CAT 2017: 10 Must Know Tips to prepare for CAT Exam

Gareema Bali updated on : 18 Jul 2017

A heart to heart conversation with every CAT 2017 aspirant and also sharing 10 must know tips and tricks for CAT exam preparation.

10 Must Know CAT Preparation Tricks 2017

So, you have decided to appear for CAT 2017, that’s great. This will be your first attempt and as the CAT application form release date is coming closer, are you dicey whether to register this year or prepare well and give the final shot next year.

We say, stick by your decision and apply for the exam this year itself. We wish CAT exam 2017 to be your first and last attempt.

“Well, for me, it will be the second time that I will be facing Common Admission Test (CAT). I think I know where I went wrong last year and this time I am sure that I will be able to crack CAT 2017 with a high percentile.”

That’s the spirit is all we can say. It’s amazing to know that you have made up your mind to reappear for this so called toughest exam. Since you haven’t given up on your dream of studying at an IIM or any other B-school for that matter, we believe you shall make it this year.

“Okay, so I guess I am the odd one out here as CAT 2017 will be my third, fourth or so on attempt. At times, I feel I really don’t have it in me, what it takes to crack this exam. I see my dreams shattering every year, when the CAT result is announced. But then, I compose myself and start the journey again. Now, I see my mock scores improving and this gives me the ‘hope’ that I may crack the exam this year.”

We see you as a fighter and believe that you shall witness victory this year. You are an epitome of motivation for every examinee who will be taking CAT exam 2017 for the first time.  

Check complete details on CAT 2017 here


Being a CAT 2017 aspirant, we are sure you must be able to relate yourself to one of the above mentioned 3 categories of exam takers. Which number of CAT attempt this year will be is hardly a matter to even think about, but what matters is, are you determined to make CAT 2017 your last one?

Ask yourself?

Because we are sure that you shall crack the exam this year. Now, there are no cheat codes or mantras to crack CAT. However, with implementation of some improved CAT 2017 preparation guidelines and tweaking your already on-going CAT preparation strategy, the goal of qualifying this exam can be achieved. We list below some CAT preparation techniques for the aspirants.

10 Must Know CAT Preparation Tricks 2017

These are some CAT exam preparation notes which may help you prepare better for the exam. There will be a lot of things which you might be doing correctly but then, there are chances that unknowingly you might be committing certain mistakes, because of which you haven’t reached the finish line of the race of cracking CAT and taking admission to one of the B-schools.

Try tweaking your CAT preparation strategy a bit by incorporating these 10 important tips to crack CAT into it

…….and you may be a CAT 2017 topper!

So, what are the 10 must know tricks to prepare and crack CAT 2017? 

  • Create your own CAT study material 2017 instead of piling up the books

Ever wondered why IIMs don’t provide the CAT syllabus or officially release the same like CAT exam pattern? It’s simply because there are no fixed chapters or topics from which the exam is set. However, the books available in the market have been prepared by experts who have been observing and analyzing CAT over the years. With due course of time, these experts have a fair idea what kind of questions are asked in the exam and considering that they publish these books.

Now,as a quick CAT 2017 preparation tip, we suggest you to take some 80 to 85 mocks in these leftover 150 days and create your own CAT 2017 question bank. This way, you will end up having some odd 8000 questions, which are more than enough for CAT preparation 2017.  However, for initial practice of questions, candidates can use the books written by established authors but with time, they must rely on their CAT question bank instead of these books.

  • Use your smart phone to make short notes or quick formula revision sheets

We are living in the generation of smart phones, so use your phone for making notes. Another must know CAT preparation trick is to use the notepad of the phone and jot down important notes and pointers which you can open and revise any time. Carrying a notebook or a bundle of pages may not be feasible every time but you cannot deny the fact that you carry your mobile phone everywhere.

Make a habit of listing down the points in the notepad of your smart phone while having a discussion with a senior, teacher or expert. Note down the suggestions or advises given by them so that they don’t skip from your mind. You can also make a list of shortcuts or formulas required for solving questions of CAT and revise the same anytime and anywhere.

  • Clearing the concepts and basics should be your priority

We are sure, this is the most common CAT preparation tip given by every experts and CAT toppers. Well, we would suggest you to the do the same because it is extremely important for cracking an exam like CAT 2017. It is often said that a class 10th pass student can crack Common Admission Test with ease and high percentile compared to any working professional. Now, the probability of this statement to be true may be low, but the reason behind this is very logical. The kind of questions asked in CAT are equivalent to the level of class 8, 9, 10 but the exam takers being graduates and other working professionals, they tend to forget the basics and hence find cracking CAT difficult.

So, if you are really serious about cracking CAT 2017, invest your time in clearing your basics. The most important tip from the bunch of 10 must know CAT preparation tricks is to practice fewer questions but practice them well. Devote time in understanding the methodology involved in the solutions and focus on revising the same.

