The very sight of questions on Algebra, Geometry and Modern Maths flusters and unsettles many aspirants dreaming to bell the CAT. Since these three areas together account for more than half the Quantitative Ability (QA) questions in the CAT, it’s imperative to master them thoroughly. Let’s discuss the significance of these areas and try to zero in on some elementary concepts, which are indispensable to score well in these areas.
Algebra, arguably the most important topic for CAT preparation, constitutes around 25–35% of the QA questions. The questions of Algebra are based on Polynomials, Equations, Logarithm, Inequality, Maxima-Minima, Relations & Functions, Sequence & Series, Co-ordinate Geometry.. In order to do well in Algebra, one needs to acquaint oneself with the basics of linear, quadratic and cubic equations; graphs of some basic functions; some standard sequences and the fundamentals of inequalities.
Since the inception of the new avatar of CAT, Geometry has assumed a greater importance and sweeps around 15-25% of the QA questions. The area deals with Euclidean Geometry, Mensuration and Trigonometry. To ace the topic, one has to familiarize oneself with basic theorems involving parallel & transversal lines, triangles, circles and quadrilaterals; area and volume of solids; trigonometric ratios etc.
Modern Maths, with topics such as Permutations & Combinations, Probability and Set Theory, has not been as important for CAT as the other two discussed above, but needs to be prepared nonetheless. Usually, just a couple of questions feature from this area in the CAT and are not very difficult to handle. Also, a set of 2-3 questions based on the applications of Set Theory is known to have featured in the exam in the past, though not very frequently.
In a nutshell, if a CAT aspirant goes whole hog in familiarising himself/herself with the nuances and intricacies of the aforementioned concepts pertaining to the three areas and is able to apply them adeptly on the day of the exam, he/she can be sure of reaping rich dividends.