First focus on the big picture of the alphametic – such as, a two number is added to another two digit number to give a three digit number etc. Then look at the nitty gritty – for which digit can each letter stand?

Question 1: With # and & each representing different digits in the problem below, the difference between #&& and ## is 667. What is the value of &?

(A) 3

(B) 4

(C) 5

(D) 8

(E) 9

Solution: The big picture: A two digit number is subtracted from a three digit number to give 667. So the three digit number must be a bit larger than 667. This means that the hundreds digit of #&& must be either 6 or 7. It cannot be 8 because you cannot obtain 800+ by adding a two digit number to 667.

Let’s look at both cases:

# is 6: If you subtract 66 from 6&&, you will not get 667 – the largest value you can get is 699 – 66 = 633. So # cannot be 6.

# must be 7.

Now the question is very simple

7&& – 77 = 667

7&& = 667 + 77 = 744

Answer (B)

There are many other ways in which you can solve this question including plugging in the answer choices. We should now take a look at a DS question on alphametics.

Question 2:

In the correctly worked addition problem above, M, N, R, S, T and V are distinct digits. Is R > 3?

Statement 1: M, N and P are positive even integers.

Statement 2: S = 2

Solution: This is certainly harder than the PS question but our process will remain the same.

First, let’s see what information we are given in the question – the units digits of all three numbers are the same. The two-digit numbers add up to give a three digit number. The hundreds digit, S, is either 1 or 2. Three two-digit numbers cannot add up to give a number 300 or more since 99 + 99 + 99 = 297. We have no information on what the value of R can be. All we know is that R cannot be 0 because 0+0+0 = 0 but V needs to be different from R.

Let’s look at the statements now.

Statement 1: M, N and P are positive even integers.

At first, it may seem that this has nothing to do with the value of R but we must analyze what is given to be sure.

M, N and P must take distinct values out of 2, 4, 6 and 8 and add up to give the units digit of T (again, distinct)

Every time you add three even numbers, you will get an even number. Let’s see which combinations we can get:

2 + 4 + 6 = 12

2 + 4 + 8 = 14

2 + 6 + 8 = 16

4 + 6 + 8 = 18

Note that in all four cases, the units digit is one of the numbers but T must be distinct. This means that there must have been a carryover from the previous addition. So when we added the three Rs, we must have got a carryover. Had R been 3 or less, we would not have got a carryover since 1+1+1 = 3, 2+2+2 = 6 and 3+3+3 = 9. So R must be greater than 3.

One such case would be

This statement alone is sufficient.

Statement 2: S = 2

The result of addition gives us a number which is more than 200. In statement 1 we saw a case in which S is 2 and R is greater than 3. Now all we have to do is find a case in which S is 2 and R is less than 3. One of these cases is

So this statement alone is not sufficient.

Answer (A)

*Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the **GMAT** for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!*

Even so, I was nervous. I didn’t completely understand the academic system I was coming into, and I had never had a roommate besides my siblings. There was plenty to be excited for, but also plenty to be apprehensive about: harder classes, financial independence, more work hours, and a nearly-foreign social scene to navigate.

My transition ended up working fantastically–I found a wonderful group of friends, loved my classes, and quickly adapted to a more flexible but more intense schedule. Looking back, I’ve realized that the way I prepared for and approached my college transition was much more important than the transition itself. Here are a few of the things I learned:

**1. Don’t bring too much stuff.** This sounds like a tiny detail, but an emptier closet will save you lots of time and headache throughout your first few months. If you’re anything like nearly every incoming college freshman I’ve ever met, moving into a dorm room (or a suite, or an apartment) will probably mean adjusting to less storage space. Being selective about what to bring with you will ease your move-in, avoid space conflicts with your roommate, give you space to adapt to lifestyle changes in your freshman year (experimenting with fashion, realizing that microwaves/water boilers/mini-fridges/freezer boxes are dorm room lifesavers and popularity magnets, etc.), and save you the trouble of managing your belongings after the fact. It’s a pain, and a surprisingly time-consuming chore, to have to ship things back home, arrange extra-storage plans with family and friends, or cram extra drawers and shelves into your new room. When you’re going through one of the biggest transitions of your life so far, the last thing you want to have to worry about is what to do with three extra boxes of your middle school clothes.

