How to bell CAT in 3 months: A Smart Approach

IIM Ahmedabad is going to conduct India's most popular MBA entrance exam, the "Common Admission Test " (CAT 2017) on the last Sunday of November i.e. 26 November, 2017. That leaves MBA aspirants with barely 3 months for CAT preparation. All those who're panicking thinking they're short on time, need to relax. For we know of many students who have managed to crack CAT with just 3 months of solid preparation. The trick is to have a smart strategy and to follow it religiously.

So here are some CAT preparation tips that will help you take admission in any of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) or other top B-schools of India:

1. Mock test: best way to start CAT preparation

Even if your preparation level for CAT 2017 is zero, start with a mock test. This will help you realise what the ground reality is and also help you identify your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (known as SWOT analysis.) And try to take this mock test in the same format as the actual CAT 2017 exam i.e. as a computer-based test. Once you know which topics you're weak in, you can immediately start working to improve in them. Similarly, you can further strengthen your strong points to improve your overall CAT score.

Your first mock test score might help you realize that while your performance is good in the Verbal & Reading Comprehension, there is a lot of scope for improvement in the Quantitative Ability (QA) section. Similarly, you may feel that you can score higher in the Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) if you can improve your speed. You will also know how comfortable you are taking a test on a computer and if you need to improve your coordination skills.

Start your CAT preparation with a Mock Test

2. Get a clear picture of CAT syllabus & exam pattern

Make yourself really familiar with the CAT syllabus and test pattern. In fact, draw up the entire list of topics you have to cover and put it up at your study table. This way, you will be constantly reminded of how much you've got to study! As and when you are done preparing a certain topic, tick it off from your list - this will encourage you to cover the rest of the CAT syllabus quickly. Once you know what topics you've prepared, you'll also gain more confidence.

The CAT pattern changes almost every year, so understand what's new in CAT 2016 test format and adjust your preparation strategy accordingly. Once you go through the previous years' CAT question papers, you will get a good idea of how the pattern goes. So even if this year's CAT throws a surprise change in format, you will be prepared to handle it as you're already aware of how CAT has been changing over the years.

While last year's CAT exam notification clearly mentioned the number of questions per section, this year's CAT 2017 notification has mysteriously with held this piece of important information. You must keep a lookout for the official CAT 2017 tutorial that will be released on the official website soon, in order to get a clearer picture about CAT 2017 exam pattern.

3. Get the basics on your fingertips: CAT concepts

Getting well-versed with the basics is the most important step, especially to crack the Quantitative Ability (QA) section. Once you learn all the basic concepts, all you need to do is a good book that has enough practice questions for every new concept learnt.

Also read: List of CAT preparation books

4. We are what we do repeatedly: CAT practice papers

The one-word answer to the question, "how to prepare for CAT 2017" is: practice. Remember always that whenever you're not practicing; someone, somewhere is hard at work and that person would get a CAT percentile higher than you! So get your hands on as many practice questions and full-length CAT practice papers as possible. Soon enough you'll start finding the "hard questions" as easy as simple "warm-up" questions.

Also read: CAT previous years' and sample papers

practice questions CAT 2016

5. Make the most of free resources: online CAT preparation

Thanks to the dawn of the digital age, the internet is full of free advice and useful resources for every topic under the sun. Make the most of it and take your CAT preparation online! To get free CAT preparation material, join social media groups that focus on serious exam preparation, join discussions on CAT related threads on websites like, check out free videos on online learning platforms like Byju's..the list is endless.

About Nishatha Abraham Bijeesh

Nishatha has been writing about education in India and abroad for the last 9 years. She has been in the digital marketing industry for 8+ years and specializes in content marketing. Nothing annoys her more than slow wi-fi, incorrect usage of the apostrophe and people mispronouncing her name. She prefers not to talk about herself in the third person, but reluctantly, had to do so here!

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