IIM CAT 2021 Preparation: For VARC, DILR, QA with Resources

IIM CAT 2021 Preparation – Not much time is left for CAT 2021. So right here, right now, is the best time to accelerate CAT 2021 preparation process. CAT is a national level exam, the difficulty level of which is higher than average. In the exam, questions are asked from VARC, DILR, and QA. The paper is designed evaluates candidate’s logical and reasoning ability. Hence, to crack the exam, candidates need speed, accuracy, and most of all out of the box thinking. This all can be achieved with a proper preparation strategy, right resources, and consistency. Know here how to prepare for CAT 2021 and what resources to use.

IIM CAT 2021 Preparation

IIM CAT 2021 Preparation

Planning to Appear for CAT 2021?Click Here to Register

Before we take a dip into a preparation plan and tips, lets get to know the exam:

CAT Eligibility Criteria 2021Candidates who have UG degree / professional degree.
CompetitionThere are almost 2 Lakh candidates take the exam every year.
Difficulty LevelModerate to High
Time Duration for PreparationAat least 300-500 hours, i.e.6-7 months.
Is coaching necessary?Depends from person to person
Ravi Prinshu cracked CAT with 99.78 percentile while working full-time with Cognizant.

Know Your CAT Preparation Material

Books, previous year question paper, mock test, and syllabus these are the most important preparation material that you need. Candidates must collect these resources before CAT 2021 exam date.

CAT 2021 Syllabus

Start with the syllabus, there is no officially defined syllabus for CAT 2021. However, experts have propounded one based on previous year data. You can download it below:

CAT 2021 Books

No better guide than good books. Here are some of the most recommended books for CAT 2021:

Name of BookPurchase Link
How to Prepare for Logical ReasoningBuy Here
How to Prepare for DATA INTERPRETATION for CAT Buy Here
How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CATBuy Here
How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading ComprehensionBuy Here

CAT 2021 Mock Test

Mock test is another important preparation resources. It allows you to understand the paper patter, as well as, increase speed and accuracy. Aglasem has prepared a most test for CAT 2021. Start your mock test journey by taking these:

SectionsPractice HereDuration
Full mock testClick Here to practice02 hr
VARCClick Here to practice40 mins
DILRClick Here to practice40 mins
QAClick Here to practice40 mins

What is CAT 2021 Exam Pattern?

To get the desired CAT result 2021, it is important to know the pattern of the exam. Here is an overview of CAT exam pattern:

Mode of Exam: It is computer based mode.

Language: CAT is held in English.

Total Number of Questions: There are 100 questions, might vary.

Negative Marking: There is 1 mark negative marking for MCQ questions. For others they are not.

Marks allotted for correct answers: 3 marks are allotted for correct answer

Type of Questions: There are 2 types of questions i.e MCQ and TITA

  • Now, in the Multiple Type Questions, candidates have to opt for 1 correct option from 4 alternatives
  • In, TITA, candidates need to use the virtual keyboard only.

There are questions asked in the exam from the following:

  1. Data interpretation and logical reasoning – DILR
  2. Quantitative Aptitude – QA
  3. Verbal ability and reading comprehension – VARC

Now let us check reparation plan for CAT 2021 for each of the section below:

How to Prepare for CAT 2021 VARC Section

About: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension in CAT is not an easy nut to crack. The section comprises VA – which Verbal Ability questions and RC – which is reading comprehension. While VA is easy and scoring, RC is lengthy and time-consuming.

What you need to do: Hence, to ace VARC, candidates need quick understanding, command of the language, and out-of-the-box quick thinking along with time management.

What is asked in this section: To help the aspirants ace the exam with ease, here are 10 types of verbal ability questions asked in CAT:

  • Para jumble
  • Odd sentences
  • Paragraph Summary
  • Error correction in sentences
  • Fill in the blanks with correct vocabulary words
  • Contextual use of vocabulary words
  • Identify a paradox / contradiction / inconsistency
  • Identify a parallel situation
  • Idioms & phrases
  • Grammar.

How to crack this section:

  • It is essential to be familiar with the English language, and the best way to master a language is to read, write, talk, listen, and think in that language.
  • RCs in CAT are usually opinion-based, and so the most recommended way to attempted this section is by reading it in one go and grasp as much as one can. Candidates can then re-read the entire passage, but again in one go. Reading a passage in parts is more time-consuming as candidates have to go to and fro to comprehend it.
  • The candidates who have weaker reading skills can also use the strategy where they read and solve all the easy questions first. Then go for the dense passages. This way, time management is better.
  • Those who are average at reading comprehension can solve questions in a mix. Solve a few problematic questions and a few easy ones. Solve one dense passage and then move to easy VA question. Then again come back to solving RC.
  • Candidates who are good at VARC can solve questions in the sequence which suits them the best.

