Archive : GMAT

RSS feed
How to Use a Double Matrix on the GMAT

How to Use a Double Matrix on the GMAT

While my personal preference is to use a Venn diagram when dealing with most Sets questions, there are some questions in which a double-matrix is necessary (and much more powerful than a wimpy Venn). This little guy will make even the scariest-looking Sets question into a simple set of rows and columns, and its ability to help us determine whether a statement is sufficient in DS is unmatched!

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
The Play of Words

The Play of Words

Some days back I came across a question which was a slight twist on a regular question type. The usual active voice of the sentence had been changed to passive but in such a way that the meaning had been altered. It was a lesson in DS as well as SC – read every word carefully. One word could change a 600 level to a 750 level one, a mundane everyday question to a smart question. We often see this interesting transformation in P&C questions but for that to happen in algebra was quite a delight. Let’s discuss that particular question today.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Thinking Like the Testmaker

GMAT Tip of the Week: Thinking Like the Testmaker

Earlier this week, in creating a blog post for our friends at Poets & Quants, we wanted to punctuate the Data Sufficiency lesson in the post with a fairly-basic sample problem that would have these four characteristics:

How to Avoid Mistakes in Plane Geometry on the GMAT

How to Avoid Mistakes in Plane Geometry on the GMAT

We tend to see a lot of plane geometry questions on the GMAT involving benches, walkways, or other additions being constructed “around” shapes. We’re usually given a few different parts (length, width, or radius) and then asked to find something like the new total area, the original perimeter, or the new length with the addition.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
How to Solve Combinatorics Questions on the GMAT

How to Solve Combinatorics Questions on the GMAT

Of all the topics on the GMAT quant section, few get students as confused as the concept of combinatorics. The concept of going to the store and picking up one of four possible gifts for a niece is pretty straightforward (she generally likes Barbies© or My Little Pony© toys), but picking up two toys out of four for your twin nieces and then deciding which one gets which often deteriorates into an exercise of brute force combinatorics.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
1 Need to Know Formula for Sets on the GMAT

1 Need to Know Formula for Sets on the GMAT

I don’t know about you, but when I see formulas for sets that look like P(A) + P(B) + P(C) – 2P(A n B) – 2P(A n C) – 2P(B n C) + 3P(A n B n C), it takes me a minute for my brain to recall exactly what all these signs and symbols mean.

Even if we’re die-hard GMAT-ers, we’re just not used to seeing that many sets questions on practice tests, so while we know n = intersection and u = union, these formulas are just not easy to recall or employ.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
The Curious Case of the Incorrect Answer

The Curious Case of the Incorrect Answer

Many of us are hooked on to using algebra in Quant questions. The thought probably is that how can it be a Quant question if one did not need to take a couple of variables and make a couple of equations/inequalities. We, at Veritas Prep, love to harp on about how algebra is time consuming and unnecessary in most cases. But today we will go one step further and discuss how indiscriminate use of algebra can actually result in incorrect answers. Surprised, eh?

GMAT Tip of the Week: Why Johnny Manziel Would Beat the GMAT (but maybe not Bama)

GMAT Tip of the Week: Why Johnny Manziel Would Beat the GMAT (but maybe not Bama)

Heading into this weekend’s giant Alabama vs. Texas A&M game, college football fans are probably as sick of hearing about Johnny Manziel as aspiring MBAs are of studying for the GMAT. But both, at least to some degree, are necessary evils – Manziel represents the best chance that football fans have of seeing someone other than Alabama playing for the national championship, and the GMAT is essential to a well-rounded MBA application. And there’s an overlap between the two – Manziel’s playing style can help you learn to beat the daunting GMAT the same way that he’s the only recent QB to beat that daunting Alabama defense. Here’s how summoning your inner Johnny Football can help you become Johnny (or Jenny) GMAT:

A Shortcut for Rectangular Solids Questions on the GMAT

A Shortcut for Rectangular Solids Questions on the GMAT

Quant questions on the GMAT occasionally ask us to find the length of the longest distance between two vertices in a rectangular solid. To solve these, usually we solve by (1) drawing the figure to visualize it, and (2) carefully applying the Pythagorean Theorem twice.

For example:

In a cube with a side length of 12 cm, A is the midpoint of an edge that lies on the base and B is the midpoint of a vertical edge. What is the greatest possible distance between A and B rounded to the nearest integer?

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
How to Solve Critical Reasoning Questions on the GMAT

How to Solve Critical Reasoning Questions on the GMAT

A quote often attributed to (2nd US President) John Adams states that “facts are stubborn things”. In everyday life, we are often confronted with various personal opinions or subjective viewpoints on everything from politics (more horses and bayonets or less?) to fashion (can you believe what Miley Cyrus wore last week) to love (you complete me). However everyone understands that personal opinions are, well, personal. They vary from one individual to another and two people can have completely different beliefs on the exact same issue.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Getting Back to the Basics: Circles

Getting Back to the Basics: Circles

The Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” may have more thrills than the GMAT, but the jaws of those deadly sea-predators are a great inspiration to look at one of the GMAT’s own mysterious creatures: circles. Since we miss Shark Week around here, we give you “Arc Week” today.

When it comes to circles, most of us are old pros at finding the area and circumference, and setting up basic ratios and proportions with the parts of a circle, but there are several lesser-known theorems involving the arcs of a circle that might be helpful to have up your sleeve for a GMAT rainy day!

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Dealing with the Third Degree

Dealing with the Third Degree

One of the basic things you need to know before you start your GMAT preparation is how to solve quadratic equations i.e. factorize the quadratic  and equate each factor to 0 to get the possible values that x can take. Today we will discuss how you can solve a third degree equation.

Say an equation such as x^3 – 6x^2 + 11x – 6 = 0.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Get Exxxtreeeme!!!! on Logic-Based Math Questions

GMAT Tip of the Week: Get Exxxtreeeme!!!! on Logic-Based Math Questions

What do Mountain Dew, Tough Mudder, and Data Sufficiency have in common? Maybe they’re your plans for this weekend, but more universally they all lend themselves to the mentality, lifestyle, and even spelling of the eXXtreme!! And while we could fill this space with extreme-to-the-max tips about Mountain Dew (please don’t drink it for breakfast, high school students) and Tough Mudder (bring your wallet…their marketing is as extreme as the event itself), it’s more helpful to show you how taking it to the extreme can help you succeed on logic-based quant questions.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the GMAT

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the GMAT

There is one recurring question everyone has about the GMAT: what can I expect on “Game Day” and how well will practice tests prepare me for the real deal?  This is a tough question; everyone trains and reacts differently.  However, there’s one thing you should know: The GMAT Will Surprise You.  It will surprise you because the test makers want to hit you with difficult and unexpected challenges; it’s the best way to prove you earned the score.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Examples of Ratio Problems on the GMAT

Examples of Ratio Problems on the GMAT

When studying for the GMAT, some questions will undoubtedly bring back fond memories of high school math classes, cramming for exams and wondering if that classmate you had a crush on even knew you existed (note: this may also remind you of Dawson’s Creek). Algebra and Geometry concepts evoke these feelings of nostalgia, because unless you’re an engineer or an architect (perhaps Art Vandelay?), you probably haven’t thought about the concepts in a decade or two.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
How to Solve for Data Sufficiency Value Questions on the GMAT

How to Solve for Data Sufficiency Value Questions on the GMAT

We’ve looked at a lot of ways the GMAT can make Data Sufficiency questions more challenging (number properties, I’m talking to you!), but one type of DS question the GMAT likes to throw out there to really confuse unwary test-takers are value questions that ask about sums.

Say we had a question that asked, “what is the value of the sum of x and y?” Immediately, we have two possible ways that the statements could offer sufficiency: if they provided us with the ability to solve for x and y independently, and if they provided us with the ability to find the sum itself.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Is a 650 GMAT Score Good Enough for a Top 10 MBA Program?

Is a 650 GMAT Score Good Enough for a Top 10 MBA Program?

It goes without saying that the GMAT is a challenging test.  Weeks of preparation boils down to just a few hours sitting in front of a glowing screen, attempting to demonstrate your aptitude for business school, which is supposedly what the test is designed to measure.  Despite your best efforts to get a seven-handle on your score, however, you end up in the mid sixes. Will this be good enough to get into your dream school?

