All about the Quantitative Aptitude of CAT

Quantitative Aptitude forms a crucial part of CAT. While many of us have dreaded Mathematics since our school days, we all know there is a foolproof way to handle a tough problem- breaking it into parts and tackling them one by one. In this article, we are going to do the same. Here, you will learn about the quantitative aptitude section of CAT, what to expect in it, and how to prepare it.
CAT Quantitative Aptitude
Out of the total 100 questions in CAT, 34 are from the section of Quantitative Aptitude, which contribute to 1/3rd of the total marks. Each question carries 3 marks and the penalty is -1 for each incorrect answer. Since most of the top B-schools consider your sectional percentile, it is essential to pay attention to each section well. Though the topics of this section are based on the fundamental mathematics, the questions are tricky and complex enough to baffle anyone.
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The major areas of Quantitative Aptitude are: Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry and Advanced/Modern Mathematics. The questions from these topics are devised to get a glimpse of your managerial skills. While arithmetic tests your understanding of patterns and symmetry, algebra evaluates your ability to find correlations. Similarly, geometry questions check your proficiency in handling space and challenges, like you would have to face in the product market. Finally, advanced mathematics assesses your lateral thinking abilities.
Now that you know the purpose of this section, let’s look at the expected number of questions from each topic. Since CAT doesn’t have a well-defined syllabus, we have listed the important topics based on the exam pattern of all these years.
CAT Quantitative Aptitude: Syllabus
Topics
Chapters
Number of Expected Questions in CAT
Arithmetic
Number System, Ratio & Proportion, Percentage, Profit & Loss, Mixtures, Averages
11-14
Algebra
Linear Equations, Simultaneous Equations, Quadratic Equations, Time-Speed-Distance, Time-Work
3-6
Advanced/Modern Mathematics
Probability, Permutations & Combinations, Logarithms, Functions, Set Theory, Series
8-10
Geometry
Lines-Angles, Triangles, Quadrilaterals & Higher Polygons, Circles, 3-D Figures, Trigonometry, Coordinate Geometry
3-4
The number of expected questions includes the MCQs and non-MCQs. The non-MCQs range from 1-4 from each topic. The time limit for this section is 60 minutes.
After learning about the weightage of each topic, the next step is to make a preparation plan Quantitative Aptitude.
CAT Quantitative Aptitude: Preparation Strategy
As you know, CAT is less a test of time management and more of challenge-handling. It is prudent to choose a preparation strategy depending upon your strengths and weaknesses. For calculations, you will have an on-screen calculator during the exam. Given below are a set of important pointers to remember before you start your preparation:
  • Build your concepts: It is the first and foremost requirement to ace the quantitative aptitude section. Unless you gain enough conceptual clarity, there is not much use of practicing questions. Strengthen your fundamental concepts taking one chapter at a time.
  • Practice from Easy to Difficult: After every chapter, practice the related questions starting from easy ones first and moving on to tough ones. Invest sufficient time in practicing the individual question types with special emphasis on your weak areas.
  • Shortcuts and Tricks: Even though you will be provided with a calculator, the importance of mental calculations cannot be underestimated. Make yourself proficient with advanced calculative techniques. Also, learn the shortcuts, formulae and tricks to solve the time-consuming questions.
  •  Mock Tests and Previous Year Papers: Once you are through with the basic concepts and techniques to solve various question types, start practicing in actual exam conditions. Solve previous year CAT papers and mock tests and monitor your progress in a regular manner.
Lastly, you should always choose easy questions first while taking the actual exam.
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