How to Prepare for CAT 2021 DILR Section

About: The section of Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning of CAT exam is one section which clubs two areas in one. While Data Interpretation asks you questions on interpreting data from tables, charts, graphs, etc. Logical Reasoning is about solving complex problems which are analytical in nature.

What you need to do: DILR section is a little more defined than the other sections. It is also more time-consuming. While preparing for this section, you will have to keep this in mind and then prepare for it. You will have to practice through a different approach. Besides your study material, practice different things like solving puzzles or sudokus.

What is asked in this section: This section tests your ability to interpret the given data and answer the questions. It also questions your logical reasoning. The topics are pretty basic, however, they can still be difficult for some students. The topics in the syllabus of DILR are given below.

  • Family Tree           
  • Arrangement
  • Calendars
  • The Course of Actions
  • Pie Chart
  • Statement Conclusions
  • Puzzles
  • Series
  • Strong Arrangement & Weak Arguments
  • Coding & Decoding
  • Blood Relations
  • Multi-Dimensional
  • Arrangements
  • Column Graphs
  • Visual Reasoning
  • Syllogisms
  • Critical Reasoning
  • Numeric Grid
  • Graph Representing Area and Linear & Matrix Arrangements.

How to crack this section:

  • This section requires you to interpret the data and then answer the questions. This is what makes it a tricky part. Also, you have to think logically while attempting the LR part. Keep your calculators away. Rely on your mind calculations. This will save you a lot of time in the exam. Be dependent upon your own capabilities only so that you don’t find it difficult to attempt the DI part.
  • Also, learn some shortcuts to cut short your time consumption.
  • Learn the tables till 20. Memorize the square roots and cube roots of numbers till 30-40. Have a strong knowledge of fractions. These small calculations will save a lot of your time in the exam.
  • Your speed and accuracy are of a lot of importance in the exam. Both save the precious time that you will need for the exam. If you excel in these two factors, then you won’t face a shortage of time.
  • Learn all the formulas by heart. They should be at the tip of your fingers. Practice not to waste time on small things such as formulas.
  • Aim high and aim for accuracy. Learn all the shortcuts you can. Understand the concepts well. If you are accurate you save your time by yourself. 

How to Prepare for CAT 2021 QA Section

About: The quantitative ability (QA) section of CAT is the most feared section. Quantitative analysis is a section in which the candidates have to strive to get accurate answers in the least possible time. Unlike DILR and VARC, this section can be completed in the least amount of time.

What you need to do: For this section, only practice is the key. More is the practice better is the ability to solve different types of questions that are asked in the exam.

What is asked in this section: The following topics are asked in this section:

  • Arithmetic
  • Ratio and Proportion
  • Trigonometry
  • Probability
  • Permutation and Combination
  • Algebra
  • Mensuration
  • Time and work
  • LCM & HCF
  • Averages
  • Harmonic Mean
  • BODMAS
  • Geometric Progression
  • Partnership
  • Instalments & Payments
  • Profit and Loss
  • Percentages
  • Number systems
  • Lines
  • Pipes and Cisterns
  • Mean, Median, Mode
  • Geometry
  • Quadratic and linear equations
  • Angles and Triangles
  • Cubes and Cones
  • Arithmetic  Progression
  • Clocks
  • Higher Maths
  • Arithmetic Mean

How to crack this section:

  • QA section can only be mastered by practice. More practice more is the level of solving the questions with speed and accuracy. Candidates should solve 2 past year papers for the QA section daily and along with it, practice mock tests. This will lead to an increase in speed, accuracy, and also time management skills of the candidates.
  • Candidates must go over the basic concepts and theories. The fresh memory of the mathematical concepts will allow the candidates to do well on the exam day.
  • Concentrate the preparation for QA to better the speed and also accuracy.
  • Solve as many questions for quant as possible. Be ready to solve a variety of questions in the QA section.

What CAT Topper Say for Preparation

Here are some tips curated from the CAT topers that might just help you a lot:

Plan your study in a structured way and keep track of your daily progress, take lots of mock tests and analyze them properly (If you don’t analyze it, Its a waste of time), don’t take a big break from your prep, else it will be difficult to start again.

Ashish Sen, 99.99 Percentiler – CAT 2020

I would suggest all CAT aspirants that finish their syllabus in advance and then take as many mock tests as possible

Rahul Manglik, 99.99 Percentiler – CAT 2019

Process of appearing in the CAT exam is not going to be easy, there will be good days and there will be bad days. Be confident with your preparation strategy and focus on the mock tests.

