Everything you must know to ace CAT 2020: Section-wise useful tips for your Preparations

With CAT 2020 exam around the corner, aspiring candidates have begun their preparation activities for one of the toughest national-level examinations.

It is estimated that around 1.25 lakhs students will appear for CAT 2020  for securing a seat in notable business schools and management institutions of the country.

Therefore, with a tough level of competition, is necessary for an aspirant to analyse every information related to the updated exam pattern, marking scheme, preparation strategies and much more.

CAT 2020, national-level entrance examination for the academic session of 2021 has been scheduled on 29th November 2020. The exam will be conducted by the Indian Institute of Management as a Computer Based Test (CBT). 

The application window for CAT 2020 was opened initially on 5th August, while students could submit their applications till 16th September 2020. Students have now begun the preparation for the exam. Therefore, it is essential to know about all the tips and tricks while preparing for the test.

CAT 2020: Exam Pattern and Marking Scheme  

Analysing the CAT format holds key importance in drawing the exam strategy while scoring maximum marks. Here are a few details regarding the exam format for CAT 2020.

  • The question paper comprises of a total of 100 questions.
  •  There are a total of three sections namely 

              Section 1: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension 

              Section 2: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

              Section 3: Quantitative Ability

  • For every correct answer, +3 marks will be awarded. For every incorrect or unanswered question, -1 mark is deducted from every question. This negative marking scheme is not applicable to non-MCQ questions.
  • Every aspirant will be allowed a total of 60 minutes per section for answering the paper.

CAT 2020: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension Section 

The verbal ability and reading comprehension section comprises of a total of 34 questions. Out of 34 questions, 7 are non-MCQ type.

Therefore, the difficulty level of this section is relatively higher as compared to other sections of the paper. The breakdown for this section as per the topics and subjects are mentioned herewith.  

S No

Subjects/Topics asked in the paper 

Estimate number of questions 


Sentence Correction 



Jumbled Sentence 


3 Para Summary  3-4
4 Facts, Inference and Judgement 2-3
5 Reading Comprehension  24

CAT 2020: Useful preparation tips

Here are a few preparation tips for scoring good marks, particularly in the verbal ability and reading comprehension section.

Certain specific preparation tips are mentioned herewith. One of the key preparation tips is to identify the passing element in the content given.

  • The key step is to identify the main idea of passage theme of the content given. Themes could vary from spheres like technology, literature to medicines or poetry. The aspirant would be provided with arguments and counter-arguments on the same subjects. Therefore, analysing the passage theme is an essential step.
  • Analysing the author’s view and thinking on similar lines can be beneficial. The readers need to understand the context of the passage.
  • The conclusion of the passage must be analysed as well. The conclusion often comprises further sub-conclusions or may leave the readers with a question in mind. Understanding the context of the conclusion and drawing a storyline or connecting the dots of the content given can help the candidate in analysing what is asked and what is the content about.
  • The reading approach adopted while answering the question also helps in understanding the time management limitations. Some aspirants read and understand the content first and then try to answer the given questions while others adopt a reverse approach while answering the questions. The latter usually read the questions first and then try to read the content given while simultaneously drawing answering out of it. The candidates can adopt any of the two approaches relevant to them. However, the approach depends on the skills of the person and their time management skills as well.

After analysing the passage elements, the aspirants need to figure out a few tactics and tricks while answering the questions in the allotted time frame. Here are a few tips for answering the questions correctly.

  • Understanding grammar and its elements are important. Therefore, the aspirant must start preparing with basic subjects like subject-subject-verb agreement or proposals or types of speeches. After understanding basic subjects and topics, the candidate can move further and study complex topics like indirect and direct speeches, types of voices, etc.
  • In the case of jumbled sentence questions, the aspirants must try to analyse the subject of the given words and should further look for conclusions like ‘but’, ‘however’, etc. Post the aspirants can focus on articles like ‘a’, ‘an’ or ‘the’. In this manner, a proper sentence could be framed.
  • The aspirant can also take help from eradication methods. Certain questions are there to misleading the aspirant, thus, making him spend more time on them. Therefore, the options must also be read carefully while deciding which question to opt for and which to leave.

The key strategy for scoring good marks in the CAT 2020 examination is to plan out an effective preparation plan while concentration on every topic or sub-topic. This would help the aspirant in understanding his or her weakness and further selecting the questions to answer accordingly.

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