How to Crack CAT in 4 months
The Common Admission Test (CAT) is one of the most difficult management entrance exams in the country, but do not let that worry you. If certain circumstances have kept you from preparing for the CAT exam 2022 let me tell you there is still time.
In this article, we shall tell you the exact preparation strategy you need to crack CAT with just four months in hand.
The CAT exam witnesses approximately 2.5 lakh applicants every year. The test duration is 120 minutes long and its results are accepted by top B-schools across the country including the IIMs. Even with a year in hand, it takes a lot of dedication, consistency, and strategy to ace the exam.
Therefore, to clear the exam with just four months of preparation is going to be tough. And you have to make every day count.
Let’s jump right in.
Before you Start your Preparation
This is important so do not skip this section. You might be a first-time candidate attempting the CAT exam or you might be a repeater who is trying again. Either way, it does not matter. All that matters is that you are a CAT aspirant who is trying to clear the exam and secure your future.
- Start with a fresh mind. If this is your first CAT attempt go right ahead. If you are repeating this year, it’s important to revamp your mind before you dive in.
- Take a look at your past percentile score as an indicator of how far you have come and how far you have to go to reach your goal.
- Evaluate your current preparation strategy. You might be tempted to change it and follow a topper’s strategy but don’t do it. That just means starting from the bottom again.
- Do you have good quality CAT study resources? Take stock again. Do you have a good-quality question bank? Are you subscribed to high-quality test series? If you don’t it’s time to change that and gather good study resources.
Now let us start with the strategy for preparation.
The first step toward acing the CAT exam is to have a thorough understanding of the exam pattern and syllabus.
The CAT exam syllabus has remained unchanged for over a decade but it changed the number of total questions to 66 in 2021. It is expected that 2022 will follow the same pattern.
Here’s the breakdown:
|Subjects||No. of Questions (CAT 2022)||MCQs||Non-MCQs|
|Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)||24||19||5|
|Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning||20||15||5|
Now let us look at the syllabus for VARC, QI, and DILR.
VARC syllabus for CAT
The syllabus for VARC is divided into two sections – Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension which contains passages. According to the latest exam pattern, Reading Comprehension occupies the majority of the VARC section. On the other hand, the Verbal ABility section includes para jumbles and para summary.
The 2022 syllabus for the VARC section includes the following but is not limited to:
- Jumbled Paragraph
- Fill in the blanks
- Sentence Correction
- Cloze Passage
- Meaning-Usage Match
- Analogies or Reverse Analogies
- English Usage or Grammar
- Vocabulary Based (Synonyms/ Antonyms)
- Summary Questions
- Verbal Reasoning
- Reading comprehension
DILR syllabus for CAT
The DILR section in the CAT exam includes the following important topics:
Tables, scatter plots, Venn diagrams, radar charts, line charts, bar graphs, routes and network, data caselets, team formation, games and tournaments, order and ranking, and binary logic.
QA syllabus for CAT
The Quantitative Aptitude section in the CAT exam is the largest among the three and much of your time is going to be spent in this section.
The following is a detailed list of topics to be covered under the QA section for CAT 2022
- Number System: Prime Factorisation, Divisibility Rules, Finding Units place and tens place of a number, LCM and HCF, Indices and Surds, Cyclicity, Remainders, Base Change and Factorial
- CAT Arithmetic Syllabus: Simple Interest and Compound Interest, Time, Distance and Speed, Mixtures and Alligations, Ratios, Proportions and Variations, Time and Work, Pipes and Cisterns, Percentages and Averages, Profit and Loss, Discount
- CAT Geometry Syllabus: Circles, Polygons, Triangles, Trigonometry, Lines and Angles, Coordinate geometry
- CAT Algebra Syllabus: Functions and Groups, Inequalities and Modulus, Logarithms, Maxima and Minima, Polynomials, Linear and Quadratic Equations, Algebraic Identities
- Modern Mathematics: Probability, Permutations, and Combinations, Set Theory & Venn Diagram, AP, GP, HP, Binomial theorem.
The second step is to immediately sit down for a full-length mock test. This mock test will help you identify your strong and weak areas and give you an exact idea of where you stand with regard to your preparation.
Next, prepare a timetable. At the initial stage of your preparation, you will be pumped to work according to a routine. A schedule will help you keep the focus on your CAT preparation alongside your work or regular studies.
