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Increase Your Speed on Reading Comprehension GMAT Questions

Increase Your Speed on Reading Comprehension GMAT Questions

One common complaint that people have when finishing the GMAT is that they are mentally exhausted. Indeed the exam is a marathon that tests your overall endurance, but also your time management skills. You have about two minutes per question in the math section, and slightly less than that on the verbal part.  Since timing is such an integral part of the exam, it’s important not to lose too much time on any specific question type on the exam. It’s perfectly natural to be more at ease with certain question types and thus process them faster than others, but you don’t want to have entire categories of questions you’re trying to avoid (or at least, not too many of them).

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
Timing is Everything on the GMAT: One Strategy to Help You Succeed

Timing is Everything on the GMAT: One Strategy to Help You Succeed

One common complaint I hear from GMAT students is: “I can get the right answer but it takes me too much time.” Many people preparing for the GMAT feel this way at one point or another during their preparation. While this complaint has some merit, it can usually be paraphrased as “I’m approaching the problem with little to no strategy.” Relying on brute force to get the right answer is rarely the best approach. The old adage states that a million monkeys writing on a million typewriters will eventually produce the greatest novel of all time (It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times…).

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Determining How Much Time to Spend on GMAT Quant Questions

Determining How Much Time to Spend on GMAT Quant Questions

On the GMAT, you will be asked to answer multiple questions in a relatively short period of time. One of the main difficulties test takers have with the GMAT is that they run out of time before finishing all the questions. For the quant section, there are 37 questions to solve in 75 minutes, which gives an average of just over two minutes per question. Since you don’t want to finish at the 74:59 mark (unless you’re MacGyver), you can figure two minutes per question as a good target. The good news is that most questions can easily be solved within a two minute timeframe. Unfortunately, many test takers spend three or four minutes on questions because they do not understand what they are trying to solve.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
Connect the Sentence Correction Dots and Succeed on the GMAT

Connect the Sentence Correction Dots and Succeed on the GMAT

Studying for GMAT sentence correction questions can seem like a primer on grammatical rules. This is because any given phrase could have a pronoun issue, or a verb agreement issue, or even a logical meaning issue. Most GMAT preparation involves at least some amount of time on the specific issues that are frequently tested on the GMAT. There is, however, one important rule that must always be adhered to and that cannot be easily pigeonholed. This rule should cross your mind on every single sentence correction problem you may see, and is often overlooked when speeding through practice questions. Quite simply: the underlined portion of the phrase must work seamlessly with the rest of the sentence.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
Predicting the USA's World Cup Chances Tomorrow Using Integrated Reasoning

Predicting the USA's World Cup Chances Tomorrow Using Integrated Reasoning

By this time tomorrow, the results will be in: will the United States have survived the Group of Death with Germany, Portugal, and Ghana? Or will Portugal’s late equalizer from Sunday have yanked the dream of Elimination play from the Yankees? A lot is riding on the concurrent USA vs. Germany and Portugal vs. Ghana matches tomorrow as all four teams have the potential to advance to the knockout stage of this year’s World Cup.

Avoiding Traps in GMAT Quant Questions

Avoiding Traps in GMAT Quant Questions

A common mantra at Veritas Prep is that the GMAT is a test of how you think, not of what you know. This shouldn’t be interpreted to mean that you can go into the exam without knowing anything and expect to get a good score. Rather, it means that how you apply concepts is crucial in this exam. You need to have a strong base, like the foundation of a house, but the difficulty is in using the information you have to solve the problem in front of you.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
How Would You Solve This Data Sufficiency GMAT Question?

How Would You Solve This Data Sufficiency GMAT Question?

The question format least familiar to most prospective GMAT students is unquestionably Data Sufficiency. As a test exclusive (it has a no trade clause) question type, it is unlikely that you have come across such a question without having at least glanced at a GMAT prep book. However the format is completely logical. The question is asking when do you have sufficient data to answer a question, be it “always yes”, “always no” or “specific value x”. The enemy is uncertainty; any definitive answer will suffice to answer the question and move on to the next hurdle.

