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3 Ways to Highlight Your Analytical Skills in Your Business School App [#permalink]

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New post 06 Mar 2015, 11:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: 3 Ways to Highlight Your Analytical Skills in Your Business School Applications
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Of all the power grad degrees (law school, medical school, etc.) business school tends to put the biggest focus on analytical skills. These skills tend to be focused on numbers, and in particular the ability to manipulate and make numbers tell a story. The MBA has historically been known to place a high percentage of graduates in analytical careers like finance and consulting, operating as a feeder system for these industries.

As competition has increased for spots in elite business schools, candidates are expected to come to business school with analytical skills or some proof of competency. So how do you make sure your analytical skills shine bright in your application?  Focus on these three areas to stand out from the competition.

Transcript

If you scored a high GPA in undergrad well you’re in luck, as MBA programs look at GPAs as an indicator of future performance in business school. Not so fast though, what schools are really focusing in on is your grades in analytically based courses. These tend to be similar to what you can expect in your core classes during your first year in business school. Examples of analytical classes in undergrad include classes like Calculus, Finance, Accounting, Statistics, Economics, etc. If you have performed well in this area this will really help your candidacy. If you have not, take some additional coursework at your local university or Community College to show admissions you have what it takes.

GMAT

The GMAT is another great way to show off those fancy analytical skills. Schools will look at your overall score but tend to focus in on the Quant side of the GMAT report. Strong performance here can help you skyrocket to the top of the acceptance pile. Admission teams see the GMAT as a strong indicator of future academic performance in business school; so spend some additional time on the quant side during your GMAT prep.

Work Experience

Your work experience is another way to prove you have the requisite skills to compete at a top business schools. Some applicants have it easy where their career function or industry signals analytical competency to admissions. Pre-MBA experience in investment banking, consulting, accounting, or engineering give off the impression to admissions that the candidate is facile with numbers. Even if your pre-MBA experience does not fall into the obvious analytical bucket, highlight projects, work products or responsibilities that are analytical in nature. Do you manage the P&L for a major consumer brand? Did you raise capital to launch your start-up? Find the pockets of analytical experience you have had and make sure you highlight them on your resume and in your essays.

Don’t miss the chance to highlight your analytical skills in your application, follow these tips to avoid any red flags come decision day.

Want to craft a strong application? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. Click here for a Free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation! 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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GMAT Tip of the Week: LLC Reasoning [#permalink]

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New post 06 Mar 2015, 18:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: GMAT Tip of the Week: LLC Reasoning
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In a time-honored tradition here at Veritas Prep, March is Hip Hop Month in the GMAT Tip of the Week space, and no cutting-edge hip hop blog in 2015 would be complete without mentioning the hottest thing from this year’s Grammys:

LL Cool J

Really? It’s been more than 20 years since LL had to start an album with the phrase “don’t call it a comeback; I’ve been here for years.” And yet as America’s favorite award show host and the star of either NCIS or CSI (all we know is that the man loves initials and acronyms), LL Cool J remains a household name in a young man’s game. Which should draw attention to his rather unique moniker:

LL Cool J

Which, of course, stands for Ladies Love Cool James, and also stands as an important Critical Reasoning lesson. When you think about it, LL Cool J’s name is kind of absurd. It’s three initials and a full word, and it forms a complete sentence (L = subject; L = verb; Cool = adjective; J = object). And he somewhat arbitrarily chose to spell out what, in the sentence, is the least important part. Ladies love James is the operative part of the sentence. “Cool” doesn’t add a ton of real value. So why did LL Cool J (James Smith, for those keeping score at home) choose to spell out what seems like the least critical word in the sentence?

Because LL Cool J is a marketing and Critical Reasoning genius.

Think about it: Ladies LCJ would be a terrible name. So would L Love CJ. And LLC James has a nice businessman ring to it, but lacks the kind of street cred it took to rise through the early NYC rap ranks in the 1980s. It had to be LL Cool J.

And what’s more: LL Cool J is telling you how you can master Critical Reasoning by calling attention to the modifier or adjective that adds specificity. Consider these two arguments.

1) The Something Like a Phenomenon award each year goes to the highest selling album of the year. This year, the highest selling album of the year was LL Cool J’s Mr. Smith, so Mr. Smith will be awarded the Something Like a Phenomenon award.

2) The Something Like a Phenomenon award each year goes to the highest selling rap album of the year. This year, the highest selling album of the year was LL Cool J’s Mr. Smith, so Mr. Smith will be awarded the Something Like a Phenomenon award.

What’s the difference? Like the name LL Cool J itself, it really comes down to an adjective. In #2, the first premise has an adjective qualifier – to win the award, it has to be a rap album. And since the second premise doesn’t tell us that Mr. Smith was a rap album, that argument is now vulnerable to criticism…that one adjective that made things a little bit more specific left a hole in the argument for us to attack.

And noticing that hole is everything on Strengthen and Weaken CR questions. If it’s a Strengthen question and we’ve noticed that gap, you should be looking for something that demonstrates that Mr. Smith was a rap album. And if it were a Weaken question, you’re looking for a reason to believe that it wasn’t. But either way, by finding that hole in the argument you now know what you’re looking for.

So the lesson? Train yourself – like the man who could have just been called LLJ did – to spot those extra adjectives or modifiers that make the conclusion or major premise of an argument that much more specific. Look for things like:

“Def Jam Records must find a way to reduce its costs.” vs. “Def Jam records must find a way to reduce its distribution costs.”

“Mr. Smith was host of the Grammys.” vs. “Mr. Smith was host of the 2015 Grammys.”

“LL Cool J proclaimed himself the greatest.” vs. “LL Cool J proclaimed himself the greatest of all time.”

and

“I need a girl.” vs. “I need an around-the-way girl.”

So step one is to notice those (cool) qualifiers that lend themselves to gaps in arguments, in which a more-generic premise just can’t connect to that more-specific statement. Once you’ve identified that potential for a gap in logic, check the other statements to see if they match the specificity. If they don’t – as they generally won’t in GMAT Critical Reasoning – well, then get critical. As mama says…knock it out.

Are you studying for the GM Admissions T? 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
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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Functions on GMAT [#permalink]

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New post 09 Mar 2015, 10:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Functions on GMAT
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Let’s discuss how to handle functions today. People usually perceive functions as an advanced topic mainly because of the notation. But actually, the function questions are very simplistic and can be solved with a simple process. If we ask you the value of 5x^3 where x = 3, would you be worried about what to do? We assume you won’t be. Then there should be no problem with “given f(x) = 5x^3, what is the value of f(3)?”

Just keep a few simple things in mind:

– f(x) = …. will be followed by an expression in x. This is the core of your calculations. You can turn a blind eye to f(x) – just focus on the expression. For example: f(x) = (x^2+1)/5x. Keep your eye on (x^2+1)/5x.

– When faced with “what is f(a)?” all you have to do is recall the expression given and put x = a in that. It doesn’t matter what a is – wherever you have x, just put ‘a’ there. For example: if f(x) = (x^2+1)/5x, what is f(5x^3)? Don’t get confused. Here, a = 5x^3. Look for x in the expression and put 5x^3 in its place.

f(5x^3) = ((5x^3)^2+1)/5(5x^3)

If you seem to be getting lost in too many exponents, terms etc, in place of x, put 5x^3 and put brackets around it as done above. Then simplify by opening the brackets.

f(5x^3) = (25x^6+1)/25x^3

– When we are given that f(a) = B, put x = a in the expression and equate the whole expression to B. For example: f(x) = (x^2+1)/5x, given that f(a) = 2/5, what is the value of a?

We know how to find f(a). It is simply (a^2+1)/5a. We are given that this is 2/5.

(a^2+1)/5a = 2/5

a^2 + 1 = 2a

a^2 – 2a + 1 = 0

(a – 1)^2 = 0

a = 1

That is pretty much all you need. Let’s look at a GMAT Prep question on functions.

Question: For which of the following functions f is f(x) = f(1-x) for all x?

(A) f(x) = 1 – x

(B) f(x) = 1 – x^2

(C) f(x) = x^2 – (1 – x)^2

(D) f(x) = x^2*(1 – x)^2

(E) f(x) = x/(1 – x)

Solution: What does this mean: f(x) = f(1-x)? It means that given a certain expression in x called f(x), for which function will that be the same as f(1-x) i.e. when you substitute x by (1-x), which expression will stay the same? Let’s look at each option:

(A) f(x) = 1 – x

Substitute (1 – x) in place of x to see what f(1 – x) looks like.

f(1 – x) = 1 – (1 – x)

f(1 – x) = x

f(x) is not the same as f(1-x) here. Ignore this option.

(B) f(x) = 1 – x^2

Substitute (1 – x) in place of x to see what f(1 – x) looks like.

f(1 – x) = 1 – (1 – x)^2

f(1 – x) = 2x – x^2

f(x) is not the same as f(1-x) here. Ignore this option.

