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Top 20 tips for CAT Preparation | Beginners and Toppers

Calender Icon CAT Registration Ends: 13th September 2023

Tips for CAT Preparation

CAT Tips 2019

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 main 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 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.

Important Aspects of CAT Preparation

Thus, a holistic CAT Preparation will positively yield results and will equally neutralize anxiety on CAT Exam. 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.

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 2023 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 


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 2023 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 


In Common Admission Test 2023 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. 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.

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