Archive : GMAT Tips

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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.

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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 ? and ?2, which can be converted into decimals but generally simply encumber the equation.

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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.

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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:

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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!

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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

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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.

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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:

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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.

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How Physical Exercise Can Help Control Your GMAT Test Anxiety

How Physical Exercise Can Help Control Your GMAT Test Anxiety

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

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How to Comprehend Reading Comprehension Passages on the GMAT

How to Comprehend Reading Comprehension Passages on the GMAT

The most common complaint I hear from students about Reading Comprehension is that the text is mind-numbingly boring. This is due to two common factors. First, the texts are frequently mind-numbingly boring! Second, even if they’re somewhat interesting, the fact that you’ve been staring at a computer screen for about three straight hours (not counting the two eight-minute breaks) means you’re likely not completely focused on the task at hand. In fact, many a student has confided in me that by this part of the test they were already dreaming of lunch at McDonalds (okay this may have just been my personal experience).

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How to Manage Your Time on the GMAT

How to Manage Your Time on the GMAT

One of the most common misconceptions on the GMAT is that you have to solve every question in about 2 minutes. This of course stems from the fact that you have 75 minutes to answer 37 quantitative questions (or ~2.03 minutes per question) and 75 minutes to answer 41 verbal questions (or ~1.83 minutes per question). Both figures can be approximated to roughly two minutes per question on average; however, this does not mean that every question will take you 2 minutes to solve.

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How Exercise Can Increase Your GMAT Score

How Exercise Can Increase Your GMAT Score

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

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

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How to Solve Inference Questions on the GMAT

How to Solve Inference Questions on the GMAT

On the GMAT, there is often a fine line between a statement possibly being true and a statement always being true. Inference questions ask about which statement must be true, and often provide many statements that each seem to be correct. However, must be true is a high standard to achieve, and many statements fall short of this benchmark despite being perfectly reasonable assumptions on their own.

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Avoid the Data Sufficiency Trap on the GMAT

Avoid the Data Sufficiency Trap on the GMAT

In Data Sufficiency, the GMAT is asking you to determine how much information is required to make a decision. If the information provided leads you a definite yes, then you have sufficient data to take decisive action. Similarly, if there is enough information to lead to a definite no, then you can also take decisive action. The only time trouble arises is when the information could lead to a yes or to a no; this situation leaves you in a position where you may have to guess (I’ll take Door #1, Bob).

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

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

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

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How to Solve Inference Questions on the GMAT

How to Solve Inference Questions on the GMAT

When evaluating critical reasoning questions, you often notice multiple answer choices that all seem plausible. The GMAT testmakers are experts at creating answer choices that are plausible and could potentially be correct, given slightly different circumstances. When evaluating strengthen or weaken questions, it is best to predict an answer from the stimulus before looking at the answer choices. That way you won’t be swayed by logical but out of scope questions (plus it’s a surprise!)

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The Morals of the GMAT

The Morals of the GMAT

The GMAT is not merely a test for graduate school.  Several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired or strengthened by it, so as to become habits, ready on all occasions. Let’s examine a few of these qualities:

1. Decisiveness, which looks at the information and question, and considers the best course of action; for it occurs to the test taker, ‘how can I break this down into something I can figure out quickly?  What is the situation and question really getting at?  Can I ballpark or use the answer choices to narrow it down?  How much time is worth spending to get this?’

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Hidden Mirrors and Broken Mirrors in Data Sufficiency on the GMAT

Hidden Mirrors and Broken Mirrors in Data Sufficiency on the GMAT

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

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The Correct Way to Factor on the GMAT

The Correct Way to Factor on the GMAT

One of the most important concepts on the GMAT quant section is the notion of factors. Because there is no calculator on the exam, the multiplications and divisions tend to heed integer numbers. Dividing 100 by 2 might be trivial, but dividing 1100 by 22 might hinge on your recognition of the common factor of 11 to avoid tedious and time-consuming calculations.

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

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

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

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Use the Answer Choices to Get the Correct Answer on the GMAT

Use the Answer Choices to Get the Correct Answer on the GMAT

GMAT students can now benefit from a blog series featuring video tips from Veritas Prep’s own Director of Academic Programs, Brian Galvin. Previously, Brian helped students with Data SufficiencySentence Correction,Critical Reasoning, and Integrated Reasoning.

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How to Solve for Method of Reasoning Questions on the GMAT

How to Solve for Method of Reasoning Questions on the GMAT

In many ways, critical reasoning questions best exemplify what the GMAT is all about. The exam is primarily an exercise in applying logic to various different situations. In the quant section, you must either find the correct answer or determine whether you have sufficient information to make a decision. On the verbal section, you must find the answer choice that logically completes the information given in the question stem. Even on the AWA and the IR, logic is again paramount to knowing how to proceed and getting a good score.

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2 Essential Strategies for GMAT Integrated Reasoning Questions

2 Essential Strategies for GMAT Integrated Reasoning Questions

GMAT students can now benefit from a blog series featuring video tips from Veritas Prep’s own Director of Academic Programs, Brian Galvin. Previously, Brian helped students with Data Sufficiency, Sentence Correction, and Critical Reasoning.

Find the Gap in Critical Reasoning Questions on the GMAT

Find the Gap in Critical Reasoning Questions on the GMAT

Critical Reasoning is more than just one of the three verbal sections on the GMAT.  It’s a way of thinking that applies to every GMAT subject area.  In fact, it’s more still.  It’s a skill that has wide application outside the GMAT.

The classic example of a lack of critical reasoning is the groupthink that led to the mortgage crisis, which eventually caused the global financial crisis.  Very few people questioned the assumption that house prices would continue to rise.  As long as prices rose, homeowners would be able to refinance their mortgages when, for example, low introductory interest rates increased or when balloon payments came due.  And the system would keep chugging along.  But it didn’t…

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The Trick Behind Percentages on the GMAT

The Trick Behind Percentages on the GMAT

Percentages represent one of the most underestimated question types on the GMAT quant section. Absolute numbers are helpful to give concrete information (I spent 70$ on the latest Grand Theft Auto game), but percentages give a better indication of relative amounts of time (I spend 68% of my free time playing GTA V). Based on the first, you may find that I overpaid for the video game, but based on the second statistic, I probably got a very good return on my investment.

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Look Before You Leap and Find Success on the GMAT

Look Before You Leap and Find Success on the GMAT

As you are probably well aware, success on the quantitative section of the GMAT requires not only computational ability, but also test taking acumen.  For example, the fact that you are capable of determining a particular quantity from the information given in a problem does not mean that it is necessarily in your best interest to do so.  At this point, you may assume that what follows is a discussion of data sufficiency (DS) strategy.

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How to Solve Method of Reasoning Questions on the GMAT

How to Solve Method of Reasoning Questions on the GMAT

Critical Reasoning questions on the GMAT are primarily about strengthening or weakening the author’s conclusion. The stimulus of the question will describe some event or issue and then purport some conclusion, often one that is strikingly unsupported by the evidence.

Your job is usually to determine which answer choice would either enhance or undermine the professed conclusion. Sometimes, the question asks you to infer something that must be true from the text. The answer choices for these inference questions tend to have very high standards to meet because they must be true at all times (and not just when the moon is in Aquarius).

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