Updated on: Sunday, December 05, 2021, 10:49 AM IST

Cracking CAT Exam: All you need to know how to prepare, pass test in first attempt

Have a glimpse at some tips that might come in handy while preparing for CAT examinations. | PTI  (File Photo)

Have a glimpse at some tips that might come in handy while preparing for CAT examinations. | PTI (File Photo)


CAT is the entrance test for admission in graduate management courses. The fullform of of CAT entrance is Common Admission Test. It is considered to be one of the prestigious entrance processes across the country. Clearing the CAT with a good percentile adds value to the CV and leads to better chances of securing admissions in prominent MBA colleges. It is the path for the students to get admission in their preferred B-school and pursue the course of their dreams.

The eligibility criterion for the CAT examination is that the candidates have to pass their graduation with at least 50 percent for the General and OBC categories. However, for SC/ST, the eligible percentage is 45%. CAT 2021 is around the corner , it is going to be held on 28 November 2021. Amid of the exam preparations and long study hours, almost every candidate might be searching for the best tips for “ How to Prepare for CAT Exam” , So here we are with the “Best Tips to crack CAT Exam”.

Best Tips to Crack CAT Exam

Have a glimpse at some tips that might come in handy while preparing for CAT examinations.

Knowing Your Exam

It is one of the most popular competitive exams but is also one of the toughest ones to crack. The test consists of three verticals or stages- quantitative aptitude, data interpretation and logical reasoning along with verbal and reading comprehension.

Quantitative Aptitude

This section of the CAT exam includes arithmetic, algebra, advanced mathematics and geometry subjects. Memorizing fundamentals, theories and theorems are essential to resolve questions from this section. This segment also requires heavy calculation and one should focus on the same while preparing. Understanding topics such as permutation and combination, simple and compound interest, mean, median, mode, square and cube roots are equally important to ace quantitative aptitude.

Data interpretation and logical reasoning

This is a logic-based section and tests the analytical thinking capacity of the students. This stage does not require knowledge remembrance but skills that need to be acquired. To master this section, practicing questions and grasping the tables is important. Percentages, number systems, approximation and conversion techniques should be well versed with to crack the CAT examination.

Verbal and reading comprehension

This section further has three parts- vocabulary, grammar and reading comprehension. MBA aspirants should have vocabulary knowledge (knowing the words and understanding their contexts and usage), practice grammar (spotting the errors quickly yet accurately), and develop a reading habit (keeping a target of reading 300 words per minute and reading subjects that are out of your comfort zone).

Having a strong preparation schedule

CAT assesses the candidate's analytical, verbal skills that are a must-have for a career in business management. Hence, it becomes all the more essential for the MBA aspirants looking forward to appearing in CAT to focus on having a robust preparation plan.

Planning the CAT preparation in advance

The question “How to prepare for CAT exam” should be asked in advance and the preparation for the exams should ideally be started at least six to nine months in advance. “Rome was not built in a day” , so you have to start your preparations as early as possible. Six to eight hours of a stringent study routine has to be followed to ensure that all the stages are covered, concepts are revised and mock tests are attempted.

Self-study or coaching centres

While in the present times when digital is booming, students can consider self-study as an option by accessing the online course material, buying e-books and joining online study groups. However, the conventional method of joining the coaching institute continues to be a sure shot solution for prepping up well for the exam. The institutes not only provide the relevant study material and mock test series but also mentor them.

Since the educators are experts in the field of teaching and former management students, they possess the domain expertise and the relevant industry exposure. Hence, they are able to guide the students on the right way to approach the tricky topics and strengthen their weak points. The students just need to attend the classes daily and later on devote time for self-study as well. However, it is critical to find the best coaching centre for CAT preparation.

Best study materials for cracking CAT

To crack the CAT exam, preparing from the right set of study materials is imperative. We recommend Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT by Arun Sharma, Barron’s Pocket Guide to Vocabulary, How to prepare for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning for CAT by Arun Sharma, and Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Nishit Sinha published by Pearson. Additionally, we suggest reading newspapers daily and referring to T.I.M.E.'s material as well. Face To Face CAT Common Admission Test by Arihant Publishers is another must-have for MBA aspirants. Once you have understood and learnt the concepts, the next step is to solve the sample papers.

CAT Exam Highlights 2022

Ever since the pandemic outbreak, various modifications were brought about in the CAT exam. It is now conducted online and the duration of the exam is 10 minutes with 40 minutes allocated per section. CAT

2022 exam will be held in the month of November and the online registration for the same will begin August 2022 onwards.

The bottom line: Cracking the CAT requires a tremendous amount of dedication and immense hard work. With smart preparation and focus, students can achieve their goal of pursuing an MBA from a prestigious B-School. The first and foremost step is to know the CAT syllabus and understand the pattern thoroughly.

Choosing the right question and section, reading them quickly and solving them accurately and appropriately are the other key areas to be focused upon while preparing for CAT exams.

(Dileep Jaiswal, Co-founder, College Disha)

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Published on: Sunday, December 05, 2021, 10:47 AM IST