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Updated on
July 13, 2021

CAT Preparation 2021: How to prepare - Books, Strategy, Options, Tips by Toppers 
IIM Ahmedabad is likely to conduct CAT 2021 exam on November 28, 2021. Only a few months of preparation are left to crack CAT. The exam offers tough competition to get into IIMs or other top B-schools. Accordingly, the preparation for CAT 2021, the best and largest MBA entrance exam leading to admission in 20 IIMs and hundreds of other top MBA colleges in India requires a well-planned approach with time management. More than two lakh candidates appear in Common Admission Test (CAT) every year and the number is still rising giving a tough competition in MBA admission.


Last year, many changes in the CAT exam pattern and  testing slots were made by IIM Indore. This year it is expected that CAT pattern will change again as IIM Ahmedabad which is conducting CAT 2021, may bring about more changes in CAT exam structure. CAT 2021 may go back to its earlier test structure and time slots. As per the regular pattern, CAT 2021 will be a computer based test of 3 hours with 100 questions divided in three sections. CAT preparation 2021 strategy also needs to be slightly changed from previous year. 

Important: Read More on CAT 2021 Articles

How to Plan CAT Preparation 2021
With the expected changes in CAT 2021 pattern, the CAT 2021 preparation according to experts, should also be changed. Experts have advised following required changes in CAT preparation strategy:

Change in CAT Exam 2021
Required Change in CAT preparation
Number of questions to go up from 76 to 100
Test taking stratgey to be tweaked. Selection of questions becomes important
Increased Overall CAT duration to 3 hours and Sectional duration to 60 Minutes each
Students should focus on preparation. Exam could prove more beneficial with better scoring opportunity
Difficulty Level may go up
Improve your skills in each section, IIMs may decide to have stronger skilled students
Change in Mock Test Taking Strategy
Increase total number of questions and duration for your mock test. This will give you a real feel of new CAT pattern

CAT toppers and experts describe CAT preparation strategy in two words – ‘Smart Preparation’ and avoid the hard meaningless preparation that consumes lot of your time with lesser gain. 


Since, IIMs do not require a professor or a deep learner in only one area, the CAT exam is designed to measure your aptitude and assess your analytical and communication skills in the areas of English language and usage, Analysis of a situation with data, Approach to arrive at the decision by using reasoning and the basic mathematical skills. 


To help the CAT aspirants to prepare and crack CAT 2021 with high score, Experts at with the CAT preparation tips from toppers have prepared seven point CAT preparation strategy with all the necessary material in this article. So read on to understand How to prepare for CAT exam 2021.  

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How to Prepare for CAT 2021? Two Modes
There are two modes for CAT 2021 preparation. You can opt for either of the two or can go with a mix of two:

  1. Prepare with Self Study with right CAT material, or
  2. Prepare by Joining a CAT coaching institute in offline or online mode

5 Step Preparation Strategy for CAT 2021
Even if you make a choice between self study or joining a coaching, the 7 step strategy as shared below for CAT exam preparation 2020, according to the experts must consist of following components and must be completed at least a fortnight before the CAT exam day.

  1. Check CAT 2021 Exam Pattern & Syllabus
  2. CAT  Exam Preparation without Coaching or Through Coaching? Make a choice
  3. Best Books for preparation: Section wise Strategy and Material
  4. Take Mocks to check your current CAT Exam Preparation Level
  5. CAT Toppers: Learn from CAT 100 Percentilers

Beyond this, you need to prepare your CAT Exam Preparation Time Table and then start immediately your Preparation for each section  

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Now let’s explore each aspect to help you design your own CAT exam preparation strategy.

CAT Preparation

1. Understand CAT 2021 Exam Pattern & Syllabus
Unless you are aware what are the key components and sections in CAT exam pattern, what are the topics on which questions are asked in CAT exam, it is like beating about the bush as you will not be able to know how to start the preparation nor it will be possible to collect the best CAT 2021 study material. Besides, your focused preparation by section and CAT Self Study may not materialize till you go deep to know about the current CAT pattern.


