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FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: This is How You Become an Awesome Student 
I’ve been a full time student for about fifteen years now–elementary, middle, high school, college. It wasn’t until I began teaching, though, that I really understood how to be a good student. My best students haven’t necessarily been the ones who scored highest, knew the most, or learned most quickly; they were the ones who studied, practiced, and listened in ways that maximized our communication and made the most of our tutoring hours together. A few of their best habits:
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. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: 4 Factors to Consider when Determining if Your GMAT Score is High Enough for Business School 
This is a common question we get as head consultants. At what point is your GMAT good enough that you can move to the next stage? If you read my previous post on timelines and milestones, I recommend getting the GMAT out of the way first as it serves to guide your school selection, and, frankly, is pretty stressful – having to take the GMAT close to a school deadline will only add to that stress. The short answer to the question is to always retake the GMAT if you think you have a decent shot at improving the score by ~20 points. The top tier business school admissions process is so competitive that you really cannot afford to not improve every single part of the application when possible. That said we cannot expect every single applicant to score 750 on the GMAT. Not everyone is capable of that score, and there are additional constraints to consider, such as time to a deadline. Given that, I think there are some basic rules of thumb that could help guide your decision to whether to retake the GMAT. To help guide us, let’s assume a fictitious top tier b school with a mean or average GMAT of 730, overall range of 620780 and middle 80% range of 710750 (meaning 10% of students score above 750, and 10% below). Let’s consider a few factors: GMAT Range Generally speaking, you should always strive to beat the average of the school to which they are applying. If you haven’t done that, it means the rest of your application needs to be that much stronger and differentiated. If it’s less strong, or if there are likely to be many similarly looking applicants, then retake. On the other hand, if you are scoring above 750, or above the middle 80%, it means you are among the top 10% of GMAT scores for this school – probably ok to move on to other parts of the application. If you are scoring below the middle 80% percentile, you should probably retake assuming you have the time. Low GPA If your GPA is low, say more than 510% below a school’s average, your GMAT needs to be that much higher to remove any doubt that you can handle the academic coursework (GMAT is acts as a predictor of academic aptitude). Best to try to beat that average score, or at least get into the middle 80% range. This is especially true if you are coming from a less reputable school. Applicant Pools Applicants from b school feeder industries, such as finance and management consulting, or those with engineering backgrounds are expected to help raise the average. Just getting within that middle 80% is not good enough, you should be scoring above the average. An ibanker with a 710 is not getting that interview invite. Industry Pools Applicants from the government, active duty military, NGOs, or those from other nontraditional backgrounds, will typically get a break. This doesn’t mean that you should be happy with a 650. If you have the time, sit down and assess what sections of the GMAT are more challenging for you and attack those (a competent GMAT tutor will help you with this). Of course, there might be plenty of personal situations and specifics to your specific situation that need to be considered, but hopefully this serves to provide some initial guidance. Want to craft a strong application? Call us at 18009257737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. Click here to take our Free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! By Marcus D. Read more articles by him here, and find the expert who’s right for you here! Visit our Team page today. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: 99th Percentile GMAT Score or Bust! Lesson 1: Drywall vs. Door 
Veritas Prep’s Ravi Sreerama is the #1ranked GMAT instructor in the world (by GMATClub) and a fixture in the new Veritas Prep Live Online format as well as in Los Angelesarea classrooms. He’s beloved for his students for the philosophy “99th percentile or bust!”, a signal that all students can score in the elusive 99th percentile with the proper techniques and preparation. In this “9 for 99th” video series, Ravi shares some of his favorite strategies to efficiently conquer the GMAT and enter that 99th percentile. Lesson One: Drywall vs. Door. Many GMAT quantitative problems resemble an everyday situation you see frequently: you need to get out of this room, so are you going to break through the drywall you might be facing, or will you look for a door for easy exit? As Ravi demonstrates in this video, too often students are inclined to break through the proverbial drywall on quant problems, when looking at them from a slightly different angle would show them an open door and a cleaner exit. 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 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: SAT Tip of the Week: 5 Quick Tips to Conquer the Essay Conclusion 
I have never met a SAT student who enjoyed writing essay conclusions. I understand that conclusions are important and I appreciate a wellwritten one, but at heart I’m in the same boat; even though I’ve been a writing tutor for several years now, I still think that writing SATstyle conclusions feels redundant, uncreative, and boring. Fortunately, conclusions aren’t quite the monster that we tend to make them out to be. Over the years, I’ve figured out a few pieces of advice that have made writing SATstyle conclusions more tolerable, for both myself and my students: 1. Watch the clock: and be sure to leave yourself at least a couple minutes to write your conclusion. Too many students omit conclusions—and lose points for poor essay structure—purely due to poor time management. 2. Make them short: Extra length and depth belong in your body paragraphs, not in your conclusion. Just a sentence or two is almost always enough. 3. Plan, and apply, a simple conclusion formula–even before you see the prompt: Because conclusions are so simple and short, they can be templated (see SAT 2400 for details) in advance. 4. Be aware of the most common conclusion mistake: poor rewording. Nearly every strong SAT conclusion will involve some rewording of the essay’s thesis. Make sure that any rewording of your thesis does not change its meaning. This is more difficult than it sounds; even one missed detail or one misused word can change your argument, confuse your reader, and create inconsistency in your essay. 5. Recognize how important conclusions are: Your job as a SAT essay writer is to make every step of your argument crystal clear for your reader. If your reader has to analyze, infer, or draw conclusions in order to understand your argument, you haven’t explained your argument well enough. Conclusions go a long way towards clarifying your argument by reminding your reader of the most important parts of your essay, and distinguishing important details from core statements. Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminarevery 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. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Simplifying Algebraic Equations on Data Sufficiency GMAT Questions 
In the past few weeks, I’ve written a couple of posts extolling the virtues of using strategies in lieu of doing difficult algebra. But over the course of the quant section, there’s no getting around it: at times, algebra will be an effective tool that you’ll want to deploy. The key is for us to use this tool judiciously. Because the GMAT is largely a test of pattern recognition, it’s worthwhile to first discuss the structural clues that we’ll want to be on the lookout for when determining whether algebra will be the most effective approach. My older posts discussed two scenarios when algebra would be problematic: the first was problemsolving questions involving difficult quadratic simplification, and the second was problemsolving percent questions that involved variables. In both cases, we’re better off either picking numbers or backsolving. Alternatively, when we see Data Sufficiency word problems, algebra serves a much more useful function, allowing us to distill complex information in simpler, more concrete form. Once we recognize that we’ll be attacking a question algebraically, the next step is to consider how we can make our equations and expressions as simple as possible. Say, for example, that we’re told that the ratio of men to women to children in a park is 6 to 5 to 4. One way to depict this information is to write M:W:C = 6:5:4. The problem with this approach is that it leaves us with three variables. Hardly the simplicity and elegance that we’re looking for if we’re dealing with a time constraint. The alternative is to use only one variable and depict the information in terms of x: Men: 6x Women: 5x Children: 4x Now when we receive additional information about how these values are related, the equations we can assemble will be far more straightforward. Let’s try a GMATPrep* question to see this in action. A certain company divides its total advertising budget into television, radio, newspaper, and magazine budgets in the ratio of 8:7:3:2 respectively. How many dollars are in the radio budget? (1) The television budget is $18,750 more than the newspaper budget (2) The magazine budget is $7,500. We’ve got a Data Sufficiency word problem, so let’s start by putting all of the relevant information into algebraic form. Rather than using four different variables, we’ll organize our information like so: Television: 8x Radio: 7x Newspaper: 3x Magazine: 2x Our ultimate goal is find the radio budget, which is 7x. Clearly, if we have the value of x, we can find 7x, so we can rephrase the question as: ‘What is the value of x?’ Statement 1 tells us that the television budget, 8x, is 18,750 more than the newspaper budget, 3x. In algebraic form, that will be: 8x = 18750 + 3x. Obviously, we can solve for x here, so SUFFICIENT. Statement 2 tells us that the magazine budget, or 2x, is 7500. So 2x = 7500. Again, we can clearly solve for x, so SUFFICIENT. And the answer is D; either statement alone is sufficient to answer the question. Let’s try another. Of the shares of stock owned by a certain investor, 30 percent are shares of Company X stock and 1/7 of the remaining shares are shares of Company Y stock. How many shares of Company X stock does the investor own? (1) The investor owns 100 shares of Company Y stock. (2) The investor owns 200 more shares of Company X stock than of Company Y stock. Same drill: we recognize that we’re dealing with a Data Sufficiency word problem, so let’s convert the initial into algebraic form. If we designate our total shares of stock ‘T,’ and we know that 30% of those are Company X, we’ll have .3T shares of company X. We’re told that 1/7 of the remaining shares are Company Y. If .3T shares are company X, we’ll have .7T shares left over. If 1/7 of those .7T shares belong to Company Y, we can designate Company Y’s shares as (1/7) * .7T = .1T. Summarized, we have the following information: Company X: .3T Company Y: .1T We’re asked about Company X, so we want .3T. Clearly, if we have T, we can solve for .3T, so our rephrased question is just: “What is the value of T?” Statement 1 tells us there are 100 share of Y, so .1T = 100. We can solve for T, so SUFFICIENT. Statement 2 tells us that the investor has 200 more shares of X than Y. Algebraically: .3T = 200 + .1T. Again, we can solve for T, but no need to actually do the math. SUFFICIENT. The answer is D; either alone is sufficient to answer the question. Takeaway: preparation for the GMAT is not about learning which strategies are ‘best.’ Different strategies will work well in different scenarios, and for some testtakers, it will be a matter of taste to determine which they prefer. If you do decide to approach a question algebraically – and again, in Data Sufficiency word problems, this will often work nicely – try to diminish the complexity of the problem by minimizing the number of variables you use to depict the relevant information. *GMATPrep questions 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. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Planning for Retirement (& the GMAT) 
When preparing for the GMAT, most prospective students start thinking about the schools they want to attend, the jobs they want to land and the opportunities they want to seize. After all, embarking on a new degree is an adventure that must be carefully prepared and thought out. Some students with long term thinking even begin thinking about something that most people dream of regularly: retirement. Now, if you’re studying for an advanced degree, perhaps retirement is still many decades (or centuries) off. However, the day will likely come when you at least want to consider retirement, even if you don’t opt to do it for various reasons. Sometimes your economic reality keeps you gainfully employed, but often it becomes an issue of boredom, trepidation and even fear. Why would anyone fear retirement? Isn’t it supposed to be the culmination of your hard work so that you can enjoy your golden years without worrying about work and money? It is, at least in theory. However, in practice, it is a project that should be prepared for just like any other major life change. In North America, many people retire and move to a sunny, warm climate such as Arizona or Florida. The temperate weather allows many people to enjoy outdoor activities regularly, sometimes in stark contrast to the cooler northern climates. (Winter is coming.) Many people are even opting to retire in other countries to take advantage of the increased buying power of their home currency. No matter whether you plan on retiring tomorrow or in 50 years, it is something you must consider at one point or another in your life. The GMAT often features questions that discuss relevant topics and that arouse your own interests in order to make the questions more relatable. This is also a doubleedged sword because the question must be solvable with only the information contained within the stimulus. Any outside information can’t help you, but the topic may still concern something you’ve contemplated in the past. Let’s look at an example that plays into the retirement theme: In the United States, of the people who moved from one state to another when they retired, the percentage who retired to Florida has decreased by three percentage points over the past ten years. Since many local businesses in Florida cater to retirees, these declines are likely to have a noticeably negative economic effect on these businesses and therefore on the economy of Florida. Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument given? A) People who moved from one state to another when they retired moved a greater distance, on average, last year than such people did ten years ago. B) People were more likely to retire to North Carolina from another state last year than people were ten years ago. C) The number of people who moved from one state to another when they retired has increased significantly over the past ten years. D) The number of people who left Florida when they retired to live in another state was greater last year than it was ten years ago. E) Florida attracts more people who move from one state to another when they retire than does any other state. This problem is a Critical Reasoning Weaken problem, which means that we should be able to identify the conclusion, examine the supporting evidence and find the gap between the two. The conclusion is that the economy of Florida will suffer based on shifting demographics. The evidence is that a smaller percentage of people are retiring to Florida than 10 years ago, coupled with the fact that Florida’s economy is dependent on these retirees. (Nothing about hurricanes or floods, though.) If we had to predict an answer to this question, it would likely hinge on the fact that the evidence is a 3% decrease of all retirees who choose to move to Florida. Whenever you see a percentage as evidence, it should make you think that you may need to consider the absolute value as well (the reverse is also often true). Just because the percentage went down by 3%, that doesn’t mean that fewer people are actually going. You might still be growing, just growing slower than you were 10 years ago. Let’s look at the answer choices and see if any of them match our expectations. Answer choice A, people who moved from one state to another when they retired moved a greater distance, on average, last year than such people did ten years ago, discusses the distance of these moves. This is clearly out of scope, as the question is only interested with the destination state, not in the original state. One mile (maybe you’re right on the border?) or one thousand miles are identical in this regard, so the distance travelled won’t matter. We can eliminate A. Answer choice B, people were more likely to retire to North Carolina from another state last year than people were ten years ago, is only concerned with North Carolina. There are clearly many other states that people can move to, but none of them are pertinent to the question about Florida. This answer choice is thus incorrect as well (and paid for by the North Carolina tourism board). Answer choice C, the number of people who moved from one state to another when they retired has increased significantly over the past ten years, plays right into our prediction. Just because a smaller proportion than before is moving to Florida does not mean that there is economic collapse on the horizon. If 20% of one million people moved to Florida ten years ago, we could have more immigration by reducing the percentage to 17% but increasing the number of people to two million. As such, answer choice C weakens the argument significantly, as it could justify a sizable increase in relocations to the sunshine state. Let’s look at the other choices to confirm. Answer choice D, the number of people who left Florida when they retired to live in another state was greater last year than it was ten years ago, turns the argument on its ear by discussing the number of people leaving Florida. While there is some merit in arguing that people are leaving the state in bigger numbers, it would actually support the argument that local businesses are in trouble. This answer choice is a 180° because it strengthens the argument instead of undermining it. Finally, answer choice E, Florida attracts more people who move from one state to another when they retire than does any other state, is most likely true in the real world, but doesn’t help us in this question. If I have the most water in a drought, I may still not have much water at all. This answer choice doesn’t weaken the argument because it’s still entirely possible that the economy of Florida will suffer. Answer choice E can be eliminated. We now can confirm that it must be answer choice C. For strengthen and weaken questions, it’s often best to attempt a logical guess at the answer choice based on the disconnect between the conclusion and the supporting evidence. Some statistical errors appear frequently on the GMAT, such as percentage and absolute number data that can be interpreted differently depending on the context. Like anything else in life, preparation is the key to success. Once you’ve mastered the finer elements of the GMAT, you can even start preparing your own retirement plan. 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. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: What Will it Really Cost to Attend College? 