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How to Solve Simple Math Equations on the GMAT

How to Solve Simple Math Equations on the GMAT

Many students who take the GMAT come from backgrounds that stressed mathematics. A significant percentage of GMAT test takers come from engineering backgrounds or other fields that require strong analytical skills. However, these students often find that the GMAT quantitative section is challenging for them. This is because the GMAT tests math in a way that is unfamiliar to these students, taking them out of their comfort zones and requiring them to solve questions in new and unfamiliar ways (most glaringly, without a calculator).

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Why You Should Do the Math on Data Sufficiency GMAT Questions

Why You Should Do the Math on Data Sufficiency GMAT Questions

On GMAT Data Sufficiency questions, it’s important to note that you don’t have to do any calculations to get the right answer. In theory, it’s entirely possible to simply look at a problem and determine that the answer must be D (whilst eating your grey poupon). The question format simply asks you to confirm whether you have enough information to make a decision, not what that decision is or what any specific value is.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
Use This Process When Solving Sentence Correction Questions on the GMAT

Use This Process When Solving Sentence Correction Questions on the GMAT

Sentence correction questions are among the least understood questions on the GMAT. Many native English speakers feel they can get by using their ears on sentence correction. However, the questions chosen on the GMAT generally have specific logical elements that must be evaluated in order to get to the right answer. Simply put, the grammar matters, but it’s more about the meaning than about the grammar.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
How to Keep a Proactive Approach when Solving Critical Reasoning Questions on the GMAT

How to Keep a Proactive Approach when Solving Critical Reasoning Questions on the GMAT

Critical reasoning on the GMAT requires you to evaluate the author’s conclusion and select the answer choice that best answers the given question. While there are four broad categories of questions, the two most common types of questions are the ones that ask the student to either strengthen or weaken the conclusion provided. In actuality, strengthen and weaken questions are two sides of the same coin (possibly Two Face’s trick coin) and together account for roughly ¾ of the critical reasoning questions on the exam. With stats like these, it’s important to be comfortable with these questions!

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
How to Quickly Solve Standard Deviation Questions on the GMAT

How to Quickly Solve Standard Deviation Questions on the GMAT

The quantitative section of the GMAT is designed to test your understanding and application of concepts you learned in high school. The exam focuses on core mathematical concepts such as algebra, geometry and statistics. However some concepts are more engrained in the high school curriculum than others. Everyone’s done addition, multiplication, subtraction and division, but sometimes figuring out factorials or square roots may be a little more unusual.

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How the GMAT Can Help You in Your Everyday Life

How the GMAT Can Help You in Your Everyday Life

Many students feel that the GMAT is only necessary to get into business school, and otherwise serves no real purpose in their everyday lives. I, as a GMAT enthusiast (and overall math nerd), see a lot of real world applications in the concepts being tested on this exam. It’s actually somewhat surprising how often splitting the cheque at a restaurant or calculating investment returns requires me to delve into my GMAT knowledge. Such an instance just happened the other weekend, and it’s the kind of story I’d like to use to illustrate how pervasive GMAT knowledge is in daily life.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
Don't Judge a GMAT Sentence by the Way it Sounds

Don't Judge a GMAT Sentence by the Way it Sounds

When answering sentence correction problems on the GMAT, it’s very common to use your ear as a barometer of how the answer choice sounds. Particularly for native English speakers, this is often the number one way they approach any given sentence. The problem with this strategy is that sentence correction is often much more about the meaning than about the grammar. By extension, the test makers of the GMAT know they can fool many students by simply making the correct answer choice unappealing to the students’ ears (Won’t get fooled again!).

