New CAT 2020 Pattern: How to Prepare for CAT 2020 Exam in 45 Days? Check advice from India’s Top CAT Experts


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October 24, 2020
Many changes have been announced in CAT 2020 pattern, sectional time limit, test duration and sessions. With few days left to the CAT exam which is scheduled on November 29, 2020, aspirants are clueless how to prepare for CAT 2020 and what changes they should make in their strategy. To help them, reached out to top CAT experts to get their guidance. Read this article how to prepare for CAT 2020 in 45 days – brought to you by from top experts in India
How to Prepare for CAT 2020 Exam in 60 Days

CAT 2020 will be a different exam from previous years in terms of test duration, testing sessions, sectional time limit, number of questions while keeping the social distancing norms on November 29, 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic.  The exam may throw a few surprises as the exam pattern is changed and candidates can see different type of questions in CAT 2020.

IIM Indore has announced  many important changes in CAT 2020 Exam pattern in late evening on September 15, out of them a few were updated on CAT 2020 website on September 20, while others, like changes in total number of questions, sectional composition of questions, ratio of MCQs and Non-MCQs are not yet officially known.

Now, the CAT aspirants are anxious to know how to prepare for CAT 2020 exam in 45 days in changed pattern; whether they need to change their preparation strategy or should move on as they were preparing. has approached top CAT experts in India and will share the tips and guidance from them on CAT preparation strategy for next 45 days. But, before coming to guidance & tips on how to prepare for CAT in 45 days in changed pattern from top experts, let’s know what are the key changes introduced in the structure, time and sessions in CAT 2020 exam. 

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CAT 2020 Exam Pattern: Important Changes
IIM Indore, which is conducting CAT 2020, has announced following key changes in CAT exam pattern, duration and testing slots:

1. CAT 2020: Exam in Three Sessions –Morning, Afternoon & Evening
CAT 2020 will be conducted on November 29, 2020 (Sunday) in three sessions. Earlier CAT was to be conducted in two sessions.

  • Morning Slot: 8.30 AM to 10.30 AM
  • Afternoon Session: 12.30 PM to 2.30 PM
  • Evening Session: 4.30PM to 6.30 PM

2. Exam Duration Reduced to 2 Hrs
A big change in CAT 2020 is the revised duration of the test which will be 120 minutes. Experts expect a fall of 25% to 30% questions in CAT 2020.

3. Section wise time limit reduced to 40 Minutes 
Candidates will be allotted only 40 minutes for answering questions in each section as against 60 minutes earlier.

4. CAT 2020 Exam to have Three Sections

  • Section I: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension 
  • Section II: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning  
  • Section III: Quantitative Ability  

Why you need to Change your CAT Preparation Plan? Check below
The change in CAT pattern 2020, with little knowledge about exact CAT structure, has put the candidates off guard in their preparation strategy. Exploring the idea on how to become a 99 percentiler in CAT in 45 days with a changed strategy, they remain clueless. Many candidates who were well aware with the strategy – how to prepare for CAT 2020 without coaching are now looking for top CAT experts to get guidance on how to prepare for CAT 2020 in changed pattern.  

As the number of questions, difficulty level in CAT 2020 is not known, the exam pattern may or may not change much. First you need to know experts’ opinion on expected changes in number of questions and their difficulty level accordingly to which you need to change your CAT 2020 preparation strategy.

Experts are of the view that if you are aware about the expected number of total questions, changes in difficulty level in CAT 2020, it would help you to plan your CAT preparation & Mock taking strategy as per the actual exam pattern. It would also help you to devise your test taking strategy, how many questions to target, what should be maximum number of questions that you can skip.

How to Prepare for CAT 2020 in 45 days? asked top experts..
To help the CAT aspirants in their CAT preparation, reached out to top experts in India on CAT preparation with the query – how to prepare for CAT in 45-60 days? The CAT experts are very positive regarding the changed CAT exam pattern and feel that it is good for the CAT aspirants and suggest some changes in CAT preparation strategy in coming days.

CAT 2020 Preparation Plan by Arks Srinivas, National Head MBA Prep at CL

Arks Srinivas, National Head MBA Prep at CL

Arks Srinivas, IIM Calcutta alumnus & National Head MBA Prep, (India & Abroad) at Career Launcher, expects 25% fall in number of questions across the sections. Besides, their division in MCQs and Non-MCQs in each section is also expected to be reduced. In his view, the revised CAT question paper is likely to be as under:

Time Limit (in minutes)
No of Questions (Expected)
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension
25 – 26
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
25 – 24
Quantitative Ability
25 - 26

Source: Arks Srinivas, CL

CAT Preparation Strategy in changed pattern
Analysing the changes in CAT 2020, Arks Srinivas anticipates that the change may have positive impact on preparation. According to him:

  1. CAT traditionally been a TWO hour exam and in that sense, the change is actually not any real change. However, for the students preparing for the last few months (or even a year), the change can appear very intimidating. 
  2. Two-hour exam is more conducive to Covid times and also it tests all the areas required sufficiently without compromising on quality and hence it is a welcome change
  3. The number of questions may therefore be proportionately decreased.  There is a good chance that the pattern could be one of the following. 
    a.   25 questions each in (VARC, DILR and QA)
    b.   24 questions in VARC , 22 questions in DILR  , 24 questions in QA
  4. The overall marks can be scaled to 300 like it has been done for the previous five years. 

