Quantitative Ability for CAT 2024

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Updated on
March 2, 2024

CAT 2024 Quantitative Ability: Pattern, Type of Questions, How to Prepare, Sample Questions, Topper Tips & Tricks

Common Admission Test (CAT) is the largest MBA entrance exam for admission in 21 IIMs and majority of other top B-schools. CAT is a computer based test of two hours duration and is divided into three sections: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension; Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning; Quantitative Ability. Below is the CAT preparation plan for CAT Quantitative Ability.

 

Quantitative Ability (QA) in CAT exam is the last and 3rd section with 22 questions out of total 66 questions in CAT exam. Scoring high in Quantitative Ability can boost your CAT score and take you through the IIMs admission process. As such, preparing for the QA in CAT 2024 is an important part of overall CAT preparation. Read below CAT exam pattern, all about the Quantitative Ability for CAT-What it is, its importance, composition, type of questions, how to prepare and others

Table of Contents

  1. CAT Exam Pattern
  2. What is Quantitative Ability in CAT Exam?
  3. QA Topics & Questions Appeared in CAT
  4. Quantitative Ability Syllabus for CAT 2024
  5. Toppers Tips for Quantitative Ability Preparation 2024
  6. Best Quantitative Ability Preparation Books for CAT
  7. CAT Quant Sample Questions and Answers
  8. CAT 2024 Quantitative Ability Preparation Plan for 6 Months, 3 Months, 1 Month
  9. CAT QA Preparation Tips & Tricks by Experts and Videos
  10. Changes in CAT Quantitative Ability section over the years

1. CAT Exam Pattern 

Before beginning your CAT preparation on Quantitative Ability, check below the CAT exam pattern, number of questions, time duration, scoring pattern for the QA section:

CAT Exam Components
No of Questions (Divided in MCQs & Non MCQs)
Sectional Time Limit (In Minutes)
Scoring Pattern (Negative Marking is only for MCQs)
Section-1: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
24
40
+3 for Correct;
-1 for Incorrect;
0 for Not Attempted
Section-2: Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
20
40
+3 for Correct;
-1 for Incorrect;
0 for Not Attempted
Section-3: Quantitative Ability (QA)
22
40
+3 for Correct;
-1 for Incorrect;
0 for Not Attempted
Total
66
120
198

2. What is Quantitative Ability for CAT 2024?

Quantitative Ability or Quantitative Aptitude section in CAT exam is the test of mathematics. QA comprises questions on Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Modern Math and other topics. Around 40% questions in Quantitative Ability section are based on Arithmetic topics. Quantitative Aptitude questions in Quant 2024 will carry a weightage of 33% to total CAT score and 100% for Quantitative Ability section. With 22 questions in QA section, the individual time limit to attempt the section is limited to 40 minutes in CAT exam. The CAT exam now has also changed the order of sections and the CAT Quantitative Aptitude is now the last section instead of first section and is placed after DILR. 

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3. QA Topics & Questions Appeared in CAT 2023

The structure and content of Quantitative Ability section in CAT exam is shared below. Following details on QA section in CAT will help you to take the right path on your CAT preparation journey

Topic
Type of Questions Appeared  in CAT 2023
Arithmetic
  • Time Speed Distance- (2 Qs),
  • Time & Work (1Q);
  • Ratio (1Q);
  • Simple Interest/ Compound Interest (3Qs);
  • Profit & Loss (1Q);
  • Mixture (1Q);
  • Clock (1Q)
Algebra
 
  • Log (1Q);
  • Equations (3 Qs);
  • Surds (1Q);
  • Sequence & Series (2Qs)
Geometry/Mensuration
  • Triangle (1 Q);
  • Quadrilateral (1Q);
  • Circle (1Q)
Modern Math
  • Permutation & Combination (1 Q)

4. Quantitative Ability Syllabus for CAT 2024

Once you know about the QA question Pattern in CAT exam, your next step for preparation is to scan the CAT Syllabus for Quantitative Ability section. Please note that CAT exam QA syllabus is not pre-defined by IIMs and is based on latest topics that appeared in past CAT exams.