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
GMAT Tip of the Week: The Heart of Data Sufficiency

GMAT Tip of the Week: The Heart of Data Sufficiency

Data Sufficiency is a game as much as it’s a “problem.” Look at the statistics in the Veritas Prep Question Bank and you’ll see that most Data Sufficiency questions are created with a particular trap answer in mind and that at least 1-2 answer choices are rarely-if-ever chosen.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
How to Master Sentence Correction on the GMAT

How to Master Sentence Correction on the GMAT

When preparing for the GMAT, there are many different types of questions that you must master. You know the verbal section will force you to answer questions about tedious passages, strengthen dubious arguments and correct unclear sentences. The ability to juggle these three elements will be paramount to your success as the question types are interspersed throughout the 75 minute verbal section. You cannot break down the exam into 25-minute sections each based on one broad topic and then move on. You don’t know what type of question is coming next, so you have to constantly be ready for any of the three major topics.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
The Difference Between a 1-Minute Solution and a 4-Minute Solution on the GMAT

The Difference Between a 1-Minute Solution and a 4-Minute Solution on the GMAT

The GMAT is an exam that primarily tests your use of logic. One of the most consistent methods used to evaluate your use in logic is to take away your calculator and ask you “difficult” math questions. More specifically, questions that seem really difficult, but break down to simple concepts once you understand what is actually happening.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
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
Use This Valuable Method to Determine Scope in Reading Comprehension on the GMAT

Use This Valuable Method to Determine Scope in Reading Comprehension on the GMAT

On test day, you will see 78 different questions designed to test how you think, how you approach a given problem, and how well you manage your time in a stressful environment. Most of these questions are unknown to you. You’ve probably spent tens of hours poring over hundreds of GMAT problems and trying to dissect questions from every possible vantage point. However, there is one question you are guaranteed to see on test day, and the question is deceptively simple. At one point, in the verbal section, you will simply be asked: “What is the primary purpose of this passage”

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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
Follow This Strategy to Save Time on the GMAT

Follow This Strategy to Save Time on the GMAT

There are certain numbers that will show up on every GMAT. Some of these numbers you need to be able to manipulate, and some others will just lie there like the rocks of Stonehenge: static and immovable. Numbers like π and √2, which can be converted into decimals but generally simply encumber the equation.

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
How Hard is the Verbal Section of the GMAT?

How Hard is the Verbal Section of the GMAT?

Two weeks ago I wrote an article about whether the GMAT was hard. It is a question I get asked regularly from many different students with many different interpretations of what “hard” actually means. On test day, you may get a question that seems impossible to solve, and yet most other students get it right. This means that the question wouldn’t be considered difficult by the GMAT (say a 500 level question), but for you it seemed exceptionally difficult. The notion of difficulty is thus subjective, and while many would argue that the GMAT is hard, I have a much simpler explanation I have been postulating for the past couple of years:

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
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
The Importance of Timing on the GMAT

The Importance of Timing on the GMAT

One of the main goals of the GMAT is to determine whether or not you can analyze a situation in front of you and determine the information needed to solve the question. In this way, the GMAT is testing the same skills required to solve a business case. The numbers in front of you are not important, but your method of solving the question is. Crunching numbers and measuring hypotenuses are not useful skills in business; you’ll have a calculator (or an abacus) to do that. Understanding how to approach and solve problems is the true skill being tested.

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.”

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Is the GMAT Hard?

Is the GMAT Hard?

As a GMAT instructor, I get asked a lot of questions about the exam. Most of these questions are about what can be done to prepare for the exam and what to concentrate on, but one of the simplest questions I get asked all the time is simply: “Is the GMAT hard?” Sadly, the answer is not very clean cut for a given prospective student, but I’ve spent enough time thinking about this test that I now have a definite answer that I think captures the heart of what is being tested. My answer is simply this:

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
3 Ways to Increase Your GMAT Score to a 760

3 Ways to Increase Your GMAT Score to a 760

Everyone who takes the GMAT wants to get a good score. The exact definition of “good” varies from student to student and from college recruiter to college recruiter. However no one can argue that scoring in the top 1% of all applicants can be considered anything less than a good score. Getting into your local university’s business program may not require a terrific score, but it can’t hurt to have one.

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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.

