7 Best Ways to Master GMAT Quantitative Ability Section

Muddled up as how to prepare for the Quantitative ability section of GMAT? The Quantitative ability section of the exam is one of the most feared sections of any entrance. Although the difficulty level isn’t too much, the test is built to put students in a pinch. It is a computer adaptive test, i.e., the difficulty of every next question changes according to your rate of correct answer.

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Correct answers will result in points being awarded and difficulty being raised for the next question on-screen, while wrong answers will result in similar difficulty level and no points awarded for that question. So, those planning to appear for the exam must have a look below to get an idea of the best ways to master the section.

The test evaluates four key skills of a student, i.e. analytical writing, quantitative analysis, verbal skills, and reading skills. The language of the exam is English, with emphasis on grammar, algebra, geometry, and arithmetic. The exam also assesses analytical writing and problem-solving abilities of the students. GMAC believes that data sufficiency, logic, and critical reasoning skills are extremely vital to businesses in the real world.

GMAT 2018 Paper Pattern

To prepare for any exam, you must first be familiar with the structure of that exam. There are four sections in a GMAT exam. These are analytical writing assessment, integrated reasoning section, quantitative section, and verbal section. The exam is 3 hours and 7 minutes long, with time divided unequally amongst all the three sections.

GMAT Test Section Questions Question Types Timing
Analytical Writing Assessment 1 Topic Analysis of Argument 30 Minutes
Integrated Reasoning 12 Questions Multi-Source Reasoning
Graphics Interpretation
Two-Part Analysis
Table Analysis
30 Minutes
Quantitative 31 Questions Data Sufficiency
Problem Solving
62 Minutes
Verbal 36 Questions Reading Comprehension
Critical Reasoning
Sentence Correction
65 Minutes

As you can see in the table above, there are two types of questions in the Quantitative section:

  • Problem Solving (PS)
  • Data Sufficiency (DS)

The Problem Solving section has the same multiple choice format that is popular for every standardized test in today day and age. There are five options, out of which only one can be the correct answer.

The other format, Data Sufficiency, is unique to the GMAT exam, with unique rules too, which require different strategies as to all other tests. This section, thus, requires the most amount of practice and work.

7 Best Tips for GMAT Quantitative Ability preparation

If you are preparing for the GMAT exam, you will need all the help you can get to clear the exam. Provided below are a few tips you can follow in order to better prepare for the Quantitative section of the exam.

Strengthen your Basics

The mathematical concepts tested in GMAT are extremely simple, consisting of basic arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. The only problem is that students tend to forget the basics as time moves on. Your GMAT preparation should first and foremost cover the basics, and only after completing those should you think about going ahead with further preparations. The best way to remember formulae is to create flashcards and stick them around in your room. That way, every time you walk by a formula, your eyes will tend to hover over the flashcard.

Practise tests and mock tests

It should be obvious that practise will make you better eventually. The more you practise, the easier you will find the test to be. Thankfully, practise tests don’t have to be very expensive. Several online resources provide free practice content to use.

After every iteration of a practice or a mock test, you would also need to analyse your performance. Review the results and note the questions that you have answered incorrectly. Improve upon these particular areas identify your area of weakness. Majority of the GMAT exam questions revolve around students’ familiarity with different types of questions and avoiding common mistakes. With ample practice, you will be able to realise which questions are trick questions, thus also saving you a lot of time. One practice every week should be a comfortable place to start.

Pay special attention to Data Sufficiency questions

The Quantitative section is the most difficult section of GMAT primarily due to the Data Sufficiency portion. They would require you to think a little differently, but the more you practice them, the easier they become. There are several key points to remember when working on Data Sufficiency questions. Read the provided statements individually, and very carefully. Only after carefully evaluating the statements, make your answer choice.

Data sufficiency requires only sufficiency, not the actual answer, which means that if a problem states if the value of a variable can be determined, you only have to see whether it can be or cannot be determined, without actually solving for the value. You are just trying to find out if there’s enough information to answer the question, but you don’t actually have to find the answer.

Memorize the Five Answer Choices

There are always the same five answer choices for every Data Sufficiency Question. These answer choices are:

  • Statement (1) alone is sufficient, but statement (2) alone is not sufficient.
  • Statement (2) alone is sufficient, but statement (1) alone is not sufficient.
  • Both statements together are sufficient, but neither statement alone is sufficient.
  • Each statement alone is sufficient.
  • Statements (1) and (2) together are not sufficient.

If you were to memorise these statements, you could save precious few seconds for every problem you attempt. You would only need to read the statement provided alongside the question and place judgement based on them, by clicking on the answer choices.

Be careful with Graphs, Charts, and Tables

A lot of questions in GMAT quantitative section will require you to read and interpret information provided on charts, graphs, and tables. It is extremely important that you read the axes, the key, units of measurement, etc. correctly so that you don’t misinterpret the data.

Use the rough paper in exam

Even if you feel like the GMAT quantitative section is too easy for you, it would only benefit you to use a paper for calculations as much as possible. Writing down your calculations will help you notice any mistake you might have made before you press the answer and move on to the next question. Writing also forces you to make sure you’re thinking through progress in steps instead of leaps, which can help reduce mistakes further. Remember, use of a calculator is forbidden in the GMAT exam.

Read the Questions carefully

Last but not the least, this is the most crucial yet the most ignored piece of advice that one can offer to any student aspiring to crack any national level exam. It is simply because students tend to make more mistakes when they are fatigued.

One of the most common mistakes on the GMAT exam is to misinterpret or read the question incorrectly. The GMAT exam purposefully throws in questions with difficult language, or questions that can mistakenly be read differently.

Instead of asking “Which of the following may be false?” GMAT will present the question as “Which of the following may not be true?” which might be misunderstood as “Which of the following may be true?” While this may sound a bit far-fetched right now, the atmosphere of pressure inside the hall and the fatigue during the exam itself could easily lead to such mistakes.

Thus, make sure that you read every question carefully so you can save yourself from these easily avoidable mistakes.


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