CAT Preparation 2023: How to Prepare for CAT Exam, Tips and Material

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Updated on
August 30, 2023

CAT 2023 Preparation: Exam on Nov 26; Check Your Month Wise CAT Prep Plan; How to Start CAT preparation - Books, Strategy, Options, CAT Topper Tips  


Latest Updates

  • CAT 2023 Exam Date: Sunday November 26, 2023
  • CAT 2023 Question Paper Sectional Division: 3 Sections – VARC, DILR, QA
  • Sectional Time Limit: Individual Time Limit of 40 Minutes
  • Total Questions in CAT Exam 2023: 66
  • CAT Prep Tips: Focus equally on all three sections as each section has separate cut off
  • Check CAT Preparation Guide, Day wise CAT Preparation Plan, Toppers’ Tips as Below

If you are planning to do MBA from one of the top IIMs, you need to prepare for CAT exam and should begin the preparation without delay. 3-4 months of preparation can enable you to crack CAT with good score, although the CAT exam offers tough competition to get into IIMs or other top B-schools. However, the preparation for CAT 2023, the best and largest MBA entrance exam requires a well-planned approach with time management. According to Arun Sharma, Founder of Mindworkzz and Mentor & Coach for CAT exam preparation, “Students should not treat CAT preparation in the same way as preparation for any academic course. CAT preparation has to be a Problem-Solving approach which means that students have to see CAT exam as a problem they are trying to solve. They should have a clear idea of what their CAT percentile and score goals are.”


IIM Lucknow is conducting CAT 2023 exam on November 26, 2023 in 3 slots of 2 hours duration each. More than two lakh candidates appear in Common Admission Test (CAT) every year and the number is still rising, giving a good volume of competition in MBA admission. 


CAT 2023

Many changes in the CAT exam pattern, number of questions among others have been made by IIMs. CAT 2023 is a computer based test of 2 hours with 66 questions divided in three sections. CAT preparation strategy also needs to be slightly changed from previous year.  Read below how to start  CAT preparation, which are the important sections and topics to prepare, CAT Preparation Tips 2023 for beginners by toppers and more.  

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Start CAT Preparation 2023?
  2. Month-wise CAT Preparation Plan 2023
  3. Tips on How to Prepare for CAT Exam?
  4. Three Modes of CAT 2023 Preparation
  5. Five Step Preparation Strategy for CAT 2023
  6. FAQs on CAT Preparation Plan 2023

1. How to Start CAT Preparation 2023?

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. With the expected changes in CAT 2023 pattern, the CAT preparation plan 2023 according to experts, should also be changed. Experts have advised following CAT preparation plan 2023:

CAT Exam 2023: Key Highlights
Required Change in preparation Plan
Number of questions goes down to 66 from earlier 100
Test taking stratgey to be tweaked. Selection of questions becomes important
Reduced Overall CAT duration to 2 hours and Sectional duration to 40 Minutes each
Students should focus on preparation. Exam could prove more beneficial with more time and 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
Keep total number of questions and duration for your mock test as per CAT pattern. This will give you a real feel of new CAT pattern

CAT coach and expert Arun Sharma is of the view that you can prepare well for CAT in a few months provided you are devoted to CAT preparation and have a dedicated preparation schedule. Sharing key tips and Strategy for CAT 2023 preparation, he said, “As CAT is a score based exam, you need to start with the score target, rather than doing generic preparation for CAT when you have only 120 -150 days left.”


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. These apply as the CAT Preparation Tips 2023 for beginners as well as for those who are preparing for CAT for 2nd or 3rd time. 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. 

2. Month wise CAT Preparation Plan 2023

The CAT preparation plan 2023 for next 4-5 or 6 months, include your judiciously divided preparation hours and everything related to CAT preparation like CAT 2023 Preparation Through Coaching; CAT 2023 Preparation Through Self-Study with at least 30 minutes of daily reading of newspapers, attending expert sessions on CAT 2023 exam preparation, your practice sessions, doubt solving sessions and all other preparation related steps.


In next few months, you have close to 3600 hours available with you and according to CAT experts, you are expected to spend 15 to 20% of available hours out of 24 hours per day on CAT preparation. In last 3 months obviously, you will have more speed, will go for more practice sessions and so will spend more time on CAT exam 2023 preparation. Accordingly, you have to spend 800 hours on CAT preparation and divide the same on Scanning the CAT Syllabus and divide it into sections for study; Choose Time Lines to complete the task one after another. It included your CAT 2023 Preparation through Coaching, CAT 2023 preparation through self study as follows:


  • First 90 Days: Clear the Concepts & their Applications, Go for Tests. By the end of 85 days, you will know the topics, type of questions, that are asked in CAT VARC, LR, QA sections, their key concepts, how to answer
  • Next 60 Days: Devise Strategy and Take Mocks, Sectional tests
  • Last 30 Days: Go for revision and frame final strategy