1.1 CAT Exam Pattern
Before moving on your preparation path, it is very important to understand the CAT exam pattern which has gone with perceptible changes since 2014, not only in its structure but also in the content. Going by the tradition in changes in different type of questions in CAT, you cannot rule out a different CAT exam 2021. CAT exam is scheduled to be held on November 28, 2021. So, the coming months will be a crucial period to devise a well chalked out plan for your preparation time table as per the current CAT exam pattern.


As per the revised CAT pattern, the CAT exam 2021 will consist of 3 sections with a total of 100 questions. Each section is timed with the individual time limit of 1 hour. Your plan to prepare for CAT 2021 needs to ensure high score in each of the 3 sections as there is also a CAT sectional score cut off in IIMs for shortlisting. Your preparation has to be as per the revised CAT pattern which is as under: 

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CAT 2021 pattern

Section name
Total questions
Total MCQs (With negative marking)
Total Non-MCQs (Without negative marking)
Total maximum marks

*VARC: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

*DILR: Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning

*Quant: Quantitative Ability


However, despite number of changes brought about during last four years in CAT exam pattern, the basics of the CAT exam have not changed. CAT exam since 2015 has remained on the same lines. It is expected that CAT 2021 exam pattern will also remain similar, although there could be some minor changes in number and type of questions and their sectional composition.   To make sure to bell the CAT 2021 with high score you need to gather your CAT 2021 Study Material and begin your preparation without waiting any longer. Read More about CAT 2021 Exam Pattern


1.2 CAT Syllabus 2021

  • Once you know about the CAT Pattern 2021, your next step for preparation is to scan the CAT Syllabus. Following facts must be well understood about the CAT Exam Syllabus
  • CAT Syllabus does not have any boundaries
  • IIM entrance exam syllabus or CAT exam preparation 2021 is not pre-defined by IIMs nor the CAT syllabus was outlined earlier also
  • CAT exam syllabus is based on latest topics that appeared in past CAT exams
  • The type of CAT questions, their composition, format and number may change in each CAT exam.
  • CAT questions are not repeated in any CAT exam although difficulty level of the questions in CAT exam remains within the syllabus. 
  • CAT exam syllabus is based on the mentioned guidelines and current structure of CAT exam.
  • Past tendencies reflect that CAT syllabus and pattern overall covers all the major topics on Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension; Quantitative Aptitude; Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning.
  • CAT exam Syllabus is further divided into sub-sections Read More about CAT 2021 Syllabus

2. Wish to Prepare with or without Coaching? Make a choice
You always have a choice to prepare for CAT with or without coaching. However, it depends upon your requirements, availability of time, skills that you have and the areas you wish to improve among other factors. CAT Self Study with right CAT 2020 Study material or a mix of preparation without coaching and opting for weekend CAT coaching with test series option can be decided now or later as per your requirement.

2.1 Preparation without Coaching

If you wish to opt for CAT self study, you need to understand first how to prepare for CAT exam at home with the help of right books for CAT exam preparation and other appropriate CAT 2021 study material.


Most of the CAT toppers have opted for CAT preparation without coaching. CAT toppers like IIM Ahmedabad student of PGP 2020-22 batch, Rahul Gupta with 100 percentile in CAT 2019; Ashish Jhunjhunwala with 99.90 percentile in CAT 2017; Vipul Kukkar 99.99 percentile in CAT 2017 and IIM Calcutta students did self study for CAT exam with the help of books and other CAT study material.  

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2.1.1 How to Start Self Preparation without Coaching?
A big question, how to start CAT preparation without coaching, is answered well by CAT exam preparation experts. They are of the view that you can start CAT preparation 2021 without coaching with the help of best books for CAT recommended by toppers, like CAT books by Arun Sharma, CAT exam book by Nishit Sinha, available good CAT exam preparation material, CAT Study material online, freely available CAT preparation online facility, CAT exam Quiz 2021, CAT Mock test 2021 that can hone your CAT preparation. All these will make you aware how to prepare for CAT without coaching and are the best tools for CAT preparation.


