CAT Preparation 2023: Section-Wise Tips, Strategy, Road Map

Selva Kumar
Selva Kumar

Updated on - Dec 15, 2023

CAT preparation 2023 needs around 6 months to complete the to obtain the desired marks. However, candidates can aim for a 3-month or 2-month CAT exam preparation strategy. There are 3 sections in CAT syllabus such as Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR), Quantitative Aptitude (QA), and Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC).

A sound CAT preparation plan includes not only finishing the syllabus but also revising it and testing that by solving previous years' papers and mock tests. Candidates need at least study 10+ hours if they want to follow CAT preparation in 3 3-month plan. If candidates have only a month left to their final CAT 2023 exam, they must put in 14 hours to complete the syllabus.

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Table of Content

CAT Preparation 2023: Section-Wise Tips

CAT preparation 2023 includes covering every topic under verbal ability and logical reasoning, data interpretation and logical reasoning, and quantitative aptitude. The section-wise tips are provided below for the candidates.

CAT Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)

VARC is divided into verbal ability and reading comprehension. The CAT preparation tips for both sections of VARC are provided below.

CAT Preparation for Verbal Ability

CAT exam preparation tips for verbal ability are provided below for the applicants.

  • Vocabulary, grammar, and reading comprehension are the three components of the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) element of the CAT exam.
  • Vocabulary-based questions focused on vocabulary include Sentence Completion, Cloze Tests, Synonyms, Antonyms, Analogies, Spelling, Odd Words, and Often Confused Words.
  • Candidates need vocabulary knowledge, reading proficiency, and critical thinking abilities to answer these problems. 
  • Understanding the situations in which a word can be used is a crucial component of vocabulary knowledge. It will become simple as candidates begin comprehending a word's usage in its context.

CAT Reading Comprehension Preparation

CAT exam preparation tips for reading comprehension is provided below for the applicants.

  • Candidates must develop a habit of reading slowly. By doing so, one might overcome reading comprehension. 
  • Candidates must start reading newspapers, blogs, and fiction books. Aim for a reading speed of no less than 300 words per minute, depending on the text's level. Also, read widely. Pick subjects to read about that are outside the comfort zone.
CAT Exam Pattern 2023 CAT Syllabus 2023

CAT VARC Syllabus

CAT preparation for VARC must be done as per the syllabus for the same. The CAT VARC Syllabus 2023 is provided below for the candidates.

CAT Verbal Ability Syllabus
VARC Topics VARC Topics VARC Topics
Fill in the blanks Para completion and inference Verbal logic
Verbal reasoning Subject-verb agreement Para jumbles
Sentence completion Foreign language words used in English Different usage of same word
Grammar Reading comprehension Idioms
Syllogisms Analogies Antonyms
Jumbled paragraphs Sentence correction One word substitution
Parts of speech Preposition Types of clauses
Phrases modifiers Errors in tenses Articles usage
CAT Reading Comprehension Syllabus
Topics Subtopics
Current Affairs

CAA, Covid 19 Pandemic, Clean India Project, Issues affecting social life, Foreign relations, Governance policies, and schemes such as Triple Talaq, Migration of citizens from one country to another and Worldwide intolerance

Business and Economics

Global Economic Change, Environmental Economic Growth, Indian Demonetization Effect and Government Waste Expenditure


Passages from various books of English literature, Essays written by great philosophers and thinkers, and different speeches of great personalities like Aristotle, Charles Dickens, Martin Luther King, and more.

Science and Culture

Transition into the modern world and Disappearing society with technological advancement

Abstract Topics and Fiction

Due to their opinion-based nature, such passages make candidates think a lot and put themselves in the author's shoes before addressing the questions

Historical Events

Events leading to social changes such as the French Revolution and the War of Roses, and Social changes in Indian Culture and thoughts expressed by various activists are still of great relevance


Such passages seek to connect mythological events with the actual social system.

AttemptFree CAT Mock Tests 2023

Important Topics for VARC

Important topics related to VARC for CAT preparation are tabulated below.

Topic Name Explanation Expected No. of Questions
Jumbled Paragraphs 5 jumbled sentences are to be arranged in the right order 3 - 4
Summary/Inference of Short Paragraphs Small paragraphs of 4-5 sentences are followed by 4 answer options 3 - 4
Picking the Odd Sentence in a Jumbled Paragraph 5 jumbled sentences from which one odd sentence is to be picked out 3

VARC Books

Candidates must always refer to the right CAT exam preparation books for VARC. CAT preparation books for VARC are tabulated below for the candidates.

