99 Percentile GMAT Math
One of my major regrets in life is missing the 800 gmat score by a whisker. And the prime
reason for that was over confidence in the math section.
I missed getting a 99 percentile score in math by just two percentile points, and this was due to
the difficult permutation/probability problems that I got.
It was NOT that I could not have studies these topics properly, it was just that there was no suitable
treatment of these topics in the commonly available guides.
With the GMAT exam responsibility passing over to Pearson Vue, the math section is getting even
more tough, and with so many engineers/techies taking the GMAT, it is ever more difficult to get
a high percentile in math.
Let us take a step back and see where the GMAT math section fits into the overall picture.
A GMAT score is typically made up of several different sections; almost every MBA program looks
at your overall GMAT score and also your section scores in isolation.
For Finance, Systems, Operations and other such 'numbers' orientated programs, your math score
can be much more important than your Verbal score.
For an optimum math score on your GMAT, remember that focusing and brushing up on your
fundamentals, armed with the standard tips and techniques that are relevant to each question can
be as important as preparing for the final test.
You must prepare in such a way that you will be able to create your own shortcuts and tips for
yourself, tips that will stand you in good stead when you are doing your quantitative section of the
Never forget that the math section has been designed to test your problem solving skills, your
ability to deal with problems of a similar nature when they crop up in the workplace and NOT to test
your mathematical skills.
Do NOT spend too much time on practicing solving long problems.
Aim your energies and orient yourself towards spotting the short and often very simple solutions to
the problem that has been presented to you.
This will save you a lot of time, and you will be able to cross check your answers before you move
on to the next question.
Once you start scoring about 80 percentile in practice tests, you should look at preparing for the
difficult topics of Number Theory, Statistics, Probability, Permutation/Combination.
Let us take a closer look at the two sections that form the GMAT Math section.
GMAT Quant - Problem Solving
The problem-solving questions on the GMAT are specifically designed to determine whether you
are capable of answering questions related to basic mathematical problems.
This is one of the most 'learnable' modules on the GMAT, but to get a high score, you need to keep
the following points in mind.
- You need to find the quickest way to solve a problem, rather than the 'best' way.
Considering that you have only about two minutes to solve a question, there aren't any questions
on the GMAT that require complex calculations.
If you are trying to use some long, complicated calculation to determine the answer to a question,
there is probably not only an easier way, but also a way that is more likely to find the correct
In other words, if you think you need to use a complicated formula, try to find a shortcut or estimate
the answer choice if possible.
- Where the question involves graphs/figures, you should not assume that these are drawn
to scale unless specifically indicated.
This is especially true for the geometry problems on the exam where an angle might appear to be
of a specific type, but is actually not so.
For example, if the question does not specifically state that an angle is a particular type of angle,
such as a right angle, or a particular angle size, such as a 180 degree angle, it is not safe to
assume the size of the angle or figure.
- Familiarize yourself with multiple ways to solve a Problem
It is not uncommon to get stuck when you are cruising along at a 700+ level.
e.g. I got stuck on a 'Sliding ladder against a Wall' problem, something that I had done multiple
Fortunately, I managed to back solve & get the answer, but had I not known different ways to solve
a problem, I might have ended up with an even lower quant score!
Your problem-solving will be robust and flexible when you have more than one path to the target.
Not only will you develop your confidence, but will also save time.
For example, you can solve many 'number' problems either by back solving or by applying rules.
Each method has its advantages. The key is to know both methods well – which will reinforce your
understanding and allow you to switch between them if you get stuck.
GMAT Quant - Data-sufficiency
The data-sufficiency questions on the GMAT are specifically designed to determine whether you are
capable of analyzing a problem and identifying information required to solve it.
Although this section is supposed to be easier & quicker to finish than the Word Problem section, it
becomes very tricky if you are cruising at a 700+ level.
What kills your score in this section is 'Assumed Information'
Do not assume anything about the information provided in the data-sufficiency questions on the
Each data-sufficiency question is completely separate from every other question on the exam and
the information provided in the question is the only information you should pay attention to.
It is easy to become a victim of the 'Carry Over Effect' where you subconsciously carry over
information from one question to the other.
The questions are worded so as to indicate certain assumptions, but these assumptions are not
For example, some of the data-sufficiency questions on the exam might present you with two
statements that mean exactly the same thing, but are just stated in a slightly different format.
The most important thing to keep in mind in order to correctly answer the data-sufficiency questions
on the exam is that you must identify what the statements actually say and how they relate to the
Have a look at some interesting GMAT Data Sufficiency Questions with explanations here.
And finally, do not be 'scared' of GMAT Math.
What is required to move towards a 99 Percentile score is, a thorough study of the fundamentals,
a basic grasp of the concepts, and developing an ability to apply these concepts to the gmat type
Then comes the ability to solve a gmat problem in multiple ways, the ability to use shortcuts
when stumped, and the ability to guess intelligently.
Whether you are a novice or a math expert, you do need to brush up /build up your fundamentals,
and then go on to the tougher problems.
And this is Exactly what the 'Winners' Guide to GMAT Math - Part I' does.
This book holds the core of the GMAT Math syllabus.
It helps you develop a solid understanding of the underlying concepts, builds upon this
understanding by providing various different types of examples, exposes you to alternative ways of
looking at a particular problem, and finally shows you how to use shortcuts.
After you have covered the fundamentals of GMAT Math, you can move to difficult topics like
Number theory, Probability, Permutations/Combinations which are comprehensively covered
The Winners' Guide to GMAT Math - Part II
This supplementary Guide is an absolute MUST if you aiming at 99 Percentile Math
The Winners' Guide exclusively covers four GMAT Math topics that are not covered well in the
standard prep books.
These are: Number Theory, Statistics, Probability, Permutation/Combination PLUS an exclusive list
of Over One Hundreds formulae covering ALL sections of the GMAT.
You cannot afford to miss these if you want to be a Math Winner.
And now it is time to test your skills with:
Math Question Bank for GMAT Winners
An exhaustive 200+ Page Question Bank with over 400 fully solved word problems covering
ALL areas of GMAT Math
Full Length Computer based section tests
(You will get another free Full Length Math Test on this page)
Check out some of our Free GMAT Video Tutorials covering difficult Math topics
Learn about my
personal GMAT prep strategy
that got me a 780 Score and
how it can benefit YOU.