How to prepare for CAT without coaching?

Author : Aman Rayjada | Published on: July 20, 2018 12:30 P.M. (IST)

Prepare for CAT without coaching

Once you've decided to pursue MBA, one of the first decisions you will need to make is choosing your mode of preparation It is also a major factor that will influence your performance in CAT and other MBA entrance exams. While CAT is difficult to crack, having the right study schedule and guidance can help you easily achieve success. Some of the questions most aspirants seek answers to at this point are:

  • How significant is formal guidance in securing a good CAT percentile?
  • How to prepare for CAT without coaching?
  • How to prepare for CAT at home or by self-study?

While coaching and personal mentoring could definitely facilitate your CAT preparation, a comprehensive self-study plan along with a definitive approach is definitely how to prepare for CAT without Coaching. However, your commitment toward adhering to the preparation plan and improving upon it as you progress will be key factors that will determine your success.

The CAT 2019 exam will be conducted by IIM Kozhikode expected to be held in November end. Its application form shall be available tentatively from the first week of August. Over two lakh candidates appear for the exam every year for admission to 20 IIMs and more than 100 B-schools making the competition tough.

Coaching Programs and CAT Coaching Institutes definitely help the candidate since they give them a fixed schedule for the CAT Preparation and bring to the table their experience in providing CAT Preparation to thousands of students every year. Classroom Coaching provided by CAT Coaching Institutes ensures that the candidate is quite clear on the concepts well before the exam which becomes an issue when the candidate decides that he knows how to prepare for CAT without Coaching. Left to their own devices, most people tend to delay their work until it comes to a head and then move a breakneck speed to complete it without too much regard to the quality of work. This can be extremely dangerous when it comes an entrance exam like CAT 2019. However if the candidate is able to maintain his/her motivation and work diligently according to the preparation schedule that they have decide on. This is the answer to the question of how to prepare for CAT without Coaching.

Here we bring you some ways on how to prepare for CAT without coaching:

1. Understand the exam curriculum

One of the first things to do after you've decided on how to prepare for CAT without Coaching is to practically imbibe the exam pattern and syllabus in detail. Then you should check out previous years' analysis so that you can develop a comprehensive preparation plan and set your priorities according to the significance of various topics across sections. One thing that has to be ensured at this time is that the CAT 2019 Preparation Plan includes all topics since CAT has a habit of giving candidates, who underestimate it, nasty shocks by changing the topics tested and the exam pattern as well.

CAT is a multiple-choice objective type exam which includes questions from 3 broad areas, namely Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Ability. Some MBA entrance exams also include a section on General Knowledge which broadens the scope of study when one decides on how to prepare for CAT without Coaching.

On the basis of your understanding of the CAT syllabus, create a preparation plan.
Gautam Puri, Vice Chairman, Career Launcher suggests, "Focus on all the three sections and don't leave anything for the last moment. The last month should be focused on your strengths and strengths alone."

2. Get a comprehensive study material

Those who go for a classroom coaching program get a curated section-wise preparation material. This does not mean that there is any lack of quality CAT Material since the boom of the internet. How to Prepare for CAT without Coaching has become a far more reasonable plan of action compared to 15 years ago when updated CAT Study Material was relatively more difficult to come by.

3. Take online mock tests

After you've covered the basics, you should start attempting online CAT mock tests on a regular basis. No mock test attempt would help without a thorough analysis that helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses. A comprehensive and drill-down analysis is very significant for improving your preparation. Initially, you should take the mock tests once or twice a week but with practice, you should increase your frequency of attempting mock tests to 3 or 4 times a week. Ensure that you analyse each mock for common errors. Know what causes those errors and try to avoid them. You can refer to Gautam Puri's blog on the mock analysis to understand the process in detail. For the candidates decide that they know how to prepare for CAT without Coaching, there is an abundance of options. All the CAT Coaching Institutes provide CAT Mock Tests some of which are proctored (given at a center of candidate's choice).

4. Join a peer study group

Being in a good company of peers ensures that your preparation is on the right track. Joining a peer study group helps you discuss your problems, strategies, topics etc. with other aspirants. If some of them attend coaching classes as well, it could be furthermore advantageous for you as they could share some expert inputs. You can also attempt same mock tests, analyse your competition, and improve your performance with inputs your group members.

5. Make the most of the internet

If you know how to use the internet smartly, you can get guidance and help with anything and everything. There are a number of education websites which regularly share articles and news related to your target exam along with free sample papers and study material on their website. You may also join social media groups for the CAT aspirants on Facebook, PagalGuy, etc. You can also follow the Twitter handles of the exam officials and authorities to keep updated with the happenings as well.


The decision on how to prepare for CAT, without Coaching or with Coaching is completely dependent on the candidate but it is generally advisable for the candidate to introspect before they take their decision. The amount of discipline required to prepare for an entrance exam on your own is quite high. This means only the most strong-willed candidates should attempt this risky strategy. For most of the candidates, the CAT Coaching is essential to give regular reminders for the level of CAT Preparation and act as milestones for the candidate to decide on whether they are following the CAT Preparation Plan.

Speak to our career counselor