*Be prepared to solve questions about both proportions and combinations.*

Mixture problems show up frequently on the Quantitative section of the GMAT and fall into two basic categories. As each type of mixture question will be approached in fairly different ways, it is important that you know the difference between them.

First, there are mixture problems that ask you to alter the proportions of a single mixture. These questions could, for example, tell you that you have a 200 liter mixture that is 90% water and 10% bleach and ask how much water you would need to add to make it 5% bleach. The key in this type of question is the part of the mixture that is constant—in this case the bleach. While we are adding water, the amount of bleach stays the same.

First, determine how much bleach we have. Ten percent of 200 is 20 liters. Next, we know we want those 20 liters to equal 5% of our total. Since 20 is 5% of 400, our new total should be 400 liters. To go from 200 liters to 400 liters, you would need to add 200 liters of water, which would be the answer. Backsolving from the answer to the question is another way of approaching this type of GMAT Quantitative problem.

The other type of mixture problem will ask you to combine two mixtures. For example, you could be told that mixture *A* is 20% bleach and 80% water, while mixture *B* is 5% bleach and 95% water. You could then be asked in what ratio these mixtures should be combined to achieve a mixture that is 10% bleach. You should solve problems such as this algebraically.

Both sides of your equation will represent the amount of bleach in the combined mixture. On one side you will represent the amount of bleach in terms of the individual mixtures. This will give you .2*A* + .05*B*. On the other side of the equation you will represent the amount of bleach overall, which is .1(*A* + *B*). Note that in these expressions *A* represents the total amount of mixture A and B represents the total amount of mixture *B*. Because these expressions both represent the total amount of bleach, we can set them equal to each other. This gives us .2*A* + .05*B* = .1(*A* + *B*). The ratio of *A* to *B* can be solved as follows:

.2*A* + .05*B* = .1(*A* + *B*)

.2*A* + .05*B* = .1*A* + .1*B*

.1*A* = .05*B*

*A*/*B* = .05 / .1

*A*/*B* = 1 / 2

Now try answering the following question below to see how you do with mixture problems on your own:

*Two brands of detergent are to be combined. Detergent X contains 20 percent bleach and 80 percent soap, while Detergent Y contains 45 percent bleach and 55 percent soap. If the combined mixture is to be 35 percent bleach, what percent of the final mixture should be Detergent X?*

- (A) 10%
- (B) 32.5%
- (C) 35%
- (D) 40%
- (E) 60%

This is a complex question, but there is a straightforward solution. We are creating a new mixture from two others, *X* and *Y*. *X* is 20% bleach, and *Y* is 45% bleach. The new mixture is to be 35% bleach. In other words, some amount of a 20% bleach mixture plus some amount of a 45% bleach mixture will balance each other out to a 35% bleach mixture.

Because this involves finding a particular balance between Detergents *X* and *Y*, you can use the balance approach to solve. We could use algebra or backsolving, but balance is the most efficient. This will let us calculate the proportion of Detergent *X* in the final mixture.

The question does not state how many parts of Detergent *X* are used, so call this *x*. And the question does not state how many parts of *Y* are used, so call this *y*.

So 0.10*y* = 0.15*x*. To solve for a proportional amount, view this as a ratio. Divide both sides by *y* and by 0.15 to get the ratio:

0.10*y* = 0.15*x*

0.10 / 0.15 = *x* / *y*

10 / 15 = *x* / *y*

2 / 3 = *x* / *y*

So *x*:*y* is 2:3. Add the total to the ratio to determine how *x* relates to the total, *x*:*y*:total = 2:3:5. Thus *x*:total = 2:5. That’s 2 / 5, or 40%. Answer (D) is correct.

*Challenge yourself to even more GMAT Quantitative Reasoning problems by signing up for a **free practice test** and sharpening your skills for Test Day. *

The post GMAT Quantitative: Two Types of Mixture Problems appeared first on Business School Insider.

]]>*Be prepared to solve questions about both proportions and combinations.*

Mixture problems show up frequently on the Quantitative section of the GMAT and fall into two basic categories. As each type of mixture question will be approached in fairly different ways, it is important that you know the difference between them.

