How to Prepare for CAT 2020 – Ultimate Tips from Expert

CollegeKampus brings to you a study plan and a few exam tips from MBA expert on CAT preparation 2020.

Common Admission Test or CAT is the most popular MBA entrance exam in India, taken by over two lakh aspirants every year; the competition is too tough. CAT is an aptitude test to assess a candidate’s analytical as well as verbal skills, both essential for a successful career in business management. Thus to crack CAT exam, one needs a sound preparation plan. CAT 2020 exam is about four months away and those who are still deciding what to do, it is time to decide – how to prepare for CAT?

CAT 2020 aspirants have two options:

  1. Join a coaching institute
  2. Self Study

CAT Preparation Through Coaching

Candidates who decide to join a coaching institute for CAT preparation 2020, they will be guided well by the mentors and coaches. The coaching institute will also provide them all the CAT study material and mock test series, while guiding them through tricky topics and questions. However, they will be required to attend classes of 6-8 hour daily.

CAT Preparation Through Self-Study

Aspirants, who cannot attend daily classes, should opt for self-study. Yes, CAT exam preparation is possible through self-study. In fact, there are many CAT toppers, who have studied for the exam by self. Those who opt for self-study, must not worry about how to prepare for CAT 2020. All they need to do is, do the following:

  • Join online study groups on Facebook, YouTube, Quora, Telegram, etc.
  • Download MBA entrance exam preparation apps
  • Buy best books for CAT preparation
  • Obtain online study material like CAT mock test series by TIME, TestFunda, Career Launcher, etc.
  • Make a month-wise CAT preparation plan

CAT exam is held in online mode in two slots. The difficulty level of the question paper is usually moderate difficult. The questions may be easy or tough, but what makes the difference is how well and fast you use your mind to solve them with 100 per cent accuracy.

The need to know the CAT syllabus and pattern thoroughly is the first and foremost requirement. Being able to choose the right question, reading them uickly and accurately and solving them quickly and accurately, are the key areas you need to work upon during your CAT preparation.

How to Prepare for CAT 2020: VARC

VARC section of CAT exam normally has three parts, vocabulary, grammar and reading comprehension.

Vocabulary-based questions include synonyms, antonyms, analogies, spellings, odd words, words often confused, sentence completion and cloze tests. To crack these questions, you require a combination of vocabulary knowledge, reading skills and reasoning powers. Vocabulary knowledge is not merely knowing what a word means but understanding what contexts the word can fit in to. Once you start understanding a particular word’s usage in context, it will be easy.

Try to understand a word through etymology – understanding root meanings. Knowing the meaning of a Latin root like ‘loqui’ will enable one to understand words like eloquent, loquacious, soliloquy, ventriloquize, circumlocution, grandiloquent, magniloquent etc. Add to your understanding of roots, the meanings of prefixes and suffixes and you have considerable control over vocabulary.

Grammar: There are two approaches to solving grammar based question – one is, go by rules and learn the various parts of speech and their usages and the rules that apply, or you practice the kind of questions that are asked and you take an approach of learning the kind of errors which lead to questions based on error detection or sentence correction. Once there is familiarity with the error types, a lot of practice helps you cross the line.

Reading Comprehension can be tackled only by cultivating the habit of reading over time. Start with simple fiction, newspapers and blogs. Target nothing less than a reading speed of about 300 words per minute depending on the level of the text. And read diverse. Choose to read those topics that are out of your comfort zone. 

How to Prepare for CAT 2020: DILR

The weightage of Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) in a CAT exam is usually the 1/6th of the test paper. In CAT 2019, this section was difficult and time consuming.

The tricky part about DILR is that it is not mathematics and there is no formula. It is logic based and requires some amount of calculation and counting. Meaning, it’s a skill to be acquired and not knowledge to be remembered.

Mental calculation is the key here. To strengthen your hold on DILR, don’t use the calculator, rely on your brain. Master tables from 1 to 20, knowledge of fractions from 1/1, 1/2, 1/3 to 1/20, basic addition and subtraction, etc.

DILR section of CAT can be mastered with practice, the more you practice, the quicker you will get in achieving accuracy.