**2. Be proactive about meeting people and maintaining friendships.** Unless you’re in a small school or a specialized program, your social environment will change more frequently in college than it did in high school. In high school, it’s easy to build relationships based on shared experience and constant closeness; many of your peers took the same classes you did, and you could always find time to spend with friends since your schedules were more or less in sync. In college, however, people move apartments or rooms every year or two (or even every semester), classes are larger or more impersonal, friends study abroad or take semesters off, and hanging out begins to require more effort and time management. The college social experience is a great one, but it requires initiative.

**3. Set aside some time to study.** In the freshman year flurry of club meetings, parties, sports, and other social opportunities, it’s easy to forget that you have readings to do and tests to pass. It’s fine to dive headfirst into the college experience–in fact, I heartily recommend it–but don’t forget that that experience is just as much academic as it is social and personal.

**4. Calculate a budget and stick to it.** Costs and fees are everywhere–club dues, event tickets, supplemental materials for classes, restaurant bills, school spirit gear. A lot of activities are free for students, but plenty more aren’t. I know far too many people who accidentally splurged on one too many party dresses or orchestra concerts, and ended up with–no joke–less than ten dollars left in their wallets, with no paycheck or allowance in sight for days or weeks to come.

**5. Don’t worry if you don’t find your niche immediately.** Plenty of people don’t get along with the people on their dorm floor, and plenty of people only find their perfect club or major or friend group months (or even years) into college. Keep exploring classes and extracurriculars, and take comfort in the fact that there are *so many new opportunities* in college that there’s a good chance that your Perfect Place is there somewhere–you just haven’t run into it yet. Besides, if the issue persists, you can always consider transferring.

**6. Recognize that transferring isn’t that easy and isn’t a cure-all.** Beyond the logistical issues (ensuring that your credits transfer to your new institution, finding a place to live, the long applications, etc.), you don’t know for sure that you’ll be happier, or more academically/intellectually/socially satisfied, at your new school. Transferring works for some people, and doesn’t for others; if you’re considering transferring, especially if your reasons are non-academic, be sure to think long and hard about why you want to leave where you are, and what you expect to find when you’re there.

**7. Most importantly: Don’t stress about it. **People tend to be much more adaptable than they give themselves credit for. You’ll change and learn so much in your freshman year that you may not even care about some of the things you’re worried about before move-in day. Keep an open mind, explore new things, accept that many things will change, understand that many of those things can and will change for the better, and you’ll be fine.

Best of luck preparing for your freshman year!

*Need more guidance in planning for college? Visit our **College Admissions** website and fill out our **FREE College profile evaluation**!*

*Courtney Tran is a student at **UC Berkeley**, studying Political Economy and Rhetoric. In high school, she was named a National Merit Finalist and National AP Scholar, and she represented her district two years in a row in Public Forum Debate at the National Forensics League National Tournament.*

Most of the time, you can eventually figure out what’s happening, but sometimes you missed an important point near the beginning and just can’t understand the situation. As frustrating as this situation may seem, imagine if, at the end of the conversation, everyone turned to you and asked you to give your detailed opinion on the debate!

On the GMAT, you will frequently be parachuted into a situation that is already in progress. This type of scenario discombobulates most people, because we’re used to a gradual progression starting from the beginning. Since you won’t be at the beginning, you will need to figure out the beginning and the end given what you know from your position in the middle. (In essence, you’re Malcolm). You may not immediately know how to solve the issue, but you can deduce the beginning by seeing where you are in the middle and attempting to reverse engineer the process.

In many ways, this is similar to the dichotomy between multiplication and division. They are, in effect, the exact same operation (multiplying by 2 is dividing by ½ and vice versa). However, people tend to find multiplication easier because you’re going forward. Going backwards is typically harder, in no small part because your brain is not used to going in that (one) direction. When you do something a hundred times a day, it becomes second nature. If you start something for the first time on the GMAT, it may seem almost impossible to solve.

