Common Admission Test (CAT)


CAT 2021 Exam will be held on November 28. This time, IIM Ahmedabad is conducting CAT 2021 exam in 3 slots at over 425 test centres in 158 cities across India. No change has been announced in the CAT exam 2021 pattern and test structure for now. The exam duration will be 2 hours and the question paper will most likely be having 76 questions in total, same as last year. But you never know! IIM Ahmedabad is known for its surprises. So the total number of questions may vary in between 60-76. CAT 2021 will be conducted with adherence to COVID-19 guidelines such as social distancing, wearing of face mask, gloves and staggered entry at the test centres.

The last date to apply for CAT 2021 is September 15 (till 5 PM). Candidates planning to appear in CAT 2021 must apply on the official website before the deadline. This year, the application fee has been increased by 10 per cent.

Latest Updates & Changes in CAT 2021

Relaxation of Eligibility Criteria: The Eligibility Criteria of Minimum mark in Graduation has been relaxed for the students due to COVID-19 pandemic. Candidates can mention “promotion/pass” in their CAT 2021 application form. This relaxation is only for candidates who are completing the bachelor’s degree this year or are in the final year bachelor’s programme (graduation years – 2021 and 2022).

CAT 2021 Application fee increased: The application fee has been hiked by 10 per cent from last year. The CAT 2021 fee for General and all unreserved category students has been increased from Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,200 while for the Reserved category students it has been increased from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,100.

Number of CAT Test cities increased: This year, CAT 2021 exam will be conducted in 158 cities across India. Last year, the total number of cities where the exam was conducted was 156. It is expected that the exam will be conducted at 425 test centres in these 158 cities.

CAT Test city preference increased: The total number of cities one can select in the application form for allotment of CAT 2021 test centre has been increased to six. This will give students more options of test city selection as per convenience in the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

What is CAT Exam?

The full form of CAT is the Common Admission Test. CAT Exam is the most popular national-level management entrance exam conducted by the Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) for admission of aspiring candidates to 20 IIM’s and more than 100 B-schools across India. It is conducted and administered by one of the IIMs on a yearly rotational basis. The top 6 IIMs which conducts the The exam are IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, IIM Indore, IIM Kozhikode, IIM Lucknow, IIM Ahmedabad. It is usually conducted on the last Sunday of November of the first Sunday of December. Through this exam, IIMs and other colleges offer MBA, PGP, PGP-FABM, PGPEM, PGDM, EPGP PGPSM, PGPWE, PGDHRM, PGPEX, PGPBM etc. CAT exam is an aptitude test designed to evaluate an applicant’s Quantitative, Verbal/reading, Data Interpretation, and Reasoning Skills. The Indian Institutes of Management conducts a computer-based Common Admission Test in the last week of November 2021 in two sessions. This exam will be conducted by IIMs as a prerequisite for admission to various management programs of IIMs and other colleges.

CAT 2021 Exam Highlights

The table below indicates some of the key highlights of CAT 2021 exam that candidates must know.

Features  Details 
Exam name Common Admission Test (CAT) – 2021
Conducting institute IIM Ahmedabad
Exam date November 28, 2021
Exam level National
Exam frequency Once a year
Exam purpose Admission into IIMs, SPJIMR, FMS, MDI, IMT and over 1200 B-Schools in India
Eligibility Graduation with 50 % aggregate (45 % for SC/ST students)
Exam fees Rs 2,200 (General category) and Rs 1,100 (Reserved category)
Number of applications 2.30 lakh (In 2020)
Course offered MBA/PGDM
CAT syllabus ·         Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)

·         Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

·         Quantitative Ability (QA)

CAT pattern Computer Based Test with MCQs and non-MCQs
No. of test cities 158
Exam helpdesk no. 1-800-210-1088 (Toll Free) ;   Email ID-
Exam website

CAT 2021 Exam Dates

CAT exam date 2021 was announced on July 31 by IIM Ahmedabad. Take a look at the table below for the complete schedule of CAT 2021.

