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How to start practicing backsolving?

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Joined: 11 Jul 2014
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How to start practicing backsolving? [#permalink] New post 23 Jul 2014, 13:39
This may sound silly - but I NEVER look at the answers before I solve the problem. I appreciate this is stupid - because I could at least evaluate them, but I am too concerned with time.

Now, the more I study the more I realise that solving a problem with 25 quadratic equations is great...but impossible in 2min. I realised I need to start practicing backsolving.

Hence I have 2 questions
1. How does one do it? Where do I start? How do I get into it if I never did it before?
2. How do I quickly figure out if a problem is worth backsolving as opposed to solving?

Thanks!
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Re: How to start practicing backsolving? [#permalink] New post 23 Jul 2014, 22:34
Expert's post
imoi wrote:
This may sound silly - but I NEVER look at the answers before I solve the problem. I appreciate this is stupid - because I could at least evaluate them, but I am too concerned with time.

Now, the more I study the more I realise that solving a problem with 25 quadratic equations is great...but impossible in 2min. I realised I need to start practicing backsolving.

Hence I have 2 questions
1. How does one do it? Where do I start? How do I get into it if I never did it before?
2. How do I quickly figure out if a problem is worth backsolving as opposed to solving?

Thanks!


Keep in mind that backsolving does not work for all questions. In fact, pure backsolving is suitable for a small subset only. This doesn't mean that you need equations to solve the rest of the questions. A mix of logic, number plugging, backsolving, algebra etc will help. Look at the big picture and understand the concepts. Check my blog: http://www.veritasprep.com/blog/categor ... er-wisdom/

It is always a good idea to look at the options which is not hard in PS questions. All you need is a glance to see the options. But the options will give you some ideas - the range in which the answer will lie, some options may be outright absurd etc.

To start practicing, search "backsolving" on the forum to identify questions which can be solved using this method. Put in some time in them. Slowly you will get a hang of the type of questions in which backsolving works.
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Karishma
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Intern
Intern
User avatar
Joined: 11 Jul 2014
Posts: 26
Location: United Kingdom
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 6 [0], given: 6

Re: How to start practicing backsolving? [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2014, 01:22
VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:
imoi wrote:
This may sound silly - but I NEVER look at the answers before I solve the problem. I appreciate this is stupid - because I could at least evaluate them, but I am too concerned with time.

Now, the more I study the more I realise that solving a problem with 25 quadratic equations is great...but impossible in 2min. I realised I need to start practicing backsolving.

Hence I have 2 questions
1. How does one do it? Where do I start? How do I get into it if I never did it before?
2. How do I quickly figure out if a problem is worth backsolving as opposed to solving?

Thanks!


Keep in mind that backsolving does not work for all questions. In fact, pure backsolving is suitable for a small subset only. This doesn't mean that you need equations to solve the rest of the questions. A mix of logic, number plugging, backsolving, algebra etc will help. Look at the big picture and understand the concepts. Check my blog: http://www.veritasprep.com/blog/categor ... er-wisdom/

It is always a good idea to look at the options which is not hard in PS questions. All you need is a glance to see the options. But the options will give you some ideas - the range in which the answer will lie, some options may be outright absurd etc.

To start practicing, search "backsolving" on the forum to identify questions which can be solved using this method. Put in some time in them. Slowly you will get a hang of the type of questions in which backsolving works.


Hi Karishma!

Thanks for your reply - had a chance to glance through your blog, 48 in quant is actually where I am stuck so it was useful to learn that saving time on easy, as opposed to trying to squeeze into 2 min hard questions could be useful.

Will search the forum. Except for that - what's your personal take on backsolving? Worth it? You mentioned only a limited number of questions fall into this category, how do you quickly uncover these and save yourself 2min on useless equations?
Expert Post
Veritas Prep GMAT Instructor
User avatar
Joined: 16 Oct 2010
Posts: 4870
Location: Pune, India
Followers: 1147

Kudos [?]: 5332 [0], given: 165

Re: How to start practicing backsolving? [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2014, 20:45
Expert's post
imoi wrote:
VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:
imoi wrote:
This may sound silly - but I NEVER look at the answers before I solve the problem. I appreciate this is stupid - because I could at least evaluate them, but I am too concerned with time.

Now, the more I study the more I realise that solving a problem with 25 quadratic equations is great...but impossible in 2min. I realised I need to start practicing backsolving.

Hence I have 2 questions
1. How does one do it? Where do I start? How do I get into it if I never did it before?
2. How do I quickly figure out if a problem is worth backsolving as opposed to solving?

Thanks!


Keep in mind that backsolving does not work for all questions. In fact, pure backsolving is suitable for a small subset only. This doesn't mean that you need equations to solve the rest of the questions. A mix of logic, number plugging, backsolving, algebra etc will help. Look at the big picture and understand the concepts. Check my blog: http://www.veritasprep.com/blog/categor ... er-wisdom/

It is always a good idea to look at the options which is not hard in PS questions. All you need is a glance to see the options. But the options will give you some ideas - the range in which the answer will lie, some options may be outright absurd etc.

To start practicing, search "backsolving" on the forum to identify questions which can be solved using this method. Put in some time in them. Slowly you will get a hang of the type of questions in which backsolving works.


Hi Karishma!

Thanks for your reply - had a chance to glance through your blog, 48 in quant is actually where I am stuck so it was useful to learn that saving time on easy, as opposed to trying to squeeze into 2 min hard questions could be useful.

Will search the forum. Except for that - what's your personal take on backsolving? Worth it? You mentioned only a limited number of questions fall into this category, how do you quickly uncover these and save yourself 2min on useless equations?


My answer will depend on when you plan to take the test. If you have enough time on hand, then I will tell you that most equations you write down are a waste of time. But the alternative is not backsolving; it is logic and reasoning.
If your exam is soon enough - say within a month or so - then stick to your methods.

As I said before, pure backsolving is not used often since it takes a lot of time. But be aware of the options. Say, you get an awkward equation and options are the values of x in the equation. Try substituting an option and get a feel of whether you need a smaller number or larger. Then pick the next option to try accordingly. This post will give you some ideas:
http://www.veritasprep.com/blog/2013/03 ... culations/
_________________

Karishma
Veritas Prep | GMAT Instructor
My Blog

Save $100 on Veritas Prep GMAT Courses And Admissions Consulting
Enroll now. Pay later. Take advantage of Veritas Prep's flexible payment plan options.

Veritas Prep Reviews

Re: How to start practicing backsolving?   [#permalink] 24 Jul 2014, 20:45
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