First, there are mixture problems that ask you to alter the proportions of a single mixture. These questions could, for example, tell you that you have a 200 liter mixture that is 90% water and 10% bleach and ask how much water you would need to add to make it 5% bleach. The key in this type of question is the part of the mixture that is constant—in this case the bleach. While we are adding water, the amount of bleach stays the same.

First, determine how much bleach we have. Ten percent of 200 is 20 liters. Next, we know we want those 20 liters to equal 5% of our total. Since 20 is 5% of 400, our new total should be 400 liters. To go from 200 liters to 400 liters, you would need to add 200 liters of water, which would be the answer. Backsolving from the answer to the question is another way of approaching this type of GMAT Quantitative problem.

The other type of mixture problem will ask you to combine two mixtures. For example, you could be told that mixture *A* is 20% bleach and 80% water, while mixture *B* is 5% bleach and 95% water. You could then be asked in what ratio these mixtures should be combined to achieve a mixture that is 10% bleach. You should solve problems such as this algebraically.

Both sides of your equation will represent the amount of bleach in the combined mixture. On one side you will represent the amount of bleach in terms of the individual mixtures. This will give you .2*A* + .05*B*. On the other side of the equation you will represent the amount of bleach overall, which is .1(*A* + *B*). Note that in these expressions *A* represents the total amount of mixture A and B represents the total amount of mixture *B*. Because these expressions both represent the total amount of bleach, we can set them equal to each other. This gives us .2*A* + .05*B* = .1(*A* + *B*). The ratio of *A* to *B* can be solved as follows:

.2*A* + .05*B* = .1(*A* + *B*)

.2*A* + .05*B* = .1*A* + .1*B*

.1*A* = .05*B*

*A*/*B* = .05 / .1

*A*/*B* = 1 / 2

Now try answering the following question below to see how you do with mixture problems on your own:

*Two brands of detergent are to be combined. Detergent X contains 20 percent bleach and 80 percent soap, while Detergent Y contains 45 percent bleach and 55 percent soap. If the combined mixture is to be 35 percent bleach, what percent of the final mixture should be Detergent X?*

- (A) 10%
- (B) 32.5%
- (C) 35%
- (D) 40%
- (E) 60%

This is a complex question, but there is a straightforward solution. We are creating a new mixture from two others, *X* and *Y*. *X* is 20% bleach, and *Y* is 45% bleach. The new mixture is to be 35% bleach. In other words, some amount of a 20% bleach mixture plus some amount of a 45% bleach mixture will balance each other out to a 35% bleach mixture.

Because this involves finding a particular balance between Detergents *X* and *Y*, you can use the balance approach to solve. We could use algebra or backsolving, but balance is the most efficient. This will let us calculate the proportion of Detergent *X* in the final mixture.

The question does not state how many parts of Detergent *X* are used, so call this *x*. And the question does not state how many parts of *Y* are used, so call this *y*.

So 0.10*y* = 0.15*x*. To solve for a proportional amount, view this as a ratio. Divide both sides by *y* and by 0.15 to get the ratio:

0.10*y* = 0.15*x*

0.10 / 0.15 = *x* / *y*

10 / 15 = *x* / *y*

2 / 3 = *x* / *y*

So *x*:*y* is 2:3. Add the total to the ratio to determine how *x* relates to the total, *x*:*y*:total = 2:3:5. Thus *x*:total = 2:5. That’s 2 / 5, or 40%. Answer (D) is correct.

*Challenge yourself to even more GMAT Quantitative Reasoning problems by signing up for a **free practice test** and sharpening your skills for Test Day. *

The post GMAT Quantitative: Two Types of Mixture Problems appeared first on Business School Insider.

]]>*Pose these questions to yourself as you strategize to advance your career.*

The first rule of getting promoted is that you have to ask for it. It’s amazing how many people think that if they put their heads down, do the work, and hit every deadline, a promotion will come their way. If that hasn’t worked out for you, it’s time to get proactive! Poke your head up, take a look around, and get smart about gaining recognition for your work. Ask yourself these questions as you plan your next steps.

As you climb the ladder, you realize that the problems you’re faced with only get harder. Sometimes, solving those problems requires an advanced set of skills. Whatever your industry, figure out what those skills are. Do you need a better understanding of accounting? More polished public speaking skills? Less rudimentary digital knowhow? Figure out what the people above and around you can do that you can’t, and learn how to do it. Be open to returning to school, if that’s what it takes.