As you’re starting your college research or perhaps comparing financial aid award letters, one of the questions on your mind might be “how much will it really cost to attend college?” With the cost of college going up and up, here’s a quick guide to breaking down those costs and some tips on how to save money. Cost of attendance line items Tuition and fees This is the actual cost of your classes and is usually fixed. This may be one of the largest costs of attendance. Room and board This is what it will cost to live in campus sponsored housing (on or off campus) as well as for your meal plan. Often, some housing options will be cheaper than others (facility to facility) and some configurations will be cheaper than others (3 roommates vs. no roommates). Do your research before selecting a housing option and make sure that you turn in your forms early to have the best chances of getting your desired option! The meal plan is another area where you might have more flexibility and might be able to save. Many colleges will allow you to choose the number of meals so think about your habits. Is it realistic to plan to eat breakfast every morning when you usually wake up around 11:30am? Or do you prefer to cook for yourself and don’t need very many meals at all? Or do you have a really fast metabolism and eat quite a bit? An unlimited meal plan might actually be the most economical option for you. Also, consider applying to be a resident assistant as an upperclassman; some colleges provide a stipend or heavy discount on housing and meals. Health insurance Unless you are covered by your parents and opt to waive your school health insurance, you must pay for health insurance (and you probably want to in case of any health issues while on campus). Books and supplies This is one budget line item that you may be able to save money on. The colleges provide an estimate of how much you might spend on textbooks and supplies based on a regular, fulltime student. Supplies are things such as notebooks, scantrons, and materials for a science lab; basically anything that you might have to purchase that is necessary for a class. You may be able to spend less on your textbooks if you purchase used copies or rent a copy of the book for the term. Most colleges also require that the books be available on reserve in the library so you can check it out for a couple of hours at a time. Student activities fee This fee is usually mandatory and you can think of it as a sort of “membership fee” for all campuswide activities and resources. Transportation This budget line is also one that you may spend a bit more or less on. If you will be traveling to school every day, consider what the most economical mode of transportation would be. Find out what options are available through the school (shuttle or bus service) and ask to find out if you can get a student discount on monthly passes. If you’re going to have your car on campus, find out how much campus parking will cost and don’t forget to factor in the cost of fuel. If you’ll be flying to and from home, consider joining an airline rewards program so that you can potentially rack up miles for free flights. If you’ll be driving to and from home, see if there are other students who are also going to the same area and ask to carpool. Types of financial aid awards Loans These are funds that you will need to pay back. Grants These are funds that you do not need to pay back. Scholarships These are funds that you do not need to pay back, but may have contingencies attached to them. Meritbased awards These are scholarships that are based on your academic achievements. While you do not typically have to pay these scholarships back, sometimes they are contingent upon maintaining certain academic requirements like GPA and/or credits. Maintaining your financial aid awards Remember, you will need to reapply for financial aid each year and each college may have their own additional requirements to access your funds. Pay attention to the renewal deadlines and make sure you submit your materials in advance in case you run into any issues (i.e.: you can’t remember your pin and it will take a couple of days to reset it). Visit https://www.youtube.com/user/FederalStudentAid to view some great short films that describe the different types of aid! Finally, don’t be scared off by the sticker price of college. Many colleges provide generous financial aid packages and you may be surprised to find that it may be cheaper to attend a private college than your state college. You never know how much you will get so apply and see what type of package the college can provide for you! Still have questions on how much your top college will cost you? Visit our College Admissions website and fill out our FREE College profile evaluation! By Jennifer Sohn Lim,Assistant Director of Admissions at Veritas Prep. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: GMAT Tip of the Week: Thinking Out Loud With Drake, Nicki, and Wayne 
It’s the hottest song in the country with a beat you just can’t get out of your head. Which is a good thing, because as you go in to take the GMAT you’d be well served to heed some of the lessons that Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Lil Wayne weave into the latest single from Nicki’s album. The beat itself, with the steady bass line followed by the singsongy “You know…,” is a positive affirmation in and of itself. You DO know. You know how to solve these problems. You know that if you can’t make sense of the question you can often find clues in the answer choices. You know that just getting started and writing down what “you know…” is often the key to lessening anxiety and getting the prompt into an actionable format. You know. But the master message in this track is the way that the three most prominent rappers in the game start each verse: “Thinking out loud…” Why is that important to you, the GMAT testtaker? Because that’s the way that the greatest testtakers start GMAT problems, too. “Thinking out loud…” Thinking out loud on the GMAT means having a conversation with yourself about the problem. It means staying relaxed and getting your thoughts together before you panic about the challenge of the problem. It means understanding that many problems won’t have an obvious set of steps that you can begin right away; they’ll require you to start loose and take account of your assets and the strategies in your toolkit. One of the keys to success on the GMAT is thinking out loud. Check the rapgenius.com annotation for why Drizzy/Nicki/Weezy start each verse that way: All three MCs start their verses with some variation of “I’m thinkin’ out loud,” lending the song a breezy, friendsinthebooth feeling. The recording was probably not a casual meeting, at all, but they’re good at sounding relaxed. For that reason alone, thinking out loud is important for you. Their recording wasn’t a casual meeting – as they go on to say in all their lyrics they’re some of the wealthiest and most soughtafter people on the planet, so that meeting was a big deal – but they were able to approach it like it was. Similarly your GMAT is, indeed, a big deal, but casual, calm problem solving is the name of the game. Teaching yourself to think out loud – “so I know that x and y must be positive but z could be either positive or negative…” – is a great way to get your mind thinking calmly and proactively as opposed to the alltoocommmon reactive mode of “I don’t even know where to start.” But thinking out loud isn’t just a psychological tool, it’s also a tactical tool. Tricky GMAT problems are notorious for forcing you to see your assets from different angles before you can package them in a way to solve the problem. Too often students are looking for “the way” to do a problem when really they should be looking for “a way”. Which seems like a trivial difference but going in with the mindset that there may be several ways to solve the problem allows you to be flexible and see assets, not liabilities. Consider the example: If side AB measures 3 and side BC measures 4, what is the length of line segment BD? (A) 7/5 (B) 9/5 (C) 12/5 (D) 18/5 (E) 23/5 While many will rush into an abyss of Pythagorean Theorem, thinking out loud can show you a calm, proactive way to do this. “Thinking out loud…I know that it’s a right triangle so if AB = 3 and BC = 4, it’s a 345 and side AC is 5. And as much as I want side AC to be cut in half by point D I don’t think I can do that. There are three different right triangles so I could go nuts with Pythagorean Theorem but that’s a lot of work. Thinking out loud, I also know that the perimeter is 3 + 4 + 5 and the area is 1/2(base)(height) so that’s 1/2 (3)(4) = 6. But what can I do with that? Thinking out loud…the answer choices are all divided by 5…why do they all look like that? The only 5 in the problem so far is the 5 that’s side AC. Why would I multiply or divide by that? Thinking out loud…BD is definitely going to be smaller than 4 because there’s no way it’s longer than side BC. So it can’t be E. But what else do I know about BD? It’s perpendicular to side AC, and AC is 5 and that’s that 5 in the denominator. Thinking out loud…what if I drew the triangle so that AC was on the bottom and not on the side? Then BD would be the height of triangle ABC and AC would be the base…but wait, I already know the area is 6, so that area 1/2 (side BD)(5) has to be 6, which means that side BD has to be 12/5, answer choice C.” The takeaway here is that almost no one sees the area relationship with side BD right away, and that’s okay. The key to working on problems like these is staying loose and filling in unknowns. You can’t simply do math on paper and follow a set of steps…you need to do some thinking out loud and talk to yourself as you solve. For each of Drake, Nicki, and Wayne the phrase “thinking out loud” is followed by a wild description of how much money they have. Follow that “thinking out loud” philosophy and you’ll be on a similar pace with the help of an elite MBA. 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 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: How to Solve Alphametic Multiplication Questions on the GMAT 
