How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT Exam?

Online CAT Coaching by 2IIM.

Before you get into How to prepare for CAT, it is best to know what CAT is all about. If you want to get a holistic idea about CAT Exam’s Syllabus, the selection process, Eligibility, and other details like what other management exams to write and what the syllabus is for those exams - It is best to visit this page. If you already have an idea about all that, read ahead on How to prepare for the CAT Exam from here. This page is specific to the third section in the CAT exam, Quantitative Aptitude.

If you are looking for information on How to prepare for CAT DILR Section or How to prepare for CAT VARC Section head on to the respective links.

What is the syllabus for Quantitative Aptitude section in CAT?

Is there an official syllabus disclosed for the Quantitative Aptitude section by the IIM’s?

Quant section carries the major chunk of CAT preparation. With a very vast syllabus ranging from percentages to algebra, CAT always keeps testing your fundamentals. A sound knowledge of the basics is very much needed to handle questions in all of these topics. This is the section that involves the maximum number of topics (the theory-intensive part of CAT Prep) and so we have broken this into a number of sub-sections.

We have categorized these as:
1. Arithmetic topics.
2. Number Systems and Modern Math.
3. Geometry and Allied Topics.
4. Algebra and Miscellaneous.





How to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT Exam


Quant preparation of CAT involves a proper strategy and this three step process helps you to prepare for each topic in a systematic way. For each topic under quants, this process will help in understanding the basics and escalate oneself to benchmark CAT questions. Learning the basics is a vital part along with proper amount of drill. CAT is an exhaustive exam which requires automatic way of solving to cater the time crunch so it is very important to work with a variety of sums to get a grip of the topic before moving to CAT level sums. The three distinct steps involved are Learning, Drill/Practice and CAT level Questions by going back to basics.

To get a better understanding on the three step process for learning quants, click on this link

Watch the adjoining videos also to get a fair view of the three step process and tips from Rajesh Balasubramanian on How to ACE the Quants section for CAT Exam.

How to Schedule preparation for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT

The images to the right gives you an idea of all the different topics a serious CAT aspirant is expected to prepare for the CAT exam in the Arithmetic section and Number theory & Modern Math. To read in detail on how to go about each sub-section in CAT Quantitative Aptitude, head over here.

This article outlines 2IIM's recommended schedule or timeline, that can help one plan and track their progress in their CAT preparation journey. We've given an overall outline and a plan for someone who does not yet know his/her strengths and weaknesses. Each student should create his/her own schedule and prepare with a customized plan. You are preparing to have a shot at the top few B-Schools in the Country. You SHOULD definitely have ownership over your preparation plan. Treat this as a broad framework, and not as the finished article.

Note that the number of hours is just an indicative number. Spend as much time as you require to wrap your head around a topic.

Schedule for Quants for CAT Exam - Arithmetic Schedule for Quants for CAT Exam - Number Theory and Modern Math

Things NOT to do during CAT Quants Preparation?

Quant preparation has always remained a mystery in CAT, whatever drill a student goes through, sometimes, CAT questions remain alien. This ambiguity can be bridged by emphasising on understanding the basics. Is it really tough to understand math or are my basics weak? Where am I going wrong in my math prep? When there are 1000’s of videos that give an idea on how to prepare for Quants, this one unfolds things that one must avoid during Quant Preparation. Watch the video on the right to make quants simpler!



How to prepare for CAT Arithmetic?





Arithmetic plays a crucial role in Quant preparation and a kick-starter. Major portion of Arithmetic compliments the Data Interpretation preparation. Arithmetic Topics include: Percentages, Profit and Loss, SI & CI, Ratios, Mixtures, Averages, Speed, Time, Distance, Races, Pipes Cisterns & Time work.

The sequencing of arithmetic topics makes life simpler as its concepts are built over the other, for example: Simple interest is percentage increase and compound interest is successive percentage increase this is the way one should start looking at arithmetic topics. Learning Arithmetic topics conceptually is vital, watch the video on the left to unleash how arithmetic works

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 - Factors and Multiples, HCF and LCM, Factorials, Base Systems, Remainders and Miscellaneous topics.

Number theory is a topic in which one needs to understand the basics: Factors, Multiples etc and there are no specific solving techniques, tips and shortcuts required. Know all the rules and practice enough questions. To know how to start learning number theory watch the video on the right!



How to prepare for CAT Geomtery?





Geometry forms a major chunk along with Trigonometry, Mensuration and Co-Geometry, holds around 6-8 questions in CAT.

Geometry is one broad based idea where basics absolutely shape the entire learning process and learning concepts from theorems is the best way to understand how shapes work. Visualization and self questioning with proving different proofs helps one understand various concepts in Geometry. A student starts from a point and progresses to 3D Geometry extending to Trigonometry, Coordinate Geometry. Knowing which idea to apply for any particular question is the key in cracking the question in Geometry for CAT exam. Watch the video on the left to understand preparation for Geometry better.

