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CAT Preparation of Quantitative Aptitude: Check Topic Wise Tips, Online Resources, Books, and Study Plan

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Shekhar Sumann

Exams Prep Master

CAT Preparation of Quantitative Aptitude should be focused on important topics like Arithmetic, Algebra, Logarithms, Number Systems, Modern Maths, Geometry, Mensuration, etc. Aspirants must note that CAT Quantitative Aptitude Syllabus is not prescribed by the exam conducting body therefore all the candidates are advised to revise all the Class 10 to 12 math topics. Based on CAT Quant Paper Analysis of the previous year, the paper was of moderate difficulty level with some direct and concept-based questions. Download CAT QA Question Papers

CAT books to prepare for CAT QA section is How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Arun Sharma and NCERT Mathematics Books (Class 6 to 10). One of the most common mistakes to avoid while preparing for CAT Quant is that candidates take too long to solve one question. Avoid that and prepare accordingly. Read More CAT Important Books

Read the article to know more about CAT QA Preparation tips and plans. 

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CAT QA Highlights

CAT Preparation Quantitative Aptitude Highlights

Here are all the necessary details candidates need to know about CAT QA Exam Pattern: 
Pattern Details
Total Questions in CAT Quantitative Aptitude Section 34
Total Marks in Quantitative Aptitude For CAT Section 102
Type of Questions in Quantitative Section MCQs and TITA (non-MCQ)
Total MCQs in Quant for CAT Section 24-26
Total Non-MCQs (TITA) in QA Section 8-10
Difficulty in Quantitative Aptitude For CAT Section Moderate
CAT QA Time Table

Hourly Time Table for CAT Preparation of QA

Candidates can check the hourly timetable prepared for the convenience of the students. You can either follow this time or modify it as per your preparation plan. 

Session No. Topic Time (Hours)
Session 1 Averages + Factors and Multiples 2 + 3
Session 2 Percentages + Remainders 2 + 2.5
Session 3 Profit & Loss + Number Theory - Miscellaneous 2 + 2.5
Session 4 Linear & Quadratic Equations + Number Theory - Different 2 + 2.5
Session 5 Ratio Proportion + Combinatorics - Basics 2.5 + 3
Session 6 Mixtures + Combinatorics - Probability 1.5 + 2
Session 7 Speed, Time & Distance + Combinatorics - Tougher Concepts 2.5 + 2
Session 8 Races + Set Theory 1.5 + 2
Session 9 Pipes & Cisterns + Other Topics 2 + As per requirement
Session 10 Simple & Compound Interest  + Other Topics 2 + As per requirement
Total 20 + 20.5

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CAT QA Important Topics

Division of QA Syllabus for CAT Preparation

Candidates can divide the syllabus based on the number of questions asked from that topic in CAT exam. Based on the questions asked in previous years we have divided CAT syllabus into important topics, sub-topics and the expected number of questions that can be asked from that topic. 

Important Topics Sub Topics Expected number of Question In CAT Exam
Arithmetic + Algebra Numbers, Simple & Compound Interest, Ratio, Time-Work, Mixtures, Averages, Partnership, Percentage, Profit & Loss, Proportionality, Time-Distance 13 to 15 + 6 to 8
Advance Mathematics Probability, Set Theory, Progression and Series, Permutation and Combinations, 4 to 6
Geometry & Trigonometry Co-ordinate Geometry, Line, Angles, Triangles, Quadrilaterals, Height and Distance, Basic Trigonometry, Polygon, Circles, Ares, Volume, 6 to 9
CAT QA Preparation Plan

Topic Wise CAT QA Preparation Tips

As numerous MBA aspirants are registering for CAT every year, so the competition is very high over the years. So, well-focused and dedicated candidates for the exam with sincere preparation, are able to solve the question easily and score good percentile to get admission in the IIMs or any other prestigious B-School. To get more than 95 percentile in this subject, the candidate is advised to answer perfectly more than 25 questions.

How to Prepare for CAT Arithmetic?

  • Solving arithmetic questions with 100% will help you to score high marks in CAT.
  • Important topics that you need to focus on from this section are mentioned in the table below:
Important Topic Preparation Tip
Percentages Do not use a calculator while solving questions on percentages
Profit and Loss Increase your speed to solve PL questions as they are easy and direct questions
SI & CI Always remember that SI is a percentage increase and CI is the successive percentage increase
Ratios & Mixtures Tricky questions
Averages, Speed, Time, Distance Formulas to be revised again and again 
Races, Pipes Cisterns & Time work These topics require regular practice

How to Prepare for CAT Number System?

Number Systems is a vast topic and contributes around 1-3 questions in CAT. There are a range of topics under Number Systems - and Miscellaneous topics.

Important Topics Preparation Tips
Factors and Multiples Understand the basics to solve these questions
HCF and LCM Learn the shortcut tips and tricks
Factorials, Base Systems, Remainders Solve maximum number of questions

How to Prepare for CAT Geometry?

  • Trigonometry, Mensuration, and Co-Geometry hold a high weightage of questions in CAT.
  • Start from the above-mentioned topics then move towards Trigonometry, Coordinate Geometry. 
Important Topics Preparation Tips
Trigonometry, Mensuration, and Co-Geometry 6-8 questions can be solved if you remember the angles, shapes, theorems, etc. 
Trigonometry, Coordinate Geometry Can be solved if you know which particular theorem or idea could be applied to these questions

How to Prepare for CAT Algebra?

  • CAT Algebra is a vital topic and in this topic, you need to deal with variables like x’s, y’s, etc. 
  • Do not get confused and devote 2 hours dails to this topic. 
Important Topics Preparation Tips
Linear & Quadratic Equations Solve maximum number of questions to get familiar with equations
Inequalities Learn the tricks to solve these questions

Functions, Progressions

Understand which method can be used to solve the questions before approaching
CAT QA Books

Best Books CAT 2021 Quantitative Aptitude

In fact, the best books for the CAT Quantitative Aptitude Section should be of the latest edition carrying the latest features as per the current CAT exam pattern with Quantitative Aptitude Questions and Answers. Now the question is- which is the best book for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT. Out of 35 odd CAT preparation books on Quant preparation, in the opinion of CAT toppers and experts is Quantitative Aptitude Book by Arun Sharma. Other best books for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT are:

Name of the Book Name of the Author
NCERT Mathematics Books (Class 6 to 10) NCERT
How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT Arun Sharma
Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT Sarvesh Sharma
Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations Abhijit Guha
Quantitative Aptitude for CAT Nishit Sinha

CAT Study Material for QA

Common Mistakes to avoid in CAT QA Section

As per CAT experts and Toppers’ statement following common mistakes are done usually made by candidates while attempting CAT aptitude test.

  • Do not attach to any question for more than 1.5 minutes – If one cannot understand where and how to start after reading the question for more than once, quickly give it a shot with not spending more than 90 seconds on it. The point is not to get entangled in the question and lose the track of your time.
  • Double-check while solving (to reduce errors and use this in formula-based questions) – When one has decided his formula and approach, just before he inserts the numbers from the question statement, verify the substitutions. This will reduce the chances of any silly mistakes that one might commit during the steps. Double check where one can.
  • Not able to decide when it is the right time to leave the question? – Identify early when to give up and move on to the next question. This might hurt ONE’s sentiment and ego a bit, but it is definitely not worse than leaving questions un-attempted towards the end. Do not let his emotions play havoc with his question paper. Do not get emotionally invested in a question: there is always another one waiting for him..
  • Not able to identify strength and weak areas – During the mock tests, identify one’s key strength topics that contribute the maximum towards one’s score and build a habit of solving those topics first. Do not waste time in the initial half of the hour in testing one’s ability on any untouched topics or weak areas that have not given any marks in the past. The first 40 minutes of the allotted time should be spent on hunting and striking down easy-medium questions to boost one’s score and confidence early in the test.
  • Keep the performances of sections independent of each other – If Quant is not the first section that appears on the screen (as has been the case for the past few years) please remain calm and composed and one should not be worried. Start the section with a fresh mind without feeling too nervous about the previous performance.

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CAT QA Toppers Tips

Topper Tips to Attempt CAT QA Section

  • Rahul Manglik who obtained 100 percentile in CAT 2019, remarks, “I learnt some Vedic maths tricks to speed up my calculations. I think that that extra speed helped me gain an edge over and above the normal preparation.”
  • Rishikesh Manchanda advises CAT aspirants to make the concepts strong as the concept of a Quant topic matters a lot. 
  • Soumyajeet Ghosh (2018, topper) says – “QA section demands a lot of practice and to save time for practicing more, one should adopt all small and simple tactics to increase his practice and reduce his errors.”
  • Ankit Desai got 99.91 percentile in CAT 2019, he shared his experience to handle Quant section, Ankit says- I was weak in Geometry and Numbers. So, first I revised all the formulas and wrote them down. After that, I solved around 50 questions more on these topics to understand the concepts better.

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CAT QA Preparation FAQs

CAT Quantitative Aptitude Preparation FAQs

Ques: How do I prepare for CAT Quantitative Aptitude?

Ans: To prepare for CAT Quantitative Aptitude, it is essential for you to know the complete syllabus and exam pattern. Choose the best books for preparation like Arun Sharma and NCERT. Dedicate more time to important topics like Arithmetic and Algebra. Solve as many mock tests as you can. 

Ques: Why is CAT QA tough?

Ans: CAT QA is considered tough by most candidates because most of the questions do not have a direct application of the formulas. The questions tend to be lengthy and time consuming as well. However, with adequate practice, QA can be the most scoring section in CAT. 

Ques: Will NCERT be enough for CAT Quantitative Aptitude?

Ans: No, NCERT will not be sufficient to prepare for CAT Quantitative Aptitude. It is essential that you refer to books like Arun Sharma, Nishit Sinha, and Sarvesh K. Verma for enhanced practice. 

Ques: Is Arun Sharma good for CAT Quantitative Aptitude?

Ans: Arun Sharma is great study material for CAT Quantitative Aptitude. The examples given in this book are quite descriptive and easily understandable. The book is categorized into three difficulty levels to help you with structuring your preparation.

Ques: How to score 100 marks in QA? 

Ans: To score 100 marks in QA, it is essential to develop a strong study strategy. To do this, you must know the weightage of all topics and focus more on the ones with higher weightage. 

Ques: What are the online resources available for CAT Quantitative Aptitude?

Ans: Online resources are gaining great importance during the current times. They are usually more effective when coupled with regular study material. YouTube channels like Career Launcher and 2IIMCAT can be accessed for CAT QA preparation. Websites such as BodheePrep can be referred to for online study content. 

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College.


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