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How to Start CAT Preparation 2023 from Scratch

Tiyasa Khanra
Tiyasa KhanraUpdated On: November 26, 2023 11:01 pm IST | CAT
Starting your CAT exam preparation from scratch demands careful planning, clear strategies, and dedication. Read the article below to learn how to start CAT exam preparation from scratch. 
How to Start CAT Exam Preparation from Scratch

Starting your Common Admission Test (CAT) exam preparation from scratch can be a bit challenging. This year, the CAT 2023 exam was held on November 26, 2023. With over 2 lakh candidates every year, the competition is undoubtedly quite high but that's what makes it worth giving your best for. It certainly requires dedication, perseverance, and a lot of effort to improve your fundamentals.  

But before you begin, ask yourself if CAT is your gateway to get enrolled in one of the top MBA colleges in India. If yes, an optimistic attitude, good strategy, and adjusting your game plan on the basis of your progress can go a long way toward scoring high on the exam. Read on to explore the answer to 'How to start CAT preparation 2023 from scratch?'

Also Read:

CAT Syllabus 2023

CAT Exam Pattern 2023
CAT 2023 Preparation Tips

Understanding the CAT Exam Pattern 2023

The CAT exam for the year 2023 would follow a similar exam pattern to previous years. Here's an overview of what you can expect from the CAT Exam in 2023:


Total Questions

Total MCQs (With Negative Marking)

Total Non-MCQs (Without Negative Marking)

Time Limit

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension




40 Minutes

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning




40 Minutes

Quantitative Ability




40 Minutes





120 Minutes

How to Start Preparing for CAT VARC from Scratch

Preparing for the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) section of the Common Admission Test (CAT) from scratch can be a challenging task but rewarding too. Your reading, comprehension, and language skills are assessed in this section. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to start your CAT VARC preparation from scratch:

  • Understand the CAT VARC Syllabus: The CAT VARC section includes a wide range of topics such as English Usage or Grammar Vocabulary Based (Synonyms/ Antonyms), Fill in the blanks, Sentence Correction, Cloze Passage, Jumbled Paragraph, Meaning-Usage Match and so on. Without having a basic idea of the same, starting with your preparation would not be that effective.
  • Assess Your Current Skills: Once you have gathered some sort of familiarity with the CAT VARC syllabus, earmark some time to simply identify your current strengths and weaknesses. For instance, if you think you are good at RCs, practice more of them but don't ignore the rest of the topics. 
  • Reading Habit Formation: The best trick to ace the CAT VARC section is to form a reading habit which can be done by reading newspapers and editorials on a daily basis. Also, remember, it only takes 21 days to build a habit. So, get on with it right NOW!
  • Vocabulary Building: Yes, reading newspapers will help build your vocabulary but it will take time. So, the quickest way to go about it is by picking up vocabulary books like 'The Vocabulary Builder Workbook'  by Chris Lele, 'Word Power Made Easy' by Norman Lewis, and likewise. 
Also Read: How to Prepare for CAT VARC

How to Start Preparing for CAT Quant from Scratch

Preparing for the Quantitative Aptitude section of the CAT exam from scratch can be challenging, but with a structured plan and dedication, you can achieve anything. Here are the steps on how to start preparing for CAT Quant from scratch:

  • Start with the Basics: Quant can undoubtedly be called the 'toughest section in CAT' for many aspirants. However, those with a strong foundation do have an edge. Those who are beginners must ensure to have their basics sorted before moving on to the CAT Quant syllabus. 
  • Identifying the Most Important CAT Quant Topics: Previous year CAT papers tell us that Arithmetic, Algebra, Modern Maths, Number System, Geometry and Mensuration form the base of the CAT 2023 QA syllabus. Make sure your concepts are clear when it comes to these topics. 
  • Create a Study Schedule: Almost no one can crack Quant without having a well-thought-out schedule. Chalk it out based on how much time you have on hand and divide it into the topics that you need to cover. 
  • Practice Regularly: Practice, practice and practice! Every CAT topper would tell you the same thing — the only way to ace this section is by thorough and regular practice. This can be done using CAT previous year question papers, sample papers, and mock tests
  • Learn Crucial Formulae: CAT Quant prep would definitely require you to learn a long list of formulae. However, learning just around 50+ more important formulas would do wonders. 
  • Work on Time Management: This section is solving as many questions as possible within the given amount of time. Hence, speed becomes a critical factor for Quant preparation. So, make sure to focus on it while taking timed mock tests. 
Also Read: How to Prepare for CAT Quantitative Ability (QA) 2023

