Updated: Jul 8, 2020
There are 3 sections in CAT and their preparation varies significantly. For example, Quantitative Aptitude (QA) will require practicing questions be it online or offline, whereas Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) needs practice online - the way the passages will appear in the exam. The preparation material (books) that I found useful for beginners is listed section-wise:
Quantitative Aptitude (QA): I prepared using Arun Sharma’s book, “How to prepare for QA for CAT”. It was very detailed and helpful. You’ll find the theory at the beginning of each chapter. Read it and you’ll be able to solve most level of difficulty 1 (LOD1) questions. There are two more levels - LOD 2 and LOD 3 in each chapter. The questions have answers given at the back along with the explanation. Overall, I found it to be a great source of preparation for QA. Some of my friends had studied from Sarvesh Verma’s book, “Quantum CAT” and they found it to be very good as well. So, you may try either of them for starters.
For a detailed preparation strategy on QA, click here.
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR): I read Arun Sharma’s book for DILR as well. There are two books separately for LR and DI. I found the LR one to be very good because of its level of questions. But, for DI, I found the difficulty level as well as the pattern to be different from CAT (CAT’s DI was tougher and trickier). If I had to recommend, I’d say buy only LR. It may be a biased recommendation as I liked LR more than DI in general as well.
For a detailed preparation strategy on DILR, click here.
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehensions (VARC): The book I read was Arun Sharma’s “How to prepare for VARC for CAT”. The book is an equal split between VA and RC. I found the explanations of passages to be useful as it helped in understanding how to eliminate the wrong options or why the right option is right. But, when it comes to VARC, I realized that the online practice of this section is extremely important. Reading a passage offline is very different from reading a passage online during an exam. I’d say if you can, try getting sectional tests for this section and prepare through that.
For a detailed preparation strategy on VARC, click here.
You may also like to read the routine I followed to get into IIM Ahmedabad.
For free online study material for QA preparation of CAT 2020, click here.