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Tips for CAT Preparation

The CAT exam is undoubtedly a tough exam to deal with, and it takes time to prepare well. Even if you've tried before, six months is a good starting point to get yourself ready.But, here's the key: having a solid plan. This involves going over all the key points, practicing a ton of questions, and then going over everything again to make sure you understand it.

With lakhs of people applying each year (over 3 lakhs in 2023), it's no surprise why CAT is so difficult to crack. If your aim is to score really high you just need to follow this article very carefully.

Tips for Quantitative Ability (QA)

CAT QA

CAT 2024 aspirants, note that before you try to answer a few sample questions, here are some general test-taking tips that should help you with the Quantitative Ability (QA)

1. Know Your Syllabus – The topics for QA section are basically of class 10th level, and a few class 11 and 12 concepts. So mostly these are familiar topics. The topics are Algebra, Averages, Geometric Progression, Geometry, HCF & LCM, Inequalities, In-equations Quadratic and linear equations, Logarithms, Mensuration, Number system, Partnership (Accounts), Percentages, Profit & Loss, Ratios and Proportion, Surds and Indices, Time-Speed-Distance, Trigonometry, Work and time. Time Management – Time is of the essence in an exam like CAT. While practicing, it is important to note how much time you take while solving questions of a particular topic. QA has mostly single problems. Once you get an idea about how much time is needed for a specific type of question, time management during the exam time will be more comfortable.

2. Work on Your Speed and Accuracy – Once you master time the next step is working on your speed. The QA section is 40 minutes long with 34 questions. Your aim should be to solve the same question in a faster way. In addition to working on speed, accuracy is equally important. You should be able to answer QA questions with at least 85 to 90 percent accuracy.

3. Pre-Decide Your Strategy – When you enter your exam hall, you don't know what is in store for you. But you do know the topics and what could be the difficulty level of the questions. It is essential to plan your strategy and have an action plan on how to attempt the questions.

4. Work on Shortcuts – Every question need not to wholly solved. Answers to some questions can be deduced using the option given. For example, in topics of algebra and numbers, you can find the answer by substituting the values given in options, and in other areas like progressions, surds, geometry, and logs, memorizing formulae and properties help. You can also remember tables, squares, and cubes for number up to 25

5. Choose Wisely & Smartly – It is obvious you cannot attempt all 34 questions with equal importance. It is imperative to choose the questions you can answer and not waste time on questions that are tricky or confusing. Such questions only create panic, which should be a big NO during the 40 minutes you spend on the QA section.

Tips for Data Interpretation 

CAT DI

6. Vedic Mathematics: - DI checks the candidate’s ability to study and analysing the data that is given in the question. DI entails a lot of calculations and to get correct answers in as less time as possible, becoming well-versed in Vedic Mathematics is a great idea.

7. Topics from Which Questions are asked: - The DI section is almost completely application-based, requiring knowledge as well as on-the-spot deduction. This section tests understanding of the given information (charts, graphs, case lets, etc.) and using the relevant data from the information given to answer the questions. It requires calculations as well as reasoning or interpreting the data visually. There are more data question types e.g. Venn diagrams, routes and networks, 3-d or spider charts, games and tournaments, etc. which appear in various exams, including CAT.

Also Read: - CAT 2024 Exam Pattern Syllabus Admit Card Preparation

8. Time Allocated: - In DI ( along with LR ) there will be  32 questions to be finished in 40 minutes.

9. Answer the Easy Questions: - In DI, look through all the sets and then begin attempting the set which seems familiar. Do not gauge the difficulty level of the set based on the data alone, have a look at the questions as well. It is quite possible that the same DI set may have 1-2 easy questions and 1-2 difficult questions. It makes sense to answer the easy questions out of the 3-4 questions, and increase the number of sets attempted using this strategy.

Tips for Verbal Ability 

CAT VA

In Common Admission Test 2024 Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning is a section that is probably the more unpredictable of the two sections. Preparing for this section (when I say this section, I’m primarily referring to VA) is a tall order, what with aspirants being advised to cram thick vocab books, read esoteric articles and spend a lot of time working on polishing their reasoning skills.

I wouldn’t disagree that doing all this would not help one do good in the section, but only so much. A focused strategy that looks at preparing for questions exactly as they come in CAT should help see you through. The next logical step is to know what constitutes the preparation of such questions. 

It is a well-known fact that unlike Quantitative Ability and Logical Reasoning, Verbal Ability is not formula based and objective. One of the gravest and unpardonable sins that one can commit in this section is to apply a technique blindly without looking at the question. By virtue of the very nature of English language, it is highly unlikely that one may arrive at the correct answer through the same method each time.

It is the beauty of the language that doesn’t make two plus two four each time. Nevertheless, there are certain points, knowing which; one is likely to have a higher success rate in these questions. Below tips takes you through a particular type of VA question that figures in CAT quite frequently and some tips and techniques to crack these questions.

10. Para Completion: - In these types of questions, a small paragraph of about 150-200 words is presented with four options that look to ‘complete’ the paragraph. Note that, by complete, one doesn’t mean that the correct option must necessarily conclude the paragraph. All that is required is that the correct option should fit in at the end of the passage, both logically and tone-wise. Identifying the core idea of the paragraph and its tone will be of great help in zeroing in on the correct answer choice. 