2.1: 180 CAT 2023 Preparation: Section wise Plan

How to Prepare for CAT 2023: VARC; How to Prepare for CAT 2023: DILR; How to Prepare for CAT 2023: Quantitative Aptitude and how to start CAT Preparation, where to start, what to study, what is the step by step process to prepare for CAT 2023 in 180 days – all is detailed below:

2.1.1 CAT Preparation Study Plan: April, May, June, July

During April, May, June, July, devote 500 hours minimum to strengthen your concepts on the topics as per CAT syllabus and get complete clarity with attempting exercise questions on each concept simultaneously. This will help you to revise and understand how strong your basics have become and where you need further study of concepts.

2.2 CAT Preparation Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

CAT preparation tips for Verbal Ability and CAT preparation tips for Reading Comprehension are to focus both on Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension. You can very well prepare for VARC section in 150 Hours in following manner

Verbal Ability (Vocab)/ Grammar
30 min per day
Reading Comprehension
30 min per day
Total Hours for VA and RC practice
90 hours
Classes (10)
30 hours
Practice on Topic Tests (100 Tests)
30 hours
Total for Next 120 days
150 hours

2.3 CAT Preparation Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

DILR is an important section in CAT exam and mostly candidates are not able to score high in this section. So, how to Prepare DILR for CAT 2023 is an important aspect. Sharing the key preparation tips for DILR, experts and toppers suggest to practice more on problems based on Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, apart from getting clarity on concepts. With your judiciously planned CAT preparation you need 130 hours to prepare well for DILR

Total Classes you need (10-15)
30 hours
Revision of Classes you will need
30 hours
Daily Practice of DI and LR sets (30 minutes per day)
50 hours
Practice on Topic Tests (50 Tests)
20 hours
Total for Next 100 days
130 hours

2.3.1 DILR Topics to Study

Topics & Problems on Data Interpretation
Topics & Problems on Logical Reasoning
Tables – Calculation based
Arrangements - Linear
Tables – non-Calculation
Arrangements – Circular
Bar Charts
Grouping and Distribution
Pie Charts
Line Graphs
Networks and Routes
Spider Graphs
Venn Diagrams
Triangle Graphs
Binary Logic
Scatter Diagrams
Games and Tournaments
Other Puzzles

2.4 CAT Preparation Quantitative Ability

How to Prepare Quantitative Aptitude for CAT 2023? This standalone section comprises Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry and latest additions of Mathematics. You must learn the formulae and practice as much as possible to crack this section. The CAT QA preparation, if planned well, can get you a high score and percentile even if you are not from Mathematics back ground. You can prepare well for Quantitative Ability section in CAT in 180 hours. The plan should be

QA Classes on different topics (30)
30 hours
Revision of Classes & Exercises
90 hours
Practice on Topic Tests (100 tests)
30 hours
Total for Next 120 days
180 hours

2.4.1 Month wise QA Topics to Prepare

QA Topics
Time to devote for Preparation
July & Part of August
Algebra & Numbers
Geometry & Mensuration, Revision of Arithmetic
Revision of Algebra & Numbers
Focus on Revision, Practice

2.5 Overall 3 Section Month-wise Preparation Plan till CAT exam

Algebra Numbers
G&M, others, Revision of Arithmetic
Revision of Algebra, Nos
All Revision
Tables, Bars, Caselets, Pie, Charts, Line Speed Math
Spider, Scatter, Missing Numbers, Caselets
Arrangements, Distribution
G&T, VennD, Selection, Networks
Other Puzzles, Caselets, Cubes Revision

3. Tips on How to Prepare for CAT Exam?

Following tips on how to prepare for CAT exam are shared by experts and toppers:

( 1 ) CAT Mocks: Take More Mocks for CAT 2023- Start from August:

Attempting maximum number of Mocks for CAT and analysing each of them is as important as appearing in actual CAT 2023 exam. So, what should be the Mock taking strategy and how many mocks you need to attempt – key tips on how to prepare for CAT exam through Mocks are shared below to prepare well for CAT 2023. 

Devote 2 Hours to Attempt 1 Mock Test:

Each Mock should be of 2 hours duration and you not only have to attempt the mock but also have to maximise your attempts with accuracy. How it can be achieved-Check below

Devote 3 hours to Analyse a Mock Test:

After completing your CAT mock test in 2 hours, next 3 hours should be devoted to its analysis so that you may understand where you have gone wrong. Identifying your errors and rectifying them, will consistently improve your test taking strategy. If you take the mock at the scheduled hour, you will be ready for CAT day.

