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I'm bad at math. How can I improve?

Whether you have always struggled with math, you haven't touched a calculator in years or you have a hard time finding efficient solutions to difficult questions, the best way to improve your accuracy on quant questions is to review your math basics. The test-makers don't really care about your ability to punch numbers into a calculator or memorize difficult formulas (though it may seem that way sometimes). Rather, they are testing your understanding of fundamental concepts and your ability to think critically and solve problems efficiently. 

This is why it is so important to know how and when to use fundamental math concepts. Basic math concepts make up the foundation of harder math questions, so it's essential to be very familiar with these topics. The better you are at the basics, the faster you'll be at answering questions correctly. We have several resources that can help you to improve your math basics:

  • We have an entire section dedicated to fundamental math concepts on our blog: Math Basics. You will find blogs covering many of the basic concepts that you will find on the test, as well as information on strategy and practice questions to test your skills. 
  • Khan Academy provides free, high-quality educational videos that cover all of the math concepts you will see on the test: Khan Academy instructional videos for the GRE.  Their videos provide excellent information about the concepts behind the most difficult questions. Best of all, they provide practice sets so that you can practice a skill in isolation without the complication of test questions. This will help you to build your confidence and skills before moving on to more difficult questions :-) 
  • The Magoosh Math Formula eBook and Math Flashcards are excellent resources to help you build your knowledge base. While we don't recommend that you rely too much on memorizing formulas, studying these resources can help you to remember and recognize important math properties in order to . One of the most important skills in the quant section is to see a question and BAM! you should be able to recall all of the information you need to answer that question. The eBook and Flashcards can help you do just this :-) 
  • If you'd like a more in-depth review of basic concepts, we recommend McGraw-Hill's Conquering the New GRE Math. You can read our review here: Conquering the New GRE Math. 

Once you feel comfortable with the basics, the key is to practice, practice, practice! Your goal is to immediately be able to recognize and apply these basic math concepts in a wide range of questions. This can be a slow process, but if you keep working on your basic skills and growing in your understanding every day, you will see improvement :-)

 

 

 

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