CAT 2019 Exam – CAT Quantitative Ability/Hacks and Tips



CAT is a nation-wide exam for entry into management programs. Students are tested on Quantitative Ability, Logical Reasoning and English. Out of all these, the common consensus is that CAT Quantitative Ability is the toughest because it takes a reasonable amount of practice and memory to apply it in the stressful situations of the exam. This section has different weightage for different exams. Therefore, for that purpose, if you want to prepare for CAT exam, you should what segments of CAT Quantitative Ability are generally asked.

  • Numbers and Number Systems (4)
  • Algebra (8)
  • Geometry (9)
  • Arithmetic (8)
  • Business or Modern Maths (5)

Ideally, there would be 34 questions, as understood from the last 3-4 years, from this section. However, you can expect a variance of couple of questions in each section. As you can see, the highest weightage is given to Geometry which includes mensuration as well. Numbers and Number systems are one of the areas which students focus on because of the vast scope under the tiny roof. Well-prepared, this section would be a breeze. The best part about Quant is that it needs you to develop skills while practicing. It doesn’t require you to possess extra skills like speed and comprehension like in English. For that purpose, there is a requirement of a planned approach- to categorize and compartmentalize each topic to achieve maximum potential.

CAT Quantitative Ability

The thing that most students do wrong is to focus excessively on this section- spending as much as 75% of their entire time on this section, without considering the weightage of each section in the exam. We believe that CAT Quantitative Ability requires proper use of tips and hacks just as much as it requires the use of sound subject knowledge. Some of the most relevant ones are compiled under

Generic Tips

  • Understand the weightage: This is important because each exam places a different emphasis on each sub-topic. Depending on the exam you have to crack, you need to understand the different weightage to prepare effectively
    • While preparing Numbers and Number systems, students typically spend ages trying to master finding the last two digits or the remainder with theorems only to find out that it is not that important. They are the low priority. Such topics must be identified and left for after the entire preparation is done
    • Ensure you have a detailed structure of what’s important and the rank so that you know what to lay your emphasis on
  • Time Management: The one common thing you’ll see in any article you read about preparation is the requirement for time management and allocation of your time. It is true because of the voluminous nature of the subject. Therefore, there are some handy tricks you can follow.
    • Practise your formulae. Ensure you revise them regularly.
    • Solve, solve and then solve some more. Practice is the key.
    • Have a strategy and adhere to it. Don’t jump about everywhere haphazardly.

Subject-wise tricks

  • Identify the base topics: Every topic has several subtopics. You should be able to understand which ones to focus on and in what order.
    • Note down the order of importance of subjects by reviewing analysis of the past papers.
    • Identify your strengths in those topics and focus on those because they can be done very easily
    • Topics that are highly time consuming are ones that should put last- this includes those time consuming in the application as well study.
    • Finish off as many topics as you can so that you’ll have the guilt free mind to pursue the other topics at leisure
  • Identify core concepts:
    • Topics like percentages, profit and loss, probability are the core instruments for almost every topic. Master them before moving on permutations and combinations, series algebra etc.
    • Topics such as percentages have certain tricks. like how you should always consider the base as 100 for solving questions in P&L and percentages
  • Identify types of questions
    • There will be types of questions that can be answered by elimination- by how improbable other options are, questions that are answerable by taking examples in numbers that you are comfortable with, and questions that you answer based on how close your answer is to the option by approximating especially hard decimals or numbers. Just take caution of all of them. Practice, practice and then practice some more.

Quantitative Ability is the most appropriate subject in which you don’t need extra effort. If you the formula and you have practised it, you can easily solve that.


As a section, this depends exactly on how well you are willing to develop your skill. Put in efforts and it’ll go by like a breeze. Unlike other sections, however, don’t try to get a basic knowledge of every topic to attempt it. If you know something, answer them. If you haven’t had the time to prepare, leave it because the application is usually finely-tuned understanding of the topic. Give it sufficient time- Ensure you have at least three months of time on average dedicated to this topic alone.

Related Links

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