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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
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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
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
4 Factors to Consider when Determining if Your GMAT Score is High Enough for Business School

4 Factors to Consider when Determining if Your GMAT Score is High Enough for Business School

This is a common question we get as head consultants.  At what point is your GMAT good enough that you can move to the next stage?  If you read my previous post on timelines and milestones, I recommend getting the GMAT out of the way first as it serves to guide your school selection, and, frankly, is pretty stressful – having to take the GMAT close to a school deadline will only add to that stress.

An Introduction to Solving Alphametic Questions on the GMAT

An Introduction to Solving Alphametic Questions on the GMAT

Today, let’s learn how to solve alphametics. An alphametic is a mathematical puzzle where every letter stands for a digit from 0 – 9. The mapping of letters to numbers is one-to-one; that is, the same letter always stands for the same digit, and the same digit is always represented by the same letter.

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
MBA Admissions Timeline: When You Should Take the GMAT, Ask for Recommendations, and More

MBA Admissions Timeline: When You Should Take the GMAT, Ask for Recommendations, and More

As we are putting final touches on R3 applications, it is already time to start thinking about the next application cycle for many of you.  This is especially true if you want to apply in R1.  Deadlines that seem distant always have a way to sneak up on those who are unprepared.  To help you in the planning process, we thought it would be useful to outline what a well thought-out timeline for a successful business school application might look like.  This is written for the average applicant; some might be able to pull it off in a much shorter period (not recommended), others, such as non-traditional applicants, might need a lot more time.

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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
How to Solve Advanced Compound Interest Questions on the GMAT

How to Solve Advanced Compound Interest Questions on the GMAT

We have discussed simple and compound interest in a previous post.

We saw that simple and compound interest (compounded annually) in the first year is the same. In the second year, the only difference is that in compound interest, you earn interest on previous year’s interest too. Hence, the total two year interest in compound interest exceeds the two year interest in case of simple interest by an amount which is interest on year 1 interest.

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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
Taking the Best Approach When Solving Data Sufficiency GMAT Questions

Taking the Best Approach When Solving Data Sufficiency GMAT Questions

Sometimes, we get questions which we cannot neatly bracket as Arithmetic/Algebra/Geometry etc. In fact, the higher level questions usually focus on more than one subject area.  The trick in these questions is to assimilate all your knowledge from various areas and then think how best to solve.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Prepare for the GMAT Using the Study Plan Rule of Thirds

GMAT Tip of the Week: Prepare for the GMAT Using the Study Plan Rule of Thirds

Here on the first Friday of April, we’ve officially ended the first quarter of the year and fiscal reports are streaming in. But who’s in a hurry to finish 2015?

We’re still firmly entrenched in the first third of the year, and if 2015 is the year that you plan to conquer the GMAT you’re in luck. Why?

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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Quant, GMAT Tips
My Test Prep Journey to Scoring a 710 on the GMAT

My Test Prep Journey to Scoring a 710 on the GMAT

The Veritas Prep program allowed me to reach my GMAT goals and re-learn all of the quantitative skills that I had forgotten over the past several years. I am an Army veteran, six years out of college, and Veritas Prep was the perfect program to teach me the skills I needed to succeed on the GMAT. I am thankful for the quality of the curriculum, and also very appreciative of the generous scholarship from Veritas Prep through the Service2School organization. Throughout the self-study lessons, I could always count on the on-demand videos to deliver engaging, thoughtful content and guide me through the lesson of the day. I particularly enjoyed Brian’s humorous references (the “alge, brah” joke stands out): The human element to the videos definitely helped me to remember many topics and leverage them on test day.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Prep
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.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Want to be a RC MVP? Get Down with OPP.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Want to be a RC MVP? Get Down with OPP.

Welcome back to Hip Hop Month in the GMAT Tip of the Week space, where we’re pneumonic by nature.  We’ve talked about being a Sentence Correction MVP, about using the STOP method for Reading Comprehension, about the SWIM categories for Critical Reasoning.  We’ve warned you that results can be rocky when you’re trying to finish quant problems ASAP and we spent just about all of our time talking about the GMAT.  But we’d have you shaking your head and saying WTF if we didn’t cover the most noteworthy and, yes, naughty acronym of all time: OPP.

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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
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
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.