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CAT 2008: Strategising for Quant, DI
Priya Varat Singh,
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July 11, 2008

Cracking the CAT lies in your strategy to ensure a perfect blend of speed, accuracy and attempts. The ability to calculate faster will not only help you in the Quantitative and Data Interpretation section but also in speedily maintaining the blend of speed and accuracy.

Quant and DI in CAT have consistently been rated as difficult and challenging. Even though there have been times when people find the verbal section extremely difficult, still Quant and DI have always been characterised by the 'tricky' and 'logical-input based' questions. This makes it vital to study the nature of Quant and DI in a CAT and recall the most effective strategies to excel in the two sections.

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Previous CATs: A micro-analysis of Quant and DI
While analysing the past CAT papers, one can easily find half of the questions that were either tricky or lengthy. A further division into moderate, easy, very easier can be made by analysing the question statements. Experts at TCY have categorised the questions of last three CATs into 'very easy', 'easy', 'moderate' and 'difficult' on the following basis:

~ Very easy: These are direct formula or theorem-based questions. There seems to be no trap in language or calculation and does not seem to have high level of implementation of logic.

~ Easy: This is the one that involves a little application of concept and one or more formulae. Questions involving language traps also come in this category.

~ Moderate: Generally this category consists of questions from geometry, mixture and alligation, time and work, and some sub-topics of number theory. Good observation and analysis, fast pace of calculation and comprehensive understanding of the concept are vital in solving these questions. An example for such type of question from CAT 2006 is given below:

Question: The sum of four consecutive two-digit odd numbers, when divided by 10, becomes a perfect square. Which of the following can be one of these four numbers? 
(1) 21  (2) 25  (3) 41  (4) 67  (5) 73

Strategy: Here the conceptual expertise will be possessed by the one who knows that the maximum sum of any four consecutive two-digit odd numbers can at most be 389. Now on twisting the question we have to think of a number less than 389 which when divided by 10 will result in a perfect square. Hence the feasible sum can be 360, 250, 160 or 90. Now let's go with the options as the answer should be a number near to one-fourth of the sum. The fifth option is easily eliminated as one-fourth of none of the assumed sums above is near 73. It should be near 90, 63, 40, and 23 and checking further we get numbers 41 as the part of four odd numbers ie 37, 39, 41 and 43 as the numbers, that are odd and which add up to 160 thereby satisfying our conditions. So 41 is the right answer.
~ Difficult: These are the questions with ambiguous and confusing question-statements. It is recommended to leave these questions unless you are very strong in math and have plenty of time.

The following graph gives an overview of the analysis:












The above graph shows that the share of 'very easy' questions is increasing since 2004 and in the year 2006 more than half (52 per cent) of the Quant questions were very easy. A similar trend was observed for DI questions (40 per cent were very easy). Although the share of difficult questions in Quant is declining, it is not the case with DI. Hence, with more and more logical reasoning inputs DI in CAT is getting more challenging than Quant.

Meeting the Quant, DI challenge
Experts from TCY offer the following tips to help recall the tools to counter the challenges offered by CAT at this stage of your preparation:

So, in order to reach the 99.99 mark it becomes imperative to get familiar with the different ways of managing the attempt and finding answers to the optimum number of questions. Keeping many sources of questions handy with you (like previous CATs and hundreds of tests and new questions available on and their continuous analysis are indispensable for CAT preparation at this stage.

Top Careers & You ( prepares national and international candidates for high-end tests viz. CAT, XAT, JMET, SNAP, CET, FMS, IIFT and GMAT. Visit for free access thousands for these tests.

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