How to Prepare for CAT Quantitative Ability (QA)
Richa Kapoor, 4 days ago, #CAT
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How to Prepare for CAT Quantitative Ability (QA) - It is said that Mathematics in a certain way is a poetry of logical ideas. This syncs perfectly with the QA section of CAT, wherein the mathematical questions are based on logic and theories. Solving QA section can be quite challenging for the test takers as the difficulty level of this section, based on past years trend, has mostly been of difficult to moderate level. In this feature by Careers360, we bring a guide for CAT 2019 aspirants on ‘How to prepare for CAT Quantitative Ability’ section, which is said to be the most important section of the test. Since you have to be clear about not only the overall but the sectional cutoff as well to get an IIM call, you must perform well in this particular section. Quantitative Ability or QA, as per the exam pattern of CAT 2019, will have around 34 questions to be answered by the candidates, mostly dealing with arithmetic progression and modern mathematics. Registration for CAT 2019 has been closed, correction window is available from September 28, 2019 at 10:00 AM onwards.
Latest: IIM Kozhikode releases CAT Admit Card 2019 on October 23. CAT 2019 to be held on November 24 . CAT 2019 examination workflow has been released by IIM Kozhikode.
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Students, especially from non-engineering backgrounds, who are not too comfortable in QA, must focus on this section to improve their sectional cutoff in CAT 2019. Hence, the question that baffles them is "How to Prepare for CAT Quantitative Ability (QA)." As CAT exam has a sectional limit of 60 minutes, it is important to strategically attempt each section of the test to score an overall high percentile. Konreddy Varun Kumar Reddy, CAT Topper from MDI Gurgaon supports by saying, “Practicing a lot of questions helps for Quant in the sense that it becomes easy to decide which question is doable and which one is not."

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Despite being weak in Quantitative Ability, Commerce graduate Saakshi Goel cracked CAT with 99.57 percentile and secured admission in SPJIMR Mumbai. She says, “For me, QA was a challenge since I knew I had to compete with Engineers who are well versed with the subject. Hence, I dedicated 75 per cent of my time to QA and the rest of the time was devoted to practising VARC and DILR.”

How to Prepare for CAT Quantitative Ability (QA)

Let’s start with the quote of one of the CAT 2017 Toppers, Dinesh Reddy, who is currently studying at IIM Shillong, on how to prepare for CAT quantitative aptitude. He says, "The more you practice, the more you can remember the formulae, and the faster you can solve. This section is all about practice and solving different models."

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To understand how to prepare for CAT Quantitative Ability section(most important part for CAT 2019 syllabus), aspiring candidates need to follow the tips given below.

Start with the basics

Getting your concepts clear is the key to successfully solving quantitative ability questions. It is important for the candidates to start by learning the concepts which are used to solve questions in this section. Vatsalya Kumar Srivastava, who secured 99.76 percentile in CAT 2016 shares, “QA is difficult to master since the range of questions is so varied that you can’t keep track of time sometimes.”

When you know the basic concepts, you must practice by solving more and more questions. It is important to follow the concepts learnt and practice each concept by solving simple examples first, and gradually moving towards the difficult ones.

Aniket Upadhyay, CAT Topper from IIM Shillong, mentions, "I feel QA is totally about how much time and practice you can put in. After understanding the basic formulae, I used to only practice questions from study material and appear for mocks."

To prepare for Quant section of CAT books are the best source to learn the concepts and enhance your knowledge on a topic. Subhrajyoti Saha, CAT 2016 Topper and IIM Shillong student prepared from books and practised from the practice papers available in the books. He says, “I practised a lot of questions from the book and also from online resources. I referred to Arun Sharma books on Quantitative Aptitude and study materials from my coaching institute.”

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Best Books to prepare for CAT Quantitative Aptitude Section

The QA section tests the problem-solving approach of the aspirants. QA covers topics like Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Number System, Modern Mathematics and other questions related to Higher Maths. It is important to check the books from where the candidates can prepare for quantitative aptitude for CAT. Here is the list of best books to prepare for this section of CAT:

  • Arun Sharma’s ‘How to prepare for Quantitative Ability for CAT’, published by Tata McGraw Hill. The book follows the latest pattern of CAT with a focus on one of the most important components of the CAT exam is Quantitative Aptitude.

  • Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations by Abhijit Guha (Tata McGraw-Hill) has a comprehensive step-by-step problem-solving guide.

  • How to Prepare for the CAT Common Admissions Test by Muhamed Muneer, published by Om Books, is another book that is simple and easy to understand, and has mock tests and solved CAT papers from previous years.

  • Quantitative Aptitude for CAT and Other MBA Entrance Exams by Trishna Knowledge Systems (Pearson) has many practice exercises in increasing difficulty for a gradual transition.

  • Arun Sharma’s The Complete CAT Digest, by Tata McGraw-Hill, is a must-have for any CAT aspirant.

