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by Dr. Joern Meissner, Academic Director, Manhattan Review | March 10, 2009


So you have limited time and want to ace the math section on the GMAT, what should you do? Having a clear plan is the first step to success. Here are our suggestions:

1. Start from the VERY basics: memorize all the glossaries and formulae until they come to you as a second nature.

2. Formulate a plan with dedicated math hours per day, per week, per topic and per test category.

3.Practice with each separate and related math conceptual areas and sub-areas at ONE time. Do NOT move on to a less relevant topic until you achieve your targeted proficiency level.

4. If you start at least 2 or 3 months before the scheduled exam, do NOT time yourself initially to dampen your own confidence. Rather, after solving a problem, compare your solution to the one in the book, stop for a moment and think about other approaches you could have taken or intermediate steps you could have avoided to get to the same answer choice.

5. Write down the type of mistakes you have made while practicing. Scan through the list of your common errors each time before you start to practice a series of problems to reinforce the correct approach in your mind.

6. Start with Problem Solving first to build or rebuild a solid math foundation. Master it. Then go on to Data Sufficiency.

7. When in Data Sufficiency, ask yourself "Is the answer definitive with ONLY one result?" If yes, then ask yourself "Which condition or combination of the conditions will lead to this ONE result. Do not get yourself confused with the question "Can this problem be solved based on the conditions given?" Often times, the answer can be derived based on the conditions; however, multiple answers can be derived, not the single result the Data Sufficiency question is typically asking for.

8. After you studied all the conceptual topics and finished a good number of practice problems related to those topics, then start to time yourself and try to finish 37 questions within 75 minutes WITHOUT a break. If you are doing well, try to finish 40 questions within 75 minutes WITHOUT a break. Continue to increase number of questions you work with in the same time span.

9. So you are ready now. Take a mock computer adaptive test and focus on math only. Take another one.

10.Take an entire mock computer adaptive test with the scheduled breaks just as on the real test.

11.Practice, practice, practice! Consult with expert instructors when you need help!

12.You will achieve your targeted math score!

Additional Tips:

*Be aware of the relative weight the GMAT places on topics. Number properties and algebra come up again and again--master these topics before spending time on less commonly tested areas such as probability.

*Train yourself to avoid unnecessary calculations, particularly on Data Sufficiency. Remember that it is enough to know that a solution can be derived, whether or not you know the actual solution.

About Manhattan Review

Manhattan Review, founded in 1999, is a multi-national educational services firm focusing on GMAT preparation (weekend crash course, 4-week long course, one-week intensive course, 9-week live online interactive course & private tutoring). Many of our students have improved their GMAT score by 60-120 points and been accepted by LBS, Columbia, Chicago, ESADE and other top-tier MBA programs. Our Turbocharge Your GMAT study guides have received rave reviews and are available on We also provide Career Training courses and MBA Admissions services. Dr. Joern Meissner, the founder, has over 15 years of teaching experiences at prestigious business schools in the USA, UK and Germany.

Our website is frequently updated with free resources including free offers to MBA Fairs, free MBA Panel Discussions, free GMAT & MBA Admissions Workshops, free downloads, MBA and GMAT essentials, free InFocus Newsletters, free interview articles, and more.

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Filed Under: Education|Grad School

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