If you are looking at a problem solving question, and thinking about tackling it in a long, roundabout way, then you are probably looking at it wrong. The questions are written in such a way that it seems like there is only an extremely complicated way of doing things, but in reality there is always a simpler way. So, before you start going into that five minute calculation stop and think about if there is a quicker way to do things.
Use what you are given, for example the test is multiple choice, so there is only a finite number of solutions to pick from. If those choices are far enough away from each other, then you may only need to estimate. Take, for instance, this problem:
What is 26% of 4/17 of 850?
- A) 24
- B) 54
- C) 88
- D) 146
- E) 290
These answers are fairly spread apart, so you don’t have to do the entire calculation, which would be unnecessarily complicated and time consuming. 26% is a little over ¼ and 4/17 is a little under 4/16 or ¼, so you can just take ¼ of ¼ of 850, which is 1/16 of 850 or approximately 53. There is no number that is anywhere near that except for B, so we know that is our answer.