CAT 2018: Exam on 25 November; best books, study material for aspirants aiming for a good percentile

In the view of experts and toppers, the key component while preparing for any exam is studying from the right study material and books.

The Common Admission Test or CAT 2018 is scheduled to be conducted by Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta on Sunday, 25 November. With limited time in hand, it becomes all the more imperative to study from quality resources to prevent wasting time on stuff which is not relevant to CAT.

Another benefit of using the recommended CAT study material is that one can search for almost all the questions online and would find related discussions on the same on various forums. Keeping this in mind, we can easily say that the optimisation of the right books will play a crucial role in the outcome of one’s CAT preparation.

In the attempt to select the best books, aspirants often get baffled owing to the plethora of books and study material for CAT available in the market. To save time and prevent their preparation from turning into a basket case, one can go for the tried and tested resources recommended by toppers and CAT experts. But before proceeding there, let us take a glimpse of the exam pattern of CAT.

CAT 2018 Exam Pattern:

Section No. of Questions Total Marks Duration
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) 34 102 60 minutes
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) 32 96 60 minutes
Quantitative Ability (QA) 34 102 60 minutes
Total 100 300 180

Best study material for CAT 2018

With just three months to go, most aspirants must already be preparing in full-swing. Some may even be revising and actively taking mock tests. However, there is always a third group which is yet to start.

Regardless of which group you fall under, it is always good to ensure that your preparation and revision is on track. So, without further ado, let’s look at some of the best books for section-wise preparation of CAT 2018 to secure a good percentile in the Common Admission Test.

Study material for VARC

A high percentile is attainable in this section if one goes by the following study material for VARC:

How to Prepare for the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT by Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay (Tata McGraw-Hill): A workbook with practice questions and tips based on previous CAT papers.
• Norman Lewis’ Word Power Made Easy.
• The ‘GMAT Official Guide’, ‘IMS RC100’ and ‘Manhattan Verbal’ recommended by CAT 2017 topper Hitesh Lohani who has a score of 99.91 percentile to his credit.

Books to build vocabulary:

• Nishit Sinha’s The Pearson Guide to Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning covers a wide spectrum of topics explained in a comprehensible manner.
• Barron’s Pocket Guide to Vocabulary.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Say hello to religious reading

Regular reading of quality newspapers, and solving word puzzles is one of the most effective ways to ace the VARC section. CAT 2017 topper Aseem Garg recommends ‘The Hindu’ and ‘Livemint’ for editorial columns and articles.

Study material for DILR

From the level of basic to advanced preparation, aspirants can take aid from the following study material for DILR:

How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for the CAT by Arun Sharma (Tata McGraw Hill)
How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for the CAT by Arun Sharma (Tata McGraw Hill)
• Nishit Sinha's The Pearson Guide to Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation.
The Great Book of Puzzles & Teasers by George J Summers
‘Puzzles to Puzzle You’ by Shakuntala Devi is a good way to boost Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning performance, according to Manek Daruvala, Director of Triumphant Institute of Managment Education (TIME).

Newspapers and Business Magazines

Studying pie charts and graphs from business magazines and newspapers is a good way to brainstorm the business-oriented sets in the DILR section of CAT. Some of the recommended sources are:
The Economist
• The Economic Times
• Business Standard
• Financial Chronicle
• The Hindu Business Line
• Financial Express

Game your way through DILR

CAT Topper Balkesh Narang says, “I have always been involved in some brainstorming activities like playing chess, minesweeper, Sudoku etc.”

Believe it or not, these brainstorming sessions are some interesting ways to prepare besides the usual DILR books. So take out time and indulge in these activities after you are done with your preparation for the day.

Study material for Quantitative Ability (QA)

The following books are the favourites amongst most toppers and experts to master problem-solving approach-

• Arun Sharma’s How to prepare for Quantitative Ability for CAT, published by Tata McGraw Hill – packed with three Levels of Difficulty or LODs.

How to Prepare for the CAT Common Admissions Test by Muhamed Muneer, published by Om Books, is another book that is simple and easy to understand.

Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Nishit Sinha published by Pearson.

• Arun Sharma’s The Complete CAT Digest, by Tata McGraw-Hill, is a must-have for any CAT aspirant.

• CAT topper Hitesh suggests learning the basics of QA from TIME material and progressing to LOD-2 and 3 of Arun Sharma’s book for advanced difficulty level.

Go the extra mile with CAT sample papers and mock tests

Purchase a dedicated book on past years’ CAT question papers, solve them in a timed manner and quickly learn the words and formulae that are important in terms of examination.

Face To Face CAT Common Admission Test by Arihant Publishers is a top choice for previous years’ solved CAT papers and mock tests. As a bonus, it also comes with a CD of CAT sample papers which proves to be helpful for final and thorough practice.

Go beyond books with online blogs and apps on CAT for best study materials

In addition to books, coaching material, mocks and advanced sectional tests, Kaushik Kapoor, Director at Erudite, recommends using applications on CAT test training and practice questions. These are available on Android and iOS platforms.

Moreover, Hitesh Lohani also suggests using online blogs by learningroots.com and 2iim question bank for advanced concepts. Last, but not the least, public discussion forums can prove to be quite useful in solving queries, exchanging preparation material and tips.

Have any queries or doubts? Head over to the Q&A section of Careers360 and post them for answers. All the Best!


Updated Date: Aug 31, 2018 17:47 PM

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