you have gone through the syllabus and exam pattern, start working on the fundamentals of all sections. With good conceptual clarity, you will gain greater accuracy in less time. While regular reading is essential to get a hold of the verbal ability section, the other two sections demand you to invest a good amount of time in practice. After getting yourself well-versed with the basics, start solving topic-wise and chapter-wise questions.
4. Give CAT Mock Tests regularly
CAT preparation is considered incomplete with taking mock tests. These simulated CAT mocks
or CAT sample papers/ test series are designed to familiarise the students with the level of the paper. Moreover, the mock results give a clear indication of the CAT aspirant’s strengths and weaknesses as regards the different subject areas. It is incumbent that you improve your weak areas and simultaneously strengthen your strong areas to increase your score.
5. Analyze the Mock Tests thoroughly and Adopt a Proper Strategy
This is a step that most CAT aspirants skip in their journey of the entrance exam. This exercise of assessing the mocks will provide a clear picture as to where one stands and also give you a guideline to formulate your exam strategy. You should bear in mind the importance of each section and its relevance to the CAT exam while designing the study plan. Remember that every candidate requires a different strategy, as per his/her strong and weak areas. So, as you attempt more and more mock tests, you will get to know which techniques and tricks work best for you. Besides, you will need to have a distinct strategy for various question types and sections.
Final Tips for CAT Preparation
While preparing for your exam, bear the following things in mind:
- Go through CAT previous years’ papers to understand the pattern as well as the difficulty level of the paper.
- Make a note of important topics subject wise. It will indicate to you the amount of time that you need to devote to each subject.
- To master RC section, it is advised that you read from diverse areas with a focus on understanding the content.
- General awareness is one area where most students lag in. Therefore, start reading newspapers, articles and listen to debates which will further help you in understanding the issues. Although there is no GK section in CAT, it is important to stay abreast of current events for further selection rounds (GD/PI/WAT). Besides, reading habits will help you ace the verbal section.
- Aim to score higher in every next mock test you take.
Last but not least “focused hard work is the key to success.”
All the best for your CAT preparation!
FAQs Regarding CAT Preparation 2023
1. How much preparation is required for CAT?
Ideally, six-month time is considered best for CAT preparation. With such sufficient time, you can easily sail through the basic prep phase to the advanced level. However, you can also ace the prep with 2-3 months' time, provided you spend more time and stay more than usual focussed and well-organized while studying and practising for D-day.
2. Is preparing for CAT difficult?
Preparing for CAT is not really difficult, if you stick to a proper schedule in a disciplined manner. With a good study plan, you will be able to progress step-by-step and finally, ace all important areas of CAT.
3. Can a below-average student crack CAT?
Yes, even a below-average student can crack CAT with excellent scores. People from all sorts of academic backgrounds and scores take CAT. All you need to crack CAT is a focused mind and smart work.
4. Is CAT tougher than NEET?
CAT is basically an aptitude test, that can be given regardless of your educational background. On the other hand, NEET is a test of the candidate's knowledge of a specific field. NEET questions in no way test the general logical skills of the candidate. Overall, CAT is more competitive and tougher to crack, considering the lakhs of aspirants and limited IIMs seats.
5. What level of maths is asked in CAT?
The level of maths questions in CAT is that of class 9th and 10th only. In other words, you just need to work strongly on concepts that you have already studied in school.