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How to Attack GMAT Sentence Correction Questions Like a Boss [#permalink]

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New post 19 Feb 2015, 11:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: How to Attack GMAT Sentence Correction Questions Like a Boss
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Many people think that finishing the GMAT verbal section on time hinges on quickly solving Sentence Correction problems. This is because these questions tend to have the shortest stimuli of any question type. Even if you’re a speed reader (hopefully you never ordered Mega Reading by Kevin Trudeau), it will still take a minute or so to sift through a passage that’s a few hundred words long. Sentence Correction problems sometimes have stimuli that are two or three lines, and therefore are prime candidates for quick dispatching.

However, sometimes you encounter Sentence Correction passages that are as long as paragraphs. Your job is the same no matter the length of the text, but Sentence Correction problems require you to evaluate every decision point among the answer choices. The longer the sentence, the more decision points you may have to consider. The number of false decision points also tends to increase as the sentence length increases. False decision points are differences between answer choices in which both options are acceptable, so making a choice based on such a decision point could erroneously eliminate a valid answer choice. Indeed, picking between an alternative and a substitute is an exercise in futility.

Another issue that comes up is mental fatigue. Conventional grammatical wisdom postulates that sentences longer than 20-25 words begin to lose their effectiveness, as the human brain struggles to process all the information. Run-on sentences can cause readers to disengage as they find themselves apathetic to the point that the author is trying to make. Often students report a lack of interest on longer passages, and an increased urge to simply select an answer choice (sometimes at random) to move on to a different question.

Let’s look at an example, which clocks in at an impressive 51 words.

The first trenches that were cut into a 500-acre site at Tell Hamoukar, Syria, have yielded strong evidence for centrally administered complex societies in northern regions of the Middle East that are arising simultaneously with but independently of the more celebrated city-states of southern Mesopotamia, in what is now southern Iraq.

(A)   that were cut into a 500-acre site at Tell Hamoukar, Syria, have yielded strong evidence for centrally administered complex societies in northern regions of the Middle East that are arising simultaneously with but

(B)   that were cut into a 500-acre site at Tell Hamoukar, Syria, yields strong evidence that centrally administered complex societies in northern regions of the Middle East were arising simultaneously with but also

(C)   having been cut into a 500-acre site at Tell Hamoukar, Syria, have yielded strong evidence that centrally administered complex societies in northern regions of the Middle East were arising simultaneously but

(D)   cut into a 500-acre site at Tell Hamoukar, Syria, yields strong evidence of centrally administered complex societies in northern regions of the Middle East arising simultaneously but also

(E)    cut into a 500-acre site at Tell Hamoukar, Syria, have yielded strong evidence that centrally administered complex societies in northern regions of the Middle East arose simultaneously with but

The first thing you might notice is that, not only is this sentence way too long, most of it is underlined. That means it will take a fair amount of time just to peruse the answer choices. Our best strategy will probably not be to read through the five similar answer choices without any specific goal.

With run-on sentences, you want to be methodical and review each decision point as it comes up. As noted before, some may be false decision points and you cannot eliminate any choice. However, some words are low hanging fruit, such as verbs or pronouns, which have to be in specific forms (i.e. singular vs. plural). Connectors to and from the underlined portion are often significant as well, since they serve as springboards from one section to the next.

Looking at the original sentence (answer choice A) and going through the words, we’re looking for verbs and pronouns that can help guide our decisions. The first verb encountered is “were cut”, but the verb cut is tricky because it has the same form in the past, the present and the future. Answer choice C’s “having been cut” seems unnecessarily wordy, but that is not necessarily enough to eliminate it outright, so we’ll keep it with an asterisk and continue looking for other verbs.

The next verb encountered is “have yielded”, and a cursory comparison of the other answer choices reveals a 3-2 split between “have yielded” and “yields”. The subject of the verb is “The first trenches”, which is plural. The verb formulation of “yields” only works if the subject is singular, and thus we can eliminate these answer choices with 100% certainty as they contain agreement errors. Answer choices B and D can both be eliminated.

Continuing on, the second verb we encounter is “are arising”. Everything else about specific locations, sizes of land and other minutiae can be ignored using the slash-and-burn technique. We’re on a mission to compare specific terms that can help illuminate errors in various answer choices. Answer choice C has “were arising” and answer choice E has “arose”. The subject of the verb is “societies”, and therefore any of the three could be correct from an agreement standpoint. However, the timelines vary from present to past continuous to simple past, and the rest of the sentence began with the past-tense verb “have yielded”, meaning that the present tense would be erroneous. Answer choice A can be eliminated because of a timeline error.

At this point, only answer choices C and E remain. The verbs are not identical in the two options, but either one could conceivably make sense, so we must look for other differences in order to differentiate between the two. Looking through the answer choices, there are no pronouns to compare, but the first and last words are not the same. These connectors often cause answer choices to be eliminated because they make sense with the underlined portion but they do not fit nicely into the rest of the sentence (like merging onto the highway on a horse and buggy).

Answer choice C is already on our radar because of the wordy verb choice, but let’s examine how it fits back into the sentence at the end. The societies “were arising simultaneously…” is missing the word “with” in order to make grammatical sense. You arise simultaneously with something else. The original sentence had this word, but answer choice C omits the key words, and it’s difficult to see because the text is so verbose. This incorrect construction dooms answer choice C. Only answer E remains as the correct choice.

As with any Sentence Correction question, process of elimination is the name of the game. However, when the sentences get very long, very technical, or otherwise disengaging, you have to go through the text in a methodical manner. The best words to compare are the verbs, the pronouns and the connectors to and from the underlined portion. If you have a sound strategy, you’ll be able to execute the run on sentence correction.

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.
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Should You Apply for Your MBA in Round 3 This Year or Wait Until Next  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Feb 2015, 13:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Should You Apply for Your MBA in Round 3 This Year or Wait Until Next Year?
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There are plenty of applicants who either had to put off applying to b-school because they were too busy, or perhaps didn’t decide to apply until later in the season, but with only one more round left in this year’s application season, you simply can’t decide whether you should apply now or wait until the fall.

Perhaps your core profile contains all the right stuff for a run at the top tier, but you must still keep in mind that plenty of well qualified applicants are rejected every year. At the end of the day there are more qualified applicants than there are seats, so your best bet towards making this important timing decision is to first and foremost, make sure you find the schools with which you fit the best academically, professionally and culturally.

It is also important that you craft a compelling post MBA vision, one which ties in all that you have achieved and shows how you will leverage it to achieve your future goals. It is critically important that you can thoughtfully express why the particular school you are applying to can uniquely assist you in this effort to reach your goals.

When deciding about waiting until September or trying now, it’s a good question, but difficult to answer in general. Most schools will look for you to articulate why now is the right time to go back, so you will need to think through which scenario is truly better for you and why. The number of available slots in round three is small, so one litmus test you can perform is whether or not you think you have something truly unique in your profile.  Remember, schools don’t just pick the highest GMAT scores or best GPAs.  They are trying to round out their student bodies to form a diversified class of top students.  If you have some experience or achievements you feel are out of the ordinary, you may be just what they are looking for to round out the class.

On the other hand, if you hail from a feeder industry and look about the same on paper as other applicants, your chances of a third round admit are lower.   If you fall into this category, you might want to set your sights on round one or early decision rounds in the fall, assuming once again, that you can articulate why that timeframe is most ideal for you.

Here are 3 reasons to consider applying in Round 3.

Learn about top MBA programs by downloading our Essential Guides! 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.
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Is College Really Worth the Investment? [#permalink]

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New post 20 Feb 2015, 10:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Is College Really Worth the Investment?
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As you’re starting your college research, you might be experiencing some sticker shock at the price tag on colleges across the nation.  Who has $50,000 to spend on a college education?  Are colleges really worth the financial investment?

According to a Pew Research Center report, college graduates not only earn higher salaries than those without a degree, but also have lower unemployment and poverty rates.  In addition, college graduates tend to be more satisfied with their jobs, carving out their career paths rather than just getting by with jobs.  But that’s still so far into the future.  So which colleges have the potential for a higher return on investment 10 years after graduating?

Business Insider recently published their “50 most underrated colleges in America” list which compares the U.S. News and World Report rankings of the best universities and liberal arts colleges in the nation with PayScale’s 2013-2014 College Salary Report, a report that ranks colleges by graduates’ mid-career salaries.

