How to Crack CAT Exam in First Attempt [Tips & Strategies]

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is the gateway to the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other top business schools in India. While its significance is undeniable, the journey to crack this competitive exam can be daunting. But, with the right strategy and determination, you can indeed conquer it in your very first attempt. Let’s delve into a comprehensive guide on How to Crack CAT Exam First Attempt.

How to Crack CAT Exam in First Attempt 2024

Understanding the CAT Exam Pattern 2024 

Before diving into preparation, it’s imperative to familiarize yourself with the CAT Exam format. The exam is divided into three segments: Quantitative Ability (QA), Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC), and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR). Each section has its unique challenges, and mastering them requires different approaches. Furthermore, understanding the marking scheme will allow you to prioritize questions and avoid negative marking. 

Setting Up a CAT Study Plan 2024 

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” This saying holds especially true for CAT aspirants. Kickstart your preparations with a well-structured study plan. List down all the major topics, set milestones, and create a weekly target. Remember, consistency is the key. Your study plan should not just be about long hours but about productive ones. 

CAT Exam  2024 Subject-wise Preparation Strategy 

Quantitative Ability (QA): At the heart of QA lies a solid understanding of basic concepts, spanning from Arithmetic to Geometry. While it’s essential to solve numerous problems for practice, it’s equally vital to understand the theory behind them. Remember, it’s not about how many questions you solve, but how well you grasp the underlying concepts. 

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC): VARC demands a holistic approach. Incorporate a daily reading routine, spanning across diverse genres. It enhances comprehension skills and exposes you to varied sentence structures. Build your vocabulary, but remember, the CAT doesn’t test your vocabulary in isolation; it’s about how well you understand and interpret words in context. 

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR): DILR is arguably the most unpredictable section in CAT. Focus on understanding different types of graphs and illustrations. Puzzles, games, and logic-based activities can help sharpen your reasoning skills. 

Also Read: How to crack CAT exam in 3 months

Utilizing Study Material and Resources 

In this age of information, the right resources can make a significant difference. There are numerous books dedicated to CAT preparations. Some recommended reads include Arun Sharma’s ‘How to Prepare for CAT’ series and Nishit Sinha’s books on QA and DILR. While many candidates opt for coaching, self-study, coupled with online resources and mock tests, can also lead to success. 

Mock Tests and Analysis 

Taking regular mock tests replicates the actual exam environment and highlights your strengths and weaknesses. However, just taking these tests isn’t enough. Dive deep into the analysis. Understand your mistakes, and more importantly, ensure you don’t repeat them. Adjust your strategies based on your performance in these mocks. 

Time Management Techniques 

The CAT is as much about speed as it is about accuracy. Allocate time to each section, ensuring you leave some for revision. Practicing with a timer can help you gauge your speed. Remember, it’s okay to leave a question if you find it too time-consuming or challenging. Sometimes, it’s about picking battles. 

Last Month Strategies 

The final month should predominantly focus on revision and mental well-being. Go over formulas, concepts, and techniques. Avoid picking up new topics; it might just add to the confusion. Ensure you’re physically and mentally fit. A calm mind can make a huge difference on D-day. 

Exam Day Tips 

The culmination of months of preparation is finally here. On the exam day, reach the center well ahead of time to avoid any last-minute rush. Carefully read the instructions before starting the test. Remember the strategies you’ve planned for each section and stay calm. If a particular section or question seems challenging, don’t panic. Move on and come back to it later if time permits. 

Also Read: How to crack CAT exam in 4 months


Cracking the CAT exam in first attempt is not about innate intelligence but a testimony to one’s dedication, strategic planning, and hard work. Stay optimistic, trust your preparation, and remember that every aspirant is in the same boat. Let the journey of CAT preparation not just be about the end goal, but also about the knowledge and discipline you gain throughout the process. 

FAQs on How to Crack CAT Exam in First Attempt

Q:What is the CAT exam?

A:The CAT (Common Admission Test) is an entrance exam for admission into the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other top business schools in India.

Q:How many sections does the CAT exam have?

A:The CAT exam comprises three sections: Quantitative Ability (QA), Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC), and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR).

Q: How many hours should I study daily to crack CAT in the first attempt?

A: The number of hours can vary based on individual capability and prior knowledge. However, consistency is vital. Typically, aspirants dedicate 3-6 hours daily in the months leading up to the exam.

Q: Should I attempt all questions in the CAT exam?

A:Quality over quantity is the key. Focus on accuracy rather than attempting all questions, as there's negative marking for incorrect answers.

Q:How can I improve my speed and accuracy for the CAT?

A:Regular practice, time-bound solving of questions, and mock test analysis are effective strategies. Over time, you'll develop shortcuts and techniques to enhance speed without compromising accuracy.


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