Articles published in Fractions, Decimals, Percents

What Your Math Teacher Didn’t Tell You About PEMDAS

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - What Your Math Teacher Didn't Tell You About PEMDAS by Chelsey Cooley

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)

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - FAST Math for the GMAT (Part 5 of 5) by Stacey Koprince

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

FAST Math for the GMAT (Part 4 of 5)

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - FAST Math for the GMAT (Part 4 of 5) by Stacey Koprince

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.

Principle #4: Estimate…and not just when they tell you to.

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FAST Math for the GMAT (Part 3 of 5)

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - FAST Math for the GMAT (Part 3 of 5) by Stacey Koprince

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

The Knowledge Trove that Is a GMAT Ratio

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - The Knowledge Trove that Is a GMAT Ratio by Reed Arnold

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.


‘Ratios?’ You might be thinking. ‘Those are easy. Pretty sure I get those.’

Wait. Let’s pretend I am the eccentric owner of a pet store, and I sell only two types of pets: rabid donkeys and three-legged mountain lions. In my store the ratio of donkeys to lions is 3:7. What do you know?

‘….That for every 3 donkeys you have 7 lions. Thanks for all the information, weird guy, should I get an external hard-drive so I can back all that up?’

Okay, drop the sarcasm, reader of my invention. When the GMAT gives you a ratio, it actually contains a boatload of information. Take a second and brainstorm what else you can figure out about this pet store. Anything at all.
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Two Minutes of GMAT Quant: A Breakdown (Part 3)

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Two Minutes of GMAT Quant a Breakdown Part 3Did 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.


Ready for the long awaited conclusion of how to tackle a quant problem in two minutes? We’ll finally get to the point where you can submit an answer! If you haven’t been keeping up, catch up here. Read more

How to Review Easy GMAT Quant Questions (And Why They’re Important)

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - How to Review Easy GMAT Quant Questions

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.


If you’re already comfortable with most of the Quant content (big if, but hey, let’s play the hypothetical game), then you’ll find some of the questions in the GMAT official guide book are relatively easy. Even if you’re struggling, there will be a few questions that you get right and understand without much difficulty. Let’s talk about how those can be powerful tools.

Imagine you come across this problem: Read more

The Top 6 GMAT Quant Mistakes That You Don’t know You’re Making

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blog-quantDid 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.


Sometimes, as you solve a GMAT Problem Solving problem, everything seems to go smoothly. You get an answer that matches one of the choices perfectly, so you select it and move on to the next problem. But much later, when you’re reviewing the problem, you realize that you picked the wrong answer entirely. Why does this happen, and how can you stop it?

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Here’s How to do GMAT Unit Conversions Like a Pro

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blog-metricsSometimes the whole point of a specific GMAT problem is to convert between miles and kilometers, or meters and centimeters. In other problems, you’ll need to do a unit conversion as part of a longer solution. It’s easy to mess up unit conversions, and the GMAT writers know this — they include them on the test in order to test your level of organization and your ability to double-check your work. Here’s how to add fast unit conversions to your repertoire of skills.   Read more

Three things to love about GMAT Roman numeral problems

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blog-numeralsI. Roman numeral Quant problems aren’t a whole lot of fun.

II. A lot of my students choose to skip them entirely, which is much smarter than wasting five minutes wondering what to do!

III. However, it’s possible to turn this rare and tricky problem type into an opportunity.

Read on, and learn why many GMAT high-scorers love Roman numeral problems. Read more