4 Solid Ways To Get A 50-51 Raw Score In GMAT Quant

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At the outset, be warned that this article may make sense only if you have started preparing for the GMAT, and are already scoring at the 45 raw score level in Quant. You have of course read and understood everything there is to know about the conversion of your “raw score”in a GMAT section into your final score based on parameters such as difficulty level of questions, performance of other test takers, etc.


If you have not yet taken a full-length test, it might be a good idea to take it now. You can download the latest GMATPrep software here.


How to score high in GMAT Quant


The adjacent graphic should give you an idea about the correlation between raw scores and percentiles on the GMAT.


Typically, Indians score anywhere between 45 and 51 in Quant. This is partly because most Indians who take the GMAT have an undergraduate engineering background, and partly because the Indian education system does require better-than-global-average skills in mathematics.

However, this scale has a huge deviation in percentiles. Hence, a 45 yields a measly 68%ile while just 6 more raw points ahead, a 51 sits at a comfortable 98%ile. What this means is that though the difference in raw scores looks small, the real difference in terms of percentiles is huge.
So if you are at a 46, don’t assume that scaling the 50 – 51 mountain is easy. If you are an Indian IT Engineer, there is a possibility that Quant could end up being a bigger problem for you than Verbal. I have reflected on this ‘Spuntnik Moment on the GMAT’ previously.
Let me share four specific suggestions that you can start using to improve your scores. The information given below is based on my own experience and the experiences of those who have taken the test in the recent past.

I) Ensure you know the basics spot-on.

Way too many people fuss about learning advanced concepts without investing sufficiently on the basic concepts.

Sample this GMATPrep question:

A set of 15 different integers has a median of 25 and a range of 25. What is the greatest possible integer that could be in this set?

A. 32
B. 37
C. 40
D. 43
E. 50

If you caught yourself saying “Uh-uh, I forgot to brush my basic statistics concepts”, you are in trouble on the GMAT! Ensure that you know the basics such as Pythagorean triplets ((3,4,5); (5,12,13);(7,24,25)) and Percentage to Proportion (1/8 = 12.5%).


If you are wondering about the answer to the question – it is 43 🙂



II) Don’t jump to the solution


One thing you have to realize is that in GMAT Quant, the difference between the guy scoring 45 and the one scoring 51 is NOT that the latter knows more formulae. It is simply that the latter is better at “hacking” his way through the questions.

Sample this GMATPrep question:

The number 75 can be written as the sum of the squares of 3 different positive integers. What is the sum of these 3 integers?

A. 17
B. 16
C. 15
D. 14
E. 13


Is there really any formula you can apply here? It is about how your brain is going to pick the right values and “hack” its way through the question. The better you can prepare your brain for this, the better your scores will be on the GMAT.

There are really three standard “hacks” that are used by those scoring a high Quant score:


   • Techniques for Data Sufficiency (DS) such as using the AD/BCE decision tree, avoiding the trap of “c”, and the difference between a “value” question and a “yes/no” question.

   • Back-solving from the answer options so you can guess which one is closer to the right one.

   • Plugging in values on the number line (especially for inequalities). The standard values are a large negative number, a large positive number, -1, +1, a negative fraction between 0 and -1, a positive fraction between 0 and +1, and the number 0 itself.


The question here is a classic case – the square of 9 is 81 so you know the numbers should be a number between 1 and 8. Next, quickly write down the squares 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36, 49, and 64. Now just start playing with the numbers so you know it has to be one large plus one small so keep adding 2 values (1 and 64, 4 and 49, etc.) and subtract from 75 to see if it fits any remaining value. Very quickly you will realize that the numbers are 1, 49, and 25, i.e. 1, 7, and 5 = 13.


So, while practicing, try to get the answer within two minutes. Then try it without time-limits. If you arrive at an answer, check the explanation to see if you are right. If you are wrong, then without looking at the solution, take a stab at solving the same question – repeat the above loop.


Exercising your brain this way can actually be a lot of fun!



III) Identify simpler ways to solve a question

Even when you are correct, spend time trying to understand if you could have done a problem faster. Let me start explaining this concept with a GMATPrep question.

Take around two minutes to solve this one.


According to the directions on a can of frozen orange juice concentrate, 1 can of concentrate is to be mixed with 3 cans of water to make an orange juice. How many 12 ounce cans of concentrate are required to prepare 200 6 ounce servings of orange juice?
A. 25
B. 34
C. 50
D. 67
E. 100


Take the ratio as 1:4 (concentrate: juice) and ask yourself how many 12 ounce cans of concentrate you would need to make 100 12 ounce servings of the juice. The answer is 25!


However, the same question can be convoluted if you take a ratio of concentrate to water instead of concentrate to juice, or start converting everything into a single unit (ounce). Be careful of overcomplicating solutions.



IV) Don’t depend only on the OG – solve GMAT Prep questions


Don’t rely only on the Official Guide. As awesome a source as it is, it still caters to people in the middle of the bell curve, i.e., around the 40 raw score level. If you are gunning for the 51 raw score level, you should be looking at GMATPrep questions available freely online from various sources. Sample these threads on GMATClub for both PS and DS problems from the GMATPrep software.


Those who attend CrackVerbal classes, get our own compilation of GMATPrep questions. (But, of course! 🙂 ) Ensure that you take the GMATPrep tests a minimum of three to four times before you start practicing these questions; otherwise, you will get inflated scores on those tests.


Here is something interesting that you perhaps did not know. CrackVerbal has a Quant module that caters to those who are at a 45-47 level and aspire to get to a 50-51 level. We conduct a free workshop every month on tough GMAT Quant questions.



Hope these techniques make a positive difference to your GMAT prep! If you’d like to share what works for you and what doesn’t, please leave a comment in the comment section below.


If you are looking for more customized and focused preparation, check out our GMAT courses!


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Read these articles for more help on GMAT Quant


— A Guide to GMAT Geometry

— The Ultimate Guide to GMAT Inequalities

— What Differentiates High Scorers from the Rest

— 5 Things You Should Know Before Taking any GMAT Practice Tests