Mastering the GMAT Quantitative Ability

GMAT (Graduate Management Aptitude Test) is a computer adaptive test that works as a first step towards most of the management programs including Masters in Finance, Masters in Analytic, Masters in Management. It is stepping stone for MBA program in all leading business schools across the globe. Before you begin with preparation for GMAT you should ask yourself –

What is the purpose?


Does it help me accomplish my career goals?

For this you may opt to take some professional mentoring in order to clear your thought process. Once you get all your answers next challenge is to start your GMAT preparation in a right way. Make yourself familiar with the structure of GMAT exam. Start your preparation by taking a mock test. Visit  and register yourself, download GMATprep software and take GMAT prep 1 (Diagnostic Test). On basis of comparison between your diagnostic score and target score, prepare a study plan and make sure you stick to it. Diagnostic test will familiarize you with the structure of GMAT exam. This will also help you understand your weaknesses and strengths for various GMAT Sections. GMAT exam is divided into four parts:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment; 2) Integrated Reasoning; 3) Quantitative Ability; 4) Verbal Ability

For AWA and IR, there will be band score and QA and VA accounts for overall score ranging from 200-800. You need to perform well on the both the sections to achieve a good combined score. However in this article we would share some tips & strategies which can help you in boosting score in Quantitative Ability section. But before we move to those, lets overview Quantitative ability section. This section tests your ability to analyze data and come to conclusions using your logical and reasoning skills. There are 37 multiple choice questions and you will have 75 minutes to complete the section. Scores on this section technically range from 0 to 60; however people actually score in the range 6 to 51 i.e. 51 or above are 99th percentile for GMAT Quant section. For most of us, it’s been a long time that we’ve not touched Maths and all of a sudden GMAT. But if you know that you were fairly good at Maths in school, the entire learning on Quantitative section becomes better. At the same time you may get some goose bumps when you think about topics like Permutation, Probability, and Coordinate. Be confident and start by brushing up all the important concepts and fundamentals. You must refer to the latest edition of Official Guide & go through the entire content under the heading “Math Review” which has about 30-40 pages.

What is tested in Quantitative Ability Section??

This section tests your knowledge on basic math concepts. GMAT will not test your knowledge of advanced math concepts like Trigonometry, Calculus or Vectors. They will test your skills on basic concepts. In fact you just need to know the high school level math to perform well on this section. You’ll see the most of Quant questions from the following:

  • Numbers – Primes, factors, Multiples,
  • Percentages
  • Ratios
  • Linear and Quadratic equations
  • Inequalities
  • Exponents and Square roots
  • 2D/3DGeometry & Coordinate
  • Variable operation
  • Statistics

There will be two types of question in GMAT Quantitative – Data Sufficiency and Problem Solving. Problem-solving will test your knowledge of how well you can solve numerical problems to figure out the right answer while data sufficiency tests your ability to determine whether the information provided is sufficient to solve the question for unique numerical value or consistent answer. Following tips will help you to master the GMAT math section.

  1. You will not be able to use the calculator on this section, so you need to be very fast with your calculations. Start your practice adding and subtracting fractions and decimals. Learn all the exponent rules and all common roots.
  2. GMAT questions are designed to look HARD. No matter how difficult it looks, go slow and be confident as you only need to apply high school maths. Break your problem in 2-3 parts, begin with what you know, and you will be able to move towards the right answer.
  3. If a question gives you only variables and doesn’t ask you unique value, you must plug in smart numbers (like -1, 1, 0, 1) to make that problem easier.
  4. Every data sufficiency question has the same order of answer choices, so you must memorize all of them well.
  5. Start your practice with topic wise questions (level of difficulty which is slightly higher than your Diagnostic Test). Be sure that you only practice questions close to GMAT from reliable sources.
  6. Familiarize yourself with the structure of Data Sufficiency questions and the concepts; they have high chances of appearing in the test.
  7. While practising topics, make sure to take a note of your mistakes & chart a pattern out of it.
  8. While practising, time your drills and tests according to the actual test.
  9. At least 45 days prior to GMAT start giving official full-length tests.
  10. Strategies like back solving must be used to speed up the calculations.
  11. Try to spend your time on most tested concepts rather than mastering each topic in depth as GMAT is more about logic than checking your calculus.
  12. Memorize squares from 2 to 25 and reciprocals to percentages from ½  to 1/20
  13. Don’t practice only hard questions, give appropriate time to other questions because GMAT test is based on logical approach.

This section may be daunting for many test takers but with careful preparation of all important concepts and adequate practice, you’ll be able to master it. Time management is obviously an essential GMAT key, which cannot be enhanced in one or two days. So keep practising with timers and give timed sectional tests to build up your stamina for the same.

Good Luck with GMAT preparation!

– Team Leverage

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