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How to get faster at quant?

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How to get faster at quant?  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Oct 2018, 13:45
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Hi there,

Any specific training routines / exercises to increase speed for quant?

I'm getting many more questions correct now, writing good notes on the pad, however, I'm slow af. When I throttle up I tend to misread / make silly mistakes.

Thanks,
Rich
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Re: How to get faster at quant?  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Oct 2018, 14:39
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It usually takes time to increase the speed. It requires a great "number sense" and a lot of practice.

There are various types of questions. What helped me was that I had different types of approaches for different types of questions. Memorize those approaches to tackle questions, and you will increase your speed.
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New post 10 Oct 2018, 16:14
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Good point above. Really the best way to get faster at quant is to A) get more comfortable with the different approaches without worrying about timing first and then B) for each problem that you do (once you're focusing on timing) compare your answer to the answer explanation for the question. Was there a faster way to do the problem that the answer explanation works through? If so, it's worth your time to work out the problem again that way and to work on seeing if you can integrate that sort of method to your problems. The key is to focus on your approach, not to worry about writing faster or reading faster.

Another bit of advice on timing. To paraphrase the free climber Alex Honnold, if you get an adrenaline rush and feel like you're going too fast, you're going to be prone making a mistake. (Granted, he was talking about climbing thousands of feet without a rope, but I think it's also a valid lesson for the GMAT - you should be aware of your timing and look to make good decisions in light of your timing - know when to cut your losses or use number properties where you can to help with calculations, for example - but if your attention is taken up entirely by timing, it means you're not giving your attention to the problem itself.)
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New post 10 Oct 2018, 16:20
Thank you all. Should I be doing a baseline # of timed questions each day to stay fresh? If so, should they be new questions or old ones?

My practice exams so far have yielded a Q27, Q35, and Q33 respectively. The last one I ran out of time and guessed through the last 5.

Thanks!

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New post 10 Oct 2018, 16:26
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So where you're scoring right now makes me think that you may need to work on content before you work on timing (even with the 5 questions of guessing at the end). Have you done any sort of dedicated course of study for content review? Are you comfortable and confident with questions up to your goal score? Generally just timing yourself for set after set is only going to help your timing so much if you aren't confident in terms of untimed accuracy. At best, it's inefficient and at worst you can end up solidifying some bad habits.
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New post 10 Oct 2018, 16:42
Thanks Laura. I've chronicled my journey mostly here:
https://gmatclub.com/forum/material-ove ... 77494.html

In summary, I'm in stage 2 of 5 with EmpowerGMAT's study plan, doing about 4 hours per day. I started off with Manhattan Prep in late August, then tried VeritasPrep-- didn't love the format for either one. I'm finding EmpowerGMAT to be a great fit for me, especially because I see the work being written "on the pad" as the instructor explains it.

It's possible I'm jumping the gun on timing. Factorials, mixtures, work/rate problems, distance problems- these things still make me sweat when I see them. Given this...at what point should I focus on timing (is there a score I should reach first on my CATs?)

Thank you-
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New post 11 Oct 2018, 09:41
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Based on your other post, a few things stand out. It seems like you are taking a very rigid approach to solving problems and that you're having a hard time with some of the flexibility that's required. It may seem counterintuitive, but the trick to doing well on a test like this is to a) have a set of tools that you can pull from and know when to use each one but b) be flexible enough to know when to try something new because you're never going to see the same problem twice.

My advice would be twofold: be aware of timing now, but don't focus on it until you've finished your content review. Many timing problems tend to work themselves out once you're comfortable enough with the content that a specific problem type doesn't make you sweat too much. In terms of being aware of timing, many programs will time you as you're doing the problem so you don't need to worry about timing yourself. (GMATClub does this with all problems with the built in timer, we at ORION do it, as does the official question pack) Don't worry about doing timed sets yet. When you're done with a problem, take note of your time and compare how you did the problem to how the official answer did the problem - look for efficiencies. Your three questions should always be 1) what did I do well here? (i.e. what should you keep doing?) 2) what did I not do well/did I miss here? (i.e. what should you stop doing?) and 3) what should I change about my approach for next time.

