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Advice for improving Arithmetic

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Advice for improving Arithmetic [#permalink]

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New post 15 Apr 2017, 14:08
Hi everyone,

Does anyone have any advice, tips, tricks, etc. to help one improve their Arithmetic skills quickly? It appears to me that the area I most struggle with is Arithmetic (as evidenced by my CAT reviews and practice problems). However, I am having trouble studying Arithmetic because it is such a large category of Math (work problems, probability, number properties, operations with rational numbers, etc etc.) On my last CAT, I scored a 660 overall (Q40,V41) and I believe an improvement in Arithmetic could push me too or over the 700 mark, which is my goal! My test is in exactly 5 weeks and would hate to come up just short of 700. Thanks for any help you can provide!!

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Re: Advice for improving Arithmetic [#permalink]

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New post 15 Apr 2017, 14:27
mikemurawski93 wrote:
Hi everyone,

Does anyone have any advice, tips, tricks, etc. to help one improve their Arithmetic skills quickly? It appears to me that the area I most struggle with is Arithmetic (as evidenced by my CAT reviews and practice problems). However, I am having trouble studying Arithmetic because it is such a large category of Math (work problems, probability, number properties, operations with rational numbers, etc etc.) On my last CAT, I scored a 660 overall (Q40,V41) and I believe an improvement in Arithmetic could push me too or over the 700 mark, which is my goal! My test is in exactly 5 weeks and would hate to come up just short of 700. Thanks for any help you can provide!!



On a serious note some tips on verbal pls

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Re: Advice for improving Arithmetic [#permalink]

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New post 15 Apr 2017, 15:08
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Hi Mike,

You’re right, 5 weeks is not a lot of time to (re)master a whole field of mathematics (arithmetic). So your best option is probably to wisely choose two or three sub-topics of arithmetic that you can really make improvements on in that time period and work on mastering those. What those subfields are is going to depend on you. I saw you posted back in February that you’ve been working with EMPOWERgmat. Have you made it through most of their video course by now? If not, then I’d suggest you work on the topics you haven’t done yet, especially in arithmetic. Otherwise…

if there are any specific subtopics that, try as you might, you just totally don’t understand, especially if they are topics that aren’t frequently tested on the GMAT, it might be best just to decide it’s okay to get those problems wrong, and focus on where you think you can improve in five weeks. If you’re having problems finishing in time, identifying problems that you absolutely know you can’t do, guessing quickly and moving on can save you time for some of the tougher problems that you might be able to get with an extra 15 seconds or so.

I think there are threads on here about what topics are tested most frequently. You might want to scan one of those lists (or maybe someone here can tell you?) and pick some of those things to work on. E.g. if you have problems with absolute value, that’s tested a lot. Then if you identify a specific frequent problem type you want to work on, you can do problems on that specifically with something like the Kaplan Math Workbook. The word problems (like work problems) are considered as a separate category from arithmetic, so if you’re doing okay on the work problems, I’d leave them alone and focus more on number properties/operations with rational numbers.

At the 700 level, a lot of what the GMAT is testing is not just knowing a set of math facts, but having good number sense/intuition - your ability to see the neat trick or pattern that will make something that seems like a really ugly arithmetic calculation easy to do. And that’s something that’s harder to learn, especially in a short period of time. If you don’t already feel solid on number properties, divisibilities, tricks for multiplying and dividing ugly numbers quickly, it might be most beneficial to you to work on learning those rules or guidelines over the next few weeks. Then just spend the rest of your time practicing a lot. Add bills in your head when you go to the grocery store. Practice multiplying and dividing lots of numbers. The more you do it, the more you’ll begin to see the patterns that will make you be faster.

If you’ve been keeping an error log, you could also try going back to some of the arithmetic problems you have gotten wrong in the past, and try to redo them. Try to redo them in multiple ways. Try to see if there’s some pattern or trick you missed the first time.

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Re: Advice for improving Arithmetic [#permalink]

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Hi Nailin,

My biggest tip for Verbal would be summarize everything possible, in simple terms, for RC and CR questions. Oftentimes, these questions use a lot of words and people tend to try to remember everything the passage or paragraph is saying. Instead, I recommend taking short-quick notes that will allow you to summarize what you just read, in language you understand. Make the passage or paragraph yours! Many times the question resulting from the passage or paragraph has to do with a main idea or underlying assumption. When you summarize in your own words, quickly, it is easier for you to see what the main idea or assumption may be. For SC, I would recommend to learn as many idioms as possible (within reason of course) and to ensure that your subject and verb always agree in number. Additionally, pay attention to the tense of the non-underlined parts of the sentence, as they will give the clue of what the tense of the underlined part should be. If you have any information regarding improving upon Arithmetic or Quant in general, please help!

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Re: Advice for improving Arithmetic [#permalink]

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New post 15 Apr 2017, 15:18
Thanks VMACC,

Your reply was great! I think I will focus on a few sub sections. I have completed most of the EMPOWERGMAT videos, however, with Arithmetic, I feel as though I was unable to keep up with Rich. My "number sense" is not the best and it takes me a long time to see patterns in numbers, which is unfortunate given the speed with which one must operate during the GMAT. I will work to learn different number tricks as well as the subgroups of problems. Thanks for your reply!

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Re: Advice for improving Arithmetic [#permalink]

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New post 17 Apr 2017, 05:11
Did you study manhattan thoroughly? If you did it once already, you might be missing something important, so doing it one more time but more carefully could be beneficial.
Also, definitely use Gmatclub math book if you did not do so already. It's great!

Apart from that, I recommend practicing questions in groups by type until you feel that you understand the concept, i.e. search the forum for number properties problems, and after trying them read bunuel's explanations.

Good luck!

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Re: Advice for improving Arithmetic [#permalink]

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New post 17 Apr 2017, 07:58
Seconded. The Manhattan GMAT books are great. For you, probably the ones on Number Properties (Guide 5) or Fractions, Decimals, & Percents (Guide 1) would be the most helpful. You may also want to make flashcards. Having prime numbers, perfect squares, fraction to decimal conversions, etc. down cold will definitely help you get faster. So many problems rely, directly or indirectly, on prime factorization. And if you know your multiplication table and the primes up to, say, 47, down cold, you will see the factorizations more quickly and know for sure when you’re done. A lot of the prep companies have their own flashcard decks that you can use (not sure if EmpowerGMAT does), but it’s better for you to make your own. There are studies that show you understand/remember something better when it’s in your own writing, and the act of writing itself helps get it in your memory. Or, you can use flashcard software like Anki:

https://apps.ankiweb.net

One thing that’s nice about Anki - it uses a spaced repetition system. There’s a whole bunch of science behind how often you need to see a fact to remember it. Basically, Anki’s spaced repetition system will show you a card more often when you’re first learning it and less often later on. It will show it to you more often if you get the card wrong or are unsure about it. So you don’t need to keep track of which cards you need to work on that day or what you’re shakier on. It keeps track for you.

Things I’d recommend putting on the cards:
fractions to decimal conversions for basically all fully reduced fractions with single digit denominators
approximations for \(\sqrt{2}, \sqrt{3}, \sqrt{5}\) : (\(\approx{1.4}, 1.7, 2.2\))
perfect squares up to 15 (\(1^2=1\), \(2^2 =4, … ,15^2 = 225\))
perfect cubes up to 10 (\(2^3=8, …. , 10^3=1000\))
prime numbers up to 47: 2,3,5,…47
anything else you think you need to work on/memorize.

-V.

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Re: Advice for improving Arithmetic [#permalink]

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New post 21 Apr 2017, 05:35
mikemurawski93 wrote:
Hi everyone,

Does anyone have any advice, tips, tricks, etc. to help one improve their Arithmetic skills quickly? It appears to me that the area I most struggle with is Arithmetic (as evidenced by my CAT reviews and practice problems). However, I am having trouble studying Arithmetic because it is such a large category of Math (work problems, probability, number properties, operations with rational numbers, etc etc.) On my last CAT, I scored a 660 overall (Q40,V41) and I believe an improvement in Arithmetic could push me too or over the 700 mark, which is my goal! My test is in exactly 5 weeks and would hate to come up just short of 700. Thanks for any help you can provide!!

I may not be an expert at improving the quant score because I started from Q 40 to reach Q 50 in 3 months but I can bet you one thing that you encounter a few questions in which you get completely stumped. If, however, I have lost this bet, congratulations. You have won half the battle. All you have to do now is to practice more and more questions and you can improve your score to Q45. On the other hand, if you do wonder how to start, rather than the "best way" to start, as soon as you read the question, you need to dive deeper into the theory. You need better conceptual clarity. I used Veritas Study material (I also have those books in digital format). The books have a lot of questions covering a wide spectrum of conceptual questions. However, most of those questions are nothing more than the intro to those concepts. Practicing Quant on this forum is the best advise I can give you. Do solve all the questions that you get in your profile page, they are picked according to your level, and solve the official GMAT questions posted in the forum. As a matter of fact, revising the concepts for 30 minutes and practicing related questions for next 90 minutes will give you a good boost.
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Re: Advice for improving Arithmetic   [#permalink] 21 Apr 2017, 05:35
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