Let’s take a closer look at the top 5 colleges:

1)      New Jersey Institute of Technology – average $98,000 salary: Located in Newark, New Jersey only 10 minutes from Newark International Airport and just over 30 minutes from New York City, NJIT is a public university with over 7,000 undergraduate students enrolled in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs.  The average SAT composite score is 1347 for Honors College freshmen.  The student body is known for their diversity and NJIT is a NCAA Division I school.  The application deadline is March 1st with a financial aid priority deadline of March 15th.

2)      University of Massachusetts at Lowell – average $95,100 salary: Located about an hour outside of Boston via public transportation, UMass Lowell is one of the five colleges in the University of Massachusetts system, the state’s only public research university system.  UMass Lowell offers over 150 different programs through its six colleges.  This medium-sized university participates in NCAA Division I athletics.  The average SAT score for incoming freshmen is 1150 and the average GPA is 3.43.  You can apply to the college via the UMass Lowell application until June 1st.

3)      Florida Institute of Technology – average $88,200 salary: Located on the eastern coast of Florida about an hour from Orlando and less than an hour away from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida Tech is a college well-suited for students who are interested in the sciences, engineering, aeronautics, business, humanities, psychology and liberal arts.  With a 9:1 faculty to student ratio, incoming freshmen have an average SAT score of 1150 and 92% have a high school GPA of over 3.0.  Florida Tech has numerous research institutes, centers, and major laboratories including the Applied Research Lab, Scott Center for Autism Treatment, Institute of Marine Research, and Institute for Materials Science and Nanotechnology, to name a few.

4)      University of Houston – average $85,200 salary: Located in southeast Houston, this college is great for students looking for a large, public university in an urban setting.  With over 30,000 students enrolled as undergraduates, the student body is one of the most diverse in the nation with a majority of the population being made up of students of color and 13% of students coming from outside Texas.   Students who are interested in business or marketing, energy research, architecture, or hotel and restaurant management might find that University of Houston is a great option for them.  The average SAT score for incoming students is 1143.  Students can apply for admission and priority financial aid via ApplyTexas by April 1st.

5)      Missouri University of Science & Technology – average $96,100 salary: Located about 2 hours southwest of St. Louis, Missouri S&T’s academics focus on engineering, computing, math, and sciences.  Students spend about 16 hours per week in classes or labs and can choose to earn their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees concurrently.  Missouri S&T boasts the largest number of females among U.S. technical schools and students can work on numerous student engineering projects at the Student Design and Experiential Learning Center.  This college has a Nuclear Propulsion Officer Program for nuclear engineering students in conjunction with the U.S. Navy as well as an experimental mine as one of their campus facilities.

Surprising that 3 out of the top 5 colleges are institutes of technology?  It makes sense given that the technology industry is predicted to continue to grow over the next several years and beyond, from the internet to retailers.  Check out the complete list to see all 50 schools!

Having trouble deciding which colleges should be on your college list?  Visit our College Admissions website and fill out our FREE College profile evaluation!

Jennifer Sohn Lim is Assistant Director of Admissions at Veritas Prep. Jennifer received her Bachelor of Arts at Wellesley College, followed by her Master of Education and Certificate of Advanced Study in Counseling at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

 

 
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GMAT Tip of the Week: Data Sufficiency and The Imitation Game [#permalink]

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New post 20 Feb 2015, 17:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: GMAT Tip of the Week: Data Sufficiency and The Imitation Game
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With Oscar weekend upon us, it’s only fitting that this week’s GMAT Tip comes courtesy of Alan Turing. Of course the brilliant math mind featured in Best Picture nominee The Imitation Game would crush GMAT Data Sufficiency. But the mere title of the film provides a GMAT tip that can help bring Data Sufficiency success to even us mere mortals who can’t quite use math to save Britain from peril. How can you use The Imitation Game to succeed on Data Sufficiency?

When you’re asked a Yes/No Data Sufficiency question that asks whether an algebraic relationship is true, play The Imitation Game. Which means: if you can get one of the statements to directly imitate the question, you can definitively get the answer “yes” and prove that it’s sufficient.

Consider a few examples of questions that make for great Imitation Game candidates:

Is x – y > a – b?

(1) x + b > a + y

Here you can try to imitate the question with the statement. You want the statement to look more like the question, where x and y are paired together on the left and a and b are paired together on the right. so subtract y from both sides (to get it from the right to the left) and subtract b from both sides (to move it to the right), and the statement becomes:

x – y > a – b

Which directly answers the question “yes” – the question asks if the relationship is true, and by using the statement to imitate the question you can get the statement to directly answer it.

If the product abc does not equal 0, does a/b = c?

(1) bc = a

Here you can again use the statement to imitate the question, dividing both sides by b to get c on its own (which you’re allowed to do since no values are 0), and you have your answer:

c = a/b

Sometimes you’ll be able to imitate the question to get a definite “no” answer, which is still sufficient:

Is x – y > a – b?

(1) a > x and y > b

Here you can combine the inequalities to get them all in to one inequality. By adding the inequalities together (which you can do since the signs point in the same direction), you have:

a + y > x + b

And then you want to imitate the question, which has a and b on one side and x and y on the other. So subtract y and b from both sides to get:

a – b > x – y

Which is the opposite of the question, and therefore says “no, x – y is not greater than a – b” providing you with sufficient information.

The real lesson here? When you’re being asked a yes/no question with lots of algebra, it pays to play The Imitation Game. See if you can get the statement to imitate the question, and you’ll often find that it directly answers the question.

But be careful! As the second example showed you, you need to be careful when diving into algebra that you don’t:

*Divide by a variable that could be 0

*Multiply or divide by a variable in an inequality if you don’t know the sign

Keep those two caveats in mind and you can imitate math legend Alan Turing while you play the Data Sufficiency Imitation Game. And the winner is…you.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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4 Average Speed Formulas You Need to Know for the GMAT [#permalink]

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New post 23 Feb 2015, 09:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: 4 Average Speed Formulas You Need to Know for the GMAT
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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

Average Speed = Total Distance/Total Time

No matter which formula you choose to use, it will always boil down to this one. Keeping this in mind, let’s discuss the various formulas we come across:

1. Average Speed = (a + b)/2

Applicable when one travels at speed a for half the time and speed b for other half of the time. In this case, average speed is the arithmetic mean of the two speeds.

2. Average Speed = 2ab/(a + b)

Applicable when one travels at speed a for half the distance and speed b for other half of the distance. In this case, average speed is the harmonic mean of the two speeds. On similar lines, you can modify this formula for one-third distance.

3. Average Speed = 3abc/(ab + bc + ca)

Applicable when one travels at speed a for one-third of the distance, at speed b for another one-third of the distance and speed c for rest of the one-third of the distance.

Note that the generic Harmonic mean formula for n numbers is

Harmonic Mean = n/(1/a + 1/b + 1/c + …)

4. You can also use weighted averages. Note that in case of average speed, the weight is always ‘time’. So in case you are given the average speed, you can find the ratio of time as

t1/t2 = (a – Avg)/(Avg – b)

As you already know, this is just our weighted average formula.

Now, let’s look at some simple questions where you can use these formulas.

Question 1: Myra drove at an average speed of 30 miles per hour for T hours and then at an average speed of 60 miles/hr for the next T hours. If she made no stops during the trip and reached her destination in 2T hours, what was her average speed in miles per hour for the entire trip?

(A)   40

(B)   45

(C)   48

(D)   50

(E)    55

Solution: Here, time for which Myra traveled at the two speeds is same.

Average Speed = (a + b)/2 = (30 + 60)/2 = 45 miles per hour

Answer (B)

Question 2: Myra drove at an average speed of 30 miles per hour for the first 30 miles of a trip & then at an average speed of 60 miles/hr for the remaining 30 miles of the trip. If she made no stops during the trip what was her average speed in miles/hr for the entire trip?

(A) 35

(B) 40

(C) 45

(D) 50

(E) 55

Solution: Here, distance for which Myra traveled at the two speeds is same.

Average Speed = 2ab/(a+b) = 2*30*60/(30 + 60) = 40 mph

Answer (B)

Question 3: Myra drove at an average speed of 30 miles per hour for the first 30 miles of a trip, at an average speed of 60 miles per hour for the next 30 miles and at a average speed of 90 miles/hr for the remaining 30 miles of the trip. If she made no stops during the trip, Myra’s average speed in miles/hr for the entire trip was closest to

(A) 35

(B) 40

(C) 45

(D) 50

(E) 55

Solution: Here, Myra traveled at three speeds for one-third distance each.

