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Find Out How Algebra Could Be Your Key to Success on the GMAT Quant Section

Find Out How Algebra Could Be Your Key to Success on the GMAT Quant Section

If you want to bring your “A Game” on the Quant section you need to be very comfortable with Algebra.

There is one mathematical discipline that dominates the Quant section of the GMAT: Algebra. The majority of the math questions that you will see on test day involve algebra.

Many questions involve pure algebra, such as expressions and equations involving variables, roots, and exponents. Another large group of questions is word problems, most of which are best addressed using algebraic equations. Geometry is another significant subject on the GMAT; and geometry is simply a delivery mechanism for algebra. Even things like ratios can often best be addressed by using equations with “x” as the multiplier.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
5 Errors to Look For in Sentence Correction Questions on the GMAT

5 Errors to Look For in Sentence Correction Questions on the GMAT

I recently received the following question from a student. “I often get into trouble with ambiguous pronouns. If it is not clear what “they” or “it” refers to I eliminate the answer choice. I like to do this because it seems easy, but I keep getting burned using this technique. So my question is, if it is not clear what a pronoun refers to is that answer choice wrong?”

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
This is the Difference Between a 600 and a 700 GMAT Score

This is the Difference Between a 600 and a 700 GMAT Score

I recently responded to a student who said that he was “not convinced” by the official answer to an official critical reasoning question.  Here is my response:

“I am glad that you brought this up! This is an official question, and the answer choice is the official answer. I do not understand why you need to be “convinced.” You can trust the official answer to an official question!

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
What The Big Bang Theory Can Teach You about the GMAT Super Power You Didn't Know You Had

What The Big Bang Theory Can Teach You about the GMAT Super Power You Didn't Know You Had

In this series we return to classic movies (and TV shows!) to learn fundamental strategies for GMAT Success.

My friends from the television show The Big Bang Theory are fond of super heroes. Okay Sheldon and Leonard are not really my friends (unfortunately) but they are certainly fond of super heroes. They love Superman and Batman and the entire Justice League.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
The Most Efficient Way to Study Least Common Multiples on the GMAT

The Most Efficient Way to Study Least Common Multiples on the GMAT

I recently had a student write in to ask me, “Can you explain to me the reasoning behind the Least Common Multiple? I understand that you take the prime factors from each number but I have no idea why. I think if I understood why I would be better at this technique.”

Let me see if I can make this concept more approachable for you. Think about calculating the Least Common Multiple as if you were a builder getting ready to build a house. The problem is you do not know which house you are going to build. So when you show up on the job site you need to have all of the materials for each of the possible houses. The “houses” are the numbers and the “materials” that you need are the prime factors.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Looking for Similar Triangles on the GMAT

Looking for Similar Triangles on the GMAT

Our Geometry book discusses the various rules we use to recognize similar triangles such as SSS, AA, SAS and RHS so we are assuming that we needn’t take those up here.

We are also assuming that you are comfortable with the figures that beg you to think about similar triangles such as

GMAT at the Movies: What Austin Powers Can Teach You about Similar Triangles

GMAT at the Movies: What Austin Powers Can Teach You about Similar Triangles

In this series we return to classic movies to learn fundamental strategies for GMAT Success.

In the Austin Powers movies the character known as “Dr. Evil” creates an exact version of himself, only smaller, that he calls “Mini-me.” The two characters have identical proportions even though one evil villain is 8 times the size of the other. The hero, Austin Powers, quickly recognizes the similarity, despite the difference in size. This is something that you will need to be able to do on the GMAT!

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
GMAT at the Movies: Diagnosis and Surgery of GMAT Problems with Doc Hollywood

GMAT at the Movies: Diagnosis and Surgery of GMAT Problems with Doc Hollywood

In this series we return to classic movies to learn fundamental strategies for GMAT Success.

There are two facets to each quantitative problem – (1) deciding what to do and (2) then actually doing the math. I refer to these respectively as the “diagnosis” and “surgery.”

A Good Diagnosis Avoids Unnecessary Surgery

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
What to Avoid and What to Focus on in GMAT Reading Comprehension

What to Avoid and What to Focus on in GMAT Reading Comprehension

In this series we return to classic movies to learn fundamental strategies for GMAT Success.

“A man and a woman meet aboard a luxury ocean liner. She already has a fiancé, but still the two fall in love. The ship sinks and the woman lives, but the man dies.”

