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# CANT solve word problems. need alternative approach

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Senior Manager
Joined: 08 Dec 2015
Posts: 291
GMAT 1: 600 Q44 V27
CANT solve word problems. need alternative approach  [#permalink]

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07 Jun 2017, 10:37
Hi everyone.

I posted about this many times. I cant solve word problems. I read it and have no clue of where to start. I am bad at math numbers aren't my talent at all math is very tough for me.

Please I beg you not to tell me that all problems are similar i have to understand the underlying concept etc. I ve tried it all it still makes no sense.
I dont understand what is meant by "underlying concept" Every problem for me is a different case, so the way I see it there are millions of concepts and no universal solution. You just get or you don't, no way around it.

I also have to add that this whole thing has become extremely frustrating and demotivating for me. I have a conditional offer from a good Bschool hanging o my CFA result, but I think I wont pass the CFA so I want to take GMAT one last time to have a b-plan to show the Bschool in case I fail CFA.

Try telling me an alternative way. Reading some book for ex. Or a post I dunno. Be creative please lol

Thanks
Magoosh GMAT Instructor
Joined: 28 Dec 2011
Posts: 4485
Re: CANT solve word problems. need alternative approach  [#permalink]

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08 Jun 2017, 16:52
iliavko wrote:
Hi everyone.

I posted about this many times. I cant solve word problems. I read it and have no clue of where to start. I am bad at math numbers aren't my talent at all math is very tough for me.

Please I beg you not to tell me that all problems are similar i have to understand the underlying concept etc. I ve tried it all it still makes no sense.
I dont understand what is meant by "underlying concept" Every problem for me is a different case, so the way I see it there are millions of concepts and no universal solution. You just get or you don't, no way around it.

I also have to add that this whole thing has become extremely frustrating and demotivating for me. I have a conditional offer from a good Bschool hanging o my CFA result, but I think I wont pass the CFA so I want to take GMAT one last time to have a b-plan to show the Bschool in case I fail CFA.

Try telling me an alternative way. Reading some book for ex. Or a post I dunno. Be creative please lol

Thanks

Dear iliavko,

I'm happy to help.

First of all, here are two blogs that address some aspects of the issue:
Intro to GMAT Word Problems, Part 1: Translating from Word to Math
Intro to GMAT Word Problems, Part 2: Assigning Variables
Those have a few general rules.

Part of the problem is that the category we call "Word Problems" is a grab-bag of many different problems of many different types. The only thing they really have in common is that the prompt is a paragraph. Set problems, solution/mixture problems, work problems, and distance/speed problems are four big categories that each have their own rules & patterns. Aside from a few general rules discussed in those above blogs, there's very little that's true of all word problems. Here's some more info on individual problems categories.
[urlhttps://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-solution-and-mixing-problems/]GMAT Solution and Mixing Problems[/url]
GMAT Distance and Work: Rate Formula
GMAT Math: Motion Questions
for Set problems:
GMAT Sets: Venn Diagrams
GMAT Sets: Double Matrix Method

Finally, as I am sure you can appreciate, the more you develop you own number sense, the more it will help you across the board in GMAT quant.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
_________________
Mike McGarry
Magoosh Test Prep

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. — William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939)
Manhattan Prep Instructor
Joined: 04 Dec 2015
Posts: 729
GMAT 1: 790 Q51 V49
GRE 1: Q170 V170
Re: CANT solve word problems. need alternative approach  [#permalink]

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14 Jun 2017, 09:59
Have you worked on Backsolving? How about working with the numbers first, rather than creating equations right away? Here are two articles to check out - they were written for GRE students, but the GRE and the GMAT both have word problems, so you can use the same strategies for both.

https://www.manhattanprep.com/gre/blog/ ... cksolving/
https://www.manhattanprep.com/gre/blog/ ... le-really/

I also urge you to examine the language you're using in this post! Saying that you're bad at math or you're incapable of learning something is counterproductive. Try replacing that with some positive, goal-oriented self talk. (I know you're probably thinking something like 'no, but I actually am bad at math, so this doesn't apply to me' - but just trust me that it really does.)

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/a ... th/280914/
_________________

Chelsey Cooley | Manhattan Prep | Seattle and Online

My latest GMAT blog posts | Suggestions for blog articles are always welcome!
Intern
Joined: 24 Jun 2017
Posts: 35
Location: Singapore
GMAT 1: 660 Q46 V34
GPA: 3.83
Re: CANT solve word problems. need alternative approach  [#permalink]

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04 Aug 2017, 20:09
I had the same issue with Word Problems. I would start writing many equations and then always get confused and forget what I was doing or what was the question requesting, especially with the rates/speed/work problems. I now changed method and try to force myself to make a little table to have all data in always the same standard form:
D = R x T
d1 r1 t1
d2 r2 t2

Someone else in the gmatclub forum suggested me to work from the easiest problems rather than trying the difficult ones, he/she was right: if you practice a lot the easier problems you can develop a structured thinking that is necessary to approach the more difficult problems.

Good luck!
Re: CANT solve word problems. need alternative approach   [#permalink] 04 Aug 2017, 20:09
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