Average Speed = 3abc/(ab + bc + ca) = 3*30*60*90/(30*60 + 60*90 + 30*90)

Average Speed = 3*2*90/(2 + 6 + 3) = 540/11

This is a bit less than 50 so answer (D).

Question 4: Myra drove at an average speed of 30 miles per hour for some time and then at an average speed of 60 miles/hr for the rest of the journey. If she made no stops during the trip and her average speed for the entire journey was 50 miles per hour, for what fraction of the total time did she drive at 30 miles/hour?

(A) 1/5

(B) 1/3

(C) 2/5

(D) 2/3

(E) 3/5

Solution: We know the average speed and must find the fraction of time taken at a particular speed.

t1/t2 = (A2 – Aavg)/(Aavg – A1)

t1/t2 = (60 – 50)/(50 – 30) = 1/2

So out of a total of 3 parts of the journey time, she drove at 30 mph for 1 part and at 60 mph for 2 parts of the time. Fraction of the total time for which she drove at 30 mph is 1/3.

Answer (B)

Hope this sorts out some of your average speed formula confusion.

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!
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Using Algebra vs. Logic on GMAT Quant Questions [#permalink]

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New post 24 Feb 2015, 16:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Using Algebra vs. Logic on GMAT Quant Questions
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In pretty much every class I teach, at some point I’ll get the algebra vs. strategy question. Which is better? How do you know? I sympathize with the students’ confusion, as we’ll use the two approaches in different scenarios, but there doesn’t seem to be any magic formula to determine which is preferable. In many instances, both approaches will work fine, and the choice will mostly be a matter of taste and comfort for the test-taker.

In other cases, the question seems to have been specifically designed to thwart an algebraic approach. While there’s no official litmus test, there are some predictable structural clues that will often indicate that algebra is going to be nothing short of hemorrhage-inducing.

Here’s my personal heuristic; if an algebraic scenario involves hideously complex quadratic equations, I avoid the algebra. If, on the other hand, algebra leaves me with one or two linear equations to solve, it will almost certainly be a viable option. You might not recognize which category the question falls under until you’ve done a bit of leg-work. That’s fine. The key is not to get too invested in one approach and to have the patience and flexibility to alter your strategy midstream, if necessary.

Let’s look at some scenarios with unusually complex algebra. Here’s a GMATPrep® question:

A small, rectangular park has a perimeter of 560 feet and a diagonal measurement of 200 feet. What is its area, in square feet?

A. 19,200

B. 19,600

C. 20,000

D. 20,400

E. 20,800

Simple enough. Let’s say the sides of this rectangular park are a and b. We know that the perimeter is 2a + 2b, so 2a + 2b = 560. Let’s simplify that to a + b = 280.

The diagonal of the park will split the rectangle into two right triangles with sides a and b and a hypotenuse of 200. We can use the Pythagorean theorem here to get: a^2 +b^2 = 200^2.

So now I’ve got two equations. All I have to do is solve the first and substitute into the second. If we solve the first for a, we get a = 280- b. Substitute that into the second to get: (280 – b)^2 + b^2 = 200^2. And then… we enter a world of algebraic pain. We’re probably a minute in at this point, and rather than flail away at that awful quadratic for several minutes, it’s better to take a breath, cleanse the mental palate, and try another approach that can get us to an answer in a minute or so.

Anytime we see a right triangle question on the GMAT, it’s worthwhile to consider the possibility that we’re dealing with one of our classic Pythagorean triples. If I see root 2? Probably dealing with a 45:45:90. If we see a root 3? Probably dealing with a 30:60:90. Here, I see that the hypotenuse is a multiple of 5, so let’s test to see if this is, in fact, a 3x:4x:5x triangle. If it is, then a + b should be 280.

Because 200 is the hypotenuse it corresponds to the 5x. 5x = 200 à x = 40. If x = 40, then 3x = 3*40 = 120 and 4x = 4*40 = 160. If the other two sides of the triangle are 120 and 160, they’ll sum to 280, which is consistent with the equation we assembled earlier.

And we’re basically done. If the sides are 120 and 160, we can just multiply to get 120*160 = 19,200. (And note that as soon as we see that ‘2’ is the first non-zero digit, we know what the answer has to be.)

Here’s one more from the Official Guide:

A store currently charges the same price for each towel that it sells. If the current price of each towel were to be increased by $1, 10 fewer of the towels could be bought for $120, excluding sales tax. What is the current price of each towel?

  • $1
  • $2
  • $3
  • $4
  • $12
First the algebraic setup. If we want T towels that we buy for D dollars each, and we’re spending $120, then we’ll have T*D = 120.

If the price were increased by $1, the new price would be D+1, and if we could buy 10 fewer towels, we could then afford T -10 towels, giving us (T-10)(D+1) = 120.

We could solve the first equation to get T = 120/D. Substituting into the second would give us (120/D – 10)(D + 1) = 120. Another painful quadratic. Cue hemorrhage.

So let’s work with the answers instead. Start with D. If the current price were $4, we could buy 30 towels for $120. If the price were increased by $1, the new price would be $5, and we could buy 120/5 = 24 towels. But we want there to be 10 fewer towels, not 6 fewer towels so D is out.

So let’s try B. If the initial price had been $2, we could have bought 60 towels. If the price had been $1 more, the price would have been $3, and we would have been able to buy 40 towels. Again, no good, we want it to be the case that we can buy 10 fewer towels, not 20 fewer towels.

Well, if $4 yields a gap that’s too narrow (difference of 6 towels), and $2 yields a gap that’s too large (difference of 20 towels), the answer will have to fall between them. Without even testing, I know it’s C, $3.

This is all to say that it’s a good idea to go into the test knowing that your first approach won’t always work. Be flexible. Sometimes the algebra will be clean and elegant. Sometimes a strategy is better. If the algebra yields a complex quadratic, there’s an easier way to solve. You just have to stay composed enough to find it.

* GMATPrep® questions courtesy of the Graduate Management Admissions Council.

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By David Goldstein, a Veritas Prep GMAT instructor based in Boston.
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What to Do Before, During, and After Your MBA Interview [#permalink]

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New post 25 Feb 2015, 10:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: What to Do Before, During, and After Your MBA Interview
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Congratulations! You have received an interview invitation at the school of your dreams. You’ve conducted tons of research to prepare yourself for the big day. You know the ins and outs of the school’s academic programs, have a good handle of the recruiting advantages, and even have a comprehensive list of the top extra-curricular activities you’d like to lead. Interview day comes and you’ve breezed through all of the questions…except one, “What questions do you have?” The complexity of this very simple question is a common source of anxiety for many applicants.

Here are a few tips for prior to the interview, during the interview and after the interview that can help you reduce your anxiety when this question is posed.

Before the Interview

One of the best ways to approach this question is with authenticity. What questions do you really want answers to? Many candidates spend a lot of time questioning certain things about the application process, school community, or even their own profile. Here’s your chance to ask these questions. Now use your judgment and consider preparing a few thoughtful questions that will make sense coming from someone with your background and that are not too invasive. The last thing you want to do here is offend. At the minimum have 2 questions prepared in advance. Easy questions to target are ones that are current or based on recent news as well as questions related to your career path or school specific interest.

During the Interview

The first few minutes of the interview tend to be some of the best fodder for question mining. Focus on listening to determine the interviewer’s association with the school (student, alum, admissions) and mine accordingly. Many interviewers, particularly non-admissions officers, will introduce themselves and their background right at the beginning so use this information to set-up your questions for later. This is an easy way to ensure your questions are authentic since many interviewees tend to ask canned and generic questions at the end of the interview. Also, remember interviews are not a one-way street, it is just as important for you to leave with a good impression of the school as it is for them, so ask questions that will help you make your eventual decision, if admitted. Make sure the questions are relevant to the party you are asking. For example, the questions you may ask an alum may be and probably should be different than what you would ask a current student or an admissions officer.

After the Interview

Was there a question you forgot to ask during the interview? It’s not too late; if you were smart enough ask for contact info after the interview, feel free to reach out in your thank you note with a question. Email tends to be a good medium to do this. I would caution you however if you are going to follow-up make sure the question is real and genuine. Most people associated with the admissions process are busy and you will not get any extra credit by taking up even more of their time with a generic question.

