How to Improve Your Quant From Q30 to Q40+ : General GMAT Questions and Strategies
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# How to Improve Your Quant From Q30 to Q40+

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How to Improve GMAT Quant from 30-35 to 40-44

Background:

Most bschools look for a good quant background and good quant score as many subjects/topics are quant oriented and you will need these skills to succeed and understand your classes (Finance, Accounting, Econ, Marketing, and Strategy all involve a decent degree of quant understanding). A good Quant score is above Q45.... which still is "only" 68th percentile.

This thread is for those who have finished studying with guidebooks/course and are still at the 30-35 level. If you are just starting out with the GMAT, see this thread instead: GMAT Study Plan
For your reference, Q30 is 25th percentile and Q40 is 52nd percentile.

If you are scoring in the Q30-35 range, that means you have an understanding of general question structure, question types, and some degree of knowledge of subjects tested. You have also found some GMAT traps but most likely have an issue in a variety of areas that depress your score.

Finally, if you are able to move yourself from the 30’s to the 40’s, that’s not just some numbers or a higher GMAT score – it will be an important learning experience which will teach you how to address difficult roadblocks and will continue to help you in all areas of life. See the big picture!

Most Common reasons that result in getting stuck in the Q30 range:

(It is impossible to list all reasons and mistakes and most likely not all will apply to you (hopefully) – we are all different).
1. Not having the right books/tools. Using obscure or incomplete materials; using OG as the study guide (OG is both obscure and incomplete )
2. Not understanding the concepts fully. There is a difference between understanding the words and meaning behind them.
3. Freezing/panicking under pressure
4. Not paying attention to the question text
5. Not timing yourself during exercises
6. Stretching out your prep into 6+ months
7. Taking tests without having first completed a review
8. Cutting corners in your prep (not finishing chapters of study books)
10. Never having been comfortable with math/quant since high school. You hated math then and you still do.
11. Neglecting Arithmetic. Did you know that 50% of quant questions on the GMAT are those on Arithmetic?
12. For more ideas on improving and how to score higher on Quant visit this thread: Improving Quant from 45 to 50 and improving Q35 to Q45 by Rajeevrks