(C) f(x) = x^2 – (1 – x)^2

Substitute (1 – x) in place of x to see what f(1 – x) looks like.

f(1 – x) = (1 – x)^2 – (1 – (1-x))^2

f(1 – x) = (1 – x)^2 – x^2

f(1 – x) = -x^2 + (1 – x)^2

f(x) is not the same as f(1-x) here. Ignore this option.

(D) f(x) = x^2*(1 – x)^2

Substitute (1 – x) in place of x to see what f(1 – x) looks like.

f(1 – x) = (1 – x)^2 * (1 – (1 – x))^2

f(1 – x) = (1 – x)^2 * x^2

f(1 – x) = x^2 * (1 – x)^2

Note that here, f(x) = f(1 – x), so this must be our answer. Still, let’s take a look at (E) as well for practice.

(E) f(x) = x/(1 – x)

Substitute (1 – x) in place of x to see what f(1 – x) looks like.

f(1 – x) = (1 – x)/(1 – (1-x))

f(1 – x) = (1 – x)/x

f(x) is not the same as f(1-x). Ignore this option.

Answer (D)

A cursory look back at the solution might make you feel that it involves some complicated manipulations but we hope you do see that it is anything but complicated. Now there are some other ways of handling this question too. If you are comfortable with the above, continue with the rest of the post.

Method 2: Number Plugging

We want the expression for which f(x) = f(1 – x) for ALL values of x. So no matter what value we give x, f(x) should be same as f(1 – x).

Say, if x = 0, for which function is f(x) = f(1 –x )? i.e. for which function is f(0) = f(1)

(A) f(x) = 1 – x

f(0) = 1 and f(1) = 0. Not equal.

(B) f(x) = 1 – x^2

f(0) = 1 and f(1) = 0. Not equal.

(C) f(x) = x^2 – (1 – x)^2

f(0) = -1 and f(1) = 1. Not equal.

(D) f(x) = x^2*(1 – x)^2

f(0) = 0 and f(1) = 0. Equal. But when using number plugging, you need to check all options because multiple options could give you equal values. In that case, you would need to try for another value of x.

(E) f(x) = x/(1 – x)

f(0) = 0 and f(1) is not defined. Just to be sure, say x = -1.

f(-1) = -1/2 and f(2) = -2. Not equal.

Answer (D)

Method 3: Intuitive Approach

Try to first focus on the options where terms are added/multiplied rather than subtracted/divided. They are more symmetrical and a substitution may not change the expression. Intuitively, we should check (D) first since it involves multiplication of the terms.

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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The Art of Showing Up [#permalink]

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New post 09 Mar 2015, 14:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: The Art of Showing Up
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One of the best kept secrets about succeeding in college is that it’s pretty simple: Show up.

Much like the director Woody Allen famously said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” In college that same rule applies. Show up to class. Show up to office hours. Show up to review sessions. Of course, this alone won’t guarantee you an A in organic chemistry, but it certainly goes a far way in advancing your cause.

Students are granted the freedom for the first time in life to make the choice of whether or not they will attend class. While some teachers do take attendance, there is a large majority of professors across the country who run the honor system. This is in contrast to the conventional high school education system where students are penalized severely if they are absent.

There is a reason for these penalties. Being present in class is paramount to one’s success as a student. There is no true way to replicate the dynamics of a classroom or lecture hall. There is no way to interact with a professor and clarify a complex concept or review a problem set. Too often students get so enticed by the novelty of being able to miss class with no explicit repercussions that they remain oblivious to the adverse effects it has on one’s grade at the end of the semester.

It’s definitely not enough to just go to class, sit in the back, and surf the web on your laptop or phone. Instead, sitting near the front where you aren’t as tempted to zone out is very helpful. It’s a good idea not to tempt yourself in class by bringing a phone or laptop. What works for many students, myself included, is to hand write notes in a notebook. While it’s harder to transcribe notes at the same speed, the distraction free presence of a notebook ultimately outweighs any possible advantages a laptop may have.

Sitting near the front of class and staying off your phone will help the material will start to settle in your mind. Couple this with reading the textbook and visiting the teacher assistant (if there is one) or professor during office hours, and you will be way ahead of your peers.

Showing up is 80% of the battle in college. If you don’t miss a class, use office hours wisely, and “show up” you will be well ahead of the game. Best of luck in your College Applications!

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.
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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Full Time MBA vs. Executive MBA: Which Program is the Best Fit for You [#permalink]

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New post 10 Mar 2015, 12:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Full Time MBA vs. Executive MBA: Which Program is the Best Fit for You?
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Choosing which type of MBA program to apply to is a big decision. There are a variety of options available for candidates who are interested in pursuing a graduate education in business. One common set of choices comes down to pursuing a full-time MBA vs. an Executive MBA. Both programs offer different things and cater to different audiences so it is important to enter this decision with all of the information.

Asking yourself a few key questions can help you decide if an EMBA is right for you:

Experience

Do you have the experience required to contribute to an EMBA program? These programs attract a more seasoned caliber of applicants with the average student being in their mid 30’s. Programs are looking to bring students into this program who have a lot of leadership and management experience. Make sure other program types are not more appropriate given your experience.

Development Needs

What do you really want to get out of your MBA? EMBA programs tend to be less focused on activities outside of the classroom. If you are looking to recreate the traditional college experience an EMBA may not be exactly what you are looking for. Full time MBA programs tend to be a more social and immersive experience since so much time spent in the program is not exclusively focused on academics. Also, on the career side if you are looking to make a major career switch an EMBA may be the wrong program for you. With no summer internship and a common reliance on sponsorship restrictions by the paying employer most EMBA programs are predominantly focused on students who want to grow within their firm and not leave in the short term.

Sponsorship

Will your firm sponsor you? The vast majority of students in EMBA programs are sponsored by their employer. This is great not only because EMBA tuition is very high, but also because this is a strong sign of confidence an employer has in the applicant. Each employer has different rules and restrictions when it comes to sponsorship so make sure you are clear on the expectations. Typically the sponsoring firm will expect the student to return for a pre-determined time once the EMBA is completed.

An EMBA is not the right fit for everyone; utilize the information above to help determine if you are applying to the right MBA program.

Want to find out 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.
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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SAT Tip of the Week: Don't Read Too Much on Critical Reading? [#permalink]

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New post 11 Mar 2015, 09:01
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: SAT Tip of the Week: Don't Read Too Much on Critical Reading?
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Don’t read too much on Critical Reading? That’s right! Passages are many students’ least favorite part of the SAT, and understandably so. Many, especially the longer ones, are dense and full of detail. It’s harrowing to spend five or ten minutes trying to absorb everything, only to have to read parts of it over again in order to answer the questions.

One great way to save time: Remember that your ultimate goal is not to understand the whole passage, but to answer the questions correctly.

Many of the details in the passage aren’t relevant to the questions, or won’t help you answer them. Some passage details will even distract you from the correct answer. Therefore, it is neither productive nor efficient to approach passage sections by picking slowly through every line of text before moving on to the questions.

Instead, read selectively.

Pay special attention to the introduction, topic sentences, and conclusion, because those parts of the passage are most likely to contain its main idea. You should slow down or restart if you find that you can’t make sense of anything you’re reading, but as long as you’re confident that you understand the general gist, there’s probably no need to worry. If you run into a few lines you don’t understand, skip them and come back.

It is helpful to read the passage before tackling the questions, but only for the purposes of grasping the passage’s main idea, which will give you useful context so that you can better understand what the questions are asking.

Once the questions tell you which parts of the passage you should focus on, then you can take time to comprehend details. Too many students waste valuable time by reading too much and too carefully before moving on to the questions. So remember – Don’t Read Too Much!

Save energy.

Boost your score.

And slow down only when you need to.

Happy Test Taking!

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!

Courtney Tran is a student at UC Berkeley, studying Political Economy and Rhetoric. In high school, she was named a National Merit Finalist and National AP Scholar, and she represented her district two years in a row in Public Forum Debate at the National Forensics League National Tournament.

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 Ways Your Career Goals Factor into Your MBA Admission [#permalink]

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New post 11 Mar 2015, 10:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: 4 Ways Your Career Goals Factor into Your MBA Admission
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With all of the various components of an MBA application, the primary reason most candidates apply tends to get overlooked when it comes time to discuss the application process. Career goals are at their core the root of why most applicants apply to business school.

In some form or fashion the desire to improve the state of ones career is why business schools exist. Career goals factor into MBA admissions in a few key ways:

 

Hire-ability

As stated above a major part of pursuing an MBA is improving your career. As schools review your application they are putting your hopes and dreams through a vetting process. Schools need to determine that given your background and aptitude the academic training provided by the program will allow you to reach your short term and long term goals. If they feel they cannot address this very basic business school mandate then your chances of receiving admission at that specific program are low.

Career Trajectory

With your career trajectory, schools are tasked with determining how realistic your career goals are given your background. Does your desired career story make sense? How well connected are your short term and long term goals? These are just a sample of questions that admissions teams will use to scrutinize your career goals.

