CAT Preparation


10 tips for helping you harness your potential.

Not prepared for CAT? Not to worry!

You have not gone too far with your preparation.
Assuming you have filled your CAT form and plan to sit for it come what may, here is a checklist from those who can help you do it.


Begin with a reality check. With only 45 odd days of studies, you are at a disadvantage since you will be matching your wits with those steadfastly studious fellas who have been at it for over six months, if not a year. If you have not been practising your mathematics or mugging your word list and attempting your data interpretation regularly, you have to do all that and more by way of solving time bound mock tests and devising strategies to make optimum use of your skills and speed.


CAT is really a test about your basic fundas. Once you get your basics clear, lateral thinking is the next step to success. So brush up on your spellings, brush up your BODMAS (Brackets, Order, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction), relearn your theorems and equations and apply them in more ways than one.


The more you swot, the more you improve. Data Interpretation involves a wide volume of data and graphs. The more you study and handle them, the clearer they get. Do learn your word list for English. Look for comprehension passages that deal with subjects and issues beyond your reading preference. If you are a fiction lover, try attempting non-fiction passages on scientific discoveries, theories and philosophy. The more you attempt the passages, the easier they get, and that added confidence minimizes chances of negative marking.” Try reading the smaller editorials in the edit pages of newspapers and recalling the main points. Check your speed. You should be able to get it done in five minutes. Logic section is a grey area for many. Only repeated practice within a time limit coupled with your gut instinct can help you there.


Speed plays a key role in your overall performance. Nothing gets done without a time frame. “Remember, you will not get more than 30 to 45 seconds to answer each question. So try to answer them serially. Don’t go back and waste precious seconds. Take a calculated risk and attempt answers to questions that you are half-sure of rather than trying to figure them out later . This works best for the Logic section, where timing and accuracy are crucial.


Devise strategies in all areas. Select your core area of skill and select the questions. Five short questions in 10 minutes are better than attempting three long questions in 10 minutes. Know your strengths and weaknesses Decide on one area every week that you will work on [in order of priority], and try to convert it into an area of strength. Even a three-four mark improvement every week can make a world of difference to your actual CAT score.”


Move on to mock tests only after you are reasonably sure of your basic fundas and have improved your speed. Adds Salian, “Taking 25 to 30 of these tests will not help if they are not analyzed properly.” What is important is not ‘how many,’ but ‘how’ you take these tests. After every test, do a thorough analysis. It is quite useless solving mock tests for hours or doing too many of them (you need to solve at least 10-15in two months) when you could use that time fruitfully to develop your core areas and increase your speed. Once you are reasonably confident, attempt them and finish them on time.

QUICK TIPS for Cat Preparation

  • Identify your core area(s).
  • Learn your word list and refresh your basic mathematics.
  • Focus on accuracy. Speed will follow.
  • Make a note of your mistakes after you attempt to solve a paper. Refer to them before sitting down to solve the next.
  • Be aware of your biological clock and put in more hours when you are at your best.
CAT 2001 Paper.pdf
CAT 2006 Question Paper and Solutions.pdf



    1. Reading a Reading Comprehension passage too fast can make for more mistakes, and more time spent when answering questions in having to go back to the passage. Read at a speed that is good enough to comprehend the passage.

    2. The X-axis is also called the abscissa and the Y-axis is also called the ordinate.

    3. The equation of X-axis is y = 0 and the equation of Y-axis is x = 0.

    4. Spelling has also become an important thing to know after this years CAT paper which tested spelling as well. Hence, keep an eye out for the spellings of words.

    5. To calculate the average rate of interest, you must calculate the geometric mean, not the arithmetic mean. For example, if the rate of interest provided by a bank in three successive years was 10%, 20%, and 15%, this means that the investment was multiplied by 1.10, 1.20, and 1.15 in the three years respectively. Hence, the geometric mean needs to be calculated.

    6. Don’t give up on the habit of reading editorial pages, and other material in the last few days before CAT. Continual depth and breadth of reading is what will hold you in good stead during the exam.

    7. In a test, even after spending a reasonable amount of time on a question if you find that you are not making any head-way, it makes sense to leave that question and forget about it. While solving the next set of questions, avoid mulling over the lost time and reducing your concentration.

    8. In Quant or DI questions do not waste time in finding the values of the variables as it may not be necessary. Sometimes we just need the ratio(s) and not the actual values.

    9. In an RC passage, making a 5 to 10 word summary of each paragraph, and writing it beside the paragraph increases retention and understanding of the passage.

    10. The greatest number that will divide a, b and c leaving remainders x, y and z respectively, is the HCF of (a- x), (b – y) and (c – z).

    11. While reading the passage, develop a habit of mentally summarizing each paragraph and keep linking them throughout the passage. This helps in understanding the overall idea of the passage and makes inferential questions seem a lot easier.

    12. Don’t judge a book by its cover and a question by how it appears at first glance. In every successive CAT, there have been easy questions camouflaged as difficult ones. Though it makes good sense to attempt the easy questions before the difficult ones as they carry the same marks, it always pays to have a closer look at the ones that seem difficult. Cracking or leaving them could make the difference between getting an IIM call or missing it.

    13. If (x + 4y) is divisible by 13 where y is the units place digit and x is the number obtained by removing the last digit, then the number is divisible by 13.

    14. In Paragraph Completion questions, eliminate options that appear to complete the paragraph but also add new data which require elaboration.

    15. Habits maketh a man (and woman). This applies to your CAT preparation as well. Rather than slogging it out on a few days when you are in high spirits, and taking some days off when don’t feel upto the mark, make it a habit to study for a few hours everyday, no matter what. Your study regimen will help you perform on the day of CAT too – not because you feel good, but inspite of feeling pressured.

If the difference in the sum of all the odd-numbered and even-numbered digits is a multiple of 11 (including 0), the original number is divisible by 11. For example, consider the number 102190. The sum of the odd-numbered digits is 12 and the sum of even numbered digits is 1. Since the difference (11) is a multiple of 11, the given number is divisible by 11.

  1. In Paragraph Summary and Paragraph Completion questions, first ascertain clearly the gist or the central idea of the paragraph. This will help eliminate options that do not resonate with the central theme.

  2. In the run-up to the real CAT, it helps taking some time off every day and rejuvenate the mind. For about an hour everyday, do what you really enjoy. This will help you relax and improve your concentration in the mock CATs and ultimately in the real CAT.

  3. If the number obtained by subtracting twice the last digit from the number left after removing the last digit, is divisible by 7, then the original number is divisible by 7. For example, consider the number 161. The number left after removing the last digit is 16. If we subtract twice the last digit i.e. 2 from this we get 14. Since 14 is divisible by 7, we can say that 161 is divisible by 7.

  4. In Fact, Inference, Judgment questions, it helps to take the elimination route rather than the selection route. Identify a statement which is definitely a Fact, an Inference or a Judgment, and eliminate options that do not qualify it accordingly. This will help you move closer to the right option.

  5. Natural numbers ending in 0, 1, 5 and 6 have unit’s digit cyclicity of 1. Numbers ending in 2, 3, 7 and 8 have a cyclicity of 4 and numbers ending in 4 have a cyclicity of 2. In general, after every four consecutive powers of any natural number, the digit in the unit’s place repeats itself.