Make your post-interview questions an area of strength for you by following these easy steps above.

Looking for more interview tips? 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. Find more of his articles here.
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SAT Tip of the Week: How Do You Deconstruct a Pattern Problem? [#permalink]

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New post 25 Feb 2015, 13:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: SAT Tip of the Week: How Do You Deconstruct a Pattern Problem?
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This is a class of problem that is among the most dreaded on the SAT: the hard pattern problem! DUN DUN DUN [Cue dramatic music]! Though this type of problem is not very familiar to many students since it is not often specifically taught in many high school math classes, the actual skills necessary to dominate these questions are straight forward. The general set up of this type of problem is as follows:

R-R-G-Y-Y-B-R-R-G-Y-Y-B… B-R-R

The preceding is a representation of the different colored beads on a string. The beads follow a repeating pattern and the colors Red, Green, Yellow, and Blue are represented by R, G, Y, and B respectively. Which of the following is a possible number of beads in the missing section of the string represented above?

  • a) 64
  • b) 65
  • c) 66
  • d) 67
  • e) 68
The first step in ANY math problem on the SAT is to figure out what kind of problem you are dealing with. The problem itself contains all the clues, we just need to be good sleuths and sleuth the answers (isn’t it fun when a word can be both a noun and a verb?). The biggest clues in this problem are the word “pattern” and the wording in the actual question at the end of problem. As a note, the sentence ending in a question mark is always a good place to look for clues. The pattern appears to be a six color repetition: R-R-G-Y-Y-B. We will get back to this later. The wording in the question states, “Which of the following is a possible number of beads in the missing section of the string represented above?” The operative words here have been placed in italics and bold. The question is asking for “a possible” solution, not the one and only solution. This implies that there is only answer choice that will fit the parameters established by the problem. We now know that this question needs us to figure out the parameters of a possible answer and apply them to the answer choices to see which one works (in other words, we will be testing answer choices).

Step one is complete, now we simply must determine what the parameters of a correct answer are. The question states that there is a repeating pattern. Often times, a pattern problem is testing the ability of the test taker to make an inference about the pattern or to determine which answers fit the pattern. A good place to start in a problem like this is to simply fill in the missing pieces as if the pattern continued normally to create a continuous string. Let’s do that and see if it reveals anything about the pattern.

R-R-G-Y-Y-B-R-R-G-Y-Y-B-R-R-G-Y-Y- B-R-R

The missing pieces are in bold italics above. So did we reveal anything? It seems that the smallest possible number of beads that could be inserted to finish the pattern is five. This is important! The missing piece is five beads or larger. After examining the answer choices, we still cannot eliminate anything, but it is a start. The most important thing about patterns is that they repeat, so what would be the second smallest number of beads possible to complete the pattern?

R-R-G-Y-Y-B-R-R-G-Y-Y-B-R-R-G-Y-Y-B-R-R-G-Y-Y- B-R-R

As is shown above, another full repetition of the pattern would be needed in order to complete the string, which would make the missing piece 11 beads long, or 6+5 beads long. The next smallest piece would require another repetition and be 17 beads long, or 6+6+5, or 2(6) + 5 beads long. Aha! We have found our parameter! The missing piece has to be some multiple of 6 with five more beads added on! Looking at the answer choices, the only choice that fits this parameter is (b) 65. We have done it! Well sleuthed friends!

There are other variations of pattern problems like this on the SAT, but if you are able to apply these same strategies you should have no problem conquering this dreaded foe. As a review, the strategies are as follows:

  • Identify the type of problem
  • Find the pattern and establish parameter of the correct answer choice
  • Test the answer choices to see which one fits the established parameters
You now have all the tools necessary to dominate these tricky pattern problems. Good sleuthing friends!

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.
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Identifying the Correct Answer on GMAT Quant Questions [#permalink]

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New post 26 Feb 2015, 11:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Identifying the Correct Answer on GMAT Quant Questions
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One way in which the GMAT differs from most tests is that you only need to find the correct answer to the given question. There are absolutely no points for your development, your reasoning or indeed anything you decide to write down. This is completely contrary to much of what we learned in high school and university, where you could be rewarded for having the correct algorithm or approach even if you didn’t get the correct answer. On most math problems, if you got the wrong answer but demonstrated how you got there, you could at least get partial credit, especially if your approach was perfect but the execution lacked (like passing on the 1 yard line).

The GMAT will give you 100% credit for selecting the correct answer, even if you got there by flipping a coin, taking a wild guess or only selecting an answer choice based on the letters of your last name (I tend to pick either A or D if I’m making a complete guess). In class, I’ve asked many students how they get to the answer choice they provided me, and often their reasoning is wrong but they still land on the correct square. The GMAT has no way of differentiating sound logic from blind luck (or false positives, as they’re often called), so sometimes you get answers right purely by chance.

Of course, you can often determine which answer choice is correct without necessarily knowing exactly why. Especially on a multiple choice exam, you can often backsolve using the answer choices and find that answer choice A is correct even if the reasoning is hazy. On test day, there is no incentive to spending undue time to determine why the answer must be correct, no trophy for your approach. While preparing for the exam, you can certainly take time to investigate patterns and paradigms that seem to repeat regularly.

As a simple example, you probably know that a number is divisible by 3 if the sum of its digits is divisible by 3 (hence 93 or 1335 would be divisible by 3 because the sum of the digits is 12 in each case). You don’t necessarily need to know why; simply recognizing that it always works is enough on the GMAT.

However, sometimes it’s interesting to delve deeper into number properties as mathematics has so many interesting (well, interesting to me) properties that help you understand math better. Let’s look at an example:

If n is a prime number greater than 3, what is the remainder when n^2 is divided by 12?

  • 0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 5
This type of question shouldn’t take you too long to figure out. Even if the question seems somewhat arbitrary, it is simply asking you to take a prime number, square it, and divide the product by 12 to find the remainder. Picking any prime number (greater than 3) should solve this problem, but we’ll want to look at a few just to make sure the pattern holds.

Since the prime numbers 2 and 3 are excluded from consideration, we can begin at the next prime number, which is 5. 5^2 is 25, and 25 divided by 12 gives us 2 with remainder 1 (remember that the remainder is what’s left over after you find the quotient). Since we picked one prime number and got the result of 1, we could already select that answer choice and move on. However, it’s probably cautious to at least consider a couple of other options before hastily selecting answer choice B.

The next prime number would be 7, and 7^2 is 49. If you divide 49 by 12, you get 4, remainder 1. The pattern seems to hold. The next one is 11? 11^2 is 121, which divided by 12 gives 10, remainder 1. The pattern seems pretty solid here. Let’s pick a random bigger prime number just to be sure: say 31. 31^2 is 961, which divided by 12 gives 80, with remainder 1 again. At this point we’re pretty sure that the remainder will always be 1, and can pick answer choice B with confidence. (Feel free to do a dozen more if you’d like, it always holds).

Again, though, on test day, you might make this selection after checking only one or two numbers. But since we’re still preparing for the exam (if you’re reading this during your GMAT they will undoubtedly cancel your score), let’s dive into why this pattern holds. It certainly seems odd that for any prime number, this property will hold, especially considering that prime numbers can be hundreds of digits long.

To see why this holds, let’s consider what this pattern means. The square of the number n, less 1, is divisible by 12. This can be expressed as (n^2 – 1) is divisible by 12. This might remind you of the difference of squares, because it’s of the form n^2 – x^2, where x happens to be 1. We can thus transform this equation to: (n-1) * (n+1) is divisible by 12. This form will be more helpful in detecting the underlying pattern.

For a number to be divisible by 12, it must be divisible by 2, 2 and 3. If I were to take three consecutive numbers n-1, n and n+1, one of these three must necessarily be divisible by 3. Remember that multiples of 3 occur every third number, so it is impossible to go three consecutive numbers without one of them being a multiple of 3. And since n has been defined to be a prime number greater than 3, it cannot be n. Thus either n+1 or n-1 must be divisible by 3.

Similarly, if n is a prime greater than 3, then it must be odd. Clearly, then, n-1 must be even, and n+1 must be even. Since both of these numbers are divisible by 2, their product must be divisible by 4.  This means that for any two numbers (n-1) * (n+1) where n is a prime greater than 3, the product will be divisible by 2, by 2 and by 3, and therefore by 12.