CAT 2021 Events CAT 2021 Dates Salient Features
CAT 2021 notification release 31-Jul-2021 CAT 2021 official notification released by IIM Ahmedabad in newspapers and on website.
CAT 2021 registrations start 04-Aug-2021 (10 AM) Online registrations commenced. Candidates can apply for CAT 2021 by filling an online application form
Registrations end 15-Sep-2021 (5 PM) Registration process to end for all candidates.
CAT 2021 form correction Third week of September, 2021 Candidates can upload new photo and signature and edit test city choices. No other information can be edited.
Admit card release 27-Oct-2021 To be downloaded from CAT 2021 website until the exam day.
CAT 2021 mock test release First week of November, 2021 The official mock test to be released on the official website. Only registered candidates can take the mock test.
CAT 2021 official tutorial release First week of November, 2021 The exam conducting body will release a video to help candidates understand exam day guidelines.
CAT 2021 exam 2021 28-Nov-2021 Exam will be held in computer based testing mode in 158 cities in three slots.
CAT 2021 answer key release First week of December, 2021 Preliminary answer key and individual response sheet to be downloaded from CAT website.
CAT Answer key challenge process First week of November, 2021 Candidates can challenge official responses online by paying Rs 1,200 per question.
CAT Final answer key release Last week of November, 2021 Final CAT 2021 answer key to release if there is revision in the preliminary answer key.
CAT 2021 result declaration First week of January, 2021 CAT 2021 scorecards to be released on the official website for download.

CAT Exam 2021: Important Points

  • CAT 2021 application window:The CAT 2021 application window remains open for about 45 days (August 4 to September 15 for CAT 2021). Candidates get about a month and a half to fill the form. One can register on the official website first and fill the form later. However, they need to submit the CAT 2021 application form and pay the fees before deadline.
  • No additional cost of IIM form :The CAT 2021 application form doubles up as the application for IIMs too, which means, the CAT 2021 application form includes the field in which the candidate can choose to apply in up to 20 IIMs. The candidate will not be required to fill a separate application form of the institute to participate in the WAT-PI round of those IIMs which they shall have selected in the application form of CAT 2021 exam. Exam in a Single Day: CAT 2021 exam’s all three sessions – morning, afternoon and evening.
  • Format of exam: CAT is a computer based test conducted at designated exam centres in 158 cites. Each candidate is allotted a computer system inside the exam hall. They have to login with their CAT 2021 credentials to start the test. Limited time is allotted for each section of the CAT question paper.

CAT 2021 Exam Eligibility Criteria

The minimum Eligibility Criteria for CAT exam is that a student must have completed his/her graduation or must be on the verge of completion i.e- student must be in the final year of graduation. Read below for more details on CAT eligibility criteria:

  • The candidate must possess a bachelor’s degree with minimum 50 per cent aggregate or equivalent CGPA (45 per cent aggregate for SC, ST and PWD/DA category) from a recognized board or university to participate in CAT 2021
  • The candidate must have completed a professional degree (CA/ CS/ ICWA) with required percentage
  • Candidates appearing for the final year of bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification or awaiting result are also eligible to apply for CAT 2021 exam
  • There is no reservation in CAT 2021 exam; however the applicants must know the details of reservation policy followed by IIMs for MBA admission.
  • As per the legal requirements, 15 per cent of the seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) and 7.5 per cent for Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates.
  • 27 per cent of the seats are reserved for Other Backward Classes candidates belonging to the “non-creamy” layer (NC-OBC).
  • Up to 10 per cent of the seats are reserved for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) candidates.
  • The applicable Central Government list of reserved categories as on the last date of CAT registration shall be binding.
  • “Person with Benchmark Disability” means a person with not less than forty percent (40 per cent) of a specified disability. The categories of disability are: Blindness and low vision, Deaf and hard of hearing, Locomotor disability including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured, dwarfism, acid attack victims and muscular dystrophy, Autism, intellectual disability, specific learning disability and mental illness, Multiple disabilities from amongst persons under clauses (a) to (d), Other ‘specified disabilities’ mentioned in ‘The Schedule’ of the RPwD Act 2016.

CAT 2021 How To Apply?

CAT 2021 registration process will begin in the first week of August. The CAT 2021 application forms will be available on the official website – IIMCAT. The aspirants will have to fill the CAT 2021 registration cum application form as per the process given below:

  • Log on to CAT Exam website(
  • Create a user ID by entering details such as name, date of birth, email ID and phone number
  • Click on ‘Generate OTP’
  • On successful registration, an OTP will be sent on the registered mobile number
  • Verify CAT registration by entering the OTP in the given field and login again
  • Enter all the information asked – personal details, academic details, work experience
  • Upload scanned signature and photograph
  • Select test cities and preferred IIM campus for WAT-PI shortlisting
  • Make payment of CAT application fees via debit/credit card or net banking

Documents/Enclosures to be kept ready in advance for CAT 2021 Form Filling:

  1. Mark sheets of Class 10th, 12th and Graduation
  2. Date of Birth certificate
  3. Images of passport size photographs and signature

CAT 2021 Application Fee

The table below indicates CAT 2021 application fee for students belonging to General and Reserved categories:

Category CAT Application Fee
General and NC-OBC Rs. 2,200
SC, ST and PwD Rs. 1,100

CAT Conducting Institutes Over the Years

CAT 2021 exam is conducted by only the top six IIMs on rotation basis. The CAT 2021 exam will be conducted by IIM Ahmedabad after a gap of five years. Check the below table to know which IIMs conducted CAT in recent years.

