The Common Admission Test (CAT) is one of the most popular Management entrance exams. Anyone aspiring to enter the world of business or dream to take admission in one of the most prestigious B-school, sit for this test. So, the competition in CAT exam is stiff as lakh of students dream the same dream as you. Many students believe in working when the time for the exam is near, while there others who strategise a month/ year before the exam. Is it helpful? Yes, you must start preparing early so that you at least have a month for revision, taking the online mock test, work on topics left during preparation, etc.

Through CAT exam, candidates are offered admission in various IIMs and top notch B-schools, however, the cut off required for admission is no less. Last year, two women students and three non-engineers were amongst the 20 candidates who scored a 100 percentile. So, all you need to do is prepare a smart strategy for the entrance exam.

You can check details such as important books, topics, preparation tips, etc. from this page.

CAT 2018 Exam Pattern

The exam pattern for CAT has not changed much, so the candidates can start their preparation for CAT 2018 as per the exam pattern given below:

Exam Pattern Details about the pattern
Duration of the exam 180 minutes
Number of MCQ question 72
  • Quantitative Ability
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
Number of Non-MCQ/ TITA questions 28
Total Marks 300
Marks for Correct Answer 3 marks
Is there a negative marking Yes, 01 marks will be deducted in case of MCQ only

CAT 2018 Syllabus

In order to succeed in any entrance exam the most important thing is to prepare for it as per the syllabus in the best possible manner. However, the only problem for those preparing for CAT is exam is that there is no prescribed syllabus, so what to do now? Here is the syllabus for CAT exam which has been followed over the years. 

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Syllogisms
  • Analogies
  • Antonyms and Synonyms
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Sentence Corrections
  • Idioms
  • Jumbled Passage
  • Meaning-Usage Match
  • Summary Question
  • Facts-Inferences-Judgments

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

  • Interpretation and Analysis of Data
  • Text Interpretation
  • Tables
  • Graphs (line, area)
  • Charts (column, bar, pie)
  • Venn Diagram
  • Clocks
  • Binary Logic
  • Seating arrangement
  • Blood Relations
  • Coding & Decoding
  • Logical sequence
  • Data structure
  • Assumption
  • Premise
  • Conclusion
  • Linear and Matrix Arrangements

Quantitative Ability or Mathematics

  • Number systems
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry
  • Probability
  • Permutation combination
  • Algebra
  • Mensuration
  • Time and work
  • LCM & HCF
  • Averages
  • Percentages
  • Profit and Loss
  • Quadratic and linear equations

Section Wise Preparation Plan

Now that we know the exam pattern, its marking and syllabus, we can divide the topics and start working on it. Here is how you can prepare for each section:

Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude

  • The trick for solving the question for Quantitative Aptitude in 60 minutes is by introducing shortcuts. There is no point in relying completely on the on-screen calculator as it eats up most of your crucial time. There are always some tricks and shortcuts for solving these questions.
  • Since there is no negative marking in Non-MCQ part, it is better to try and solve all of them. There is nothing to loose even if any one of them is incorrect. Now, it doesn’t mean that you will solve these questions by guessing, focus on the analytical and logical deduction to crack the questions.
  • For preparing for the CAT exam, mocks tests are a crucial part. By taking mock tests, you get familiarised with the exam environment.
  • Divide the topics in Quantitative Aptitude in three parts. In Part 1 write down the topics you are extremely good in, in Part 2 list down the topics in which you just need a bit revision, now in Part 3, note down those topics which are your weak points.
  • Make a time-table in such a way, that it covers all the three parts. However, currently your focus should be Part 3, then Part 2, and lastly Part 1.
  • Those who are still struggling with their weakness should attempt at least one sectional test every week.


Name of the Book Author Publisher Buy Here
How to Prepare For Quantitative Aptitude for CAT Arun Sharma Mc Graw Hill Education Click Here
Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT Common Admission Tests for Admission Into IIMs Sarvesh K Verma Arihant Click Here
Quantitative aptitude for competitive examinations R S Aggarwal Click Here
The Pearson Guide to Quantitative Aptitude for CAT Nishant Sinha Pearson Click Here
Quantitative aptitude for all competitive examinations Abhijit Gupta Mc Graw Hill Education Click Here
NCERT Mathematics Books  for Standard 8, 9 and 10 NCERT NCERT Click Here

Prepare for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning Section

  • This section is not like Quant, so the strategy required for preparing for this section will be different. What matters most for preparing for DILR is the practice and analysis. And for that nothing’s better than mock tests.
  • Now practising mock test, focus on your speed of solving the question. Speed in the calculation is crucial, hence with each mock test try to increase your speed, so that you do not have to rely on calculators in the entrance exam.
  • Memorize all the root formulas, squares, cubes roots, percentage formulas etc.
  • Take a particular topic from DILR, remember the formulas if there is any in that topic and then take up a mock test. For the first few mock tests do not set up any time limit. However, after few mock tests when you feel confident enough, set up a time limit and try to complete it within the scheduled time.

