A test of logic. Deconstructed.
The GMAT is a test of higher-order thinking. Ask the authors and administrators of the exam what they’re testing and they’ll use the word “reasoning” and the phrase “higher-order thinking” over and over again. So what is higher-order thinking? In educational theory, it’s everything above “Understanding” on the pyramid that accompanies Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives.
So while much of how you’ve been trained to study – and most of what test prep companies cover – is related to reviewing and remembering information, an effective preparation plan for the GMAT will emphasize higher-order thinking. The Veritas Prep curriculum does exactly that, covering all the information you need to know – the base of the pyramid – but graduating beyond that and focusing even more time on how to apply that information to challenging problems, how to evaluate your options when attacking a tough question under timed pressure, and how to create your own approach when the usual rules and formulas don’t seem to apply.
Foundations of the Veritas Prep System
The educational philosophy at Veritas Prep is based on this multi-tiered Bloom’s Taxonomy, which classifies different orders of thinking in terms of understanding and complexity.
Bloom’s Taxonomy of Education Objectives and the Veritas Prep System
The Veritas Prep system is designed to parallel the tenets of higher-order thinking, covering three phases of GMAT reasoning throughout each lesson:
In order to test higher-level thinking skills, testmakers must have some underlying content from which to create problems. On the GMAT, this content primarily consists of math curriculum through early high school, and basic grammar skills through the elementary school level. The Veritas Prep system includes a thorough Skillbuilder section for each necessary content area, supplying not only tutorials and explanations but also plenty of drills to help you practice doing those skills and not simply memorizing them. It is important not only to remember these skills, but also to understand them. Each Skillbuilder attacks the logic of why those rules, formulas, and tricks apply and work so that you can be prepared for the multiple angles from which the GMAT can test them.
2 Skills Meet Strategy
The lynchpin of the pyramid above is “Applying.” By the list of concepts covered on the GMAT – Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Grammar – most high school honor roll students should score 700+. But what makes the GMAT difficult is the application of those skills to challenging problems. The Veritas Prep curriculum – like the GMAT itself – emphasizes “how” to think more so than just “what” to know. With strategies like “The Algebra Toolkit,” “Leverage Assets / Play Devil’s Advocate,” and “Decision Points,” you’ll learn to spot clues that direct you as to which skills to use and which traps to avoid on test day.
3 Think Like the Testmaker
The most challenging GMAT questions tend to be more like strategic games against the author than fundamental math or verbal problems. Because critical thinking is so important in business it is tested frequently on the GMAT, which preys on your tendency to make assumptions, look for the “easy” answer, and succumb to misdirection. Those who can Think Like the Testmaker – who can sniff out trap answers, who understand the ways the GMAT “Sells the Wrong Answer” or “Hides the Right Answer,” and who sees through the common ways in which the GMAT makes questions abstract or intimidating – have a distinct advantage particularly when it comes to those questions that separate the 600 scorers from the 700 scorers.
See the Veritas Prep GMAT Approach in Action
Here’s a typical GMAT problem that illustrates how memorizing the rules most test prep courses teach is not sufficient, but where the unique Veritas Prep approach will get you to the correct answer:
Line M is tangent to a circle, which is centered on point (3,4).
Does Line M run through point (6,6)?
1. Line M runs through point (-8,6)
2. Line M is tangent to the circle at point (3,6)
In the Classroom: Learning By Doing
Veritas Prep lessons are structured much like business school classes that use the Case Method: each lesson leads with challenging problems, so that you’re already engaged in and committed to the review of skills and strategies that follows. You don’t just learn the content, you also practice applying it; the GMAT won’t test you on definitions or rules out of context, so it’s important that you study with “doing” in mind.
Think of it this way – if you speak multiple languages, which language are you best with? For nearly all of us it’s the language we learned by doing, not the language we learned by “studying.” That’s because we learned our primary language while committed to solving problems with it. If you wanted a cookie and your mom knew where the cookies were, you had a vested interest in knowing how to ask for a cookie! GMAT education is similar – the relationship between the base and height of a triangle isn’t particularly compelling on its own, but when you’re invested in a challenging problem and realize that the key to solving it relates to that rule, that lesson sticks.
The Learning By Doing class structure challenges everyone regardless of level, keeps your mind engaged, and even makes class fun. It also ensures that not a minute of class time is wasted and that you maximize what you learn from every class you attend.