There are imagined problems, there are real problems, and then there are epic ones. Quant in CAT is a bit of all of these.
Despite being equal in importance to the other 2 sections in CAT as far as CAT preparation is concerned, the QA section ends up getting a lot more attention (focus, anxiety, apprehension, doubts) from a very high proportion of students.
Math-phobia is more common than any such equivalent in English, or DILR. The QA-HWL2 or the QA-AIRCAT scores (MBAGuru students will be able to relate to these) won’t be helping either – and leading to more anxiety. I write this for those of you who find yourself fitting in the above category.
If you are not good at QA or even have a QA-phobia, don’t sweat. There are some very simple things you can do to overcome this problem to a great extent.
- Break this big problem into smaller parts – identify the topics/parts in QA that you are “relatively” more comfortable with. Work a little more on these areas to build confidence. Start picking up more questions from those topics in AIRCATs – take your time during the test but make them count. There is nothing like confidence to gain more confidence, and nothing like momentum to gain more momentum. Getting a start and a sense of movement is the toughest part. You don’t need to be great at QA overall. You just need to be above a threshold in enough number of topics. Confidence in even a few topics will help you see and feel things very differently. That is how the mind works.
- Almost every QA topic/AIRCAT has some questions which are based more on logic than on Math or some which can be solved easily using options. Pick these out and try and get them right. Try and think of these as non-Math, logic based problems, more a test of common sense than Math.
- And, here’s some real good news – the QA in CAT in past several years has been relatively simple. Even XAT has evolved to a far-easier-than-usual QA. Many MBAGuru students, including several who made it to the top IIMs, have mentioned that even Class-L1 and HWL1 questions, practiced thoroughly, would have ensured a handsome preparation for QA in CAT. The levels that you encounter in L2 and in AIRCATs are generally much higher than that of QA questions in recent CATs. This is deliberately done to ensure you are prepared for a far tougher situation and the actual one is a pleasant surprise for you. Or, just in case QA turns out to be tougher (as it happened in CAT2019), you would be better equipped than others to tackle it.
- The first step is to begin getting a decent score on the board in L1 (easy level of questions). If you can start making progress on L1, you would be on your way to an impressive score in QA. Again, confidence feeds on confidence, confidence fuels confidence.
- If you think you are really bad at something, it is a great place to be at. Yes, you read that right. Why? Because you can only get better. Anything you do will take you forward. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. That’s an excellent place to take a deep breath, realize that only good stuff lies ahead. This mindset can open the floodgates to improvement, beyond your wildest beliefs.
Knowing what you are good at in QA, doing well on the logic-based QA questions, knowing that QA in CAT is likely to be far easier than L2, focusing on improving your L1 scores – these 4 steps will help your CAT preparation immensely. And knowing that a change in mindset about your weakness can completely change how you view it can accelerate the curve of improvement.
Don’t fear, face it, play it, beat it! You are stronger than the fear you face
About the author: Deekshant has sleep-walked through several 100 and 99.9 %iles in practically every section of the CAT. That he is a cricket fan and he writes okay is evident from most of his posts. 1000s of our students swear that he can motivate almost anyone to double his/her percentile through very simple yet powerful inputs. And that’s why every MBAGuru student has direct access to him via mail and Telegram. Oddly, he somehow also finds the time to write songs professionally. And yes … almost missed this … he is an alumnus of IIT Delhi & IIM Cal