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
4 Practical Suggestions to Avoid Multitasking and Raise Your GMAT Score

4 Practical Suggestions to Avoid Multitasking and Raise Your GMAT Score

In the first two parts of this article we learned that multitasking causes a host of problems that can be particularly detrimental to GMAT scores. Research shows that multitasking makes it very difficult for a person to focus, damages the short-term memory, makes it hard to sort the relevant from the irrelevant, and slows down the transition from one task or way of thinking to another.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
How Multitasking Can Hurt Your GMAT Score: Part II

How Multitasking Can Hurt Your GMAT Score: Part II

If you read part 1 of this article you know that multitasking can result in attention difficulties and problems with productivity. You may not think that all of this talk about decreased productivity and being distracted would apply to the GMAT; after all there is no chance to update your Facebook status and “tweet” during the test right?  So this must have no impact. However, when it does come time to concentrate on just one thing – for example, the GMAT – researchers have found that multitaskers have more trouble tuning out distractions than people who focus on one task at a time.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
How Multitasking Can Hurt Your GMAT Score

How Multitasking Can Hurt Your GMAT Score

Do you “multitask”?  Probably you do.  A survey showed that “the top 25 percent of Stanford students use four or more media at one time whenever they’re using any media. So when they’re writing a paper, they’re also Facebooking, listening to music, texting, Twittering, et cetera. And that’s something that just couldn’t happen in previous generations even if we wanted it to.”

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
How Physical Exercise Can Help Control Your GMAT Test Anxiety

How Physical Exercise Can Help Control Your GMAT Test Anxiety

In the first part of this article we discussed recent research indicating that exercise is the only way to create new brain cells, protect existing brain cells, and form new neural networks. If that list is not enough, aerobic exercise is also an important component of healthy emotions and possibly even control of test anxiety.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
How Exercise Can Increase Your GMAT Score

How Exercise Can Increase Your GMAT Score

You may not know it yet, but there are simple things that you can do right now, that will help you to not only score higher on the GMAT but also succeed in business school and beyond. Getting exercise should be the first change on your list!

The New York Times has written extensively recently on the connection between exercise and brain health. It turns out that iPads, video games, smart phones, computers, even crossword puzzles…do not make lasting changes in your brain structure; only exercise does. So if you want to be better at answering the questions on “Jeopardy!” you should turn off the TV and go for a brisk walk.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
What Do Relatives and Sentence Correction Have in Common on the GMAT?

What Do Relatives and Sentence Correction Have in Common on the GMAT?

The holiday season is upon us in much of the world, and in the U.S. there is a special holiday this year called “Thanksgivikkah!”  This is a combination of the words “Thanksgiving” and “Hanukkah” (The first full day of Hanukkah happens to be on November 28th this year – the same day as Thanksgiving in the U.S. This has never happened before and will not happen again in any of our lifetimes).

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Hidden Mirrors and Broken Mirrors in Data Sufficiency on the GMAT

Hidden Mirrors and Broken Mirrors in Data Sufficiency on the GMAT

Last week, we introduced the idea of “mirroring” in data sufficiency, and this week we’ll continue on that subject and look at different types of mirrors. “Mirroring” is my way of speaking about a technique called “manipulate algebraically” where the test taker attempts to manipulate either the statement or the question itself (or both) in order to get those statements to match each other exactly.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
How to Raise Your GMAT Score with the Data Sufficiency Mirroring Technique

How to Raise Your GMAT Score with the Data Sufficiency Mirroring Technique

In the Veritas Prep Data Sufficiency book, we have a section called the “Data Sufficiency Toolkit.” This toolkit contains a technique called “Manipulate Algebraically.” This technique involves “manipulating” either the statement or the question stem (or both) so that they exactly match each other.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Critical Reasoning on the AWA Section of the GMAT

Critical Reasoning on the AWA Section of the GMAT

Have you taken the time to really read the Directions for AWA Analysis of an Argument? The directions read like a list of critical reasoning question types! Anything that you can do in critical reasoning you are seemingly encouraged to do on the AWA.

Here are the directions. Can you spot the references to various critical reasoning question types?

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Ask Dr. David: Low GMAT Verbal Score

Ask Dr. David: Low GMAT Verbal Score

A student recently asked me how she could have gotten such a low score on the verbal section when the questions seemed so easy. Here is my response:

I have had students in your situation before and let me say that sometimes when things feel too easy on the VERBAL section, it is when a person allows herself or himself to get caught by assumptions and easy answers and does not dig as deeply as they should. This often happens when students finish the VERBAL section too quickly or feel like it was easy. 

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Ask Dr. David: Sugary Snacks and Higher GMAT Scores

Ask Dr. David: Sugary Snacks and Higher GMAT Scores

I have been asked many times what type of snack to have and whether or not caffeine was a good option on test day.  While this can vary student to student, here are a few responses to those student questions:

  • “Your brain can only make so many complex decisions before it starts to run down. This can happen quickly during a test like the GMAT. In scientific studies they made a remarkable finding, only sugar can restore the decision-making/self-control portion of the brain!!”
Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Ask Dr. David: Critical Reasoning in the Eyes of an Expert

Ask Dr. David: Critical Reasoning in the Eyes of an Expert

“How can I improve my Critical Reasoning ability?” is a common question for any GMAT instructor, but particularly for our own David Newland, who owns a 99th percentile LSAT score in addition to several 99ths on the GMAT.  As an expert on both GMAT Critical Reasoning and its LSAT counterpart, Logical Reasoning, David is regularly sought out by those seeking advice on CR questions.  Here’s his most common reply:

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Think You Made a Mistake? Part II: Bad Errors on the GMAT

Think You Made a Mistake? Part II: Bad Errors on the GMAT

Today’s post comes from New England-based instructor, David Newland. Before reading, be sure to check out Part I from last week!

Last week, we mentioned a couple of good errors and explored how making mistakes can turn into opportunities for learning. This week, we’ll explore bad errors and how we can avoid them on test day.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Think You Made a Mistake? Good Errors on the GMAT

Think You Made a Mistake? Good Errors on the GMAT

Today’s guest post comes from New England-based instructor David Newland. David has been teaching for Veritas Prep since 2006, and he won the Veritas Prep Instructor of the Year award in 2008. Students’ friends often call in asking when he will be teaching next because he really is a Veritas Prep and a GMAT rock star!

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
GMAT Gurus Speak Out: The Five Criteria of Sentence Correction

GMAT Gurus Speak Out: The Five Criteria of Sentence Correction

Today’s guest post comes from New England-based instructor David Newland. David has been teaching for Veritas Prep since 2006, and he won the Veritas Prep Instructor of the Year award in 2008. Students’ friends often call in asking when he will be teaching next because he really is a Veritas Prep and a GMAT rock star!

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Running Out of Time at the End of the Test?

Running Out of Time at the End of the Test?

Today’s guest post comes from New England-based instructor David Newland. David has been teaching for Veritas Prep since 2006, and he won the Veritas Prep Instructor of the Year award in 2008. Students’ friends often call in asking when he will be teaching next because he really is a Veritas Prep and a GMAT rock star!

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
GMAT Gurus Speak Out: What's Your Secret for GMAT Success?

GMAT Gurus Speak Out: What's Your Secret for GMAT Success?

We’re back with the next installment in an occasional series on the Veritas Prep Blog, called “GMAT Gurus Speak Out.” Veritas Prep has dozens of experienced GMAT instructors around the world (all of whom have scored in the 99th percentile on the GMAT), and it’s amazing how much collective experience they have in preparing students for the exam.

What does it take to be successful on the GMAT? What habits do successful test takers employ? Well, we asked Veritas Prep instructors worldwide to see what they had to say.


Jill Witty – San Francisco, CA
“Sometimes I’ll encounter a question that makes me angry or that riles me up in some way. For instance, I’ll read a Sentence Correction problem in which I believe all of the choices are poorly worded. In those situations, I have to remind myself to take a deep breath. The GMAT is a completely rational exercise, and allowing your emotions to interfere will only inhibit your ability to find the right answer. Even if I don’t like any of the answer choices, one of them has to be the most right (or least wrong) among them, and it’s my job to find that one answer. My getting angry at the writers of the test is not going to change that!”

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
GMAT Tip of the Week: Fall in Love with the Correct Data Sufficiency Answer, Bachelor-Style

GMAT Tip of the Week: Fall in Love with the Correct Data Sufficiency Answer, Bachelor-Style

This week’s GMAT Tip of the Week comes from David Newland, a Veritas Prep GMAT prep instructor based in Boston.

There is a show on ABC on Monday nights that — in my opinion — has almost no redeeming qualities. However, this show does demonstrate a very important facet of data sufficiency. The show is called “The Bachelor” and it features one unmarried man, the bachelor, who claims to be tired of being single and looking to get married. The process of selecting a bride is conducted like a game show. Dozens of women are brought out and the bachelor slowly sifts through them eliminating them or keeping them around by giving them a rose. At the end the bachelor proposes to the chosen woman and they live happily ever after…that is until a few months later — surprise, surprise — we learn that the relationship did not work out. What could have gone wrong? Isn’t this the way all successful relationships begin — on a game show?

