# The CAT Lounge

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Five Ways To Drastically Improve Your Quant Skills
Most of the MBA entrance examinations require you to be extremely quick, agile and efficient a problem-solving. The MBA aspirants spend several hours mastering the ways to speed up their problem-solving abilities. The usual tools for speeding up problem-solving are : finding short-cuts, memorizing all the formula, learning tricks to compute faster, etc. These tools do have a role to play, but they do nothing to enhance your problem-solving abilities.

Try out these tips and see your problem-solving abilities soar up instantly.

Tip No. 1 The best way to speed up calculations is to eliminate the need of calculations.
Most problems in CAT/GMAT are actually meant to test your ability to look at a complex scenario and find simple solutions to it. You are wannabe managers, right ? A manager is not somebody who is a mathematical genius, but somebody who is proficient at efficient utilization of resources. In most problems, a bulk of calculation can be avoided by using logical arguments. This is the best way to speed up calculations – avoid the need for calculations. Before rushing on to make a calculation – stop to see if there are logical explanations that can resolve things to a great degree ? You will be surprised, that in most cases, this actually turns out to be so. The questions for these examinations are carefully crafted not to test whether you can find a cube-root, but to find out whether you can find the inherent patterns in the problem and reveal the underlying simplicity. Consider the following problem : S is a 6-digit number that begins with 1. When the digit “1” is moved from the left-most to the right-most place, the resultant number is three times the original number. The sum of the digits of S is :

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What does it take to come up with solutions like these ? The answer is extreeeeeeeeeeemely simple – and is disclosed in the next tip. the sum of digits of S is a multiple of 3. isn’t it ? Therefore. Now. Therefore. There are several ways to solve this problem – some involving some trial-and-error. ReInvent Software Solutions (India) Pvt Ltd. Most of them involve finding the value of S and then adding the digits to find the sum. Bangalore – 560034 info@thecatlounge. some involving some solid calculations. Therefore. the sum of digits of 3S is a multiple of 9. What can you say about the sum of digits of S ? It is the same as the sum of digits of 3S. Koramangala. Now read through the problem statement again thoroughly – s l o o o o w w w l y and mark all the important points in the problem statements. what can you say about the sum of digits of S ? It has to be a multiple of 3. #12.com 91-80-41303230 .The CAT Lounge (i) 6 (ii) 15 (iii) 24 (iv) 27 Creating INDIA with ATTITUDE Try it out for a while before you proceed. it would take a few seconds for you to go through the entire argument and get to the right answer. only the order changes. What we have to find is the sum of the digits of S. Therefore. 1st Floor. the sum of digits of S is a multiple of 9. Therefore. Can you find the answer now ? Although this argument takes a lot of space to write and a lot of time to read. 3S is a multiple of 9. S is a multiple of 3. since 3S is a multiple of 3. 1st Cross. Can we do something directly about the sum of the digits of S ? Note that the digits of S remains the same. 5th A Block. Therefore. the sum of the digits of S and the second number (which is 3S) are the same.

I know. Ram starts at 9 AM. Every second that you spend assimilating the problem statement will save you minutes when you start solving it. yes. and while doing so – an interesting. Bangalore – 560034 info@thecatlounge. Yes. 5th A Block. ReInvent Software Solutions (India) Pvt Ltd. you would realize the complexity with the problem – you don’t know whether they were moving in the same direction or in the opposite direction when they meet first. Read the following statement again : Every second that you spend assimilating the problem statement will save you minutes when you start solving it. A skillful.NOT read it . Koramangala. efficient problem-solver follows an entirely different approach. move to B which is 5 Kms away from A. traveling at 5 Km/hr while Shyam starts at 9:45 AM. NOT skim through it.com 91-80-41303230 . The biggest excuse for this approach is – the lack of time. and because of this. traveling at 10 Km/hr. digest it. this would be your biggest undoing. Consider the following problem : Ram and Shyam start from a point A. 1st Cross. elegant solution emerges which saves him several minutes of hard-work in getting the answer. Most of the time we just read through a problem and rush through to the solution. and then travels back to A.The CAT Lounge Creating INDIA with ATTITUDE Tip No. He enjoys exploring the problem. When do they meet first ? Try the problem for a while before proceeding further. you cannot really form a simple equation to represent the above problem. right ? Ironically. but study it thoroughly – chew it. looking at it through different perspectives. If you followed that approach. assimilate it. 1st Floor. Let us dig into the problem further. I can hear you scream – Where is the time ? We have to solve the problems in seconds. 2 The most important step in solving a problem is to “study” the problem statement . We just have seconds to solve each problem. There is a general tendency to start forming equations about the problem statement and trying to solve them. #12.

Therefore. they are moving in the opposite directions at 5 Km/Hr and 10 Km/Hr respectively.5 Kms apart. if you tend to rush through to the solution using the most familiar ways known to you. As an exercise. Otherwise. and that includes YOU) to be able to come up with solutions like these. Being efficient and effective at problem-solving is even simpler : ReInvent Software Solutions (India) Pvt Ltd. 1st Cross. provided you spend sufficient time with the problem statement. When do they meet ? Did the original problem really have so much information in it ? Yeeeeesssssss --. It is IMPOSSIBLE to get to solutions like these. Koramangala. #12. Therefore. Ram has started moving from point B back to point A at 5 Km/Hr At 10 AM.5 Kms away from B and is moving towards it at 10 Km/Hr Now we have a new problem to solve : At 10 AM. try finding the time when Ram and Shyam meet for the second time. the options given. What happens at 10 AM ? At 10 AM.only if you go down deep enough.The CAT Lounge Creating INDIA with ATTITUDE Let us explore what Ram does.com 91-80-41303230 . A and B are 2. Shyam is 2. Being inefficient and ineffective at problem-solving is a simple 3-step process : 1) Read through the problem fast 2) Start solving the problem 3) Congratulations if you still got a great solution. Bangalore – 560034 info@thecatlounge. he reaches B at 10:15 AM and back to A at 10:45 AM. 1st Floor. 5th A Block. He starts from the point A at 9 AM at 5 Km/Hr. What about Mr Shyam ? He starts from the point A at 9:45 AM at 10 Km/Hr. he reaches B at 10 AM and back to A at 11 AM. Similarly. it is POSSIBLE for EVERYONE (yes. happy merry-go-rounding.