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Posted on November 16, 2007 by Mod

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 ² 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. Quadratic Equations: A general form of a quadratic equation was given as ax^2 + bx + 1= 0. It was required to find how many sets of (a,b) can be selected from (1,2,3,4) so that the quadratic has real roots. A fairly simple and straightforward question. Equations: The question posed was on the number of integral solutions for 5x+19y = 64, for some conditions of x and y. This concept reappeared, almost verbatim after a period of almost five years. Series: Arithmetic and geometric series did an encore. So also did a question based on the AM > or = GM concept, albeit in a different format: y-x = z-y and xyz = 4; one had to find the minimum value for y. Another question where the above concept was applied was to find the maximum volume of a cuboid that is formed after snipping squares from the edges of a rectangular sheet. This concept was repeated in CAT after almost a decade. Common roots: There were 2 cubic equations, the coefficients of the term with degree 3 was same. One was asked to find the number of common roots. This question was similar to one of the questions in the leaked CAT paper. Range of x: Two questions were asked on the expression for x and one was asked to find the range of values x can take. One of the questions was confusing as the expression looked complicated, while the other was a simple inequality 1 ± 1/n < x <= 3 + 1/n. To crack these questions, one needed to have clarity in concepts on number systems. There was one inequality involving modulus: |b| >or = 1 and x = -|a|b. Based on this, one had to choose the correct option. And to complete the paper, there were three questions based on some functional operators«The representation was given in a table format (that was the only new part). All three were absolute sitters. The definitions for composite operators were also given, for example, x*y was given in a table; x^2 = x*x«. and so on Overall, it was a simpler paper as compared to its leaked counterpart. CAT 2004 Series: The question on this topic went like this: ³Sum of 11 terms = sum of the 19 terms of an AP. What is the sum of 30 terms? One could have easily solved it, based on the simple concept of writing the terms in terms of µa¶ and µd¶. A smarter way was to apply the concept that the average of middle terms of an AP equals the average of all the terms. A sequence was given in the form a1 = 81.33, a2 =-19 and a(i) = a(i-1) ±a(i-2). One was asked to figure out the sum to 6002 terms. It was obvious from the question that the answer would be a small number. An easy way to reach the solution was to write down the first few terms, so that the pattern becomes obvious.

Quadratic/Cubic Expression: One of the questions was f(x) = x^3 -4x+p; f(0) and f(1) are opposite in signs and the p lies in a range. One were to simply understand that the product of two numbers of opposite signs is negative! Also the check was on the student¶s ability to solve quadratic inequalities. The other one was a quadratic expression: f(x) = ax^2 ± b|x|, at x=0. One was asked to find out under what conditions of µa¶ and µ¶b¶ is f(x) is maximized or minimized. Simplification: µy was defined as a fraction that had a recurring expression. One had to find the value of y. To solve this, all one needed to do was convert it into a quadratic! Logs reappeared in this year¶s paper as well in the form of Quadratics. It was a fairly simple question. There were 2 questions on functions: f1(x) was defined for different values of x; f2(x) , f3(x) and f4(x) in terms of the other functions. On was asked to solve two expressions based on these definitions. Even though the question looked complicated, it was actually very easy. As you can see, the focus on algebra was gradually reducing in this CAT. CAT 2005 Identities: A simple question was asked based on identities: (30^65 ± 29^65) / (30^64+29^64). One had to find the value of this expression, whether greater than or less than 1. Sequences and series: There were two questions²one wanted us to find out what 1! + 2×2! + 3×3! simplifies to. Once you figure out that 3×3! can also be written as 4!-3!, it becomes a simple question thereafter. In the other question, A1 was given, with An in terms of n and the previous term and one had to find A100. This type of question has appeared in umpteen CATs. A simple way to solve it was to write the first 3 to 4 terms and try to fit the choice into it. In the question on quadratic, the value of x was asked from the equation: x= (4 + root (4 ± root (4 +root (4-««)))). A question similar to this one conceptually was asked in one of the previous CATs. Hence, it was nothing but a standard question! Graphs: There was a graph |x-y| + |x+y| = 4; one needed to find the area enclosed. This was very similar to one of the questions that came in CAT six years ago. Functions: This was a tricky one. One was given g(x+1) +g(x-1) = g(x) and was asked to find out for what value of p, g(x+p) = g(x). If one took a look at the choices, one could have easily concluded that you needed to write the expression, at max till g(x+6). That was the way to make it simple. CAT 2006: The only question in the CAT 2006 paper worth mentioning in Algebra was the graph in which the 2 axes were x+y and x-y. One was asked to identify the same graph when drawn on the x and y plane. This question needed the application of a concept that involves rotation of the axes. Though no in depth knowledge was needed, it might have surprised a few because such type of question made its appearance for the first time«Could they take this forward? Time only will tell. On the whole when I sum up the CAT papers over the past 10 years, I can safely conclude that contrary to popular opinion, Algebra is not necessarily gaining in importance. Yes, it is a fact that no longer do we see the basic formulae driven problems. You need to move that one step ahead in order to solve these questions, but those who use the ³Dummy´ way of solving using choices are going to find a fair bit of Algebra questions to be simple, irrespective of the level of difficulty of CAT. I do hope students would take a look a the past CAT papers and not believe the µrumours´ of CAT being so difficult«But why were the mocks tough then«I believe mocks do help in Capturing all the fundas that one needs for CAT«and to crack it !!