Jagesh Golwala, 100 percentiler – CAT 2018

Some more CAT 2021 Preparation Tips

Give mock tests daily: This year, candidates will only get 2 hours for the exam. Hence, to crack it, candidates need speed and accuracy. The best medium to improve both is taking mock tests. Target at least 1 CAT 2021 mock test per day.

Previous year papers: CAT 2021 previous year papers and are really helpful for mapping out the most important topics asked in the exam. The candidates can revise those chapters in a better way in the last 20 days. Also with the help of the previous year’s papers candidates can understand the pattern of the exam in a better way.

  • To know the estimate how much you have scored in CAT 2021 – Check details of CAT answer key 2021

Focus on giving 100 percent and not scoring 100 percentile: The candidates should not worry about the result before the exam. Before the exam, the candidates must only focus on attempting maximum questions in the exam with 100% accuracy. Chasing the 100 percentile is a waste if the performance is not 100%. Therefore, focus on preparation only.

Regular revisions: The candidates must also make sure that they are revising all the basic concepts at the end of every week.

CAT can be surprising, be ready: Since IIMs have never prescribed a syllabus for CAT, there can be unexpected questions in the exam. A CAT aspirant must be mentally prepared to be face to face with some surprises in the exam, especially in the Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section.

Read articles, books, magazines, etc., regularly: This is highly recommended that the aspirants of CAT 2021 read articles, good fiction / non-fiction books, and magazines. This helps improve the RC and VA section immensely. Dedicate at least one hour to reading any literature or good articles online or offline.

Stay focused: Exhaustion can be a big cause that can lead to a lack of focus. Thus, the candidates must keep their minds ready and re-energize. For this, candidates can do meditation, take small breaks, and talk to friends and family. For CAT 2021, the mind of the candidates must be at its optimum performance state, there are a lot of logical questions and some can be very tricky.

Appearing for CAT 2021, do not forgot to carry CAT admit card 2021 on the exam day!

Evolution of CAT Over the Years

Over the years CAT exam has under gone many changes. Let us take you through a journey of CAT examination.

Common Admission Test was held for the first time even in 1984. It is 37 years old, probably older than many of the CAT 2021 aspirants! 😅

CAT was a traditional offline paper till 2008. After 25 years, the Common Admission Test (CAT) changed to computer-based (CBT) mode in 2009. But, there were a lot of technical glitches in the exam and IIM A had to reconduct the exam. 😯

Also,  IIM-Ahmedabad conducted the first computer-based CAT in 2009. 👏

In 2011, IIM Calcutta held CAT and it was the first time that the number of sections in the exam was reduced to 2 from 3. These 2 sections were Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning & Verbal. There were a total of 60 questions, 30 in each section. 🤔

In 2014, IIM Indore again changed the exam pattern. This time there were 100 questions in the exam. Now each of the 2 sections had 50 questions each. 💁

In 2015, TITA was first time introduced in CAT by IIM A. 🆕

From 2009 to 2013, the CAT was held in a period of 20 days and in 40 different slots. In 2014, the CAT was conducted over a period of two days in four different slots. But, from 2015 onwards, CAT is held on a single day in 2 different slots. In the 2020 version, the exam was held in 3 slots due to the global pandemic. 🕐

IIM CAT 2021 Preparation FAQs

Ques: When should I start preparing for CAT 2021?

Ans: CAT 2021 will be held in November 2021. Hence start atleast 1 year before. However, a preparation time of 6 to 7 months is said to be ideal for CAT exam.

Ques: Who will set CAT 2021?

Ans: IIM Ahmedabad is will conduct CAT 2021.

Ques: What is the syllabus of CAT 2021?

Ans: IIMs do not prescribe the syllabus for the exam . However, the topics that are usually asked in the exam is given on this page above.

Ques: How difficult is CAT?

Ans: CAT is pretty difficult and surprising. The exam is held at national level and around 2 lakh candidates appear in the exam.

Ques: Is 5 Months enough for CAT preparation?

Ans: many toppers of CAT have cracked the exam after starting their preparation in the month of June. So yes it is possible, given that the strategy is strong.

Ques: What is the exam pattern of CAT 2021?

Ans: CAT is a computer-based test held in the English language only. There are 100 questions, which might vary. There is 1 mark negative marking for MCQ questions. For others, they are not. 3 marks are allotted for the correct answers. There are 2 types of questions i.e MCQ and TITA.

There are questions asked in the exam from the following:
1. Data interpretation and logical reasoning – DILR
2. Quantitative Aptitude – QA
3. Verbal ability and reading comprehension – VARC

Official website: iimcat.ac.in

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