CAT Arithmetic & Algebra Syllabus, Books, Questions and Preparation Tips

By Anjali Chowdhury|Updated : February 1st, 2022

The Arithmetic-Algebra part of the CAT exam mainly appears in the CAT QA section. This section is very vast and consists of various formulas, mathematical rules and theorems. With a high weightage, the aspirants can expect 8-12 questions from this section. In CAT 2021, 8-9 questions were asked in Arithmetic and  6-7 questions were asked from Algebra. Therefore, this section is significant enough to get a good CAT score. 

The Arithmetic and Algebra section in the CAT QA tests the mathematical knowledge of the aspirants. Below mentioned is an overview of the CAT Arithmetic and Algebra Question topics, best books to refer to, and expert tips to efficiently prepare this section. 

Table of Content

CAT Arithmetic and Algebra Syllabus 2022

The aspirants must check out the syllabus before their preparation. An expected syllabus for CAT 2022 arithmetic is listed in the following table, which may be beneficial for the aspirants.


Arithmetic Chapters

Part 1: Basic Mathematical Concepts

  • Averages
  • Percentages
  • Partnerships
  • Ratio and Proportions

Part 2: High Probability Chapters

  • Interest
  • Profit and Loss
  • Time and Distance
  • Instalments
  • Time and Work
  • Pipe and Cisterns
  • Mixtures and allegations
  • Relative efficiencies

Part 3: Low chances in CAT exam but should not be neglected

  • Clock
  • Calendars
  • Shares and Stocks


The Algebra part in the CAT QA section should also be prepared effectively, like Arithmetic. The CAT questions on algebra include the following topics as per previous year papers and the aspirants should go through it to get a good grasp.

  • Basic formula of Algebra
  • Inequalities
  • Logarithm
  • Linear Equations (Age-related problems, integer Solutions)
  • Equations on the higher degree (Descartes rule of signs)
  • Functions (Graph modifications, Finding the smallest value in a maximum function)
  • Quadratic equations (Finding out root values, minima, and maxima)

Best CAT Books to Study Arithmetic and Algebra

Arithmetic and Algebra are an important part of the QA section. The candidates can refer to the various Quantitative Ability books available in the market to practice Arithmetic and Algebra Questions. Candidates who have enrolled for the Online Classroom Programme can refer to the study notes available to them.

Tips to Prepare CAT Arithmetic Algebra Questions

The aspirants might have several questions before starting preparation for CAT Exam. It is indeed as this QA part is huge and the aspirants become confused to make the best preparation strategy. The following are a few preparation tips, which may be beneficial for the aspirants to crack the CAT QA section.

Prepare SMART study goals.

SMART (Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-bound) goals are necessary for strategic preparation. With this, the aspirants can clarify their knowledge and remain focused on their study plan.

Revise regularly and attempt Mock Test

After completing each chapter, it is highly recommended to do daily revisions. Otherwise, the aspirants may forget the important formulas related to the chapter's topic. They can also solve BYJU’s Exam Prep mock test to regularly revise what they have learned.

Solve CAT Previous Years’ Questions

Solving previous years’ CAT questions will help the aspirant to understand the question pattern and standard. Identify the kinds of Arithmetic Algebra Questions asked in the CAT exam over the years and prepare accordingly. 

Time management

The aspirants must ensure that they are practicing by managing the time, as there is a specific time duration of each section in the CAT exam. You must have a good pace of solving questions so you can attempt all the questions with maximum accuracy.

Sample CAT Questions on Arithmetic & Algebra 

The best way to start practicing CAT questions on these subjects is to go through CAT previous year algebra & arithmetic questions. Here are a few examples. 

Identify your key areas

Identify the strong areas and try to look for those questions in the test. It helps you score easily. You may opt out to prepare a few topics that you find extremely challenging and rather focus on your strong concepts.

Arithmetic Questions For CAT

  1. P is x% more than Q. Q is (x - 10) % less than R. If P > R, what is the range of values x can take?
  2. 10% to 28%
  3. 10% to 25%
  4. 10% to 37%
  5. 10% to 43%

Answer: 10% to 37%


Compare P, Q, and R first.

P = Q (1 + x/100)

Q = R {1 – (x−10)/100)

R= Q/ {1- (x-10/100)}

Now, P > R

= Q (1 + x/100)> Q/ {1- (x-10/100)}

= 1 + x/100>1/ (100-x+10)/100

=(100+x)/100> 100 (110-x)

= (100 + x) (110 – x) > 100 * 100

= 11,000 + 110x – 100x – x2 > 10000

= 1000 + 10x – x2 > 0

= x2 – 10x – 1000 < 0

= x2 – 10x + 25 < 1000 + 25

= (x – 5)2 < 1025

= x – 5 < 32

= x < 37

Therefore, the X ranges from 10% to 37%

Algebra Questions For CAT

The given pair (X, Y) of positive integers, such that 4X-17Y=1 and X<1000 how many integer values of Y satisfy the given conditions?

[1] 56

[2] 57

[3] 58

[4] 59

Answer: 59


Firstly, it is needed to find out a solution for X and Y. Values of X would be in an AP with a common difference of 17 whereas values of y would be in an AP with a common difference of 4.

X=13, Y=3

X=30, Y=7

X=47. Y=11

Hence, X= 999, Y= 235

Therefore, number of terms = {(999-13)/17} +1 =58+1 =59


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  • To solve these questions you must have a grip on all the formulas with a clear understanding. Regular practise and revision is recommended.

  • Not exactly, but the questions are tricky enough to solve.

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