Topic
Syllabus
No of Questions Appeared
Arithmetic
Averages; Ratio & Proportion; Speed, Time and Distance; Time and Work; LCM and HCF; Percentages, Profit and Loss; Interest (Simple and Compound); Number System;
10
Algebra
 
Linear & Quadratic Equations; Inequalities; Functions; Progressions; Algebraic Expressions to Polynomials; Complex numbers; Sequences and series; Permutations and combinations
8
Geometry/
Mensuration
Triangles, Lines and Angles (Supplementary, Complementary, Obtuse, Acute, and Right), Quadrilaterals, Circles; Theorems (Pythagoras, Midpoint, Apollonius, Basic Proportionality, Internal and External Angular Bisector), Co-ordinate Geometry, Quadrant System, Areas of Hexagonal Polygon, Triangle, and Rectangle. Square, Rhombus, Trapezoid, Volume, Total Surface Area, and Lateral Surface Area of Different Solids like Cubes, Cuboids, Cylinders, Pyramids, Cones, Spheres, Hemispheres, and Frustum
3
Trigonometry
Trigonometric ratios, identities, and heights and distances, Sine, Cosine
0
Modern Math
Sequence and Series, Binomial Theorem, Set Theory, Probability, Permutation & Combination
1

FAQs

Q. How many total QA questions are in CAT exam?

A. Number of questions in Quantitative Ability section have remained 22 during last 3 years.

 

Q. How many QA questions are without negative marking?

A. Number of QA TITA or Non MCQ type questions without negative marking in CAT are 6 to 8

 

Q. What is the negative marking scheme for QA MCQ and Non MCQ type questions?

A: MCQs carry 1/3rd negative marking for each wrong answer while there is no negative marking for wrong answer for Non-MCQ type questions

 

Q. How many questions are based on Arithmetic in CAT exam?

A. The number of QA questions in CAT remain between 8 and 12 on Arithmetic. This can vary from slot to slot also. In CAT 2023 slot-1, there were 10 questions on Arithmetic, while in slot-2 this number was 12.

5. CAT Quantitative Aptitude Preparation: Topper Tips

“For Quantitative Ability preparation, I worked on knowing my basic concepts and working on solving the questions that I already know would be solved quickly especially on the questions and concepts which became familiar to me. This built up my skills and strengths, improved speed and accuracy” – Kirti Goyal, CAT Topper 99.1%, IIM Kozhikode MBA 2023-25

 

“First of all, I brushed up all the topics in initial few months. Then appeared in mock tests. My strategy for this section was to keep myself cool and not to get influenced by the performance in other two sections, as this being the last section, there are chances of mishap easy questions if other two sections have not gone well. I was doing one after another from start in sequence. My confidence grew with each questions I could solve and I left a few, which were time consuming” – Soumik Banerjee, CAT Topper 99.95%, IIM Calcutta 2023-25

 

“For QA preparation, my focus areas were to build a strong foundation in math concepts, Solved a variety of math problems daily, Memorized key formulas and shortcuts, Took full-length mock tests to improve speed and accuracy, Managed time effectively during the QA section, Identified and leveraged strong math areas, Worked on improving weaker Math topics, Enhanced mental calculation skills for quicker solutions” - Akshat Agarwal, CAT Topper 99.44%, IIT Delhi MBA 2023-25

Many other CAT toppers with 99 and 100 percentile have shared that they found Quantitative Aptitude was their weak area but they improved a lot in it with consistent preparation. Sharing with MBAUniverse.com, these CAT toppers spoke about their preparation strategy for Quant section: 

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CAT Topper Rachit Saran, MDI Gurgaon (99.04 % in CAT 2017) on how he cracked Quantitative Aptitude in CAT

In an interview with MBAUniverse.com, CAT Topper Rachit Saran explained how he cracked Quant section. He said “I was scoring really low in Quant. I realized that the problem was not with my concepts; it was with my immature stubbornness to solve every question that came my way. Also, I wanted to solve all of them using the traditional methods.  I tried to cast this behaviour out by reminding myself that my entire goal here is to get the answer in least amount of time and nothing else. So, I learnt some unconventional techniques and started being selective with the questions. Of course, the choices here would skew towards my strengths.”

