Top 10 Tips to Improve CAT Quantitative Ability Score

Top 10 Tips to Improve CAT Quantitative Ability Score

When you’re applying to top Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), it’s good to have strong scores in all three sections of the CAT exam. That includes, of course, Quantitative Ability. For a lot of students, Quant is a challenge—not least because it’s the last section on a three-hour test! By preparing well, though, you can conquer that challenge and get the score of your dreams! Read on for our top 10 tips to improve CAT Quantitative Ability score.

  1. Know the Exam

    It sounds simple, but you’d be amazed at how many students don’t study all the subjects they’ll encounter in CAT Quant. Either they don’t know what those subjects are, they’ve studied with the wrong practice materials, or they’re crossing their fingers that their particular weaknesses won’t show up on this year’s test. Don’t let this be you! Check out the Math Syllabus for the CAT Exam to brush up on the Quant topics you might see.

  2. Practice Mental Math

    Yes, I know there’s a calculator on-screen. But have you spent any time using on-screen calculators? If you have, you know that they’re clumsy and waste precious seconds. Beyond that, test-takers end up relying on them for math they could do just as quickly (if not more quickly!) in their heads. Spend some time each day building up your mental math skills as you practice. It does take some practice, so start early—but you’ll be amply rewarded with extra time on the exam.

  3. Use Flashcards in Context

    So many test-takers prepare for Quant by writing out formulas on flashcards. Don’t get me wrong—it’s great to study on the go! But it’s no good to know a formula if you don’t know how to use it. A better idea? Write out problems that use those formulas on the flashcards. Even if you’re on the bus or waiting in line and don’t have room to take notes, all the better—it’s a great time for mental math practice!

  4. Know Your Strategies

    By the time the official exam rolls around, you should have your general Quant strategy all set. How many questions will you attempt? You can check out some of these posts for guidance, based on how accurate you are and what your score goal is:

    But you should also be familiar with strategies you can use in the Quant section particularly. Even though these are GMAT tips, they work just as well on the CAT:

    (Tip: Explore the Quant section of our GMAT blog for even more math practice and tips!)

  5. Build Your Endurance

    The Quant section is the third and final section of the CAT. By that point, you’ll have been at the test center for more than two hours and most likely be tired, thirsty, hungry, and a lot of other adjectives to boot! The way to address this? Practice in test-like conditions. I know it can be a pain to set aside three hours a week (or twice a week, or even more) to take practice exams all at once—but it’s the only way you’ll get the endurance that you need for test day.

  6. Become a “Mathematical Thinker”

    How are you at spotting patterns? Using formulas? Putting principles into practice? Thinking mathematically is one skill that you should be practicing constantly before tackling Quant on test day. Check out Mike’s tips for Mathematical Thinking to get you started!

  7. Know Your Vocab

    If you’re missing a lot of questions in Quant practice, have you considered that you may be misunderstanding the questions themselves? Take a look at our CAT Word List to make sure you have the mathematical vocabulary you need to be truly prepared for the exam.

  8. Be Careful

    Silly mistakes can cost you big points on CAT Quant. What do I mean by this? Dropping a negative sign. Reading the question wrong. Even answering it correctly, but clicking the wrong answer choice. For more on common math mistakes and how to avoid them, check out Mike’s advice.

  9. Get Faster

    To get faster, work with sets of 10 practice problems. At first, time yourself, but don’t hold yourself to any particular timeframe. Take note of that time. Then, with each subsequent set, shave a few seconds off of your initial time. Keep going until you hit the same accuracy score—then shave a few more seconds off. This process can take a few weeks or even a few months, but it pays off big in the end.

  10. Get Better

    At the end of the day, there are only two ways to up your CAT Quant score: get faster and answer more questions, or get better. Ideally, you’d do both. And how do you get better? Take the above tips and apply them to your practice: your drills, your problem sets, your mock exams. Push your accuracy score as high as you can. And when test day comes around, you’ll know that you did everything you could to ensure maximum success on CAT Quant!

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