On test day, figuring out the correct answer to the question is your main priority (not taking too long and not soiling yourself are two other big ones). Recognizing a pattern and making a decision based on the pattern is sufficient to get the question right, but it’s an interesting exercise to look into why certain patterns hold, why certain truths are inescapable. There’s no trophy for understanding math properties (not even a Nobel Prize), but identifying things that must be true goes a long way towards getting the right answer.

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.
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4 Factors to Consider When Determining if Your GMAT Score is High Enou [#permalink]

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New post 26 Feb 2015, 13:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: 4 Factors to Consider When Determining if Your GMAT Score is High Enough
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The most common apprehension many candidates have during the application process concerns the GMAT. For many applicants the GMAT can be a serious roadblock to reaching their dreams of admission to their target programs. It can be downright confusing to determine if you can stop taking the GMAT and move on to other equally important aspects of the application process. Of course the highest score possible is what most candidates strive for but with considerations like time and resources, decisions have to be made. Now there is no real science behind determining if your GMAT is high enough but there are a few considerations when making the final decision.

Age

Age plays a factor in determining an appropriate score. Generally with younger candidates there is an expectation that given the close proximity to their college graduation date and a time when studying for a test was less foreign a higher GMAT score is more likely. Primarily this stems from how an application can be weighted. Younger candidates tend to have less experience and leadership skills to impress upon admissions while an older candidate could lean on these types of experiences but would be farther removed from regular studying and test prep.

Demographic

What demographic pool you fall into also factors in. Business schools strive to admit diverse classes of students. To avoid overrepresentation by certain applicant pools the GMAT can be used as a competitive filter. Applicant pools like the Southeast Asian engineer can be seen as overrepresented and in contrast the African-American woman can be seen as underrepresented. Understand how admissions views your profile and target a score that is competitive within that set.

Score Split

With your GMAT score it’s not all about your overall score. How your performance is split across verbal and quant is another measure of review. Of course a balanced split with a strong overall score is the target but the quant side of your score generally carries additional weight. The weight again is relative based on certain aspects of your applicant profile but regardless the score split should factor into your target score.

Target Career

An area where many applicants overlook is how your target career post-MBA affects the perception of your score. Competitive industries like investment banking and management consulting put major weight on the GMAT scores of prospective employees. Schools want to make sure that, if admitted, students will be able to reliably compete for jobs in their chosen function so during the admissions process consideration is given to this area. If you are targeting the above analytically focused industries, target scores should exceed 700.

These are just a few things that should factor into to determining if your GMAT score is high enough. Overall, each of these elements should be filtered through the specific range and average score provided by each school as a baseline. Once this is done then the aspects above can shift the applicant’s target up or done.

Want to craft a strong application? 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. Find more of his articles here.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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The High School Transition: 3 Tips for Success in College [#permalink]

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New post 27 Feb 2015, 10:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: The High School Transition: 3 Tips for Success in College
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The great leap is upon you! So far you have been a star pupil in High School and there is no reason to believe that college will be any different, right? Right?! You begin to panic in the way only the young have really mastered, imagining the hundreds of pages of reading you’ve heard about, the “weed out” classed where half the students fail, and distracting the frat parties, how can a person NOT fail in this crazy environment? This is an inevitable, and not wholly unproductive, question.

The truth of the matter is that success in College sometimes requires different skills than success in high school, but here are a few tips that will help to transform you from a valedictorian to a Magna Cum Laude graduate.

1. TIME MANAGEMENT

Without school all day and parents to keep you honest, time management is the most important tool for success. This will continue to be the case for the duration of most people’s lives, but time management is crucial. High school is a game where, for the most part, the work is assigned the night before and must be completed by the next day, but most classes in college do not meet every day and therefore assignments end up being a little more spread out. It is also the case that these assignments often involve lots of reading that is not necessarily tested until midway through the semester so it is easy to put this reading off, and off, and off. Friend, this is will not be the first time you hear this, and I know it is easier said than done, but waiting until the last minute and cramming is a mistake! Generally speaking, students have between 2-5 hours of classes a day Monday through Friday. That’s it! But for many students, the time to complete the work outside of the class is equal or more to the class time. This means that you must be smart with your time!

Think about every day as a normal school day (6.5 hrs plus lunch) if you have only three hours of classes between 10am and 5pm, that leaves you with 3.5 hours to complete any and all work that you may have for those or other classes and you are still done by 5pm. If you complete your work early? Wahoo! You’re done! The trick is to fill this time with work until there is no more work to do. If you have a twenty page term paper due in two weeks, use your 10-5 time to complete that term paper until it is done. What happens if you finish it a week early? You get to party guilt free for a week (or, more likely, focus on other work)! This all sounds well and good, but I promise you when you are in the thick of social and extracurricular activities, this will seem quite challenging. The good news is you can give yourself days off, just do it in a scheduled way! Give yourself five play days a semester, outside of weekends, but when they are gone, the work comes first. Give yourself as much time off on the weekends as possible. With Friday classes, it may be difficult to complete all work necessary for Monday before the weekend begins, but you need not keep to the 6.5 hour work day on weekends.

 2. STUDY SMART

Not all the information that is important to success will be covered in lectures fully, but the stuff that gets talked about in class is going to be by far the most important stuff. Go through your reading looking for the topics mentioned in class and try to expand on your notes from class as you are reading. Copying notes from a lecture the next day is also a very helpful technique for solidifying information in your mind. Teaching information is a good tool for making sure you understand a topic. Get a study group together and have each person teach a topic to the group or offer to tutor someone in a topic that you yourself find challenging. You will likely find that attempting to figure out how to teach the topic will help you to understand it. Be sure to talk with professors and TA’s. It may seem like there is an antagonistic relationship between students and teachers where the professor is trying to fail students, but this is almost universally not the case. Professors do want students to be successful, so asking them about how tests are formatted, the topics covered, even for example tests from the past will likely not fall on deaf ears, especially if your requests are phrased in such a way as to imply that you care about the topic and want extra practice and materials. This will also help you to develop a relationship with your teachers, something that is extremely important when the time comes for letters of recommendation or inquiries about internships and jobs.

3. WORK EXPERIENCE

There is not much more to say about this topic than that. It is so important to enter the job market with work experience so as to avoid the dreaded “unpaid internship.” These can feel like a necessary evil in some fields, but often are simply evil. You are already paying to go to school, don’t pay to work as well! Do an internship in college for which you can get course credit. Most schools are really good about helping students to do get internships so work with your school to make sure that you enter the job market as a competitive applicant. As an added piece of advice, follow up with professors when you are getting ready to leave schools about work opportunities in your chosen field. Professors want students to succeed so don’t think of this request as burdening them with undo work. If a professor does not want to do something, they will have no trouble saying no.

These are just a few suggestions for how to be successful in this new collegiate environment. The truth is, you will likely have to try things, succeed, fail, and figure out for yourself how to best navigate all the different demands that will be placed on you in college. Just know that you are not just teaching yourself information, you are teaching yourself how to work unsupervised and stay organized without help. These are tools that will help you to be successful in nearly any field. Happy futures!

Having trouble deciding which colleges should be on your college list?  Visit our College Admissions website and fill out our FREE College profile evaluation!

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.

 
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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3 Ways to Improve Your Timing on the GMAT [#permalink]

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New post 27 Feb 2015, 13:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: 3 Ways to Improve Your Timing on the GMAT
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The GMAT presents several challenges for test takers. For many people, the issues are focused around aptitude and the ability to simply get answers right. For others, timing is a big challenge. The GMAT is as much a test of mental endurance as it is an aptitude test.

With over 90 questions in 3+ hours the GMAT requires test takers to not only answer questions correctly, but to also do so quickly. In a vacuum many test takers could answer most GMAT questions correctly under normal conditions but the time constraints imposed by the GMAT make this one of the toughest standardized tests for graduate education.

All hope is not lost however; let’s discuss a few ways to prepare for the GMAT that will pay dividends on the timing front on test day.

Problem Sets

Every practice question you solve should be timed based on the average time you will have per question on the exam. Answering questions under unrealistic time scenarios does little to improve your performance especially if you are already struggling with pacing. Take the questions in sets (1, 5, 10, 20, etc.) and have your phone or stopwatch handy to make sure you are comfortable answering questions in realistic time constraints. If you are a Veritas Prep GMAT student, the Problems tab in your online account allows for the timed answering of homework questions!

