I am a non-engineer; will I have difficulty acing the CAT Quantitative Aptitude section?

Non-engineers did face problems in CAT quant section until a few years ago. But CAT 2016 onwards a lot has changed in this section. Earlier, a good number of questions were from higher concepts such as permutation and combination, number theory, geometry functions etc.

Now, a greater importance is given to easier concepts like percentages, profit and loss, averages, time and work, time speed and distance etc.

If you go through the latest CAT paper pattern, you will observe that around 45% of the questions in the CAT quant sections are from arithmetic.

CAT 2018 Exam QA pattern

Also, the difficulty level of these questions has drastically decreased. Almost all the questions from arithmetic are easy to moderate level difficulty.

All the IIMs time and again want to keep the diversity in all aspects including the academic background. To ensure that the engineers do not get undue advantage in quant section, they have made this shift in pattern and difficulty level.

With some practice and by adopting smart preparation strategies, non-engineers too can take the quant section as a scoring opportunity.

However, you must not assume that the difficulty level of this section will always be low. Even if the questions are from arithmetic and basic algebra, the difficulty levels of these questions could be high, and unpredictable.

So you must be ready to face all varieties of questions, focusing on those that are easy and will take less time to solve.

Here are some suggestions for non-engineers for the CAT quant section:

  1. Focus on these three topics: Arithmetic, Algebra, and Geometry. Over 90 % of the questions are from these topics only. You can also go through the below article to know the important concepts from these areas from which the questions are asked.

Most important topics for CAT Quant section

  1. Focus on basic concepts: The quant section usually tests your concepts by framing the questions in a such a way that merely knowing the formula will not work. Hence it is imperative that one must be thorough with all the basic concepts.
  2. Shortcut tricks: Certain types of questions, which otherwise take lots of time if solved by conventional approach, can be solved easily by applying tricks and shortcut formula.
  3. Take a good number of good quality topic-wise tests to increase your confidence level.
  4. Finally, analyze all the tests thoroughly to identify your mistakes and weak areas.

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