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99th Percentile GMAT Score or Bust! Lesson 6: Practice Tests Aren't Real Tests

99th Percentile GMAT Score or Bust! Lesson 6: Practice Tests Aren't Real Tests

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 Prep, GMAT Tips
Think Like Einstein to Answer GMAT Data Sufficiency Questions

Think Like Einstein to Answer GMAT Data Sufficiency Questions

I recently read Manjit Kumar’s, Quantum, which is about the philosophical disagreement between Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein with respect to the nature of reality.  In high school physics, we learned about Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, which posits that we can never know both the position and the momentum of an electron with absolute certainty. The more precisely we measure an electron’s position, the less we know about its momentum, and vice versa.

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Catching Sneaky Remainder Questions on the GMAT

Catching Sneaky Remainder Questions on the GMAT

One of my favorite topics to teach is remainders. We learn about remainders in grade school and when I introduce the topic in class, the response is often amused incredulity. It isn’t hard to see that when 16 is divided by 7, the remainder is 2. How can it possibly be the case that something we learned in fifth grade is included on a test that helps determine where we go to graduate school?

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The Importance of Estimation on the GMAT

The Importance of Estimation on the GMAT

In the first session of every new class I teach, I try to emphasize the power and effectiveness of estimating when dealing with potentially complex calculations. No one ever disputes that this is a good approach, but an unspoken assumption is that while you may save a bit of time by estimating, it isn’t absolutely crucial to do so. After all, how long does it take to do a little arithmetic? The problem is that, under pressure, hard arithmetic can cause us to freeze. To illustrate this, I’ll ask, “quick, what’s 1.3 divided by 3.2?” This is usually greeted by blank stares or nervous laughter. But when I ask “okay, what’s 1 divided by 3?” they see the point: trying to solve 1.3/3.2 won’t just be time-consuming, but can easily lead to a careless mistake prompted by arithmetical paralysis.

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A Secret Shortcut to Increase Your GMAT Score

A Secret Shortcut to Increase Your GMAT Score

The GMAT is an exam that aims to test how you think about things. Many people have heard this mantra when studying for the GMAT, but it’s not always clear what it means. While there are many formulae and concepts to know ahead of taking the exam, you will be constantly thinking throughout the exam about how to solve the question in front of you. The GMAT specializes in asking questions that require you to think about the solution, not just to plug in numbers mindlessly and return whatever your calculator tells you (including typos and misplaced decimals).

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How to Evaluate the Entire Sentence on Sentence Correction GMAT Questions

How to Evaluate the Entire Sentence on Sentence Correction GMAT Questions

As the Donald Trump sideshow continues to dominate American news, politics is again being pushed to the forefront as the country gears up for an election in 15 months. The nominees are not yet confirmed, but many candidates are jockeying for position, trying to get their names to resonate with the American population. This election will necessarily have a new candidate for both parties, as Barack Obama will have completed the maximum of two elected terms allowed by the Constitution (via the 22nd amendment).

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
1 Strategy That Will Lead You to Better Pacing on the GMAT

1 Strategy That Will Lead You to Better Pacing on the GMAT

Let’s look at a vastly important testing issue that is largely misunderstood and its seriousness under-appreciated.  Throughout multiple years of tutoring, this has been one of the most common and detrimental problems that I have had to work to correct in my students.  It pertains to the entire GMAT exam, but is typically more relevant to the quant section as students often struggle more with pacing during quant.

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Find Time-Saving Strategies for GMAT Test Day

Find Time-Saving Strategies for GMAT Test Day

I’ve often heard from people studying for the GMAT that they would score much higher on the test if there were no time limit to each section. The material covered on the exam is not inherently complicated, but the combination of subtle wordplay and constant stress about time management creates an environment where test takers often rush through prompts and misinterpret questions. Unfortunately, time management and stress management are two of the major skills being tested on the GMAT, so the time limit isn’t going away any time soon (despite my frequent letters to the GMAC). Instead, it’s worth mastering simple techniques to save time and extrapolate patterns based on smaller samples.

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When You'll Need to Bring Outside Knowledge to the GMAT

When You'll Need to Bring Outside Knowledge to the GMAT

It is often said that outside knowledge is not required on the GMAT. The idea is that everyone should be on relatively equal footing when starting to prepare for this exam, minimizing the advantage that someone with a B.Comm might have over someone with an engineering or philosophy degree. Of course, it’s difficult to determine at what point does outside knowledge begin and end. Knowing that there are 26 letters in the (English) alphabet or that blue and red are different colors is never explicitly mentioned in the GMAT preparation, but the concepts certainly can come up in GMAT questions.

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Interpreting the Language of the GMAT

Interpreting the Language of the GMAT

Everyone who writes the GMAT must speak English to some degree. Since English is the default language of business, the GMAT is administered exclusively in that language. Some people feel that this is unfair. If you take an exam in your mother tongue, you tend to do better than if you took the exam in your second, third or even fourth language (I consider Klingon as my fourth language). However, even if you’re a native English speaker, the GMAT offers many linguistic challenges that make many people feel that they don’t actually speak the language. (¿Habla GMAT?)

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Attack Data Sufficiency GMAT Questions from the Weakest Point

Attack Data Sufficiency GMAT Questions from the Weakest Point

It is a common axiom that the best strategy in any competition is to attack your opponent at his weakest point. If you’ve been studying for the GMAT for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed that not all Data Sufficiency statements are created equal. At times the statements are mind-bendingly complex. Other times we can evaluate a statement almost instantaneously, without needing to simplify or calculate.

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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).

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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
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.

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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
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
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.

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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
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
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!

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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
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.)

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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.

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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
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
Planning for Retirement (& the GMAT)

Planning for Retirement (& the GMAT)

When preparing for the GMAT, most prospective students start thinking about the schools they want to attend, the jobs they want to land and the opportunities they want to seize. After all, embarking on a new degree is an adventure that must be carefully prepared and thought out. Some students with long term thinking even begin thinking about something that most people dream of regularly: retirement.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
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.

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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
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.

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GMAT Tip of the Week: Writing the AWA Without Engaging Your Brain

GMAT Tip of the Week: Writing the AWA Without Engaging Your Brain

Writing a Friday GMAT Tip of the Week post on a tight deadline is a lot like writing the AWA essay in 30 minutes.

30 minutes is not a lot of time, many say, and because an effective essay needs to be well-organized and well-written it is therefore impossible to write a 30-minute essay.

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Exploit the Gap in Logic on Critical Reasoning GMAT Questions

When dealing with strengthen or weaken Critical Reasoning questions, it’s important to have a rough idea of what the correct answer should look like. This process is often called “predicting” the correct answer, and it helps tremendously to avoid tempting but incorrect answer choices. It’s important to note that you won’t always be able to guess the exact answer choice provided, but you can get within the ballpark. After all, the correct answer is something that will hinge on the inevitable disconnect between the conclusion stated and the evidence provided in the passage.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
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.

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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.

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Take Notes on Critical Reasoning Questions to Increase Your GMAT Score

Take Notes on Critical Reasoning Questions to Increase Your GMAT Score

Imagine that you were tasked with writing questions for the GMAT. You have to produce questions that have a clear answer but will trip up a certain percentage of test-takers. How do you do that reliably? The most straightforward way I can think of is to simply inundate the test-taker with information. What elicits the loudest groans during Reading Comprehension? Long, technical passages. What is the most unpleasant thing to see in a Data Sufficiency question? Lots of complex information in the question stem.

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Find Logical Meaning in Sentence Correction Questions on the GMAT

Find Logical Meaning in Sentence Correction Questions on the GMAT

One of the hardest things about Sentence Correction is that it tests so much more than just grammar. Many students erroneously conflate Sentence Correction problems with high school grammar problems, and this can lead to avoidable mistakes on test day. Indeed, the rules you learned in high school still apply, but you must be able to recognize them among various other potential problems.  It’s fairly simple to spot an agreement error on a verb (there are one problem) or a misplaced comma (good, job bro), but sometimes you have to eliminate an answer choice because the sentence just doesn’t make sense.

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Succeed on Critical Reasoning GMAT Questions with This Causation Tip

Succeed on Critical Reasoning GMAT Questions with This Causation Tip

Oh, causation on the GMAT.  Why do you cause so much stress in people’s lives?

Success on many Critical Reasoning questions really comes down to understanding whether one thing (“X”) causes another thing (“Y”) or not. For example, I moved to New York in 2007. Shortly thereafter, there was a huge drop in the New York stock market. Did I cause the crash (Y) simply by moving to New York (X)?

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal