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Preparing for CAT is a test of your management skills. This exam tests your time management, selection, and speed. Let’s understand How to prepare for CAT.


  1. Introduction
  2. About CAT
  3. Eligibility
  4. CAT question paper pattern
  5. CAT registration
  6. CAT admit card
  7. How to prepare for CAT
  8. Best Colleges that accept CAT


Competitive exams are a turning point in every student’s life. Competitive exams are qualifiers for every field, may it be, medical, engineering, law, or management. CAT 2019 was held on 24 November 2019. As IIM Kozhikode has released the key, candidates now have a rough idea about their percentile. Many got satisfactory results, while some did not and are preparing for next year’s CAT 2020. CAT is one of the most competitive exams in the world, with a small success ratio. This article discusses how to prepare for CAT 2020.

About CAT

CAT full form is the Common Aptitude Test, which is organized by the Indian Institute of Management every year. In 2009 it was announced that CAT would be a computer-based test. Several management colleges in our country use the CAT score as a standard for admission. CAT usually held in the last week of November on a Sunday. Around 3 Lakh students appear in the exam. CAT 2020 might be held on the third or the fourth Sunday of November 2020. Since IITs and IISCs accept the CAT score instead of the JMET score. CAT is organized in two slots, the morning slot from 9 am to 12 pm and the afternoon slot from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm.


The candidate applying for CAT should hold a bachelor’s degree (3 years) with at least 50% for general category and 45% for SC/ST and DA category, and MHRD should recognize the university. The CGPA of the university has to be submitted after using the conversion factor authorized by the university.

Final year students can appear for CAT if they are sure they will clear the percentage cutoff of their category. If the applicant fails to do so, his further proceedings of admission will be canceled.

There is no age limit for the CAT exam. There is no set limit of the number of attempts; this means a candidate can appear as many times as he or she wants and as long as he or she wants.

CAT recognizes the 2-year bachelor’s degree, which was awarded earlier, but IIMs do not consider a two-year degree. They need a three-year Bachelors’s degree as a qualifying factor for admission.

CAT question paper pattern

CAT exam consists of three sections which are, Verbal Ability, Data Interpretation, and Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Ability.

Verbal Ability: Verbal Ability section checks the reading skills and English of the candidate. It consists of 34 questions. There are five reading comprehension that covers the first 24 questions. The last ten questions are of Verbal Ability. These last questions have some para jumbles, para summary, and odd one out.

Data interpretation and Logical Reasoning: Data interpretation and logical reasoning have 32 questions, which means eight sets of 4 questions. There is no particular number of questions assigned to Logical Reasoning or Data Interpretation.

Quantitative Ability: This section has 34 questions. It has all the basic concepts of Mathematics, such as Trigonometry, Algebra, Simple equations, Permutation, and Computation, etc.

CAT exam is three hours long, with each section having 1 hour. The candidates cannot change their section before the 60 minutes of that section ends. There are no breaks between the sections. All the right answers earn +3 marks, and wrong answers earn -1. There are special questions in which the answer has to be typed; these are called non-MCQs. Non-MCQs do not fetch negative marks if wrong.

CAT Registration

CAT registration usually starts from August and is open till mid-September. To register for CAT, the name, date of birth, email ID, and phone number of the candidate is required. After the initial registration, the candidate has to fill details about basic biodata, academics, and scanned copy of the signature and a photo of the candidate. The CAT registration fees are paid after the application is complete, and it is spent online.

CAT admit card

CAT admit card is usually released at the October end. Candidates can log in to their account and download the CAT admit card. The admit card has a photo of the candidate, the address of the center, basic rules of appearing in the exam; there is also space where the picture of the candidate is pasted. The photo to be pasted should be the same that is on the admit card issued.

Preparation for CAT

Preparing for CAT is a test of your management skills. This exam tests your time management, selection, and speed. Preparing for CAT is as complicated as the exam itself. Let us discuss how to prepare it.

CAT exam syllabus is vast, and you need the right material to crack the exam. The right material will help you grow, and it will increase your speed. You can join a coaching center or prepare at home by yourself. If you enter a coaching institute, they will provide you with the material, but if you are preparing at home, below is a list of the best books for CAT preparation. These books for CAT will give you adequate guidance.

CAT preparation books:

For Verbal Ability:

1. Word Power Made Easy (Norman Lewis): For CAT, you need exceptional vocabulary. Word Power made easy by Norman Lewis is an excellent book about etymology. The book explains the roots of the words, which helps to remember the word meaning.

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2. High School English and grammar (Wren and Martin): For grammar Wren and Martin, is the perfect book for polishing your grammar rules.

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3. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (Arun Sharma): This book is useful to practice reading comprehension and verbal ability.

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Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning:

1. Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation- Nishit Sinha: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning in this book cover all the topics, and it has plenty of questions to practice.

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2. The other good books for Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation are: How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for the CAT and How to Prepare for Data Interpretation. Both are written by Arun Sharma and are readily available online.

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For Quantitative Ability:

1. How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude – Arun Sharma: The book covers all the topics of quant. It has questions of different difficulty levels, which will help you measure your progress.

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2. Quantitative Aptitude Quantum – Sarvesh Verma: This book covers all the basics and has the right amount of questions for you to practice.

Other than these books, to practice reading comprehension, candidates should read books and time their reading speed. Reading the content of different genres will help the candidate to be familiar with all types of topics. Newspapers, research papers, papers on psychology are a great way to practice your reading comprehension skills.

Test your skills

Mocks are an essential part of your CAT preparation. Just giving CAT mock tests is not enough; analyzing your mocks is a must. A candidate should analyze their mocks to understand where they are lacking, which topics they need to cover. It would be best if you had a good test series to practice your skills. Some of the best test series are provided by coaching institutes such as TIME and IMS. The mock tests held by them are of the All India level. After every mock test, a detailed analysis is published by them for the test takers. The test series are an investment that one should make to crack CAT. After the exam, you get your all India Rank, your percentile, section-wise analysis, and much more.

Be aware

Keep yourself updated. Your current affairs knowledge should be exceptional. CAT does not have a general knowledge section, but when you appear for Group discussions and Personal Interviews, your general knowledge, and opinions matter. Thus it would be best if you read newspapers, especially editorials, for a better grasp on current affairs.

For students who join coaching classes for preparation of CAT. TIME and IMS are the leading two brands in India for CAT coaching. The material and test series of TIME is excellent, and the GD-PI sessions of IMS are exceptional. So a candidate can decide which portion of his or her preparation needs polishing.

Best Colleges that accept CAT score

  1. IIMs (Indian Institute of Management): IIMs are the prestigious college of India. Every MBA aspirant wants to pursue an MBA from an IIM. There are 20 IIMs in India, some old, some new and some baby IIMs. To learn more about IIMs, you can read our article about IIMs.
  2. Faculty of Management Studies Delhi: FMS Delhi is one of the best colleges in India for management studies. Along with providing an excellent education, the college is affordable. As FMS is a government institute, the fees of the college is less compared to other prestigious MBA colleges.
  3. SP Jain: SP Jain Mumbai is a college of excellence. They prefer all-rounders who are good at extracurricular activities along with studies.
  4. MDI Gurgaon: MDI Gurgaon is a great college located in Gurgaon. It accepts the CAT score for admission. This college is undoubtedly an option or MBA aspirants.
  5. NITIE: NITIE is the dream management college for all engineers. The atmosphere of the college and the course are distinguished.
  6. IITs and IISCs: IITs and IISCs are government institutes that offer management to students. These institutes consider the CAT score for the admission process.