# GMAT - Quantitative

## The Top 5 Strategies for GMAT Problem Solving (Part 2)

Today’s GMAT article comes from Manhattan Review Asia, a provider of GMAT private tutoring in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, and Singapore, among others. In this article, they reveal Manhattan Review’s best 5 strategies how to tackle GMAT Problem Solving questions. In fact, the article is so detailed that we had to split it into two parts. If you have missed the first part of this post, you can find it here.

**4. Skipping the Algebra
**The most effective way to solve problems quickly is to make up numbers. Problems involving ratios and percentages are very susceptible to solution by this method. You can of course solve such problems using algebra, but it takes so much longer.

Consider a question of the form “There are three times as many third-graders as fourth-graders at a picnic. There are also twice as many first-graders as there are second-graders. If there are four times as many third-graders as there are second-graders, what percentage of the total number of children at the picnic comprises fourth-graders?” This is a classic GMAT-style question. The quickest way to solve it is to pick arbitrary but simple numbers. Let’s assume that there are 20 fourth-graders at the picnic. That means that there must be 60 third-graders. That in turn must mean that there are 15 second-graders. Which means that there are 30 first-graders there.

## The Top 5 Strategies for GMAT Problem Solving (Part 1)

Today’s GMAT article comes from Manhattan Review Asia, a provider of GMAT Prep courses in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, and Singapore, among others. In this article, they reveal Manhattan Review’s best 5 strategies how to tackle GMAT Problem Solving questions. In fact, the article is so detailed that we had to split it into two parts.

As with every type of question on the GMAT, the biggest challenge to answering Problem Solving questions is figuring out how to get to the right answer in the minimum amount of time. If we had half an hour for each question, we would all be scoring in the 99^{th} percentile. We don’t have half an hour. So forget pride. It doesn’t matter how good you think you are at math. If you can get to the right answer without crafting elegant equations doing fancy algebra, go for it! At some point in the test, a question will stump you. That’s when you’ll be thankful for all of those precious seconds you saved by skipping elaborate calculations. Here are five tips on how to improve your Problem Solving skills and have fun on the test:

**Go slower in order to go faster**

It is absolutely essential that you take the time to read the question very carefully. Don’t make assumptions; don’t jump to conclusions; don’t take it for granted that the question is asking the same thing as similar questions asked you in the past. Draw a diagram; write out as clearly and as free of confusion as possible who did what in the past and who is doing what at the moment. It may seem as if you are losing time, but you are not. You are saving yourself precious minutes that you would lose by failing to read the question properly and answering what you haven’t been asked. The strategy is: Get the right answer on the first try, not on the fourth try. Before test-day, practice sketching problems out. Continue reading…

## Exclusive GMAT Insights and Advice for MBA Hopefuls From Top GMAT Community Leaders

Each year thousands of individuals begin journeys that they hope will ultimately lead to an acceptance offer from top-tier business schools around the world, and for the majority of these applicants one of the first steps on the b-school path is studying for and taking the GMAT exam. With the 2012-2013 application season wrapping up, a whole new cohort of aspiring MBA students are beginning to get serious about their own school choices and application materials. Most schools won’t be releasing their updated application requirements until later in the summer, so one concrete element of their application that they can start working on now is properly preparing themselves for taking the exam. We sat down with the founders of the major online GMAT communities (Beat The GMAT and GMAT Club) as well as the Director of Academic Programs at leading GMAT test prep firm, Veritas Prep. These individuals have a combined wealth of experience to draw upon when providing helpful tips and insights to share with anyone contemplating an application to business school in 2013-14. In the article that follows, readers will have the opportunity to learn about common misconceptions many test takers have about the exam, successful approaches to creating a study schedule, specific tips that can help those who struggle with either the verbal or the quant sections, and valuable insights on how to approach retaking the test. We additionally have checked in with the official information provided by GMAC, the organization that creates and administers the GMAT exam.

