5 Excellent tips to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude in CAT

How to prepare for CAT QA
How to prepare for CAT QA

5 Tips to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude in CAT

When it comes to the CAT examination, the Quantitative Aptitude (QA) section is one of the most crucial sections. The QA section accounts for 34% of the total marks in the CAT. In this article, let us see some excellent tips on how to prepare for the Quantitative Aptitude section in CAT, in detail.

The quantitative aptitude section consists of around 34 questions in the CAT (in the 3-hour CAT exam format). Check out the previous year papers of CAT to know about the type of Quant questions that appear in this section. Also, taking a Free CAT mock test will help the candidates in gauging their strengths and weaknesses, and can significantly help in understanding how to approach the QA questions. You can also prepare for the same, and take the tests at your convenience by using this highly rated app for CAT preparation.

Also, this video will also help you understand the important tips and tricks needed to ace this section.

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How to prepare for the Quant section in CAT

The Quantitative Aptitude (QA) section can be easily improved with practice. The first step is to revise the Quant basics well. More often than not, aspirants tend to skip the basics and move directly to the problem-solving part. Chances are there that the aspirant might have forgotten a seldom-used concept and hence, aspirants must allocate at least a month (those who are thorough with the basics) to refresh the concepts.

We can classify the topics under the Quantitative Section broadly into 5 categories.

1. Number systems

2. Algebra

3. Arithmetic

4. Geometry and mensuration

5. Modern maths

Number systems

This is one of the most fundamental topics in the quants section. Learning this topic provides the basic framework for understanding other topics. The emphasis on the section has been less over the past few years in the CAT exam. However, aspirants must avoid moving on to other topics before completing this topic.


Algebra is also one of the major topics that must be covered in QA. This topic includes concepts such as Linear equations, Quadratic equations, Inequalities, etc. These are the important topics that must be covered in Algebra.


In recent years, the topics from Arithmetic have been appearing predominantly in the CAT exam. Topics such as Time and work, Time-Speed-Distance, Profit and loss, Interests, Percentages and all other basic arithmetic topics come under this topic. Needless to say, it is imperative for aspirants to be thorough with these topics.

Geometry and Mensuration

This is also another important topic in the QA section that contains more weightage. The important concepts that are to be covered here include Triangles, Circles, Quadrilaterals, Solids, Coordinate geometry and also basic trigonometry.

Modern maths

P&C and Probability are collectively called modern maths. These topics also account for around 3-4 questions every year.

Aspirants can also download the latest CAT syllabus to know about all the sub-topics under each of the above-mentioned topics in detail.

Download CAT Quant 2021 Syllabus PDF

Now, let us see the preparation tips and strategies for the quantitative aptitude section in CAT.

Make a Study Plan for the Quant section

The first step must be framing a study plan. Aspirants can take a Free mock test to know their areas of strengths and weaknesses. This will help them to prepare an effective CAT study plan.

We can broadly classify the CAT QA preparation into two phases

1.The first phase is to learn the basics well.

  • Aspirants must avoid rushing through the basics. Also, the focus of the aspirants must be to gain conceptual clarity during this phase. Therefore, aspirants must avoid premature moves like going through shortcuts before having a sound understanding of the basics.
  • As mentioned before, the first step is to cover the quant basics well. So, one must avoid skipping any of these topics completely. Those starting from scratch must allocate a bare minimum of 1-2 weeks to each of the topics mentioned to gain some decent understanding.
  • If the scores in the section are bad (say less than 70-75%ile), it’s important to develop the fundamentals on those topics. You can watch these excellent video concepts that cover the ENTIRE syllabus and are very helpful to improve the basics.
  • There are also videos of problems in the mocks. Make careful notes after every video to remember important formulas and tricks. Even if an aspirant is extremely comfortable with the topics, he must allot some time refreshing the concepts.
  • When learning the concepts, watch the concept videos, and ensure that you solve a few examples for practice and move on to the next topic; candidates should not be spending an unreasonable amount of time on one particular topic. The actual practice of a variety of sums can be done after the completion of the syllabus. Also, it is recommended to finish the Arithmetic and Geometry concepts first, as they have the most weightage in the exam (usually 60–70% combined).
  • The next step is to solve a lot of problems so that solving problems become a part of muscle memory. Aspirants cannot waste time trying to decode the template problems in the actual exam. Therefore, aspirants must try to solve a large number of problems to reinforce the concepts they have learnt earlier. There will be some areas you may not be comfortable with, identify such topics and practice them more. The number of days you allot for each topic depends on whether the topic is your strength or weakness.
  • Once done with the syllabus, solve mixed bag sums from different topics. Also, start taking sectional tests for more practice in a particular topic. Here the focus must be on building intensity. Even in a tough paper, around 10-15 questions will be of the template type. Just solving these questions correctly can place an aspirant ahead of 90 percent of the test takers. Therefore, the focus during this phase must be to ensure that aspirants do not let go of such low hanging fruits. Solving a large number of problems can help aspirants to spot such questions with ease.
  • During practice, when you arrive at a solution, check whether it is the optimum method. Look out for various approaches to solve the same problem. Do not be too rigid to learn new ways of solving. Try option substitution, option elimination techniques for harder questions.
  • Identify your weak areas and practice them, there are abundant FREE resources to practice from. Practising is the key to success. It is the most important part of the learning curve. Cracku’s CAT Study Room has excellent questions that one can solve. Often students practice their favourite subjects more and ignore some sections completely. That is a terrible mistake. Practice more from the sections that you are weak at. After you practice enough from the study room, you can check your scores by attempting mocks and analyzing the scores.

Download CAT Maths formulas PDF

Just by downloading and understanding these formula PDFs, your Quant score will typically increase by 20%

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2.In the second phase take more practice tests and mocks

It is imperative to take mocks and perfect test-taking skills. Aspirants must take a lot of mock tests and learn from their mistakes. Mocks help you identify where you are going wrong. This will, in turn, help you work on the gaps so that you can fill them. Aspirants must try to improve their question selection skills and must try to choose the optimum method to solve the problems.

It is essential that you analyse the mocks thoroughly, and work on your shortcomings before the next mock.

Building speed

As aspirants move closer to CAT, they must practise solving questions under time limits. This will help them to spot the questions that must be left in the exam at a glance. Question selection is an important skill and hence, aspirants must try to solve a question within 2 minutes. Also, aspirants must note down alternate methods of solving a problem. Practising tricks like putting values and checking options can help aspirants to arrive at the answer in a much shorter time. Apart from this practising simple mental calculations everyday for 10-15 mins help improve speed.

After taking a test, aspirants must start analysing the mocks to know about their knowledge gaps. If a topic proves to be troublesome, aspirants must not hesitate to go back to the basics. Even if an aspirant is not comfortable with a topic, he must NOT completely avoid the topic. As we never know how CAT might turn out to be, knowing the basics of all the major topics is necessary.

Revision Videos

Once you have finished the quant syllabus and learned the basic concepts thoroughly, you can watch these excellent videos for revision.

Complete CAT Quant Revision Part-1

Complete CAT Quant Revision Part-2

As mentioned earlier, once the basics of all concepts are covered, the next step is to practice a lot of questions on Quantitative Aptitude. Taking a lot of Mocks for CAT and Sectional tests will help you to get a hold of the concepts, which you can use to fine-tune your test-taking strategies. While reviewing the QA questions in a mock, analyse the solution thoroughly. This will help you to refine your approach and thought process. Also, take Free CAT Daily targets, for rigorous practice on a daily basis.

We hope that this article helped you to know the important tips to improve the Quantitative Aptitude part, and how to prepare for quantitative aptitude in the CAT exam. Candidates can also download the CAT Quant Formulas PDF.

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