Akhil Garg IIM Ahmedabad student and past CAT topper has advised to start CAT self study at home without being dependent on any coaching. 

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2.1.2 No Substitute to Self preparation

There is no substitute of CAT self study in exam preparation as it does not require any coaching until and unless you are stuck. Experts therefore, recommend that you should start your preparation without coaching and through self study and later make it a mix of CAT self study as well as help from coaching to avoid wastage of time.

  • CAT Self Preparation is the best preparation strategy for CAT exam.However, time is also an important factor. If a candidate gets stuck on some question due to his/her lack of conceptual clarity, the wastage of time is more and depression begins to set in. It could be a small quant formula, LR logic, or Verbal usage clarity which might need a simple push to come out of the shallow waters. This help can be provided by your mentor online or offline depending upon your preference or a mix of both.  
  • Most of the candidates coming from Engineering or other technical background find it easy to get along well with Quant, DI and LR but when it comes to Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, they find the section too difficult. It is where they need an expert guidance.
  • CAT 2021 exam preparation needs improvement in your speed and accuracy as the time to solve per question is reduced now. Till few years back, CAT test taker had 2.32 minutes per question to solve but since CAT 2014, the time is reduced to 1.8 minute per question to solve. Ironically it will not be sufficient to score overall high in CAT 2021; your section wise score should also be high to become eligible for shortlisting at IIMs.
  • CAT exam preparation 2021 should equip you with continuous sitting for more than 3 hours without break. To achieve this you are required to take more Mocks, CAT previous year test papers.

2.1.3 CAT Preparation Tips: Self Preparation
Preparation tips on how to start CAT exam preparation without coaching are focused on following points to guide you how and when you should start your exam preparation 2021: 

  • Go through the revised CAT exam pattern & CAT syllabus 2021 and Pick out your strong and weak areas in all the three sections and work on improving them
  • Gather the best books and CAT study material for preparation 2021
  • Take as many CAT Mocks during your preparation online and do the analysis of each Mock. Without analysis of Mock, attempting a mock test may not be useful.
  • If you are weak in VARC, reading different articles and novels, conversing in English with friends and even watching English TV series and movies will be helpful. Write down whatever new words you encounter after reading at least 5-6 newspaper articles every day
  • Data Interpretation (DI) is considered a bit more time consuming. Start practicing on DI questions. Use approximation techniques for quick calculations.

2.2 CAT Coaching: A good option
If you wish to prepare with CAT Coaching, it is important to find out the best coaching for CAT exam. Even the best coaching for CAT exam may have its draw backs in regard to imparting CAT coaching on certain topics. So alongwith your preparation through the best CAT coaching, you should find out an individual best coach for CAT preparation for the topics that need your greater attention.


CAT coaching helps you overcome many weak areas. Choose for the best coaching for CAT preparation, if you wish to prepare for CAT with the help of coaching. TIME, CL, IMS are considered as some of the best coaching institutes for CAT exam.


Yogesh Taneja past CAT topper with 100 percentile who was a student of IIM Calcutta, attended regular one year coaching classes offered by TIME. In his view, “Since CAT has very limited guidance on syllabus and an even limited material to refer to from the past years, I decided to join the coaching to get a better insight regarding the exam and to be able to do the syllabus in a more structured way.”


There are many CAT coaching institutes in India and many individual CAT trainers also exist. While the city wise CAT coaching centres may have their own merits and demerits, the best CAT coaching institutes in India offer a uniform preparation material for CAT based on the current and expected CAT exam pattern.  


2.2.1 Benefits of Preparation with CAT Coaching
If you are able to choose the best CAT coaching as per your requirements, it can turn out to be the appropriate preparation experience. Some of the benefits of the good CAT coaching are:

  • Faculty Interaction: Faculty can interact well during the session and clear your doubts
  • Peer Learning: Facility of good peer learning is available in CAT coaching. Many of your doubts can be cleared with peer learning only
  • Syllabus Coverage: Complete CAT Syllabus is covered with number of CAT replica tests to enable you to analyse your weakness
  • CAT Mock Series: You can get the opportunity to take different difficulty level Mock tests for CAT exam – sectional and full length.