 

“The entire strategy here circled around selecting the right questions. Once I was done with my conceptual basics, I picked up my first couple of mocks and analysed them to see whether I was wasting time on the tough nuts. I devised my strategy in a way that allowed me to go through all the questions on the test, while solving only those that I was confident about.”

CAT Topper Rohan Joshi (99.63 % in CAT 2017) on how he cracked Quantitative Aptitude section

Sharing with MBAUniverse.com, CAT Topper Rohan Joshi (99.63 % in CAT 2017) explained how he cracked Quant section, “I started with solving basic questions and slowly moved on to higher difficulty levels as my preparation advanced.”

CAT Topper Somesh Lohani, FMS Delhi (99.99 % in CAT 2016) on how he cracked Quantitative Aptitude section

Sharing with MBAUniverse.com, CAT topper Somesh Lohani, FMS MBA 2017-19 batch pass out said, “For quant, first thing to do is clearing your basics. There are multiple books available in the market such as by Arun Sharma, Nishit Sinha, etc. Also videos on youtube such as Dinesh Miglani collection on youtube are really helpful and will help in clearing the basics concepts. Once I had my basic concepts cleared, it was all about solving as many questions as possible from different books, online materials and mock tests.”

CAT Topper Gyayak Jain, IIM Ahmedabad (100% in CAT 2016) on how he cracked Quantitative Aptitude section

In an interview with MBAUniverse.com, CAT topper with 100 percentile and IIM Ahmedabad PGP 2017-19 batch pass out, Gyayak Jain said, “I used TIME study modules to get me acquainted with various formulas and tricks of solving various types of problems. The practice for it was done in mock tests. Also, I had no guilt in leaving questions which I was uncomfortable with or was unsure about. I did not waste time in re-solving a question more than once if I am not getting any of the options.”

6. Best Quantitative Ability Preparation Books for CAT

The best books for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT preparation are:

  • How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Arun Sharma
  • Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Nishit K Sinha
  • Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT by Sarvesh K Verma
  • Quantitative Aptitude by R.S. Aggarwal

Study Material for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT from TIME, CL, IMS could be very helpful in QA preparation. The reason is that the study material of top coaching centres is updated as per the latest and expected changes in CAT exam pattern and also consists of Tips & Tricks by CAT experts.

Read more about the Best CAT Preparation Books 

7. CAT Quant Sample Questions and Answers

Sample Quantitative Aptitude based questions, studying from Quantitative Aptitude for CAT Best Book, Attempting Quantitative Aptitude CAT Previous Year Questions are the best tool to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude in CAT. Improving on QA Questions and Answers is important because if you do well in the Quantitative Aptitude for CAT, you will score high in the exam. Below are shared some of the sample QA Problems followed by questions and answers based on latest CAT exam question papers. Check below the CAT Quantitative Aptitude Questions and Answers

 

Q 1: Are positive real numbers such that logx (x2 + 12) = 4 and 3 logy x = 1, then x + y equals

 

Ans Options

1. 10

2. 10

3. 11

4. 68

 

Q 2: If x and y are real numbers such that x2 + (x - 2y - 1)2 = -4y(x + y), then the value x - 2y is

 

Ans Options

1. -1

2. 1

3. 0

4. 2

 

Q 3: Let n be the least positive integer such that 168 is a factor of 1134n. If m is the least positive integer such that 1134n is a factor of 168m, then m + n  equals

 

Ans Options

1. 9

2. 24

3. 15

4. 12 

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Q4: The equation x3 + (2r + 1)x2 + (4r - 1) x + 2 = 0 has - 2 as one of the roots. If the other two roots are real, then the minimum possible non-negative integer value of r is

Case Sensitivity: No

Answer Type: Equal

Possible Answer: -- 

 

Q.5: Gita sells two objects A and B at the same price such that she makes a profit of 20%on object A and a loss of 10% on object B. If she increases the selling price such that objects A and B are still sold at an equal price and a profit of 10% is made on object B, then the profit made on object A will be nearest to

 

Ans Options

1. 47%

2. 49%

3. 42%

4. 45%

 

Q.6: The minor angle between the hours hand and minutes hand of a clock was observed at 8:48 am. The minimum duration, in minutes, after 8.48 am when this angle increases by 50% is

 

Ans Options

1. 36/11

2. 2

3. 24/11

4. 4

 

Q.7: Brishti went on an 8-hour trip in a car, before the trip the car had traveled a total of x km till then, where x is a whole number and is palindromic, At the end of his trip the car had travelled a total of 26862 km. If Bristi never drove at more than 110 km/h, then the greatest possible average speed at which she drove during the trip, in km/h, was

 

Ans Options

1. 80

2. 100

3. 90

4. 110

 

Q.8: The salaries of three friends Sita, Gita and Mita are initially in the ratio 5 : 6 : 7,respectively. In the first year, they get salary hikes of 20%, 25% and 20%, respectively. In the second year, Sita and Mita get salary hikes of 40% and 25%, respectively, and the salary of Gita becomes equal to the mean salary of the three friends. The salary hike of Gita in the second year is

 

Ans Options

1. 28%

2. 26%

3. 25%

4. 30%

 

Q.9: A quadrilateral ABCD is inscribed in a circle such that AB : CD = 2 : 1 and BC : AD = 5 :4. If AC and BD intersect at the point E, then AE : CE equals

 

Ans Options

1. 5:8

2. 8:5

3. 2:1

4. 1:2

 

Q.10: Circle x2 + y2 + 4x - 6y - 3 = 0 and L be locus of the point of intersection of a pair of tangents the angle between the two tangents equal to 600. Then, the point at which L touches the line x = 6 is

 

Ans Options

1. (6, 8)

2. (6, 4)

3. (6, 6)

4. (6, 3)

 

Q.11: Anil invests Rs. 22000 for 6 years in a certain scheme with 4% interest per annum, compounded half-yearly. Sunil invests in the same scheme for 5 years, and then reinvests the entire amount received at the end of 5 years for one year at 10%simple interest. If the amounts received by both at the end of 6 years are same, then the initial investment made by Sunil, in rupees, is.

 

Case Sensitivity: No

Answer Type: Equal

Possible Answer: ---

 

Q.12: The amount of job that Amal, Sunil and Kamal can individually do in a day, are in harmonic progression. Kamal takes twice as much time as Amal to do the same amount of job. If Amal and Sunil work for 4 days and 9 days, respectively, Kamal needs to work for 16 days to finish the remaining job. Then the number of days Sunil will take to finish the job working alone, is

 

Case Sensitivity: No

Answer Type: Equal

Possible Answer: --

 

Answer Grid

Q
Ans
Q
Ans
Q
Ans
Q
Ans
1
1 (MCQ)
4
2 (Non MCQ)
7
2 (MCQ)
10
4 (MCQ)
2
2 (MCQ)
5
1 (MCQ)
8
2 (MCQ)
11
20808 (Non MCQ)
3
3 (MCQ)
6
3 (MCQ)
9
2 (MCQ)
12
27 (Non MCQ)

8. CAT 2024 Quantitative Ability Preparation Plan for 6 Months, 3 Months, 1 Month

Check below the QA preparation plan for 6 months, 3 months, 1 Month by experts:

180 days (6 Month) CAT QA Preparation Plan 2024

The Quantitative Ability CAT preparation plan 2024 for next 180 days beginning from March/April, include your judiciously divided preparation hours and everything related to QA preparation with attending expert sessions on CAT preparation, your practice sessions, doubt solving sessions and all other preparation related steps.

 

In next 180 days, you have close to 3600 hours available with you. According to CAT experts, you are expected to spend 15 to 20% of available hours out of 24 hours per day on CAT preparation. Accordingly, you have to spend 800 hours during next 180 days on CAT preparation and divide the same on Scanning the CAT Syllabus and divide it into sections for study; Choose Time Lines to complete the task one after another as follows:

  • First 90 Days: Clear the Concepts & their Applications, Go for Tests. By the end of 85 days, you will know the topics, type of questions, that are asked in CAT Quantitative Ability, their key concepts, how to answer
  • Next 60 Days: Devise Strategy and Take Mocks, Sectional tests
  • Last 30 Days: Go for revision and frame final strategy

CAT QA Preparation Study Plan: April, May, June, July

During March, April, May, June, July, devote 500 hours minimum to strengthen your concepts on the topics as per CAT syllabus and get complete clarity with attempting exercise questions on each concept simultaneously. This will help you to revise and understand how strong your basics have become and where you need further study of concepts.

How to Prepare for CAT 2024: 180 Days Quantitative Aptitude Preparation Plan

Even if you are not from Mathematics back ground, you can prepare well for Quantitative Ability section in CAT in 180 hours. The plan should be

QA Classes on different topics (30)
30 hours
Revision of Classes & Exercises
90 hours
Practice on Topic Tests (100 tests)
30 hours
Total for Next 120 days
180 hours

Month wise QA Topics to Prepare

QA Topics
Time to devote for Preparation
Arithmetic
March, April
Algebra & Numbers
May, June
Geometry & Mensuration, Revision of Arithmetic
July, August
Revision of Algebra & Numbers
September, October
Focus on Revision, Practice
November

Overall Quantitative Aptitude Month-wise Preparation Plan till CAT exam

Quant Preparation
March, April
May, June
July, August
September, October
November
QA
Arithmetic
Algebra Numbers
G&M, others, Revision of Arithmetic, Practice Tests
Revision of Algebra, Nos, Mocks
All Revision & Mocks

QA Mocks for CAT 2024: Start Taking CAT Mocks from August
Attempting maximum number of Mocks for CAT and analysing each of them is as important as appearing in actual CAT 2024 exam. So, what should be the Mock taking strategy and how many mocks you need to attempt – all details are shared below to prepare well for CAT 2024. 

 

Spend Exact 2 Hours to Attempt 1 Mock Test
Each Mock is of 2 hours duration and you not only have to attempt the mock but also have to maximise your attempts with accuracy. How it can be achieved-Check below

 

Devote 3 hours to Analyse a Mock Test
After completing your CAT mock test in 2 hours, next 3 hours should be devoted to its analysis so that you may understand where you have gone wrong. Identifying your errors and rectifying them, will consistently improve your test taking strategy. If you take the mock at the scheduled hour, you will be ready for CAT day.

 

When to Start Taking Mocks? Experts explain
According to CAT experts, you should start taking Mocks and analyse each of them, beginning from August 3rd or 4th week

 

300 Hours that You Need for Different Types of Mocks:
You need to attempt 4 Types of Mocks. These four type of Mock tests that you would take in 300 hours and their time division to get ready for CAT exam day are:

 

75 Hours for Prime Mocks: Beginning from August, you must start taking full length prime mock tests.

  • There would be 15 mock tests of 2 hours duration and each mock will be divided into 3 sections – VARC, DILR, Quant
  • Each section in mock test will have sectional time limit of 40 minutes as is there in the CAT exam
  • Each 2 hours Mock test should go through the 3 hours analysis to check and avoid any recurrence of similar mistake.

75 Hours for Count Down Mocks: After the first 75 hours, you need to move to full length count Down Mocks. When CAT exam gets a bit closer, you would also be increasing your CAT preparation time.

  • There will be at least 15 count down mock tests of 2 hours duration
  • Like Prime mock, each Count Down Mock will be divided into 3 sections – VARC, DILR, Quant.
  • Each section in mock test will have sectional time limit of 40 minutes, like actual CAT exam. Each 2 hours Mock test will again go through the 3 hours analysis to avoid any future error.

Sectional Mocks in 90 Hours: Next most important thing is to attempt sectional mocks. In other words these are the sectional CAT papers.

  • You need to attempt at least 15 Mock Tests on Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry separetely
  • Attempt 15 Mocks on Complete Quant section
  • Take complete 15 Full Length Mock Tests 
  • Each sectional mock should be of 40 minute duration
  • Each Sectional Mock must be followed by 80 minutes of analysis to check your preparedness in each section.

Solve Actual CAT Papers in 60 Hours: Since 2017 IIMs have started releasing the CAT exam papers for all the slots with answers.

