For a majority of Indian students, maths is easy. Solving mathematical questions is sort of their second nature, as they tackle math problems from a very young age. However, the Quant section in standardized tests such as GRE, GMAT & SAT do not test math skills alone. Along with the ability to work around numbers and formulas, Quant sections in these tests are designed to test reasoning and analytical skills of the test taker. Here are our expert tips on how to master the quant section in these standardized tests:
Master concepts and Strategies
Before diving into high level questions, you have to be sure that you have mastered fundamentals or basic concepts. Once you master the concepts you can solve any kind of question in GRE/GMAT/SAT. Also, once you’ve mastered these concepts, it is important that you are able to effectively identify the specific concept being tested in each question and select appropriately from a wide range of strategies . This only comes with practice.
Practice, Practice and Practice
You have to practice a lot in math, period. Math is not a subject where you can read, understand and reproduce in a test. Of course there are a few questions that you can solve through ‘by rote’ reproduction. But this is not true for most questions. Practicing different questions will let you apply the same concept differently, depending on how the question is framed; this is really important in standardized tests. There is no escaping this reality, to do well in a Quant section, you need to have solved A LOT of problems before the test day.
Maintain a Mathematical Dictionary
Mathematics has specific terminology with very specific vocabulary to discuss or describe particular mathematical operations. It would be great, if you can create your own math flash cards. For example non-negative, exclusive, tenth’s place and so on. This can be built as you solve and review questions from your practice set. Having some with good test prep experience guide you with this can be invaluable.
Create a Distraction free study environment
Mathematics requires more concentration than any other subject. For a better quant score in standardized tests, it’s very important that you practice a lot and aim your practice sessions to reduce the number of mistakes you make. Having a distraction free environment will make you to concentrate on the question and help you to make fewer mistakes, which boosts your score. So make sure when you practice, you practice in a distraction free environment.
You can do this by turning off your mobile devices during practice and by scheduling your practice in advance. Try to make your study a routine so that people around you (friends and family) can get used to your schedule and give you quiet time during those study hours.
Once you practice a set of different question with different topics, you have to go through a review process and check for the errors. Understanding how you approached the problem and where you went wrong is a great way of learning. Learning from your own mistakes will also help you prevent making those same mistake again; thereby eliminating that particular chink in your armor.
While reviewing, it is essential to keep the following things in mind:
- Keep a note of questions you guessed on the ones that you ended up taking too much time on. These need to be reviewed (even if you got the correct answer), since most standardized tests are as much about time management as they are about accuracy.
- Make a note of concept gaps as well as strategy gaps. You need to be able to objectively eliminate wrong options in most cases. Since, at many instances you’ll realize that working by eliminating wrong options is simpler (and more time efficient) than solving a problem to arrive at an absolute number or answer.
Work on your weaknesses
Sometimes you can get stuck trying to solve part of a maths problem and find it difficult to move on to the next stage. During practice, many would then skip the question and continue on to the next. This should be avoided. Instead, spend time trying to understand the process of solving the problem. Once you have an understanding of the initial problem, you can use this as a stepping stone to progress to the remainder of the question. Approach someone ( a teacher, a peer or anyone who can help) to understand the problem and to understand what your doubt was while solving and how to work that problem out efficiently. This will help you score higher.
All the above tips won’t amount to much, if you don’t keep practicing. Remember: Practice makes man, perfect!
Drop into one of LogIQuest Kaplan’s learning centres to schedule a mock-test followed by an extensive feedback session with our experts. This can help you substantially improve your preparation strategy.
For more tips on solving Quant questions read our blog on Solving percentage problem strategically