The problem-solving questions on the GMAT are specifically designed to determine whether or not an individual is capable of answering questions related to basic mathematical problems. However, there are certain key concepts about the problem-solving questions on the exam that an individual might want to keep in mind while taking the exam. First, it is important to try to find the easiest way to determine the answer for a question rather than the most accurate way. The designers of the GMAT realize that each individual taking the GMAT only has about two minutes on average to answer each question so there aren’t any questions on the GMAT that require complex calculations. If you are trying to use some long, complicated calculation to determine the answer to a question, there is probably not only an easier way, but a way that is more likely to find the correct answer. In other words, if you think you need to use a complicated formula, try to find a shortcut or estimate the answer if possible. The exam’s designers were very careful to construct each question so that a correctly estimated answer will almost always give you an answer that is only close to one of the available choices so you should be able to find the correct answer more quickly by estimating where possible.
Secondly, it is safe to assume that every mathematical figure on the exam is drawn correctly unless the question specifically states that the figure is not drawn correctly. This can be an extremely helpful thing to keep in mind with questions that are asking you to compare two items in a graph because you can safely say that a particular item is larger than another item simply by looking at them on the graph and comparing them. However, even though you can assume that the exam’s designers are not attempting to deceive you by playing tricks with the figures on the exam, you should not assume anything that isn’t outright indicated. This is especially true for the geometry problems on the exam where a specific type of angle might appear, but is not indicated. For example, if the exam does not specifically state that an angle is a particular type of angle, such as a right angle, or a particular angle size, such as a 180 degree angle, it is not safe to assume the size of the angle or figure.