CAT 2019 Exam - When and how to start preparations
Sreetama Datta, 13 Nov 2019, #CAT
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How to Prepare for CAT exam - CAT 2019 details have been released on July 28 with the announcement of the notification. The exam will be conducted on November 24, 2019. The conducting body (IIM Kozhikode) has released the workflow of CAT 2019. MBA aspirants aiming for a seat at any of the coveted B-schools in 2019 have already started planning on how to bell it or how to prepare for the CAT exam. While some students take the safer route and start their preparations even before the notification is announced, some wait to plan their preparation strategy based on the official release of the exam pattern. CAT registration has been closed. But there is another group, which is in a dilemma on when and how to start the preparation process.
Latest: IIM Kozhikode has released the CAT Admit Card 2019 on October 23. CAT 2019 will held on November 24. CAT 2019 workflow has been released by IIM Kozhikode.

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If you can identify yourself with the third group, this article is a must-read for you. Careers360 brings to you expert guidelines on when and how to prepare for CAT 2019.

Before answering the question about how to prepare, it is important to know when to start with the preparations along with how to prepare for CAT 2019.

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When it comes to studying for an exam and cracking it successfully, you are your best judge to answer the question of when to start preparation. It is best to ask yourself how many months you need to prepare for CAT.

According to the experts, five to six months of dedicated preparations might take you towards your goal of securing a high percentile. CAT toppers suggest that if you are serious about cracking CAT, keep a minimum of six months in hand for preparation. Mayank Raj, who cracked CAT 2017 with 100 percentile says “I started preparing for CAT in July 2017, like five to six months before the exam."

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CAT 2019: When and how to start preparations

The next big question after ‘when to start’ is how to prepare for CAT exam. It is one of the most common questions by aspirants aiming to crack this tough nut. It often happens that despite knowing the pattern and syllabus, aspirants get confused about how to strategise their preparation in order to make the most of it. Let us now check how to start with preparations for CAT 2019.

Coaching Vs. Self-Study

While some MBA aspirants take coaching, others follow their instinct and opt for self-study with study materials available on the web. Although there is no hard and fast rule to follow a particular preparation method, what matters most is how you plan and which topics you study so as to cover the entire syllabus of CAT and secure a high percentile in CAT.

As mentioned earlier, some of the aspirants might have already started taking coaching classes according to their convenient timing and mode. This does not mean that those who have not enrolled in coaching or planning to go for self-study are at a loss. The time for preparation has just started and you can still catch up with the early birds if you follow a systematic strategy. There are many successful candidates who have excelled without expert guidance. Mayank Raj, who would join IIM Ahmedabad, is one of the 20 CAT 2017 toppers who secured a perfect 100 percentile. Sharing his strategy, he says, “I only took a lot of online practice tests and a test series. I made sure that I religiously invest two to three hours every day in practice mock tests. If on some days I was not practising tests, I would borrow study material of the topics I am weak in from my friends and study it.”

Take coaching material or utilise the internet

Those who opt for coaching get the tailor-made section-wise preparation material. But, even if you do not go for coaching classes and cannot access the expert notes, there is no dearth of right study material. There are ample question banks, sample papers and study materials by expert authors available online as well as offline. With the boon of technology, you can interact with the experts and fellow CAT takers in various social media platforms and exchange study materials and sample papers.

Get the right materials and study in a systematic and diligent manner. Also, utilise the practice papers so that you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses.

Understand the exam pattern and syllabus

The foremost step to crack an exam is to know and understand the CAT exam pattern and syllabus. Before preparing you must know the areas or topics you have to prepare, like we say, before shooting you must know what you are aiming for. In case of CAT, if there are no changes in the exam pattern this year compared to last year where the sectional time limit was there along with Non-MCQs and use of a calculator, there will be four topics to cover:

  1. Quantitative Ability

  2. Data Interpretation

  3. Logical Reasoning

  4. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

It is important for you to cover the syllabus and clear the basics. Usually, the syllabus for all four topics cover Class 10th and 11th level NCERT books, but the questions are a bit tricky and require logical thinking. The best way to understand and complete the syllabus is to make a plan and work accordingly. Manek Daruvala, T.I.M.E. Director says, “The most important aspect would be to improve fundamentals (Basic concepts). Focused preparation would be the key during this phase while striving to improve on the fundamentals across areas/topics.”

Get your basics strong

Once you know your syllabus and have your study plan ready, you get acquainted with the basics in each section of the test. Having the fundamental concepts clarified is the biggest asset any CAT aspirant can have as an answer to how to prepare for CAT exam. If you have conceptual clarity, you can solve any tough problem.

Meet Agrawal, CAT 2017 100 percentiler says, “In the first six months, I just used to revise, clear my basics, and took regular mocks."

Start section-wise preparation

Like last year, this year too you may not have the liberty to choose the order of the section. The order of the section is given below:

  • Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VARC)

  • Quantitative Ability (QA)

  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DI & LR)

QA: Use the reverse strategy for it, take mock paper, try to solve it with timer, and later analyse it from the solutions available.

DI& LR: Focus on being familiar with versatile forms of data representation like pie chart, bar chart, line graph, piled bar chart, spider chart and complex combinations of these. Later, analyse your preparation via mock tests

VARC: Focus only on those question types where comprehending the content is a core requirement like Para-jumbles, RCs, etc.

Time Management

Apart from judging the candidates’ sectional knowledge, CAT also tests the time management skills. The mantra to complete the exam within time depends on how a student plan and practice for the exam. It is important to have a strategic preparation plan to tackle the test. While last year IIM Ahmedabad had introduced the sectional time limit of 1 hour to provide better time management skills to the candidates, the previous year allowed the test takers to manage the sectional time as per their convenience out of the total duration of 170 minutes or 2 hours 50 minutes. As Gautam Puri, Vice Chairman, Career Launcher suggests on how to prepare for CAT 2019, "Try to attempt each section in three rounds. In the first round pick the questions that you are sure about and can solve without wasting time. In round two, pick questions that are an opportunity for you, while in round three, pick questions that you think you can solve but are time-consuming and ensure you answer all the non-MCQs as they do not have any negative marking."

Prepare from Books

Some of the top books for CAT preparation include ‘How to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT’ by Arun Sharma, ‘The Pearson Guide to Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT’ by Nishit Sinha, ‘Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT’ by Sarvesh Verma to name a few. Other than that, read newspapers and magazines daily to get a grip on your language and comprehension skills along with brushing up General Knowledge. Arvind Menon, another CAT 100 percentiler shares that he had referred to CAT preparation books by Arun Sharma and Nishit Sinha.

Mock tests or Sample papers

IIT Madras alumnus and CAT 100 percentiler Sai Praneeth Reddy says, “The major part of my preparation started from January when I started taking mock tests. In the last one month before CAT, I just used go to coaching classes and write mock tests and made sure that I’m not writing anything wrong.”

The Mock test is the most effective method of evaluating your current preparation level and re-strategise your future preparation plans. It also makes you familiar with the type of questions which might appear in CAT 2019. If you solve past 10 years’ questions of CAT, you have high chances to crack the exam with a good percentile. Gautam Puri, Vice Chairman, Career Launcher on benefits of taking mock tests says, “The students should analyse each and every mock and sectional test that they take. This will help them ascertain what worked or did not work for them.

Adding to the importance of Mock Test, Vishal Bohra, another 100 percentiler in CAT 2017 says, “. I took mock tests as many as possible because that helped me in realising where exactly I stand. I worked hard on improving my speed also. Clearing basics of each subject was also an important aspect during the preparation phase.” It is important to identify your weak areas through mock tests and put all your focus on improving them. Whether you take coaching or not, practising from Test series and online Mocks will support you in securing a high percentile. You must ensure to get your performance analysed at after taking each test and implement the expert feedback after each test session.

Fast Facts about CAT

Each year, a different IIM conducts CAT and this year IIM Kozikhode will release the notification on July 28, notifying about the test dates; which is generally conducted in the month of November. CAT, a computer-based test has a dynamic exam pattern, which changes almost every year. Last year the CAT was taken by close to 2 lakh candidates for admissions to various management programmes of IIMs and other B-schools. The scores of CAT are accepted by 20 IIMs offering around 4000 seats. Apart from the IIMs, over 100 B-schools in India conduct their admission through CAT scores.

If the CAT test pattern continues to be the same as last year, CAT will be a computer-based test consisting of 100 objective type questions. There will be three sections, Quantitative Ability (QA), Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRC) and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DI & LR). While QA and VRC sections would carry 34 questions each, the DI & LR section will have 32 questions. There will also be some non-MCQ questions in each section.

The duration of the exam will be 180 minutes or 3 hours. The sections will be time bound for an hour each. The test takers cannot move to and fro between the sections. The order of the sections will be VRC, DI & LR and QA. CAT 2019 will be conducted on November 24, 2019 in the online mode.

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Questions related to CAT

Showing 7384 out of 7385 Questions

how much percentile needed for this college in cat agribusiness management in vamnicom college business managw

N S Sethumadhavan 22nd Nov, 2019

Dear Raghu,

I n the year of 1964 Vaikunth Mehta National Institute of Co-Operative Management, Pune was established . VAMNICOM Pune offers plethora of management programs like PGDCMB, PGDM-ABM, Diploma MCO and Executive PGDM.

  • VAMNICOM offers post graduate diploma in Co-Operative Management, Agri Business Management, Diploma in Management of Computer Operations and Post Graduate diploma (Executive) in Management.
  • The minimum eligibility to apply for PGD CBM is having a Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 3 years of experience in a managerial capacity.
  • Shortlisting of candidates for PGDM-ABM will be done on the basis of CAT ) / MAT / XAT  / ATMA /CMAT / GMAT scores with minimum aggregate of 50% marks in graduation.
  • Graduate and professionals can join the DMCO program with a minimum of 3 years of experience in the IT field.
  • Candidates applying for Executive PGDM program must have a minimum of 5 years of experience and have either of CAT / MAT / XAT / ATMA / CMAT  / GMAT test score.
  • The final selection in each program will be based upon scores in the entrance, group discussion as well as personal interview.
  • The online application fee for the program(s) is INR 500.

The number of available seats are 120. The course fee is INR 7,20,000 and the placement average CTC offered is 4.5 LPA and highest CTC is 7 LPA.


NCUI Scholarship of Rs. 40,000/- per annum is provided to six students as per the rules and regulations of National Cooperative Union of India.

IFFCO Scholarship of Rs. 15,000/- per annum is given to Two SC and One ST students on merit basis.

CICTAB Meritorious Award is awarded for selected two students of India & two students of Foreign Nationals.

Govt. of India, Ministry of Social Welfare/ Tibal Affairs ,Post Matric Scholarships for SC/ST students.

As part of an MoU between VAMNICOM and National Institute of Cooperative Development (NICD), Sri Lanka, selected two of the PGDM (ABM) students will get  an opportunity to do their Summer Internship in Sri Lanka. Under this agreement, VAMNICOM will provide a one -way air travel expenditure from Mumbai or to and fro air travel expenditure from Chennai/Bangalore. Lodging & boarding facilities are provided by NICD, Sri Lanka.

The CAT cutoff is 50+ percentile, XAT cutoff is 50+ percentile and MAT is 50+ percentile.

