CAT 2020 Preparation Strategy - Tips, Recommended Books, Online Learning, Mock Tests

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By Anam Shams - Content Writer Dec 30 2019 Share this blog

CAT 2020 Preparation Strategy: Common Admissions Test (CAT) is one of the most admired entrance tests for Master of Business Administration (MBA) aspirants in India. It is a gateway to 20 Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) as well as more than 1200 other business schools of the country. The exam is conducted by one of the IIMs every year on a rotational basis. To crack CAT with high score, candidates must have best CAT 2020 preparation strategy

The notification for CAT 2020 will be released in the month of July 2020 on the official website i.e., iimcat.ac.in. The exam will be conducted in the month of November in around 136 cities throughout the country.

While framing your CAT 2020 Preparation Strategy; following questions should pop in your mind:

  • How much time is left for your exams?
  • What was the level of difficulty of the paper last year?
  • How to revise important topics?
  • How many Mock papers to be solved as a part of your CAT 2020 Preparation Strategy?

Know Detailed CAT 2020 Exam Pattern

CAT 2020 Preparation Strategy 

The most important aspect of getting a good score in the entrance exam is time management and accuracy. Accuracy is also important because of negative marking in the exam. When building CAT 2020 Preparation Strategy, candidates must be familiar with the syllabus and exam pattern. The following table gives you an idea of that:

Key Highlights

Total Number of Questions
Number of Sections
Questions with Negative Marking
Questions without Negative Marking
Marking Pattern
+3 for Correct Responses +1 for an Incorrect Response

CAT 2020 Exam Pattern

Sectional Distribution of CAT 2020

Number of questions
Quantitative Aptitude (QA)
60 Minutes
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI/ LR)
60 Minutes
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
60 Minutes
  • It is advisable to attempt only those questions in which you are confident. The key to time management and accuracy is practice. The more you practice the questions, the better and faster you will become.
  • Learn to manage your time from the very beginning. This will save you from a lot of trouble in the latter days.
  • The most important rule for CAT 2020 preparation strategy is to start with the basics and then move towards the more difficult sections.
  • Divide your time equally or according to your preference and proficiency between the three sections and manage time in such a way that you are left with ample time for revision at the end.

CAT 2020 Preparation Strategy - Tips for Beginners

There are some tips specifically catering to groom the students who are preparing for CAT while studying in college. If these tips are taken into consideration in CAT 2020 Preparation Strategy, then you can score better.

  • College students stop focusing on graduation marks when they start preparing for entrance exams. Graduation marks play a very important role and should be given the exact amount of weightage.

  • Your CAT 2020 Preparation Strategy should be timeline-based. Your preparation becomes more effective that way. The following tables will help you build a timeline for yourself.

CAT 2020 Preparation strategy for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

English Grammar; Sentence Correction; Fill in the Blanks
Para Completion; Jumbled Paragraph; Odd Sentence Out; Para Summary
Verbal Reasoning; Critical Reasoning; Reading Comprehension

CAT 2020 Preparation strategy for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

Network and Routes;
Combinations; Data Sufficiency; Venn Diagrams
Set Theory; Games and Tournaments; DI Based Reasoning; Tables; Caselets
Selections and Ordering

CAT 2020 Preparation strategy for Quantitative Ability

Time and Work; Mixtures and Allegations; Ratio and Proportion; Linear Equations; Inequalities; Logarithms; Surds and Indices; Coordinate Geometry
Functions; Progressions; Simple and Compound Interest; Percentages;
Averages; Profit, Loss and Discount; TSD; Quadratic Equations; Probability
Mensuration; P&C
Number System and Geometry
  • You should 3-4 hours of your everyday as a part of CAT 2020 Preparation Strategy.

CAT 2020 Section Wise Preparation Tips

Preparation Tips for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension is the most unpredictable section. 
  • Only reading more and more will make you comfortable in attempting this section. 
  • Reading enhances our vocabulary, and a good vocabulary is needed to attempt the questions with greater accuracy.
  •  Taking grammar tests timely can also prove to be a great aspect of preparation.
  •  Online websites like EducationObserver and TCYONline provide a number of online tests.

Preparation Tips for Quantitative Aptitude 

  • In the section of Quantitative Aptitude, students are advised to start their preparation with the chapters that they are more comfortable with instead of starting with those topics about which you have no idea. 
  • For online resources, you can look at TotalGadha for detailed explanations of all the topics. TCYOnline covers all the basic mathematical concepts from class 5 to class 10. 
  • You can also look at TopCoaching for mathematical concepts. SimplyLearn offers mock tests on the topic. 
  • If you are very weak in the subject, then it is advisable to start with clearing the basic concepts by studying NCERT books and class 10th and class 12th mathematics.

Preparation Tips for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

  • In the Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section, good calculation and mathematical abilities are required. 
  • The questions in this section are mostly simple but tricky. They have a basic concept but are still difficult to attempt. 
  • You will be required to make connections between the data given in the question and then choose the correct alternative. 
  • Online websites like Indiabix provide a forum to solve questions and discuss them with other students. 
  • SimplyLearn offers study material for a different type of questions on Data Interpretation, while LearnHub has previous year question papers along with their solutions.

