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CAT 2020 Last-Minute Preparation Strategies – Section-Wise Plan

An effective CAT 2020 preparation is the key to obtaining an excellent percentile and getting admission in the IIMs, SPJIMR, FMS, MDI, IMT and over 1200 prestigious business schools. This year (2020), IIM Indore will be conducting the CAT 2020 exam on 29th November 2020. 

Around 2.30 lakhs candidates have applied for CAT this year. Hence, the competition is high and seats are limited. Keeping this cut-throat competition in mind, Team Buddy4Study has created a preparation strategy for candidates with effective last-minute tips to forgo exam jitters and ace the CAT exam.

CAT – Exam Pattern

Before moving onto the last minute CAT preparation tips and strategies, you need to have a clear idea about the new exam pattern. This year, the duration of the Common Admission Test has been reduced from 3 hours to 2 hours. While there will be 3 distinct sections (mentioned below) in the CAT 2020 exam, there has been no proper announcement on the exact number of questions which will be asked this year. 

Particulars Details
Sections Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) – (34 questions)*
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) – (32 questions)*
Quantitative Aptitude (QA) – (34 questions)*
Total number of questions 100*
Total time duration 120 minutes or 2 hours
Sectional time limit 40 minutes

53 minutes and 20 seconds (PwD candidates)

Marking scheme +3 for every right attempt
-1 for every wrong attempt
No negative marking for non-MCQs
Total marks 300

*Number of questions in the table are tentative and may be different in CAT 2020 exam

CAT 2020 Preparation – Number of Questions

Candidates must keep in mind that there has been no official announcement on the number of questions to be asked in the CAT 2020 exam. The coaching institutes have been providing mocks with questions varying from 66 to 70 questions (reduced in proportion to time). Find details below –  

Section Expected Number of Questions Allotted Time
Quantitative Aptitude (QA) 22-24 40 minutes
Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation (LRDI) 22-24 40 minutes
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) 22-24 40 minutes
Total 66-70 120 minutes

CAT 2020 Exam Pattern

Name of Examination CAT or Common Admission Test
Conducted By IIM Indore
RRB Recruitment Official Website www.iimcat.ac.in
CAT Exam Date 29th December 2020
Duration of CAT Exam 120 minutes or 2 hours for all candidates (revised)

160 minutes or 2.40 Hours for PwD candidates

Examination Mode Computer-based Test
Type of Questions Objective/Multiple-Choice (MCQ) and Non-MCQ
Expected Number of Questions 66-70 (No official announcement yet)
Time Slots Forenoon – 8.30 AM to 10.30 AM

Afternoon – 12.30 PM to 2.30 PM

Evening – 4.30 PM to 6.30 PM

Mock Test CAT Mock Test Link

Also Read – IIM CAT 2020 to be held as per schedule, Convener confirms

CAT 2020 Preparation – Strategies and Tips

As this is the last week before the upcoming CAT examination, Team Buddy4Study advises you not to start reading any new topics. Being the final free week, the only aspect that you should be concentrating on is revision. So, to make things easy, we have shared with you a few strategies that most IIM faculty loves to follow.

#1 – Start Revising with a Plan

The first tip to prepare well for the CAT exam is to retain your composure and move ahead with a plan. As most of the promising candidates would have completed their syllabus by now, execution of last-minute preparation does require a plan. 

You need to create the plan after analysing your strengths and weaknesses and separating the topics based on it. You should have clear answers to the below questions to start working according to this plan:

  1. Do you need to start revising with difficult topics or easier ones?
  2. Are you in line with the timeline as that of the exam day?
  3. How many questions can you solve within the first 40 minutes?

While you can take the help of a priority matrix to create an effective timetable and study accordingly, there are a few more important aspects in the article below that are bound to come to your rescue.

CAT 2020 Preparation Pattern – Priority Matrix

Matrix 1

Easy and Important Topics

Matrix 2

Fairly Easy Topics but can be Studied Later

Matrix 3

Important Topics but Quite Difficult

Matrix 4

Difficult Topics

Additionally, Team Buddy4Study has also created a sample revision table that you can use to complete your CAT 2020 preparation. 

Time Table for CAT 2020 Preparation (Revision in 50 Hours)

#2 – Correct Use of Mock Tests

Most candidates rejoice about the fact that they have scored excellent marks in the mock test and assume that they will score the same in the CAT 2020 exam. However, the CAT exam might be unexpectedly different from what you expect, given that the exact number of questions are not known to the candidates in 2020. Hence, always be alert and retain sincerity towards this exam. 

Talking about mock tests, Buddy4Study advises you not to take too many of them. 

  • It is best to take a maximum of 3 or 4 mock tests during these 5 days.
  • Besides this, you can see and analyse 3 to 4 more mock tests. Think about them as passive mocks that do not require the use of pen and paper.

You can consider mock tests as learning curves or more as a beneficial practice source. Just watch those mock tests and try to learn the tactful methodologies of solving the questions.

#3 – Right Process of Solving the LRDI

Solving questions associated with LRDI is basically dependent on picking of sets. Candidates need to remember an important rule – there are no fixed set of rules. If you check last year’s question papers, you will find that there was one set from Arithmetic, one from Arrangement, one from Normal LR, and another from Data Interpretation. 

