Archive : Gmat Verbal

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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
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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.

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Identifying and Correcting Run-On Sentences on GMAT Verbal Questions

Identifying and Correcting Run-On Sentences on GMAT Verbal Questions

On the GMAT, most sentence correction questions involve compound/complex sentences with multiple phrases, clauses and modifiers. Hence it is very likely that you will see some run-on sentences on your test. In the complicated sentences that we get on the GMAT, it is very easy to overlook that we are dealing with run-on sentences.

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)?

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How a 99th Percentile GMAT Instructor Approaches Sentence Correction Questions

How a 99th Percentile GMAT Instructor Approaches Sentence Correction Questions

The other night, in class, I had a student come up to me and ask how I really approached Sentence Correction. We’d done our Sentence Correction lesson a few weeks before, so the implication was that there was a little more to it than the framework we’d covered. The mundane truth is that there isn’t. Not really.

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The Pitfalls of Confusing Correlation and Causation on GMAT Critical Reasoning Questions

The Pitfalls of Confusing Correlation and Causation on GMAT Critical Reasoning Questions

In Stephen Pinker’s book, The Blank Slate, there’s an entertaining discussion illustrating the pitfalls of confusing correlation and causation. Pinker cites an old Russian folktale in which a Tsar discovers that, of his many provinces, the one that has the highest disease rate also has the most doctors. So he orders all the doctors killed. I’ll often make reference to this passage when I’m teaching Critical Reasoning because the absurdity of the argument is immediately apparent. Just because two variables are correlated, it doesn’t mean that one is necessarily causing the other.

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What Figure Skating Can Teach You about GMAT Sentence Correction Questions

What Figure Skating Can Teach You about GMAT Sentence Correction Questions

Like many Americans, I get caught up in figure skating for exactly two weeks every four years. It’s a fascinating sport, but because I don’t follow it consistently, as I do with the NBA and NFL, I really have no idea how the figure skaters are being judged.

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Solving Inference Questions in Reading Comprehension on the GMAT

Solving Inference Questions in Reading Comprehension on the GMAT

One of the most common things you’re going to do on the GMAT is to infer things. Inferring things is something we inherently do on a daily basis as human beings. If your friend tells you they’re preparing for a big presentation, you generally automatically infer they’re presenting to an audience and are nervous about public speaking. However, on the GMAT, inferring carries a little more baggage than in your everyday life. What if your friend is in charge of logistics for the presentation, or running the slideshow behind the presenter? Perhaps they are being presented in the debutante ball definition of the term? (niche, I know). On the GMAT, inferences have a high threshold they must always attain: the inferences must be true.

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Seemingly Contradictory Advice for Increasing Your Score on Reading Comprehension GMAT Questions

Seemingly Contradictory Advice for Increasing Your Score on Reading Comprehension GMAT Questions

“Trust, but Verify” is an important piece of advice for diplomatic relations. It seems a contradiction at first: if you trust, why do you need to verify? The answer is that some things are important enough to take the extra time and effort to check. Even the small chance that your trust is misplaced is reason to investigate the situation in enough detail to confirm that what you believe to be true is actually true.

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Past Perfect without Past Tense on GMAT Sentence Correction Questions

Past Perfect without Past Tense on GMAT Sentence Correction Questions

Recall the golden rule of past perfect tense –

The Past Perfect expresses the idea that something occurred before another action in the past. It can also show that something happened before a specific time in the past.

How to Attack GMAT Sentence Correction Questions Like a Boss

How to Attack GMAT Sentence Correction Questions Like a Boss

Many people think that finishing the GMAT verbal section on time hinges on quickly solving Sentence Correction problems. This is because these questions tend to have the shortest stimuli of any question type. Even if you’re a speed reader (hopefully you never ordered Mega Reading by Kevin Trudeau), it will still take a minute or so to sift through a passage that’s a few hundred words long. Sentence Correction problems sometimes have stimuli that are two or three lines, and therefore are prime candidates for quick dispatching.

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Of Opinions and Facts in GMAT Critical Reasoning Questions

Of Opinions and Facts in GMAT Critical Reasoning Questions

Today, we would like to discuss with you one of our most debated critical reasoning questions. It is an absolutely brilliant question – not just because the correct option fits in beautifully but because the other four options are also very well thought out. It is easy to write the incorrect four options such that the student community will be split between 2 options – the correct one and one of the four incorrect ones but when the jury is split between 4 or all 5 options, that’s when we know that we have come up with an absolute masterpiece. Of course, in such questions, a lot of effort is needed to convince everyone of the correct answer but it is well worth it.

What You Need to Know about Assumption Questions in GMAT Critical Reasoning

What You Need to Know about Assumption Questions in GMAT Critical Reasoning

When it comes to Critical Reasoning on the GMAT, one question that continues to frustrate people is the assumption question. Quite simply, the question is asking you which answer choice is required to support the conclusion that has been drawn in the passage. To successfully navigate these questions, you should use the Assumption Negation Technique, which requires a negation of the answer choice to determine whether or not it was actually required. More than that, though, the correct answer choice must be within the scope of the question. An answer choice that goes too far will not be the correct answer to the question.

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GMAT Tip of the Week: The Super Bowl Provides Super GMAT Lessons

GMAT Tip of the Week: The Super Bowl Provides Super GMAT Lessons

It’s Super Bowl weekend, one of the busiest gambling weekends of the year. Maybe you’ll play a squares pool and end up with the dreaded 6:5 combination, maybe you’ll parlay three prop bets and lose on the third, and maybe you’ll bet on your team to win and lose both the game and your cash. How can you turn your gambling losses into investments?

Ariana Grande's Real Problem with the GMAT

Ariana Grande's Real Problem with the GMAT

As a GMAT aficionado, I often find GMAT themes in everyday things. This is what happened last week when I was listening to the radio and Ariana Grande’s “Problem” started playing. I’d heard the song before, and despite its catchy melody, there is a glaring grammatical error in the chorus. This may not be that surprising: songs in general are dubious sources of grammar to begin with, and R&B songs often take additional liberties with their lyrics (Timbaland’s “The Way I Are” jumps to mind). However this error is the kind a lot of people make in their daily speech, so I figured I’d use it as an opportunity to improve our grammatical skills beyond what we hear on the radio.

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GMAT Tip of the Week: Stop Trying to Re-Write the Verbal Section of the Test

GMAT Tip of the Week: Stop Trying to Re-Write the Verbal Section of the Test

Which ineffective habit do nearly all GMAT aspirants have when it comes to studying for the verbal section?

Thou doth protest too much. Meaning:

We all think we can write verbal questions better than the authors of the test.

When it comes to GMAT verbal questions, we critique but don’t solve Critical Reasoning problems, we correct rather than solve Sentence Correction problems, and we try to write but don’t thoroughly read Reading Comprehension questions. And this hubris can be the death of your GMAT verbal score, even if it comes from a good place and a good knowledge base.

How to Use Your Time Wisely on Reading Comprehension GMAT Questions

How to Use Your Time Wisely on Reading Comprehension GMAT Questions

On the verbal section of the GMAT, students invariably spend more time on Reading Comprehension questions than on either Sentence Correction or Critical Reasoning problems. In fact, I’ve seen score reports where people spent more time on Reading Comprehension than on the other two question types combined! Students spend a lot of time on these passages because they are consistently packed with pointless information, run-on sentences and dense technical jargon. Attempting to untangle these passages can lead to a lot of frustration for test takers (Fortunately, there’s an app for that).

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A Closer Look at Parallel Structure on GMAT Sentence Correction Questions

A Closer Look at Parallel Structure on GMAT Sentence Correction Questions

The holiday season is upon us in North America, as many families unite for Thanksgiving, some decadent shopping, and the imminent Christmas season. While Thanksgiving and Christmas are independently two of the biggest holidays of the year, the fact that they always come together and are so habitually linked makes me think of the GMAT (yes a lot of things make me think of the GMAT, it’s what I do). Just as the thought of Christmas makes a lot of people think of Black Friday deals and line ups at their local stores, some elements on the GMAT are as inextricably linked together.

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Busting Some GMAT Sentence Correction Myths - Part II

Busting Some GMAT Sentence Correction Myths - Part II

A few weeks back, we wrote a post busting some Sentence Correction myths. Let’s continue from where we left.  We discussed how we can have pronouns referring to different antecedents in different clauses of the same sentence. Let’s take another example illustrating that principle. Also, we learn how to use ‘being’ correctly in GMAT.

Choosing from 2 Answer Choices in GMAT Critical Reasoning

Choosing from 2 Answer Choices in GMAT Critical Reasoning

In life, you are often given binary choices. This is true even if the word binary isn’t something you recognize right away. Binary comes from the Latin “bini”, which means two together, and is used to regroup decisions in which you have exactly two choices. On forms, you might see categories such as “smoker” or “non-smoker”, and you are prompted to answer exactly one of the options. At a restaurant, you might get asked “Soup or salad?” (super salad??), and you are expected to make a decision as to which appetizer you want. Very frequently, these two choices cover the entirety of your options. There is no third option to select.

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Busting Some GMAT SC Myths

Busting Some GMAT SC Myths

Today we will bust some SC myths using a question. The following are the myths:

Myth 1: Passive voice is always wrong.

Active voice is preferred over passive voice but that doesn’t make passive voice wrong.

Myth 2: The same pronoun cannot refer to two different antecedents in a sentence.

Answer the Why in Reading Comprehension GMAT Questions

Answer the Why in Reading Comprehension GMAT Questions

The most common question type that people tend to waste time on is Reading Comprehension. More than any other question type on the GMAT, students report reading and rereading the same sections of a passage, only to find themselves at the bottom of the page having retained no information. There are many reasons for this, from fatigue to mental inertia to daydreaming about the end of this test. However, it’s fairly common to have not internalized all the information in the passage, and still be able to answer the question asked.

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GMAT Tip of the Week: Sentence Correction in Real Life

GMAT Tip of the Week: Sentence Correction in Real Life

Totes McGotes. FML. Sorry for partying. I know, right? Of the common phrases that have permeated pop culture and everyday conversation, easily one of the most common is, wait for it…

Wait for it.

And that one phrase can totes make your GMAT score supes high. Like, for real.

How?

2 Sentence Correction GMAT Questions Involving Participle Modifiers

2 Sentence Correction GMAT Questions Involving Participle Modifiers

Today, as promised last week, we will look at a couple of questions involving participle modifiers. We will take one question in which you should use the participle and another in which you should not.

1 Important Rule for GMAT Sentence Correction

1 Important Rule for GMAT Sentence Correction

Some sentence structures seemingly stupefy scholarly students. One of the main reasons the GMAT chooses to test logic through sentence correction is that the rules of grammar are much more flexible than most students realize. We (hopefully) remember some of the basic rules of sentences. Sentences should have a subject and a predicate, but you can often shorten sentences in specific contexts. Like this. The rules we’ve learned in high school are relevant, but (to paraphrase Pirates of the Caribbean) they’re more like guidelines.

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Understanding Participles on the GMAT

Understanding Participles on the GMAT

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the topic of Participles so let’s take a look at it today.

Quite simply, participles are words formed from verbs which can be used as describing words (on the other hand, gerunds are verbs used as nouns, but that is a topic for another day!).

There are two types of participles:

GMAT Tip of the Week: Getting Specific About Reading Comprehension

GMAT Tip of the Week: Getting Specific About Reading Comprehension

Pop quiz!

1) What is the VIN number on your car?

2) What is your health insurance policy number?

3) What day does Daylight Savings Time start this coming spring?

If you’re like most people, your answer to all three is “I’d have to look that up.” And if you’re like most successful GMAT test-takers, that should be your answer to most Reading Comprehension questions, too. Particularly for questions like:

Deciding Between the 2 Remaining Answer Choices on the GMAT

Deciding Between the 2 Remaining Answer Choices on the GMAT

There is one feeling that hampers momentum and takes all the wind out of your sails on the GMAT. That feeling is the thrill of quickly eliminating three incorrect answer choices on a question, followed by complete uncertainty between the last two choices. This paralysis is very frustrating, because your progress is halted in dramatic fashion, and you’re left with two options that both seem to make perfect sense as the correct answer.

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How Well Would Mark Twain Do on the GMAT?

How Well Would Mark Twain Do on the GMAT?

I’ve often contemplated who would excel at the GMAT. After all, the exam is about logic, analytical skills, problem-solving abilities and time management. Surely to shine on the exam a test taker should be smart, methodical, insightful and perceptive (and blindingly handsome). Clearly, some people have done quite well on this exam, but others never got the chance because they never actually took the test. While some have been intimidated by the nature of the test, others simply were born too early to have even heard of this exam.

