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As noticed in the first post of Alphametics, a data sufficiency alphametic is far more complicated than a problem solving alphametic. An alphametic can have multiple solutions and establishing that it does not, is time consuming. Hence, it is less likely that you will see a DS alphametic in the actual exam.

In fact, what may look like an alphametic problem, might actually be a number properties problem only.

We will look at an example below:

Question:

In the correctly-worked multiplication problem above, each symbol represents a different nonzero digit. What is the value of C?

Statement 1: D is prime.

Statement 2: B is not prime.

Solution: We multiply two two-digit integers and get 1995. The good thing is that we know the result of the multiplication will be 1995. Usually, multiplication alphametics are harder since they involve multiple levels, but here the multiplication is actually a blessing. There are many many ways in which you can ADD two integers to give 1995 but there are only a few ways in which you can multiply two integers to give you 1995.

Let’s prime factorize 1995:

1995 = 3*5*7*19

We can probably count on our fingers the number of ways in which we can select AB and CD.

19 needs to be multiplied with one other factor to give us a two digit number since 5*3*7 = 105 (a three digit number) so AB and CD cannot be 19 and 105.

19*3 = 57, 5*7 = 35 – This is not possible since two of the four digits are same here – 5.

19*5 = 95, 3*7 = 21 – This is one option for AB and CD.

19*7 = 133 – Three digit number not possible.

Hence AB and CD can only take values out of 21 and 95.

As of now, C can be 2 or 9. We need to find whether the given statements give us a unique value of C.

Statement 1: D is prime

D is the units digit of CD. So D can be 1 or 5.

1 is not prime so CD cannot be 21. Hence, CD must be 95 and AB must be 21.

Hence, C must be 9.

This statement alone is sufficient.

Statement 2: B is not prime

If B is not prime then AB cannot be 95. Hence AB must be 21.

This means CD will be 95 and C will be 9.

This statement alone is sufficient.

Answer (D)

Note that the entire question was just about number properties – prime factors, prime numbers etc. Actually it required no iterative steps and no hit and trial. Rest assured that if it is a GMAT question, it will be reasoning based and will not require painful calculations.

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

After months of anticipation you’ve finally arrived on-campus to begin your 1st year of business school. As the anticipation starts to subside and you’re excitement levels return to normal, it’s time to turn your attention towards recruiting. Many 1st year MBAs are anxious to get this part of the business school experience kicked off as soon as possible. For their benefit most schools have in place restrictions that delay contact with recruiters for 1st year MBAs.

However, once these restrictions abate the official kick-off of recruiting season begins with the 1st Year Presentation. 1st Year Presentations are a fixture in on-campus recruiting and this event is the firm’s opportunity to introduce the company and the yearly calendar to 1st year students. The way a typical 1st Year Presentation is structured, the first half of the event will be very much presentation style with the firm walking students through general information about the company, recruiting calendar, and an introduction of the participating firm employees in attendance.

The second half of the event is typically reserved for networking. During this time students have the opportunity to meet with firm employees and get a feel for the company and what makes it unique. Bigger feeder industries like consulting will sometimes have large amounts of employees from across the country and from various functional roles. Even with the potential for you to access employees at these events, remember that there will be many students in attendance just like you, so be sure to make the most of your time.

The key to successfully navigating a 1st Year Presentation begins with preparation. Most see this event as an opportunity to learn what the firm is about. Taking this approach does not allow you to make the most of your time at this kind of event. By conducting research on basic information related to the hosting firm, it is much easier to focus on deeper, higher level information at the event. This manifests itself best during the second half of the event where the format is more open and students can connect directly with employees. Many will ask generic, boilerplate questions to the participating employees. Take a different approach and ask more introspective questions that will not only impress the employee but also provide you answers to your questions.

Also, be smart about which employees you network with. If you are seeking employment in a specific region or functional role make sure to connect with employees that are relevant to your career goals. The most senior person in the room is not necessarily the most influential in the recruiting process, so target employees like recruiters and staff most relevant to your needs.