To get promoted, you need relationships not just with your bosses, but with your bosses’ bosses. They’re the ones who will sign off on your promotion. Raise your hand for opportunities—even if they’re challenging—that will get you in front of these stakeholders. When your promotion comes up, you need them to say, “Yes!”—not “Who?”

Be careful here, but an approach from a competitor is one way to get your own company to act. Always be respectful, but let your superiors know that you are a sought-after employee. That said, if your boss calls your bluff or turns out to not care whether you stay, you should either be prepared to leave or to discuss other forms of recognition or compensation outside of getting a promotion.

The best argument for a new title is that you are already doing the work, in demonstrable ways. To the extent you can, make it happen. Get promoted by approaching your desired title change as you would a job change. What is the job description for the next position up, at your company or at a direct competitor, and what parts of that job can you start doing now? If you were coming into the position from the outside, what would you need to demonstrate that you can do?

Finally, to make yourself extra attractive for promotion, think carefully about the direction your industry is headed. What skills will be in demand in a year? In five years? Then get ahead of those requirements. If it’s relevant, take coding classes, learn design, learn new software, get an MBA. Show that you’re the person who can take the company into the future, and senior leadership will fall over itself to promote you.

*Hoping to get promoted or advance your career with an MBA? Sign up for a **free online GMAT practice test** to prep for business school admissions.*

The post How to Get Promoted appeared first on Business School Insider.

]]>*Pose these questions to yourself as you strategize to advance your career.*

The first rule of getting promoted is that you have to ask for it. It’s amazing how many people think that if they put their heads down, do the work, and hit every deadline, a promotion will come their way. If that hasn’t worked out for you, it’s time to get proactive! Poke your head up, take a look around, and get smart about gaining recognition for your work. Ask yourself these questions as you plan your next steps.

As you climb the ladder, you realize that the problems you’re faced with only get harder. Sometimes, solving those problems requires an advanced set of skills. Whatever your industry, figure out what those skills are. Do you need a better understanding of accounting? More polished public speaking skills? Less rudimentary digital knowhow? Figure out what the people above and around you can do that you can’t, and learn how to do it. Be open to returning to school, if that’s what it takes.

To get promoted, you need relationships not just with your bosses, but with your bosses’ bosses. They’re the ones who will sign off on your promotion. Raise your hand for opportunities—even if they’re challenging—that will get you in front of these stakeholders. When your promotion comes up, you need them to say, “Yes!”—not “Who?”

Be careful here, but an approach from a competitor is one way to get your own company to act. Always be respectful, but let your superiors know that you are a sought-after employee. That said, if your boss calls your bluff or turns out to not care whether you stay, you should either be prepared to leave or to discuss other forms of recognition or compensation outside of getting a promotion.

The best argument for a new title is that you are already doing the work, in demonstrable ways. To the extent you can, make it happen. Get promoted by approaching your desired title change as you would a job change. What is the job description for the next position up, at your company or at a direct competitor, and what parts of that job can you start doing now? If you were coming into the position from the outside, what would you need to demonstrate that you can do?

Finally, to make yourself extra attractive for promotion, think carefully about the direction your industry is headed. What skills will be in demand in a year? In five years? Then get ahead of those requirements. If it’s relevant, take coding classes, learn design, learn new software, get an MBA. Show that you’re the person who can take the company into the future, and senior leadership will fall over itself to promote you.

*Hoping to get promoted or advance your career with an MBA? Sign up for a **free online GMAT practice test** to prep for business school admissions.*

The post How to Get Promoted appeared first on Business School Insider.

]]>*Remember these basic rules when dealing with proportional relationships.*

We encounter proportions frequently in everyday life. When we cook, we add proportional measurements of ingredients. If you are arranging flowers in a vase, you might want to add 2 stems of one type of bloom for every 3 stems of another.

On the GMAT proportions appear in word problems involving mixtures and probability, but they are most frequently seen in ratios.

The ratios you encounter on Test Day may be part to part (boys to girls = 2:1), part to whole (boys to all children = 2:3), or even measure to measure (miles per hour, dollars per gallon). Here I will remind you of a few key tips to help you brush up on ratios for the Quantitative Reasoning section.