CAT Year Conducting IIM CAT Conducting IIM
2021 IIM Ahmedabad
2020 IIM Indore
2019 IIM Kozhikode
2018 IIM Calcutta
2017 IIM Lucknow
2016 IIM Bangalore
2015 IIM Ahmedabad
2014 IIM Indore
2013 IIM Indore
2012 IIM Kozhikode
2011 IIM Calcutta
2010 IIM Lucknow
2009 IIM Ahmedabad

CAT 2021 Exam Pattern & Test Structure

CAT question paper is divided into three sections: VARC, DILR and QA. The candidates are required to solve both MCQ and Non-MCQ type questions. The questions paper is usually of moderate difficulty level with QA posing more challenges in terms of tough questions. Check the highlights of CAT 2021 exam pattern below.

CAT question paper pattern and structure
Sections VARC, DILR and QA
Total number of questions 76
Duration of exam 40 minutes per section (Total 120 minutes)
Section-wise number of questions · VARC – 26

· DILR –  24

· QA – 26

Language of question paper English
Type of questions MCQs and Non-MCQs
Number of answer choices Four
Total Marks 228
Marking scheme · 3 marks for every correct response

· Negative marking of 1/3 (-1) for every wrong MCQ response

· No negative marking for wrong non-MCQ response

CAT Exam: Key Facts:

The entrance exam is a Computer-based Test (CBT) of 2 hours length. CAT exam is separated into 3 primary areas of 40 minutes each The 3 segments in CAT exam 2021 example are – Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC); Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR); Quantitative Aptitude (QA) There will likewise be sub-segments inside the 3 segments in updated CAT exam 2021 example. For instance, the patched-up CAT exam design for VARC comprises of Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension sub-segments; DILR contains inquiries on Data Interpretation and Logical thinking. Also read: CAT Preparation beginners

  • Applicants are not permitted to switch between the sections in the 40 minutes time duration.
  • CAT Test takers can’t leave their seats amid the exam.
  • MCQs in CAT 2020 exam example will require you to choose 1 correct answer out of 4
  • Non-MCQs in the CAT exam example will expect you to type in the right answer on the PC screen.
  • Each right answer in CAT exam example will be granted 3 marks whether it is MCQ or Non-MCQ
  • Each wrong response for MCQ in CAT exam 2020 will be forced punishment of 1/3 negative check (- 1 stamp)
  • There will be no punishment of negative checking on wrong responses to Non-MCQs in CAT 2020 exam design
  • CAT exam design stays on the lines of the CAT official Mock test discharged by IIMs a month prior to the CAT exam.

Break-up of Time and Questions section-wise are:

  1. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension – 26 Questions – 40 minutes
  2. Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning – 24 Questions- 40 minutes
  3. Quantitative Ability – 26 Questions – 40 minutes

CAT 2021 Syllabus

1. CAT Syllabus for Quantitative Ability (QA)

LCM and HCF Percentages
Profit and Loss Interest (Simple and Compound)
Speed, Time and Distance Time and Work
Averages Ratio and Proportion
Number System (3-4) questions Algebra (5-7 questions)
Geometry/Mensuration (6-8 questions) Pure Math (1-2 questions)
Venn diagrams Linear Equations
Quadratic Equations Complex Numbers
Logarithm; Progressions Binomial Theorem
Surds and Indices Inequalities
Permutation and Combination Probability Functions
Set Theory Mixtures and Alligations
Coordinate Geometry Trigonometry


2. CAT Syllabus for Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)


Reading Comprehension (Passages on Current Affairs, Business & Economy, English Literature, Science & Technology, Culture, Historical Events, Mythology, Modern Trends, Fiction & Abstract Topics)
Critical Reasoning Para Jumbles (2-3 questions)
Para Summary (2-3 questions) Odd-One out (2-3 questions)


