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GMAT Tuesdays with Kevin: Percent Change Trap

Beware of this common percent change trap! Keep this crucial concept in mind to help you stay safe on the test: if you go up by a percent and down by the same percent, you won’t end up in the same place. Also, make sure to come back next week, and I’ll teach you how to solve this problem faster :).

Let us know if you’re having any difficulties with GMAT percents in the comments below, and we’ll be happy to help!

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6 Responses to GMAT Tuesdays with Kevin: Percent Change Trap

  1. anuraag March 18, 2015 at 4:46 am #

    Nice tutorial!!One question though can percent change be -ve?

    As imagine that I have $10 in 2008 and 5$ in 2010, so is the percent change 50% or -50%??

    • Kevin Rocci
      Kevin March 18, 2015 at 9:55 am #

      Hi Anuraag! 😀

      I am happy to hear that you found this helpful! 😀

      In your example, you are describing a decrease, so it is a 50% change. It isn’t a negative 50%, but merely a 50% drop. Think about it this way: If you wanted to determine the percent change from 2008 to 2010, what would you do?

      Well, we’d wanted to find the difference for those years and divide by the original amount. So:

      (10 – 5) / 10

      5 / 10

      0.50

      And this is equal to 50%, not a -50%. Does that make sense?

      I hope this helps. I can see why you think it might be negative since it is a decrease, but when we do the math we can see that it’s merely a 50% decrease. 😀

  2. Sid May 29, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

    Hi Kevin, thanks a lot for help. I would appreciate if you give more classes on problems or mistakes related to percentage or percent change :) I am a distressed damsel :( Please help with more videos and tutorials.

    • Kevin Rocci
      Kevin May 29, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

      Hi Sid! Thanks for writing in! :) I am always stoked to hear from students who watch GMAT Tuesdays.

      I’d be happy to do more videos on percent change and percentages! :) They can be tricky problems for sure. And I don’t want you to be distressed!

      We just recorded a chunk of videos, so I won’t record new ones for about a month. When I do, I will definitely include one on percentages! :)

      Have a stellar day!

  3. sonia April 15, 2014 at 6:35 pm #

    Hello Kevin,

    I like the style of your teaching – it makes the learning entertaining and fun :)

    It would be good to have the question text on a static computer screen or as a text in the post itself, to follow better.

    • Kevin Rocci
      Kevin April 16, 2014 at 10:05 am #

      Hi Sonia! Glad to hear that you like the videos. :) I try to make them as fun as possible since I know studying for the GMAT is not always fun. I really like your suggestion about having questions in the text of the blog post. I think that would definitely help students. When I work on a problem, I’ll make sure to do that from now on. Happy studying! :)


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