Maturity

The maturity of a candidate also plays a role in the process. The type of goals that are referenced in an application, particularly for younger applicants, can help determine the maturity level of a candidate. This measure is a major part of the decision process. In particular, candidates should make sure their goals are clear and consistent with current industry norms.

Program Alignment

Each MBA program has their own specialty, both academically and professionally, when it comes to campus recruiting. Top candidates will target MBA programs that offer the best opportunities to reach their own career goals. Situations where this alignment between the candidate and the program does not exist can represent a red flag for your chances at admissions. If the alignment is not clear, candidates should offer up specific courses, academic programs, and recruiting opportunities that highlight the tight fit between their goals and the target program.

Your career goals are a major factor in how admissions teams make admissions decisions. Make articulating clear and consistent goals a key aspect of your application package.

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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Solving Inference Questions in Reading Comprehension on the GMAT [#permalink]

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New post 12 Mar 2015, 10:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Solving Inference Questions in Reading Comprehension on the GMAT
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One of the most common things you’re going to do on the GMAT is to infer things. Inferring things is something we inherently do on a daily basis as human beings. If your friend tells you they’re preparing for a big presentation, you generally automatically infer they’re presenting to an audience and are nervous about public speaking. However, on the GMAT, inferring carries a little more baggage than in your everyday life. What if your friend is in charge of logistics for the presentation, or running the slideshow behind the presenter? Perhaps they are being presented in the debutante ball definition of the term? (niche, I know). On the GMAT, inferences have a high threshold they must always attain: the inferences must be true.

After preparing countless Critical Reasoning inference questions, this “must be true” mantra should already be indoctrinated into most GMAT test takers. However, this type of question also shows up in Reading Comprehension, offering a rare opportunity to excel at two different question types using the same concept. By the same token, it’s a concept that’s sure to show up on your test, and you shouldn’t lose easy points because you assumed something that wasn’t explicitly stated.

The approach I always use with students is to ask them: “Is this always true?” If it’s Thursday or a solar eclipse or you pass on the 1 yard line or Venus is in Scorpio… is this still true? Imagine every obscure, unlikely scenario, and make sure the answer choice still holds in that situation. (Seriously, who passes on the 1 yard line?) If this is the case for any scenario you can dream up, your inference holds. If you can imagine even one nice corner case (e.g. a prime number being even) where this doesn’t hold, then it cannot be the correct answer.

Let’s delve into this further using a Reading Comprehension passage. (note: this is the same passage I used previously for function and specific questions)

Nearly all the workers of the Lowell textile mills of Massachusetts were unmarried daughters from farm families. Some of the workers were as young as ten. Since many people in the 1820s were disturbed by the idea of working females, the company provided well-kept dormitories and boarding-houses. The meals were decent and church attendance was mandatory. Compared to other factories of the time, the Lowell mills were clean and safe, and there was even a journal, The Lowell Offering, which contained poems and other material written by the workers, and which became known beyond New England. Ironically, it was at the Lowell Mills that dissatisfaction with working conditions brought about the first organization of working women.

                The mills were highly mechanized, and were in fact considered a model of efficiency by others in the textile industry. The work was difficult, however, and the high level of standardization made it tedious. When wages were cut, the workers organized the Factory Girls Association. 15,000 women decided to “turn out”, or walk off the job. The Offering, meant as a pleasant creative outlet, gave the women a voice that could be heard by sympathetic people elsewhere in the country, and even in Europe. However, the ability of the women to demand changes was severely circumscribed by an inability to go for long without wages with which to support themselves and help support their families. The same limitation hampered the effectiveness of the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association (LFLRA), organized in 1844.

                No specific reform can be directly attributed to the Lowell workers, but their legacy is unquestionable. The LFLRA’s founder, Sarah Bagley, became a national figure, testifying before the Massachusetts House of Representatives. When the New England Labor Reform League was formed, three of the eight board members were women. Other mill workers took note of the Lowell strikes, and were successful in getting better pay, shorter hours, and safer working conditions. Even some existing child labor laws can be traced back to efforts first set in motion by the Lowell Mill Women.

The author of the passage implies that the efforts of the women workers at the Lowell Mills ________________?

(A) Were of less direct benefit to them than to other workers.

(B) Led to the creation of child labor laws that benefited the youngest workers at the Lowell mills.

(C) Forced the New England Labor Reform League to include three women on its board.

(D) Were addressed in the poetry included in the Offering.

(E) Were initially organized by Sarah Bagley.

The question is phrased in such a way that you must complete the sentence. Looking over the sentence, the active verb is “implies”, which means that we’re dealing with an inference question. This means that the correct conclusion to this sentence must be unimpeachable with regards to the passage. We must go through all the answer choices because inference questions inherently have multiple answers that could be correct. Our advantage is that four of the answer choices will be flawed and only one unassailable choice shall remain.

Let’s begin with option A. It essentially reads: “…the efforts of the women workers at the Lowell Mills were of less direct benefit to them than to other workers”. This seems about right because the passage states that the Lowell Mills workers couldn’t go on strike for long (paragraph 2). Conversely, it is also mentioned that “other mill workers took note of the Lowell strikes, and were successful in getting better pay, shorter hours and safer working conditions”. This makes it pretty hard to argue with answer choice A, but let’s continue and see if any other answer choices seem like contenders.

Answer choice B reads “…the efforts of the women workers at the Lowell Mills led to the creation of child labor laws that benefited the youngest workers at the Lowell Mills.” This seems like it could be correct, because the passage ends with a sentence about how some child labor laws can be traced back to the efforts of these women. However, there is no indication that these laws benefitted anyone at the Lowell Mills, and in fact were likely only instituted many years later. This answer choice affords a positive outcome to the situation, but is unfortunately unsupported by the passage.

Answer choice C reads “…the efforts of the women workers at the Lowell Mills forced the New England Labor Reform League to include three women on its board.” This might be the easiest answer choice to eliminate. Three members of the Reform League were women, but it is not guaranteed that this is due entirely to the worker strife. It is likely correlated, but it is impossible to defend that it is caused by the conflict. If we’re looking for bulletproof arguments, this one is full of holes.

Answer choice D reads “…the efforts of the women workers at the Lowell Mills were addressed in the poetry included in the Offering”. This is another strong candidate. The Lowell Offering was established as a journal written by the workers that contained at least some poetry in the first paragraph. Would it then be logical that the Offering would address worker malcontent during a strike? Likely, yes, but not guaranteed. Furthermore, would worker dissatisfaction necessarily show up as poetry versus an opinionated peace or an invitation to protest? It is likely that this happened, but there is no guarantee, and therefore this type of answer is incorrect for a GMAT inference question.

Answer choice E reads “…the efforts of the women workers at the Lowell Mills were initially organized by Sarah Bagley”. This answer choice is similar to answer choice D. It is quite possibly true, as Sarah Bagley seemingly had a powerful voice at the Lowell Mills, but there is no indication that she spearheaded the movement in any way. Had this been mentioned somewhere, it would have been unsurprising given the situation. However, on its own, it’s plausible at best, speculation at worst.

Since we’ve systematically eliminated answer choices B through E, the correct answer must be answer choice A. This makes sense because answer choice A seemed completely supported by the passage. Inference questions are typically exercises in process of elimination. If four answer choices can be purged (:anarchy), the remaining answer choice must be correct. If you can accomplish this task on the GMAT, you can infer with absolute certainty that you’ll select the correct 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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Use Anxiety to Your Advantage on Test Day [#permalink]

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New post 12 Mar 2015, 15:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Use Anxiety to Your Advantage on Test Day
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At some point during the first session of each new class I teach, I’ll write my phone number on the board and mention that I take emergency calls. When I first started doing this, I figured that every now and again I’d get a call from a frantic student the night before the exam because he or she was running through some practice problems and was stumped on a concept that had previously been clear. I could then talk the student through a concept or strategy as a kind of pre-test boost. It turns out, these emergency calls happen far more often than I’d suspected, and they’re never about content. They’re always about anxiety. And the refrain is always the same. “When we’re doing the questions in class, I understand them. When I’m working on my own with no pressure, I’m fine. But when I see the timer…” The implications are clear: the issue often isn’t the content of the question, but the psychological mindset of the test-taker when he encounters it.

In fact, the link between anxiety and standardized testing is so prevalent that a Google search of ‘test anxiety’ yields well over 100,000,000 results. You want to make a parent nervous? Say something about Common Core. Want to freak out a high school student? Invoke the SATs. And if you’re reading this article, you are likely well acquainted with the pernicious effects that the GMAT can have on the ‘ol nervous system. It isn’t hard to see why. These tests not only have tangible academic and professional consequences that can reverberate for years, but they shape our fundamental self-perceptions. Someone who scores in the 98th percentile on a standardized test will, no matter what he says, walk out of that test feeling different about his abilities than someone who scores in the 7th percentile, despite the fact that there are literally dozens of variables in play that have little or nothing to do with underlying intelligence. (And this supposes that there is such a thing as underlying intelligence, as opposed to a host of complexly intersecting domains of intelligence, all of which may be difficult to measure with any kind of accuracy or consistency.) This is all to say that testing anxiety is both real and inevitable. It’s impossible to talk about preparation for an exam like the GMAT without addressing it.