How to prepare for CAT Algebra?

CAT Algebra is the second most vital topic following Arithmetic. Preparing for CAT Algebra involves getting accustomed to working with variables, the x’s y’s etc. The topics under CAT Algebra are Linear & Quadratic Equations, Inequalities, Functions, Progressions, Algebraic Expressions to Polynomials.

Algebra is an interesting topic that should be prepared with fun, however students get stuck in between asking themselves how should I start my preparation with Algebra. Let's break the ice and make Algebra learning real fun, Watch the video on the right to know how to start Algebra.



CAT 2018 Exam Analysis

The story of CAT Exam 2018 was the level of difficulty of the Quant section. I (Rajesh Balasubramanian) have taken 8 of the last 10 CATs and I can confidently say that this was the toughest Quant section I have seen thus far. We have done a CAT 2018 Analysis of Slot 1 and Slot 2 on Youtube. Scroll down to have a look at that.

Our estimates for CAT Exam 2018 percentiles and scores are given below for both slot 1 and slot 2.Note that these are merely estimates and are not based on statistical analysis.

CAT 2018 - Slot 1 - Score to Percentile Table
CAT 2018 - Slot 2 - Score to Percentile Table

To know the full CAT 2018 exam analysis, please go to this page - CAT 2018 Exam Analysis

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Important facts that you should know about Online CAT Coaching

Check out this page - 2IIM Philosophy

We strongly believe on the Quote by Abraham Lincoln “If I had nine hours to chop a tree, I’d spend the first six sharpening the axe.” We start from scratch giving a stubborn focus on fundamentals so that the student gets the opportunity to learn by discovering ideas. The plan is to provide a framework for students to handle tougher questions.
We demystify this exam and break every idea into small digestible chunks which is categorised as theory, exercise and CAT-level questions. The basic idea is to provide a structure with simple questions and 'push' students to discover some thought processes while handling CAT-level questions. We would always love to ensure that the students have enough fun and enjoyment, preparing for CAT Exam.

What are the best blogs or websites to prepare for the Common Admission Test (CAT)? Quora Link - Quora Answer

We at 2IIM CAT Preparation have 55000+ subscribers, 20+ live sessions, 400+ videos, 20 playlists and a vibrant community. There are quite a few Channels that provide free content for CAT Preparation on Youtube. Apart from 2IIM CAT Preparation , Takshzila Shikshak, Khan Academy, Cracku are some of the channels that are doing a decent job. Check out this Quora link for more details: Quora Answer
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"Why only quant when both quant and verbal are essential to get a high GMAT total score" can be answered in 3 parts.
i. Consistency is a vital plus where all the teaching is done by a narrow set of teachers in an online course. The teacher and the pedagogy matters the most.
ii. The Teaching in a classroom course could vary from City to City and week to week whereas it isn’t in the case of Online. iii. In Classroom, Travel and specific timings won’t be suitable for all but in an online course you have an option to learn anywhere, at any time, at your own pace and in order that you would like to learn. iv. There are three components for actual teaching part - the material, the pedagogy and the teacher. In a good online course, the designing and teaching are done by the same person or group. In a classroom course, the question is created, the idea transmitted are by different groups and then the teacher usually delivers to this script.

P.S: This does not necessarily mean that all online courses are good. You must do a thorough research on the following to find a good Online Course:

1) It has to be modularized so that you can learn at your pace.
2) It has to be on a very good LMS (Learning Management System) that will give you sound analytics and helps you both to learn and to assess where you are.
3) A chance to check out large sections of the course that is available in the course UI, not merely on Youtube channel.

Check out this Quora link for more details: Quora Answer
One more Quora Answer: Quora Answer
Youtube Link - Watch Video
Youtube Link - Watch Video

Of course, the answer is YES and you can crack CAT by preparing from August onwards. And it’s even possible when you begin from September 15ᵗʰ too. Always remember that the Quality matters more than Quantity. Finding 400 hours from somewhere and prepare feverishly in those 400 with good quality will suffice which will end up getting a decent percentile.
P.S: Get out of Quora, Facebook etc. for 4 months and most of them can find their 400 hours. Cheers!
Check out this Quora link for more details: Quora Answer

This Question can be answered in 2 parts:

Making CAT Preparation Enjoyable:

