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CAT 2022 will be held on November 27, 2022. The objective of the Quantitative Ability section is to evaluate candidates' numerical aptitude and Mathematical skills. Here are some tips for students to score well in the Quantitative Ability section. One of the most common questions that students ask is: Which topics are important for CAT? Can we predict which topics in mathematics are more important than others in CAT? The answer is both yes and no. As over the years, we have seen that the weightage of some topics has changed substantially while some topics still have almost the same weightage as they had a decade ago.  So how to plan? Let us divide the syllabus of CAT quantitative Ability into four groups and then plan on the basis of the weightage of various topics in the previous year's papers.

Arithmetic: Linear Equations, Ratio - Proportion - Variation, Profit Percentage Loss, Time and Work, Time Speed and Distance, AMA, Simple and Compound Interests.

Geometry: Lines, triangles, quadrilaterals, polygons, 3D solids.

Algebra: Quadratic equations, Progressions, Basic Algebra, Indices Logarithms Surds.

Others (Higher Mathematics): Functions and Graphs, Permutations and Combinations, Probability, Inequalities, Set Theory, Coordinate Geometry, Trigonometry. 

Arithmetic plays an important role in CAT exam, if you look at the pattern of recent CAT, more than 50% of the paper is based on Arithmetic.  So completely revise each topic of Arithmetic and practice an adequate number of questions to get a deeper understanding of the topics. Arithmetic alone can fetch you the required marks to clear the cutoff. Any additional question is a bonus! Look at the topic-wise distribution of CAT 2021.

CAT 2021 Topic-wise distribution
Arithmetic: 12 Questions
Geometry: 3 Questions
Algebra: 3 Questions
Others (Higher Maths): 4 questions

How much score is a good score?

Though your performance in CAT is a measure of how you perform in comparison to others, yet on the basis of the previous year's papers it can be concluded that if you attempt 12 to 13 questions with good accuracy then you will be in the top 5% of the population and your percentile will be around 95. So getting around 10 questions correct should be your target. Most of these questions can be managed from Arithmetic, Basic Algebra, and Geometry. 

How to plan?

Planning to complete the syllabus may be different for students, a student who is good at mathematics, should complete all the topics along with Arithmetic and Geometry. While a student who is an average performer should focus more on Arithmetic and Geometry. You can expect 10 to 15 questions from these two topics and with decent accuracy, a student can reach to a good score in the Quantitative Ability section. 

There are three stages of preparation for any topic :

  • Study the basic theory and solve some examples of easy-to-average difficulty levels. 
  • Solve questions from practice exercises and identify the weak areas in the topic, where you can possibly commit a mistake. Practice these types of questions again. 
  • Revise and take online tests and analyze them, note that only taking a test is of little use if we don't analyze it in detail to identify the mistakes.  

 

Take Online Tests:

As mentioned above, taking a test is very important to identify weak areas. Don’t worry about the low score on the test as a low score on a test does not imply that your preparation is poor, remember that wherever you start, just focus on improving from that score every day. That’s the key.

 

Be consistent and practice daily. Develop the skill progressively with the help of practice questions. Consistency is the key.

Role of Alternate Methods in Quantitative Ability:

Some questions (and not all) can be solved using some tricks and choice elimination. You will find all types of questions, some of them can be solved only by traditional methods, while some can be easily solved by choice elimination. My sincere advice to students is that you should know the choice elimination method but do not depend too much on this, sometimes there are questions, which are very deceptive and cannot be solved simply by choice elimination. Rather you end up getting a negative score on these questions.

Look at the following example from CAT 2017.

If \(a\) and \(b\) are integers of opposite signs such that \({(a + 3)^2}:{b^2} = 9:1\) and \({(a - 1)^2}:{(b - 1)^2} = 4:1\), then the ratio \({a^2}:{b^2}\) is:  [CAT 2017]

At first glance, the question looks quite simple and we may try putting values of \(a\) and \(b\) from the choices and quickly we reach the first choice. But wait, the question says that both \(a\) and \(b\) are integers of opposite signs, so the first choice is not correct.  After solving this question traditionally, we get \(a = 15\) and \(b = -6\). And then the ratio \({a^2}:{b^2}\) is 25 : 4. We see that from the ratio, it is very difficult to reach values of \(a\) and \(b\).

