Tag Archives : Quarter Wit Quarter Wisdom

When to Make Assumptions on GMAT Problem Solving Questions

When to Make Assumptions on GMAT Problem Solving Questions

Today we will discuss the flip side of “do not assume anything in Data Sufficiency” i.e. we will discuss “go ahead and assume in Problem Solving!”

Problem solving questions have five definite options, that is, “cannot be determined” and “data not sufficient” are not given as options. So this means that in all cases, data is sufficient for us to answer the question. So as long as the data we assume conforms to all the data given in the question, we are free to assume and make the problem simpler for ourselves. The concept is not new – you have been already doing it all along – every time you assume the total to be 100 in percentage questions or the value of n to be 0 or 1, you are assuming that as long as your assumed data conforms to the data given, the relation should hold for every value of the unknown. So the relation should be the same when n is 0 and also the same when n is 1.

Advanced Applications of Common Factors on the GMAT - Part II

Advanced Applications of Common Factors on the GMAT - Part II

There is something about factors and divisibility that people find hard to wrap their heads around. Every advanced application of a basic concept knocks people out of their seats! Needless to say, that the topic is quite important so we are trying to cover the ground for you. Here is another post on the topic discussing another important concept.

Important Caveat on Joint Variation GMAT Questions

Important Caveat on Joint Variation GMAT Questions

Before we start today’s discussion, recall a previous post on joint variation. A question arose some days back on the applicability of this concept. This official question was the case in point:

When Not to Use Parallelism on the GMAT

When Not to Use Parallelism on the GMAT

We know that we are often tested on parallelism on the GMAT. The logically parallel entities should be grammatically parallel. But today, we need to talk about circumstances where you might be tempted to employ parallelism but it would be incorrect to do so.

For example, look at this sentence:

2 Possible Ways to Solve this GMAT Quant Question

2 Possible Ways to Solve this GMAT Quant Question

Process of elimination is only next to number plugging in popularity as a strategy for solving Quant questions on the GMAT. I am not a fan of either method. Yes, they are useful sometimes, and even necessary in some questions but for most questions, I like to use logic/reasoning.

The Symmetry Puzzle on the GMAT

The Symmetry Puzzle on the GMAT

A few days back, a student of ours asked me this question – in which cases is symmetry useful to us? Honestly, I don’t think I can create an exhaustive list of the topics where it could be useful. The first thing that comes to mind is of course, Geometry. Circles/equilateral triangles/squares/cubes are symmetrical figures. Symmetry helps us simplify questions which are based on these figures. We have also seen the uses of symmetry in dice throwing. In arrangements too, symmetry helped decrease our work substantially.

Easy Logic to a Difficult Combinatorics GMAT Question!

Easy Logic to a Difficult Combinatorics GMAT Question!

Sometimes, you come across some seriously interesting questions in Combinatorics. For example, this question I came across seemed like any other Combinatorics question, though it was a little cumbersome. But when I saw the answer, it got me thinking – it couldn’t have been a coincidence. There had to be a simpler logic to it and there was! I just wish I had thought of it before going the long route. So I must share it with you; you never know what might come in handy on test day!

Advanced Applications of Common Factors on the GMAT

Advanced Applications of Common Factors on the GMAT

Today we will discuss the logic behind common factors (other than 1) of two numbers.

Without actually finding all the factors of two numbers, how do we know whether they have any common factors (ignoring 1)?

Is this GMAT Question an Alphametic or Simple Number Properties Question?

Is this GMAT Question an Alphametic or Simple Number Properties Question?

As noticed in the first post of Alphametics, a data sufficiency alphametic is far more complicated than a problem solving alphametic. An alphametic can have multiple solutions and establishing that it does not, is time consuming. Hence, it is less likely that you will see a DS alphametic in the actual exam.

How to Solve Alphametic Multiplication Questions on the GMAT

How to Solve Alphametic Multiplication Questions on the GMAT

Last week, we looked at alphametics involving addition and subtraction. The logic becomes a little more involved when the alphametic involves multiplication. When a two digit number is multiplied by another two digit number, the process of finding the result is composed of multiple levels. Today, let’s see how to handle those multiple levels.  The question involves quite a few steps and observations using number properties. Hence, you are unlikely to see such a question in actual GMAT but you might see a simpler version so it’s good to be prepared.

An Introduction to Solving Alphametic Questions on the GMAT

An Introduction to Solving Alphametic Questions on the GMAT

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

How to Solve Advanced Compound Interest Questions on the GMAT

How to Solve Advanced Compound Interest Questions on the GMAT

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

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

Taking the Best Approach When Solving Data Sufficiency GMAT Questions

Taking the Best Approach When Solving Data Sufficiency GMAT Questions

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

Identifying and Correcting Run-On Sentences on GMAT Verbal Questions

Identifying and Correcting Run-On Sentences on GMAT Verbal Questions

On the GMAT, most sentence correction questions involve compound/complex sentences with multiple phrases, clauses and modifiers. Hence it is very likely that you will see some run-on sentences on your test. In the complicated sentences that we get on the GMAT, it is very easy to overlook that we are dealing with run-on sentences.