  • Don’t run after practicing high level difficulty questions

We agree, CAT is a considered to be the toughest exam. But, what makes it an arduous one is not the difficulty level of questions but the attitude with which it is attempted. CAT 2017 will be a strategy examination that will test your time management skills, stamina, how you choose which questions to attempt and which not to attempt etc.

It does not test your core abilities. Therefore, another important CAT preparation tip 2017 is to stop finding the ‘most difficult question’ for yourself and wasting days in solving the same, may be for the sake of satisfying your ego that if I can solve such a difficult question, I will be able to crack CAT too. Well, this may not be the scenario on the actual exam day.

So, focus on test taking instead of individual question or problem solving. For effective CAT 2017 preparation, understand and analyze the difficulty level of questions which are asked in exam and prepare the same. Practice and revise more questions with the same difficulty level.

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  • Follow the formula = Practice + Analyze + Revise

Just practicing of countless questions should not be your goal. You must spend time in analyzing these questions, finding other methods to solve these and keep the pace of revision equal to your practice. The most common CAT exam preparation tip give by experts is to keep revising the topics you have preparaed, it will help you increase your speed and do better in the exam. If you won’t revise, you will tend to forget the skills of solving the questions and thereby taking more time to solve them.

  • Today is the good time to start taking CAT 2017 mock tests

We often come across queries as to when one should start taking mock tests. We believe, you should take a mock even before starting on with the CAT preparation. There is no predefined CAT preparation timeline to commence with writing mock tests. Any day is a right day and time to start with mock tests. We suggest CAT 2017 aspirants to consider taking mocks as one of the prime methods of their preparation.  

Studying and revising of topics should go hand in hand with writing CAT mock tests in order to keep a check on CAT 2017 preparation level. However, don’t let the low mock test score affect you. Tweak you mock taking strategy in the next paper and focus of improving the score. The trick to score good in mock tests is to choose the questions wisely and getting them right in the defined time frame.

  • Analyze and revise your mock test CAT paper

Another one of the 10 must know CAT preparation tricks is to revise and analyze the CAT mock tests, which is more important than taking the mocks. The CAT 2017 aspirants are advised to invest 4 to 5 hours in analyzing the mocks in order to understand where they went wrong and to improve in the next exam. Also, they must go through the mock solutions carefully, it will help them have better understanding of solving the questions and they may come across different methods of solving a particular question.

Mock test solutions are books in itself and must be referred by the CAT exam takers for serious revision of the CAT syllabus 2017 and all important topics.

  • Be consistent with your CAT exam preparation 2017

We do understand that the preparation of CAT exam does get tedious but then those who start enjoying this tiresome journey crack this entrance test with magical percentiles. If you wish to see your name as one of the CAT 2017 toppers or are very serious about studying at an IIM, then you must stop finding reasons or excuses to escape from studies, instead devise ideas to concentrate and focus on the CAT preparation.

Try studying for shorter period of time but ensure that you study on daily basis. However, the working professionals must start investing more time to CAT 2017 preparation on weekends and holidays.

  • Prepare all the 3 sections of CAT 2017 exam simultaneously

While preparing for the CAT 2017 exam, devote equal time to all the 3 sections of the exam. We understand you may feel quant is your strong area so you can invest more time in VARC so that you can excel there. However, we suggest that this approach may not always work in your favour. You must concentrate equally on all the three sections and prepare them well. Paying more attention on one may lead to forgetting the skills of excelling in the other one with due course of time. 

For example, you may excel at VARC but then when you will pick up a question of quant after 2 months then you may find it difficult to solve the same. The reason being you were paying more attention to VARC in the last 2 months and ignoring quant. This is why, we suggest CAT 2017 aspirants to prepare for all the 3 sections simultaneously and pay equal attention to them.

  • Treat CAT as 3 exams of one hour each instead of one exam of 3 hours

In the exam, you will get 60 minutes to solve each section and during which you will not be able to switch between the sections. The marking and percentile is also given for each section and so does the IIM CAT cutoff work. Therefore, we suggest you to start thinking and preparing for CAT 2017 as 3 exams having duration of one hour each instead of one exam of 3 hours duration. Treat your CAT mock tests as actual exam and take the mocks with this thinking. This will help you forgive and forget about the previous section and perform better in the next section.

The conclusion

By following these 10 must know CAT 2017 preparation tips, you will find yourself in a position of well prepared and all set to bell CAT. This exam has a legacy of springing surprises at last moment and no list of do’s and don’ts can actually help in gauging this last minute CAT exam twists. However, the only thing that will matter is your presence of mind in those 3 hours and the CAT preparation self study of all these months.

So, start preparing your CAT preparation plan now, you still have time to buck up and crack CAT 2017.

Good Luck!

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