GMAT Math Formulas List | Cheat Sheet

You can crack the scary looking GMAT Math section with a help of some friendly little companions. Little – because many of them will take you back to your school days. Friendly – because you’ve already played a lot with them as a kid.

But that was way back in time, when you never imagined that the teacher was writing on the backboard would be so important. No worries. We’ll get you back to speed in the next few minutes.

Here’s a cheat sheet of GMAT Maths formulas covering arithmetic, algebra and geometric concepts covered in the GMAT syllabus. You can bookmark it for reference and use it when you get stuck with some difficult GMAT maths questions. Though it’s not exhaustive, it’s a comprehensive enough list of math formulas to solve a big range of GMAT quant questions.

 

List of GMAT Maths Formulas | Cheat Sheet

Some of these are rules. They are basic rules and protocols that apply to numbers.

 

GMAT arithmetic formula list

Order of solving the operators

PEMDAS: Parenthesis – Exponents – Multiplication – Division – Addition – Subtraction

Maximum ‘silly mistakes’ in GMAT maths happen because of not following this rule strictly. So we are placing this at the very top. Memorise this and make it second nature.

Here’s another set of very simple rules that often cause a lot of distress after you’ve realised why you got the question wrong.

[Positive Number] X [Positive Number] = [Positive Number]
[Positive Number] X [Negative Number] = [Negative Number]
[Negative Number] X [Negative Number] = [Positive Number]

[Positive Number] / [Positive Number] = [Positive Number]
[Positive Number] / [Negative Number] = [Negative Number]
[Negative Number] / [Negative Number] = [Positive Number]

[Odd Number] + [Odd Number] = [Even Number]
[Odd Number] – [Odd Number] = [Even Number]
[Odd Number] + [Even Number] = [Odd Number]
[Odd Number] – [Even Number] = [Odd Number]
[Even Number] + [Even Number] = [Even Number]
[Even Number] – [Even Number] = [Even Number]

[Odd Number] X [Odd Number] = [Odd Number]
[Odd Number] X [Even Number] = [Even Number]
[Even Number] X [Even Number] = [Even Number]
 

Roots

This is the reverse of exponents. With the square root (√) symbol we are trying to find a number that should be multiplied by itself to get the answer.

For example, √100 = 10

A cube root requires the same number to be multiplied thrice.

3√64 = 4 [because 4 X 4 X 4 = 64]

 

Factorials

n! = n * (n-1) * (n-2) * … * 2 * 1

0! = 1

 

Permutation and Combination formulas

Permutation formula: nPr = n! / (n-r)!

Combination formula: nCr = n! / (r!)(n-r)!

 

Formulas for word problems

Proability = Number of favourable outcomes / Number of all possible outcomes

Probability of events A & B happening = Probability of A X Probability of B

Probability of either event A or B happening = Probability of A + Probability of B

Distance = Speed * Time

Wage = Rate * Time

 

List of GMAT algebra formulas

Absolute values

|x| depicts the absolute value (or magnitude). Here are some rules and formulas for absolute values.

|x| = x

|-x| = x

|x| = |-x|

|x| ≥ 0

|x| + |y| ≥ |x+y|

 

Base – Exponent Relationship

In the expression xn, ‘x’ is the base and ‘n’ is the exponent. The way to interpret is that the base ‘x’ gets multiplied ‘n’ times.

Some rules and formulas that apply to base/exponents:

0n = 0

1n = 1

x0 = 1

x1 = x

(x)-n = 1 / xn

xm * xn = xm+n

xm / xn = xm-n

(xm)n = xm*n

(x/y)n = (x)n/(y)n

 

GMAT geometry formulas list

Area & Perimeter formulas

Square: Area: (length)2 | Perimeter: 4(length)

Rectangle: Area: length X breadth | Perimeter: 2(length) + 2(breadth)

Parallelogram: Area: base X height | Perimeter: 2(base) + 2(height)

Circle: Area: πr2 | Circumference of a circle: 2πr [where Pi (π) = 3.14]

Triangle: Area: (1/2) length X breadth

Pythagoras Theorem (for right angled triangles): (base)2 + (height)2 = (hypotenuse)2

 

Volume formulas

Cube: (length)3

Rectangular prism: length X breadth X height

Cylinder: πr2h

Cone: (1/3) πr2h

Pyramid: (1/3) base length X base width X height

Sphere: (4/3)πr3

 

Download GMAT maths concepts and formulas as PDF

If you prefer downloading free pdf cheat sheets, instead of referring to them online, here’s a list of GMAT prep resources for you.

