We began last week with a quant trick demonstrating the 1st Thing GMAT Testmakers Don’t Want You to Know: they can do quant problems entirely in their heads! This was no doubt a carefully guarded secret, but now that it’s out there, it should take the intimidation factor of those difficult-looking quant problems down a notch or two.
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Most people who plan to take GMAT seriously take a few prep tests, practice tests or mock tests, whatever you may like to call them. Usually, the tests are taken to gauge one’s current level i.e. to get an approximate idea of what one would score if one were to take GMAT that day. Of course, they have other uses too – practice in timed environment, build stamina, identify strengths and weaknesses etc. Usually, these tests are fairly accurate (with an error of up to 40-50 points in the total score). A recent phenomena has been much lower score (especially verbal) compared to the prep test scores (not among Veritas Prep students though – I will explain the reason for this soon).
One of the most fascinating parts of being a GMAT instructor is getting to watch successful adults relive the math they did as kids. In many cases, an instructor can actually see that concept or point in time when the student stopped trying to really understand the math and just started relying on that combination of memorization and partial credit to get their Bs in math and search for a career path that would include no more of it. How many students decided at some point in junior high or high school that they just weren’t a “math person”?
As a GMAT instructor, I frequently find myself perusing the GMAT Official Guide, dare I say, “for fun”. The OG is a terrific indication of the types of questions you can expect to see on the GMAT, and the solution is usually a great method to get to the right answer. However, sometimes I find myself surprised at the official answer because I would solve the question in a completely different way and get to the answer in significantly less time than the OG method.
Studying for the GMAT in just one month is nobody’s idea of a party, but sometimes it can’t be avoided. If you’re locked in to your test date and need to make the best of a bad situation, wipe that perspiration off your brow and take a deep breath: it is possible to significantly improve your score in one month! In fact, depending on your latent test-taking, grammar, algebra, number properties, time management, and general cool-as-a-cucumber skills, you probably already have a LOT of the needed requirements found in a 700+ scoring GMAT test-taker. Here’s some quick tips to conquer content, strategy, and pacing in only 4 weeks.
As I discussed in my last entry on The Art of War and success on the GMAT, the makers of the GMAT have only a few ways to attack you in battle. They also have a few things that keep a figurative arm tied behind their back. These limitations are what you can, and should, exploit to your advantage. However, it may still not be clear who exactly you’re dealing with. And as you remember, knowing thy enemy (and thyself) is key to a great score.
Let’s look at a question today which encompasses most of what we have discussed in this topic. This will be the last post on this topic for a while now. We assume that after going through these posts thoroughly, if you come across any question on ‘this inscribed in that’, you should be able to handle it. Just a reminder, keep in mind the symmetry of the figures you are handling.
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” – Juliet / William Shakespeare
Carlos Danger is Anthony Weiner. And a creep by any other name would be just as creepy. This week the New York mayoral candidate, notorious for tweeting his last name all across the internet, put his campaign into his fake last name by doing the same thing under an alias. And in doing so, he taught many of you who aspire to live under his intended jurisdiction – as students at NYU-Stern or Columbia, or as bankers or marketers or hip-hop moguls after graduation – a valuable lesson about the GMAT:
Many concepts covered on the GMAT come up in every day conversation. One of the common mistakes frequently tested on the GMAT that people make mistakes with in colloquial speech is that lack of agreement between a subject and verb when the verb is placed before the subject (There’s a lot of reasons this happens…) People make this mistake regularly and no one really seems to notice it, but the GMAT thoroughly tests this type of mistake, so you likely will have had sufficient exposure to this scenario by test day.
At $250, the GMAT is not a cheap test, and when you consider that many students take it two or three times, the fees really add up. If you’re concerned about the cost and believe you can demonstrate extreme financial need, it’s possible to take the GMAT for free (or at least discounted)!
How can you do this? In 2001 GMAC created a voucher program to assist students who might not otherwise be able to take the exam. GMAC’s CEO David A. Wilson was quoted in Businessweek online that year describing the initial implementation of the voucher program:
Last week we looked at questions on polygons inscribed in a circle. This week, let’s look at questions on circles inscribed in regular polygons. As noted earlier, it’s important to keep in mind that regular polygons are symmetrical figures. You need very little information to solve for anything in a symmetrical figure.
