Common Mistakes to Avoid in CAT Preparation

mistakes in cat preparation

Common Mistakes to Avoid in CAT Preparation

During CAT preparation, students make the same set of mistakes over and over. The road to your final destination, admission to IIMs or other prestigious MBA colleges, will be filled with many hours of toil and arduous work. However, the best way to ace the CAT is to devise a smart strategy and refine it as your preparation progresses. At the same time, you should be aware of the most common CAT mistakes. To help you with your CAT preparation, we’ve compiled a list of mistakes to avoid in order to pass the CAT.

1. Failure to review the CAT syllabus

The first and most important thing a CAT aspirant should do is thoroughly study the syllabus. Many times, we’ve noticed that students have only a hazy understanding of the topics that need to be covered. For example, you should be aware that reading comprehension is a significant component of the CAT’s Verbal ability section. It is critical that you create a list of topics that fall into different categories, such as (Quantitative Aptitude (QA), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR), Verbal Ability, and Reading Comprehension) (VARC). Examine the CAT exam pattern to further your understanding.

2. Failure to develop a strategy or a study plan

During CAT preparation, students may study for only 1 or 2 hours and only skim the topics. Without a strategy or a study plan, it’s like trying to navigate a maze. The study plan must be created with your strengths and weaknesses in mind. Furthermore, one must consider the weightage assigned to each section of the exam. Following the exam, candidates are expected to prepare for the WAT, group discussion, and personal interview stages. As a result, it is prudent to develop a regular habit of reading newspapers and magazines to learn about current affairs topics.

3. Failure to devote sufficient time to each topic

Another source of concern is when students do not devote enough time to understanding concepts before moving on to the next. Instead of rushing through the course, you should first focus on understanding the fundamental concepts of each subject. You cannot perform well in the exam if your concept knowledge is incomplete. For example, in critical reasoning questions, you should understand terms like inference, assumptions, and so on. In other words, you must become familiar with various question types for each section.

4. Not attempting enough mocks or over attempting them

The goal of developing CAT mocks or CAT test series is to provide a guideline to CAT aspirants. The types of questions that appear in various sections of the CAT exam provide students with an idea of the level of preparation required. You can assess your strengths and weaknesses in various topics after taking a mock exam. On the other hand, you should be cautious not to overdo the mocks. Some students go into the actual CAT exam with preconceived notions based on mock tests, which can hinder their performance. Although mock tests closely resemble the actual exam in many ways, they will never be identical.

5. Failure to analyze the mocks

Students who do not analyze mock exams are unable to identify areas for improvement. Test analysis provides insights into factors such as the correlation between number of attempts and accuracy, time spent on each question, question selection in terms of difficulty level, and so on. All of these parameters must be estimated and predicted in order to achieve a high score. As a result, analyzing the mocks is an important part of your CAT preparation journey.

6. Procrastinating

Procrastination simply means delaying or postponing action. This is a major issue that many CAT candidates face. Students postpone their CAT preparation because it is difficult for them to focus on different aspects of the entrance exam. The right time is now, so get started right away.

7. Adopting a pessimistic outlook

Getting demotivated or feeling hopeless is a sure way to fail. Such an attitude will cause more problems in your preparation than it will solve. If you are having difficulties with any subject or topic, you should seek assistance as soon as possible. Remember that a negative attitude is more likely to drain your energy than to provide assistance.

8. Failure to set goals

Students who do not set goals waste a lot of time on topics that would otherwise take less time to prepare for. As a result, it is best to set a goal for each day and study accordingly. This is critical because some topics carry more weight than others in the exam.

9. Not having a balanced approach

The CAT paper’s difficulty level varies from year to year. The projected number of attempts and expected percentile for a given year may differ from the following year. Students should take a balanced approach, focusing on increasing their number of attempts while maintaining high accuracy. CAT is more concerned with complex decision-making than with speed.

10. Devoting excessive time to one’s field of interest

It is natural for anyone to prefer spending more time on topics and subjects that appear interesting and can easily earn a good grade. However, in the CAT, you must clear the individual cut offs for all three sections (Quantitative Aptitude (QA), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension) (VARC). So, an ideal approach is to learn and master a wide range of important topics while also practicing frequently asked questions.


Finally, you should definitely go over previous years’ CAT papers to gauge the exam’s difficulty level. You should also be familiar with the CAT registration process, eligibility criteria, cut-offs, syllabus, and exam pattern.


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