Filed in: GMAT, MBA Admissions
When the Question is Harder than the Solution!

When the Question is Harder than the Solution!

Last week we looked at a question whose solution was quite hard to explain. This week we will look at a question in which the question itself is hard to explain (so no point worrying about the difficulty in explaining the solution as of now!) So why are we discussing such a question? Because it is certainly not out of GMAT-scope. It uses the concepts of relative speed and GMAT could give you some pretty intimidating questions at higher levels. So what should be your strategy when you come across a question which takes a minute or more to sink in? After you understand the question, first of all you should congratulate yourself that the toughest part is already over. If the question is hard to understand, the solution would be cake walk (well, at least it will feel like it).

GMAT Tip of the Week: Spend Your Labor Day Making Quant Problems Less Labor-Intensive

GMAT Tip of the Week: Spend Your Labor Day Making Quant Problems Less Labor-Intensive

So it’s Labor Day weekend, and hopefully you’ll celebrate by relaxing. But wait – Harvard’s admissions deadline is only about two weeks away, and Stanford’s is soon to follow, and within the next six weeks most top 20 programs will begin reviewing Round One applications.

How to Solve Data Sufficiency Questions on the GMAT

How to Solve Data Sufficiency Questions on the GMAT

On the GMAT quantitative section, you have just over 2 minutes on average to answer each question in front of you. Sometimes, those two minutes go by in a flash and you feel like the question should take at least 4 minutes in order to even make a reasonable guess. Other times, you think you can solve the question in a matter of seconds, and wonder why anyone would take a full 2 minutes on a question that you can eyeball without putting pen to paper (or marker to dry erase board). Because the 2 minute benchmark is an average, not a maximum, figuring out how much time to spend on each question is a crucial part of doing well on this test.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
How to Determine the Author's Tone on the GMAT

How to Determine the Author's Tone on the GMAT

When reading through Reading Comprehension texts, there are a few important concepts to keep in mind in order to be able to swiftly answer the upcoming questions. Every passage will have explicit information regarding the subject matter at hand, but some information will come from the author’s attitude and writing style. One of the most important things to do while reading a Reading Comprehension passage (other than staying awake) is determine the author’s tone.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
When Does Order Matter?

When Does Order Matter?

I have to admit that probability is confusing. The problem is not so much that students find it hard to understand as that teachers find it hard to explain. There are subtle points in a probability question that make all the difference in the world and it takes a ton of ingenuity to explain them in a manner that others understand. You either get the point right away, or you don’t.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Five Ways To Focus Your Studies For Back To School

GMAT Tip of the Week: Five Ways To Focus Your Studies For Back To School

If you’ve had grand plans all summer of taking some time to focus on the GMAT so you can apply to business school, but you’ve gotten sidetracked with barbecues and weekends at the beach and other outdoor activities, you’re not alone. Summertime was made for procrastination and recreation. But as sure as every Target and Wal-Mart ad out there is advertising “Back to School” specials on notebooks and backpacks, whether you’re entering kindergarten or hoping to enter Harvard Business School soon, it’s back-to-school time, time to get on a more regimented study routine. If, like most students, you’ve let your study habits wane over the endless summer, here are five ways to get back in gear to hit those October Round 1 deadlines or the January Round 2 deadlines with a positive GMAT experience this fall:

Filed in: GMAT
1,000,000 GMAT Questions Served!

1,000,000 GMAT Questions Served!

Ten months ago we introduced the Veritas Prep GMAT Question Bank, giving every GMAT student around the world completely free access to hundreds of realistic GMAT questions of all types. Today, we celebrate an incredible milestone: more than one million GMAT questions served!

Filed in: GMAT
A Common Sense Approach to Work Rate Problems on the GMAT: Part II

A Common Sense Approach to Work Rate Problems on the GMAT: Part II

We introduced the most common sense way of approaching a simple work rate problem last week in Part I.  No setup was necessary.  There was zero possibility for a calculation error, or a misconception.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
How to Solve for Past Perfect Tense on the GMAT

How to Solve for Past Perfect Tense on the GMAT

The past perfect tense in a GMAT Sentence Correction question can subtly change the meaning of a sentence, making an answer choice incorrect, even if the verb agrees with its subject in number. The past perfect tense is often used to describe an action that was completed prior to another past action:

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Using the Number Line

Using the Number Line

By now, you know that we like to discuss visual approaches to problems.  A visual tool that we have used before for solving inequality and modulus questions is the number line. The number line is also useful in helping us solve many number properties questions.

A few things to keep in mind when dealing with number line:

Tales From the Question Bank: Pros Before Idio-es

Tales From the Question Bank: Pros Before Idio-es

The Veritas Prep Question Bank offers unique insights in to the habits of GMAT test-takers; while students from around the world answer free GMAT practice questions, the Question Bank tracks patterns in the answers that the world selects, and in this series we’ll highlight valuable lessons that you can learn from the statistical analysis of how people choose their answers.

How to Logically Solve Algebra Problems on the GMAT

How to Logically Solve Algebra Problems on the GMAT

Just as all roads lead to Rome (well, all roads in Europe anyways), there are many ways to solve math questions on the GMAT. Any question can conceivably be solved in a variety of ways, but they must always be logical. No method is inherently superior to any other, so often it’s a question of which method will solve this particular problem in the most efficient way possible.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
A Common Sense Approach to Work Rate Problems on the GMAT

A Common Sense Approach to Work Rate Problems on the GMAT

Combined work rate problems give many a headache at their mere mention.  After all, you have to think in terms of that fourth dimension, “time” (cue the Twilight Zone theme).  This alone puts it up there with Einsteinian Relativity in terms of difficulty.  There are always three moving parts – time, work, and speed – and sometimes three or more machines or people working together.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Plugging Numbers Without Using Transition Points

Plugging Numbers Without Using Transition Points

A few months back, one of our posts talked about knowing which numbers to plug-in in case you want to use the number–plugging method. To be more exact, we discussed that you need to find the transition points i.e. the points where the two sides of the inequality become equal. The transition points tend to reverse the relation between the two sides. For a detailed discussion of this concept, revisit this post.

GMAT Tip of the Week: What Does the Median Mean?

GMAT Tip of the Week: What Does the Median Mean?

Statistics-based GMAT questions can be tricky, particularly for those who haven’t been formally trained in stats or for those whose knowledge of statistics is more incomplete than they realize. One concept for which many students have blind spots is that of the median, so let’s take a moment to identify and explain a few of these common knowledge gaps.

How to Find Clues on the GMAT

How to Find Clues on the GMAT

Many GMAT students have likened themselves to Sherlock Holmes at one point or another while studying for this test. It is a natural comparison: you are a detective looking for clues in order to reach a conclusion that must be true. Unfortunately there’s no Dr. Watson to help guide your efforts, but you can inspire yourself from the super sleuth in your quest to solve the nefarious puzzles of Professor G. MoriArTy.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
3 Things the GMAT Testmakers Don't Want You to Know: Part III

3 Things the GMAT Testmakers Don't Want You to Know: Part III

Welcome to the third and final installment of GMAT’s secrets revealed!   We now know 2 things the GMAT testmakers don’t want you to know – one, they can do most quant problems entirely in their heads, and two, verbal complexity is intended to clarify, not confuse, a given situation.  These insights are a critical part of the recognition that the GMAT is not actually as difficult as it is intimidating.  It has a lot of tough-looking math and long, dense passages, but that’s mainly on the surface – deep down, unlocking GMAT reasoning is feasible for anyone.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
3 Things the GMAT Testmakers Don't Want You to Know: Part II

3 Things the GMAT Testmakers Don't Want You to Know: Part II

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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Bewildered by your Verbal Score?

Bewildered by your Verbal Score?

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).

GMAT Tip of the Week: Trial, Error, and Success

GMAT Tip of the Week: Trial, Error, and Success

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”?

How to Approximate Square Roots on the GMAT

How to Approximate Square Roots on the GMAT

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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
5 Tips on How to Study for the GMAT in 30 Days

5 Tips on How to Study for the GMAT in 30 Days

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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
3 Things the GMAT Testmakers Don't Want You to Know

3 Things the GMAT Testmakers Don't Want You to Know

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.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips