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Speed Matters: The “Math Approach” vs. The “Strategy Approach”

By Max Peterson On Jun 5, 2015 In  Quant Algebra Test The Answers General GMAT 


GMAT questions can often be solved with more than one approach – this is great news for Test Takers since having more than one option means that you’re less likely to get ‘stuck’ on a given prompt. Taking this idea one step further, if YOU know more than one way to answer a given question, then you have a significant advantage: you can CHOOSE to use the fastest approach, save time and save on the amount of energy that you have to expend to get to the correct answer. To that ultimate end, you might be surprised to learn that just because you answered the question correctly does NOT mean that you did you so in the fastest, most efficient way possible.

Consider the following question (before you start it, you might want to test yourself and see how much time you would need to get to the correct answer. Grab a timer and let’s find out…)

Andrew has a certain number of coins in his pocket. He has three times as many dimes as quarters and six times as many nickels as dimes. A nickel is worth $0.05, a dime is worth $0.10 and a quarter is worth $0.25. If he has a total of $10.15, then which of the following represents the number of dimes in Andrew’s pocket?






The following video showcases two different approaches to solving this prompt: a traditional “math approach” and a “strategy approach”


Now it’s time for the ‘reality check’ – be honest, which way is really faster? Which way did you choose? Now imagine how often you might take a ‘math approach’ and spend too much time on a given prompt. If you have a pacing problem in the Quant section, then you have to consider how often you’re taking the “long” way to solving the prompt.

The Quant section of the GMAT is NOT a “math test”, so to optimize your pacing and maximize your score, you have to be open to learning more than just the “math approach” to answering a given question. 

To that end, we’re here to help.

GMAT assassins aren’t born, they’re made,


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