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How to Prepare for CAT Quantitative Ability (QA) - Check Expert Advice, Tips and Tricks

Sukriti Vajpayee
Sukriti VajpayeeUpdated On: November 26, 2021 | CAT

The Quantitative Ability preparation techniques for CAT 2021 are provided in this article. The candidates who are targeting CAT 2021 will also find a detailed analysis of the Quantitative Ability (QA) section of the Common Admission Test (CAT).

QA CAT Preparartion

The Common Admission Test, which is commonly known as CAT, has established a position for itself of being the most popular and among the leading competitive management entrance exams in India. Every year, the CAT exam is conducted for the admissions of students to various management colleges of the country. A significant increase is witnessed in the total number of candidates who appear for CAT in every passing academic session. CAT does not only help students bag a seat in the well-known course of Master in Business Administration (M.B.A.) but is also considered for the selection process of applicants for the courses of Executive M.B.A. (P.G.P.Ex, P.G.P.X., E.M.B.A. etc.) and Post Graduate Diploma in Management (P.G.D.M.). The most sought after business schools of the country, including the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), use the CAT score of candidates to gauge their aptitude and proceed with their admission process.

Similar to the trend of CAT in previous years, CAT 2021 has also received lakhs of applications and the competition is only becoming more difficult. With less than three months left for CAT 2021, the applicants are busy with their preparations and last-minute revisions so that they can ace the exam. In an attempt to help the CAT 2021 aspirants with their last moment preparation strategies, this article covers a detailed analysis of the section of Quantitative Ability (QA) of CAT 2021 and provides various tips and tricks that the candidates will find useful in their preparation of QA for CAT.

CAT 2021 Components: Quantitative Ability Weightage

The CAT 2021 exam will comprise three sections and follow the pattern of previous years. The three components of the Common Admission Test and their details are given in the table below:

CAT Section

Total Questions

Time Allotted

Quantitative Analysis (QA)


40 minutes (Reduced from 60 minutes)

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)


40 minutes (Reduced from 60 minutes)

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)


40 minutes (Reduced from 60 minutes)

Quantitative Ability is one section of CAT which is considered to be difficult by a majority of the CAT test-takers. The candidates who belong to engineering backgrounds find this section relatively easier and hence, have an upper hand when it comes to Quantitative Ability questions. However, students who come from those streams or backgrounds in which they were not familiarised with mathematics much or their course had no use of basic maths and calculations find it difficult to cope with the pressure. Undoubtedly, Quantitative Analysis is a section to which the applicant needs to give a lot of attention and practise. To begin with the preparation for QA, it is important to know the Quantitative Analysis pattern in CAT.




Quantitative Analysis (QA)

Total Questions


Total Marks


Total MCQ type Questions


Total Non MCQ type Questions


Time Allotted

40 minutes

Marking Scheme

+3 for every correct answer, 0 for unattempted questions, -1 for every wrong answer

Also Read: CAT Predicted Question Paper 2021 - Important Topics, Chapters, Analysis

Quantitative Ability (QA) Syllabus for CAT 2021

The syllabus for the Quantitative Ability (QA) section of CAT 2021 is provided here. It is imperative for all candidates appearing for CAT 2021 to be aware of the Quantitative Ability syllabus so that they can prepare accordingly. All the questions that will be asked in the QA section of CAT 2021 will come from these topics.

Major Areas



Number Systems, Number Theory, Rules of Divisibility, Complex Numbers, etc.


Percentage, Profit and Loss, Ratio and Proportion, Simple and Compound Interest, Time and Distance, Time and Work, Averages, Mixtures, Partnership, LCM and HCF, Speed


Angles, Line, Triangles, Polygon, Quadrilaterals, Circles, Area, Volume, Co-ordinate Geometry, Height and Distance, Basic Trigonometry, Mensuration


Linear Equations, Inequations, Quadratic Equations, Special Equations

Modern Maths

Permutation and Combination, Probability, Statistics


Mixtures and Alligations, Set Theory, Venn Diagrams, Logarithm, Progressions, Surds and Indices, Binomial Theorem, Puzzles, Logical Questions

How to Schedule Preparation for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT

Since Quantitative Aptitude is one of the important sections in the CAT examination, you are advised to schedule your preparation in such a way that all important topics are getting enough preparation time. Two of the most important topics of Quantitative Aptitude of CAT are numbers and geometry. Both topics require at least 2 weeks of preparation. You can divide your preparation time into two or three minor parts, the first part consisting of these topics and the rest of the section for all remaining topics. 

Also Read: CAT 2021 Mock Test: Importance of CAT Mock Test During Preparation

How to Prepare for Quantitative Ability (QA) for 2021?

After a candidate has understood the pattern of the Quantitative Ability section of CAT and knows the entire Quantitative Ability Syllabus for CAT, there comes the most important question- How to prepare for CAT Quantitative Ability? The answer to this question varies from person to person. Some candidates will have to devote more time to the section due to the absence of mathematics in their education at the graduation or school level while for some candidates, QA is their strong point for CAT. In any case, what is required the most is the continuous and consistent practice of the entire syllabus. All CAT 2021 aspirants can follow the guidelines mentioned below in order to streamline their Quantitative Ability preparation for the CAT exam.