How to Prepare for CAT 2020: QA

The Quantitative Aptitude section of CAT includes Arithmetic, Algebra, Advance Mathematics and Geometry; and makes up for the 1/3rd of the CAT question paper.

In this section, there is no other way of scoring well but by being thorough with each and every chapter. Memorise basic theories and attempt variety to sample questions to tackle QA section of CAT. This section may require heavy calculation. Rely on mental calculation as it will win against the calculator in time consumption.

In the end, our advice to CAT 2020 aspirants is to practice, practice and practice more. The more you practice the better will be you speed and accuracy.

CAT Preparation 2020: Solving Sample Papers and Mock Tests

A key aspect of CAT exam preparation is solving sample questions and online mock tests. The candidates must make sure that they practice about 35-40 mock tests during their preparation time. While the ideal time start full-fledged mock tests is in October, experts recommend that candidates solve topic-wise sample questions while studying them for better clarity of concepts. Listed below are some key points related to CAT mock test, read on.

  • While studying a particular topic, solve each of its question at least thrice. In the first attempt, you will understand the question and logic, in the second attempt, you will be able to solve it accurately and in the third attempt, you’ll be able to solve in with accuracy in lesser time.
  • Start solving CAT mock tests after you’ve completed the syllabus so that you don’t get stuck on a particular topic.
  • Your aim behind practicing CAT mock tests must be increasing speed and accuracy in solving the thre-hour long question paper. Also, increase your stamina to sit through the three-hour exam without getting mentally or physically exhausted.
  • After solving each mock test or sample paper, analyse your performance and assess the area of improvement. Do not solve more than one sample paper in a day. Your mind needs rest after one grueling session.
  • Do not feel demoralized if the result is not encouraging initially, continue to assess gaps and work on them. The only way you can win on CAT or any other MBA entrance exam is by winning on mock tests.
  • Since, CAT exam has sectional time-limit, it is essential to practice sectional mock tests as well, to learn and manage time efficiently.

CAT 2020 Preparation: Solve Previous Years Question Papers

Along with sample papers and mock tests, the candidates must also solve CAT question papers of at least last five years. This will give them an idea of question paper pattern, difficulty level of questions, types of questions, topic-wise break-up of questions and marking scheme.

CAT Preparation with Toppers

We spoke to some of the CAT 2019 toppers to know how did they prepare for the exam and what is the secret of scoring 100 percentile in the exam. Click on the links below to know their CAT preparation strategy.

CAT 2019 Topper Interview: Somansh Chordia, 100 percentileCAT 2019 Topper Interview: Rishi Mittal, 100 percentile
CAT 2019 Topper Interview: Saathwik Kolluru, 99.99 percentileCAT 2019 Topper Interview: Rahul Manglik, 99.99 percentile
CAT 2019 Topper Interview: Karan Goyal, 99.95 percentile CAT 2019 Topper Interview: Ankit Desai, 99.91 percentile
CAT 2019 Topper Interview: Romik Banerjee, 99.87 percentilerCAT 2019 Topper Interview: Srishti Banzal, 99.86 percentile
CAT 2019 Topper Interview: Ronit Banerjea, 99.80 percentileCAT 2019 Topper Interview: Karal Maheshwari, 99.03 percentile

Lastly, we recommend practice, practice and practice more. The more you practice questions from VARC, LRDI and QA the better control you’ll have on the CAT question paper.

CAT Preparation FAQs

Q: When will CAT 2020 will be conducted?

A: CAT 2020 will conducted on November 29 in 156 cities across India.

Q: Which IIM will conduct CAT 2020?

A: CAT 2020 will be conducted by IIM Indore.

Q: How many months are good enough to prepare for CAT exam?

A: One must dedicate at least six to nine months to prepare for CAT exam.

Q: Which is the toughest section of CAT exam?

A: One cannot really say which section is the toughest in CAT. Although QA is considered tough because it is calculation intensive, but it has been seen in the past, that sometimes VARC turns out to be tricky or DILR has surprise questions. Overall, the difficulty level of CAT exam is higher than any other MBA entrance exam.

Henesh Rawat
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