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Ultimate Guide For Your CAT Preparation

Jul 30, 2021

CAT Preparation Tips / PrepLadder CAT

Before you start making your CAT preparation plan, you are given many suggestions, and you are handed over a list of dos and don’ts. However, you have to remember that every CAT aspirant has a journey of their own. While it is good to seek help from the experts, you must keep into consideration the factors that influence your journey exclusively. 

An ideal CAT preparation guide includes all the important things that determine the efficacy of your study plan. One should be aware of the basic information about the CAT and the selection procedure of an IIM to be able to clearly define the short-term and long-term goals. The actual preparation begins when you exactly know what you are seeking and how you want to get it.

Dividing the preparation into different phases:

Phase 1: Understanding the CAT

The very first step in every crucial journey must be all about learning what you are getting into. You should do your research, interview the experts you have the access to, read articles from bonafide resources, and learn everything this exam entails. 

The first part of this step should revolve around understanding the exam pattern. Though it changes every year, you can learn a lot about it by checking the exam pattern of the previous years:

CAT 2019: Exam Pattern & Structure

Total number of sections3 (VARC, DILR, QA)
Total number of questions100 (VARC-34, DILR-32, QA- 34)
Time allotted to complete the exam180 minutes (60 minutes for each section)
Maximum Marks300
Language of the examEnglish
Types of questionsMCQ and Non-MCQ
Number of options for the MCQs4

CAT 2020: Exam Pattern & Structure

Total number of sections3 (VARC, DILR, QA)
Total number of questions76 
Time allotted to complete the exam120 minutes (40 minutes for every section)
Maximum Marks228
Language of the examEnglish
Types of questionsMCQ and Non-MCQ
Number of options for the MCQs4

CAT 2021: Exam Pattern & Structure

Total number of sections3 (VARC, DILR, QA)
Total number of questions76 (VARC-26, DILR-24, QA- 26)
Time allotted to complete the exam120 minutes (40 minutes for every section)
Maximum Marks228
Language of the examEnglish
Types of questionsMCQ and Non-MCQ
Number of options for the MCQs4

There are 3 sections- Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Aptitude. It is a computer-based test and after the allotted time for a given section is over, you move on to the next section.

Phase 2: Coaching & Study Material

Preparing for the CAT and getting a good score will turn into a race from a hurdle race if you are guided by experienced mentors and have access to informative study material. Along with taking coaching classes from an institute, it is important to check some e-learning apps to ensure that you are not missing anything. In times as testing as these, an app that helps you prepare for the CAT while being at home can turn out to be life-changing. Learn from the best, watch videos to understand the concepts better, buy books that enhance your knowledge the right way, and solve multiple mock tests.

Phase 3: Speed & Accuracy

For an exam like the CAT, you have to make sure that your speed of attempting the questions is good enough and the level of your accuracy improves with practice. Mock Test series from a reliable source will help you achieve the same. Along with the previous years’ question papers, it is important to take tests to learn about your strengths and weaknesses. However, one must opt for only those tests that subject them to the correct difficulty level and the pattern of the CAT. PrepLadder’s team is doing a great job in this area. 

To reap the benefits of the tests the right way, one must treat them with seriousness and no less than the actual exam.  Keep in mind the following points to work on the pace of attempting the questions:

  • Some questions demand more time than the rest. The sequencing of attempting the questions should be such that you first solve the questions that are less time-consuming.
  • Use the short-cut techniques wherever possible. If your conceptual knowledge does not help you with some questions, use the method of elimination to find the correct answer.
  • Read the first passage of every RC right in the beginning. After doing this, you will be able to evaluate whether or not you can attempt all the questions. If a particular question is very difficult to comprehend, don’t waste time on it.
  • Some Data Interpretation questions are not difficult but they are framed in a way that leaves you all baffled. Constant practice helps you identify such questions and prevent falling prey to such queries.
  • Working on gaining efficiency in calculations will take you a long way. Learn tables up to 25 and squares up to 30 to ensure that speed becomes your companion during the exam and not an obstacle in your way.

Phase 4: Performance Analysis

Taking tests will be worthwhile only if you make sure that you analyze your performance at regular intervals. It is important to understand the graph of your performance to make the necessary adjustments to your schedule. Your first test score could be disappointing but, if you keep moving ahead with persistence, you will improve significantly. Regardless of the circumstances and your short-term goals, you have to find out how you are doing.

PrepLadder, through its great features, allows you to analyze your performance systematically. You can track your performance easily and get the stats you need. It further redirects the course of your preparation plan.

Phase 5: Practise, Practise & Practise! 

Initially, you need to solve questions to analyze where you stand as a CAT aspirant and how far you need to go. In the last phase of the preparation, practising is more about gaining the confidence you need to nail the exam.

Every important exam has its way of bringing nervousness and restlessness into your life. While it is inevitable, you can definitely do things that boost your confidence and make you feel all set for the big day. Solving mock test papers and practising, pave the way for a positive mindset which is underrated and is hardly talked about when it comes to the preparation of the CAT or any important exam for that matter. But the truth be told, your mindset can be the real game-changer on the day of examination. 

So practise, work on yourself and reassure yourself that you have got this!

The most beautiful thing about the preparation is that when it is well planned, it concludes in a rewarding way. The best thing about a life-changing examination is that it challenges you to bring out the best in you. And the most important thing about this preparation guide is that it has been written to enable you to prepare well and then, perform well.

Use this guide as the foundation stone for your plan and start moving forward with hard work and discipline. By the time this journey comes to an end, you will be a better version of yourself, the one that excels!

Auther Details

Ridhima Arora

Ridhima is a Content Writer at PrepLadder. She aims at making a significant difference in the academic journeys of Medical PG, NEET SS, and CAT aspirants through her content.