More Last Minute Tips from Recent CATters

Another first hand account of what successful CATters did in the days before the test:
Gaurav Sharma – NSIT Delhi and IIM-A

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Algebra in CAT: 1998 – 2006 (concluding part)

CAT 2003 (retest): A milder version of the leaked CAT paper. It was apparent that that paper had been set in a hurry. A lot of concepts from earlier CATs were repeated. While Algebra was given a lot less importance, there were a lot of questions on Geometry — possibly a deliberate attempt to veer students off the track.

The concepts that were checked in this CAT were:

Logarithms: There were 3 questions, all of which required the application of some fundamental logarithmic properties. The first question was based on the solution for x in an equation with logs. The second was a geometric series embedded into logs, while the third was a simple logarithmic equation with two variables, in which one was asked to express one equation in terms of the other. Continue reading

Geometry in CAT

When it comes to Geometry, ‘out of the world’ concepts have hardly ever been posed in CAT. However, over the years, the focus on geometry has been on the rise.

The checklist below presupposes that you are familiar with quite a bit of Geometry.

1) Triangles: You must be aware of the basic properties of triangles and also know how to apply them. Similarity of triangles is one of the most oft-repeated concepts in CAT, alongside properties of equilateral triangles (its height, area, in-radius, circum-radius), Pythagorean triplets (students are often expected to look at the sides and guess if it is a right triangle), general properties of equilateral triangle, properties of medians, angular bisectors and the theorems associated with it (Appollonius theorem, Angular bisector theorem), etc.

2) Circles: You need to know the basic concepts, theorems (angle in same segment, alternate segment theorem, common tangents, length of tangents from a point are equal, etc.) Continue reading

Algebra in CAT: 1998 – 2006 (Part II)

The very fact that the Algebra portion in CAT has undergone a slight transformation over the past seven years has led to one of the oft-repeated question: “Is CAT still a Class X game?” Maybe there is some truth behind this concern, especially since the importance of Arithmetic in CAT has reduced over the years.

In continuation of my last article, let us now take a look at CAT from 2001 to 2003 to understand the changing trend.

CAT 2001:
This particular paper placed a lot of premium on Algebra. There were two questions based on simple linear inequalities; one on forming equations given a set of 4 conditions; and the other was a set of 2 equations from which a third equation had to be formed. This question gauged your ability to identify the numbers, with which the two equations needed to be multiplied so that the resultant combination led to the third equation.

There was one question on quadratic equations—sum of and product of roots linking to the coefficients of the quadratic equation.

Two questions were asked on the concept of AM greater than or equal to GM. Questions of this type were to appear in a few later CATs as well. Both the questions were quite simple. All one needed to do was take all the variables as equal.

There were three questions based on some user-defined function, with averages combined into it. No prior algebraic knowledge was needed to solve these. One just had to interpret the data and know the concept of averages.

One question was asked on Arithmetic progression, which had a combination of numbers. The question went like this: “A student added some consecutive natural numbers from 1 , but one number was added twice. He got a sum of 1000. Which number was added twice?” Questions like these had appeared in earlier CATs in different avatars.

On the whole, it was a simple paper on the Algebra front. Continue reading

Algebra in CAT: 1998 – 2006 (Part I)

As a topic, Algebra has time and again proven to be a matter of discomfort for many of our students. In this article we would be looking back at some of the questions in CAT from 1998 to 2006 that best capture the essence of this topic.

Let me begin by breaking a myth that in CAT the Algebra questions are tough. I admit there were some difficult questions, no doubt, but, in general, the questions that are posed to test your fundamental knowledge in Algebra. You must have heard this bit from your teachers ad nauseam, but it is a proven fact!

In the first of two articles, let us rewind to the exam for the years 1998 to 2000.

CAT ’98:

Those were the days when CAT was focused heavily on Arithmetic. In fact, this was the last CAT I remember which had more of Arithmetic than any other topic. The only noteworthy thing that one could find in Algebra was a question on a “user defined” function.

User defined functions are not purely algebraic in nature. For example, a # b can be defined as a^b if both a and b are positive, else = 0. It can take any form based on how we define them. Hence, these are not standard algebraic functions. Continue reading