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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:

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.

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:

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
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.

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:

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
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)?

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
How to Solve Alphametic Multiplication Questions on the GMAT

How to Solve Alphametic Multiplication Questions on the GMAT

Last week, we looked at alphametics involving addition and subtraction. The logic becomes a little more involved when the alphametic involves multiplication. When a two digit number is multiplied by another two digit number, the process of finding the result is composed of multiple levels. Today, let’s see how to handle those multiple levels.  The question involves quite a few steps and observations using number properties. Hence, you are unlikely to see such a question in actual GMAT but you might see a simpler version so it’s good to be prepared.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Thinking Out Loud With Drake, Nicki, and Wayne

GMAT Tip of the Week: Thinking Out Loud With Drake, Nicki, and Wayne

It’s the hottest song in the country with a beat you just can’t get out of your head. Which is a good thing, because as you go in to take the GMAT you’d be well served to heed some of the lessons that Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Lil Wayne weave into the latest single from Nicki’s album.

Simplifying Algebraic Equations on Data Sufficiency GMAT Questions

Simplifying Algebraic Equations on Data Sufficiency GMAT Questions

In the past few weeks, I’ve written a couple of posts extolling the virtues of using strategies in lieu of doing difficult algebra. But over the course of the quant section, there’s no getting around it: at times, algebra will be an effective tool that you’ll want to deploy. The key is for us to use this tool judiciously.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
99th Percentile GMAT Score or Bust! Lesson 1: Drywall vs. Door

99th Percentile GMAT Score or Bust! Lesson 1: Drywall vs. Door

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 99th” video 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
An Introduction to Solving Alphametic Questions on the GMAT

An Introduction to Solving Alphametic Questions on the GMAT

Today, let’s learn how to solve alphametics. An alphametic is a mathematical puzzle where every letter stands for a digit from 0 – 9. The mapping of letters to numbers is one-to-one; that is, the same letter always stands for the same digit, and the same digit is always represented by the same letter.

Start from the Beginning of GMAT Questions to Understand the Pattern

Start from the Beginning of GMAT Questions to Understand the Pattern

If you’ve ever walked into a conversation that was in progress, you know how hard it can be to figure out what’s going on without starting at the beginning. People often timidly ask “What are we talking about?” or “Could you please start over?” in such situations. This is because being parachuted into an ongoing conversation can be quite disorienting.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
Simplify Your Calculations on Data Sufficiency GMAT Questions

Simplify Your Calculations on Data Sufficiency GMAT Questions

In a previous post, I emphasized the importance of minimizing the number of variables we assign when tackling word problems in Data Sufficiency. This philosophy also works quite well when dealing with complicated geometry questions. Let’s say, for example, that you had an isosceles triangle. We know that in isosceles triangles, two sides will be equal and the angles opposite those sides will be equal to each other. Rather than call the angles ‘x,’ ‘y,’ and ‘z,’ we can designate the two equal angles as ‘x.’ Because these two angles sum to 2x, the remaining angle must be 180-2x, as the interior angles of a triangle always sum to 180.  Now we have one variable to deal with, rather than three, and this greatly simplifies any future calculations we’ll have to make.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
How to Solve Advanced Compound Interest Questions on the GMAT

How to Solve Advanced Compound Interest Questions on the GMAT

We have discussed simple and compound interest in a previous post.

We saw that simple and compound interest (compounded annually) in the first year is the same. In the second year, the only difference is that in compound interest, you earn interest on previous year’s interest too. Hence, the total two year interest in compound interest exceeds the two year interest in case of simple interest by an amount which is interest on year 1 interest.

