Read an Excerpt
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Congratulations to you who have graduated or are about to graduate from
college! You are about to begin another great adventure. If your plans include
business school, before your journey starts, you must take either the GMAT or
This book is designed for you to maximize your score on the GMAT’s quantitative
section, the math. This book teaches you the skills you need for the GMAT, some of
which you may have forgotten. It then gives numerous problems that are typical
of this test. I wrote this book in a way so that you will enjoy it and to help relieve
some of your anxiety about the test.
The propaganda about the GMAT says that the test attempts to find out your
knowledge of business, your job and interpersonal skills at the beginning of your
undergraduate work, and subjective skills such as motivation and creativity. This,
of course, refers to the English sections as well as the math sections. The math skills
that are required are no more than those learned in Algebra II.
The test administrator will supply you with a booklet of five noteboards (spiral
bound blank pages) to work out problems. If you fill up the five boards, you
may request replacements. The following items are not permitted: notes, scratch
paper, calculators or watch calculators, stop watches or watch alarms, personal
data assistants (PDAs), telephones or cells, beepers or pages, photographic
devices, stereos, radios or TVs, any other electronic aid that could help you, books
or pamphlets, dictionaries, translators or thesauri, pens or any other writing
devices, rulers or any other measuring devices. In other words, you are taking the
test on computer by yourself.
Because of these conditions, you must memorize the formulas that you will use
for this test. The algebraic manipulations are not too complicated. Complicated
arithmetic is not on this test. This book will show you ways to minimize how much
arithmetic you need or, in some cases, eliminate it completely. However, the test
will require that you understand the material. You do have to be creative in coming
up with some of the solutionsthinking “outside the box.” This test really appeals
to me because I love puzzles.
There are two kinds of questions on the GMAT. The first is the same kind of questions
you took on the SAT. There is a problem to solve with five answer choices. The
second kind of question may be new to you: data sufficiency. Chapter 15 discusses
this kind of question in detail (you can peek if you want to see more now). Briefly,
the problems ask whether there is sufficient information given to solve a problem. In
virtually all of the examples, you solve nothing; but you do have to know the facts of the
question. This is a very important skill in the real world. It is tremendously important to
know when you have enough information to solve a problem or whether you need more.
The GMAT is now a computer-adaptive test (CAT). The math section gives 75 minutes for
37 questions, approximately two minutes a question. You are initially given a question of
moderate difficulty. When you know the answer, enter it. If your answer is correct, you will
be given a harder question. Otherwise, you will be given an easier one.
Be Careful When You Choose The Answer You Think Is Correct.
It would be awful to get a lower score than you deserve only because you hit
the wrong key! You must pace yourself, since failure to finish the 37 questions
will result in a significantly lower score.
If there is a question you absolutely don’t know, you should guess.
If you guess wrong, the next question will be easier. If you answer it correctly,
you will return to a similar level of difficulty. Getting those correct in turn will result
in harder questions to follow. By the end of the test, the computer closes in on a
score that best approximates your ability. You will probably take
the GMAT in a room with many other people. However, the GMAT has a vast resource of
questions. The people to your left and right will be presented with different questions.
You must focus on your goal: to get a score that will get you into the MBA program of your
choice. However, please keep in mind the following: When you get your MBA, the degree
itself only gets your first job and first salary. If you go to a more prestigious school, your
starting salary will likely be higher, and so will be their expectations of you. Once you get
your first job, what counts is your ability to do your job well!
As I said, I really like GMAT questions. In fact, I like all kinds of puzzles, both mathematical
and word. To me the GMAT is a game. When you win, you win the graduate school of your
One further note: In June 2012, there are proposed changes to this test. It appears that there
will be few or no changes in the math section, but we will keep our eyes on developments
for the next edition.
Again, good luck!