How to Prepare for CAT 2018

Admin Updated On: 08 Mar, 2019 11:18 IST

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How to Prepare for CAT 2018

Preparing for a competitive exam like CAT is not an easy task to do. However, if candidates have prepared well with a strategic and systematic plan then attempting a national level examination can become simple. Common Admission Test (CAT) will take place on 25th November 2018, at different test centers all over India. Candidates must have started preparing for it but those who have not yet started with the preparation, reading this article becomes important them, as the article will give them an insight of the tips and tricks they can use for conquering this exam with good marks. The article clearly defines the general tips and tricks along with subject-wise tips that candidates can use to better their CAT 2018 performance.

Apart from this candidates must also know about the preparation plan that must flow few days or weeks before the main examination. The best thing to do a few weeks before the exam is to take a decent number of mock tests and analyse the results. The more the questions are practiced, the better will be the performance of the candidate. Revising important concepts and formulae is another way to boost your performance on the exam day.

Start reading the tips and tricks given below and simultaneously track your CAT preparation. Implement these pointers in your preparation pattern and see the remarkable change in your CAT 2018 result.

Old papers and mock tests always help: Using the previous years' papers is a good way to get an idea of the exam. Also, mock tests help in assessing one's proficiency on the subjects. 

Stay calm and relaxed: Your performance in the exam also depends on your frame of mind. Always remember, it is not your final examination in life. There is always a second chance. So, stay calm and relaxed while preparing for this exam.

Read and Read: Reading is a good habit and when you're preparing for an entrance exam like CAT, it turns out to be an advantage. Developing reading habit helps in boosting one's vocabulary, general knowledge, and even the speed of reading the questions online.

Focus on Tricks: Knowing short forms, calculations based on tricks or solving sums quickly with easy and smart steps are required to crack this test easily.

Time Management: Managing your time well on the exam day is the key to scoring well. Therefore, time management is an important formula to ace the exam.

One of the best ways to prepare for entrance exams like CAT is to pick the right study material. You will find plenty of books in the market that will not just enhance your knowledge but will provide you the right guidance to perform well in the exam. The following link will provide you some of the best books that you must include in your preparation. 

Section-Wise Preparation Strategy

Every CAT 2018 aspirant must know that it very important for them to be aware of the subjects that are to be prepared for the examination. For this, the candidates must take a look at the CAT 2018 syllabus and churn out the subjects for the examination. They must also know how to prepare these subjects in order to cover maximum topics and sections. Let’s check out some of the easy tips and tricks that can serve to be beneficial for the preparation plan.

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)

  • Time given to complete this section of CAT 2018 is 60 minutes. Test takers must not take more than 50 minutes to answer the maximum number of questions of this section. Rest 10 minutes should be utilized revising the answers and attempting unanswered questions.

  • The VARC has been structured to judge your reading skills along with your language knowledge. Experts advise improving grammatical understanding which can be done by following good grammar books.

  • For a better understanding, reading through junior level books has been considerably advised and recommended by the experts and 99 percentile CAT applicants.

  • Sub-sections like Fact Inference Judgment, Para Completion, Verbal Reasoning, Analogies and Para Jumble, are the ones that need more attention and understanding.

  • Other sub-sections need more and more of practice and a little bit of memorizing when it comes to synonyms and idioms. For this, you can solve practice papers or previous years questions’ papers for a variety of questions.

  • Solving previous years’ papers will also help in understanding the pattern and structure of the questions framed for VARC.

  • Experts also advise learning as many as 10 new words with their meaning, synonyms and usage.

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DI & LR)

  • There are a total of 32 questions that are to be answered in 60 minutes. However, an idol examinee would be expected to complete this section in not less than 55 minutes and keep 5 minutes for revision and unattended questions.

  • The motive for this section is to understand the calibre of the candidates with respect to their logical thinking and approach. In order to master this section candidates will have to first understand each given topics of this section in detail and then start practising them.

  • Sub-sections that must be prepared first include Caselet, Bar Graph, Data Sufficiency, Clocks and Calendars, Data Arrangement, Binary Logic, Constraint-based puzzles and Venn Diagram.

  • Take help from your teachers and seniors to study the tricks and methods of solving the questions of this section. Practice these tricks and make strong hold on the section.

  • While preparing the sub-sections, remember to complete one topic at a time, instead of hurrying with all the topics in one go. Devote equal amount of time for each topic and sub-sections to understand the details including the methodology of finding out the solution, in a clear and better way.

