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GMAT Quant: Roman Numeral Questions

By BlogMgmt On Sep 13, 2018 In  Quant 


If you have the preparation behind you, Quant is a great place to build momentum and fall into a quick rhythm to meet your timing goals. While they are rare, Roman numeral questions are known to be speed blockers for many GMAT takers. Some business school hopefuls decide to skip studying for these questions altogether and just guess the answer if they happen upon one. This makes some strategic sense since you could complete your whole GMAT without seeing a single Roman numeral. At the same time, with some simple tools, you can at least make a more educated guess and raise your odds of a correct answer. Here are some simple strategies to help you keep your rhythm. 

Always Try

It can be tempting, when you’re on a roll in quant, to just write off a Roman numeral question when you come across it. Instead of moving past it without an attempt, give a good 30-second try. If the simple tips below don’t get you anywhere, it typically isn’t worth three minutes of perseverance. But more likely than not, you will find that you make significant progress in a short time. And that progress at least gets you to a better guess.

Evaluate the Roman Numeral That Appears in the Most Answers

As you look at the potential answers to Roman numeral questions, they will all offer solutions that are, may be, or could be true. More often than not, one numeral will be mentioned more than the others. Choose that answer to test first. By ruling this solution as either true or untrue, you give yourself the advantage of eliminating potential answers. Even if you only dedicate a minute to this procedure, you give yourself much higher odds of guessing correctly.

Replace Variables with Numbers

You should have enough information in Roman numeral questions to replace all the variables with numbers. While this may seem like a long process, you may not need to calculate every solution before you discover the answer. And again, with longer questions like these, sometimes the goal is to make a more educated guess and move on. If your algebra is quick, replacing the variables is all you need to speed through your calculations and get the answer. Even if it isn’t, numbers take the mystery out of the problem and often allow you to see things more clearly.

Set a Time Limit

Because Roman numeral questions are rare, you need to be prepared for them so they don’t derail you. If you face any quant problem that keeps you calculating for far too long, be prepared to cut it short and take your best guess. After your practice tests, determine how long you can spend on a problem and try to stick to that deadline. Your time management is much more essential to your GMAT success than one Roman numeral problem.

Roman numeral problems are easy to shove to the side, both in your studies and in your exam. But with these few simple tools, you can use this format to your advantage. If you are looking for a way to prepare for all styles of quant questions, as well as the rest of the GMAT, check out our top-of-the-line GMAT prep course today.

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