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Step-By-Step Guide: How to start preparing for CAT?

Author : Palak Khanna

Updated On : July 19, 2023


Summary: An in-depth approach to preparation is provided on the page on how to start preparing for CAT? It outlines the significance of careful study preparation, picking out resources, honing skill sets, and taking practice exams in order to ace the exams. 

The CAT (Common Admission Test) is a highly competitive exam that requires diligent preparation to excel. 

As you embark on your CAT preparation journey, it's crucial to approach each section strategically.

In this article, we will outline the steps to kickstart your preparation for the VARC (Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension), DILR (Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning), and QA (Quantitative Ability) sections of the CAT exam. 

By following these steps, you can lay a strong foundation and enhance your chances of success.

How to start preparing for CAT?

Step 1: Understand the Exam Pattern and Syllabus

  • Start by familiarising yourself with the CAT exam pattern and syllabus. 
  • Understand the number of questions, time duration, and sectional weightage for each section. 
  • Review the topics covered in VARC, DILR, and QA to get a comprehensive overview of what to expect in the exam.

Step 2: Identify Strengths and Weaknesses

  • Assess your strengths and weaknesses in each section. 
  • Analyse your performance in mock tests or practice exercises to identify the areas where you excel and the topics that require more attention. 
  • This self-assessment will help you allocate your study time effectively and prioritise your efforts.

Check: CAT Syllabus 2023

Step 3: Develop a Study Plan

  • Create a structured study plan that accommodates your strengths and weaknesses. 
  • Divide your time wisely among the three sections, giving more attention to areas where you need improvement. 
  • Set daily, weekly, and monthly goals to track your progress and stay motivated. 
  • Ensure your study plan is realistic and adaptable to accommodate unforeseen circumstances.

Check: How much time is required to prepare for CAT exam?

How to start preparing for CAT?: Preparing for the VARC Section

Step 4: Enhance Reading Skills

  • To excel in VARC, focus on improving your reading speed and comprehension abilities. 
  • Read a variety of articles, newspapers, and books from different genres to expand your vocabulary and enhance your understanding of complex passages. 
  • Practice reading passages within time constraints to simulate the exam environment.

Step 5: Strengthen Grammar and Language Usage

  • Work on strengthening your grammar and language skills. 
  • Brush up on grammar rules, vocabulary, and sentence correction techniques. 
  • Solve grammar exercises, practice sentence completion, and para jumbles to reinforce your understanding of English language usage.

Check: Is CAT compulsory for MBA?

How to start preparing for CAT?: Preparing for the DILR Section

Step 6: Master Data Interpretation Techniques

  • Data Interpretation requires a strong grasp of data analysis and interpretation. 
  • Practice analysing tables, charts, graphs, and other forms of data representation. 
  • Focus on understanding the data sets and identifying relevant information to solve questions accurately and efficiently.

Step 7: Develop Logical Reasoning Skills

  • Logical Reasoning questions in the DILR section require critical thinking and logical analysis. 
  • Practice solving puzzles, seating arrangements, blood relations, and other logical reasoning problems. 
  • Enhance your ability to make quick deductions and identify logical patterns.

Check: CAT Cut off 2023

How to start preparing for CAT?: Preparing for the QA Section

Step 8: Strengthen Mathematical Concepts

  • Quantitative Ability demands a solid foundation in mathematical concepts. 
  • Review topics such as number systems, algebra, geometry, arithmetic, and probability. 
  • Practice solving a variety of problems, focusing on accuracy and speed.

Step 9: Learn Shortcut Techniques

  • Familiarise yourself with shortcut techniques and formulas to solve QA problems efficiently. 
  • Focus on mental calculations and develop a strong numerical intuition. 
  • Practice solving different types of QA questions to improve your problem-solving skills.

Check: CAT exam centres 2023

Step 10: Take Mock Tests and Analyze the Performance

  • Regularly take mock tests to assess your progress and simulate the actual exam environment. 
  • Analyse your performance to identify areas that require improvement.
  • Review both correct and incorrect answers to understand your thought process and learn from your mistakes.


Starting your CAT preparation journey can be overwhelming, but by following these steps, you can lay a solid foundation for success in the VARC, DILR, and QA sections. Understand the exam pattern, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and develop a comprehensive study plan. Focus on enhancing reading skills, strengthening logical reasoning abilities, and mastering mathematical concepts. Take mock tests, analyse your performance, and refine your strategies accordingly. With consistent effort, dedication, and a strategic approach, you can maximise your potential and achieve a remarkable CAT score. Good luck!

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