Last week, we looked at alphametics involving addition and subtraction. The logic becomes a little more involved when the alphametic involves multiplication. When a two digit number is multiplied by another two digit number, the process of finding the result is composed of multiple levels. Today, let’s see how to handle those multiple levels. The question involves quite a few steps and observations using number properties. Hence, you are unlikely to see such a question in actual GMAT but you might see a simpler version so it’s good to be prepared. Question: The following alphametic shows multiplication of two numbers, IF and DR. The product you obtain is DORF. What is the value of D + O + R + F? (A) 17 (B) 20 (C) 22 (D) 23 (E) 30 Solution: The good thing is that we know D + O + R + F has a single value. This means there will be a logic to obtain the value of each of D, O, R and F. As discussed last week, we first focus on the big picture, but we will have to go one level at a time. (i) IF * R = OFF (ii) IF * D = IF (iii) OF + IF = DOR A few interesting points to note from the above: – From (ii), IF * D = IF When you multiply IF by D, you get IF itself. This means that D must be 1. D can take no other value. D = 1 – From (iii), F + F has unit’s digit of R. Also O + I gives O as unit’s digit and 1 as tens digit (D of DORF obtained from above). How can this happen? Say, if O = 4, 4 + I = 14. This is possible only when I = 9 and there is a 1 carry over from the previous addition of F + F. This means that F must be 5 or greater to have a carryover of 1. It cannot be 5 because 5+5 will give you 10 making R = 0. This would mean that F*R would end in R (0). But in (i), F * R has unit’s digit of F, not R. So F cannot be 5. D = 1, I = 9 – Another interesting point: From (i), F * R has unit’s digit of F. This is possible only when F = 0 or F = 5 or R = 6 (Think of multiplication tables of numbers to convince yourself why this is so) Since F has to be greater than 5 (as seen above), R must be 6. If R = 6, then from (iii), F + F has unit’s digit of 6 and a carryover of 1 so F = 8. When you add 8 + 8, you will get 16 (units digit of 6 and a carryover) D = 1, I = 9, R = 6, F = 8 – From (i), when we multiply IF by R, we get OFF. That is, when we multiply 98 by 6, we get 588. So O must be 5. This gives us: D + O + R + F = 1 + 5 + 6 + 8 = 20 Answer (B) This question uses your understanding of numbers and how they are added and multiplied. It certainly takes time to get to the answer. Such questions can help you get a feel for numbers and their behavior. 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! 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Win a Free Veritas Prep GMAT Course! 
Veritas Prep is excited to announce a scholarship opportunity to help you achieve your target GMAT score! We’ve partnered with the National Society of Hispanic MBAs to offer 100 GMAT preparation courses to qualifying applicants completely free of charge! A good GMAT score is crucial when applying to business school, and we want to help you succeed. Our GMAT courses are available in over 90 cities worldwide, and also online using new Smartboard technology. Every GMAT course comes with the following:
We’re excited to get you moving on your next step towards graduate school! 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 Colleen Hill 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: 2 Steps to Take When Asking for Letters of Recommendation for Business School 
Business school recommendations are a black box for many applicants. They go ahead and ask two people for whom they have worked and who they think have an overall positive perception of them to write their recommendation. They might vaguely discuss their career goals and why they want an MBA. For recommenders without a significant business background, that conversation will likely go in one ear and out the other. Regardless of how highly the recommenders think of the applicant, the actual recommendation will be of little help. Many applicants will know this and are simply hoping for the best, or that the recommendation will at the least not cause any irreparable damage. Given the highly competitive nature of admissions to top tier business schools, this is not the way you should approach your recommendations. In order to turn your recommenders into true advocates you must take a much more proactive role. The first step is selecting the right recommenders. Create a list of possible recommenders for any job you have held since college – err on the side of being inclusive at this point. This list can include customers, clients, partners, etc, but should generally exclude college professors. Evaluate your recommenders based on your key accomplishments working with/for them, their ability to discuss your managerial potential, length and quality of interaction and also on how well you believe they can put forth their arguments on paper. Title and seniority at the company matters less. Typically one of the recommenders should be your current manager, but schools realize this is not always feasible (especially if you don’t want your employer to know that you are considering leaving); there is room to explain a different choice in the optional essay. This should hopefully leave you with 2 strong options. Next, you need to provide the recommender with what we refer to as a recommender packet. This would include your resume (or list of key accomplishments at the company), shortterm and longterm career goals, your reasoning for why you want an MBA, and what overall themes you are trying to develop for your candidacy. Putting this on paper will force you to crystallize your own thoughts and be more effective. More importantly, you need to have an open discussion on how best to answer the recommendation questions using specific examples of past accomplishments that support your key themes as an applicant. The point here is to provide the recommender with sufficient background to write convincingly about why you are amazing. And just to be clear, we do not encourage you to write your own recommendations – it is unethical and much more likely to hurt you than help. As schools offer fewer essay questions, having amazing recommendations is becoming increasingly important. Do not leave your recommendations to chance – give them the attention they deserve. Want to craft a strong application? Call us at 18009257737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. Click here to take our Free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! By Marcus D. Read more articles by him here, and find the expert who’s right for you here! Visit our Team page today. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: What to Expect from an MBA Coffee Chat 
One of the great aspects of the MBA recruiting experiences is the 360degree approach many employers utilize to get to know candidates. Recruiting events like the 1st year presentation and interview tend to get more attention from interested candidates, but coffee chats are also an important way for recruits and recruiters to learn about each other. So what is a coffee chat? Well it is not totally about coffee. A coffee chat in its simplest form is a planned conversation with an employee of a target firm. This conversation can be in person or remote via phone or videoconference. The firm representative of your target firm conducting the coffee chat tends to have some ties to your MBA program, in many instances, but not always. Firms that recruit at larger MBA programs with deeper alumni bases tend to utilize these alums in greater numbers for coffee chats, so there may be some familiarity with the participating representative. From the student perspective, coffee chats provide the opportunity to learn more about what daytoday life is like at a company. Students can use this time to ask specific questions they have about the firm, recruiting process, and the employee’s experience at the company. This knowledge can aid candidates during interview season as well as help make final decisions on whether to work at the firm or not. From the firm side, a coffee chat is a strong sign of interest by a candidate and although these talks are informational, candidates are most certainly being judged. Conversations held during these coffee chats are documented internally and feed directly into decisions regarding the interview list and sometimes even the ultimate interview decision. How a candidate comes across during these sessions is very important and can have a long lasting effect on securing an internship or fulltime offer at the target company. So these coffee chats are not just about sipping cappuccinos! In some instances this may be a candidate’s only opportunity to connect one on one with a representative of their dream company so it is important to make this limited time count. The chat typically last between 15 minutes and 30 minutes so the impetus will be on the candidate to make the most of the time allotted. Don’t get blindsided by coffee chats on your campus. Know what you are getting into beforehand and take advantage of this opportunity to shine! Applying to business school? Call us at 18009257737 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. You can read more of his articles here. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: 4 Ways to Prepare for Independent Life in College 
