How Long Should I Study for the CAT?

How long should I study for the CAT?-magoosh
 
If you’re planning to apply to IIMs in the future, you may be asking yourself, “How long should I study for the CAT?” There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Ideally, you’d devote 10-15 hours a week for at least three months to CAT preparation. However, if that doesn’t fit into your schedule, you may want to plan on beginning your CAT studies earlier. Remember that, as you’re studying for the CAT, you’re not only brushing up on old skills, but you may also be acquiring new ones. These new skills take time and practice to perfect!

How Long Should I Study for the CAT — One Month

Is it possible to prepare for the CAT in one month? Absolutely. Is it ideal? Probably not. If you’re working a full-time job or are still finishing your undergraduate degree, devoting 20+ hours a week to CAT studies just won’t be feasible. If you have an entire month to prepare for the CAT and no other commitments, preparation becomes doable, if not comfortable. You can check out our tips to maximize your preparation time in our one-month CAT study schedule. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Pros

  • Intensive preparation close to the test date
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    Cons

  • Requires extensive time each week
  • Registration may be problematic, if you haven’t registered already
  • You might not be able to study all material on the CAT
  • How Long Should I Study for the CAT – Three Months

    Three months is a great amount of time to prepare for the CAT, as we note in our three-month CAT study schedule. You’ll have plenty of time to prepare without putting undue stress on your life. Furthermore, the exam won’t take up too much of your life for half a year or longer. Finally, any changes to that years’ test will most likely have been announced at the beginning of your preparation, so you won’t have to adjust your study schedule to any curriculum shifts.

    Pros

  • Not too long a period, not too short
  • Possible to devote a reasonable amount of time to CAT prep per week without overwhelming your schedule
  • Able to adjust to any CAT curriculum changes
  •  
    Cons

  • If you are particularly weak in any one area, three months may not give you quite enough time to maximize your scores
  • How Long Should I Study for the CAT — Six Months

    Six months may seem like a long time to prepare for an exam. However, because the CAT is only given once a year, preparing for this long will maximize your chances for success. On the other hand, you’ll have to begin preparing before the IIMs issue the CAT announcement for the year. This means that you may end up studying test materials that aren’t relevant to that year’s exam. On the other hand, working with a schedule like our six-month CAT study schedule can ensure that you’re grounded in the basics and adapt to any announcements along the way.

    Pros

  • You’ll be able to master all sections of the CAT with smart planning and preparation
  • You can devote fewer hours a week to study while still progressing at a good pace
  •  
    Cons

  • All information about that year’s exam may not be available yet
  • You run the risk of “burn-out” after studying for such a long period
  • Individualize Your CAT Study

    At the end of the day, you should individualize your CAT preparation to your own schedule, abilities, and needs. Devoting a longer period of time to study won’t help you if you get bored of projects easily and are likely to stop studying halfway to test day. On the other hand, if you don’t work well under pressure, one month of study might prove to be too intense. The key to maximizing your score on the CAT is to make sure that your CAT studies fit your needs, whatever they may be.

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