2.2.2 Making a Choice of CAT Coaching
There is no doubt that a good CAT coaching institute may have high fee structure but apart from this you should look for the faculty, past results, students’ reviews about the coaching before taking a final decision of choosing a particular Coaching institute. Read More to check the Best CAT Coaching


2.2.3 CAT Online Preparation
CAT online preparation can be done though CAT online coaching as well as by taking preparation material online. In fact CAT online preparation is a good answer to the working professionals who find it difficult to attend regular class room coaching for CAT. During the past few years preference for CAT online coaching has gone up many times.


CAT online preparation is more cost effective, less time consuming and offers you more time to practice CAT question papers and CAT exercises. Read More about CAT online Coaching


3 Books for CAT Self Preparation
Preparation books and CAT preparation material online or offline play a major role in helping you in CAT self preparation and score high in the CAT exam. A few of the best books for CAT recommended by toppers to prepare for CAT are:


3.1 CAT Books for VARC section

  • How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT’- by Arun Sharma & Meenakshi Upadhyay
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT’ - by Nishit K Sinha
  • Latest RC Passages and practice questions provided by Study centres like TIME, CL among others
  • Editorial and short articles published in English news papers
  • ‘Word Power Made Easy’ – by Norman Lewis
  • ‘High School English Grammar & Composition’ – by Wren & Martin
  • Regularly solve the Verbal Ability questions from your study material especially on Para summary, Jumbled Paragraphs
  • There is also number of CAT preparation books PDF free download available online for CAT 2020 aspirants
  • Use the study material of best online coaching for CAT 2020

3.2 CAT Books for DILR section

  • ‘How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT’ - by Arun Sharma (Published by McGraw Hill)
  • ‘Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT’ - by Nishit K Sinha (Published by Pearson)
  • ‘How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for the CAT’ - by Arun Sharma (Published by McGraw Hill)
  • ‘Logical Reasoning and data Interpretation for the CAT’ - by Nishit K Sinha (Published by Pearson)

3.3 CAT Books for Quantitative Ability section
Following books and study material have remained a good CAT preparation tool for Quant for past many years:

  • ‘How to prepare for Quantitative for the CAT’ - by Arun Sharma, published by MGH Education
  • ‘Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT’ – by Nishit K.Sinha, Published by Pearson
  • ‘The Pearson Guide to Quantitative Aptitude for competitive exams’
  • Quant study modules by TIME, CL, IMS

Read More on CAT Preparation Books


4. Take Mocks to check your current CAT Exam Preparation Level
You now have to check your current level of CAT exam preparation by taking Previous Year Papers / Mock Test. Unless you know which are your weak areas that need your more attention and which are your strong areas where you need to prepare less for CAT exam, it is difficult to start your preparation2021 and devise your preparation strategy. To check your current level of CAT exam preparation, taking CAT Mock Tests sectional as well as full length can help you to identify your weak area. After that, you will be able to focus more on your weak areas in exam preparation.


According to CAT toppers the Mock tests help you gauge your preparation  and help you to improve and focus more in the desired direction. It is therefore, very important to take CAT Mock tests and devise your preparation strategy. 


4.1 CAT Mock Test Series 2021: Importance
CAT 2021 Mock Tests and CAT Previous Years Question Papers are the major CAT exam preparation tools. Alongwith the CAT Mock tests, CAT exam quiz, CAT previous years Mock test, CAT sectional quiz will also play a major role in improving your speed and accuracy in CAT preparation 2021.


Ashish Jhunjhunwala, CAT topper with 99.90 percentile highlights the importance of CAT Mock tests and shares, “Solving mock tests and question banks helped me to identify my sectional strengths and weaknesses basis which I planned my preparation schedule” and adds further,  “I attempted a total of 40 mocks before taking the CAT exam. After every mock I took, I devoted a considerable amount of time to analyse each mock result to understand the errors. Regularly taking mock exams helped me practice well for the final exam by solving various types of possible questions within the given time constraints.”


