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How do you guys achieve top quant scores?

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Intern
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Joined: 05 Jun 2016
Posts: 16
How do you guys achieve top quant scores?  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jun 2016, 12:17
Hi all,

I've recently started studying for the GMAT. I've taken a couple of CAT exams from GMATPrep and gotten 720 and 760 on each one. While my Verbal was 95% and 99% each one, my quant stayed the same at around 80-83% (I guess I'm a rare case in which I find the Verbal much easier than Quant).

One of the biggest issues I've noticed is that I often run out of time in the quant section. When I look at explanations for problems, sometimes even setting the problem up and working out the math takes much more than 2 minutes per problem....I don't see how anyone could possibly do 15+ of these problems within 30 minutes.

My first question is: How do you guys tackle speed issues on hard problems? Some of these seem hard to "ballpark" or "estimate" as they often complete solutions in order to pick an answer.

My second problem is: I've developed a strategy to try and speed through easier problems in order to allow me more time on harder problems. Unfortunately, I've noticed this tends to cause me to make stupid mistakes, and it might be better off to just try and allocate 2 minutes per problem....but then this goes back to me not having enough time for more difficult problems. What is a good balance of time you should allocate for some of the easier questions?

TLDR: For you top quant scorers, how do you guys tackle the hard problems? How do you handle time management? And what is the correct balance of speed and accuracy to which you ensure any problem (easy, med, hard) is answered correctly?

Thanks!
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Re: How do you guys achieve top quant scores?  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jun 2016, 14:46
Hi riceman,

I was in the exact same position as you. Despite being an engineering student, I consistently got 90%+ on Verbal and below 50% on math. In fact, it wasn't until about 2 weeks before my actual GMAT that my scores began to balance out a bit more. In the end my quant score was a 50.

Like you, my issue was time. I would typically miss around 10 questions in Quant each time. Even then, I felt rushed, which caused to get a bunch of questions wrong anyway. A couple of things helped me. First, I made checkpoints for my timing in the quant section. For example, every 10 questions should take about 20 minutes. So, I would check the timer ever 10 questions to make sure I wasn't slowing down. Yes, this piece of advice basically boils down to "be conscious of time and move faster," but it's more than that. You can tell yourself to move faster, but you'll often forget to do so as you move through the problems. The checkpoints help with that.

Second, do a **** of problems, and review EACH ONE. I bought the Manhattan prep full set, and mostly ignored the quant books because they were on topics I found generally easy. Big mistake. Going through the books exposed me to 90% of the problems I would ever see, and I got to the point where I didn't have to think about how to set of the problem. In addition, as you do practice tests, make sure to review each of the problems and redo them. I helps you get faster.

Finally, when it comes to data sufficiency the hardest adjustment for me was learning not to do out the math. DS questions ask basically asking "can you figure it out," but it's not saying "go figure it out." Thus, DS problems are all about the set-up and not about solving. You likely need to practice this. What helped me is going through my scratch work after a practice test to see how I could have been more efficient.

Hope that helps!
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Re: How do you guys achieve top quant scores?  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jun 2016, 20:24
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riceman89 wrote:
Hi all,

I've recently started studying for the GMAT. I've taken a couple of CAT exams from GMATPrep and gotten 720 and 760 on each one. While my Verbal was 95% and 99% each one, my quant stayed the same at around 80-83% (I guess I'm a rare case in which I find the Verbal much easier than Quant).

One of the biggest issues I've noticed is that I often run out of time in the quant section. When I look at explanations for problems, sometimes even setting the problem up and working out the math takes much more than 2 minutes per problem....I don't see how anyone could possibly do 15+ of these problems within 30 minutes.

My first question is: How do you guys tackle speed issues on hard problems? Some of these seem hard to "ballpark" or "estimate" as they often complete solutions in order to pick an answer.

My second problem is: I've developed a strategy to try and speed through easier problems in order to allow me more time on harder problems. Unfortunately, I've noticed this tends to cause me to make stupid mistakes, and it might be better off to just try and allocate 2 minutes per problem....but then this goes back to me not having enough time for more difficult problems. What is a good balance of time you should allocate for some of the easier questions?

TLDR: For you top quant scorers, how do you guys tackle the hard problems? How do you handle time management? And what is the correct balance of speed and accuracy to which you ensure any problem (easy, med, hard) is answered correctly?

Thanks!


Around 2 mins is the average time you have per question. It definitely doesn't mean that you must allot 2 mins per question. You are expected to go faster when working on easier questions so that you have more time when looking at a brain teaser. If you are making "stupid mistakes" in easier questions in that case, all you need to do is practice lots of easy questions under solid time constraint. Your mind will learn to double check on all things you tend to overlook when rushed.

Most GMAT questions need less than a minute to solve - no matter what level they belong to. If you end up making multiple equations and solving them using a half sheet of the scrap paper, you are using the inappropriate approach. There will be much faster ways of solving the question and you should search for them. In difficult questions, often, wrapping one's head around the question takes the most time - actual solving takes seconds only. Strong conceptual understanding of the topics and lots of practice will help you increase your speed.
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Re: How do you guys achieve top quant scores?   [#permalink] 20 Jun 2016, 20:24

How do you guys achieve top quant scores?

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