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How to Crack CAT Exam in the First Attempt?
April 26 2024

The only thing that matters is having a clear goal of cracking the CAT on the first attempt. Passing the CAT exam in the first attempt is not a difficult job. If an MBA candidate begins preparation with this attitude, he or she will be able to easily accomplish the goal. Let's take a quick look at the overview of the CAT exam before going on to the study plan for cracking it the first time. The Common Admission Test, also known as the CAT, is a national level entrance exam used to select MBA candidates for admission to India's top IIM or top-B schools.

The CAT exam is conducted once a year. Graduate students may register for the CAT exam as long as their graduation average is at least 50%. The CAT has three sections: Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, Quantitative Ability, and Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) (DILR). The applicants must be aware that they will receive one mark for each incorrect response and three for each correct response. The Non-MCQ type has no negative marking. Here are some of the tips for cracking the CAT exam in the first attempt:


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Start Your Preparation as Early as Possible

Early planning is crucial to achieving successful outcomes. For freshmen, it's crucial to have a head start on the preparation. They have plenty of time to review and clarify the concepts. Freshers must begin their CAT exam preparation at least a year in advance. They would avoid panicking at the last minute of the CAT exam by doing this. Make sure you have the goal of being chosen on your first attempt clearly in mind. If you begin your preparation with this attitude, you will be able to ace the CAT exam with ease.

Know Your CAT Exam Pattern

Before beginning CAT preparation, the first step is to thoroughly understand the CAT exam's pattern. Candidates should complete questions from prior years to obtain a sense of the CAT exam's format. Note the importance of each topic for each CAT exam segment as well. This can help you organize your calendar based on the questions that are frequently asked. Candidates should also be aware that each incorrect response will result in a loss of one mark. Non-MCQ-based questions do not carry any penalty points. These are the main things to keep in mind while you study the CAT exam syllabus and pattern.


CAT Exam Pattern & Marking Scheme


Total Questions No. of MCQ Questions No. of TITA Questions Marks (MCQ) Marks (TITA) Total Marks

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

26 20 - 21 4 - 5 +3, -1 +3, no negative 78
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning 24 20 - 21 2 - 3 +3, -1 +3, no negative


Quantitative Ability 26 20 - 21 4 - 5 +3, -1 +3, no negative


Total 76 54 22    



Prepare an organized Schedule

Setting and adhering to a proper schedule is crucial. Making a schedule for a candidate is pointless if they don't adhere to it. It's crucial to follow to the plan religiously if you want to pass the CAT on your first attempt. For the CAT, you need dedicate 5-6 hours of quality study time. One thing to keep in mind is that "you need to be consistent, not extreme." For instance, if you study for 7-8 hours one day and spend time the next day wasting your time, then studying for 8 hours is useless. No matter how long you study  5 hours or 7 study every day. The most important factor is the quality of work, not the quantity of hours. You should use and manage your time efficiently.

Analysis is Must to crack CAT

Your CAT preparation includes the analysis, which is of the utmost importance. You would have trouble passing the CAT if you keep taking mock exams and always scoring the average marks while failing to analyze your performance. You must comprehend the significance of conducting a self-analysis to determine which areas you routinely perform poorly in and why. If your concepts are unclear or you are unable to finish a question within the allotted time, you must study the question and provide a solution. For instance, you should review your concepts if you are unable to tackle "Profit and Loss" problems in the Quant section.


Time Management is the Key

You've probably heard the saying, "Time once lost is never regained again." Your time will not return once it has been wasted. Therefore, it is advisable to make the most of your time in order to get picked in CAT on the first attempt. For instance, if you only have 6-7 months, plan your time so that you may accomplish your basic concepts in that time. Allow the final two months for revision and mock exams. Your understanding of the principles will increase as you attempt more mocks. However, managing your time is the most important aspect. If you succeed in managing your time effectively, you will be in a good position to attempt to pass the CAT on your first attempt.

Attempt More Mock Exams

The key to passing the CAT exam is continuous mock with CAT mock examinations. Your chances of performing well on the CAT exam increase as you complete more mock exams. Therefore, solving at least three mock tests per week is advised. Give sectional mocks as much as you can to help yourself understand each section's contents well. Giving mocks like a trail performance before the real exam. You get a sense of how to manage your time along with your aptitude for answering questions quickly. When you solve mocks, you develop the ability to balance your speed and precision. Before you take the CAT, make an effort to solve at least 30–40 sample exams.


Prepare for CAT in a smart way with a comprehensive course designed with the strategic approach to Crack CAT and make it to IIM. CAT Course designed by IIMs & SP Jain Alumni! You will get access to:

  • Live Classes Concept Builders with CAT Toppers
  • Advance shortcut videos for DILR & Quants to boost your scores to 99%ile
  • Comprehensive Study Material
  • Daily quiz questions
  • Actual CAT Solved Questions Video Lessons for 2015 to 2021
  • Sectional Tests for practice
  • Live Strategy Workshops


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Anisha Mukhija

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