How to prepare QA for CAT?

Updated on 3rd April 2023 | 11:32 am | #QApreparation

The Quantitative Aptitude (QA) section focuses on the mathematics side of the syllabus. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Quant for CAT haunts the dreams of many non-engineering aspirants. With CAT generally being regarded as a ‘tough’ exam, the prospect of solving high-level Quantitative Aptitude leaves several aspirants shaking.

But is it really high-level quant?

However, before candidates begin QA preparations for CAT, let us understand the exam pattern and syllabus of this section. Knowledge of the paper pattern and syllabus will help you narrow down your preparations and develop a plan.

Essential Tips for QA Prep by Shivku Sir

Prepare QA for CAT: Exam Pattern

Here is the tentative pattern of quant for CAT 2023:



Total Questions for QA


Total Time Allotted

40 minutes

Multiple-choice Questions


Type in the Answer (TITA) questions


Marking Scheme

+3 for a right answer
-1 for a wrong answer
No negative marking for TITA

Main Topics

Arithmetic, algebra, coordinate geometry, trigonometry, probability, modern math, etc.

Click here for the full syllabus

General Stages: QA Preparation for CAT

Worry not! This article will carry details on the Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by establishing a process for QA preparation for CAT.

  • Learn the basics: CAT is as much a speed test as it is a skill-based test. Thus, it is important to improve the speed of solving including the speed of calculation. The different tricks and tips can be looked at in this stage to identify the ones which work for the candidate and which ones to avoid.
  • Practise Questions: To boost up the preparation to the next level after establishing the basics properly, practice the level of questions by using the NCERT books from Class 10 to 12. Thus, even choosing a reference book is no longer an issue, practice and improve your speed through these books before moving on to more advanced material.
  • Increase the Level of Difficulty: Following the basic preparation, the intermediate level of questions should be attempted. The concepts should be clear at this level so the focus should be on maintaining a high level of accuracy. The speed of solving can initially be sacrificed to clear the concepts further. However, once the concepts are clear, the practice to increase the speed should start in earnest again.
  • Prepare with Mocks: In the final step, the candidate should appear for as many mocks as possible. Attempting mocks will allow the candidate to identify his strengths and weaknesses in the section and will give them a target to work towards. Depending on the time remaining for the exam, the weaknesses need to be consolidated as much as possible. You should be able to solve at least the basic questions in an acceptable time.

Topics Covered in Quantitative Aptitude for CAT

The topics covered in the Quantitative Aptitude syllabus is not clearly defined in the syllabus due to which the students are always confused about how to prepare for the Quantitative Aptitude for CAT (QA) section. However, some analysis on the previous year's papers yielded the information that every year, Numbers and Geometry & Mensuration generally account for the highest number of questions in the form of almost 10-12 questions.

1. QA Preparation for CAT: Geometry & Mensuration

Geometry and Mensuration formulae are quite intensive in number which is one of the reasons that many students find this section tough. Without the formulae and the tricks, solving these questions could take a very long time. In order to help the students how to prepare for the Quantitative Aptitude for CAT (QA) section, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Memorise and make note of all the commonly used formulae such as area, volume, etc.
  • Symmetry should be kept in mind when solving the section since it can half the time of solving in some cases.
  • Some options can be eliminated directly by looking at the dimensions or the values.
  • Most of the questions on this topic are limited to a few types which have already been asked in the previous CAT papers. Thus preparation for the mensuration topic can be done from there directly.

For geometry, the various theorems are difficult to remember and this makes solving some of these questions very difficult. There are questions where knowing the right theorem could solve the question within 15 seconds while the conventional methods may exceed a couple of minutes.

2. QA Preparation for CAT: Alligations and Mixtures

Alligations and Mixtures are a topic that can be tested in conjunction with other topics, such as profit and loss, or through stand-alone questions. The basic concept of this topic is that it consists of two or more materials/items being mixed and the questions are usually framed to ask how much of each should be added to a mixture in order to reach a particular ratio. Profit and Loss can be added to this question by mentioning the cost of each material and the cost of the alloy.

3. QA Preparation for CAT: Sequence & Series

Sequence and Series is a topic that covers three basic topics: Arithmetic Progression, Geometric Progression, and Harmonic Progression. These topics, like Alligation and Mixture, can be stand-alone questions or may be mixed with other topics, although that is quite rare.

4. QA Preparation for CAT: Trigonometry

Trigonometry is an auxiliary topic that is used in geometry, time, speed, and distance and as a standalone topic. The basic formulae for trigonometry should be at every CAT student's fingertips as it can be used quite a lot.

Tips and Tricks: Quant for CAT

These are some of the topics that carry significant weight in the Quantitative Aptitude section. Some general tips on how to prepare for the QA section are:

  1. Improve calculation speed through practice as well as other techniques such as Vedic Maths.
  2. Build a strategy on how many questions to attempt based on your comfort level with this section.
  3. In the exam, the main focus should be on accuracy even if the speed is slightly slower than expected since the level of the paper varies every year.
  4. Attempt different strategies in the mock exams in order to arrive at the final strategy that you wish to use in the final exam.

Best Books to Prepare Quant for CAT

For candidates who wish to study by themselves or require extra reading material to establish their grasp on the section of QA for CAT, here are a few books to guide you on the way-

  1. How to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Arun Sharma
  2. Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT - Nishit Sinha
  3. Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT – Sarvesh Verma
  4. Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension- Ajay Singh


How to plan QA preparation for CAT was once one of the biggest questions that aspirants needed to answer before they could think about giving the exam. However today, we have several resources available online to start our preparation right away. Still, the competitiveness of classroom coaching in QA classes is difficult to compete with as it is the most level field between the aspirants while VA and DILR favor those who might have a natural knack for it.

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