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How to prepare for CAT in 2021?

Common Admission Test (CAT) is your gateway to graduate management programs in IIMs and top business colleges. As the institute where you complete your MBA has a significant impact on your career and pay package, it’d be wise to take CAT preparations seriously if you are aiming for a seat in one of the country’s top business schools. 

If you’ve set your sights on acing CAT 2022, here are some details and tips that are sure to help you prepare for the exam-

CAT Syllabus 

The computer-based CAT exam is divided into three sections-

  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
  • Quantitative Aptitude (QA)
  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

CAT Exam Pattern

While the CAT exam pattern remained broadly unchanged from 2015-2019, 2020 onwards, the exam pattern has been changing significantly. This has been majorly due to the pandemic.  There were 76 total questions in 2020 with a total exam duration of 120 minutes (40 minutes for each section). In 2021, however, there were only 66 questions. Have a look at the official media release on the CAT exam conducted on November 28th 2021. 

Here’s the breakup of the 2021 CAT exam pattern

  • Total questions- 66
  • Duration- 40 minutes each (Total – 120 minutes)
  • Section-wise Questions Break-up
    • VARC – 24
    • DILR – 20
    • QA – 26
  • MCQs with negative marking- 48
  • Non-MCQs without negative marking- 18
  • Score for each correct answer- 3 marks
  • Negative marking for wrong answers- 1 mark

Best Books to Prepare for CAT 2022

Here are some of the top books for CAT 2022 preparation. 

Apart from these, do also read other books to increase your knowledge and interview skills. Read through this blog to have a look at some of the recommended books for MBA aspirants. 

Is It Possible to Crack CAT Without Coaching?

While most exam toppers and experts agree that CAT coaching can be very advantageous, it is not mandatory. There have been 100 percentile scorers who have not attended any coaching to prepare for CAT. 

If offline coaching is not an option for you, you can also consider online coaching. Most top coaching institutes like T.I.M.E, IMS, etc., now offer online coaching. 

Preparing for CAT 2022

Here are some expert tips that can help you ace CAT 2022-

  1. Master Time Management

CAT is generally conducted in the last week of November. Top national-level institutes begin their weekly test series from July. So, it’d be wise to finish the CAT syllabus, and preferably one round of revision, before these aggressive mock tests start. 

Especially if you are in the final year of your graduation, try to start CAT 2022 preparations as early as possible as you’ll also need time for the graduation exam.

  1. Plan Your Schedule Meticulously

You should set the preparation timetable so that every section is adequately covered. Create a timetable that focuses more on your weaknesses and leaves you with adequate time to improve your strengths further. 

  1. Get the Right Study Materials

Quality over quantity is the way to go when it comes to the study materials for CAT 2022. But rather than jumping between various books, choose one of the top recommendations and stick to it. 

A brief list of recommended books for CAT 2022 preparations is already provided above. Whether you go with one of those or have received course materials from your coaching institute, just focus on that rather than wasting your time trying to get your hands on anything and everything. 

  1. Regularly Attempt Mock Tests and PYQs      

One of the easiest ways to understand your strengths and weaknesses for CAT is to solve a mock test paper. Allocate more time from your preparation schedule to the sections in which you score the lowest marks.  

After completing the syllabus, you should attempt the previous year question papers (PYQs) and mock tests at least once or twice a week. Mock tests help you judge your knowledge and improve speed. Analyse the test results to understand your mistakes better, which you can avoid in future tests.    

  1. Peer Study Club Can Help

Connecting with peers who have already cracked CAT can provide excellent insights into the entrance test. Their experience can help you improve your preparations further. You can also rely on your friends who’ll be appearing for CAT 2022 to guide each other throughout the preparation phase. 

Group study can also be an excellent option as you’ll get to exchange knowledge with your competitors who are also aiming to ace the exam.  

  1. Focus on the Heavy Weights

In each of the three sections, some sub-topics hold more weightage than others. While this weightage keeps changing every year, some topics do carry a lot of weight. For instance, Reading Comprehension has been shown to carry the maximum weightage in VARC historically. Similarly, arithmetic and geometry carry a lot of weight under QA. 

Some other tips that can help you prepare for CAT 2022-

  • Read daily articles from editorials such as Mint, The Hindu, NY Times, etc. 
  • Regularly solve puzzles such as Sudoku on the internet or purchase a few puzzle books.
  • Start with two-digit mental calculations.
  • Even if you are not enrolling for CAT coaching, consider purchasing online mock test series from a reputed institute.
  • Look for quality study materials from credible online sources.

Ready to Crack CAT in 2022?

As acing CAT 2022 could be a turning point for your career, the exam deserves your utmost attention, dedication, and hard work. Keep these pointers in mind before you start preparing for CAT, as they can streamline the entire process and take you a step closer to your dream business college. 

Last but not least, be positive and believe in yourself through all the ups and downs, as your optimism is sure to reflect in your preparations and performance. 

For over 15+ years as an Entrepreneur, and India’s Top Educationist, Jatin has led a range of initiatives in the Education Industry. In this role, he has created many successful educational services and products geared towards generating success for professionals aspiring to join IVY League and global Top Tier Universities for MBA Programs, Masters Programs, and undergraduate courses. He is the Founder and CEO of PythaGURUS Education, and has been recognized as a thought leader in the Higher education sector. Economic Times, Hindustan Times, Times of India, India Today, Business Today, Tribune, and many other national newspapers have recognized his work, and have given him numerous opportunities to be a regular columnist. He has also served as a panelist for NDTV, and other national news channels.

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