1. Strengthen the basics: In time, we all tend to lose touch with basic mathematics and simple calculations. It is extremely important for candidates preparing for CAT to brush up on their basic mathematics and gradually strengthen it. The essence of mathematics lies totally in its basics and if some student does not understand maths at the grass-roots level, it will become highly difficult for him/ her to solve equations and questions.

2. Gauge the weak points: Every candidate must be aware of his/ her strengths and weaknesses in the Quantitative Ability section. This will make it clear to him/ her about the topics that need more attention. The applicants must make it a point to work extra hard on those topics and practise more questions pertaining to them.

3. Plan a schedule: Studying haphazardly might be in favour of some students but it does not prove to be beneficial overall. The candidates must come up with a schedule regarding their Quantitative Ability preparation. It is important to chalk out a study plan keeping in mind the areas of weakness and leaving some time for revision too. Sticking to this plan will ensure that the candidate practises questions regularly and it will lead him/ her to finish the Quantitative Ability syllabus soon.

Also Read: What after CAT exam? Here are Important Things To Do

4. Practise chapter by chapter: Candidates should focus on one chapter at a time and must not try to mix questions. This way, they will understand each chapter in great depth and understand the nitty-gritty of it too.

5. Enhance mental calculations and short methods: Performing well in the Quantitative Ability section of CAT requires the candidate to give correct answers in optimum time. Short methods and strong mental calculation abilities will assist the candidate in saving time on many questions.

6. Practice mock exams: The key to acing the Quantitative Ability (QA) section of CAT is practising as many mock exams as possible. It is only with a lot of practise that candidates understand the areas in which they can improve. Practising makes them confident as well.

Preparation Tips for CAT Exam

You can check the articles provide below to know the preparation strategy for the CAT exam. 

How to Prepare for CAT VARC

How to Prepare for CAT DI & LR

Common Mistakes to Avoid During CAT Preparation

50+ Important Formulas for CAT Preparation

Toppers Tips for CAT 2021

Tips to Solve Para Jumble Questions in CAT

Best Books for Quantitative Ability (QA) Preparation for CAT 2021

Some of the books that candidates can consult while preparing for the Quantitative Ability section of CAT are given below.

  • How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT (Author: Arun Sharma)
  • Quantitative Aptitude (Author: R.S. Aggarwal)
  • Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT (Author: Sarvesh K Verma)

Top Colleges Accepting CAT Scores

There are many MBA colleges in India that accepts CAT scores. You can select these colleges by comparing their campus, fee structure and reputation. Some of the well-known MBA colleges accepting CAT scores are provided below.



Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi 

INR 10,500

Shailesh J Mehta School of Management, Mumbai

INR 2,28,000

ICFAI Business School, Hyderabad

INR 7,02,000

Amity University, Gwalior, Gwalior 

INR 1,62,000

Krupanidhi School of Management, Bangalore

INR 2,25,000

University of Engineering & Management, Kolkata

INR 1,13,000

Sanskriti University, Mathura

INR 1,15,000

Apeejay Institute of Management & Engineering Technical Campus, Jalandhar

INR 1,00,000

For admission-related guidance, fill our Common Application Form or call on our toll-free number 1800-572-9877. If you have any other doubt regarding the CAT exam, you can ask them on the Collegedekho QnA zone. To know more about management admissions check out the links captured below.

MBA Admissions in West Bengal 2021: Dates, Selection Procedure, Fees & Eligibility

MBA Admissions in Uttar Pradesh 2021: Dates, Selection Procedure, Fees & Eligibility

MBA Admissions in Punjab 2021: Dates, Selection Procedure, Fees & Eligibility

MBA Admissions in Rajasthan 2021: Dates, Selection Procedure, Fees & Eligibility

We wish you all the best for CAT exam! 


What is the key to score well in the Quantitative Ability section of CAT?

Knowing the basics, memorising the formulas and practising the mock test is the key to score well in the Quantitative Ability section of CAT.

What are the major topics that are covered in the CAT Quantitative Ability?

The major topics that are a part of the syllabus of CAT Quantitative Ability are Numbers, Geometry, Arithmetic, Modern Maths, Algebra, Mixtures and Alligations, Set Theory, Venn Diagrams, Surds and Indices, Binomial Theorem, Logarithm, Progressions, Logical Questions and many more.

How many MCQ and Non-MCQ type questions will the Quantitative Ability section of CAT carry?

The Quantitative Ability section of CAT carries a total of 34 questions out of which approximately 24-27 are MCQ based while 7-10 are non MCQ type.

Is there any sectional time limit to solve the Quantitative Ability section in the CAT exam?

Yes, the Quantitative Ability section in the CAT exam has a sectional time limit of 40 minutes.

CAT Previous Year Question Paper

CAT Question Paper 2018 Slot 1

CAT Question Paper 2018 Slot 2

CAT Question Paper 2019 Slot 1

CAT Question Paper 2019 Slot 2

CAT question Paper 2017 f1

CAT question Paper 2017 F2


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