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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.”

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Is This GMAT Question Suspect?

Is This GMAT Question Suspect?

I came across a discussion on one of our questions where the respondents were split over whether it is a strengthen question or weaken! Mind you, both sides had many supporters but the majority was with the incorrect side. You must have read the write up on ‘support’ in your Veritas Prep CR book where we discuss how question stems having the word ‘support’ could indicate either strengthen or inference questions. I realized that we need a write up on the word ‘suspect’ too so here goes.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Learning Math from Mathers

GMAT Tip of the Week: Learning Math from Mathers

March has traditionally been “Hip Hop Month” in the GMAT Tip of the Week space, so with March only hours away and winter weather gripping the world, let’s round up to springtime and start Hip Hop March a few hours early, this time borrowing a page from USC-Marshall Mathers. There are plenty of GMAT lessons to learn from Eminem. He’s a master, as are the authors of GMAT Critical Reasoning, of “precision in language“. He flips sentence structures around to create more interesting wordplay, a hallmark of Sentence Correction authors. But what can one of the world’s greatest vocal wordsmiths teach you about quant?

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:

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
What Is the GMAT?

What Is the GMAT?

After more than a decade of being in business, Veritas Prep has worked with tens of thousands of people who need to take the GMAT for one reason or another. But few actually take the time to truly understand what the GMAT is all about, or why they’re really taking it (aside from the fact that it’s required for admissions to their desired graduate school).

Filed in: GMAT
An Official Question on Absolute Values

An Official Question on Absolute Values

Now that we have discussed some important absolute value properties, let’s look at how they can help us in solving official questions.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Synchronizing Twizzles in Critical Reasoning

GMAT Tip of the Week: Synchronizing Twizzles in Critical Reasoning

As the Sochi Olympics enter their final weekend, we all have our lists of things we’ll miss and not miss from this sixteen-day celebration of snow and ice. We’ll almost all miss the hashtag #sochiproblems, the cutaway shots of a scowling Vladimir Putin, the bro show of American snowboarders and TJ Oshie, and the debate over whether the skating judges conspired to give Russia the team gold and the US the ice dancing gold.

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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Properties of Absolute Values on the GMAT - Part II

Properties of Absolute Values on the GMAT - Part II

We pick up this post from where we left the post of last week in which we looked at a few properties of absolute values in two variables. There is one more property that we would like to talk about today. Thereafter, we will look at a question based on some of these properties.

GMAT Tip of the Week: If You Can't Be With the Sentence You Love, Love the One You're With

GMAT Tip of the Week: If You Can't Be With the Sentence You Love, Love the One You're With

Happy Valentine’s Day, a day when we honor the soulmate, that one special someone, the concept of true love and destiny. Valentine’s Day is about finding “the one” and never letting go, and this day itself is about being with that one you love, your one true destiny.

But if you think your destiny includes Harvard, Stanford, or Wharton, your Sentence Correction strategy should be a lot less “Endless Love” and a lot more “Love the One You’re With”. As Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young sing directly about the art of GMAT Sentence Correction:

Filed in: GMAT
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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Properties of Absolute Values on the GMAT

Properties of Absolute Values on the GMAT

We have talked about quite a few concepts involving absolute value of x in our previous posts. But some absolute value questions involve two variables. Then do we need to consider the positive and negative values of both x and y? Certainly! But there are some properties of absolute value that could come in handy in such questions. Let’s take a look at them:

GMAT Tip of the Week: What Do the Olympics and Sentence Correction Have in Common?

GMAT Tip of the Week: What Do the Olympics and Sentence Correction Have in Common?

The Winter Olympics start tonight in Sochi, and while journalists tweet about the less-than-ideal living conditions in the Russian resort town the athletes themselves have a job to do.  Whether they’re skiing or luging or bobsledding, the vast majority of athletes will share one goal:

Get downhill quickly.

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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
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.”

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
How Well Do You Know Your Factors?

How Well Do You Know Your Factors?

In the last three weeks, we discussed a couple of strategies we can use to solve max-min questions: ‘Establishing Base Case’ and ‘Focus on Extremes’. Now try to use those to solve this question:

Question: A carpenter has to build 71 wooden boxes in one week. He can build as many per day as he wants but he has decided that the number of boxes he builds on any one day should be within 4 off the number he builds on any other day.
(A) What is the least number of boxes that he could have build on Saturday?
(B) What is the greatest number of boxes that he could have build on Saturday?

GMAT Tip of the Week: Peyton Manning & Omaha!

GMAT Tip of the Week: Peyton Manning & Omaha!

The crisis has largely been averted. As we approach Sunday’s Super Bowl, our collective eyes are no longer intently watching the thermometer in East Rutherford wondering how a polar vortex might affect the most American of all holidays, Super Bowl Sunday. We can now get back to the number we all REALLY care about:

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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Average GMAT Scores for the Top 30 MBA Programs

Average GMAT Scores for the Top 30 MBA Programs

There are a number of criteria by which you can rank MBA programs: Average starting salary after graduation, average undergrad GPA of incoming students, acceptance rate, student satisfaction, and academic reputation among peer schools are all measures that publications use to try to sort the schools and create a definitive ranking.

