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GMAT Tip of the Week: Raising Your Data Sufficiency Accuracy From 33% To 99%

GMAT Tip of the Week: Raising Your Data Sufficiency Accuracy From 33% To 99%

You’re looking at a Data Sufficiency problem and you’re feeling the pressure. You’re midway through the GMAT Quantitative section and your mind is spinning from the array of concepts and questions that have been thrown at you. You know you nailed that tricky probability question a few problems earlier and you hope you got that last crazy geometry question right. When you look at Statement 1 your mind draws a blank: whether it’s too many variables or too many numbers or too tricky a concept, you just can’t process it. So you look at Statement 2 and feel relief. It’s nowhere near sufficient, as just about anyone even considering graduate school would know immediately. So you smile as you cross off choices A and D on your noteboard, saying to yourself: “Good, at least I have a 33% chance now.”

How to Interpret GMAT Critical Reasoning Questions

How to Interpret GMAT Critical Reasoning Questions

Interpreting what is being asked on a question is arguably the most important skill required in order to perform well on the GMAT. After all, since the topics are taken from high school level material, and the test is designed to be difficult for college graduates, the difficulty must often come from more than just the material. In fact, it is very common on the GMAT to find that you got “the right answer to the wrong question.” This phrase is so well-known that it merits quotation marks (and eventually perhaps its own reality show).

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
99th Percentile GMAT Score or Bust! Lesson 5: Procrastinate to Calculate

99th Percentile GMAT Score or Bust! Lesson 5: Procrastinate to Calculate

Veritas Prep’s Ravi Sreerama is the #1-ranked GMAT instructor in the world (by GMATClub) and a fixture in the new Veritas Prep Live Online format as well as in Los Angeles-area classrooms.  He’s beloved by his students for the philosophy “99th percentile or bust!”, a signal that all students can score in the elusive 99th percentile with the proper techniques and preparation.   In this “9 for 99thvideo series, Ravi shares some of his favorite strategies to efficiently conquer the GMAT and enter that 99th percentile.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
When to Make Assumptions on GMAT Problem Solving Questions

When to Make Assumptions on GMAT Problem Solving Questions

Today we will discuss the flip side of “do not assume anything in Data Sufficiency” i.e. we will discuss “go ahead and assume in Problem Solving!”

Problem solving questions have five definite options, that is, “cannot be determined” and “data not sufficient” are not given as options. So this means that in all cases, data is sufficient for us to answer the question. So as long as the data we assume conforms to all the data given in the question, we are free to assume and make the problem simpler for ourselves. The concept is not new – you have been already doing it all along – every time you assume the total to be 100 in percentage questions or the value of n to be 0 or 1, you are assuming that as long as your assumed data conforms to the data given, the relation should hold for every value of the unknown. So the relation should be the same when n is 0 and also the same when n is 1.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Talking About Equality

GMAT Tip of the Week: Talking About Equality

If you’ve ever struggled with algebra, wondered which operations you were allowed to perform, or been upset when you were told that the operation you just performed was incorrect, this post is for you. Algebra is all about equality.

What does that mean?

Consider the statement:

GMAT or GRE: How Will MBA Admissions Officers View My GRE Score?

GMAT or GRE: How Will MBA Admissions Officers View My GRE Score?

Over the past five years or so, more business schools have been jumping on the GRE bandwagon by accepting either a GMAT or a GRE score. The percentage of candidates to top MBA programs who apply with only a GRE score is growing, but it’s still very small — less than 5% at most schools.

This leads many candidates to wonder how applying with a GRE score may be viewed by MBA admissions committees.

Filed in: GMAT, GRE, MBA Admissions
GMAC Announces Two New GMAT Policies, Both In Your Favor!

GMAC Announces Two New GMAT Policies, Both In Your Favor!

MBA applicants, your path to submitting a score report that you can be proud of just got a bit smoother. In an announcement to test-takers today, GMAC revealed two new policies that each stand out as particularly student-friendly:

Filed in: GMAT
The Importance of Recognizing Patterns on the GMAT

The Importance of Recognizing Patterns on the GMAT

In life, we often see certain patterns repeat over and over again. After all, if everything in life were unpredictable, we’d have a hard time forecasting tomorrow’s weather or how long it will take to go to work next week. Luckily, many patterns repeat in recurring, predictable patterns. A simple example is a calendar. If tomorrow is Friday, then the following day will be Saturday, and Sunday comes afterwards (credit: Rebecca Black). Moreover, if today is Friday, then 7 days from now will also be Friday, and 70 days from now will also be Friday, and onwards ad infinitum (even with leap years). These patterns are what allow us to predict things with 100% certainty.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
The GMAT Shortcut That Can Help You Solve a Variety of Quantitative Questions

The GMAT Shortcut That Can Help You Solve a Variety of Quantitative Questions

One thing I’m constantly encouraging my students to do is to seek horizontal connections between seemingly disparate problems. Often times, two quantitative questions that would seem to fall into separate categories can be solved using the same approach. When we have to sift through dozens of techniques and strategies under pressure, we’re likely to become paralyzed by indecision. If, however, we have a small number of go-to approaches, we can quickly consider all available options and arrive at one that will work in any given context.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
Advanced Applications of Common Factors on the GMAT - Part II

Advanced Applications of Common Factors on the GMAT - Part II

There is something about factors and divisibility that people find hard to wrap their heads around. Every advanced application of a basic concept knocks people out of their seats! Needless to say, that the topic is quite important so we are trying to cover the ground for you. Here is another post on the topic discussing another important concept.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Dave Chappelle's Friend Chip Teaches Data Sufficiency Strategy

GMAT Tip of the Week: Dave Chappelle's Friend Chip Teaches Data Sufficiency Strategy

“Officer, I didn’t know I couldn’t do that,” Dave Chappelle’s friend, Chip, told a police officer after being pulled over for any number of reckless driving infractions. In Chappelle’s famous stand-up comedy routine, he mocks the audacity of his (privileged) friend for even thinking of saying that to a police officer. But that’s the exact type of audacity that gets rewarded on Data Sufficiency problems, and a powerful lesson for those who, like Dave in the story, seem more resigned to their plight of being rejected at the mercy of the GMAT yet again.

The Easiest Type of Reading Comprehension Question on the GMAT

The Easiest Type of Reading Comprehension Question on the GMAT

Reading comprehension questions on the GMAT are primarily an exercise in time management. If you gave yourself 30 minutes to complete a single Reading Comprehension passage along with four questions, you would find the endeavour very easy. Most questions on the GMAT feature some kind of trap, trick or wording nuance that could easily lead you astray and select the wrong answer. Reading Comprehension questions, while occasionally tricky, are typically the most straightforward questions on the entire exam.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
Set Up a Consistent and Manageable Study Schedule to Succeed on Test Day

Set Up a Consistent and Manageable Study Schedule to Succeed on Test Day

When I ask my students how their studying is going, the response is often to give an embarrassed smile, and admit that they just haven’t found as much time as they would have liked to devote to GMAT problems. This is understandable. Most of them have full-time jobs. Many serve on the boards of non-profit organizations. Others have young families. Preparing for a test as challenging as the GMAT can often feel like taking on a part-time job, and when piled on top of an already burdensome schedule, the demands can feel overwhelming and unreasonable.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Prep
Are Brain Training Exercises Helpful When Studying for Standardized Tests?

Are Brain Training Exercises Helpful When Studying for Standardized Tests?

In the last two classes I’ve taught, I’ve had students come up to me after a session to ask about the value of brain-training exercises. The brain-training industry has been getting more attention recently as neuroscience sheds new light on how the brain works, baby-boomers worry about cognitive decline, and companies offering brain-improvement software expand. It’s impossible to listen to NPR without hearing an advertisement for Lumosity, a brain-training website that now boasts 70 million subscribers.  The site claims that the benefits of a regular practice range from adolescents improving their academic performance to the elderly staving off dementia.