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Forget Your Prior Knowledge When Solving GMAT Critical Reading Questions

Forget Your Prior Knowledge When Solving GMAT Critical Reading Questions

The GMAT is an exam that students generally study for over a few months, but it can be argued that students have been preparing for it their entire lives. From mastering addition in elementary school to understanding geometric properties and reading Shakespeare sonnets, your whole life has arguably been a prelude to your success on the GMAT. You might not need everything you’ve ever learnt on this one exam, but you will already have been exposed to everything you need to be successful.

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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.

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How to Breakdown Data Sufficiency Sequence Questions on the GMAT

How to Breakdown Data Sufficiency Sequence Questions on the GMAT

Sequence questions come up fairly regularly on the GMAT quantitative section. One of the biggest problems students report on these questions is that they can’t determine what the terms in sequence should actually be. As such, the first important thing to determine is the value of the first few elements of the sequence. Without this information, the question seems much more abstract and difficult to follow.

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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.”

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Dangling Modifiers on the GMAT

Dangling Modifiers on the GMAT

Properly identifying incorrect modifier constructions, which are common errors in Sentence Correction, is a key component in achieving a high score on the GMAT. Knowing that modifier errors are among the most common errors seen on the GMAT, the astute student carefully studies the rules of correctly using modifiers. These grammatical constructions, among the most difficult to spot at a glance, confuse students and frustrate test takers who haven’t adequately prepared for the exam.

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Why You Should Convert Fractions to Decimals on the GMAT

Why You Should Convert Fractions to Decimals on the GMAT

Certain skills help make the math portion of the GMAT much easier. For example, being at ease with multiplication and factoring can help you on all kinds of questions that aren’t even about multiples or factors. In fact, questions about one and only one topic are few and far between. A GMAT question will never ask you what 8 x 7 is explicitly, but it could easily ask you the area of a triangle with a base of 16 and a height of 7. (Recall that the formula for the area of a triangle is ½ Base x Height).

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How to Spot Subtle Differences in GMAT Critical Reasoning Questions

How to Spot Subtle Differences in GMAT Critical Reasoning Questions

One of the Critical Reasoning questions that students struggle with the most is the Roles of Boldface questions. This may be because they’re scarce (like diamonds), and therefore you aren’t likely to practice them as much as other question types. Or it may be because they ask you to differentiate among multiple definitions that all start to sound the same after a while. Is the first a position or is it an opinion, and is there any difference between those two? (Hint: there isn’t).

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How to Make Abstract Data Sufficiency Questions More Concrete

How to Make Abstract Data Sufficiency Questions More Concrete

On data sufficiency problems, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the abstract possibilities presented by the question. Since you don’t actually have to calculate an exact solution, frequently you are faced with problems that would be too tedious to solve without a calculator. However, just because you don’t have to actually solve them, doesn’t mean it isn’t comforting to do so when faced with abstract problems (just add a little concrete).

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Your 700 GMAT Score is Relative

Your 700 GMAT Score is Relative

It has been said that everything is relative. Without getting too deep into the theory put forth by my friend Al(bert Einstein), your relative position and situation shapes your perception of things. A very common example of this is when students ask me “what difficulty level is this question?” I may find a question difficult and proclaim it’s a 700 level question. Another question seems more straightforward so I deem it a 500 level question. Granted, I have some credibility vis-a-vis GMAT difficulty level, but my opinion will be tainted by my relative strengths. I tend to consider arithmetic problems as simple and geometry problems as difficult primarily because of my personal preferences and abilities.

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Use the Synergy of the GMAT to Your Advantage on Test Day

Use the Synergy of the GMAT to Your Advantage on Test Day

When preparing for the GMAT, you may notice that studying for one subject makes you better in other disciplines as well. For example, practicing your algebra tends to make you better at algebra, arithmetic tends to make you faster at picking numbers and the entire quant section helps you significantly in integrated reasoning. This is due to the fact that many subjects overlap and have common elements. More formally, you can say that the GMAT is an exam with a lot of synergy.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips