6 Tips to Prepare for CAT without Going to Coaching

Common Admission Test (CAT) is a computer-based test conducted by Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) started in the year 1950. The test takes place every year by one of the IIMs based on a policy of rotation.

The duration of the test is 3 hours and grade range is from – 100 to 300.

The fee for the exam is ₹1,800 (general) and ₹900 (reserved categories)

Eligibility Criteria

Bachelor’s degree or equivalent with at least 50% marks. The students who are going to appear in the final year examination can also apply.

Exam pattern 

There are 3 sections in the test:

A) Verbal &  Reading comprehension (VARC) with 34 questions

B) Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DI & LR) with 32 questions

C) Quantitative Ability (QA) with 34 questions

With a total of 100 questions, each question has 3 marks and a negative marking of – 1 is there. No negative marking for NON-MCQ questions.

60 minutes are allotted for each section. So you will have a total time of 180 minutes.

Now here’s the lead – preparing for CAT exam needs some real kind of hard work. CAT exams are basically not hard but always a little tricky. So following are the few tips and tricks which you can apply on your daily life to crack CAT without coaching:

1. Learn Everything about the Exam

Learn Everything about exam

The foremost important thing is knowing about your exam in detail. The exam pattern and syllabus should attract your mind first and going through the previous year question papers is the key to find the answers to your questions.

After going through the question papers, you would be able to focus on the important topics and questions and then you can set your priorities accordingly.

Then you have to set a timetable giving sufficient time to important topics to understand and memorize them better.

As the concepts are based mostly on the 10th class syllabus, it would not be much difficult to prepare them thoroughly. March – April is a good time to begin studying for CAT.

2. The Right Study Material

Study Material

The right kind of study material is important. Not choosing the right books and lead you in a wrong direction. Sometimes a book has too many grammatical mistakes, which is not a good sign.

Choosing a right book is hard but here are a few books you can go through before selecting the right ones for you:

A) Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations by RS Aggarwal

B) How to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Arun Sharma

C) Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Nishit K Sinha

D) Quantum CAT by Sarvesh Verma

E) Complete course pack for CAT by Erudite

3. Test Series & Mock Tests

Test Series & Mock Tests

Online mock tests are really important. Go through a series of tests, assignments and mock test online. It will help you understand the exam pattern better and will let you know your ability so that you can prepare more efficiently.

Most coaching classes give these online mock test as assignments. So obviously you can prepare them at home.

4. Practice


Practice hard. Make notes in your own language to help understand the concept better.

Ask for advice from your teachers, friends and online websites. There are a lot of people out there who are willing to help you.

You can also find study materials from leading coaching institutes like TIME, IMS, CL etc.

5. Be in Touch with the Updates


The online updates on the official sites and articles printed in the newspaper are always something to keep an eye on.

After you clear CAT exams, there will be group discussions, written tests and personal interviews to qualify for a college. Reading newspapers and articles online will help you in improving your personality.

Search as many details as you can to improve your knowledge. You will find yourself confident in the interview.

6. Make your Base Strong

Base Strong

As discussed earlier, the syllabus of CAT exam generally comes from 10th class. While talking about 10th class, chapters like profit and loss, probability are counted as difficult. These chapters are difficult to prepare because they need to be studied from the very basic.

You have to start from the a, b, c… of a chapter and work your way into the hard questions and topics. Gradually and slowly study the topics carefully and in no time you will be perfect in the basics. Once the basics are done, further questions will be easy.

Make sure to cover and revise all the subjects and chapters thoroughly after completing the syllabus.

Prepare yourself for group discussions and learn to speak your heart out. Once you are confident enough, cracking CAT exam would be easy.

Go through online materials and assignments and practice as much as you can.

Start preparing about 6,7 months before the exam. And last, of all, believe in yourself that you can do it and then nothing will stop you. Learn to accept failure and never give up. Keep trying.

Good luck.

About Jahanvi Gupta

Jahanvi Gupta is a content writer at ExamGyani.

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