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# No Calculator

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Intern
Joined: 17 Oct 2013
Posts: 10

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01 Nov 2013, 05:02
Dear Everyone,

I just found out I won't be allowed to use a calculator during the quantative section of the GMAT. Mathematics is my weakest point in the test and this is quite a worrying fact for me. I'm working hard and doing some maths every day, but I was wondering if anyone has any tips/tricks and simple mathematical equations for me which I can apply.

To give you an example of my struggle, I have to calculate 460 . (0,85) for one of my questions. I have been doing these types of calculations with a calculator as far as I can remember and would have no clue how to solve it without one.

All help would be much appreciated,

Herbert van Litsenburg
Veritas Prep GMAT Instructor
Joined: 23 Oct 2013
Posts: 144

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01 Nov 2013, 10:06
Hi Herbert,

Great question! One thing that I like to do is focus on 10's. So for example, if you needed to figure out what 163*9 is, I would multiply 163 by 10, yielding 1,630. I would then subtract 163 from this number. In order to do this, you could first subtract 150, yielding 1,480. Then subtract another 13, yielding 1,467.

It all comes down to breaking the math down into manageable chunks. What chunks you choose, and in what order, is completely person dependent. The above is how I would have calculated that question.

If you have an iPhone (I think may work on Android as well), check out Muncher. It's a pretty cool app that allows you to work on mental math.

I hope this helps!!!
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Brandon
Veritas Prep | GMAT Instructor

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Magoosh GMAT Instructor
Joined: 28 Dec 2011
Posts: 4488

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01 Nov 2013, 10:28
herbertvl wrote:
Dear Everyone,

I just found out I won't be allowed to use a calculator during the quantative section of the GMAT. Mathematics is my weakest point in the test and this is quite a worrying fact for me. I'm working hard and doing some maths every day, but I was wondering if anyone has any tips/tricks and simple mathematical equations for me which I can apply.

To give you an example of my struggle, I have to calculate 460 . (0,85) for one of my questions. I have been doing these types of calculations with a calculator as far as I can remember and would have no clue how to solve it without one.

All help would be much appreciated,

Herbert van Litsenburg

Dear Herbert,
I'm happy to respond.
Here's a series of blogs I would recommend.
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/can-you-us ... -the-gmat/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/the-power- ... mat-quant/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-divis ... shortcuts/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-math- ... binations/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/doubling-a ... gmat-math/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/number-sense-for-the-gmat/

You see, the GMAT is awfully unlikely to ask you to multiply, say, 460*(0.85) and find an exact value without a calculator. They could expect you to estimate the result --- for example, multiplying 460 by a number less than 1 will result in a product that is less than 460. Furthermore, 0.85 > 0.5, so clearly 460*(0.85) must be greater than 460*(0.5) = 230. It may be that, in whatever problem this appears, of the five answer choices, only one would be between 230 and 460, and this simple estimation would be enough to isolate the answer.

The GMAT could expect you to calculate, say, 250 * 84. For this, we can use the Doubling & Halving trick, discussed in the penultimate link above.
double of 250 is 500
half of 84 is 42,
so 250*84 = 500*42
repeat the process
half of 42 is 21
double of 500 is 1000
Therefore, 250*84 = 500*42 = 1000*21 = 21,000

My advice: between now and the GMAT, [b]do not touch your calculator[/b]. Everyday, practice ordinary small number addition & subtraction & multiplication & division in your head. Too many people who aren't confident about math psyche themselves out so much that the wind up multiplying 4 times 6 on the calculator. Practice ordinary arithmetic every day, so at least these "muscles" are in shape by the time of the GMAT.

Let me know if you have any further questions
Mike
_________________

Mike McGarry
Magoosh Test Prep

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. — William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939)

Intern
Joined: 17 Oct 2013
Posts: 10

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02 Nov 2013, 00:40
That's very useful thank's for the quick responses and great tips.
SVP
Joined: 12 Dec 2016
Posts: 1674
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 700 Q49 V33
GPA: 3.64

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16 Apr 2017, 12:33
should I memorize the result of some common calculations? For example, 6! = 720; 14^2 = 196; and so on.
Manager
Joined: 19 Feb 2010
Posts: 173

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18 Apr 2017, 14:28
1
Hello,

This is a common challenge faced by the GMAT aspirants, worldwide.

Here is a detailed video that will take you through all the calculation shortcuts in an organized way.

You need not memorize all the suggested techniques. Go with the ones that you find most useful, naturally. Students generally find the following excerpt (using answer choices for solving Geometry questions) particularly helpful.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Maxximus
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Re: No Calculator &nbs [#permalink] 18 Apr 2017, 14:28
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