Accordingly, CAT Practice test papers for CAT 2021, prepared by top experts and CAT toppers are good tool to prepare for CAT and crack CAT exam. CAT sample papers are available as CAT online tests also. There are number of CAT online mock tests comprising replica CAT exam questions to help in your CAT preparation. Don’t miss them.


You may enroll for CAT test series at some good CAT coaching like TIME, CL, IMS, Bullseye  among others. They will help you overcome many weak areas.


4.2 Benefits of CAT Test Series

  • Gives you the opportunity to improve upon your weak areas regularly
  • CAT Test Series helps to practice well on various LoD questions
  • Equips you to manage sectional time constraints in CAT
  • With number of tests taken, the final CAT exam appears like another Mock
  • CAT Mock Tests help to get over the exam day anxiety and pressure
  • The pressure felt during each CAT Mock test helps in devising exam day strategy

Read & Attempt CAT Previous Year papers


5. CAT Preparation Tips from Toppers: Learn from CAT 100 Percentilers

Preparation strategy as adopted by CAT toppers can give you the right preparation plan on how to prepare for CAT in the given time line and expect the best result. The CAT preparation tips by toppers who were weak in VARC or DILR or Quant and how they overcame their weakness and scored high in the exam offer right preparation guidance. Here are some preparation tips from CAT Toppers interviewed by


Rahul Gupta, CAT 2019 topper with 100 percentile: IIM Ahmedabad student

  • Initially focused on getting the basics correct and solving some easy questions to get comfortable with the subject then move on to try higher level problems
  • Started giving the mocks as soon as they started instead of waiting till end.
  • Used to analyze the solutions extensively to check what mistakes I made or the questions I missed during the test. It helped me to decide the topics I needed to put more efforts in.


Shantanu Singh Yadav, CAT 2019 topper with 99.73 percentile: IIM Ahmedabad Student

  • I devoted equal time to all the three sections with some extra effort towards DI and LR which is I believe is the most unpredictable section in the exam. You could practice a hell lot of LR sets prior to the exam but might still hassle on the D-Day.
  • LR sets are not straightforward like Quants or DI sets. Timing my complete mocks and sectional tests along with thoroughly analysing my wrong as well as right attempts turned out to be fruitful.
  • Since the syllabus for CAT is so wide and even has no boundaries defined for VARC and DILR, last minute hustle mostly turns fruitless and overloads you with added stress

Tanuj Ruia, CAT 2019 topper with 99.69 percentile: IIM Bangalore student

“After clearing my fundamentals and the basics, I enrolled for the mock series. It helped me in analysing my current level of preparation, my weaknesses and my rank amongst a pool of serious aspirants”


Anushree Naik, CAT 2019 topper with 98.20 percentile: IIM Ahmedabad student 

“I studied for about 3 hours on week days by solving QA sectional tests, practicing a lot of data interpretation and logical reasoning (DILR) sets and utilised my travel time to work in reading books, building a vocabulary and solving math quizzes on my phone. My weekends were dedicated to attending classes, covering major chunk of the portion, solving mock tests and analysing my strengths and weaknesses through them.”


Nikita Agarwal, CAT 2019 topper with 99.22 percentile: MDI Gurgaon student

“I used to give practice all the three sections consistently. I never skipped a particular section, say VARC, because I had to focus on Quants. Learning to strike a balance between three sections is really necessary.”


Sruthy S Kumar, CAT 2019 topper with 97.71 percentile: IIM Lucknow student

“As a working professional I was very well aware that I had to use my time very judiciously to crack CAT. I started my preparations by going through IMS books to refresh the basics. Then mostly, I concentrated on taking as many mocks as possible. I enrolled for IMS test series and I religiously took all the mock tests and evaluated them at length. I also kept a tab on my performance by making a chart and writing down my score and percentage after each test. I had a habit of noting some good/tricky questions in a book for future reference.”


