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