**Ratio values are reduced by common factors.**If the quantities of items in a ratio have a common factor, reduce the values to get the ratio. For example, if a GMAT question involved a restaurant offering 6 types of sandwiches and 3 kinds of soup each day, the sandwich-to-soup ratio would not be 6:3, because that can be reduced; the ratio would be 2:1.- If you solve a ratio problem and do not see your answer among the choices, be sure to
**reduce the values to their lowest form**. The GMAT will not list 6:3 among answer choices; that ratio would be 2:1 instead. - If you know a ratio between quantities, you only know their proportional relationship.
**You do not know actual values if you only know the ratio**. Think of ratios as having an invisible x; we write 3:2 (or 3/2), but the actual value is really 3x:2x (or 3x/2x). If you know a fruit basket contains oranges and apples in a ratio of 3:2, you might have 3 oranges and 2 apples. But you also could have 300 oranges and 200 apples; either way, the ratio remains 3:2.

- If you know a ratio between quantities, you know
**the actual value of each quantity will be a multiple of the ratio value**. For example, if the ratio of boys to girls in a certain classroom is 3:4, you know the number of boys is a multiple of 3 (because boys are represented by 3 in the ratio). The number of girls is a multiple of 4. And, because**you can add the parts gives to determine the ratio component of the total**, you know the number of children in the classroom is a multiple of 3+4, or 7. **If you know a:b and b:c, you can find a:c**. Imagine that the ratio of roses to carnations in a flower shop is 2:5, and the ratio of carnations to tulips is 7:3. You could write that as follows:

We can’t just “smush” these ratios together to say roses:tulips = 2:3; we need to **make the shared quantity the same**. Both ratios include a value for carnations, but they are different values. Find the least common multiple of the different values to make them the same. Multiply each ratio as needed to combine:

If we are asked to find the ratio of roses to tulips at this flower shop, we ignore the number of carnations and only look at roses and tulips; the ratio is 14:15.

Brushing up on ratios boosts your confidence as well as your score. Proportional relationships are constrained by a short list of tidy rules; spend some time learning them to land your best GMAT score on Test Day.

*Want to check your Quantitative Reasoning performance? Sign up for a **free GMAT practice test and review**.*

The post Land Your Score: Brush up on Ratios appeared first on Business School Insider.

]]>*Here are four ways to project executive presence.*

You’ll learn many sophisticated management theories in business school, and they will make you a more effective leader. But some part of leadership still comes down to a less easily quantifiable essence, a “she has it” quality that inspires people to follow. This is sometimes referred to as executive presence.

We often talk about executive presence as if it’s an inherent quality. But executive presence can be learned. Here’s what you need to know about projecting professional leadership qualities to advance your career.

If you think of yourself as being junior, that will come across to your peers. Own your accomplishments and understand how much value you bring to your organization. Write down what you’ve achieved, revise your resume, reread performance reports from past years as a way of remembering everything you’ve accomplished.

You can also ask a friend or colleague to pitch you to yourself: She can pretend she’s pitching you as an expert for a panel in your subject area of expertise. Hearing your accomplishments cited by someone else can help you acknowledge your achievements. Also, remind yourself frequently why you love what you do; your passion for your subject matter area of expertise will come through in your presentation and will inspire others—and you.

Use big gestures and take up space, and people will think you’re bigger than you are. If you’re sitting, lean forward in your chair, plant your feet on the floor, put your arms on the table. Section off space by putting papers and a cup of coffee in front of you. If you’re standing, put your hands on your hips and one foot forward. Don’t curl your back, tilt your head, or fold your arms across your chest; these are all ways of making yourself seem smaller than you.

And of course, projecting your leadership qualities requires making eye contact. In addition, avoid tilting your head, nodding at every comment, or making small noises of affirmation (especially if you are in a junior role or tend to be shy); instead, let people try to impress you.

Always know what your job is in any room. What is your goal? Do you need to emerge from the room with ideas? A consensus? A to-do list of next steps? Then, arm yourself with what you’ll need to achieve that goal. It’s hard to lead if you don’t have any idea where you’re going.

