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How to Prepare for CAT 2023 Without Coaching - Step by Step Guide

Janvi Bhambri
Janvi BhambriUpdated On: September 20, 2023 02:06 pm IST | CAT

Wondering how to prepare for CAT 2023 without coaching? Well, it is quite possible to crack the exam with self-study; all you need to do is follow the tips suggested by MBA experts here!

How to Prepare for CAT Without Coaching

How to Prepare for CAT 2023 Without Coaching: Every MBA candidate has the goal of being accepted into an IIM. However, only a few individuals who have diligently worked toward their goals and prepared themselves can be successful in doing so. More than 2 lakh candidates take the CAT exam each year, competing for around 3,500 MBA seats at the top business schools in the nation. CAT coaching can undoubtedly be very beneficial for CAT preparation.

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From providing study material to preparing a fixed routine, from holding doubt sessions to taking mock tests, coaching institutes play a huge role throughout the process. However, being totally dependent on tuition and thinking that CAT or the Common Admission Test, which is the CAT full form, cannot be cracked without coaching classes is a myth that needs to be busted right away. History stands witness to some marvelous students who excelled in CAT without coaching or any expert guidance.

The CAT 2023 exam will be conducted by IIM Lucknow on November 26, 2023, in three slots in 155 test cities across India, and the CAT registration 2023 was released on August 2, 2023. If you too are planning to do self-study but wondering how to crack CAT 2023 without coaching, take a look at the following points below to get your answers!

Also ReadCAT 2023 Notification

Important Tips to Prepare for CAT Without Coaching

Since you are preparing for the CAT exam on your own, you can plan your preparation schedule in such a way that every section of the exam gets equal attention. Refer to the CAT 2023 preparation tips mentioned below if you wish to know how to crack without coaching. 

1. Familiarize Yourself with the Syllabus and Exam Pattern

After knowing how to crack CAT without coaching, one of the first things you should do is go through the CAT syllabus 2023 and exam pattern in depth. Then you should review the analysis from previous years so that you may create a thorough preparation schedule and set your targets based on the importance of various topics across sections. In the CAT exam, questions from three main categories—Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Ability—are presented in both multiple-choice and objective form.

Also Read: CAT Preparation Tips for Working Professionals

2. Focus on the Fundamentals

Make a schedule considering the entire coursework before starting to prepare for the CAT 2023. Plan your schedule so that it includes time for each component. Clearing your fundamentals is the most important step. For instance, if your math skills are lacking, review the NCERT Mathematics for classes 9 and 10 to strengthen your basics. You cannot answer a question if your fundamentals are weak. Therefore, it's important to re-examine your concepts in each section. For conceptual clarity, you can use online study tools or consult the top study guides by writers like R.S. Aggarwal, Arun Sharma, and others.

Also Read:Coaching Vs Self Study for CAT 2023

3. Collecting the Study Material

One of the major advantages of coaching classes is that they provide their students with study materials on the basis of the different sections in the paper. But students who are preparing for the exam without taking help from coaching classes need not worry about the same. Ample study material is available for students on the internet and in the market.

Some of the best books for the CAT 2023 exam have been mentioned below:

  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning by Gautam Puri

  • How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT by Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay/Arihant

  • 30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary Mass Market Paperback by Wilfred Funk & Norman Lewis/ Simon & Schuster

  • Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency by Ananta Ashish

  • How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT by Arun Sharma

Hack: To keep track of the current happenings, read magazines and newspapers daily and brush up on your language skills, comprehensive skills, and general knowledge.

4. Study Schedule

Once you are equipped with the syllabus, what you require next is a preparation strategy. Prepare a schedule by dividing different topics and subjects into various slots and further assigning deadlines for covering each of these slots. Once this is done, devote your time as per the schedule to meet the desired deadlines.

Also ReadCAT 2023 Exam Day Mistakes to Avoid

5. Solve Online Mock Tests and Previous Year Questions

You can identify your strengths and weaknesses in each section after taking mock tests. You would also discover how much effort you need to put into each topic. After you have finished learning the topics, you should begin taking practice exams once or twice a week. By completing mock exams, you can evaluate both your fundamental knowledge and your response time to questions. Gradually increase the number of mock tests to 3 to 4 times a week. Examine the mistakes you make in practice exams and strive to prevent them in the real ones. By taking practice exams, you might gain experience for the final examination and balance your speed and accuracy.

Also ReadCAT Predicted Question Paper 2023

6. Analyze your Performance

You should first take a mock test to see where you stand in terms of your preparation before beginning your CAT preparation. This analysis is essential since it will make you aware of the exam pattern and the degree of difficulty. Additionally, you would also be able to examine how many questions are asked from each topic. Each PYQ/mock test requires you to evaluate your performance. Students who successfully complete CAT sample papers find that they are more accurate when answering questions because they become more adept at spotting errors they make when answering questions. This reduces the likelihood that they will make mistakes on the final exam day. 

Also ReadHow Much Time is Required to Prepare for CAT?

7. Google it!

Candidates who have made up their minds about not enrolling in any coaching programmes for CAT 2023 preparation can rely on the Internet to a great extent. Find the greatest study materials for CAT 2023 by visiting websites offering plenty of resources. For CAT 2023 preparation, you can refer to online lectures or take online mock tests. You can also join social media groups to stay informed about the latest CAT news and updates.

8. Join a Peer Study Group

Look for your peers who have taken the CAT exam in the past. They would have the knowledge that will be very beneficial to you. Make friends with those who have already enrolled in coaching classes. They will offer notes and provide guidance at every turn. The study group will assist you in clearing up any and all questions you have on any subject. You might create a positive environment with the different competitors by your side by participating in group studies.

9. Improve Time Management Skills

One of the most important aspects of achieving your goals is time management. A candidate may not succeed if he or she lacks time management skills. Learn to prioritize and create a schedule where you can dedicate one day for each section. To avoid problems throughout the exam, complete questions in the allotted time.

10. Scope for Improvement

Once you are familiar with your strengths, practice harder to excel in them Don’t stop unless you score 99 percentile in that section, every time you sit down for a mock test. Also, identify your weaknesses and practice until they become your strengths.

11. Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude

Understand the relationships between formulas and the significance of each. For mathematical aptitude, shortcuts are essential for efficiency and accuracy. As a result, it is more likely that you will comprehend the formulas the more frequently you use them. Regular practice with arithmetic problems is necessary to improve your abilities. You can hone your skills by knowing about numerous options and variations.

12. Prepare for Verbal and Logical Ability

Those aiming for the CAT should read a lot as they get ready for this portion. Reading comprehension problems, as well as questions on vocabulary, grammar, reasoning, and verbal abilities, will be helpful. Read extensively across a variety of topics because a typical CAT passage will be focused on philosophy, history, psychology, art, or culture. They are intricate and rely on inference. As a result, reading such books requires competence and enough skill. When taking the CAT exam, try not to read hastily.

13. Prepare for Data Interpretation

Going from LOD=1 to LOD=3 is one of the main CAT Data Interpretation methods used by specialists. The issue with DI questions is that they all need data comparison and analysis. If your analysis is accurate, you will answer every question correctly; if not, you risk losing marks for the entire set of 4 questions. All could go wrong if one thing goes wrong. Try to answer as many DI questions as you can, regardless of their level of difficulty.

Is It Possible to Prepare for CAT Without Coaching?

Most experts suggest that taking CAT coaching is beneficial for the candidates to score well in the exam. However, it is not mandatory to join any coaching institute to prepare for the CAT exam. You can also pass the exam without any coaching.

Many toppers of the CAT exam have accepted that they did not take any CAT coaching for the preparation. Just a proper plan and preparation strategy can help you ace the CAT exam. You can refer to the CAT Previous Year Question Papers and CAT Mock Test Papers to know what type of questions are expected to be asked in the exam.

Also Read: Check How Toppers Prepare for CAT

What is the Best Time to Prepare for CAT 2023?

There is a myth about CAT preparation that one year is required for CAT preparation. You can prepare for the CAT exam for six months straight. However, you will have to practice a lot in order to score well, considering the high competition

You can follow all the tips provided in this article to prepare for CAT without coaching. Additionally, you can also check out the articles mentioned below to learn more about CAT 2023!

Related Links:

How to Prepare for CAT DILR

How to Prepare for CAT VARC

Importance of CAT Mock Test During Preparation

How to Prepare for CAT QA

50+ Important Formulas for CAT Preparation

Tips to Solve Parajumble Questions in CAT

If you have any other questions related to CAT preparation, you can post them on our Q&A zone. Stay tuned with us for more updates related to CAT 2023!


How many hours should I study to crack CAT without coaching?

If you are only preparing for CAT and have no other responsibilities, then you should study 8-10 hours daily. However, if you are a working professional, then you should try to manage 3-4 hours daily for preparation. Weekends can be utilized for taking mock tests and solving previous year question papers.

Which is better for CAT preparation- Self-Study or Coaching?

To decide which is better for CAT preparation- self-study or coaching totally depends on the candidate. If you have sufficient time to invest in coaching and want to study under the guidance of MBA experts on a daily basis, then you can join one. However, if you don’t have much time or have a great focus to study on your one, then self-study is a good option.

I am a working professional. How to crack CAT without coaching?

If you are a working professional, you can crack CAT without coaching in the following ways-

  • Utilize your time wisely, study while traveling, and pause other activities which are not that essential.
  • Study at least 3-4 hours daily. Try to stick to your schedule.
  • Choose the best books and study materials.
  • Study for extra hours during weekends.
  • Stay confident and motivated.

Can I crack CAT without coaching?

Yes, a candidate can crack CTA without coaching. Many toppers of the CAT exam have accepted that they did not take any CAT coaching for the preparation. Just a proper plan and preparation strategy can help you ace the CAT exam.

How to prepare for CAT without coaching?

Candidates can prepare for CAT without coaching in the following ways-

  • Know the CAT syllabus and exam pattern
  • Focus on the basics
  • Prepare a schedule by dividing different topics and subjects into various slots
  • Gather the best study material and books
  • Take mock tests to analyze your performance
  • Work on your weaker areas to strengthen your preparation
  • Solve old question papers to understand the type of questions and paper pattern
  • Work on your time management skills

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