This is a very common question. In the outset of the preparation, most of the CAT aspirants find themselves clueless with no idea on how to prepare quant for CAT. They struggle to find answers to the following questions.
- Which topic should I start first?
- What sequence of the topics should I follow?
They feel that they lack a strategy and a structure for their preparation. Many get worried because they feel that their preparation is random and haphazard. In this blog, I will try to share how I was able to study quant in a structured manner and what sequence of the topics did I follow. It might help you a little in giving a structure to your preparation.
When I started my preparation, I was as clueless as anyone else. I had been out of touch with maths for almost a year and did not have any habit of studying for long hours. So, I decided that I would pick the easier topics first, and started with Arithmetic. It helped me in the following ways.
- Arithmetic being relatively easier, boosted my confidence.
- It helped me set up the tone for the preparation.
- I found questions easy and interesting, so it helped me increase my study hours gradually.
Initially, when I started my CAT journey in January 2017, I would study not more than 2 hours a day for around three weeks. Gradually, I started enjoying my preparation, and so I managed to increase my study hours to an average of 5 – 6 hours a day.
What sequence of the topics did you follow?
I had the TIME material with me, so I followed the topics from that material in the following sequence.
- Arithmetic (10-12 questions in CAT)
- Algebra ( 10-12 questions in CAT)
- Number Systems (2-4 questions in CAT)
- Geometry (4-6 questions in CAT)
- P&C (1-2 questions in CAT)
- Cubes (0-2 questions in CAT)
- Profit and Loss
- SI CI
- Ratio & proportions
- Mixture and Alligation
- Time and Work
- Speed, Distance, and Time
- Sequence and Series
- Integral solutions
- Maxima Minima
I covered all these topics from TIME booklets. This gave me a basic understanding of Quant for the CAT. I reinforced these basics through mocks and their analysis by learning from them. In each topic, I used to first read the theory and the solved examples. After this, I would solve the exercise questions.
How did you gain speed?
Initially, I did not focus on speed. My only goal was to understand the concepts. If I got stuck in any question, I used to see the solution and understand that. I did not rush initially. I used to study at my own pace. With time, I was able to gain speed because my concepts got clear, and I had confidence.
Alongside this, I covered topics of speed mathematics daily for around 30 minutes. This helped me learn a few speedy calculations, and I applied those in questions. In this way, I was able to remember those tricks, and they were at my fingertips in some time.
What else did you do?
I was a part of one peer-learning group on WhatsApp and iQuanta group on Facebook. In these groups, I posted all my doubts questions. It helped me immensely, as most of the time, I got the answer to my query within a few minutes. I also helped others by solving their doubt questions in these groups. This facilitated revision of my concepts. Besides, this allowed me to remain updated with all the topics.
Once I started taking mocks, I came across questions that were new to me, and these questions exposed me to new concepts. I learned these through some videos on YouTube. I would face a lot of problems, especially in Algebra questions like mods and Graphs. Fortunately, I found beautiful explanations of all these topics on the Takshzilla YouTube channel. For algebra, I haven’t found anything better than those videos. Those videos made algebra look super easy.
Unfortunately, those videos have been taken off now, and are available only for paid users.
I also maintained a learning diary in which I had noted down all the formulas topic wise and also some questions that I felt were typical.
One last point: I did not focus much on very tough questions (L0D 3). Very few such questions are asked in the CAT exam. And, I feel, more often than not, they are meant to be left so that you can use that time in other questions. To back my point, I am roughly giving the number of questions asked in each difficulty level.
- Easy: 8-10
- Moderate – 15-18
- Tough – 4-6
In a nutshell, what helped me was
- Focus on basic concepts
- Sometimes, I couldn’t solve many questions from a topic, but I did not get harsh on myself.
- Mocks and their analysis
- Solving questions in Peer learning groups
I prepared Quant for CAT in this way. In CAT 2017, I scored 97.63 percentile in Quant in my first attempt.
I hope this article will give you some direction to your Quant preparation.
All the best!
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