Prepare for CAT 2024 Without Coaching

Updated on 19th March 2024 | 3:38pm | #CATPrepWithoutCoaching

Preparing for the CAT exam requires a well-structured approach due to the tough competition, with over 2 lakh students for a few thousand seats in the prestigious IIMs. The first step is to carefully select a study mode that aligns with your learning style. Choices made during preparation significantly impact your exam attempt and eventual score. Despite the exam's difficulty, effective preparation, quality resources, and a consistent study schedule contribute to successfully cracking the CAT.

So, when thinking about joining a coaching class or preparing without coaching, you might have various questions such as:

  • Can I crack CAT without coaching?
  • How important is expert guidance when preparing for CAT?
  • Do I need to join coaching to score 99+ percentile?
  • How do I prepare a study schedule and choose the right resources?

The most effective way to prepare for CAT without coaching is to follow a comprehensive study plan and make a definitive approach to CAT preparation.

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Steps to Prepare CAT 2024 without Coaching

Now that you have decided to go forward with self-studying for your CAT preparation, the next step is to cover all the bases as you move forward. Here are some tips that you must keep in mind as you begin studying for CAT without any guidance.

1. Understand the Syllabus & Exam Pattern

Jumping into preparation without understanding the syllabus or exam pattern is a futile attempt and a waste of time. The CAT syllabus is vague and vast, as there is no official syllabus. However, an analysis of past papers can briefly encompass the essential topics that must be prepared well. As long as you are unable to identify the most important topics of the exam, you will only attempt to read up on every single topic and fail to cover the fundamentals successfully. Going over the exam pattern and syllabus will allow you to come up with a comprehensive study plan and formulate a schedule for the same.

To check out the CAT syllabus and get the detailed PDF, click here

2. Identify the Best Resources

Students preparing for CAT by enrolling in coaching classes are provided with the study material and resources most ideal to boost their performance in CAT. However, when you choose to self-study, you must identify and choose the study material yourself. This can prove to be an arduous task owing to the availability of various study materials on the internet. So, as you decide on the books you will use to prepare for CAT, keep a few things in mind:

Check out the best books for CAT prep, click here

3. Prepare a Study Plan

To stay committed to your CAT preparation and track your progress while covering the fundamentals, create a study plan for each day and make sure you reach your daily goal. This will also help you stay motivated as the short-term goals will help you progress faster from one milestone to the next. A study plan, based on your hours of availability, should include the section-wise time you allot each day and the topic you will cover.

4. Practice with Mock Tests

Mock tests are essential to mark your progress and the level at which your CAT preparation is. Before you begin your preparation, attempting a mock will tell you where you stand at the start and help you progress accordingly. You will also get an insight into how you are performing, your weak areas, and your strengths. Ideally, you should begin attempting mocks regularly only after you have covered the basics properly. This will give you the right direction in which you must prepare and also let you analyze your test-taking strategy.

After each mock, always ensure that you spend time analyzing it in detail with a focus on your weak section, topics that need more preparation, and errors you could have avoided. Also, ensure that you attempt the questions that you answered incorrectly or left unanswered.

You can access free CAT mocks online or enroll in a test series to get a detailed analysis of your performance.

5. Join a Peer Study Group

Since you are preparing by yourself, understanding where you stand against your peers can become a difficult task. Thus, joining a peer group will give you insight into how your peers are preparing, the competition you will face in CAT 2024, and tips to improve your performance. Being in the company of people pursuing similar goals is also a motivating factor to prepare and perform well. You will also get guidance to overcome any obstacles and find a solution to your problems easily. Attempting the same mock tests will also enable you to analyze your competitors, improve your performance, and stay on the right track for preparations.

6. Utilize Online Resources

The internet gives you access to numerous articles, resources, and guides without spending any money or wasting time. You can not only access study materials but also get tips for your CAT preparation from experts in free sessions and on YouTube. Sample papers, free mock tests, and past-year papers are all available for your perusal. So make use of the internet by reading articles and staying up-to-date about the latest CAT news.

For access to YouTube videos, click here

To prepare for DILR and QA with expert guidance, click here


When deciding between preparing for CAT with coaching or on your own, it's important to weigh the pros and cons. Your success in CAT depends on how well-prepared you are. Self-study requires discipline, commitment, and time to create a study plan, choose resources, and stick to study hours. On the other hand, coaching can be less stressful for those with limited study time, as it provides structured support during designated hours.


To crack CAT without coaching, you must create a study plan to follow through thoroughly. Here are some steps you can follow:

  • Establish a preparation plan that best suits your requirements
  • Identify your weakest and strongest areas and work accordingly
  • Find the latest and most reliable study material
  • Join a peer group of similar candidates to stay on the right track.

A disciplined candidate will be able to prepare on their own and even score well in CAT.

Candidates who are still completing their degree can give 2 hours daily to CAT preparations after their college classes. As college students (and working professionals) have limited time in a day, you must establish a strong foundation and practically divide your schedule.

If you are preparing for the first time, you should ideally begin preparations about 10-12 months in advance. However, there is still time for you to catch up and prepare for CAT well. You can start by enrolling in a course for CAT 2023 as it will help you stay on track and cover the basics, practice mocks, and analyze them in the next few months.

The first step of the CAT preparation is to decide whether you will prepare for CAT by yourself or enroll in a course. YOu should also go over the past papers and familiarize yourself with the syllabus and exam pattern.

An online CAT course and an online CAT test series both have their advantages when preparing for CAT. So to choose one over the other, it is necessary that candidates identify their needs and requirements.

An online CAT course will help a candidate establish their fundamentals and learn the tips & tricks to solving questions accurately and quickly. It will also help candidates get expert advice and establish their fundamentals. On the other hand, the CAT test series will enable an already prepared candidate to practise and review their progress to identify their weaknesses and problems. It is for a candidate who has set their base and aims to revise and improve their performance.

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