Though this connection isn’t new, much of the science behind how the brain works under pressure is quite novel, and as we learn more, this knowledge will invariably seep into how teachers and tutors prepare their students for the exam.

First, consider the physiological process by which stress makes it make more difficult to perform well on exams. We enter what psychologists call a threat state. Here is a relevant quote from Barry Mendes, an associate professor of psychology from UC San Francisco, culled from a New York Times article on the subject. (The article is itself well worth a read).

“The hallmark of a threat state is vasoconstriction — a tightening of the smooth muscles that line every blood vessel in the body. Blood pressure rises; breathing gets shallow. Oxygenated blood levels drop, and energy supplies are reduced. Meanwhile, a rush of hormones amplifies activity in the brain’s amygdala, making you more aware of risks and fearful of mistakes.”

And it turns out that the physiological processes in play are even more complicated than we’ve thought. Recent research has revealed that there is a gene that codes for the speed at which enzymes remove dopamine from various regions in the brain. Some remove dopamine quickly. Others remove it more slowly. In and of itself, this isn’t terrible interesting, but what is fascinating, and relevant to this discussion, is that those who had the gene that coded for the enzymes that removed dopamine more slowly did better than the other group on IQ tests in normal conditions, but worse than the other group on tests with significant time constraints. In other words, the gene that makes you smarter in a low stress environment causes you to underperform in a stressful situation. Suddenly, we have a scientific explanation for the dozens and dozens of students I’ve had over the years who maintained a 3.9 GPA in college, but could not, for the life of them, understand why they struggled on standardized tests!

The implications from the above discussion may sound fairly straightforward. Stress is bad. It can hurt test performance. But it isn’t that simple. It turns out that stress is one of those maddeningly elusive phenomena that we actually alter by focusing our attention on it. (Fans of quantum mechanics will recognize this as a version of the Observer Dilemma. In the quantum world, observing a particle alters the very characteristics we’re attempting to observe, so there’s no way to derive uncontaminated data. Scientists and philosophers have been puzzling over this for the better part of a century, and the phenomenon is no less strange now than it was when it was codified). This is best illustrated by a study conducted at Harvard. Half of the subjects were simply told that the purpose of the study was to examine the effect of anxiety on test-taking. The other students, however, were told that the anxiety during a test could actually boost performance. Sure enough, the group that was told that anxiety could boost performance did significantly better than the control group.

In other words, when we think stress is bad for us, it is. And when we think stress can be beneficial, it is. How we frame the issue in our minds has a direct and material impact on our response to trying conditions.

Moreover, there are things we can do to improve our performance in stressful situations. Pilots, for example, will practice dealing with artificial problems during test runs, and this practice yields benefits when these same problems happen during commercial flights. I’ll often encourage students to create a simulated stressful environment during a practice exam so that if a similar situation should befall the student during the real test, she’ll have an experience to draw on when attempting to adapt. For example, you can allow 10 minutes to elapse during a practice test so that if there is a time crunch on the real test, you’ll have already practiced how to address this potential crisis.

Last, you can practice mindfulness in the weeks leading up to the exam. A study performed last year demonstrated that students who began a mindfulness practice for only two weeks demonstrated improvements in working memory and concentration, benefits that translated to significantly higher scores on standardized tests. (The students in the study took the GRE, but there’s every reason to believe that mindfulness meditation would confer comparable benefits on the GMAT.) Here is an article distilling the main points of the study.

There is no avoiding stress on test day, but there is a lot we can do to reshape how we perceive this stress, and this reshaped perception can actually serve to improve our performance.

Takeaways:

  • Remind yourself that stress is not inherently bad. It can be a source of energy and focus that you can harness. Moreover, your belief in the bracing qualities of stress can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Repeat that to yourself like mantra: stress can be helpful, but only if we tell ourselves so.
  • Simulate stressful conditions when taking practice tests so that these situations will be less alarming should they happen during the actual exam.
  • Consider starting a consistent mindfulness practice. The research indicating that mindfulness can boost test scores is promising, and the tangential health benefits are enormous.
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!

By David Goldstein, a Veritas Prep GMAT instructor based in Boston.
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Do AP Scores Really Matter When it Comes to College Admission? [#permalink]

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New post 13 Mar 2015, 10:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Do AP Scores Really Matter When it Comes to College Admission?
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One of the most common questions we get during our free college profile evaluations is “will my AP scores count?”  If you’ve done any research on the topic, you’ll find that the opinions are varied and there is no clear answer.  Veritas Prep breaks it down for you.

Should I take AP courses versus honors or regular courses?

The hierarchy of courses is regular courses, honors courses, AP courses, and then college courses.  Colleges will be looking at your transcript to see 1) what courses are offered at your high school, 2) what courses you took, 3) how academically rigorous your course schedule is compared to the courses offered at your high school, and 4) how you did in those classes.  Your high school academic course load represents a snapshot of your academic potential in college.  It shows the type of academic rigor that you might be able to handle and that you’re not afraid of challenging yourself.  Taking AP classes shows that you’re taking advantage of the toughest academics your school has to offer.

If I take the class and do well, do I have to take the AP exam?

Yes.  If you take an AP class, you should automatically plan to take the AP exam.  Taking the test and getting a score can verify that your grades are not inflated (i.e.: you got an A in the class, but a 2 on the exam vs. you got a B in the class, but a 4 on the exam) and that you can handle big exams (think college midterms and finals).  Not taking the exam can be a flag for colleges and may prompt them to ask the question “well, why didn’t they take the exam?”

Okay.  I took the exam, but I got a 2.  Am I not going to get into college?

Don’t worry.  The actual AP score will not affect your admissions.

Then why does it even matter?

There are several benefits to taking the AP exam and doing well.

For most public universities and select private universities, you can receive credit for your AP exams.  Usually, you need to score a 4 or 5 to get credit; sometimes there is a limit to how many total credits you can get.  Earning credits can mean that you can enter college with sophomore or junior standing which ultimately means that you may be able to cut the cost of your education significantly since you could potentially spend less time overall in college.

Even if your college does not accept AP exams as credit, they may use your AP scores for placement or to fulfill general education requirements.  For example, if you got a 4 on the AP statistics exam and your college has a quantitative reasoning requirement, you may be able to use your AP score to fulfill the requirement.  Or, if you got a 5 on the AP English Literature exam, you may be able to start taking upper level English classes without having to take the introductory classes.  AP tests may help you to cut the cost of your education by helping you advance more quickly through your coursework, but it can also free up time for you to take classes that you really enjoy or may not otherwise have time to take.

Finally, some colleges may offer scholarships for scoring high on a designated number of exams.  This will vary from state to state, but this would be another source of extra funding for your education.  In addition, for students who receive an AP Scholar Award, you could include this on your college applications under (academic) awards and honors.

What can I do if I’m not doing well in my AP class?

Your AP teacher can be one of your greatest resources if you’re struggling with your class.  Talk to your teacher to find out how you can do better and see if your school offers any additional tutoring for the classes.  You will find that this also applies when you get to college; talk to your professors or teaching assistants and find out of there are extra tutoring sessions you can attend.

If you’re able to study in a social setting, consider creating or joining a study group with a couple of your classmates.  Studying with your peers can help reinforce the information as well as troubleshoot areas where you might get stuck.  This is a resource that you can take to college as well since many college students also find study groups essential for doing well in their classes.

If you still find that you need help, consider working with a Veritas Prep private tutor who can help focus on your specific needs and excel in the class and on the exam.  With the exams less than 2 months away, this would be the time to ask for help!  If you think an AP tutor might be what you need, check out our private tutoring packages or call us for more information.

Need some AP help or still have questions about college admissions?  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: Slow Motion Is Better Than No Motion [#permalink]

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New post 13 Mar 2015, 11:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: GMAT Tip of the Week: Slow Motion Is Better Than No Motion
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Welcome back to Hip Hop Month in the GMAT Tip of the Week space, where 3-13 isn’t just a day to honor Eminem’s group “Three and a Third” from 8 Mile (we’ll save that for 10/3). It’s also Common’s birthday, so what better day to let one of the most intellectual rappers in the game help you take your game toward his South Side neighborhood (Chicago-Booth isn’t all that far away) or, we suppose, to the North Side and Kellogg?

Now, while you’re in the thick of the quant section looking for an un-Common-ly high score, the only Common lyric in your head is probably “Go!”. But particularly when you get to dense word problems, you’ll likely have more success if you heed his advice from the beginning and the refrain from “The Food“:

Slow motion better than no motion.