Chandanbala Shyamsunder Dhanawat, CAT 2019 topper with 98.28 percentile: IIM Udaipur Student

“The first thing you prepare for is getting to know the exam pattern and syllabus of CAT in detail. There is ample study material available online even for those who do not take coaching for CAT and me being an IMS student, I had the best study material to solve. Online Mock Tests which starts from April and goes till November are of great help. Study Group for GD/PI preparations are important. During your CAT PL preparation internet in the best buddy you can have. Lastly Confidence and Motivation are the two things which will help you finish the journey.”


The gist of toppers’ CAT preparation tips is summarised as below:

  • Don’t waste too much time on theory. If you have understood the basics, attempt CAT sectional quiz.
  • Practice after theory is a must. Accordingly take periodical CAT 2021 Quiz, attempt CAT previous years Mock test, CAT previous years question papers
  • Get the best preparation material with best preparation books
  • Beginning your preparation early will give you time to periodically assess yourself and overcome your weaknesses.
  • Remain confident right from the day one during your CAT preparation journey.
  • Self Preparation is the best preparation strategy for CAT 2021 however time is also an important factor.
  • If a candidate gets stuck on some question due to his/her lack of conceptual clarity, the wastage of time is more and depression begins to set in. It could be a small quant formula, LR logic, or Verbal usage clarity which might need a simple push to come out of the shallow waters. This help can be provided by your mentor online or offline depending upon your preference or a mix of both.  

Read Here CAT Toppers Preparation Strategy


5.1 Prepare your Time Table
CAT Preparation Time Table is an important factor in preparation strategy. However finalizing the time table depends upon your skill set also. How much CAT preparation you need? What your weak areas and how much time you need to improve upon them could differ from person to person.


One thing that CAT toppers have advised isAs the CAT preparation time goes on reducing month after month with every passing day, you need to revise your preparation time table by revisiting your  preparation strategy to synchronise it with remaining preparation Time.’


Yogesh Taneja, CAT topper with 100 percentile finalised his CAT preparation time table 6 months before the CAT exam day. According to him, “The time till the final exam day can be divided in two phases. First, when I spent most of the time learning new things each day, figuring out my weak spots and not worrying about the performance in mocks/test sheets etc. In the second phase, along with practicing those concepts I used to constantly evaluate through mocks from different coaching institutes, sectionals, workshops and spent an equal amount of time analysing my performance to find key areas that could help me improve.”  

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5.2 How to start Preparation
Step by Step CAT 2021 Preparation as recommended by CAT toppers is:

  • Step 1: Scan the CAT Exam Pattern & Syllabus
  • Step 2: Make your Choice between CAT Self Preparation or to prepare with coaching.
  • Step 3: Get Best Books for CAT preparation. Devote a minimum of 2-3 hours a day for preparation
  • Step 4: Take as many Mocks and previous test papers as possible with low to high difficulty level, analyse errors and improve in subsequent mock test. It will boost your confidence and you will treat your CAT question paper as another Mock.
  • Step 5: Complete your preparation 15 days before the CAT exam day. Don’t start anything new after that

5.3 Prepare for each Section in CAT
CAT 2021 exam will have 3 sections with a total of 100 questions. Each section is timed with the individual time limit of 1 hour. With your well planned preparation strategy, you need to plan CAT preparation by section to ensure high score in each of the three sections as there is also a sectional score cut off in IIMs.

Your CAT 2021 preparation should be smart enough. The best way to prepare for CAT 2021 exam is to know your sectional strengths and weakness and start working on them now. Since there is time to get over with your weakness and further strengthen your strong areas, you must devote around 3-4 hours a day from now on to crack CAT 2021 with a high score.


5.3.1 Section-1: Reading Comprehension for CAT
CAT preparation by section should begin with VARC. Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension in CAT 2021 exam would be the 1st section. Reading Comprehension part in VARC section is considered as the more tricky as this section can get any composition of topics and different type of questions.

You need to prepare for Reading Comprehension by devoting much more time in practicing on variety of RC passages and Verbal Ability questions.


