CAT Preparation: Boost Your CAT Score with Proven Tactics and Dominate the Competition

CAT Preparation: Boost Your CAT Score with Proven Tactics and Dominate the Competition

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CAT Preparation: Boost Your CAT Score with Proven Tactics

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is the gateway and home to some of the most prestigious B-schools in India. Good quality is important to succeed in this challenging exam. It is considered as one of the competitive entrance exams. CAT evaluates candidates on various parameters such as quantitative ability, verbal ability, interpreting information, and logical reasoning. Success in CAT requires a comprehensive and meticulous approach to preparation. 

CAT Preparation Strategy – Why Does It Matter?

CAT exams matter for several reasons especially if you need admission to the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other top business schools.

  • Admission to Top Business Schools since the institutions are renowned for their management programs and for providing aspiring business professionals.
  • Competitive edge in the selection process. Top scores increase the chances of securing admission to the best business schools.
  • Quality Education can be gained when you get admission to top-notch institutions that have experienced faculty, and excellent infrastructure will enhance your knowledge and skills in the field of management.
  • Career Opportunities are high if you have a degree from a top-tier institute since you have a strong foundation in business and leadership skills.
  • Networking Opportunities are beneficial for future career growth and these opportunities are provided by top business schools.
  • Globally recognised if you graduate from the top business schools, opening up opportunities for employment and collaboration on a global scale.
  • Skills such as quantitative aptitude, data interpretation, verbal ability, and logical reasoning are accessed, developed, and gained which are crucial for your success in the field of management. 
  • Diverse Career Paths including finance, marketing, human resources, operations, and more are available which allows you to choose a career that aligns with your interests and strengths.

When to Prepare for CAT Exams?

The ideal time to start preparing for CAT exams depends on various factors, including your academic background, existing commitments, and personal circumstances. Remember that consistency and regular practice are key elements of successful CAT preparation. Starting early allows you to cover the syllabus thoroughly, revise effectively, and build confidence. Additionally, it provides room for any unexpected challenges or disruptions that may occur during the preparation period. Here are some general guidelines:

Undergraduate Students:

If you are in your final year of undergraduate studies or have just graduated, it’s recommended to start your CAT preparation at least 6-12 months before the exam.

Working Professionals:

If you are a working professional with a full-time job, plan to start your CAT preparation at least 8-12 months before the exam. You need to allocate time for preparation after work hours and during weekends.


If you are retaking the CAT exam to improve your score, identify your weaknesses from the previous attempt and work on enhancing your performance in those areas.

How to Strategize and Prepare for CAT Exams?

1. Understanding the CAT Exam:

Before you start your CAT preparation, it is important to understand the exam pattern, marking, and instructions. The CAT generally consists of three parts: Quantitative Ability (QA), Verbal Ability and  Comprehension (VARC), and  Interpretation and  Reasoning (DI and LR). Learn the question types, time distribution, and negative points, and create a study plan.

Also Read: Top 5 Toughest Exams in India and How to Crack Them

2. Building a Strong Foundation:

Before moving on to specific testing strategies, it is important to establish a strong foundation in assessment, which are the main topics of CAT practice. Improve your general intelligence, language skills, reasoning ability, and ability to interpret information. Thoroughly understand the CAT exam pattern and guidelines to identify your strengths and weaknesses. 

You may also read: English Language for Career Growth

3. Strategic Planning and Time Management:

Crafting a well-thought-out study plan is the first step toward success in CAT. Allocate dedicated time to each section, considering your proficiency levels and the weightage of each area in the exam. Be realistic in setting daily and weekly study goals, ensuring comprehensive coverage of the syllabus.

4. Section-wise Strategies:

a. Quantitative Ability (QA):

    • Focus on building a solid understanding of fundamental mathematical concepts.
    • Develop quick and efficient problem-solving techniques.
    • Practice regularly with a mix of questions ranging from basic to advanced difficulty levels.

b. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC):

    • Enhance your reading speed and comprehension skills through regular reading.
    • Work on vocabulary improvement through diverse reading materials.
    • Practice solving a variety of RC passages to refine your analytical and inference skills.

c. Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI & LR):

    • Master different types of DI & LR sets to handle varied question patterns.
    • Develop logical reasoning skills through consistent practice.
    • Identify and focus on your strengths within this section.

5. Create a Realistic Study Plan:

Time management is a critical aspect of CAT preparation. Create a realistic and structured study plan that allocates sufficient time to each section based on your strengths and weaknesses. A well-organized study plan should include daily and weekly goals, allowing you to cover the entire syllabus systematically.

