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CAT 2017 Preparation Tips

CAT is one of the most important exams for admission to MBA programs in 20 IIMs and several other B-Schools. Appearing only in CAT 2017 does not suffice for admission in a good management institute and a candidate must score a good percentile. The key to scoring a high percentile in CAT is preparation beforehand and regular practice.

Why preparing for CAT is important?

In 2015, CAT received more than 2 Lakh applications. In the pool of candidates who appear for CAT every year, there is a huge diversity and students from all academic backgrounds appear for the test. Consequently, the competition is tough too. Keeping in mind the competition factor, it is prudent to prepare for the CAT exam at least three months prior to the exam. Preparation and regular practice not just helps in learning the topics, but also helps in increasing the accuracy and speed of attempting questions.

When should you start preparing?

Ideally, a candidate desirous of scoring a good percentile in CAT should start preparing at least 3-4 month prior to the exam. For candidates in the final year of their Bachelor’s degree, their final examination is over by the month of July. So they are in the position to start their preparation in the month of August.

The interval of 3-4 months is sufficient to brush up on the concepts related to Quantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation, and Logical Reasoning.


CAT 2017: Preparation Strategy

CAT 2015 was of 3 hours duration and there were three sections in the question paper. Unlike previous years, this time students were not allowed to switch between the sections as per their choice and were given a time limit of 1 hour to complete answering one section.

While preparing for CAT 2017, you must keep these factors in mind and prepare your strategy accordingly. Below are some points which will help you devise a full-proof strategy for the CAT 2017 exam.

  1. The first step is to appear for a mock test and analyze your results. This will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Now, that you are sorted about which section is your strength and which not, you will need to go through the syllabus for each section.
  3. Every section is comprised of sub-topics. You might be good in one sub-topic and weak in another. Make two lists for each sections. One should contain your strong topics and the other should contain weak topics.
  4. The key is targeted study. Focus on the areas where you are weak. Regularly practice topics which are your strength. While studying your weak points is logical, ignoring the ones which are your strength is not a good move.
  5. Practice Mock tests every week. Increase the frequency of mock tests to one every day, a month before CAT.
  6. Don’t just practice mock tests. Analyze your results and keep a track of your performance in each test. Solve questions which you missed in the mock test.

CAT 2017: Preparation Guideline for QA

Quantitative Aptitude is a section where students have done well in past and you can secure a good score too. To effectively prepare for this section, you will need to have the complete syllabus. This section broadly covers the following topics:

  • Algebra
  • Arithmetic
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry
  • Calculus
  • Mensuration

You will need to focus on each topic separately and attempt all kinds of problems from all these topics. An ideal preparation method can have following strategic points:

  1. Practice last 5 year questions asked in the quant section.
  2. Notice the pattern of questions asked and practice more questions of the similar pattern.
  3. While the number of questions asked form each topic may vary, it is best to devote equal time to each chapter.
  4. You can also follow online tutorials and YouTube videos to learn tricks for solving lengthy problems.
  5. Practice formulas and tricks regularly. By the time of CAT 2017, these should be on your fingertips.

CAT 2017: Preparation Guideline for DI & LR

Data Interpretation and Logical reasoning can prove to be a scoring paper and thus an asset if prepared diligently. While the syllabus for DI is limited, syllabus for Logical Reasoning is vast.

This section can be aced with continuous practice and solving previous year papers. Questions in DI mainly consist of various kinds of graphs and charts. So to get a good score in DI section, you must have knowledge of all kinds of graphs and must be able to analyze the graphical representations to glean meaningful inference.

Tips for DI Section

  1. Get familiar with all kinds of graphs and charts.
  2. Solve previous 10 year papers.
  3. Practice quick calculation. Learn squares for numbers till 30 and cubes for numbers till 20.
  4. Regularly give mock tests and analyze your performance in the DI section.

Logical Reasoning section can be tough but there is no way that this particular section cannot be mastered with some strategy. The key to successfully attempt questions in this section is “Practice”.

Tips for LR Section

  1. Make a list of the different kinds of problems asked in this section.
  2. Solve last 10 year question papers.
  3. Go through the questions carefully and note the pattern of questions asked.
  4. Solve Puzzles online or in magazines. These will help you get a hang of the concept behind logical reasoning.

CAT 2017: Preparation Guideline for VRC

Verbal and Reading Comprehension is one section which might look easy on the outset but proves to be tough if not prepared for carefully. This section comprises questions from grammar, language usage, reading comprehension etc. There are varied types of questions in this section and you must go through all of them while preparing.

Tips for VRC Section

  1. Buy a decent grammar book and practice exercises.
  2. To prepare for reading comprehension, start reading books or e-books. If you are not much of a reader, then you should cultivate the habit of reading soon.
  3. Solve previous year papers and give mock test regularly.
  4. Read newspapers to build vocabulary. A good vocabulary helps in scoring more in this section.

CAT 2017: Preparation Material

Preparation for CAT 2017, cannot be complete without the right preparation material and reference books. There are pantheon of materials and books available in market and on internet which claim to help score 99 percentile in CAT. However, not all these books and preparation materials are genuine and can often misguide the participants.

Here, we have compiled a list of preparation material and guide books which can help you in scoring that perfect percentile score in CAT 2017.

To begin with, if you have joined a coaching center for preparation for CAT, then the first step should be to go through the material provided by the coaching center and solve all the test papers provided by them.

In case you have not joined any coaching center, then fret not. You can always get the study material by enrolling to the correspondence program run by these coaching centers. An added benefit of opting for correspondence course is that you can appear for the mock tests organized by the preparation centers.

Reference Books and preparation Material for Quantitative Ability

  1. How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Arun Sharma, Publisher- Tata Mcgraw Hill.
  2. Pearson Guide to Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation for CAT by Nishit Sinha, Publisher- Pearson.
  3. Quantum CAT: Quantitative Aptitude Common Admission Test for Admission into IIMs by Sarvesh K Verma, Publisher- Arihant
  4. Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examination Tips, Techniques, and Short-cut Methods by Abhijit Guha.
  5. NCERT Mathematics books for class 8th, 9th, 10th and 10+2.

Reference Books and Preparation Material for Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation

  1. Pearson Guide to Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning for CAT by Nishit Sinha, Publisher- Pearson.
  2. How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for the CAT by Arun Sharma, Publisher- Tata Mcgraw Hill.
  3. How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for the CAT by Arun Sharma, Publisher- Tata Mcgraw Hill.

Reference Books and Preparation Material for Verbal and Reading Comprehension

  1. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension by Ajay Singh, Publisher – Arihant.
  2. 3o Days to More Powerful Vocabulary by Wilfred Funk & Norman Lewis, Publisher- Simon & Schuster.
  3. Wren and Martin English Grammar
  4. Business English and Communication by Clark Zimmer, Publisher- Mcgraw Hill Ryerson.

Other Books, Magazines and Resources for Preparation

  1. Business Line by The Hindu
  2. Business Today by India Today Group
  3. Business & Management Chronicle by Chronicle Publications
  4. Argumentative Indian by Amartya Sen
  5. India Unbound by Gurucharan Das
  6. Puzzles to Puzzle You by Shakuntala Devi
  7. Manorama Yearbook 2017
  8. The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor
  9. India after Gandhi by Ramchandra Guha
  10. The Hindu

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