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GMAT Quant: How to Tackle Percentage Problems

By BlogMgmt On Nov 15, 2018 In  Quant Percentages General GMAT 

The quantitative section of the GMAT is known for being especially challenging, and GMAT percentage problems may be the most difficult of all. However, if you study with the right materials and strategy, you can achieve the scores you want. Here are a few basic things to remember to help you through those pesky GMAT percentage problems.

Review Percentage Basics

The GMAT is less about advanced concepts and calculations, and more about basic concepts used in practical ways. This doesn't mean that the questions aren't tricky or deeply involved, it just means that you probably already have the foundation you need to be successful. You just need to brush up. How do you calculate the percentage of a certain number? How do you add and subtract percentages? What are the various applications for percentage use? All of these basics and more can help you be successful with GMAT percentage problems.

Be Careful of Multiple Percentage Changes

One thing that often trips people up are questions revolving around the addition or subtraction of percentages. This is not particularly hard or confusing, but in the context of the GMAT where you have a limited amount of time, the pressure is on, and the test is meant to confuse you, it can be challenging. Here's an example: If a given number increases by X%, then decreases by Y%, the total change is not (X-Y)%. Remember that once you add X%, your number changes. Thus Y% will be based off the new total. For this type of problem, you will need to multiply the multipliers to find the correct answer. Problems like these are not particularly difficult once you've learned the proper strategy. The key is to practice tricky problems ahead of time so you're not surprised in the real exam.

Utilize Practice Tests

One of the best ways to prepare yourself for the GMAT is to take practice tests. This will get you used to thinking in the way the assessment wants you to think and give you a sense of how you're doing. The GMAT tests your basic skills in tricky ways. The best way to ensure that you're not surprised on exam day is to study using real GMAT materials.


Although the GMAT percentage problems can be tricky, with the right preparation, you can master the skills you'll need to excel. EMPOWERgmat offers online GMAT prep courses that utilize authentic past GMAT questions in order to set you up for success. With our prep materials, you can build your basic skills and get the practice you need to boost your score.


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