How to crack CAT Quants
Quantitative Ability/Aptitude is the section that is feared most, by MBA Aspirants. Your answer to how to crack cat exam is heavily based on this section. What the aspirants don’t understand, is that you don’t need to be good with numbers to crack Quant. You just need to be good at applying logic to the given question. The Quants section has topics common for all other competitive exams too. So once you are thorough with the basics for your all quants topics, you are sorted and well versed for all the other exams. There will not be a need for you to cover any new topics again and you can safely access the cut-off or the bench marked score needed to clear in the quantitative ability section.
Now, whether you fear this section or not, you will still need a strategy to crack this section. Following are some tips and guidelines that you can use to build your strategy for Quant:
1) Basics: The first thing that you should do, while preparing for Quants, is to brush up the basics. Every topic has basic concepts, upon which easy questions are based. What you need to do is, understand the basics, and solve these simple questions. You can refer to the study material given to you by your coaching classes to start solving the basics of this section. If you have not joined any coaching class you can blindly follow books like RS Aggarwal, Arun Sharma, etc to solve questions. These books are the most reputed books in the market when it comes to the preparation of the quantitative ability section in the competitive exams. Last but not the least, you have to keep practicing and revising the new topics when you start with the new ones do that you do not lose touch overall. You will then get a brief idea about what the topic is about, and the kind of questions that are generally asked.
Without knowing the basics, you will eventually get lost in the complexity of the advanced questions.
Also, a number of questions in the exams are based directly on simple and basic concepts. Therefore, knowing the basics is the foundation of a good score in the quant section.
Here is a list of topics, to get you started:
Number Systems (The ideal topic to begin your preparation)
Arithmetic (Simple; takes care of the quant section of NMAT, CET, SNAP, etc.)
Algebra (Important topic for most of the exams)
Geometry (Important topic for most of the exams)
2) Practice: Once you are done with learning the concepts and their applications, start solving the questions that are of a moderate level of difficulty. The moderately difficult Quant questions usually form the majority of the Quant section, in an exam. These questions bridge the gap between an easy question and a difficult one.
The amount of practice, that needs to be done, is limitless. You have to practice, till you drop. Remember, your scores are counted into percentiles. Therefore, it is imperative that you strive to be better than others. And practicing is the best way to do that.
If the basics are the foundation of your preparation, then Practice is the cement that keeps the foundations fixed.
3) Follow Logic: Quant (or math) problems basically involve the application of one or more logical concepts, to a problem. Therefore, employing logic to any problem usually gets you the answer. However, there are questions that are directly based on formulas and can be solved without any logic involved. And it is absolutely fine if you solve it solely using formulas.
However, most of the advanced and complex questions rarely employ formulas. And a lot of the moderately difficult questions, need to be solved using a combination of logic and formulae. Therefore, while preparing, your emphasis should be on understanding the logic behind every question. Along with this, you should have an idea about the different formulae as well. Relying on logic will get you through most of the questions, but relying on formulae will only get you through some of them.
4) Smart Work: Once you know how to approach the questions logically, you can start incorporating short cuts and tricks. They will supplement your logical approach and also increase your speed of solving the problems.
Employing the logical approach, along with important short cuts, tricks, and formulae will ensure that you solve the problems in a quick & efficient way.
5) Speed: Speed plays a crucial role in getting a good score. If you take too much time in solving a question, then you will never be able to clear the cut-offs. The more you practice, the faster you become, at solving questions.
Only after adequate practice, will you generate enough speed to clear the cut-offs. Until you attain that speed, there is one thing that you can do to lower the time taken to solve a question: Increase your mental speed of calculations.
How to increase your calculation speed?
Simple. Start learning/memorizing the following things:
Tables from 1 to 30 | Squares of numbers 1 to 30 | Cubes of numbers 1 to 30
Values of fractions from 1/2 to 1/15 | Factorial values from 1! To 8!
Common square root vales
Once you know them properly, keep revising them regularly. This will increase your calculation speed significantly.
6) Approach: Your approach towards the tough questions in Quant, largely determines your probability of solving them. Do not treat tough questions as individual questions that have been created to test your intelligence. If you are thorough with your basics, you will see that tough questions are just based on twisting or tweaking of the basic concepts. They just need you to apply the concept in a different way.
We have a tendency to take a single-minded approach while applying a concept to a question. However, just looking at a problem from a different point-of-view, can be more than enough to solve it.
Also, a lot of times, a question can call upon you to use 2-3 concepts together to solve it. This is why knowing your basics is so important. Once you are thorough with your basics, you can adapt the knowledge to suit any complex question.
Therefore, change your approach towards such complex questions and improve your scores.
7) Focus on weak areas: Make sure that you do not leave out any topic/section. Focus on your weak areas. Do not keep them as topics that you have half-knowledge on. Work on your weak areas by practicing different problems and analyzing your errors. You need not be an expert on the topic. You just need to know, how to handle your weak areas, when you come across them in the exam.
8) Mock Tests: This is one point that cannot be emphasized hard enough. The more mocks you give, the better your preparation strategy gets. Why? Because after every mock test analysis, you will get an idea about your strong and weak areas, speed, accuracy, and other factors. As a result, you will then modify your strategy based on this data. Therefore, your strategy will keep adapting and evolving until the day of the exam.
Mock tests also help you to get familiarized with the pattern of the exam. They help you in getting used to the activity of sitting in one place for hours and attempting the test.
Remember, you can never be 100% done with your preparation in Quant. There will always be some score of improvement in one or more topics. Therefore, do as much as you can in the time that is available to you.
All the Best!!