Always read the question carefully:

Many times students overlook some parts of the question which can make the answer completely wrong. It is advised to read questions very carefully, especially when the question has a phrase of the type integers, positive integers, non-negative integers, odd/even numbers, more than, not more than, etc. Look at this example from CAT 2021.

For all possible integers \(n\) satisfying \(2.25 \le 2 + {2^{n + 2}} \le 202\), the number of integer values of \(3 + {3^{n + 1}}\) is:  [CAT 2021]

By solving this we may quickly conclude that \( - 4 \le n \le 5\), so there are 10 values of \(n\), but this is completely wrong as the question requires \(3 + {3^{n + 1}}\) to be an integer. So we have to carefully select the values of \(n\). Here  \(n + 1 \ge 0\) or \(n \ge  - 1\). Therefore \(n\) can take the following values \( - 1,\,\,0,\,\,1,\,\,2,\;3,\;4,\;5\). 

Keep solving.. Keep learning, as skill in mathematics is developed by thinking and solving and not by just reading. 

With Best wishes!

 

[ Modified: Thursday, 19 January 2023, 10:39 AM ]
 
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After taking CAT, XAT, IIFT, NMAT, SNAP and CMAT, the aspirants face the daunting task of choosing the right B-School for themselves, lest they face the Hobson’s choice of grudgingly accepting what is offered to them in the end. Therefore it is of paramount importance for you to choose a B-school that is the best fit for you, for it can make or mar your career trajectory. Here the candidate needs to know that our country houses more than three thousand B-schools all of whom cannot boast of a great quality of management education or being a bouncy springboard for launching a career in management. So it becomes imperative for the candidates to apprise themselves of the parameters for selecting the right B-School and evaluate these institutions accordingly. For the benefit of our students at KINGS EDUCATION some of these parameters are being discussed here:

1- CAREER PATH: A candidate needs to give some thought to the career path that he wants to tread or a particular professional area he wants to specialize in. This would make it easy to choose the b-schools that specialize in that domain. For example, if you are interested in foreign trade then IIFT could be the place of your choice. For media and advertising MICA would be the most suitable place. A B-school should ultimately fit to one’s unique needs and demands and aspirations.

2- PLACEMENTS: Practically speaking it is the very raison d’être for entering a business school. Understandably, candidates are interested in the job prospects, job quality and remuneration that an MBA degree entails. Salaries at the time of campus placements can be used as an indirect measure to judge the MBA programme. But there is a need for caution here! Quite a large number of B-schools resort to statistical jugglery while reporting the salary figures, and therefore, they should be scrutinized very closely by the candidates. Hidden behind the silken brochures are many half-truths and some trickery. Thus the claims about placement numbers, visiting recruiters, highest salary and average salary, etc should be taken with a pinch of salt and should be cross-checked with alumni, students, and staff.

3- CUT-OFF PERCENTILE: It is a no-brainer that high cut-offs will attract the best students and the brightest students would go to the best schools. The quality of students directly impacts the quality of learning. Studying and interacting with a top-class peer group ensures a rich learning experience. In a B-school most of the projects and assignments are done as teamwork and group task and this creates a lot of scope for peer learning.  

4- REPUTATION / BRAND VALUE: Older and well-managed b-schools are able to build for themselves a certain brand value which opens many corporate opportunities for its students and enables them to attract not just higher salaries but also a much better variety of job roles. A B-school with a great reputation will attract not just good students but also top recruiters and the best faculty.

5- LOCATION: There is no denying the fact that B-Schools located in metro cities will avail themselves of a greater industry interface than those in the smaller cities. However, the brand strength of an institute can offset the effect of the location to a very large extent. B-schools with a good brand value can draw faculty and industry even to a relatively less popular location. A case in point is the new IIMs. But it is equally true that the strength of brand value ebbs for lesser-ranked colleges and then location as a factor gains precedence. In such cases, it is a trade-off between the reputation and location of the institution.

6- COST:  ROI is a concept that you should know even before you embark on your MBA journey. It means that unless you get a fat salary package, an expensive programme fee doesn’t make any financial sense, especially so if you move down the B-school rankings and start considering the lower-ranked schools. Funnily, you will find that the programme fee doesn’t reduce as sharply as the average salary package. But one should also understand that fee is not a direct indicator of the quality of a school. Many top ranked schools charge hefty fee upto 20 lakhs while a few government-funded top ones also charge only around 3-5 lakhs. So the fee factor should be considered only in conjunction with other factors like brand value and location.

7- FACULTY: Ultimately, you are going to be trained by the faculty and therefore you should definitely take some interest in finding out the quality of the teaching staff. One should crosscheck the claims about the number of PhD faculty, visiting faculty, full-time professors, part-time professors etc. even if numbers don’t have any direct bearing on the quality of teaching. Here again, you must try to get some feedback from current students and those who have passed out recently.

8- INFRASTRUCTURE: Availability of infrastructure will make your MBA journey smooth, productive, and fulfilling.  A top class b-school would definitely have all the necessary infrastructure but the same cannot be said about the lower-ranked schools. Therefore one has to check out if the school has the necessary infrastructure like a computer lab, hi-speed internet, library, hostel, sports facilities, auditorium etc. Otherwise, your MBA experience would leave you feeling dissatisfied and short-changed.

9- ALUMNI NETWORK: The alumni network not only helps you with placements but also helps build the brand image of the school in the mind of the recruiters. You will realize it once you leave your college and join the corporate sector.

Once you have considered the above-discussed parameters you can easily figure out the most suitable college that would perfectly fit with your needs, wants, and aspirations. So narrow down your list and get going!!! 

[ Modified: Thursday, 19 January 2023, 10:46 AM ]
 
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NIMCET is conducted to grant admission to students to 10 NIT’s and HCU (Hyderabad Central University). If a student gets rank above 400 (unreserved category), he can expect a seat in a decent NIT, (for reserved category, any rank even lower than this will suffice). First have a look at NIMCET paper pattern. There are four sections: 

Sections No of Questions  Marks per Question Total Marks
Mathematics 50 12 600
Reasoning 40 6 240
Computer 10 8 80
Englsih 20 4 80

Based on the level of last two years papers, a score of 350 – 400 will fetch you a good rank. Lets us see how an average student can manage this much in 120 minutes.

  • From the English and computer sections an average student can manage a score of 60 – 70. this means 6 to 7 questions from computer section and 4 to 5 questions from English section. Time taken in these sections must be around 20 minutes.
  • Reasoning and basic mathematics section is usually easy in NIMCET, from this section a student must target around 30 – 35 questions in approximately 40 to 50 minutes. Target marks from this section must be around 160 to 180.
  • Now we need approximately 160 more marks to secure a good rank, that means merely 15 questions from higher mathematics in the remaining time i.e. approximately 50 minutes.

  

The above plan is for an average student who is not particularly good at higher mathematics, for the ones who are good at it, this target can go up to 30 – 40 questions of higher mathematics, that will put the student in the TOP 100 bracket.  Prepare some important topics of higher mathematics like Calculus, Coordinate Geometry, Vectors, progression, Probability, Permutation and combination etc. The more you practice, more questions you will be able to do, but the minimum target should be 15 questions. 

 ALL THE BEST.

About the Author:

Anil Sharma is an Electrical Engineer from IIT Roorkee and director of Kings Education. He has been training students for MCA and CAT Entrance Examinations since 2002.  

[ Modified: Saturday, 15 October 2022, 11:00 PM ]