Understand there is no one right way to be a leader or to project leadership qualities. Someone who is typically quiet or introverted can ask especially insightful questions to move a decision-making process forward; someone who is usually more extroverted can feed off the energy of the crowd to motivate people. Don’t feel that you are out of the running because you don’t fit some simplistic stereotype of a leader.

*Planning for an MBA? Sign up for a **free practice test and review** to get a detailed analysis of your performance.*

The post 4 Ways to Project Leadership Qualities appeared first on Business School Insider.

]]>*Watch an HBS applicant find out about his acceptance.*

From tips for packaging your resume to the best practices of successful applicants—here’s what’s happening in our latest roundup of business school news.

Meet Kel Jackson, an aspiring MBA who’s decided to allow all of you vicariously experience what it might be like to get into Harvard Business School. The new admit recorded himself logging onto HBS’s admissions portal to find out whether he was getting in or not. He’s cool as a cucumber until the last click, and then… he can’t contain his excitement.

“I studied for months on end, eventually taking the GMAT three times,” he explains. “I agonized over my essays and revised them more times than I care to remember. When I was invited to interview on campus, I knew that just 30 minutes would determine the trajectory of the rest of my life. I did my best not to screw it up. Then I waited. Finally, at noon on decision day, I got the good news and immediately proceeded to jump up and down in my living room like an excited little kid.”

A graduate of Auburn University, Kel Jackson has another reason to celebrate: His wife is graduating pharmacy school this month. (Poets & Quants)

Having a professional background at an elite company in consulting or finance is not a necessity for getting into business school… but it doesn’t hurt either. For all applicants, regardless of background, it’s about putting together a resume that makes you stand out and that highlights your most important accomplishment and attributes.

“A resume inherently is all about me, but in business school today, they’re looking for students who will be team players and contribute to the growth and learning of others,” says one admissions consultant who once worked as an admissions official at Sellinger School of Business and Management at Loyola University Maryland. “So make sure that on your resume, you’ve shown it’s not just all about me and what I’ve achieved but how I have helped my group and my community.” (*U.S. News & World Report*)

MBA Insights, a website that aims to help aspiring business students make the right decisions about the MBA admissions process, recently published a cool infographic that includes advice from current students about how to be successful. Among their top pieces of advice:

- Start the process early. Research all your options.
- Take the GMAT (or GRE) first. (We very much agree with this piece of advice. Remember that scores are good for several years. We even encourage students to take it while still an undergrad so you are in “test-taking mode.”)
- And on the same thread… take as many practice GMATs or GREs as you can. Familiarity breeds confidence and success. (MBA Insights)

Unlike their European counterparts, for whom crossing international borders is almost as easy as going to another town, American business students seldom venture outside the borders or even where their program is located. This is understandable, as international travel is expensive and American MBA students can often find great internship and learning opportunities closer to home. But Temple University’s Fox School of Business thinks international experience is essential for its students and therefore integrates two-week international trips to emerging and developed economies into its curriculum.

“No matter where students intend to work eventually, somehow the global marketplace is going to touch them,” says Kevin Fandl, academic director of global immersion programs at Fox. “Whether they’re hiring immigrant labor, outsourcing, importing, exporting, or expanding their operations overseas; everything touches the global marketplace and they need to be prepared for that.” (BusinessBecause)

*Planning for Test Day? Sign up for a **free practice test and review** to get a detailed analysis of your performance.*

The post Harvard Business School Admit Shares His Good News appeared first on Business School Insider.

]]>*Hustling isn’t just about money—it can advance your career.*

The work world has been upended, and we can expect to work for multiple employers over the course of our careers—not just one. Increasingly, employees are developing side hustles as alternative ways to improve their skills, increase their personal visibility, and bring in more money.

As employees flex their side-hustle muscles, progressive employers are starting to see vibrant side projects not as a threat, but as an attribute: They show that an employee has ambition, an entrepreneurial attitude, and personal interests that can feed creative thinking at work.

Here are a few tips on how to start your side hustle:

When it comes to vinyl B-sides, no one knows more than you do. Why not start an Etsy store to sell your favorites? Or you have an eye for midcentury furniture—why not find some at thrift stores or garage sales and flip them on eBay? Online marketplaces are made for side hustles. Showcase your obsession with vintage lunchboxes on Instagram, then turn around and sell them at a profit.

