CAT Prep Strategy – How to Start Preparation for CAT 2021?

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020


You know what is the best time to start CAT Preparation for CAT 2021 exam – NOW! A lot of people just keep waiting for the right time. There is no such thing as ideal time for starting CAT Preparation. CAT 2021 is around one year away. Remember the basic fact, you can get to a basic level of preparation and a decent score very quickly – getting to a great score, on the other hand, requires a lot of effort. In this post I would discuss about some of the things that you can and should do to start your preparation for CAT 2021.

CAT exam score is one of the many parameters

The other parameters are:
Your score in class 10th
Your score in class 12th
Your score in graduation
Your stream in graduation (Engineering / B. Com / B. Sc)
Your work-experience
Your sex

The only two things that are under your control at this stage are:
Your CAT exam Score
Your Graduation Score

Also, do keep in mind that you get multiple shots at getting a good CAT score but you get only one shot at getting a good graduation score. If you are in your 5th semester, you are done with only half of your engineering. You still have a lot of time to improve your graduation score. It would be wise if you focused on improving your grades at this stage than anything else. Even if you can dedicate 3-4 hours a week at this stage towards your CAT preparation and put the rest of the time towards improving your marks – it would be a wise choice.

Another thing that I would want to emphasize is that there are some portions of CAT that take a lot longer to improve than the others. For example, if you are bad in Geometry – you can become decent at it with just couple of weeks of effort. On the other hand, if your ‘Verbal Ability’ is below par – it would probably take you a lot longer to improve. I would categorize ‘Logical Reasoning’ as something that would be in the middle. Please understand that I am not making these points with respect to the difficulty level but with respect to the amount of time required to go from ‘poor’ to ‘average’. It is a whole different ball game if you want to go from ‘average’ to ‘good’, but you got more than enough time for that.

What should I do for starting preparation for CAT 2021?

At this stage, with more than 1 year to go for the CAT 2021 exam, I would recommend that you focus on Verbal Ability. Even if you are good at it, a little more effort in this direction would be a good idea. Verbal Ability can be broadly classified into these areas:
Reading Comprehension
Verbal Reasoning and Critical Reasoning

Among these, probably Verbal Reasoning and Critical Reasoning should be at the bottom of your priority list. At this stage, you should focus on improving the others. There are a few books that you can use for improving your Vocabulary, Grammar, and Reading Comprehension. Some of the popular choices are:

Vocabulary – Word Power Made Easy by Normal Lewis
Grammar – Wren and Martin
Reading Comprehension – How to Read Better and Faster by Norman Lewis

I will be honest with you – I am not a fan of these books. The reason is not that the books are not good or that these books do not teach the required concepts but the fact that these books are incredibly hard to do. If you do not believe me just have a look at the size of ‘Word Power Made Easy’. If you do not agree with me now, I am sure you would agree with me once you have spent couple of weeks with it. Let me also add that what I am saying is true in 90% of the cases and it is quite possible that you are in the other 10% that is really benefited by these books. I would like to suggest something else that I have seen work with 90% of CAT exam aspirants, and that is:

Read, read, and read some more

There is no better way to improve your Verbal Ability than to read more books. The problem is that most of us do not read enough books. I am no longer surprised when I meet a student who says that he hasn’t read a single book in his entire life that wasn’t a part of the syllabus. In the few cases when they have read a book, they rarely go beyond Chetan Bhagat. If you belong to this category, it is high time that you start to cultivate a reading habit. It is not going to be easy but trust me – it is going to be extremely rewarding. And I am not just saying from CAT perspective but from an overall personality development point of view. You should read fiction, non-fiction, biographies, basically anything that you could lay your hands on. If you do not know what to read or from where to start, here is a list of recommended books for MBA aspirants. If that list overwhelms you, here are some ideas to start with:
Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Pick up the last one if you are feeling a little bit adventurous. It is huge in size but you will be a different person, for good or for worse, by the time you finish it.

Best Books for CAT 2021 Preparation

While there are plenty of great books that are available in the market when it comes to CAT preparation, I think that the material that is provided by coaching institutes like IMS / TIME / CL is pretty good. You can probably get that from a senior or get it second hand via Olx or a second hand bookstore from your neighborhood. If not, then Pearson has a really good set of books as well. I really like the books that are compiled by Nishit Sinha. They cover nearly everything that is required for CAT preparation and a little bit extra as well. Here is a slightly more detailed analysis of best books for CAT preparation.

Official Paper CAT 2019

While you are gearing up for CAT 2021, it is important that you have a look at previous year papers to get an idea about the pattern.
To find out solutions and answers of Official Paper CAT 2019, click here.

