Prepare for CAT 2023 Without Coaching

Updated on 17th April 2023 | 2:38pm | #CATPrepWithoutCoaching

Most MBA aspirants aim for a spot in the top B-schools of India, the IIMs. However, with over 2 lakh students applying for CAT and only a few thousand seats in IIMs, the competition is tough. So, CAT preparation should be a well-thought-out, step-by-step process to achieve the goal you have set for yourself. The first step in the CAT preparation journey is choosing your mode of study.

You should be mindful that the steps you take to prepare for CAT will ultimately influence how you attempt the exam and score in it. Despite the difficulty of the exam, the right preparation, good resources, and a fixed schedule can all help crack 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.

Have queries regarding CAT preparation?

Steps to Prepare CAT 2023 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.

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.

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:

  • Do a little research about the best books on the internet for CAT preparation
  • Ensure that the latest version of the book is available with the latest syllabus & exam pattern.
  • The authors are reliable and well-known in the CAT and MBA fields

Check out the best books for CAT prep, click here

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.

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.

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 2023, and get 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 own performance and stay on the right track for preparations.

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


Whether you choose to prepare for CAT with coaching or by yourself, ensure that you have considered the pros and cons of both as your ability to ace CAT depends on your level of preparation. While preparing by yourself, you require a lot of discipline, commitment, and time to sit and develop a study plan, choose the correct resources, and then prepare during the assigned hours.

Candidates who do not have too many hours to spare for preparing for CAT from scratch would find the assistance of coaching less stressful as it provides you with everything and you simply need to attend the required study 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.

CAT coaching offers a lot of assistance as you will not be required to spend time developing a study plan or exam strategy. You will also get access to mock tests, best study materials, and expert guidance in case of queries. Candidates who do not have a lot of time, are working or studying, should consider enrolling in some coaching classes.

On the other hand, self-study offers you a lot of flexibility when preparing and you can go at your own pace. However, you will have to start from scratch and identify your preparation plan, mock tests, and answers as well.

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.

Based on past patterns, CAT 2023 is most likely going to be held on the last Sunday of November, i.e, 26 November 2023. The registrations are expected to open in the first week of August 2023.

To get an answer to more queries click here

Suggested Readings