Geometry in CAT

Posted on November 14, 2007 by Mod

When it comes to Geometry, µout 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.) In addition, you must also be aware of some fundamental properties of parallelograms, for example.

All this would suffice to crack Geometry portion of CAT and I am not trying to ³motivating ³ when I say this. Just look at the table below, and you will know it for a fact what CAT expects you to know in Geometry.

Type of question Circles+ CAT 1998 Triangle (2 Qs) CAT

Comments

Cow tethered to one vertex of a triangle. Find out the area that it can graze. Concentric circles and squares inscribed in these circles. Area of CAT 1999 Circles + Square the figures is? Logical ± Rectangle partitioned «Points in the two Quadrilaterals ( CAT 1999 portions«Distances between the points ( max and min to be 2 Qs) found«). Properties of right triangle «Key concept (Pythagoras theorem CAT 1999 Triangle (3 Qs) and mid point of hypotenuse joined to opposite vertex = half of hypotenuse). 2 sides > third side«perimeter given«how many triangle can be CAT 2000 Triangles formed with integral sides? Angle identification. Probably the toughest question that has come CAT 2000 Triangle in Geometry till date. Area of a triangle was given, the longest side was given and one CAT 2001 Triangle more side. One was asked to find the length of the third side. Required application of 1/2 x base x ht and Pythagoras theorem« Area of quadrilateral was required to be found out with its 4 sides given, and one angle being 90 degrees. Lengths given were such CAT 2001 Quadrilateral that one could easily form Pythagorean triplets. No need for any formula. Area of a triangle one with vertex coinciding with that of the rectangle, the other two are points trisecting a side of the CAT 2001 Rectangle rectangle«Ratio of areas of triangle to rectangle