Suggestions for Getting to Q40+

1. Make sure your books covered all the topics (see list for the recommended books). MGMAT’s math series of 5 books are good but you probably have used them already. In that case you can use the Kaplan Math Workbook (and use the select questions I highlighted)
2. Do not leave a chapter/section until you hit a 90% of success rate (80% can be acceptable depending on your goal). After you cover a chapter, do the exercise and make sure it is timed. If it is below 90% hit rate, review mistakes, find out your weak areas, study, and do another exercise. For a list of highly targeted questions, please see this listing/directory:
3. Do a check once a week of the old topics. E.g. a week after you covered Arithmetic, check to make sure you are still at 90%. If not, go back (that’s why stretching your prep for a long time is not recommended)
4. Most likely you lack some important elements – you have missed them in one of the books for whatever reason. You need to now find them if you are determined to improve. This means searching out the principles behind your mistakes. Think of it this way – if someone told you could make $100,000K by learning some simple principles and applying them to a stock market, would you do it? Most likely. Well, it is the same here, except if you can get into a great MBA program, you stand to collect a much higher paycheck. 5. If you have a limited amount of time (all of us do), assess your chances and put a realistic plan together. Your first priority should be Arithmetic. Second – Algebra. Third – Word Problems. Fourth – Geometry. Do not get into Probability, combinations, statistics, or coordinate geometry. Those are fancy subjects but you stand a very little chance of encountering them right now. You can get a glimpse of what GMAT is testing by looking at the analysis of topics in the OG 13 (thanks to Magoosh). 6. Learn to recognize GMAT’s patterns. Almost all quant questions are based on patterns (some are more common than others). There are many of them but at the end of the day, it is just patterns. Most of the time, we can recognize the pattern, and solve the question much faster since we know how the logic works and what info we’ll need. It saves a lot of time. If your mind has trouble catching these (mine happens to be good at it but it varies for people), start writing out questions in a notebook and creating a list of patterns for the questions that you can’t solve until you see a solution and then you slap yourself on the head. Memorize them if writing them in a notebook did not help, and create a checklist of 5, 15, 25 items to run through on the test. (I did something similar for SC in case I don’t catch the error right away). 7. Everyone freezes sooner or later and the clock gets to everyone. You want to see what I mean, take one test without timing yourself (some tests allow you to take as much time as you want). You may be surprised to find out that you will finish it in less than 75 mins with better results. Yes, timing, and clock is a part of the test experience and why GMAT is hard. Learn how to unfreeze yourself. Whether that’s spending a few seconds at the beginning of each question (before you read it) to look at your hands, the ceiling, or whatever it is, figure it out. If nothing works for you, learn how to cut your losses to the minimum. If after freezing you can only solve 30% of questions, and those that you solve you get 80% within the first 30 seconds, then your strategy may be to guess if you can’t solve within 30 seconds. 8. If you are making many silly mistakes due to lack of attention, stop rushing and stop panicking. If you focus only on the clock and not quality, you should reverse your strategy. Focus on completing as many questions right (not more than 3 mins per question please) and then see what you can do to improve your timing. That’s more effective. 9. Look for the tips in the Q40 to Q45 thread as well as in this one: Improving Q35 to Q45 by Rajeevrks 10. Finally, if you hate math. There is not much I can help you with. You can try tricks, guessing, screwing around – it only goes so much and so far. The key to acing the Quant section is solid foundations. This is math and there is no way around it. Also, see this post: How to improve Quant from Q44 to Q50 _________________ Founder of GMAT Club US News Rankings progression - last 10 years in a snapshot - New! Just starting out with GMAT? Start here... Need GMAT Book Recommendations? Best GMAT Books Co-author of the GMAT Club tests GMAT Club Premium Membership - big benefits and savings Last edited by bb on 18 Dec 2012, 19:11, edited 2 times in total. Update  Magoosh Discount Codes EMPOWERgmat Discount Codes Jamboree Discount Codes Intern Joined: 17 Nov 2012 Posts: 23 Followers: 1 Kudos [?]: 3 [2] , given: 7 Re: How to Improve Your Quant From Q30 to Q40+ [#permalink] ### Show Tags 22 Nov 2012, 02:08 2 This post received KUDOS Hi BB, Thanks for your post. It gives me some idea how to solve my problem. To be frank, I used to be excellent in Math (from high school to undergraduate of Physics). However I can't understand why I score seriously low in some GMAT preview test (36th percentile in quantitative of GMATPREP). Maybe I got some problem with GMAT's traps as you mentioned. Manager Joined: 09 Jul 2012 Posts: 60 Followers: 0 Kudos [?]: 15 [3] , given: 29 Re: How to Improve Your Quant From Q30 to Q40+ [#permalink] ### Show Tags 22 Nov 2012, 04:14 3 This post received KUDOS akhandamandala wrote: Hi BB, Thanks for your post. It gives me some idea how to solve my problem. To be frank, I used to be excellent in Math (from high school to undergraduate of Physics). However I can't understand why I score seriously low in some GMAT preview test (36th percentile in quantitative of GMATPREP). Maybe I got some problem with GMAT's traps as you mentioned. GMAT math problems are not classical math problems. GMAT rigorously tests your fundamental knowledge of mathematics. I am not implying here that the reason you do not score well on the quant section is because of your low fundamental understanding...it is just that you need to change your approach. I am assuming you do not have prep books for the test because when you started with GMAT you knew you were confident you can do really well in math. However, prep books are in my opinion essential for most people to do well, regardless of their mathematics background. Finally, just because someone scores really well in quant on GMAT does not mean that the person knows mathematics exceptionally well. GMAT is just a test that is not related to a person's prior knowledge so that test takers are fairly ranked. Intern Joined: 02 Apr 2012 Posts: 31 Location: Bangladesh GPA: 3.65 Followers: 2 Kudos [?]: 19 [2] , given: 23 Re: How to Improve Your Quant From Q30 to Q40+ [#permalink] ### Show Tags 02 Dec 2012, 16:13 2 This post received KUDOS thanks for a wonderful post Intern Joined: 17 Dec 2012 Posts: 10 Followers: 0 Kudos [?]: 2 [0], given: 0 Re: How to Improve Your Quant From Q30 to Q40+ [#permalink] ### Show Tags 24 Jan 2013, 06:19 Hi, this is a great post. Can anybody provide some examples of those question patterns? Is it meant regarding how to solve a question? Picking Numbers, Backsolving etc. Or which math area the question is applicable to? Number Properties, Divisiblity and Primes? Thanks Levent Intern Joined: 05 Mar 2013 Posts: 15 Followers: 0 Kudos [?]: 3 [1] , given: 5 Re: How to Improve Your Quant From Q30 to Q40+ [#permalink] ### Show Tags 12 Mar 2013, 14:23 1 This post received KUDOS 1 This post was BOOKMARKED for steps 2 and 3 written by bb: # Do not leave a chapter/section until you hit a 90% of success rate (80% can be acceptable depending on your goal). After you cover a chapter, do the exercise and make sure it is timed. If it is below 90% hit rate, review mistakes, find out your weak areas, study, and do another exercise. For a list of highly targeted questions, please see this listing/directory: # Do a check once a week of the old topics. E.g. a week after you covered Arithmetic, check to make sure you are still at 90%. If not, go back (that’s why stretching your prep for a long time is not recommended) how do you suggest going back and reviewing mistakes if you fall below 90%. i feel that the trap for me is that i would just remember the same problem and the answer, instead of learning the concept and applying it to all cases. Intern Joined: 26 Jan 2013 Posts: 14 Followers: 1 Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 51 Re: How to Improve Your Quant From Q30 to Q40+ [#permalink] ### Show Tags 22 Mar 2013, 08:49 Thanks a lot! I have been constantly scoring 40 in Quantitative section and making elementary mistakes in 5/6 questions every time i take the test. Hope this will help me a lot. I get overstressed while taking test under timed condition. Dont find any way to get out it! Veritas Prep GMAT Instructor Joined: 11 Dec 2012 Posts: 313 Followers: 107 Kudos [?]: 270 [1] , given: 66 Re: How to Improve Your Quant From Q30 to Q40+ [#permalink] ### Show Tags 22 Mar 2013, 10:54 1 This post received KUDOS Expert's post dhlee922 wrote: for steps 2 and 3 written by bb: # Do not leave a chapter/section until you hit a 90% of success rate (80% can be acceptable depending on your goal). After you cover a chapter, do the exercise and make sure it is timed. If it is below 90% hit rate, review mistakes, find out your weak areas, study, and do another exercise. For a list of highly targeted questions, please see this listing/directory: # Do a check once a week of the old topics. E.g. a week after you covered Arithmetic, check to make sure you are still at 90%. If not, go back (that’s why stretching your prep for a long time is not recommended) how do you suggest going back and reviewing mistakes if you fall below 90%. i feel that the trap for me is that i would just remember the same problem and the answer, instead of learning the concept and applying it to all cases. Hi Dhlee922, what I find helpful is to go back on old problems and change the numbers a little. Not just a straight forward multiply everything by 2 strategy, rather using some basic analysis to see how the problem would be different if the numbers were larger, which numbers are problems, what divisibility rules come into play, etc. You can also experiment with different ways to solve a question. To take a simple example, if you're trying to solve something like 45x + 90y = -45 and 10x + 3y = 21, try solving it by substitution, by elimination, by back solving using answer choices, etc. The more you understand how each question is trying to trap you, the better your chances of getting the questions right on test day. Hope this helps! -Ron _________________ Intern Joined: 24 Jul 2013 Posts: 9 Followers: 0 Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 2 How to Improve my speed while maintaining accuracy [#permalink] ### Show Tags 10 Feb 2016, 02:28 1 This post was BOOKMARKED I have been relentlessly preparing for GMAT for now almost 2 months,however my speed is becoming a constraint for me to deliver by best accuracy.I have tried solving 20 qsns for Quant PS/DS,Verbal CR,SC and RC on daily basis under timed conditions but when it comes to a mock test I fall short of time.I determined the cause of my poor performance in the mock tests to be time because when I attempted qsns untimed I had a good accuracy of about 75-80% in both quant and verbal.It has been 10 days now since I have been doing these timed 20 qsn drills to build my speed but I guess this strategy has not helped me fully when it comes to practising the same in a full length mock test.Time is running out and I do not want to redo and rework without successful outcomes.I have only 1 month more to sit for the exam and at present I am not even able to complete a full attempt at all qsns due to paucity of time. Keenly looking forward to some advise and suggestions. EMPOWERgmat Instructor Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat Joined: 19 Dec 2014 Posts: 8279 Location: United States (CA) GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49 GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170 Followers: 380 Kudos [?]: 2458 [0], given: 163 Re: How to Improve Your Quant From Q30 to Q40+ [#permalink] ### Show Tags 10 Feb 2016, 09:49 Hi angad87, To start, pacing problems do NOT exist on their own - they're the results of OTHER problems. That's important to realize - something about the way that YOU handle the Quant and/or Verbal sections is wasting time.... and as a result, you likely have very little time at the end of the section to handle the final 'block' of questions. The ultimate cause of your specific pacing issue could come down to a handful of likely factors, including: 1) The approach that you take to answering the question (there's usually more than one way to do that; is YOUR way the fastest?) 2) The notes that you take (or don't take) 3) How often you reread the question 4) How often you make a little mistake (that you then have to go back and 'fix'), etc. 5) The number of specific questions that you 'overcommit' to (and spend far too much time on). Thankfully, all of these issues can be 'fixed', but you might need to invest in some resources that actually train you how to fix these issues (or eliminate them altogether). GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made, Rich _________________ # Rich Cohen Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin # Special Offer: Save$75 + GMAT Club Tests