From Aristotle Prep: This is a detailed (31 page) PDF file which covers many GMAT quant formulas and concepts. Click here to download.

From GMAT Hacks: Use this one after you’ve brushed up on your concepts, as the file has GMAT math sample problems for you to test your newly revised knowledge. Click here to download

Or if you have 20 minutes to spare, you could try our short free online GMAT test. It’s got sample quant and verbal questions.

Read this next:
All topics in the GMAT syllabus

Source: GMAT Club, Aristotle Prep, other GMAT prep sites.


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Sameer Kamat //
Sameer Kamat

Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here’s more about me. Connect with me on Google+ | Twitter | Facebook | Linkedin

9 Comments

  1. Kiran says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I am working as a Senior Project Manager in one of the IT Companies and have more than 12 years of work experience ,which includes about 4.5 years of overseas experience. I managed to get a GMAT score of 680. X – 82.3% XII – 68% BTech – 66%. I am wondering if I need to take GMAT again and improve my score to 700+ to strengthen my chances to get into 1 year executive MBA programmes offered in IIM (A,B,C) and ISB.

    Regards,
    Kiran

  2. Pratik Rajpurohit says:

    Dear Sir,
    I am Pratik Rajpurohit. Currenly i’m studying Computer Engineering in india(BE at Gujarat Technological University). I want to do mba at IIM-A. But i have confusion that because i will hold a bechlor degree at india, can i get admission to IIM-A though GMAT score instead of CAT score?

  3. Ayush Tomar says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I have 2 years of work experience in Project Management in my current organization. I am targeting admissions during the September 2015 cycle.
    I have a GMAT score of 730. Is this good enough for Texas A&M or shall I wait till the next fall cycle to apply.Please advice.

  4. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Kiran: For programs such as the one year MBA offered by IIMs, a higher score would surely be good. But given the time left for IIMA admission deadlines, you might be better off focusing on your application essays and recommendations.

    @Pratik: Sorry, but we can’t help with the traditional 2 year MBA at IIM. We focus on the shorter duration full-time programs that need significant experience.

    @Ayush: For IT folks, 730 isn’t a very high score to single-handedly lift the profile. If you could wait for a year or two more, you’d be closer to the average IT profile applying from India. It does help that you have project management experience.

    Read this related post Can a high GMAT score compensate for less work experience?

  5. Utkarsh Gupta says:

    Hi,

    I am an electronics engineer having 4.4 years of experience in IT industry.
    I want to persue 1 year MBA program in year 2016.
    I am taking GMAT exam in August 2015.
    Kindly evaluate my below mentioned profile and let me know what are my chances to get a good college:

    Xth: 77.7%
    XIIth: 68.9%
    BE Electronics: 53.4% Aggregate
    Diploma in Embedded system designing: B+
    A1 Level Certificate in Deutsch from Goethe Institute Pune.
    Work Ex of 4.4 Years.
    Working As a Senior Software Engineer in an MNC.

    Preferred MBA courses –
    PGP ISB Hyderabad
    EPGP IIMB
    PGPX VLM IIM C
    One year MBA programs in good colleges in USA or Germany.

    Preferred Specialization: Finance or Marketing
    Kindly Give your suggestions so that i can approach my goal.

    Thanks,

    Utkarsh Gupta

  6. aishwarya says:

    can you tell me the gmat scores for national university of singapore? and do they require work experience?

  7. Shekhar says:

    Hi,
    I am Shekhar.I am working as Senior Research Associate in one of the Indian pharmaceutical companies.I have 1.6 years experience and I would like to persue PhD in Chemistry in US University. So will you please help me to explore about how GRE will help me and how should I start.
    Regards,
    Shekhar

  8. Mohit Saini says:

    Hello sir,

    I will like to know about GRE exam in detail
    I had done my B.Sc. and M.Sc. in biotechnology and want to study abroad for Ph.D. so can I select both (Biology / biochemistry and cell & molecular biology) as my subjective GRE or any one.

    Regards,
    Mohit Saini

  9. axk says:

    is the formula for volume of pyramid correct?
    It should be L*b*h/3

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