3. CAT Syllabus for Data Interpretation (DI)

Data Tables Data charts
Bar diagrams & Charts (Simple, Stacked, Composite Bar charts) Pie charts
Graphs – Line X-Y Graphs Caselet based Data

4. CAT Syllabus for Logical Reasoning (LR)

Puzzles Parallel / Linear / Circular Arrangement
Matrices Day-Month-Year
Ranking Based Syllogisms
Coding-Decoding Input-Output
Direction-Based Symbol-Based Comparison
Conditional Coding Blood Relation
Series Clocks & Calenders
Critical Reasoning Strong & Weak Argument
Course of Action Cause & Effect
Statement & Assumptions Statement & Conclusion
Cubes Rows
Set Theory, Venn Diagrams, Network Diagrams Quantitative Reasoning

CAT 2021 Exam Preparation Tips

Some Tips for your CAT 2021 Exam Preparation:

  • Set deadlines to cover CAT syllabus
  • Plan Time-bound practice
  • Make a good peer group
  • Always take expert opinion
  • Many books confuse more
  • Move on-leave the sticky topic
  • Time to go for Mock test series
  • Don’t quit your jobs for CAT
  • Plenty Vs. Scarce time: Waste or utilize
  • Full day study not needed
  • Make a list of topics according to your strengths and weaknesses

Join online study groups on platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Telegram, etc.

CAT 2021 Strategy

1. Building Foundations

Starting with July-August, the first basic thing is to build on our basic concepts for all three sections. The goal of these two months would be to become completely familiar with the areas, topics, concepts, and types of questions found on the CAT exam. During July and August, the emphasis should be ongoing over all of the topics in all areas of the CAT, namely, QA, DILR, and VARC. The first two months must be used for the first round of exam preparation in all areas using a simple method known as CAT!

2. Fundamentals of Commitment, Assess & Theory (CAT)

Commitment: Solve exercises to apply the concepts/formulas learned.

Assess: Conducting topic-specific tests to evaluate your speed and strategy.

Theory: Learn all of the fundamental concepts and formulae for each topic.

In addition to the foregoing, one must begin taking Mock CATs. For July and August, one mock should be taken every two weeks, and from August onwards, two to three mocks should be taken every week.

3.Section-wise Strategy

VARC Strategy:

  1. Read as much as you can and try to understand what you’re reading.
  2. Reading newspaper editorials and opinions will help you improve your reading speed and comprehension.
  3. Every day, solve at least four passages and a few questions from Critical Reasoning, Para Completion, and Para Jumbles.
  4. The majority of the practice for this section can be obtained from an Online Verbal Ability Courseand mocks, and you can improve greatly if you work hard.

DILR Strategy:

LRDI is a scoring section in the CAT that is especially important for those who struggle with other sections. There is no easy, convenient, or straightforward way to improve in the LRDI section. However, with consistent practice and applying a few methods, you can significantly improve your performance.

  1. Solve the problem using a diagram or a table. This will improve the speed with which you can discern the information in the passage.
  2. Solve puzzle games such as Sudoku, crossword puzzles, and so on.
  3. Try as many questions from the online mock test or sample paper as you can.

QA Strategy:

When preparing for the Quant section, focus on the number of correct answers rather than the number of attempts. This section will include all types of questions, from simple to difficult. When it comes to answering these questions, speed is crucial. The following are the five most important tips for excelling in the Quantitative Ability section:

  1. Chapter by chapter practice. Learn the fundamental theories and types of problems covered in each chapter. One can enroll in an Online CAT Quant Course to gain a better understanding of the fundamentals.
  2. Arithmetic, Geometry, Algebra, and Number Systems are the main topics in CAT. If you study for 3 hours on weekdays and 6 hours on weekends (excluding coaching time), you will have 60+48=108 hours in a month to work on your fundamentals, plus the time spent in class.
  3. Divide it now in the ratio 2:2:1:1 Arithmetic, Geometry, Algebra, and Number Systems
  4. Arithmetic: The emphasis should be on ratios and percentages. Once you’ve figured it out and are proficient in it, calculations for not only QA but also DI-LR will become extremely simple.
  5. Remainders, Divisibility, and Cyclicity are all important in Number Systems. This chapter is crucial in its entirety.
  6. Algebra:Emphasis should be placed on quadratic equations, inequalities, sequences, and series (AP-GP).
  7. Geometry and Mensuration: The entire chapter is crucial. Simply learn the fundamental properties of figures, particularly triangles and circles. For example, if a question arises regarding the value of each external angle in a hexagon, you should be able to determine whether or not a formula should be used.
  8. Increase your speed. While doing the practice, study for 3-4 hours at a time.
  9. To adequately prepare for this section of the CAT, complete at least 20-25 mock tests.

4. Second Revision Phase

The two months of September and October are critical for preparing for the CAT exam. One must work on strategy, revise, and continue to take full-length mock CATs. Furthermore, now is the time to test out different exam-taking strategies. The 60 days in September and October must be used for the second revision of all concepts via topic-specific tests and section-specific tests. and monitor the progress in each specific topic or area of the exam.

Full-length CAT Mock Tests should be used to fine-tune one’s strategy and arrive at a strategy that provides the most benefits. Please keep in mind that there is no one best strategy, and the strategy should be tailored to each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

5. Final Lap Before the Exam

The last 25 days before CAT would be the final assault on the exam! Selective revision, mock CATs, and additional sectional tests are required here, and finalizing exam strategy. After each mock, the main requirements in November would be a thorough analysis of each section, zeroing in on the problem areas, working towards eliminating these problem areas, and, most importantly, strengthening the mental ability to crack this exam.

Aptitude has a time validity attached to it. With these pointers, you’ll be ready for CAT exam. Take a lot of mock tests to ensure that you are completely prepared to answer the CAT questions. So, preparing for the CAT is not too difficult if one prepares smartly and efficiently.Fill gaps if they still crop up and be as relaxed as possible

How to Crack CAT in 3 months?

CAT is not a mystery; it is a combination of Hard Work + Intelligence.

In less than 100 days for the biggest management entrance exam, here are some strategies that will help you to Crack CAT in 3 months-

Stay glued: It is difficult to prepare for CAT with a whole year to prepare! The pressure brought about due to the double-digit countdown of days to CAT is actually the best kick-in-the-ass needed to get started. This is particularly effective when you have to Crack CAT in 3 months starts from scratch. But you have to be regular – at least a couple of sectional tests and a-once-a-week full-length Mock CAT is the right way forward.

  1. Gather the materials required for preparation: Break your preparation in 3 parts i.e basic, intensive, mock tests. Catking books and mock tests which are available at can be referred for CAT preparation.
  2. One problem; multiple approaches:The most important trick. Take a simple problem and try solving it in many different ways. It helps you cultivate a quick-thinking ability and gives you contingency strategies in case you get stuck in the real CAT.
  3. Strategic sitting hours is very important: You must make it a habit to focus for 2 – 2.5 hours of your single sitting and ensure you have the highest concentration during that stint.
  4. Improve your vocabulary and the ability to comprehend data:  Follow Norman Lewis Word Power, Read News Papers The Hindu+EconomicTimes, if not possible then go for TOI, try to make a note of words that are new to you.

Analyze performances in Mock CATS: Everyone reiterates it and almost always does this advice go unheard. Don’t give 20 Mock CATs and feel good about yourself. Give one or at most two Mock CATs in any given week and spend ages analyzing everything. Most people get even this part wrong. Analyze does not mean checking which all questions you got wrong alone. Pay heed to the topics and types of questions that you are consistently doing well at. Find these questions in your real CAT and tackle them ASAP once the test begins. Also, your analysis should reveal to you which areas are hurting you – in terms of time spent as well as in terms of accuracy. If you have over a month to go, focus on improving these areas. Else forget them and avoid them at all costs in the actual CAT.

IIM CAT Cut-Off Percentiles

CAT cut off for IIM admission is fixed by each institute category wise. While the qualifying cut offs range between 80 and 90 (General category), final cut offs are much higher. Given below is the table indicating qualifying CAT cut offs 2020 for reference.

IIM CAT cut offs (qualifying)
IIM Ahmedabad 80
IIM Bangalore 80
IIM Calcutta 85
IIM Lucknow 90
IIM Indore 90
IIM Kozhikode 85
IIM Rohtak 90
IIM Visakhapatnam 90
IIM Trichy 95
IIM Udaipur 90
IIM Ranchi 95
IIM Amritsar 90
IIM Shillong 75
IIM Kashipur 90
IIM Sambalpur 90
IIM Jammu 95
IIM Sirmaur 95
IIM Nagpur 90
IIM Raipur 95
IIM Bodhgaya 95

*The qualifying cut off percentiles mentioned in the above table are of General category.

Top Colleges through CAT

CAT scores are accepted by 20 IIMs and over 1,200 B-schools across the country.

