CAT 2020: When and how to start preparation
Updated on Feb 4, 2020 - 4:43 p.m. IST by Mahima Bahl
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CAT 2020: When and how to start preparation - India’s top management institutes IIMs collectively conduct CAT entrance exam every year to provide admission in MBA courses. Name of the IIM that will be conducting CAT 2020 will be disclosed soon. Candidates who are aiming for the top B-Schools for the academic year 2021 should get on their toes and start preparing for CAT 2020 India’s top management exam. Every candidate who will appear for CAT 2020 wants to score high and get a place in IIMs. The question is when and how to start preparing for CAT 2020? Common Admission Test (CAT) being a national level management exam marks participating of more than 2 lacs candidates every year. To know about the preparation plan and timing, candidates must go through this complete article on CAT 2020 when and how to start preparation by careers360.

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CAT 2020 Exam Pattern

Scoring good percentile will require extensive preparation of CAT 2020. For the academic year 2021-2023 admissions, the exam pattern of CAT 2020 will be prescribed by IIM. Candidates willing who will fill the CAT 2020 application form must check the exam pattern beforehand in order to prepare well. Exam pattern of CAT 2020 will be almost the same as CAT 2019. Give below is a tentative exam pattern of CAT 2020 and will be updated if any changes are brought in by IIM for CAT 2020.

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CAT Exam Pattern 2020 (Tentative):

S. No.




Exam Duration

3 hours


Total no. of questions

100 MCQs


Mode of CAT 2020

CBT i.e. computer-based


Marking scheme

  • A correct answer will carry three marks

  • For an incorrect answer, one mark will be deducted



Quantitative ability

Data interpretation & logical reasoning

Verbal ability and reading comprehension

Syllabus of CAT 2020

Along with the exam pattern, candidates must also have a know-how of the CAT 2020 syllabus to prepare in advance. According to some management experts, six months of committed preparation will push you forward towards your goal of being a CAT topper. Lakshya Kumar who cracked CAT 2019 with 99.99 percentile says “I started preparing for CAT in June 2020, like five to six months before the exam."

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Based on past year CAT 2020 syllabus is likely to be same with not many changes. The overall question paper will be divided into three sections of Verbal ability and reading comprehension, Quantitative ability and Data interpretation & logical reasoning. Candidates will be required to solve 100 questions in total.

CAT 2020: When and How to Start Preparation

Once aware of the syllabus, candidates must divide their preparation to answer the question of when to start preparing for CAT 2020? It is quite common for candidates to get confused even after knowing the exam pattern and syllabus and ending up wasting a lot of CAT 2020 precious time. Candidates can break their preparation into 3 stages as mentioned below-

Strategy Planning of When and How to Start CAT 2020 Preparation:

Month-wise Strategy Division

Target Points

6 Months

  • Time Management

  • Join Coaching/FB groups

  • Concept clarity with shortcuts

3 Months

  • Break preparation into sections

  • Work on areas of improvements

  • Practice sample paper/past years questions

1 Month

  • Mock tests

  • Focus on Strong Topics

CAT 2020 in 6 Months

Most of the CAT 2019 toppers admitted that their major portion of preparation started when CAT was 6 months away. Below mentioned points can be referred by candidates if they are planning to start their CAT 2020 Preparation within 6 months of duration -

  1. Time Management - Lakshya Kumar CAT 2019 topper said, “Time management should be considered as the fourth section of the CAT examination. It is not just preparing Verbal Ability, Reasoning, and Quantitative Ability but preparing all these 3 and attempting them within 3 hours of the stipulated time”. Attempting questions with a time allotment of 60 minutes to each section itself makes CAT exams more difficult. To achieve fruitful results, candidates must try to divide their study time table such that within 24 hours, they practice each section daily.

  1. Join Coaching/FB groups - If some candidates feel that they will be unable to study and prepare for CAT 2020 on a self basis, then it is advisable to such candidates that they join some coaching institutes. Nowadays popular social media groups are in trend and help candidates to crack CAT and other management exams. Topper of CAT 2019, Ronit Banerjea told us that he joined the coaching institute and began preparing from their study material in order to learn new and efficient approaches to solving the questions.

  2. Concept clarity with shortcuts - In the initial 6 months to CAT 2020 preparation, candidates should only focus on clearing their concepts. One of the assets of CAT toppers is clarity of fundamental concepts. Most of the toppers believe that it is easy to guess what type of questions will form part of Data interpretation & logical reasoning and Quantitative ability section. But to even guess what will come in VARC i.e Verbal ability and reading comprehension is very challenging. In order to clear concepts, candidates must be aware of the exam pattern and syllabus of CAT 2020.

CAT 2020 in 3 Months

Once done with the basic knowledge on CAT 2020, candidates will be more near to the exam day. Agitation and stress are the most common. Do not panic and follow the below-mentioned points-

Break preparation into sections

Keeping track of the past papers, mainly there are three sections in CAT. Candidates are advised to draw efficient section wise strategy when CAT 2020 is almost near.

For Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension: Candidates should start reading newspapers, journals, blogs, articles, etc to enhance skills. They should try to solve comprehension, inferences, Fill in the blanks with right vocabulary choice, and read passages. Try adding a new word each day to your vocabulary.
For Quantitative Ability: Focus on building up mathematics basics. Candidates should focus on topics like profit and loss, number system, geometry as they might form key questions in the question paper of CAT 2020.

For Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation: Try to study basic topics like seating arrangements, blood relations, syllogisms, etc to grip hands on this section. It is advisable for candidates to not use a calculator while solving questions from this section.

  1. Work on areas of improvements

As for CAT 2020 about 90 days will be left, candidates can focus and try improving their areas in which they feel are not strong as compared to some others. Instead of being melancholy about what all new can be learned, candidates should take initiative to focus and enhance their preparation for weaker areas.

  1. Practice sample paper/past years questions

Candidates are advised to check previous year question papers of CAT. After finishing the syllabus, candidates should try to revise at least 2-3 sample papers on a daily basis. It will help in improving speed as well as let candidates know about how accurate they are. While solving the questions papers or sample papers of CAT rigorously there will be a time when candidates will not find any question of new type.

CAT 2020 in 1 Month

With almost a month left until CAT 2020, candidates will be required to keep calm and emphasize only on what is majorly required. Below mentioned points will help candidates in scoring great and most likely a call from any of the IIMs.

  1. Mock tests

CAT 2020 conducting IIM will release Mock Test paper for giving candidates a gist of the actual exam simulated environment. Solving the mock tests helps candidates to understand and access the difficulty level of CAT 2020. Lakshya the topper of CAT 2019 said that, “he was regular at testing myself via mock tests (once a week) from April. Post any mock he gave some time to analyze the test and figuring out what went wrong and then focused on that”. The most effective method of evaluating current preparation level is the mock test.

  1. Focus on Strong Topics

Starting any new topic will lead to confusion. So it is advisable to candidates to focus and improve their strong areas. Do not waste your time figuring out the new topics or trying to learn new concepts.

Toppers of CAT 2019

Result of CAT 2019 was declared by IIM on January 4, 2020 in online mode. Around 2.09 lacs candidates appeared for the exam out of which many made their names to the CAT toppers 2019 list. To Know and read success stories of the toppers, when and how they started their CAT preparation as well as their message for future candidates, go through the complete article of CAT 2019 toppers.

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Showing 8121 out of 8121 Questions

I got 8.6 cgpa in class 10, 77% in class 12 and 7.8 cgpa in my graduation and I am expecting my percentile around 90 in CAT. so what are chances to get a call from IIMs and other top MBA colleges?

Harshita Sharan Srivastava Student Expert 17th Feb, 2020
Hello aspirant,

  • As per the details provided by you, your academics are average for selection into iims. And with 90 percentile it's very difficult for you to get a call from top IIMs. Although you can get calls from new IIMs but the chances are pretty low.. Even don't expect to get call from IITs at 90 percentile.. If you are planning to get into top MBA Institutes then I'll recommend you to sit for another attempt..otherwise you can also take following colleges:
  • Welingkar Mumbai
  • Tapmi
  • Bimtec
  • DTU

All the best

is there any scholorship available for cat top scrores

Shareef 17th Feb, 2020

GITAM Hyderabad Business School has no scholarship facilities for students who have been toppers. CAT is not only the entrance exam that is accepted in this college so CAT toppers or any exam toppers for MBA entrance exam do not get any scholarships. But Gitam College, Visakhapatnam offers merit scholarships and you can check them at:


i would like to know how many times i can give cat exam?

Harshita Sharan Srivastava Student Expert 17th Feb, 2020
Hello aspirant,
You can appear for cat entrance exam as many times you want. The minimum eligibility criteria for appearing in cat exam is as follows:-
In order to be eligible for the CAT Exam, the candidate has to pass at least their Bachelor's degree with at least 50% (for General Category and for candidates from the NC-OBC caste). For SC/ST and Differently Abled (DA) candidates, the percentage required is 45%.

All the best

I am a CAT aspirant & have appeared for CAT, XAT,& SNAP & scored 90%ile. With acads 10th-7.4CGPA, 12th-82% & in graduation(2018)-64% with no work experience due to family problem. Would I able to secure a seat in good college? I have been shortlisted for TAPMI, FORE, IIMV for round one till now.

Manidipa Kundu Student Expert 17th Feb, 2020


its true that iims and some of other top ranked institute shortlisted candidates as per their academic record and  cat or any other management aptitude  test score. see right now which of institute name you have mentioned is also comes under tier 1 college. now you need to focus on your presentation skills, communication approach  to get shortlisted in final rounds. so keep calm and focus on your goal, I think you will surely crack it.


dear sir, I have 67 percentile bin cat, which colleges should I apply??

Shiksha 16th Feb, 2020


You can target a few average collges like IBS Hyderabad, mdi murshidabad, amity noida, NBS Ahmedabad, ITM navi mumbai (good colleges)

Others are: vit vellore, isbr pune, ndim delhi, pibm pune, aims banglore, mit pune, ims ghaziabad, etc

For more colleges visit below link:

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