A Non-Engineer's Guide to the Quantitative Ability Section of the CAT Exam

A blog about how non engineer can approach the quantitative ability section of the CAT Exam.
A Non-Engineer's Guide to the Quantitative Ability Section of the CAT Exam

A Non-Engineer's Guide to the Quantitative Ability Section of the CAT Exam

Are you a non-engineer who is looking to take the CAT Exam? If so, you may be feeling a little intimidated by the quantitative ability section. Don't worry – you're not alone! This section of the exam can be challenging for anyone, regardless of their educational background. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips that can help you prepare for and ace the quantitative ability section of the CAT Exam.2.

The Stereotype: -

There is a common misconception in the aspirants that CAT exam is cake walk for engineers because of the presence of the Quantitative Ability (QA) section in the CAT exam syllabus. The high weightage of Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation (LRDI) and QA in the test further solidifies this myth. But with proper practice and diversified academic background even non-engineers can score a rocketing percentile and realise their dream of studying in a top b-school. Below are few ways through which non-engineers can compete with their engineer counterparts: -

1.     Equal Attention to Each Section: -

There are three sections in CAT namely, Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC), Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation (LRDI) and Quantitative Ability (QA). Engineers may have an edge over other aspirants in the QA and LRDI section but that doesn’t mean that non-Engineers are at a disadvantage in these sections. With an extra dedicated efforts towards these sections non- Engineers can be at par with engineers. Because the syllabus of the sections pertains to the 10th class level which everyone has studied. Engineers are at advantage because they have studied advanced mathematical concepts and therefore this syllabus is a child’s play for them. Moreover, aspirants need not to forget that all the sections are important thus they should divide their time judiciously to each & every section. Also, there is a sectional cut-off which needs to be cleared in order to get a call from an IIM.

2.     Practice, Practice & Practice: -

For Quants it is important that we are well versed with the syllabus and have a good hold over the same with ample amount of practice. One can give sectional test, topic test and full-length mock tests on a regular basis along with practicing the textbook questions. The two main pillars to sail through this section are speed and accuracy and these will come only after a good amount of practice.

The major issue that we all face, even if we memorize all the shortcuts is that in the exam pressure, we end up using the traditional (and lengthier) way. Try to follow a routine, every time you pick a new chapter also pick an old one to revise. Give sectional tests that have a good mix of questions from different chapters, which will help you evaluate the part where you mostly get stuck. Many aspirants tend to run after study material from multiple coaching institutes. They need to realize that CAT is not a syllabus specific exam, covering multiple materials will not guarantee that you will be able to solve a question in the exam that you may have done before. It is rather suggested to repeat the same material and focus on core concepts. However, mocks tests from different institutes are recommended.

3.     Extra Attention to Important Chapters: -

There are some topics which appear more frequently than others in the CAT Exam. For Example, Arithmetic has more weightage than Logarithm since 2015 and hence an aspirant should dedicate more time to that chapter. The chapters in the QA section of CAT can be grouped into - Arithmetic, Algebra, Number System and Geometry. Arithmetic has the highest weight and demands a good amount of time. Algebra demands the least amount of time and is very scoring. The majority of questions from Algebra can be attempted using the hit and trial method.


Number System and Geometry are very lengthy topics and need very detailed study. You may consider skipping one of these chapters (this is just my personal opinion). One tip for the QA section is a proper analysis of mock tests. You must try to note down the tricky questions you come across during the mocks. By the end, you will have a set of the best questions from all your mock tests.

4.     Strategize for the ‘D-Day’: -

You should come up with your own strategy to attempt the paper. Each individual has different method of approaching the paper and sometimes that approach creates the difference between success and failure. There are basically two strategies, one is to catch hold of the low hanging fruits and first solve the questions which are easy or you are comfortable solving and then in the second round go for challenging questions. Another strategy is to solve each and every question of the exam, of course keeping in mind the time limit. So, your personal strategy will develop only if you give more and more full-length mocks, sectional mocks and topic tests. You should also make use of features such as "Mark for Review" and "Question Paper View" during your mocks as well as in the final CAT attempt.

So, these are the few tips through which non-Engineers can boost up their CAT Prep and perform at par with engineers even in the sections which is their forte. Keep preparing with a positive mindset.

All the Best!