Reading Comprehension: Composition & Preparation Tips
RC is the key Component in Mission CAT 2021. Reading Comprehension passages or RC passages in CAT command 24% share in overall CAT exam and 70% share in VARC section.


Your mission to crack CAT 2021 should be to focus more on RC Passages in CAT. Past CAT toppers with 100 and 99 percentile share following tips to accomplish your Mission CAT 2021

  • Read Newspaper Editorials and Articles
  • After Reading the passage, make a summary of it which should be one third of the passage size
  • Check that all the key points are covered in the summary of RC passage
  • Frame questions and try to answer them
  • Improve your reading speed
  • Since 2017, IIMs have released CAT exam papers with answer keys, attempt the 10 RC passages from actual CAT test papers and answer questions on them
  • Monitor your time to attempt the CAT RC passages. One RC passage followed by 5-6 questions should not take more than 15 minutes to answer 

Read More on How to Prepare for Reading Comprehension


5.3.2 Verbal Ability for CAT
During the last few years,Verbal Ability part in VARC section has gone for substantial changes in CAT exams. Your preparation therefore, has to be focused on the current trends. But another important feature of CAT exam is that it suddenly asks questions of such type which have not been asked during last many years. Your preparation for Verbal Ability therefore, has to combine the current as well as the past trends in CAT.

Sometimes you may find more questions on Grammar and Vocabulary and at other times the entire part on Grammar based and vocabulary based questions may be missing in CAT exam. The difficulty level of questions in VARC section is from moderate to highly difficult.


At present, CAT asks 10 questions in MCQ format on Verbal Ability. You need to prepare following three types of questions as per the current CAT syllabus. There are 3-4 questions on each of the three topics.

  • Making a summary of small para of 50-60 words in a single sentence
  • Putting the sentences in Jumbled paragraphs in coherent order
  • Picking out the odd sentence from a jumbled paragraph

Read More on Verbal Ability Preparation for CAT


5.3.3 Section-2: CAT DILR Preparation

Data Interpretation for CAT and Logical Reasoning for CAT are now clubbed together and form a new DILR section. In all there are 32 questions in DILR section divided into 16 questions for Data Interpretation and 16 questions for Logical Reasoning. Both the sections are equally important in CAT preparation.


Data Interpretation for CAT
Data interpretation for CAT syllabus is also a little more defined than other CAT sections. The Data Interpretation Study material like Data Interpretation for CAT by Arun Sharma; The Pearson Guide for logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation are the few of the best books for CAT 2020 preparation. DI questions for CAT with solutions are available online also.


Candidates who appear in IIMs Common Admission Text (CAT) find Data Interpretation as the most difficult and time consuming section and are able to solve only a few questions which are in sets of 4 questions.


Preparing for Data Interpretation in CAT 2021 is an important part of overall preparation. Scoring high in Data Interpretation can take you through the IIMs admission process.


Data Interpretation Preparation Tips for CAT

  • DI questions are formed to test how candidates can interpret the given data and answer questions based on it.
  • Free download for DILR Practice questions for CAT with solutions are available online and should be practiced well. 

Read More on How to prepare Data Interpretation for CAT


Logical Reasoning for CAT
With creation of new section in CAT comprising only DILR questions, CAT has detached the LR & DI questions from their respective parent sections of Quant and Verbal. Now DILR is the 2nd section in CAT exam which requires higher focus on Logical Reasoning preparation


Logical Reasoning study material for CAT 2020 is available online also which can help you in CAT 2021 DILR preparation and will also save your time also.

Logical Reasoning questions in CAT can be your score booster upto 48 core marks leading to an improvement of overall percentile by 20-25 in CAT 2021. LR in CAT constitutes 50% share in the newly created Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation Comprehension (DILR) Section in CAT with 32 questions. As such, the goal of scoring high in CAT 2020 can be achieved with small but consistent efforts and time devoted to the DILR section.


CAT toppers with varying back ground, studying in IIM Ahmedabad, FMS Delhi, MDI and other top MBA colleges found themselves less prepared for CAT Logical Reasoning when they started LR preparation for CAT. But with their consistent efforts, most of them ended up cracking the Logical Reasoning questions for CAT with 95+ percentile and above.


