Basic Algebra & Surds for Tier-I Preparation

This comprehensive 3000-word guide will help SSC CGL aspirants grasp key concepts of basic algebra & surds, with tips and strategies to solve related quantitative aptitude questions.

The Staff Selection Commission's Combined Graduate Level (SSC CGL) exam is one of India's most popular government job recruitment tests. In the Tier-I stage of this exam, the quantitative aptitude section tests a candidate's knowledge of basic algebra identities and elementary surds.

Important Concepts - Basic Algebra & Surds

Basic Algebraic Identities Elementary Surds
Fundamental algebraic formulas and equations that hold true for all variable values Expressions with irrational roots like √2, 3√3, etc.
Used to simplify expressions by expanding, factoring, etc. Involves simplifying, arithmetic operations, and solving equations with surds

Understanding Key Algebraic Identities

Algebraic identities refer to equations or formulas in algebra that remain true unconditionally. For example, (x + y)2 = x2 + 2xy + y2. No matter what values you substitute for x and y, this equation will hold true. Learning these fundamental identities and how to apply them to simplify algebraic expressions is critical for solving quantitative aptitude problems quickly.

Mastering Techniques for Elementary Surds

Surds contain irrational roots like √2, 3√5 etc. that cannot be simplified into rational numbers. The syllabus focuses on basic surds with square roots, cube roots or fifth roots only. Key concepts include:

  • Simplifying surd expressions by factorizing and rationalizing denominators
  • Performing arithmetic on surds - adding, subtracting, multiplying
  • Solving algebraic equations involving surds

Practicing Different Types of Questions

With regular practice, you can master the techniques to solve various questions on identities and surds, such as:

  • Expanding or factorizing algebraic expressions
  • Rationalizing denominators containing surd terms
  • Simplifying complex expressions with exponents and radicals
  • Solving equations with surds through cross multiplication, squaring, etc.

Strategies for Success

Here are some top tips to conquer this syllabus:

  • Revise formulas and identities from school algebra textbooks
  • Practice simplifying expressions by applying identities
  • Master techniques for arithmetic operations on surds
  • Attempt lots of questions from previous year papers and mock tests
  • Seek assistance from coaching institutes if struggling with concepts

The Final Word

Getting a strong grip on basic algebra and surds will go a long way in helping you crack the SSC CGL Quantitative Aptitude section. Be thorough with identities, befriend the surds through regular practice, and success will be on your side!


A strong conceptual grasp and ample practice with applying techniques are key to mastering the basic algebra and surds syllabus for SSC CGL Tier-I. Approach this section in a strategic manner and avoid careless errors. Maintaining speed and accuracy will help maximize your score.


Q1: How can I master algebraic identities?

A1: Learn the common identities used for expansion, factorization, squares etc. throughly. Practice simplifying algebraic expressions by applying suitable identities. This builds expertise over time.

Q2: What's the efficient way to add or multiply surds?

A2: When adding or multiplying surds with different irrational roots, simplify individual surds first using factorization. Then apply the rules of addition/multiplication and simplify the terms.

Q3: How should I approach surd equations?

A3: Techniques like squaring, cross-multiplication etc. can help solve surd equations. Break complex equations down step-by-step and simplify. Check your solution by substituting back at the end.

Q4: Which topics should I focus more on?

A4: Give equal priority to identities for simplification/factorization and different surd techniques. Practice more mixed problems involving both concepts.

Q5: What is the best resource for practice?

A5: Refer SSC previous year question papers and mock tests. Attempt quantitative aptitude questions categorized under algebra/surds to get sufficient practice.

Q6: How can I avoid silly errors?

A6: Be careful about minus signs and learn to spot common pitfall areas. Revise your solution before marking to catch any missed steps or errors.