In this fairly straightforward article, we will discuss the nuances that you need to navigate through Quant prep without much trouble. To reiterate, this article is meant for anyone preparing for Quant, especially Non- Engineers & Students who have a disliking towards math. Keeping this context in mind, let us delve deeper into the 5 crucial steps for quant prep for non engineers.
Breathe. It is alright. CAT is not a make or break thing in anyone’s life.
There are many who have been successful without even knowing what CAT Exam is. CAT Exam, improves your standard of living to an extent, improves the opportunities that one might have a shot at in life in general. The flipside of this is not true though. If you bomb the CAT Exam, it does not spoil your life opportunities completely. This exam, if taken rightly, is a win-win situation. Hence, it does not warrant too much worry. So, breathe… 🙂
2. Start with a Clean slate
Do not listen to what every Tom Dick and Harry has to say about the CAT Exam, or the CAT Quantitative Aptitude section in particular.
Start your quant prep with Zero preconceived notions (at this juncture you must have realized that just because you think something, doesn’t mean that something must be true).
This exam honestly tests understanding of the candidate on different fronts and nothing fancy. Obviously, some amount of speed, practice and smart thinking on the feet are tested too, but if the basics are in place, everything else can be acquired.
3. Learn Absolute Basics for your Quant Prep
Start your Quant prep with Arithmetic. In recent years, Arithmetic has been given huge importance in the CAT exam. Also don’t jump into starting your CAT Quant prep with tough ideas like Number theory or Permutation Probability. Why do I say this?
a) Those who want the high of solving super tough questions are abundant in every forum out there. They will solve the sh*t out of any tough question. You might call them junkies.
b) These topics are not tested extensively. You can reasonably score north of 99th percentile without being a master in these two topics.
Every time you look at someone who seems to be posting an answer even before you can finish reading the question, go back to step 1 (of course I am talking about breathing) and then tell yourself, that person is a junkie and you don’t have to compete with that person for your CAT prep.
As much as it sounds counter-intuitive, the more you go into a bubble and prepare without any external influences, the more you can implement step 2 as well (thinking/imagining that Quant is tough).
4. Revision is THE KEY to Quant Prep.
Revision is everything. One can prepare all that they want, however if they spend no time on revision, all that was done is in vain. Spend the next 5 minutes watching this insightful video on why Revision is vital and forms the basis of your CAT Prep.
Revision consists of 3 parts:
1) Going back to the basics again. Revising them quickly (2IIM’s online course lets you revise every topic from absolute basics in under 20 minutes) would be a great way to go about it. Modularized Course sitting on an LMS is the key to this.
2) Practicing questions that are simpler, but to build automaticity. 2IIM’s Test Dojo course gives you Drill questions to help you do the grind.
3) Fortifying your CAT prep with questions that are actual CAT Level (again 2IIM’s course to the rescue)
5. Take loads of Mocks.
It goes without saying that mocks complete your preparation. Take about 25-40 mocks before the CAT Exam. Ignore your percentiles in the first 5 mocks.
The equivalent of this is falling down and scraping your knee when you are learning to pedal for the first (few) time(s). Only then do you get comfortable and are able to cycle well. The analogy applies for CAT as well.
Theoretically, you might be prepared well for this exam, but taking mocks is the proof of the pudding.
Fall down a couple of times. Pick up yourself, dust yourself, prepare some more, and go take another mock. Do not die wondering what would have happened.
How is this any different from how an engineer prepares for CAT Quant?
Except for breathing and resetting your expectations, this is absolutely the same as anyone should prepare. If anything, even the first two points are good ways to boost your CAT Quantitative Aptitude preparation.
This article about avoiding common Quant Traps is a must-read for acing the Quant section. Do check it out!
Cheers and Best Wishes for your CAT preparation.