Like we discussed in our Online Lesson: Introduction to Data Sufficiency video, picking numbers should not be our go-to strategy for most questions on the GMAT Math section. Most problem types aren’t easily solved by plugging in numbers. Then, even on the problems where number picking is a viable strategy, most test takers approach it incorrectly, which causes them to waste time and confuse themselves. So when is this strategy actually useful? And how can we use it to improve our GMAT Math score?

In “How to Plug in ‘Smart’ Numbers on GMAT Math Problems: 4 Tips”, we’ll teach you how apply one of the most misused GMAT Math strategies successfully on test day with four GMAT Math tips.

While number picking shouldn’t be our first resort on any GMAT Math problem, some questions lend themselves more to number picking than others. Our first tip explores how we can identify questions that are good candidates for number picking.

In our second tip, we delve into our goals for number picking. One of the reasons that number picking is not always an effective strategy is that test takers often plug numbers in randomly without considering how the result will impact which answer choice they’ll pick. We look at how we should have different objectives for different GMAT Math question types, and how these goals will impact the types of numbers (as well as how many numbers) we pick.

Our third and fourth GMAT Math tips explore how to pick “smart” numbers to meet these goals. First, we look at how thinking about categories of numbers can give us a window into which numbers “work” in our problem and which numbers don’t. Then, we consider how to pick specific numbers within these categories for quick math without a calculator.

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Happy GMAT Math studies!

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Erika graduated from the University of Washington and got a 99th-percentile score on the GMAT. With years of experience teaching standardized test prep and directing a private tutoring academy, Erika is passionate about giving students the tools they need to succeed in cracking the GMAT and GRE.
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