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How to prepare for CAT in 5 months

How to prepare for CAT 2024

How to prepare for CAT? You should begin studying far in advance if you intend to take the CAT exam. One of the most crucial tests for students interested in a management career is the CAT. It is also among the most difficult entrance examinations.

The amount of time required to prepare for the CAT cannot be determined in one way. It is contingent upon the candidate’s degree of proficiency. The verbal ability and reading comprehension (VARC), quantitative ability, and data interpretation/logical thinking parts make up the three components of the test. First and foremost, you should assess your level of expertise in each of these categories.

You can begin creating a study plan as soon as you are aware of your strengths and shortcomings. In general, candidates ought to allow themselves a minimum of four to five months to get ready for the CAT. They will have ample opportunity to go over the entire curriculum, complete practice questions and mock exams, and strengthen their weak areas in this way.

You can also choose for a crash course if you’re short on time. Join PlanetE for your CAT 2024 preparation. Typically lasting 8 – 16 weeks, a crash course covers every significant subject covered in the CAT exam. For applicants who have less than four months remaining for preparation, this is the best choice.

So, given your current level of preparation, let’s begin one by one and go over everything you need to know to get ready for the CAT.


CAT Exam Pattern

  • There are 66 questions in all, comprising both multiple-choice and non-multiple-choice formats.
    • Two hours, or 120 minutes, are given to respond to these questions.
    • Each section has a forty-minute time limit.• The test is administered online at multiple testing locations.
    • There is no negative marking for non-MCQs or skipping questions under the CAT marking scheme, which awards +3 points for correct answers and -1 point for incorrect answers.

Sectional composition

Section name No. of questions Total MCQs (With negative marking) Total Non-MCQs (Without negative marking) Maximum marks
VARC 24 20 4 72
DILR 20 16 6 60
Quant 22 15 7 66
  1. VARC: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension
  2. DILR: Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
  3. Quant: Quantitative Ability

Time Needed to Get Ready for the CAT Based on Your Degree of Preparation

Initially, you can administer a practice exam and determine your percentile score.

Time Needed to Get Ready for the Current Level CAT: 40 – 60 percentile

You will need to work very hard to raise your score if it is currently in the 40th percentile.
Here, candidates need to take a more deliberate approach and concentrate on strengthening their areas of weakness first. After students have completed those areas to the degree they want to, they can work on accuracy and speed. It takes at least 6 months to prepare for this strategy.

But, your chances of getting into one of the top IIMs are fairly strong if you’re presently at the 60th percentile. However, you will still have to work very hard to raise your score.

You must begin by developing the fundamentals for each part. Spend at least 3–4 hours a day reading. Acquire new skills to enhance your ability to solve every section. Go over each sort of question again. Write fifteen or more dummy drafts and fix any errors.

Using this method, 4 months of preparation would be needed to achieve a good score.


Time Needed to Get Ready for the Current Level of the CAT at the 80 percentile  

You should have a fair chance of getting into one of the best IIMs if you are currently in the 80th percentile. Accuracy and time management should be your main priorities. Within the allotted time, you ought to make an effort to answer as many questions as you can. You will become more accurate and swift as a result of this.

Developing your weak points should also be your main priority. Make sure you are proficient in answering each sort of question and that you have reviewed them all.

If you were to prepare in this manner, studying for three to four hours every day, it would take 2-3 months.

Whether you are a working professional or a recent graduate also affects how much time is needed.


How Much Time New Graduates Need to Prepare for the CAT?

You have time on your side if you are a recent graduate. You should allow yourself at least 6 to 8 months to prepare for the CAT, even if you start early. This will provide you ample opportunity to review the entire syllabus, complete practice problems and mock exams, and strengthen your areas of weakness.

Initially, you should concentrate on laying a solid foundation. After you’ve gotten the hang of things, you may work on accuracy and time management.


How Much Time Does It Take Working Professionals to Prepare for the CAT?

Professionals in the workforce typically have less time to study for the CAT. They must strike a balance between employment and school hours. Sometimes, they might even need to take a leave of absence in order to get ready for the CAT.