Filed in: ACT Prep, GMAT, GMAT Prep, SAT
Important Caveat on Joint Variation GMAT Questions

Important Caveat on Joint Variation GMAT Questions

Before we start today’s discussion, recall a previous post on joint variation. A question arose some days back on the applicability of this concept. This official question was the case in point:

GMAT Tip of the Week: Making the Most of Your Mental Stamina

GMAT Tip of the Week: Making the Most of Your Mental Stamina

One of the most fascinating storylines during the current 2015 NBA Finals is that of LeBron James’ workload and stamina. Responsible for such a huge percentage of Cleveland’s offense and a key component of the team’s necessarily suffocating defense, James needs to parcel out his energy usage much like an endurance athlete does in the Tour de France or Ironman World Championships. And it’s fascinating to watch as he slowly walks the ball up the court (killing time to shorten the game and also buying valuable seconds of rest before initiating the offense) and nervously watches his teammates lose ground while he takes his ~2 minute beginning-of-the-4th rest on the bench. At the final buzzer of each game he looks exhausted but thus far has been exhaustedly-triumphant twice. And watching how he handles his energy can teach you valuable lessons about how to manage the GMAT.

The Importance of Sorting Answer Choices on the GMAT

The Importance of Sorting Answer Choices on the GMAT

On the GMAT, as in life, you have multiple choices you can make at every juncture you face. On the standardized test, your choices are limited to only five, which is more manageable than the plethora of choices you encounter every day. However, even five answer choices can cause a lot of frustration for people who have difficulty differentiating among them.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
99th Percentile GMAT Score or Bust! Lesson 4: Think Like a Lawyer on Critical Reasoning

99th Percentile GMAT Score or Bust! Lesson 4: Think Like a Lawyer on Critical Reasoning

Veritas Prep’s Ravi Sreerama is the #1-ranked GMAT instructor in the world (by GMATClub) and a fixture in the new Veritas Prep Live Online format as well as in Los Angeles-area classrooms.  He’s beloved by his students for the philosophy “99th percentile or bust!”, a signal that all students can score in the elusive 99th percentile with the proper techniques and preparation.   In this “9 for 99thvideo series, Ravi shares some of his favorite strategies to efficiently conquer the GMAT and enter that 99th percentile.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
When Not to Use Parallelism on the GMAT

When Not to Use Parallelism on the GMAT

We know that we are often tested on parallelism on the GMAT. The logically parallel entities should be grammatically parallel. But today, we need to talk about circumstances where you might be tempted to employ parallelism but it would be incorrect to do so.

For example, look at this sentence:

GMAT Tip of the Week: No Calculator? No Problem.

GMAT Tip of the Week: No Calculator? No Problem.

For many GMAT examinees, the realization that they cannot use a calculator on the GMAT quantitative section is cause for despair. For most of your high school career, calculators were a featured part of the math curriculum (what TI are we up to now?); nowadays you almost always have Microsoft Excel a click away to perform those calculations for you.

Avoid the Tempting Trap Answer on GMAT Questions

Avoid the Tempting Trap Answer on GMAT Questions

When looking through answer choices on Critical Reasoning questions, there is always one correct answer to the question. After all, it wouldn’t be fair if two different answers were both legitimate responses to the query being posed. However, just because the other four answers are incorrect, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t tempting. In fact, there is usually one choice the exam is pointing you towards selecting, even though it isn’t the correct option. This is often referred to as the sucker choice.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
2 Ways to Improve Your Pattern Recognition on GMAT Questions

2 Ways to Improve Your Pattern Recognition on GMAT Questions

In 1946, a fascinating study about chess masters revealed that, for the most part, they had unexceptional working memories. This finding flew in the face of conventional wisdom, which held that chess masters must have had photographic memories to absorb thousands and thousands of scenarios they’d encountered throughout their years of training. Instead of relying on superior recall, it turns out that they were simply better than most at recognizing patterns.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
2 Possible Ways to Solve this GMAT Quant Question

2 Possible Ways to Solve this GMAT Quant Question

Process of elimination is only next to number plugging in popularity as a strategy for solving Quant questions on the GMAT. I am not a fan of either method. Yes, they are useful sometimes, and even necessary in some questions but for most questions, I like to use logic/reasoning.

Don't Let Your Prior Knowledge Get in the Way on GMAT Questions

Don't Let Your Prior Knowledge Get in the Way on GMAT Questions

As a true Canadian, I’m always on the lookout for questions that are specifically about Canada. Sometimes a question is about trains travelling from Toronto to Montreal, and other times a Reading Comprehension passage deals with a certain Canadian prime minister. Sometimes, the question is just very polite!

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
The Symmetry Puzzle on the GMAT

The Symmetry Puzzle on the GMAT

A few days back, a student of ours asked me this question – in which cases is symmetry useful to us? Honestly, I don’t think I can create an exhaustive list of the topics where it could be useful. The first thing that comes to mind is of course, Geometry. Circles/equilateral triangles/squares/cubes are symmetrical figures. Symmetry helps us simplify questions which are based on these figures. We have also seen the uses of symmetry in dice throwing. In arrangements too, symmetry helped decrease our work substantially.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Snoop Dogg Keeps Your Data Sufficiency Ability Out Of Limbo

GMAT Tip of the Week: Snoop Dogg Keeps Your Data Sufficiency Ability Out Of Limbo

Whenever you’re picking numbers on a Data Sufficiency problem, you have to keep one image in your mind: Snoop Dogg at a limbo contest. How will that help you master Data Sufficiency? How can the Doggfather help you beat the Testmaker? Well think about the two questions that Snoop would be asking himself constantly at such a contest:

Fishing for the Right Answer to Critical Reasoning GMAT Questions

Fishing for the Right Answer to Critical Reasoning GMAT Questions

While preparing for the GMAT, there will be certain question types that will appear over and over again. If you’re studying math, you know that you’ll see at least a couple of exponent problems that you’ll need to solve through algebra. If you’re studying sentence correction, you know that you’ll see at least a couple of misplaced modifiers that need to be modified in the correct answer choice. Some question types are so obvious that you know you have to prepare for them, even if you somehow manage to not see a single one on test day (kind of like fishing).

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
Easy Logic to a Difficult Combinatorics GMAT Question!

Easy Logic to a Difficult Combinatorics GMAT Question!

Sometimes, you come across some seriously interesting questions in Combinatorics. For example, this question I came across seemed like any other Combinatorics question, though it was a little cumbersome. But when I saw the answer, it got me thinking – it couldn’t have been a coincidence. There had to be a simpler logic to it and there was! I just wish I had thought of it before going the long route. So I must share it with you; you never know what might come in handy on test day!

GMAT Tip of the Week: 5 Common Quant Section Mistakes That You Must Avoid

GMAT Tip of the Week: 5 Common Quant Section Mistakes That You Must Avoid

Much of your GMAT preparation will focus on “more” – learning more content, memorizing more rules, feeling more comfortable with the test format, and ultimately getting more questions right. But might impact your score more than “more” is your emphasis on “less” (or “fewer”). Feeling less anxiety, taking less time on tricky problems, having to guess less than in your previous attempts, and this ever-important concept:

Expecting the Unexpected on GMAT Quant Questions

Expecting the Unexpected on GMAT Quant Questions

After studying for the GMAT for a few months (or years, in my case), you start to form expectations of exam questions. If you’re doing sentence correction, and you see a pronoun, there’s a good chance that the various answer choices will have different pronouns to ensure that you pick the correct one. If you’re doing math with three or four digit numbers, there’s a good chance that you have to deal with unit digits in order to shortcut the calculations. And if you’re doing geometry, there’s a good chance that the Pythagorean Theorem will show up, directly or indirectly. (My money is on directly.)

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
Stop Studying: 2 Activities That Will Increase Your GMAT Score

Stop Studying: 2 Activities That Will Increase Your GMAT Score

I like to arrive to my Monday evening classes a good half hour early so that I can spend some time talking to my students about how they spent their weekends. It helps me to get to know them, and it allows me to get a sense of the rhythm of their days. Some of my students do interesting things. They travel. They ski in the winters. They rock-climb when it’s warmer. But, unfortunately, they’re a minority.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Prep
Advanced Applications of Common Factors on the GMAT

Advanced Applications of Common Factors on the GMAT

Today we will discuss the logic behind common factors (other than 1) of two numbers.