What’s Common trying to tell you about how to approach the quant section? Essentially this: most examinees hurry through their initial read of a problem, taking ~20 seconds to read the entire paragraph prompt, only to get to the question mark, sigh, and go back to the top to get started. That’s “no motion” on your first 20 seconds – which, if you’re holding to an average of 2 minutes per problem, is almost 17% of the time you have to get it done.

What should you do? Slow motion, which is better than no motion. What does that mean? Start writing and thinking while you read. For example, consider this problem:

Working in a South Side studio at a constant rate, Kanye can drop a full-length platinum LP in 5 weeks. Working at his own constant rate, Common can drop a full-length platinum LP in x weeks. If the two emcees work together at their independent rates, they can drop a full-length platinum compilation LP in 2 weeks. Assuming no efficiency is lost or gained from working together, how many weeks would it take Common, working alone, to drop a full-length platinum LP?

(A) 3 and 1/3 weeks

(B) 3 weeks

(C) 2 and 1/2 weeks

(D) 2 and 1/3 weeks

(E) 2 weeks

Now, while your instinct may be to Go! and speed through your initial read of this rate problem, remember: slow motion (is) better than no motion. As you read each sentence, you should start jotting down variables and relationships so that by the time you get to the question mark you have actionable math on your noteboard and you don’t have to read the question all over again to get started. You should be thinking:

Working in a South Side studio at a constant rate, Kanye can drop a full-length platinum LP in 5 weeks.

Rate (K) = 1 album / 5 weeks

Working at his own constant rate, Common can drop a full-length platinum LP in x weeks.

Rate (C) = 1 album / x weeks

If the two emcees work together…

I’m adding these rates, so their combined rate is 1/5 + 1/x

…they can drop a full-length platinum compilation LP in 2 weeks.

And they’re giving me the combined rate of 1 album / 2 weeks, so 1/5 + 1/x = 1/2

Assuming no efficiency is lost or gained from working together, how many weeks would it take Common, working alone, to drop a full-length platinum LP?

I’m using that equation to solve for Common’s time, so I’m solving for x.

Now by this point, that slow motion has paid off – your equation is set, your variable is assigned, and you know what you’ve solving for. Your job is to solve for x, so:

1/5 + 1/x = 1/2, so let’s get the x term on its own:

1/x = 1/2 – 1/5. and we can combine the two numeric terms by finding a common denominator of 10:

1/x = 5/10 – 2/10

1/x = 3/10, and from here you have options but let’s cross multiply:

10 = 3x, so divide both sides by 3 to get x alone:

10/3 = x, and that doesn’t look like the answer choices so let’s convert to a mixed number: 3 and 1/3 (there’s that number again), for answer choice A.

What’s the real lesson? It’s like Common says: slow motion (is) better than no motion, so you should read just a little slower but have some scratchwork to show for your initial read of the prompt. If you can:

-assign variables

-jot down relationships or equations

-write down which variable the answer wants

You’ll have a lot more to show for your initial 30 seconds with each problem, and you’ll find that you solve problems much more quickly this way because you have less wasted time. So heed Common’s uncommon wisdom (which is really just common sense): the best way to Go is to remember that slow motion > no motion.

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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A Closer Look at GMAT Function Questions [#permalink]

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New post 16 Mar 2015, 08:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: A Closer Look at GMAT Function Questions
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Last week, we looked at the basics of how to handle function questions. Today, let’s look at a couple of questions. We will start with an easier one and then go on to a slightly tougher one.

Question 1: If f(x) = 343/x^3, what is the value of f(7x)* f(x/7) in terms of f(x)?

(A)  f(x^2)

(B) (f(x))^2

(C) f(x^3)

(D) (f(x))^3

(E) f(343x)

Solution: We discussed that to get f(a) given f(x), all you need to do is substitute x with a.

f(x) = 343/x^3

f(7x) = 343/(7x)^3 = 1/x^3

f(x/7) = 343/(x/7)^3 = 343*343/x^3

So we get f(7x) * f(x/7) = (1/x^3) * (343*343/x^3) = (343/x^3)^2

But we know that 343/x^3 = f(x)

So, f(7x) * f(x/7) = (f(x))^2

Answer(B)

There are other ways of solving this too:

Say x = 1, then f(1) = 343

f(7x)* f(x/7) = f(7)*f(1/7) = (343/7^3) * (343/(1/7)^3 = (343)^2

So f(7x)* f(x/7) = (f(1))^2

We hope you see that the question was not difficult to solve. Once you get over your fear of symbols, it is quite straight forward.

Now, let’s take a question similar to an official question from the GMAT paper tests:

Question 2: The function f is defined for each positive three-digit integer n by f(n) = 2^x * 3^y * 5^z, where x, y and z are the hundreds, tens, and units digits of n, respectively. If m and v are three-digit positive integers such that f(m) = 25f(v), then m-v=?

(A) 2

(B) 9

(C) 18

(D) 20

(E) 100

Solution: The question may seem a bit difficult to understand first so let’s take one sentence at a time:

“f is defined for each positive three-digit integer n by f(n) = 2^x * 3^y * 5^z, where x, y and z are the hundreds, tens, and units digits of n”

Let’s take an example to see how to make sense of it: say 146 is a three digit positive integer. So f(146) = 2^1 * 3^4 * 5^6

In the same way, f(283) = 2^2 * 3^8 * 5^3

“If m and v are three-digit positive integers such that f(m) = 25f(v)”

So f(m) = 5^2 * f(v)

If m is represented as abc and v as def, then (2^a * 3^b * 5^c) = 5^2 * (2^d * 3^e * 5^f)

Note that for the left hand side to be equal to right hand side, a = d, b = e and c = 2 + f.

So the units digit of m is 2 more than the units digit of v but their tens and hundreds digits are the same.

So m – v = 2.

Answer (A)

If you are still not sure how we arrived at this, take an example.

f(m) = f(266) = 2^2 * 3^6 * 5^6

f(v) = f(264) = 2^2 * 3^6 * 5^4

The difference between f(m) and f(v) will be of 5^2 since their units digits are 2 away from each other.

Hope next time you see a functions question, you will not get spooked and will, instead, take it in your stride!

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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This is How You Can Be Successful on the SAT! [#permalink]

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New post 16 Mar 2015, 10:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: This is How You Can Be Successful on the SAT!
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The following interview comes from Test Prep Store. Test Prep Store recently had the opportunity to conduct a Q&A session with Eric Fischer, one of Veritas Prep’s expert SAT instructors, to inquire about the SAT and get his take on the questions that many college applicants would like to ask with regards to SAT prep courses and how to be successful at achieving their desired SAT score.

What motivates you to be an SAT instructor?

I enjoy helping students improve on an exam that can have an enormous impact on their lives. It can help get them into college of their choice and save them thousands of dollars on tuition if they do well. I believe that any student can score well on the SAT too, which is another motivating factor. It just takes time and dedication, like anything else.

Is there a common misconception of the SAT or of what is a realistic SAT score?

I think any student can score well on the SAT. The common misconception is that the SAT measures your intelligence or college-readiness. The SAT, I think, really only measures your ability to take the SAT—so put in the time and dedication and you can achieve your goal.

What is the largest SAT score increase you have seen?

I have seen students improve from a score in the 1700’s to a 2200+ score. And I have seen that multiple times. That’s a student going from limited college options to an SAT score suitable for any university, not to mention lots of scholarship money.

Read the rest of the interview here!

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!

By Shay Davis
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 Figure Skating Can Teach You about GMAT Sentence Correction Quest [#permalink]

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New post 17 Mar 2015, 10:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: What Figure Skating Can Teach You about GMAT Sentence Correction Questions
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Like many Americans, I get caught up in figure skating for exactly two weeks every four years. It’s a fascinating sport, but because I don’t follow it consistently, as I do with the NBA and NFL, I really have no idea how the figure skaters are being judged.

I see what appears to a be hiccup in the routine; the announcer says that it was a flawless set-up for an impressive jump. I see what appears to be a perfect routine; the scores come back and the skater is firmly in 13th.

When you see a GMAT question, you need to know exactly what criteria to use to “judge” a question, even if your first instinct is not correct. Check out the following question from a GMAC practice pack:

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At first, I thought “We do need the structure to be parallel!” Why did I think this? Because I saw the word whereas. When I see a comparison word like that, the first thing I look for is consistency between the two things we’re comparing. “Language areas” comes after the comma and is not underlined; like it or not, that phrase is not going anywhere.

Wanting to retro-fit my comparison to match my non-underlined portion, I hope and pray that I see something like, “Whereas language areas in adult brains are X, language areas in a child’s brain are Y.” Clearly, we can compare language areas to other language areas, so my next thought is that I’ll eliminate any answers that don’t satisfy this rule.

However, a quick scan of the underlined terms of comparison in each answer choice reveals that we don’t have such an opportunity.

  • A) each language
  • B) (ignorable prepositional phrase) each language
  • C) each language
  • D) each language
  • E) each language
Whoa. I guess we’re going to have to go with “each language.”

