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My dear CAT, why are you so tough?

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CAT is tough

CAT is one of the toughest exams in India and is extremely competitive. CAT 2024 will be held in November 2024. The exam attracts over 2 lakh aspirants every year, for more than 4000 seats in the IIMs and several other business schools. Given the large gap between the number of aspirants applying every year and the number of top institutions, only the best crack the exam successfully and receive a call from the top institutes. This makes CAT a tough nut to crack.

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Areas Covered

The CAT exam covers a wide range of areas that need to be covered extensively by the aspirants. The aspirant needs to build aptitude in all the subjects, from which questions are likely to be asked. These include:

  1. Quantitative Aptitude
  2. Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
  3. Verbal and Reading Comprehension

To get a grip on each section, the aspirants must practice several questions in order to master the subject and also develop accuracy and speed while doing the questions. Clearly, the areas included in CAT are diverse and require a range of skills to be tackled, for instance, quantitative aptitude tests mathematical skills whereas verbal ability tests language skills, including vocabulary.

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Level of Questions

CAT is tough because it poses difficult questions, usually requiring an application of mind. The questions require the aspirants to be thorough in their knowledge of the fundamentals and know where to apply what. As most of the aspirants appear for CAT after their college, they are mostly used to answering more or less direct questions and find the indirect or twisted questions of CAT rather difficult.

Time Bound

What makes CAT tough is also the fact that aspirants are expected to attempt 100 questions in 180 minutes. This means that the aspirants get only around 60 minutes per section to read it, gather the data and solve it. All of this translates into a tight situation for the aspirants and leads to anxiety. Therefore, CAT exam is not only about conquering the questions in the exam, it is also about conquering the demons within and staying calm and confident throughout.


CAT is an unpredictable exam. It is very difficult to ascertain the pattern of the exam, as not only are there sectional changes in the structure but also the type and difficulty level of questions may vary from year to year. One year, Quantitative Aptitude may be lengthy, the next year it might be easy and RC might be tough. The next year all questions might be easy. Due to its unpredictability, CAT aspirants are unable to devise a strategy and have to be ready for anything and everything.


Not just the time limitation and level of questions, the real pressure that all aspirants carry on their shoulders is that of expectations. They realise that CAT is a very significant step in fulfilling their dreams and their future depends on how they perform in the exam. The competition only adds to the pressure.CAT is, therefore, a tough exam to tackle. Only those who are prepared for anything thrown at them, have the required skillset and are in control of their minds and hearts will be able to deal with the pressures that accompany such a crucial exam.

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