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A Closer Look at Absolute Phrases on the GMAT

A Closer Look at Absolute Phrases on the GMAT

Read the following sentences:

  1. About 70 percent of the tomatoes grown in the United States come from seeds that have been engineered in a laboratory, their DNA modified with genetic material not naturally found in tomato species.
  2. The defense lawyer and witnesses portrayed the accused as a victim of circumstance, his life uprooted by the media pressure to punish someone in the case.
  3. Researchers in Germany have unearthed 400,000-year-old wooden spears from what appears to be an ancient lakeshore hunting ground, stunning evidence that human ancestors systematically hunted big game much earlier than believed.

Which grammatical construct is represented by the underlined portions of these sentences?

Common Errors to Avoid on Sentence Correction GMAT Questions

Common Errors to Avoid on Sentence Correction GMAT Questions

There are many famous expressions in the English language. Many of them are clever turns of phrase that refer to commonplace ideas and concepts in everyday life. You obviously don’t need to memorize these for the GMAT (A house divided against itself is not an integer), however some expressions can be easily applied to various GMAT problems. One common expression is that you’re comparing apples and oranges. This expression typically means that you are attempting to compare two elements that are not analogous and therefore incomparable. This idiom can be particularly apt in sentence correction problems.

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GMAT Tip of the Week: Come On,Commas! 3 Reasons You Should Look Forward To Commas On Sentence Correction

GMAT Tip of the Week: Come On,Commas! 3 Reasons You Should Look Forward To Commas On Sentence Correction

Admit it – perhaps your favorite thing about the social media revolution is that you’re (or is it “your”?) almost done having to think about punctuation ever again. Hashtags don’t allow for punctuation, and with only 140 characters to express your point of view or challenge three friends to dump water on their heads, who can afford to waste a character on a comma or semicolon?

GMAT Tip of the Week: The 2 Most Important Lessons You Will Learn from Mrs. Doubtfire

GMAT Tip of the Week: The 2 Most Important Lessons You Will Learn from Mrs. Doubtfire

For those considering higher education this week, Robin Williams’ memory looms large. The lessons he taught in Dead Poets’ Society and Good Will Hunting have made their way around the internet more quickly and in more contexts than even Williams’ genie character from Aladdin could throw out references.

How to Approach Mimic the Reasoning GMAT Questions

How to Approach Mimic the Reasoning GMAT Questions

The GMAT is known to be a demanding exam. Most students recognize that a lot of preparation is required in order to get the best score possible. Most students undertaking the GMAT are also used to studying for tests and have worked out their own strategies and their own methods of preparation. Indeed, people overwhelmingly study the GMAT in an orderly and structured way. This is a positive thing, but it can have its drawbacks.

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GMAT Tip of the Week: 5 Words to Recognize Before You Start a Sentence Correction Problem

GMAT Tip of the Week: 5 Words to Recognize Before You Start a Sentence Correction Problem

After you read this post about what to look for before you begin reading a Sentence Correction problem, you’ll be an SC expert since this strategy will tell you when to shift your focus from whatever it’s on to timeline and tense. Ready to get started?

GMAT Tip of the Week: Instagram Your Way To Sentence Correction Success

GMAT Tip of the Week: Instagram Your Way To Sentence Correction Success

As our attention spans get shorter, the GMAT’s verbal section gets harder. Admit it – at some point in the verbal section of your latest practice test, and maybe earlier in that section than you’d like to admit, you just got bored, or at least lost in all the reading.

How to Successfully Complete Your Thoughts on Critical Reasoning GMAT Questions

How to Successfully Complete Your Thoughts on Critical Reasoning GMAT Questions

In today’s world of instant gratification and ubiquitous mobile phone usage, we are becoming used to things going fast. Multitasking has become the new norm, and it seems like no one takes the time to finish anything before jumping off to the next task. While this hectic pace may allow more tasks to be accomplished (although not necessarily well), it also makes it harder for any one task to be attentively completed. In short, it’s becoming harder to finish any one thought.

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Determine Which Type of GMAT Question This Is: Assumption or Inference?

Determine Which Type of GMAT Question This Is: Assumption or Inference?

We will continue our Quant 48 to 51 journey in the coming weeks but today, we need to discuss an important distinction between assumptions and inferences. Most of you will be able to explain the difference between an assumption and an inference but some questions will still surprise you. After all, both assumptions and inferences deal with the same elements in the argument. The way they are worded makes all the difference.