How to Crack CAT

Every candidate appearing for CAT 2019 wants to know how to crack CAT and get a shot at the best B-Schools in India. They understand the level of competition that they face but that only makes them even more determined to find the formula on how to crack CAT. In this article, we attempt to give the candidates a basic framework which in itself may not give the answer to how to crack CAT but will set them on the right path so that they can modify it according to their requirements and finally achieve their goal which would end the raging debate in the academic fraternity: Is there a formula on how to crack CAT?

How to Crack Cat: Overall Plan

When the quandary that candidate faces is how to crack CAT, it is usually better to start with the basics. The overall CAT Preparation can be divided into three distinct phases.

  • The main focus in the first leg of your CAT preparation should be to build a strong foundation for the CAT exam. The idea for first leg of the CAT preparation is to learn the basics of every topic of Verbal Ability, Data Interpretation, and Quantitative Ability.
  • The second leg of the CAT Preparation deals with more advanced applications of all the topics in the CAT Syllabus. It is essential for the candidate to understand his/her own strengths as much as possible so that their test taking strategies can be ironed out. Besides knowing how to crack CAT involves having a decent grasp on all the topics possible.
  • The final leg of the CAT Preparation is also one of the most important. Here the candidate is required to practice mocks as much as possible. Knowing how to solve the problem is one thing but solving the problem under the time pressure of the exam while other thoughts like: how many questions will I be able to solve? and Should I be solving this question or moving on?; plague the candidate is quite another.

If you have around 6-7 months for CAT preparation:

  • You should make the most of the first month of CAT preparation to make your basics strong and full-proof.
  • Revisit your Class 8 to Class 10 Mathematics concepts and revise them. Spending a month on this would be a good investment of time as it would iron out any knowledge deficiencies that you may have.
  • Along with this, solving a few puzzles regularly would give you a good introduction to the Logical Reasoning sets that are tested in CAT.

How to Crack CAT: Different Modes

Today as a CAT aspirant, the candidate may have a problem of plenty. There are a wide variety of options all of which offer the answers to how to Crack CAT. The primary choice that each candidate has to make is whether they want to pursue an online mode of preparation or offline mode of preparation (classroom coaching). Both modes of preparation have their own benefits and shortcomings. Thus it is up to the candidate to analyze their own situation and decide which mode of preparation would benefit them the most.

Some analysis on both modes of preparation are given below to help the candidate make their decision:

Different Modes of CAT preparation

There are two major modes of CAT Preparation which can help a candidate understand how to crack CAT. These are:

  • classroom program for CAT preparation offers you guided learning in a classroom environment
  • An online program for CAT preparation like the Night Classes allows you to study anytime, anywhere from the comforts of your home.

Both kinds of programs are equally good and would give your CAT 2019 preparation the much-needed guidance that it requires and understand how to crack CAT.

The CAT Online Classes are ideal for:

  • The aspirants living in cities without a coaching center should be looking at online classes as a serious alternative to the classroom program for CAT preparation.
  • Online programs not only allow the convenience but also the luxury of studying from the best faculty from all over India.

The CAT Night Classes program is driven and delivered by the CL Founders along with their team of the best faculty pan-India.

The program is based out of our Greater Noida campus that provides additional benefits such as round-the-clock doubt-solving, library and sports facilities, group study and peer-learning, and Personality Development sessions. All of this, so you can forget worrying about your accommodation, transport, and safety and focus only on realizing your dream of getting into a top B-school.

The online classes are held in two batches of early morning and late night respectively thereby making it convenient for anyone, even the working aspirants to take classes at their convenient time and place. Another alternative for such students is our MBA Residential program.

A different mode of preparation which has emerged in the recent past is the MBA Residential program.

  • It has been designed looking at the Kota Model of Education for JEE and NEET.
  • The MBA Residential is an intensive, full-time MBA coaching program for CAT preparation that gives 100 students an opportunity to interact 24*7 with our Connaught Place, Delhi center faculty
  • The team which sends the highest number of candidates to IIMs and NLUs every year.

The program is based out of our Greater Noida campus that provides additional benefits such as round-the-clock doubt-solving, library and sports facilities, group study and peer-learning, and Personality Development sessions. All of this, so you can forget worrying about your accommodation, transport, and safety and focus only on realizing your dream of getting into a top B-school.

Know more about our diverse and comprehensive MBA coaching programs

The meaning of cracking CAT is different for most candidates due to their academic backgrounds and the scoring criteria that IIMs have in place. In order to help the candidates realize which IIM they stand a realistic chance of getting into, the IIM Profilizer has been developed. It is a unique tool that will give you a realistic picture of your chances of making into an IIM and will also tell you how much percentile you need to score in CAT to get shortlisted.

CAT study material

A CAT Preparation program will come with a set of MBA books and study material.

  • After completing the warm-up revision from Class 8 - 10 books, you must start-off by learning the basics and having a look at the solved examples.
  • As you go through the concepts of a topic, take enough topic-wise tests to solidify your learning.
  • Utilize the power of the Test Gym to practice different levels of questions across different topics of Verbal Ability, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Ability.
  • Before every class, read the concepts of the topic to be taken in the next class. After each class, solve the questions in the class-worksheet and examples in the books.
  • Analyze and re-do the dubious questions and advance to the next level. Proceed in a similar manner for each topic ensuring your strong hold on each topic.

