CAT – COMMON ADMISSION TEST
CAT exam is a gateway to all IIMs as well as many Non-IIMs in India. CAT 2018 was given by 2,40,338 students out of which 2,09,405 appeared for the exam. Every year the number increases. So, should we worry? The answer is No.
Once you understand the CAT 2020 exam, syllabus, registration process etc. details, you will be in a better position to score as well as to predict MBA college possible with your score.
What is CAT?
- CAT stands for Common Admission Test is a National Level MBA Entrance test conducted by different IIMs every year.
- CAT 2018 was conducted by IIM Calcutta whereas IIM Kozhikode conducted CAT 2019 exam
- CAT is an (online computer-based) exam
- The registration fee is Rs. 1900 for General category & NC-OBC and Rs. 950 for Reserved Category (SC, ST, PwD)
CAT 2020 Timeline
|Online registration||5th Aug to 16th September 2020|
|Hall Ticket||28th October 2020|
|Exam Date||29th November 2020|
|Result Date||January 2021|
CAT 2020 Eligibility Criteria
- The candidate must hold a Bachelor’s Degree, with at least 50% marks (for Open and OBC category) or equivalent CGPA. 45% marks for SC, ST and Persons With Disability (PwD).
- The degree should be from any University or Educational Institution as incorporated by an Act of the Parliament or State legislature in India or declared to be deemed as a University under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification recognized by the Ministry of HRD, Government of India.
You will find similar criteria for most of the MBA Entrance Exams
Additional Information on CAT 2020 Eligibility Criteria
- The candidates in the final year of graduation can also apply. If you get admission in any IIM and don’t pass your graduation then admission stands to cancel
- The candidates waiting for graduation results can also apply
- In case of the system like grades/CGPA, the conversion of marks to a percentage should be done as per procedure certified by the respective University/Institution.
- One must remember that IIMs may verify the details of a candidate
- It is recommended that a candidate must keep a valid and unique email id and phone number throughout the selection process.
- 15% of the seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC), 7.5% for Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates.
- 27% of seats are reserved for Other Backward Classes candidates belonging to the “Non-Creamy” layer (NC-OBC).
CAT 2020 Exam Pattern
- Verbal Ability/Reading Comprehension
- Quantitative Aptitude
- Logical Reasoning/Data Interpretation
|QA||34||24 to 27||7 to 10|
Duration of Exam
The exam duration is of 3 hours i.e 180 minutes.
Total of 100 questions
CAT 2020 Marking Scheme
- +3 for a correct answer
- -1 for an incorrect answer
- No negative marking for Non-MCQs or TITA
CAT 2020 Syllabus
You cannot reach your goals without knowing the process of achieving it. On similar notes, one must know the syllabus of all sections to figure out the best strategy for the final exam and explore strong and weak areas. The three sections are:
- Quantitative Aptitude
- Logical Reasoning, Data Interpretation
- Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension
- Sentence Correction
- Fill in the Blanks – Vocabulary words
- Sentence Completion
- Critical Reasoning
- Fact, Inference & Judgement
- Idioms and Phrases
- Error Spotting
- Bar Graphs
- Pie Charts
- Data Charts, Data Tables
- Line Graph, Area Graph
- Miscellaneous Charts – Spider, Bubble etc.
- Blood Relations
- Seating Arrangement – Circular, Square etc.
- Direction Sense
- Logical Sequence
- Clocks & Calendars
- Games & Tournaments
- Zebra Puzzle or Einstein’s Puzzle
- Number System
- Geometry & Mensuration
- Speed, Time and Distance
- Profit and Loss
- Simple & Compound Interest
- Time and Work
- Venn diagrams
- Algebra – Linear & Quadratic Equations, Maxima-Minima, Inequalities
- LCM and HCF
- Set Theory
- Binomial Theorem
- Complex Numbers
- Ratio and Proportion
- Permutation and Combination
- Mixtures and Allegations
- Surds and Indices
CAT 2020 Preparation Books
How is the Josh for CAT 2020? Sorry, wrong question. I know one thing for sure that a major chunk of the crowd reading this article wants to desperately get through CAT 2020 – The Gateway to IIMs and many other premier MBA colleges in India.
The target is to achieve a heavy salary + good job profile but for that, you need to crack this ultimate exam. CAT 2019 was conducted by IIM Kozhikode who stunned students by the apocalypse seeming Verbal section.
Let’s come to the topic, how to prepare for CAT 2020? What books to purchase?
The books that I am recommending are used and suggested by most CAT aspirants. Even I am going to prepare for CAT 2019, it would be my second attempt. Don’t ask me about my percentile in the first attempt, it was terrible.
First of all, you should understand the mindset behind purchasing books for offline study
- Of course for conceptual clarity and practice
- Whatever you read online on different websites etc., you have to write down notes for preparation purpose. A hardcover book is always handy against straining your eyes on gadgets
- A book will help you to swap between topics very easily
The books are mentioned below. Kindly purchase them from Amazon using the following links. (It will help the channel)
Total cost including all books(Arun Sharma) is Rs. 2200+
If you find the cost of books on the higher side then you can involve a friend who is also preparing for CAT exam. Both of you contribute and purchase – Smart Work
How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT
How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for CAT
How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT
How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT
Other books available in the market are written by Nishit K. Sinha, Sarvesh K. Sharma, Gautam Puri etc.
I have purposely not mentioned other books in order to avoid confusion. We all will stick to so-called Best CAT Books till date.
Top B-Schools Accepting CAT 2020 score
Along with 20 IIMs, most of the B-schools in India accept CAT score.
- IIM Raipur
- IIM Kashipur
- IIM Rohtak (out of CAP)
- IIM Trichy
- IIM Udaipur
- IIM Ranchi
- IIM Sambalpur
- IIM Sirmaur
- IIM Jammu
- IIM Bodh Gaya
- IIM Nagpur
- IIM Amritsar
- IIM Visakhapatnam
- IIM Ahmedabad
- IIM Bangalore
- IIM Calcutta
- IIM Lucknow
- IIM Indore
- IIM Kozhikode
- IIM Shillong
CAT 2020 Registration
The registration process will start from 5th August 2020 and will last till 16th September 2020. The exam will be held on 29th November 2020. One should know the different steps involved in online registration to avoid mistakes in the form.
Steps in CAT exam registration
- Registration to receive User ID and Password
- Login to CAT Website
- Fill application form
Step 3 further includes
- Personal details
- Work Experience
- Test Cities
CAT Question Papers with Solutions
How to prepare for CAT exam?
By now everyone has understood the importance of CAT exam and the related details. So, WHAT & WHY is clear but HOW is still pending.
For any student aspiring to pursue a coveted MBA degree from most top B-schools in India, the Common Aptitude Test or CAT is the mother test to be mastered and cleared. Apart from the IIMs, it also opens doors to prestigious institutes like S P Jain – Mumbai, FMS – Delhi, NITIE – Mumbai and a lot more.
Hence, more than 2 lakh students register for this test annually, with this number rising to 2.4 lakhs in the 2019-20 season. In the current season, this number is expected to further rise in light of the job crisis that the Covid-19 crisis might bring upon.
Cracking the CAT requires not just random practice, but a systematic preparation plan that takes into account your strengths, weaknesses, the time that you have to prepare and your test-taking strategy. For this strategy to culminate, we need to focus on a few critical areas:
- The CAT test pattern
- Important areas for each section
- Sectional strategy
- Study Plans
- Mocks and their analysis
CAT Test Pattern
- Total Questions: 100
- Total Time: 3 hours
- Number of sections: 3
- Sectional Timing: Yes (1 hour per section)
- Marking Scheme: +3 for the correct answer; -1 for the wrong answer; 0 for unattempted question
- Question Types: MCQ and NE (no negative marking for these)
- Sectional Cut-offs: Yes (undefined)
Note: MCQ – Multiple Choice Questions and NE – Numerical Entry Questions
Every aptitude test varies from each other in terms of three critical parameters – sectional cutoffs, sectional timings and negative marking. CAT is the only test that incorporates all three of these parameters. Hence, CAT preparation requires you to focus on all three of these areas keeping the following guidelines in mind:
- Develop sufficient competencies across each section to ensure that you comfortably clear each section. Having a great overall score is useless if you do not have good scores in each section.
- Focus on accuracy rather than just speed to minimize the effect of negative marking. Hence, while practising, work on solving techniques rather than just practising questions in bulk.
- Identify the right questions to solve in the one hour available for each section. This requires good decision-making skills, arising from the knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses.
CAT also has a unique feature where certain questions do not have options, but the answer needs to be typed in a box, using a virtual keyboard. These questions have an additional feature i.e. no negative marking for incorrect answers. Since these questions are part of each section, it is important to study the sectional break-up of the test.
CAT Preparation – Sections in CAT exam
|Verbal Ability (VA)||34||24||10||MCQ and then NE|
|Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)||32||16-20||12-16||Mixed|
|Quantitative Aptitude (QA)||34||20-23||11-14||Mixed|
Important areas per section and Sectional Strategy:
- Only Reading Comprehension – 5-6 sets with 5 or 4 questions per set.
- Inferential rather than factual questions.
- Contemporary issues like economics, politics, environment, socio-cultural issues
- Paragraph Summary – 3-4 questions
- Jumbled sentences (standard/contextual odd sentence)
- Solve jumbled sentences like normal MCQs i.e. identify the correct option and enter it in the box.
How to prepare for CAT VARC?
For this section, the focus has to be extensively on enhancing your Reading and Comprehension skills. This involves the following:
1) Read on a daily basis for at least 30-45 minutes per day.
2) Read from diverse sources like National Geographic, The Economist, Wall Street Journal etc on diverse areas like sociology, anthropology, governance, technology etc in order to enhance your comfort level with areas that you have not conventionally studied.
3) Strengthen your core concepts of grammar and vocabulary (not strictly from an exam point of view) but in order to improve your overall grasp of reading material.
4) For every passage that you read, try and identify its core theme, its short summary, points in favour of and against the passage. This will improve your understanding of the passage and the points covered within.
- DI (2-3 sets – 8-12 questions)
- Tables; Caselets; Bar; Pie; Line; Advanced Graphs (radar, doughnut, X-Y scatter plot etc); Venn Diagrams.
- Logical and conceptual sets with minimal sets being calculation based.
- LR (5-6 sets – 20-24 questions)
- Arrangements; Numerical Logic; Logical Conditions; Venn Diagrams; Critical Path; Miscellaneous Puzzles; Tournaments; Groupings
- Complex – with multiple concepts being combined per set
How to prepare for CAT DILR?
For this section, your overall focus has to be on practice. Some guidelines that you definitely need to follow are:
1) Learn in detail how each type of graph is read and how data is represented on each of these graphs.
2) Master the concepts of areas that require conceptual clarity e.g. Venn diagrams, Critical path problems, binary logic (knights and knaves), logical conditions etc.
3) Practise at least one to two LR or DI sets every day, with the complexity increasing every few days.
CAT Quantitative Aptitude
- Arithmetic – 11-12 questions
- Averages, ratios, percentages, time and work, time and speed, and their applications.
- Definitely practise and attempt.
- Algebra – 8-9 questions
- Numbers, surds and indices, logarithms, algebraic formulae, equations and inequalities.
- Understand concepts in detail and focus on smart solutions.
- Geometry – 7-8 questions
- Circles, triangles, quadrilaterals, co-ordinate geometry, trigonometry and mensuration.
- Understand definitions, concepts and applicability of formulae.
- Modern Maths – 7-8 questions
- Functions, sets, sequences and series, P & C and Probability.
- Understand definitions, concepts and applicability of formulae.
How to prepare for CAT Quant?
This section requires a mix of conceptual understanding and a lot of practice. Some guidelines that you can follow for the QA section are:
1) Master the concepts of the core areas mentioned above. Practise basic questions from school level and NCERT textbooks until you are sufficiently comfortable.
2) Do not try shortcuts until you are sure of solving questions using conventional methods.
3) Try to mix questions from multiple chapters while practising them.
4) For every question that you solve (or not even attempt), match your approach with the one given in the solution. This will give you newer ways to solve problems.
CAT Mock Analysis
After each mock, you need to thoroughly analyse it in order to know where you stand, what your areas of improvement are and what should your study plan be till the next mock.
Some broad points to be checked are:
1) Attempts – overall and sectional
2) Accuracy – overall > sectional > topic > lesson
3) Time management
4) Question selection
5) Strengths and weaknesses
6) Targeted work for each concept
On the whole, CAT, as a test has a reputation for being tough. While it is indeed challenging, it can be tackled effectively through systematic planning and precise execution.
Wish you all the very best for CAT!
Hey, Scoring high percentile in CAT is not enough. You must be prepared for Group Discussion and Personal interview. So why don’t you take a small step and start today itself?