Tips for CAT Exam Preparation | Tale of a CAT Aspirant


This article will help not only working professionals but also the students who are going to give the Common Admission Test (CAT) exam for the first time. I will let you know the strategies, and CAT exam preparation tips that you can attempt during your exam.

CAT exam is a cup of tea for every graduate as it is actually a secondary level exam. One should believe in oneself for cracking this exam. No exam  can judge you or define you. Just decide whether you want to do it or not.

Overview of CAT Exam

CAT stands for Common Admission Test and is conducted by different IIMS every year. Most of the management institutes accept CAT score for admission in their master program. Before 2009, it uses to be a pen-paper based test but now, it is a computer-based test. The exam is of 3 hours with total 100 questions in it. It further consists of three sections and these sections are Quantitative aptitude, Logical reasoning & Data interpretation and Verbal ability. Every year, exam pattern get changed

But from 2015 – 2017, the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension have 34 questions,  Quantitative Aptitude have 34 questions and Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation have 32 questions.  In my later part, I will let you know the CAT exam preparation tips for it and always remember no institute can make you clear the exam until you want to do.

Section Wise Questions and Marking Scheme for CAT Exam

Official notification for CAT Exam will come in the month of July. As per the previous year data, CAT is a computer-based test and which consists of 100 objective type questions. There are 3 sections in the test:

  1. Verbal ability and reading comprehension – 34 ques
  2. Logical reasoning and data interpretation – 32 ques
  3. Quantitative aptitude- 34 ques

Exactly 60 minutes will be allotted for answering each section. The specific pattern for the appearance of the section will be defined. Each question carries 3 marks and there is negative marking of 1 mark for each wrong answer. A few questions in each section of CAT may be of non-MCQs type questions. There is no negative marking for these questions.

Pro-tip: A virtual calculator ie on-screen calculator will be available throughout the test.

CAT Exam Preparation strategy for Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

It is a misconception that English is quite vast and difficult. Being an avid reader, one would have an advantage that he/she will be able to understand the central idea of the passage. But the people who are not a voracious reader can work hard for same. Verbal ability is not that much difficult and always remember it is a secondary level exam. You have to push yourself. For the past many years CAT  has concentrated on our Reasoning capabilities. It has not asked grammar/vocabulary questions directly. Instead of asking vocabulary and grammar based question, CAT exam maker has shifted their domain more on reading part. Verbal ability and reading comprehension from 2015-2017 has total 34 questions and from that 34 questions,  24 comes under RC’s part. So, one should read a lot. Here are some tips to prepare for verbal ability and reading comprehension section:-

  1. Read the editorial columns of an esteemed newspaper like THE HINDU, STATESMAN, INDIAN EXPRESS etc.
  2. Regularly follow sites like,, etc.
  3. Memorize words using root methods, pictures.
  4. Increase vocabulary by reading word power made easy.
  5.  Read wren and martin as it will clear all the basic concepts of grammar.
  6. Practice RC daily with a timer.

CAT Exam Preparation Strategy for Quantitative Aptitude

For many people, quantitative aptitude is a can of worms for them. But actually, it is not. One should not think like this. I agree that quantitative aptitude of cat exam is difficult but with the systematic study, one can get a good score. One should segregate the topics in such way that they will cover the whole syllabus. ie numbers and number system, geometry, algebra, and arithmetic. Some tips to prepare for quantitative aptitude:-

  1.  first of all, one should follow single material first. Try to cover basic from the books and other coaching material.
  2.  After completion of the basic then the person should move to advance level.
  3.  Try to give as much as sectional mocks as possible.
  4. Some reference books are SARVESH VERMA, ARUN SHARMA etc.
  5.  Try to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the topics so that by seeing you can easily get to know which question you have to leave or which question you have to attempt.

CAT Exam Preparation Strategy for Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation

Many people had a myth that this is the toughest section of CAT exam but actually it is not.  A few past years CAT setters had made LRDI section toughest reason being students getting different types of questions each year.  So, that is why logical reasoning and data interpretation looks the toughest section of  CAT exam. Some useful tips to cope up with this section:-

  1.   Practice a lot. For this section, you have to practice different types of sets from a different material and try to jot down the logic behind every set.
  2.  Practice past year sets which will help you get familiar with the trend.]
  3. Try to as many sectional mocks as possible.
  4. After completing with the basics, try to solve within a limited span of time.
  5.  Some reference books are Nishit Sinha for logical reasoning.

Some Final Tips

  1. Try to give as many mocks as possible. Analyse them and work on your strengths and weakness.
  2. Remember, it is more about accuracy not about a total number of attempts.
  3. All the topics prepared for cat exam will also help you in other b school exams like SNAP, IIFT, XAT, NMAT etc

Read more amazing content for the CAT Exam preparation here.