Without actually finding all the factors of two numbers, how do we know whether they have any common factors (ignoring 1)?

GMAT Tip of the Week: Serenity and Sentence Correction

GMAT Tip of the Week: Serenity and Sentence Correction

If you’re reading this, you’re probably hoping for a 700+ score on the GMAT.  You’re probably wishing for a 700+ score on the GMAT.  And you may well be praying for a 700+ score on the GMAT.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
Watch Movies with a Critical Eye as You Study for the GMAT This Summer

Watch Movies with a Critical Eye as You Study for the GMAT This Summer

With the summer blockbuster season around the corner, it’s easy for your studying motivation to wane. After all, the GMAT doesn’t have the same allure as the big budget Hollywood movies people line up to see every summer. However, while seeing a movie can be a welcome distraction, there is a lot we can learn from movies when studying for the GMAT.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
99th Percentile GMAT Score or Bust! Lesson 3: The Long Way is the Wrong Way

99th Percentile GMAT Score or Bust! Lesson 3: The Long Way is the Wrong Way

Veritas Prep’s Ravi Sreerama is the #1-ranked GMAT instructor in the world (by GMATClub) and a fixture in the new Veritas Prep Live Online format as well as in Los Angeles-area classrooms.  He’s beloved by his students for the philosophy “99th percentile or bust!”, a signal that all students can score in the elusive 99th percentile with the proper techniques and preparation.   In this “9 for 99thvideo series, Ravi shares some of his favorite strategies to efficiently conquer the GMAT and enter that 99th percentile.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
Is this GMAT Question an Alphametic or Simple Number Properties Question?

Is this GMAT Question an Alphametic or Simple Number Properties Question?

As noticed in the first post of Alphametics, a data sufficiency alphametic is far more complicated than a problem solving alphametic. An alphametic can have multiple solutions and establishing that it does not, is time consuming. Hence, it is less likely that you will see a DS alphametic in the actual exam.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Cedric the Entertainer becomes Cedric the GMAT Instructor

GMAT Tip of the Week: Cedric the Entertainer becomes Cedric the GMAT Instructor

“They hope. We wish.”

In his classic routine from The Original Kings of Comedy, Cedric the Entertainer talks about the way that two different types of people view confrontation.

Some people hope that there’s no confrontation, worrying all the while that there might be.

The Concept of Abstraction on the GMAT

The Concept of Abstraction on the GMAT

The concept of abstraction involves taking things from specific values to general ideas. On the GMAT, abstraction is one of the simplest ways to turn an easy problem into a difficult one. A simple example would be to ask someone what “5 times 6” would be, and then to expand that to “x times y” or “odd number times even number.” Abstraction helps by giving broad strokes to concepts, but it also requires a deeper understanding of the underlying principles. (This is the same principle as abstract art… apparently).

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
99th Percentile GMAT Score or Bust! Lesson 2: If the Answers Smell the Same, They Stink

99th Percentile GMAT Score or Bust! Lesson 2: If the Answers Smell the Same, They Stink

Veritas Prep’s Ravi Sreerama is the #1-ranked GMAT instructor in the world (by GMATClub) and a fixture in the new Veritas Prep Live Online format as well as in Los Angeles-area classrooms.  He’s beloved by his students for the philosophy “99th percentile or bust!”, a signal that all students can score in the elusive 99th percentile with the proper techniques and preparation.   In this “9 for 99thvideo series, Ravi shares some of his favorite strategies to efficiently conquer the GMAT and enter that 99th percentile.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
Win a Free Veritas Prep GMAT Course!

Win a Free Veritas Prep GMAT Course!

Veritas Prep is excited to announce a scholarship opportunity to help you achieve your target GMAT score! We’ve partnered with the National Society of Hispanic MBAs to offer 100 GMAT preparation courses to qualifying applicants completely free of charge!