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6 Months to CAT 2018

6 Months to CAT 2018

TestFunda ,  11-May-18


CAT 2018 Dates are OUT!! Yes…in May itself!

There is good news for students preparing for CAT 2018. The date for CAT 2018 is out. Like 2017, CAT has taken over IIFT’s standard exam slot on the last Sunday of November i.e. CAT is most likely to be conducted on 25th November 2018. 
With this big announcement, let us also be prepared or the realization that we are a little more than six months away from D-Day. For a diligent student, this is more than ample time to prepare for CAT in the best manner possible. 
CAT preparation is a game of having a strong conceptual foundation in core areas that test aptitude and then using these foundations in problems that test your interpretation and application of these foundations. Hence, it involves a systematic feedback loop that starts with theory preparation, moves to self-appraisal through a few mocks, corrects oneself through detailed mock analysis followed by theory revision and then finalizes a mock attempt strategy. 
Based on this framework, we have created a study plan that can help you manage your CAT preparation for the next 6 months (i.e. till mid-November). However, while applying it, you need to customize it taking into account your strengths, weaknesses and level of preparation. 



Start Date

End Date


Build your Base

2 weeks



·         Strengthen your concepts in Maths for one month through a combination of study material and school level textbooks

·         Develop a reading habit for atleast 45-60 minutes a day. Revise all your grammar concepts and completely master them during this period.

·         Practise mentally stimulating puzzles like Sudoku and Kakuro to prepare yourself for the much tougher challenges of the DILR section going ahead. 

Strengthen your Base

3 weeks



·         Identify the most important chapters (and key concepts) from the 3 key areas – QA, VA and DILR in the theory material (Skill Builder).

·         For each chapter that you prepare, take each chapter level test (Concept Practice).

·         For individual question, focus on solution techniques and approaches rather than correct answer only (or marks only)

·         Make detailed notes as far as formulae, properties, exceptions, rules etc are concerned.

·         Try to cover 66-75% of each area i.e. VA, QA, DILR

·         Ensure that you definitely cover fundamental concept chapters (like Averages, Grammar, Venn Diagrams) in this phase.

Identify where you Stand

2 weeks




·         Attempt 1 sectional test each for all three sections followed by iCATs 25 and 24 (modelled on CAT 2017 and CAT 2016) to get a feel of the attempt level, accuracy level and scores.

·         Analyse the tests in detail to check:

A)     Where have you gone wrong?

Check this at the following levels in the sequence given below

1)      Section level

2)      Chapter level

3)      Specific question type level

B)      Why have you gone wrong?

1)      Conceptual errors

2)      Incorrect/incomplete understanding of question

3)      Calculation mistakes

C) Solutions to questions that you did not attempt 

1)    To identify questions that you could have attempted but missed.

·         Now, based on your analysis of these tests together, classify each chapter (or major question type like RCs) using a 2-2 Matrix explained below:
a) High Speed High Accuracy – Q4

       b) Low Speed High Accuracy – Q3

       c) High Speed Low Accuracy – Q2

       d) Low Speed Low Accuracy – Q1

·         Create such a matrix after each test.

A sample matrix is shown after the table.

Go from Good to Great

6 weeks



·         Now you can begin using the analysis done till date.

·         Q2 and Q3 can be converted into strong points at this stage.

·         Q2: High Speed Low Accuracy

1)      Areas where you have a partial understanding of the concepts or question types.

2)      You could be going wrong because you partially/wrongly interpret the question or make solving errors because you have missed out on some cases.

3)      Study the Concept Builder and CP/CT of the important chapters thoroughly to ensure that you have a firm grasp of the concepts.

4)      When you solve questions from this area, see whether your understanding of the question is the same as that given in the explanation.

·         Q3: Low Speed High Accuracy

1)      Chapters where you are conceptually strong but take time to solve questions.

2)      This may happen as you focus on solving the question in a linear (or conventional or algebraic) manner rather than on smart ways to arrive at the answer.

3)      Brush up the concepts of these chapters and identify time saving tips using the Concept Builder.

4)      When you solve questions from this area, see whether your solving technique is different from the one given and how yours could have been improved.

·         Apply these strategies on one set of sectional tests each for all sections and then re-evaluate.

·         Attempt iCATs 23 to 20 – equally spaced through this period

·         Analyse these tests in detail and recreate the matrix. Observe the movement of chapters within the matrix to plan for the next stage.   

Cover your flanks well

5 weeks



·         Work on multiple areas to ensure that you maximize your preparation time.

·         Work on Q1 to minimize your weaknesses and on Q4 + Q3 to maximize your strengths

·         Q1: Low Speed Low Accuracy

1)      Chapters where you are conceptually weak. Improving your speed AND accuracy in these areas may be difficult.

2)      Classify these chapters into critical and non-critical (based on relative importance in CAT).

3)      Go through the Concept Builder of the critical chapters in detail and practise the CP/CT of these chapters thoroughly.

4)      You will need to focus on both – understanding of questions as well as solving techniques – for these chapters

5)      However, do not spend too much time trying to master this area.

·         Q4 and Q3:

1)      Q4 is your strong point. However, if ignored it may lead to mistakes arising from complacency.

2)      Capitalise on your strengths and challenge yourself by re-practising problems in these two quadrants.

3)      Look at increasing speed in these areas by practicing different solving techniques. See how your accuracy gets affected.

·         Attempt two sectional tests each from both sections

·         Attempt iCATs 19 to 14– equally spaced out - along with the topic tests (Algebra, RC etc.)  

·         Analyse these tests in detail and recreate the matrix. Observe the movement of chapters within the matrix to plan for the next stage.

Move Up Another Level

4 weeks



·         Q4:

Revise the concepts of the important chapters quickly and re-practice.

Target Area: Speed + Accuracy

·         Q1 and Q2:

Build on the theory that you have learnt by having a relook at problems.

Target Area: Accuracy

·         Q3:

Work on strengthening your solving techniques while retaining accuracy levels

Target Area: Speed

·         Attempt iCATs 13-09 in this period and the module tests (QA/VA/DILR)

·         Analyse these tests in detail and recreate the matrix. Observe the movement of chapters within the matrix to plan for the final stage.

·         Start experimenting in terms of how you want to attempt each iCAT i.e. scan the test and then attempt or start attempting directly or attempt easiest questions first or attempt QA followed by DI and LR followed by VA and so on. Also, look at which section you want to attempt first.

Last Lap

5 weeks



·         Ignore the non-critical chapters where you are still conceptually weak.

·         Attempt the remaining sectional tests for all sections to finalise the chapters and question types where you are most comfortable.

·         Attempt the remaining iCATs i.e. iCATs 08-01 using the now decided attempt strategy.

·         Revise all the important chapters and the major question types

Note that you will have to allocate time for study between Skillbuilder, Rankbooster and Test Centre i.e. between theory, extra practice and simulated testing (covering both section tests and full length mocks) with detailed analysis based on your individual strengths and weaknesses as well the stage of preparation that you are in. 

Sample Matrix:

High Speed Low Accuracy

Low Speed Low Accuracy

Low Speed High Accuracy

High Speed High Accuracy

Wish you all the very best for your CAT preparation!


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