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CAT 2006: How to ace Quant
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CAT: What you must know about D-day
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November 09, 2006

Some of you who are taking the Common Admission Test 2006 are dreading the Quantitative Ability section. 

And if geometry, algebra or Maths in general were your weak points in school, then here's some last-minute help at hand. We got Arindam Lahiri from Career Launcher to answer queries on Quant during a chat on November 8.

CAT: What you must know about D-day

For those of you who missed the chat, here is the transcript:



RaoSharad asked, Hello Sir. What will be the expected cutoff in QA, assuming the difficulty level to be same as that last year.

Arindam answers, It should be between 10 and 12.




manish asked, Hello sir. What percentage of questions can we expect from functions and graph?

Arindam answers, Manish, in the last couple of years, there have been no questions on graph. However, functions is an important area and you can expect two to three questions on this.




AMIT asked, Sir, what is the expected cut-off in DI-LR section this year?

Arindam answers, Amit, it depends on the level of difficulty -- at the same level of difficulty (LOD) as last year, it will be around 14.




Yo asked, Hi Sir, can you give me the questions which are coming in CAT 2006 please?

Arindam answers, Yo, not in public (just joking).




abhishesk asked, How much do we need to score in each section, assuming the same difficulty level of paper as that last year?

Arindam answers, QA -- around 12, DI -- around 14, and English -- around 16.




sb asked, Will QA be a surprise package for CAT this year ?

Arindam answers, Sb, any section in CAT can be a surprise -- be prepared.




HritikrayCalcutta asked, Hello Sir. I am very weak at Quant. So, I am targeting only a few chapters. They are -- probability, per-com, progression, time-work-distance, mensuration and co-ordinate geometry. How many questions can one expect on these topics?

Arindam answers, Hritikay, on these topics, you can expect around 10-12 questions in total.




Shailendra asked, Hi, I want to prepare for the CAT next year. What reference material should I use... I know it may be a wrong time to ask but I want the proper guidance so asking in between...plz if possible do a reply..

Arindam answers, Shailendra, pick up the Class IX or Class X level NCERT textbook to revise basic concepts.




Mayank C asked, Despite consistent efforts, my speed in solving questions in Quant (I know the fact that it's not a speed test, but a conceptual one) is bad, i.e., I'm unable to attempt all the questions that I mark before starting to solve them. Could you please tell me what could be my best strategy to implement in the CAT. My accuracy in Quant in the last four mock-CATs has been 75-90 per cent.

Arindam answers, Mayank, you have a decent accuracy rate. I can suggest only when I know how many are you attempting.




CLian asked, Hello Sir. How to cope with geometry? Even after brushing all the theorems and axioms, I am not able to crack Geometry questions.

Arindam answers, CLian, at this stage there is no point being troubled over your weak areas -- focus on your strength areas and hope you get a couple of easy questions in your weak areas.




ssh asked, Hello sir, please tell me the tentative TOTAL required to get calls from all IIMs... considering the level of difficulty of last year..

Arindam answers, Ssh, you should look at a 50-plus score with a balanced score in all sections.




CLian asked, Hi. Not able to score in double figure in Quant section in any of the MOCK-CATs. Does it reflect exactly what will happen on 19 November? What to do?

Arindam answers, CLian, your aim has to be to get into double digit - however, some of the mock levels may have been more difficult that the level of CAT in the past years.




balaji asked, Sir, I would be glad if u could answer my question -- why does CAT always concentrate mostly on topics like Geometry, functions and numbers, while there are other equally better topics?

Arindam answers, Balaji, the topics on which CAT asks questions are typically fundamental areas of Math. Also, in management studies, a lot of Quant techniques are used which use these concepts as a base.




CLian asked, Are CAT cut-off marks relevant for Non-IIM institutes? What if one has a good overall score without clearing CUT-OFF in particular sections?

Arindam answers, Clian, most of the non-IIM institutes do not look for sectional cut-offs.




pooja asked, Hello sir, I am very weak in Math, but have command on reasoning and English. Can I clear the paper with this combination?

Arindam answers, Pooja, look at using reasoning/logic to solve a few questions in the Quant section of CAT as well -- it is possible.




Sonia asked, Hi Sir, what should be our strategy for the next 10 days?

Arindam answers, Sonia, revise your strength areas and take not more than two tests during this period. Do not stress your mind by building pressure on yourself.




rookie asked, My attempts in Quant over the last 10 minutes always go wrong. What should be done to change my strategy, assuming I give 50 minutes to Quant..

Arindam answers, Rookie, do not try to maximise attempts or do wild guessing in the last 10 minutes. Getting a number more can be much more difficult than losing a few marks at this stage.




Mayank C asked, Also, I've found myself quite vulnerable in LR-DI section. And my forte has been only English and Math. In Mock CATs, I've been scoring in English always (20+) and Quant (usually 8-10). What would you suggest be the best time-distribution for me. I presently give 1hour to English, 50minutes to Quant, 40 minutes to LR-DI.

