“How should I prepare for Geometry?” The offshoot of this question that I get from a lot of students is, “I don’t get Geometry, can I skip this?” The answer is: DON’T skip Geometry! Arithmetic and Geometry account for 24-25 questions out of 34 in the Quant Section! Also, Geometry is fascinating! So what should be your CAT Geometry Preparation Strategy?
1) Learn from the first principles; Try to find links between concepts
You should prepare for any topic from the first principles. The same goes for Geometry. Learn the theory of triangles, then that of circles, then quadrilaterals. Why should you do this?
All of Geometry is started off from 5-6 core Ideas! Say hi to Euclid’s Elements!
Everything else was built on top of them, incrementally, slowly, and rigourously with each idea being theorized using the fundamentals of the ideas before it. The entire idea of proving and establishing is clearly established throughout the realm of Geometry.
That is why it is such a delight to learn Geometry. Think back to Archimedes and Euclid. Unlike their time, everything has been laid in front of you, at this time, to learn this topic.
You will seamlessly find the links between various topics within Geometry, if your fundamentals are strong.
2) Learn iteratively. Later on, mix and match different types of questions!
Learn Geometry iteratively. Establish a strong theoretical foundation, practice a few questions, and then try and solve a few questions not directly linked with what you’ve learned. Why should you do this CAT Geometry Preparation Strategy?
Say, you have finished learning about congruence. Proceeding to solve questions about congruence is easy. Suddenly, a layered head-scratcher of a question is thrown your way. Then you’ll start to think, “Do I have to apply theorems from congruence or similarities or some other theorem for this question?
Your mind will start to sort through all the theorems and calculate which is optimum for solving the question. Doing so establishes strong connections in your brain.
Many students miss out on solving questions from interconnected geometrical concepts and fall off the bat. They learn a chunk of theory, solve a few questions from this, then move on to the next chunk. Everything seems breezy until they start to solve CAT Level Questions and they realise that they aren’t able to apply the theorems due to the layered nature of these questions.
This is why you should learn Geometry iteratively after establishing a strong theoretical foundation.
Solving mixed questions will be part of your second (and beyond the second) learning iteration.
Why should you NOT skip Geometry?
Geometry sets the base for itself in a very meta way, obviously, but it is ALSO a base for Trigonometry, Mensuration and Co-ordinate Geometry.
Standalone, Geometry accounts for around 6-7 questions. If you bring in Trig, Mensuration and Co-Geo into this, you’re looking at 10 solid questions to ace in the Quant Section.
When we combine Arithmetic and Geometry, we’re looking at 24-25 questions. Even if you get 22 right, you’re looking at a percentile above 99 in Quants.
Here’s an extremely useful video about preparing for Arithmetic. Don’t miss it!
So definitely do not skip Geometry and leave a gap. The gap can be filled easily and Geometry is fun to learn.
Mocks are the keys to success for CAT. Do check out this curious article about Mock scores and CAT Prep!
TL;DR: Learn the theory. Do a bunch of questions. Revisit fundamentals and solve various CAT Level Questions. Relearn whatever is missing. CAT Geometry Preparation should be done iteratively. It is a fun topic and I would strongly advise against skipping it.
Solve questions curiously with a smile on your face! Stay safe and Best Wishes for CAT 2020!
Rajesh Balasubramanian takes the CAT every year and is a 4-time CAT 100 percentiler. He likes few things more than teaching Math and insists to this day that he is a better teacher than exam-taker.