Plan your preparation schedule

A clear cut time table holds the key to crack CAT. When one is wondering as to how to "How to Prepare for CAT Quantitative Ability (QA)," then in such a scenario a realistic time table is very important. Candidates, after going through the syllabus and exam pattern, should assess how much time they will need to prepare for each topic and ensure that one does not leave any topic uncovered. One of the important strategies to cover each topic is to make a Day-wise preparation plan and schedule some number of days to prepare for that topic. Allot the following number of days to the below given quant topics,

  • Number System: Five days

  • Algebra: Eight Days

  • Geometry: Eight Days

  • Permutation & Combination/Probability: Five Days

  • Miscellaneous Topics: Five Days

Take sectional Mock Tests on QA

Mock Test for CAT 2019 is part of the strategy of "How to prepare for CAT Quantitative Ability" and is an essential part of preparation as it helps the candidates to familiarise themselves with the type of questions that are asked. After taking a mock test, a candidate can evaluate his performance and check in which areas he or she requires to work hard. The same applies for CAT 2019, where mock test plays a vital role to determine the level of preparation for the actual test.

IIM Kashipur student Adarsh Anand says, “Mock tests played a very crucial role in my success. Join at least two institutes for mock tests. Two mock tests per week are good enough. Analyse your weak and strong points both and work on them accordingly.”

Adding to the importance of analysis of Mock Test for Quant, Adarsh mentions, “First analysis should be done by the experts after which self-analysis is necessary. self-analysis should be done by an individual question wise, topic wise and section-wise. And then work on the areas which are lagging behind.”

It is important for a candidate to put all his focus on his weak topics in QA and take mock tests to prepare for the same. Whether, you take coaching or not, practicing from test series and sectional Mocks will go a long way in securing a high percentile in Quant section.

Practice with sectional time

Since CAT 2019 has a sectional time limit of 60 minutes to answer one section, as part of "How to Prepare for CAT Quantitative Ability (QA)," candidates must aim to solve the entire section ahead of the scheduled time. Keeping a buffer time of minimum of 10 minutes to complete one section while taking mock tests will let you complete the exam beforehand and will ensure that you have adequate time to revise. However, candidates will be able to save time in a section, only if they follow the same strategy on the D-Day.

Konreddy Varun allocated two minutes per Quant question, which according to him is enough time to decide whether the question is doable or not. He says, “QA was my strength and I didn’t have any strategy as such. One thing I followed was to stick to the two-minute rule. If you can’t solve a question within two minutes, move on to the next one. Practicing a lot of questions helps for Quant in the sense that it becomes easy to decide which question is doable and which one is not.”

Focus on Weak Areas

The thumb rule of a great preparation is to focus on the weak areas and overcome the mistakes that one is making. During the course of preparation, one must focus on learning, practicing and revising the QA topics in which they are weak.

Sakshi, whose weakest area was Quantitative Ability, shares her strategy, “in the QA section, I focused on understanding concepts rather than tricks to solve the questions. Solving even half a number of questions (correctly) in QA can lead to a fairly good score (The amount of time is also such that not all the questions can be solved). So, I focused on the topics which were my strengths and did not give much time to those that I was struggling with.”

Tips for CAT 2019 Expected Quantitative Ability Topics

Arks Srinivas, CEO, VistaMind mentions, "There is no syllabus prescribed for CAT. Given this reality, it is almost foolhardy to predict any particular topic or area that may be important for CAT. However, given the history of CAT, the areas in Quant that one needs to be thorough is are Numbers and Geometry & Mensuration. One-third of the questions in the Quant section could be from these two areas alone!"

QA Topics and Subtopics


topic-with-area

Topic wise Preparation Strategy

QA Topics

Tips and Strategy

Number System

Ensure that you are clear with the basic concepts of this topic.

Arithmetic

Though Arithmetic has a vast number of sub-topics, in the last 3 years, only a couple of questions have featured from this topic

Algebra

Considering this has been one of the most dominant topics in CAT in the last three years, it makes a lot of sense to place extra emphasis on this topic

Geometry

Another topic which has featured quite a lot in the last 3 years

Permutation & Combination/Probability

This is another topic that contributes around 1 to 2 questions to the exam

Miscellaneous Topics

This includes Set Theory, Trigonometry, and Logarithms

CAT 2019 will be conducted on November 24, 2019, Sunday, in online mode. The official notification for the exam has been announced on July 28, 2019. As soon as the notification is released, all the necessary information related to the exam such as eligibility (if there is a change or not), registration cum application process, important dates, etc. will be out. More than 2. 4 lakh registered for CAT 2019. The registration for CAT 2019 has been closed on September 25, 2019 at 5:00 PM, correction window is available from September 28, 2019 at 10:00 AM onwards.


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what is the pass mark of cat exam

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 17th Nov, 2019
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Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 17th Nov, 2019

Ayush, CAT exam paper can be Categorised into 3 parts:

Quantitative Ability
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

The Verbal Ability section and Reading Comprehension has 34 Questions, Data interpretation-Logical Reasoning section has 32 MCQ questions and Quantitative Ability has 34 MCQ questions totalling up to 100 questions. Each Question has 3 marks and a wrong answer takes away 1 mark.

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In Verbal Ability session, command on your English, Grammar, Vocabulary, Understanding of the given paragraph are of more importance. Reading English NewsPaper will also help you in your preparation.

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning needs to be practised as much as possible. Comparison of data, Data Analysis, taking clues, interpreting missing data, coming to conclusions and making future projections will be covered under this Category. The questions here are interlinked and so if you get one formula correct, cracking the next few questions will be easy. So it's important to memorise and practise formulae. You should cover topics like Data tables, Data Charts, Bar Diagrams, Pie Charts, Graphs, Data Comparison and Analysis.

IIMs shortlist candidates for the interview stage based on their own criteria, which may be independent of each other. The process may include Written Ability Test, Group Discussion, and Personal Interviews. Performance in the CAT examination is an important component in the admission process. IIMs may additionally use other factors such as the previous academic performance of the candidates, relevant work experience, gender and academic diversity and other similar inputs in shortlisting and ranking of candidates at various stages of the admission process. The processes, academic cut-offs and the weights allocated to the evaluation parameters may vary across IIMs. Now based on your Category, to be shortlisted for an IIM, you should score atleast 85 and more percentile.

Now the IIMs part has been cleared, you need to decide one among MBA in India via CAT or go abroad for higher studies. You cannot be double minded on this. You know your strengths and capabilities and so this should be completely your call.

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Rehan Alam Student Expert 17th Nov, 2019

Dear Aspirant,

If you are planning to get your details corrected in the form of CAT 2019, then now you don't have any option as it is now too late. The exam is scheduled for 24th November, 2019 which is just a week away.

However, in the meantime you can ask on the helpline for any assistance if they can provide.

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Good Mba colleges with cat cutoff 80 to 90 percentile

Mayank Chowdhary 17th Nov, 2019

Yes I'll enlist down some of the top institutes for MBA whose cutoffs are between 80 to 90 percentile.

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Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 16th Nov, 2019
IIMs shortlist candidates for the interview stage based on their own criteria, which may be independent of each other. The process may include Written Ability Test, Group Discussion, and Personal Interviews. Performance in the CAT examination is an important component in the admission process. IIMs may additionally use other factors such as the previous academic performance of the candidates, relevant work experience, gender and academic diversity and other similar inputs in shortlisting and ranking of candidates at various stages of the admission process. The processes, academic cut-offs and the weights allocated to the evaluation parameters may vary across IIMs. For example, IIM Ahmedabad folliws the following rating scale:

IIM Ahmedabad:

CAT SECTIONAL WEIGHTAGE:

QA       DLR        VARC Overall
General: 70         70         70              80
NC-OBC/Trans: 65         65 65              75
SC: 60         60           60 70
ST: 50         50            50 60
PwD-UR,OBC,SC: 60         60   60            70
PwD: ST: 50         50          50             60

10th Rating:

Percent score        Rating Score

<= 55           1

> 55 and <= 60          2

> 60 and <= 70           3

> 70 and <= 80            5

> 80 and <= 90            8

> 90              10

The same rating score is used for 12th Science /Commerce Streams. For Arts/Humanities:

Percent score     Rating Score

<= 45         1
> 45 and <= 50        2
> 50 and <= 60         3
> 60 and <= 70         5
> 70 and <= 85         8
> 85        10
Minimum cut offs for Average percent of marks scores:
Stream in 12th UR NC- OBC/Trans SC ST PWD PWD -ST

Science 80            75 70 65   70 65

Commerce 77            72    67 62   67 62

Arts & Humanities 75       70 64  59    64 59

From each Academic sectors top 5% from each stream and each Category will be short listed. It might look like:


Category   Upper Limit

General   100

NC-OBC-cum-transgender   57

SC      32

ST    16

PwD    6

After shortlisting the Candidates, the selected Candidates will have to go through WAT and PI rounds. Selection at this stage will strictly be based on the shortlisting of the candidates done separately for each Category ) on the basis of their Final Composite Score. . The numbers selected in different reservation categories will be in proportions mandated by law.

Personal Interview Multiplication Factor (PIF) = 0.50

AWT Multiplication Factor (AWTF) = 0.10

CAT Score Multiplication Factor for Final Composite Score (CATF_FCS) = 0.25

Application Rating Multiplication Factor for Final Composite Score (ARF_FCS) = 0.15


After the AWT & PI round, admission offers are made by IIMA to successful candidates. The final selection is based on a diverse set of attributes which includes performance in CAT, performance in AWT & PI, academic, co-curricular and extra-curricular achievements, work experience, etc.

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