Let’s look at an example of a problem that starts you off in the middle of the action:

*A term a _{n} is called a cusp of a sequence if a_{n} is an integer but _{an+1} is not an integer. If a_{5} is a cusp of the sequence a_{1}, a_{2},…,a_{n},… in which a_{1} = k and a_{n} = -2(a_{n-1 }/ 3) for all n >1, then k could be equal to:*

*3**16**108**162**243*

Sequences are excellent examples of this parachuting phenomenon because you typically need to have the previous entry in order to find the next element (like a scavenger hunt!). If you find a_{3}, you should be able to find a_{4}. But if you have a_{4}, it’s a lot harder to identify a_{3}. Since you tend to have the pattern, you have to start at the beginning to uncover the progression.

This particular sequence is made easier if you manipulate the algebra a little to get a more manageable form. Instead of the way the sequence is defined, change the pattern to a_{n} = -2/3 a_{n-1}. This small change highlights the fact that the new element is just the old element multiplied by -2/3. And since the question hinges on when the sequence changes from integers to non-integers, it’s really the denominator that will be of interest to us.

Since this is fairly abstract, let’s go through plugging in answer choice A to see what happens to the series. If k = 3, then the second element of the series would be -2/3 (3). This gives us just -2, and is still an integer. However, the next iteration, a_{3}, would call for -2/3 (-2), which is 4/3, and not an integer. Indeed, this sequence is just calling for us to continually divide by 3, and then determine when the result will no longer be an integer. Clearly, answer choice A won’t be the right choice, as we just found that a_{3} was not an integer, and thus a_{2} would be the “cusp” as defined in the question.

Now, using the brute force approach of plugging in each answer choice will eventually yield the correct answer, but it can be tedious and time-consuming. A more logical approach would involve determining that we need a number that has many 3’s in its prime factors. Every time we divide by 3, we will get another integer, provided that we still have 3’s in the numerator. Once we’re left with a number that is not a multiple of 3, the sequence will spit out a non-integer, and the previous number will be the cusp. Using the prime factorization of the four remaining answer choices, we get:

16 = 2^4

108 = 2 * 54 –) 2 * 2 * 27 –) 2^2 * 3^3

162 = 2 * 81 –) 2 * 3 * 27 –) 2 * 3^4

243 = 3 * 81 –) 3^5

So as we can see, one answer choice has three 3’s, the other has four and the final one has five (the seventh would be Furious). How many 3s do we actually need? Well if the fifth one must be the cusp, then we need to divide by 3 four separate times to get rid of all the 3s. After that, the fifth element will be an integer (also, an action movie), and the sixth element will be a non-integer. Since answer choice D is our educated guess, let’s double check our answer by executing the sequence on 162.

A_{1} = 162

A_{2} = -2/3 (162) = -108

A_{3} = -2/3 (-108) = 72

A_{4} = -2/3 (72) = -48

A_{5} = -2/3 (-48) = 32

A_{6} = -2/3 (32) = -64/3.

This is exactly what we wanted. We can see that each time we are multiplying the previous item by 2/3 and changing the sign. Once we get to 32, that is just 2^5 and dividing it by 3 will no longer yield an integer.

If you’d gone through the complete trial and error process, you’d quickly see that answer choices A and B are incorrect. Answer choice C, 108, comes pretty close, but cusps at A_{4}, not A_{5}. If you then pick answer choice D, 162, you find that you get to 108 on the second iteration, and you can skip the next four steps because you just did them. Finally, answer choice E is a tempting number to start testing with, because it is a perfect exponential of 3. However, you will get to an integer at A_{6}, and thus you need a number with fewer 3s in the numerator.

On test day, you might be able to recognize patterns or you might have to bite the bullet and try each answer choice one by one. However, if you recognize that you need to determine what happens at the beginning before moving on to the middle and the end, you’ll have more success. You always need to understand the pattern, and that starts at the beginning. If you keep this strategy in mind, you won’t find yourself stuck in the middle (with you).

