How to improve "Numeric Sensitivity"?

numbers
New answer on Jan 20, 2021
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jan 14, 2021

I would like to seek advice on how to improve "Numeric Sensitivity". Due to different background, some people are sensitive to colors, some are sensitive to words, etc. Some people told me that numeric sensitivity is a nature born thing. They could easily memorize many numbers in their head. On the other side, I am a person more sensitive to words, and don't have a strong "feeling" towards numbers. Could anyone share how to improve numeric sensitivity? I have thought of some ways such as reading annual reports, financial statements, etc. Would love to hear more opinions. Thanks!

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 14, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

I really don't know much about numeric sensitivity. Is this an actual condition you have? Or is this a fancy way of saying you're just not good at math?

Assuming you need math practice to resolve this issue, I recommend the following:

  1. Rocket Blocks: https://www.rocketblocks.me/
  2. Online "Drills": https://www.jetpunk.com/quizzes/fast-math-multiplication-quiz
  3. Math sheets (print these and do them on paper): https://www.math-drills.com/
  4. In addition to that, you can ask other PrepLoungers to case you on math-heavy cases. You can also search for those case types here and work through them yourself.
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Clara
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replied on Jan 14, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

With numeric sensitivity, we mean whether you get the right order of magnitud in numbers.

For instance, if you are dividing 1 B into 120, you should know that the response should be similar to removing 2 zeros to the 1 billion.

The way to get better... is simple. Tons of practice. Cases and GMAT!

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Denis
Expert
replied on Jan 20, 2021
Ex-Bain 5 yrs | Goldman Sachs Investment Banker NYC | MBA Chicago Booth | Passed > 13 MBB > 20 IB interviews

Advice given by the other coaches is the way to go. Some more thoughts:

  • do not re-invent the wheel - definitely practice as much (mental) math as possible
  • whenever doing math in a case, make sure you try to force yourself to first think about how many different approaches there are to solve the Q
  • whenever doing math in a case, try to guesstimate quickly in what range the result should be by using the normal kind of tricks the GMAT and other tests teach you
  • check-out youtube for Japenese Multiplication and Division - basically doing those operations graphcially - way faster than we learn it in the west
  • If you strugle with being quick - memorize all fractions from 1/2 to 1/30 (1/3, 1/4, 1/5 ....) in terms of decimals 0.5, 0.33, 0.25, 0.2 etc. Things like 1/12, 1/8, 1/16 come up very often when doing math
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Antonello
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replied on Jan 17, 2021
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi,

Practice your quick math and invest heavily in improving your analytical skills.

A good way to improve numeric sensitivity is to practice sanity checks while doing cases. Try to develop your own structure to do sanity checks, e.g. learn some key figures for key industries, think about other ways to estimate that number, make quick-and-dirty estimations to double-check, etc.

Hope this helps.

Best,

Antonello

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Gaurav
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Content Creator
replied on Jan 15, 2021
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies
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Ian gave the best answer

Ian

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