The CAT Lounge

Creating INDIA with ATTITUDE

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 :

ReInvent Software Solutions (India) Pvt Ltd, #12, 1st Floor, 1st Cross, 5th A Block, Koramangala, Bangalore – 560034 91-80-41303230

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. 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 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 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.

Now suppose we have drawn the following diagram : ReInvent Software Solutions (India) Pvt Ltd. isn’t it ? But that’s exactly what most of us do while solving a problem !!! storing every single piece of information in our heads is more painful (and ridiculous) than traveling on a train with the luggage on our heads. Digest and Assimilate the problem statement entirely. Do not be lazy and do not be presumptuous (O. the solution is easy. Now it feels so lazy to take off that damn suitcase off your head. you leave it right there – anyway what harm is it going to do ? Funny. At any point. If you make any inferences. Represent the problem well. Any extra luggage on your head is going to make your journey that much uncomfortable. Imagine if you were traveling in a train with your suitcase on your head. Write down all the bit of information in front of you with sufficient clarify. 1st Floor. Consider the following problem : An equilateral triangle ABE is drawn inside the square ABCD. move to your seat and sit down comfortably. Tip No 3. 2) Watch the solution emerge. whatever you have known so far about the problem – transfer that out of your head to a piece of paper in front on you. all the data for the problem in the mind. 1st Cross. so that it can think. Mark everything that you know on the diagram. we perform the steps mentally and store the intermediate results in the mind – every bit of data that you are “trying” to “remember” is hindering your thought process. 91-80-41303230 . #12. rather than working hard at just keeping a tab on all the darn data. We tend to keep the problem statement in mind. Keep your mind FREE – FREE. be creative and solve the problem. Draw diagrams if necessary. Well. 5th A Block. Koramangala. Do not carry all the luggage on your head. Bangalore – 560034 info@thecatlounge. Find the angle CED. I can remember all that !!!) .The CAT Lounge Creating INDIA with ATTITUDE 1) Chew. mark that too.

ReInvent Software Solutions (India) Pvt Ltd. We have a square and an equilateral triangle – so we have got lots of equal sides ( and equal angles) to manage.Mark them ALL on the diagram.The CAT Lounge Creating INDIA with ATTITUDE So. Bangalore – 560034 info@thecatlounge. 1st Floor. Try for a while before proceeding forward. we have this square ABCD and the triangle AEB. 1st Cross. Koramangala. 5th A Block. Try solving the problem with just this diagram in front of you. Can you figure out which all sides are equal and which all angles are equal ? Not in your head .com 91-80-41303230 . #12.

Every second counts. Genius could sometimes be very simple – isn’t it ? Tip 91-80-41303230 . it is impossible NOT to solve this problem beyond this point. just this single step – “Transferring every bit of information from your head to a piece of paper in front of you” creates the difference between solving the problem and not reaching about it anywhere. And once they have it. 1st Floor. 1st Cross.. Bangalore – 560034 info@thecatlounge. the toughest part of the process of solving is the first step – getting the right “idea” about the problem. For most students. Did that help ? For most students. Koramangala. 4 There is a scope for “speeding up” at every single step of the solution. without waiting for a breather. ReInvent Software Solutions (India) Pvt Ltd. the angle EBC is 30 degrees and the rest of the argument follows simply. 5th A Block.The CAT Lounge Creating INDIA with ATTITUDE For most students. #12. they rush through to the end of the solution for their life. You just can’t help seeing that BE = EC and so angles BEC = BCE.

#12. 91-80-41303230 . so that you can automatically spot the hot areas that can be speedened up. as any number that ends with 3 zeroes is a multiple of 8. Can we do it faster than the way we did it before ? We know that 3000 is a multiple of 8. so we can ignore it. or by simply eliminating these two unnecessary steps ? The “eye” for speeding up has to be deeply ingrained. You need a “habit” and a probing “eye” for areas to simplify. 2^8 would give a remainder of 1 with 17. 1st Floor. 1st Cross. Bangalore – 560034 info@thecatlounge. the first term would give a remainder 1 with 17. Therefore. you will be performing a number of steps which are utmost wasteful. Consider multiplying 11 x 14 on step 2 and later dividing that result by 14 to get 11 on step 5. Koramangala. 5th A Block. isn’it ? Could we have done it better ? Observe that all we need to worry about is the remainder that 3015 leaves with 8. Consider the following problem : Find the remainder of 2^3015 with 17. ReInvent Software Solutions (India) Pvt Ltd. The general solution of the problem would be to observe that 2^4 = 16 gives a remainder of -1 with 17. because of this cyclicity of 8. 2^7 = 128 which gives a remainder 9 with 17. Pretty simple. Now. Unless you have mastered this habit. you would express 3015 = 8 x 376 + 7 Hence 2^(3015) = 2^(8 x 376) * 2^(7). How would you want to speed this up – by learning how to multiply and divide faster.The CAT Lounge Creating INDIA with ATTITUDE Remember – every step of the solution is a sub-problem in itself – and there is ample scope to speed up every single step of the solution.

rest assured – the method is ineffective. which is 7. Watch our for a possible speed-up at every single step and you will save several minutes. 5th A Block. If you catch yourself doing several unnecessary computations and complicated arguments. Time taken for this process : 1 second ☺ There are hundreds of ways you can speed up calculating certain parts of a problem. 1st Floor. then. Bangalore – 560034 info@thecatlounge. This is a natural corollary of Tip No 2 – study the problem carefully. makes the given problem complicated ? Can we find some simplifying patterns in it ? ReInvent Software Solutions (India) Pvt Ltd.The CAT Lounge Creating INDIA with ATTITUDE So. 3015 would give the same remainder with 8 as 15 .com 91-80-41303230 . watch out for simplifying patterns. the solution to this could be much simpler. Tip No 5 Watch out for simplicity There is a simple test for whether a solution is good enough – is it simple ? All elegant solutions have an inherent simplicity and beauty to it. #12. Consider the following problem : Perform the following binary addition : 1 + 11 + 111 + 1111 + 11111 (all these numbers are binary). Koramangala. Consider – how would the problem look slightly differently and be extremely simple to solve ? Would 1 + 10 + 100 + 1000 + 100000 be simple enough ? What. 1st Cross. There are several “quick-fix” solutions to these : i) ii) convert these numbers to decimal. add them and convert the result back to binary perform the brute-force binary addition. However. There has to be a better method than that.

look and identify the gold. Find the common difference between the terms. 5th A Block. The sum of 2 terms of the AP is the sum of the first and the second terms and it equals (2a + 4b). which is ( a + b). Don’t insult the beauty by ignoring it and rushing past through it. Koramangala. Stop. Consider this : The sum of 1 term of the AP is the same as the first term of the AP .The CAT Lounge What if we could represent the last three numbers as 111 = (1000 – 1) 1111 = (10000 – 1) 11111 = (100000 – 1) Then the sum would be 1 + 11 + (1000 – 1) + (10000 – 1) + (100000 – 1) = 1 + 11 + (111000 – 11) = 1 + 111000 = 111001 Creating INDIA with ATTITUDE (Note that 3 in decimal is 11 in binary) There are patterns like these hidden throughout the problem statements – only if you can pause. can we find the common difference between the terms ? There is sufficient simplicity in each problem. ReInvent Software Solutions (India) Pvt Ltd. we know the first term. we know the second 91-80-41303230 . Enjoy the beauty and your journey will be much simpler. The most straightforward way to solve this problem is to use the formula for the ‘n’ terms. waiting to reveal itself. #12. Relax. So. 1st Floor. So. what is the second term ? (2a + 4b) = (a + b) = a + 3b. Consider another example : The sum of the ‘n’ terms of an arithmetic progression is (an + bn^2). Bangalore – 560034 info@thecatlounge. 1st Cross.

com. the way you perceive life. 5th A Block. however simple or obvious they look. 1st Cross. In order to master these tips. You could become an unparalleled winner in your life. Each tip would make your problem-solving much easier and exciting. and the way the world perceives 91-80-41303230 . ENROLL at your own risk !!! ReInvent Software Solutions (India) Pvt Ltd. and to learn many more powerful and explosive tips . can help you increase your problemsolving abilities many many times. Koramangala.write to us at info@thecatlounge. Bangalore – 560034 info@thecatlounge. you would start to enjoy Quant and develop a natural flair for problem-solving.The CAT Lounge Creating INDIA with ATTITUDE These tips. WARNING : The CAT Lounge training sessions could alter the way you perceive yourself. As you master these. #12. 1st Floor.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.