List of IIMs accepting CAT score:

IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, IIM Lucknow, IIM Indore, IIM Kozhikode, IIM Rohtak, IIM Shillong, IIM Ranchi, IIM Raipur, IIM Udaipur, IIM Nagpur, IIM Trichy, IIM Udaipur, IIM Kashipur, IIM Amritsar, IIM Sambalpur, IIM Sirmaur, IIM Vishakhapatnam, IIM Jammu, IIM Bodh Gaya

List of Top Non-IIMs accepting CAT score:

FMS (Delhi University), SPJIMR, JBIMS Mumbai, MDI Gurgaon, Great Lakes, TAPMI, IMT Ghaziabad, IMT Nagpur, All IITs (Delhi, Bombay, Kanpur, Madras, Roorkee, Kharagpur, Dhanbad), IMI Delhi, IMI Kolkata, IPE Hyderabad, ITM University, Goa Institute of Management (GIM), IBS Hyderabad,  IIITM Gwalior, Nirma University, Amity Business School, KJ Somaiya, BIMTECH Noida

Campus-wise IIM Fees

Below is the list of MBA/PGP programme fees of each IIM. The amount mentioned here is course fee of PGP/MBA (2 years).

IIM campus PGP/MBA seats *PGP fees
IIM Ahmedabad 385 Rs 23 Lakh
IIM Bangalore 430 Rs 23 Lakh
IIM Calcutta 210 Rs 23 Lakh
IIM Lucknow 436 Rs 19 Lakh
IIM Kozhikode 375 Rs 19 Lakh
IIM Indore 451 Rs 17.07 lakh
IIM Udaipur 260 Rs 17.60 lakh
IIM Rohtak 240 Rs 15.20 lakh
IIM Raipur 210 Rs 14.20 lakh
IIM Trichy 180 Rs 10.70 lakh
IIM Sambalpur 120 Rs 13.03 lakh
IIM Ranchi 240 Rs 15.30 lakh
IIM Bodhgaya 120 Rs 10.60 lakh
IIM Sirmaur 60 Rs 11.75 lakh
IIM Jammu 120 Rs 13.80 lakh
IIM Amritsar 60 Rs 12.00 lakh
IIM Shillong 120 Rs 12.68 lakh
IIM Kashipur 210 Rs 15.10 lakh
IIM Nagpur 130 Rs 13.34 lakh
IIM Visakhapatnam 60 Rs 10.70 lakh

 *The Fees has been rounded off to the nearest lakh. The fees may increase in the new academic session.

Books To Refer

CAT Books for Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

  • NCERT Mathematics books (Class 6-10)
  • How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Arun Sharma
  • Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations by Abhijit Guha
  • Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT by Sarvesh Verma
  • Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Nishit Sinha
  • Quantitative Aptitude by RS Aggarwal

CAT Books for Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)

  • How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT by Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension For The CAT by Nishit Sinha
  • Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis
  • High School Grammar and Composition by Wren and Martin
  • 30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary Mass Market Paperback Wilfred Funk & Norman Lewis/ Simon & Schuster
  • Read Editorials & Novels of your choice. Try reading articles from different genres like philosophy, history, business economy, science & technology, sports, current affairs, mythology, polity etc

CAT Books for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

  • A Modern Approach to Logical Reasoning by RS Agarwal
  • How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for CAT book by Arun Sharma
  • How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT book  by Arun Sharma
  • Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT by Nishit Sinha
  • Data Interpretation by Nishit Sinha
  • CAT Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning by Gautam Puri

CAT Study Materials

If I have to define a unit for Intelligence (like m/s for speed), it’s going to be -the quantity of information processed per minute (or second). Keep in your mind – the more information you process per unit time, the more intelligent you will be. And what better than reading and following the best books and a guide to help crack CAT even for an average student.

First of all, when you think of getting into an IIM – most of you all have a notion of only IITs/NITs – born intelligent or with excellent academics. But let me tell you, it is all about the correct material you study under the right mentor.

Even if you have barely started to prepare for CAT 2021, these are the steps which would help you ace it

1. Focus just on the basis for the first 3 months.

Verbal Ability :

Verbal preparation is gradual. Hence start with building up your vocabulary. And what better than Word Power Made Easy – Norman Lewis. Also, developing a habit of reading a newspaper especially The Economic Times helps a lot.

