GMAT Math by MBA House

Fast Math for Faster Answers: Speed Techniques for GMAT Quant

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Are you gearing up for the GMAT and feeling a bit overwhelmed by the quantitative section? You’re not alone. Many aspiring MBA students find themselves stressing over complex math problems. The good news is, with the right hacks and shortcuts, you can boost your speed and accuracy without breaking a sweat. But before we dive into those, let’s take a moment to understand why mastering these techniques is so crucial. 

“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” – Peter Drucker

The GMAT isn’t just a test of knowledge; it’s a test of efficiency and strategic thinking. By mastering quick math hacks, you’ll not only solve problems faster but also free up precious time to tackle the more challenging questions. Ready to transform your test-taking skills? Let’s get started!

Master Mental Math for GMAT Success

One of the most vital skills for excelling in the GMAT Quantitative section is mastering mental math. The ability to perform calculations quickly and accurately in your head can save you valuable time and boost your confidence during the test. Let’s explore some quick math hacks and shortcuts that can enhance your performance. 

1. Simplify Fractions: Reduce fractions to their simplest form to make calculations easier. For example, instead of working with 28/36, simplify it to 7/9. 

2. Use Approximation: Sometimes, exact calculations aren’t necessary. If you need to quickly find the square root of 50, recognize that it’s slightly more than 7, because 72 is 49. 

3. Break Down Multiplication: Decompose larger multiplication problems into smaller, more manageable ones. For instance, to multiply 14 by 15, you could do (10 + 4) × 15 = 150 + 60 = 210. 

4. Leverage Percentages: Convert percentages to decimals to simplify calculations. For example, 25% of 80 can be quickly found by calculating 0.25 × 80 = 20. 

By implementing these quick math hacks, you’ll be better equipped to tackle the GMAT Quantitative section efficiently, balancing both reasoning and math skills to arrive at accurate answers. Regular practice can reinforce these techniques, making them second nature by the time you sit for the exam. Keep challenging yourself with topical GMAT math practice to ensure these strategies stick!

Breaking Down Common GMAT Math Problems

One effective strategy for tackling common GMAT math problems is to identify the type of problem you’re dealing with. This can help you pinpoint the best approach to use. For instance, when faced with word problems, carefully read the question to understand the scenario and what’s being asked. Identify key numbers and variables, and convert the complex scenario into a simpler, more manageable equation. 

Plugging in Numbers is a powerful technique, particularly for algebraic problems. Instead of solving a complicated equation, try substituting specific values for variables. For example, if the problem involves finding a percentage or fraction, choose easy numbers like 10, 50, or 100. This method can quickly lead you to the correct answer without getting bogged down in detailed algebra. 

Backsolving is another useful shortcut, especially when dealing with multiple-choice questions. Start by selecting an answer choice, usually the middle option, and work backwards by plugging it into the problem. This process helps you either narrow down your choices or quickly verify the correct answer. 

Remember, not all problems require exact calculations. Awareness of approximation can save valuable time. For instance, familiarize yourself with common square roots and fractional equivalents to quickly estimate and eliminate wrong answer choices. 

Finally, practice balancing your reasoning and math skills. Some GMAT questions test your logical reasoning more than your calculation ability. Always consider the problem context and look for logical patterns or shortcuts that can lead you to the solution more efficiently. 

With these strategies and an understanding of different problem types, you’ll find yourself solving GMAT math problems faster and with greater accuracy.

Efficient Estimation Techniques

Sometimes, precise calculations aren’t necessary to get the right answer. Efficient estimation can save you valuable time on the GMAT, allowing you to tackle more problems with increased confidence. Here are some top estimation techniques to enhance your quantitative skills: 

  • Round Numbers Up or Down: Simplify calculations by rounding numbers to the nearest ten, hundred, or thousand. When faced with complex arithmetic, this technique can help you quickly approximate the final answer.
  • Use Benchmarks: Familiarize yourself with common fractions, percentages, and their decimal equivalents. Knowing that 1/3 is approximately 0.33 or that 7/8 is close to 0.875 can help you quickly estimate answers.
  • Eliminate Extreme Values: In multiple-choice questions, eliminate answers that are obviously too high or too low. This approach narrows down the choices, making it easier to spot the correct answer.
  • Simplify Fractions: When working with fractions, try reducing them to simpler terms for easier calculations. For instance, if a problem involves 25/50, simplifying it to 1/2 can streamline the solution process.
  • Look for Patterns: Recognize common mathematical patterns and relationships that can simplify estimation. Understanding that doubling a number and then halving it returns you to the original number can save calculation steps.Efficient estimation isn’t about neglecting accuracy but about using strategic simplifications to find the most reasonable answer quickly. Incorporating these techniques can turn complex problems into manageable ones, ensuring you stay ahead of the clock.

Number Properties Hacks for Quick Wins

Knowing number properties is like having a secret weapon for tackling GMAT quantitative problems efficiently. Let’s dive into a few essential hacks that can save you time and effort. 

Divisibility Rules: Quickly determining if a number is divisible by 2, 3, 5, or 10 can streamline your problem-solving process. For instance, a number is divisible by 3 if the sum of its digits is divisible by 3. Use these rules to simplify and quickly eliminate wrong answer choices. 

Even and Odd Numbers: Recognize patterns with even and odd numbers to quickly solve problems. For example, the sum of two odd numbers is always even, and an even number multiplied by any integer remains even. These properties can help you check for consistency in your answers. 

Prime Numbers: Remember that prime numbers are only divisible by 1 and themselves. Identifying prime numbers helps in factoring problems or finding the greatest common divisor (GCD) quickly. Keep a list of prime numbers up to at least 50 for quick reference. 

