How To Crack CAT 2020 – Best Approach For Exam Preparation


Are you one of those who has this longing vision of being in the beautiful stone carved campus that you had seen in ‘3 Idiots’? Dreaming about how to crack CAT 2020? Yes, I am talking about IIM Bangalore. I have been to the campus and stayed there for a week. It was during their annual National fest, Umaang. It is indeed what dreams are made of.

Every MBA aspirant hopes to crack CAT and study in one of the esteemed B-schools of the country. It is held annually in November. It is one of the most competitive exams and it’s almost next to impossible to succeed. Well, if done correctly, nothing is impossible!

Time and again average students have broken all norms and managed to get 99% and above in this very competitive exam. This proves that with a smart study plan, even a commoner can do it. It doesn’t require the IQ of Einstein or Newton. Daily practice is the key to success.

Study smart, not hard and be consistent! – This should be your mantra.

So let’s start as to how to crack CAT 2020.

CAT Exam Pattern and Syllabus

CAT or Common Admission Test, consists of three main sections namely-‘Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)’, ‘Quantitative Aptitude (QA)’, and  ‘Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)’. In CAT 2019, the test was 180 minutes long (three hours) with total marks of 100. For every correct answer, you get three marks, and for every wrong answer, one mark is deducted. If you leave any question, there will be no points allotted.

SectionNo. Of Questions
Verbal ability and reading comprehension34
Data interpretation and logical reasoning32
Quantitative aptitude34


1. CAT Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension Syllabus

CAT Verbal Ability includes the following sentences:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Paragraph Summary
  • Para-jumbles & Misfit Sentences

These are other topics that you need to study and they are mentioned below:

  • Critical Reasoning
  • Paragraph Completion
  • Grammar & Usage
  • Vocabulary based questions ( Fill in the blanks)

2. CAT Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning Syllabus

Mentioned below is the list of topics to be studied well for CAT 2020 exam:

Pie Charts, Combination of two or more types linked to each other Games & Tournaments, Number and Letter Series, Calendars, Cubes, Clocks, Venn Diagrams, Binary Logic, Seating Arrangement, Syllogism, Logical Matching, Logical Sequence, Logical Connectives, Blood Relations, Tables, Bar Graphs, Column Graphs, Line Charts, Venn Diagrams.

3. CAT Quantitative Ability Syllabus

Number Systems, LCM and HCF, Profit, Loss and Discount, Percentages, Speed, Time and Distance, Time and Work, Simple and Compound Interest, Binomial Theorem, Sequences and Series, Surds and Indices, Inequalities, Probability, Permutation and Combination, Set Theory, Functions, Geometry, Mixtures and Alligations, Trigonometry, Coordinate Geometry, and Mensuration, Ratio, and Proportion, Averages, Quadratic Equations, Linear Equations, Complex Numbers, Logarithm.

Steps to crack CAT 2020

1. Early bird gets the worm

It is advisable to start at least nine months before the exam. It gives you a head start and enough time to cover all the topics without rushing into it. Greater practice will lead to better results. Therefore, start as soon as you have made up your mind about taking CAT 2020.

If you are thinking of starting just three months before the exam date, think again! It’s better to work for another year and simultaneously prepare. This way you will get work experience as well as more than a year to prepare.

2. Analyze The Syllabus and Make Weekly goals

Don’t blindly start with random study material. Analysis should be the first step. Read the syllabus online and develop a long-term plan. Think of the amount of time you should invest each day multiplied into the number of days you have. This way you can allot a particular time to each topic so that nothing is missed out in the end.

Then move on to short term goals, i.e. weekly goals. I am not in favor of making a very structured time table where you pack your self in a time constraint. Just make sure you plan out how many topics you will cover for that particular week. Keep Sundays for solving questions of the chapters you have completed in that week from past year papers. Isn’t  The Art Of Setting Goals a prerequisite to success?

3. Build a strong base of the topic

Don’t jump on solving the hard questions directly. You may waste time as your concept isn’t clear. Take one step at a time and start with the basics. Once that is clear, you will have better accuracy in less time. Verbal ability requires regular practice whereas the other two sections need to be consistently revised and solved. Once you are done with all the chapters, start with solving question papers.

4. Mocks are your savior

Your marks are directly proportional to the number of mock question papers you have managed to attempt. The more you practice while subjecting yourself to a time limit and a somewhat similar stressful environment, you are more likely to crack CAT 2020. So gear up, guys!

I was given very valuable advice by a sir, that attempt a mock question paper every day exactly at the same time you are planning to give CAT 2020. For instance, if the CAT 2020 timing is at 10 AM, make sure you study or give a mock at the same time every day. It conditions your mind and body to be prepared as soon as the clock strikes 10 AM on the exam day. 

5. Learn from your mistakes

There’s another purpose of attempting mocks. The marks that you achieve is not for bragging or being disappointed. You must carefully analyze where you have lost points. The incorrect answer shows you the weak points of your preparation. Make sure you brush up the concepts you have answered incorrectly.

This does not mean you neglect the topics you have scored well in. It only indicates that those concepts do not need equal attention.

Important tips on how to crack CAT 2020

  • Make sure you learn at least 10 new words every day from a book or through flashcards. It is not easy cramming up hundreds of words in the last one month.
  • Solve 1 Reading Comprehension and 1 Data Interpretation set and 1 Puzzle every day before the exam.
  • Read Norman Lewis and other novels. Apart from that, read management & leadership related books to improve reading comprehension skills.
  • Start reading newspapers, articles and listen to debates which will further help you in increasing your general awareness.

A positive outlook will help you move ahead with ease and calm your nerves during tough times. Every single person in the country is preparing along with you. The deciding factor will be, what are you doing differently? So find your strong point and trust your efforts.


  1. That is a great tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere.
    Brief but very accurate info… Thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read article!

  2. It is very informative and helpful for cat aspirants to clear it …. It will help them out to crack it ….plzzz go through it

  3. Information in the article is very helpful as i am also preparing for CAT exam. I was confused about few things related to prepration before reading this article. Now those things are clear.

  4. Really Motivating For Aspirants preparing for CAT. Surely share this blog in my circle so that they can also grab some tips to crack CAT.


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