How to prepare for CAT exam?


As most of us know, CAT stands for ‘Common Admission Test’ and it is a test based on computer for admission of students to the top management institutions for Master of Business Administration and other Master’s Programme in Management. The Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) indicates this test as an essential mode in selection of candidates for the various business administration courses across India.

This test is being conducted each year in India on rotation basis by any one of the Indian Institute of Managements. Not only IIMs, but also other management institutions like Birla Institute of Management Studies, Calcutta Business School, Disha Institute of Management & Technology, etc… take this CAT score into consideration when admitting students to the business management courses.

Many candidates are applying for CAT Examination with the objective of doing their higher studies from one of the best institutions in India and here are some useful tips for candidates getting well prepared for their CAT Examination:

Understanding the test: As a first step towards preparation process, it is essential to understand the pattern of CAT paper (i.e.) what type of question will be asked. CAT will have questions to test the following skills of candidates:

o Data Interpretation &  Logical Reasoning

o English language skills/ Verbal ability

o Mathematical aptitude/ Quantitative ability

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning: This section will have questions based on charts and graphs to test the logical reasoning and their ability in interpretation.

Verbal Ability/English Language Skill: Questions pertaining to vocabulary, comprehension, grammar and reading in this section.

Mathematical aptitude/quantitative ability: This section is related to questions based on mensuration, trigonometry, geometry, algebra and arithmetic.

Understanding strengths and taking steps to come out of weaknesses: It is better to begin with the preparation process only after a candidate understands his/her strengths and weaknesses and for doing so, they can take up diagnostic test since this type of test can enable the candidates to understand their stand. According to an IIM Alumnus, cracking CAT is all about time management and therefore if the candidates are well-aware of their stronger and weaker areas, they can work on weaker areas to turn them to stronger areas. Rather than answering all questions in CAT, it is essential to attempt the question wherein candidates are stronger in such a way that negative marking can be avoided.

Preparation of time table: When preparing for CAT or any other competitive examination for that matter, candidates should be organized. It is better to prepare a time table right from the day one of preparation in such a way that candidates can concentrate on all subjects. According to an expert, candidates getting ready for CAT can prepare a time table as to allocate 45 days for getting into the fundamentals of Logical reasoning, verbal and quantitative ability sections and it is better to spend one hour for each of these areas per day and therefore, candidates will have to spend three hours per day.

Practice: As most of us know, practice can make a man perfect, and when it comes to CAT preparation, once a candidate is satisfied with his/her preparation, he/she will have to take up as many mock tests as possible and taking up these tests can enable them to understand their preparation status. They will also have to analyze their performance in test after test.

Planning of answering strategy: Once a candidate has prepared well for the examination, he/she will have plan the answering strategy, which should include the following:

o At the first instance, candidates will have to decide the order of sections to be answered by them (i.e.) whether they are going to answer English section or data interpretation section first and which section to the attempted second and which section to the attended finally. Once the order of sections is decided, they will have to decide on the order of attempting questions. For instance, when going for English section, will they be attempting reading comprehension initially or verbal ability first

o Then comes the strategy for time allocation (i.e.) minimum and maximum time to be spent on each section

o Finally, time to be spent on revising the paper should also be decided in such a way that they can recheck the answer sheet

Reference books for CAT preparation:

Here are the names of some of the reference materials for CAT preparation:

Books for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning Section:

‘Data Interpretation and Logical’ by Arun Sharma

‘How to prepare for the Data Interpretation for CAT’ by Arihant Prakashan

‘Course In Mental Ability and Quantitative Aptitude’ by Edgar Thorpe

‘How to prepare for the Data Interpretation for CAT’ by TATA-McGraw Hill publications

Books for Verbal Ability section:

‘30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary’ by Wilfred Funk and Norman Lewis

‘Business English and Communication’ By: Clark

‘A Communicative Grammar of English’ By: Geoffrey Leech

‘Verbal Ability’ by Arun Sharma

‘Word Power Made Easy’ by Normal Lewis

Books for Quantitative aptitude:

‘Quantitative Aptitude for MBA Entrance Exams’ by Guha Abhijit

‘Quant Aptitude by Tata Magraw Hill’ by Arun Sharma

‘Quantitative Aptitude for CAT’ from Pearson by Nishit Sinha

In addition to these books, referring to NCERT books can be of great use to prepare for CAT exam. Make it count in CAT exam by simply following above said information. All the Best for good preparation!!



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