Arindam answers, Mayank, If you are targeting IIMs, you will need to spend more time on the DI area by cutting down time on English. If you are looking at only non-IIMs, overall score maximisation is a good strategy.




ms asked, Hi sir, can u give some prep tips for the last 10 days? Would sectional test help us build a specific strategy for the particular section?

Arindam answers, Ms, other than taking two FLTs, you just revise � you can attempt sectional tests, but not too many at this stage.




pritesh asked, Sir, the time limit has been increased -- does that mean more cut-offs this year, assuming the same difficulty level as last year?

Arindam answers, Pritesh, it does not have a direct correlation and depends on the LOD of the paper




BLACKI asked, Should I mug up all the formulae and result seen through so far. What's a better way to recollect all fundas?

Arindam answers, BLACKI, mugging up at this stage may not translate into marks. Until you apply what you have mugged up, it may not be beneficial, at least at this stage




anirban asked, Sir, since very few days remain, I am preparing only select chapters in Quant. Can u tell me how many questions can we expect in Geometry, numbers, inequalities, mod, qe ,prog, etc.?

Arindam answers, Anirban, all the topics mentioned by you are important topics and you can expect a sizeable number of questions on these.




BLACKI asked, What's the best order to attempt sections? Weaker in the mid of exam and strongest in the end?

Arindam answers, BLACKI, do start from the area in which you are reasonably confident, as a few marks scored in the first 10 minutes of the test may boost your confidence.




BLACKI asked, What is the best thing to do on 18 November (a day before D-day)?

Arindam answers, BLACKI, just chill out. Don't study.




harsha asked, Hi, I fall short by two to three marks, on an average, in Quant, in all mocks till date. I am a little worried. Please advise. Thanks.

Arindam answers, Harsha, take a look at where your problem lies -- attempts or accuracy, and then work on it. However, do not try any 'stunts' at this stage as you may fall far behind where you are now.




BLACKI asked, Please list out the main chapters of Quant, which should be revised well, on the basis of frequency of appearance in previous years. If  possible, rank-wise.

Arindam answers, BLACKI, based on the last few yrs -- the most important modules have been numbers, sys, algebra, and geometry. Within algebra, topics like inequalities, functions and quadrilateral equations. Within Geometry, similar triangles, tangent/normal, cyclic quadrilaterals...




Karan asked, Sir, I am not very good at Quant. Do you suggest I concentrate only on the select areas I am comfortable with?

Arindam answers, Karan, that will be the best strategy at this point in time. Stick to your strength areas.




Vishal asked, Is Math very important for IIFT, SNAP, IBSAT, FMS, etc.? And is the toughness of the same level? How do we need to change our approach for other exams?

Arindam answers, Vishal, Math is a common section across all tests. However, overall level of difficulty is not that high, except for a few questions in higher Math area in some of these tests.




Mayank C asked, Sir, to answer your question about how much I have been attempting in Quant, I've been attempting usually 10-15 questions in Quant, 30-45 in English (with 75-90 per cent accuracy) and 8-10 in LR-DI (with 45-50 per cent accuracy). Now, can u tell me what can be my best strategy to maximise the score?

Arindam answers, Mayank, you may look at the 40-40-40 strategy, and spending the remaining 30 minutes in two sections (may be in LR-DI and English -- with the twin objective of maximising the score and getting closer to cut-off in DI).



JawadShaik asked, Hi, I do well in AIMCATS, which are higher difficulty level but not when the paper is easier. What are the chances of  the CAT 2006 paper being a difficult one?

Arindam answers, Jawad, Your speed might be a concern. In case it is an easy paper, you will have to have more attempts to retain the percentile level.




Sonia asked, I have been getting around 91-97 percentile in CL Mocks CATs as well as FLTs. But on all these tests, I have never cleared the cut-off for QA. Percentile for QA is always less than 85,whereas in Eng and DI, it goes above 90/95. Do you think with this sort of a distribution, I stand a chance to get a call from SP Jain, MDI, TAPMI etc.? What can be the institutes I should expect a call from?

Arindam answers, Sonia, for the institutes you have listed, you will have to score a total of 95 percentile+. Just missing Quant cut-off may not be a problem with these institutes.




raj asked, How much time should one devote to QA (I am always near the cut-offs.. and spend about 50 minutes)?

Arindam answers, Raj, you may look at spending an additional five minutes in this section to do that one extra question, which may get you to the cut-off .




BLACKI asked, What's the best order of sections to take on? Weaker in mid/strongest in last? What's the ideal one as per your experience?

Arindam answers, BLACKI, Both strategies work, weakest in the middle or strongest in the middle. However, do not start the paper with the weakest area.




Discussion: What's your CAT strategy?

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