Finding the missing angle «properties to be used«Isoceles triangle and angle at a point = 180 degrees Properties of Tangents«Length of tangents from a point to a circle CAT 2001 Circles are equal + Pythagoras theorem Sides of the quad«And diagonal given in terms of a variable x CAT 2001 Quadrilateral «find x «Concept applicable was Pythagoras theorem CAT 2001 Regular Octagon Square into an octagon Angle to be found«.Series of parallel lines completing into Parallel lines + rectangles and triangles given«required to find CAT 2002 Triangles (3 Qs) angles«Application of simple corresponding angles concept. Angular Bisector Theorem«Application of ratio of sides = ratio of parts into which the angular bisector divides the triangle«The CAT 2002 Triangles only time such a question has appeared in CAT. 4 horses tethered to the vertices of a square«Find out the area ungrazed. A simple question, since no intersection of areas that can CAT 2002 Circles be grazed by any two horses Area of the triangle with one vertex common and one side CAT 2002 Rectangle common with one side lying on a second side of the rectangle CAT 2002 Circles Distance between Chords Find sides when perimeter is given, with condition between the CAT 2002 Triangle longest and shortest side«.sum of 2 sides > third side Right triangle split into 2 by a perpendicular to the hypotenuse«2 in circles in these 2 triangles«distance between the CAT 2002 Triangle centers«Inradius lengths had to be found«This is the only time inradius has come in CAT for a non equilateral triangle CAT 2003 Mensuration How do ratios of volumes of 2 spheres relate to their surface areas? (Leaked) Mix of TSD and circles«Had to find the distance between the CAT 2003 points that make an arc of 90 degrees and also tangential to a Circles (3 Qs) (Leaked) concentric circle to the outer circle« Two concentric circles«outer circles 4 times the area of inner CAT 2003 circle«Area of triangle ABC where AC, AC are tangential to the Circles (Leaked) inner circle? CAT 2003 Circles Exterior Angle funda (Leaked) Concave angles was defined as 270 degrees, convex was defined CAT 2003 as 90 degrees«Sides of polygon either parallel to x axis or y Concave angles (Leaked) axis«Asked to find how many concave angles does it have if it has 25 convex angles ?«A good problem that needed visualization 3 horses grazing in a semicircle«2 of them at A and B and the length of the ropes = half of diameter where A,B on the diameter; CAT 2003 Circles the third at a point C such that the circle it grazes is tangential to (Leaked) all the 3 semicircles«area ungrazed«.Needed application of CAT 2001 Triangle

concept of Isosceles triangle and distance between the centers of 2 circles that are tangential to each other« CAT 2003 Find the area of AOF where A and F are adjacent vertices and Regular hexagon (Leaked) angle O is 90 degrees Tower in the middle of a square«h is height of the tower and b is CAT 2003 3 dimensional the length of the square«angle APB given asked to find the (Leaked) visualization relation between h and b«The only time a 3 dimensional figure has appeared in CAT «Wonder why !! 2 triangle with same base and 2 parallel sides perpendicular to the CAT 2003 common base, third side crossing each other«.Rest of the question Triangle (Leaked) was based on similarity of triangles Chord AB and diameter DX extended to meet at C«Angle ACD Cat 2003 given«Relation between this angle and Angle AOD ?.The best Circle (Leaked) approach was to use the choices. Circle inscribed in a square«A rectangle drawn at one corner of the square with one of its vertex on the circle and 2 sides on the sides of square«dimensions of this rectangle was given Asked to CAT 2003 find the radius of the circle«.A similar problem came a few CATs Circle (Leaked) later«Simply Pythagoras theorem could have been used to solve this question«Also one needs to know that diameter of circle = side of square« CAT2003 Alternate segment theorem & angle subtended by a chord on the Circles (Repeat) circle = 1/2 angle subtended at the center CAT2003 Regular Areas of Regular Polygons (Repeat) Hexagon CAT2003 A problem where Cosine rule for triangle had to be used«.This Triangles (Repeat) was the only time this type of question has appeared in CAT. CAT2003 Triangles Exterior angle rule«A very simple question (Repeat) CAT2003 Square inside a square«..n such squares«sum of the areas of all Squares (Repeat) the squares? Rectangle in a circle«ABCD«Triangle ADE (E on AB)«ratio of CAT2003 the areas of circle to rectangle was given«AE :AD to be found if Circle (Repeat) angle ADE and ODC are equal«A good question that basic triangle laws would have helped solve. CAT2003 Triangles Question based on similarity of triangles (Repeat) To find the length of a string that spirals around a cylinder with CAT2003 Mensuration (3 equal spacing between spirals«.same with cube«Needed (Repeat) Qs) applying the funda of opening out the cylinder / cube. Circles + 3 concentric equilateral triangles were given«3 circles drawn with CAT2003 Equilateral the vertices of the inner most triangles touching the other two«the (Repeat) Triangle ( 3 Qs) second triangle has vertices on the circles and the third has sides

