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How to Start Preparation for CAT Examination 2023?

Author : Akash Kumar Singh

Updated On : September 18, 2023


Summary: Learn how to get started with your CAT exam preparation by understanding the CAT exam pattern, assessing your knowledge, establishing a conceptual foundation, and mastering each section. To excel in this highly competitive exam, seek expert help on the VARC, DILR, and QA sections. 

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is a national-level entrance examination for admission to various management programmes provided by IIMs and other top B-schools in India. 

CAT is one of India's most difficult examinations, and preparing for it demands an immense amount of hard work, dedication, and planning. In this article, we will go over some CAT Exam preparation strategies

How to start preparation for CAT exam? 

Tips to Start CAT Preparation: Pre-preparation Plan 

Understanding the exam structure and syllabus is the first step in preparing for the CAT 2023 entrance exam. The CAT exam is divided into three parts: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Ability (QA). Each section is timed independently, and the exam lasts three hours in total. 

The CAT exam syllabus is extensive, and it is essential to understand the concepts covered in every section.  

  • The VARC part includes reading comprehension, paraphrases, sentence completion, and critical reasoning questions.  
  • The DILR portion includes Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, and Analytical Reasoning questions.  
  • The QA section comprises questions on Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Mensuration. 

Check: CAT Exam Admission

Here is the CAT exam pattern to follow:  


Total No. of Questions 





Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) 




40 min 

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI & LR) 




40 min 

Quantitative Ability (QA) 




40 min 






120 (2 hours) 

cat 2023 super-30 course

cat 2023 super-30 course

Check: CAT Online Coaching

Review the weightage and marking scheme to assist you in focusing the CAT exam syllabus and planning your preparations accordingly. 

How to start preparation for CAT exam?  

Assess Your Current Level of Knowledge 

Before beginning to prepare for the CAT 2023, candidates should examine their ranking. Evaluating their expertise will assist them in determining where to begin. You can also take one free CAT mock test to assess your subject-specific knowledge for the CAT exam. 

If you plan to enrol in CAT classes, consider all of the elements, such as finances, location, and time availability. Additionally, enrol in a programme that will help you with CAT online preparation and provide continuing motivation through peer-to-peer learning. 

Check: How to Prepare for the CAT Exam in a Year?

Build a Theoretical Foundation 

A high CAT score is determined by two factors: speed and accuracy. Both of them demand a strong conceptual framework and cannot be accomplished without one. As a result, the following step is to strengthen your concepts. 

Practice and revision can help you develop strong basics. Practise a wide range of questions from the topics you have learned, with different levels of difficulty. Your conceptual understanding will improve, and your CAT preparation will accelerate as a result. 

Check: How to Prepare for the CAT Exam in 2 Months?

How to Start Preparation for CAT Exam: Pre-Preparation Checks 

Chapter-wise or section-wise preparation for any competitive exam is very important to build a basic fundamental understanding of the topics covered in that exam. 

To kickstart your CAT exam preparation, follow these essential pre-preparation checks: 

  • Familiarize with CAT Building Blocks: Understand the CAT exam pattern and syllabus to prepare effectively. Knowing the exam structure, question types, and sections is crucial for targeted preparation. 
  • Assess Your Knowledge Level: Gauge your current knowledge base to identify areas of strength and weakness. Consider taking the CAT mock test to enhance your preparation and determine if coaching is necessary. 
  • Develop a Conceptual Foundation: Focus on building a strong conceptual understanding of topics. Study theory, practice, and reinforce your knowledge to enhance speed and accuracy. 
  • Make Mocks a Habit: Regularly take mock tests to become familiar with the exam format, benchmark your performance, and adapt to the testing environment. Increase mock frequency as the exam date approaches. 
  • Solve Previous Year CAT Papers: Review and solve previous year CAT question papers to consolidate your knowledge and gain insights into common question patterns and exam strategies. 

Check: CAT Exam Preparation Books

cat 2023 test series

cat 2023 test series

Check: How to Prepare for the CAT Exam at Home?

Follow these section-by-section preparation suggestions for an extensive approach to CAT preparation: 

How to Start Preparation for CAT Exam VARC Section 

Here are some CAT VARC suggestions to help you get an understanding on this section: 

  • Read regularly to improve visualization and comprehension. 
  • Pay attention to online class suggestions. 
  • Enhance your vocabulary and read about social issues. 
  • Use a grammar book to improve language skills. 
  • Practice critical reasoning and employ elimination techniques for RC passages. 

Check: CAT Verbal Ability Questions

How to Start Preparation for CAT Exam DILR Section 

DILR is the most difficult CAT question because of the randomness of the questions and the lack of a curriculum. The section requires practise with puzzles, graphs, and data-based problems. 

Here are some practical suggestions to get you started on your DILR preparation: 

  • Identify question difficulty levels quickly. 
  • Understand the given information thoroughly and avoid assumptions. 
  • Focus on arrangement topics and various data interpretation formats. 
  • Solve previous year papers to grasp question variations. 
  • Work on speed and accuracy by setting practice timers. 

Check: How to Prepare for CAT Logical Reasoning?

How to Start Preparation for CAT Exam QA Section 

The Quantitative Ability section is the "make or break section" of the CAT exam. The majority of CAT QA questions are application-oriented and evaluates your understanding of algebra, arithmetic, geometry, and sometimes a combination of topics. 

  • Memorize essential formulas for algebra, arithmetic, and geometry. 
  • Understand question types involving multiple concepts. 
  • Practice school mathematics topics extensively. 
  • Use CAT mock tests to understand the QA section's level and analyze your progress. 

Check: How to Prepare for CAT Quantitative Aptitude?


By concentrating on the important factors discussed in this article, you will be able to keep your CAT preparation on schedule. You must keep in mind that passing the CAT exam demands effectively utilising the time provided, making full use of the resources that are accessible to you, and staying motivated throughout the journey. 

Also check: What to do after CAT?

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the CAT exam pattern, and how many sections are there?

How should I prepare for the VARC section in CAT?

What strategies can I use to tackle the DILR section effectively?

How do I prepare for the QA section in CAT, especially if I'm not strong in mathematics?

How many times can I attempt the CAT exam?

What is the marking scheme for CAT, and how are the results calculated?


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