Woohoo! You’ve done it! After all the hard work creating beautiful animations on Powerpoint, memorizing the Monarchs involved in the War Of The Roses (the ORIGINAL house of Lancaster before Game Of Thrones coopted the name by changing three letters), and busting your behinds trying to memorize SAT vocabulary words (only to hear that next year the test won’t have a vocabulary section. Oh the humanity!), you have finally gotten into college! So, now what? Sure you know how to thrive in the bustling world of high school, but how do you succeed when there are no parents to keep you honest about whether you have completed your work, no curfews to keep you home in time to get a good night sleep, and no one there to make sure your laundry gets done and you don’t smell like the inside of a tennis shoe after a marathon? The start of a more independent life is both daunting and exciting. There are a number of paths to success in this new arena, but here are a few ways to make sure that this next step towards adulthood also sets you up for success academically and professionally for years to come. 1. Incorporate out of class work into your work day. Without school all day everyday and parents to keep you on task, time management is the most important tool for success as an adult. High school is a game where, for the most part, work is assigned the night before and must be completed by the next day. Most classes in college, however, do not meet every day and therefore assignments end up being spread over a few days, a few weeks, or the entire semester. These assignments often involve lots of reading that may not be tested until midway through the semester, making it is easy to put this reading off, and off, and off. This is advice every human being has likely heard before, but waiting until the last minute to complete assignments is a mistake! Generally speaking, students have between 25 hours of classes a day Monday through Friday. That’s it! But for many students, the time to complete the work outside of the class is equalto or more than the class time. This means that you must be smart with your time! Think about every day as a normal school day (6.5 hours plus lunch) if you have only three hours of classes between 10am and 5pm, that leaves you with 3.5 hours to complete any and all work that you may have for those or other classes and you are still done by 5pm. If you complete your work early? Wahoo! You’re done! The trick is to fill this time with work until there is no more work to do. If you have a twenty page term paper due in two weeks, use your 105 time to complete that term paper until it is done. What happens if you finish it a week early? You get to party guilt free for a week (or, more likely, you get to focus on other work that is due around the same time)! Organizing an unstructured day like a work day sounds straight forward enough, but I promise you when you are in the thick of social and extracurricular activities, this will seem IMPOSSIBLE. The good news is you can give yourself days off, just do it in a scheduled way! Give yourself five play days a semester, (as well as a lot of time off on weekends), but when these “vacation days” are gone, the work has to be priority number one. With Friday classes, it may be difficult to complete all work necessary for Monday before the weekend begins, but you need not keep to the 6.5 hour work day on weekends. Some times it is easier to think of Friday after classes end as the start of the weekend, and Sunday after 3:00pm as the start of the work week. This is quite healthy as long as you give yourself the time necessary to complete special assignments that require lots of weekend time (you can give yourself time off later in the week). 2. Study Smart! Not all the information that is important to success will be covered in lectures fully, but the stuff that gets talked about in class is going to be by far the most important stuff. Go through your reading looking for the topics mentioned in class and try to expand on your notes from class as you are reading text books. Copying notes from a lecture the next day is also a very helpful technique for solidifying information in your mind. Teaching information is a good tool for making sure you understand a topic. Get a study group together and have each person teach a topic to the group or offer to tutor someone in a topic that you yourself find challenging. You will likely find that attempting to figure out how to teach the topic will help you to understand it. Be sure to talk with professors and TA’s. It may seem like there is an antagonistic relationship between students, but professors want students to succeed, not fail. Ask professors about how tests are formatted, the topics that will be covered, and even for example tests from the past. This will likely not fall on deaf ears, especially if your requests are phrased in such a way as to imply that you care about the topic and want extra practice and materials. This will also help you to develop a relationship with your teachers, something that is extremely important when the time comes for letters of recommendation or inquiries about internships and jobs (Every application you will EVER have to complete will require references. Start building relationships with faculty early). 3. Allow yourself to explore extracurricular activities. College is so much more than an academic institution. Most colleges have worked hard to assemble an extremely diverse and talented student body who have many interests that do not strictly fall into the fields covered by the core academic disciplines. College is a place to start practicing for life, and life is long these days (hopefully!) and allows for a diverse palette of experiences. Check out organizations that either engage your interests or excite you for some other reason. It would be a shame to not utilize all the resources that college has to offer. 4. Schedule time for yourself, and for everyday life. Laundry needs to get done, shopping for toiletries, food, and school supplies needs to happen, and activities like exercise or other self care activities that are helpful for stress relief and maintaining health need to be prioritized. Try to give yourself a few hours a week to do maintenance tasks for your life. Its important to get into the habit of giving these tasks time so they don’t fall through the cracks and leave you stressed and smelly. These are just a few suggestions for how to be successful in this new collegiate environment. The truth is, you will likely have to try things, succeed, fail, and figure out for yourself how to best navigate all the different demands that will be placed on you in college. You are not alone in this! Your college advisers, parents, professors, and TA’s are there to help, so do not be afraid to ask for help. Just know that you are not just teaching yourself information, you are teaching yourself how to work unsupervised and stay organized in the world of independent living. These are tools that will help you to be successful in nearly any field. You are capable of success in this environment, so go out and have a great freshman year! Still unsure about applying to college? Visit our College Admissions website and fill out our FREE College profile evaluation! David Greenslade is a Veritas Prep SAT instructor based in New York. His passion for education began while tutoring students in underrepresented areas during his time at the University of North Carolina. After receiving a degree in Biology, he studied language in China and then moved to New York where he teaches SAT prep and participates in improv comedy. Read more of his articles here, including How I Scored in the 99th Percentile and How to Effectively Study for the SAT. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: 99th Percentile GMAT Score or Bust! Lesson 2: If the Answers Smell the Same, They Stink 