Successfully navigating the first year presentation is a great start to the recruiting process, follow the tips above to set yourself up for success with your dream firm!

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.

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

The SAT is a beast of a test, and not some seemingly ferocious beast that turns out to be cute and cuddly: it is a true monster with fangs and all. While acknowledging that the SAT is a force to be reckoned with, like all monsters, the SAT has certain “Problem Areas” that students tend to find more dangerous than others (the fangs and fire-breath, to continue our already stretching metaphor). Here are three techniques to help conquer these problem areas and thus de-fang our foe. OK, enough metaphor!

1. Learning Vocabulary: Memorizing vocabulary is time consuming, but need not be hard. Here are two good techniques to help memorize a lot of vocabulary.

Repetition:

Repetition really is the easiest way to build long term memory. Take a word and a definition that you don’t know. Look at it once then wait one minute. Now look at the word and try to think of the definition. Its tough right? Now take that same word and repeat the definition seven times. Now wait one minute. Maybe remember the word is a bit easier? Did you get it? If not try it again. Repeat the word and definition seven times. Now wait two minutes. I bet you can still recall the definition! This process can be used for a whole list of words. For some reason, seven seems to be a good number of repetitions to make things stick. Do this for ten words, wait five minutes, then quiz yourself. Reward yourself with five minutes of a TV show you love while you are waiting, just make sure you don’t get so into the show that you forget you are studying.

Narrative or Picture Creation:

Memory is aided by activating different parts of the brain. The language area is most used in memorizing novel words, but anything that creates a narrative or picture will help to create memories that stick much easier. As an example, lets take the word obstinate, which means stubborn. The sounds in this word can be associated with some image that both conveys sound and definition. When I think of this word I picture my friend Nate, except he is composed of a rock called Obsidian and telling a green peace worker that recycling glass is stupid. Obstinate: stubborn.

2. On Hard Math Problems, Start With What You Know

Here is an example of a challenging math problem:

Each tick mark is equally spaced from the next, which letter represents -y?

The first place to start with something like this would be to plug in numbers. If I assume each tick mark is 1 and plug in 4 for x, I get x=4, y=-2, and -y-x = -2 . According to the equations, -y-x should equal 8. This is a bit of a pickle! Rather than give up, let’s start with what we know. If we define each tick mark as 1, than what we know is as follows:

x+2 = x-y therefore,

2 = -y or y = -2

and

x+4 = -y-x substituting y for -2 we get x+4 = -(-2)-x —> x+4 = 2-x —> 2x = -2 —> x = -1

Let’s put it all together by putting our new numbers into the equations given by the problem. If z = 1, y = -2 and x = -1, our new number line will read as follows:

-y = 2 which would correspond with point C, and we are done! This question required a little algebra, but wasn’t too bad once we stated the things that were told to us by the question.

3. If An Error Is Hard To Spot, Check Nouns, Passive Voice, Awkward Phrases, and Idioms

Let’s look at an example sentence:

After a decline in the modern era of feminine characters that exhibit little agency and define themselves through their male relationships, there has been a resurgence with fictional characters that embody a classical form of femininity.

After reading this sentence with and without prepositional and descriptive phrases to see if an error pops out, the first possible non-obvious errors to check are noun agreement, passive voice, and awkward phrases. A noun agreement error is generally a problem with nouns that should all either be plural or singular, but are, in fact, different. For example, “The boys always wore their required trousers, but never their hat.” In this case “boys” wear “trousers” and should also wear “hats”. The noun error is not a problem with the above sentence. Passive voice is a reversal of normal sentence construction, often using the word “by”. For instance “The ball was thrown by John,” instead of the active “John threw the ball”. Passive voice isn’t always wrong, but it’s often stronger to put a sentence in the active voice. It is also important to check for any of the classic indicators of awkward phrasing like “being”, “is because”, or sometimes “having been”. Neither of these issues are present in the example sentence.