What’s really going on here? “Whereas in some situations X happensthere are other situations in which Y occurs.” We aren’t comparing a thing to a thing; we’re comparing a situation to an analogous situation.

So, what do I focus on next? Simply making a complete sentence that comes right after a semicolon, and eliminating any answer choice that fails to make a sentence. If the answer doesn’t make a grammatical sentence anyway, then why should we care what it’s comparing?

Answer choice B just blows through the existence of a two-part comparison: “Whereas Situation X is a thing and Situation Y is a thing.” That’s not a sentence! We need it to say “Whereas Situation X is a thing <COMMA> Situation Y is also a thing.”

Answer choice C misuses a pronoun by having the plural word “they” refer to the singular noun “language.”

Answer choice D wrongly employs the past tense “occupied,” as the language ceased to exist before the study ended. (Or the adults all tragically died during the study.)

Answer choice E wrongly tries to pass off “Incomplete sentence + comma + AND + Complete sentence” as a grammatical structure to put after a semicolon. Nope.

So let’s recap. In a question that seems to be about comparisons, we just eliminated four answer choices on the basis of No Verb, Bad Pronoun, Bad Verb Tense, and Bad Sentence Structure. None of the wrong answers had anything to do with comparisons!

Meanwhile, I haven’t yet said a word about the correct answer A, and that’s because truthfully, I didn’t love A when I read it for the first time. When you don’t love A, but you can’t identify a tangible error, you just let it hang around. If you can drop four answer choices like the bad habits they are (as we did in B through E), then Mr. Lingering Around Answer A becomes your default champion.

Congrats, Answer Choice A. You’re the “Only Figure Skater Who Didn’t Fall on His Butt So He Wins By Default” of answer choices.

I don’t know much about figure skating, but I know that falling on your butt is not ideal.

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 David Ingber
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Applying for Your MBA as an Older Applicant [#permalink]

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New post 17 Mar 2015, 12:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Applying for Your MBA as an Older Applicant
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MBA programs are often seen as a place where the world’s top young business professionals go to finish their academic training in subjects like finance, marketing, and operations. However, business school is not only for the young; many more seasoned students can extract a tremendous amount of value from the experience. The approach for every applicant should be unique, but this is even more so the case for older applicants.

Before we delve into specific tips, let’s determine what an older applicant actually is. Now there is not a universal cutoff that determines what an older or younger applicant is, but rather there is more of a guideline. Generally you want to base this determination off of the average age of the student body. For most schools the average age ranges from 26 – 28 of course with any average there are people who fall above and below to create this average. Generally candidates above the age of 30 are considered older candidates, as mentioned earlier this is really a school-by-school determination. To complicate it further work experience is also considered a qualifier when reviewing this aspect of an applicant’s profile.

As an older applicant a major key is clearly articulating why “right now” is the ideal time for you to apply. This is your chance to communicate directly to admissions why now and not 3 or 5 years ago is the perfect time for you to apply. It is important to be clear and thoughtful and truly express what you can get out of the business school experience. A negative perception of older applicants is that there may not be much that they can gain from the business school experience. Attack this perception head on and be transparent with the impact an MBA can have on your professional career.

Other factors include your GPA and GMAT score. As an older applicant and being further removed from academia, schools are less reliant on these scores to make decisions than they would be for a younger candidate. Now of course in the very competitive world of MBA admissions every data point matters but the value older candidates will bring to the student community stems from their work experience.

Finally, program choice can be a factor. This is largely dependent on the amount of experience the older candidate has. The decision whether to apply to a part-time, full-time, or EMBA program tends to be correlated tightly with age. Think through which program makes the most sense for where you are at in your life and career and what you desire out of your MBA experience. Generally the part-time and EMBA programs attract an older applicant pool given the structure and set-up of the programs. With whatever program makes the most sense for you make a strong case for how the offerings best align with your development needs.

Business school is a wonderful experience for people of many ages. Understanding how age and relative experience factor into the process will ensure success come decision day.

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.
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SAT Tip of the Week: Do It... NOW! [#permalink]

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New post 18 Mar 2015, 09:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: SAT Tip of the Week: Do It... NOW!
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Just Do It has long been Nike’s slogan in their advertising campaigns. While they refer to training for sports and fitness, a similar sentiment can be applied to studying for the SAT. Instead of Just Do It, the best advice someone can give you for the SAT is to Do It Now.

When preparing for the SAT, so often students get overwhelmed by the various homework assignments, vocabulary words, and practice tests that they end up putting everything off and not getting work done. Instead of looking at everything you need to do, the better way to prepare for the test is to just look at what you have to do for the day. Day by day, you will accomplish small tasks that, all combined, will ultimately equal the large task. When you are able to do this successfully, you then are better prepped for the actual test and have a much higher likelihood of scoring highly. Here are three areas where you should repeat to yourself, “Do it Now!”

PRACTICE SECTIONS: A lot of times, students will do practice sections without timing themselves or applying the strategies they have learned in prep courses. This defeats the purpose of putting practice time in, as it just reinforces bad habits. Instead of getting worried that you won’t be able to remember all the strategies or that you will run out of time, just try your best. By saying to yourself “do the practice sections now” you will inch closer to the desired result. Each section done properly gets you that much closer to applying all of the strategies and finishing all the problems on time. Too often, students say they will do it right next time. This continues and continues until ultimately next time is the real test, and the bad habits inhibit a good score.

VOCABULARY: Everyone is guilty of putting it off when it comes to memorizing vocabulary. Since it is a somewhat monotonous chore to learn words that are not usually relevant to everyday life, students always say they will do it tomorrow. Every day it is pushed back one more day, and then a week before the test you still have to learn 500 words. Instead, the way to succeed is to just do it now. Take the fifteen minutes to learn five to ten new vocabulary words each day. It will seem fun when you are tackling the verbal reasoning part of the test, and you are learning close to fifty new words a week. By doing vocabulary now, you are setting yourself up for success in the long term and building strong habits.

PRACTICE TESTS: There a lot of ways to procrastinate on practice tests. Whether it is breaking up the sections on different days, or not being strict on timing, or simply not doing it; procrastinating on practice tests can severely hurt your test day performance. Instead of looking at it as four hour chore, just look at each section and do them now. By looking at it one section at a time, you will build up the stamina and attention to one day not be phased by a four hour test. This is very helpful for test day, as you don’t want to walk in on test day and still be phased out by the length of the SAT.

By applying the “Do it Now!” principle to SAT preparation, you will improve your chance of scoring high. You don’t have to conquer the entire process in one day. Instead just do that daily work now, and you will reap the rewards later.

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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The Pitfalls of Confusing Correlation and Causation on GMAT Critical R [#permalink]

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New post 18 Mar 2015, 13:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: The Pitfalls of Confusing Correlation and Causation on GMAT Critical Reasoning Questions
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In Stephen Pinker’s book, The Blank Slate, there’s an entertaining discussion illustrating the pitfalls of confusing correlation and causation. Pinker cites an old Russian folktale in which a Tsar discovers that, of his many provinces, the one that has the highest disease rate also has the most doctors. So he orders all the doctors killed. I’ll often make reference to this passage when I’m teaching Critical Reasoning because the absurdity of the argument is immediately apparent. Just because two variables are correlated, it doesn’t mean that one is necessarily causing the other.

Causality arguments show up frequently on the GMAT and they can be quickly encapsulated with a simple arrow diagram. So the above discussion involving the Tsar could be depicted on scratch paper like so:

Doctors –> Disease

x –> y

Typically, if we need to weaken one of these arguments, we’ll do so in one of two ways. First, it’s possible that cause and effect are reversed. Here it would mean that the disease was causing the doctors to come to the province. In arrow diagram form, it would look like this:

Disease –> Doctors

y –> x

Secondly, there may be a different underlying cause. In the case of our folktale, maybe it’s the case that poor sanitation is causing the disease.

Poor sanitation –> Disease

z –> y

To summarize: whenever we see a causality argument that needs to be weakened, we can distill it into an arrow diagram and then search for one of the two above scenarios.

Here’s an example from the Official Guide:

In the last decade there has been a significant decrease in coffee consumption.  During this same time, there has been increasing publicity about the adverse long-term effects on health from the caffeine in coffee.  Therefore, the decrease in coffee consumption must have been caused by consumers’ awareness of the harmful effects of caffeine.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously calls into question the explanation above?

A. On average, people consume 30% less coffee than they did 10 years ago.

B. Heavy coffee drinkers may have mild withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, for a day or so after, significantly decreasing their coffee consumption.

C. Sales of specialty types of coffee have held steady, as sales of regular brands have declined.

D. The consumption of fruit juices and caffeine-free herbal teas has increased over the past decade.

E. Coffee prices increased steadily in the past decade because of unusually severe frosts in coffee-growing nations.

This one is straightforward enough to diagnose – we actually get the phrase “caused by” in the argument! As an arrow diagram, it looks like this:

Awareness of harmful effects of caffeine –> decrease in coffee consumption

According to our earlier analysis, this can be weakened in one of two ways. If cause and effect were reversed, the diagram be:

Decrease in coffee consumption –> Awareness of harmful effects of caffeine

Well, that doesn’t make sense. How could a decrease in coffee consumption cause a heightened awareness of the ill effects of caffeine? So we must be looking for an alternative cause:

Something else –> decrease in coffee consumption.

