GMAT or Graduate management admission test is needed to secure admission in various master’s programs in business, MBA or any field related to management. GMAT is one of the crucial requirements as it is an aptitude test and acts as an entrance test to most of the master’s programs of universities around the globe. It's a great ticket into jobs involving maths. It comprises of four sections as follows:
- Analytical Writing Assessment
- Integrated Reasoning
Suppose you bid maths adieu at the end of your school or undergraduate degree. Your relationship with maths had not been that friendly. But now you have got to take the GMAT test and you are wondering how you are going to prepare for its most feared section i.e. Quantitative (or the one involving maths). Well, worry not because got we got you covered with our maths blogs and maths tutors.
GMAT Maths Structure
The maths section of GMAT is most widely known as the Quantitative Section and it is usually 75-minutes long having 37 questions. Since the Verbal and quantitative sections of GMAT are computer adaptive, you cannot go back to your question once you have answered it.
The testing software can adapt according to your performance as you proceed through the exam. The difficulty level of your questions depends upon the correctness of your previous questions.
The quantitative section itself is divided into two different formats. They are:
- Problem Solving
- Data Sufficiency
Problem solving is the first format in the quantitative section of GMAT. It consists of the same old question format having five-answer MCQs or multiple choice questions that are found on every standardized test out there.
Data Sufficiency is a uniquely formatted questionnaire which makes up the second format of the quantitative section of GMAT. The format of the questions involved in this part of Quantitative section is based upon some unique and distinguished rules without which these questions can be pretty hard to solve. These questions ask for unique strategical methods in order for you to ace this portion.
What Maths Level is Required in the GMAT Quantitative Section
Basic knowledge of mathematics is mandatory in order to be able to solve the quantitative portion. You require the basic skill set, concepts and formulas which have been taught in secondary school. Some of the key topics you would need to revise for the Quantitative section of GMAT are:
- Concepts of perimeter, area, circumference, median etc.
You would need to practice questions involving transformations of length, volume, weight, money along with word problems. Basic and simple concepts such as solving an equation to find the value of variable 'x' are crucial and you need to learn to solve trickiest questions by adopting out of the box thinking.
Maths Skills to Master for the GMAT Exam
This exam tests some specific maths skills that you need to grasp and master. But in order to ace GMAT with a shining score, mastering a skill is not enough because you would also require thinking critically to be truly successful in it.
Once you master the basic skills mentioned below, you will be ready to dive into the difficult questions that the test makers build with the help of the basics. The questions that you are most likely to encounter in GMAT are tricky variations of the easy concepts you have studied all your secondary school life.
Maths Skill for GMAT #1: Algebra
The algebra that you are most likely to encounter in GMAT is the one you studied during your school days. Since you left school ages ago, you definitely need to go through its concepts once again. Following are the much-needed skills in algebra you must have, before taking the GMAT:
- Manipulation of algebraic expressions to obtain solution of variables
- Apply quadratic formulas on linear equations to find one or more unknown quantities
- Manipulating the inequalities to find a solution for them
- Solving functions and applying them in other concepts
Do not forget. Algebraic Equations are the staple part of the GMAT quantitative portion. Learning to play with variables will help you along with a good memory to retain the necessary formulas. The rules for exponents, inequalities, functions, inverse functions, absolute values etc. should be on your fingertips.
Maths Skill for GMAT #2: Geometry
Although having the knowledge of trigonometry or the graphs of nonlinear function might not help you much in GMAT, being familiar with its basic formulas and rules would definitely keep you on a safe side. Following concepts will be required which you need to prepare for the geometry portion:
- Co-ordinate geometry involving the very basics of four quadrant graphs having equations of line and their slopes etc.
- Properties of angles to help you prepare for lines and geometric shapes
- Properties of lines and their rules, concepts and formulas for intersecting, parallel and perpendicular lines
- Uniform solids like rectangles and cylinders and their properties
- In-depth rules, properties and concepts of triangles, circles and quadrilaterals
Maths Skill for GMAT # 3: Arithmetic
Arithmetic surely rings a bell in your brain. You probably studied arithmetic in your school and never touched it again especially if you are not a big fan of mathematics. If that is your case, then you need to thoroughly go through your school arithmetic once again. Also prepare advanced concepts along with the basics because GMAT tests your ability in following areas of arithmetic:
- Conversion and manipulation of fractions, decimals and ratios
- Figuring out percentages
- Dealing with exponents and roots
- Sets and their properties and laws
- Theorems, rules and properties of real numbers
- Various methods of counting such as permutations and combinations
- Probability calculation and its most common formulas
The questions you will be required to solve in GMAT would require you to deploy more than one of these skills. These are some of the simplest skills you can learn and they will also prove to be the most useful to you.
Since calculators are not allowed, having a good grip on basic arithmetic will speed up your mental calculations and will help you solve questions without feeling the urge to use a calculator.
GMAT cleverly utilizes mathematics vocabulary which includes terms like integers, tens digits, standard deviation, prime numbers, units’ digits, median, mean, ratio etc. The test will give you a hard time if you are familiar with the concept of these words in mathematical vocabulary but not with the vocabulary itself.
Maths Skill for GMAT #4: Practical and real-life problems
GMAT is not a regular school exam and hence it includes several other concepts which you might not have learned in school. These concepts do use the skills mentioned above, but in order to prepare for them, you need to learn some more concepts and formulas that might be new for you. These “real-life” problems are in-reality, the applications of the concepts of geometry, algebra, arithmetic etc. They include:
- The skills of calculating both simple and compound interest
- Profit and discounts
- Problems involving rate and measurement
- Combined word problems
GMAT solely relies on the knowledge you already gained at some point in your educational tenure. These concepts are, however, embedded into GMAT questions in such a way that they appear more difficult than they actually are. One way to overcome this illusion is to practice hard!
Tips to Learn Maths for GMAT
- Don’t wait: The maths that you find in GMAT is mostly the maths you studied in school, so the earlier you take the test the better it is for you. Don’t wait to finish your undergraduate degree or entering your work life. Take this test while the Maths concepts from school are still fresh in your mind.
Your GMAT scores remain active for 5 years after you take it. So, it is prudent to take this test in your sophomore or junior year. Some schools might require you to have some work experience prior to applying for GMAT. Adjust everything accordingly and then take the test.
- Practice, Practice and practice: Do not underestimate the power of practice. Spend as much time on practice, as you can. The data sufficiency questions require special attention and rigorous practice because their format is unlike any other tests you have ever taken.
Their format is quite unconventional which involves a question having two statements and you are to determine if both of those statements answer the question, none answers the question or if only one statements has the answer. If you lack practice, this portion will consume majority of your time and your mind will start wandering.
- Learn to adapt to the computer: Since GMAT is a Computer Adaptive Test with very strict rules and cameras watching you from every angle; taking this test can be very intimidating and scary experience. Many people cannot perform to their utmost ability due to the stressful environment of the test.
In order to learn to cope with it, it is preferable for you to take practice tests designed keeping the GMAT test environment and rules in mind. Go to test preparation firms or find an online mock test to help you get over the nervousness and anxiety.