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How to guess on Word problems? How many of them on GMAT?

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How to guess on Word problems? How many of them on GMAT?  [#permalink]

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New post 10 May 2016, 03:46
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Hi everyone!

My Gmat is in 10 days and I have a problem. It's called "word problems"..

I am ok on other topics of GMAT, by OK I mean I am decent, sometimes I can solve, sometimes I can guess and it work fine. But when it comes to word problems, I am a dead man. Anything above 650 level is unsolvable for me. I just can't understand the situation, the formulas I have to use, how to set up the variables (I tend to set up 10 variables instead of 2) and of course, I have no clue on the correct equations. WPs below 650, I have perhaps a 50%-40% accuracy. If I am "lucky" to understand the situation when I see the question, maybe I will solve it. If I don't get it, it's not even worth trying, I will not understand it, it's a sure rule for me by now.

So is there any way to guess at 33% or 50% chance and not randomly guessing? Any blog\website you know? Google give me a gazillion links, but they all say the same techniques and honestly I couldn't find anything specific for word problems. A way to at least be able to set up the variable the right way would be nice! With 10 days to go I think it's too late, but I can give it a shot.

How many word problems are we likely to see on the exam? is it fine if we get like half of Word problems wrong?... (maybe 75% wrong?...) I am aiming for a 45 on quant and I will try to compensate it with a strong verbal.

Thank you for any advice!
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Re: How to guess on Word problems? How many of them on GMAT?  [#permalink]

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New post 10 May 2016, 13:02
iliavko wrote:
Hi everyone!

My Gmat is in 10 days and I have a problem. It's called "word problems"..

I am ok on other topics of GMAT, by OK I mean I am decent, sometimes I can solve, sometimes I can guess and it work fine. But when it comes to word problems, I am a dead man. Anything above 650 level is unsolvable for me. I just can't understand the situation, the formulas I have to use, how to set up the variables (I tend to set up 10 variables instead of 2) and of course, I have no clue on the correct equations. WPs below 650, I have perhaps a 50%-40% accuracy. If I am "lucky" to understand the situation when I see the question, maybe I will solve it. If I don't get it, it's not even worth trying, I will not understand it, it's a sure rule for me by now.

So is there any way to guess at 33% or 50% chance and not randomly guessing? Any blog\website you know? Google give me a gazillion links, but they all say the same techniques and honestly I couldn't find anything specific for word problems. A way to at least be able to set up the variable the right way would be nice! With 10 days to go I think it's too late, but I can give it a shot.

How many word problems are we likely to see on the exam? is it fine if we get like half of Word problems wrong?... (maybe 75% wrong?...) I am aiming for a 45 on quant and I will try to compensate it with a strong verbal.

Thank you for any advice!

Dear iliavko,
I'm happy to respond. :-)

Recently, I published these two blogs that you may find helpful.
1) Intro to GMAT Word Problems, Part 1: Translating from Word to Math
2) Intro to GMAT Word Problems, Part 2: Assigning Variables
Each one of those has a set of practice problems with OE provided, so you may find those helpful.

I will say that, as in all math, it's hard to give general advice, because all real math happens in the details. Even guessing is very specific to the situations. It's important to know about strategies such as backsolving, for example, and estimation.

Here's what I'll say. For every word problem that you have gotten wrong, search for it here on GMAT Club. If it has never been posted, then you could start a new thread in the Quant section, but make sure that it is not anywhere to be found before you post a brand new thread. Find those problems, and read the expert approaches. If you don't find what you need there, feel free to ask how to guess on that particular question: you are more than welcome to solicit my help on such a page, using the "mention this user" button. If you get advice on enough problems, I think this will help you.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: How to guess on Word problems? How many of them on GMAT?  [#permalink]

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New post 18 May 2016, 10:08
Obviously, in a perfect world you'd be able to take the time to get good at word problems - but with only a few days until your test, I think you have the right attitude. At this point, it's about damage control and maximizing your chances on the overall Quant section. You don't have to let word problems drag you down. :)

That said, here are a few quick pieces of advice:

1. Check out this article for a few small, simple tips that may save you some time or points: https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog ... -problems/

2. If the problem itself seems complicated, but the numbers in the answer choices look simple, try plugging the answer choices into the problem. https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog ... m-solving/

3. Use guessing as a first resort, not a last resort. You already know that word problems are super tough for you - that's a significant insight. So when you see a word problem that looks way too hard, don't waste your time trying to solve it algebraically! Be realistic. Spend a minute to 1:30 coming up with a smart guess.

4. Benchmark the answer against the other numbers in the problem. For instance, maybe the correct answer represents someone's weight. Does the problem give you any other weights? Should that person be lighter, or heavier than them, logically?

5. Benchmark against common values, such as 1/2 or 50%. You can often work out purely with logic that the right answer has to be bigger than 1, or smaller than 1/2, or bigger than 50%, even if you have no idea what it should be.
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Re: How to guess on Word problems? How many of them on GMAT?   [#permalink] 18 May 2016, 10:08

How to guess on Word problems? How many of them on GMAT?

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