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CAT 2010: Topics you should not ignore

Last updated on: October 21, 2010 15:33 IST

Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/ Ramnath Kanakadandi, T.I.M.E.

The CAT, the entrance exam to get admission into the 'Ivy League" of India -- the IIMs,  is rated as the toughest aptitude test to crack due to its high ratio of applicants to the number of seats available.

The aspirants need to display their competence in three areas Quantitative ability, Verbal ability and Logic & Data Interpretation (LDI).

Let us look at these areas in detail.

Quantitative Ability
Contrary to what many think, questions from the quantitative ability section will be on Arithmetic learned in classes VIII, IX and X and some topics of higher maths from Class XII.

The areas in which the aspirants are tested are:

  • Equations
  • Ratio proportion & variation
  • Percentages, Profit & Loss
  • Numbers
  • Time & Work, Time & Distance
  • Averages, Mixtures & Allegations
  • Geometry & Mensuration
  • Permutations & Combinations
  • Probability
  • Trigonometry
  • Inequalities
  • Functions & Graphs
  • Co-ordinate Geometry
  • Simple & Compound Interest
  • Logarithms
  • Quadratic equations
  • Progressions
  • Indices & Surds
  • Special Equations
The author is Course Director -- CAT, T.I.M.E. (Triumphant Institute of Management Education Pvt Ltd). He is an alumnus of IIM, Ahmedabad.

Verbal Ability

One section which many dread and equally many think that they can score well in is Verbal ability. But, this is also a section that catches many unawares in both pleasant and unpleasant ways.

The different areas tested under this section are:

  • Grammar in the form of sentence correction
  • Vocabulary
  • Reading comprehension
  • Critical reasoning
  • Paragraph formation (Arranging jumbled sentences into a meaningful paragraph)

Logic & Data Interpretation

Photographs: Dominic Xavier/

As the name of the section suggests, candidates will be tested on their ability to understand and analyse the given data to come up with answers to questions pertaining to the same. This would need the candidate to be equipped with strong concepts of arithmetic, higher maths.

Along with this, candidates will need to be adept at doing calculations quickly, which would mean that they need to be good at Speed Maths.

Over the years the questions that have appeared in LDI can be classified under the following heads:

  • Table
  • Pie-chart
  • Bar chart
  • Stacked Bar
  • Reasoning based
  • Games & Tournaments
  • 3D Charts
  • Network
  • Maxima & Minima
  • Deductions
  • Connectives
  • Cubes
  • Analytical Reasoning Puzzles

The exam is only one step towards a seat in the IIMs. This will be followed by a group discussion and interview. Candidates will be called based on 4 parameters -- the CAT exam, academics, extracurricular activities and work experience. Work experience is not a must as many fresh graduates get admission into the IIMs, but would always help if performance is relatively weak on the remaining parameters.