How to Start Preparing for CAT DILR from Scratch

Preparing for the Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) section of the CAT exam from scratch can be a challenging but achievable task if you plan everything perfectly. Here are the steps to help you get started:

  • Utilization of Time: For CAT DILR, you need to be smart and see how you can make the most out of the given time. But, don't forget to pick the right questions. If you do both of these, you have almost won the game.
  • Question Selection: Identify which sets to solve and which not to solve. The sets in CAT DILR are easy, moderate or difficult and therefore, selecting the right sets is crucial.
  • Find Out Template Questions: This section requires you to get used to the different question templates that IIMs usually stick with. The usual Bar graphs and pie charts will get you acquainted with the section and give you a perspective on the ways you need to look at data sets.
  • Solve Puzzles with Standard Templates: Grid puzzles, Einstein puzzles, etc. are some of the puzzles with set templates. They will help you find that constraint to answer two questions and look for a good starting point.
  • Take As Many Mock Tests As Possible: The tricks to solve DILR questions come with experience and that can be achieved only through mock tests. You get to know what NOT to do in the exam. 
Also Read: How to Prepare for CAT DILR 2023

Finally, it may seem like a difficult task to begin preparing for your CAT exam from scratch but with the right attitude, resources, and dedication, you can become an excellent candidate.  Stay on track, practice regularly, seek guidance if necessary, and keep the end goal in mind. The CAT exam is not only a test of knowledge, it's an assessment of your determination, strength, and ability to solve problems. Let's get going today and believe in ourselves, and who knows you may be on your way to an amazing management career soon. Good Luck!

Related Articles:

Importance of Vedic Math in CAT 2023Importance of CAT Mock Test During Preparation
CAT Score vs Percentile 2023How to Prepare for CAT 2023 Without Coaching


I'm starting from scratch. How should I begin my CAT preparation?

First of all, start by understanding the CAT exam pattern, syllabus, and eligibility criteria. Then set clear goals, create a study plan, and gather necessary study materials.

How do I create an effective study plan for CAT preparation if I am preparing from scratch?

Your study plan should include a structured timetable, allocation of time for each section, and regular practice tests. Prioritize weak areas and allocate more time to them.

What are the essential study materials for CAT preparation from scratch?

You will need CAT study guides, textbooks, online resources, and mock test series. Consider enrolling in a coaching program if you need additional guidance.

How can I improve my quantitative aptitude for CAT if I am starting from scratch?

You should basically brush up on basic math concepts, practice regularly, and solve a variety of problems from different sources. Focus on time management during the exam.

How can I enhance my verbal ability and reading comprehension skills if I am starting from scratch?

You can enhance your VARC skills by Reading newspapers, books, and articles regularly to improve your reading speed and comprehension. Practice solving RC passages and take vocabulary-building exercises.

What strategies should I adopt for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI-LR) if I am starting from scratch?

You should basically Develop a systematic approach for solving DI-LR problems. Practice different types of puzzles and data interpretation sets to improve your skills.

Is coaching necessary for CAT preparation if I am starting from scratch?

Coaching can be helpful, but it's not mandatory. Many candidates self-prepare successfully. Your choice depends on your comfort level with self-study as well as your budget.

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Related Questions

Is admission possible here in MBA without any entrance exam?

-Sumit AntilUpdated on November 25, 2023 03:51 PM
  • 5 Answers
Puneet Hooda, Student / Alumni

Dear student, 

To be eligible for MBA admission in Department of Management Studies, IIT Delhi CAT score is mandatory. Candidates who have qualified CAT are shortlisted for a personal interview. Based on cumilative peformance of candidates in CAT and personal interview, they are selected for Department of Management Studies, IIT Delhi MBA admission. So, getting admission in MBA without any entrance exam is not possible.  


whats the fee structure for mba for two years

-shivani bahugunaUpdated on November 23, 2023 11:22 AM
  • 4 Answers
Ankita Sarkar, Student / Alumni

Hello Shivani,

The fees for the MBA course at Nimbus Academy of Management is Rs 1 lakh per year. To get admitted you must have at least 50% in Graduation in any stream.

Hope this helps. Feel free to ask for any more queries.


Mba in hr k liye humme college se education loan provide hoga ya nhi

-Mansi ChoudharyUpdated on November 23, 2023 11:18 AM
  • 4 Answers
mayank Uniyal, Student / Alumni

Dear Mansi, 

The admission department at Rawal Institutions shall guide you through the financial assistance process during the counselling process. There are several banks that offer loan facilities for MBA programmes with an interest rate between 11 to 14 per cent. Moreover, the Rawal Institutions scholarship scheme is also offered for meritorious students to complete their education. 

Hope this information was helpful!

Feel free to contact us for any more questions.   


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