The Quantitative Section may be the easiest section to improve in – if you prepare correctly, giving you the golden opportunity to significantly improve your overall score. The following tips can help you understand how to boost your score, but working with a private Varsity Tutors tutor will be the major difference in actually doing so. Your tutor will guide you through the following tips and structures, ensuring you improve your GMAT quantitative score.
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Focus on just the Quant. Section: Verbal, Analytical Writing don’t even exist right now. First, you need to become proficient in one section. Then move onto another, then the last. Then review them all collectively. Studies indicate that the brain works best when it can see how all the information connects and relates. But, with the GMAT, it’s simply too big of a monster to tackle at once. So, try to get a solid understanding of each section; then connect them all.
Step one Read up: Before you dive into practice tests, read, read, read and read some more. Some books specialize in GMAT Quantitative, and others simply have it as a section. Both will work out well. In this section, you will need to know arithmetic, elementary algebra and basic geometry. You will see two types of questions: problem solving and data sufficiency.
Data sufficiency tips: These problems pose a question and then provide two potential answers. You must decide if one, both or neither of the statements are sufficient enough for the question.
First off, memorize all five possible answers (they are listed below) to save tons of time. Then, look at each numbered statement individually and use process of elimination. It may seem odd, but don’t trust your eye or your first instinct – because that is exactly how test makers create traps. Instead, work through the problem. But most importantly, rely on common structures and themes – instead of numbers to solve each answer. You can master that last technique by writing your own questions and changing the numbers in the problems. That forces your brain learn structures, instead of numbers, which can dramatically improve your accuracy and speed.
Here’s an example:
1) If the average size of 3 accounts is $1 million, is the smallest account less than $500,000?
- The largest account is $1.3 million.
- One of the accounts is $0.7 million.
- A) Statement 1 alone is sufficient but statement 2 alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.
- B) Statement 2 alone is sufficient but statement 1 alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.
- C) Both statements 1 and 2 together are sufficient to answer the question but neither statement is sufficient alone.
- D) Each statement alone is sufficient to answer the question.
- E) Statements 1 and 2 are not sufficient to answer the question asked and additional data is needed to answer the statements.
The correct answer is C. See the explanation here.
Problem Solving: For these questions, you will need your basic mathematic skills (geometry and algebra and not calculus or trigonometry) Here, you will see multiple choice calculations and word problems, most of which will be pretty similar to what you saw in previous math classes/standardized tests.
Make scrap paper your new best friend and use as much of it as possible. Writing out all the steps to the problems can help you avoid careless mistakes. Read the problems very carefully because test makers load questions with traps. Making educated guesses can be very effective for this section, as it will save you buckets (and we mean buckets) of time without sacrificing a lot of accuracy.
Practice test: Okay, now you’re ready for your first practice test. Don’t be over-concerned with your score. Just take one to get through it. Highlight any questions you were confused on or any that took you an incredibly long time. Then, review those questions at length with your tutor to learn how to use themes and structures to answer them correctly and quickly.
Practice questions: Not tests, but just questions. Have your tutor create a list of questions that are problematic and time consuming for you. Run through them over and over and over again. In time, you will be amazed at how much easier these questions will become.
Real practice test: Your brain likes consistency; so try to mimic the test scenario by taking an entire, timed test in a public place on a computer, like a library or coffee shop to help you get used to thinking with other people around. After you do this, start all over again until you’re satisfied with your score.
Understand time: You have to answer 37 questions in 75 minutes, which gives you about 2 minutes per question. So, if you find yourself taking more time, then you need to speed it up and maybe even start guessing.
Always finish the test: There is a penalty that some estimate to be as high as 30-50 points for not finishing the test. But, if you blindly guess on the last 10 questions, the test will know and penalize you for it. So, pace is incredibly, incredibly important. But, if you must – blindly guess on the last questions.