Jeff Sackmann
About the Author
Jeff Sackmann has been helping students like you reach their GMAT score goals for nearly a decade. Jeff began as a star tutor and classroom teacher for a big test-prep company. Since 2006, he has focused on developing the best materials in the industry, saving you time, money, and stress.
Based in New York City, Jeff has created many resources for GMAT preparation, including the popular Total GMAT Math and Total GMAT Verbal, as well as 1,800 practice GMAT math questions and his Guides to the Official Guide.
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Total GMAT Math, Abbreviated Edition


Total GMAT Math runs over 400 pages, including 300 practice GMAT questions in more than 40 chapters. That's a ton of material, and if you work through every single chapter and example, it will take you a long time to get through it.

I can't be too specific about exactly how much time, because everyone works at a different pace. That said, it seems that completing everything in the book takes a bare minimum of 50 hours of study. Many people will require at least 100 hours, especially if it's been a long time since you've done any math, and you have to start from scratch.

If You Don't Have 50 Hours...

Occasionally someone emails me a few days or a week or two before their exam, wondering if Total GMAT Math would be useful for them in their limited time remaining. (I got one such message last night, which is what prompted this article.)

The short answer to that question is: Yes. In fact, a number of customers have told me how much the book helped them in just a day or two of last-minute studying.

Total GMAT Math is separated into chapters by content, so it's not tough to find the material that covers the topics you're struggling with. (You can see the Table of Contents here.) Whether you have time for 5, 15, or 35 chapters, what you learn will have a positive effect on your GMAT Quant score.

Where To Start

If you have time to work through most of the book, you should start at the beginning. The book is designed to be read in order--it starts with building-block concepts such as manipulating fractions and solving linear equations and moves up to more complex topics.

If you don't have that much time, there are a number of ways you can narrow your focus:

  • Limit yourself to the topics that you know you struggle with. For many people, these will include inequalities, exponents, rates, number properties (factors and multiples in particular), and overlapping sets.
  • Use my list of important GMAT Quant topics.
  • Skim the expository chapters, looking for tidbits you don't know. When you find them, do some of the practice questions to see if you learned anything from those tidbits.
  • The reverse of the above: Do the practice questions, and when you find a topic you struggle with, go back to the expository chapter to re-learn the basics.

Regardless of which method you employ, there's a lot to be gained from Total GMAT Math, whether you have 10 hours or 100 hours to spend with it.