Veritas Prep’s Ravi Sreerama is the #1ranked GMAT instructor in the world (by GMATClub) and a fixture in the new Veritas Prep Live Online format as well as in Los Angelesarea classrooms. He’s beloved for his students for the philosophy “99th percentile or bust!”, a signal that all students can score in the elusive 99th percentile with the proper techniques and preparation. In this “9 for 99th” video series, Ravi shares some of his favorite strategies to efficiently conquer the GMAT and enter that 99th percentile. Lesson Two: If Answers Smell the Same, They Stink. GMAT verbal problems all carry the same basic instruction: select the best answer from this list of five; while that may sound straightforward enough, it actually lends itself to a powerful strategy. Since there cannot be two correct answers, if two answer choices are too similar, you can infer that neither is correct. In this video, Ravi explains how to leverage that strategy to save yourself from trap answers and ensure that your decision process takes place on the proper grounds. 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 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: SAT Tip of the Week: Why the Clock Is Not Your Friend on Test Day 
Time is one of the ways the College Board tries to get inside students’ heads. This varies from student to student. Some breeze through only to find the clock running out on their Math section with four problems left. Whatever the case is, timing can be an incredible source of anxiety for students and have adverse effects on one’s score if not managed properly. For those who struggle with the issue of time, there are two very common (negative!) approaches to time on the SAT. 1. You try to rush through in an effort to answer every single question. This leads to a ton of careless errors, and very lackluster results. 2. You feel paralyzed by time and concentrate on that instead of methodically working through the sections. This prevents students from finishing as many questions as they would normally, as they stay fixated on the lack of time. Both of these approaches are very deleterious (SAT vocab word!) to your score. Don’t adopt this mindset! Here is the good news… time is a completely overblown problem! While not every student will be able to finish the test, the anxiety and fear that comes with not finishing hurts your mental makeup. This is what really drags down scores, not the issue of time. Here is why: the SAT asks questions in order of difficulty for almost every section. The order restarts the grid in math section and in the large writing section, but on every other writing and math section, questions 15 are significantly easier than the final five problems. With reading, the vocabulary questions go in order and the rest of reading comprehension problems are jumbled together. What this means is that students have a much better chance of answering the earlier questions correctly than the later ones. As long as you are able to finish all the easy and medium ones, you are not at that much of a disadvantage. Of course it would be optimal to finish every single question, but the chances of getting the last couple right are not that high for the grand majority of students. It’s much better to acknowledge that you may not finish those challenging problems later on each section and to focus on not rushing through the easy ones at the beginning. This is the surest way to leave points on the table. In addition, don’t forget, if you go through the hard questions and aren’t able to solve them but still put in an answer – there is a guessing penalty. With reading comprehension and the essay, timing comes with practice. When students practice the essay and go through the proper preparation steps, they rarely have issues with time. The same can be said of really honing one’s reading comprehension skills. Timing is one of the biggest issues students face on the SAT. By taking the test on your own terms, and doing the most amount of problems you are able to solve, you will be successful! Keep in mind, your speed on the tests picks up dramatically if you take practice tests prior to the real thing (try one for FREE by taking the Veritas Prep SAT Diagnostic Test). Getting used to the cadence and pace of the test is extremely helpful in getting you your best score possible, without fretting about the issue of time. Happy Studying! 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. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: 5 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your MBA Coffee Chat 
Coffee chats are one of the best ways to stand out during the oncampus recruiting process. Your ability to connect one on one with an employee at your dream company is a great way to earn kudos with your target employer. However, many other aspects of the recruiting process are covered in great detail elsewhere, but for some reason coffee chats don’t get the same level of attention. One could even argue with the very personal nature of a one on one coffee chat that it is one of the most important touch points in the entire recruiting process. Follow these 5 tips below to ensure you make the most of your coffee chats: SignUp This sounds really simple but slots for oncampus coffee chats go quickly. Each company is different so make sure you are on all the relevant club lists and in target company databases so you don’t miss your chance to participate. Popular career tracks like marketing or consulting are particularly competitive when it comes to time slots for coffee chats. Typically there are multiple opportunities to signup per company, so you should be able to secure at least one time slot, but don’t risk it, make sure you are taking note of any event held by your target firms. Prepare Once you have your coffee chat scheduled, it’s time to prep for it. Typically you will know who you will be chatting with so take the opportunity to conduct some career related research via LinkedIn or the company website. Time for these coffee chats is typically limited so it is important to have a game plan before your coffee chat. Identify some questions that will help you get a better picture of the firm, learn about the firm representative’s experience with the company, and ultimately position yourself for success during the interview process. Engage Now that you are prepared for the chat, it’s time to engage and execute your game plan. You want to treat this conversation professionally while letting your personality flourish within the semistructured conversation. Remember this is about connecting with a potential decision maker or future employee, so it’s not enough to just ask a bunch of questions. You want to be engaging here. Document Completing the coffee chat does not end the process, it is important to document the conversation you just had. With many companies there will be multiple representatives from a firm you chat with throughout the recruiting process, so by documenting all of your interactions it makes it easy to reference past conversations and employee names. FollowUp Finally, followingup and confirming interest should be another one of those immediate next steps candidates take post coffee chat. These employees typically talk to many students oncampus so followup soon after the conversation and remind them of that engaging conversation you had. Utilize these tips to start relationship building with your target companies to ensure you stand out in the recruiting process! Applying to business school? Call us at 18009257737 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. You can read more of his articles here. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: The Concept of Abstraction on the GMAT 
The concept of abstraction involves taking things from specific values to general ideas. On the GMAT, abstraction is one of the simplest ways to turn an easy problem into a difficult one. A simple example would be to ask someone what “5 times 6” would be, and then to expand that to “x times y” or “odd number times even number.” Abstraction helps by giving broad strokes to concepts, but it also requires a deeper understanding of the underlying principles. (This is the same principle as abstract art… apparently). The GMAT is known for employing abstraction to make simple questions harder to grasp. Sometimes, a concrete problem using specific numbers can be very difficult, but the difficulty lies in the execution of the solution. An abstract problem, however, introduces an entirely different level of complexion, where even understanding the question at hand isn’t obvious (think of a Georgia O’Keefe painting). Once you’ve figured out what the problem is asking, then you can go about solving it. But until then you’re scratching your head wondering what the next step could be. There is a lot of value in understanding the abstract, overarching theme of a question. After all, instead of saying that 2 + 2 gives you an even number, and 2 + 4 gives you an even number, and 2 + 6 gives you an even number, you can summarize that the sum of any two even numbers will be even. Once you understand this principle, it makes all future questions on this topic easier to solve. However, if you happen to see something on test day that you’re unfamiliar with, you might be better off concentrating on the question at hand than the unbreakable rule that guarantees the consistency of the answer. As such, digging into why problems work is important during the time you prepare for the GMAT, so that problems seem easier on test day. Let’s explore one such relatively simple problem, made difficult by the abstract phrasing of the question: If the operation ∆ is one of the four arithmetic operations addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, is (6 ∆ 2) ∆ 4 = 6 ∆ (2 ∆ 4)?