However, it is also seen that sometimes the correct answer choice is a contrast to the general theme of the paragraph. In that case, one must look for appropriate words in the paragraph or the answer choice that signal this shift in idea and tone. 

Just like any other question type in VA, Para Completions also can be mastered by reading voraciously on different topics. Reading opens up your mind to a variety of writing styles that help you spot the link between different sentences and know how an author goes about building an idea. Talking about the link between the sentences, the next question type that comes to mind is Para Jumbles. 

There are basically two kinds of Para Jumble questions that are being asked in CAT. One is the classic five sentence para jumble where one is required to choose the correct sequence of sentences that form a coherent paragraph. The other is the more recent type of Para Jumble that requires one to spot the odd sentence out of the given four sentences; the remaining three when rearranged form a coherent sequence. We’ll look at both these types one by one.

11. Para Jumble (Five Sentence Type): - As is apparent from the name, these questions have a set of five sentences that should be rearranged to form a coherent paragraph. The set of sentences is followed by four options, one out of which gives the correct sequence of the sentences. The key to solving such questions, that too quickly, lies in eliminating options. More often than not, it is wiser to look at the options and see if they form that perfect sequence than struggling with the sentences to form a sequence on your own. ‘Mandatory Pairs’ is an oft-heard phrase in relation to Para Jumbles. It helps to spot these pairs of sentences in order to eliminate options. 

12. Para Jumble-Odd Sentence Out: - This is the type of para-jumble that troubles students the most. Typically, the odd sentence is not really ‘that’ odd. All the four sentences are generally related to the same topic, but there is one that will talk about an aspect different from the other three, or will differ in tone and style or will simply not be necessary for the correct sequence of sentences. 

A good way to solve such questions is to try to arrange the sentences into a sequence as you do in the normal para jumble. Try to spot mandatory pairs and eliminate the options. The sentence without which you can form a correct sequence of the remaining three sentences will be your answer. The odd sentence will almost always be something that should come a little later or before the three sentences. Remember that it is not always unrelated to the subject; you need to go deep into the aspects being talked about rather than considering the bigger picture.

Para Completions and both types of Para Jumbles constitute around 6-7 questions out of 30 in section II. The remaining question types comprising the VA part of this section are Fill in the Blanks (based on contextual vocabulary), word usage, Grammar (Spot the grammatically correct/incorrect sentence) and Reading Comprehension. 

13. Vocab Based Questions: - The vocab based questions basically require one to apply both, knowledge of vocabulary and logic. Preparing for these question types doesn’t require any particular strategy. It is your knowledge of the language and its nuances that will steer you to success in these questions. 

14. Grammar Questions: - The grammar questions do require some degree of formal knowledge of the rules governing the language. However, it is advisable that one does not stick to the rules blindly. All in all, a good score in this section is a result of good reading habits and enough practice over a period of time.

Tips for Logical reasoning 

CAT LR

15. Read Carefully – LR questions are set-based. It is critical to read the entire question before you choose to attempt or leave it. Gather all the factual information shared in the question. Also, make sure you understand the options carefully before selecting the correct answer.

16. Do NOT Assume – It is critical not to make any assumptions outside of what is given in the question. While solving LR questions, it is essential to follow what is written in that set rather than what may be otherwise correct. 

17. Valid Conclusion – The conclusion you make should be as per the given question. It is not what is factually right or wrong. It is based on the facts presented in the question.

18. Focus on the Facts & Keywords – Make sure you focus on keywords like "all," "some," "none," "other than," "only," or "unless" while reading the questions. The conclusions, assumptions, and facts are based on these critical words. 

19. Pay Attention to Negative Prefixes: - In addition to the above keywords, you must pay attention to negative prefixes. Terms like non-, un-, or dis- should not be missed. Other relevant words are "only" "if and only if." 

20. Read, Visualise, and Draw: - The questions in LR are usually a scenario or story based on which deductions, inferences, assumptions, and conclusions need to be made. Hence it is imperative to read the question thoroughly, visualize what is being said, and drawn in the form of a table, flow chart, or vein diagram. This task simplifies the problem. With the help of the associated questions and options, answers can deduce easily.

21. Stop Before It’s Too Late – With the time crunch, it is critical to understand whether a particular set is worth the time you have in hand. There are 4 LR sets with 16 questions. If you see yourself getting stuck at any point, best is to stop and move on.

Hope you all liked this lovely piece of writing about CAT exam preparation. Do share it on the sharing buttons provided at the top and let's educate people by sharing the most.

How to Prepare for CAT Exam With Coaching?

The CAT exam preparation process can seem stressful. In this regard, coaching can provide excellent assistance in directing your academic pursuits. Alternatively, to help students understand things, many online sources offer organized study schedules, practice materials, and knowledgeable lessons. 

How to Prepare for CAT Exam By Self Study

Not a fan of coaching classes? No worries, self-study can be equally effective. It’s like DIY, but for CAT prep. 

