restore wrote:

I'm staring at explanations for certain math concepts (such as absolute value inequalities and combinations/permutations and their application in problems) and having difficulty understanding them.

Is it better to keep reviewing and "brute-forcing" the concepts into my head? I've been taking practice problems and looking at the explanations, but I do not seem to be getting better at them.

What do you think I should do?

Well its pretty obvious that concepts take time to cement in your mind if they are new or you haven't touched them for a while. That is why we practice, so that the concepts become second nature to us.

Things you can do:1. Prepare your own notes/flashcards/cheat sheets. While studying write down critical concepts and formulae in a fresh notebook in your own handwriting and keep it handy at all times. Then you can always check out the flashcards available online and add the extra concepts as dope.

2. Whenever you are practising keep that notebook open in front of you. And see the concepts that you can use.

3. Avoid mugging up too many formulas. Rather learn how to derive them.

MGMAT does a good job in this. You will be more comfortable, especially on DS questions.

4. Even during a mock test, keep your notebook with you and look up a critical concept if you cant remember. By doing so, believe me you will never forget that concept.

Remember, just knowing the concepts is not enough but being able to apply them correctly is. I must have at least 50-60 pages filled with critical quant concepts, but I know 90% of them and will never forget them for the rest of my life.

IMHO I think what you are talking about is not concepts but more of manipulations. You cannot mug up manipulations. And Inequalities and Combinatorics are considered some of the more difficult concepts because there isn't a universal one single way of solving them that everyone is comfortable with.

For inequalities - I usually use numberline or algerbraic approach or number plugging or a combination of either.

For Combinatorics - Hard Cold Basics. And a hell lot of practice.

Hope this helps. Practice is the key!

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GMAT done - a mediocre score but I still have a lot of grit in me

The last 20 days of my GMAT journey