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Playing the Devil's Advocate on the GMAT

Playing the Devil's Advocate on the GMAT

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

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

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

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

How 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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
How to Avoid Tedious Calculations on the Quantitative Section of the GMAT

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

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

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
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.

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

A Closer Look at GMAT Function Questions

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

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

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

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

Use Anxiety to Your Advantage on Test Day

Use Anxiety to Your Advantage on Test Day

At some point during the first session of each new class I teach, I’ll write my phone number on the board and mention that I take emergency calls. When I first started doing this, I figured that every now and again I’d get a call from a frantic student the night before the exam because he or she was running through some practice problems and was stumped on a concept that had previously been clear. I could then talk the student through a concept or strategy as a kind of pre-test boost. It turns out, these emergency calls happen far more often than I’d suspected, and they’re never about content. They’re always about anxiety. And the refrain is always the same. “When we’re doing the questions in class, I understand them. When I’m working on my own with no pressure, I’m fine. But when I see the timer…” The implications are clear: the issue often isn’t the content of the question, but the psychological mindset of the test-taker when he encounters it.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Prep
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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
Functions on GMAT

Functions on GMAT

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

GMAT Tip of the Week: LLC Reasoning

GMAT Tip of the Week: LLC Reasoning

In a time-honored tradition here at Veritas Prep, March is Hip Hop Month in the GMAT Tip of the Week space, and no cutting-edge hip hop blog in 2015 would be complete without mentioning the hottest thing from this year’s Grammys:

LL Cool J

Really? It’s been more than 20 years since LL had to start an album with the phrase “don’t call it a comeback; I’ve been here for years.” And yet as America’s favorite award show host and the star of either NCIS or CSI (all we know is that the man loves initials and acronyms), LL Cool J remains a household name in a young man’s game. Which should draw attention to his rather unique moniker:

Filed in: GMAT
What the White & Gold, Blue & Black, Periwinkle & Whatever Dress Can Teach You About the GMAT

What the White & Gold, Blue & Black, Periwinkle & Whatever Dress Can Teach You About the GMAT

Over the past week, the online world has been consumed with discussions about one of the most mundane topics anyone could conceivably imagine. Indeed, for several days, the only discussion reasoned people seemed to be having was: “What color is this dress”?

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
Veritas Prep's Top-Rated Instructor Comes to India on March 29!

Veritas Prep's Top-Rated Instructor Comes to India on March 29!

For some time now, Veritas Prep team member Ravi Sreerama has been regarded as the best GMAT instructor in the industry (see for yourself!) Whether he’s leading GMAT courses in Los Angeles or training students worldwide in our Next-Generation Live Online GMAT Course, Ravi keeps growing his legion of loyal followers. They want to score in the 99th percentile on the GMAT, and Ravi knows how to help them do it.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Prep
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.

GMAT Tip of the Week: The Dress is White and Gold and Your GMAT Score Can Become Golden

GMAT Tip of the Week: The Dress is White and Gold and Your GMAT Score Can Become Golden

The Dress” is white and gold, as all reasonable people can certainly agree. But a sizable, misguided percentage of the internet vehemently disagrees with that fact, proving two major points:

1) You can’t trust what people say on the internet.

3 Ways to Improve Your Timing on the GMAT

3 Ways to Improve Your Timing on the GMAT

The GMAT presents several challenges for test takers. For many people, the issues are focused around aptitude and the ability to simply get answers right. For others, timing is a big challenge. The GMAT is as much a test of mental endurance as it is an aptitude test.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Prep
4 Factors to Consider When Determining if Your GMAT Score is High Enough

4 Factors to Consider When Determining if Your GMAT Score is High Enough

The most common apprehension many candidates have during the application process concerns the GMAT. For many applicants the GMAT can be a serious roadblock to reaching their dreams of admission to their target programs. It can be downright confusing to determine if you can stop taking the GMAT and move on to other equally important aspects of the application process. Of course the highest score possible is what most candidates strive for but with considerations like time and resources, decisions have to be made. Now there is no real science behind determining if your GMAT is high enough but there are a few considerations when making the final decision.

Identifying the Correct Answer on GMAT Quant Questions

Identifying the Correct Answer on GMAT Quant Questions

One way in which the GMAT differs from most tests is that you only need to find the correct answer to the given question. There are absolutely no points for your development, your reasoning or indeed anything you decide to write down. This is completely contrary to much of what we learned in high school and university, where you could be rewarded for having the correct algorithm or approach even if you didn’t get the correct answer. On most math problems, if you got the wrong answer but demonstrated how you got there, you could at least get partial credit, especially if your approach was perfect but the execution lacked (like passing on the 1 yard line).

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
Using Algebra vs. Logic on GMAT Quant Questions

Using Algebra vs. Logic on GMAT Quant Questions

In pretty much every class I teach, at some point I’ll get the algebra vs. strategy question. Which is better? How do you know? I sympathize with the students’ confusion, as we’ll use the two approaches in different scenarios, but there doesn’t seem to be any magic formula to determine which is preferable. In many instances, both approaches will work fine, and the choice will mostly be a matter of taste and comfort for the test-taker.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
4 Average Speed Formulas You Need to Know for the GMAT

4 Average Speed Formulas You Need to Know for the GMAT

Many people have asked us to clear the confusion surrounding the various formulas of average speed. We will start with the bottom line – There is a single versatile formula for ALL average speed questions and that is

GMAT Tip of the Week: Data Sufficiency and The Imitation Game

GMAT Tip of the Week: Data Sufficiency and The Imitation Game

With Oscar weekend upon us, it’s only fitting that this week’s GMAT Tip comes courtesy of Alan Turing. Of course the brilliant math mind featured in Best Picture nominee The Imitation Game would crush GMAT Data Sufficiency. But the mere title of the film provides a GMAT tip that can help bring Data Sufficiency success to even us mere mortals who can’t quite use math to save Britain from peril. How can you use The Imitation Game to succeed on Data Sufficiency?

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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
3 Ways to Overcome a Low College GPA and Get Into Your Dream Business School

3 Ways to Overcome a Low College GPA and Get Into Your Dream Business School

So you’ve narrowed down your list of target schools and now it’s time to get real.  You’ve made the decision to apply to the school of your dreams but you’re worried that your low GPA may prevent you from real consideration. Many candidates feel as though there is nothing they can do about their GPA since they have already graduated from college. They believe that their dream school will remain just that, a dream.

Using Symmetry in Probability on the GMAT

Using Symmetry in Probability on the GMAT

We know that Combinatorics and Probability are tricky topics. It is easy to misinterpret questions of these topics and get the incorrect answer – which, unfortunately, we often find in the options, giving us a false sense of accomplishment.

In many questions, we need to account for different cases one by one but we don’t really see such questions on the GMAT since we have limited time. Also, we don’t tire of repeating this again and again – GMAT questions are more reasoning based than calculation intensive. Usually, there will be an intellectual method to solve every GMAT question – a method that will help you solve it in seconds.

GMAT Tip of the Week: The Corrupt Mechanic Explains Sentence Correction

GMAT Tip of the Week: The Corrupt Mechanic Explains Sentence Correction

Your parallelism knowledge is paramount. You’re a pro when it comes to pronouns. You relax when you see that the problem involves verb tense. You can’t find a modifier error that’s even moderately challenging anymore. You should be a Sentence Correction sensei. So why are Sentence Correction problems still such a problem?

How to Make the GMAT Quant Section Easier on Test Day

How to Make the GMAT Quant Section Easier on Test Day

In my decade of teaching the GMAT, perhaps no single group has found the quant section on the test more exasperating than math nerds. Yep, math nerds. Engineers, financial analysts, Physics majors, etc.

This may seem somewhat paradoxical, but the quant section on the GMAT isn’t testing your math ability. The skills that allowed the quantitatively-inclined to ace their tests in high school and college not only have limited value on the GMAT, but actually undermine test-takers, prompting them to grind through calculations when the question is really about how to avoid those very calculations.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
WTF! Leverage Your Assets on These GMAT Questions

WTF! Leverage Your Assets on These GMAT Questions

When preparing to take the GMAT, you often solve hundreds or even thousands of practice problems. As you solve more and more of them, you start to realize that almost every question is testing something specific. There’s a geometry question about right angle triangles that’s really all about Pythagoras’ theorem, and an algebra problem that is easy to solve if you expand the difference of squares. However, there are some questions that make you scratch your head and wonder: “What in the world?” Some questions make you think you missed a section of material that you need to review (are there triple integrals on the GMAT?), or at the very least that you don’t know the correct strategic approach. I will euphemistically call these “WTF” questions, which of course stands for “Want To Finish”.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
3 Things You Need to Know About Your GMAT Test Day Experience

3 Things You Need to Know About Your GMAT Test Day Experience

You’re probably going to spend considerable time preparing for the GMAT exam, but many students spend so much time on practice exams and questions, they often overlook one of the most important pieces of that equation: scheduling their actual GMAT exam!

You’re probably thinking you just visit mba.com and take what you can find, but there’s definitely an art to scoring your preferred appointment.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Prep
Should You Purchase The New Enhanced Score Report?

Should You Purchase The New Enhanced Score Report?

For anyone who has ever underperformed their goals on the GMAT, the first question they’ve asked is usually “where did it all go wrong?”. And for those who have asked that question since October 1, 2013, or will ask it soon, there may be an answer waiting for you.

The GMAT Enhanced Score Report is here.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
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.

GMAT Tip of the Week: All About That Base

GMAT Tip of the Week: All About That Base

It’s Grammy Weekend here in Los Angeles. All local sports teams have cleared out of the LA Live / Staples Center / Nokia Theater area and local citizens are humming along to the song of the year nominees. How can you (Taylor) Swiftly make your GMAT Quant score (Ariana) Grande, even without the help of an expensive GMAT (Meghan) Trainor? The process isn’t So Fancy, so take that stress and Shake It Off. When you see exponent-based questions, the #1 thing you can do:

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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
Advanced Number Properties on the GMAT - Part V

Advanced Number Properties on the GMAT - Part V

Today, let’s look in detail at a relation between arithmetic mean and geometric mean of two numbers. It is one of those properties which make sense the moment someone explains to us but are very hard to arrive on our own.

When two positive numbers are equal, their Arithmetic Mean = Geometric Mean = The number itself

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?

Why You Felt Good on the GMAT Quant Section but Didn't Score Well

Why You Felt Good on the GMAT Quant Section but Didn't Score Well

This is a problem that I have seen many times before. It leaves students bewildered because all of the signs that would lead them to expect a lower score are absent. They did not run out of time, they did not have to guess at lots of questions, and they did not feel overwhelmed. Even I have suffered from this a bit, my lowest Quant score came on the exam where I felt most comfortable – and my highest score on Quant came on the exam that felt the worst.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
Use This Strategy for Fractions and Save Time on GMAT Test Day

Use This Strategy for Fractions and Save Time on GMAT Test Day

One of the most uncomfortable aspects of the GMAT is that you are not allowed to use a calculator for the quantitative section. This is uncomfortable because, throughout your everyday life, you are never more than about 5 feet from a calculator (yes, even in Death Valley). Almost everyone has a cell phone, a laptop, a desktop or a GMAT guru nearby to compute difficult calculations for them. Even high school students are generally allowed their calculators on test day. However, the lack of a calculator allows the GMAT to test your reasoning skills and time management skills much more easily than if you had access to electronic help.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
Pre-thinking in Quant GMAT Questions

Pre-thinking in Quant GMAT Questions

We all know about the role of pre-thinking in Critical Reasoning and how anticipating the answer can be supremely beneficial in not just the physical aspect of saving time in analyzing options but also the psychological aspect of promoting our self-confidence – we were thinking that the answer should look like this and that is exactly what we found! Pre-thinking puts us in the driver’s seat and we feel energized without consuming any red bull!

GMAT Tip of the Week: Learn from DeflateGate and Don't Get Caught Unintentionally Cheating

GMAT Tip of the Week: Learn from DeflateGate and Don't Get Caught Unintentionally Cheating

It’s Super Bowl week, and instead of Seattle’s miracle comeback over Green Bay or a fantastically-intriguing matchup between the longstanding dynasty in New England and the up-and-coming dynasty in Seattle, all anyone wants to talk about is DeflateGate. Did the Patriots knowingly underinflate or consciously deflate footballs? Did doing so provide a competitive advantage? Will/should they be punished?