Practice Exams

Too often test takers don’t start taking practice exams until too close to their test date. Practice exams are an integral part of your test prep game plan. I recommend taking your practice test at a similar time of day as your test date, if possible. If your test date is Saturday morning make sure you are taking practice tests on Saturday mornings. This is a good way to get your body synced up with the physical and mental side of taking such a long and difficult test. Once you take the test make sure you are including some time for review. Getting a problem wrong can be even more valuable than getting a problem right, focus on learning from your mistakes. You should spend a considerable amount of time figuring out why you got a problem wrong so you will never get a similar problem wrong again.

Problem Recognition

For most test takers who struggle with pacing, you will also want to work on problem recognition. Pacing is about quickly identifying the question type as well as how to approach it and then answering it quickly. Spend some time finding ways to quickly identify different question types and how to approach them. Finally, be able to move on if you realize that you don’t have a strong chance answering the question accurately in a reasonable amount of time. Spending an exorbitant amount of time on a question you will eventually get wrong is a death sentence on the GMAT; so don’t be afraid to move on after making an educated guess.

Incorporate these GMAT prep strategies into your studies and kiss pacing issues goodbye!

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!

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. Find more of his articles here.
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GMAT Tip of the Week: The Dress is White and Gold and Your GMAT Score  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Feb 2015, 15:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: GMAT Tip of the Week: The Dress is White and Gold and Your GMAT Score Can Become Golden
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The Dress” is white and gold, as all reasonable people can certainly agree. But a sizable, misguided percentage of the internet vehemently disagrees with that fact, proving two major points:

1) You can’t trust what people say on the internet.

2) Your five major senses can deceive you, so you can’t rely on them when approaching GMAT Sentence Correction problems.

If you want to avoid leaving the GMAT test center black-and-blue, beaten up by tricky Sentence Correction problems, make sure you do better than trusting your ear. Much like the powers that launched The Dress on us, the GMAT testmakers know that our senses don’t always hold true to logic and reason, and so they mine Sentence Correction problems with opportunities to be misled by your ear. Consider the example:

While Jackie Robinson was a Brooklyn Dodger, his courage in the face of physical threats and verbal attacks was not unlike that of Rosa Parks, who refused to move to the back of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama.

(A) not unlike that of Rosa Parks, who refused

(B) not unlike Rosa Parks, who refused

(C) like Rosa Parks and her refusal

(D) like that of Rosa Parks for refusing

(E) as that of Rosa Parks, who refused

For many, the phrase “not unlike” is a red (or black-and-blue) flag right away. Your ear may very well abhor that language, and if so you’ll quickly eliminate the white-and-gold answer A and answer B right away. But A is actually correct, as this sentence requires:

-“that of” (to compare Jackie Robinson’s courage with Rosa Parks’s courage)

-“who refused” (to make it clear that Rosa Parks was the one who refused to the back of the bus; with “for refusing” in D it’s unclear who that last portion of the sentence belongs to)

And only choice A includes both, so it has to be right. What makes this problem tricky? The GMAT testmakers know that:

1) You read left to right and top to bottom

2) Your ear likely won’t take kindly to “not unlike” even though it’s not wrong. “Not unlike” is saying “it’s not totally different from, even though it’s not the same thing,” whereas “like” indicates a much closer relationship. There’s a continuum there, and the phrase “not unlike” has a valid meaning on that continuum of similarity.

And so what does the testmaker do? It:

1) Makes “not unlike” vs. “like” the first difference between answer choices, daring you to use your ear before you use your Sentence Correction strategy (look for modifiers, verbs, pronouns, and comparisons first)

2) It puts the answer you won’t like (but should pick) first at answer choice A, making it easy for you to eliminate the right answer right away before you start considering the core skills listed in the parentheses above

And the lesson?

Don’t trust your ear as your primary deciding factor on Sentence Correction problems. Your senses – as The Dress shows – are prone to deceiving you, and what’s more the testmakers know that and will use it against you! They want to reward critical thinking, the use of logic and reason, the adherence to proven systems and processes. So they give you the opportunity to use your not-always-reliable senses, and reward you for learning the lesson of The Dress. Your senses can fool you, so on important decisions like The Dress and Sentence Correction, don’t simply rely on your senses: they may just leave you black and blue.

Are you studying for the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

By Brian Galvin
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Past Perfect without Past Tense on GMAT Sentence Correction Questions [#permalink]

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New post 02 Mar 2015, 09:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Past Perfect without Past Tense on GMAT Sentence Correction Questions
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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.

We often ignore the “something happened before a specific time in the past” part of the tense.

For example, look at this sentence: Robin had never cooked pasta before last night.

Here, we use past perfect “had cooked” without another verb in the past tense – why? Because we use past perfect to show that something happened before a specific time in the past i.e. before last night.

Similarly, sometimes in GMAT too, you may see past perfect where it seems reasonable but you may not find a verb in past tense. It could be because an action happened before a specific time in the past or there is an implied action in the past. There is a reason why we brought up this point – check out the sentence given below:

According to some economists, the gains in the stock market reflect growing confidence that the economy will avoid the recession that many had feared earlier in the year and instead come in for a ‘soft landing’.

The sentence is similar to a correct sentence given in Official Guide. Note the use of “had feared” – many people question the use of past perfect here. The reason past perfect is correct here is this:

“According to some economists” implies an action in the past – something similar to “Some economists said” or in other words, it implies a specific time in the past – the time when the economists expressed their opinion. In the sentence, “earlier in the year” is a time before the economists expressed their opinion and hence it makes sense to use past perfect. In such cases, our use of common sense is more important than the mere retention of grammar rules. Another thing that helps in such situations is that all other options would have a major fault.

Let’s show you the actual OG question:

Question: According to some analysts, the gains in the stock market reflect growing confidence that the economy will avoid the recession that many had feared earlier in the year and instead come in for a “soft landing,” followed by a gradual increase in business activity.

(A) that the economy will avoid the recession that many had feared earlier in the year and instead come

(B) in the economy to avoid the recession, what many feared earlier in the year, rather to come

(C) in the economy’s ability to avoid the recession, something earlier in the year many had feared,

and instead to come

(D) in the economy to avoid the recession many were fearing earlier in the year, and rather to come

(E) that the economy will avoid the recession that was feared earlier this year by many, with it instead coming

Let’s look at the errors in the other options:

(B) in the economy to avoid the recession, what many feared earlier in the year, rather to come

You cannot use “what” in place of “which”. Also, the use of “confidence in A to avoid” is not correct. It should be “confidence that A will avoid”.

(C) in the economy’s ability to avoid the recession, something earlier in the year many had feared,

and instead to come

The placement of “earlier in the year” is incorrect here. It should come after “had feared”.

(D) in the economy to avoid the recession many were fearing earlier in the year, and rather to come

Again, the use of “confidence in A to avoid” is not correct. It should be “confidence that A will avoid”.

(E) that the economy will avoid the recession that was feared earlier this year by many, with it instead coming

“With it instead coming” doesn’t make any sense so this option isn’t correct either.

So we see that all other options have fatal flaws. Hence, in this case, option (A) is our best bet even though the use of past perfect isn’t the way we usually see it.

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!
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College Considerations: Location, Location, Location [#permalink]

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New post 03 Mar 2015, 11:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: College Considerations: Location, Location, Location
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Many students create their college list based on the US News & World Report rankings or Associated Press Football Bowl. However, students are much better served by reviewing colleges and considering other important factors that may not be as glamorous as school prestige. Here are three that are often forgotten but play a major role in your day-to-day life on campus:

Weather

There are those who shrug off temperature change as irrelevant. This can be problematic and it is why it is important to consider weather in your decision making process. A lot of high school students from Los Angeles and San Diego are naturally used to sunny skies throughout the year. It’s certainly a change of pace to go to places that have four seasons or storms and snowfall during winter. The same could be said about those who love the snow or enjoy humidity and completely change climates. Studies show weather has a significant effect on people’s moods and behavior. If someone is used to the sunshine in December, and then have to trudge through freezing temperatures during their freshman, it can have adverse effects for one’s experience and even challenge you to get to class.