Logical Reasoning Preparation Tips for CAT

  • Read and practice various types of Logical Reasoning Questions for CAT with solutions  
  • One of the key CAT Logical Reasoning tricks by experts is to begin with LOD=1 and move to LOD-2 and finally to LOD=3 Logical Reasoning Questions.
  • Try to solve as many LR questions on all difficulty levels, as possible.  Never be shy of practice on LR.  Once it is done, you will develop the methodology and will come to know beforehand whether you will be able to solve a particular LR question set, when it appears in the examination or should skip that. 
  • Get Updated CAT  Logical Reasoning Preparation Material of Best Coaching Institutes
  • Read CAT toppers’ Logical Reasoning Preparation Strategy
  • Attempt more CAT Logical Reasoning Mocks and Analyse your errors after completing each one

Read More on How to Prepare Logical reasoning for CAT


5.3.4 Quantitative Aptitude for CAT
Quantitative Aptitude in CAT 2021 carries a weightage of 34% in overall CAT 2020 exam. As per the trend in CAT exam during the past 3 years, Quant in CAT exam 2021 will occupy the 3rd and last section. Quant in CAT is considered as the very tricky section as this section can get any composition of topics and different type of questions in MCQ or Non-MCQ format.

Since CAT 2021 test takers will reach this section after spending 120 minutes on other 2 sections, CAT preparation experts and toppers share key CAT quant preparation tip to practice more on this section right from the beginning and prepare themselves to keep their cool till the end of the exam as this section is more calculation based


You need to concentrate more to prepare on Quant in CAT 2021 and therefore require a well devised preparation plan to score high in CAT 2021 exam. Your own devised shortcuts to quickly solve the questions with accuracy will help more. It has become more crucial for aspirants to score high in Quantitative Aptitude section in CAT 2021 without any support of questions from DI part which could be attempted by not so proficient candidates in mathematics.

While it is difficult to determine CAT syllabus for Quantitative Aptitude, it is advisable to prepare as per the changed CAT exam pattern. If you continue preparing as per the old pattern of CAT Quant Syllabus, you may end up with a low score. Although, you cannot rule out the recurrence of questions on forgotten topics in Quantitative Aptitude section, the priority should be given to the current CAT pattern and on the current topics as per revised CAT syllabus


Taking Mocks and sample tests is very important to crack Quantitative Aptitude section in CAT. This fact has been tested by the CAT toppers over a period of time. Taking more mocks on Quant section will expose you to a vast variety of Quantitative Aptitude questions.  

Read More on How to prepare Quant for CAT


Preparation FAQs are answered by CAT experts and toppers on this page as above. However, the most important FAQs to prepare for CAT are answered below:


FAQ-1: What is the ideal CAT preparation time?

Although there is no thumb rule on it, CAT toppers suggest the CAT 2021 aspirants to remain steady and regular in their CAT preparation and always think that CAT exam is round the corner.


FAQ-2: I wish to self prepare for CAT. How do I start preparation without coaching?

First know the CAT exam pattern & syllabus and gather the best preparation books, CAT study material and start your CAT preparation by section without leaving anything to chance.


FAQ-3: How many Mocks before CAT exam are sufficient to take?

As detailed above, the CAT toppers have taken around 40 Mock tests before CAT exam. To prepare for CAT, it is not only sufficient to take Mocks but more important is to analyse your mistakes in them and improve for future.


FAQ-4: What is the role of RC in CAT? How can I improve on it?

Most CAT toppers found themselves weak in RC preparation but with consistent reading and practice, they scored highest percentile in CAT. As suggested above, you should follow the RC preparation tips for CAT.


FAQ-5: Is there sufficient time now to start CAT preparation 2021?   

Since CAT will be held on November 28, 2021, there is still good CAT preparation time which if fruitfully used, can turn the table in your favour.


Read More: CAT 2021 - Exam Date, Registration, Syllabus, Preparation, Books

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