Quantitative Ability section of CAT

Quantitative Ability section of CAT

Tips to Master the Quantitative Ability section of CAT 2020 : Overview

Quantitative Ability section of CAT Quantitative ability section is one of the most important and scoring sections of CAT. However, for many students , it is the make or break section because of their faulty approach to preparing for quantitative ability and because of their irrational fear of math. Here are some tips to master the quantitative ability section of CAT 2020 Quantitative Ability section of CAT

Before you go any further you may want to check out: CAT courses by Pathfinder that provide you with a very strong input and foundation on the quantitative ability section. Our experienced and qualified mentors will make it easy for you to master quantitative ability section 

But, familiarize yourself with the quantitative aptitude section of CAT. before you begin to prepare for the quantitative aptitude section of CAT:  get to know, how many questions have appeared in the last 4 to 5 years, what topics have been asked, and what scores lead to 99th percentile in CAT quantitative aptitude.Quantitative Ability section of CAT

Tips to Master the Quantitative Ability section of CAT 2020: CAT Section Summary:

Format of the test Computer Based Test
Number of questions in CAT 34
Number of Multiple-choice questions 23
Number of short answer type questions 11
Marks per correct answer +3
Marks for every wrong answer -1
CAT -Quantitative Ability Section- Snapshot

Group wise break up of Questions

Now , we group the topics together into four groups. This will help us understand and organise the concepts on which many CAT quantitative ability questions appear.

  • Arithmetic Group- Group-1- has topics such as percentage, profit and loss, average, simple and compound interest, Mixtures, Ratio, Proportion and Variation,  Time and work and Time and distance.
  • Geometry group –Group-2- has topics such as Geometry, Mensuration, Trigonometry, and Coordinate Geometry
  • Algebra group- Group-3- has topics such as Equations, Inequations, Functions, Polynomials and Sequence and Series and sets
  • Number theory and Counting group – Group-4- has topics such as Number Theory, Permutations and Combinations, Probability, and logarithms

The following table provides group wise break up of questions that appeared in CAT in the last three years.

Group Name 2017-1 2017-2 2018-1 2018-2 2019-1 2019-2
Group-1 Arithmetic 41.18 35.29 41.18 38.24 41.18 41.18
Group-2 Geometry group 17.65 23.53 20.59 17.65 23.53 17.65
Group-3 Algebra 20.59 20.59 20.59 17.65 17.65 26.57
Group-4 Number Theory and Counting 20.59 20.59 17.65 26.47 17.65 14.71
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100
  • A glance at the above table should tell you that every year around 40 % of the questions have been asked from Arithmetic. This implies around 12 to 14 questions. The major topics are Percentages, Averages, Mixtures, Time and Work and Time and Distance.
  • Algebra group around 20 to 25 percent of the questions, that is, around 7 to 8 questions, appear from this group. The popular areas are equations, functions and Progressions
  • Geometry groups accounts for around 20 percent of the questions each year which amounts to around 6 to 7 questions. The popular topics are triangles, circles and quadrilaterals.
  • Number Theory and counting group accounts for around 15 to 20 percent of the questions. Topics are number system, logarithms, fundamental principle of counting etc.

Tips to Master the Quantitative Ability section of CAT 2020 : Kick Start your Preparation

After you understand the structure of CAT quantitative aptitude section and the different types of questions that have been appearing in CAT in the last 3 to 5 years, you are ready to kick start your preparation.

Before you kickstart your preparation decide about how many groups can you practically cover in the given time frame.  This depends on your comfort with quantitative aptitude.  We feel that one month is a good time to be able to cover all the topics. However, that depends on how comfortable you are with quantitative aptitude.

For example, If you have an irrational fear of quantitative aptitude, plan to complete at least 2 to three groups to start with.   Could be Arithmetic, Algebra and Geometry or   Arithmetic, Algebra and Number Theory and Counting group. Under no circumstance can you plan to leave out the arithmetic group. Then if time remains you can solve basic questions of the remaining group. This should get you prepared for around 25 to 27 questions that appear in CAT.

Preparation for quantitative aptitude can be done in 3 stages:

  • Building your concepts
  • Practicing questions
  • Solving timed section tests and CAT level questions

Building your concepts

During this segment, you should first be clear on all skills related to that topic. Skill implies the mathematical operation related to that topic. For example, in percentage , you should know how to calculate percentage, percentage change, average percentage change etc.  This should be followed by solving around 40 to 60 questions on that topic. You could solve more if you have the time.

Once you have solved around 50 to 60 questions on a topic. You will develop comfort with that topic. Remember, you cannot just complete one topic in a day and then leave it. You have to keep revising. During the concept building segment, solve around 10 questions from topics that you have already completed.   A sample first 15 day plan is shown below to elaborate.

Day Core Topic Revision Topic
Day-1 Percentage NA
Day-2 Profit and Loss Percentage
Day-3 SI-CI Profit and Loss
Day-4 Average SI- CI
Day-5 Ratio Percent, Profit and SI-CI-
Day-6 Mixtures Average, Ratio-
Day-7 Variation SI-CI, Average and Ratio
Day-8 Solve topics from a mixture of topics that you have done before
Day-9 Time and Work SI-CI, Percentage
Day-10 Time and Distance Time and Work, Profit, Average
Day-11 Linear Equations Time  and work
Day-12 Quadratic Equations Time and Distance
Day-13 Functions Time and work and Time and distance
Day-14 Inequations Mixtures
 Day-15 Solve questions from a mixture of topics that you have done above
Sample schedule for the first phase of QUANT preparation

If you continue this process for 30 to 35 days, you will be able to complete all the important topics. In this phase don’t plan to solve unreasonably tough questions. Just solve easy to moderate questions. Try to solve them as quickly as possible. If you are a Pathfinder student, during this phase you will solve questions provided to you in daily sheets, books and Chapter-wise tests.

Practicing for Quantitative Aptitude

Quantitative Ability section of CAT Now that you have finished all the topics according to your plan. It is   time to solve some advanced questions topic wise with a scheduling similar to that   in the last phase. Quantitative ability is all about practice and solving a variety of questions. If you are student of Pathfinder, solve some section tests during the practice phase and solve the remaining practice tests. You could also solve questions that you faced difficulty with during the first segment. Section tests have challenging problems to solve. Solving the section tests will ensure that you will have a thorough revision of concepts learned in the concept building segment and will develop confidence to solve CAT level questions. Try solving around 50 to 60 questions every day.Quantitative Ability section of CAT

Taking Timed section tests

Quantitative Ability section of CAT During this phase take section tests almost every day. This will ensure that you face mixed questions from different topics every day. Moreover, you will develop the habit of solving questions under time pressure. After taking the tests, solve all the questions that you were not able to attempt or you were not able to solve during the test.

Points to remember while preparing for quantitative aptitude

1. Don’t read through the solutions. Please sit with a pen and paper in hand and make sure you are able to solve a question without looking at anything.Quantitative Ability section of CAT

2. Don’t give up on challenging problems too soon. Many students are afraid to try questions of quantitative aptitude. Even as they read a question, they give up. Remember, you will never develop quantitative aptitude by giving up easily. Remember, even if you approach a problem wrongly, you are still learning. “How NOT to solve that question”.Quantitative Ability section of CAT

When you have to solve questions under time pressure, you need to know what approaches to solving some questions don’t work.Quantitative Ability section of CAT

3. As far as possible do oral calculations. By default, many students fall into the trap of writing everything down when calculating the answer. Remember, the more you write for calculations, the more time you will take for performing those calculations.

4. Once you are through with a topic, keep solving a few questions from that topic regularly. Don’t stay away from a topic for a long time. Keep solving questions again and again, especially those questions that you found difficult in the first go.Quantitative Ability section of CAT

5. Don’t try to solve different books or materials. Try solving one book or material properly before you venture into solving a variety of questions.Quantitative Ability section of CAT

6. Stay focussed on your goals daily. You will face failures on the way. There will be days when you don’t do well despite your hard work. But keep working and you will improve on quantitative aptitude.Quantitative Ability section of CAT

7. Most important, don’t spend all your time on quantitative aptitude. Spend time equally on all the three sections. Many students, especially those who are afraid of quantitative aptitude, spend  most of their time studying   quantitative aptitude, they end up not scoring on the other two sections as well. Make sure that if you have a strong section , you work on it enough to score high in that section.Quantitative Ability section of CAT


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