6. Utilize Quality Study Material:

Choosing the right study material is paramount for effective CAT preparation. Refer to reputable sources such as official CAT guides, renowned coaching institute materials, and recommended books for each section. Online platforms and mock test series can provide valuable insights into the exam pattern and help you gauge your progress.

7. Focus on Conceptual Understanding:

CAT is known for testing candidates’ conceptual clarity rather than rote memorization. Develop a strong foundation in basic concepts for each section and gradually move on to advanced topics. Regularly practice problems to reinforce your understanding and identify areas that require additional attention.

8. Take Regular Mock Tests:

Mock tests are an indispensable part of CAT preparation. Schedule regular mock tests to simulate the exam environment and assess your performance. Analyze your strengths and weaknesses after each test, focusing on improving your accuracy and time management skills. Additionally, mock tests help you become familiar with different question patterns and boost your confidence.

9. Improve Reading Skills:

The VARC section emphasizes reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and vocabulary. Develop a habit of reading newspapers, articles, and books to enhance your reading speed and comprehension. Work on building a strong vocabulary through daily practice and note down unfamiliar words for revision.

10. Stay Healthy and Manage Stress:

CAT preparation can be intense, and maintaining good physical and mental health is crucial. Ensure a balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep to keep your mind and body in optimal condition. Manage stress through relaxation techniques, meditation, and regular breaks during study sessions.

11. Adaptability and Flexibility:

While having a strategy is crucial, it’s equally important to remain adaptable. If a particular section is proving more challenging than expected during the exam, be ready to adjust your strategy on the fly. Don’t hesitate to move on to the next question and revisit challenging ones later if needed.

Also Read: Why Leadership Skills for Students Matter for Their Future Careers?

12. Revision and Consistency:

In the weeks leading up to the CAT exam, prioritize revision of key concepts and formulae. Consistency in your preparation is key, so avoid last-minute cramming and focus on reinforcing your understanding of fundamental concepts.

13. Mindset and Confidence:

Maintain a positive mindset and cultivate confidence in your abilities. Visualization techniques can be helpful in envisioning success and reducing anxiety. Trust in your preparation and stay calm during the exam.


Mastering the CAT exam requires dedication, strategic planning, and consistent effort. By following these key steps and incorporating them into your preparation, you can boost your chances of success. Remember, CAT is not just a test of knowledge but also a test of your ability to manage time, handle pressure, and think critically. Stay focused, stay disciplined, and success will undoubtedly be within your grasp. Good luck!


1. Is 1 year enough for CAT preparation?

Yes, one year is generally considered sufficient time for CAT preparation. However, the effectiveness of your preparation will depend on various factors, including your starting point, academic background, understanding the exam pattern, mock tests, revision, practice, and the overall amount of time you can dedicate each day, and your study strategy. 

2. Can I crack IIM in one year?

After a year of focused preparation, it is possible to crack the CAT and get into an IIM. However how successful you are will depend on your situation, learning styles, and your effort to work on it. While some candidates might finish their goals faster than others, others could need more time. Adjust your preparation plan based on your strengths and weaknesses, and maintain your dedication. Do not lose hope.

3. Which subject is the toughest in CAT?

All subjects can be tough when you have not prepared for it. Though CAT exams assess candidates on three sections i.e. Quantitative Aptitude (QA), Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), and Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (SI & LR); some candidates may find quantitative aptitude to be the toughest due to the mathematical complexity, while others may struggle more with verbal reasoning or logical reasoning. So assess your strengths and weaknesses, allocate time based on your needs, and practice consistently in all three sections.

4. Is CAT compulsory for MBA?

CAT is not compulsory for all MBA programs, but it is important for admission to many prestigious institutions, particularly the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). Several other MBA entrance exams are conducted in India, and their acceptance varies across business schools.

Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT)

Management Aptitude Test (MAT)

Common Management Admission Test (CMAT)


SNAP (Symbiosis National Aptitude Test)

IIFT (Indian Institute of Foreign Trade) Exam

5. Which is the easiest section in CAT?

Nothing comes easily. When you have prepared for your exams well before, every section is easy. So prepare well in advance, allocate time, and work on your weaknesses. If you are struggling with any of these i.e. English language proficiency, comprehension, mathematical concepts, problem-solving skills, analytical skills, and logical thinking, then emphasize the importance of a balanced preparation across all sections.

6. How much percentile is required for IIM?

To be admitted to any IIM, applicants must score at least 90%.

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