Asking how to prepare for CAT 2020 or crack CAT is like asking how to learn to play cricket. There would be no standard answer to this question, and if there is an answer, the reader must be patient enough to go through it completely. The answer to the question of how to prepare for CAT 2020 exam would depend on these factors:
- Are you preparing for CAT for the first time?
- What is your academic background?
- What is your inherent aptitude level?
- When do you plan to appear for CAT exam? In other words, how much time do you have?
When it comes to how to prepare for CAT exam, the final answer would depend on the answers of the above four questions.
To begin with, I would write an answer that highlights what are the things that one must do to prepare for CAT, in general.
Understand the CAT syllabus
Once you have decided to prepare for CAT, you should get hold of the Syllabus for CAT. This is very important. The student must know what has to be prepared, and only then would he be in a situation to prepare.
The CAT Syllabus has three broad areas, which can be further subdivided into a few more subareas. These three broad areas are:
- Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
- Quantitative Aptitude
- Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
The CAT Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension tests you in primarily these five areas:
The good thing is that in the past few years, the questions from CAT Grammar and CAT vocabulary have not been there at all.
To know more about the CAT Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension syllabus, click here
The CAT Quantitative Aptitude tests you in primarily these five areas:
We have seen that in the recent year CAT papers, questions from arithmetic and geometry have dominated the CAT Quant section. What we have given above is just an overview. To know more about how to prepare for CAT Quantitative Aptitude, click the below link:
The’ CAT Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation’ tests you in primarily these areas:
- Logical Puzzles
- Set theory based logical puzzles
- Tabular data arrangement
- Linear Arrangements
- Circular arrangements
- Mathematical Reasoning
The CAT LRDI section has undergone a sea change since 2015. The questions have become difficult and the traditional form of LR and DI questions, which we come across in the past CAT papers, have completely disappeared. To know more about the CAT LRDI syllabus, click the below link:
Now, since we have gone through the syllabus, we must lay out a preparation plan. We will discuss the preparation plan separately for each of the sections.
Preparation plan for CAT Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
There are 24 questions from CAT Reading Comprehension. If you want to do well in the CAT VARC section, then you have to get the reading comprehension questions correct.
Reading comprehension is all about reading and understanding passages correctly. There is no formula or shortcut. My seven years of teaching experience tells me that for a student to do well in reading comprehension, he must
- be good at reading
- he must not only be good but also be quick
- he must have a decent vocabulary
Develop a reading habit
The aspirant must dedicate at least 30 minutes to one hour daily to some or the other kind of reading activity. This will ensure that his ears and eyes are attuned to contemporary language and contemporary issues. You may do this while lying on the bed while travelling or instead of sitting idle, doing nothing. You will be surprised to know that almost all the passages of CAT 17 and CAT 18 RC section came from science and technology or from business affairs.
Focus on developing your concepts first, and then practicing
You must keep in mind that while preparing for CAT, you must first learn the concepts and develop an approach. This is where experts’ help and guidance become very important. You must work out a logical way of approaching a particular question. For this, you must have the right study material.
You must not get into the blind practicing mode until you have become confident of arriving at the right answer, regardless of the time factor. You must not worry about the amount of time you take to arrive at the answer. In aptitude accuracy comes first, followed by speed, which though equally important must come later.
In addition to the reading activity, the CAT aspirant while preparing for CAT must also focus on the key VARC areas.
Seventy of his preparation time must be allotted to solving reading comprehension questions. In fact, reading comprehension is be all and end of the complete CAT VARC section. If you are good in this area, there is no need to worry about the other areas. But if you are weak in reading comprehension, then no matter how good you are in the other areas, you always run the risk of not clearing the cut-offs.
To read more about the approach to CAT Verbal Ability, click here
To read more about the approach to CAT reading comprehension, click here
Preparation plan for CAT Quantitative Aptitude
While preparation plan for CAT VARC might look less complex, your preparation plan for CAT Quantitative Aptitude needs greater attention and meticulous planning.
CAT Quantitative Aptitude has a good number of topics, covering a wide range of subtopics. Thus there are plenty of concepts, formulae and theorems that you must know in order to crack the questions correctly and in lesser amount of time.
Every topic and subtopic has varying difficulty levels of questions and there are different techniques and approaches to solve the same question.
Ideally, the student should begin his CAT Quant preparation with number systems. The number systems concepts are widely used in other areas of quant. Moreover, the basic understanding of number systems helps you become familiar with different properties of numbers, which you can use to good effect in option elimination.
To read more about CAT number system syllabus and how to approach the topic, click here
The next highly important topic is Arithmetic. Over the last few years, we have seen that a good number of CAT quant questions have started coming from arithmetic. There are plenty of topics and subtopics with which you must be familiar.
The good thing about this topic is that you have to have a basic understanding of ratios and percentages in order to excel in this area.
After Arithmetic, Algebra constitutes the maximum number of questions in CAT quant section. Most of the questions in algebra are framed from topics like equations, functions, logarithms etc. To prepare for Algebra, one should be very comfortable working with variables, basic formulas of algebra and intensive practice of algebra questions.
Note: Algebra and Arithmetic constitute 70 per cent of CAT Quant, the rest come from Number System, Geometry and Higher mathematics.
After mathematics, geometry is the most important area. There are so many formulas in CAT geometry that it becomes difficult for the student to remember everything. The syllabus here become very important
We have seen that 90 per cent of the CAT Geometry questions come from Triangles, Quadrilaterals, and Circles. If you are through with each and every concept of these three, then you are likely to do well in geometry.
Higher mathematics topics such as Permutation and Combination, Probability etc. are not that important in CAT, as few questions in recent years have come from this area. However, it there are logical reasoning questions which require the understanding of permutation and combination. For that, one should be good at the basics of fundamental principles of counting.
Preparation plan for CAT Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation
The good thing about CAT Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation is that there is no exhaustive syllabus for this section.
There are 8 sets having 4 questions each, with some questions of non-MCQ type. In other words, in some questions, you have to enter the right answer instead of choosing the right answer.
The sets are usually of moderate to high difficulty.
To get a good grip on this section, it is imperative that you don’t jump to difficult sets right at the start. The best way to begin with this is to solve basic sets involving data arrangement, both linear and tabular. You must learn to solve questions with fewer variables and fewer constraints
Gradually you should move questions with greater no of constraints and variables.