The sets are bound to be different every year. As a CAT aspirant, by now you may have practised at least 400 sets. So, when you sit for the exam, you can solve at least 3-4 sets out of 6 sets asked during CAT 2020.

Remember – Don’t waste 3 to 4 minutes on scanning the questions in the LRDI section. You can actually solve 3-4 sets within that time. Just take 50 to 55 seconds to scan the questions as you will only get 40 minutes per section

#4 – Be Prepared

Be mentally prepared for the number of sets. There is no hard and fast rule that you will get only 4 questions per set. You may even get 3 questions per set. It is best to be mentally ready for any change in the question pattern. So, be calm during the exam and revision, and quickly analyse the question. 

To remove yourself from a high-pressure situation, simply pick 2 to 3 small sets during the CAT 2020 exam first. It could be a Venn Diagram set or Logic Based Set, etc. Later, you can solve the larger ones. Rather than applying more of your time and concentrating on reading a longer set, invest your first 10 minutes in the exam to solve small sets. 

So ideally, by the end of your first 15 minutes, you should have completed your 1st set of questions and would be in the middle of the 2nd set. If you can do it, you would basically be moving towards solving more questions correctly. 

#5 – Choosing Sets

A candidate needs to know how they can choose the most scoring  sets first. For this, you need to select the Definite Sets. Definite sets are particularly puzzle-based sets. If you can solve a set like that, you can solve all the questions associated with it in a minute or two. So practically, you can solve 4 questions within a minute.

Next, you can move on to solving other questions. However, Buddy4Study will always advise you to solve the Conditional based sets or the Calculative DI sets in the last 10 minutes. This is because these sets may have varying difficulty levels. 

For example – You have chosen a small set but the questions under it are descriptive or can consume more of your time. 

  • The first question may be, “If this would have happened, what would happen?” type
  • The second one may ask, ‘Again if this would have happened, what is right?’ Similarly, the other 2 questions can be more quizzical.

So, it is best if you can dedicate your time to solving the definite sets in the last part of the session. 

#6 – How to Prepare for Quant?

Quant or Quantitative Aptitude mainly has 2 rounds – R-I and R-II. To practice both the rounds, follow this formula – A ∩ B. To answer maximum questions in both the rounds, divide the time. So, allot 12 minutes for practising R-I. 

Consider that A comprises 1 or 2 liner questions and B are those questions that are familiar to you. Now, either during examination or while practicing with a mock test, if you come across descriptive questions (asked in 4 to 5 lines), simply skip that question for that moment. Later you can come back and solve it. Probably, after solving the simpler questions.

Now, if you come across small questions, the answers to which you know, simply solve it and move ahead. But don’t try to invest time in difficult questions at the beginning of the session. In the meantime, you need to keep in mind that you will have 12 minutes for Round 1 and you need to be at the 24th question. Following this strategy, you shall be able to complete at least 6 – 8 questions. 

If not, you still have time to revise and practice. Become a bit aggressive during the preparation time and try to solve at least 12 to 14 questions out of the 24 questions. However, don’t rush. Set 12-14 questions as your highest goal and gradually move towards it. 

Quick Overview of CAT 2020 Preparation – Real-time Practice

It is best to treat your practice and revision sessions as seriously as the day of the exam. Divide the LRDI revision into 3 parts. 

  1. 0 to 15 minutes
  2. 15 to 30 minutes
  3. 30 to 40 minutes

1) 0 to 15 minutes – In the first 15 minutes, you need to pick out the set in less than 1 minute and ensure that you must complete at least 1 set. So, pick definite sets. 

2) 15 to 30 minutes – This duration is an Experimental period. You can attend those sets that you consider to be easy or you prefer doing it first. So, try to complete at least 3 sets. 

2) 30 to 40 minutes – This is the last 10 minutes. During this time, you need to answer the Conditional based sets or Question-based sets. You won’t be in a state of panic and you can attend at least 3 or 4 questions during this time. 

Important Note: According to most experts, LRDI is a scoring section, and hence, practicing and revising more from this section can help you score more marks. 

Regarding Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC), we too stand with the advice of the experts that candidates should continue revising from the books they had been referring to till date.

CAT 2020 Preparation – FAQs

Do I only need to prepare for MCQ questions the most?

No. Candidates need to complete the CAT 2020 preparation for both MCQ and Non-MCQ questions.

Does the CAT exam have negative marking?

Yes. The CAT 2020 exam has a negative marking system. For every wrong answer, -1 mark will be deducted. However, there is no negative marking for non-MCQs and unattempted questions.

What is the sectional time limit in the CAT exam?

The sectional time-limit of CAT 2020 exam is 40 minutes for General category students and 60 minutes for PwD category students. This time limit has been revised and reduced this year.

Will the CAT 2020 question paper of the first slot be different from that of the second slot?

This year (2020), CAT will be conducted in three slots. The CAT question papers of all three slots will be slightly different in difficulty level.

Can I answer the questions as per my choice?

No. Candidates will have to follow the chronology of the question paper. They can move ahead by completing every section. There will be no option to answer the questions as per their own choice.

How many sections are there in the CAT exam?

There are 3 sections in CAT 2020 exam

  • Section 1: VARC
  • Section 2: DILR
  • Section 3: QA
Poulomy Dutta Pakrasi

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Poulomy Dutta Pakrasi

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