If there aren’t errors with verb agreement, pronouns, parallelism, redundancy, awkward phrasing, or modifiers, essentially the only errors left are problems of idiom. These can be really tough to spot, but they aren’t impossible. These are generally problems with prepositions, specifically prepositions that don’t match the words that comes before them. There are two phrases with prepositions in the underlined portion: “resurgence with” and “form of”. The phrase “form of” seems alright. You could put that in a different context and would sound fine: “Copying is just another form of flattery.” The phrase “resurgence with”, on the other hand, seems weird: “There has been a resurgence with new orders.” It should be “resurgence of new orders.” Voila! We have identified the idiomatic error!

These are just a few techniques to help with problem areas of the SAT, but, with a little practice, they may help to slay the beast called the SAT. Happy studying!

David Greenslade is a Veritas Prep SAT instructor based in New York. His passion for education began while tutoring students in underrepresented areas during his time at the University of North Carolina. After receiving a degree in Biology, he studied language in China and then moved to New York where he teaches SAT prep and participates in improv comedy. Read more of his articles here, including How I Scored in the 99th Percentile and How to Effectively Study for the SAT.

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

Veritas Prep’s Ravi Sreerama is the #1-ranked GMAT instructor in the world (by GMATClub) and a fixture in the new Veritas Prep Live Online format as well as in Los Angeles-area classrooms. He’s beloved by 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” videoseries, Ravi shares some of his favorite strategies to efficiently conquer the GMAT and enter that 99th percentile.

Lesson Three:

The Long Way is the Wrong Way. For much of your math education you’ve been urged to go step-by-step and show all your work. On a timed test like the GMAT, however, you don’t have that luxury of taking your time. As Ravi demonstrates in this video, however, “the long way is the wrong way” on many GMAT problems, which instead are designed to reward you for making quality estimates, using answer choices as clues, and employing other shortcuts to definitively answer correctly without doing all the work.

Want to learn more from Ravi? He’s taking his show on the road for one-week Immersion Courses in San Francisco and New York this summer, and teaches frequently in our new Live Online classroom.

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

With the summer blockbuster season around the corner, it’s easy for your studying motivation to wane. After all, the GMAT doesn’t have the same allure as the big budget Hollywood movies people line up to see every summer. However, while seeing a movie can be a welcome distraction, there is a lot we can learn from movies when studying for the GMAT.

As an example, when Tony Stark verbally jousts with Ultron in the latest Avengers movie, he is demonstrating critical reasoning and trying very hard to weaken his opponents’ argument. In Jurassic World, a hybrid dinosaur is created using data from various sources, as a conclusion would be created from various sources on a Reading Comprehension question. And in Terminator Genisys, a fractured timeline is created that resembles many tense errors in Sentence Correction (to say nothing of misspelling the title).

Arguably, every movie you see this summer will incorporate some elements of what’s covered on the GMAT (I’m still working on Magic Mike XXL). The exam is designed to test your knowledge of logic using elements you have already covered previously in an academic environment. Moreover, the topics on the GMAT often arouse your own interests and pertain to things you care about. Indeed, sometimes the questions asked will even make you think of the movie you saw the week before to take your mind off the GMAT!

Let’s look at such an example, combining movies and GMAT in one sleek Sentence Correction question:

At major Hollywood studios, a much greater proportion of the population is employed than is employed by independent movie production companies.

A) At major Hollywood studios, a much greater proportion of the population is employed than is employed by independent movie production companies.

B) At major Hollywood studios they employ a much greater proportion of the population than independent movie production companies do.

C) A much greater proportion of the major Hollywood studios’ population is employed than independent movie production companies employ.

D) Major Hollywood studios employ a much greater proportion of the population than the employment of independent movie production companies.

E) Major Hollywood studios employ a much greater proportion of the population than independent movie production companies do.

This question begins with an absolute phrase “At major Hollywood studios…” that modifies the rest of the sentence. The second half of the sentence is a comparison between big budget studios and independent companies, highlighted by the trigger word “than”. With comparisons, we must always ensure that we are comparing similar elements and that these elements are in a parallel form.

