7 Key Points to Keep in Mind While Writing CAT Exam 2021

Passing your CAT exam will be a significant milestone in your life, so you should make it a point to go all the way once you begin taking it. By this, we not only mean being mindful of what you need to do before taking the exam. You’re probably aware that mock exams are the way to go, and many CAT coaching centers would say the same. But being prepared is just the half of it — you also have to be strategic once you are in the thick of it to pass with flying colors. 

That said, we’ve taken the initiative to gather together all the tips shared by previous passers to help you decide on the right steps while writing your CAT exam. Rest assured that these guidelines remain relevant in 2021, as previous exam trends have shown and proven.


1. Maintain your composure and always keep calm

We understand that the exam would be stressful due to all the heavy calculating, remembering formulas, and making the most out of your given time. However, once you succumb to the pressure, you’d arguably already be one step closer to failing. After all, it would be harder for you to concentrate, let alone read, understand, and follow the instructions. 

Don’t be intimidated by the length and complexity of any question you encounter. Panicking only ups the risk of wasting more time. Even if you’ve taken numerous mock tests in CAT live online classes, keep in mind that taking the actual exam could put you in a completely different testing environment. Be sure to anticipate that. 

All the better if your CAT exam coaching classes already placed you in various simulated environments that are as close to the real thing as possible.

2. Skip tricky and complex questions

This may not be a tip that not all CAT online coaching centers are willing to back, but it can be argued that maintaining a constant speed when answering questions is crucial for this exam. The sectional restrictions make it all the more necessary. If you think the question takes more than a minute to read, then consider skipping it, especially if you know that you won’t be able to ensure a correct answer. Focus, instead, on answering questions that you can breeze through and are sure you’ll be able to supply a high-quality answer.

3. Always keep the opportunity to double-check answers open before moving on

This is especially true if you follow the second point above and have plenty of time to answer your target questions. Don’t waste that precious time in short and use it to verify your answer. It might mean the difference between passing and failing. If you need to revise, keep in mind the guidelines for correct revision. If you end up being unsure of your answer, then it would probably be wise to skip answering it altogether to avoid the possibility of your score being deducted.

4. Don’t rush when answering each question, especially the TITA ones

CAT exams have always shown a pattern of including TITA questions (those that don’t deduct points even if you answer them incorrectly) in past years. It would be a surprise if they depart from this tradition. Do your best to answer them correctly and refrain from rushing and taking shortcuts. It would be a futile effort to save time if you aren’t sure of most of your answers.  

However, even if we do say that there’s no need to rush, it’s also important to avoid spending too much time on one question. Most exam takers make the common mistake of spending too much time on TITA questions simply because they don’t have the penalty. Ultimately, the best route to take is to keep a balance in your time management. 

5. Place extra focus on sections you know you’ll struggle with

Any CAT training institute would most probably say the same. According to statistics, most people tend to struggle in one section. More often than not, it has a large impact on the final score and can clearly drag people’s scores down to a failing mark. This is why it’s only right to do your best to score higher in the section you’re weak in. 

Chances are, you’ll breeze through and score high marks in other sections anyway. Know where you need to place your chips, and you should be more confident in the final score you’ll be getting. Of course, this is all assuming you’ve already taken the time to analyze your weaknesses — they should be obvious if you take a lot of mock tests. 

6. Know when to use the calculator

Some exam takers don’t realize the immense value of the integrated calculator. It could actually save you loads of time, and it’s unlikely to be going away soon. You won’t find a better tool to use when handling those long, complex calculations. Even better if you took the time to familiarise yourself with how to use it quickly and efficiently.

But don’t get carried away. It’s never advisable to use the calculator for every calculation, especially on problems that need relatively shorter calculations. It might end up eating more of your time. 

7. Always follow the invigilator’s instructions and other possible new guidelines

After all, you might end up getting penalized for not following them. The three sections in CAT can only be taken as they are listed down — you can’t choose which section to follow. There’s an inherent rule that you can’t go back to any question so keep that in mind as well. 

Pay attention to any new guidelines that might be related to COVID-19, particularly the social distancing and dress code instructions. 



Before we wrap it up, allow us to highlight one more tip before the day you take the exam: be sure to sleep well, to the point that it would be easy for your mind to relax and focus. It would certainly make all the difference in the world, simply because it makes all 7 guidelines mentioned above easier to follow. 

That said, if you know in your heart that you came well-prepared and took as many mock tests as you can, then there’s literally nothing that you should worry about. Just make sure you don’t mess up all the preparations you did by not keeping yourself and your mind in tip-top shape come exam day.