How to Crack CAT in First Attempt

Many CAT toppers do not recommend repeated appearances in CAT. Rather, they believe in preparing themselves in such a way that there is no chance that would cause them to miss their mark on CAT exam day.


There are no shortcuts to the road that leads to success.

1. When to start preparing

Five to six months of dedicated preparation can take you towards your goal of securing a high percentile.

2. Coaching or self study

The decision on whether coaching is required or not depends on where you stand in terms of your preparation. The most important aspect is to improve basic concepts. If your basics are clear and you feel that you can prepare for CAT on your own without coaching or a mentor, you are good to go.

Whether you are preparing for the exam through coaching or self-study, regular practice is the key. While some MBA aspirants take the coaching route, others follow their instinct and opt for self-study with online and offline preparation resources.

3. CAT Exam Pattern

The CAT is conducted in online mode for a duration of 180 minutes. The test has three sections carrying a total of 100 questions. Out of a total of 300 marks, each correct answer gives three marks and every incorrect answer is penalised by one mark.

Section Questions Total Marks Duration
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) 34 102 60 minutes
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) 32 96 60 minutes
Quantitative Ability (QA) 34 102 60 minutes
Total 100 300 180

4. Focus on Section-wise preparation

After you are familiar with the CAT exam pattern and have your CAT study material ready, it is crucial to know that each section has a unique way of preparation. Review the important topics for CAT preparation and make a study time-table for section-wise preparation.

5. Set time-bound goals

CAT is one of the most coveted exams with a vast syllabus. You must plan well and set deadlines to cover the entire syllabus in limited time. Setting deadlines is important to keep a check on the study schedule, cover each section with equal importance, practice time management, and remain self-motivated above all.

Keeping this in mind, there is a high chance that one can crack CAT in the first attempt. In fact, CAT is a test of time management as much as it tests knowledge. It is important to practise to build both accuracy and speed to perform well on exam day.

6. Take enough Mock tests

Enrolling for the mock test series with any MBA coaching institute towards the end of your preparation is a good idea. The sample mock tests for CAT are also available on the internet.