Quantitative Aptitude is considered to be the arch nemesis of almost every competitive exam aspirant, be it CAT, GATE, or GRE. The quantitative aptitude section is one of the intellectually rich aspects of any exam. With a little bit of smart practice and preparation we can secure perfect score in aptitude.
Roadmap to preparing for the quant section
1. Easy topics first – In the previous section we had divided topics into four sections, now is the time to put that to use. Start your quantitative aptitude preparation with the the topics that are easy but important. This will help boost your confidence and you will quickly finish some important topics. After this move on to Important but difficult topics, then cover easy but not so important ones before finally moving on to difficult but not so important topics.
TIP: If you feel you are short on time you may decide to leave the “difficult but not so important” topics, but do this only if you don’t have enough time.
2. Clear your basics and practice – There are just two things you need to do to practice quantitative aptitude questions – understand the basics and practice questions. Try to understand the fundamentals of the topic. Learn all the basic formulas, and try to clear your concepts. Then practice a few solved examples. But before referring to the solution of solved examples, you should try to solve them by yourself.
If you are not able to solve the question, find out the reason why – are you not able to understand the question? You don’t know the formula? You know the formula but don’t know how to use it? Once you know the reason work on rectifying it. Once you have covered the solved examples, practice sufficient number of problems (variety of problems) until you feel confident about the topic.
3. Follow a good schedule and stick to it. Following a schedule helps you in more ways than one. Going to coaching class is actually simply following a schedule. It helps you focus and to keep on moving at a steady pace. If you think you can do it at home, you might not really need to join coaching classes. Decide to spend at least two hours a day to prepare on quantitative section.
4. Maintain a single book where you practice and take notes – This will make it very convenient to refer back and also revise as we will see shortly.
5. The secret no one will tell you – Practice and studying is necessary but it is grossly incomplete without revisions. I recommend that you revise what you learn several times. Here is a simple routine you can follow:
a. Daily revision – When you get up in the morning just take your notes from previous day and revise them within a short period of 20-30 minutes. Try to remember the problems you had solved on your previous day, the formulas you had memorized, any mistakes you did and any other notes you might have have. You should also revise whatever you have studied in a day just before you go to sleep.
b. Weekly revision – This will require a little more time than your daily revision. Ideally you should keep a day in the week to only revise whatever you have studied and use the remaining time to relax. Go through all your notes, formulas, mistakes types of problems you have studied over the week and see if you need to put more efforts in a particular topic. You should also use this opportunity to judge if you are progressing at a good speed and will be able to cover the topics on time.
Following this revision cycle will ensure that you remember whatever you are learning.
6. Previous years questions – It is very very important to solve previous years questions papers. So try to solve at least 5 years question papers. Almost 60-70% of your exam paper will be directly based on previous years question papers. So if you are able to do these properly within the allotted time, it is guaranteed that you will clear the written exam.
7. Solve a LOT of problems — Both on the topics you’re pro at as well as the ones that are vague in your mind, start solving the problems on a daily basis. Face the most difficult problems that pushes your brain to its limit while you’re studying. That’s the only way to get good at anything and everything.