Plan on taking the GMAT soon? We have GMAT prep courses starting all the time. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

*Ron Awad is a GMAT instructor for Veritas Prep based in Montreal, bringing you weekly advice for success on your exam. After graduating from McGill and receiving his MBA from Concordia, Ron started teaching GMAT prep and his Veritas Prep students have given him rave reviews ever since.*

Try to apply the question to something which is unique to your situation, skill-set or interests. If you can connect the questions you ask them to your unique story, you will be taking a step towards differentiation from others. The bonus is, you are also leveraging this time to offer up even more evidence for your admission.

Here’s another hint: people like to talk about themselves, so have at least one question that allows them to share their * opinion *about, and not necessarily their

I would also avoid questions which sound too much like something they would have asked you, such as, “If you could change one thing about the program, what would it be?” Or, “What would your colleagues say about you as a teammate?” You get the idea—you are not interviewing them, but rather using what little time you have left to get some useful information and more importantly, tell them something more about yourself.

As I have said before, feel free to have your questions on a notepad which you prepared in advance.

This is a good idea for two reasons:

1) After 45 minutes of answering questions, your adrenaline may blank out your memory for the questions you had planned to ask—awkward!

2) Having thoughtfully prepared questions in advance will demonstrate preparedness and show you are thorough.

Try to have more questions written down than you think you will need. There’s nothing worse than leaving dead air at the end that you otherwise could have used to keep the conversation going. Also, don’t ask them if they think you’ll be accepted or how you look compared to other candidates they are seeing. Asking if they see any weaknesses in your profile is fine, just don’t make it seem like you are trying to get privileged information about your competition.

One final thing—this portion of the interview is also your last chance to present any evidence for your candidacy which was not covered adequately in the interview thus far, so you might consider using this time to discuss something you want them to know about you which you think might make a difference but didn’t come up during the regular interview. If you were well prepared coming in, you will know the top three or four points you wanted to make sure they knew about you by the time you finished the interview, so don’t leave the room until those things have all been conveyed.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or click here to take our Free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter.

*Bryant Michaels has over 25 years of professional post undergraduate experience in the entertainment industry as well as on Wall Street with Goldman Sachs. He served on the admissions committee at the Fuqua School of Business where he received his MBA and now works part time in retirement for a top tier business school. He has been consulting with Veritas Prep clients for the past six admissions seasons. See more of his articles here.*

**1. Practice Real SAT Sections With A Timer**

This may feel like an obvious suggestion, but it is surprising how many students go in to sit for the SAT having never actually timed themselves on any full SAT sections. A person can do the SAT question of the day until they are blue in the face, but that does not adequately prepare a student for the realities of the SAT (its worth noting that doing anything until a person is actually blue in the face may necessitate medical attention). Being prepared for the SAT is imperative to being able to use time effectively on the test day, and part of preparation is knowing what twenty five minutes feels like and what spending too much time on one question feels like. There is no substitute for practice.

**2. Brainstorm for 1-3 Minutes Then Plug In Specifics To An Essay Template**

The time spent figuring out how to structure an essay on the SAT is time wasted. This may sound counter intuitive as structure is a big part of what the SAT graders are evaluating, but it is this reason exactly that makes the structure of the essay the first thing that can be systematized and recycled. Instead, use a little time to brainstorm examples and allow the structure to be generated ahead of time. Essentially all a brainstorm consists of is the position on the question and the examples that will be used in the argument. For example, if the SAT essay question were, “Is failure necessary for growth?” An outline could be as simple as this

- Failure is necessary for growth
- ex. 1 Steve Jobs was asked to leave Apple, worked on Pixar and other companies, came back to apple a better, more creative businessman
- ex. 2 Columbus asked many monarchs for resources to go to new world, was forced be persistent and his persistence lead to discovery
- ex. 3 Albert Einstein was potentially dyslexic and had trouble reading, left school at 15 an failed the entrance exam to technical school, but studied on his own to became one of the most influential physicists of all time

Once this work is done, the essay is practically written. All a student must do is plug in these specifics to the general argumentative essay template that they generate ahead of time and the essay quickly writes itself. Be sure to keep an eye on the clock in this section. Should you be running out of time, forgo the third example and get to the conclusion so you have all the pieces the graders are looking for (this should only be done as a last resort).

