CAT Preparation Strategy For Working Professionals

Working professionals need a big dose of discipline to prepare for their CAT. The job (or boss!) demands time. Moreover, this group is out of the ‘study mode’ hence concentration spans required in studying and taking the test need to be nurtured a…

Working professionals need a big dose of discipline to prepare for their CAT. The job (or boss!) demands time. Moreover, this group is out of the 'study mode' hence concentration spans required in studying and taking the test need to be nurtured and enhanced.

On the positive side, it is very likely that they are more familiar with all concepts and already have had the experience of going through the preparation cycle at least once. However, it is even more important for them to start their prep and prep planning at the earliest. This article contains some pointers to keep in mind while preparing for CAT in the next six months. This includes

Identify Where You Stand
Take the diagnostic test. Identify strengths and weaknesses. Do not let pride stand in the way of preparation. Even if you're from a tier I engineering college and have difficulties with Quant – Admit it! Your Rusty Brain might have lost the hold of basic fundamentals used in CAT Verbal & Quant Sections! What your strengths previously were, might have dulled by time into weaknesses!

Get Your Fundamentals Right
CAT and other similar exams like XAT, FMS etc. are known for changing their patterns and varying the levels of difficulty every year. The apt response to a new pattern can only arise if one has solid fundamentals! A lot of people jump right into problem solving and finding shortcuts to solve “commonly occurring” problems. Shortcuts must come from a deeper understanding of the fundamentals rather than from some black box formula like approach. So, whether you are starting preparations for the first time or you're writing CAT for the nth time, make sure that you get your fundamentals right. Take as much time as you require getting it done since jumping into exercise based preparation without getting your fundamentals right is like rushing to a business meeting without shaving.

Work Out Your Mind
You may have acquired skills to construct that killer spreadsheet full of scenarios and projections but how good are you with mental calculations?One suspects that, your brain has lost that ability to grasp, analyze or calculate things quickly (without a calculator!!) It is important to improve mental ability and responses by practicing mental exercises. For Eg: Three digit calculations (without calculator) to be done daily.

Practice – Test, Test and Test !!!
There are very few things that can emulate the whole set of mental control and skills, that are required in the actual test. Hence, it is advisable that one starts taking time based tests as early as possible in the prep cycle. As mentioned earlier, working professionals need to work extra hard to build test-taking stamina!

SWOT Analysis – Don't forget it!
As a working professional, you may have sat through or made presentations or analysis about your company's SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)! The same SWOT applies to you too! One of the main objectives of giving a mock test is to understand one's strengths and weakness, and then use it to develop or compensate for them as required. A lot of candidates enroll for mock tests or meticulously take tests on their own, but then forget about it or don't run through the analysis. Ideally for a 2 hour test, one should spend at least 4-5 hours analyzing:

What went wrong?

What went right?

Where am I consistently strong?

Where am I consistently weak?

Did I attempt questions that were time consuming? Why?

Did I skip or maybe not attempt simpler questions? Why?

Six months of continuous analysis would put you in a perfect position to understand yourself thoroughly and ensure that you play to your strengths in the exam.

Find your strategy – Experiment
At least till you have found a rhythm, keep changing things like – the target number of questions you want to attempt, the time you spend on each section etc. Only this kind of experimentation will prepare you for the surprise that you may find on D-Day. You'll also be able to perfect the optimum CAT-solving strategy, which strikes just the right balance between speed and accuracy, ensuring that you clear all cut off's and are well on your way towards the coveted seat.

The GD / PI / WAT Round
One quick mention – if your CAT examination goes well (of course it will – all the best!) keep in mind that your job and your work will be an important topic that will be discussed in your PI. Make sure you are prepared to answer what your job is really all about, your roles and responsibilities and a little bit about your industry dynamics. Anyways, that's a subject for another blog!

Final words…
Manage your time effectively and efficiently, proceed with the study plan – initial phase of building up concepts followed by extensive practice, revision and mock tests. Keep yourselves de-stressed, balance your work with preparation, and in turn, keep your boss happy! Be genuine to yourself and spend time regularly in a systematic manner; take it slow and stay calm. Prepare through small but well-planned steps. Accomplish each step and build upon them towards your goal, a great CAT score!