Campus Clubs

Clubs and student associations are huge in college. Outside of living in the dorms, clubs are the best way to make friends and find people with similar interests. Most big colleges have a plethora to choose from, and at least one or two will align with your passions. Keep in mind that just because they are listed on the school website doesn’t mean they have strong participation. It’s important to do a second level of due diligence to make sure that clubs of interest actually have student involvement. That being said, it’s always possible to start your own club! Look for opportunities for events or fairs on campus and see if you can recruit others who would be interested.

Community

Location is essential. If you are looking for that quintessential college town feel, an urban campus probably isn’t your best bet. However, if you want to be near professional sports teams and other big city attractions, going to a small town sixty miles from anywhere will negatively impact your experience. Be sure to keep in mind the type of community you want to surround yourself with when looking at prospective universities and be sure to note the local scene when going for campus tours.

There is no perfect college, but there is a perfect fit for you! It’s always better to look for a college that suits your personality and interests as well as one that offers the curriculum you want to study. The above factors deserve consideration when thinking of your top 10 College List and ultimately, picking a University that works for you.

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

Jake Davidson is a Mork Family Scholar at USC and enjoys writing for the school paper as well as participating in various clubs. He has been tutoring privately since the age of 15 and is incredibly excited to help students succeed on the SAT.

 
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4 Factors to Consider When Determining if a Part Time MBA Program is t [#permalink]

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New post 03 Mar 2015, 13:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: 4 Factors to Consider When Determining if a Part Time MBA Program is the Right Choice for You
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Most MBA programs offer multiple options for business students to pursue a graduate education in business. For many people, the full-time, all-encompassing two-year commitment does not fit into current personal and professional realities. If you are interested in pursuing an MBA, one of the most efficient ways to balance out your professional career goals with the realities of life can be to pursue admission at a part-time program.

A part-time MBA program allows students to take classes towards an MBA while still working. For some, this set-up is an ideal way to reach career goals. Let’s discuss a few reasons why a part-time MBA may be right for you.

Timing

On average, part-time programs tend to attract an older student body. For some older students, taking two years off from life and a career is not a realistic option. Factor in the greater likelihood of an older applicant having a family or children and a part-time MBA can become a much more attractive option.

Financial

For many applicants the burden of a full time MBA tuition with no incoming salary can be extremely challenging. As a part-time student you will have the option to generate income while simultaneously taking classes and moving closer to your career goals. In some instances, employers will pay tuition for these programs with the promise of the employee returning to the firm for a pre-determined timeframe. Both of these scenarios can lessen the financial burden of an MBA.

Career Impact

If leaving the workforce for two years in your career path would set you back, a part-time MBA may be a preferred option. Industries like technology where the rate of change moves extremely fast can make it difficult for budding business students to leave the workforce for two years. The ability to learn while doing and to implement classroom studies directly at a full time job is attractive for many candidates.

Career Change

If you are not trying to make an immediate career switch post-MBA then a part-time program may be the best fit. For applicants looking to make a major career switch a full-time MBA tends to be more appropriate given the summer internship. Many part-time students are also able to make career changes as well but this change is much easier to execute in a full-time program.

Pursuing a part-time program is a great way to get an MBA, just make sure the program is a good fit for your current personal and professional situation as well as what your are looking to get out of your MBA experience.

Which program is right for you? 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. Find more of his articles here.
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Veritas Prep's Top-Rated Instructor Comes to India on March 29! [#permalink]

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New post 03 Mar 2015, 13:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Veritas Prep's Top-Rated Instructor Comes to India on March 29!
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For some time now, Veritas Prep team member Ravi Sreerama has been regarded as the best GMAT instructor in the industry (see for yourself!) Whether he’s leading GMAT courses in Los Angeles or training students worldwide in our Next-Generation Live Online GMAT Course, Ravi keeps growing his legion of loyal followers. They want to score in the 99th percentile on the GMAT, and Ravi knows how to help them do it.

No, for the first time ever, Ravi will take his show on the road: Starting March 29, Ravi will lead a seven-day Immersion Course in New Delhi! Our Immersion Course format is entirely unique — you cover all 36 hours of the traditional Veritas Prep Full Course GMAT curriculum, but do so over seven straight days. Six of those days feature six hours of GMAT instruction each, with a break in the middle of the week.

The schedule is as follows:

  • Sunday: Foundations of GMAT Logic & Arithmetic
  • Monday: Critical Reasoning, Algebra
  • Tuesday: Sentence Correction, Geometry
  • Wednesday: Review Session and Office Hours
  • Thursday: Reading Comprehension, Data Sufficiency
  • Friday: Advanced Verbal Strategy, Statistics and Combinatorics
  • Saturday: Word Problems, AWA & Integrated Reasoning
Pay special attention to that Wednesday schedule — that day is dedicated to review and to office hours in which you can get one-on-one GMAT coaching from Ravi. Need to catch up? Stuck on a particular area? Have specific questions that you’ve been saving to ask a GMAT expert? Wednesday is when you can take advantage of Ravi being in New Delhi to brush up on the skills that matter most to you.

And, of course, you get all of the other benefits of being in a Veritas Prep Immersion Course, including the camaraderie that comes from spending seven days with a group of like-minded, ambitious GMAT students. You also receive:

  • 36 hours of live, instructor-led class time
  • 12 GMAT lesson booklets
  • 12 computer adaptive practice tests
  • Online student account with study plan
  • 3,000 practice problems and solutions, including video
  • Live homework help 7 days a week for a year
  • Every lesson pre-recorded in HD for review
Hurry… March 29 is coming quickly! Learn more about Ravi Sreerama’s New Delhi GMAT course, and enroll as soon as you can so that you’re ready when class starts on the 29th!

By Scott Shrum
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SAT Tip of the Week: Here is How You Solve ANY Circle Problem [#permalink]

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New post 04 Mar 2015, 10:01
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: SAT Tip of the Week: Here is How You Solve ANY Circle Problem
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Circle problems are one of the toughest things for students to master on the SAT math section. Moreover, geometry as a topic is always a cause for concern. Any type of question that brings in circles is difficult. Part of this stems from the fact that when you learn Geometry in school, you focus on a wide variety of quadrilaterals, proofs, and other concepts. But the SAT includes more circles and triangles, and less proofs and parallelograms. While the reference to simple shapes may bring you back to Pre-K, the complexity of some of these problems is anything but simple. Here is how the radius makes all circle problems easy to solve. The best thing you can do is to treat the radius like your north star. It will guide you in the right direction no matter what the question asks. Understanding the radius and knowing how to manipulate it in a variety of different problem structures will make mastering circles a piece of cake.

Radii are used to find both the area and perimeter of a circle. The area of a circle is pi multiplied by the radius squared. The perimeter is two multiplied by pi multiplied by the radius. The radius is also half the diameter of a circle, so knowing the measure of the radius can basically tell you anything you need to know about the circle.

There are tough questions that deal with triangles in circles, or circles related to squares. This is where knowing the radius comes in handy. Sometimes, the radius will also happen to be the measure of one of the sides of the triangle or half of the square. From here, you are able to derive almost anything about the square or triangle as well. While it may not seem obvious at first, looking for the radius in any type of problems related to inscribed or circumscribed circles will point you in the right direction. It is always the best place to start.

The final way in which the radius is helpful is in proportion problems with circles that ask you to find the measure of an arc or sector within the circle. A lot of times the radius will play a major role in these problems, helping find the total area or perimeter and creating proportions again.

No matter what the situation is, when circles are involved, the first thing you should do is find the radius. After that, it is entirely dependent on what type of problem it is. As long as you start with the radius, it will always guide you, just like the north star.

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!

Jake Davidson is a Mork Family Scholar at USC and enjoys writing for the school paper as well as participating in various clubs. He has been tutoring privately since the age of 15 and is incredibly excited to help students succeed on the SAT.
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Seemingly Contradictory Advice for Increasing Your Score on Reading Co [#permalink]

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New post 04 Mar 2015, 11:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Seemingly Contradictory Advice for Increasing Your Score on Reading Comprehension GMAT Questions
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“Trust, but Verify” is an important piece of advice for diplomatic relations. It seems a contradiction at first: if you trust, why do you need to verify? The answer is that some things are important enough to take the extra time and effort to check. Even the small chance that your trust is misplaced is reason to investigate the situation in enough detail to confirm that what you believe to be true is actually true.

