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Quantitative Aptitude section of CAT is generally considered the toughest section by many of the aspirants, especially if they have not been studying mathematics after their Class 12 or 10. However, this section can be tamed if a candidate follows a proper strategy, and manages to create a good mixture of concepts and practice, along with usage of the proper type of study material.
Some important points to ponder before beginning the preparation for CAT Quantitative Aptitude (QA)-
Exam Pattern of CAT has remained exactly the same from past two years, 2015 and 2016. IIM Lucknow is conducting CAT 2017 and the pattern is still to be announced officially for CAT 2017. However, assuming that there will be no changes in the examination pattern, the Quantitative Section of Common Admission Test 2017 will look like this:
Check Here CAT Exam Pattern
Strategy and method of preparation plays an important role in CAT. Candidate needs to have a proper plan and needs to manage their time well, so that they do not skip any topic and also learns every topic very well.
Here are some preparation tips for candidates, for Quantitative Section of CAT:
The best time to start preparing for CAT or its Quantitative Aptitude section is around February and March, especially if candidate has not studied mathematics in his/her graduation. Other period of time when many aspirants start preparing is June.
However, no candidate is advised to take the start of preparation beyond June as the syllabus of Quantitative Section is huge and takes around 3 to 4 months to complete, for most of the students. Candidates starting in June should make sure that they complete their syllabus by the end of August or at maximum 2nd week of September, but not later than that.
This thing depends upon the proficiency level of candidate in mathematics and also the total hours a candidate can devote to CAT preparation daily. If candidate is a non-working aspirant and is fully devoted to CAT preparation, then 3 to 4 hours of time daily is enough.
However, if candidate has time constraints due to job and other factors, he/she must devote at least 1.5 to 2 hours daily. Seeing the other way around, a candidate must at least target to solve 20 questions everyday in the initial days, and may take this number to up to at least 40 or higher than this in last 2-3 months of preparation.
If a candidate is taking coaching for CAT, then the question of which chapter is to be studied when does not even arise. If candidate is relying totally on self-study, then preferable order of topics is First Arithmetic, then Geometry, Number System, Algebra, Modern Mathematics and then other left over topics.
However, this order is completely subjective and candidate may adjust this order of chapters according to his/her own strength and weaknesses.
Mock Tests are the most important part of CAT Preparation. Candidates must enroll for at least one Mock Test Series and should start taking mock test before or from June. Test Series’ Institutes like TIME, IMS and CL are considered to be the best, as most number of students take these.
However, a candidate may also refer to the other test series, as per his/her preference. While attempting mocks, candidates should be as serious as they would be in actual CAT exam. Candidates must look to identify easy questions first and solve them quickly and accurately.
Here are some other tips of relevance for candidates:
Quantitative aptitude section of CAT has historically been easy to moderate section, but only up to CAT 2015. CAT 2016 was amongst the most difficult CAT Papers of all time and its quantitative section was also tougher than what it usually is.
Let us take a look at the difficulty wise analysis of CAT 2015 and 2016’s Quantitative Section:
|Level of Difficulty||No. of Questions in CAT 2015||No. of Questions in CAT 2016|
So, it is clearly visible that CAT 2016 was tougher than CAT 2015. But it does not necessitate that CAT 2017 will also be on the tougher side, as the predictability level of exam is very low.
Check Here CAT Practice Papers 2017
IIMs do not provide any specified syllabus for CAT. But from the observation of past year papers of CAT, no question in quantitative ability has come from outside of the scope of these heads or to say it in a more simpler way, we can divide the syllabus of Quantitative Aptitude section of CAT in following heads:
Well, CAT is a totally unpredictable exam, and its level of giving surprises to candidates is even more in Quantitative Aptitude. Therefore, candidates are advised to maintain a balance of all topics rather than focusing on two or three heads from the ones listed above.
CAT’s pattern has remained same in 2015 and 2016, 34 questions in Quantitative Aptitude section and duration of 1 hour. From the trends of past two years, weightage of each heading can be expected as in the table given below:
|Topics||Number of Questions|
|Geometry and Mensuration||5-6|
Candidates must note that these are mere expectations. As CAT has been highly unpredictable, no one can tell exactly how many questions will come from each topic.
However, the weightage of Arithmetic heading has remained constant in the past two years, so candidates can assume it to be the most important topic for CAT.
If a candidate is taking coaching for CAT, he/she may refer to the coaching material provided by the institution. However, there are some good books available in the market that are studied by many aspirants, irrespective of the fact that they are taking coaching or not.
Therefore, here are the top three most recommended books for CAT Quantitative Aptitude:
|How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude||McGraw Hill Mr. Arun Sharma|
|Quantitative Aptitude Quantum||Arihant Publications Mr. Nishit Sinha|
|The Pearson Guide to Quantitative Aptitude & Data Interpretation for the CAT||Pearson Publications Mr. Nishit Sinha|
In addition to these books, Candidate must look to solve past CAT papers also. There are a lot books also which offer solved past question papers. Solving past CAT papers is very important, as it makes candidate understand that what actually is to be studied and which type of questions are asked in the exam.
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