IMPORTANT BOOKS FOR Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

Name of the Book Author Publisher Buy Here
How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for the CAT Arun Sharma Mc Graw Hill Education Click Here
How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for the CAT Arun Sharma Mc Graw Hill Education Click Here
Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT Nishit K Sinha Pearson Click Here

Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

  • Many students leave out this section for the last as this is the most underrated section in every exam. However, anything left out will cost your chances of qualifying the examination.
  • In CAT there are 5–6 common types of the pattern followed in RC sections, which are as follows:

    • Main Theme
    • Structure based
    • Tone of the passage
    • Inference based
    • Hypothesis
    • Data Based
  • One of the most recommendation given by experts for this section is READING and yet it is disregarded the most. The idea behind encouraging to read different books is to get acquainted with different genres and various writing styles. Reading frequently will not only help you better prepare for the passages that you are bound to face on the day of the examination but it will also be of tremendous help in learning the contextual usage of various words; improving your vocabulary, grammar and general knowledge.
  • The important topics in VRC are as follows:
  • Sentence correction/ error correction on Grammar/Vocabulary words
  • FIJ (Fact, Inference, Judgement)
  • Contextual usage of vocabulary
  • Para Summary
  • Grammar/phrases/Fill in the blanks
  • Parajumbles/Out of context sentence
  • Reading comprehension
  • Try to practice all these topics with around 50–100 questions in each segment.
  • Also, take the online mock test for practice. In the mock test try to attempt NON-MCQ answers first. The questions on correction of errors, vocabulary based or the Non-MCQ based on RC passage can be solved without confusion if there are no close choice answer options.
  • Maximum weightage is for Reading Comprehension, so after doing Non-MCQ questions try to read between the lines, at a faster speed and use imagination of the situation given in RC to remember the content in case of lengthy RCs.

IMPORTANT BOOKS FOR Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

Name of the Book Author Publisher Buy Here
How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT Arun Sharma, Meenakshi Upadhyay Mc Graw Hill Education Click Here
The Pearson Guide to  Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning for the CA Nishit K Sinha Pearson Click Here
A Modern Approach to Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning Dr R S Aggarwal S Chand Click Here

Other Important Books which you can refer for VARC are as follows:

  • Wren & Martin English Grammar
  • Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis]
  • Business English and Communication by John O E Clark
  • 30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary by Norman Lewis
  • The Students’ Companion by Wilfred D Best
  • A Communicative Grammar of English by Geoffrey Leech and Jan Svartvik

How To Start Your Preparation For CAT Exam?

Your daily routine can play a huge role in your preparation and eventually in your performance in the final exam. Here we have listed a few things you should pay attention to:

#1. Early Bird or Night Owl?

There are two type of students, one who studies early in the day and the others who start their preparation late at night. It is you who should decide when do you want to study. There is no hard and fast rule in this. If you are comfortable waking up early in morning and you think you can study well during the daytime, then go ahead and plan your day as per it. However, if you are the Night Studier, then you can assemble all the necessary books and other resources in the day so that all that you require studying in the night is by your side.

#2.  Set Targets For Yourself

Before you start attempting mock tests, set some realistic targets for yourself. Right from the beginning, you must decide how much score are you targetting in the exam.

It is suggested by experts and toppers that a student should solve around 18 to 20 full-length mock tests.

For this, you can maintain a sheet of your current score and your desired score. Then slowly work on your strategies, attempts and speed to improve your overall score along with maintaining sectional scores.

#3. Analyse Your Mistakes

It is highly recommended to take online mock tests so that mistakes done in the mock are not repeated in the examination. Once you are done with the mock test, it’s time to analyse the paper. After solving a Mock Test, do not move ahead for solving another test. The idea is that you should get an idea of your weaker areas, and that is only possible by analysing your mock test. After solving a test, check which of your answers were wrong, then check why they were wrong, keep that in your mind and then after some time solve the exact mock test again to see if you are still committing that mistake.

#4. Revision
With the remaining time in hand, your only focus should be Practice and Revision. Even if one is done with the complete syllabus, he/she should not stop practising. Solve as many sample papers, mock tests, previous year question papers as much as possible. In the remaining time, prepare like your life
depends on it.

If you have any other query regarding CAT Preparation, tell us in the comment section below. 

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