Tales of CAT aspirants and IIMA stories: How to crack Quants?

Tales of CAT aspirants and IIMA stories

It's a tale from the students about CAT and IIMA. I shall be bringing in success stories from different students, their focused CAT preparation strategies. Also, posts will be there on the life and culture at IIMA, that you may be keen to know. It's an insider's view!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

How to crack Quants?

Well...well..well ... Quants/QA in CAT. Simply put, it's a killer section. If you want to crack CAT, you need to crack Quants! There's no short cut here. Throw away your maths phobia, believe me - no need to be a quants wizard to solve the CAT questions. Come on - it's not rocket science or high funda maths. I am a biology student and I scored 99.99 percentile in Quants.

Definitely I'll tell you about my strategy. It's nothing unique or extraordinary - it's very simple. You all know about the areas in CAT: number theory, geometry, mensuration, arithmatic and algebra. Now follow what I say:
  • Practice basic level in each and every area. Keep things simple. Don't ignore any area, especially the basics.
  • Practice algebra, number theory, mensuration and geometry. You can expect majority questions from this section.
  • Don't leave any area untouched. You can't avoid anything here - otherwise CAT will avoid you.
  • Try to identify SITTERS in Mock exams. Yeah I said SITTERS. Atleast 50% questions here are sitters - takes less than a minute to solve. You need to identify them through practice. Remember, sitters depend on your level of practice and sitters vary from aspirant to aspirant!
  • One way of identifying sitters is resolving the quants section once the mock cat is over. Take a note pad - keep a note of the way you solved specific type of problems. That note will help you identifying quickly specific types and solving them within a minute - because you know the strategy.
  • If your calculation precision is weak - like mine - do onething. Suppose 54.6*75.8 and your answer choices are 2789.88, 3588.88, 4557.66, 4138.68. Multiply the last two numbers - 6*8 = 48, hence the answer should end on 8, one option eliminated. Next multiply the first two, 7*5=35, hence the answer would be > 35 in the first two digits which leaves us with the option 4138.68. Problems won't be this simple but this will give you a clue how to intelligently use limited maths ability to the maximum extent. Why I need to go for complex calculations when a two simple calculations can do it faster?
  • Try to identify the shortcuts. I remember thoroughly reading a book for banking services - Magical Mathematics. It was a good help to a math-phobic person like me.
  • Don't overstudy sections like ratio proportions, simple and compound interests, permutation-combination and probability - only basic knowledge will do in CAT. If you see a differential or intergral problem in one CAT paper doesn't mean you need to mugg through entire diff-integral calculus! That thing may or may not come - a high chance of not coming is there. So, don't lose your focus. Rather keep your basics clear.
  • Go through time and work section thoroughly. I tended to avoid this section because of its length. But, in actual CAT I got a known problem - an absolute sitter here. So, while solving papers post-exam don't avoid it - you never know when you get a sitter. If in the exam you feel that the question is direct or a sitter - do it otherwise leave.
So by now you've understood the importance of getting sitters in QA. Practice now for sitters - this is the opportune time! Start identifying the sitters in mock and actual CAT papers - it'll help you in identifying the easy questions and solving them with a brisk pace. Keep minimum 30 minutes for Quants in CAT. If you haven't made a notebook of sitters yet - start today! Believe me, 50% questions are sitters which won't take more than 30-40 seconds to solve.

I have started a discussion forum on my blog, keep putting in your questions and suggestions there. Plus you can chat there too!
Keep mugging!


Blogger The Egonomist said...

Thanks man. We did cover most of these tips in coaching. And, for the simple mathematical calculations - do more or less the same! Keep it up man, hopefully one of us make it as your junior!


9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks 4 these little things which mean a lot....

11:57 PM  

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