CAT Study Plan with Timetable

Nupur Kaushik Updated On: 10 Jan, 2020 14:06 IST

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CAT Preparation Strategy, Study Plan & Timetable

Preparing for a competitive exam like the Common Admission Test (CAT) may be very difficult but it is certainly not impossible. If candidates come up with a strategic and systematic plan, then attempting this national-level examination should not be a tough nut to crack.

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

Section-wise CAT 2020 Preparation

Every CAT 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 syllabus. 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 be beneficial for the preparation plan.

CAT Preparation Strategy for Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)

  • The time given to complete this section of CAT is 60 minutes. Test takers must not take more than 50 minutes to answer the maximum number of questions in this section. The remaining 10 minutes should be utilised revising the answers and attempting unanswered questions.

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

  • For a better understanding, reading through junior level books is recommended by experts and CAT applicants who have scored 99 percentile.

  • 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 practice and a little bit of memorising when it comes to synonyms and idioms. For this, you can solve practice papers or previous years' question papers.

  • 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.

CAT Preparation Strategy for 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 while 5 minutes can be kept 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 every given topic 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.

  • Candidates should read the questions carefully before solving them. They should have a clear explanation for choosing an option.

  • They should read all the response choices carefully before choosing or eliminating any. It is to be noted that no changes can be made after the candidates choose an option.

  • Special importance should be paid to words like “some”, “all”, “none”, etc. Many a time these words are used to twist the question which in turn leads to confusion in choosing an answer.

  • Candidates can also utilise scratch paper to draw schematic notes or diagrams. 

  • Take help from teachers and seniors to study the tricks and methods of solving the questions in this section. 

  • While preparing the sub-sections, remember to complete one topic at a time. Devote equal amount of time to each topic and sub-sections to understand the details including the methodology of finding out the solution.

  • Remember not to rush in attempting all the questions. Instead, pick the questions that you can solve easily and attempt them first, and then switch to the time-consuming ones.

CAT Preparation Strategy for 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 in this section in 54 to 55 minutes and rest of the time for revision.

  • Quantitative Ability section in CAT exam is meant 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 include Arithmetic, Geometry, Algebra, Mensuration, Trigonometry and Calculus. Take help from best books and study materials to score well in this section.

  • If reading through the books and understanding the terms seems difficult, then you may consider joining a reputed Coaching Center. The mentors at these centres will teach the difficult topics in an easy and simple way combined with regular practice sessions.

  • 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.

  • The right way to approch questions is to go for the easier ones first and then gradually move to the more difficult or tricky ones.

How to Prepare for CAT in 2-3 months

While the CAT 2019 is over, candidates who plan to appear for CAT 2020 have plenty of time in hand to prepare for the exam. But those who are busy at the moment and plan to prepare in the last three months before the exam. Here are some effective ways that can be implemented in order to prepare for the examination in less than two months.

First Month

  • The first step is to get a reality check, which precisely means that candidates should know their strengths and weaknesses. Aspirants should be able to evaluate their level of preparation to understand how much more effort should be put in. 

  • The next major step is to be aware of the CAT exam pattern. The exam pattern consists of the number of questions asked in the paper, the number of sections, etc. This makes the candidates become familiar with the structure of the exam.

  • Once the candidates are aware of the pattern, they should go through all the topics in the syllabus of the CAT. It is very necessary for the aspirants to cover all the sections of the syllabus.

  • Candidates should then look for suitable study materials such as books, sample papers, previous papers and more.

  • The first month can be devoted to clarifying the basics. Candidates can speak to the toppers and experts in order to get some tips and tricks related to the preparation of the exam.

  • Candidates should also work on their vocabulary by reading newspapers on a regular basis. Cultivating a habit of reading books is another way of working on verbal skills.

Second Month

  • Candidates should start taking as many mock tests as possible in the second month of the preparation phase. It is a great way to revise whatever has been learnt so far.

  • If the candidates do not perform well in the mock tests, they can join a crash course offered by some coaching institutes. 

  • As part of practice sessions, candidates can find out simple ways to solve even the most difficult questions. 

Third Month

  • Candidates should continue taking more mock tests in the final month of preparation.

  • By now, candidates should be confident about their abilities and strengths.

  • Candidates can also solve the previous years question papers of CAT in order to get an idea of the kind of questions to expect in the entrance examination.

How to Get 100 Percentile in CAT 2020?

Are you still looking for CAT 2020 preparation tips to help you score 95% and above? Do you think that it is impregnable to breach the wall that stands between you and your dreams of pursuing your desired Management programme from a top-rated B-School? We at CollegeDekho think otherwise. Sure enough, it is a tough thing to secure 100 percentile in CAT but not an improbable task. 

A famous French Footballer, Antoine Greizmann once remarked - With hard work and effort you can achieve anything, which is why a difficult task like scoring 100 percentile in CAT exam requires intense preparation strategy. Check out the CAT 2020 preparation strategy to score 100 percentile. 

  • To score more than 95% in CAT 2020, the candidates must not spend hours deliberating whether to enhance their strong areas or focus more on those areas that they think are their weak areas.

  • While preparing for CAT 2020 with an aim of 95% and above in their mind, the aspirants must take the pattern of CAT exam into account.

  • The aspirants must start preparing for CAT 2020 by cicking up those topics that are most important because mastering such topics will leave them with the less important topics which, if the aspirants decide to skip at the eleventh hour, will make not much difference to their final scores.