So, you should devise your CAT Preparation Strategy as under:

  1. Plan to write about 15 Mocks. 
  2. Since the paper is now a 2 hour paper, the overall difficulty level may reduce (if the number of questions do not reduce by a proportionate amount), hence, solving questions from previous CAT papers especially papers between 1990 and 2008 will be very handy. 
  3. In addition to writing Mocks, a thorough analysis of the Mock which includes the following
    a. Strategy and the implementation of the same
    b. Solving all unattempted questions as well as the ones that were wrong in the paper
  4. Between any two mocks, plan to work on at least ONE topic in QA, One type of Set in DI and LR each, and revision and solving of 3 to 5 RCs per day is required. 
  5. In the next 60 days, there is a good chance to improve nothing less than 60 marks (considering that the marks per question does not change)!
  6. Lastly, what is important to understand is that the CAT pattern has changed for everyone and hence take the same in your stride and ensure full throttle preparation till the 29th of November

CAT Preparation Strategy by Nishit Sinha, IIM Lucknow alumnus, Author of bestselling CAT books published by Pearson

Nishit Sinha, IIM Lucknow alumnus, Author of bestselling CAT books published by Pearson

After making an indepth analysis of revised CAT pattern 2020, Nishit Sinha, IIM Lucknow alumnus, Author of bestselling CAT books, advises CAT aspirants to identify their strong, not-so-strong and weak areas and suggests the preparation strategy for each of them. Besides, he wants the prospective test takers to develop a reliable test taking strategy and reduce the gap between potential and performance.

Your CAT preparation strategy, according to Nishit should be as below:

Create a Conceptual Comfort Map
By now, CAT aspirants should be in a position to identify their strong areas, not-so-strong areas, and weak areas across the sections. One may use the following metric to identify these areas: 

  • Strong Areas - One can do atleast seven questions out of 10 questions
  • Not-So-Strong Areas: You can do four to six questions out of 10 questions
  • Weak Areas: You are able to do less than four questions out of 10 questions, on an average

Keep in mind that atleast one high-value concept in the Quantitative Aptitude section should be a strong area.

2. Identify Possible Areas to Widen the Attempts
Out of the not-so-strong areas, depending upon an individual’s comfort level, one may identify few areas which might be catapulted into strong areas. It is achievable through identifying the bottleneck, which may be owing to (a) lack of conceptual clarity, or/and (b) deficient practice upon typical questions, inter alia.

The suggested course of action is to follow any standard material, learn the concepts, solve the questions from the material as well as previous years CAT question papers. I would suggest NOT to venture into investing time in ‘weak areas.’ 

3. Develop a Reliable Test-Taking Strategy
With the new pattern announced by CAT 2020 committee, aspirants must gain enough exposure to the new test pattern. Over the period, develop a reliable test-taking strategy, follow the dual-round process of attempting the section, keeping in mind a minimum accuracy percentage across sections. The desired accuracy percentage may vary among the three sections following one’s comfort level.

4. Reduce the Gap Between Potential and Performance
Analyze the MOCKs to identify the gap between possible marks that one could have obtained within the same time-limit (POTENTIAL) and actual marks obtained (PERFORMANCE). Though achieving 100% of the potential is the ideal case scenario, in any case, the marks obtained should not be less than 80% of the potential. The possible reasons for the gap between potential and performance could be one or more out of the following: (a) not being able to identify the relevant questions, (b) ineptitude to attempt the questions as per questions’ hierarchy of difficulty level, (c) silly mistakes committed, (d) getting ‘emotionally attached’ to any question. Especially in the LRDI section and Reading Comprehension area, one should have the clarity in mind that which set/passage I am going to attempt? In the case of NOT being able to proceed ahead with the confidence of cracking the set/passage, one should quit the set/passage within 2-3 minutes. Do not behave like the proverbial frog-in-the-pan !!

Hope above tips by Arks Srinivas, Nishit Sinha were useful! will be publishing CAT 2020 preparation strategy by following experts very soon:

  • Hemang Panchmatia, Program Director, PG-India, IMS 
  • Arun Sharma, IIM Bangalore alumnus, Founder, Mindworkzz and Bestselling Author  

Stay tuned to for more updates on CAT 2020