The Common Admission Test (CAT) is one of the most competitive management entrance exams in India. It is conducted annually by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and serves as a gateway to prestigious management programs offered by top B-Schools across the country.
As CAT 2023 approaches, it's essential to have a well-structured study plan to maximize your chances of success. This article will provide a comprehensive six-month preparation strategy to help you excel in CAT 2023.
The Common Admission Test (CAT) is a computer-based aptitude test conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) for admission to their management programs and several other business schools in India. The exam is performed once a year, typically in November or December.
The CAT exam is divided into three sections: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Ability (QA). The exam lasts 180 minutes (3 hours), and each section is allotted 60 minutes.
The VARC section comprises 34 questions on reading comprehension, para jumbles, sentence completion, and other verbal reasoning questions. The DILR section has 32 questions on data interpretation, logical reasoning, and puzzles. The QA section has 34 questions on arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and number system topics.
The CAT exam is a high-level aptitude test that tests a candidate's analytical and problem-solving skills. The questions are designed to be challenging, and the exam has a negative marking scheme. Each correct answer is awarded three marks, and each wrong answer results in a deduction of one mark.
The CAT exam is highly competitive, and only a tiny percentage of candidates manage to secure admission to the top management schools in India. Therefore, candidates need to prepare well in advance and practice regularly to perform well in the exam.
Check A guide to cracking CAT
Month 1 and 2: Understand the Syllabus and Exam Pattern
Begin your preparation by understanding the CAT syllabus and exam pattern. The CAT primarily tests your aptitude in three sections: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Aptitude (QA). Get familiar with the topics and question formats in each section to plan your study approach accordingly.
Month 3 and 4: Strengthen Conceptual Clarity
With the basics in place, focus on strengthening your conceptual clarity in each topic. Invest time in learning fundamental concepts and problem-solving techniques for QA, VARC, and DILR. Utilize standard CAT preparation books and online resources for comprehensive study material.
Month 5: Practice and Mock Tests
As you enter the fifth month, it's time to practice rigorously. Solve a wide range of CAT-level questions from various sources. Additionally, take regular mock tests to simulate the exam environment and assess your performance. Analyze the results to identify areas of improvement and work on your time management skills.
Month 6: Revision and Mock Test Intensity
The last month is critical for revision and fine-tuning your preparation. Focus on your weak areas and revise all the important concepts, formulas, and shortcuts. Avoid starting any new topics during this period. Instead, dedicate more time to intensive mock test practice to build confidence and accuracy.
Throughout the preparation period, ensure effective time management. Allocate ample time to each section based on your strengths and weaknesses. Strike a balance between learning new concepts, practice, and revision.
Stay Consistent and Motivated
Consistency is the key to success in CAT 2023. Create a daily study schedule and stick to it religiously. Stay motivated by setting short-term goals and rewarding yourself for achieving them.
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Utilize Online Resources
Take advantage of online platforms offering CAT preparation materials, video lectures, and practice tests. These resources provide flexibility and additional study material to enhance your preparation.
Best Books for CAT 2023 Preparation
Name of the Author
CAT Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT
Nishit K. Sinha
Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency
How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT
How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT
Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay/Arihant
30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary Mass Market Paperback
Wilfred Funk & Norman Lewis/ Simon & Schuster
How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT
Sharma and Upadhyay
PSC for VA for CAT
High School English Grammar & Composition
Wren & Martin
NCERT Mathematics Books (Class 6 to 10)
How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT
Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT
Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations
Join a Coaching Institute (Optional)
While self-study is possible, some candidates find it beneficial to join a coaching institute for structured guidance and personalized support. Evaluate your needs and preferences before making this decision.
Mock Test Analysis
Analyze your performance in mock tests to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Focus on improving accuracy and speed in areas where you are struggling.
Relax and Take Care of Yourself
Amidst intense preparation, don't neglect your health and well-being. Get sufficient sleep, exercise regularly, and maintain a balanced diet to stay mentally and physically fit.
Q: Is it possible to crack CAT in six months?
Yes, with a well-structured study plan and consistent effort, it is possible to crack CAT in six months.
Q: How many hours should I study daily for CAT preparation?
The study hours may vary from person to person, but aiming for at least 4-6 hours of focused study daily is recommended.
Q: Can I prepare for CAT while working full-time?
Yes, many candidates successfully prepare for CAT while working full-time. Effective time management and dedication are essential in this scenario.
Q: Are coaching institutes necessary for CAT preparation?
Coaching institutes can provide structured guidance, but self-study is also a viable option. Choose based on your comfort and requirements.
Q: What is the ideal time to start taking mock tests?
Start taking mock tests after you have covered a significant portion of the syllabus and feel confident about your preparation.