  • Remember not to rush down to attempt all the questions in a hurry, instead, divide the questions that you can solve easily and solve them first, then switch to the harder and time taking ones.

Quantitative Ability (QA)

  • As prescribed by the exam conducting authority, there are a total of 34 questions that must be answered within a time span of 60 minutes. It is advised to complete the maximum number of questions of this section in 54 to 55 minutes and keep the rest of the time for revision.

  • Quantitative Ability has been planned in CAT 2018 exam, to judge candidates understanding of the arithmetic reasoning and numeric calculation system. This in return helps candidates in making quick calculative decisions when on field as a professional.

  • Some topics that are to be prepared for this section includes Arithmetic, Geometry, Algebra, Mensuration, Trigonometry and Calculus. Take help from best books and study materials if you wish to score well in this section.

  • If reading through the books and understanding the terms becomes difficult, then joining a good and reputed Coaching Center will be the right decision. The mentors at this centres will help in studying the difficult topics in an easy and simple way combined with a regular practice session.

  • Going through the examples given after every explanation in the books and study materials is a must for CAT applicants. These examples will help in understanding the problem in a clear way and will also help in knowing the steps to approach the solution in a simplified manner.

  • At the time of preparation do not go on solving the difficult questions first. The right way for a better understanding is to start solving the easy ones and then gradually move to the difficult or tricky ones.

Best Tips for CAT Exam Day

Now that CAT is just a few days away, it is completely fine for any aspirant to get nervous before the day of the exam. However, there are certain things that candidates can do to maximise their chances performing well in the exam and not get overly stressed.

1. Take a good night's sleep – You must get at least 8 hours sleep before the exam to maintain your focus while attempting the paper. Lack of sleep will lead to restlessness and you might just end up yawning inside the examination hall.

2. Carry necessary documents – You must not forget to carry your Admit Card and ID proof on the day of the exam. Without the admit card, you will not be allowed to sit in the exam hall, and the process of going back home to retrieve will waste your precious time.

3. Reach exam centre on time – Ensure that you reach the exam venue at least one & a half hour before the commencement of the test. Reaching in advance means your precious time will not be wasted in the security checks, identity verification process, etc.

4. Go through tutorial and instructions carefully – You must pay attention to the 15-minute tutorial as well as the important instructions. The tutorial is meant to help you all familiarise yourself with the online test procedure and other important procedures related to the exam such as navigating through the sections and keeping a track of the time. 

5. Ignore questions that you find confusing – You may find some questions in the paper that will distract you from performing in other simple questions. Don't spend too much time on such questions as you will lose the opportunity to attempt the easier ones.

6. Keep a track of the time –  Taking CAT is all about how you manage your time while answering tricky questions. With time limit given in every section, it is best for you to avoid overspending time on a question that you feel is tough to answer.

While appearing for an exam like CAT is a big deal, one must keep in mind that not performing well is not the end of the world. There are many other options available for you to explore. Just try keeping these pointers in mind and we're sure you will do your best!

Exam Day Instructions

IIM Calcutta has uploaded a PDF file and an animated video on their website to explain the rules and regulations that participating candidates must follow on the exam day. 

Rules & Regulations for CAT 2018


1. What should be the preparation strategy few days before the CAT exam?

Candidates should look at taking a decent number of mock tests. Practicing using the mock tests and analysing the results will help you identify your strong and weak areas. In the last few days, you can then focus on improving your weak points to boost your chances of performing exceptionally well on the day of the exam. Another suggestion that you must consider is taking the mock tests at the time of your actual exam slot. This way, you will know how your body clock and body cycle respond at the given time. Adding these minute details to your preparation plan will allow you to perform to the best of your ability on the exam day.

2. What does a CBT test look like? 

To familiarise yourself, you should have a look at the practice test, which is available on the official CAT website. You can familiarise yourself with the functionality and navigation of the actual exam. 

3. Who has a better chance of success at CAT and MBA Entrance Exams – a fresher or a person with work-experience?

There is no factor that determines the success of a fresher or a working professional. Both cases have their own advantages and disadvantages. A fresher is more in touch with the academic requirements and prepared for intense learning mode. Whereas, a working professional brings along the real world knowledge and reasoning that is a key requirement to succeed in entrance exams like CAT. You can also read about which is better - MBA after graduation or MBA after work experience?

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