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How to Revise for Common Admission Test (CAT) 2020?

Updated: May 23, 2020

Preparing for the CAT exam involves practicing as many questions as you can. But all that practice is worthless unless you know how to revise for the CAT exam. No matter where you are in the CAT preparation journey, you must plan about your revision of CAT syllabus right now. In this post, I have shared a revision plan for you, I've talked about its importance, what all needs to be revised and how to plan for it.

CAT 2020 Revision

CAT is a test of endurance during the preparation period. My own journey was 1.5 years long. Had I not planned my revision schedule in advance, it might have costed me.

Revision Planning

You're only going to revise what you're going to prepare for revision at this moment. Think about it, would it be practically possible for you to go through all your study material, question booklets, sectional tests, etc. before the final exam? Most likely not. So, you need to plan three things in advance:

  1. What all should be revised?

  2. How to note them down?

  3. How often should you revise?

Let's start with the first question.

What all should be revised?

There are five main components of the CAT syllabus that'll need revision:

  • Important Formulas: Needless to say, you need to revise the important formulas of each chapter. You will come across these formulas during:

  1. Reading the Basics

  2. Solving the Booklets

  3. Analyzing the Mocks

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  • Tricks and Shortcuts: When you look at the solutions of different questions you attempt through your books and mocks, you'll come across some interesting shortcuts. For example, I've mentioned a mental shortcut for DILR's seating arrangements in the DILR tips. It is important to revise them.

  • Introductory Concepts: Be it the self-preparation books that you're using or the coaching material, all of them have some introductory paragraphs in the beginning of the chapters (also called the basics). Revising these concepts are also an integral part of the preparation.

  • Important Questions: There are some extraordinary questions (they're unique and not difficult) that make you go "Oh, I didn't think like that". There's no other way to solve such questions quickly apart from the technique mentioned in the solutions. So, having these questions on your tips is going to help you.

  • Golden Book: As mentioned in an earlier post on DILR calculation speed, you should regularly revise the common squares, cubes, tables, etc. which will help you with mental mathematics.

How to note them down?

Now, you know that there are 5 main things that need to be revised. However, the way you take notes for them is going to make all the difference in how easy it is for you to revise them. Here are 3 logs you need to create:

  • Formula Book: You need to create a separate notebook for recording three out of the five things mentioned in the revision list. They are: Important Formula; Tricks and Shortcuts; Important Questions. The reason there has to be a separate notebook for this is to avoid going through hundreds of pages of the book and relocating the three things marked there. This notebook should be divided on the basis of chapters. After attempting a chapter and recording its formulas, important questions and tricks in the Formula Book, leave some pages after it. This is because while solving the mocks, you might come across some more additions which will require further space.

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  • Golden Book: Keep a small diary or a folder of loose pages for maintaining the Golden Book. Neatly note down all the things to be revised (refer the link shared earlier). The reason you shouldn't record these in the Formula Book itself is because of a difference in how frequently you're going to pick this diary for the purpose of revision (shared ahead). You need not wait any longer to create this and it will be a one-time investment made at the onset of your preparation journey.

  • Preparation Books: When you are solving questions from any book, you should use a highlighter to mark important concepts (given in the beginning of the chapter) or the important questions. If possible, also note down the unique trick with which the question can be solved in front of it with a pen/pencil. Then, mark the question number with a highlighter. This will help you during the final revision. I've shared a sample of this technique below for your reference:

CAT Quants Revise

How often should you revise?

Now we come to the final part of this post which will suggest how often you should revise your syllabus in order to retain the concepts in your mind. There are 4 parts in which you should revise your syllabus:

  • Revision at Disposal: This part of revision can be practiced whenever you have any spare time. For example, while travelling to your coaching centre or just before taking a nap. At this time, you should revise your Golden Book. It will do wonders to your calculation speed.

  • Weekly Revision: Every weekend (if you don't have weekend classes), you should revise your Golden Book as well as your Formula Book. Please note that you need to revise the Formula Book as a whole (including what has been revised the previous weekend).

  • Mock Revision: Before attempting any mock test, you should revise the Formula Book as well as the the Introductory Concepts (of the chapters you've solved) mentioned in your Preparation Books. The reason I'm not mentioning the Golden Book here is to not overwhelm you with the revision. It will anyway get revised more often than others.

  • Final Revision: A couple of days before the CAT exam, when you'll be looking for some last minute tips, you should revise the Golden Book, the Formula Book and the Preparation Books (including the Introductory Concepts and the Important Questions marked there).

Rationale Behind this Schedule

Some of you might find this schedule to be rigorous and not achievable, especially the weekly revision of the Formula Book. The reason this schedule works is that once you start revising the entire Formula Book (till maintained) every weekend, it becomes an automatic process. The next time your revision is not going to take as long as it did the first time. Moreover, by the time you reach the final stage of preparation, the Formula Book will be on your tips and it will save you from making major mistakes in the mocks as well as in the final exam.


Hope these tactics work for you. If you're reading this blog's post for the first time and have no clue who is writing it and why, you can read its introduction.

For the regular readers, some posts that will help you with your preparation have been shared below:

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