It goes without saying that your ability to transform word problems into equations and expressions is incredibly valuable on the GRE and GMAT. But don’t overthink it! Many of these translations can be done almost automatically. How would you translate the following word problem into expressions and equations you can use?
Hopefully you are familiar with the word problem translation chart:
||Add To/Subtract From Next Term
||Add/Subtract from original
|Is/Is Equal To/Equals
||Subtract from original Quantity
||Divide Part by Total
Being able to translate words into expressions using this chart is not just necessary to get word problems right, it is also a key to doing them quickly! Using the values from this table allow you to bypass any heavy lifting for these problems and proceed directly to solving.
On the GRE and GMAT, word problems are composed of encrypted expressions and equations, and nothing more. When you face a word problem, your highest priority should be to translate it directly into equations. Only after you have properly transformed the words of a word problem into equations should you pursue problem-solving.
What are the expressions that compose the following word problem?
This is a tough problem, but gets easier as you translate one equation at a time. Once we’re able to completely view the description of the problem in terms of equalities and expressions, the problem instantly becomes solvable. The first and most important step of solving any word problem is going straight from words to math!