Quantitative Aptitude Tips to Score Better in CAT/CMAT

Quantitative Aptitude (QA) is a critical section in both the Common Admission Test (CAT) and the Common Management Admission Test (CMAT). It tests your mathematical skills, analytical ability, and problem-solving proficiency. Scoring well in this section can significantly boost your overall score and enhance your chances of securing admission to a prestigious business school. We are here with some comprehensive tips and strategies that will help you excel in the Quantitative Aptitude section of CAT and CMAT.

Understanding the Syllabus

Before diving into preparation strategies, it is essential to understand the syllabus for the Quantitative Aptitude section.

CAT Syllabus

  1. Arithmetic: Percentages, Profit and Loss, Time and Work, Time, Speed and Distance, Ratios and Proportions, Averages, Simple and Compound Interest, Mixtures and Alligations.
  2. Algebra: Linear and Quadratic Equations, Inequalities, Functions, Logarithms, Sequences and Series.
  3. Geometry and Mensuration: Lines and Angles, Triangles, Circles, Polygons, Coordinate Geometry, Trigonometry, Mensuration (2D and 3D shapes).
  4. Number System: Divisibility, HCF and LCM, Integers, Fractions, Decimals, Factorial, Base System.
  5. Modern Math: Set Theory, Permutations and Combinations, Probability, Binomial Theorem.

CMAT Syllabus

  1. Arithmetic: Similar to CAT, including additional topics like Ages, Clocks, and Calendars.
  2. Algebra: Equations, Inequalities, Sequences and Series, Functions.
  3. Geometry and Mensuration: Similar to CAT.
  4. Number System: Similar to CAT.
  5. Data Interpretation: Bar Graphs, Pie Charts, Line Graphs, Tables.

Preparation Strategies

1. Build a Strong Foundation

Concept Clarity: Start with the basics. Ensure you understand fundamental concepts in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and the number system. Use standard textbooks like NCERT to clear your basics.

Practice Regularly: Quantitative Aptitude requires consistent practice. Solve a variety of problems to become comfortable with different question types.

Learn Shortcuts: While understanding concepts is crucial, learning shortcuts and tricks can save time during the exam. However, ensure you comprehend the logic behind these shortcuts.

2. Time Management

Set Timed Goals: Practice solving questions within a set time limit. This will help you manage your time effectively during the exam.

Mock Tests: Regularly take mock tests to simulate the exam environment. Analyze your performance to identify time-consuming areas and work on them.

Sectional Time Allocation: During the exam, allocate time to different sections wisely. Don’t spend too much time on any single question.

3. Analyze and Improve

Identify Weak Areas: Regularly analyze your performance in practice tests to identify weak areas. Focus on improving these topics.

Error Analysis: Review mistakes thoroughly. Understand why you made errors and how to avoid them in the future.

Adaptive Learning: Adapt your study plan based on your performance. Spend more time on challenging topics and less on areas where you are already strong.

4. Use Quality Study Material

Books: Use reputed books.

Online Resources: Utilize online additional learning resources and practice questions.

Coaching Institutes: If self-study is not yielding the desired results, consider enrolling in online coaching for CAT.

Topic-wise Tips and Strategies

1. Arithmetic

Percentages and Ratios: Understand the relationship between percentages, fractions, and decimals. Practice problems involving profit and loss, discounts, and markups.

Time and Work: Learn formulas and shortcuts for solving problems related to work and time. Practice problems involving multiple people working together and work equivalency.

Time, Speed, and Distance: Focus on understanding relative speed, average speed, and problems involving trains, boats, and streams. Practice solving problems using unitary methods.

2. Algebra

Equations: Master solving linear and quadratic equations. Understand the graphical representation of equations.

Inequalities: Practice solving inequalities and representing them on a number line. Understand the concepts of absolute values and logarithms.

Sequences and Series: Familiarize yourself with arithmetic and geometric progressions. Practice problems on sums of series and nth-term calculations.

3. Geometry and Mensuration

Lines and Angles: Understand basic geometric properties of lines, angles, and triangles. Practice problems involving parallel lines, transversals, and angle bisectors.

Triangles: Focus on properties of different types of triangles, including Pythagorean theorem, congruence, and similarity.

Circles and Polygons: Study properties of circles, including tangents, secants, and chords. Understand the properties of regular polygons.

Mensuration: Practice problems involving the area, perimeter, and volume of 2D and 3D shapes. Understand the formulas for different geometric shapes.

4. Number System

Divisibility Rules: Learn and practice the rules of divisibility for different numbers.

HCF and LCM: Understand the concepts of the highest common factor and least common multiple. Practice problems involving these concepts.

Base System: Familiarize yourself with different number bases (binary, octal, decimal, hexadecimal). Practice conversion problems between these bases.

Factorials: Understand the concept of factorial and practice problems involving factorial calculations and properties.

5. Modern Math

Set Theory: Understand the basic concepts of sets, subsets, unions, intersections, and complements. Practice problems involving Venn diagrams.

Permutations and Combinations: Learn the fundamental principles of counting, including permutations and combinations. Practice problems involving different scenarios of selection and arrangement.

Probability: Understand basic probability principles, including independent and dependent events. Practice problems involving probability calculations and conditional probability.

Exam-Day Strategies

1. Read Instructions Carefully

Understand the Pattern: Familiarize yourself with the exam pattern and question distribution. This helps in better time allocation.

Sectional Instructions: Read the instructions for each section carefully before starting. Understand the marking scheme and any negative marking.

2. Smart Question Selection

Start with Easy Questions: Begin with questions you find easy to build confidence and save time for tougher questions later.

Mark and Move: If you encounter a difficult question, mark it for review and move on. Return to it after answering the easier questions.

Avoid Guessing: Avoid random guessing in questions with negative markings. If you can eliminate one or two options, an educated guess might be worth the risk.

3. Stay Calm and Focused

Stay Positive: Maintain a positive attitude throughout the exam. Don’t let difficult questions affect your confidence.

Time Checks: Keep an eye on the time but don’t panic if you’re running behind. Adjust your pace accordingly.

Stay Focused: Stay focused on the question at hand. Avoid distractions and manage any anxiety with deep breathing techniques.

Post-Exam Analysis

1. Review Performance

Analyze Results: After the exam, review your performance. Identify areas where you did well and areas that need improvement.

Understand Mistakes: Analyze your mistakes to understand what went wrong. This helps in preparing better for future exams.

2. Plan Next Steps

Focus on Weak Areas: Continue practicing weak areas identified in your analysis. This ensures improvement over time.

Mock Test Analysis: Use insights from mock test performance to fine-tune your preparation strategy.

Stay Updated: Keep yourself updated with any changes in exam patterns or syllabus.


Excelling in the Quantitative Aptitude section of CAT and CMAT requires a blend of strong conceptual understanding, regular practice, effective time management, and smart exam strategies. By building a solid foundation, practicing consistently, analyzing performance, and staying motivated, you can significantly enhance your chances of scoring well in these competitive exams. Remember, persistence and dedication are key to success. Keep pushing your limits, and you will achieve your goals.