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Please note that this blog has been created before the introduction of GMAT Focus and has not been checked and/or corrected.


practical gmat information Nov 28, 2022
Problem solving strategies

There are several ways to approach the GMAT questions. In this blog, we'll discuss problem solving strategies according to a standard approach that uses theory and mathematical rules (plan A), or an alternative approach that focuses on the answer options (plan B).  

Plan A. Theory and mathematical rules

In our Quantitative course, we teach you theory and mathematical rules so you can solve GMAT problems according to a standard approach. This approach consists of the following steps. First, you rephrase the question. Then, you collect information and analyse how you should solve the question. Finally, you solve the question using the correct mathematical rules, and select the correct answer. Solving GMAT questions like this is your plan A.

In the plan A approach, you basically ignore the fact that GMAT questions are multiple choice. You figure out what the right answer should be by yourself. Finding that same, right answer listed as one of the answer options afterwards is merely a confirmation that you solved the question correctly.

But what if for some reason this approach doesn’t work? You might not know which theory to apply, or which mathematical rule you should use. Or maybe you know what to do, but the question is too difficult and you get stuck. These types of questions require a different approach.

Plan B. Alternative approach

Let’s call this your plan B. In this approach, you still start by rephrasing the question and collecting information. However, in the plan B approach, the answer options play an essential part. By using problem solving strategies, you can benefit from the fact that a limited number of answer options has already been provided.

The problem solving strategies you can apply are:

  • Backsolving
  • Picking numbers
  • Approximation

Based on the answer options, you determine which strategy you can apply. To optimize your chance of finding the right answer, you use this strategy to eliminate as many wrong answers as possible. This way, you are either left with fewer options to consider, allowing you to make an educated guess, or the right answer is the only remaining option.


The above problem-solving strategies are taught specifically in our Quantitative Bootcamp and Verbal Bootcamp. During these live sessions, you will learn how to increase your efficiency and your chances of finding the right answer. So, if you are already familiar with the theory and want to optimize your performance and your score, this course is for you.

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