Quant masters of CAT

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Quant masters of CAT

The thought of tackling a huge magnitude of questions within a limited amount of time scares many CAT aspirants. C Krishna Narayana lists out a three-way approach to help you sail through the quantitative aptitude section with ease


There is a golden rule to life – simple things never harm. Most complexities, generally unnecessary and enforced, tend to eat into precious time, thereby robbing us of several opportunities.

The funda for CAT is quite similar – steer clear of the pre-exam frenzy and begin stocking up on all the positivity that you can possibly spot about yourself.

Remember, the preparation for the exam has to be taken very seriously and concepts have to be grasped in as much earnest, but the approach has to be full of confidence and geared towards developing a natural ease with the structure of the exam.

An extremely essential habit that you need to inculcate as a serious CAT-aspirant is keeping track of your time-and we do not mean simply in your academic domain, but employing it in your day-to-day life – thus gaining an enviable dexterity into slotting your various tasks to specific time-frames.

It’s all in the mind

One unsettling fact about the mock-tests and actual exam is the notion students have about the unnerving character they associate with the exam. For them, the exam is a monster out to crush, within its so-called complexity, their aspirations and determination. However, the fact is, it’s just another exam and has to be dealt with as much self-reliance as one would display when dealing with any practical situation.

Remember, patience and the correct method of planning is the key to placing your bet at a winsome situation. Often, it happens that students falter at easy and manageable questions simply owing to the panic and discomfort they tend to feel in the exam hall. The enormity of mental stress sometimes is so much that they would leave out many solvable questions.

Based on our experience of CAT over the past decade, we have formulated certain key norms and propositions vis--vis the quantitative aptitude section in CAT. These suggestions will help boost a student’s chance in scoring more by desisting from the temptation to attempt the maximum number of questions when the shadow of doubt is hovering over a number of them. Instead, it is smarter to adopt a three-way process wherein one begins by demarcating the questions in the quantitative aptitude (QA) section in a manner that makes a prudent, categorical approach to questions possible.

A three-way approach

First of all, a student needs to understand that a futile attempt to comprehend and solve questions which have never been his forte is simply a waste of time (and time, we all understand, slips away faster than water through a fist when it comes to CAT); you need to understand that solving all the questions is not what guarantees you success, it is fetching the maximum number of marks by avoiding incorrect answers that does. For that, we suggest you follow a discreet three-round rule.

In Round 1, solve those questions which are from your strong area or the topics that you are proficient in. Also, while solving such questions, keep in mind that they should not be confusing or time-consuming. Round 2 should include those questions which feature in your areas of proficiency but are difficult or time-consuming, or both.

Round 3 really is an optional progression, in case one has ample time left after going through the quantitative section twice. It is about moving on to questions which were not touched in the first two rounds; in other words, it is trying to solve those questions which do not at all appear solvable to you.

However, it is strongly advised that it is wiser not to wrack your brains over such questions if you stand to lose a substantial bit of your time without the correct output. For instance, those who have a good command over questions on arithmetic and probability should, in the first round, pick out these from the paper and attempt them. Subsequently, one could move on to more difficult questions.

This preference for questions varies from person to person, depending on his individual strengths or weaknesses. Your first job, then, becomes finding out these areas of strength.

Another very effective rule is to read the question and the options given for it simultaneously.

The logic behind this is to enable one to eliminate the relatively unconvincing options rather quickly, since a continuation of thought at the problem and their alternative solution makes it easier for one to discern the rationality behind some obviously incorrect choices. Also, such a technique ensures that aspects like calculation and substitution, extremely crucial to your problem-solving strategy, are allocated time accordingly.

To sum up, we may assert that the quantitative aptitude section becomes fairly tractable once one is able to flesh out a mental plan on tackling each category of questions in a pertinent manner.

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