How to Prepare for the CAT

How to Prepare for the CAT

G.I. Joe, a popular American cartoon character, says “knowing is half the battle.” And it’s true. Knowing how to prepare for the CAT is half the battle. Once you figure that out, all you have to do is study! Here is a step-by-step guide on how to study for the CAT exam.

Step 1: Know Yourself

If knowing is half of the CAT prep battle, measuring your own CAT skills is the first attack in the battle. The best way to do this is to actually go through some CAT practice tests. This will allow you to feel out how you’re doing– which aspects of CAT are the hardest for you, and which parts of the test come easiest. Try a good-quality mock CAT test online to assess your own level.

Your CAT strengths are your tools for CAT success. Build on those strengths, and stay in practice with the things you’re good at. Your CAT weaknesses give you an idea of the things you should especially work on as you work toward your target score.

Step 2: Know the Test

Going through a practice test does give you a good feel for the exam. But going through a mock CAT just once is never enough. You need to truly know the test, from its sections, to its question types, to the particular knowledge and skills found in the questions. Once you’ve done a practice CAT exam, review all the questions. Write out some notes on the kind of content you see in the questions. And make note of the question types you see (multiple choice, numeric entry, vocabulary-focused, algebra-based, etc…).

Then look at the overall structure of the test. Know the sections of the CAT, and how content and questions are distributed across these questions. (See Magoosh’s post on the CAT syllabus 2017 for an up-to-date look at the CAT’s whole-test structure.)

Once you truly understand the CAT, you’ll be able to gather materials and plan study activities that can help you pass the exam

Step 3: Make a Winning Study Plan

After you’ve figured out your CAT abilities and learned how the exam works, you’re ready to gather study materials and make a schedule of the activities you’ll do before test day. Deciding which materials you need and how to build a practice timetable can be intimidating. That’s where Magoosh CAT comes in.

Check out one of our recommended study plans. Here on the blog, Rachel has created a one-month CAT study plan, a 3-month CAT study plan, and a 6-month CAT study plan. If one of these plans is a perfect fit for your study needs, you can follow the plan as-is. You can also modify any of the plans, changing certain activities as needed.

When you’re ready to put your study plan into action, check out our video on how to study effectively:

Step 4: Follow Your Study Plan, but be Flexible

As you go through your CAT study plan, be prepared to make changes here and there. If you fall behind on you plan, make some extra time to catch up. And if you realize you’ve mastered a skill, you can focus less on that aspect of CAT prep. And at the same time, you should be ready to devote more time than planned to any CAT skill that is harder than you thought it would be.

By the way, sign up for our 1 Week Free Trial to try out Magoosh GMAT Prep!

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