How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT 2017?

Rajat updated on : 11 Sep 2017

CAT preparation tips to crack quant section of CAT 2017 exam available here. Also, know CAT 2017 quant shortcuts to solve the questions easily.

How to Prepare for CAT Quantitative Aptitude

CAT Quantitative Aptitude Preparation Tips - Quantitative aptitude is among the major three sections of Common Admission Test (CAT) conducted by IIMs for admission in MBA. Every year, students experience some surprises in CAT exam, which makes this entrance test most coveted one. Many students consider quant as one of the tough nut to crack due to involvement of hardcore mathematics in it. But we say that once your concepts are clear, it becomes very easy to solve Quantitative Ability section in the given time limit. Also, taking CAT mock test regularly will be of great help for those who are weak in this section. There are students who had left maths in school; still they have been able to crack CAT with good percentile. And this all is possible by continuous practice. In this post, we are listing some of the beneficial tips to crack CAT quant section.

CAT 2017 will be held in 140 cities of the nation, on November 26, 2017. It is a computer based test, having duration of 180 minutes. Total 100 questions will be asked in the exam from 3 sections, which are Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Aptitude. Both, MCQs and non-MCQs will be there in the exam. Here, we are providing shortcuts to crack CAT 2017 quant. 

How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT 2017?

Let’s first understand the syllabus pattern of Quantitative Aptitude for CAT

Almost every year, 1/3rd portion of common admission test for MBA has been covered by quantitative aptitude (exception: 2008). So there is the same hope in CAT 2017 too. However, it’s not clear but we can assume if the total number of question remains 100, than this section should have around 33 to 34 questions. Here, we are trying to give you an insight into the exam pattern of CAT quant.

Though the exact syllabus has never been shared by IIMs but looking at the exam pattern of CAT of previous years, we have been able to come up with some ideas. The mathematics in CAT quant is specially taken to 8th, 9th and 10th class. And for last almost ten years, CAT has the same exam pattern. Solving quantitative aptitude section can be little time consuming and challenging due to its difficulty level.

Quantitative aptitude section isn’t easy but it isn’t a nightmare. Preparation for quantitative aptitude for CAT 2017 can be made easy by some simple tricks which not only will save your time but also turn your QA preparation into fun. Now let us have a look at quantitative aptitude section pattern:

Areas to be covered


No. of questions expected


Percentage, simple and compound interest, numbers, time and distance, ratio, profit and loss, proportionality, average, mixtures, partnership, averages etc.

13 – 15



 Quadratic equations, linear equations, set theory, probability, progression and series

6 – 8

Advance Mathematics

Probability, progression and series, set theory, permutation and combination  

4 – 6


Line, triangles, polygons, quadrilaterals, circles, volumes, areas, basic trigonometry, co – ordinate geometry, height and distance

6 – 9

It has been noticed that most of the time; the questions come with lengthy theory which is used to apply in the problems asked. Questions asked directly aren’t very common. There have been several changes made in CAT exam pattern in last 10 years. There have been several variations in number of questions asked (from 20 questions to 50 questions). And if we talk about IIMs cut offs, it has been varied to around 80% of section starting from 1/3rd of the section. But if we take a look at the previous couple of years’ CAT exam pattern, difficulty level of quantitative aptitude is expected to be moderate.  

How should a student start preparation of Quantitative Aptitude for CAT 2017?

Answering the question of quantitative aptitude is not just about how much a student knows. But it’s more about how much a student can attempt accurately in the given time limit. Hence, if your basics are clear, you won’t face that much difficulty while answering quant questions. And this will save your time which is very important. Following are some simple steps which you can follow for good preparation of quantitative aptitude of CAT 2017 and also for other MBA entrance examination.

-   Polish your basic skills: It is always advisable to start quant preparation with the basics. This can be a great help if your all basic concepts are clear to the point. This way you will be able to solve all the questions without any extra efforts. As discussed above, at least 15 questions should have moderate level of difficulty. Regular practice will help you in quant a lot as once you clear your concept, you can start answering the questions correctly and fast.  Start practising with help of books.

-   Preparation with planning: Planning is a key strategy of any action plan. Thus, planning the preparation is equally important. So it is good to make a schedule and start acting accordingly. Divide your time and syllabus accordingly. You can give required time to certain topic; it can be from hours to a day or two. You can focus more on the topics which you feel difficult.

