40 Days Preparation Plan For CAT

  • Should I do only Smart CATs/Mock CATs now that we have only 40 days?
  • Should I leave some of the topics that I am weak in?
  • My scores in two sections are good, but I am not scoring well in one section!
  • My scores are very erratic; I am losing confidence with each passing day! What do I do?
  • How can I improve at least 50 marks in the next 40 days?
  • How do I prepare for GK for IIFT and other exams while CAT prep is still on?

There are too many concerns the students are saddled with. But, the answer to almost all questions is the same.

Concentrate on what can be done rather than on what cannot be!

I reproduce below an excerpt of the article I wrote on  ‘Need for Strategy’ for CAT. Following which we discuss as to how to utilize the next 40 days!

The acing of CAT requires two parallel distinctive approaches. One aimed at ensuring the utilization of 3 hours fully in the exam, the other aims at ensuring the maximum returns for the hours invested prior to the exam (read preparation).

Strategy for CAT 2016

However good one may be in solving problems of QA or DILR or good in vocabulary and grammar, the exam requires a special approach. It is much like adapting oneself to various formats of a cricket game (Test, ODI, T20) even though one may be excellent in batting or bowling!

The basic purpose of strategy is to ensure the following

  • Read all questions in a section/set
  • Identify and solve the easy and medium level difficulty questions first
  • Identify and avoid difficulty OR lengthy questions
  • Have a cutoff time (stop loss) for every question/every set
  • Maximize attempts
  • Get emotion out of the window while attempting the exam
  • Being systematic and clinical in approach

To achieve the above, each student may have to hit upon a different idea/plan/strategy for attempting the exam.


  • Decide on the time limits you would give within each section
  • Stick to the game plan
  • Possible break-up of time-limits.
    • QA – Do it two rounds (35 min and 25 min)
      • Or 6 questions in 10 min
    • DI – 30 min (7.5 min for each set)
    • LA – 30 min (7.5 min for each set)
    • RC – 40 min (8 min for each passage)
    • VA – 20 min
  • In every section, sticking to the time limits is sacrosanct.
  • Within each set of Say DI/LR or RC – doing all questions is NOT the objective. Reading and trying to attempt is!

 Preparation for the NEXT 40 days!

This is the time to forget all the books and concentrate ONLY on SmartCATs and original CAT papers.

If required, one may take up some sectional tests. However, there is really no point going back to the basics often and or solving tons of questions from each chapter/area.

In this last leg of preparation, writing the Mocks to finalize one’s strategy becomes imperative. At the same time, writing ONLY Mocks and doing nothing to improve one’s capability of solving more questions/different types of questions would be counter-productive. Writing only Mocks will set in fatigue in a few days and it will affect the actual exam.

Plan for Mocks

Take 5 to 8 tests in the remaining 40 days. Once a week is also more than sufficient. However, your friends and seniors will tell you that you need to write more mocks. No harm in that except there is only so much time to do anything. Writing Mocks alone won’t improve your marks. Hence, use the time judiciously. Take One Mock in 4 to 7 days (as per your convenience) and then utilize the intervening days, i.e. the days between the Mocks for improving the marks in each of the areas.

Here is what I recommend for each of the sections.

Quantitative Ability

  • Important Topics
    • Arithmetic –           6 to 8 questions
    • QE/Polynomials/Inequalities/Logs- 8 to 10 questions
    • Numbers –           5 to 6 questions
    • Geometry/CG/Mensuration – 5 to 7 questions
  • Pick 4 subtopics for every 4/5 days of work (between mocks)
  • For these subtopics – solve about 10 questions in each (From SmartCATs you have already done)

Data Interpretation

  • Divide DI into the seven types of questions
  • For each of the 4/5 days in between mocks, solve about 10 sets in each such type of questions
    • Tables & its variants
    • Bar Chart
    • Line Graphs
    • Pie Charts
    • Tournament & Games
    • Max/Minima & Venn Diagram
    • Miscellaneous – Spider, Triangle, Scatter Diagram etc.

Logical Reasoning/Logical Ability

  • Divided LR into the following
    • Arrangements (Linear and Circular)
    • Selection
    • Networks & Routes
    • Order Sequencing & Ranking
    • Binary Logic
    • Cubes & Venn Diagrams
    • Other puzzles
  • Every day Solve 3 sets
  • At the end of 40 days you should have solved close to 120 sets of LR

Reading Comprehension

  • Solve 3 RCs a day for the next 40 days.
  • Check every answer – wrong ones as well as the ones you get right!
  • For every wrong answer – give yourself reasons why the same cannot be the answer
    • You will be developing the method of thinking

Verbal Ability

  • Areas to work on
    • Grammar – daily 10 questions
      • Try understanding the entire gamut of questions that can come
      • Subject-Verb;Parallelism; Phrasal Verbs; etc.
    • Para Jumbles: Every 3 days, solve around 15 questions
    • Critical Reasoning: Every 3 days, solve around 15 questions.
    • Para Completion/Summary/Others – 10 questions
    • Words – From every Smart CAT, make sure that you know as many words as possible along with its usage.

 Final Word

  • 45 days can make a huge difference to your score
  • You can add a minimum of 60 marks more than what you are currently getting.
  • That could mean jumping about 20 to 30 percentile in the final analysis.
  • If you are getting 90 percentile now, you can hope to touch 99 percentile with this approach OR 80 to 97 OR 70 to 95!!
  • Work without worrying about results!
  • You can make it to the best B Schools



About the Author:

ARKS Srinivas is an alumnus of IIM Calcutta and has been the All India CAT Director at TIME. He is currently the CEO of VistaMind Education. VistaMind is the only National Level Training institute, which prepares students for CAT through LIVE ONLINE CLASSES. For more information, write to info@vistamind.com OR Visit cat.vistamind.com

ARKS Srinivas

ARKS Srinivas is an alumnus of IIM Calcutta and has been the All India CAT Director at TIME. He is currently the National Head for MBA Prep at Career Launcher.



Princy Goel

Hii.. My problem is i have solved many questions bt in mocks i m able to achieve only 50-60 marks.. Wat should b my stategy for the next 50 days,how can i improve my score