How to Crack CAT: Step by Step

In order to understand how to Crack CAT, it is essential to prepare according to the CAT Syllabus and the CAT Exam Pattern. This will ensure that the candidate is preparing in the right manner which will help them crack CAT and give them an opportunity to get into their dream B-School.

Thus in this section, we will discuss some CAT preparation tips according to the different sections, i.e., Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (LRDI) & Quantitative Ability. Here are some tips to form a study plan apart from the coaching classes which can streamline and refine the preparation to a large extent owing to their knowledge generated over the years.

How to Crack CAT VARC

The CAT Exam Pattern has not changed over the past 3-4 years with there being 34 questions in the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension section. It consists of 27 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and 7 Type in the Answer (TITA) Questions.

Over the past decade, the weightage of the Reading Comprehension section has increased significantly, constituting up to 70% of the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) section. Thus Reading comprehension has become a vital part of CAT preparation.

For CAT preparation, you should ideally dedicate one hour daily to VARC section.

  • Out of this 1 hour, 40-45 minutes should be spent on attempting 4 Reading Comprehension (RC) passages.
    • - This means solving 24 Reading Comprehension passages per week. So by attempting more than the number of questions that will get you a 99+ percentile in CAT, your CAT preparation will be on the right track.
    • - It will also ensure that you have attempted 700 RCs before CAT 2019 excluding mocks.
  • In the remaining 15-20 minutes, you should attempt a set 8-10 questions of Verbal Ability. Given consistent practice, this should be ample for CAT preparation for the section.

If the candidate follows these steps, understanding how to crack CAT VARC should be an easy task.

How to Crack CAT DILR

Out of the 32 questions asked in CAT 2018 if one attempted 15-16 questions of DILR with high accuracy, he/she would have been able to score a good percentile.

  • For CAT preparation for the DILR section, you should dedicate 1 hour daily just like VARC.
  • Within 1hour, you should try to complete 2 sets each of Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation questions.
  • Sometimes a lot of DI questions require logical thinking and it becomes confusing to differentiate between the two types, but that calls for a separate explanation in itself.
  • By attempting 2 Logical Reasoning and 2 Data Interpretation sets per day, you'll be completing 12 sets of LR and DI questions each within a week.
  • Likewise, this will ensure that you have attempted 700 DILR sets before CAT excluding mocks.

This strategy of regular practice has been designed to help the candidate become familiar with the various types of questions that can be asked in this section while ensuring that the candidate understands how to crack CAT.

How to Crack CAT QA

In CAT 2018, 23 attempts out of 34 questions with high accuracy assured a 99+ percentile and similarly, as we suggested for the other two sections, you should look at attempting over 23 questions per week. If you look closely at what comprises the Quantitative ability section, you'll realize that up to 70% of questions i.e. roughly 1/3rd of the syllabus come from Arithmetic and Algebra. Your core focus should be on Arithmetic, Numbers, and Algebra. You should prioritize numbers because between 40-50% of your basic concepts of Numbers will help you in Algebra.

This does not mean that you should ignore Geometry and Modern Math. On the contrary, you must not leave out any chapter for CAT preparation.

Writing Mocks

There is no better time to start writing mocks than now. Even if you attempt a mock and merely get a handful of questions right that should give you enough confidence to attempt more questions and perspective on what you need to focus on next. Attempting mocks followed by an in-depth analysis would help you measure your level of preparation unlike any other preparation strategy and is one of the keys steps that you need take to take in order to understand how to crack CAT.

  • From April to June, you should attempt at least 3 full-length mocks of 3 hours each and spend another 5 hours understanding its analysis. This implies spending 8 hours per fortnight in a mock.
  • From July onwards, as you would have covered most of your basics, you should begin to take a mock every week. This will not only help you keep your preparation in check but will also help you efficiently manage your time and develop a personalized test-taking strategy which is a crucial aspect of how to crack CAT.

Our proctored and non-proctored CAT Test Series is available from April onwards. You can attempt 30+ mocks based on the latest exam pattern and improve your performance with Overall Performance Analysis, Drill-down analysis, and Time Wasted analysis tools which is shared in your detailed performance report should help you figure out which aspects you need to work on to identify how to crack CAT.


Knowing how to crack CAT is one thing but actually going through with it is something completely different. It is important for all aspirants to stick religiously to the plan laid out above if they wish to have a prayer at cracking the formula for how to crack CAT.

  • It is important to clear the basics before the aspirants nurtures ambitions on how he/she is going to crack CAT. All topics have to be covered with additional importance given to the topics which hold more value in the CAT Exam.
  • Sectional Tests should be given religiously so that the aspirant can keep track of his/her progress and the areas in which work needs to be done.
  • Full-length mocks are extremely important in ensuring that the aspirant can not only apply the concepts that they studied but also helps them improve on their stamina to ensure that the candidate is able to function at full-capacity throughout the CAT Exam.

These are some of the steps that each student should be taking when they set their ambition as breaking the code on how to crack CAT. There will always be variations in the study plans that students design for themselves but the broad structures remain the same.

Hope this helps. All the best!

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