**3. Answer Reading Questions As You Read**

One of the biggest problems with time management on the reading section is the time taken to read a passage multiple times. Students often read a passage once just to get the gist of it, then go back to read it again to answer all the line specific questions. This is a waste of time. The line specific questions are in chronological order and can be answered as the reader is reading the essay. Simply read the question, mark the lines the question is referring to in the test booklet, read until a few sentences past the marked lines, and, finally, attempt to answer the question (thinking of your own answer first, of course, then looking at the answer choices). This technique alone can save a LOT of time come test day. It still may be that a student will need to ponder over an answer, but the answer is in the passage so learning to access the passage as a student is answering questions not only increases time, but also increases the student’s chances of choosing the correct answer.

**4. Skip Math Questions Where The Steps Are Unclear IMMEDIATELY**

For most students who wish to achieve at the highest level, all questions will need to be attempted, but should a student encounter a question where the way to answer the question is unclear, the student should skip the question immediately and come back to it later. The SAT gives equal weight to every question, so spending six minutes on one question and coming up with no answer not only hurts a student on that question, but also on every question that follows. A student should attempt to answer every question that they can, so if the student does not even get to four questions at the end of a section , they have no way of knowing if they would have been able to more easily answer one of the final questions. The test is in order of difficulty, but difficulty is relative. What’s hard for one person might be simple for another, so do not waste time being baffled by a question. Be baffled, then move on quickly.

***Bonus Tip:** *If you have answered all the questions that you feel you can approach easily, go to the questions where you didn’t know how to start and do SOMETHING. Write out formulas, label givens, eliminate answer choices that don’t make sense. Sometimes, doing the first step will lead to others and an impossible question can become quite simple.*

**5. Bubble Page By Page And Do NOT Focus On The Time**

These are general test taking guidelines, but are very useful. Rather than bubbling in every question as you answer it, a process that requires a lot of transferring of attention from the test booklet to the answer sheet, answer all the questions on a page then turn to the answer sheet and bubble in all the appropriate answers. This has the added bonus of making it harder to get off by one question on the answer sheet because students tend to pay more attention to the number of the question when utilizing this technique. Also, do not focus on the time. A little glance at the clock is fine, but you should be so used to the timing of the test that you feel whether or not you are spending too long on a question. If you realize that you are running out of time, do not panic. Simply do your best to complete the questions you can with accuracy (though it wouldn’t hurt to glance at the questions you have left and attempt those that seem possible to complete quickly). Perhaps you will get one or two more questions correct, instead of getting all the remaining questions wrong because you rushed through them.

The biggest thing a student can do on the day of the test to make sure that they are pacing themselves properly is to practice often and to breathe! The stress of the day can make people jittery and poorly focused, but preparation and breathing help to eliminate these problems and prepare you to to rock the SAT. So get out that timer and start practicing! Happy Studying!

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

*David Greenslade** is a Veritas Prep SAT instructor based in New York. His passion for education began while tutoring students in underrepresented areas during his time at the University of North Carolina. After receiving a degree in Biology, he studied language in China and then moved to New York where he teaches SAT prep and participates in improv comedy. Read more of his articles **here**, including **How I Scored in the 99th Percentile** and **How to Effectively Study for the SAT**.*

For the purposes of this exercise it is useful to divide the complete application into the following streams of work:

- Tests: GMAT or GRE, and TOEFL (for most international applicants);
- School selection: school visits, desktop research, primary research or informational interviews with alums;
- Online applications: essays, resume and general information;
- Recommendations: selecting recommenders and preparing them to write amazing recommendations.