VARC Books for CAT Author Name/Publisher
How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay/Arihant
30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary Mass Market Paperback Wilfred Funk & Norman Lewis/ Simon & Schuster
How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT Sharma and Upadhyay
PSC for VA for CAT Nishit Sinha
High School English Grammar & Composition Wren & Martin

CAT Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)

CAT preparation tips for both sections of DILR are provided below.

  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning carry nearly the same weight as the other two components of the CAT exam. This portion of CAT 2023 was moderately time-consuming. 
  • It is hard because CAT DILR is not mathematics and has no formula. It is logic-based and involves some addition and subtraction. It is, therefore, a talent to be learned rather than a piece of information to be recalled.
  • Don't use the calculator; instead, rely on the head to deepen the grasp of DILR. Mastery of the one-to-twenty tables, proficiency with fractions (from 1/1, 1/2, 1/3 to 1/20), fundamental computation, etc.
  • Practice is the key to mastering the CAT's DILR part; the more candidates practise, the faster candidates improve their accuracy.
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CAT DILR Syllabus

CAT preparation for DILR must be done as per the syllabus for the same. The CAT DI and LR Syllabus is provided below for the candidates.

DILR Syllabus DILR Syllabus DILR Syllabus
Tables Caselets Logical Sequence
Bar Graphs Line Charts Syllogism
Column Graphs Venn Diagrams Logical Connectives
Pie Charts Calendars Blood Relations
Number and Letter Series Clocks Binary Logic
Cubes Seating Arrangement Logical Matching

DILR Books for CAT Exam

Candidates must always refer to the right CAT exam preparation books for DILR. CAT preparation books for DILR are tabulated below for the candidates.

DILR Books for CAT Author Name/Publisher
CAT Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning Gautam Puri
Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT Nishit K. Sinha
Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency Ananta Ashisha
How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT Arun Sharma

CAT Quantitative Aptitude Preparation

CAT preparation tips for the QA are provided below.

  • Arithmetic, algebra, advanced mathematics, and geometry are all included in the CAT Quantitative Aptitude part, which makes up one-third of the exam's questions. 
  • Being thorough with every chapter is the only way to earn high marks in this part. Recall the basics and theories. 
  • Take on the QA section of the CAT by attempting a range of example questions. 
  • Calculations may be necessary for this section. Use the brain to calculate; it will take less time than a calculator.

CAT QA Syllabus

CAT preparation for QA must be done as per the syllabus for the same. The CAT Quantitative Aptitude Syllabus is provided below for the candidates.

QA Syllabus QA Syllabus QA Syllabus
Number Systems HCF & LCM Profit, Loss and Discount
Speed, Time & Distance Percentages Simple and Compound Interest
Averages Ratio & Proportion Time & Work
Linear Equations Quadratic Equations Complex Numbers
Logarithm Sequence and Series Inequalities
Surds & Indices Probability Permutation and Combination
Set Theory & Function Coordinate Geometry Geometry
Mixtures and Alligations Mensuration Trigonometry

QA Books for CAT Exam

Candidates must always refer to the right CAT exam preparation books for QA. CAT preparation books for QA are tabulated below for the candidates.

QA Books for CAT Author Name/Publisher
NCERT Mathematics Books (Class 6 to 10) NCERT
How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT Arun Sharma
Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT Sarvesh Sharma
Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations Abhijit Guha
Quantitative Aptitude for CAT Nishit Sinha

CAT 2023 Preparation General Points

CAT Preparation 2023 is all about consistency and being systemic in one's approach. Some of the essential points related to CAT preparation are provided below.

1. Understand the CAT Exam Pattern

Candidates must understand the CAT exam pattern before making a preparation plan. CAT is an online CBT-based exam with 66 questions of MCQ and subjective type. The entire paper needs to be finished in 2 hours. The three sections of CAT are

  • Quantitative Aptitude
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

2. Understand the CAT Syllabus

It is essential to know what to study, but it is far more important to know what not to study in the CAT exam 2023. Therefore, candidates need to know the topics for their CAT preparation 2023.

3. Focus on all CAT Sections

The CAT exam 2023 has three sections which are Quantitative aptitude, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning and Verbal Ability and reading comprehension. Therefore, students must focus on each section for the CAT exam. 

4. Time Management is Important 

Time management is important in the CAT exam. As already stated, there are three sections, and each has 40 minutes sectional-time limit, time management is essential.

Candidates can improve their time management skills by regularly practicing mock and previous year papers of CAT. This will help them in their CAT preparation 2023.