Quantitative Aptitude /Logical Reasoning /Data Interpretation :

Realizing over the years now that students whose base isn’t strong about these subjects aren’t really able to match up with the difficulty level of CAT. Hence instead of jumping over to actual CAT level questions and losing your faith in CAT, just practice basic level questions. I have consolidated a blend of easy to moderate questions in CATKing’s Bible LOD-1 Books to help you build concepts.

2. Its time to move to Advance!

Just when you are done with clearing your basic concepts, move to an advanced level for the next 3 months (approx. March to May)

Start solving actual CAT level question paper from the past 10 years. You start getting a gist of how actual CAT paper would be like. Moreover, start solving Arun Sharma LOD1 for Quants, LR, and DI.

For Verbal, Pearson’s guide or Barron’s pocket guide works well. Start solving 1 RCs every day, eventually increasing up to 2 and 5 RCs per day.

3. Intensive level- Hard Core Preparation!

Now when the exams are nearing ( June onwards) start gearing up for hardcore mocks and tricks, tips, strategies to solve every type of question. Here you start with Arun Sharma LOD2 and then LOD3 for Quants/ DI.

For Verbal, practicing RCs and CR from Official GRE Guide and Official GMAT Guide is mandatory. Shakuntala Devi works well for Logical Reasoning.

CATKing’s Bible LOD-2 books are a must solve at this stage. They prepare you for actual CAT level questions for all types of drilling you for the worst. In all, CAT prep is incremental. Make sure you keep working on your weaknesses and play on your strengths. After all, it is a “Common” Admission Test, just be under the right guidance.

CAT Mocks

Taking Mocks is one of the most important steps towards getting a good score in an MBA Entrance Test. But you must know that you won’t get ahead just by giving mocks. After giving a mock, you have to sit and analyze every question that you have attempted. That is what will lead to better attempts and scores in future mocks. So, how do you go about this analysis? Read on this article to know more about how you should be analyzing your CAT mocks.

What are the CAT Mock Analysis Guidelines:

Now, most of you might be attempting a few mocks here and there and feeling good about achieving that task. However, giving mock is just the first step towards a huge and important process i.e. analysis. Most students either completely ignore this, or the others don’t do it the right way. It the right way is not followed, you might not gain the full benefits that you can achieve from solving mocks.

Let’s look at all the things you need to do while analyzing mocks, and take note of anything you might be missing out on.

1) Right your wrongs:

Let’s assume you have completed one mock. After 3 hours of your intense concentration, you have a look at the score, look at what you got right, get happy, and leave. But wait! You haven’t done the most important part of analyzing your mocks, and that is to correct your wrongs. Once you are done, go through the entire paper once and solve the questions for which you marked the wrong answer. Find out where you went wrong and learn whatever there is to learn about that concept. This will ensure that you do not make the same mistakes twice.

2) Types of wrongs:

Now that you are in the process of analyzing your wrong answers, take now of what has lead to the mistake. Not all the errors that you make are concept-based. Some errors maybe just plain silly mistakes (in fact a huge chunk of it would be a silly mistake). Some other errors may be due to a hasty approach and incorrect approximations. So understand where you went wrong.  This will help you be aware of such mistakes in the next mock.

3) Rectifications:

Understand what to do with your errors. If you are making too many calculation errors, it’s time to practice!  Noice a lot of concept-based errors? then it’s time to revise all the basics and concepts. Similarly, if you are making too many silly mistakes, it’s time to work on your alertness and practice some more! Exams like CAT require a high level of concentration to solve questions accurately. So ensure you work on those silly mistakes, losing even one mark is not something you can afford in this exam.

4) Attempts & Accuracy:

Now let’s move onto the next step, which is a crucial step in analyzing your CAT mocks. You will now want to see your attempt rate. In CAT, you are not required to solve all questions that appear, you need to identify the right questions and attempt the maximum number of correct questions (hence the accuracy). Start by focusing on how much you have attempted. Make a list of the number of questions that you attempted.  Simultaneously, along with the list of the number of questions, keep noting down the accuracy of your answers. You will get an idea of your current standing and how much you want to improve in each section.

Now, try to increase both of these in your next mock attempt. For example, let’s say that an LR set took 10 mins with 3 correct answers out of 6. So, next time, your goal should be to finish the set within 7-8 mins with 4-5 correct attempts. Eventually keep decreasing the time and increasing the correct attempts. If the numbers aren’t increasing, focus on the speed of solving the questions. If your accuracy is still low, go back to the concept and basics, you are doing something wrong there. Overall, if you keep doing this for each mock, you will see a gradual increase in your attempt rate as well as accuracy.