GMAT Tip of the Week: Laughter Is the Best Medicine for a Low GMAT Score

GMAT Tip of the Week: Laughter Is the Best Medicine for a Low GMAT Score

Today Veritas Prep GMAT prep instructor extraordinaire David Newland provides some insights on overcoming anxiety on test day. Read on… This is really interesting advice that can significantly improve your performance and help you reach your maximum potential on the GMAT!

For the last 15 years a wave of laughter has swept across one of the largest countries in the world. Why are so many people in India laughing? Is it because they have just spoken to some American and are amazed at the crazy way that most Americans speak “English”? No. The laughter is coming from “laughing clubs” where people practice “laughter yoga.” Now maybe those of you who have not heard of laughter yoga are laughing a bit at the whole concept… That would be music to the ears of Dr. Kataria the founder of laughter yoga.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Why New York is Simply Not Sufficient

GMAT Tip of the Week: Why New York is Simply Not Sufficient

In today’s GMAT Tip of the Week, New England-based blogger and former Tom Brady classmate David Newland explains why New York is Not Sufficient…on the GMAT or in the Super Bowl.

New York is Not Sufficient…on the GMAT or in the Super Bowl

I am writing this from New England — Vermont to be precise — so maybe you think that I am a bit biased as far as the Super Bowl goes. But I KNOW that I am biased when it comes to my LOVE for Data Sufficiency. That love is pure and ever-lasting.

So while I may not be able to convince you that the New York Giants are not sufficient to win the Super Bowl on February 5th, I bet that I can give you a quick memory device to think about for Data Sufficiency.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Use It Or Lose It

GMAT Tip of the Week: Use It Or Lose It

November already?! Although it seems like just yesterday it was spring, we’ve already sprung past Halloween and the marketing world (please, future Kellogg MBAs, save us!) has decided that it’s the holiday shopping season already, so you’re probably noticing Christmas displays popping up, holiday music piped into malls, and ads for Black Friday doorbusters already trickling through the advertising channels. Yes, only 50-some shopping days left…which for many of us means it’s also high time we use those gift cards that we received during the last holiday season.

Use it or lose it…a gift card mantra that delights the retail industry, which sees nearly $10 billion in profits from unused gift cards each year. How can you profit from the same mantra on the GMAT?

Modifiers on on GMAT Sentence Correction fall into two categories:

Five Tips for the GMAT Self-Study Student

Five Tips for the GMAT Self-Study Student

While Veritas Prep is obviously in the business of getting paid to provide GMAT preparation services, we know that a lot of our fans have chosen the self-study path for their GMAT prep. In fact, most of us here at Veritas Prep HQ chose the self-study route when we took the GMAT (and the rest have taken a Veritas Prep course!).

Filed in: GMAT Prep
Introducing Our New GMAT Essentials Course!

Introducing Our New GMAT Essentials Course!

For the past eight years we have helped tens of thousands of students prepare for the GMAT. Not only have we helped students by knowing the GMAT better than anyone, but also by constantly staying innovative with our GMAT prep curriculum. That innovative spirit is behind our newest course format, The Essentials Course.

Veritas Prep Announces 2009 GMAT Instructor of the Year Winners

Veritas Prep Announces 2009 GMAT Instructor of the Year Winners


If it’s February in Southern California, it must be awards season. This past weekend, Los Angeles played host to the Grammys, and the nominees for this month’s Academy Awards were announced. Just a few miles west, at Veritas Prep headquarters in Malibu, the academic services team at Veritas Prep sorted through its 2009 evaluation data to select its winners for the almost-as-prestigious Instructor of the Year award.

Filed in: GMAT
Announcing the 2008 Veritas Prep GMAT Instructors of the Year

Announcing the 2008 Veritas Prep GMAT Instructors of the Year

And the winners are…

One of the most difficult challenges for the Veritas Prep headquarters staff each December is selecting its Instructors of the Year from an incredibly talented pool of teachers around the world. Veritas Prep GMAT instructors are among the most accomplished groups of people you can find, as the faculty boasts PhD degrees from Ivy League schools, MBAs from all of the top programs, pedigrees in professional music, comedy, and athletic performance, and hundreds of awards won from other professional and academic organizations. From NCAA All-American selections to the Philly’s Phunniest Comedian award, Veritas Prep instructors have won countless honors just to be selected as qualified to teach the classes in the first place (in addition to the requisite 99th percentile GMAT score); to be selected as the elite members of that faculty is an honor that must truly be earned.

Filed in: GMAT