B) Statement 2 alone is sufficient but statement 1 alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked. C) Both statements 1 and 2 together are sufficient to answer the question but neither statement is sufficient alone. D) Each statement alone is sufficient to answer the question. E) Statements 1 and 2 are not sufficient to answer the question asked and additional data is needed to answer the statements. Data sufficiency questions tend to be somewhat abstract on their own because they are asking whether something is sufficient or not. There aren’t specific values you are being asked to evaluate, but rather the entire spectrum of possibilities. To make things even more abstract, the question is asking about some equation ∆ (which looks isosceles to me), which could represent any of the four basic operations. This question is very abstract, and contains a pitfall or two if you’re not careful. Before even looking at the statements, let’s revisit the equation in the question: (6 ∆ 2) ∆ 4 = 6 ∆ (2 ∆ 4) This equation is actually asking about the commutative property of operations, because the numbers are all the same, but the order of operations is different. Replace all the ∆ operations by +, and we quickly see that the answer is 12 on both sides. You may already know that addition and multiplication are commutative, whereas subtraction and division are not (and this holds for all problems, so it’s a great shortcut). However, we may as well demonstrate it to ourselves here: (6 + 2) + 4 = 6 + (2 + 4) –> 8 + 4 = 6 + 6 –> 12 = 12. This holds, meaning the operation is commutative. (6 x 2) x 4 = 6 x (2 x 4) –> 12 x 4 = 6 x 8 –> 48 = 48. This holds, meaning the operation is commutative. (6 – 2) – 4 = 6 – (2 – 4) –> 4 – 4 = 6 – (2) –> 0 = 8. This doesn’t hold, meaning the operation is not commutative. (6 ÷ 2) ÷ 4 = 6 ÷ (2 ÷ 4) –> 3 ÷ 4 = 6 ÷ ½ –> ¾ = 12. This doesn’t hold, meaning the operation is not commutative. This means that we will have sufficient data if a statement can narrow down the choices to any one operation or to either multiplication & addition or division & subtraction. The data will be insufficient if we cannot narrow down the operations or have at least one commutative operation (x or +) and a noncommutative operation ( or ÷) as possibilities. Next, we must look through the statements and see what information we can glean. For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to begin by evaluating statement 2. This is because the equation will yield less abstraction than the inequality of statement 1. If the ∆ equation can satisfy this equation, it’s a possible answer. If it cannot, we can remove it from the list of potential equations. Statement 2 says that 3 ∆ 1 = 3. We can replace this by the four basic equations and see which ones hold: 3 + 1 = 3 –> This should give 4. Doesn’t hold. Eliminate addition. 3 – 1 = 3 –> This should give 2. Doesn’t hold. Eliminate subtraction. 3 x 1 = 3 –> This should give 3. Holds. Keep multiplication. 3 ÷ 1 = 3 –> This should give 3. Holds. Keep division. You may be able to quickly ascertain that addition and subtraction do not hold for this equation, so only multiplication and division could work. Since we have two operations that could work, one of which is commutative and one of which is not, we can definitely say that this statement is insufficient. Moving on to statement 1, we approach it in the same way and see if the operations can hold (i.e. the answer is greater than 3): 3 + 2 > 3 –> This gives 5. Holds. Keep addition. 3 – 2 > 3 –> This gives 1. Doesn’t hold. Eliminate subtraction. 3 x 2 > 3 –> This gives 6. Holds. Keep multiplication. 3 ÷ 2 > 3 –> This gives 1.5. Doesn’t hold. Eliminate division. For this statement alone, we see that addition and multiplication both work, but the other two equations don’t. This means that we don’t know exactly which operation this ∆ represents, but either way it will give the same answer to the question given. The two operations left standing (last operation standing?) both yield the same answer to the statement, which means we don’t need to narrow down the choices or put the statements together. A common pitfall on this question is to put the statements together, because then only multiplication can work for both statements. However, that’s a trap, as you don’t need statement 2 at all. The correct answer is A, because statement 1 is sufficient on its own to answer the question posed. For abstract problems, it’s easy to get lost in the generalization of the problem. What happens whenever I add two even numbers together? The magnitude of the scope is almost overwhelming, and as such the best strategy is to turn it concrete using simple examples. If no numbers are provided, try picking small, useful numbers like 2, 3 and 10. If the numbers are given but other variables, such as the operations, are left blank, then just go through all the possibilities until the rule becomes clear. The best way to overcome abstraction is to make it concrete. 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. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: GMAT Tip of the Week: Cedric the Entertainer becomes Cedric the GMAT Instructor 
“They hope. We wish.” In his classic routine from The Original Kings of Comedy, Cedric the Entertainer talks about the way that two different types of people view confrontation. Some people hope that there’s no confrontation, worrying all the while that there might be. Others – including Cedric himself – “wish a would” start some conflict. (Note: Kanye West borrowed this sentiment years later in a lyric for “The Good Life”) On the GMAT, you want to be on Cedric’s team. Many testtakers go into the reasoningbased exam hoping that they don’t see too much Testmaker trickery, but those poised to score 700+ – the Original Kings of Calm on the test – wish the testmaker would. They’ve prepared to check negative numbers and nonintegers on Data Sufficiency. They’ve prepared to doublecheck their inferences on Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension questions to make sure they “must be true” (correct) and not just “probably true.” They’ve prepared to go back to the question on Problem Solving to make sure that the variable they solved for is the one that the question asked about. They’ve tracked the silly and recurring mistakes that they made in practice and they wish the test tries to sneak that by them on test day. Why? A few reasons. For one, any mistake you’ve made more than once in practice is something that you know is going to be difficult for people. By being ready for it, you’re poised to get “cheap” difficulty points (so to speak) when it’s really not that hard. If a question asks: Starting with a full 12gallon tank of gas, D.L. drove 225 miles getting 45 miles per gallon of gas burned. How much gas was left in D.L.’s tank at the end of the trip?” You WANT them to ask about the gas that’s LEFT OVER (7 gallons) and include the amount of gas that was USED (5 gallons) as a trap answer. The math is pretty pedestrian, but that little twist – that you’ll solve for the amount used and then have to take just one more step to finish the problem, subtracting that 5 gallons used from the 12 you started with – will ensure that at least 20% more people get that problem wrong for just not reading carefully or from being in a hurry to finish the math and move on. You want to see those silly little trap answers there because they add difficulty (and therefore points) to your test without being truly “hard.” Another reason is that there’s nothing more confidencebuilding than catching the GMAT trying to beat you with a silly trick that you’re more than prepared for. That’s Cedric’s point about concert tickets; sometimes it’s not sitting in great seats that makes you feel truly bigtime, it’s being able to prove to someone else that you’ve earned the right to sit in them. That’s why Cedric wishes a would sit in his seats; he wants that pure satisfaction that comes from being justified in kicking them out! That adds happiness and satisfaction to the whole show. Similarly, when you catch the GMAT trying to trick you with a trap you saw coming from a mile away, that’s a huge confidence boost for the rest of the test. And that’s the ultimate point of this post – you can’t go into the test fearful of falling for traps. If that’s your mindset – “I really hope the GMAT doesn’t trick me into forgetting about zero” – then even if you catch that and save your answer, it can breed more stress. In a Data Sufficiency format, that could look like: What is the value of x? (1) 8x = x^2 (2) x is not a positive number But on Cedric’s team – I wish the GMAT would try to sneak numbers like negatives, fractions, and zero past me – that same discussion looks like this (in bold because, well, it’s a bolder way of thinking): What is the value of x? (1) 8x = 8^2 <Cedric’s discussion with self: Man I know you want me to say 8 but that’s easy. I think x has to be 8 but I think you may be trying to trick me, GMAT. I’m too quick for that; I’m a grownass man dawg. We ain’t through here, you hear me?.