## Articles published in GMAT Strategies

Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

Here’s a phrase that might bring back some memories from middle school math class: Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally, or PEMDAS. (If you went to school outside of the U.S., you may have learned the acronym BEDMAS or BODMAS, instead.) You use this phrase to decide what order to do mathematical operations in: Parentheses first (from inside to outside), then Exponents, then Multiplication and Division (left to right), then Addition and Subtraction (also left to right).

PEMDAS isn’t terribly fancy stuff. It’s just a useful little tool that helps us communicate clearly—it’s what tells us, for instance, that “2x(3+4)” means something different from “2×3 + 4.” But if there’s one thing the GMAT loves, it’s making things look more complicated than they really are. Read more

### FAST Math for the GMAT (Part 5 of 5)

Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

Welcome to the fifth and final installment of our Fast Math series. (Miss any earlier ones? Start here.)

Make your life easier on the GMAT: do less Math. (Yes, with a capital-M. ) I use Math-with-a-capital-M to mean formal, textbook math.

Sure, you’re going to have to do some textbook math on the GMAT, but it’s really not a math test. Business schools don’t expect you to have to do paper math in b-school or the real world. Rather, they’re testing how you think about math. And thinking about math in the real world is a lot different than textbook, school-based math.

For one thing, the correct answer on the GMAT is never actually a number or a math term. The correct answer is just (A), (B), (C), (D), or (E). How you get to that correct letter doesn’t matter in the slightest.

Okay let’s dive into our 5th Principle for Fast Math! Read more

### Un-Educated Guessing on the GMAT

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As any good GMAT student knows, you can’t possibly answer every question correctly. In fact, if you get the first couple questions right, you will rapidly get into territory where most people can hardly figure out what the questions mean. And if you take extra time to dig into those questions and try to figure them out, it bites you in a big way when you run out of time toward the end. So we quickly learn that if you can’t figure out a good plan to solve a problem, you need to go ahead and take an educated guess.

Sounds great, but it’s not actually that simple, is it? Read more

### My GMAT Class Just Ended—Now What?

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Let’s say you spent the last few months of your life enrolled in our GMAT class. You attended all the classes and you kept up with homework (mostly)—but you don’t feel ready to take the test yet. You’re starting to panic. What should you do? Read more

### FAST Math for the GMAT (Part 4 of 5)

Guess what? You can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free—we’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

We’re up to part 4 of our series on Fast Math for the GMAT. If you’re seeing this for the first time, start with part 1 and work your way back here.

Let’s dive right in.

### How Many GMAT Problems Do I Need to Solve?

Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

That’s a good question! Do you really need to solve all the GMAT problems in the Official Guide to the GMAT in order to score a 700? What about the other side of the issue: is it possible that there aren’t enough problems in the Official Guide? How many GMAT problems should you solve before taking the official GMAT?

Before I share my answer, let’s get some facts on the table. Read more

### FAST Math for the GMAT (Part 3 of 5)

Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

Welcome to the third installment of our Fast Math series. (Miss the earlier installments? Start here.)

Here’s the basic premise: I’m always on the lookout for ways to get out of doing tedious paper calculations on the GMAT.

The awesome part: the test writers actually set this up for me! They know we’re not going to have to do a bunch of paper math in b-school or the real world, so they construct problems that allow us to take advantage of all sorts of shortcuts…if we’re paying attention. Read more

### Tiny GMAT Critical Reasoning Mistakes You Might Be Making (Part 1)

Guess what? You can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free—we’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

Critical Reasoning. It’s not the easiest subject to teach, I tell ya. Or to study. On the one hand, it’s deceptively simple: ‘here are four sentences, answer a question about them.’ You might be glad there are no formulas, no little rules to memorize. Unlike geometry, in which you might not see a 5-12-13 triangle on the actual test but need to know about them just in case, GMAT Critical Reasoning is usually just a game of spotting a few parts of an argument and answering the question logically.

But while there are certain things that show up again and again—premise, conclusion, counterpoints, assumptions—there are a lot of different ways the GMAT can construct the logic, and a lot of different ways they can make wrong answers seem tempting. How many times have you been wrong but the answer just felt so right? Read more

### FAST Math for the GMAT (Part 2 of 5)

Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

Welcome to part 2 of our Fast Math series! In Part 1, I acquainted you with the fact that I’m a lazy math person: I don’t want to do any more than I have to in order to answer the question. And this series shows you how!

#### Principle #2: Learn shortcuts for when you do have to do the math.

You already saw the first example of this in Principle #1:

Shortcut #1: When multiplying a string of numbers, pair off the 5’s and 2’s and multiply them first.

Let’s say that that problem hadn’t had a 20 in it. If we had to multiply 5 and 81…how would you do that? Read more

### What’s the Deal with Square Roots on the GMAT?

Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

Here’s one of the most common math questions my students ask: “What’s up with negative numbers and square roots on the GMAT?” Luckily, the answer doesn’t involve a lot of complex rules. In this quick article, I’ll lay out the issues surrounding square roots and negative numbers, and share everything you need to know to handle them confidently.

If you’ve been studying for a while, or if you’ve worked your way through Foundations of Math, you probably know that there’s a strange interaction between negative numbers and exponents. If you square a negative number, the result is positive. If you square a positive number, the result is also positive. Squaring a number makes the negative sign ‘go away.’ This is where the problem with square roots comes in.

Suppose you’re looking at an equation that looks like this: Read more