The Common Admission Test (CAT) is an exam that checks a candidate’s basic skills in aptitude and logical thinking. If you study what you’ve learned in school and follow a structured online preparation program, cracking the CAT is not too difficult. This article explores how much time you need to prepare for the CAT exam.
The amount of time needed to prepare for the CAT varies for each person. It depends on their abilities and how quickly they can understand the fundamental concepts. There’s no fixed timeframe for acing the CAT exam, especially for those starting from scratch.
If you’re getting ready for the CAT exam, consider trying out online preparation courses since the test is conducted online. It gives you the flexibility to study at your own pace. Take a look at past year’s CAT papers to understand the types of questions asked. Don’t forget to take a free CAT online mock test to figure out your strengths and weaknesses in preparation.
Firstly, let’s look at the CAT 2023 exam pattern and syllabus.
CAT 2023 Exam Pattern (Expected)
|NUMBER OF QUESTIONS
|Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
|Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
In the CAT exam, if you answer a question correctly, you get three marks, but if you answer it incorrectly, you lose one mark. For Type-in-the-answer (TITA) questions, you earn three marks for a correct answer, and there are no negative marks for wrong answers. Also, no marks are deducted for leaving a question unanswered. If you want to know more about negative marking in the CAT exam, you can find additional details.
During the CAT exam, you have 40 minutes for each section, and you can’t switch between them. It’s important to perform well in all sections because many institutes consider both sectional and overall scores as cut-offs for admissions.
CAT 2023 Syllabus PDF
As mentioned in the exam pattern, the exam consists of 3 sections, as shown below. When it comes to the CAT syllabus, there is no precisely defined syllabus for the CAT exam. However, we have curated a syllabus PDF by using previous CAT papers, which includes all the important topics from each section in detail. Click the link below to download the CAT 2023 syllabus PDF.
With only 4 months left for the CAT exam, you can complete the basics of all three sections in this time frame, especially if you’re starting from scratch. Generally, dedicated CAT preparation takes around 6-7 months on average. If you can commit to 2 hours every weekday and 6 to 8 hours on weekends, that should be sufficient for your preparation.
Here’s a basic strategy to make your CAT study plan, which you can adjust based on your daily schedule and available time. Remember that the time available varies for different people, like working professionals or final-year college students.
How much time is required for the VARC Section?
Here’s a simple trick to improve in this section: spend one hour every day reading. Reading will help you have opinions on different topics. Start by reading things you like, then try articles with different styles to get used to different kinds of writing. Also, try to solve one reading passage every day when you start preparing for CAT.
Don’t use speed reading or skimming techniques. Focus on reading to understand the main points of the paragraph. Some questions will ask you to find information from the passage, so take your time and don’t rush. For questions about rearranging paragraphs or eliminating sentences, look for connected ideas. In the Verbal Ability section, questions like summarizing paragraphs require a good understanding of the passage. So, developing a strong reading habit is crucial for doing well in the Verbal Ability section.
Make sure to set aside one hour every day to study VARC concepts. If you feel unsure about vocabulary and grammar, spend some time working on them, but don’t spend too much time on them. Just enough to improve your skills.
Starting in August, here’s a schedule you can use. You can change it based on your daily availability and focus on the topics you’re good at or need to work on. Feel free to make it your own!
|No. of days
|Odd sentence out
Download Verbal Ability for CAT PDFs
How much time is required for the DILR Section?
To divide your week between DI and LR topics, spend three days on each. So, you’ll have around 30 days in total (10 weeks * 3 days per week) to study DI and LR. Start by learning the basic concepts of the sets that are commonly tested in the exam over the past few years. Practice representing them logically and work with different kinds of sets. Solving various sets will help you stay fresh during this section. Try to solve two sets every day—one DI set and one LR set.
Use the study schedule given for August to focus on the DILR section. Feel free to customize it based on your strengths and weaknesses. Make it work for you!
|No. of days
|Arrangements (linear, circular, etc.)
|Puzzles (Einstein puzzles, constraint-based, etc.)
|Networks, Games and tournaments, Scheduling, LR based on picking coins
|Blood relations, family tree, Truth-liar concept
|Others (2D Space LR, etc.)
|No. of days
|Bar Graphs, Line Charts, Pie Charts, Unconventional charts (radar chart, bubble chart etc.)
|Others (DI based on growth over the years, data sufficiency, Caselets, etc.)
Just like the VARC section, practice is the key to cracking this section as well.
How much time is required for the QA Section?
To begin, review the basic math concepts thoroughly. Many times, when preparing for exams, people overlook these basics and jump into problem-solving directly. However, it’s possible to forget some concepts that are rarely used. So, set aside at least a month (if you already know the basics) to brush up on these concepts. With regular practice, you’ll improve your skills in the Quantitative Aptitude (QA) section more effectively.
To start off, focus on mastering arithmetic and geometry concepts because they are the most important in the exam, usually contributing to 60-70% of the total marks. Don’t spend too much time on one topic, as it may not be worth it in the end.
In August, you can use the study schedule below to get ready for the Quant section. Customize it based on your strengths and areas you want to improve. Make the schedule fit your needs!
|Number of days
|Ratio and Proportion, Percentages, Averages, Alligation, Profit Loss and Discount, Simple Interest and Compound Interest
|Time, Speed and Distance, Time & Work
|Linear equations, Quadratic equations, Inequalities
|Progressions and series, Surds and indices
|Geometry & Mensuration,
|Co-ordinate Geometry, Basic trigonometry
|Permutation and Combinations, Probability, Set Theory
Read in detail: How to prepare for QA for CAT
Here Are Some Extra Tips:
Once you finish the syllabus, solve mixed-bag problems from different topics. Don’t postpone clarifying your doubts; get them solved within a day. Also, start taking sectional tests to practice specific topics more.
Find out your weak areas and practice them using the various free resources available. Practising is the key to success and the most important part of learning. Cracku’s CAT Study Room has excellent questions to solve. Avoid the mistake of practising only your favourite subjects and neglecting some sections. Practice more in the areas where you feel weak. After practising enough in the study room, check your scores by attempting mock tests and analyzing them.
Read different articles and good books every day. This will improve your reading comprehension skills.
Every day, make sure to spend enough time doing basic speed math calculations and solving sudoku puzzles regularly.
After attempting mocks, carefully analyze them to find your strengths and weaknesses. Work on improving your weak areas. Taking mocks is essential to improve your test-taking skills and identify your mistakes. Practice selecting the right questions and finding efficient methods to solve them. Test your strategy thoroughly before the actual exam day. It will help you perform better on the big day.
Don’t wait until you finish the syllabus to take a mock test. We have a free CAT mock test available for you. Take it seriously to see how you compare to other candidates. Start taking mock tests while you prepare for the exam. Try to balance your practice among the three sections. Make sure your weak areas don’t hold you back from getting a call.
There’s no one-size-fits-all study plan for the CAT exam. The preparation time varies from person to person based on their strengths and weaknesses. For rigorous practice on a daily basis, candidates can enrol in the Study room.
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Checkout: CAT Free Practice Questions and Videos