Back to blog

Technical Mathematics Part 1 (Exam Overview and Question Types)

In this article, we’re going to discuss best practices for doing technical mathematics on the GMAT exam. You can either read this article or watch this GMAT technical mathematics video on YouTube. To make things easier to digest, we’ve broken the contents of the video up into 3 parts. In this segment, hosted by one of MyGuru's most experienced GMAT tutors, we will specifically discuss the frequency and format of technical mathematics questions and their strategic implications. In segments 2 and 3, we’ll work through examples of technical mathematics questions and provide a clear outline of the problem-solving process.

Question Frequency and Format

In the quantitative reasoning section of the GMAT, there are different methods to solve mathematical problems. However, sometimes the only viable approach is to use technical mathematics, especially when the problem is straightforward and does not require any interpretation. This type of math involves basic arithmetic, algebra, and geometry skills and is not too advanced. It is important to note that technical mathematics is not always associated with difficult problems in the GMAT, and completing such problems may not necessarily lead to higher rewards, particularly during the early stages of preparation. Additionally, the level of math tested in the GMAT is not beyond basic Algebra II.

Strategic Implications

It is recommended to initially attempt the technical approach as it is usually the quickest method. Nonetheless, it is essential to exercise caution when using this approach. As soon as a problem ceases to be both apparent and simple, abandon the technical approach promptly to avoid wasting time and maintain a good pace. When a problem is apparent, it means that the arithmetic involved is evident and can be set up without any difficulty. When a problem is simple, it means that it can be solved effortlessly. Occasionally, a problem may be apparent and simple simultaneously, making it easier to tackle.


Interested in a Free Intro Discussion with an Expert GMAT Tutor?


It is essential to pay attention to the numbering format used in both the question and answer choices as it can help to streamline calculations. For instance, if the answer choices are presented in fractions, then it is advisable to perform calculations using fractions. Similarly, if the answer choices are in decimals, then calculations should be carried out in decimals. Being mathematically ambidextrous is crucial to avoid being limited to a particular number format for non-integer values. This flexibility allows for efficient problem-solving and saves time during the test.


We hope this overview of the technical mathematics questions on the GMAT has empowered you to strategize with newfound confidence. Remember to read parts 2 and 3 of this article, where we will discuss the problem-solving process and work through a few examples.

To see all of our GMAT videos, please check out our YouTube playlist. For further information about MyGuru's proven GMAT tutoring approach, visit the GMAT prep page on our website. To learn more about the GMAT and grad school admissions in general, visit our GMAT admissions blog

If you are looking for more excellent videos on key GMAT concepts and GMAT test taking strategies, along with hundreds of practice questions, consider the self-paced GMAT prep course we built with Analyst Prep.

Self-paced GMAT prep