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Tips to Ace CAT 2018 Mathematics Section

For the CAT aspirants who never studied Mathematics after secondary school, the Quantitative Aptitude section of this iconic eligibility test can be very daunting. However, the one fact that candidates can cheer about is that the syllabus for the CAT Quantitative Aptitude covers the elementary level of mathematics taught till class 10th level.

In the tables below, the segregation of type of questions that appears in the Quantitative Aptitude section as per CAT Exam Pattern is presented followed by the topics that have most frequently covered in the last few editions of CAT:

Section name Total questions Total MCQs (With negative marking) Total Non-MCQs (Without negative marking) Total maximum marks
Quantitative Aptitude 34 23 – 27 7 – 11 102

Some major topics covered under each section:

Arithmetic Number System, Ratio & Proportion, Percentage, Profit & Loss, Mixtures, Averages
Algebra Linear Equations, Simultaneous Equations, Quadratic Equations, Time-Speed-Distance, Time-Work
Geometry Lines-Angles, Triangles, Quadrilaterals & Higher Polygons, Circles, 3-D Figures, Trigonometry, Coordinate Geometry
Modern Math Probability, Permutations & Combinations, Logarithms, Functions, Set Theory
  • Of the above topics, algebra and geometry have featured comparatively number of times than arithmetic and modern math topics over the last couple of years. As such, aspirants for CAT would do well to lay a little more stress on the algebra and geometry topics.
  • Your success in the CAT Quantitative Aptitude section rides on your conceptual clarity. The foremost thing that you should do is make friends with your math books from school to brush up all your basics to start with.
  • Other than strong basic fundamentals, phased practice tests elevating from moderate to difficult questions is what will make your handling of problems much more confident.
  • Regular timed practice will help you sharpen your basic concepts while taking care of problem-solving within a time constraint.
  • A list of topic-wise formulae will help in better retention and easy recollection.
  • Identify the topics that you are weak in and focus on them instead of the topics that you are most comfortable in. In order to excel, you need to step out of your comfort zone.
  • Finish a topic and immediately attempt a test based on the same. This is very important to seal in the concepts that you have just acquired.
  • Once all topics are covered, sectional mock tests followed by their analysis is the way forward to practice in a simulated time-bound environment.
  • Analysis of each and every mock test is as important as attempting the test itself as it would correctly indicate your problem areas. You can pick up the problem areas for further clarification of concepts and revision.
  • Try and attempt alternate ways of attempting a particular type of problem so that you can find the shortest method to solve the same thus reducing time spent on problem-solving.
  • Apart from basic mathematical skill, what is more important for a CAT aspirant is to be able to comprehend and interpret a question and the given options correctly. CAT is essentially a test of your strategizing skills as a would-be manager; how well you prioritize the more doable question over the ones that you are not sure of, and how efficiently you take care of problem-solving by choosing the minimal steps to reduce time consumption.

You may consider referring to the following books and study material for preparation of CAT Quantitative Aptitude section:

  • How to prepare for Quantitative for the CAT – by Arun Sharma (Tata McGraw Hill)
  • Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT – by Nishit K.Sinha (Pearson)
  • The Pearson Guide to Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Exams (Pearson)
  • Quantitative Aptitude study modules by TIME, Career Launcher, IMS

To sum up the preparation tips for the quantitative aptitude section of CAT, a well-charted plan to brush up basic concepts, hard work, self-discipline, and relentless practice is what will help you score high.


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