tangential to the circles«.TSD was combined«Funda basically was to find the sides of the 3 triangles in terms of the side of the innermost triangle. Circle in a square ± Smaller circle in the gap at the corner«Radius CAT 2004 Circles of this circle? Concepts«Angle in same segment equal, angle in semicircle = 90 CAT 2004 Circles degrees Quadrilateral in a semi circle, a side parallel to diameter«other 2 CAT 2004 Circle sides, diameter given«4th side =? Longest diagonal of cube «sides of a triangle«radius of a circle CAT 2004 Triangle circumscribing such a triangle« Circle + Compare the perimeter of a rectangle to two circles tangential to CAT 2005 Rectangle each other and also to the rectangle« CAT 2005 Circles Length of 2 chords given. Distance between the chords? CAT 2005 Circle Equilateral Triangle in a circle Common area«circles given of equal radii, and distance between CAT 2005 Circles their centers = radii«This makes the question simple« Max no. of rectangular tiles of a certain dimension that can be CAT 2005 Square fitted in« CAT 2005 Circles Point of intersection of chords CAT 2005 Triangles Similarity of triangles I do hope that you have found that this list provides enough insight into what you can expect in CAT as far as Geometry is concerned. So, do not waste your time poring over Math Olympiad problems, unless you find them ³intellectually stimulating´!

All the best!

**Algebra in CAT: 1998 ± 2006 (Part II)
**

Posted on November 13, 2007 by Mod

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: ³Is 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 equations²sum 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: ³A 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. CAT 2002: Probably the toughest CAT when it comes to Algebra. The sheer number of concepts that were checked and new types of questions that were introduced made the paper Algebra heavy. There were two questions on Data Sufficiency: one on inequalities and the other on modulus. Both were easy to solve. The toughest question in Algebra in the 2002 paper, which had earlier appeared in the Joint Entrance Examination was: ³x+y+z=5 and xy+yz+xz=3. What is the largest value that x can take?´ To solve this question, one needed some algebraic manipulation and application of AM > or = GM concept. I personally feel that there has hardly ever been a tougher question asked in CAT on Algebra. One more question was based on the application of AM > or =GM concept. It appeared in the form of a packaging problem on how many Samosas to pack vis-à-vis maximization of revenues for Davji Shops. The concept of Series was checked in three questions. The first was an AP-GP series: 2+5x+9x^2+14x^3«where |x| < 1. One needed to know the method to solve such questions. A similar question reappeared in a subsequent CAT. In the second question, the nth term of a series was given and one asked to guess the general nature of the odd and even terms, whether +ve or ±ve. All one needed to do was list the first 5 to 6 terms and notice the pattern. The third was a repetition of a concept from the previous CAT. ³A student was asked to add a first few natural numbers «missed one number« the sum came to be 575«which number did he miss?´ The concept of the sum of an A.P could have been used to solve this question. There were two questions based on identities, the first was: x^2+5y^2+z^2 =2y(2x+z). To answer this question, one needed to know how to rewrite the identity as sum of 3 squares. The other question asked one to find out the number by which 7^6n ± 6^6n is divisible. If you knew how to factorize a^n ± b^n when n is even or odd, it was a sitter. Some others solved the question by putting n =1. Functions and graphs were not really predominant in this CAT. There were only two questions on the former. In the first, a logarithmic function, one just needed to know properties of logs, or simply by putting x= a and y=b, one could have cracked the question. The second one was tricky. Two functions were defined as L(x,y) = [x] +[y] +[xy] and R(x,y) = [2x] +[2y]. One had to find whether L(x,y) could be > or = or < than R(x,y). This was the first time that the Greatest Integer function was introduced in Algebra. One needed to know the number properties of such functions. It was a conceptually tough question for those not comfortable with Algebra. We have not seen GIF in subsequent CATs. A simple question was asked on quadratic properties. One had to find the number of real roots for an expression (A/x) + (B/ x -1) = 1. It needed rewriting the expression and applying standard fundamental concepts of quadratics. However, the form of the expression stumped quite a few. One question that many people answered in spite of not knowing how to solve but just by applying the Pythagorean triplets was the one which said u^m + v^m = w^m«where u,v,w,m are all integers. There were choices relating m and the max / min of u,v,w. If one were to attempt, proving the relationship it would have needed significant amount of expertise. But CAT was checking out if you could relate it to the Pythagorean triplets. Algebraic manipulation was required for the question where pqr=1 was to be used in simplifying an expression having 3 terms given in terms of p, q and r. It needed a bit of smart work to do it the straight way. Else one could have put p=q=r=1 and arrived at the answer right away!

