How to Prepare for CAT Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation Section?


New member
Common Admission Test or CAT is a standardized computer based examination the score of which is necessary for admission in the premiere business schools of India.


The syllabus of the Quantitative Aptitude consists of elementary mathematics based on 10+2 difficulty level and cover topics such as arithmetic, algebra, number systems, commercial mathematics, trigonometry, geometry, probability, mensuration, permutation combination, averages, quadratic and linear equations and profit and loss.

The Data Interpretation section includes data interpretation and analysis based on tables, graphs, texts, charts etc.

Allocation of marks

The section-wise allocation of questions is as follows-

Quantitative Aptitude- 80% (Algebra and number theory- 55-60% ; Geometry and Mensuration- 25-30% ; Arithmetic and Miscellaneous- 15-20%)
Data Interpretation- 20%
Plan your study

You should start preparations early so that you have enough practice at hand. Devote at least 8 hours of rigorous study everyday and take mock tests at regular intervals. Begin by practicing the fundamentals and move on to develop pace and precision.
Choose the topics

You should focus on the particular topics where you are most proficient and develop yourself based on those topics to score the maximum amount of marks from them. Topics such as time, numbers, algebra, speed, distance and permutations and combinations appear most frequently on the paper and must be emphasized sufficiently.
Follow the pattern for focused preparation

It is elementary to follow the question patterns of previous years to attain precise understanding of the entire syllabus. The focus of preparation should begin with the area where you feel you are lacking the most, followed by the areas where you are moderately good succeeded by the areas where your expertise lie.
Master the concepts

Instead of trying to memorize the questions, get a strong idea of the concepts since most of the questions would be based on applications of simple concepts.
Categorical analysis

Arithmetic will require you to relate multiple concepts for one question.
For geometry, develop strong idea of the concepts by practicing applications of theorems.
Algebra will demand prime perception and revelation of concepts in a realistic approach rather than mere memorization.
Techniques such as substitution of values and back substitution can be helpful to solve problems on algebra quickly.
To answer the logical section, apart from mathematical proficiency aptitude for logic is necessary which comes only with ample practice.
Time management

Intelligent time management can be ensured by focusing on solving calculations/equations accurately and taking appropriate decisions quickly. Learn the tricks to calculate in a jiffy by memorizing tables till 25, cubes till 20 and squares till 30. Vedic math helps at quick multiplications and finding squares and cubes of multiple digit numbers through only one step.
For Data Interpretation

You must learn to spot alterations readily by looking at graphs and consider available options to arrive at solutions rather than make the calculations blindly.
Negative marking

You should never attempt to guess at an answer unless you are absolutely sure about it.
Recommended books and Online Material

NCERT books from 8th-10th standard
Pearson guide to QA and DI by Nishit Sinha
Quantitative Aptitude for MBA Entrance Examinations by R.S. Aggarwal
How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for the CAT Common Admission Test by Arun Sharma
Gradestack Complete CAT Prep Course

Himanshi Agarwal

Well-known member
Syllabus :
TrigonometryPermutation and CombinationAlgebra
Number SystemsProbabilityMixtures and Alligations
Ratio, Proportion and VariationProfit, Loss and DiscountGeometry
Set Theory & FunctionLogarithm & Surds and IndicesComplex Numbers

Himanshi Agarwal

Well-known member
Quantitative Ability
  • Caselets and Tables.
  • Bar Graphs and Column Graphs.
  • Venn Diagrams.
  • Line Charts & Pie Chart.
  • Combination of two or more types linked to each other.
  • Number and Letter Series.
  • Calendars, Cubes and Clocks.
  • Binary Logic.