This is another very common yet important question. Once they make up their mind to take the cat exam, they start thinking, “what are the best books for cat preparation?”
Many times, aspirants get stuck with choice overload bias when it comes to choosing the study material to start their preparation. Choice overload, or “over choice,” is a phenomenon whereby we tend to have difficulty in choosing if presented with numerous options. As a result, they feel trapped with no clarity on how to prepare for the CAT exam.
So, based on my experience, in this blog, I am trying to help aspirants get over this dilemma.
I will say there are many best books for CAT preparation. By this, I don’t mean that you need to cover many books in and out. However, I feel that if your basics are clear, you need not solve each and every question from the renowned books like Arun Sharma or following books like Word Power Made Easy to enhance your vocabulary.
It is because those books are too exhaustive, and you might not get sufficient time to cover those books in and out (I’m assuming that you have 8-10 months for preparation). Also, I feel that one does not require so much of a detailed study in the CAT exam.
You need to understand that CAT exam, and for that matter, all the competitive exams require smart work, not hard work. Competitive exams are as much about robust strategy as about hard work.
So, you need to learn to get the most out of all the available resources smartly. You need to choose resources smartly, and more importantly, you need to know how to study from those resources.
In the CAT exam, certain topics are very important, while certain others are not that important. So, you need to invest your time accordingly. And a major preparation in exams like CAT, which requires great time management, happens through mocks and their analysis.
As such, you need to be abreast of major concepts from all the topics and start taking mocks. I want to emphasize more on the importance of taking mocks and analyzing them for the preparation of the CAT exam.
Now, to get a fair idea and understanding of all the topics, you can do the following (again, this is what worked for me. It may or may not work for you. But definitely, it is one way that can be worked out.)
Cover basics from materials provided by the coaching institute:
Unlike any book, coaching institutes offer relatively crisp study material that covers all the important topics. So, you can take handbooks of any coaching material, be it TIME, IMS or CL, and get hold of the basic concepts. For example, in quant, you can start with Arithmetic → Algebra → Number Systems → Geometry (I prefer this order because arithmetic and algebra are relatively simpler and Geometry and Number Systems are little tricky.)
Similarly, in LRDI, you can cover the basics of all the topics from the study material. So, this way, from handbooks of coaching institutes, you can get a fair idea of the concepts of all the concepts.
No need to solve thousands of questions from books like Arun Sharma. However, if you feel that you are very weak in a particular topic, you can refer to such books to cover that particular topic.
Takshzilla Videos for Arithmetic and Algebra:
They are the best, because every topic is lucidly explained, and I can vouch for it.
Join a peer-learning group for doubt-solving and mixed questions:
The peer-learning group is a must for healthy preparation. These groups will give you an opportunity to solve many questions daily from across the sections. It also facilitates prompt doubt-solving.
Read, Read, and Read:
For VARC, a big NO to learning vocab by heart because VARC is more about comprehension. Read a lot. Read whatever you feel like, be it novel, newspaper, articles, or anything. Just read. It will do wonders for you after some time.
Previous Year Questions:
This is very important as it gives you an idea as to what type of questions are asked in CAT. You can get it online. I have discussed the list of such online resources in detail here.
Now, these resources do not guarantee you 100% preparation. And for that matter, you can never be 100% prepared for a highly uncertain exam like CAT. Such exams are known for throwing surprises. However, these resources will make you ready to take mocks. These will make you feel that you are 50-60 % prepared. And then, the remaining learning will happen through mock analysis.
While doing mock analysis, you will come across some new questions and new concepts. So, learn these from mock solutions or YouTube videos. Keep exploring. Keep learning. You will have to leverage all the resources at your disposal. Smartly.
My final words: There are many best books for cat preparation, and there is no best book for cat preparation. I hope you got my point.
Links of the study material:
- How Should I Prepare For The CAT Exam?
- How Should I Prepare VARC For CAT?
The motivation for CAT: Fuel the fire in your belly