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CAT Exam Shortcut Techniques to Score 99 Percentile PDF Download

The CAT exam, administered by the Indian Institutes of Management, attracts a substantial number of aspiring MBA students from across the country annually. Last year, more than 2.5 lakh students appeared for the CAT Exam.
Candidates taking the CAT exam 2023 are likely to put a lot of effort into preparing for the test, with the goal of achieving a high percentile score. 

CAT Exam Shortcut Techniques to Score 99 Percentile

  • The difficulty level of each section varies, with Quantitative Aptitude being the most challenging.
    You can check the Previous Year Analysis to know level of difficulty of past year papers.

Time management is crucial on the exam, as there are time limits for each section i.e. 40 Minutes. To perform well, it's important to have both speed and accuracy.

In this article, EduRev will provide some shortcut techniques for certain topics that can help simplify calculations and allow you to complete the questions within the allotted time.

Important Topics for CAT Exam


The CAT Syllabus is very generalized and vast. The IIMs do not have a fixed syllabus for CAT, but the questions are mostly based on middle school math and english topics.

Here is an overview of the CAT 2023 Syllabus for your understanding:

CAT Shortcut Techniques for Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

As it is said the CAT is one of the most competitive exams there are only a few applicants that can make it to the IIMs. The CAT syllabus consists of Quantitative Aptitude topics such as Geometry, Algebra, etc. which applicants have already covered in high school academics. As the CAT exam is so challenging due to sectional timing it becomes efficient to manage time while solving the questions.

1. Square of 2-digits number. 

Discover the CAT Shortcut for calculating the square of a 2-digit number with ease. Check out the following explanation:
Step 1: First, Deduct 25 from the number aspirant want to calculate square. This will be the first two digits of the Answer
Step 2: Then, Subtract 50 from the number form in the win which one wants to calculate the square. This will become the last two digits of the Answer. In case of carrying over. So please add the number carry over to the answer derived through the first step.

For Example: Let us try with 63

  • Step 1: The difference from 25 is 38
  • Step 2: The difference from 50 is 13
  • Step 3: Square of 13 is 169
  • The answer to Step 1 (first two digits): = 38+1 = 39
  • The answer to Step 2 (last two digits): And the last 2 digits of 169= 69
  • Hence, the Final Answer is 3969.

2. Square of 3-digits number.

CAT Shortcut technique to find a square of 3 digit number mentioned below. Imagine you need to find the square and the number is XYZ. To find XYZ Steps are mentioned below. 

Therefore, have a look below to know the trick:

Step 1: The last digit is equal to the Last digit of Square (Z)
Step 2: Second last digit is equal to 2*Y*Z and adds any carryover from Step 1.
Step 3: Third last digit 2*X*Z and add it with Square(Y) and any carryover from Step 2.
Step 4: Fourth the last digit is 2*X*Y will be added with any carryover from Step 3.
Step 5: At the last check Beginning of the result will be Square(X) and will be added with any carryover from Step 4.

For Example: Find the square of 431
(a) Last digit = Last digit of Square (1) = 1
(b) Second last digit = 2*3*1 + any carryover from STEP 1=6+0=6
(c) Third last digit 2*4*1+ Square(3) + any carryover from STEP 2 = 8+9+0 = 17 i.e. 7 with a carryover of 1
(d) Fourth last digit is 2*4*3 + any carryover from STEP 3 = 24+1 = 25 i.e. 5 with a carryover of 2
(e) At last check Beginning of the result will be Square(4) + any carryover from Step 4 = 16+2 = 18

Thus, (431)2 = 185761.

3. Finding Average.

CAT Shortcut technique to find the average has been mentioned below. Therefore, Have a look below to know the trick:

  • Find the difference between the old average and the new average.
  • Then, Divide the difference by the sample size
  • Now, Multiply the average increase you found in step 2 by the sample size

Example 1:

The average of a batsman in 16 innings is 30. In the next innings, he is scoring 70 runs. What will be his new average?

Answer through Regular Method: Total runs scored by the batsman in 17 innings: 480+70=550

Total innings played= 17

Hence, the new average = 550/17=32.35
Answer using the Shortcut technique:

Step 1: Take the difference between the new score and the old average = 70 – 30= 40

Step 2: 40 extra runs are spread over 17 innings. So, the innings average will increase by 40/17 = 2.35

Step 3: Hence, the average increases by => 30+2.35 = 32.35.

Example 2: 

The average marks of 20 girls in a particular school are 50. When a new girl with marks of 80 joins the class, what will be the new average of the class?
Answer using the Shortcut method:

Step 1: Take the difference between the new marks and the old average marks = 80 – 50 = 30

Step 2: 30 extra marks are spread over 21 girls. So, the average marks will be increased by: 30/21= 1.43

Step 3: Hence the new average = 50 + 1.43 = 51.43

4. Multiplication: Base Method


  • One number is considered ase
  • For example. 105 – number closer must be taken

For example 15 x 107

  • 100 should be considered as a base. As it is closer to both the numbers 105 and 107.
  • The Product of Surplus. Since the base is considered 100, So surplus is 5 and 7. 5*7=35 (A)
  • Either number will be added to either one of the numbers. Like for example either add 105 into 7 or 107 into 5.
  • Then it would be equivalent to the number that should be multiplied by 100. Like for instance 112 x 100 = 11,200 (B)
  • In last Add (A) + (B) = 11200+35 = 11235. This will become your answer.

5. Algebra Questions.

This shortcut trick is helpful to solve questions of simple simultaneous equations with numbers. For example 

  • 6x + 7y = 8, 19x + 14y = 16 
  • Here, the ratio of coefficients of y is the same as that of the constant terms.
  • Therefore, the ‘other’ is zero, i.e., x = 0. Hence, the solution of the equations is x = 0 and y = 8/7.
  • Alternatively, 19x + 14y = 16 is equivalent to (19/2)x + 7y = 8.
  • Therefore, x has to be zero and no ratio is needed; divide by 2.
  • Note that it would not work if both had been ‘in ratio’:
  • 6x + 7y = 8
  • 12x + 14y = 16

Along with these Vedic Mathematics plays a crucial role in simplifying calculations for the CAT Exam. Having a strong grasp of its principles will provide a unique perspective and reduce the time spent on calculations, making it an advantageous tool for preparing for the CAT 2023.

CAT Shortcut Techniques for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)

Reading Comprehension (RCs) is a critical and highly-scored aspect of the verbal section in competitive exams. To excel in these exams, it is necessary to master RCs. A key aspect of successfully tackling RCs is developing the ability to speedread.

1. Skimming


  • Going back to school time learning is required wherein the students were taught how to write an essay. 
  • The five-paragraph basics: An introduction paragraph, three main body paragraphs, and a conclusion. These five paragraphs are interlinked with each other with certain transition sentences. 
  • Hence, the transition sentences are generally the first and last lines of each paragraph. Plus, each paragraph has certain terms or phrases that are central to the main theme/subject of the passage.
  • During the CAT Exam, instead of looking at individual sentences, focus on the first and last sentence of each paragraph of the Reading Comprehension section.
  • While reading the first and last sentences, also look at the important and crucial words in the passage. This will help you identify the key ideas of the passage.

On the basis of the above steps, form a quick summary of the passage.

2. Scanning

Scanning is effective when you go back to the passage to scout for information or answers. There is an ideal approach for this:

Step 1: Identify the key terms/idea/concept in the questions asked.

Step 2: Go back to the passage and look for those terms in the text. Also, look for words related to the key term in the passage

On the basis of the above steps, you’ll be able to quickly reply to the questions.

Also Read: How to Prepare for VARC with EduRev

If you're looking to sharpen your Reading Comprehension skills using the above shortcuts, then check out the 100 RCs for Practice course on Edurev. With detailed explanations of each answer, you can learn to identify the important components of a reading passage and develop your ability to quickly and accurately answer RC questions.

CAT Shortcut Techniques for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)

DILR (Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning) section in the CAT exam tests the candidate's ability to interpret data and make logical conclusions based on the given information. This section assesses the candidate's skills in problem-solving, data analysis, and critical thinking. It generally includes questions on bar graphs, pie charts, tables, logical reasoning, and data sufficiency. 

  1.  If there's a complex graph with one or two questions to answer then try to avoid it if possible. Not because it's complex - because it'll eat out your time! If all questions are like that then you are left with no choice but to answer!
  2. Do not describe all the data presented – present the main points of each feature (you should make sure you mention each feature though)

    Look for significant data; e.g. the highest, the lowest, etc.

    Try and group the data.  This may require you to use some general knowledge about the world, such as recognizing developed and developing countries

  3. Components:
    You must bear in mind that all information given in the graph/table is important. You must read the graph/table carefully; ensuring minor details, like units of quantities, are not overlooked. It is advised that you spend at least 10–15 seconds in the interpretation and understanding of table/ graph.

  4. Co-relation:
    In many problem sets, there are two or more tables/graphs given. Before you start solving the questions, you should co-relate the graphs/ tables given and understand their relationship/s and interdependencies.

  5. Choices:
    Before solving any question you must always see the choices given. Spending 3-4 seconds to see the choices may reduce the time taken on each question by 40 - 50 seconds. By doing this, you may be able to eliminate one or more options. Keep in mind that even a fraction of a second saved during the exam is worth it.

  6. Calculations:
    Try to make use of shortcuts like approximations and remembering important fractions to make calculations work fast and accurately. Intelligent guessing also helps in better time management in the DI section. The time spent on this section may be reduced up to 25 – 50 % by intelligent and smart work.

Along with these Vedic Mathematics plays a crucial role in simplifying calculations for the CAT exam. Having a strong grasp of its principles will provide a unique perspective and reduce the time spent on calculations, making it an advantageous tool for preparing for the CAT 2023.


Will it be helpful to use shortcut techniques in the CAT exam?

Using shortcut techniques in the CAT exam will help to solve the questions in the allotted time.

Which section is considered to be the toughest among all in the CAT exam?

Quantitative Aptitude is considered to be the toughest among all in the CAT exam as the level of difficulty is moderate to difficult.

Are there any negative marks for the wrong answer?

Yes, there is a negative marking of 1 mark for a wrong answer.

What is the best strategy for CAT Exam?

One of the strategies to attempt CAT questions is to start with the easy ones and then move to the difficult and tricky questions. This way, one can easily attempt more questions accurately. It is very important to understand that in CAT exam, accuracy is more important than attempting more questions.

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