Tips to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude (QA) for CAT 2020

Updated: May 4

I was very scared of the QA section. And I know that many of you who are non-engineers might be two. In this post I will share some tips to crack the QA section of CAT:

I feared the QA section because of two reasons:

  1. I had been making silly mistakes all my life in Mathematics

  2. I was going to compete with engineers and I feared they had a better QA (I was a commerce student and our courses had basic applications of mathematics: addition/subtraction)

Due to these reasons, I decided to self-prepare for 6 months focusing only on QA before I took coaching. In the six months, I did the following:

  • Purchased Arun Sharma’s “How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT” and solved its Level of Difficulty 1 (LOD 1) of all the chapters.

  • Created a formula book, in which I noted down all the important concepts and formulas chapter-wise (left some space after each chapter for later additions).

  • Started off with Arithmetic (profit and loss; percentages; time, distance and speed) followed by Algebra, concluded by Number System & Geometry.

After six months, I felt confident about the basics of QA. The coaching further helped me build on them. I regularly solved the coaching material to test whatever I had learned in those six months.


When I started appearing for the mocks, I was scoring around 85 percentile in the QA section with 15 attempts on an average and an accuracy rate of 80%. I knew that my attempt rate was low (one must attempt around 28–30 questions in the QA section).



In order to increase my attempt, I checked which chapters am I not attempting. Then, I started revisiting the concepts of those topics, solving their advance material (LOD 2) and giving their sectional tests to develop a comfort level.


After consistently working on each of the weak topics, I managed to raise my score to 95–97 percentile in the QA section in the mocks. Finally, I scored around 95 percentile in the CAT exam (committed silly errors due to the pressure carried over from the LRDI section).


Major takeaways:

  1. Preparation for the QA section is laborious, especially if you are beginning from the scratch. So, you must learn to be patient.

  2. Don’t set targets to study X number of hours a day. Instead, set targets to finish each chapter in Y number of days (depending upon the length).

  3. Start with topics you feel comfortable in. Number System & Geometry, each have further 8–10 sub-topics, don’t begin with them.

  4. Stay regular, even if you’re solving just 10–20 questions a day. Always refer to the solutions given at the end of the book to recheck your method.

  5. Don’t let the pressure of one section get carried over to another section. I regret it to date, even though it cost me nothing in the hindsight :)

(This was a requested post, send me your query in case you also want it to be posted on the blog)


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