When to Start Taking Mocks? Check here:

According to CAT experts, you should start taking Mocks and analyse each of them, beginning from August 3rd or 4th week

300 Hours that You Need for Different Types of Mocks:

You need to attempt 4 Types of Mocks, says CAT expert and mentor, Arks Srinivas. These four type of Mock tests that you would take in 300 hours and their time division to get ready for CAT exam day are:


75 Hours for Prime Mocks: Beginning from August, you must start taking full length prime mock tests.

  • There should be 15 mock tests of 2 hours duration and each mock should be divided into 3 sections – VARC, DILR, Quant
  • Each section in mock test to have sectional time limit of 40 minutes as is there in the CAT exam
  • Each 2 hours Mock test should go through the 3 hours analysis to check and avoid any recurrence of similar mistake.

75 Hours for Count Down Mocks: After the first 75 hours, you need to move to full length count Down Mocks. Since CAT exam starts coming a bit closer, you would also be increasing your CAT preparation time.

  • There will be at least 15 count down mock tests of 2 hours duration
  • Like Prime mock, each Count Down Mock will be divided into 3 sections – VARC, DILR, Quant.
  • Each section in mock test will have sectional time limit of 40 minutes, like actual CAT exam. Each 2 hours Mock test will again go through the 3 hours analysis to avoid any future error.

Sectional Mocks in 90 Hours: Next most important thing is to attempt sectional mocks. In other words these are the sectional CAT papers.

  • You need to attempt at least 15 Mock Tests on VARC;
  • 15 Mock Tests on DILR Section and
  • 15 mock tests on Quant section.
  • Each sectional mock will be of 40 minute duration
  • Each Sectional Mock will be followed by 80 minutes of analysis to check your preparedness in each section.

( 2 ) Solve Actual CAT Papers in 60 Hours:

Since 2017 IIMs have started releasing the CAT exam papers for all the slots with answers. CAT Exam Preparation with Last Years Exam Papers can prove to be very much beneficial as you get actual CAT questions and answers for them

  • There are total 15 CAT question papers available so far, that you need to go through, solve and analyse
  • In 2017, 2018, 2019 CAT was conducted in two slots of 3 hours duration on same day.
  • In 2020, 2021, 2022 CAT was conducted in 3 slots of 2 hours duration on the same day.
  • There are 6 CAT question papers of 2017, 2018 and 2019 as there were 2 slots in each CAT exam,
  • There are 9 CAT papers for 2020, 2021 and 2022 as there were 3 slots in each CAT exam.
  • It is very important that you solve and analyse these CAT papers.
Type of Mocks
Prime Mocks
Count Down Mocks
Original CAT Question papers
Total Mocks
Sectional Tests

4. Three Modes of CAT 2023 Preparation

To help the CAT aspirants to prepare and crack CAT 2023 with high score, Experts at & CAT toppers advise the following three modes for CAT exam preparation. The CAT Exam Preparation Tips & Tricks Related Resources as suggested by the experts and toppers are:

  1. CAT 2023 Preparation through Self Study: Prepare with Self Study with right CAT study material for exam preparation, or
  2. CAT 2023 Preparation through Coaching: Prepare by Joining a CAT coaching institute in offline or online mode
  3. CAT 2023 Preparation in Blended Mode: Prepare for CAT by Self Study, CAT coaching, gather best online videos for CAT preparation

5. Five Step Preparation Strategy for CAT 2023

Even if you make a choice between self study or joining a coaching, the 5 step strategy as shared below for CAT exam preparation 2023, according to the experts must consist of following components and must be completed at least a fortnight before the CAT exam day. Read below to understand How to prepare for CAT exam 2023 in 5 steps.   

  • Step-1: Check CAT 2023 Exam Pattern & Syllabus
  • Step-2: CAT Exam Preparation without Coaching or Through Coaching? Make a choice
  • Step-3: Best Books for preparation: Get best CAT Preparation Materials, prepare section wise strategy
  • Step-4: Take Mocks to check your current CAT Exam Preparation Level
  • Step-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.

Step Wise Preparation Strategy for CAT 2023

Let’s understand each step of Preparation plan for CAT exam

CAT Preparation

Step-1. Understand CAT 2023 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 2023 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.

