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Top 20 tips for CAT Exam Preparation | Beginners and Toppers

Tips for CAT Exam 2019, CAT Preparation


CAT Tips 2019

Most of CAT aspirants are perplexed not to understand the complexity of CAT and historically CAT exam keeps on changing it’s nature and gets tougher year by year. Forthcoming CAT Exam will not be an exception to this phenomenon and CAT aspirants might get few surprises.

Without doubt the anxiety and the curiosity about CAT Exam is a constant factor among all CAT Aspirants irrespective of the fact whether you are brilliant student or average student. The mail reason behind this anxiety is that CAT keeps on surprising you on the exam day and you get frightened out of the fact that none of the CAT exam trends will help you on the D Day of the exam. Hence it is most crucial to do the CAT preparation in such a way that the fundamentals of CAT Exam sections are clarified exhaustively. Thus, a holistic CAT Preparation will positively yield results and will equally neutralize anxiety on CAT Exam.

To overcome above fear psychosis CAT aspirants look forward to tips which come to them as a panacea. It is essential to understand that tips are not coming from heaven but are the experiences of various senior students and from teaching fraternity who have gathered the best of the advises which can be useful and can fit in for your CAT preparation.

Quantitative Ability: - Quantitative Ability is the most dreaded section for non engineers and most liked section for engineers for the obvious reasons that this section deals with Quant.

QA is the reflection on the Quantitative skills which an aspirant possesses and scores for this section are not only vital but are most relevant to achieve overall percentile.

Data Interpretation: - For the administration of the business, Data is the most important factor and interpretation of data is not only crucial but a critical factor hence that is the reason CAT aspirants are tested out for Data Interpretation.

DI section comprises of Tabulations, Pie Charts and Bar Graphs with which you need to interpret the data based on calculations.

CAT aspirants might find this section a bit moderate but interesting to add scores in percentile.

Verbal Ability: - Since communication is the essence of business hence, CAT aspirants are tested out for their communication and writing skills in Verbal Ability section.

CAT aspirants will be tested for their Language skills, Grammar, Vocabulary & Reading Comprehension in this section.

Verbal Ability section can play havoc if Language skills are poor because the options given in answers can prove to be very tricky.

Logical Reasoning: - Any hypothetical situation needs back up of logic and that further needs reasoning hence, it is important that Logical Reasoning section should be taken as a reasoning section and answer the questions based on logic.

LR section in CAT exam confuses you a lot because any answer looks correct hence, it is critical to come to a conclusion but should be done with sound logic.

Also Read: - CAT Exam Online Registration Date Form Procedure

Tips for Quantitative Ability (QA)


CAT 2019 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. Focus on Your Speed and Accuracy: - For QA, you need to revise your basics thoroughly and focus on your speed and accuracy of calculation to reduce solving time, as well as decrease mistakes and increase accuracy.

2. Topics from Which Questions are asked: - Quantitative Ability section tests knowledge of mathematics-based questions, from areas like arithmetic, algebra, geometry/mensuration, etc. Students need to practice well and decide according to their interest the relative importance of various chapters like numbers, geometry, time-speed-distance, time-work, permutations-combinations, etc. The proportion of questions from any topic is unknown and CAT is known to throw surprises.

3. Strategies that can be followed: - Management of time is crucial in the QA section as there are 34 questions and 60 minutes.
QA mostly tests applications of simple, mostly class X level concepts. Thus, conceptual knowledge has to be combined with lots of practice – what helps this is trying out many types of questions to increase one’s comfort level with as many chapters as possible. In questions on algebra and numbers, sometimes, substituting the given options can answer questions straight away, instead of solving them for the unknown quantity. For topics like geometry, surds, logarithms, and progressions, students must memorise the standard properties and formulae.

4. Pitfalls to be Avoided: - Although CAT has the reputation of being one of the, if not the, toughest exams, it is obvious that each paper will still have enough solvable questions. The biggest hurdle to avoid is to panic during the exam.
Through practice, the procedure of identifying the easier and solvable questions and answering them correctly must be developed and honed.

5. No Fix Syllabus: - There is no fix syllabus for this section but with the expert analysis of previous CAT papers, following topics are of utmost importance:

                                                               Number System

  • AP/GP
  • AM/GM/HM
  • Central Tendency (Mean/Median/Mode)
  • Average
  • Ratio and Proportion
  • Percentage


  • Equation
  • In-Equation
  • Quadratic Equation
  • Time, Speed and Distance and Time, Profit and Loss etc.

Tips for Data Interpretation 


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 2019 Exam Pattern Syllabus Admit Card Preparation​

8. Time Allocated: - In DI ( along with LR ) there will be  32 questions to be finished in 60 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 


In Common Admission Test 2019 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 


15. Questions must be studied carefully: - A brief explanation of why each choice is correct or incorrect follows each practice question. If you understand this reasoning for the practice items, you will do well on the actual assessment. 

Both the factual passage and the sentence completion instruction must be read carefully. Both must be considered in making your choice.

Be sure to read all the response choices carefully before choosing one.

16. NO Assumptions: - You need not assume or use any information that the question fails to give you. This is NOT an assessment of how much you know about economics in general. Consider ONLY the information given in each reading passage when choosing among the alternative responses.

17. Valid Conclusion: - In questions that ask you to select a valid conclusion, always choose the one conclusion that must definitely follow from the information you are given. In questions that ask you to find the invalid alternative, choose the one conclusion that does not definitely follow from the information.

18. Words Specifying Facts: - Give special attention to words likes "all," "some," or "none" when you read the factual information each question gives you. Other qualifying words such as "other than," "only" or "unless" are important, too. These words can play a critical part in precisely specifying the facts to be used in your reasoning.

19. Attention to Negative Prefixes: - Pay attention to negative prefixes also, such as non-, un-, or dis-. These can be crucial to specifying the basic facts in the paragraph. Pay close attention to the word "ONLY" and to the phrase "IF AND ONLY IF." Saying "The door will open IF AND ONLY IF both keys are used" sets up a highly specific condition that must be met. There is exactly one way to open the door you must use both keys. By contrast, if the sentence says, "The door will open if the key is used," there may be several ways to open the door beside by using the key.

20. Schematic Notes & Diagrams: - The questions in the assessment will vary in difficulty level, and difficult questions will be mixed in with easier ones throughout the assessment. When you encounter a question that is difficult for you, try drawing diagrams or other schematic notes on the "scratch" paper provided to support and confirm your thought processes. Also, bear in mind that you can stop working on a difficult question temporarily and return to it later.

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