A common question we get from students who have just completed our free GMAT practice goes something like this: “I just got a score of X, but I see that I got Y questions right and Z questions wrong… How can my score be so low/high?” Embedded in this question is a bit of a lack of understanding of how a computer-adaptive test (CAT) works. Let’s dig in…
With a fairly consistent test format for more than fifty years, the Graduate Management Admissions Council has revamped the test with a couple of assessment changes in the past few years. Most recently, the Integrated Reasoning Section, a 30-minute portion of the GMAT made up of 12 questions, was designed to measure one’s ability to discern patterns and combine verbal and quantitative reasoning so solve problems. While the admissions committees at top schools seem to continue focusing on the traditional verbal and quantitative score combination (out of a possible 800), we will likely see an emphasis shift towards these new sections in the future (which also include a 30-minute writing analysis of a topic), since the skills they measure are critical to today’s business leaders.
When answering data sufficiency questions on the GMAT, the key is to successfully determine when you have sufficient information to make a decision with 100% certainty. I often equate data sufficiency with determining whether the competition is stealing from you. If you’re sure they are not, then everything is fine and you are competing in a fair and balanced environment. Similarly, if you have definitive proof that they are hijacking your million dollar idea (possibly for pet rocks or the duck commander), then you can pursue legal action to remedy the situation.
Each year, eager b-school hopefuls line up to take the GMAT, and each year many end up with a score below what they had been getting on their practice exams. What went wrong? Why the discrepancy? The answer is never easy to ascertain, but there are several questions you can ask yourself to try and figure out what happened. One of the most important ones is actually rather simple: did you practice for the test environment as well as for the questions themselves?
“You can learn a lot more from a few seconds of pain than from a few hours of glory.”
We all want to breeze through our GMAT homework getting every question right in under two minutes, but absolutely no one does that. And if you’re in a GMAT class, do you really want to get every answer right the first time? Sure, that might mean that “you’re great”, but in reality what it probably means is that the class is going through problems that are too easy. The beauty of mistakes – and the reason that Veritas Prep classes emphasize “Learning by Doing” with challenge-level problems throughout – is that they’re the best learning opportunities out there. Every time you make a mistake, you’re adding another lesson to the pile and finding a new hole to plug. Every mistake you make in practice is a chance to make sure you learn to avoid that mistake for when it really matters.
There is a lot of value in keeping things simple. Simplicity is a beautiful thing, especially when combined with functionality. Think of the designs Apple comes up with (or at least did when Steve Jobs ran the show): products were simple, sleek, stylish, and routinely worked flawlessly. The appeal and popularity of these machines is steeped in how effortlessly they perform their functions, combining reliable functionality and timeless elegance.
We often get asked by clients how many times they should take the GMAT before they move on to other components of the application. Of course this largely depends on your score, but if you find yourself disappointed with your initial test results, you will generally want to try again.
Broadly speaking, schools don’t really care how many times you take the test, and will only consider your highest score. Know that they won’t combine separate components into one score, but will consider your best overall score from one sitting as your “application score.” Having said that, it is also generally agreed upon that schools don’t want to see applicants taking the exam a dozen times. This can communicate negative qualities to the admission’s committee such as poor time management skills, slow learner syndrome, or good old fashioned poor judgment or misalignment of priorities.
Today we will work with circles inscribed in regular polygons.
We begin by considering an equilateral triangle whose each side is of length ‘a’. Recall that every triangle has an incircle i.e. a circle can be inscribed in every triangle. The diagram given below shows the circle of radius ‘r’ inscribed in an equilateral triangle.
Ah, summertime. Perhaps you’re spending this first-weekend-of-July at the Jersey Shore, or perhaps you have plans to watch baseball. Either way, there’s a good chance you’ll run into an MVP comparison, and if you do you’re helping your GMAT verbal score more than you’ll ever know. Because the key to Sentence Correction success is the MVP comparison.
Two words that often get confused in the English language are effective and efficient. Many people use these words as if they are synonyms, when, in fact, they are two distinct notions that only sound like homonyms. In fact, the words effective and efficient complement each other perfectly. How does this affect the GMAT? While both words are usually used as compliments, their effect on the exam is very noticeable (see what I did there?)
Last week, I introduced the idea of timing on the GMAT. Today, we will look at the technique which helped me a lot in reducing my stress and improving my time management. Have a look, take away the main methodology and please feel free to adjust certain parts of it to suit your own purposes.
Hemingway wrote his prose in a manner which has come to be known as the “Iceberg Theory.” Influenced by his journalistic career, Hemingway believed that by omitting superfluous and extraneous matter, writing becomes more interesting. The minimalistic style of a Hemingway piece is a lesson all GMAT students can apply to their AWA writing: take out the fluff! Argument essays that receive scores of 6 typically are “fluff-free” zones – the paragraphs are organized and to the point, and they say what they mean to say.
GMAT students can now benefit from a new blog series featuring video tips from Veritas Prep’s own Director of Academic Programs, Brian Galvin. Last week, Brian helped us spot pronoun errors in Sentence Correction by ‘minding the gap.’ This week, we’ll learn about the adaptability and scoring of the GMAT.
In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, Stanford professor Walter Mischel conducted one of the most famous social experiments of all time. Known as the “Marshmallow Test,” the experiment worked like this:
A child was brought into a room and a marshmallow was placed in front of that child. The experimenter told the child that he would return in 15 minutes, and if the child did not eat the marshmallow before his return, then that child would be given two marshmallows.
Are you having a hard time writing a solid “6” AWA, or getting some disappointing feedback from instructors, tutors, or friends? The good thing about AWA, is that its easily improved. Going from an “average” 4 to a “perfect” 6 is achievable by just about anyone who can read, memorize, and practice.
Today I would like to share from personal experience some advice on how to efficiently track your time and control your pace while not getting too stressed out about how well you are doing on the GMAT. Time management is crucial to success on your GMAT exam.
Let’s start with the analysis of the issue at hand: timing on the GMAT test in general, and why tracking your time and controlling your pace is also important.
In Critical Reasoning, it is often possible to foresee the correct answer without even glancing at the answer choices. Whenever a question asks you to strengthen or weaken an argument, the correct answer will usually be the one that fixes the inconsistency between the conclusion and the premise of the passage. Inference questions can be extremely open ended, but strengthen/weaken (can I abbreviate this to streaken?) questions are generally about the most glaring issue with a sentence. The GMAT uses this type of trick a lot, so the errors may be subtle and they may be crafty, but they are always present in any strengthen/weaken CR question.
GMAT students can now benefit from a new series featuring video tips from Veritas Prep’s own Brian Galvin. Last week, Brian reminded us to ‘mind the gap’ in critical reasoning, and today he’ll give us a look into pronoun errors.
Occasionally on the GMAT, word problems involving simple and compound interest pop up. Interest can be thought of as the rental cost of money. The math requires a solid grasp of percentages and exponents. Like Rates and Work questions, this concept can appear intimidating if you don’t know the required formulas, but are actually fairly simple to solve!
Last week we looked at regular and irregular polygons. Today, let’s try to understand how questions involving one figure inscribed in another are done. The most common example of a figure inscribed in another is a polygon inscribed in a circle or a circle inscribed in a polygon. Let’s see the various ways in which this can be done.
This morning, nearly every talk radio show and blog will be dissecting last night’s NBA Finals Game 7 and the performance and legacy of LeBron James. So let’s not get left out. Because in many ways, last night’s game – the Heat’s win over the Spurs, LeBron’s epically-efficient but maybe not SportsCenter style iconic performance – is a direct parallel to the GMAT. We wanted excellence and we got it, but maybe not in the dazzling, jaw-dropping way that we expected it – and that’s often true of 700+ performances on the GMAT, too. The signature moment of last night’s game, if there was one, was probably LeBron’s 17-foot jump shot inside of 30 seconds left to go from a 2-point lead to a 4-point lead. It was a nonspectacular but extremely necessary play to seal a championship, just like the questions you answer to seal your 700 probably won’t be jawdroppingly difficult. Here’s what we wanted to see and what we saw from LeBron, along with you probably think you need for a 700+ and what you really need:
The GMAT is an exam steeped in logic, deduction and understanding. In order to succeed on the exam, you should be able to look at any given question objectively and determine what it is asking, and where the traps may lie. Now, this is akin to asking you to navigate a labyrinth while avoiding the Minotaur: just because you know the rules, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be successful. Taking the labyrinth as a metaphor, how can you rise to the challenge put forth in front of you?
Two-Part Analysis questions, or TPA, (one of four question-types in the IR section) present a short paragraph with information. Answer choices will be presented in several columns and rows. Each column stands for a component, and each row is part of the solution. You’ll need to choose one answer from each column.
NYU’s Stern School of Business recently released its admissions essays and deadlines for the full-time MBA Class of 2016. NYU’s application essays haven’t changed at all since last year, so our advice mostly remains the same. However, the admissions committee now lets you choose between two prompts (including Stern’s famous “Creative Expression” submission) that both used to be required, reducing the total amount of “stuff” that you will submit to the school.
Continuing our Geometry journey, let’s discuss polygons today. Some years back, I used to often get confused in the polygon sum-of-the-interior-angles formula if I had to recall it after a gap of some months because I had seen two variations of it:
Sum of interior angles of a polygon = (n – 2)*180
Let’s say you were in the market for some new technology, and let’s say your friend introduced you to a guy who sold used, refurbished gadgets at a huge discount. And let’s say he gave you this choice – you could buy:
A) An iPhone 5 for $50
B) A digital camera for $40