I do hope this helps you in not only knowing what is the cutoff percentile but also for you to understand the process and procedure for youto apply for the same. The course fee and placement CTC will help you evaluate your ROI based on which you can also plan your admission. Also, do note that many IIMs provide MBA in Agri and you can try to utilize those opportunities too.


if i not attempt any question in cat 19 then what percentile i will accept

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 21st Nov, 2019

Yasir, we shall try answering as to how are percentiles calculated in CAT. Now CAT has 3 sections. The Verbal Ability section and Reading Comprehension has 34 Questions, Data interpretation-Logical Reasoning section has 32 MCQ questions and Quantitative Ability has 34 MCQ questions totalling up to 100 questions. Each Question has 3 marks and a wrong answer takes away 1 mark. There are also Non MCQs which do not have negative marking. This answer is being written by taking QA sections as an example.

  • Calculating the no.of Candidates who appeared for CAT
  • Assigning ranks based on the CAT score
  • For example if 2 people scored 20 marks and got the rank 120, the next Candidate will get the rank 122
  • Calculate the percentile using the formula:  P = (N−r)/N × 100
  • And the percentile is rounded off to the nearest number

Now because CAT is an online exam, you cannot submit an empty or unanswered question paper. But because you have to answer atleast one question to submit the exam, lets say you attempted a non MCQ and it turned out to be a wrong question, it doesn't make any difference. And that means 0 marks. Now the truth is most students fail to score positive marks. Which means their score might be like -20, -10 so on and so forth. When compared to these marks, 0 is a better number. Statistics state that atleast 40-50% of Candidates fail to score positive score which means even if you do not score anything, but because 0 is better than -10 or -20, you still manage to get 40-50 percentile as your score.


sir .muze 2019 mai neet mai kam marks mile hai to muze 2020 mai neet .cat .exam deni hai to yah ho sakta hai

Ashish pal Student Expert 21st Nov, 2019

Hello Komal.

If unfortunately your Neet score of 2019 was low . Then yes you can surely apply for neet exam this year again and study hard to get some good marks . Solve previous year question papers and sample papers join test serieses and study as much as you can. Have believe in yourself you will surely succeed.

Good luck.


sir i have graduated fron kota open university, am i eligible for CAT exam

Tushar Sagar 21st Nov, 2019

Hello pintu yadav

Yes you are eligible for cat exam.

CAT Exam Eligibility Criteria

In order to give the CAT Exam, the candidates have to be eligible for it according to the CAT Exam Eligibility Criteria of 2019. While the official criteria will be released along with the CAT 2019 Notification, the CAT Exam Eligibility 2019 is not expected to change too much from the CAT Exam Eligibility Criteria of 2018 and CAT Exam Eligibility Criteria of 2018.

  • 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%.
  • For the Degree to be counted, the University who has awarded the degree has to be recognized by the MHRD.
  • If the University awards grades or CGPA instead of marks, the conversion factor given by the University has to be used. If there is no conversion factor specified by the University, the CGPA has to be converted into percentage by direct conversion i.e. divide the CGPA received by the highest CGPA possible and multiply the result by 100.
  • Candidates who have completed their professional degrees with over 50% (45% for SC/ST/PwD) are also eligible for CAT.

Important points about the CAT exam pattern are as follows:

  • The paper is split between three sections
  1. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
  2. Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI-LR)
  3. Quantitative Ability (QA)
  • Total number of questions is 100 and these are in both MCQ and non-MCQ format
  • Time allotted is 180 minutes (3 hours) to answer these questions
  • There is a time limit of 60 minutes for each section
  • The exam is conducted in online mode


what is the syllabus of cat (common enterance exam)

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 21st Nov, 2019

Aparna, CAT is an online examination of 3 hours duration.The questions in the exam will be of MCQ and TITA type totaling 100 questions. MCQ are multiple choice questions, for which candidates get multiple answer choices. Each Question has 3 marks and a wrong answer takes away 1 mark. However Type in the Answer questions are exempted from Negative Marking.

