Importance of Mental Math Calculations for GRE quant

Most students struggle with time-management during the GRE exam. They find it hard to find time to solve as many questions as they want to! In order to increase your speed, first you must analyze your current speed. For that, all you have to do is mentally find out the values of:

  • 17 multiplied by 8?
  • (27)2?
  • The square root of 1024?
  • 134 – 86?

Did you need to use a pen or calculator for carrying out these calculations? If yes, then you definitely need to work harder on your mental math. In case you are still wondering about the right answers to these simple problems, here they are – 136, 729, 32, 48.

These calculations will never be asked directly in the GRE exam. But knowing how to do them faster can definitely help you to save your precious time and allow you to attempt more complex problems in the exam. Since you can devote only a few minutes to a question, you must realize the importance of saving time for more difficult questions.

After the introduction of the calculator in the GRE, the importance of carrying out mental calculations has decreased to a certain extent. But, the heavy usage of calculators has adversely impacted the speed of the candidates. On the other hand, mental calculations have enabled the candidates to decrease their dependence on the calculators and do the calculations much faster.

There are some significant factors which have ensured that the students aiming for a top-score in GRE do not downplay the role of mental calculations. The ways in which mental maths can help you are:

Improves the focus

Accessing the calculator while solving a problem can disrupt the flow. You might lose track of the question or forget the context of the calculation. While solving the complicated equations it can be especially difficult to carry out multiple calculations simultaneously by using the calculator. Repeatedly switching your focus between the screen and paper can lead to silly errors that can hamper your performance.

Increases the pace

Over-dependence on the calculator can have an adverse impact on your speed. Using the calculator for carrying out simple calculations will be a sheer wastage of time. You should learn simple tricks for carrying out basic arithmetic operations on at least 2-digit numbers to improve your pace of solving questions.

Foolproof calculations

In case you enter in the wrong digits in the provided calculator, only your instincts can tell you if the result shown in the calculator is right or wrong. Mental math can help you in double checking the results shown in the calculator, leading to foolproof calculations.

Approximation for further simplification

Solving a complicated math equation mentally with pinpoint accuracy can be a bit challenging. But the best part about solving MCQs is that you are presented with five answers, which can simplify your job to a great extent. For example, what is 26% of 25420? Well, it’s a little bit greater than 6,355, which is equal to 25% or ¼ of 25420. If only one answer is close to 6,355 then you can simply choose that option and avoid wasting your time on calculator. But make sure you practice the right methods for correct approximations before applying them in the exam.

Getting better at mental calculations

Learn the tables of numbers from 1 to 20. Also memorize the squares of numbers from 1 to 30 and the first 30 perfect square roots. Do the same for cubes and cube roots as well. Learn to add and subtract up to three-digit numbers mentally. For faster division learn the rules of divisibility, which can enable you to tell whether a number is divisible by numbers like 2,3,4,5,6,8,9, or 10.

Lock these in and you’ll be saving 10 seconds here, 30 seconds there, all of which will help you to solve more problems than your fellow test takers. Even if you don’t have everything perfect, all the effort will be worth it. Other candidates will look at 256 and not know what to do. Whereas, you would know that it is the square of 16 and also equal to 28. These little things can give you an edge over the rest of the candidates and help you to excel in the GRE exam.

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