How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT Exam 2024? Expert Preparation Tips

10 April, 2024
parthiva mewawala

Quantitative aptitude is considered to be one of the most challenging sections in CAT. The entire section is based on the application of the most basic mathematical concepts taught to us in high school. However, the way the questions are framed, coupled with the condensed time limit, can make it harder for students to think clearly. A lot of strategic practice needs to be done with suitable questions to score 40+ in quantitative aptitude. But before you even begin your prep, you first need to understand the pattern of this section, the syllabus, the important topics, and the types of questions asked. In this blog, you’ll find all those answers, along with some expert tips on how to prepare for quantitative aptitude for CAT 2024.


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Quantitative aptitude for CAT – Highlights at a glance

  • Total no of questions: 22
  • Marks awarded: +3
  • Negative marking: -1
  • Total Marks: 66
  • Time limit: 40 minutes
  • Target Marks for 99%tile: 40+
  • No of questions attempts: 18-19 (Allows for a 10-15% error rate)
  • Required accuracy level: 85-90%
  • Time taken per question: 2 Minutes
  • Topics required to cover to get 99% marks: Arithmetic (Choose from 8-10 Questions), Algebra (5-8 questions), Geometry (3-5 Questions)
  • Book to study from: How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Arun Sharma

As can be seen from the data above, the quant section accounts for a third of the total questions and marks possible. Students usually aim to breach 40 marks to get a reasonable percentile and call from leading IIMs. But to score 40 marks, you’ll need to cover all the major topics and attempt most of the questions with a searing accuracy rate of 90%. The good thing about this section is that it is easy to score well if your basic concepts are clear and you can recall the required formulae under pressure. But if your practice is lacking, your accuracy will fall.

CAT quantitative aptitude – Paper pattern


The 22 questions in this section are divided into two parts – the MCQs with negative markings and the non-MCQ questions with no negative markings. Most of the questions in this section will come from Arithmetic, followed by Algebra and Geometry. A few questions also come from Modern Math.

Ever since 2015, when IIM Ahmedabad separated Data Interpretation from the quant section, this section has become easier to deal with. Now, this section primarily tests your numerical ability, mathematical skills, and problem-solving skills. You have 40 minutes to solve elementary math questions. Based on a fair assumption that most students will need 2 minutes per question, it is best to choose the right questions to answer. There is no point either attempting all the questions or getting stuck on one for more than 2 minutes. 


Quant 2024 SectionComposition of Quantitative Aptitude Questions for CAT
Section NameQuantitative Ability
Total Questions22
Types of Quant Questions14-16 MCQs with negative marking

6-8 Non-MCQs without Negative marking

Quant 2024 section time40 Minutes
Marks for Each Correct Answer+3
Negative Marking-1
Difficulty Level Moderate to High


CAT 2024 quantitative aptitude – Syllabus and important topics

Your CAT 2024 quantitative aptitude preparation needs to be targeted with a focus on the core topics only. You need to identify the topics you want to target – ideally, the ones you’re strongest in.

Start with laying a foundation of the basic concepts behind each topic. For that, you can learn from the latest NCERT books. Once you’ve finished all the practice problems in the NCERT books and are pretty confident in your skills, it’s time to up the ante. Give a practice test under test-like conditions with a strict timer. See how long it takes you to answer the different types of questions, measure your hit rate, and quantify your skills in each topic. Now you can pick up “How to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT’ and study from it.

Here are the most critical quant topics from which most questions are asked:

QuadrilateralsPolygonsHarmonic Progression
FactorialsShortcuts in AveragesProperties Of Ratio, Proportion
Conditional ProbabilityInfinite Geometric ProgressionDerangement
Remainder ConceptNumber SystemPermutation
Combination/ProbabilityStatisticsWeighted Average


How to prepare for quantitative aptitude for CAT – Tips and strategies

According to the latest trends, the quant section in CAT 2024 will be easier compared to previous years. The IIMs are looking to make the playing field more equitable and give non-engineering backgrounds a better chance.

Draw up a schedule

This tip sounds basic but is very underrated. Our mentors, over their years of experience, have found that most students fail to live up to their expectations because of haphazard study patterns. Your preparation needs to be disciplined, and discipline requires a timetable. Figure out how many hours a day you want to study, then divide those hours between all the topics, their practice, revision, and tests. With so much on your plate, a schedule will keep you on track at all times.

Firm up your basics first

Almost every non-engineering CAT topper will tell you to first study from the NCERT books. This is because, in essence, CAT is based on elementary mathematics taught to us in high school. Once you’re comfortable with the questions, concepts, formulae, and methods taught in the NCERTs, you’ll easily handle basic and intermediate questions from CAT.

Practise shortcuts

With just under two minutes available per question, you won’t be able to solve each question entirely. Instead, learn as many shortcuts as possible to simplify your calculations and save time. Also, learn to use substitution and elimination to zero in on the correct answer without solving the entire thing.

Learn to become selective with questions

Most toppers agree that the most significant reason behind low marks in quant is the insistence to attempt every question. You need to start discerning between questions that you can do and the ones you should skip. This requires building a clear test-taking strategy that centres around your strengths and eliminates your weaknesses. Your goal is not to attempt all the questions but to attempt 18 with very high accuracy.

Test yourself with a timer

Apart from the beginning of the prep, when you’re still working on your concepts, the other parts of your preparation journey should have a lot of timed practice. Time yourself when you’re doing self-study. Chart out your timing to see which questions are taking the longest. These are the questions you can choose to avoid. With a timer, you will also learn how to face the pressure of a ticking clock. The goal is to get as fast as possible while maintaining 90% accuracy.

Give as many mocks as possible


This might just be the biggest tip of all. No amount of mock tests will ever be enough. During the first half of your prep, give one a week. Towards the end, when you’re done with the preparation and just need to revise, give one every day. Try to recreate exam-like conditions to measure how well you do under pressure. Sign up for the IMS Mock CAT Test Series, one of India’s best mock CAT exams. Apart from 40 SimCATs and 85 AdMATs, you’ll be given access to masterclasses, question banks, and video solutions to each question. The mock tests will be AI-powered and adaptive, getting harder as you become more accurate. Your score will be benchmarked against thousands of other aspirants from around the country, giving you a fair idea of how well you will do in the actual exam.


How to prepare for quantitative aptitude for CAT 2024 is one of the most asked CAT-related questions on Google. And for good reason. This section can either bolster your overall percentile to 95+ or pull your score down to the low 80s. But as long as you practice diligently and follow the directions shared above, you will do well.