  • If the CAT 2020 aspirants start preparing for the exam with ample time in their hand, their prime focus should be fixing the chinks at their armoury, i.e. work on their weak areas.

  • The dream of scoring 100 percentile in CAT 2020 exam can only be fulfilled if the aspirants pay adequate attention to Ration and Integer Equations, Percentages, Understanding Passages and Paragraphs (for Verbal Ability section) 

  • The CAT syllabus is vast as an ocean which is why the aspirants must create a separate syllabus book of their own. To create a syllabus book of their own, the aspirants must scan through the previous 5-year CAT question papers and identify those topics from where the maximum number of questions were asked from. Then the aspirants have to prepare a list of topics accordingly which will be their syllabus book which will come to their aid during the later stages of CAT 2020 preparation

  • Continuous practise is the key to score well in CAT 2020 sections like Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability

  • Previous year CAT rank holders and experts suggest that the CAT 2019 aspirants must try and solve at least two CAT mock test papers each week. Cometh the exam day, the aspirants will have a proper strategy in place to help them secure a 90 percentile score in the CAT 2020 exam

  • On the day of CAT 2020 exam, the candidates must attempt those questions first which they are confident in and then turn their attention towards the remaining questions later

  • The candidates must always be prepared for a few surprises but the candidates must never deviate from their plans

CAT 2020 Self Study vs Coaching - Which is More Important?

Often the candidates preparing for an entrance exam like CAT get confused about the vitality of coaching classes and self-study. In this era of competition, almost every candidate preparing for CAT seeks professional help to gain an extra edge over the exam preparation. But, in this process, they ignore the importance of self-study.

It is to be noted that both self-study and attending coaching classes are considered to be important if the candidates are to ace the entrance examination. Aspirants need to figure out a strategy to create a balance between the two. While some MBA aspirants attend coaching classes, others invest their time in self-study and searching for study material on the internet. There is no such hard and fast rule that has to be followed to do well in the examination. Candidates should, in fact, stick to practices that are sustainable in the long run.

To ace an exam like CAT, proper guidance and knowledge about proper study materials are considered to be the most important elements. Both of these are provided to the students by the CAT coaching institutes. They train the students in a manner that helps them deal with any sort of difficulties with ease.

Students who prepare for CAT while pursuing their graduation courses often lose track, which leads to a bad score in the entrance. The coaching institutes provide lessons on time management and teach them how to create a balance between the two. Apart from this, the coaching institutes also conduct various mock tests that help students evaluate their potential and gives them a scope to work on their weaknesses. Top institutes also conduct examinations at the national-level which provide students with an opportunity to know if they stand a chance to achieve their goals. 

Another side of the coin is that many candidates who aspire to crack the CAT entrance cannot afford to attend coaching classes or do not have such institutes in their localities. The brighter side is that there are many candidates have cracked CAT in the past without the help of coaching institutes. One advantage of not joining coaching institutes is it saves a lot of time. We have provided certain instructions that can be followed to prepare for CAT without the guidance of any coaching institute:

  • Candidates must be well aware of the CAT 2020 syllabus before starting to prepare for the exam. Knowing all the topics beforehand can help the candidates figure out a preparation strategy in advance.

  • Candidates can gain access to effective study materials using the internet. Nowadays, there are numerous sites that provide important notes, sample papers and question banks for management entrances. Candidates can also interact with various experts through social media platforms and get several tips and tricks.

  • Candidates should also be aware of the exam pattern before starting to prepare for CAT. This will help them get an overview of the structure of the entrance.

  • Having clarity of the fundamental concepts is a must to ace any entrance. If the concepts are clear, solving questions becomes easier.

  • Candidates should also give equal importance to the various sections of the CAT 2020 syllabus.

To sum it up, hard work and practice are the two major elements that help in acing a national-level entrance like CAT. Joining a coaching institute can surely be effective but self-study can equally rewarding.

How to Prepare for CAT 2020 Within a Short Span of Time? 

While there is no shortcut to success, there are some simple tips and tricks that you can use to prepare for CAT 2020 within a short span of time. Common Admission Test (CAT) is one of the most coveted entrance exams for MBA admissions in India. The level of competition for CAT is always high and there are only a few students who make it to the top B-schools of India

CAT syllabus consists of various sections like Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension, Logical Reasoning, Quantitative Ability, Data Interpretation. Each section requires a detailed study plan as section-wise preparation for CAT is the key to score well in the exam.

One of the best ways to prepare for CAT 2020 is to refer to the right set of CAT books and study materials. Candidates should also know the important topics in the CAT 2020 syllabus from where the questions are frequently asked. Candidates are recommended to solve and practice as many questions as possible from CAT mock papers for constant revision. 

CAT 2020 General Tips & Tricks

Old papers and mock tests always help: Solving the previous years' papers is a good way to prepare for the exam. Also, mock tests help in assessing one's proficiency in the subjects. 

Stay calm and relaxed: Your performance in the exam also depends on your frame of mind. There will always be more second chances to perform. So, stay calm and relaxed while preparing for the exam.

Read and Read: Reading is a good habit and it can be extremely beneficial when preparing for an entrance exam like CAT. Reading habit helps in boosting one's vocabulary, general knowledge, and even the speed of reading the questions.

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.

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 with the right guidance to perform well in the exam. 

Best Tips for CAT Exam Day

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 of 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 familiarise yourself with the online test procedure 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!

CAT 2020 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

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