Quantitative aptitude better known as QA section appears as one of the sections of CAT in which many students are not able to clear the cut-offs. The myth is that QA section can be cleared only those who have lots of math skills, understanding of higher math and having high level of aptitude. The reality is that the QA section is all about right selection, fundamental knowledge and common sense. If you have the right approach and confidence, QA section can become your highest scoring amongst the three sections.
Develop strong fundamentals for all the 4 categories of questions – Geometry, Algebra and Number Theory, Arithmetic Operations, Logical Problems. Many questions in CAT require the understanding of concepts of two different categories. So if you leave any category untouched it will affect other questions also. For brushing up of fundamentals get the copies of NCERT math textbooks of standard 8 to 12.
Gain mastery in atleast one of the 4 categories and try to develop high speed and good confidence in this category. This will boost your confidence while attempting the paper and put you on a positive note. While learning focus on concepts and not on formulae. Try to formulate your own equations based on the understanding of questions.
Practice, practice and practice. There is no alternative to practice for scoring well in QA section. The more you practice the more you get acquainted to the formulae and large variety of questions. More practice will help you refine your approach for this section. Give QA sectional tests of 45 minutes if you are still not able to clear the cutoffs.
Just learning the concepts and practicing them won’t ensure that you score high in an exam like CAT where time is a big problem. The way you optimise the marks you score with the time you devote to QA section holds the key to your success in CAT. Thus it is very important to have right strategy in mind while attempting the paper.
Always judge the question before attempting the section and try to find out the easy ones on the basis of your skills, ability and strengths. Some problems, which may be easy for others, may also be hard for you and vice versa. So go by your perception only. Also, do not make any question an ego point. Do not stick on any one particular for so long even if you are able to solve it. Just leave the problem after stipulated time and switch over to the next problem.
Experts say that almost 80% of CAT problems can be solved by tricks without applying single formula. Apply strategies like substitution, back substitution, elimination, substitution of numbers etc. Take reasonable guesses when you have narrowed down to 2 options at the end of spending 1-2 minutes for a particular problem. Don’t solve it further at the expense of couple of minutes more.
Do not leave any questions untouched. You should have referred all the questions before leaving the section. Judge and rate all the questions before starting to solve them. Also, please don’t bluff. Bluffing will not help you in fetching marks. Believe me it will always reduce the marks by adding negative marks to your score.
To summarize all that I have said in the above article, the Mantra for cracking QA section of CAT is “Learn the concepts, practice them well and adopt the right strategy.”