Roughly speaking, the above work streams are listed in the order they should be approached. There is certainly some overlap between the different streams, and you should build in some flexibility in your timeline. The best way to develop a timeline is to work backwards from admissions deadlines. Starting with the online application, it generally takes about 3 months to complete the essays, resume (which might have to tweaked for each school) and gather all information you need to complete the online application. For a September deadline, it means you should start brainstorming and drafting essays in early June. It is generally a good idea to complete the resume first as it serves to create a summary of who you are and what you have achieved.

Regarding your recommenders, you should prepare them to write those amazing letters of recommendations. Don’t just tell them which schools you applying to and send them the email with instructions. Instead, provide them with an updated resume, relevant examples of leadership and an overview of what themes you are trying to convey in your application. (Having started the essays and resume already you will be well prepared for this.) This should happen about 6-8 weeks before the first deadline, or by early July for a September deadline.

School selection starts with desktop research, includes class visits (international applicants should try to attend local information sessions), as well informational interview with alumni and current students. Be sure to check the visiting schedule well in advance, as most schools do not offer class visits around final examinations. Try to complete these by April (after that things you run out of options).

Standardized test results serve as an important indicator of academic abilities in the Admissions Committee’s eyes. If you are striving for admissions to a top tier b school, you should be aiming to get it around average for that school. This means you might have to retake it more than once. (Non-traditional applicants, including military, get a break typically.) Your GMAT and GRE also serve to inject some realistic expectations into your short list of schools. Hence, getting tests out of the way early is really ideal. For a typical applicant the tests should be completed about 4 months prior to the first deadline. For September deadlines, it means the official GMAT should be taken in April, allowing sufficient time to retake the test if necessary.

In summary, for a September deadline, here are some milestones you should try to hit in order put yourself in the best possible situation when applying to b school :

- GMAT: complete by April for a September deadline (4 months prior);
- School selection: finalize by June, after taking the GMAT, and extensive primary and secondary research (3-4 months before deadline);
- Recommendations: provide recommenders with all necessary information to write amazing letters of recommendations in early July (2 months before deadline);
- Online applications: begin essay drafts in early June (3 months before deadline), and iterate many, many times!

Want to craft a strong application? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. Click here to take our Free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

*By Marcus D.* Learn more about him here, or find the expert who’s right for you here! Visit our Team page today.

Let’s apply this logic to an extremely challenging 700+ level Data Sufficiency question*:

We’re given the following:

*In the figure shown, point O is the center of the circle and points B, C, and D lie on the circle. If the segment AB is equal to the length of line segment OC, what is the degree measure of angle BAO?*

*The degree measure of angle COD is 60**The degree measure of angle BCO is 40*

That is a complicated-looking figure. Your instinct might be that you don’t have time to draw it, but these kinds of questions will be designed specifically to thwart our intuition if we attempt to do too much work in our heads. So the first thing to do is draw the figure on our scratch pad, and mark the relationships we’re given. We’re told that segment CO is equal to AB, so we’ll designate that relationship. We’ll also call angle BAO, which we’re asked about, ‘x.’ Now we have the following:

Fight the impulse to jump to the statements now. In a harder question like this, we’ll benefit from taking more time to derive additional relationships from the question stem. Psychologically, this is often a struggle for test-takers. You’re conscious of your time constraint. You want to work quickly. The trick is to trust that this pre-statement investment of time will allow you to evaluate the information provided in the statements more efficiently, ultimately *saving* time.

Now the name of the game is to try to label as much of this figure as we can without introducing a new variable. Notice that segments CO and BO are both radii of the circle, so we know those are equal. Our diagram now looks like this:

Next, look at triangle ABO. Notice that segments AB and BO are equal. If angles opposite equal angles are equal to each other, we can then designate angle AOB as ‘x’ because it must be equal to angle BAO, as those two angles are opposite sides that are of equal length. Moreover, if the three interior angles of a triangle will sum to 180, the remaining angle, ABO, can be designated 180-2x. This gives us the following.