Get deliberate about using your side hustle to armor-plate your corporate future. Need more social media credibility? Build a following on Twitter that can bolster you at work. Need to understand business plans? As you’re working on your MBA, run a side business plowing snow from people’s yards on weekends. One benefit of a side hustle is that you’re doing everything—production, marketing, managing cash flow—which means you get true 360-degree experience.

Maybe your friends always enlist your shopping help when they have a big event coming up. Or maybe you’re the one who is called on to rewrite your friends’ resumes. These could be fruitful avenues for a side hustle: Could you offer your resume writing services to your network for a fee? Could you pick up personal shopper clients on weekends? Who knows—maybe your second career will become your first.

Start thinking of a side hustle as a fun way to add ballast to your career, and try something. If it doesn’t work out, you haven’t risked anything. If it does, then you’ve opened up whole new possibilities. Go ahead, get out there!

*Want to advance your career with an MBA? Sign up for a **free online GMAT practice test** to prep for business school admissions.*

The post Advance Your Career with a Side Hustle appeared first on Business School Insider.

]]>*Orient yourself to important themes using navigational reading strategies.*

In a recent Kaplan GMAT class, several of my students were very excited about the results they were seeing from using the Kaplan Method for Reading Comprehension. I’ve discussed this Method before, but now I want to emphasize part of the first step.

The first step of the Kaplan Method is to read the passage strategically. Kaplan students know that part of strategic reading is making notes as you move through the passage; this **passage map** is your guide through the passage.

In the map, note the purpose of each paragraph. What function does it serve? Why did the author include it? Think of a passage map as if it were directions through the material. Just as you don’t want an actual map or directions to be cluttered by unnecessary details (“there’s a gas station on the left, but don’t turn there; turn right just past the post office that used to be a burger joint….”), you don’t want your trail through the passage to be cluttered by trivial details. Details are only useful if they equal points. If you need the details, you can **use your map to find your way back to them**.

Here’s an example first paragraph:

*A pioneering figure in modern sociology, French social theorist Emile Durkheim examined the effect of societal cohesion on emotional well-being. Believing that scientific methods should be applied to the study of society, Durkheim studied the levels of integration in various social formations and the impact that such cohesion had on individuals within the group. He postulated that social groups with high levels of integration serve to buffer their members from frustrations and tragedies that could otherwise lead to desperation and self-destruction. Integration, in Durkheim’s view, generally arises through shared activities and values.*

This paragraph provides background information about Durkheim and introduces one of his theories, which will likely be discussed in the following paragraph(s). Shorthand notes to that effect would be **all I put in my map**: Durkheim theory.

Durkheim’s beliefs about scientific methods, observations about levels of integration, or his postulation about particular social groups do not belong in a map; those are the details you will use the map to retrieve, should you need them.

The second and third paragraphs are as follows:

*Durkheim distinguished between mechanical solidarity and organic solidarity in classifying integrated groups. *Mechanical solidarity* dominates in groups in which individual differences are minimized and group devotion to a common goal is high. Durkheim identified mechanical solidarity among groups with little division of labor and high degrees of cultural similarity, such as among more traditional and geographically isolated groups.*

Organic solidarity*, in contrast, prevails in groups with high levels of individual differences, such as those with a highly specialized division of labor. In such groups, individual differences are a powerful source of connection rather than of division. Because people engage in highly differentiated ways of life, they are by necessity interdependent. In these societies, there is greater freedom from some external controls, but such freedom occurs in concert with the interdependence of individuals, not in conflict with it.*

Each of these paragraphs discusses one of Durkheim’s classifications. Take note of any major distinctions drawn by the passage’s author—in this case, the distinction between two classifications.

Just as you should look for distinctions in Reading Comprehension, so you should also take note of comparisons and similarities drawn between different categories, themes, or topics. The final paragraph is below:

*Durkheim realized that societies may take many forms and, consequently, that group allegiance can manifest itself in a variety of ways. In both types of societies outlined previously, however, Durkheim stressed that adherence to a common set of assumptions about the world was a necessary prerequisite for maintaining group integrity and avoiding social decay.*

In this last paragraph, the author points out a similarity between the two classifications. My map for the entire passage would look like this:

- ¶1 Durkheim theory
- ¶2 mech sol
- ¶3 org sol
- ¶4 both: shared assumptions

Now if I see a question that asks about mechanical solidarity, I know where to research the answer; if I see a question asking about shared assumptions, I also know where to look. I’ve created a table of contents for the passage that allows me to locate the information I need quickly, without needing to reread and waste precious time on Test Day.