> (2) x is not a positive number <Cedric’s discussion with self: There you go, always talking in code like that. x is not a positive number…you didn’t say it was negative so what’s the difference there. It’s zero; you don’t think I know that? So I see what you’re doing…I knew you’d try to throw zero at me. 8x = x^2 above? Anything times 0 is 0 so 0 is that second answer up top; I knew it wouldn’t be that easy. Statement 1 isn’t sufficient because of 0 and 8 and statement 2 says it can’t be 8. That’s C, dawg, as in you can’t C me easy like that. What do you have up next there Einstein?> The real difference? Cedric’s mindset uses his knowledge that the GMAT will hit you with common traps as confidence. He knows it’s coming and he’s happy when he does see it, and catching those traps just breeds more confidence since he knows he’s better than the test and handling at least some of it’s difficulty with ease. The other mindset – even if it leads to a right answer on a particular question – breeds fear and anxiety, and those qualities can take a toll on future questions. By the time you take the GMAT you know what common traps it’s setting for you, so be confident when you see and avoid them! Like in this example: x and y are consecutive integers such that x > y. What is the absolute value of y? (1) The product xy is 20. (2) x is a prime number. Have you summoned your inner Cedric? Statement 1 begs you to say “oh, well if x is greater than y and they’re consecutive integers that multiply to 20, it’s 4 and 5 and x is the big one so y = 4. But wait – don’t you wish they’d try to throw a trick at you? Are you ready for it when it comes? Statement 2 looks to just confirm what you saw before. Yep, x = 5 in statement 1, and if you take statement 2 alone it’s nowhere near sufficient. So what’s Cedric thinking? He wishes that the test would try to hit him with some of the lowlevel trickery it so often does. The test likes nonintegers? No, those don’t apply since the question says that x and y are indeed integers. The test likes 0? That doesn’t really apply either for statement 1 since 0 times anything can’t equal 20. But the GMAT also likes negative numbers, and you were wishing they’d try to get you with those. What other consecutive integers multiply to 20? 4 and 5. And in that case which is the smaller one (again, x > y)? That’s right, 5. So while the amateur might pick A thinking that the absolute value of y has to be 4, you can answer confidently like Cedric in the clip above: “That’s right. Fo *and* five.” Statement 1 is not sufficient alone, but statement 2 guarantees that the numbers have to be positive, so the answer is C. And since you wished the GMAT would try to get you with that positive/negative trick, you were looking for it, you answered correctly, and you confidently moved on to the next problem knowing that you’re on a roll. On the GMAT, don’t hope they don’t try to make it difficult with those tricks that got you in practice. Wish they would make it difficult with those tricks because you’re confident you won’t fall for them again. They hope; you wish. 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 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Can You Deal? Avoid Academic Anxiety With These 3 Tips 
I distinctly remember the night before my first day of college. It would have been an extremely memorable night no matter what, but the experience of my first panic attack made it particularly memorable. What was this new experience going to be? Was I going to be successful? Were people going to like me? Was everyone I loved going to die in a fire while I was away? My thoughts began to spiral quickly and before I knew it I was having a full on panic attack. Stress and anxiety will always be potential problems as new experiences, important events, and difficult deadlines occur, but here are some tips for college bound students (and everyone else) who may deal with the anxiety of a stressful situation. 1. Acknowledge Your Anxious Feelings Anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of nor is it something that should be discounted. If a student feels anxiety, it is best to acknowledge that feeling so that it can be addressed properly. If possible, identify what specifically is causing the feeling of anxiety. Is it the specific fear of not being capable of accomplishing some task? Is it a feeling of there being too little time to accomplish a task or prepare for an event? Is it a completely unfounded worry about something you can’t control (i.e. your family dying in a fire)? All of the valid concerns can be approached with practical steps, and all of the ridiculous concerns are beyond your control, so why worry about them? Remember, fear is essentially a projection of a negative outcome into an unknown (and unknowable) future! Think of something that you can work on right NOW that can help to address the particular source of your anxiety. If you are worried about not having enough time, work out a schedule that will give you a sense for what it will require to accomplish something then do the first step. This will show you that you are capable of doing the task. If the anxiety is ridiculous, feel it, then try to laugh! It sounds silly but laughing may be just the thing to free you from the fear of this ridiculous thought. Don’t live in the imaginary future, focus on what can be done right now! 2. Keep a regular sleep cycle The first thing that tends to be sacrificed as stress level and work load increase is sleep (that and calls to grandparents, but if they are like mine they will just call you more to make up for it), but as an important event like a test, a presentation, or the first day of classes at a new school approaches, keeping a consistent sleep schedule should be a priority. Research has shown that even a one hour reductions in sleep can impair memory and destroy an immune system! Try to keep as consistent a sleep schedule as possible and prioritize sleep as you do any other important task. If the you are preparing for a specific event like a test, or a presentation, don’t do anything you don’t usually do on the morning of the event! Don’t all of the sudden decide to drink coffee before your big presentation, in fact, if anxiety is in any way an issue for you, caffeine may cause you to be jittery and unfocused. 3. Visualize Success In general, approaching stressful events with a positive attitude has a tremendous effect on real outcomes. Numerous studies have demonstrated that positive visualization is associated with success in various pursuits. Take a few minutes before you go to bed to visualize yourself receiving the score that you desire on the test, effectively communicating the points of your presentation, or successfully introducing yourself to a room full of new students. This can go a long way to convincing yourself that you are capable of success in whatever context is the source of your stress. Avoid the voice in your head that says, “You are not good at…”. You are good at whatever it is! If you are not now good at something, you will become good at it! Constant selfflagellation will create a belief that you are bad at things. This is not the case! You are good and successful, so start believing it! There is no panacea (SAT word for cureall) for stress, but acknowledging your feelings, keeping yourself well rested, and visualizing success are sure fire ways to help reduce anxiety and stress. Remember that whether you are stressed about the SAT, your first day of college, or just the daily stresses of life, stress and anxiety are all still just chemical reactions in your brain, and you have some control on what your brain does, so use that control to make your life a life that minimizes fear of a future that does not exist. Having anxiety about your college applications? Visit our College Admissions website and fill out our FREE College profile evaluation! David Greenslade is a Veritas Prep SAT instructor based in New York. His passion for education began while tutoring students in underrepresented areas during his time at the University of North Carolina. After receiving a degree in Biology, he studied language in China and then moved to New York where he teaches SAT prep and participates in improv comedy. Read more of his articles here, including How I Scored in the 99th Percentile and How to Effectively Study for the SAT. 


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