Solving for what is not asked
Know what you’re solving to avoid muddling up details and, worse, wasting time. You could be making this silly error from reading the question too quickly or misreading it. It is important to read the question carefully and equally important not to over-read it, i.e., look for a theoretical answer as opposed to a commonsensical one. Another tip is to explore different ways of solving a problem during your GMAT preparation. This will help you identify the best way to solve and look past what is not necessary to solve. Finally, when analyzing a question or solving a problem, always refer back to what is specifically being asked.
Some test takers have a tendency to make certain types of errors. If you’re prone to making such mistakes, list them out, find appropriate solutions, and monitor for recurrence.
Finally, illegible or careless writing can punish you in the Quant Section. If you’ve mistaken 7 for 1 on multiple occasions during preparation or as a natural habit, it’s time for a permanent fix. The best way to fix this problem is to first examine your writing. Do your “Y’s’ look like “U’s’ and “Q’s’ look like “O’s’? Do the same with numbers and mathematical symbols. Once you’ve identified the handwriting habits that cause errors, practice writing them legibly if only for five or ten minutes a day. It will go a long way in improving your handwriting.
Mental Math vs. Longhand On Scratch Paper
Some test takers may find their comfort zone in mental math while others may prefer scratch paper. In the former case, you cannot but rely on some tools:
- Substituting numbers by replacing values with equal values that are easier to manipulate
- Changing the order of numbers to make it simpler to work with them
- Decomposing numbers by breaking them into useful units for easier calculations
Example
25×120 Decompose 25 into 20+5 25×120 = 20×120 + 5×120 = 2400 + 600 = 3000
OR
Break each number into its factors 25×120 = 25x12x10 = 25x6x2x10 = 25x2x6x10 = 50×60 = 3000
So, how do you learn and review the basics?
Here’s the most effective approach:
- Review one topic at a time, such as four-function math, parallelism, or subject-predicate
- Become adept in the topic
- Practice questions/problems around the topic to pick up speed