Hi Mikimix,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. Although a 550 after just one month of prep is not horrible, you will need to put in a lot of dedicated prep over the course of the next 3 to 4 months to improve to a 700+ GMAT score. With that said, I’m happy to provide some guidance on how to improve your GMAT quant score.

For starters, you will want to develop a rock-solid study plan. When developing your preparation plan, it is important to realize that the GMAT quant section is not just a math test; it is also a reasoning game. So, increasing your score takes improving skills that relate specifically to the GMAT quant game. Yes, it’s imperative that you know an array of basic math concepts, such as the difference of squares, 30-60-90 triangle properties, patterns in units digits, patterns in remainders, divisibility, algebraic translations, Venn diagrams, and permutations and combinations, to name just a few. At the same time, you need to far surpass simply understanding those concepts; you must develop strong analytical reasoning skills.

So, must you learn or review math for GMAT quant? Yes, for sure. Without a solid understanding of the underlying math, it will be difficult to improve your GMAT quant score. Will learning math be sufficient to earn you a high GMAT quant score? Probably not. The key is to learn how the GMAT uses basic math to create logic-based questions. Thus, you’ll need to both fill in gaps in your math knowledge and develop your analytical reasoning skills to increase your GMAT quant score.

I suggest that, to gain the math knowledge and develop the analytical reasoning skills that you need, you seek out a course that can help you to master the quant section of the GMAT. If you plan to study on your own for the GMAT, you may consider an online self-study course as opposed to a prep book. Self-study courses typically provide detailed study plans and have granular analytics, so you can easily track your progress as you move through the course. The ability to track your progress will keep you more engaged and you’ll be able to more accurately determine when you’re ready to take your real GMAT.

There are many courses available, so it’s best to really do your research before you commit to one. In this competitive GMAT landscape, you’ll certainly want to utilize only the best possible materials, otherwise you may find yourself at a big disadvantage relative to your peers. How do you procure the best materials?

GMAT Club has reviews on the best courses for GMAT Quant .

Read the reviews and see what your peers have to say. Most courses will have free or low-cost trials, so try them out. Then choose a course that you like.

Just remember that to earn a higher GMAT quant score, you’ll want to pursue a detailed approach that allows you to develop a deep mastery of the material and development of strong skills. It’s very hard to earn a competitive score these days without rigorous and comprehensive training; the competition is just too strong. So, you must seek mastery.

There are two main aspects of attaining mastery of GMAT quant.

One aspect is developing clear understanding of the underlying math. For example, many GMAT quant questions involve inequalities. So, scoring high in GMAT quant requires understanding the logic of inequalities work and how to work with them. Attaining this type of mastery is similar to what you would do to study for a typical math test.

The other aspect of attaining mastery of GMAT quant involves learning how to apply math knowledge to get the correct answers to GMAT quant questions. GMAT quant is not set up to assess your knowledge of math. It’s set up to test your skill in using basic math knowledge to correctly answer tricky questions. In other words, GMAT quant is a test of vision and execution skills, the types of skills you would use in business school or in managing a business. So, in order to master GMAT quant, you have to become good at using math knowledge to find the correct answers to tricky questions.

These two aspects of attaining mastery of GMAT quant are best handled by working on GMAT quant topic by topic. When you work on one question type at a time, you both gain in-depth knowledge of the math involved in questions of that type and develop the skills that you need in order to arrive at correct answers to questions of that type. So, to drive your quant score higher, work on one type of question at a time, first learning about the math involved and then answering many questions of that type in order to develop your skills.

For example, since GMAT quant tends to include questions involving triangles, you would learn various facts about triangles and how to work with them and then practice by answering dozens of questions involving triangles. By working in this way, you would become confident that, if you see a question involving triangles, you will likely get the right answer. Then you would move on to another topic and question type and repeat the same process.

As you practice answering questions of a particular type, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don’t answer correctly. For instance, if you are working on triangle questions and you miss a question involving a right triangle, ask yourself why you missed it and what you would have had to see more clearly or do more effectively in order to get it right. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not properly apply the Pythagorean theorem? Was there a concept you did not understand in the question? By properly analyzing what occured, you will be able to more efficiently fix your weaknesses and, in turn, improve your GMAT quant performance. Triangles is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

Each time you strengthen your understanding of a topic and your skill in answering questions of a type, you increase your odds of hitting your quant score goal. You will find that there are types of questions that you are happy to see, types that you would rather not see, and questions that take you a long time to answer correctly. Learn to more effectively answer the types of questions that you would rather not see and make them into your favorite types.

As you do this work, keep in mind at all times that the GMAT is testing your skill in getting to correct answers. So, when you train for the quant section, focus not just on knowing how to answer questions but also on how to get correct answers consistently and on not getting tricked. You have to teach yourself to see the tricks in the questions, to calculate accurately, and to arrive at correct answers consistently. The GMAT is essentially a game of seeing how many right answers you can get in the time allotted. Approach it with that conception in mind, and focus intently on the question in front of you with one goal in mind, getting a CORRECT answer.

Here is an article that I wrote that I think will give you some more valuable information:

How To Increase Your GMAT Quant Score has reviews on the best courses for GMAT Quant .

When practicing GMAT quant questions, you must also consider timing. However, since you are just starting out and learning new material, be careful not to put too much emphasis on solving every question in two minutes or less. You can consider timing this way: when you are doing practice questions, there are three levels of proficiency you could be seeing for each category.

At Level 1, you understand the logic of GMAT quant questions in a category and basically know how to answer them, but you may not get them right, or you at least don’t get them right consistently. This level of proficiency is a good start.

At Level 2, you consistently get questions in a quant category correct, but you are not fast, taking on average well over two minutes per question. This level of proficiency is even better. Getting right answers is key. If you can get right answers consistently, you are well on your way to hitting your GMAT score goal.

At Level 3, you get questions in a category correct consistently, taking around two minutes per question (or sometimes less). When you are at this level of proficiency for a category of GMAT quant question, you are ready to see questions of that type on the test. Now it’s time to work on another question category.

To develop the third level of proficiency, you must allow yourself ample time for deliberate practice. If you try to rush through questions when you first begin practicing, you’ll find it extremely difficult--if not impossible--to progress to Level 3. So, when you are practicing, do the questions untimed. Yes, you can be aware of how much time you are taking, but don’t focus on the time. Generally, you need to focus on finding the correct response to each question by mastering the material and learning to use higher-order reasoning, rather than on answering questions in two minutes (or any other preset time constraint). Remember, the best way to gain speed is to know the material very well and develop strong skills. As your GMAT skills improve, 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. For example, consider the following simple question with which many students who are beginning their prep struggle:

20^2 + 21^2 + 22^2 + 23^2 + 24^2 + 25^2 = ?

A) 3,055

B) 2,060

C) 3,066

D) 3,704

E) 3,077

Upon seeing this question, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Performing all of the calculations by hand? Grabbing a calculator to add up the values in the expression? Are you spending 60 seconds or more just thinking about what the question is really asking or how it could be efficiently solved? Or do you quickly recognize that one simple solution utilizes the concept of units digits?

If you are able to quickly recognize that using the units digits will allow you to attack the problem quickly and efficiently (see the solution below), the question becomes very basic.

Solution:

Because each answer choice has a different units digit, instead of finding the actual sum, we can just find the units digit of the sum. Let’s use the units digits of each square to determine the units digit of the sum.

- The units digit of 20^2 must be 0, since 0^2 = 0.

- The units digit of 21^2 must be 1, since 1^2 = 1.

- The units digit of 22^2 must be 4, since 2^2 = 4.

- The units digit of 23^2 must be 9, since 3^2 = 9.

- The units digit of 24^2 must be 6, since 4^2 = 16.

- The units digit of 25^2 must be 5, since 5^2 = 25.

With this, we can sum the units digits: 0 + 1 + 4 + 9 + 6 + 5 = 25. Thus, the units digit of the sum is 5. Answer choice A is the only choice with a units digit of 5.

Although this is just one example of many, you see that you must have many tools in your toolbox to efficiently attack each GMAT quant question that comes your way. As you gain these skills, you will get faster.

Finally, once you feel you have mastered GMAT quant, you can begin taking official MBA.com practice tests to track your progress. GMAC offers 3 sets of practice tests: besides the

two free exams, you can purchase

exams 3 and 4 and

exams 5 and 6. When taking those practice exams, try to replicate the test-day experience as much as possible. Go to the library instead of taking them in your home. Be sure to complete all sections (AWA, IR, Quant, and Verbal) in one sitting, taking only the authorized breaks. After completing each test, be certain to rigorously analyze your mistakes so you can continue to determine and fix any remaining weaknesses.

I know I provided you with a lot of information, so if you have any questions, please do reach out. I would be more than happy to help you set up a strategic study plan.

Good luck!

_________________

Scott Woodbury-Stewart

Founder and CEO

GMAT Quant Self-Study Course

500+ lessons 3000+ practice problems 800+ HD solutions