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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Questions related to CAT

Showing 8155 out of 8155 Questions

when wiil be Mat xam conducted

Papeya Dubey Student Expert 22nd Feb, 2020

The next MAT will be conducted in the month of May.

MAT is conducted four times a year namely February, May, September, December.
Eligibility is passed graduation in any discipline from a recognized university, even final year students are eligible.
As of now , no official dates have been announced regarding the exam or any other details related to it. You can stay updated at the official website at

which books are good for CAT exam

Hrisheekesh Singh 22nd Feb, 2020

Hi Rohan,

In CAT Exam the questions are of a decent level so I recommend you to study from standard books.

These are some of the standard books for preparation of CAT Exam:-

QA Books:-

  • How to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Arun Sharma
  • Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Nishit K. Sinha
  • Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT - Sarvesh K Verma

LR and DI books:-

  • How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT by Arun Sharma
  • How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT by Arun Sharma
  • Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for CAT

VARC Books:-

  • Word power made easy by Norman Lewis
  • Mastering the Verbal Ability for CAT by Ajay Singh
  • How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT  by Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay

You may refer to this article for more information about Best Books for CAT Preparation.

I hope this information helps you.

Good Luck!


which are the best private colleges for intrigated MBA (BBA+MBA) ???

Papeya Dubey Student Expert 22nd Feb, 2020


Following private colleges offer integrated MBA program-

Jindal Global Business School, Sonepat

Institute of Management, Nirma University, Ahmedabad

NMIMS, Mumbai

Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar

Doon Business School (DBS), Dehradun

Gitam Institute of Management, [GIM] Vishakhapatnam


Whats the CAT cutoff for MBA in DSM, DTU?

Shiksha 22nd Feb, 2020


DSM, DTU for MBA takes only CAT scores. The safe CAT percentile for all the courses is 65 percentile. Although different courses have different cut offs.

Its a below average college. (íts not recommended to join this, but if you don't have any options left then go)

For more details visit the below link:

Hope this helps.


what are the benefits for CATS

Mayank Chowdhary 22nd Feb, 2020

Hi Chung!! Hope you are doing well!! CAT is one of the most important exams of our country. CAT was initially started by Indian institute of Management. It is a computer based test. The benefits of giving CATs and cracking it are that you will be eligible to take admission for a graduate management program in colleges across the country. CAT score is considered by a large amount of management Colleges of our country and many students try their best to crack it as it gives them a chance to move towards their management learning goal.

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