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GMAT Fractions - Don't get lost in the calculations

Have you wondered how writers can make a seemingly simple GMAT topic like fractions into time-consuming calculations. One strategy that GMAT test takers must adopt to simplify the calculations. For example

Dividing by 5 is the same as multiplying by 2/10. For example:

• 840/5 = ?
• 840/5 = 840*(2/10) = 84*2 = 168

Multiplying or dividing by 10’s and 2’s is generally easier than using 5’s. 90% of the time, fractions will be easier to perform arithmetic. Decimals are sometimes more useful when comparing numbers relative to one another, such as in a number line, but these questions are the exception. Even if given a decimal (or percent) looks easy, quickly convert to a fraction. Some common ones to memorize:

• 1/9 = 0.111 repeating
• 1/8 = 0.125
• 1/7 = ~0.14
• 1/6 = 0.166 repeating
• 1/5 = 0.20
• 1/4 = 0.25
• 1/3 = 0.333 repeating
• 1/2 = 0.5 repeating

Note: Multiples of these, such as 3/8 (0.375) are also important to remember, but can easily be derived by multiplying the original fraction (1/8 * 3 = 3/8 = 0.125 * 3 = 0.375)

Denominators are super important. A denominator of a reduced fraction with a multiple of 7 will not have a finite decimal, for example. Keep in mind what you can logically combine, and what you cannot. This list is by no means extensive. There are many many more shortcuts. If you have some, leave them in the comment field, but generally practice and familiarity with the numbers helps a lot in doing quick arithmetic.

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