Quantitative Ability can be game-changer for Engineers, but might be a nightmare for others. This section requires the most theoretical preparation, compared to other sections. Hence, it makes all the difference between a serious and casual exam taker. The hard work that you put into this section will definitely reward you. I would like to put 5 preparation & Exam day tips that can help you achieve 99+ percentile in Quantitative Ability.
- Getting a high score in Quantitative Ability is more about speed and accuracy of solving -
The focus should be on solving more and more number of questions in that 1 hour. Speed can be increased, only if you are trained to apply concepts in your mind, without writing variables on the paper. Hence, avoid using the conventional approach of describing variables and solving questions, especially in Arithmetic and Averages & Mixtures. One way to train yourself is to avoid using pen and paper as much as you can, during the practice stage. Level of Difficulty -1 (LOD-1) questions should be solved in the brain, without using pen. Trust me, your speed and question interpretability will increase drastically.
- Quantitative ability is more about the logic rather than formulas -
Formulas might be very handy in straightforward questions, but it is the concept, that is more important in solving the questions. I would recommend you to understand the logic and derive the formulas during the practice stage. This will reduce your reliance on formulas (in case you forget them on Exam Day) and will help you solve the questions which are not straight-forward. Derivation of formulas will help you a lot in Geometry, as it will enhance your geometric visualisation ability.
- Daunting Number Systems and Geometry -
No Doubt, these two topics are most daunting for any CAT aspirant, as it involves a lot of concepts, formulas and theorems. Also, Geometry questions are usually longer in length, that requires more reading time and drawing of the figures on paper. However, in the past few years, it has been observed that IIMs are not testing much on these topics, with hardly 5 to 6 questions combined. Hence, these two topics should be prepared last. More focus should be given on Ratio & Proportion, Averages & Mixtures, Profit & Loss, Time Speed & Distance, Time & Work and SI/CI, which requires less preparation time and comprises 16-20 questions together.
- Sectional Mock tests can change the game for you -
During the practice stage, always practice a mixed set of questions from a variety of topics, rather than solving hundreds of questions from a single topic. The idea behind is that, our brain takes some amount of switching time, when we move from one concept to another. For example - solving 20 questions from the same topic will take less time compared to 20 questions from different topics, because our brain gets acclimatized to that particular topic. Practising mixed bag of questions will help you reduce that switching time, and help you enhance your speed.
- Finally some Exam day tips -
A lot of variation in difficulty level in Quantitative Ability has been observed in recent CAT exams. Hence, the score which translates into 99 percentile is also very different. For example - a scaled score of around 75 out of 102 was required for 99 %ile in CAT 2017 compared to just 60 in CAT 2016. Hence, while solving first 6-7 questions of Quants section, assess the difficulty level, and decide the target number of the questions you need to solve in the section. Secondly, unlike the VARC & LRDI section, which requires the easiest set selection strategy, in Quants section I recommend to move from the first question to the last question and pick the questions which requires less time and in which you are comfortable. Never be afraid of TITA questions in Quants, because option elimination strategy does not work in here.
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