No reason to stop here. Notice that angles ABO and CBO lie on a line. Angles that lie on a line must sum to 180. If angle ABO is 180-2x, then angle CBO must be 2x. Now we have this:

Analyzing triangle CBO, we see that sides BO and CO are equal, meaning that the angles opposite those sides must be equal. So now we can label angle BCO as ‘2x.’ If angles CBO and BOC sum to 4x, the remaining angle, BOC, must then be 180-4x, so that the interior angles of the triangle will sum to 180.

We’ve got enough at this point that we can very quickly evaluate our statements, However, there is one last interesting relationship. Notice that angle COD is an exterior angle of triangle CAO. An exterior angle, by definition, must be equal to the sum of the two remote interior angles. So, in this case, Angle COD is equal to the sum of angles BCO and BAO. Therefore COD = 2x + x = 3x, which I’ve circled in the figure. (Triangle CAO is outlined in blue in the figure below to more clearly demarcate the exterior angle.)

That’s a lot of work. Determining all of these relationships will likely take close to two minutes. But watch how quickly we can evaluate our statements if we’ve done all of this preemptive groundwork:

Statement 1: Angle COD = 60. We’ve designated angle COD as 3x, so 3x = 60. Clearly we can solve for x. Sufficient. Eliminate BCE.

Statement 2: Angle BCO = 40. We’ve designated angle BCO as 2x, so 2x = 40. Clearly we can solve for x. Sufficient. Answer is D.

Notice, all of the heavy lifting for this question came before we even so much as glanced at our statements.

**Takeaway**: For a challenging Data Sufficiency question in which you’re given a lot of information in the question stem, the best approach is to spend some time taming the complexity of the problem before examining the statements. When you work out these relationships, try to minimize the number of variables you use when doing so, as this will simplify your calculations once you’re ready to go to the statements. Most importantly, don’t do too much work in your head. There’s no need to rely on the limited bandwidth of your working memory if you have the option of putting everything into a concrete form on your scratch pad.

*GMATPrep question courtesy of the Graduate Management Admissions Council.

Plan on taking the GMAT soon? We have GMAT prep courses starting all the time. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

*By David Goldstein, a Veritas Prep GMAT instructor based in Boston. You can find more articles by him here. *

Once on-campus, interested students will be surprised at the number of other students going out for consulting. This is a common occurrence at most top feeder programs, so if a career in management consulting is really your goal this should not deter you. For many schools there is a recruiting grace period that begins once you get on-campus and extends a few weeks into your first quarter/semester. This serves to allow you some time to transition into life as a student without the pressure of recruiting. However, once this grace period is over, consulting recruiting will kick into high gear. You may receive a few introductory emails from consulting firms at first but the firm specific 1^{st} Year Presentations is the official launch of the recruiting season.

During these presentations, consulting firms will introduce themselves to interested students in a formal setting. Depending on your program and the company, this may occur on-campus or off-campus at a hotel, restaurant or other private space. During this event you will have the chance to learn about firm values, meet consultants, sign-up for the mailing list, and view the summer internship recruiting calendar. The next phase involves you getting to know the firm and the firm getting to know you. This is primarily done through email, personal calls from working consultants, and “coffee chats” which are one on one in-person conversations. Also, firms may host events on campus through your consulting club about various topics related to working in the industry. During this process, firms will build a profile on potential recruits based on measurables like your resume and GMAT score but also your perceived fit. All of these elements will feed into who gets on the coveted interview list.

For most programs, interview season kicks off in the new year so resist the urge to get started on case prep much earlier than this. A common issue 1^{st} Year students struggle with is getting burned out from doing too many mock interviews. Trust experienced 2^{nd} Year students and club leadership as they should be offering organized and structured prep for you. During interview season each firm has a different process but all involve multiple rounds with junior and senior consultants testing you with both case and behavioral questions. Once you secure your offer and make a decision on what firm to spend your summer with, the recruiting process finally ends.

However, one thing you will learn about consulting recruiting is that it never really ends and after accepting the offer, and especially during your internship, you will constantly be evaluated. This can be an anxious and exhausting process so make sure to leverage your peers for support as you navigate consulting recruiting.

Thinking of going to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

*Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more of his articles here. *

That being said, one of the best choices I ever made in college was taking courses outside of my major.

Originally, it was an accident; I decided to switch from political economy to political science more than halfway through the class registration process, so most of the political science courses I needed were already full. Fortunately, I had plenty of space left in my four-year class plan to take the courses I needed, so I signed up for a dance class, a physics class, and a history class to round out my schedule.

Since then, I’ve gone out of my way every semester to take a course in a new field. I know I don’t have the time time (or the academic stamina) to become an expert in each field I explore, so I take friends’ and professors’ recommendations for great intro-level courses in biology, art, anthropology, and even tennis. I don’t like every field I try—the best thing I learned from a course in philosophical history is that I don’t like philosophical history—but discovering how much I do find interesting has made the whole experiment worth it.

Today I can explain the basic science behind earthquakes, dance to jazz music without making a fool of myself, and analyze a classical painting. Many of my electives have helped me to understand my own field better; for instance, learning Chinese and perfecting my Spanish have enhanced my understanding of Asian and Latin American cultural and political current events.

Colleges list more subjects and courses than any one student will ever be able to actually take, and after graduation you’ll lose much of your access to that huge store of knowledge. Your undergraduate years are more than just a rite of passage into the working world, or a means to a higher salary; they also offer exposure to fields you’ve never heard of, or fields you never knew you’d love. At least for me, investigating those fields was more than worth the extra few hours of class.

Keep this in mind as you register for courses. Go explore!

*Need more guidance in planning for college? Visit our **College Admissions** website and fill out our **FREE College profile evaluation**!*

*Courtney Tran is a student at **UC Berkeley**, studying Political Economy and Rhetoric. In high school, she was named a National Merit Finalist and National AP Scholar, and she represented her district two years in a row in Public Forum Debate at the National Forensics League National Tournament.*

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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.

So a question such as this one is very simple to solve:

Question 1: Bob invested one half of his savings in a bond that paid simple interest for 2 years and received $550 as interest. He invested the remaining in a bond that paid compound interest (compounded annually) for the same 2 years at the same rate of interest and received $605 as interest. What was the annual rate of interest?

(A) 5%

(B) 10%

(C) 12%

(D) 15%

(E) 20%

Solution:

Simple Interest for two years = $550

So simple interest per year = 550/2 = 275

But in case of compound interest, you earn an extra 605 – 550 = $55

This $55 is interest earned on year 1 interest i.e. if rate of interest is R, it is

55 = R% of 275

R = 20

Answer (E)

The question is – what happens in case you have 3 years here, instead of 2? How do you solve it then? Here is a small table of the difference between simple and compound interest to help you.

Say the Principal is P and the rate of interest if R

It gets a bit more complicated though not very hard to solve. All you need to do is solve a quadratic, which, if the values are well thought out, is fairly simple to solve. Let’s look at the same question adjusted for three years.

Question 2: Bob invested one half of his savings in a bond that paid simple interest for 3 years and received $825 as interest. He invested the remaining in a bond that paid compound interest (compounded annually) for the same 3 years at the same rate of interest and received $1001 as interest. What was the annual rate of interest?

(A) 5%

(B) 10%

(C) 12%

(D) 15%

(E) 20%

Simple Interest for three years = $825

So simple interest per year = 825/3 = $275

But in case of compound interest, you earn an extra $1001 – $825 = $176

What all is included in this extra $176? This is the extra interest earned by compounding.

This is **R% of interest of Year1 + R% of total interest accumulated in Year2**

This is **R% of 275** + **R% of (275 + 275 + R% of 275)** = 176

(R/100) *[825 + (R/100)*275] = 176

Assuming R/100 = x to make the equation easier,

275x^2 + 825x – 176 = 0

25x^2 + 75x – 16 = 0

25x^2 + 80x – 5x – 16 = 0

5x(5x + 16) – 1(5x + 16) = 0

x = 1/5 or -16/5

Ignore the negative value to get R/100 = 1/5 or R = 20

*Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the **GMAT** for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!*