The Quant section of GMAT is known to be complicated, which is why students pay special attention to it: a good score in quantitative is basic to the admissions process. Topics are basic, at an approximate high school level. You must master arithmetic, basic algebra, geometry, statistics, reading and interpretation of graphs and tables and topics of combinatorics (counting) and probability. The difficulty lies in the reasoning and ingenuity that must be used to arrive at the answers. The basis behind the problems is to use little data to arrive at the correct answer, in a very limited time.
It is not knowing how to arrive at the answer, but tricks to reach it in a more efficient and effective way. Critical reasoning and verbal ability come into play more in this area, as “Word Problems” are the majority of problems. More than 60% of them are like this. The most common themes are:
- Prime numbers
- LCM and GCF
- Roots and Exponents
- Percentages, Fractions, and Decimals
- Notable products and factoring
- Linear and quadratic equations
- Ecuation systems
- Algebraic ratios and proportions
- Inequalities and absolute value
- Lines and angles
- Solid figures
- Cartesian plane
- Mean, median and mode
- Standard deviation
- Normal distribution
- Data interpretation
- Advanced Topics
- Counting: permutations, combinations
There are two types of questions in this section: Problem Solving, with the typical answer options, and Data Sufficiency, a special type of questions characteristic of the GMAT. We will describe both below.
Solving mathematical problems is a key skill, both for graduate school and for the workplace. Depending on your professional field, you will have to use the numbers to a greater or lesser extent to perform your job properly. Problem solving will measure that ability to use logic and analytical reasoning. You will have 5 answer options for this part.
The following are examples of problems, in this case from arithmetic and algebra, from problem solving
- What is -5 4equivalent to?
- Given that x 2– 3x + 2 = 0 y 2 -6y – 16 = 0
What is the maximum value of (x + y) 2 ?
The “Data sufficiency” problem types are critical reasoning problems. Instead of solving the problem (which will often take time away from these questions), you have to recognize what information is relevant, and what information is needed for the problem to be solved. The key is to be aware that the question cannot be answered without additional data, and the answer options include data that could complement the problem.
The exam will have a statement with the question. Additionally, two statements will appear. The job will be to decide which of them is enough to reach the solution. It is basically a mathematical proof problem. The instructions are as follows:
The data sufficiency problems consist of a question and two statements , labeled (1) and (2), in which certain data are given. You have to decide whether the data given in the statements are sufficient for answering the question. Using the data given in the statements, plus your knowledge of mathematics and everyday facts (such as the number of days in July or the meaning of the word counterclockwise), you must indicate whether:
- Statement (1) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (2) alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.
- Statement (2) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (1) alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.
- BOTH statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are sufficient to answer the question asked, but NEITHER statement ALONE is sufficient to answer the question asked.
- EACH statement ALONE is sufficient to answer the question asked.
- Statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are NOT sufficient to answer the question asked, and additional data specific to the problem are needed.
Here are examples of Data Sufficiency problems in Geometry and Combinatorics:
- What is the length of the circumference of the circle above with center O?
- (1) XZis 10√2
- (2) The length of arx XYZis 5 π
- The number of ways a person can order their meal, consisting of soup, main dish and dessert.
- (1) There are 12 ways in which the person can combine soup and main dish. There are 3 kinds of dessert.
- (2) There are 3 kinds of main dish, 2 kinds of dessert, and 4 kinds of soup.
About 14 of the 31 problems in this section will be Data Sufficiency, that is, more than half of the problems. Therefore, it is very important to prepare for these types of questions to reach a good percentile. These types of problems and, in general, will have to be solved with strategies and skills, especially in these multiple-choice sections. It is not only knowing how to do problems, but knowing how to take tests. Remember that the important thing is to show that you can apply your knowledge in a short time, under the pressure of the clock.