Looking specifically at answer choice A, the absolute phrase “At major Hollywood studios” would need to apply to the rest of the sentence. (This is similar to the classic trailer opening “In a world…”). This structure would only be correct if the rest of the sentence were limited in scope to the major Hollywood studios. Anything outside of this scope would create an illogical discord between the modifying phrase and the rest of the sentence. Since the sentence deals with the entire population, it does not make sense to limit it only to the Hollywood studios, and this answer choice can be eliminated for this error in logical meaning.

Answer choice B, “At major Hollywood studios they employ a much greater proportion of the population than independent movie production companies do”, there is a pronoun error in the first five words. The antecedent for “they” is nebulous, because it conceivably refers to the studios, or the executives at the studios, or perhaps the HR department at the studios, or something else. The rest of the sentence isn’t great either, but one glaring pronoun error is enough to definitively eliminate this choice from contention.

Answer choice C, “A much greater proportion of the major Hollywood studios’ population is employed than independent movie production companies employ” changes the meaning into something that is not exactly English. The population has now been restricted to only the Hollywood studios’ population, and the comparison being made is illogical as well, as it is now comparing a population proportion to a movie production. Answer choice C is perhaps the worst phrase of the bunch and hopefully can be eliminated rather quickly.

Answer choice D, “Major Hollywood studios employ a much greater proportion of the population than the employment of independent movie production companies” starts off well, but makes the same comparison error that we saw in answer C. If the sentence begins by comparing major studios to something else, then that something else has to be a studio (or something analogous, my cousin’s garage for example). By comparing studios to employment, the answer choice makes an illogical apples-to-oranges comparison that precludes it from consideration.

Answer choice E, “Major Hollywood studios employ a much greater proportion of the population than independent movie production companies do” correctly compares studios to production companies, and makes no other type of error along the way. By process of elimination, this had to be the correct choice, but it’s always nice when the last remaining choice doesn’t contain any obvious errors or omissions. This answer choice is correct, and we can confidently select E as our answer before moving on to the sequel (or next question, as the case may be.)

When it comes to summer blockbusters, there’s always something to learn. Sometimes we learn something helpful in grammar, and sometimes we learn that physics don’t always apply (thank you Furious 7!). This summer, if you’re studying for the GMAT, don’t forget to take the occasional break to go and enjoy a good movie to give your mind a break from the rigors of Sentence Correction problems. Just don’t get butter on your GMAT books.

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.

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

Congratulations!!! After a long process of applying to colleges, you were admitted and have committed to attending an institution in the Fall. We hope that you will celebrate your accomplishments and enjoy the final days of your high school career!

A couple of things to keep in mind:

Continue to check your new university email and online student accounts often and regularly. Colleges will often use email or messaging via the online student portals to send you important notices, including deadlines for upcoming tuition payments, housing notifications, etc. Make sure that you are checking these portals often so you don’t miss anything important.

Send your final transcript to the college. Hopefully senioritis hasn’t gotten the best of you because you still need to submit your final transcripts. Colleges will rescind offers of admission to students who have gotten Ds or Fs and/or have not completed course requirements. Yes, colleges can still revoke your admission even if you have paid the enrollment deposit and housing deposits.

Complete all financial aid requirements. If you have not done so already, accept or decline your financial aid awards. If you have federal loans included in your financial aid award package, make sure you complete entrance loan counseling and sign the Master Promissory Note. You should receive detailed information on how to do so from your college’s financial aid office.

Register and attend orientation. If you have not already done so, make sure to register for orientation and make plans to arrive on campus in time for the opening festivities! Most schools will provide valuable information about the college during orientation and orientation can be a great time to meet other new students just like you. There are often concurrent activities specifically for parents as well.

Secure your housing for the Fall. If you are planning to stay in the dorms, make sure that you have sent in your housing deposit and indicated your preferences for your housing options. If your college has a housing survey, make sure to fill that out honestly as many colleges will use that information to pair you with a roommate.

Register for courses. Some colleges will allow you (and require) that you register for courses before you even arrive on campus. Make sure you pay attention to any pre-requisite actions that you have to take before you are able to register (i.e.: attend orientation, meet with an academic advisor, etc.). Start to familiarize yourself with the general education requirements for your college, if applicable, so that you have an idea of the courses you will need to complete throughout your college years.

Thank the adults who helped you get to college. Don’t forget to update the adults who encouraged you along the way and put in extra time and effort to write your recommendations. Let them know where you decided to attend college and show your appreciation with a nice, personal note.

Update your vaccinations and get a physical. Find out the college’s requirements for vaccinations that you will need to get before arriving on campus. Many colleges will ask that you get a physical (usually they have a form that your physician can fill out). Make sure you schedule your appointments in advance and ask for a copy of your medical record just in case you need it in the transition to college.

Enjoy your summer! Take some time this summer to relax, spend time with family and friends, and maybe start to earn/save some money to prepare for college. Start collecting memoirs that you can take with you to college and mentally and emotionally prepare to become a college student!

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

One of the primary reasons applicants flood the world’s best business schools every year is to gain access to a network of career changing professionals. This is often the primary reason applicants cite for pursuing an MBA.

Now once you are on-campus how do you make sure you are taking advantage of this network? There are a few obvious areas but also some other areas that get commonly get overlooked. Let’s discuss a few areas where students can network on campus:

1. Classmates

Your classmates will be your primary network while in business school, as well as afterwards. These are the people you will spend time with every day in the classroom, recruiting, in extra-curricular activities and even working in the office. Your classmates are the best people to forge your network with, because of the daily interactions and mutual connections that exist from your shared experiences together. Contrary to popular belief these relationships are best formed outside of the classroom via extra-curricular activities and social functions, so don’t be afraid to get to know who your classmates really are!

2. Alums

Another great networking opportunity is with alums. Now, you may be saying “but alums aren’t on-campus?” Well, in fact they are! Alums are all over business school campuses across the globe. Many come back for sponsored events from their firms that recruit on-campus, others engage with students via speaking engagements in the classroom, and even attend business school conferences. The point is alums are around; take advantage of their visits to campus and leverage their experience to make the most of your alumni network.

3. Professors

Here is something most would never guess. Professors probably have the most expansive network of anybody on campus. They have relationships with current students, alums, and even corporations. It is very common for professors to connect students with alums and companies for potential employment opportunities, particularly in niche industries. Building a strong relationship with professors is not only good for your grades, but also for your long-term professional career.

4. Other Grad Programs

One of the benefits of the university system is that it fosters an environment of community learning. Take advantage of the other graduate programs on campus – like law, medicine, and engineering – to network with other students. For students pursuing careers in industries like entrepreneurship, healthcare or technology, these relationships can be particularly impactful.

Make the most of your time on campus, by leveraging all of the opportunities above to leave campus with a powerful network!

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.

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

If you’re reading this, you’re probably hoping for a 700+ score on the GMAT. You’re probably wishing for a 700+ score on the GMAT. And you may well be praying for a 700+ score on the GMAT.

And if you’re praying, one prayer in particular is your best hope to maximize your GMAT Verbal performance, regardless of whether you can benefit from divine intervention. No matter your faith or belief system, the Serenity Prayer is critical to your Sentence Correction success:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

You can view this as a prayer or simply a personal mantra. But you’d better keep it close to heart. On GMAT Sentence Correction problems you MUST maintain the serenity to accept that there will be sentence structures and word choices that you cannot change, and you MUST instead focus on changing those things that you can. Now let’s supply the wisdom to know the difference.

YOU CANNOT CHANGE:

The non-underlined portion. Particularly when studying, many GMAT students love to protest problems on the basis that the non-underlined portion “doesn’t sound right” or “is awkward and clumsy” or “I think it has an error…this question is flawed!”. In truth, the GMAT (and reputable creators of replica study problems) intentionally uses strange structures in large part to test your ability to maintain that serenity. You can only change what they give you the option to change, and those who can’t handle the stress of having limited control are at a distinct disadvantage.

