Tips by CAT topper
Tips from CAT toppers for CAT  preparation, featuring insights from IIM A, IIM B, IIM C, and IIM K.


Preparing for the Common Admission Test (CAT) can be a daunting task for most aspirants. With its reputation for being one of the toughest management aptitude exams in India, it is no wonder that students are constantly on the lookout for effective strategies to improve their chances of scoring high. Thankfully, there are some valuable insights that can be gained from CAT toppers who have successfully cracked the exam. In this article, we will explore some essential tips from toppers on preparing for CAT and maximising your score. One of the key aspects of the preparation strategy shared by CAT toppers is the effective use of mock tests. Mock tests serve as a crucial tool for familiarising oneself with the exam pattern, pacing oneself, and identifying areas that need improvement.

In addition to taking mock tests, toppers emphasise the need for a thorough analysis of the results. Merely attempting mock tests without reviewing the answers and understanding the reasons for incorrect responses can hinder improvement. Aspirants are advised to critically analyse the mistakes made in these tests and work on rectifying them. This process helps identify weak areas that require more attention and enables candidates to sharpen their problem-solving skills. Furthermore, CAT toppers suggest solving previous years’ question papers to better understand the exam pattern and practice different types of questions. By doing so, students become familiar with the exam’s format and can strategise accordingly, thus increasing their chances of scoring well. To maximise your CAT score, it is essential to manage your time effectively during the exam. CAT Toppers suggests practicing time-bound tests to hone your speed and accuracy. Adopting smart techniques, such as skimming and skipping questions when necessary, can help optimise your time usage, ensuring that you attempt a maximum number of questions within the given timeframe.

Another crucial tip shared by CAT toppers is to maintain consistency in their preparation. Regular study hours, revision of concepts, and staying updated with current affairs are key to building a solid foundation and staying ahead of the competition. It is essential to strike a balance between studying and taking breaks to avoid burnout. While aiming for a perfect 100% score in CAT may seem unattainable to some, toppers suggest focusing on individual section scores. By dividing your preparation time and efforts proportionately among the different sections, you can work towards maximising your overall score. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses in each section and dedicating more time to the weaker areas can help improve your performance.

In conclusion, cracking CAT requires a well-planned preparation strategy. By effectively utilising mock tests, analysing results, solving previous years’ papers, managing time wisely, and maintaining consistency, aspirants can enhance their chances of achieving a high score. Following the tips shared by CAT toppers can serve as a CAT exam guide. 

CAT toppers should be your foremost resource when seeking advice on cracking the CAT entrance test. Whether devising mock test strategies, navigating the syllabus, comprehending the exam pattern, or selecting study materials, there’s no better guidance than those who’ve aced the process with a perfect 100% score. In this article, PaGaLGuY presents invaluable insights from CAT toppers, covering preparation timelines, choosing coaching institutes, crafting effective study plans, required preparation time, and more. Secure the link and safeguard this invaluable resource for your CAT exam journey.

Also Read: Top 30 Must-Know IIM Interview Questions to Ace IIM Admissions | MBA Selection Guide

Preparation Tips by Toppers: CAT Preparation 2023

Discover firsthand advice from CAT toppers who have excelled in the exam, securing admissions to the nation’s premier b-schools.

Which coaching institute is best for CAT preparation? How do I prepare for the CAT mock test?

As I embarked on my CAT preparation journey, I joined a coaching institute called IQuanta—an online coaching institute for MBA entrance exams. It became my cornerstone for preparation, supplemented by IMS mocks to bolster my preparation level. My reference materials included books by Arun Sharma for LRDI and Verbal sections, maintaining a balance across all three areas.

In Verbal, elimination techniques, diverse RCs, and varied Verbal Ability questions were my focus. For DILR, I prioritised understanding question types and practised extensively. In Quant, mastering Algebra and Arithmetic was paramount due to their prominence.

Daily preparation plan remained flexible, setting and meeting targets. Mock tests were pivotal during challenges, assessing my proficiency, enhancing time management, and pinpointing areas needing work. Mocks shaped my mindset and bolstered my exam-day confidence.

Navigating the highs and lows, early mock scores demotivated me, but I embraced learning from them. Facing burnout, I preserved my cycling passion— a break after each mock. Cycling rejuvenated me, revitalising my preparation with renewed energy and determination.

Sanjit Sarkar, 99%tiler CAT’22, IIM Ahmedabad 

How do I study for the CAT along with my job?

My priority was to manage time effectively during CAT preparation, especially as a working professional. I confronted this challenge head-on with a disciplined routine. Given my flexible work hours starting at 11 a.m., I capitalised on mornings by waking up at 5:30 a.m. for focused study. Compartmentalising work and study schedules allowed me to stay dedicated to both fronts without overlap.

In the midst of burnout and self-doubt, I found solace in reconnecting with friends and taking short social breaks. These moments recharged me, renewing my motivation for CAT preparation.

My journey offers practical insights for fellow professionals. Tailoring schedules to personal inclinations, separating work and study time, and optimising weekends for catch-up is vital. Consistency and self-awareness are key, with consistent, focused hours daily outweighing irregular sessions. Taking mock tests assesses growth, with Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation needing extra attention. Comparisons are discouraged; self-improvement takes precedence. 

Rohith S G Mudedla, 98.93%tiler, CAT’22, IIM Bangalore

Also Read: How to Crack IIM Ahmedabad Interview? Tips By IIM Converts – IIM Interview Questions and Answers, Ft. Personal Interview Experiences 

What is the best way to prepare for CAT with independent study?

Reflecting on my journey towards an MBA, the idea of pursuing an MBA first ignited during my engineering years. During this time, my passion for operations research grew, and my role at ITC underscored the importance of comprehensive business insights. The allure of an MBA became increasingly clear—it was the gateway to deepening my understanding of supply chain management and expanding my career prospects.

As I approached the CAT exam, I opted for a self-study approach. Mock exams played a crucial role in honing my skills, and I delved into advanced concepts. I decided to leave my job, allowing me to fully dedicate myself to focused preparation while committing some of my time to teaching underprivileged kids. My journey from being an average student to earning Engineering Honors was a testament to the power of therapy and unwavering determination.

The timeline for CAT readiness can vary, and it took me five months to prepare adequately. In my second attempt at the exam, improving my VARC (Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension) section was key after achieving a 97 percentile in 2020. My strategies for each section varied:

  • For VARC, I focused on honing my weak areas, particularly reading speed, which I improved through reading editorials. The elimination technique proved to be a valuable tool in boosting my VARC scores. IMS mocks and PK De Sarkar’s book were my trusted guides.
  • In DILR (Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning), I identified my strengths through practice. My strategy prioritised DI (Data Interpretation) and an accuracy-focused approach.
  • For Quantitative Ability (Quant), I organised my preparation into subsections to make it more manageable. Flexibility and prioritising accuracy over quantity were crucial principles guiding my quantitative preparation. Developing strategies for each section was a process that came with practice, and insights from my strengths and weaknesses were invaluable in shaping these strategies. The review of mock tests played a pivotal role, as I learned from my mistakes and continuously improved.

To prevent burnout and realign my focus, I took breaks with friends. During the course of 150 days, I completed 20 full-length mocks and 50 sectional mocks, a strategy that I found optimal for my preparation.

Now, as I step into SP Jain’s PGP programme with a focus on Supply Chain Management, I am fueled by short-term goals. My vision is to become a leader with empathy, and I look forward to the holistic B-School experience that awaits me. The future holds the promise of growth beyond my current standing.

Mayukh Sur, 98.57%iler CAT’22, MBA – SPJIMR 

Also Read: CAT 2023 Preparation: Toppers Tips and Study Guide by Mayukh Sur, 98.57%iler CAT’22

CAT Preparation Schedule: Is it a Must?

I approached CAT twice—once in 2020 and again in 2021—achieving a flawless 100% in the latter attempt. My sectional scores were VARC at 47.73, DILR at 53.06, and Quants at 58.35, resulting in a total scaled score of 159.13. My percentiles were as follows: VARC 99.33, DILR 100, Quants 99.99, and Overall 100.

My preparation journey involved immersing myself in solving mock papers, with a particular focus on enhancing my Verbal Ability through detailed analysis. I want to emphasise that coaching isn’t a mandatory requirement; I found substantial support from the TIME and IMS mock series, which helped me understand the test structure effectively.

For aspiring CAT 2022 candidates, my advice is to trust yourselves, prioritise accuracy over speed, and approach the journey as a valuable learning process. Having a well-thought-out strategy, effective stress management techniques, and maintaining a positive outlook are of utmost importance. Remember that it’s about the desire to learn, not just the pressure to achieve a high score. Believe in yourselves, work on improving your weaknesses, and navigate the CAT journey with unwavering confidence.

Soham Katkar, 100%iler, CAT’21, MBA – IIM Calcutta 

Also Read: How To Ace The GDPI Process at GIM? Tips By Goa Institute of Management MBA Converts | GD PI WAT Preparation Strategy & Topics List

What are the Important Factors in Creating a Full-Proof CAT Preparation Strategy?

As someone who has achieved a flawless score in the CAT Exam three times over the past five years (2016, 2020, and 2021), I believe in annually preparing for CAT, one of India’s most demanding tests. My objective isn’t merely admission to a top B-school/IIM; it’s about staying attuned to evolving exam patterns and syllabus. My aim is to teach students how to excel. Having passed CAT and graduated from IIM Ahmedabad in 2011, I now counsel and coach students for top Indian and overseas business schools.

My journey commenced in the banking sector, but teaching became my true calling. I’ve empowered thousands of students for exams like CAT, XAT, etc. My forte lies in simplifying mathematics and motivating students on their preparation journey.

I achieved a 100 percentile in CAT 2021. Conceptual clarity and diverse application areas are fundamental for CAT prep. After concepts, revision and mocks play a key role. They unveil weak points, allowing targeted improvement. Strong fundamentals and solving previous years’ papers are vital.

A mentor guides with discipline and consistency, which are pivotal in channelling efforts correctly. Ultimately, self-belief is paramount; it’s a journey towards our aspirations. This journey, matched with assisting students, defines Possible Education’s ethos.

Rahul Sharma, 3X 100%iler, CAT’16, 20, 21, MBA – IIM Ahmedabad 

Also Read: How I got admission at IIM Ahmedabad: Sanjit Sarkar, CAT 2022, 99%tiler

FAQs on CAT Preparation 2023

1. How do you score 100% in CAT?

Scoring a perfect 100% in CAT is extremely rare but achievable with:

  1. Rigorous preparation in all sections.
  2. Consistent mock test practice.
  3. Prioritising accuracy over speed.
  4. Sectional strategies.
  5. Managing exam anxiety.
  6. Learning from mistakes.
  7. Staying updated with exam changes.
  8. Self-confidence and persistence.

Along with following these steps one also needs to be dedicated towards your preparations along with proper time management. 

2. How many questions do I need to answer in order to get 100% in CAT exam? 

In the CAT exam, achieving a perfect 100% score doesn’t necessarily mean answering every single question correctly. The CAT scoring system is based on a scaled score, and it takes into account the difficulty level of the questions. The exact number of questions you need to answer correctly for a perfect score can vary from year to year based on the test’s difficulty. Typically, scoring in the top percentile range (around 99.5 to 99.9 percentile) can put you in contention for a perfect 100% score. However, it’s more about getting the maximum number of questions right while managing the challenging ones effectively rather than answering every question on the test.

3. What are some highly recommended coaching options for CAT exam preparation?

There are several coaching options that are highly recommended for CAT exam preparation. Some of the top choices include:

  • TIME (Triumphant Institute of Management Education): TIME is a well-established coaching institute known for its comprehensive CAT preparation programmes. They offer a range of study materials, mock tests, and personalised guidance.
  • IMS (IMS Learning Resources): IMS has a strong reputation for CAT coaching. They provide extensive study materials, classroom coaching, and online resources.
  • Career Launcher: Career Launcher offers CAT coaching with a focus on both classroom and online programmes. They have experienced faculty and a variety of study materials.
  • Byju’s: Byju’s, known for its digital learning solutions, also offers CAT preparation courses. They combine video lessons and interactive content for effective learning.
  • VidyaMandir Classes: This coaching institute is renowned for its mathematics coaching, which can be beneficial for the quantitative section of CAT.
  • IQuanta: IQuanta is an online coaching platform that specialises in CAT and other MBA entrance exams. They offer a unique approach to preparation with a focus on shortcuts and innovative techniques.
  • 2IIM: 2IIM provides online CAT coaching with a focus on mathematics and quantitative aptitude. They are known for their quality study materials.

Remember that the best coaching option for you depends on your individual learning style, preferences, and the level of support you require. It’s a good idea to research and consider factors such as faculty expertise, study materials, mock test quality, and your budget when choosing a coaching programme for CAT preparation.

4. What should be my final month preparation strategy for CAT exam? 

In the final month before the CAT exam:

  1. Take regular mock tests for assessment.
  2. Revise key concepts across sections.
  3. Practice time management rigorously.
  4. Review and learn from mistakes.
  5. Manage stress through relaxation techniques.
  6. Stay updated on any exam changes.
  7. Stick to a test-taking strategy.
  8. Maintain self-confidence and positivity.

Avoid learning entirely new topics and focus on fine-tuning your existing skills for the best results.

5: What should I do the last day before my CAT exam?

The day before your CAT exam is crucial for ensuring you perform at your best. Here’s a recommended plan of action:

1. Relax and Rest: Don’t cram new concepts or study intensely the day before the exam. Instead, focus on resting your mind. Your brain needs to be sharp on exam day, and overloading it with information can be counterproductive.

2. Review Key Concepts: Go through your notes or flashcards of key formulas, concepts, and strategies. This should be a light review to boost your confidence.

3. Time Management: Spend some time planning how you’ll manage your time during the exam. Consider how much time you’ll allocate to each section and question. This will help you stay on track during the actual test.

4. Mock Test Analysis: If you’ve taken mock tests, review your performance. Identify areas where you made mistakes and understand why. Focus on not repeating those mistakes during the actual exam.

5. Gather Essentials: Ensure you have all the necessary documents and materials ready for the exam day. This includes your CAT admit card, photo ID, stationery, and any other items required by the test centre.

6. Relaxation Techniques: Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to calm your nerves. Anxiety can affect your performance, so it’s essential to keep stress in check.

7. Healthy Meals: Eat a well-balanced, easily digestible meal. Avoid heavy, greasy, or unfamiliar foods that might upset your stomach. Staying hydrated is also important.

8. Sleep Early: Aim for a good night’s sleep. Your body and mind need to be well-rested to perform optimally. Avoid staying up late to study; it’s more important to be well-rested.

9. Plan Your Journey: If your test centre is not at your usual location, plan your journey in advance. Make sure you know how to get there, how long it will take, and account for any potential traffic or delays.

10. Stay Positive: Maintain a positive mindset. Remind yourself of your preparation and hard work. Confidence can boost your performance.

11. Disconnect from Distractions: Minimise distractions by staying away from social media, video games, or any activities that can make your mind restless.

12. Backup Plans: Have a backup plan in case something unexpected happens, like a transportation issue. Knowing you have a plan B can reduce stress.

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Remember that the day before the CAT exam is about mental preparation and ensuring that you’re in the best possible condition on the actual exam day. Trust in your preparation, stay calm, and give your best effort. Good luck!

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