5) Solutions:

You will obviously check the solution for the questions that you marked wrong. However, it would be wise to also check the solutions for the questions that you marked right. This will show you if there were any differences between your method of solving and the one that is shown in the solution. Many times, the mocks provide you with a shortcut or trick which is much more efficient, saves time, and gives a more accurate answer. Try to take note of all these tricks and apply them from the next time.

This will obviously only be useful if you know the concepts from the start, don’t jump onto the shortcuts before going through the basics! For the questions that you didn’t solve, try solving them again. If you are still unable to solve, look at the solutions, and start learning.

6) Strengths & Weaknesses:

Your first mock test will give you a hint about your strong and weak areas. Eventually, after analyzing some more mocks, you will have a good idea about these areas. Your strong areas are usually the ones that take less time to solve and are most of the time right. Your weak areas are the ones that constantly have low accuracy. Dedicate extra one or two hours to these weak areas, especially if they are a recurring topic in CAT. For eg. If you are weak in Numbers topic,  you might want to go invest some time in learning this, as a question or two is sure to come from this topic.

At the same time, do not overlook your strengths. A lot of students make the mistake of becoming overconfident in one area and focusing all their energy on the weaker areas. This will not help in the long run, you need to keep an all-round focus on all your topics and sections.

7) The untouched ones:

A lot of times, you will not be able to solve some questions in the mocks due to lack of time. While analyzing the mocks, these questions will strike you as ones that you could have easily gotten right. Here is where you need to check your strategy. If you feel that you are missing out on potential questions, then you are probably devoting some time to the complex questions which can be avoided.

One good way for anyone who is finding it difficult to manage this, is to scan through the entire paper once. Don’t go in sequence of the paper, it is always a mix of all difficulty levels. Write down all the question numbers that you are gonna solve first and attempt only those. Once you complete that list, get ahead with the rest. Again, to gauge the easy ones, you will need to practice in identifying them which can be done only through solving a lot of mocks. But eventually, you will be able to sort the easy ones form the complex ones. If you are still missing out on the easy questions, then you need to start increasing your speed. Increasing your speed will help you to cover all the required questions in time.

8) Notes:

Write down the notes of what you learned and keep them handy. These can include different tips and shortcuts for quant & DI, different approaches to LR, certain grammar rules, new words, etc. This is a very good practice to keep revising what you have learned from your mocks. What’s the use of analyzing your CAT mocks, if eventually you are gonna forget them all? Hence, keep a note of them and any free time that you get, keep revising them.

9) Variance:

If you are getting varying percentiles, then you have to speed up on your preparation. Varying percentiles can be an indication of any of the following factors:-

  • Lack of preparation in some areas
  • Inability to handle exam pressure
  • A tendency to panic in weak areas
  • Too much guesswork (which is to be avoided)
  • Too reliant on your strong areas

You have to make sure that you address these issues if you do come across any of them.

10) Smart Work:

Do not spend too much time on complex unsolved questions. Sometimes, questions can be a bit too far away from the main concept. CAT is very strategically designed, where they want to test your decision-making ability as well. There are always going to be some questions that are unsolvable, and or take up way too much time if you start attempting them. These questions are usually present to increase difficulty levels or to give the paper that ‘extra kick’. In such type of questions, focus more on the strategy and logic involved, rather than going after unheard-of concepts and terms. So do a bit of smart work, while you should focus on which ones to attempt, also focus on which ones to skip!

11) Strategy:

Finally, this is the most important aspect pertaining to mocks: Making a strategy! Understand that every person is different, what works for me might not work for you. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, so devise your own strategy that maximizes your strengths and minimizes your weak areas. This strategy could be in the form of how you target the questions, which topics you target first, how do you apply shortcuts, which ones do you leave at all costs etc. After every mock, modify your strategy for the next mock. Keep on doing this until you develop the perfect strategy to increase your scores. Remember, you will know when you have adopted the right strategy, once you know the following things:-

–         What to Attempt

–         When to Attempt

–         How to Attempt

How to Crack CAT?

Here are 10 tips to help you ace CAT exam & crack an IIM:

1. Prepare a study plan for your CAT exam

2. Polish your basics for all CAT sections

3. Attempt CAT mocks

4. Evaluate your performance in CAT mocks and tests

5. Keep practicing for your CAT exam

6. Develop a strategy for CAT

7. Take breaks from your CAT routine

8. Read a lot

9. Build your profile

10. Maintain your composure on the day of CAT exam


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