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Countdown to CAT 2020: Advice, Tips, Tricks & Updates!

“Knock, Knock !!!”

“Who’s there?”

“CAT 2020, I’m almost here.”


cat20201 1Common Admission Test (CAT 2020) is almost here and it is the time of the year when all aspiring minds turn anxious, when months and years of preparation and turmoil are put to test, and when opportunity meets determination.

Cut to the chase, the Common Admission Test (CAT Exam) 2020, is scheduled to happen in a matter of a few weeks. And on Sunday, November 29, 2020, the fates of hundreds of thousands of MBA aspirants would be sealed as they put their labor to test.

The IIMs will conduct a computer-based Common Admission Test 2020 (CAT 2020) on Sunday, November 29, 2020, in two sessions. CAT Exam 2020 will be conducted by IIMs as a prerequisite for admission to their management programs.

And this year, CAT 2020 is being conducted by IIM Indore. This year the exam will be conducted in three sessions in the morning, afternoon, and evening as compared to the two sessions, as conducted previously.

Major Changes in CAT 2020

The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Indore, which is conducting the CAT examination this year, has announced the following major modifications in the CAT exam pattern, duration, and testing slots keeping in mind the prevailing conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. CAT 2020 to have Three Sections: This year’s CAT paper will be divided into three parts for candidates to answers as follows: (i) Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC); (ii) Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning; and (iii) Quantitative Ability.
  2. Exam Duration reduced to Two Hours: One of the major changes made to the same is the exam duration which now stands reduced to two hours compared to three hours previously. Consequently, a fall in the number of questions is also expected because of the above exam time reduction.
  3. CAT Exam 2020 in Three Sessions: Compared to the conventional two-session exam, this year it will be held on November 29, 2020, in three sessions as per the following schedule: Morning: 8:30 am to 10:30 am; Afternoon: 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm; Evening: 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm.
  4. Reduction in Section-Wise Time Limit: Candidates appearing for the CAT 2020 will now be allowed only 40 minutes to answer each section as compared to 60 minutes provided earlier.
UNESCO's top tips for studying in lockdown - in one short video – UNESCO IITE
It won’t be this chillax in the exam!

Taking it One at a time/ Sectional Analysis

One of the best practical ways to deal with competitive examinations having a mammoth syllabus is to sequester, cover, and conquer them into smaller tasks/ chapters/ sections. Although it goes without saying that practice makes a man perfect, However, in today’s cut-throat competition it is also essential to be a roughneck.

Since the CAT 2020 examination will be covered in three sections, let’s take a small theoretical joyride which will help you dominate each one like a Pro!

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) in CAT

VARC of the CAT exam paper will put your mind to the test in topics of comprehension, verbal cognition, and reading analysis & skills. The one who has mastered the skill of having a fluid command over the English Language and time management will soar between the lines.

Some of the essential topics which will be put in front of you will be the following: Reading Comprehensions, Jumbled Paragraphs, Paragraph Completion, Finding Odd one out, Deducing Logics, and Correcting Sentences.

A few tips that can help you break through this section are summarised below:

  • Form a habit of reading newspapers/ novels/ articles/ magazines on a daily basis (be it in hard copy or digital form).
  • Try to read fast, in a time-bound manner, and with questions in mind. This will help you to cover your questions within the stipulated sectional time of 40 minutes.
  • Form a habit of learning 5 words every day. This will help you assimilate a cumulative vocabulary.
  • Solve diversified and variety of questions.
  • Master the activity of brainstorming. This will help you tackle unexpected questions/ comprehensions.

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning in CAT 2020

This is either a trick or a treat. Tricky if you are half prepared, treat if you play your cards right and are well prepared. The logical reasoning section will gruesomely grill your critical thinking ability while your neurons are busy interpreting the given data.

The questions in this section will mostly consist of Graphs, Pie Charts, Bar Graphs, Blood Relations, Venn Diagrams, and Caselets.

A few pieces of advice to help CAT aspirants grow through this section are:

  • Indulge in activities and practices which involve brainstorming and critical thinking.
  • Read Newspapers and General Knowledge Magazines on a daily basis to help sharpen your contemporary knowledge.
  • Be efficient in your calculations and learn to use the on-screen calculator.
  • Target content-related questions which you are more familiar with first.
  • Learn tricks that will help you solve data interpretation questions faster. Since most caselet questions have a regular pattern of logic, this will help you in the long run.

Quantitative Ability in CAT

For all those who have dreaded maths for all these years, first off, take a deep breath and do not hyperventilate. This section requires you to encapsulate all the mathematical skills that you have acquired over the years and put them to better use because being scared of maths is a poor excuse!

  • When it comes to mathematics, practice and consistency will give you the leverage that smart work won’t.
  • Be it statistics or metrics, linear equations or exponential ones, functions or ratio & proportion, be crystal clear in your concepts and well-familiarised.
  • In case you are facing a problem in keeping up with too many formulas, chart down the formula of various topics and stick them on the wall above your study table or at a place where your eyes fall directly upon them whenever you glance randomly.
  • Practice a lot of Mock Tests. (And when I say ‘a lot’, I mean it!)
  • Practice and attempt the concepts that you feel more confident in. This will help you gain confidence in the topics you are more anxious about.
Studying for finals: MAC students and alumni – The Shield Online
Expect it to be messier!

A Quick List of Do’s and Dont’s for CAT Exam 2020

It’s easier said than done but:

  1. Focus on your basics. Build a strong, solid foundation to form a concrete concept in every topic of every section.
  2. Consistency is the key. Constant effort makes it big at the end of the journey.
  3. Do not get intimidated by initial failures. If you aren’t failing, you aren’t stretching yourself.
  4. Stick to a stringent schedule, because time and tide wait for none!
  5. If you get stuck at a question or hit a rough patch, take a short break, have some coffee, watch your favorite video or hit the gym, but make sure you overcome it before you hit the bed at night.
  6. Try to solve mock tests at regular intervals and note the time taken to complete it. Increase the frequency of the tests as the exam date approaches.
  7. Do focus on the bigger picture, but learn to tackle it one day a time.
  8. Form a habit to analyze your performance and rectify your flaws. Agreed that not all mistakes can be undone, but you could always reduce the magnitude of it.
  9. Always revise and have a quick recap round of the things you studied for the day before you go to bed.
  10. Make sure to dwell on as much reading as possible. Turn it into a coercive habit.
  11. Even in foggy or hazy mindsets, learn to keep a clear head and a transparent mind.

An Endnote for all CAT Aspirants

They say motivation doesn’t last, well neither does bathing. That’s why we need it daily. Be your own inspiration. Whenever you feel low and are looking for a hero or inspiration, look in the mirror. That’s the purest form of motivation and self-courage you can attain.

It’s not that this is the only shot you will ever get in life. But at least make sure it’s worth it. So, brew your coffee, set your eyes on the prize, hit the pedal for the medal, and continue the Hustle!!!

All the Best from the entire NoticeBard Team!!!

For previous year papers, click here.



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