So that’s what we’re after: that alternative underlying cause.

A. On average, people consume 30% less coffee than they did 10 years ago.

There’s no different underlying cause here. In fact, this is reiterating the notion that coffee consumption has decreased. We already knew this. Eliminate A.

B. Heavy coffee drinkers may have mild withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, for a day or so after, significantly decreasing their coffee consumption.

This isn’t an alternative reason for why people are drinking less coffee. In fact, the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms would be a pretty compelling reason to continue drinking plenty of coffee! Eliminate B.

C. Sales of specialty types of coffee have held steady as sales of regular brands have declined.

Again, no real alternative cause presented here. And, logically, this doesn’t weaken the argument at all. It’s certainly possible that while many coffee drinkers have cut back on their coffee consumption, the kind of aficionados who drink specialty coffee will continue to drink their double latte espressos without reservation. Eliminate C.

D. The consumption of fruit juices and caffeine-free herbal teas has increased over the past decade.

This one is often tempting. Students sometimes argue that it’s the appeal of fruit juices that is the alternative underlying cause we’re looking for. The problem is that we’re trying to weaken the argument, and this answer choice really isn’t incompatible with the conclusion. To see why, imagine that the argument is true: people find out that caffeine is bad for them, and so drink less coffee. It would be perfectly reasonable for them to then replace that morning coffee with alternatives like fruit juice and herbal tea. In other words, the increase in the consumption of other beverages wouldn’t be a cause of the decrease in coffee, but rather, a consequence of that decrease. D is out.

E. Coffee prices increased steadily in the past decade because of unusually severe frosts in coffee-growing nations.

Now we have our alternative cause. Perhaps it’s not the awareness of the ill effects of caffeine that’s caused this drop in coffee consumption, it’s an increase in price. The new arrow diagram looks like this:

Increase in price –> Decrease in consumption

And this makes perfect sense. E is our answer.

The takeaway: A simple arrow diagram can powerfully simplify the logic of any causality argument.

* Official Guide® question courtesy of the Graduate Management Admissions Council.

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!

By David Goldstein, a Veritas Prep GMAT instructor based in Boston. You can find more articles by him here.
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How to Avoid Tedious Calculations on the Quantitative Section of the G [#permalink]

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New post 19 Mar 2015, 10:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: How to Avoid Tedious Calculations on the Quantitative Section of the GMAT
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One of the hardest things for people to get used to on the GMAT is that there is no calculator for the quantitative section. The reasoning behind this is simple: human beings will not be faster than machines at pure calculations. Human beings, however, will be better at logic, reasoning and deduction than a machine (at least until Skynet is developed).

The GMAT wants to determine how good the test taker is at solving problems through logic and analytical reasoning, not brute strength. Despite this stated goal, the GMAT frequently features questions that can turn students into mindless calculators. The goal is to avoid falling for this sinister trap and solving the problem with sound strategy and logical applications of mathematical theory.

The quintessential large calculation will be something like “Multiply all the integers from 1 to 10” (or more succinctly, find 10!).  Now, such a calculation is possible within the 2 minutes we typically have to solve a question, but even when you get the result, there is often another portion to the question that must be solved. Even if the end goal is just to find one number, the brute force approach is time-consuming and error-prone (and frequently cramps up my hand). You are much better off approaching the problem using either order of magnitude or unit digit properties.

Generally speaking, asking someone to compute 10! can be tedious. However, the GMAT is in fact asking you which of the five choices provided is 10! The answer choices provided are typically fairly far apart, so an approach that cares only about the order of magnitude of the answer will help narrow down the possibilities tremendously. Sometimes there may still be two contending answer choices, and additional calculations may be required to confirm which one is correct.

For 10!, we can calculate the small numbers easily and approximate the rest. You can get much more detailed than this, but 5! = 120, and then multiplying by 6 and then 7 is like multiplying by 5 and then 5 again, so 120 x 25 = approximately 3,000. Multiplying by 8, 9, and then 10 is like multiplying by 10 thrice, so the answer will be somewhere around 3,000,000. I approximated a couple of numbers up and a couple of them down to somewhat balance out. You can approximate more closely to reality but you should still get an answer in the same ballpark (actual retail price: 3,628,800).

Another potential shortcut is to consider only the unit digit. The answer choices will tend to be far apart and have different unit digits, so if you can calculate which number should be the unit digit, you can eliminate several answers quickly. In our case, we know we’re multiplying by 10, so the unit digit will be zero. Furthermore, we are multiplying by 5 as well, and there are many 2’s (including 2 itself), so there will be a second zero as a tens digit. In this case knowing factors simplified the process, but even trying to figure out the unit digit of 2^88 is simply an exercise in pattern recognition.

The above example may have been somewhat abstract as there were no answer choices to compare, so let’s look at an actual GMAT question and apply these same strategies:

A small cubical aquarium has a depth of 1 foot. In the small aquarium there is a big fish with volume 44 cubic inches. A big cubical aquarium has a depth of 2 feet and 88 fish, each with a volume of 2 cubic inches. What is the difference in the amount of water between the two aquariums if they are both completely filled? (Note: 1 foot = 12 inches)

  • 246 cubic inches
  • 300 cubic inches
  • 11,964 cubic inches
  • 13,824 cubic inches
  • 16,348 cubic inches
This question is considered geometry because it’s dealing with a 3-dimensional shape, but the question is primarily concerned with converting cubic feet to cubic inches. As such, the question is really asking for a laborious calculation. Therefore, we need to find a shortcut to avoid spending the rest of the hour calculating cubic inches in our aquarium. (Hey, fishy fishy fishy!)

A cubical aquarium with three sides of 1 foot is 1 cubic foot (or foot^3), but that doesn’t help much in terms of cubic inches. The easiest thing is to convert to inches from the get go, which leaves us with a cube that has height, width and depth of 12 inches. Since the formula for the volume of a cube is side^3, we know that the volume of the aquarium is 12^3 cubic inches. 12^2 is easy, so now we must multiply 144 by 12. It might take a few seconds, but we can break it down to 144 x 10 + 144 x 2, which yields a total of 1,728 cubic inches.

At this point, a lot of people would think about removing the volume that is being filled by the big fish. While this is technically correct, if we’re considering this problem from an order of magnitude point of view, it will be a drop in the bucket (or aquarium), taking the total volume from 1,728 down to 1,684 if you subtract 44 cubic inches. Both of these numbers are essentially 1,700, so there’s not much value in taking the time to remove the fish. I’m more concerned with shortcutting the calculation for the big aquarium.

The big aquarium has sides of 2 feet, or 24 inches. This means that it will be twice as wide, twice as tall and twice as deep as the small aquarium, leading to an overall eight-fold increase from the original aquarium. This means that I can take the 1,728 I calculated earlier and multiply it by 8 to get the total volume (sans fish) of the big aquarium. However, the problem eventually asks for the difference in water between the two aquariums (or aquaria), which means I’ll have to take the 8Y volume and subtract the original Y volume. This means we’re better off shortcutting the calculation and just multiplying the original volume by 7. It’s tantamount to saying I’ll lend you 100$ then you lend me 20$. I think we can just make one transaction for 80$ and call it a day.

Multiplying 1,728 by 7 isn’t necessarily trivial, but remember that we’re mostly interested in the order of magnitude of the answer. This means we can ignore some digits and think of it as approximately 1,700 x 7, which is (1,000 x 7 =) 7,000 + (700 x 7=) 4,900, yielding a total of about 11,900. It should be a little higher than this because we rounded 1,728 downward. This is almost exactly answer choice C, with answer choice D looking about 1,700 bigger and thus likely the volume of the bigger aquarium only. The other three answer choices are way off.

At this point we’re essentially done, but you can confirm the number, particularly with the consideration of the fish (plural but hard to tell). The volume of the small aquarium is 1,728, and of the big aquarium is indeed 13,824 cubic inches. If we subtract the 44 cubic inch fish from the small aquarium, we get 1,684. If we subtract the 176 cubic inches (88×2) of the big aquarium fish, we get 13,648. Finding the difference of these two numbers yields exactly 11,964 cubic inches. Answer choice C is correct, but you don’t have to meticulously calculate every element in order to know it given the five choices provided.

It’s worth noting that unit digits don’t help much on this problem. The smaller aquarium has a volume of 12^3, and the 2^3 unit digit will yield an 8. Subtracting the 44 cubic inches for the fish (which we must do if we’re being precise), the water in the small aquarium should end with a 4. The big aquarium has a total volume of 24^3, which will give a unit digit of 4. Subtracting the 176 cubic inches for the fish leaves us with a unit digit of 8. Finally, subtracting the 4 of the little aquarium from the 8 of the big aquarium means the answer choice must end with a 4. Despite all that abstract and confusing math, we still can’t choose between answer choices C and D, and must therefore perform additional calculations.