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www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

Manager
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### Show Tags

19 Sep 2016, 05:55
bb wrote:

How to Improve GMAT Quant from 30-35 to 40-44

Most Common reasons that result in getting stuck in the Q30 range:

(It is impossible to list all reasons and mistakes and most likely not all will apply to you (hopefully) – we are all different).

[list=1]

[*] Taking tests without having first completed a review

Suggestions for Getting to Q40+

[*] Do not leave a chapter/section until you hit a 90% of success rate (80% can be acceptable depending on your goal). After you cover a chapter, do the exercise and make sure it is timed. If it is below 90% hit rate, review mistakes, find out your weak areas, study, and do another exercise. For a list of highly targeted questions, please see this listing/directory:

Very helpful BUT for these two points I have some concerns.

What do you mean by reviews? Do you refer to the question appearing at the end of each chapter? Do you refer to the questions of each chapter +OG question related to the topic that the chapter covers?

As for the 90% success rate: Personally and many people that I talked with I find the questions at the end of each chapter VERY easy compared to the real GMAT questions. Even if I see them a month later still they are really easy. I am 100% sure that most people will be on the same boat, or at least the ones that they have some decent chances to enter to a good MBA program.
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Joined: 28 Nov 2010
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### Show Tags

21 Nov 2016, 04:00
bb wrote:

How to Improve GMAT Quant from 30-35 to 40-44

Background:

Most bschools look for a good quant background and good quant score as many subjects/topics are quant oriented and you will need these skills to succeed and understand your classes (Finance, Accounting, Econ, Marketing, and Strategy all involve a decent degree of quant understanding). A good Quant score is above Q45.... which still is "only" 68th percentile.

This thread is for those who have finished studying with guidebooks/course and are still at the 30-35 level. If you are just starting out with the GMAT, see this thread instead: GMAT Study Plan
For your reference, Q30 is 25th percentile and Q40 is 52nd percentile.

If you are scoring in the Q30-35 range, that means you have an understanding of general question structure, question types, and some degree of knowledge of subjects tested. You have also found some GMAT traps but most likely have an issue in a variety of areas that depress your score.

Finally, if you are able to move yourself from the 30’s to the 40’s, that’s not just some numbers or a higher GMAT score – it will be an important learning experience which will teach you how to address difficult roadblocks and will continue to help you in all areas of life. See the big picture!

Most Common reasons that result in getting stuck in the Q30 range:

(It is impossible to list all reasons and mistakes and most likely not all will apply to you (hopefully) – we are all different).
1. Not having the right books/tools. Using obscure or incomplete materials; using OG as the study guide (OG is both obscure and incomplete )
2. Not understanding the concepts fully. There is a difference between understanding the words and meaning behind them.
3. Freezing/panicking under pressure
4. Not paying attention to the question text
5. Not timing yourself during exercises
6. Stretching out your prep into 6+ months
7. Taking tests without having first completed a review
8. Cutting corners in your prep (not finishing chapters of study books)
10. Never having been comfortable with math/quant since high school. You hated math then and you still do.
11. Neglecting Arithmetic. Did you know that 50% of quant questions on the GMAT are those on Arithmetic?
12. For more ideas on improving and how to score higher on Quant visit this thread: Improving Quant from 45 to 50 and improving Q35 to Q45 by Rajeevrks

Suggestions for Getting to Q40+

1. Make sure your books covered all the topics (see list for the recommended books). MGMAT’s math series of 5 books are good but you probably have used them already. In that case you can use the Kaplan Math Workbook (and use the select questions I highlighted)
2. Do not leave a chapter/section until you hit a 90% of success rate (80% can be acceptable depending on your goal). After you cover a chapter, do the exercise and make sure it is timed. If it is below 90% hit rate, review mistakes, find out your weak areas, study, and do another exercise. For a list of highly targeted questions, please see this listing/directory:
3. Do a check once a week of the old topics. E.g. a week after you covered Arithmetic, check to make sure you are still at 90%. If not, go back (that’s why stretching your prep for a long time is not recommended)
4. Most likely you lack some important elements – you have missed them in one of the books for whatever reason. You need to now find them if you are determined to improve. This means searching out the principles behind your mistakes. Think of it this way – if someone told you could make \$100,000K by learning some simple principles and applying them to a stock market, would you do it? Most likely. Well, it is the same here, except if you can get into a great MBA program, you stand to collect a much higher paycheck.
5. If you have a limited amount of time (all of us do), assess your chances and put a realistic plan together. Your first priority should be Arithmetic. Second – Algebra. Third – Word Problems. Fourth – Geometry. Do not get into Probability, combinations, statistics, or coordinate geometry. Those are fancy subjects but you stand a very little chance of encountering them right now. You can get a glimpse of what GMAT is testing by looking at the analysis of topics in the OG 13 (thanks to Magoosh).
6. Learn to recognize GMAT’s patterns. Almost all quant questions are based on patterns (some are more common than others). There are many of them but at the end of the day, it is just patterns. Most of the time, we can recognize the pattern, and solve the question much faster since we know how the logic works and what info we’ll need. It saves a lot of time. If your mind has trouble catching these (mine happens to be good at it but it varies for people), start writing out questions in a notebook and creating a list of patterns for the questions that you can’t solve until you see a solution and then you slap yourself on the head. Memorize them if writing them in a notebook did not help, and create a checklist of 5, 15, 25 items to run through on the test. (I did something similar for SC in case I don’t catch the error right away).
7. Everyone freezes sooner or later and the clock gets to everyone. You want to see what I mean, take one test without timing yourself (some tests allow you to take as much time as you want). You may be surprised to find out that you will finish it in less than 75 mins with better results. Yes, timing, and clock is a part of the test experience and why GMAT is hard. Learn how to unfreeze yourself. Whether that’s spending a few seconds at the beginning of each question (before you read it) to look at your hands, the ceiling, or whatever it is, figure it out. If nothing works for you, learn how to cut your losses to the minimum. If after freezing you can only solve 30% of questions, and those that you solve you get 80% within the first 30 seconds, then your strategy may be to guess if you can’t solve within 30 seconds.
8. If you are making many silly mistakes due to lack of attention, stop rushing and stop panicking. If you focus only on the clock and not quality, you should reverse your strategy. Focus on completing as many questions right (not more than 3 mins per question please) and then see what you can do to improve your timing. That’s more effective.
9. Look for the tips in the Q40 to Q45 thread as well as in this one: Improving Q35 to Q45 by Rajeevrks
10. Finally, if you hate math. There is not much I can help you with. You can try tricks, guessing, screwing around – it only goes so much and so far. The key to acing the Quant section is solid foundations. This is math and there is no way around it.

Also, see this post: How to improve Quant from Q44 to Q50

Hi BB,

Thanks for such a wonderful set of advice.

Pleasure to have some light on one query- Are the suggested resources enough to go from 30-35 to 40-45 under the context of the year 2016, or we may need some other resources/problem sets?

Thanks
Re: How to Improve Your Quant From Q30 to Q40+   [#permalink] 21 Nov 2016, 04:00
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# How to Improve Your Quant From Q30 to Q40+

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