GMAT: Take Small Steps to Conquer the GMAT Quantitative Section

By Dan Jackson, M.B.A. '12

Thinking about an MBA?  Wondering about some of the first steps in the application process?  If you have not yet started to research specific business schools, a good place to begin is by taking the GMAT Exam.  The GMAT is required as part of the admissions process at most MBA schools in the U.S. and is composed of four different sections, Quantitative, Verbal, Analytical Writing, and Integrative Reasoning.  The Graduate Management Admission Councils’ (GMAC) website states that the purpose of the GMAT Exam is to predict the success of students in the first year of graduate management education.  It is also a consistent and objective way to compare aspiring students worldwide.

Each section of the test will require you to brush up on material that you may or may not have learned at some point during your formative education years, but in the event that you are a little rusty or have no clue where to begin, especially in the quantitative section, consider checking out Khan Academy.


Khan Academy is an interactive website that helps students re-think the way they may have learned various concepts in school.  It is a site that is dedicated to many quantitative analysis subjects, such as algebra, geometry, statistics, finance, trigonometry and calculus, as well as subjects in the humanities (civics and history).  It is a site that is designed for students of all age levels from elementary school to graduate school.  The site can be used as a refresher for beginning level math courses or can be used to learn about topics that a user has not yet had the chance to complete.

Khan Academy can also be an excellent tool for students who need to prepare for the GMAT Exam.  Sal, the Founder and Executive Director walks users through many examples of the quantitative analysis questions that can be found in the GMAT quantitative section.  He focuses on both Data Sufficiency questions and Problem Solving questions (two of the types of formats that can be found in the GMAT quantitative section).  The problem sets used for Khan Academy are taken from The Official Guide for GMAT Review, 11th Edition.  If you have a copy, you can walk through the problems with Sal as he tries to work through them himself for the first time.

The website started off with Sal’s initial ideas, but has now grown into a larger not-for-profit organization with many staff members who help to promote a better interactive education.   A convenient comments section has also been added to the website, should you need assistance there.

While there are a lot of other resources that you can begin to use to prepare for the GMAT, Khan Academy definitely provides a low-cost option to review quantitative material and study for this important MBA admissions entrance exam.