During this period, you need to focus on your basics. Pick up a section you find difficult and just start with it. If you cannot pick any one section I would suggest you start with VARC. That is the section many think is easy but later find it to be the toughest to complete or get right.
Cover all the basics of the section you have picked and focus only on conceptual growth during this phase. Moreover, keep alternating between other sections like QA and DILR to break the monotony of preparation.
By now you would have figured out which stage of preparation you are at. If the initial concept building was tough for you, I would suggest you go for online CAT preparation.
It will be a better use of your time when you have access to study tools that can enhance your CAT preparation. On the other hand, if you find that the concept-building phase was easy for you, then no worries friend! Continue your preparation full steam ahead!
Last, set a daily target. Once you have your basics right, your concepts understood, and a routine set up, give yourself some daily tasks to complete. For example, you could set ‘x’ number of difficult questions for each section as a target for each day. This will help you to solve difficult questions easily and within the time limit.
During this phase of the preparation you need ,to take your preparation to the next level in all three sections.
Reading comprehension covers most of the VARC syllabus and therefore you need to devote most of your time to it. Verbal Ability is comparatively smaller in size and easier to complete.
Focus on increasing your reading abilities. Read the newspaper, especially the editorial columns of major English newspapers. Reading continuously will help you visualise better, increase your comprehension and expand your vocabulary.
Idioms are expressions where the overall meaning is different from the meanings of the individual words in it. Try to learn generally used idioms as they are used in everyday language. If you find any tough words, underline them immediately and learn their meanings. As you do these exercises it will become easier and easier for you to understand the meaning behind what you are reading.
For DILR, focus on solving the easy questions first and building your foundational knowledge. Remember to be accurate when solving problems as most of the questions are based on caselets.
Do not judge a question by its length. You will be surprised how many easy questions are among the lengthiest of all questions. Long questions might appear overwhelming but never leave a question unattempted.
For smaller calculations always use mental maths. This will help you save time during the actual exam. For questions that need heavy calculation you can use a calculator otherwise it will just lead to a lot of confusion in your head.
Focus on getting your basics straight. This cannot be emphasised enough. You will not be able to solve the higher-order questions if you do not take the time to develop the basic foundational knowledge first.
You need to understand the derivation process for every formula used so that you can dig deep into the concept. Also, make sure your study material is based on the latest exam pattern.
Start solving reading comprehension questions by this time. With constant reading and improved vocabulary doing these comprehension exercises will seem fun for you.
Always keep the preparation light and start with the easier passages first. Do not start with the difficult passages as you might end up frustrated and exhausted soon enough.
Pay special attention to the grammar and start with the mock tests. This way you will be able to analyse, and measure your progress every week.
This is one of the easiest sections of the entire CAT paper and your focus throughout should be on time Try to time yourself.
Attempt one or two mock tests every week and measure your progress. Watch out for trick questions as not all of the questions in the mocks are meant to be attempted.
Once you are familiar with the basics of QA start with the more difficult questions and focus on increasing your problem-solving skills.
Attempt mock tests every week. This is important from an examination point of view.
Watch this short video by Ace CAT Faculty Vikrant Kathuria about a beginner’s guide to preparing for CAT 2022.
This is the last lap of your four-month-long preparation journey. During this time, you need to focus on accuracy and speed.
For VARC, the important thing to remember is time management. It is of no use if you can answer every question correctly but go beyond the time limit. So time yourself properly. Stay consistent with your reading practice. Read a book or two if you can manage it and start reading passages online to get familiar.
For DILR, take frequent mock tests and trust in your abilities. By this point, your mathematical skills must be above average.
For QA, as well, take as many mock tests as you can. If possible, take a proctored mock test and measure how far you have come. For this section, focus on accuracy more than speed as the difficulty level of the exam paper varies every year.
On the day of the CAT exam
Stay calm, confident, and cool. You have done your best to prepare for this exam and you are bound to see the rewards of your hard work. Being in the right state of mind is very important. On exam day, this can make you or break you.
For best results, it is important to have a proper study guide or mentors by your side and practice only with high-quality QBanks, test series and mocks based on the latest exam pattern.
PrepLadder has India’s leading faculty for CAT, the Dream Team. They can guide you on aiming and preparing for the 100 percentile because these super-teachers have done so themselves as CAT aspirants.
In addition, PrepLadder has high-quality and efficient tools to help you study smarter. Download the PrepLadder App now and elevate your CAT 2022 exam preparation with Custom Modules, Treasures, and industry-leading QBanks.
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