## GMAT Tips: The Unburdening of Proof

*Today’s GMAT tip comes to us from Veritas Prep. In today’s blog post, they explain how to succeed on the quantitative section of the GMAT by teaching yourself to prove mathematical rules and formulas. Read on to see what they have to say!*

As you study for the GMAT, you’re likely to begin by noticing all of those things that you *used to* know. Algebra rules, geometry formulas, calculation methods – at first glance the GMAT looks like a test of every math class you took before you turned 16. And when you were learning those things as an adolescent, you typically learned 2-3 formulas at a time, studied and practiced them Thursday night, took the test on Friday, then started over again. So your inclination when you see that the GMAT will require you to again use those rules/formulas/methods is likely to be that you should memorize them all again and drill some repetition.

But the GMAT isn’t like those other tests. So simply memorizing those formulas and rules might actually be counterproductive, for two reasons:

1) Memorization is prone to failure

2) The GMAT rewards conceptual ability, not factual knowledge

Note that, in education-speak, “remember” is the lowest tier of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, below apply/create/analyze. The GMAT is not particularly interested in testing just your knowledge base!

Because of these, if you don’t currently know a rule or formula, you shouldn’t burden yourself with trying to memorize it, but instead you should focus on teaching yourself the ability to prove it. In that way, you’ll make the concepts easier to remember; you’ll have much more flexible knowledge that you can apply to a variety of situations; and you’ll be studying in a way that better approaches the GMAT’s objectives. Continue reading…

## GMAT Tips: Emphasizing Arithmetic

*Today’s GMAT tip comes to us from Veritas Prep. In today’s blog post, they explain the importance of emphasizing arithmetic while taking the GMAT. Read on to see what they have to say!*

In this election seasons most-Tweeted-about speech, Bill Clinton talked about a question that he’s frequently asked in interviews, and one of his signature lines of the speech was his one-word response: Arithmetic.

Now, whether you agree with Clinton’s assertion that the solution to many of the complex American budget problems is that one word, Arithmetic, is a discussion for another blog. But what cannot be disputed is that Arithmetic is the solution to some of the most complex GMAT problems you’ll see. Continue reading…

## GMAT Tips – Data Sufficiency: Hiding in Plain Sight

*Today’s GMAT tip comes to us from Veritas Prep. In today’s blog post, they discuss tips for finding “hidden” information on the Data Sufficiency section of the GMAT. Read on to see what they have to say!*

On the GMAT, Data Sufficiency questions can be tricky. Perhaps most frustrating about Data Sufficiency questions are those questions that somehow trick you when, upon further review, they gave you absolutely everything you needed. When you look back at them, you cannot believe that you got them wrong . One common way that an in-hindsight-pretty-straightforward question can be extremely challenging involves the “hiding” of pertinent information in the question stem itself, where the testmakers know that you’re apt to read quickly in your haste to get to the statements. Consider the question:

If xy < 0, is x/y > z?

(1) xyz < 0

(2) x > yz

One of the major keys to solving this problem is to fully digest the initial fact: xy < 0. This tells you that one of x and y is negative and the other is positive, and when you combine that with statement 1 you learn that “when a negative number xy is multiplied by z, it stays negative”. This means that z has to be positive. The given information also tells you that x/y is negative, because you know that x and y have different signs. So by fully unpacking the given information along with statement 1, you know that:

z is positive

x/y is negative Continue reading…

## GMAT Tips – Sample Problem: Data Sufficiency Combinations

*Today’s GMAT Tip comes to us from Kaplan. In this article, Kaplan GMAT instructor Bret Ruber explains how to tackle a Data Sufficiency problem involving combinations:*

Sometimes the challenge of specific GMAT problems is that they combine a higher-level concept such as Combinations, with a Data Sufficiency question, with some algebra thrown in as well. But once you know the basics of dealing with Data Sufficiency, and the formula and concepts of Combinations, you can just follow a step-by-step approach to a problem such as this:

Sample Problem:

Integers *x* and *y* are both positive, and *x > y*. How many different committees of *y* people can be chosen from a group of *x* people?

(1) The number of different committees of *x-y* people that can be chosen from a group of *x* people is 3,060.

(2) The number of different ways to arrange *x-y* people in a line is 24.

## GMAT Tips – Sample Problem: Algebraic Translation

*Today’s GMAT Tip comes to us from Kaplan. In this article, Kaplan GMAT instructor Bret Ruber provides helpful advice on how to turn word problems into equations:*

As you may have noticed in prepping for the GMAT, in many cases the challenges you face in GMAT problems are less about the specific math skills, and more about translating word problems into mathematical equations in a fast and efficient way. Figuring out quickly HOW to approach the problem is one of the key skills the GMAT is testing (and, incidentally, a key skill in the business world as well). Try this typical word problem translation question, and be sure to practice GMAT-style word problems frequently, in addition to just practicing algebraic skills.

Problem:

Jacob is now 12 years younger than Michael. If 9 years from now Michael will be twice as old as Jacob, how old will Jacob be in 4 years?

(A) 3

(B) 7

(C) 15

(D) 21

(E) 25

## GMAT Tips – GMAT Data Sufficiency: The lazy person’s favorite question type?

*Today’s GMAT Tip comes to us from Kaplan. In this article, Kaplan GMAT guest author Kurt Keefner provides helpful tips for answering Data Sufficiency questions on the quantitative section of the GMAT:*

About 100 years ago Frank B. Gilbreth was famous for pioneering a field he called “motion study.” He specialized in making factories more efficient. When Gilbreth first walked into a factory he was helping, what he did was to ask to meet the laziest worker there, because he figured that that person had already figured out how to be efficient.

We can all take a cue from Mr. Gilbreth when it comes to the GMAT. A general principle is: **Do no more work than is necessary to get the answer.** Nowhere does this principle apply more than on that unique question type known as Data Sufficiency.

Data Sufficiency is like a Zen puzzle: the answer to the question is not the answer to the problem. The answer to the problem is what combination of data statements would be sufficient to answer the question. You may or may not need to answer the question in order to answer the problem. If you answer the question when you don’t need to, you are failing to apply our principle from above—only do the minimum amount of work required. Continue reading…

## GMAT Tips: Number Properties in GMATPrep

*Today’s GMAT tip comes from test prep firm ManhattanGMAT. In this article, they provide helpful tips on studying number properties in preparation for the GMAT. Read on to see what they have to say!
*

What are number properties? This concept covers things that we often call “basic” – topics that we learned in middle school (or earlier): divisibility, factors and multiples, odds and evens, positives and negatives, and so on. It’s also true, though, that this material can become quite complex. For example, fundamental counting principles are included in number properties, and the more complex problems of this type are something called Combinatorics… which most of us hate. In addition, we’ve all come up against very challenging problems testing a supposedly “simple” concept, such as divisibility.

We face two big challenges in dealing with number properties:

(1) On the one hand, we think of most number properties concepts as “basic” concepts, things that we learned before we ever learned the more “advanced” algebra and geometry. The test writers purposely find ways to test the truly basic material in disguised ways – this is how they make the material harder. Continue reading…

## GMAT Tips: Important GMAT Skills – Working with Circles

*Today’s GMAT Tip comes to us from Kaplan. In this article, Kaplan GMAT instructor Bret Ruber provides helpful tips for answering GMAT questions that involve circles:*

Circle problems are among the most common types of geometry questions that appear on the GMAT. As such, you must make sure that you are fully prepared for these problems on test day.

The first key to circle questions is understanding what a circle really is. A circle is defined as a collection of all of the points that are equidistant from a center point. This distance is defined as the radius of the circle and the diameter is defined as twice the radius. For this reason, the radius of a circle is the key measurement when working with circles. On circle problems, knowing or solving for the radius will almost always be essential. Continue reading…