CAT 2018: Important topics for preparation

CAT: Important topics for preparationCAT 2018: Important topics for preparation - The Common Admission Test- CAT 2018 will be conducted on November 25 by IIM Calcutta. With six months left for the exam, candidates must know the CAT important topics and areas to focus on.

Although there is no specific CAT syllabus to prepare for, aspirants must know the important topics to prepare for CAT 2018. This article by Careers360 will guide students to know about Important topics for CAT preparations, under each of the sections.


As per the CAT exam pattern, there are three sections- Quantitative Aptitude (QA), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) and Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRC). Each section of the test has a few important topics which a student must cover. Let us have a look at CAT important topics for preparation.

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CAT 2018: Important topics for preparation


1.   Quantitative Aptitude (QA)


Solving QA section of CAT can be quite challenging for test takers as the difficulty level of this section, based on past years trend, has been of difficult to moderate level.


Students, especially from non-engineering backgrounds, who are not too comfortable in QA, must focus in this section to improve their sectional scores, which will impact their overall CAT percentile.  Despite being weak in Quantitative Ability, Commerce graduate Saakshi Goel cracked CAT with 99.57 percentile and secured admission in SPJIMR Mumbai. She says, “For me, QA was a challenge since I knew I had to compete with Engineers who are well versed with the subject. Hence, I dedicated 75 percent of my time to QA and the rest of the time was devoted to practising VARC and DILR.”

Some of the topics that the aspirants must focus under this section are:

  • Number System: Ensure that you are clear with the basic concepts of this topic.

  • Arithmetic: Though Arithmetic has a vast number of sub-topics, in the last few years, only a couple of questions have featured on this topic.

  • Algebra: Considering this has been one of the most dominant topics in CAT in the last three years, it makes a lot of sense to place extra emphasis on this topic.

  • Geometry: Another topic which has featured quite a lot in the last few years.

  • Permutation & Combination/Probability: This is another topic that contributes around one to two questions to the exam.

  • Miscellaneous Topics: This includes Set Theory, Trigonometry, and Logarithms

Preparation Tips: When you know the basic concepts, you must practice via examples. It is important to follow the concepts learned and practice each concept by solving simple examples first and gradually moving towards the difficult ones. Besides learning the concepts for Quant, it is equally important that you do not leave any topic uncovered. One of the important strategies to cover each topic is to make a Day-wise preparation plan and schedule some number of days to prepare for that topic.

Subhrajyoti Saha, CAT 2016 Topper and IIM Shillong student prepared from books and practised from the practice papers available in the books. He says, “I practised a lot of questions from the book and also from online resources. I referred to Arun Sharma books on Quantitative Aptitude and study materials from my coaching institute.”


2. Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)


CAT assesses the aptitude of logical thinking aptitude of the candidates, and the Data Interpretation (DI) and Logical Reasoning (LR) section of the test are closest in resemblance to the kind of problems one might face as a manager. This section tests your decision-making ability and speed using limited input. Needless to say, that practice is the key to crack this section. But it is also important to prepare while keeping an eye on the watch. As there is a sectional limit to attempt one section, not focusing on time will only hamper your preparation.


Jessie Lemos, CAT Topper from MDI Gurgaon says that practice is the key to crack this section. “I just kept practising a wide variety of DI & LR sets so that no kind of question could surprise me in the main exam.” 


A few topics that you must cover in DI section and that you must prepare are:

  • Data Sufficiency

  • Bar Graph

  • Tables

  • Case-lets

  • Pi-charts

Logical Reasoning is all about understanding the trick hidden in the question. After you are done with your daily preparation, take out time for some brainstorming sessions, like solving crossword puzzles, Sudoku, riddles on blood relations, family tree etc. Some of the topics are:


Preparation Tips:
The more you practice the questions from DI & LR, better will you perform. The DI questions for CAT are known for being calculation intensive. Utilise the on-screen calculator to the fullest in this section. Since there is no theoretical aspect in this section, you can only practice excelling the areas. “DI & LR was always my favourite section and I usually started with DI first and then LR. My theory behind this was that doing mental calculations is easier since normally in an exam situation, aspirants have a brain-freeze moment if they go for LR first. LR can sometimes be solved by intuition if the time is less. It is important to keep an eye on the details given in a DI & LR question.,” says Vatsalya Kumar Srivastava, CAT 2016 99.76 percentile and MDI Gurgaon student.

3. Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRC)


This section is divided into two parts, Reading Comprehension and English Usage. The Reading Comprehension area carries around five passages followed by three to five questions from each passage. The English Usage area includes questions on grammar, vocabulary etc. Following are the topics of English Usage to prepare for CAT.

  • Fact Inference Judgment

  • Fill in the blanks

  • Grammar

  • Para Completion

  • Para Jumble

  • Sentence Correction

  • Verbal Reasoning

  • Word Usage (Vocabulary)

Preparation Tips:  To prepare for this section, Expert, Arks Srinivas of Career Launcher suggests focusing on grammar and learn five to 10 words each day. “There is no way you can learn a hundred words in a day consistently. Ideally, learning about five to 10 new words a day (every day for the next 100 day) will help you get richer in vocabulary by 500 to 1000 words," he says. For Verbal Reasoning and Reading Comprehension, getting familiar with the type of questions and paragraphs is the key. Make sure that you spend at least half hour every day in this area so that you are either taking a slip test or reviewing one. Reading the editorials of the Newspaper(s) is a very good way to improve the comprehension.


CAT 2016 Topper, Bhushan Baviskar says, “In CAT, 24 questions are from RC section. So, this section required maximum time for preparation. For VA/RC, I read online articles of a different genre. The word count in the articles should vary between 500-1200 words. Not less not more. And I mostly focused on the articles which did not have 'complex' English. When I started this exercise, my reading speed was around 210-220 words per minute. After practising this exercise for around 5 months, my reading speed galloped to around 350 words per minute.” 


 Also Read:

CAT Topper Interview

CAT Expert interview

CAT 2018: When and how to start preparations

Must read books for CAT

First Published On : 09 Aug 2016 05:44 PM IST

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