Overall, the number of questions and variety of concepts made this a tough Algebra section. Nevertheless it was always possible even in such a CAT to apply fundamentals to make tough questions simpler. In fact, that is exactly what CAT is expecting you to work on. CAT 2003: The year when the CAT paper got leaked. The retest, however, proved to be less conceptual in nature. The graphs resurfaced, appearing in 3 questions. In each of these, the number of points of intersection of two curves needed to be found. In one question, one had to figure that out between y=2^x and y=x+1 and in the other, between y=1/x and y= logx. Those who knew how the graphs looked could guess correctly. Others were lucky enough to realize that at x=0 and x=1, in the first two graphs the y coordinate was the same. In the third one, cubic and one quadratic were given with the task of finding the common roots. One just needed to find the points of intersection (which was very easy, given the nature of the equation, the trademark of CAT questions) and check whether they were the roots, too. There was one question which could have been solved very easily using graphs, the one on min of the function max(5-x,x+2). This concept reappeared in CAT after a gap of nine years. There were questions on similar lines in which one was asked to find the maximum or minimum values of the square of 4 integers, whose sum was of the form 4K+1. It could also have been categorized as a µnumbers¶ question, but the knowledge that if you are close to the mean, the sum of the squares would be the least would have made this a simple question. There was one question based on a set of three linear equations with three variables. One had to find the condition for which they had at least one solution. Just plugging the choices and checking the answers would have done the trick. There were three questions on Arithmetic progression. In the first, one needed to know how to write the nth term in terms of ³a´ and ³d´. The smart way of approaching was to apply the concept that the middle term is also the average of all the terms. In the second, one had to find which term would be just short of a sum of 288 when the series 1+2+3«is written. The third question was a further application²one needed to know that the first and the last terms were same as the second and the second last, and so on. The other question on series was on AP and GP: ³n questions in a paper«the number of students getting more than j mistakes was 2^(n-j)«there were 4095 mistakes in all«find the number of students. Now, 4095 is close to 4096, which is 2^12. One needed to look at the choice of numbers. Those who checked with n = 3 got the answer. An example how in some cases mathematical induction works. There was one question on modulus, which was a little difficult for quite a few people. This particular concept appeared for the first time in CAT²min value of |x-a| + |b-x|+ |x-c|« There was one quadratic given in terms of some unknown coefficients and one was asked to find what could be the minimum value of the square of the roots. The coefficients were such that one just had to express the sum of the squares of the roots in terms of the sum and the product of the roots. Then, the solution would have been obvious« The last was a question based on the fact that if x is +ve x + 1/x is not less than 2. This had to be applied to a given expression. This CAT had quite a few questions on Algebra. The paper was just a shade lesser than the previous year¶s CAT, in terms of the width of concepts covered, nevertheless the new concepts that came into picture were points of intersections of curves, minimum values in Modulus expressions. In a nutshell, the retest was a lot better!

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