Sometimes the GMAT likes to ask questions that would take 15 seconds if you had a calculator, but 5 minutes if you stubbornly decided to use an inflexible brute force approach. Sometimes unit digits will be faster, and sometimes order of magnitude will be faster, but both have their place in your tool belt. Each question on the GMAT is like a door, and you may be able to knock down the door with brute strength, but you’ll go faster with a deft touch (also: fewer shoulder surgeries).

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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How a 99th Percentile GMAT Instructor Approaches Sentence Correction Q [#permalink]

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New post 19 Mar 2015, 14:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: How a 99th Percentile GMAT Instructor Approaches Sentence Correction Questions
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The other night, in class, I had a student come up to me and ask how I really approached Sentence Correction. We’d done our Sentence Correction lesson a few weeks before, so the implication was that there was a little more to it than the framework we’d covered. The mundane truth is that there isn’t. Not really.

When I’m evaluating an SC problem, and nothing jumps out at me immediately, I really do run through the mental checklist we discuss in the lesson: is the meaning logical? Are the modifiers placed appropriately? Is there an issue with parallel construction? Etc. But I saw what this student was saying. In class, we move systematically from one kind of error to another, so they’re much easier to classify than when you’re taking a test and the sentence’s errors either aren’t terribly conspicuous or encompass multiple categories.

As much as I like to preach that it’s best to attack these questions systematically, no test-taker is an algorithm, so I thought it would be worthwhile to go through a few official examples and discuss how my approach, while always rooted in the framework I teach in class, leaves some room for instinctive adjustments. Put another way, the GMAT is a test of pattern recognition. If the pattern is immediately apparent, I think about a question one way, and if it isn’t obvious, my strategy shifts accordingly.

Here’s one example from the Official Guide where the pattern is pretty conspicuous.

Published in Harlem, the owner and editor of The Messenger were two young journalists, Chandler Owen and A. Philip Randolph, who would later make his reputation as a labor leader.

(A) Published in Harlem, the owner and editor of The Messenger were two young journalists, Chandler Owen and A. Philip Randolph, who would later make his reputation as a labor leader.

(B) Published in Harlem, two young journalists, Chandler Owen and A. Philip Randolph, who would later make his reputation as a labor leader, were the owner and editor of The Messenger.

(C) Published in Harlem, The Messenger was owned and edited by two young journalists, A. Philip Randolph, who would later make his reputation as a labor leader, and Chandler Owen.

(D) The Messenger was owned and edited by two young journalists, Chandler Owen and A. Philip Randolph, who would later make his reputation as a labor leader, and published in Harlem.

(E) The owner and editor being two young journalists, Chandler Owen and A. Philip Randolph, who would later make his reputation as a labor leader, The Messenger was published in Harlem.

In this case, the ol’ lizard brain jumps immediately into action. Anytime a sentence begins with an –ing or –ed verb, I’m immediately thinking about participial modifiers. This sentence begins with a the participal “published” so I know right away that I want who or what is published to immediately follow the phrase.  Well, it makes most sense to say that The Messenger was published, so I want The Messenger to come right after that initial participial phrase. The answer is C. In this case, after you’ve done dozens and dozens of examples that involve misplaced participles, the issue is glaring. For many test-takers, there’s no need to systematically go through that internal checklist. You’ll still want to read your answer choice with the original sentence and make sure the meaning is logical, etc. but you don’t have to process this problem with the kind of comprehensive rigor you’ll need for more challenging problems.

Now consider this Official Guide problem, which, to me, isn’t categorized nearly as easily as the previous example:

Over 75 percent of the energy produced in France derives from nuclear power, while in Germany it is just over 33 percent.



(A) while in Germany it is just over 33 percent

(B) compared to Germany, which uses just over 33 percent

(C) whereas nuclear power accounts for just over 33 percent of the energy produced

in Germany

(D)whereas just over 33 percent of the energy comes from nuclear power in Germany

(E) compared with the energy from nuclear power in Germany, where it is just over 33 percent

The original sentence doesn’t feel right to me, but it’s not as immediately evident what the problem is. So now I have to be a bit more systematic. Okay, maybe the answer choices will offer some clues. Still not obvious, but I do notice that B and E have the word “compared,” which means one potential issue is an inappropriate comparison. I also notice that the word “it” appears in A and E, so maybe there’s a pronoun issue. With these notions in mind, I’ll start going through my mental checklist. First, is the meaning logical, and if not, is a faulty comparison or inappropriate pronoun to blame?

The first thing I ask myself is “what does the “it” refer to?” Is the original sentence really saying, “Over 75 percent of the energy produced in France derives from nuclear power, while in Germany the energy produced in France is just over 33 percent?” That doesn’t make sense. So A is out because of illogical meaning/inappropriate pronoun.

Now in B, we see “compared.” Read literally, the sentence seems to be comparing the percent of energy produced in France to Germany, the country. That’s no good. We’d like to compare energy to energy and country to country. B is out.

C jumps out at me because we’ve eliminated both “compared” and “it.” “Whereas” signals a new clause entirely. So I have the first clause: Over 75 percent of the energy produced in France derives from nuclear power. And then I get a second clause: nuclear power accounts for just over 33 percent of the energy produced in Germany. The meaning is clear. Additionally, there seems to be a nice parallel construction, both clauses containing a variation of: X% of energy produced in Y. Not something I noticed initially, but a promising development. Hold onto C.

D also eliminates “compared” and “it,” so I need to focus on meaning here. If I read this literally, it seems to say 33% of the energy in France comes from nuclear power in Germany. Well, that would be an awfully generous gesture by Germany, but I can’t imagine this is the intended meaning of the sentence. D is out.

E We see “compared” again. Here, we seem to be comparing the percent of energy produced in France to the energy in Germany. So that’s not really logical. We’d want to compare the percent of energy produced in France to the percent of energy produced in Germany. And then that last phrase, ”where it is just over 33 percent” is a bit mystifying. 33% of what? Is “it” referring to Germany or to energy? E is out.

And we’re left with C.

Notice that on a superficial level, I’m using the same general principles for both of these questions, but my thought process looks a lot different when the problem is obvious than when the underlying issue is a bit more obscure. So our goal as test-takers is first, to do enough practice problems that we become adept at recognizing conspicuous patterns like the one we saw in the first example. And second, we want to have a systematic approach to address more complicated questions when they arise. A single approach or mindset just won’t work for every single question – the GMAT isn’t that kind of test.

*Official Guide questions courtesy of the Graduate Management Admissions Council.

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By David Goldstein, a Veritas Prep GMAT instructor based in Boston. You can find more articles by him here.
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4 Considerations Before You Choose Your College Experience [#permalink]

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New post 20 Mar 2015, 09:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: 4 Considerations Before You Choose Your College Experience
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The biggest myth surrounding the college experience is that there is a conventional “way” to do college. The truth is, like anything in life, a college experience is relative to your personality and circumstances. There is no right or wrong way to do college, instead there are a bunch of different ways to ensure that you have a great four years on campus. Some students want to have fun and party. Others want to hone their skills and prepare for graduate school. Some want to make connections in order to ensure job security. Most want a mix of these elements.

The beauty of most universities is that you can customize your time to create any of the aforementioned “experiences.” It’s all about researching the opportunities and understanding how to navigate the system. Here are a few to consider as you start to thinking about life after high school…

  • Many students want to attend IVY League universities solely for the prestige. However, there are tons of universities across the country who have equally programs in specific areas. If a student wants to be an expert architect, one could do well at Cornell or at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

[*]Others want a high level of intellectual and academic rigor. The best thing to do in this instance is research schools and figure out the top programs in your area of interest. Identifying these schools will help you achieve your objective. Once at school, it gets even easier to pursue your passions.[/list]

[*]Let’s say you want to conduct research. Most schools have built in programs to allow students to pursue research. If you don’t attend a research university, you can try and contact a local 3rd party lab or facility. Or you can find other schools in the area and see if there are any partner programs.[/list]

[*]Perhaps you want to explore collegiate athletics. If you want to be involved with the athletic department, you can very easily contact the office. Every team needs managers and departments need administrative interns. You can build skills and pursue your interest of athletics at practically any school, regardless of their prowess on the football field or basketball court.[/list]
The list goes on and on in terms of building your dream college experience. There are resources and advisors to help steer you on the correct path. Be sure to speak to your counselor at school (or our Admissions Consulting team!) for more guidance. It is true that different universities have different reputations, but the internal experience can be great at any school. It’s important to know yourself and figure out what you want from your college experience. This is helpful in narrowing down what schools you want to attend during the selection process and ultimately figuring out where you should attend. The name of the college isn’t what counts, it’s what you make of your time there. Best of luck on your applications!

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.

 

 
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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