5. Clear Your Concepts

Candidates must always start their CAT preparation from scratch. This will help the candidates to gain chapter-wise concepts and knowledge. The most important thing that candidates should work on during their CAT preparation is conceptual clarity.

6. Practice

Applicants must do rigorous practice to know the types of questions they may face in the final CAT exam. A SWOT analysis is a must for each section during CAT Preparation. Candidates must also regularly practice CAT mock tests to identify their mistakes and improve accordingly.

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CAT Preparation 2023: Road Map

Applicants should create a CAT study plan and road map to prepare effectively. The road map for CAT preparation will help them consistently prepare for all the exam sections and important topics. The study roadmap should include the following:

  • Make weekly study hours
  • Check weekly progress
  • Adjust for the non-negotiables aspects
  • Think yourself
  • Divide study time for every chapter

CAT 2023 Preparation 2 Months Study Plan

CAT preparation plan in 2 months is discussed below in a section-wise manner for the candidates.

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC):

Topic No. of days
Reading Comprehension 4
Para Summary 1-2
Para Jumbles and Odd sentence out 1-2

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR):

LR Topics No. of days
Arrangements (Linear, Circular, etc.) 2
Puzzles (Einstein puzzles, constraint-based etc.) 2
Networks, Games and tournaments, Scheduling, LR based on picking coins 5
Blood relations, family tree, Truth-liar concept 2
Others (Cubes, 2D Space LR, etc.) 1-2
DI Topics No. of days
Bar Graphs, Line Charts, Pie Charts, Unconventional charts & Tables (radar chart, bubble chart etc.) 4
Venn Diagrams 2
Others (DI Based on growth over the years, Data Sufficiency, Caselets, etc.) 2

Quantitative Aptitude (QA):

Topic Number of days
Number Systems 2
Ratio and Proportion, Percentages, Averages, Alligation, Profit Loss and Discount, Simple Interest and Compound Interest 7-8
Time, Speed and Distance, Time & Work 2
Linear equations, Quadratic equations, Inequalities 3-4
Logarithms, Functions 1
Progressions and series, Surds and indices 1
Geometry & Mensuration, Co-ordinate Geometry 7-8
Permutation and Combinations, Probability, Set Theory 2
Miscellaneous 1

CAT Preparation 2023: 3 Months Study Plan

Candidates can do the CAT preparation in 3 months. They must have a sound week-by-week plan for the same. The CAT preparation in 3 months plan is discussed below for the candidates.

Week Morning Session Evening Session AM Night Session 8 PM
Week 1

Square Cubes


DI Line Graph

Analogy & classify

Synonyms & Antonyms


Week 2

Sequence series


Time Ranking test

Arguments & SW

Synonyms & Antonyms


Week 3


Profit loss

Di bar graph

Cube dices

Subject and Verb

Para Jumble

Week 4 GeometryInterest

Input outputs


Subject and Verb

Para Jumble

Week 5


Chain rule


Series & alpha


Cloze test

Week 6

Time & work


Problem Solving



Cloze test

Week 7

Ratios & proportions

Distance & Speed

DI pie chart

Coding & symbols

One word Subs.


Week 8

Mixtures & Avg




One word Subs.


Week 9

Surds indices

Problem on ages

DI table charts

Blood relation


Fill inthe blanks

Week 10

Linear Eqs

Quadratic Eqs

Decision making

Courses of action


Fill inthe blanks

Week 11

Rational Expansions

Clock calendar

Data comparison

Direction sense


Passage Comp

Week 12



Sitting arrangement

Cause effect


Passage Comp

CAT 2023 Preparation 5 Months Study Plan

Here is a step-by-step guide to preparing for the CAT 2023 exam in 150 days, including where to start and what to study.

Studying for the CAT in Jul, Aug, and Sep

Spend a minimum of 450 hours during Jul, Aug, and part of Sep, solidifying the understanding of the CAT syllabus' contents and gaining complete understanding by answering practice questions on each idea. This will enable candidates to review the fundamentals and see where candidates still need to study certain ideas.

CAT Preparation 2023: VARC Plan

Put equal emphasis on verbal and reading comprehension skills. In 120 hours, candidates can effectively prepare for the VARC portion by doing the following.

VARC Topics Duration
Verbal Ability (Vocabulary)/ Grammar 15 min per day
Reading Comprehension 30 min per day
Total Hours for VA and RC practice 75 hours
Classes (10) 20 hours
Practice on Topic Tests (100 Tests) 25 hours
Total for Next 100 days 120 hours

CAT Preparation 2023: DILR Plan

The DILR section is considered one of the toughest sections in the CAT exam. This section is all about Tables, Graphs, Charts, and Series.

DILR Duration
Total Classes candidates need (10-15) 30 hours
Revision of Classes candidates will need 30 hours
Daily Practice of DI and LR sets (30 minutes per day) 50 hours
Practice on Topic Tests (50 Tests) 20 hours
Total for Next 100 days 130 hours

Candidates must be thorough on Tables up to 20, Square, Square Roots, Cube, Cube Roots, and other mathematical values for a time-efficient calculation.

Topics & Problems on Data Interpretation Topics & Problems on Logical Reasoning
Tables – Calculation based Arrangements - Linear
Tables – non-Calculation Arrangements – Circular
Bar Charts Grouping and Distribution
Pie Charts Selection
Line Graphs Networks and Routes
Spider Graphs Venn Diagrams
Triangle Graphs Binary Logic
Scatter Diagrams Cubes
Caselets Games and Tournaments
Miscellaneous Other Puzzles

CAT Preparation 2023: QA Plan

In the Quantitative Aptitude section, candidates must focus mainly on conceptual clarity and practice.

Quantitative Aptitude Duration
QA Classes on different topics (30) 30 hours
Revision of Classes & Exercises 90 hours
Practice on Topic Tests (100 tests) 30 hours
Total for Next 120 days 180 hours

Candidates are advised to focus on enhancing their basics of Mathematics. Try to develop and practice mental calculation, as it will help save time.

QA Topics Time to devote for Preparation
Arithmetic Jul & Part of Aug 2023
Algebra & Numbers Aug 2023
Geometry & Mensuration, Revision of Arithmetic Sep 2023
Revision of Algebra & Numbers Oct 2023
Focus on Revision, Practice Nov 2023

CAT Preparation Plan for 5 Months: Overall

CAT preparation section wise with time frame and duration is allotted for the candidates to refer to below.

Sections Jul 2023 Aug 2023 Sep 2023 Oct 2023 Nov 2023
QA Arithmetic Algebra Numbers G&M, others, Revision of Arithmetic Revision of Algebra, Nos All Revision
DI Tables, Bars, Caselets, Pie, Charts, Line Speed Math Spider, Scatter, Missing Numbers, Caselets Revision Revision Revision
LR Arrangements, Distribution G&T, VennD, Selection, Networks Other Puzzles, Caselets, Cubes Revision Revision Revision
VA Vocabulary Vocabulary Vocabulary Vocabulary Vocabulary
RC Reading Reading Reading Reading Reading

CAT Topper Exam Tips and Strategy

CAT 2021 - 2020 toppers have mentioned their tips for CAT 2023 preparation and which CAT books to refer to.

CAT Toppers CAT Topper Interviews
Chirag Gupta CAT 2021, 100 percentile I started preparing in March. I focused mainly on giving mock tests and analyzing them. I used to work on my weaknesses by watching various CAT preparation YouTube videos on various topics.
Bir Anmol Singh CAT 2021, 99.94 percentile I started preparing in April. I solved Arun Sharma sir's CAT books for VARC, LR, DI and Quant. I attempted as many past year CAT questions papers (timed attempt) that I could attempt on weekends.
Mohit Babu CAT 2021, 99.85 percentile I started my preparations in April. My strategy mostly involved solving the previous years' mock papers from different coaching institutes. After that, I analysed my weak areas and then focused on improving them.
Vinayak Prabhu CAT 2021, 99.82 percentile If candidates are dedicated, self-motivated and can stick to sincere practice, candidates don't need any coaching. But coaching will give candidates a competitive edge because they will share their years of experience, which candidates can't have on the own.
Mayank Kapoor CAT 2021, 99.69 percentile A coaching institute gives candidates a routine, which is a big factor. Most of us have other things that we are busy with, but if we have a schedule, it will nudge us to be regular with the prep.
Sagar Sengar CAT 2021, 99.48 percentile I started preparing around the end of June this year and went into full-throttle mode by the end of August. My overall strategy was to complete the theory and practice different problems across all the sections.
Vinay Kotwal CAT 2021, 99.40 percentile Being from a mathematics background, I had a hold over the Quant section. I mainly focused on the VARC section. I referred to Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis. I also used to read the newspaper daily to improve my English.
Ved Vineet CAT 2021, 99.40 percentile Along with the CAT preparation, I have limited time on weekdays. I devoted two hours on all the weekdays. However, I had to stretch during the weekends; thus, 4-5 hours of preparation helped me score well.
Sareen Shah CAT 2021, 99.35 percentile I knew that Quant and DILR was my strong point. Had to attempt the most there. VARC was unpredictable and hence focused majorly on RCs rather than other questions.
Shreshth KhareCAT 2021, 99.28 percentile I began preparing in August. I joined the All India Test series offered by TIME and IMS. My strategy was to take the mock in the designated window and analyse it thoroughly.
Kshitiz Singhal CAT 2020, 99.99 percentile My suggestion for the aspirants is to work on the fundamentals, speed and accuracy.
Ekansh Agarwal CAT 2020, 99.98 percentile I would say that mock tests are the most important part of CAT preparation. Attempt as many mock tests as possible.
Naval Mittal CAT 2020, 99.97 percentile Solve as many types of questions candidates can from each section. Secondly, focus on the accuracy.
Swarnadeep Ghosh CAT 2020, 99.92 percentile Attempt all kinds of mock tests, difficult and easy. Maximize the strengths and do not stress about the weaker areas.
Sabyasachi Mishra CAT 2020, 99.90 percentile Focus more on concepts than mock tests. I would say that mocks do not matter much. What candidates learn from the mock tests is what matters.
Ravi Prinshu CAT 2020, 99.78 percentile Be self-disciplined, take mock tests regularly and decide the preparation strategy by identifying the strengths and weaknesses.
Aruneet Dutta CAT 2020, 99.52 percentile Candidates have to decide their own preparation and test-taking strategy through trial and error method. candidates are the best person to decide which preparation method works best for you.
Deepanshu Arora CAT 2020, 99.49 percentile Take as many mock tests as possible and analyze the performance. This would improve the exposure to the various question types.
Gahana Agarwal CAT 2020, 99.30 percentile It is necessary to keep yourself motivated by any means possible through the entire preparation phase and not to let mock scores and percentiles affect the mindset.
Arijit Kumar CAT 2020, 99.10 percentile Work on the strengths. Refer to the CAT preparation books like Arun Sharma and take ample mock tests and practice various question types.

CAT 2023 Exam Pattern

The CAT exam is highly competitive and difficult to crack due to its exam pattern and marking scheme. Candidates should understand the exam pattern to begin with CAT preparation. CAT exam pattern 2023 has been mentioned below.

Elements Details
Duration of the CAT Exam 2 Hours (120 Minutes)
Name of the CAT Section

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

Section-wise Duration

40 Minutes for Each Section (VARC, DILR, QA).

53 Minutes 20 Seconds for PwD candidates for each section.

Slot-wise Session

Slot 1: 8:30 am - 10:30 am (Morning Session)

Slot 2: 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm (Afternoon Session)

Slot 3: 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm (Evening Session)

Number of Questions 66 Questions
CAT Exam Total Marks 198 marks
Mode of the CAT 2023 exam Computer-Based Mode (CBT)
CAT Marking Scheme

For every right answer, +3 will be awarded

For every wrong answer in MCQs, -1 will be deducted

No negative marks for Non-MCQs


How to start CAT exam preparation 2023?

Solve previous year's CAT exam papers to get a sense of the types of questions you'll face. Once you are confident in your ability to answer all types of questions from a topic, begin taking mock exams and analysing them. Mock exams are crucial since they train you to sit for a two to three-hour exam.

What is the ideal time for CAT preparation 2023?

There is no set time restriction in the CAT Preparation 2023 approach. To acquire a respectable CAT percentile, a dedicated and rigorous preparation time of at least 5 months is required.

How to prepare for the CAT VARC section?

Get into the habit of reading books, magazines and newspapers. Expand your vocabulary and improve your grammar actively. The RC section focuses on reviewing the text and responding as quickly as possible.

Can I prepare for CAT 2023 without coaching?

To crack CAT 2023 without coaching, the candidates can follow the success tips, as mentioned below: Attempt mock papers and solve last year's questions. Get good study materials. Stay motivated always.

How to prepare for CAT QA 2023?

The major areas of Quantitative Aptitude are: Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry and Advanced/Modern Mathematics. The questions from these topics are devised to get a glimpse of your managerial skills. While arithmetic tests your understanding of patterns and symmetry, algebra evaluates your ability to find correlations.

How to prepare for the CAT LRDI section?

The best place to start preparing for LRDI is by solving the previous year's question papers. Once you have solved nearly 50 sets of logical reasoning and data interpretation papers, you will start to find a pattern that has been followed over the years.



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