What Humanities and Social Science Majors Can Do to Ease the Process
Interested in pursuing an MBA? Regardless of whether you pick the GMAT and GRE, you can take steps to make GMAT or GRE quantitative prep a relatively painless, and perhaps even fun, process. Yes, for many of my students, solving GRE and GMAT math problems does become enjoyable! Here, I offer an overview of the math skills required and some suggestions to help you plan your pain-free preparation, whether you enjoy math or have serious quantitative qualms.
But first, a short introduction: I have been tutoring and teaching both the GMAT and the GRE since 2000, shortly after I graduated college with a double major in English and Economics. I have since accumulated over 20,000 hours of experience teaching, much of it spent helping a wide range of students learn to enjoy and excel at math. I have since accumulated over 20,000 hours of experience teaching, much of it spent helping a wide range of students learn to enjoy and excel at math.
Both the GMAT and GRE test math taught in Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, and Statistics. Regardless of whether you pick the GRE or the GMAT, you will need to start doing regular math practice to prepare.
Do you have a math phobia?
Math anxiety is a socially programmed phenomenon, not an innate skill-based deficiency, and there is no “Math gene.” I’ve found that the students weakest in math often have a deep-seated fear of numbers, but in my experience, this fear can be overcome.
Most of the math on the GMAT and GRE is a set of related, rule-based applications, not unlike grammar. If you have been able to learn grammar, either by osmosis over time or via excellent instruction and rigorous practice, you can practice and learn these math skills.
Take a remedial math class over the summer, or at your school. It’s okay to take it pass-fail, or even to audit the course, if it’s not a requirement for your major. There are lots of excellent math teachers at community colleges who teach Algebra 2, Precalculus, or Geometry. Shop for a smart, understanding professor on ratemyprofessor.com, and start with one easy class this summer! If you would prefer individualized attention, you can find a top notch, understanding math tutor.
Are you a math-o-phile?
If, on the other hand, you have demonstrated strong quantitative skills on the SAT or ACT, then you are naturally inclined toward the quantitative portions of the GMAT and GRE. While the questions on both graduate admission tests are, on average, more challenging than those on the SAT or ACT, the math and reasoning skills tested are in many respects similar.
I would highly recommend that you start a daily math practice, perhaps over your breakfast cereal, by solving fun math problems. I particularly like A Plus Click’s math problems and Math GMAT GRE ACT – PrepGame’s app. If you want even more on-the-go options, here’s a list of top GMAT and GRE math app. Setting up a regimen of doing 10 to 15 minutes of math every day is an easy way to maintain or even improve your skills.
You could also take a math class in college. By far the most relevant math class for most social science majors is statistics. However, you could also retake calculus or take the next level up. Business schools and several social science graduate programs look for evidence of strong quantitative skills, and such courses can help you show your mettle – while helping you on that inevitable GMAT and GRE.
The best way to get started with your test prep is to take a baseline test. We offer free, proctored practice tests in our offices by appointment, or you can also time yourself on an official, released test. Once you know your initial score, you’ll know how much you need to improve and which skills will require the most work.
If you think we can help, please email Alex Evans, who would be happy to speak to you about finding a tutor to fit your needs. We tutor students all over the world via video conferencing.