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 FAQ: Difficulty


I'm often asked what level of math skills Total GMAT Math is most appropriate for. The truth is, there's no single answer to that question.

The book has 41 content sections--one for each general type of question on the GMAT, such as rates, circles, or permutations. Each section contains a tutorial of a few pages, followed by 10-20 drill questions and 5-10 realistic GMAT practice questions on that topic.

Obviously, some of those chapters will be easier than others.

GMAT Math Beginners

If you're starting out--perhaps looking at math for the first time in years--you don't need any other books before you get started. Unlike other test-prep resources, you can learn algebra and geometry from scratch using Total GMAT Math. It will take some time--after all, the resource is well over 400 pages in length--but you'll have to learn the material some time or other.

The most frequent comment I hear from happy customers is that they wished they found the book sooner. You can save yourself time and frustration by starting with a solid grounding in the basics.

Advanced GMAT Students

Because Total GMAT Math is designed to start out at a basic level, an advanced student (say, someone already scoring in the 65th percentile or higher on the Quantitative section) won't need the entire book. Chapters on topics such as quadratic equations and percent problems cover material that such a student should already be familiar with.

However, most students I've worked with in this situation--reasonably high quant score, but going for another few points--need more work on some fundamentals. In fact, you might have incorrectly assessed, or not even been aware of, which sections you have issues with.

In other words, Total GMAT Math is still an important resource for you. I recommend that you read all the tutorials, looking for unfamiliar content. Try some of the practice problems, and if you find a topic you have problems with, dig deeper. You may end up only focusing on 10 of the 41 topics covered in the book, but if you can resolve your problems in those areas, you'll take a huge step toward your GMAT score goal.

If you're already scoring at the 85th percentile or higher, there may be some techniques you'll pick up from the book, but I wouldn't generally recommend that you purchase it. Instead, you can turn to my Challenge practice sets, especially Word Problems: Challenge, Number Properties: Challenge, and Extreme: Challenge.

GMAT Re-Takers

If you've already taken the test, odds are you've already prepared for the test, as well. Many test-prep guides focus too much on tips and tricks, a mistake I discussed in an article last week.

Total GMAT Math forces you to look back at the basics. If your score disappointed you, odds are you need to review some of those fundamental concepts. As with advanced students, you may not need to spend a lot of time with every chapter, but even if you only benefit from 10 or 15 of the book's sections, your GMAT score will thank you. Click here to find out more about purchasing Total GMAT Math.