-  Group Studies: Group studies can help a lot. It has been seen that the brain stays more active while doing group studies along with friends. Discussion with friends who are also preparing for the same can help a lot in solving problems. Group study and discussion can help in developing new strategies and problem solving methods. This not only helps in quant preparation but also increases the confidence level.

-    CAT Mock Tests: One shouldn’t miss mock tests. Taking mock tests can be a game changing strategy in CAT 2017. With the help of mock tests, one can easily identify his/her weakness and strengths, thus same can be worked out accordingly. In short, mock tests are the best tools of self-evaluation. Moreover, you can also plan your preparation based on the analysis of mock tests.

-    Concentrate on your weak topics: Quant section is all mathematics based. So, it is not wise to avoid its preparation. Picking up the weak topics first of all is the best way to start. This way, you can also improve your basic concepts. One should always concentrate more on the topics where s/he is weak in. A regular practice can help a lot in this scenario.

-    Use internet: Using internet for Quantitative aptitude preparation for CAT 2017 is a beneficial step. You can find lots of study material online. You can also use your smartphone for CAT preparation. You can download CAT pdf files which contains questions of quantitative aptitude, these are available free of cost. You can also visit websites where you can find study material. You can even practice the question papers available on the websites.

-     Don’t avoid any question/concept: If you are getting bored or if you aren’t able to solve any question and it’s irritating you, don’t avoid it. Take some time, relax and return back to it. Take help of others. You shouldn’t leave the question without finishing it. Every question is important and leaving it means you are creating problem for your own. Practice is the key to success and every problem in quantitative aptitude can be solved with the help of regular practice.

-    Keep a formula book: Maths in quantitative aptitude is not much different from what we used to study in our school. If you still have those notebooks, you can use them for your preparation. Those formulas are helpful always. Though, you can just depend on that thing but yes you can add it to your plan. You can make a formula book of your own. And you can carry it so that whenever you get time, you can easily take it in your hands and start practising.

-     Practising previous years’ questions: Solving previous years’ question papers is a way to polish your QA skills in a far better way. Sometimes, students after doing enough practice avoid solving previous year’s question papers of CAT, but solving last years’ question papers is a great help. You will get new ideas; new problems and it will trigger your nerves a lot. Moreover, these are the best storage of question pool.

Quantitative aptitude section is little tricky but it’s not that much difficult. This is just a misconception that quant section is very time consuming and difficult. At times, it may be time consuming but not difficult. There are tricks which can help you solve the questions quickly, saving your time. And you need to practice regularly as much as you can as there is no replacement of practice. You can even develop shortcut methods of solving questions. Shortcuts are set methods/patterns which one can use to solve any question much faster.

Best Books for CAT Quantitative Aptitude Preparation

Picking up the best books for CAT preparation 2017 of QA section is an important step to take. Best books can serve you more than anything. Even your regular practice depends on what books are in your hands. Thus, choosing such books is a wise decision. Arun Sharma is a famous author who has written many wonderful books which are highly helpful not only for CAT aspirants but also for those who are applying for exams other MBA entrance examinations such as XAT, GMAT, and CMAT etc. Take a look at some of the most famous books for preparation of quants section for CAT 2017.

  • How to Prepare for Quantitate Aptitude for CAT written by Arun Sharma
  • Pearson Guide to Quantitative Aptitude for CAT written by Nishit Sinha
  • Quantum CAT written by Sarvesh Verma
  • Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examination written by RS Aggarwal

Apart from these books, you can also study the mathematics books of NCERT 8th, 9th and 10th class.  You can even start with CBSE books of same classes. You can also try Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations Tips, Techniques and Short – cut Methods written by Guha Abhijit.

In CAT 2017, students will be given an on screen calculator but it shouldn’t replace the mental calculations. Mental calculations will keep your brain active and that will be helpful. This section is very important and it has to be prepared with proper planning and strategies. Not only in CAT but almost everywhere, aptitude is something which is basically focussed on. It is in almost every competitive exam. Even in personal life too, aptitude decides the intelligence quotient of any person. A step by step preparation plan and regular practice can beat any trouble. These are some basic rules to excel QA in CAT 2017.

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