Multiples and Factors: Understand the relationships between multiples and factors to solve many GMAT questions faster. Knowing that the least common multiple (LCM) and the greatest common divisor (GCD) can help in determining how many times one number is divisible by another or finding common multiples for comparison. 

Squaring Numbers Ending in 5: A quick trick for squaring numbers ending in 5 is to take the digit before the 5, multiply it by the next higher digit, and then append 25 to the result. For example, to square 25, you take 2, multiply it by 3 (giving you 6), and then append 25, resulting in 625. 

By mastering these number properties, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle GMAT quantitative problems with speed and accuracy. The more you practice, the more these hacks will become second nature, allowing you to breeze through questions that might otherwise have slowed you down.

Memorization Tips for Key Math Formulas

  • Break down complex formulas into smaller parts to make them easier to remember.
  • Create flashcards for quick recall of key formulas like geometry and algebra principles.
  • Use mnemonic devices to link formulas with familiar concepts or stories.
  • Practice writing out the formulas regularly to cement them in your memory.
  • Group similar formulas together to understand their relationships and differences.
  • Visual aids such as graphs and diagrams can help in understanding the application of formulas.
  • Regularly test yourself on the formulas you’ve memorized to ensure retention.
  • Engage in peer study groups to discuss and reinforce each other’s understanding of math formulas.

Incorporating repetition through different mediums can be particularly beneficial. While writing out formulas helps, saying them aloud and using educational apps can engage different senses and reinforce your memory. Many students find that listening to math-focused podcasts or watching tutorial videos makes a big difference. 

It’s equally important to review regularly. Set aside a few minutes each day to go through your flashcards or notes. This consistent review process will help move the formulas from your short-term memory to your long-term memory, making them easier to recall during the GMAT. 

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of a well-organized study environment. Keep your study space free from distractions, and ensure all your materials—like flashcards, notebooks, and textbooks—are easily accessible. A clutter-free environment can significantly enhance concentration and retention. 

With these strategies in place, memorizing and recalling key math formulas for the GMAT can be much less daunting. Every little bit of effort you put into mastering these techniques pays off on exam day, allowing you to tackle the Quantitative section with confidence.

Optimizing Your Test Day Strategy for Quant

Strategy ComponentRecommended ActionBenefit
Time ManagementAllocate 2 minutes per question.Ensures steady pace and completion.
Question TriageIdentify and solve easy questions first.Maximize score with quickly solvable problems.
Guessing StrategyMake educated guesses on tough questions.Avoid getting stuck and losing precious time.
Formula MemorizationRecall key math formulas quickly.Save time on complex calculations.
Stress ManagementPractice relaxation techniques regularly.Remain calm and focused under pressure.

Using Approximation to Your Advantage

Approximation can be a powerful tool, especially under the time constraints of the GMAT. By using approximations, you can often quickly narrow down the answer choices and eliminate those that are way off the mark. 

One effective method is rounding. When faced with complex numbers, rounding them to the nearest whole number or to simpler fractions can make the arithmetic significantly easier. For example, if you encounter the fraction 399/13, rounding 399 to 400 can make division quicker, giving an approximate result of 30.8. 

Another useful technique is to estimate the magnitude of an answer before diving into the calculations. For instance, if you’re multiplying a large number by a small decimal, you can quickly gauge whether the result should be in the hundreds, tens, or units place. This helps you spot the grossly incorrect answers in the multiple-choice set. 

Also, consider breaking down numbers into manageable pieces. If you need to multiply 47 by 53, for instance, break it down into (50 – 3) x (50 + 3) = 50^2 – 3^2, which simplifies to 2500 – 9, giving you 2491. This approach often helps in simplifying otherwise cumbersome calculations. 

When approximation still seems too cumbersome, leverage strategic number plugging. If dealing with unknown variables in an equation, substituting them with easy-to-manage numbers (like 1, 2, or 10) can let you test each answer choice quickly and effectively. 

Always keep in mind that approximation isn’t about getting the exact number—it’s about getting close enough to identify the correct choice swiftly. Regularly practice these techniques during your GMAT prep to build confidence and improve your speed. 

By masterfully using approximation, you can save precious minutes on the Quantitative section, allowing you to complete the section more comfortably and confidently.

MBA House GMAT Math techique

The MBA House GMAT Math technique is designed to transform how you approach quantitative questions on the test, making the seemingly complex problems more manageable. The key lies in breaking down problems into simpler steps and leveraging multiple strategies to find the quickest path to the solution. Here are some core components of the technique: 

  • Pattern Recognition: Identify the types of questions that appear frequently on the GMAT. Understanding the patterns can help you anticipate and solve problems more swiftly. For instance, knowing that a certain format usually requires the application of a specific formula can save precious time.
  • Strategic Elimination: When faced with multiple-choice questions, use the process of elimination to narrow down your options. By quickly discarding clearly incorrect answers, you’ll increase the probability of choosing the right one, even if you’re unsure about the problem.
  • Backsolving: This involves starting with the answer choices and working backward to see which one fits. It’s particularly useful for algebraic equations and can sometimes be faster than solving the equation from scratch.
  • Estimation: Use estimation to quickly get a ballpark figure before diving into detailed calculations. This helps in checking if your solution is reasonable and can also speed up the problem-solving process.

By integrating these techniques into your study routine, you can improve both your accuracy and speed on the GMAT Quantitative section. The goal is to become so familiar with these strategies that they become second nature, allowing you to tackle each question with confidence and efficiency.

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MBA House

At MBA House, we deliver effective strategies that allow our students to achieve winning results and gain admission to the school of their dreams!

Picture of MBA House
MBA House

At MBA House, we deliver effective strategies that allow our students to achieve winning results and gain admission to the school of their dreams!

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