CAT exam paper can be Categorised into 3 parts:

Quantitative Ability

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

There is no predefined syllabus for CAT. But based on the previous question papers, there is a fair idea of how the questions paper might be or what topics might be included. And go through the previous papers to analyse and prepare a comprehensive plan and set priorities according to the importance of different topics across sections. Customise your own study plan based on your strengths and weaknesses. Gauge your preparation from time to time by taking mock tests. Solve questions to check your levels of preparation but not to set any targets. Remember, its ok to have cheat days and relax. But make sure you have a plan and stick to it for the next few months because even Rome wasnt built in a day

The Verbal Ability section and Reading Comprehension has 34 Questions, Data interpretation-Logical Reasoning section has 32 MCQ questions and Quantitative Ability has 34 MCQ questions totalling up to 100 questions. Each Question has 3 marks and a wrong answer takes away 1 mark.

NCERT books will sharpen your basics and you need strong basics for preparing for any entrance examination. Once your basics are in place, because the time period for preparation is quite less, your preparation should be extensive and thorough.

Quantitative Aptitude covers almost 30% of the CAT question paper. QA can be categorised into Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry and Advanced Mathematics. Practise chapter by chapter and develop mental calculations. Like practise more of basic summation, subtraction, fractions and tables. Numbers, Percentage, Profit and Loss, Simple and Compound Interest, Ratio, Proportionality, Time-Distance, Time-Work, Mixtures, Averages, Partnership, Permutation and Combinations, Probability, Set Theory, Progression and Series, Line, Angles, Triangles, Quadrilaterals, Polygon, Circles, Ares, Volume, Height and Distance, Coordinate Geometry, Basic Trigonometry are few important topics.

Preparation tips:

Because this section involves mathematics and takes most of your time, your focus should be on solving the problems efficiently in the beginning. Even if it takes time, practise upto perfection. Practise as many questions as you can in the conventional way. As and when you get a grip on the subject, you can go for short cuts. Memorise tables, square roots, cube roots, conversion from percent to fraction, etc. Solve sample papers on Mathematics. In the beginning, do not worry about the time it takes. As you practise, you will get the hang of the subject and it will be easier for you.

In Verbal Ability session, command on your English, Grammar, Vocabulary, Understanding of the given paragraph are of more importance. Reading English NewsPaper will also help you in your preparation.

Preparation tips:

Read articles from time to time. Follow newspapers, magazines, and watch the news channels and browse the internet to keep yourself updated. You will need a lot of reading to help you in the comprehension section. You will need speed to help you in this section and you can achieve that only by thorough practise and reading. Take time to understand the question because most answers are interlinked.

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning needs to be practised as much as possible. Comparison of data, Data Analysis, taking clues, interpreting missing data, coming to conclusions and making future projections will be covered under this Category. The questions here are interlinked and so if you get one formula correct, cracking the next few questions will be easy. So it's important to memorise and practise formulae. You should cover topics like Data tables, Data Charts, Bar Diagrams, Pie Charts, Graphs, Data Comparison and Analysis.

Preparation tips:

As this is the most tricky section, this needs a lot of practise. Solve as many sample papers as possible to get the hang of the section. Make notes when required. Regular practise can help you understand and solve the questions easily as time goes on.

Overall,once you know the syllabus, it's easier from there on.Go through the previous papers to analyse and prepare a comprehensive plan and set priorities according to the importance of different topics across sections. Customise your own study plan based on your strengths and weaknesses. Gauge your preparation from time to time by taking mock tests. Solve questions to check your levels of preparation but not to set any targets. Remember, its ok to have cheat days and relax. But make sure you have a plan and stick to it for the next few months

We can recommend a few books for you:

  • NCERT books to cover the basics from 6th to 10th Class
  • Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Nishit Saxena
  • Quantitative Aptitude Quantum for CAT by Sarvesh Sharma
  • How to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Arun Sharma
  • Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Exams by Abhijit Guha

You can also download free downloadable e books at:

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