The five answer choices. For many GMAT problems we all would prefer to just rewrite our own sentence. How many times have you started to write a sentence in an email or essay then realized “I’m not sure if this is grammatically correct” and then deleted and written a brand-new sentence to avoid that uncertainty? We all do that, regularly, and so on the GMAT you have that primal desire to want to write your own sentence. But you don’t have that option. You have to accept that you can’t write your own answer choice and that “the game” is largely about your ability to play it by the test’s rules.

The author’s intent. GMAT students love to ask “what if?” on Sentence Correction problems, motivated in part by fear “but what if they had two right answers?” and in part by protest “I don’t like the right answer so let me suggest this other right answer (like the point above) – okay hotshot teacher what would you do now?”. This is virtually never a productive discussion, so accept the serenity that it’s a waste of your time. There will always be exactly one correct answer and exactly four incorrect answers. And whether that correct answer feels wrong or strange to you, it’s correct. And whether you think you could change that wrong answer you picked through a word change here or there, that’s not what the question was about. The GMAT spends roughly $5,000 per question in research, development, and administration costs; these problems are “scientifically” chosen to look exactly the way they look. You can’t change the problem; your job is to learn from it.

YOU CAN CHANGE:

The underlined portion of the sentence. They give you five ways to phrase that section and the only real choice you have in the matter is which of those five provides a logical meaning and is free from error. That’s your job, so harness your “courage to change the things you can” toward making that choice effectively.

The way that you approach SC problems. Most of us read from left to right and from top to bottom, but on Sentence Correction problems you can and should change that approach to suit your strengths. Attack major grammatical errors first, emphasizing those that you know you’re best at (for most of us those include subject-verb agreement, pronoun agreement, and verb tenses). Defer choices that you’re not 100% certain on while you search for better ones; no one said you have to make a decision on A first, then B, then C… You can hunt for the errors you feel most comfortable spotting, then work your way toward major differences between the remaining answer choices.

Your study mindset. Much more on the verbal section than on the quant, students have a tendency to fight for their answer choice. “But wait…” “But what if…” “But I thought…” Which in and of itself isn’t a terrible thing; the fact that you’re heavily invested in the problem is a great sign. But (there’s that word again) what’s most important isn’t being right in practice, it’s being right on test day. Learning how the GMAT uses strange structures to throw you off is helpful; when you don’t like a correct answer, think about that structure or phrasing and pay attention to it when you see it in writing elsewhere. When you fall victim to a trap, think about what tempted you with the wrong answer and how the testmaker threw you off the scent of the correct answer. GMAT Sentence Correction rewards serenity, courage, and knowledge. You have to have the serenity to accept that you can’t change most of what you’re reading and that you will undoubtedly find correct answers that aren’t written the way you’d write them. You have to have the courage to deflect decisions you know you’re not good at and the patience to scan until you find decisions that you know you can make. And you have to have the knowledge that it’s all part of the game and that those who succeed on these questions are the ones who recognize and embrace that. You may not be able to pray your way to 700+, but the Serenity Prayer is a great start in that direction.

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

The first year of college can be daunting. A new school means an entirely new environment: new friends, new living situation, and most of all – new classes. It’s a lot of “new” in a short period of time, and one of the most difficult aspects to get adjusted to is the heightened level of difficulty in class.

Many college classes are difficult by design. The more challenging aspect of this is the fact that the resources for help aren’t as apparent in college. In high school, teachers seemed more approachable. If the content in class was hard, you could always ask to meet with them outside of class or ask a friend for help.

It may seem as if these opportunities aren’t there in college, but they are! One of the best, most underutilized resources is office hours. Office hours are regularly scheduled times each week where students can come in and meet with their professor or teaching assistant to ask questions and better understand the material.

While some teachers have very well attended office hours, many offices lie empty all semester until right before a big test or final. That is not the time to go to office hours and try to cram. Instead, take advantage of this great opportunity to better comprehend the material and build a relationship with your professors and teaching assistants. Here are the three biggest benefits of attending office hours.

