Algebra is not only important in the GMAT but also in all aptitude exams. In GMAT, algebra takes up approximately 20% to 25% of the entire Quant section. That means, on the test day, you could get around 6 to 8 questions overall out of 31 questions in the Quantitative reasoning section. To be able to answer these 6-8 questions, you need to be thorough with concepts of Algebra, hence, through this article we will acquaint you with the GMAT quant algebra syllabus to help with your prep. So, read on!
In the GMAT Quant section, the Algebra questions test only concepts that you have learnt in your high school and nothing beyond that. These concepts include linear equation questions to basic statistics questions. Even though GMAT is not a mathematical exam, it does test Algebraic expressions in multiple ways such as plugging in own values and reverse technique to solve such questions. Hence, it is good to know some of the important Algebraic expressions.
Now, let’s discuss the concepts/topics of Algebra that you are tested on.
We can put this under four major categories:
- Equations and word problems
- Inequalities and Absolute values
- Functions and Sequences
- Basic Statistics
Let’s look at each of these topics in detail.
- Equations and Word Problems:
A combination of mathematical expressions and symbols that contains an “equal to” sign is an equation. For example: 7 + 9 = 16 is an equation, just like x + y = 7
GMAT Questions pertaining to Equations and Word problems could test your knowledge on:
- Monomials and Polynomials
- Algebraic expressions and Equations
- Simplifying Algebraic expressions
- Solving Linear equations with one variable
- Solving Linear equations with two variables
- System of simultaneous linear equations
- Similar Equations
- Diophantine Equations (finding the integer solution for the given equation)
- Forming a linear equation for the given word problem
- Solving Quadratic Equations
- Solving equations by factorization method
- Sum of the roots in Quadratic equation
- Product of the roots in the Quadratic equation
- Forming a Quadratic equation for the given word problem
- Solving the Mixtures questions by algebraic methods
- Alligation concept and its application
- Inequalities and Absolute Values:
An inequality is defined as a comparison of quantities that have different values. There are four ways to express inequalities: less than (<), less than or equal to (<=), greater than (>), or greater than or equal to (=>).
GMAT Questions pertaining to Inequalities and Absolute values could test your knowledge on:
- Knowing the inequality symbols
- Finding the range for the shaded region in the number line
- Rules Adding or subtracting a constant in an inequality expression
- Rules of Multiplying or subtracting a constant in an inequality expression
- Rules of Adding and Subtracting two inequality expressions
- Rules of Multiplying and Dividing two inequality expressions
- Rules of Squaring on both sides of an inequality expression
- Rules of Cubing on both sides of an inequality expression
- Rules of raising to an even power on both sides of an inequality expression
- Rules of raising to an odd power on both sides of an inequality expression
- Rules of addition, subtraction and multiplication operations on two different ranges
- Solving Quadratic Inequalities
- Finding the range for Quadratic Inequality expression
- Finding the range for higher degree inequality expression
- Compound Inequalities
- Knowing the Modulus function
- Definition of Modulus function
- Solving the Modulus equation
- Finding the range for Modulus inequation
- Properties of the Modulus function
III. Functions and Sequences:
A function is defined as a rule or a formula which takes an input (or given starting value) and produces an output (or resulting value).
For example, fx=x+10 represents a function, where “x” is the input, f(x) is read as “f as a function of x” or “f of x” and refers to the output (also known as the “y” value), and x + 10 is the rule for what to do to the “x” input.
For example, f5=x+10=5+10=15
GMAT Questions pertaining to Functions and Sequences could test your knowledge on:
- Solving the basic function questions
- Domain of a function
- Range of a function
- Compound or Composite functions
- Identifying the sequences and series
- Arithmetic Progression and its application
- Geometric Progression and its application
- Basic Statistics:
Basic definitions (terms) like Average, median and mode could be tested in the algebra section.
In the Algebra topic, weighted average questions are very common in the GMAT. In a typical weighted average question, we have two groups, each with their own average, and we are interested in the overall average when we combine the groups. The overall average is `weighted’ by the ratio of the sizes of the groups.
Algebraic methods can certainly be used to solve weighted average problems but we can also use a short-cut called the “allegation method” to solve such questions.
GMAT Questions pertaining to basic statistics could test your knowledge on:
- The Average and its applications
- Median and its applications
- Mode and its applications
- Knowledge on the Weighted Average
- Application of Allegation in Weighted Average questions
That summarizes the concepts tested in the Algebra section.
As mentioned in the article above, the best part about the Quantitative section of the GMAT exam is that these algebra questions can also be solved using various different approaches like “Plugging in the values” and “Reverse technique”, etc. having said that, it is good to know the basic rules and properties of equations and inequalities which are listed above.
Hope this article gave you a clear picture of the GMAT quant Algebra syllabus. All the best for your GMAT exam!