Pulse Phase

How to Prepare for CAT Quantitative Aptitude

You’re either in your final year of under graduation course or have graduated and are working somewhere but have your eyes set on cracking the CAT Quantitative Aptitude.

You’ve been wondering about how to ace the quantitative section in the exam, the tricky math paper that is part of the CAT.

Fear not, because we will give you a few tips on how best to approach your preparation for the quantitative section of CAT.

Why CAT?

CAT (Common admission test) exam is conducted by the IIMs on rotational basis. It is a national level exam conducted in 20 different campuses of IIM. CAT exam scores are accepted by over a 1000 business schools across the country for admission to their MBA/PGDM programmes.

Who can appear for CAT?

Any candidate who wishes to make a career in the field of management or set up their own business can apply for the CAT exam. The minimum eligibility criteria are Graduation from a reputed college.

Let’s first understand the topics from where questions show up in CAT’s quantitative section.

Arithmetic: This consists of questions from topics such as percentages, mixture, time and work, averages, ratio & proportion, time, speed and distance. In most CAT exams, arithmetic questions comprise about 40% of the total questions that are part of CAT’s Quant Aptitude section. Therefore, for a more comprehensive prep for the quantitative aptitude section for the CAT exam, it is important for all exam takers to be thorough with their understanding of concepts from Arithmetic and practice these topics daily.

Algebra: Most people get scared when they hear the word “Algebra”. Let’s understand what consists of algebra. You will see questions from areas like linear and quadratic equations, progressions, logarithms, functions etc. Algebra as a topic comprises close to 25% of CAT’s Quant section. You must practice Algebra hard or you will end up losing a lot of marks here.

Geometry: Up to 25% of questions in CAT’s Quantitative Aptitude part come from the topic of Geometry. Earlier, this used to be close to 50%. Topics would be triangles, circles, quadrilaterals, mensuration, etc. If you know the basic concepts of geometry, then you should be able to answer most questions of geometry in CAT. So remember to understand the basic concepts well.

Number system: This was one of the first things taught to us in mathematics in school. You will get maybe 1 or 2 questions from the number system in CAT’s quant section. You needn’t spend too much time on this topic.

Modern Mathematics: There are three subtopics that comprise the larger topic of modern mathematics – permutation and combination, probability and set theory.

These topics help you answer Data interpretation and logical reasoning questions that come in CAT’s quant aptitude section.

Useful tips on how to prepare for CAT Quantitative Aptitude

  1. It’s good to take a phased approach to master the quant aptitude section of CAT. Starting with understanding the basics of each topic, practicing questions in each topic, and then finally, taking topic wise tests that test each topic independently before you graduate to taking practice tests of CAT’s quant section.
  • Try to improve the speed and accuracy of your mental calculations so that you can be faster in the actual CAT examination. For really tough problems, it’s ok to use pen and paper, but otherwise you must be able to answer at least a few of the simple math questions by doing mental calculations.
  • Master multiple methods of solving the same type of questions. This allows you to understand the problems better as well as use a method that you find simpler
  • Solve as many practice papers as you can. These can be from previous years CAT examinations as well as from other sources such as online courses, coaching classes, text books, etc.
  • Go through the explanations and answers of math questions to see whether your approach and answer was correct.

Improving quantitative aptitude is a lot like getting fitter – it requires dedication, discipline, practice and learning/coaching. Make math fun by doing simple calculations all the time so that you mind gets used to solving quantitative problems.

Hope you find these tips useful. All the best for your CAT!

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