Playing the Devil's Advocate on the GMAT

Playing the Devil's Advocate on the GMAT

Confess it – while watching Harvey Specter and Mike Ross on ‘Suits’, many of you have wondered how ‘cool’ it would be to be a lawyer. It’s surprising how they question every assumption, every reason and come up with an innovative solution which looks as if the magician just pulled a rabbit out of a hat.

A Closer Look at GMAT Function Questions

A Closer Look at GMAT Function Questions

Last week, we looked at the basics of how to handle function questions. Today, let’s look at a couple of questions. We will start with an easier one and then go on to a slightly tougher one.

Functions on GMAT

Functions on GMAT

Let’s discuss how to handle functions today. People usually perceive functions as an advanced topic mainly because of the notation. But actually, the function questions are very simplistic and can be solved with a simple process. If we ask you the value of 5x^3 where x = 3, would you be worried about what to do? We assume you won’t be. Then there should be no problem with “given f(x) = 5x^3, what is the value of f(3)?”

Past Perfect without Past Tense on GMAT Sentence Correction Questions

Past Perfect without Past Tense on GMAT Sentence Correction Questions

Recall the golden rule of past perfect tense –

The Past Perfect expresses the idea that something occurred before another action in the past. It can also show that something happened before a specific time in the past.

4 Average Speed Formulas You Need to Know for the GMAT

4 Average Speed Formulas You Need to Know for the GMAT

Many people have asked us to clear the confusion surrounding the various formulas of average speed. We will start with the bottom line – There is a single versatile formula for ALL average speed questions and that is

Using Symmetry in Probability on the GMAT

Using Symmetry in Probability on the GMAT

We know that Combinatorics and Probability are tricky topics. It is easy to misinterpret questions of these topics and get the incorrect answer – which, unfortunately, we often find in the options, giving us a false sense of accomplishment.

In many questions, we need to account for different cases one by one but we don’t really see such questions on the GMAT since we have limited time. Also, we don’t tire of repeating this again and again – GMAT questions are more reasoning based than calculation intensive. Usually, there will be an intellectual method to solve every GMAT question – a method that will help you solve it in seconds.

Of Opinions and Facts in GMAT Critical Reasoning Questions

Of Opinions and Facts in GMAT Critical Reasoning Questions

Today, we would like to discuss with you one of our most debated critical reasoning questions. It is an absolutely brilliant question – not just because the correct option fits in beautifully but because the other four options are also very well thought out. It is easy to write the incorrect four options such that the student community will be split between 2 options – the correct one and one of the four incorrect ones but when the jury is split between 4 or all 5 options, that’s when we know that we have come up with an absolute masterpiece. Of course, in such questions, a lot of effort is needed to convince everyone of the correct answer but it is well worth it.

Advanced Number Properties on the GMAT - Part V

Advanced Number Properties on the GMAT - Part V

Today, let’s look in detail at a relation between arithmetic mean and geometric mean of two numbers. It is one of those properties which make sense the moment someone explains to us but are very hard to arrive on our own.

When two positive numbers are equal, their Arithmetic Mean = Geometric Mean = The number itself

Pre-thinking in Quant GMAT Questions

Pre-thinking in Quant GMAT Questions

We all know about the role of pre-thinking in Critical Reasoning and how anticipating the answer can be supremely beneficial in not just the physical aspect of saving time in analyzing options but also the psychological aspect of promoting our self-confidence – we were thinking that the answer should look like this and that is exactly what we found! Pre-thinking puts us in the driver’s seat and we feel energized without consuming any red bull!

Intelligent Guessing on GMAT

Intelligent Guessing on GMAT

We often tell you that if you are short on time, you can guess intelligently on a few questions and move on. Today we will discuss what we mean by “intelligent guessing”. There are many techniques – most of them involving your reasoning skills to eliminate some options and hence generating a higher probability of an accurate guess. Let’s look at one such method to get values in the ballpark.

The Speed and Accuracy Trade Off on the GMAT

The Speed and Accuracy Trade Off on the GMAT

We know that speed is important in GMAT. We have about 2 mins per question and we always have questions in which we get stuck, waste 3-4 mins and probably still answer incorrectly. So we are always trying to go faster, rush, complete the easy ones in less time! In our bid to save time, sometimes we sacrifice accuracy. We should know that accuracy is most important. No point running through questions and completing all of them before time if at the end of it all, most of our answers are incorrect – there are no bonus points for completing the test before time, after all!

Bringing Back the Lazy Genius to Solve GMAT Questions!

Bringing Back the Lazy Genius to Solve GMAT Questions!

Those of you who have seen the previous version of our curriculum would know that we had tips and tricks under the heading of ‘Lazy Genius’. These used to discuss innovative shortcuts for various questions – the way very smart people would solve the question – without putting in too much effort!

Finding the Last Two Digits on GMAT Quant Questions - Part III

Finding the Last Two Digits on GMAT Quant Questions - Part III

As promised last week, we will look at another question which involves finding the last two digits of the product of some random numbers. In this question, along with the concepts discussed last week, we will assimilate the concept of negative remainders too discussed some weeks ago.

