Wondering how to tackle problem-solving questions on the GMAT? The good news is that the questions asked in the GMAT are similar to the math problems you’ve been dealing with throughout your schooling years. However, a quick review of the basics might be required to help you get right back on track and start acing the GMAT quant section. Read this article to learn more about GMAT problem-solving questions. 

Before we begin, let us understand what the GMAT quant section is all about.

GMAT Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning is a 60-minute-long section on the GMAT exam dedicated to quantitative problems. Throughout the GMAT Quant Section, you will have to answer a total of 31 questions within the 60-minute duration. Furthermore, the quant section is scored on a scale of 6-51 with a single point increment. 

Wondering if you need to be a pro at maths to ace the GMAT quant section? Not really! However, you may need to master the basic concepts to solve the questions of various difficulty levels. The GMAT does not expect you to be an expert in mathematics. Using computer-adaptive difficulty, the algorithm that gauges your ability to answer a question of a certain difficulty level, the GMAT tests you with questions of an elementary level. Hence, the stronger you’re with the basics of the GMAT Quant the better you’ll perform on the quant section of the test.

Now that we know what the GMAT Quant section is, let us understand what GMAT problem-solving questions are like and how to approach them.

GMAT Quant Mean, Median, & Mode questions

GMAT Mean, Median, & Mode solutions

GMAT Problem Solving Questions

The GMAT quant section comprises two types of questions: Data Sufficiency and Problem-Solving. Data sufficiency questions provide you with a statement along with two supporting pieces of information and you will have to answer if the data provided is sufficient or not to arrive at the correct answer to the question presented. On the other hand, problem-solving questions require you to use the information available and select the correct answer from the five multiple choices provided.

An example of a GMAT problem-solving question is as follows:

In a certain office, the ratio of smokers to non-smokers is 4:5, then approximately what percent of the employees in the office were non-smokers?

  1. 44.44
  2. 50
  3. 55.55
  4. 60
  5. 70

The GMAT problem-solving question is based on the following topics:

  1. Distance, rate and time
  2. Permutation and combinations
  3. Factors and prime factorization
  4. Problems with averages
  5. Estimation questions
  6. Difficult dice questions
  7. Difference of two squares
  8. Sequences
  9. Remainders
  10. Work and work rate
  11. Circle and line diagrams
  12. Polygons
  13. Set problems with Venn diagrams
  14. Scale factor and percentage change
  15. Standard deviation 
  16. Radicals
  17. Function notation
  18. Algebraic Factoring
  19. Hard factorial problems
  20. Back solving from the answers
  21. Distance in x-y plane
  22. Pythagoras
  23. Line in the x-y plane
  24. Tricks and calculating combinations
  25. Parallel and perpendicular lines and midpoints in the x-y plane
  26. Probability: And, Or rules
  27. Probability: At least statements
  28. Probability: Counting problems
  29. Hard counting problems
  30. Probability: Geometric probability
  31. Problems with averages

GMAT Problem Solving Strategies

Here are a few GMAT problem-solving strategies you should adopt to approach each problem-solving question on the test.

  • Be quick and don’t spend too much time reading a question. Most times GMAT questions are framed to trick you into spending too much time reading the question.
  • Although you need to be quick, try reading the question carefully. Hence, you have to be quick and careful at the same time to not miss out on essential cues to solve the problem.
  • Use the plug-in strategy by going through the answers and plugging in each of the answers to help solve the question.
  • Don’t waste time if you can’t solve the question. Time saved on one question by guessing an answer can be spent on solving another question that you may be stronger at.

Mistakes to avoid when solving Problem Solving Questions

Here are a few common mistakes test-takers make while solving problem-solving questions that you can learn and avoid.

  • Getting lost in the information shared. Often, a lot of extraneous data will be given in the question and you need to filter through it to pick out only what’s relevant.
  • Missing negative signs in equations, especially when you move terms from left to right and vice versa.
  • Trying to use algebra to solve questions, when plugging in numbers is a far simpler approach.
  • Not using deductive reasoning to eliminate incorrect answer choices.

Now that we have mentioned to you about GMAT problem-solving questions, the topics covered and strategies you should adopt, you’re better positioned to enhance your GMAT practice.  



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