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This article was first published 10 years ago

How to crack the CAT in 6 months

April 28, 2014 17:36 IST

Image: Studying for two to three hours every day will help you ace the Common Admission Test this year.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters Ravi Handa, courtesy

CAT expert and IIM-Kharagpur alumnus Ravi Handa tells you how and why planning in advance will help you inch closer to your MBA dream.

Now that the euphoria (or disappointment) of CAT 2013 is over, I am sure quite a few of you are looking forward to the Common Admission Test 2014 -- to improve your chances of getting into a better school this year.

There must be quite a lot of new players this year. And some of you, the old and the new, must be wondering -- what do we do next?

The CAT 2014 is six months away. And you can indeed make the best of the time you have on your hands.

Although the answer may vary from individual to individual, here are some basic FAQs that I will attempt to answer: 

Do I have enough time to prepare?

Yes. Typically, an average student requires anywhere from 300 to 500 hours to prepare for CAT.

Even if you can study two to three hours a day from now till the day of the CAT, you have enough time.

But having the time and studying in that time are two very different things.

Concentrate on studying and you will find time somehow :-)

When should I start the preparation for CAT 2014?

Right now is a good time unless your college exams are on.

In which case, you should start as soon as the exams are over.

Summer vacations are the best time to start.

Should I leave my job to prepare for CAT 2014?

Absolutely not.

But I could not prepare well because of job pressure in CAT 2013...

Then work harder!

Leaving your job is not the solution to your problem.

It will look very bad on your resume.

Should I start writing mock tests?

If you feel confident of about 50 per cent of the syllabus, perhaps. Otherwise, no.

A good time to start writing the mock tests would be in July.

How should I start?

Putting a framework to any sort of problem always helps.

The first goal that you should have is to identify your weak areas.

Now don't say, "I am weak at everything" because you are not.

You are bound to be relatively better in one area than the other.

The key is to identify the weakest links and prepare those areas.

Should I join a coaching institute?

If you have done coaching in the past, then it does not make much sense.

If you haven't, then perhaps you should.

Which coaching institute should I join?

It won't make a lot of difference.

Just join the one which is convenient, perhaps closer to where you stay.

Dear readers, have you recently cracked the CAT? How did you prepare? 

Which are the most important study topics?

What are the common problem areas and how did you approach them?

Simply mail us your CAT tips and advice at (subject line: 'My CAT Tips') and we'll feature the best responses right here on

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