The Quant Conundrum – The 130 Day Quant Plan – CAT 2014

By ARKS Srinivas, CEO – VistaMind Education

It is almost impossible to get through any MBA entrance exam without scoring well in Quantitative Aptitude (QA). Unfortunately, QA is a nightmare for Non-Engineers and Engineers alike. It is a myth that Engineers are good at Math. Barring a very few students whose Math in School was good, almost every one else finds this area to be the toughest nut to crack.

But, as is my wont, I would ask any student just two questions.

1. Have you passed your 8th, 9th and 10th standards?

2. Have you passed these classes on your own ( without help from others ; – ) )?

If the answer to the above two questions is a YES, then it is extremely easy to sail through the Quant portion of any aptitude exam including CAT.

CAT, XAT, SNAP, NMAT, and CMAT – The weightage for QA in every one of these exams is significant and more often than not, QA is given as a separate section in these exams.


Key to QA is Confidence – Unless one is confident that one can score well in this area, it is almost impossible to get marks. To gain this confidence one has to be good at Calculations viz., Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Mathematical Tables, Fractions and Conversion of Fractions to Percentages to Decimals. Practicing for increasing calculation speed is to be done till the day of the exam.

The improvement in speed in calculations is helpful for both QA and DI.

Classification of QA topics

While Mathematics is a very wide area, the beauty of almost all MBA entrance exams including CAT is that the questions are asked in some very fundamental areas that have already been covered at the high school level.

These areas can be divided into

– Arithmetic
– Algebra
– Geometry & Mensuration
– Pure Math

CAT 2014 is around four to five months away and hence it is also imperative to have an overview on the number of questions one may expect in the CAT section and workout your plan accordingly.

The table below gives a snapshot of the areas and the number of questions one can expect in each of the topics under an area in CAT.


Quantitative Ability

No of Qns


Ratios, Proportion, Variation 0-2
Percentages 0-2
Profile & Loss 0-2
Simple Interest, Compound Interest 0-1
Averages, Mixtures, Alligations 0-2
Time & Work 0-2
Time, Speed & Distance 0-2


Simple Equations 0-2
Indices and Surds 0-1
Logarithms 0-2
Quadratic Equations 1-2
Polynomial Equations 0-1
Progressions 0-2
Inequalities 0-2
Functions & Graphs 0-2
Permutations & Combinations 0-1
Probability 0-1

Pure Math

Numbers & Number Systems 3-6
Statistics 0-1
Coordinate Geometry 0-1

Geometry & Mensuration

Geometry 3-5
Mensuration 1-2




Plan for 130 days

First 50 days: Each topic has some concepts, formulae and application of these formulae. In the first 40 days of prep, you have to finish going through the basics of concepts and formulae and solve at least 50 questions in each topic listed above. This will ensure that you would have solved close to 1000 questions in the first round of 40 days. (VistaMind’s class handouts alone would be good enough for this first round of preparation).

Revision 50 days: Take topic wise tests as well as area wise tests. Every concept needs to be revisited here from the basic handouts. After every test, re-solve every question once again to gain confidence in solving.

Last 30 days: Solve every question from the Mock CATs (SmartCATs) that you would have written. A detailed plan of how to use the last 30 days would be given in this same column.

Target 15 Attempts

In CAT, the target should be to attempt 15 questions out of the 20/21 questions in around 45 minutes.  In other words, close to 3 minutes are available for solving one question. Even if you get 11/12 questions correct from the 15, you would be well on your way to get more than 95 % ile  in QA alone. Add DI area and you would be closer to getting the coveted IIM call! (at least for this section!)

So go ahead and make your plan for tackling the Quant Section.

The next article will give a plan to tackle “ The Verbal Enigma


To gear up your prep levels, check this out InsideIIM Test Prep Live

Read all stories by ARKSS Srinivas here


ARKS Srinivas

ARKS Srinivas is an alumnus of IIM Calcutta and has been the All India CAT Director at TIME. He is currently the National Head for MBA Prep at Career Launcher.