Strategies to tackle Quantitative Aptitude in CAT

Quantitative ability is one of the most feared topics among fledgling CAT aspirants, but if you are indomitable about your goal to study in a top notch MBA institute, then a section should not fetter your chance.

Quantitative ability tests basic knowledge on mathematics. To brush up on the fundamentals, you can refer to any standard available coaching material or standard books available in the market which we will discuss later.

First let’s delve into the challenges aspirants usually face at Quantitative Ability.

  • Which materials should I refer to? Are coaching materials enough?
  • I am very slow in quant, how do I increase my speed?
  • I have very low accuracy at this section? How do I increase my accuracy?
  • How much time do I should I spend on each question?

Students are often under misconception that referring multiple materials will help them in getting a better score. The idea is basically to get your fundamentals strong. Initially, refer to one standard coaching material or standard material which is available in the market. Once you are thorough with it, you can refer more materials just for practice purpose. Ensure that no stone is left unturned when it comes to coverage, as it is as important as depth.

Some books for quantitative ability

  • NCERT Books Class 8 to 10
  • Hall and Knight higher Algebra
  • Quantitative Aptitude for MBA Entrance Examinations by Abhijit Guha
  • Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Pradeep Pandey
  • How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT’ by Arun Sharma
  • Quantum CAT by Sarvesh Kumar Verma

Going by how the pattern of CAT has evolved in the recent years, student’s focus should be on accuracy instead of speed. This is because there are only 60 questions in the CAT paper. Hence, most probably, you will not run out of time. However, managing your time is very important.

Some of the techniques with which you can save your time while attempting QA section in CAT are :

Eliminate the need of calculation:

Most problems test your ability to solve complex scenarios through simple solution. By using options and plugging in arbitrary values, you can solve many questions of QA and DI.

Consider a problem

ab * bc =  1365 ba * cd = 1961. Find (ab+cd) considering ab, bc, cd are all two digit positive integer.

(a)72                   (b)67                 (c)59                  (d)75

You should be able notice that ab, bc, cd are all odd integers because ab * bc = odd and ba * cd = odd.

And odd + odd= even.

Hence options 2, 3, and 4 are eliminated. Option 1 is the correct answer.

One needs to inculcate one’s own shortcut techniques. One should imbibe it into his thought process so that whenever he stumbles across such a problem, he should be able to solve it in an unconventional manner naturally and quickly.

At the outset, one may find it difficult. But as time goes by (and with some practice), you will notice that your thought process has been molded accordingly. As the saying goes, little drops of water makes an ocean!

Question Selection:

Just as the case with most of the papers, you will find some easy, some moderate and some difficult questions in CAT.

One should be able attempt easy questions successfully in reasonably quick time, and he should also be able to attempt most of the moderate level questions. One should ensure that not much time is spent trying difficult questions that you cannot understand. The mantra is to allocate one minute of thinking time for each difficult question. If you feel you have not made any headway, jump to the next question. This will ensure that you don’t up end wasting time too much time on a single question. If you have time left at the end of the test, you can always come back to answer the remaining questions.

With just 20 questions at your disposal, accuracy is indispensable. The key is to analyze the tests, identify the stumbling blocks, learn from your mistakes and ensure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes. Inaccuracy with respect to particular topic should take the heed to go back to basics. Whenever attempts go low, practice more.

This way you will make sure that you cover all the topics. Also, see to it that you spend enough time on each topic rather than doing the same topic repeatedly. Be mindful of the fact that overstretching the number of attempts will bring down your accuracy and net score. So, do not attempt questions just to boast about your number of attempts. Keep the boasting for the result time.

If quantitative ability is your weakness, try to conquer the fear you have for the section. Think positive. Needless to say, confidence is essential for success in any exam. The afore strategies discussed are from my personal experience and I would like to hasten to add that it’s only indicative and not exhaustive.

Best of Luck!!