A Simple Shortcut to Help You on the Quantitative Section of the GMAT

A Simple Shortcut to Help You on the Quantitative Section of the GMAT

There are certain strategies that we all know, and yet, for whatever reason, sometimes hesitate to use during the exam. Some students are unusually skilled in algebra, for example, and so when we discuss the option of picking numbers, they dutifully nod and decide that this approach isn’t for them, that picking numbers is an unsatisfying shortcut that robs them of the opportunity to display their algebraic virtuosity.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
Taking the Best Approach When Solving Data Sufficiency GMAT Questions

Taking the Best Approach When Solving Data Sufficiency GMAT Questions

Sometimes, we get questions which we cannot neatly bracket as Arithmetic/Algebra/Geometry etc. In fact, the higher level questions usually focus on more than one subject area.  The trick in these questions is to assimilate all your knowledge from various areas and then think how best to solve.

When Do You Have Enough Information on Data Sufficiency GMAT Questions?

When Do You Have Enough Information on Data Sufficiency GMAT Questions?

Habitually, data sufficiency questions give students cause for concern on the GMAT quantitative section. This is primarily due to the fact that data sufficiency questions are rarely seen in high school and college, and are therefore relatively unknown to most prospective test takers.  If you remember the first data sufficiency question you encountered while studying for the GMAT, it may have looked like it was written in another language.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
GMAT Tip of the Week: Want to be a RC MVP? Get Down with OPP.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Want to be a RC MVP? Get Down with OPP.

Welcome back to Hip Hop Month in the GMAT Tip of the Week space, where we’re pneumonic by nature.  We’ve talked about being a Sentence Correction MVP, about using the STOP method for Reading Comprehension, about the SWIM categories for Critical Reasoning.  We’ve warned you that results can be rocky when you’re trying to finish quant problems ASAP and we spent just about all of our time talking about the GMAT.  But we’d have you shaking your head and saying WTF if we didn’t cover the most noteworthy and, yes, naughty acronym of all time: OPP.

Playing the Devil's Advocate on the GMAT

Playing the Devil's Advocate on the GMAT

Confess it – while watching Harvey Specter and Mike Ross on ‘Suits’, many of you have wondered how ‘cool’ it would be to be a lawyer. It’s surprising how they question every assumption, every reason and come up with an innovative solution which looks as if the magician just pulled a rabbit out of a hat.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Kanye West Teaches You How To Live The Data Sufficiency Good Life

GMAT Tip of the Week: Kanye West Teaches You How To Live The Data Sufficiency Good Life

Welcome back to Hip Hop Month in the GMAT Tip of the Week space, where we know precisely why you want an MBA: so you can live some of the good life. You want a better job with a higher salary and better benefits. You want to invest big chunks of that higher salary to create passive income that brings you even more money per year. And if they hate then let ‘em hate and watch the money pile up. Welcome to the Good Life.

How to Avoid Tedious Calculations on the Quantitative Section of the GMAT

How to Avoid Tedious Calculations on the Quantitative Section of the GMAT

One of the hardest things for people to get used to on the GMAT is that there is no calculator for the quantitative section. The reasoning behind this is simple: human beings will not be faster than machines at pure calculations. Human beings, however, will be better at logic, reasoning and deduction than a machine (at least until Skynet is developed).

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
A Closer Look at GMAT Function Questions

A Closer Look at GMAT Function Questions

Last week, we looked at the basics of how to handle function questions. Today, let’s look at a couple of questions. We will start with an easier one and then go on to a slightly tougher one.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Slow Motion Is Better Than No Motion

GMAT Tip of the Week: Slow Motion Is Better Than No Motion

Welcome back to Hip Hop Month in the GMAT Tip of the Week space, where 3-13 isn’t just a day to honor Eminem’s group “Three and a Third” from 8 Mile (we’ll save that for 10/3). It’s also Common’s birthday, so what better day to let one of the most intellectual rappers in the game help you take your game toward his South Side neighborhood (Chicago-Booth isn’t all that far away) or, we suppose, to the North Side and Kellogg?

Functions on GMAT

Functions on GMAT

Let’s discuss how to handle functions today. People usually perceive functions as an advanced topic mainly because of the notation. But actually, the function questions are very simplistic and can be solved with a simple process. If we ask you the value of 5x^3 where x = 3, would you be worried about what to do? We assume you won’t be. Then there should be no problem with “given f(x) = 5x^3, what is the value of f(3)?”