CAT Preparation Tips for Non-Engineers

For a very long time, engineers dominated CAT and admissions to IIMs for MBA. Most batches of the b-schools comprised engineers alone. However, with the top b-schools encouraging diversity among their batches now, the tide is turning in the favor of non-engineers.

The percentage of non-engineers taking seats in MBA programs has consistently been on the rise for the past few years. In CAT 2022, there were 144715 non-engineers appearing for the exam against 77458 engineers, making the number of non-engineers almost double that of engineers. Thus, pursuing an MBA from a top B-school is not a far-fetched dream for non-engineers.

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The CAT Preparation Strategy for Non-Engineers

Essentially, there is little to no difference in the CAT preparation strategy adopted by an engineer and a non-engineer. However, non-engineers often have reservations regarding the QA section comprising mathematics, which engineers are more familiar with. It becomes a consequent conclusion that engineers have a better chance of cracking CAT by leveraging this section. This myth often serves to be the biggest hindrance in any non-engineers CAT preparation.

So, first, non-engineers should understand that CAT is an MBA entrance exam focused more on speed and accuracy than the level of difficulty. Thus, non-engineers can also cover the QA section and create a level playing field for CAT with consistent practice alone. This nullifies the belief that engineers might have some undue advantage in this entrance exam.

That being said, the syllabus of the QA section is also only for 10th grade. So, any aspirant who prepares with the right strategy can very well ace CAT.

CAT Preparation Tips

  • Understand the Syllabus and Exam Pattern: The first step to begin your CAT preparation is understanding the syllabus and exam pattern of the paper. Since there is no defined syllabus, familiarizing yourself with the most important and common topics is essential.
  • Strengthen your concepts: Each section requires a different focus when you begin studying for CAT. Get into the habit of reading for VARC, practice puzzles regularly for DILR, and solve math equations of class 10 to memorize formulae.
  • Review Past Year Papers: Previous papers help give an understanding of the exam pattern, syllabus, and level of difficulty of CAT. Attempting the papers will also give an understanding of how prepared an aspirant is for the exam.
  • Practice Mock Tests: Mock tests help reinforce the concepts and formulae while improving speed and accuracy. Analyzing them is also important to review the effectiveness of the strategy and to identify weak and strong topics.

Quantitative Aptitude: Preparation for Non-Engineers

Non-engineers are not familiar with mathematics and take up time to derive formulae and apply them step-wise. To eliminate this consumption of time while still maintaining accuracy, candidates can take guidance from experts and learn shortcuts and equations of solving problems. Conceptual clarity in the quant section becomes essential to cover the gap between an engineer and a non-engineer in this section.

As the quantitative aptitude section is more about how to solve the questions than learning the derivation of the formulae, practice, familiarization, and elimination of the mathematical concepts are necessary.

Section-wise Preparation Tips for Non-Engineers

Quantitative Aptitude

  • Identify the most important topics and frequently asked questions. Over the past years, arithmetic comprised a major number of QA questions followed by algebra.
  • Cover the NCERT books and practice the given questions on a daily basis. The foundation for the formulae must be strong.
  • Practice important formulae and questions diligently to reinforce them. When reviewing a question, identifying the formula quickly is required to attempt and derive the answer.

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

  • Get into the habit of reading be it books, magazines, or newspapers. This will help candidates peruse content quickly while also improving grammar and vocabulary.
  • Practice reading comprehension questions to adopt a strategy for finding answers and answering them quickly and correctly.
  • For jumbled sentences and paragraphs, candidates can answer the questions given in newspapers and focus on practicing.

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning

  • Make practicing puzzles a daily task. This will familiarize aspirants with the various questions that are asked in this section.
  • Memorize the most common formula and rely little on calculators for the basics. It will help save time and also improve the pace at which the aspirant solves questions.
  • Practice the elimination method during mock tests to reach the answer quickly and with minimal effort. The goal is not to calculate the answer but find it among the options.


Ultimately, a non-engineer can also ace CAT with a strong preparation strategy. Preparation for all the sections can be the same for non-engineers as any other aspirant. For candidates who are concerned about the QA section, special attention to the section with proper learning of the basics can eradicate any fears. Consistently revise the mathematical formula and apply them in mocks. Basic calculations including roots, squares, and multiplications should be on your tips to avoid wasting time. When revising previous papers, make note of the most commonly covered topics and concepts and make sure to practice them diligently. A similar practice and focus can be applied to any section a candidate is weak in and improve their overall performance in CAT.

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