  • There are total 18 CAT question papers available so far, that you need to go through, solve and analyse
  • In 2017, 2018, 2019 CAT was conducted in two slots of 3 hours duration on same day.
  • In 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 CAT was conducted in 3 slots of 2 hours duration on the same day.
  • There are 6 CAT question papers of 2017, 2018 and 2019 as there were 2 slots in each CAT exam,
  • There are 12 CAT papers for 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 as there were 3 slots in each CAT exam.
  • It is very important that you solve and analyse these CAT papers.
Type of Mocks
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Total
Prime Mocks
3
2
2
2
3
12
Count Down Mocks
2
2
3
5
3
15
Original CAT Question papers
3
4
4
4
3
18
Total Mocks
8
8
9
11
9
45
Sectional Tests
9
6
9
6
6
39

Attempt Previous CAT question papers

CAT Quantitative Ability 3 Months Preparation Plan

In last 3 months obviously, you will have more speed, so

  • Use only 1 Month to prepare on concepts if not yet done
  • Further improve your strengths
  • In case you need to start some thing new, complete it latest by September
  • Go for more practice sessions and taking Mocks
  • Spend more time on CAT QA practice tests

CAT Quantitative Ability 1 Month Preparation Plan

  • In last 1 month avoid starting anything new
  • Your Mock Taking Speed will increase, so use it, taking Mocks and analysing them
  • Take 4 QA Sectional Mocks and 2 Full Length Mocks every week 
  • Further improve your strengths
  • Spend more time on Practice & Revision

9. CAT QA Preparation Tips & Tricks by Experts and Videos

 “To prepare for QA section in CAT all depends upon your Target and your Understanding of key topics from this section” Arun Sharma, CAT Expert and Author of Best Selling Book on Quant Preparation for CAT

Unlike other two sections which have 2 parts like Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension; Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude section in CAT consists of questions based only on Mathematics. Accordingly, it requires different preparation strategy focused only on Quantitative Aptitude questions on different topics. Following are the most important points to guide you on how to prepare Quantitative Aptitude for CAT Exam:

Arun Sharma Recommends 3 Dimension Approach..

A three dimensional approach is recommended on CAT Preparation for Quant section. Advising with the pace of Quant preparation for CAT, Arun Sharma said, “Remember that people make the mistake of trying to improve speed in the beginning itself but you should learn how to walk first before you learn to run. So, learn and practice first and then improve speed.”

 

The key aspects of CAT Preparation for Quant section advised by experts are:

  • Strengthen your basics and formulae in Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Modern Math and allied topics
  • Practice on variety of questions of different difficulty level
  • Finally solve previous CAT papers and Mocks for each topic. The more you do it, the more expertise in Quant section for CAT, you will get.
  • Prepare as per latest trends on Quantitative Aptitude questions in CAT  

How Nancy Jain cracked CAT with 99.72% and got admission into IIM Calcutta

How Nandan Goel cracked CAT with 99.95 %ile and got admission to IIM Calcutta

How Pragya Malik cracked CAT with 99.52 %ile and got admission to IIM Calcutta 

How Sandeep Rajguru cracked CAT with 98.07%ile and got admission in IIM Ahmedabad

How Tanuj Ruia cracked CAT with 99.69%ile and got admission into IIM Bangalore

100 Days to CAT: How to Crack CAT by Hemang Panchmatia, CAT Mentor & Program Director, PG-India at IMS Learning

10. Changes in CAT Quantitative Aptitude section Over the Years

During the last few years, Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT has gone for substantial changes. Prior to 2015, around 70% part in the QA section constituted Quantitative Aptitude questions and rest 30% was on DI questions. Before 2014, Quantitative Aptitude Questions for CAT were 20 and on DI they were 10. In 2015 the number of Quantitative Aptitude questions for CAT had gone upto 34 and again reduced in 2020 to 26. In 2021 QA section had 24 questions and since then the QA section has 22 questions. The negative marking questions in Quantitative Aptitude section are 14 to 16 rest are to remain No-Negative marking questions. The difficulty level of CAT Quantitative aptitude section has gone up in 2023 as compared to 2022 and 2021

Read More: CAT 2024 - Exam Date, Registration, Syllabus, Preparation, Books 

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Short name
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