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Here’s how you can prepare for CAT exam for your MBA

MBA Entrance Tips

Among the higher education courses that young Indians aspire for the MBA is one of the more coveted ones. Why shouldn’t they? Students and career aspirants know that an MBA can open doors for them and help them on a career path they want.

There are hundreds of colleges from where you can study for an MBA course. However, the most preferred ones are the 13 Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) located in various cities of India. It is an IIM. Who wouldn’t want to get a degree from one of the most prestigious institutes!

Most people who aspire to study an MBA are often plagued by the thought of where their funds would come from. After all, while aspiring to study for MBA is one thing, securing admission to the courses is another and financing the education is yet another thing.

CAT exams

Fortunately, financial institutions and NBFCs such as Tata Capital offer education loan for pursuing higher education under the personal loan umbrella. Availing an education loan if you want to pursue an MBA is not difficult. However, before you do apply for one, you should know about your education loan eligibility.

If you have had good grades in the past and meet the eligibility criteria, you will have to check your personal loan EMI before you apply for the education loan. A personal loan EMI calculator lets you input your loan amount along with your tenure and education loan interest rates and calculate how much EMI you will need to pay.

Once you have an idea about your finances it becomes easier to prepare for the future,

Now, MBA colleges grant admission through an entrance exam known as the Common Admission Test (CAT). The CAT is highly competitive and as many as 2.41 lakh students have enrolled for taking the CAT 2018 and each of them is vying for about 4000 seats offered by the 13 IIMs. You can thus realize the severity of the competition.


The best way to approach the CAT is to prepare well to try and answer correctly as many questions as possible in the allotted time. You can follow the tips given below to prepare for the CAT.

Understand the CAT format

You must understand the CAT format thoroughly so as to ensure that you know what to do at the test. The basic format of the test constitutes a computer-based test comprising 100 multiple choice questions (MCQ) in the objective type format divided among three sections. Although the basic format stays the same, there could be some variations each year.

For the CAT 2018, the format is as follows:

The three sections comprise

  • Verbal ability & reading comprehension (VARC) – 34 questions with 10 non-Multiple Choice Questions(MCQs)
  • Data interpretation & logical reasoning (DILR) – 32 questions with 8 non-MCQs
  • Quantitative Ability (QA) -34 questions with 7 non-MCQs


Other format highlights include

  • Duration of the test is 180 minutes with 60 minutes for each section
  • The sequence of attempting sections is fixed and must be adhered to
  • 3 marks for each correct answer
  • One negative mark for the wrong answer of each MCQs
  • No negative mark for non-MCQs


Once you have understood the test format you can start preparing for the same.

Follow the past pattern

While there is no prescribed syllabus, you can follow the pattern of the past tests and prepare based on the mock tests which are available. Each year the IIMs provide mock tests to help you familiarize with the test and pattern and navigation. You can check out the websites of the IIMs to attempt the mock tests.

Mock Test

Mock test

Take as many mock tests as possible to fine-tune your test-taking skills.

Prepare for each section separately

Since the test comprises three sections, it makes sense to prepare separately for each section. Each section tests your skill in different faculties. So, hone your skills accordingly. If you are weak in a particular section address that weakness and take corrective action. For instance, in the data interpretation and logical reasoning section, the accent is on the reasoning and not so much in the exactness of the answer.

Review your answers after each practice test

During your preparation stage do not neglect to review your answers and see if you can complete all the questions as quickly as possible. Remember that you should minimize the time for answering the questions to which you know the correct answer.

Practice as though you are taking the real test

Since this is a time-bound test with negative markings, you must practice in the same sequence as the test so that you can get into the groove of the real test pattern. Remember you have to answer 100 questions within 180 minutes, which works out to 1.8 minutes per question. Keep a timer with you to time yourself for each question.

Use probability to answer a question with unsure answers

Since the majority of questions are MCQs, you should learn the process of elimination to narrow down the answers. For instance, if you don’t know the answer at all don’t attempt the question as the probability of getting the right answer is only 0.25 and the probability of getting the wrong answer is 0.75. Even if you can eliminate 1 choice, do not answer the question as your probability of right answer increases to 0.33 and that of the wrong answer is 0.67. Only if you can eliminate two choices should you attempt to answer as the probability of getting the right answer rises to 0.50.

Remember that you don’t have to worry about paying for your education as there is an education loan waiting for you or even a personal loan for the asking. You can afford the personal loan EMI because you can start paying only when you start earning after completion of higher education. You can concentrate on the preparation for the CAT and aim for a high score so that you can get a good IIM to study in.

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A mother of 2 lovely kids. Digital Marketer by profession and a blogger by passion! Here to inspire and motivate people with my writing.

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