Candidates with full-time jobs should allow themselves a minimum of 4 – 5 months to study for three to four hours every day in order to be ready for the CAT. They will have ample opportunity to go over the entire curriculum, complete practice questions and mock exams, and strengthen their weak areas in this way.

These were some broad recommendations regarding the amount of time required to prepare for the CAT based on your present preparation level.


Time Needed to Study Section wise for the CAT

How Long It Takes to Get Ready for CAT VARC

One of the most significant portions of the CAT is the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) component. It is possible to compensate for subpar performance in other areas with a high performance in this one.

Your reading comprehension and speed ought to be your main priorities. Reading a lot of books, newspapers, and periodicals will help you do this. Additionally, you want to concentrate on expanding your vocabulary by picking up new terms every day.

If you’re beginning from scratch, you should allow yourself at least 3 – 5 months to prepare for this section.

Here is a schedule you can follow –

Reading Comprehension 2 – 3 weeks
Para summary 1 – 2 weeks
Para Jumbles 1 – 2 weeks
Odd sentence out 1 – 2 week
Para completion 2 – 3 weeks


If you already have a good hold on English, you can give yourself 1-2 months of time to prepare for this section.


Time Needed to Get Ready for the CAT DILR

One of the CAT components that requires the most amount of time is the Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) section. This is due to the fact that becoming familiar with each sort of question takes a lot of practice.

You must concentrate on comprehending the data sets and identifying patterns as soon as possible. As many questions as you can answer will help you achieve this. In order to complete all of the questions within the allotted time, you should also pay close attention to time management. You should complete the basic principles, begin completely solving the CAT papers from the previous five years, and participate in as many mock exams as you can.

If you’re beginning from scratch, you should allow yourself at least 4-6 months to prepare for this section in terms of time. You can give yourself 2 months if you already understand maths well.
If you are spending 1-2 hours a day on DILR, you should be able to cover about 1 topic every week.

Time Required to Prepare for CAT QA

To do good in QA, you need to focus on understanding the data sets and finding patterns quickly. This can be done by solving as many questions as possible. The quant syllabus is vast and it would take a minimum of 3 months to cover all the fundamental concepts. The time allocated for each topic will vary depending on whether a topic is your strength or weakness, so decide accordingly.

Other things to keep in mind while preparing for CAT

Apart from managing time for preparation in each section, here are a few other things that one should keep in mind while preparing for CAT.

Study plan:

The approach will enable one to utilize the available time to the best and always stay focused. In its absence, one might easily lose track of activities and eventually waste time.

Mock Tests:

Exposing yourself to mock tests is the most effective method of preparing for CAT. It prepares one to know what his or her strengths and weaknesses are while trying to work on them.

Get feedback:

Once you finish a mock test, do not forget to evaluate your performance and seek some one for guidance. This will help in improvement with each test.

Weak areas:

One must become more conscious about weak areas rather than the strengths so that there is an overall improvement.

Be Consistent:

One thing that goes without saying is success includes a very consistent approach. You must be prepared to give time and effort every single day to this process.

Take Breaks:

Continued hours of study drains a person’s energy. So, after some hours, one should surely take a break and relax to refurbish the potential. This would keep you motivated and focused.

Keep tempered expectations:

Just because you have put in so much hard work for the CAT, it does not mean that one can expect to get a perfect score. Have realistic expectations so that one remains calm and focused on the day of the exam.

Positive Attitude:

It is very important to have a positive attitude during the entire course of preparation. This will guide one in keeping himself or herself geared toward the goals.

Be Preparations for Setbacks:

All circumstances are such that may keep you striding through a setback sometimes. Just remember to stay positive, not to be discouraged. Remember, every person alive has a setback at a certain time in life. It’s the way one faces them that really matters.

Learn from your mistakes:

Analyze your performance after each mock test. It will further improve you with each test and help you to score on the actual CAT.

By following the tips given above, you can make the most of your time and prepare well for the CAT exam. All the best!

Important links to go through

Time management tips for CAT

Strategy for LRDI (CAT 2024)

How to improve Quants for CAT 2024

How to improve VARC for CAT 2024

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