*Want to check your Reading Comprehension performance? Sign up for a **free GMAT practice test and review** to see how you would score on Test Day.*

The post Land Your Score: Reading Comprehension Passage Mapping appeared first on Business School Insider.

]]>*Orient yourself to important themes using navigational reading strategies.*

In a recent Kaplan GMAT class, several of my students were very excited about the results they were seeing from using the Kaplan Method for Reading Comprehension. I’ve discussed this Method before, but now I want to emphasize part of the first step.

The first step of the Kaplan Method is to read the passage strategically. Kaplan students know that part of strategic reading is making notes as you move through the passage; this **passage map** is your guide through the passage.

In the map, note the purpose of each paragraph. What function does it serve? Why did the author include it? Think of a passage map as if it were directions through the material. Just as you don’t want an actual map or directions to be cluttered by unnecessary details (“there’s a gas station on the left, but don’t turn there; turn right just past the post office that used to be a burger joint….”), you don’t want your trail through the passage to be cluttered by trivial details. Details are only useful if they equal points. If you need the details, you can **use your map to find your way back to them**.

Here’s an example first paragraph:

*A pioneering figure in modern sociology, French social theorist Emile Durkheim examined the effect of societal cohesion on emotional well-being. Believing that scientific methods should be applied to the study of society, Durkheim studied the levels of integration in various social formations and the impact that such cohesion had on individuals within the group. He postulated that social groups with high levels of integration serve to buffer their members from frustrations and tragedies that could otherwise lead to desperation and self-destruction. Integration, in Durkheim’s view, generally arises through shared activities and values.*

This paragraph provides background information about Durkheim and introduces one of his theories, which will likely be discussed in the following paragraph(s). Shorthand notes to that effect would be **all I put in my map**: Durkheim theory.

Durkheim’s beliefs about scientific methods, observations about levels of integration, or his postulation about particular social groups do not belong in a map; those are the details you will use the map to retrieve, should you need them.

The second and third paragraphs are as follows:

*Durkheim distinguished between mechanical solidarity and organic solidarity in classifying integrated groups. *Mechanical solidarity* dominates in groups in which individual differences are minimized and group devotion to a common goal is high. Durkheim identified mechanical solidarity among groups with little division of labor and high degrees of cultural similarity, such as among more traditional and geographically isolated groups.*

Organic solidarity*, in contrast, prevails in groups with high levels of individual differences, such as those with a highly specialized division of labor. In such groups, individual differences are a powerful source of connection rather than of division. Because people engage in highly differentiated ways of life, they are by necessity interdependent. In these societies, there is greater freedom from some external controls, but such freedom occurs in concert with the interdependence of individuals, not in conflict with it.*

Each of these paragraphs discusses one of Durkheim’s classifications. Take note of any major distinctions drawn by the passage’s author—in this case, the distinction between two classifications.

Just as you should look for distinctions in Reading Comprehension, so you should also take note of comparisons and similarities drawn between different categories, themes, or topics. The final paragraph is below:

*Durkheim realized that societies may take many forms and, consequently, that group allegiance can manifest itself in a variety of ways. In both types of societies outlined previously, however, Durkheim stressed that adherence to a common set of assumptions about the world was a necessary prerequisite for maintaining group integrity and avoiding social decay.*

In this last paragraph, the author points out a similarity between the two classifications. My map for the entire passage would look like this:

- ¶1 Durkheim theory
- ¶2 mech sol
- ¶3 org sol
- ¶4 both: shared assumptions

Now if I see a question that asks about mechanical solidarity, I know where to research the answer; if I see a question asking about shared assumptions, I also know where to look. I’ve created a table of contents for the passage that allows me to locate the information I need quickly, without needing to reread and waste precious time on Test Day.

*Want to check your Reading Comprehension performance? Sign up for a **free GMAT practice test and review** to see how you would score on Test Day.*

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