Can You Use a Calculator on the GMAT?

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
GMAT testing centers strictly regulate what test-takers may bring into the testing room during the exam. Learn about those regulations, what resources the testing center provides, and how to prepare for the GMAT accordingly.

Using Calculators During the GMAT

While GMAT test-takers may neither bring nor access any of their own devices - including calculators - throughout the duration of the 3.5-hour test, the testing center will provide calculators for limited use on the exam. Specifically, calculators provided by the testing center may be used during the Integrated Reasoning portion of the GMAT. During the math-focused Quantitative section of the GMAT, however, test-takers may only use note boards and markers, which are also provided by the testing center, to work out equations. It's important to keep this in mind when studying for the Quantitative Section of the exam.

How Does the Quantitative Section Work?

The 75-minute Quantitative section of the GMAT includes 37 multiple-choice questions that test a student's ability to not only solve mathematical equations, but also utilize analytical and reasoning skills to draw conclusions regarding data. The section comprises two types of questions:

  • Problem solving: Solving mathematical problems and interpreting data
  • Data sufficiency: Analyzing information in the problem solving process

While the idea of approaching the math-intensive Quantitative section without a calculator may sound daunting, the math skills required for the section are no greater than those learned in high school math courses. Because most students studying for the GMAT are several years removed from high school, however, revisiting basic mathematical skills is critical when studying for the Quantitative section of the exam.

Test Prep Options

Look for preparation courses that cover a variety of math concentrations and provide the option to focus on individual areas. Study.com's online GMAT Prep: Tutoring Solution course, for example, features 14 math-focused chapters covering algebra, geometry, statistics and basic arithmetic. These self-paced video lessons can help GMAT test-takers brush up on all the necessary math skills with no calculator involved.

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