The Ballpark Technique: Get Better Grades Faster (essential for the GMAT)


Ball-parking is a technique that helps us to solve problems quickly. Instead of trying to get the perfect result, we make a fast, intelligent guess. Just like in baseball. To score, we don’t need to hit the ball perfectly. Often we just need to keep it inside the ballpark. The technique is useful in conversations and is essential to passing certain tests. To watch this video most effectively, grab a pen and paper, and try solving the following two problems as we present them. Just pause whenever you see this sign. Let’s start easy! What do you think is the most popular food in the world? Could it be Italian, Japanese, American fast food, or something else? As it is impossible to get an exact answer, let’s look at what we maybe already know. In Italy, there are around 50 million people, in Japan about 100 million and in North America about 500 million. But in China or in India there lives over a billion people. Now we can use the process of elimination and make a ballpark estimate that Chinese and Indian food is probably the most popular. Now let’s try something a little harder. Imagine that you are doing a complicated math test for something like the GMAT exam. Then you might just 2 minutes to solve complex problems in your head. Maybe something like: The square root of: 5 times the square root of 24, plus 5 divided by, 5 plus 2 times the square root of 6. Then you’re given five multiple choice answers: A, B, C, D or E. If we would try to solve it, we would probably run out of time. Ball-parking is now the only option. You can try it on your own or do it with us. Look at the equation. Let’s look the first part, the square root of 24. Since the square root of 24 is difficult to calculate in your head, think of a close enough number to the square root of 24 that would be easier for you. The square root of 25 comes to mind. To which the answer is 5. Let’s now write down the new simpler equation and then again even simpler. Now what about the fraction? It looks hard, but let’s try! Even if we don’t know what 5 plus 2 times the square root of 6 is, we do know that it’s more than 5. So let’s write it again and just call the denominator [6.1] “more than 5”. And because 5 divided by anything larger than 5 must be smaller than 1, we can just write “25 plus less than 1 or the square root of 25. And that equals approximately 5. Lets now look at the options we were given. Let’s look at the equation and each possible choice. A is clear and doesn’t look bad. B is 5 plus 2 times the square root of 6 which is something like 7 or more. That doesn’t look right. C is the square root of something that comes out to be 3 or less. That’s too small. What about D? The square root of 120. We don’t know that, but we do know that the square root of 100 is 10. Lets just write 10 or more. That looks too high. Last there is E. 5 divided by 2 times the square root of 6. Now for 2 times the square root of 6 lets just write “more than 2”. And 5 divided by something that’s more than 2 also looks too small. Now we use the process of elimination and cross out all the wrong answers to see what’s left. A it is. Now it’s your turn. Try ball-parking the amount of views that you think this video will have by the end of this year and win your favorite Sprouts gift on Patreon.com/Sprouts We will count all entries submitted by August 31st and announce the winner on the 1st of January. To join, just leave your ballpark figure in the comments below. And if you want, tell us how you did it. Those of you who post later than August 31st will enter next year’s round of Sprouts Ballpark Awards. Good luck!

100 thoughts on “The Ballpark Technique: Get Better Grades Faster (essential for the GMAT)

  1. Your study tips video got 1.7 million views in 6 moths and feynman technique 600k in a year and they are quite popular topics that many people are interested but ball parking doesnt sound that much interesting so i can say about 200-250k

  2. 135k+ views. I can say this after seeing the amount of views this video got: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUWn_TJTrnU

  3. Subscribers (at the time of writing this, 103,000) + 9000 (dragon ball meme). Ballpark of 112,000 views by august next year

  4. Great piece of work Sprouts team.Your Channel is really amazing. I think that this excellent video would have around 23k viewers. Gud job guys.

  5. Ball parking: 75k views based on your previous one year old videos and subscribers number, months left for the year to over!

  6. this video was uploaded on 12th of april. i am commenting on eve of 30th april, and see till now it has fetched ~9000 views.

    this means around 500 veiws a day.

    scaling it upto a year this must be about 1.3 million. hope you get more views than this figure because channel is AWESOME.

  7. Based on looking at which of your past videos get views and over what time period, your rate of video creation, number of current views I'm going to say around 45k. I find this disappointing given the quality of content so hope I am not even close to being the winner in this contest.

  8. video was released on 12th of april and number of views are 10,402 by 5th june so 1092(approximately) views per day, here we got 264 days between 12th april to 31st december both days inclusive, then we have 1092*264 = 288288. so by the law of ball-parking i am predicting the number of views till december 31st as 288288(approximately).

  9. ALL the videos that you post 'SPROUTS' are totally amazing !!…

    My estimate is that this ballpark video will get roughly about 30k views…

  10. It's almost December 2017 and the video has almost 13K views, that's more than 1000 views per month, but we know there is a peak on the publication date of the video, so 1000k views/month should be OK. So 13K + 13 months, 26K views at the end of 2018. I should be considering that the rate of 1K/month could go down as the long-tail of views decrease slowly, but the announcement of 2017 winner and the next deadline on August 31, 2018 should compensate for that, adding two new peaks in the views. So 26K on the 20181231 it is.

  11. ball-parking is as great as its name . the technique is interesting to take effective and good decisions without being confused . my favourite part was the math problem we solved in the video .thank you sprouts for such a wonderful and amazing video .

  12. Awesome.This video shows some way to solve complex problem. I don't do comment usually. But after seeing this, i could not restraint myself !

  13. I'm gonna use ball parking on all my exams, especially if I'm running out of time. thankyou for this!

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