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Help: can anyone offer tips for reading Quant problems?

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Joined: 13 Nov 2018
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GMAT 1: 650 Q39 V40
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Help: can anyone offer tips for reading Quant problems?  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 15 Feb 2019, 12:50
So, my Official GMAT score is a Q44. I'm not happy with that as I know I am capable of more.

Part of my problem is out of every few 500 and 600 questions I'll simply read wrong or make a simple arithmetic error. My brain is sometimes stuck using system 1 and I CANNOT for the life of me get System 2 engaged the entire test.

Example: this morning I got a questions wrong because I thought 8x7 was 48 instead of 56.


I can't be the only person with this trouble so does anyone have any methods that they found helpful?

Originally posted by MWithrock on 27 Jan 2019, 11:00.
Last edited by MWithrock on 15 Feb 2019, 12:50, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help: can anyone offer tips for reading Quant problems?  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2019, 19:43
1
Guess what?
For me 8x7 = 54! Haha!

For such things, I made a simple change. Wrote down all these silly mistakes everytime I made one.
You might feel like you just have a few, but as I started making the list, it filled 3 full pages!!
I just go through the list every few days. It just takes 10 min effort to go through the list.

Next thing, as soon as you read the question, write what is asked for in the paper and CIRCLE it.
Also, always extract as much info as possible from the question.
Are u testing zero when stem says only positive integers?
Write x > 0 and circle it too.
Before submitting answer, check the question again.
Yes this will consume time in the beginning, but you will soon get rid of your bad habits and slowly can reduce doing the above things.

Such errors are what make the difference between an average gmat score and the 700 scores!

Good luck!

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Re: Help: can anyone offer tips for reading Quant problems?  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2019, 20:00
Thanks for responding!!

I knew I wasn't alone. I have finally started en error log. It just took me 2 mediocre scores to be driven to it. It's definitely frustrating but I have to break these habits.
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Re: Help: can anyone offer tips for reading Quant problems?  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2019, 20:09
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Thanks MWithrock for bringing it to the forum. It really makes me frustrated when making mistakes like 15x4= 45 and sometimes making arithmetic mistakes even in 6x8. I thought I was the only one. Thank you so much blitzkriegxX, you were really helpful.

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Re: Help: can anyone offer tips for reading Quant problems?  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 27 Jan 2019, 21:21
niyaz11186 Glad you found it useful and hope the following post will be useful too! :)

MWithrock

I don't think error logs can save you from these errors.
These are errors that are common to all questions.
Errors that aren't based on a concept or method are errors that have to be dealt with REGULARLY.
You might fill the error log with a question and the mistake you made and then you might only review it a couple of times before actual exam.
But these errors need constant conscious effort. A regular effort.
So I still recommend you WRITE DOWN and make a list.
Review it when u travel to work? When at lunch maybe? Or just before you sleep?
Will just take 5 min.

Do update this post later and let us know what worked for you! :)

Posted from my mobile device

Originally posted by blitzkriegxX on 27 Jan 2019, 20:51.
Last edited by blitzkriegxX on 27 Jan 2019, 21:21, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help: can anyone offer tips for reading Quant problems?  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2019, 21:00
blitzkriegxX wrote:
Glad you found it useful niyaz11186 :)

MWithrock

I don't think error logs can save you from these errors.
These are errors that are common to all questions.
Errors that aren't based on a concept or method are errors that have to be dealt with REGULARLY.
You might fill the error log with a question and the mistake you made and then you might only review it a couple of times before actual exam.
But these errors need constant conscious effort. A regular effort.
So I still recommend you WRITE DOWN and make a list.
Review it when u travel to work? When at lunch maybe? Or just before you sleep?
Will just take 5 min.

Do update this post later and let us know what worked for you! :)

Posted from my mobile device


OHHHH! Ok, I got what you're saying. I've thought about sticky notes on my monitor while I work through problems. stuff like "Read the question twice."

I'm going to try your conditioning method. I'll come back in a week and let everyone know how its going.
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Re: Help: can anyone offer tips for reading Quant problems?  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jan 2019, 18:36
I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. The good news is that a Q44 is not a bad start. Regarding your careless errors, the real question you should ask is WHY you are making silly mistakes on GMAT exams. The reality is that there are a multitude of reasons why you may be making silly mistakes. Those reasons range from not reading carefully to writing sloppily to making mental math mistakes. In fact, I wrote an article that discusses those and more causes of careless errors, and how to fix those issues.

While it’s quite possible that your careless errors are due to some of the reasons I’ve already mentioned, it’s also entirely possible that your careless errors are due, in some part, to a relative lack of GMAT quant knowledge. Yes, I believe that you know that 8 x 7 = 56 and not 48; however, usually a mistake such as mis-multiplying will happen when you lack confidence in other areas. For instance, if you are presented with a quant problem that you may feel uneasy about, then that general uneasiness can lead to simple mistakes. On any GMAT, you must answer difficult and convoluted math questions in a timed and pressure-filled environment, so if you don’t know GMAT quant like the back of your hand, careless errors are likely, right? Take the following example:

14! is equal to which of the following?

(A) 87,178,291,200
(B) 88,180,293,207
(C) 89,181,294,209
(D) 90,000,000,003
(E) 91,114,114,114

Upon seeing this question, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Grabbing a calculator to add up the values in the expression? If you are able to quickly recognize that using the “5 x 2 pair rule” will allow you to efficiently attack the problem (see the solution below), the question becomes very basic, and you can avoid having to perform tedious calculations that are likely to result in a silly mistake.

Solution:

Notice that there is at least one (5 × 2) pair contained in the product of these numbers. It follows that the units digit must be a zero. The only number with zero as the units digit is 87,178,291,200.

Answer: A

This is just one example, but hopefully you can see that by a) recognizing what the question is asking and b) properly attacking the question, your propensity to make a silly mistake greatly decreases.

Although I am unsure of how you are currently preparing for the GMAT, moving forward, I recommend following a structured study plan that allows you to methodically find and fix your remaining quant weaknesses. Studying in such a way ensures that you develop sound mastery of GMAT quant and thus make fewer careless errors.

If you’d like more detailed advice on how to improve your GMAT quant skills or if you have any further questions, feel free to reach back out. Also, you may find it helpful to read this article about how to improve your GMAT quant score.

Good luck!
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Re: Help: can anyone offer tips for reading Quant problems?  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jan 2019, 18:54
Scott!

PM'd. Thanks for the advice so far!
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Re: Help: can anyone offer tips for reading Quant problems?  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Feb 2019, 12:48
Hey Guys,

I'm giving this post a bump. I was off playing Army for the past week as part of my reserve duty but wanted everyone to know I had not forgotten.

I am currently working through TTP's 12-step program to un-dumb yourself. Its good. Its REALLY good. I think simply slowing down, and watching myself write what I am thinking is a game changer all by itself. I am still working through the error log like discussed in the original thread, but I think not worrying about the clock and not trying to save time by rushing what I am copying has made a world of difference. I will check in again In a week or so.

Happy GMATing everyone.
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Re: Help: can anyone offer tips for reading Quant problems?   [#permalink] 15 Feb 2019, 12:48
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