GMAT Math Fundamentals

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For many people, the breadth of the GMAT Quantitative section is disconcerting. With so many topics to learn, where do you start?

One way to approach that question is to start with a list of GMAT math topics, and then pick out some content areas that are most fundamentals. One such list is the Table of Contents to my Total GMAT Math.

Here is a list of what I consider the most fundamental GMAT math topics. These aren't necessarily the most important, but they are the ones that are important to learn first. For instance, you won't see a lot of questions on the GMAT that explicitly test your ability to simplify expressions, but if you can't simplify expressions, you'll have serious problems with many other more challenging topics.

Ten Fundamental GMAT Math Topics

  • Fractions
  • Simplifying Expressions
  • Linear Equations
  • Exponents
  • Right Triangles
  • Circles
  • Ratios
  • Rates
  • Multiples
  • Averages

GMAT Building Blocks

These are, essentially, the building blocks of GMAT math success. You might see more Weighted Average questions than Average questions, but you won't understand Weighted Average very well until you can handle conventional Average problems.

The same thing applies to Work (simultaneous rate), a topic that comes up on the test all the time. If you don't have a firm grasp of Rate problems, forget about understanding Work.

When you've mastered these topics (perhaps with the help of the relevant chapters in Total GMAT Math), you can move on to the topics you're most likely to encounter on the test. I've summarized those in a previous article.



About the author: Jeff Sackmann has written many GMAT preparation books, including the popular Total GMAT Math, Total GMAT Verbal, and GMAT 111. He has also created explanations for problems in The Official Guide, as well as 1,800 practice GMAT math questions.

Total GMAT Math

The comprehensive guide to the GMAT Quant section. It's "far and away the best study material available," including over 300 realistic practice questions and more than 500 exercises!
Click to read more.