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The Road map to success for CAT 2020

Updated on 28 May 2020
MBA Facts
7 min read 1 views
Updated on 28 May 2020

The best strategy for CAT 2020 preparation with best books, syllabus, pattern, section-wise strategy, question papers, mock tests, expert tips and topper interviews.

A proper Plan can let you win the most deadly battles & vice versa. So we need to have a perfect preparation plan for CAT. It should include overall strategy, number of study hours, best books and study material, quantity and quality of mock tests and sample papers as well as tricks and shortcuts of solving CAT questions with 100 percent accuracy in least time.

CAT 2020 is going to be held either on the last Sunday of November or first Sunday of December. So, it is the perfect time to start our preparation for it. Here in this article, we are going to get all about CAT preparation for 2020 exam including:

·    When should we start preparing for CAT 2020.

·    Exam pattern & timing for CAT

·    Syllabus of CAT exam

·    Sectional based preparation strategy for CAT

·    Self-study module for CAT

·    Best quality Books for CAT 2020 preparation

·    Importance of mock tests

·    Preparation tips and tricks by CAT toppers


When to Start?

The correct answer to this is As early as you can.

To start with, you need to answer two questions: Do you need to join a coaching institute? And, how much time can you allocate for studying? The right answer to this can be given by appearing for a mock CAT first and analyzing the result will let you know your current strengths & weaknesses.

Depending on your result figure out whether to join a coaching institute, if yes book a seat as soon as you can. Or else if you plan to prepare for CAT by yourself, get on to it now.

Starting CAT 2020 preparation now, you should finish the core syllabus of CAT by July-August. After that start solving previous years CAT question papers, mock test series and sample papers to develop speed and accuracy. The last three months (Sept-November) before CAT should be entirely dedicated to practice through mock tests.


Exam Pattern

Before devising any strategy & starting the preparation the first thing we need to know is about the exam pattern of CAT.

Quantitative Aptitude (QA), Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning(DILR)
Total Number of Questions
Total Marks
Marking pattern
+3 marks for correct answer and -1 mark of wrong answer
Time limit
180 minutes
Sectional time limit
60 minutes per section

Syllabus & Topics to be focused on:

We should go through all the topics, theorems, formulae and questions and be thorough with the concepts. A clear look at some important topics from all the three sections of CAT Syllabus, are given below:

Sections in CAT
Topics to Focus on
Para-Jumbles, Paragraph Summary, Synonyms, Antonyms, One Word Substitution, Sentence Completion
Syllogism, Seating Arrangement, Tables, Charts, Graphs, Caselets
Geometry, Algebra, Mensuration, Time and Work, Number System

Section wise Preparation strategy :

Preparation for CAT can be done in 2 parts:-

1.  Covering the syllabus

2.  Practicing MOCK Tests

Both are incomplete without each other. Candidates must cover both of these parts section-wise. Ideally they should equally distribute the time for each section, in-fact they can also devote more time to your weak areas.

Only one rule need to be followed for each section – complete the syllabus first and then proceed to mock tests. Note, if you haven't completed the syllabus, it would be difficult to solve the mock questions. Below mentioned are some key tips about how to prepare for CAT section-wise:

VA and RC:

In this section there are two parts - Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension. For Verbal Ability, make your vocabulary and grammar strong. Questions in this section can range from Sentence Completion and Cloze Tests to Synonyms, Antonyms, Analogies, Spellings, Words Often Confused and Odd Words. To solve these it requires strong vocabulary and reading skills & reasoning power.

Reading Comprehension may take up a lot of time in the exam unless you are a good reader. So, read, read and read more. Start with editorial pieces of newspapers, business journals, fiction novels and non-fiction books to improve the reading skills.

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning: Here questions mostly comes in the form of graphs and charts. They can be counting based, calculation based, structure based or logic based. No set formulae or theorems is there to prepare from, so the key lies in developing skill to identify the correct answer. So, practice , practice & practice.

Quantitative Aptitude:

This is the most calculation intensive section and one should aim practicing it chapter wise. It is to be kept in mind that, solving a QA question with hundred percent accuracy in the given time limit is the key to score well in this section. This is the section, in which a most of the students score 100 percentile. If prepared well, you can too.

Self- Preparation strategy for CAT – Key Points to Remember

·    Go thoroughly with the exam pattern and syllabus. On the basis of your strong and weak areas make a preparation plan and time table. Divide your time and devote to all the subjects.

·    Start with VA/RC. Start with reading newspapers, journals and editorials daily and strengthen your reading comprehension and vocabulary. Once RC is sorted, move to QA and then DILR.

·    Join groups for CAT preparation on social media (Facebook, Quora, Study 24*7 and other online study forums) or create your own whatsapp & online study group where aspirants can exchange their thoughts, clear their doubts and share preparation material.

·    Use the internet to study from videos on YouTube and read blogs by MBA experts related to CAT preparation. Internet nowadays is a great source of prep material.

·    Give as many online mock test series as you can and analyse your performance. The aim should be to improve speed and accuracy with each new mock test.

·    Don't panic if you don't score well in mock tests initially. With practice the performance is going to improve.


Best Books for CAT: VA and RC

Books for CAT
Author Name/Publisher
How to Prepare for VA and RC for CAT
Meenakshi Upadhyay/ and Arihant Arun Sharma
30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary Mass Market Paperback
Norman Lewis & Wilfred Funk / Simon & Schuster
How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT
Upadhyay and Sharma
PSC for VA for CAT
Nishit Sinha
High School English Grammar & Composition
Wren & Martin 


Best Books for CAT: DI & LR

Author Name/Publisher
CAT 2018 DI & LR
Gautam Puri
LR and DI for the CAT
Nishit K. Sinha
Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency
Ananta Ashisha
How to Prepare for DI for CAT
Arun Sharma


Best Books for CAT: QA

Author Name/Publisher
   NCERT Mathematics Books (Class 6 to 10)
How to Prepare for QA for CAT
Arun Sharma
Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT
Sarvesh Sharma
Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations
Abhijit Guha
Quantitative Aptitude for CAT
Nishit Sinha


CAT Preparation: Mock Tests

Once completed with the syllabus, the next step is to start attempting for mock test series and sample papers. These mock tests, sample papers and previous years' CAT question papers play a vital role in the overall preparation of the exam. Practicing mock questions helps the candidates in improving speed & accuracy.It also helps in boosting confidence for the real exam. The key benefits of solving mock test series are mentioned below:

·    Mock tests helps in understanding the CAT question pattern and marking scheme.

·    As we know CAT has sectional time limit, practicing mock tests series can help in developing time management skills.

·    Practicing mock test series helps the candidate in knowing which type of questions he/she can solve with 100 percent accuracy in few seconds and which ones are not his/her cup of tea so don’t try to touch them as negative marking is far more worse than not attempting. In the real exam, this decision making becomes easy.

·    The more mock tests a candidate attempts, the better he/she is ready for surprise questions. The key is not to attempt a large number of mock tests, but a variety of them.

·    Mock tests also help candidates in finding shortcuts and tricks to solve question faster instead of resorting to formulae and calculations.

So lets just pull our sleeves up and be ready to burn the midnight oil because success can only be tasted with hard work & dedication.


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