GMAT Tip of the Week: Whatever You Say I Am

GMAT prepIt’s Hip Hop Month on the Veritas Prep blog, and no discussion of contemporary rap would be complete without mention of Eminem, the controversial emcee who has earned Grammy award and platinum records at nearly the same pace as he has earned criticism and backlash for his honest, edgy lyrics and demeanor.

Like many great artists — be they painters, poets, musicians, or filmmakers — Eminem pours himself into his work, giving listeners an open, honest, and oftentimes eerie glimpse into the life that inspires him. Eschewing the trend for successful rappers to forego gritty portrayals of their innermost thoughts to focus on the glamour lifestyle of the rich and famous, Eminem continually derives his creativity from his strained relationships with his mother and ex-wife, his reluctant comfort with celebrity and wealth, and his introspective thoughts on his role and his art.

Eminem’s unabashed honesty pervades each of his tracks, and even inspired a film, 8 Mile, that parallels his life. One of his first songs to offer an introspective look at his fame was The Way I Am; its lyrics detail the pressures that the artist felt from his fans and his record label after achieving success with his first album. In its chorus, Eminem attacks the celebrity culture that surrounds entertainers, with media outlets creating controversy and speculation around artists:

I am whatever you say I am. If I wasn’t, then why would I say I am? … I don’t know, that’s just the way I am.

In addition to serving as an anthem of frustration for one of the world’s greatest entertainers, these lyrics may unlock for you a secret to success on the GMAT:

“I am whatever you say I am” can also be the anthem of any algebraic equation that the GMAT provides you on test day. That is, your success on math questions may depend on how you rephrase mathematical statements to serve your purposes (the same way that magazines reposition stories about Eminem to sell copies). As long as you “tell the truth” with an algebraic statement, you can rearrange it to fit your needs. Consider the question:

If x and y are nonzero integers, does x – y = y/x?

(1) y2 = x2y