• First of all remember that CAT exam tests basic intelligence of class VIII, IX and X level in a standardized format.
• There is Myth that says “Engineers have an advantage in CAT exam” but the actual scenario is that this exam gives Engineers absolutely no advantage and moreover the discrimination is against Engineers at every stage. The Idea that non-Engineers (or girls, or students from commerce background) have a disadvantage going into CAT Exam is Pish Posh.
• Learn math with a sense of joy. Learn from the basics and retain a sense of wonder about math as the way Archimedes did and who proved, “If learnt well, math is endlessly fascinating”. [P.S: Learn about how Archimedes ended his life in the link below and that story is perhaps apocryphal.
• Mathematics is considered to be the queen of the Sciences since it is a fabulous brain-exercise tool kit and is endlessly fascinating.
• Reading is one of the most joyful activities one can always find. If you can find the right set of books, you can lose yourself for days. It will make you realize that reading can get you out of a funk, prevent you from going into a funk, recharge you, inspire you and do many more wonderful things to the way you think. For a glorious reading list, click here - Reading List for CAT

Relevance of Entrance with Management: A Simple correlation concept will make you understand. There are students who are very smart but have not cracked CAT. And so we can say with reasonable certainty that someone who scores 99th percentile will be reasonably intelligent. The second 0ne is more relevant as far as the IIMs are concerned. CAT scores and general intelligence in most cases carry a high correlation. Check out this Quora link for more details: Quora Answer

There is famous saying, “There are no shortcuts to Success”. Shortcuts give an illusion of preparation more often and so Run from shortcuts with all your might.

Read more on Quora: Quora Answer

• Math is most definitely not this thing that you need to have a phobia about. Anyone afraid of math is someone who has not been taught math well.
• Learn math with a sense of joy. Learn from the basics and retain a sense of wonder about math as the way Archimedes did and who proved, “If learnt well, math is endlessly fascinating”.
• Mathematics is considered to be the queen of the Sciences since it is a fabulous brain-exercise tool kit and is endlessly fascinating. Learn from basics, learn with joy - the fear will go away.

[P.S: Learn about how Archimedes ended his life in the link below and that story is perhaps apocryphal.]
Check out this Quora link for more details: Quora Answer YouTube Video: Watch here

There are plenty of books available for CAT preparation at very low cost. The best basic books for Quant are the NCERT books for classes VI to X and RD Sharma/RS Agarwal. If you want tougher, more relevant questions to practice from, you should visit the best CAT Question bank in the world - 2IIM CAT Questions. It has great questions, even better solutions and some wonderful video explanations. And also follow our Youtube Channel – 2IIM CAT Preparation for a plenty of free preparatory videos.
But if you are really looking for a curated list with a nice article reviewed and sent to you gift-wrapped every day, you should join our Facebook Group – CAT Prep online - 2IIM.
Check out this link - CAT Verbal Reading List.

There are plenty of websites that will give you this, but be very wary of these. CAT did not release the actual paper from the years 2009 to 2016, so any website giving these is creating these paper without a credible source. The CAT papers from the years 2000 to 2008 are available for free (with solutions) inside the 2IIM Online Course.
There were two sessions each in CAT 2017 and CAT 2018 – these 4 papers are likely to be the best samples for CAT. These can be found here 2IIM CAT Question Paper.
The PDF gives the questions with embedded links to video solutions for all of these.

One should start your CAT preparation by starting to understand that CAT tests at max high school math, common sense and reading habit. • Prepare from first principles so that your basics become automated.
• Don’t just Wander around, don’t learn in a straitjacket.
• Be relentless - this is a marathon testing your temperament and not a sprint.
• Dont merely plan which is the easiest part, execute the damn thing.
• Read a lot with variety and read it all the time.

How to prepare for CAT 2020 - Youtube Video
Live session: How to prepare for CAT?

There are students who attempted 29 questions out of 34 in Verbal Section and ended with 77ᵗʰ percentile, while there have been also been students with just 28 attempts ending upwards of 99.xxᵗʰ percentile. And the reason behind this is accuracy, which matters a lot.

Speaking about accuracy and students often end up with the “The last two choices problem”. That is students narrow it down to two choices in the VARC section and then end up choosing the one which they think is the right one. In the similar way they take chances in these questions but do not take sufficient effort to resolve this. The common mindset we often see is “It will be either of the two. If I attempt 10 questions like this, I will get 5 right. Let me not waste any more time and mark the one you think it’s right.” This line of thought in most of the cases is incorrect. The guys setting the exam paper have planted something in either choice B or choice D that will make it easy to eliminate that and locating that thing will be the key. This is an objective paper with one correct answer per question. When you practice mocks, fight against that last step resistance and work aggressively on improving accuracy will help you master this section. It is a common myth that reading speed and vocabulary are important for VARC while they both count for nothing.

Check out this Quora link for more details: Quora Answer
YouTube Link - Watch Video
YouTube Link - Watch Video.
YouTube Link - Watch Video.
YouTube Link - Watch Video

2IIM has an Android App for CAT preparation. The app contains lessons, videos, slides and tests put together by a team of faculties who take up the exam year after year.

Read More about the App on Quora: Quora Answer.

CAT Questions | CAT Quantitative Aptitude

CAT Questions | CAT DILR

CAT Questions | Verbal Ability for CAT


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