GMAT Tip: Never do Long Division Again…and a discount!

This is an excerpt from a longer article by Jeff Sackmann, originally published at www.gmathacks.com. Jeff has created several valuable GMAT-preparation resources, including Total GMAT Math and Total GMAT Verbal.

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The first, simplest way to avoid long division on the GMAT is this: Don’t calculate until you have to. If, after the first step of a problem, you come out with a fraction, say 135/7, it may be tempting to convert that to a decimal or compound number. Avoid the temptation until there’s no alternative.

For example, let’s say you’re working a problem about a factory producing widgets, and you deduce that it’s producing 135/7 widgets per day. If you had a calculator, it’d be easy to convert that to 19 2/7, but on the GMAT it’s not worth the time. Perhaps the question ends up by asking, “if the factory produces widgets at a constant rate seven days per week, how many widgets does it produce in two weeks?”

In other words, you’re asked to multiply the day rate by 14. You probably see where I’m going with this: 7 is a factor of 14, so rather than multiplying 135 by 14, eliminate the denominator and multiply 135 by 2. In that case, not only did you save yourself the trouble of long division, you also made the second step easier! 135 times 2 is much simpler than 19 2/7 times 14.

Interested in reading more? Click HERE to see more test prep advice.

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Stacy Blackman readers can get an exclusive 10% discount off of all GMAT Hacks products by using the coupon code “sbc10”³ at checkout. Thanks, Jeff!

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