  1. Start by understanding the CAT syllabus and pattern. 

  2. Then, create a study plan that fits your schedule. 

  3. Use the CAT preparation materials, internet resources, and past years' test questions.

  4. Once you are confident, head over to “Question Bank with Answers” 

  5. Then practice by solving “Unanswered Questions” or “Practice Questions”

  6. Having some doubts? You can join facebook groups like “iQuanta Rock The CAT” to get help from a community of learners & tutors for free. 

If you want to get the most out of coaching, you must choose a reputable and trustworthy source. Here are some of the top recommendations - 

  • For the - Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), you can watch the entire playlist of Harpreet Kaur, Ravi Prakash Playlist, Grok RCs, and Geo Speaks. 

  • For the - Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI/LR), you can consider taking help from the Ravi Prakash and ELITE Grid Playlist. 

  • For the - Quantitative Ability (QA), you will swear by these in-depth lessons on Arithmetic, Algebra & Modern Math, Number System, and Geometry

Consistency is the key to acing the CAT exam. Set out a few hours each day for studying, and be sure you cover the VARC, DILR, and QA portions separately. 

How to Prepare for CAT Exam 2024

If you are preparing for the CAT examination 2024, an organized approach should be followed. Begin by familiarizing yourself with the CAT exam structure.The exam mainly covers three sections: VARC, DILR and QA.

Each section requires a different approach. Start building a strong foundation in each area. Then appear for the mock test and sectional test. 

For the full-length mock test: Quantifiers, iQuanta and Byju's are the best options to explore

How to Prepare for CAT VARC

The VARC section can be a tough nut to crack, but it’s not impossible. Start with reading. A lot. Read anything interesting to increase your reading comprehension and speed, such as novels, newspapers, or magazines. Additionally, you should work on your grammar and vocabulary.

Next, practice answering various kinds of questions, such as writing summaries, answering questions about reading passages, and rearranging sentences (para jumbles). Practice problems can be found in abundance through online resources and CAT prep books.

We recommend you to attend some classes of Mrs. Harpreet Kaur on YouTube. She is known to break down complex things in CAT’s VARC section.

How to Prepare for CAT DILR

Data and logic can be challenging, but they can also be your highest-scoring sections on the CAT if you know how to approach them.

First, get familiar with the different question types:

  • Tables,

  • Charts,

  • Graphs,

  • puzzles, and

  • Reasoning problems.

The key is to solve as many DILR sets as you can find. Set a timer while practicing to improve both your speed and accuracy. Try to identify patterns and shortcuts that can save you time during the exam.

Most importantly, don't just solve problems - analyse your mistakes and observe why you got the answer wrong.

How to Prepare for CAT QA

The “Quantitative Aptitude” section of the CAT covers fundamental math concepts such as addition, subtraction, geometric shapes, and various number types

Understanding these ideas in their entirety is crucial—memorizing formulas is not enough. And, that is what Mr. Ravi Prakash keeps telling in his classes on YouTube. He has covered lots of topics in the Quant section that you must check out.

What is the Best Preparation Strategy for CAT

1. Make a Study Plan: Break down your studying into bite-sized monthly goals for each section (Verbal, Data Analysis, Math). This keeps you motivated and organized.

2. Know What to Study: Get familiar with all the topics you'll be tested on: Reading, Data Analysis & Logic, and Math. This helps you target your studying.

3. Identify Your Strengths and Weakness: Spend more time on the areas you struggle with, but don't forget to keep up your good skills.

4. Focus on the Heavy Hitters: Brush up on Reading Comprehension (a big part of Verbal), Data Analysis & Logic (both equally important), and Math (especially Algebra, Arithmetic, and Geometry). Mastering these areas will give you a big advantage.

5. Test Yourself: Once you've covered everything, take practice tests. Analyze your results to improve your test-taking skills and learn how to manage your time effectively during the CAT exam.

Which Are the Best Books for CAT Preparation

The following books are highly recommended and essential to have for applicants preparing for the CAT entrance exam:

Section

Books Name

Author

Quantitative Aptitude

How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT

Arun Sharam

Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations

Arun Sharma

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)

How to Prepare For Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT

Meenakshi Upadhyay

Word Power Made Easy

Normal Lewis

High School English Grammar and Composition

Wren & Martin

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)

How to Prepare For The Data Interpretation And Logical Reasoning for the CAT

Arun Sharma

Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT

Nishit K. Sinha

How to Analyze CAT Mocks

Mock tests are your best friends when it comes to CAT prep. But just taking them isn’t enough; analyzing them is equally important. Start by reviewing each section thoroughly. Identify the questions you got wrong and understand the reason behind that. Was it a silly mistake, a concept you didn’t understand, or a time management issue? Look for patterns in your mistakes and work on those areas.

Pay attention to the time you spend on each question and section. You may increase both your accuracy and speed in this way.

Conclusion

The CAT might be challenging, but if you have the right resources and an organized strategy, you can succeed. Whether you choose coaching or self-study, you still need to be very dedicated and hardworking. Recall that CAT success requires smart work in addition to hard work. Throughout your preparation, keep a cheerful outlook and motivation.

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