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1.1 Check CAT Exam Pattern 2023

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 2023. 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 2023 will consist of 3 sections with a total of 66  questions. Each section is timed with the individual time limit of 40 minutes. Your plan to prepare for CAT 2023 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:

1.1.1 CAT 2023 pattern

CAT 2023 exam components
Total questions
Total MCQs (With negative marking)
Total Non-MCQs (Without negative marking)
Section-1: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
4 RC Passages with MCQs; VA Non MCQs divided into Para jumbles, Para Summary, and Out of Context Sentences
Section-2: Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
LR – 10 Ques
DI – 10 Ques
All in Sets of 3 & 4 Qs
Section-3: Quantitative Ability (QA)
High on Arithmetic. Other on Log, Geometry, Roots, Algebra

Source: Expected CAT 2023 Pattern


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 2023 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 2023 with high score you need to gather your CAT 2023 Study Material and begin your preparation without waiting any longer. Read More about CAT 2023 Exam Pattern

1.2 CAT Syllabus 2023

  • Once you know about the CAT Pattern 2023, 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 2023 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 2023 Syllabus

Step-2: CAT 2023 Exam Preparation 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 2023 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 CAT 2023 Preparation through Self Study

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 2023 study material.


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

 2.1.1 How to Start Self Preparation without Coaching?

A big question, how to start preparation without coaching, is answered well by CAT experts. They are of the view that you can start CAT preparation 2022 without coaching with the help of best books for CAT recommended by toppers, like 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 2023, CAT Mock test 2022 that can hone your preparation. All these will make you aware how to prepare for CAT without coaching and are the best tools for 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. 

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 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 2023 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 now, the time is reduced to 1.8 minute per question to solve. Ironically it will not be sufficient to score overall high in CAT 2023; your section wise score should also be high to become eligible for shortlisting at IIMs.
  • CAT exam preparation 2023 should equip you with continuous sitting for more than 2-3 hours without break. To achieve this you are required to take more Mocks, CAT previous year test papers.

2.1.3 CAT 2023 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 CAT exam preparation 2023: 

  • Go through the revised CAT exam pattern & CAT syllabus 2023 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 2023
  • Take as many CAT Mocks as possible 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 2023 Preparation through Coaching: A Good Option to Prepare for CAT 

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.


Please note that while preparing with CAT Coaching, it is important to find out the best coaching for CAT exam. Besides, 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.

Check Strategy of CAT Preparation with Toppers

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 Preparation Tips for Working Professionals

CAT online preparation can be done though CAT online coaching as well as by taking preparation material online. For example, Best Online Videos for CAT Preparations can help you in your smart preparation. 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

Step-3: Best Books for CAT 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 2022 aspirants
  • Use the study material of best online coaching for CAT 2022

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 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 preparation tool for Quant for past many years:

  • ‘How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude 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


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Step-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 TestUnless 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 preparation 2023 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 2023: Importance

CAT 2023 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.


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 2023, 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

Step-5. CAT Preparation With Toppers: Learning & Tips 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 2023 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 2023 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 to Prepare for CAT Exam

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 is ‘As the 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.”  

5.2 Prepare for each Section in CAT

CAT 2023 exam will have 3 sections. Each section is timed with the individual time limit. With your well planned preparation strategy, you need to plan the preparation section 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 2023 preparation should be smart enough. The best way to prepare for CAT 2023 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 2023 with a high score.

5.2.1 Section-1: Reading Comprehension for CAT

CAT preparation by section should begin with VARC. Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension in CAT 2023 exam will be the 1st section. Reading Comprehension part in VARC section is considered as 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 2023. 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 2023 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 2023

  • 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

5.2.2 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 6-8 questions in MCQ format on Verbal Ability. You need to prepare following three types of questions as per the current CAT syllabus. There are 2-3 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

5.2.3 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 20-22 questions in DILR section divided into 10-11 questions for Data Interpretation and 10-11 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 2023 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 2023 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 2022 is available online also which can help you in CAT 2023 DILR preparation and will also save your time also.

Logical Reasoning questions in CAT can be your score booster upto 30-33 core marks leading to an improvement of overall percentile by 20-25 in CAT 2023. LR in CAT constitutes 50% share in the newly created Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation Comprehension (DILR) Section in CAT with 10-11 questions. As such, the goal of scoring high in CAT 2023 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

5.2.4 Quantitative Aptitude for CAT

Quantitative Aptitude in CAT 2023 carries a weightage of 33 to 34% in overall CAT 2023 exam. As per the trend in CAT exam during the past 3 years, Quant in CAT exam 2023 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 2023 test takers will reach this section after spending 80 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


While it is difficult to determine CAT syllabus for Quantitative Aptitude, it is advisable to prepare as per the changed CAT exam pattern which has higher weightage on Arithmetic based questions. 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


You need to concentrate more to prepare on Quant in CAT 2023 and therefore require a well devised preparation plan to score high in CAT 2023 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 2023 without any support of questions from DI part which could be attempted by not so proficient candidates in mathematics.

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

6. FAQs on CAT Preparation

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 2023 aspirants to remain steady and regular in their 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 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?   

Since CAT is likely to be held on November 26, 2023, there is still good preparation time which if fruitfully used, can turn the table in your favour.


Read More: CAT 2023 - Exam Date, Pattern, Syllabus, Preparation, Books

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