Tips and Tricks to Excel in CAT QA Section

Common Admission Test (CAT) is the national level management entrance exam which is conducted by Indian Institute of Management(IIMs) for admission to 20 IIMs and more than 100 B-schools across India. Around 2 lakh MBA aspirants appear for the test every year. CAT is a computer based test that consists of multiple choice objective type questions (MCQs) from Quantitative Ability (QA), Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARS) and Data-Interpretation & Logical Reasoning section (DI-LR).


The QA section is considered to be the toughest in all the three section. Most of the candidates face a problem of low attempts (or low scores) or end up attending difficult questions that not only takes time but also result in negative marks in QA section irrespective of having a good knowledge. Here are some important key-points to note in order to excel in CAT section, but before going to the preparation strategy first let’s have a look at topics and expected Number of questions of QA section.

List of Quantitative Aptitude Topics

Topics Major Areas Expected Number of Questions
Geometry Circles, Polygon, Triangles, Angles, Lines, Height and Distance, Volume, Quadrilateral, Coordinate Geometry. Six to Nine
Algebra Inequalities, Quadratic Equation, Linear Equation, Surd Indices, Logarithm, Functions. Six to Eight
Advance Mathematics Progression and Series, Set Theory, Permutation and Combinations. Four to Six
Arithmetic Time-Work, Time-Distance, Compound Interest, Profit and Loss, Numbers and Percentage, Partnership, Averages, Mixtures. Thirteen to Fifteen



Key points and Strategy to excel-

(i) Avoid R&D: It is to be noted that the exam paper is not a place for Research and development of new rules and formulas. One should attempt only those questions with which they are familiar. Do not try to attempt any new types of question or applying new formulas to the familiar questions.


(ii) Dividing questions into rounds- Candidates can attempt QA section in 3 rounds, Round 1: Go through all the questions sequentially, but attempt questions from your area of interest, easy and non-confusing which can be attempted in less than a minute. Also, mark the lengthy and difficult questions from your area of interest.

Round 2: Now try solving those lengthy questions.

Round 3: Remaining questions can be solved if time is available.

This will result in attempting all the easy and familiar questions which candidates may skip in trying to attempt all the questions sequentially.


(iii) Pen Down Vital Points- Make a note of vital points about concepts in a notebook. It can either be a concept explanation or a small trick. Further, it will come to your rescue at the time of revision so that you do not have to dig a book just for checking some concept that you have a doubt or that is not clear to you.


(iv) Importance of Mock-test: A good saying states that “Practice makes a man Perfect”, in a similar manner a Mock test helps to prepare for an upcoming CAT exam. Candidates can evaluate their performance by taking a mock test. This test is similar to the actual exam which can help them to know about the real scenario of the examination.

Mock can help students to avoid repetitive mistakes and helps in preparation and evaluate performance.


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