Filed in: GMAT, MBA Rankings
Max-Min Strategies: Focus on Extremes

Max-Min Strategies: Focus on Extremes

In the last two weeks, we discussed some max min strategies. Today, let’s look at another max-min question in which we apply the strategy of focusing on the extremes. The largest or the smallest values are often found at the extremes of a given range.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Richard Sherman, the Sorry GMAT, and the Result You're Going To Get

GMAT Tip of the Week: Richard Sherman, the Sorry GMAT, and the Result You're Going To Get

By now you’ve seen the interview heard round the world – Richard Sherman’s immediate post-game interview with Erin Andrews – and all the fallout from it: Twitter hysteria, discussions about what that Twitter hysteria says about culture, little kid parodies, and everything else. And regardless of what you think about Richard Sherman, if you’re reading a blog post about MBA admissions you want to be Richard Sherman:

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).

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Max-Min Strategies: Establishing Base Case

Max-Min Strategies: Establishing Base Case

Continuing our discussion on maximizing/minimizing strategies, let’s look at another question today. Today we discuss the strategy of establishing a base case, a strategy which often comes in handy in DS questions. The base case gives us a starting point and direction to our thoughts. Otherwise, with the number of possible cases in any given scenario, we may find our mind wandering from one direction to another without reaching any conclusions. That is a huge waste of time, a precious commodity.

GMAT Tip of The Week: Tonya Harding Teaches Data Sufficiency

GMAT Tip of The Week: Tonya Harding Teaches Data Sufficiency

Twenty years later, the figure skater you’d never have called “trendy” was trending last night. As ESPN aired its 30 For 30 special on Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan, the biggest pre-OJ story of 1994 became the hottest topic of early 2014. Heading into the 1994 Olympics, both Nancy and Tonya were Olympic veterans, having placed 3rd and 4th, respectively, at the 1992 Games. With 1992 gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi out of the way, the table was set for a Nancy vs. Tonya showdown and both were up to the task, Tonya having been 1991 U.S. Champion and Nancy having won that title in 1993.

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).

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
5 Predictions for 2014 in the MBA and College Spaces

5 Predictions for 2014 in the MBA and College Spaces

One thing that we love to do around Veritas Prep HQ is declare our opinions. Whether it’s about football, health food, traffic etiquette, dancing, or stand-up comedy, everyone here has an opinion. Even more fun is when we stick our necks out and make some predictions about where we see test preparation and admissions going in the coming year. We’re often right, and we’re always entertaining.

How to Deal with Maximizing/Minimizing Strategies on the GMAT

How to Deal with Maximizing/Minimizing Strategies on the GMAT

We haven’t dealt with maximizing/minimizing strategies in our QWQW series yet (except in sets). The reason for this is that the strategy to be used varies from question to question. What works in one question may not work in another. You might have to think up on what to do in a question from scratch and you have only 2 mins to do it in. The saving grace is that once you know what you have to do, the actual work involved to arrive at the answer is very little.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Keep the Bridge Clear and Your Score High

GMAT Tip of the Week: Keep the Bridge Clear and Your Score High

The GMAT, it seems, is a lot like politics:

-You can’t win them all – in fact, with Item Response Theory scoring much like with democracy you can achieve a resounding “victory” with even 55-60% success in many cases.

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).

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Our 2013 Predictions: How Did We Do?

Our 2013 Predictions: How Did We Do?

And just like that, a whole year has flown by again! Last January, we posted four predictions for the world of test prep and admissions. As fun as it is to make predictions, and it’s even more rewarding to look back at some point and see how we did. (“Oh my… We predicted THAT would happen?”) If you predict enough things, some of them will eventually happen, right?

Converting Non-Terminating Repeating Decimals to Fractions

Converting Non-Terminating Repeating Decimals to Fractions

Last week we discussed the properties of terminating decimals. We also discussed that non-terminating but repeating decimals are rational numbers.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Goodbye to “No, But...” and Hello to “Yes, And...”

GMAT Tip of the Week: Goodbye to “No, But...” and Hello to “Yes, And...”

It’s a new year, which is often a good time for a new mindset. And if you’ve already decided that 2014 is the year for you to get serious about graduate school, the “hard work pays off” mindset is one you’ve already adopted. So before the year gets too old and habits get too hard to change, try adding one more new outlook to your study regimen (and your life) this year:

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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Test Prep and Admissions: The Best of 2013

Test Prep and Admissions: The Best of 2013

There goes another year. Faster than you can say “99th-percentile instructors,” 2013 has come and gone, leaving in its wake a trail of excellent Veritas Prep blog articles. As we start to wrap up the year here at Veritas Prep HQ, wrap our Secret Santa gifts, and prepare to break in the new hires at our annual holiday party, we thought this would be a good time to share some of our biggest news and most popular articles from the past year.

Terminating Decimals in Data Sufficiency on the GMAT

Terminating Decimals in Data Sufficiency on the GMAT

Last week, we discussed the basics of terminating decimals. Let me review the important points here:

-  To figure out whether the fraction is terminating, bring it down to its lowest form.

GMAT Tip of the Week: No Resolution!

GMAT Tip of the Week: No Resolution!

So you have a few more days to commit to your New Year’s Resolution, and if you’re like most people you have something like 35 days until you break it. Resolutions don’t often stick, but if your New Year’s Resolution is to apply to business school in 2014, and if as part of that resolution you’re planning to get a high GMAT score, you’re in luck:

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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips