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Well, what is the ideal approach to prepare for CAT? In this article, we outline some of the steps you should take for your preparation. The following tips are divided according to the sections in the exam.

Area-1: Quantitative Ability for CAT (Maths in simple words)
Go through the following list of topics:

1. Number System
2. Arithmetic
3. Algebra
4. Geometry
5. Permutation and Combinations + Probability
6. Set theory and some other miscellaneous topics

How many of these are you genuinely comfortable with? How many of these were you good at in school? If the answer is most, you donâ€™t need to worry. Pick the one you are not comfortable with and attack that topic. If the answer is one or zero, well the alarm bells should be ringing. A simple scheduling tip for you: depending on the breadth and depth of topic, assign 3 to 5 weeks per topic from now onwards. That should mean you are done with the most of the concepts by end of June.

Which are the books you should refer to?

• For understanding the absolute basics (if you have a maths-phobia and struggle with the subject), refer to NCERT school books. Remember that there is no shame in going back to the absolute basic level if it helps you.
• For people who are a fairly decent level, you can explore any quantitative book of mainstream publisher. Run a quick Google search and you would have the authors with you. The two popular books you can refer to are ‘Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Nishit K Sinha’ and ‘Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT by Sarvesh K. Verma’.
• Those of you who wish to practice basic level questions for Maths, refer to Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations by R.S. Aggarwal; it remains the best book for solving beginner level questions.

Area-2: Data Interpretation for CAT
Data interpretation requires a combination of two skills: raw mathematical ability and calculation skills. For the first, if you honestly start your work on Area-1, you are sorted. For the second, you should do the following:

• Learn tables for numbers 1 to 30 (at least from 1 to 30, remember we said at least)
• Pick up a book on Vedic Mathematics or Speed Calculations (you can pick up quicker calculations by M Tyra)
• Learn Common Fractions with Decimal and Percent Equivalents

As far sets for practice go, you can let them be for the time being. Remember, we are still in February, and the focus has to be basics more than anything else.

Area-3: Logical Reasoning for CAT
Before we get to the advice part, what exactly is logical reasoning? In simple terms, it is the ability to make connections between the data provided to you. As simple as that! So should you fuss over it? No. Can there be a rule-based approach for Logical Reasoning? Probably No. Can you learn it and cram it? Most definitely no. Can it be done then? Yes, most definitely yes. What should be the first steps?

1. Dig into some puzzle books. Famous ones are those by George J Summers, Ravi Narula and Shakuntala Devi.
2. Play some reasoning games. For example: Sudoku

Would these help? Yes, they would make sure that your mental engines start to buzz and you set aside the cobwebs.
Do you need to solve Logical Reasoning sets for the time being? You can begin with about 2 to 3 sets a week for now.

Area-4: Verbal Ability for CAT (English for the layman)
Ah, at last our favourite area: Verbal Ability
What should be you be doing for improving in this area?
We are crazy reading people (if that was a type). We believe in reading. We believe literally reading anything would also help (*though a planned approach would be better).

• For the next one month, pick the area you love the most, and read 8 books from that area. If you want variety, read any books.
• Read the newspaper every day. Read Sunday editions closely, as they offer some of the best content and also a quick recap of the week.
• Pick up at least 2 issues each of 2 different magazines.

In short, become a compulsive reader.

For Vocabulary and Grammar:
Before we actually advise you what to do, you need to keep in mind that Vocabulary and Grammar questions have not appeared in CAT in the last few years. But questions from these topics are most definitely a part of other major MBA entrance exams, such as SNAP, IIFT, XAT, and NMAT. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to take up these topics and study them in an in-depth manner.

Simple game plan for these topics:

• For vocabulary, pick up Word Power Made Easy. Do one session a day.
• For Grammar, pick up Wren and Martin for now (we know it is very boring but sometimes you got to swallow the bitter pill). Read the part-1 of the book in about two months (that is more than sufficient time).

For verbal, make sure you place sufficient emphasis on the three areas: