CAT or Common Admissions Test is a computer-based test which serves as the basis for admission to a graduate-level management program. The exam is conducted every year by one of the IIMs or Indian Institute of Management on a rotation basis.
In fact, it was IIM that began conducting this exam to select candidates for their management or business administration programs, but the exam is also used as a basis for admission by a number of business schools in the country, including IIT or Indian Institute of Technology.
The exam covers a total of 3 areas which are Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) and Quantitative Ability (QA).
The exam is an important one for all those looking to get admission in a reputed management institute for a management or business administration program, and this means that it is crucial to be completely prepared for the exam, especially since there are lakhs of candidates that appear for it each year.
Most aspirants begin preparing for the exam a year prior or even before that, so as to be able to cover all topics and all kinds of questions that could be asked in the paper.
A Study Guide for CAT 2020
As mentioned above, the CAT exam is not an easy one (is quite competitive in fact) and since it covers a number of areas, it is necessary to be fully prepared before sitting for the exam. In case of a low score, there are chances that you might have to either enrol in a management institute that is not your preferred choice, or you might have to wait another year to appear for the exam again.
So, to make sure that you do not waste any time and do not have to compromise on the institute or course, here is an effective study guide to help you prepare for CAT 2020:
- Syllabus and Exam Pattern: The general CAT exam pattern and syllabus remain the same, but it is necessary to be fully aware of all the topics that will be included in the exam and the kind of questions (MCQs or non-MCQs) that will be asked. You need to know exactly how many questions will be included, how much time you will have to complete the paper and each section individually, what is the level of difficulty of each section etc. Moreover, you must know about the marking scheme of the exam, which section carries what marks, whether there is negative marking or not, whether you can leave some questions etc. Unless you know all this, you would not be able to prepare yourself adequately.
- Timetable: One of the most important things to do when preparing for an exam like CAT is to prepare a proper timetable and to be disciplined. It is crucial that you practice for the exam on a regular basis so as to not miss out on anything and to not lose touch with the syllabus. You need to decide when you want to study, how much time you want to spend each time when you want to take a break etc. If you are currently pursuing another course, it becomes even more important to decide how much time you want to give to CAT preparations so that you can prepare well.
- Choosing the Right Books: CAT preparation books are one of the best options when preparing for the exam. These books contain important and common questions pertaining to the exam; you would find questions that were included in previous CAT exams and also contain the kind of questions that are likely to be asked. The reason these books are necessary is that they can help you get an overall idea of the nature of questions, the level of difficulty of the paper and will also help you time yourself as you attempt the questions, so as to check where you stand with regards to your preparations. Not only are there books which include all the three topics covered in the exam, but there are books which focus specifically on each section, which means you have the resources to prepare thoroughly for the exam. Some of the books that would be of great use when preparing for CAT 2020 include Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT by Nishit K Sinha, How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT by Arun Sharma, Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Nishit K Sinha amongst many others.
- Coaching or Self Preparation: An important decision you would need to make when preparing for CAT is whether you want to take coaching for the same of whether you want to prepare on your own. There is no right way to do this, but you need to figure out what suits you and your needs better. There are a number of coaching institutes which focus specifically on CAT preparations. The faculty at such institutes have appeared for the exam and has gotten into a reputed management institute which means you would have experienced and qualified mentors to guide you. You can ask for help at any given point of time, and they can clarify any doubts that you may have. Moreover, with coaching, you would have a more fixed and disciplined timetable.
On the other hand, choosing to study on your own is also a good idea, especially if you do not have the time to attend classes. If you do so, make sure to find out every single detail about the exam and its syllabus.
Find the best books to study from and prepare a suitable timetable for yourself.
- Mock Tests: A great way to assess your knowledge is to take mock tests which are prepared exactly as the actual exam. You can find out how much time you take to complete the test and where you get stuck. Taking multiple mock tests will help you work on your speed and is one of the best ways to test just how prepared you are for CAT.
CAT 2020 is an exam which will be taken by a number of students all over the country and will thus be highly competitive. In order to score well at the exam and to be able to get admission in a management institute of your choice, you need to prepare a set plan to help you get ready for it.
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