Coaching for CAT 2021 Preparation

I run an online coaching course for CAT 2021 preparation and so I would obviously be biased in favor of it. Not only that, the CAT preparation course has close to 600 students right now.
Are they early starters?
Do they have any advantage by starting CAT preparation early?
The answer to both the above questions is NO. There is no such thing as the right time to start coaching for CAT 2021 preparation. The question that you should be asking yourself is – ‘Do I have the time to start CAT Preparation?’ I believe that whenever you can find 3-4 hours a week, you should formally start coaching. If you are looking at an online option, you can register from the button below.

Click on this link to know more about our Online CAT 2021 Coaching course.

On the other hand, if you are considering offline coaching – you can check this post in which I suggest the parameters that you should consider before joining a CAT coaching institute.

Crack CAT with Unacademy!

Use referral code HANDA to get 10% off.

  • Daily Live Classes
  • Live Tests and Quizzes
  • Structured Courses
  • Personalized Coaching
  • I hope that this post would have given you some idea on how to start preparing for CAT 2021. Please share this post on Facebook or via Whatsapp if you enjoyed it. Please comment on this post if you have any questions about CAT 2021 preparation or you can email us on [email protected]

    Share on Facebook

    Share via Whatsapp

    Ravi Handa
    Founder & Mentor,
    Handa Ka Funda

    If you Like this post then share it!

    21 responses to “CAT Prep Strategy – How to Start Preparation for CAT 2021?”

    1. .Nitin Kapoor says:

      I wanted to share my problem. I am a CA final student. I have always been keen to join a B school. I want to prepare for CAT. But i do wish to complete my CA as well. I have my exam due in May 2017. Meanwhile i want to know will it be suitable for me to prepare side by side for CAT by joining the online course. I saw the videos are available till march 2018. So i was trying to make a study plan. Meanwhile i have 2 months now to see some lectures. From February i have to prepare for my CA finals. And then after May again i can continue with my online lectures. I even want to know how much hours do i have to dedicate every day for CAT preparation. And please guide me over this Plan of mine. I am hell confused

    2. prashant gupta says:

      sir i will register for hunda ka funda preparing for cat but can you help me in getting pdf of time material

    3. suman prakash says:

      Namaste sir ji
      My 10th score -58% nios
      My diploma score -91% mechanical
      My B-tech score -86% mechanical
      Can iima call for interview if my cat %ile is 100%ile
      Any possibility.
      Plz guide me sir
      Thank you

    4. Karumanchi Harshitaprabhu says:

      I like very much

    5. Karumanchi Harshitaprabhu says:

      I like it

    6. […] a case-study group discussion is almost similar to that of a topical discussion in that there is a preparation time of about 5 minutes, the panel starts the discussion and observes the discussion without […]

    7. Shantanu Maheshwari says:

      Sir, does the University of college matters while looking at the score ?

    8. […] for the average Joe interviewee, helping him understand what an interviewer looks for during a CAT interview. In this article, we start at the basics – knowing […]

    9. Prasoon says:

      Sir my 10 th score 83.6
      12th score 73.6
      Bsc 65.17
      So sir now what should be my target percentile in cat 2019
      Provided I have cleared some national level competitive exams also

    10. Shivangi says:

      Is it important to have a job in hand If we get a decent percentile in CAT in the first attempt itself?

    11. Aarti Singh says:

      sir i want to write cat 2018 and other mba exams how do i get started i am an hotel mangement studen

    12. […] like jumbled sentences and critical reasoning. A few days ago, I took a free class on ‘How to Start Preparation for CAT 2018 exam‘. In the class, I tried to answer a lot of queries from confused and often unnecessarily […]

    13. Maheswar reddy says:

      Sir I had completed agriculture bsc in july’2018.
      After that i have joined in job at agri input company,presently im working.but due to lack of job satisfaction i want prepare for cat exam as well as continuing with job…is my decision is corect ?

    14. […] Preparation Strategy – Tips for Beginners Part 2 CAT Prep Strategy – How to Start Preparation for CAT 2018? Score vs Percentile Mapping for CAT Exam – 2017, 2016, 2015 5 Benefits of Preparation via Online […]

    15. […] Preparation Strategy – Tips for Beginners Part 1 CAT Prep Strategy – How to Start Preparation for CAT 2018? Score vs Percentile Mapping for CAT Exam – 2017, 2016, 2015 Study Plan for CAT 2018 Preparation […]

    16. Eakagrah Srivastava says:

      I am a average student. I scored 76% in class 10th and 84% in class 12th. As quantitative aptitude is my weakness. So how do I start preparation for CAT 2021? Is 16 months are enough to start preparation?

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.