Can anyone tell me which is the best online series for CAT 2013. I am starting now and don't have time to attend classes travelling for hours together in Bangalore after work. VistaMinds is there in Yelahanka and I am not sure of its credibility. Suggest CL MBA On Demand or MindWorkzz Comprehensive Classes or TIME Correspondence or VistaMinds SMARTCAT or Byju's Test Series Package?

Hi ,

I am a 3 year experience IT professional working as a SAP Consultant in a US based MNC.
Everytime i plan for sitting in CAT,but do not able to make up proper strategy for CAT...think that it is a big/impossible thing....which cannot be done while working in companies.

Could anybody suggest...what kind of strategy and material should i interest is to pursue MBA program in Corporate Social responbility kind of course as interest as very good in Public dealing.

My profile:

Btech Computer science :80%
XII th -75
Xth- 85

Please guide.

hi all

i have discontinued engineering. i had long gap in my education. now iam doing my i want to do mba through gmat or cat. presently iam working in a software company and doing from a part time college.will i be able to do it. and which would be better for me gmat or cat. please someone help me taking a deccision and starting my preparation
  • please let me know which one would be better
  • did anyone face such kind of scenario

0 voters

@vijay_chandola @scrabbler @nits2811 @rishi1415 How is CL testgym? Is it really helpful to prepare oneself for cat level questions? Have not subscribed for any mocks this year, Also after CL and TIMES stop providing PDFs it becoming difficult to gauge my preparation. Please reply.


I am 1.5 Yrs Exp.This time in CAT i scored 74.98 percentile.
Practiced only MOCK 10-15 Papers.
The biggest hurdle i faced this time was that CAT 2013 i scheduled in Nov and at the same time my project was in critical stage.I want to be well Prepared this time.
Can you please suggest what should i do.
I am aiming for XAT 2014 and CAT 2014.
Which tread should i Join.
Kindly Suggest

Hi All..i'll let u know my current situation....I m 22,working as an engineer wid Computer Sciences Corporation.I wish to do my MBA so that i can move to the front end...and catalyze my rise on my professional front,but dere are a couple of things:

1)The dynamics of my job don't allow me to join MBA coaching classes

2)As a child i was poor at mathematics,flunked a couple of times but i started putting in a lot of hardwork and topped my university once in maths during my,but due my sins as a child my fundamentals aren't gr8,especially my geometry is pathetic.....Plz can u guys outline a strategy dat i can follow to prepare for CAT....I would really be last thing(a silverlining)....Since i work for an australian work timings are frm i get round 1-1.5 hrs daily at home to study.I am looking fwd to giving CAT 2015 more dan 2014...Plz if u can suggest something...i would really appreciate it.Thanks in advance(I hope u guys have come in as a divine intervention)!!

Hi Puys,

I am stuck in a dilemma for my preparation. After revising the concepts of quant, I am not properly able to judge how many questions should I practice to move to next chapter. Either I am wasting too much time on one topic or solving few questions of a particular topic. Also i have attempted only 2 mocks till now,so  things aren't yet clear so that I can judge my strong or weak area. Please if anyone can pitch in some words of advice because this problem is draining me completely.

I cracked CAT while I was working. Here are the things which helped me crack the CAT:

Hope you find these useful.

Hi Puys,

I got 60 percentile in CAT 2015. I have 5 years of exp in MNC.

Can I apply for Ex MBA in IIM Shillong/Raipur.

Or Should I prepare one more time for CAT/GMAT.

Pls. give your suggestions.


Excel CAT. Follow these simple tips

How to manage my time for cat as well as bsc??Considering daily for bsc I require 7 hrs and for cat , newspaper-2 hrs Magazine-1 hr Increasing math speed- half hour Meditation-half hour Institute hw and self study-2 hrs ?? Plz tell me some idea..I m very much confused!!! I m preparing for cat 2018