How to Prepare for Quantitative Ability for the CAT

prepare quantitative ability cat

The Quantitative Ability section of the CAT only has 34 questions. However, test-takers preparing to take the exam may be overwhelmed at the dozens of concepts the IIMs can fit into so few questions. Don’t be discouraged—after all, the CAT is a standardized test. By analyzing previous years’ exams, we can see the types of questions that (standardly) appear on the test. So how to prepare for Quantitative Ability for the CAT, you ask? Let’s take a look at what we’ve found.

Be Prepared

…for what you’ll see, that is. If you haven’t looked over our posts on the Quantitative Ability Syllabus (covering the section format) and the Math Syllabus (covering section content), do this immediately!

It’s also a great idea to familiarize yourself with the format of the exam before you proceed any further. Take a look at Where to Find Free CAT Mock Tests Online for more guidance in this area. The CAT has a unique layout; furthermore, it’s a computer-based test. The format takes some getting used to, and the earlier you start working with it, the better.


Of course, any preparation for the CAT is going to involve studying, almost by definition. But what kind of study?

It’s not a good idea to start studying for the CAT without a plan. How will you know when you’ve mastered all the material that the exam covers? What types of questions you’ll go for, and what types of questions you’ll skip? How long you should spend on a question before moving on?

That’s where we come in! Depending on how long you have before the official exam, we have study guides written especially for you. Check them out:

Know Your Accuracy Score

Determining your accuracy score is easy. Find your most recent practice tests, and divide the number of questions you answered correctly in Quantitative Ability by the number of questions you attempted, and multiply by 100. That’s your accuracy score for Quant in that exam.

Track your accuracy score in Quant as you continue your CAT prep. You can do this with timed drills, individual sections—and, of course, more practice tests. If your score goes up, identify what you’re doing right. And if it goes down, identify what you’re doing wrong.

Determine Your Goals

Finally, you want to go into the CAT exam knowing what you’re trying to achieve. What are your dream schools? What are their accepted students’ CAT score ranges? Knowing that, and knowing your most recent Quant accuracy scores, will help you determine how many Quant questions to answer. Check out the following posts for more guidance:

Once you know how many Quant questions you’ll attempt, you’ll know how long to spend on each one (remember, there’s an hour for the entire 34 questions—that’s less than two minutes per question if you attempt them all). You’ll have a good idea of what your strengths and weaknesses are by now, so let those determine which questions you’ll skip and which you’ll attempt.

And then sit back and let the successful test-taking begin!

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

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