Finding the Last Two Digits on GMAT Quant Questions - Part II

Finding the Last Two Digits on GMAT Quant Questions - Part II

Let’s continue the discussion of last two digits we started last week. We discussed the concept of pattern recognition and how it can help us determine the last two digits in case of numbers raised to some powers. Today we look at what happens when there is no pattern to determine! What if we are asked to determine the last two digits of the product of a bunch of numbers. We know that getting the last digit in this case is very easy – just multiply the last digits of the numbers together. But last TWO digits would seem much more complicated.

Finding the Last Two Digits on GMAT Quant Questions - Part I

Finding the Last Two Digits on GMAT Quant Questions - Part I

We all know how to find the last digit using cyclicity when we are given a number raised to a power. Last digit of a number depends only on the last digit of the base.  You must be quite familiar with something like this –

Last Digit of Base:

0 – Last digit of expression with any power will be 0.

Figuring Out the Topic of Discussion on the GMAT

Figuring Out the Topic of Discussion on the GMAT

You must have come across questions which you thought tested one concept but later found out could be easily dealt with using another concept.  Often, crafty little mixture problems belong to this category. For example:

Mark is playing poker at a casino. Mark starts playing with 140 chips, 20% of which are $100 chips and 80% of which are $20 chips. For his first bet, Mark places chips, 10% of which are $100 chips, in the center of the table. If 70% of Mark’s remaining chips are $20 chips, how much money did Mark bet?

What are the Weights in Weighted Averages?

What are the Weights in Weighted Averages?

We have discussed weighted averages in detail here but one thing we are yet to talk about is how you decide what the weights will be in weighted average problems. It is not always straight forward to identify the weights. For example, in a question such as this one,

Busting Some GMAT Sentence Correction Myths - Part II

Busting Some GMAT Sentence Correction Myths - Part II

A few weeks back, we wrote a post busting some Sentence Correction myths. Let’s continue from where we left.  We discussed how we can have pronouns referring to different antecedents in different clauses of the same sentence. Let’s take another example illustrating that principle. Also, we learn how to use ‘being’ correctly in GMAT.

How to Go from a 48 to 51 in GMAT Quant - Part V

How to Go from a 48 to 51 in GMAT Quant - Part V

First, let us give you the link to the last post of this series: Post IV. It contains links to previous parts too.

Today, we bring another tip for you to help get that dream score of 51 – if you must write down the data given, write down all of it! Let us explain.

The Holistic Approach to Mods on the GMAT - Solutions

The Holistic Approach to Mods on the GMAT - Solutions

First, we would like to refer you back to a post we put up quite a while ago: The Holistic Approach to Mods

In this post, we discussed how to use graphing techniques to easily solve very high level questions on nested absolute values. We don’t think you will see such high level questions on actual GMAT. The aim of putting up the post was to illustrate the use of graphing technique and how it can be used to solve simple as well as complicated questions with equal ease. It was aimed at encouraging you to equip yourself with more visual approaches.

A 750+ Level Question on SD

A 750+ Level Question on SD

A couple of weeks back, we looked at a 750+ level question on mean, median and range concepts of Statistics. This week, we have a 750+ level question on standard deviation concept of Statistics. We do hope you enjoy checking it out.

Before you begin, you might want to review the post that discusses standard deviation: Dealing With Standard Deviation

Busting Some GMAT SC Myths

Busting Some GMAT SC Myths

Today we will bust some SC myths using a question. The following are the myths:

Myth 1: Passive voice is always wrong.

Active voice is preferred over passive voice but that doesn’t make passive voice wrong.

Myth 2: The same pronoun cannot refer to two different antecedents in a sentence.

A 750 Level GMAT Question on Statistics!

A 750 Level GMAT Question on Statistics!

Today, we have a very interesting statistics question for you. We have already discussed statistics concepts such as mean, median, range etc in our QWQW series. Check them out here if you haven’t already done so:

The Meaning of Arithmetic Mean

2 Sentence Correction GMAT Questions Involving Participle Modifiers

2 Sentence Correction GMAT Questions Involving Participle Modifiers

Today, as promised last week, we will look at a couple of questions involving participle modifiers. We will take one question in which you should use the participle and another in which you should not.

Understanding Participles on the GMAT

Understanding Participles on the GMAT

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the topic of Participles so let’s take a look at it today.

Quite simply, participles are words formed from verbs which can be used as describing words (on the other hand, gerunds are verbs used as nouns, but that is a topic for another day!).

There are two types of participles:

First Do What You Know on GMAT Questions

First Do What You Know on GMAT Questions

We have read a lot about one way of handling complex questions – simplify them to a question you know how to solve. Here is another way – first do what you do know, and then figure out the rest!

We know that basic concepts are twisted to make advanced questions. Our aim is to break down the question into two parts – ‘the basic concept’ and ‘the complexity’. You can either deal with the complexity first and then glide through the basic concept or you can glide through the basic concept first and then face the complexity. The method you use will depend on the question. If the question seems too complex at the outset, it means you will have to deal with the complexity first. If the question seems familiar but has some extra not-so-familiar elements, it means you should get the familiar out of the way first. Let’s take a question today to see how to do that.