That said, you should still keep working on timing now. It just shouldn't be your main focus. Do a timed review of the topics you've covered for the week once a week (10 questions is a good length - you can do two of these on different days if you really need to.) Then do the same analysis as you do with every other question. Do a debrief after practice tests to see where you lost time - what difficulty of questions? What topics? (Should you review those topics because you're not as strong in them?) Did you get the question right or wrong? (If wrong, was it a question you could have gotten right or did you have no idea where to start?) Does your timing get better with quant if you vary the position quant appears in your practice test? (So for example, I hate starting with quant because I feel a lot slower and so I will often start with AWA/IR as a warmup of sorts when I take tests.)
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New post Updated on: 12 Oct 2018, 09:09
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You ask a great question! The first thing to understand is that timing on the GMAT, as in life, improves as your knowledge, understanding, and skill improve. Timing does not improve simply by “trying to go faster.” In fact, when people try to force speed before they’re ready to go faster, they tend to end up making a significant number of preventable mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes badly erode people’s test scores. In addition, when people rush learning -- a common pathology of those trying to force speed -- they actually never end up developing the speed they seek. One of the great paradoxes of learning is that to develop speed, a student must slow down to ensure that he or she masters the material. Consider the following examples, which hopefully will bring you some more clarity:

Imagine your goal were to run a mile in four minutes, a difficult feat even for professional athletes. So, you get yourself a running coach. You show up on the field and ask, “Coach, how do I get faster?” The coach responds, “Well, just run faster.” So, you try your best to “run faster,” but you can't; you’re running a 12-minute mile. Out of breath, you come back to the coach and say, “Coach, I stink. How do I get faster?” Again, he says, “Just run faster.” So, you try again, but this time you fall and skin your knees. You keep trying to run faster. On the tenth attempt, you pull your hamstring, falling to the ground in pain. Over your next four months of recovery, you ponder why you couldn't run faster.

That situation would be insane, right? No qualified running coach would ever provide you with that advice, because the coach would understand that no one gets faster merely by trying to run faster. Instead, the coach would set you up on a linear, comprehensive plan to make you a BETTER runner. He may have you run progressively longer distances at relatively slow speeds. He may have you run up and down the stairs at the football stadium. He may have you run up and down hills. He even may have you engage in strength training, yoga, or Pilates to make you a more fit athlete. After all of that training, he finally would bring you back on the field and time you running the mile. At that point, he’d coach you on how to push yourself through the pain of sprinting and help you to understand what a four-minute-mile pace feels like. He now could help you with those things because you would be in the necessary shape to be receptive to them. So, you begin your run, and BOOM! You run a 6-minute mile. What happened? Well, you became a better runner. You became a fitter athlete. You became stronger. Although you’re not yet at the four-minute-mile mark, your training has yielded considerable improvements.

Now imagine your goal were to play a complicated song on the piano. The tempo at which a pianist plays greatly impacts the way a song sounds. To make songs sound the way they should, often a pianist must play at a fast pace. But your experience with the piano is limited. Can you imagine trying to play the complicated song at full speed right at the outset? Doing so wouldn't be possible. Instead, you first need to master many aspects of the piano -- without really trying to get faster. In fact, you need to proceed slowly at first, sometimes very slowly. As you master the piano, you find that you’re able to play your song at progressively faster tempos. With time and dedicated, proper practice, you’re able to recreate the sound you seek. If in the early days of practicing you had tried to force speed instead of mastering your technique, you never would have become truly accomplished at playing the song.

The process of getting faster at solving GMAT questions is quite analogous to the process of improving one’s running speed or ability to play the piano at the proper tempo! To get faster, you must get better. As you further develop your GMAT skills, you will get faster at a) recognizing what a problem is asking and b) executing the necessary steps to quickly attack the problem.

The key takeaway is that once your GMAT knowledge improves, better timing will follow. In fact, a great way to know how well you have a mastered a particular topic is to be cognizant of your reaction time when seeing a particular question.
You also may find the following articles helpful:
How to improve your GMAT quant score and how to get faster at solving GMAT questions.
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Originally posted by ScottTargetTestPrep on 12 Oct 2018, 06:48.
Last edited by mvictor on 12 Oct 2018, 09:09, edited 2 times in total.
please avoid posting too much information, especially the example that was included. I myself got lost in all the text and didn't read it till the end. Users like short, concise answers, I would really appreciate if we kept that format,
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How to get faster at quant?   [#permalink] 12 Oct 2018, 06:48
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