MBA aspirants should make it a habit to revise all the things again and again as revision increases our mind’s capacity to retain data. Thus, before beginning with new topics, revise the topics studied on the previous day. This will also help you to realise how much information you have actually retained.

CAT 2020 Preparation Strategy - Recommended Books 

Books play a major role while preparing for any of the exams. Major exams like CAT require highly standardised books to brush up the concepts you need to learn before appearing in the exam. Some of the recommended books for CAT 2020 Preparation Strategy include:

Books for Quantitative Ability

Book Name
How to Prepare Quantitative Aptitude for CAT
Arun Sharma
Quantum for CAT
Sarvesh K. Verma
Quantitative Aptitude for CAT
Nishit Sinha
Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Exam Tips, Techniques, Short-cut Methods
Abhijit Guha
NCERT Mathematics Books for Class 8,9,10,11 and 12

Books for Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation

Book Name
CAT Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
Gautam Puri
How to prepare for Logical Reasoning for CAT
Arun Sharma

Books for Verbal and Reading Comprehension

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT and Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for CAT
Nishit K Sinha
How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
Meenakshi Upadhyay and Arun Sharma
Wren and Martin English Grammar
Business English and Communication
Clark Zimmer

NOTE - This is not an exhaustive list, and the students can consult a number of other books too.

CAT 2020 Mock Tests

Another important aspect of preparation is to attempt as many mock tests as possible. After going through all the topics, you should start attempting online mock tests. This will also prepare you for managing time in the final exam and give you a fair idea of the pattern of questions. 

Solve the sample papers given online. Several online websites provide mock sample tests. This will help in understanding the level of questions that are asked in the exam. Giving mock tests also helps you to judge yourself and your preparation and improve upon it. Carefully notice your mistakes and work on them and try not to repeat them.

CAT 2020 Preparation Strategy - Online Resources

Some coaching institutes like Mindworkzz also provide distance learning or online classes. Some other helpful websites which offer study material for CAT 2020 Preparation Strategy include TCY Online, Learn Hub, Indiabix, Simply Learnt, Handa ka Funda, PaGaLGuY, Career Launcher and Education Observer.

Coaching Institutes for CAT 2020 Preparation

There are a number of coaching institutes throughout the country. Most of the institutes start with fresh batches in January 2020. However, new batches keep on starting at regular intervals throughout the year until the exam is conducted in November. Some of the well- known coaching institutes in Delhi are:

  • Triumphant Institute of Management Education Pvt. Ltd.
  • MBA Guru
  • Career Launcher
  • Alchemist Aptitudemate
  • Arun Sharma’s Mindworkzz
  • IMS etc. 

CAT 2020 Preparation Strategy - Last Minute Preparation

The conducting agency usually announces results in January of next year. However, CAT results are not the only important factor for admission to IIMs. It is only the first factor. The IIMs release a list of shortlisted students based on CAT score, and then a Writing Ability Test (WAT), as well as a Personal Interview (PI), is conducted by the IIMs. All the factors are taken into account before releasing the final list of the selected students. Students are advised to give their best in the CAT exam as it is the stepping stone for the next levels of testing and admissions.

  • In order to increase your chances of scoring good marks in CAT, you should keep ample time to revise all the important topics once before the scheduled exam.
  • Try studying for 3-4 hours daily for consistent preparation. 
  • Try focusing on the topics where you lack ability rather than revising the topics you’re good at.
  •  Use the last month to look through all the topics, work on your weaknesses and solve more and more sample papers.
  • You must be done with your syllabus at least 10-15 days prior to the exam. This will give you sufficient time to revise everything again.
  • Candidates should give their Mock Test as if they were giving their final exams.

Tips by the Top Scorers

There are some tips given by the top scorers that will help you with your CAT 2020 Preparation Strategy better.

  • To be able to successfully finish the CAT exam on time, candidates must keep a track record of time while taking MOCK tests.
  • Do not waste your time, if you’re unable to solve a particular question. You can always come back later to that question.
  • Do not start anything new in the last two days of your exam, that will only leave you panicked.
  • Do not spend more than required time on a particular section in the examination.
  • Go for your exam with a cool mind. Eat and sleep well.

It is important to stay focused and have a positive attitude throughout the period of preparation as well as on the day of the exam. Staying relaxed and having a good sleep is the key to a positive mind. Thus, students are advised to give their best without stressing much about the result. Stay calm and confident. Good Luck!


Ques. How to prepare for CAT 2020?

Ans. Start your preparations early. Gather all the books and materials. Frame CAT 2020 Preparation Strategy. Take Mock Tests.

Ques. How many months should I study for CAT 2020?

Ans. You should start your preparations at least 3 months before your exams.

Ques. How many Mock Tests should I give as a part of CAT 2020 Preparation Strategy?

Ans. Solve at least 35-40 Mock Papers. Try to strictly adhere to time restrictions while giving Mock Tests.

Ques. Is it fine if I start my CAT 2020 Preparation Strategy?

Ans. Yes, the sooner you start, the better it will be for you to understand each topic better.

Ques. Can I give CAT exams more than one time?

Ans. Yes, you can.