Reading comprehension on the GMAT does not rise to the level of international trade pacts, or arms reduction agreements, but the same principle applies. In most instances, when you think you know the answer to a reading comprehension question, take the time and effort to go back to the passage and verify.

After all, the correct answer to most reading comprehension questions on the GMAT is based closely on something actually written in the passage. While an extra minute spent on a sentence correction question may not make the sentence any clearer, an extra minute spent going back to the passage to verify a reading comprehension answer can drastically improve your chances of answering correctly.

Two Types of Reading Comprehension Questions

Reading Comprehension questions can be broken down into two broad categories:

1) Questions with a specific enough question stem to guide you back to a particular portion of the passage, which you can then re-read to find the answer.

For the first type of question, you should almost always use the question stem to guide you back to a single paragraph and then to a particular portion of that paragraph. Even if you feel that you remember that portion of the reading well enough to simply answer the question, it is still in your best interest to take a few moments to return to the passage and make sure that you have the answer to the actual question that is asked.

  • Many reading comprehension questions that appear easy actually have a very high level of difficulty. For these questions, the answer choice that at first appears obvious based on your memory of the passage is usually an answer that requires you to make an assumption that, in reality, is not supported by the passage.
  • Take a few seconds and put forth a little effort to check that “obvious answer” against what is actually said in the passage. If the answer really is that easy you will quickly find the portion of the paragraph that supports it. If it is not so simple, you will have saved yourself from choosing the incorrect answer.
  • Trust that you remember the passage accurately, but verify your answer.
2) Questions that have a more general question stem and are based on the entire passage as a whole.

The second type of question has a more general question stem and it is not as clear where in the passage to return to confirm your answer. An example of the more general question stem is, “the author of the passage would most likely agree with which of the following?” You can see that there is nothing in the question stem to guide you back to a particular portion of the passage.

  • For these questions you should begin with process of elimination. Eliminate any answer choices that you are sure are wrong based on important characteristics of the passage such as the scope of the passage or the tone that the author uses.
  • Even on these questions you can still return to the passage to verify! The difference is that since the question stem does not guide you back to a particular portion of the paragraph, you need to use the answer choices themselves to help you return to the passage. You can go back to the passage to check the answer choices that remain after you have eliminated. The correct answer should be well-supported by the passage, while the incorrect answers are not.
With the proper techniques and effort, reading comprehension is an area of the GMAT that you can improve on quickly. If you want to become great at reading comprehension remember to “trust, but verify.”

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!

David Newland has been teaching for Veritas Prep since 2006, and he won the Veritas Prep Instructor of the Year award in 2008. Students’ friends often call in asking when he will be teaching next because he really is a Veritas Prep and a GMAT rock star! Read more of his articles here.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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What the White & Gold, Blue & Black, Periwinkle & Whatever Dress Can T [#permalink]

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New post 05 Mar 2015, 11:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: What the White & Gold, Blue & Black, Periwinkle & Whatever Dress Can Teach You About the GMAT
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Over the past week, the online world has been consumed with discussions about one of the most mundane topics anyone could conceivably imagine. Indeed, for several days, the only discussion reasoned people seemed to be having was: “What color is this dress”?

Doctors, lawyers, engineers, (GMAT geeks), people of all walks of life were discussing the same basic concepts that toddlers learn in kindergarten. Is this dress blue and black, or white and gold? It seems preposterous even as I type it out, and yet people entrenched themselves into one camp or another with such certainty and vitriol that it seemed the other faction must be comprised of color blind philistines. Reportedly, some people saw the same picture differently in the morning and at night. Indeed, what was happening is that people were seeing the same thing from different perspectives.

People habitually see the same thing and reach different conclusions. If the middle-aged man next door buys a new sports car, some people assume he got a big raise, while others attribute it to a midlife crisis.  Other people might surmise he’s trying to impress someone new or perhaps he inherited a significant windfall. While seeing things from different perspectives is normal in everyday life, it is rare for multiple people to see the same thing and describe it completely differently. If I showed you the new red sports car, you wouldn’t likely tell me it’s a green bicycle or a blue toaster. At some point very early in our lives, we learn to associate certain words with certain elements, be they nouns, adjectives or colors.

Colors are such a fundamental part of life because so many things depend on them. We go on green lights, we stop for yellow school buses, we wear dark colors to appear more professional, and we wear our favorite team’s colors to show our support. Disagreeing about colors seems as basic as disagreeing that 2+2=4 (or 5 if you’re Orwellian). However the same thing can be seen from many different perspectives, and the variable is simply who is actually observing the phenomenon.

This happens a lot on the GMAT, and I wanted to discuss a problem that many people see one way, but others see in a completely different way:

The number of baseball cards that John and Bill had was in the ratio of 7:3. After John gave Bill 15 of his baseball cards, the ratio of the number of baseball cards that John had to the number that Bill had was 3:2. After the gift, John had how many more baseball cards than Bill?

  • 15
  • 30
  • 45
  • 60
  • 90
The way most people would look at this problem is that it’s an algebra problem. The ratio of two numbers is 7:3, and after an exchange of 15 cards, the ratio is now 3:2. I can set up two equations and solve for the two unknowns in this equation, which will give me the number of cards Bill has and the number of cards John has. After that, it’s simply a question of subtracting the two in order to answer the question. Let’s run through the algebra because it’s somewhat time-consuming but otherwise fairly basic (the white-and-gold approach).

The initial ratio, before the gift, can be describes as J / B = 7 / 3.

The final ratio, after the gift, would then be J – 15 / B + 15 = 3 / 2.

Note that we are defining J and B to be the initial values of John and Bill, so we’ll have to keep that in mind for the final calculation.

Cross-multiplying the first equation gives us 3 J = 7 B. This should make sense as John has many more cards than Bill.

Cross-multiplying the second equation gives 2 (J – 15) = 3 (B + 15),

We can expand this to 2J – 30 = 3B + 45.

Finally we can move the constants to one side and get 2 J = 3 B + 75

You can use either the elimination method or the substitution method to solve for the two variables. I prefer the elimination method so I’d multiply the first equation by 2 and the second equation by 3 to isolate J.

6 J = 14 B

6 J = 9 B + 225

Since the left hand sides are the same, we can simplify to 14 B = 9 B + 225.

Subtracting 9 B from both sides gives 5 B = 225.

Dividing 225 by 5 gives 45.

If B is 45, and 3 J = 7 B, then 3 J must be 315, and so J is equal to 105.

We’re still not done, because these are the initial values: 105 and 45. If John gave Bill 15 cards, then the new totals would be 90 for John and 60 for Bill, which is where the 3/2 ratio comes in. The difference in cards is 30 after the gift, so the answer is B.

Other people see this ratio problem and don’t even think about the algebra, they solve it using the underlying concept (the blue-and-black approach). To illustrate this concept, suppose I had 199 cards and you had 101 cards. Since no simplification is possible, the ratio of our cards would be 199:101. But if you then gave me one card, our ratio would suddenly be 2:1. This reduced fraction does not change the fact that I still have 200 cards and you have 100. Simply because the fraction can be simplified, that does not mean that the totals have changed in any way.

Let’s apply that same logic here. The ratio was 7:3. After the gift, the new ratio is 3:2, but the total number of cards has stayed the same. This means that if I can get a new ratio that’s in the same proportions as the old ratio, the problem will seem much simpler. The ratio 7:3 has 10 total parts. The ratio of 3:2 has only 5 total parts, so they are not in the same proportions. However, if I recognize that I can simply multiply 3:2 by 2 to get a ratio of 6:4, I discover a shortcut that can help on ratio problems.

If the ratio used to be 7:3 then became 6:4 after a transfer of 15 cards, then each unit of the ratio must represent 15 cards. This would mean that 7 would drop to 6 and 3 would increase to 4 because of the same 15 card transfer. Thus the old ratio was (7×15): (3×15), or 105:45. The new ratio is similarly (6×15): (4×15), or 90:60.  The difference in cards after the gift is still 30, answer choice B, but for some it’s much easier to see using a little logic than a lot of algebra.

On the GMAT, similar to the chameleon dress, your perspective is what’s going to dictate how you approach problems. Not every question will have a shortcut or an instant solution, but every problem can be approached in multiple ways. The only limit is your understanding of the concepts and your skill at analyzing the presented problem. Hopefully, on test day, these strategies will help you avoid feeling blue (and black).

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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.
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