Non-Engineer’s Guide to Prepare for the GMAT

If you are not an engineering graduate, you’ve probably wondered if you’d ever be able to crack the GMAT, with its challenging quantitative aptitude section. It’s a fair question, but one whose answer should set your mind at ease: if you had paid attention to all those math classes in your tenth through twelfth grades, you will find that the quant section is not the beast it is made out to be.
GMAT Preparation Guide

The only challenge

As a test-taker from a non-mathematical background, the only thing missing in your quiver is the instinctive ease with which you will apply quantitative techniques to solve problems. What comes naturally to a quant person will need to be cultivated and honed by you. This is not an insurmountable problem, nor does it need you to devote years and years to practice before you will be any good at it. Plenty of test-takers from non-mathematical backgrounds have cracked the GMAT, scoring in the top 5 percentile.

Know where you are

As we keep emphasizing, unless you know where you are, you won’t know where to go next. So, the first thing you need to do is to identify your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to quant. How comfortable are you with each and every topic that will be tested in GMAT Quant, be it algebra, time and work, number theory or probability? (For a complete list of topics, see this post)

Pick your battles

Though there is no universal list, some quant topics are, in fact, easier to tackle than others because they are grounded in logic more than mathematics, and you do not always need formulae to get to an answer. For instance, work-time problems, permutations and combinations, probability, numbers and sets,. Questions on these topics can be solved just as easily by someone with a logical mind and a good grip on elementary math as someone with a strong quant background.

Use the right techniques

A majority of question types tested in GMAT Quant can be solved through shortcut methods, elimination techniques, back solving, and plugging in values. i.e. in many cases, you will not even have to solve the problems the conventional way. In fact, doing so is not advisable given that you have less than two minutes per question on the GMAT. If you’re preparing on your own, it will be difficult for you to pick up such techniques. This is where a good mentor or coaching classes (preferably both) can help. If you need our help with your GMAT prep, we’re always available to help. You can reach us on 9900004628 or email at

Ask for help

If you have signed up with an institute for classroom prep, then make sure that you keep up with the others. This does not mean that you abandon topics you struggle with; instead, ask for extra coaching or classes to help you prepare holistically. At Byju’s, we encourage our students to ask for any and every extra assistance or guidance that we can provide them with – the last thing that should ever hold back a test-taker is knowledge that wasn’t imparted!

Measure your progress

Keep taking practice tests from time to time and carefully analyze your performance in Quant. Keep a close tab on the type of questions you are getting wrong and the kind of mistakes you are making (speed? accuracy?) As you solve more and more problems, you will have more data to analyze, and this will help you identify error patterns. Then you can focus all your energy on fixing these.