CAT Tips for Preparation

To do justice to this topic, it was not possible to keep it too short . How to prepare is mainly divided in following subtopics
Fundamentals of Preparation - This is common to all competitive exam preparations
Exam Specific Preparation - Important Areas for CAT
Books - A brief on text and reference books for CAT. You can also use TestBag
study material

In short - first believe in yourself - you can do it  and build will power, learn to manage time, study specific to competition - then self assess each topic wise- identify gap - fill gap - move on - on completing syllabus move to mock tests and finally no match to practice
Fundamentals for Preparation

Construction of knowledge in your mind is the key because only you have to reproduce this knowledge in exam. Teaching (Instructions) from school / coaching class / digital media are methods of giving knowledge to you but far more important is how much have you gained (construction of knowledge in your mind) and for that only your efforts will matter.  Memorising is short lived. Learning is lasting as you have put in efforts to understand each topic. In objective exams there is no shortcut to learning

CAT mainly tests your concepts with speed and accuracy

In most competitive exams, your knowledge is important but how much you know more than others is more important. As CAT has a limited curriculum, do not leave anything

This year CAT is computer based. You may be required to practice on computers beforehand. However the nature of preparation is same

You can divide your CAT study in two phases

Phase 1 is setting your fundamentals right. Master each topic chapter wise. Self assessor would be of great help

Divide you curriculum into short objectives. Each objective should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. The overall period of all short term objectives should not extend beyond 10th October

1. Start QA, DI & DS and VA simultaneously
2. Master topics step by step

Phase II -  Start practicing to improve your speed and accuracy. Test simulator will come handy


Study yourself from any good book
90 minutes maths
30 minutes Reasoning and Logic
45 minutes Data Sufficiency and Data interpretation
30 minutes English Proficiency and Usage
45 minutes Reading Comprehension

There after take ten to fifteen minutes self test  on each topic of the subject studied by you to assess level of understanding achieved in the topic studied. These tests draw questions from a large and specific knowledge pool based on your selection criteria.  Kindly ensure that there is sufficient challenge in your self test. Your number of questions be more than 10 for the topic, level of questions should be at least L2 (except in Elementary maths where it should be L1) and time should be bare enough to solve questions.

Analyse results. For questions done incorrectly refer to books to understand where you have gone. try to complete this exercise alone. Alternatively take help of your mentor. The mentors can be your school teacher or teacher in coaching class. To economise time prefer  coaching if necessary only in subjects where you are weak.

Thereafter retake test with new set of questions. Once confident, move to next topic. This is active learning as you have yourself put in efforts to understand topics. You will start enjoying your studies and these concepts will be long lasting in you mind

Remember - Move step by step to ensure that you cover all topics and avoid confusion

Start arithmetic with number system - understand concepts from any good book. Initially take a 10 minute tests with 10 questions on number system in TestBag at question level L1 with question type Any. (Number system questions in CAT can be straight objective multiple choice or common data type where more than one questions are linked to a common data or comprehension)  Analyse what is not known to you and what mistakes are you doing. Go back to books, peers in group study or take help of teacher. Take tests again and till you achieve requisite confidence

Repeat this for other areas in arithmetic - ratio proportions, simplification, averages, logarithms, ages, boats and streams, time and work, time and distance, calendars clocks . Thereafter work on Mensuration , followed by geometry. And now cover the most important - Algebra (mainly Theory of Equations,Inequalities, Logarithms and Permutations andCombination). At the end work on Probability

Start English with Vocabulary, then move to English Proficiency  ( working on sentence improvement, rearrangement of words in sentence, sentence in paragraphs, paragraph formation, paragraph completion etc) and then move to English Usage (common errors, spotting errors, in appropriate usage)

Start Reading comprehension with history paragraphs, move to science and technology paragraphs, sociology and philosophy

Start data interpretation with less complex tables, bar charts, pie diagrams, line graphs and then move to complex graphs, charts, mixed diagrams

Start Reasoning with data arrangements, data comparison, move to analytical reasoning and case lets

Remember - Move from simple topics to complex and excel step by step.

Each test is build on previous patterns or by subject matter experts and clearly indicating topics included, number of questions, level of questions and type of questions. Each test simulates exam like environment with time and marking pattern of CAT

Mock tests and old papers have fixed question. But test patterns every time generate new online tests where computer based on specific  parameters randomly generates questions from CAT knowledge pool. This pool keeps getting enriched regularly

Again the new set of questions replaces old questions in mock tests after regular time intervals

Test Simulator will help you to build Speed and Accuracy and indicate
  • your shortcomings so that you can  initiate steps for improvement
  • your mistakes so that you can avoid them
  • topics you have not covered or covered inadequately

Test Bag is very comprehensive for CAT preparation and is available at a reasonable cost.

Books : Study from any good book. Preferably use only one/two books as your base/test books . Other books be only used for reference. This saves lot of time. Few books are mentioned below

Topic Name of the Book
Maths NCERT Maths from 8th to 10th NCERT
Maths Quantitative Aptitude for CAT Nishit Sinha/Pearson
Maths Quantitative Aptitude for MBA Entrance Examinations Abhijit Guha
Maths Quantitative Aptitude for MBA Entrance Examinations R.S. Aggarwal
Maths How to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT Arun Sharma/TATA McGRAW HILL
Maths Puzzles and some other number books Shakuntla Devi
Maths Higher Algebra Hall and Knight
Maths and DI Crack The Cat Quantitative Aptitude & Data Interpretation Vivek Gupta and Sandeep Amar
Data Interpretation Any good book in Statistics

Data Interpretation How To Prepare For The Data Interpretation And Logical Reasoning For The CAT 3rd Edition Arun Sharma/TATA McGRAW HILL
Data Interpretation Course in Mental Ability and Quantitative Aptitude Edgar Thorpe
Data Interpretation Fundamental of Reasoning  A Logic Book Robert M. Johnson 
English High School English Grammar and Composition Wren and Martin
English Word Power Made Easy Norman Lewis
English Business English and Communication Clark Grade C
English All about Words Rosenblum and Nurenberg
English How to Prepare for the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT Arun Sharma & Meenakshi 
More Info. About CAT >>
Common Admission Test(CAT)
CAT Syllabus
CAT Exam Analysis and Cut Off
CAT Topic Analysis
IIM Seat

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