CAT – Nothing But A Revision Of Your School Studies

India is a country of numbers. We are the second most crowded country on the planet with consistent endeavours made by the administration to educate whatever number individuals as could be allowed. Indeed, the number of applicants per seat in esteemed b-schools is high. The business schools have to ensure that they separate the wheat from the chaff and select the most promising applicants for a seat in their institute. To guarantee this, they have an organized shortlisting and determination criteria which are sufficiently dynamic to adjust to the nature of applicants consistently. Not at all like some other tests, CAT can’t be touted as a difficult exam to take.

CAT is an aptitude based selection test. It doesn’t test your ‘insight’ on the chosen points but your capacity to appreciate complex situations woven around the nuts and bolts of the subject. We are accustomed to the repetition procedure of examining and being tried in our capacity to remember and replicate the substance. I have by and by known understudies who have even retained science arrangements and cleared their board exams effectively.

This influences the perception of CAT and makes it appear as hard to many. It requires an alternate approach; something that we are not used to as students. If you analyze the CAT exam syllabus carefully, you will observe that almost (rather, all of them) all the topics were already taught in your schools. And CAT is not anywhere close to exams like IIT-JEE. Exams like IIT-JEE are way too tough while CAT syllabus is something that you have learned in your school till the 12th standard, just the questions are on a trickier side. For CAT, it is not necessary to solve or be aware of the most difficult questions of any topic. CAT is an aptitude exam; you can do wonders on your day! It isn’t a syllabus based exam. It is about solving the questions you know well and how you manage your time simultaneously. The differentiator is always an awareness of the shortcuts and smart application of concepts which you were probably not taught while you were in school.

I have some examples to share to show you that CAT exam is just an application of concepts that you learned at school.


Let’s take a simple example of the topic Averages. Normally what we have learned in school is that average= Total sum/ No. of observations.

Question – The average marks of 19 children in a particular school is 50. When a new student with marks 75 joins the class, what will be the new average of the class?

Alternate Solution:

Step 1) Take the difference between the old average and the new marks = 75-50=25

Step 2) This score of 25 is distributed over 20 students => 25/20 = 1.25

Step 3) Hence, the average increases by 1.25=> 50+1.25 = 51.25.

If this question was done using traditional concept, then probably the time taken would have been higher. The whole point is that none of the topics in CAT is something which you are totally unaware of. It is just about the right approach required to solve the questions. Practice is the key. You can also join MBA coaching classes for guidance for your preparation. Guidance always helps. You can have a better insight into what is relevant to you for your preparation. There are a lot of CAT exam coaching centres.

The Verbal ability section is something you might have learned and practised over and over again right throughout your school. The syllabus for VA in CAT exam consists of Reading comprehension, Para jumbles, Sentence correction, word meanings, etc. These are familiar territories for many. The questions are just twisted and practising previous year papers helps. Also solve material provided by MBA coaching classes, if you have joined one. Apart from that, the candidate must also have a good habit of reading newspapers, magazine, articles, etc. to improve reading and comprehending skills along with good vocabulary.

I am sure you must have worked with data sets and done some simple analysis on them or solved some puzzles while you were a school kid. The data interpretation and Logical reasoning part is something that requires very little understanding of any new concepts. This section only tests how capable you are in comprehending and solving the questions faster.

The point that I am trying to prove through this article is that CAT being a difficult exam is just a myth.

Acing CAT exam does not require you to be brilliant academically or have in and out knowledge about a topic. It is an objective test which has the syllabus and concepts similar or rather same that you already had learned in your school. So do not feel that CAT is not an exam for you. Anyone can ace CAT provided you practice questions and mocks regularly.

So stop panicking and prepare well!

Harshad Patel

Harshad Patel is a part of student team for InsideIIM and a member of the admissions committee at KJ SIMSR, Mumbai. He is a B.E. Mechanical graduate of M.B.M. Engineering College, Jodhpur.