CAT Quantitative Ability Syllabus

CAT Quantitative Ability Syllabus

I’ve already given you an overview of the CAT Syllabus 2017. Now let’s take a closer look at the CAT Quantitative Ability syllabus. Read on to find out everything you need to know about CAT QA.

CAT Quantitative Ability Syllabus: The Number of Questions

The CAT QA section has 34 questions total. But that’s not where the breakdown ends. You can expect 5 different question types: modern maths questions, questions about number systems, and questions types for arithmetic, algebra, and geometry.

Now here’s the great thing about the breakdown of question types: based on past CAT exams, it’s easy to predict how many questions will fall into each of the five question type categories. This is wonderful because you can see which kinds of maths are tested the most in CAT QA.

Algebra and geometry take up the biggest portion of the CAT Quantitative Ability section. There are 8 algebra questions and 8 geometry questions. This means that these two categories alone are nearly 50% of your CAT Quant score. (Remember, each question is worth one percentage point.)

So algebra and geometry should be the top priority in your CAT Quant prep. After that, your next priority should be arithmetic. You’ll likely see 7 arithmetic questions on the 2017 CAT. Then, from there, your lowest priorities should be modern maths (6 questions) and number systems (just 5 questions).

Of course, every question type should be a priority. Even the smallest category of questions, number systems, makes up about 15% of your Quantitative Ability score. Still, it’s helpful to know just how important algebra and geometry are, compared to the other question types.

Time Limits and Calculator Use

Like the other two sections of the CAT, CAT Quantitative Ability has a time limit of 60 minutes. This gives you slightly less than 2 minutes per question.

So, can you use a calculator to save time? The answer to that question is “yes and no.”

Yes, you can use a calculator. There is an onscreen calculator built into the the testing software. (To see what this looks like, take the newest official online CAT mock test.)

But no, you can’t necessarily rely on the calculator as a big time saver. Like the GMAT and many other b-school admissions tests, the calculator is often a trap. Most of the CAT’s math problems have hidden shortcuts, and are best solved mentally. Often, using the calculator in CAT QA can actually slow you down and increase the chance that you’ll make a mistake.

A Word of Caution about this CAT Quantitative Ability Syllabus

It’s important to remember that there is no official CAT syllabus. The makers of the test don’t issue a syllabus for the QA section, or for any other section. Why not? Because, technically, the CAT can change significantly from year to year.

Realistically, though, changes to the CAT are made slowly. This year’s CAT will be pretty similar to last year’s CAT. This syllabus I’ve just shown you is based on my research of past CAT exams, and my analysis of the most recent official mock CAT test.

By the way, sign up for our 1 Week Free Trial to try out Magoosh GMAT Prep!

No comments yet.


Magoosh blog comment policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will only approve comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! 😄 Due to the high volume of comments across all of our blogs, we cannot promise that all comments will receive responses from our instructors.

We highly encourage students to help each other out and respond to other students' comments if you can!

If you are a Premium Magoosh student and would like more personalized service from our instructors, you can use the Help tab on the Magoosh dashboard. Thanks!

Leave a Reply