Actually understanding the material

A lot of times students have trouble navigating the dense nature of certain subjects. It gets even worse when the material is somewhat dry, and it’s hard to pay attention the entire time in class. This is further compounded when students leave the textbook reading to the last minute, and then struggle to understand the building block concepts, which makes the more sophisticated topics even harder to learn.

One way to fix this and dramatically improve understanding is by visiting your professor. Most likely, the professor is an expert in his or her field and has a wealth of experience helping individuals learn the material. Sometimes, they even wrote the textbook! There is no better person to help you learn tough, dense material than one of the leading experts in the world!

[*]Build a relationship with your professor[/list] Most professors went into teaching in college because they love interacting with students and providing guidance and mentorship. If their office hours are usually empty, this means that you have the chance to build an even stronger relationship with the professor. They aren’t just experts in their field, a lot of them have experience in a wide array of industries and can offer great advice on school and life in general. They are a tremendous resource to connect with outside of just classroom topics. This is the underrated aspect of office hours.

[*]Leniency with grades[/list] Professors are human too. While office hours aren’t going to move you from a C to an A, without actually improving your test scores, it can give you the little boost if you are on the border between two grades. If the teacher is familiar with you and understands all of the effort you are putting in on a daily basis, then they will reward you if you are in between marks.

Remember, office hours are a hidden gem of college and can be the boost you need to get acclimated and excel in a new place! Best of luck in your finals preparation!

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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Today we will discuss the logic behind common factors (other than 1) of two numbers.

Without actually finding all the factors of two numbers, how do we know whether they have any common factors (ignoring 1)?

Let’s take some examples:

If the integers are even, we know that they must have at least one common factor – 2. Let’s say we have two numbers 476 and 478. How many common factors can they have? We know that 2 is a factor common to them. Can they have any other common factor? Note that the difference between them is 2. So if 4 were a factor of 476, could it be a factor of 478? No. If 4 were a factor of 476, it would be a factor of 480 next (4 away from 476). Similarly, if 7 were a factor of 476, it would not be a factor of 478, definitely. It would be a factor of 483 (7 away from 476). In fact, since the difference between the two numbers is 2, the only factor they can have in common is 2.

Now consider that the two numbers are 476 and 484. They have a difference of 8 between them. The common factors they can have are 2, 4 and 8 (the factors of 8). If any of these factors is a factor of 476, it will be a factor of 484 too. Obviously, 476 and 484 will have many other factors but they will not have any other common factor. 7 is a factor of 476. The next multiple of 7 will be 483 and the next will be 490. 7 cannot be a factor of 484.

What happens when both integers are odd? Say 523 and 529. The difference between them is 6. The factors of 6 are 2 and 3. Both 523 and 529 are odd numbers so 2 cannot be their factor. If 3 is a factor of 523, it will be a factor of 529 too else it will not be a factor of both the numbers. Any other number can be a factor of one of them, but not both.

This is what we can deduce:

The only factors that CAN be common (it’s not necessary that they will be common) between two numbers are the factors of the difference between them.

If any factor of the difference between them is a factor of one of the numbers, it will be a factor of the other number too. If it is not a factor of one number, it will not be a factor of the other number.

Take a look at a question based on these concepts:

Question: Given that x is a positive integer, what is the greatest common divisor (GCD) of the two positive integers, (x+m) and (x-m)?

Statement 1: m^2 – 10m + 16 = 0

Statement 2: x + 26 is a prime number.

Solution:

The two given positive integers are (x + m) and (x – m). x is a positive integer so m must be an integer too. Whether m is positive or negative, we don’t know.

To know the GCD of two numbers, we need to know their common divisors. As of now, we have no idea about their common divisors, but we know that the difference between the two numbers is 2m. Their common factors must be factors of 2m.

Let’s look at the two statements:

Statement 1: m^2 – 10m + 16 = 0

We know that the quadratic will give us two values for m so we will not be able to find a unique value for m. But let’s solve it in case we get some other clues from it.

m^2 – 10m +16 = 0

m^2 – 2m – 8m + 16 = 0

m (m – 2) – 8 (m – 2) = 0

(m – 2)*(m – 8) = 0

m is either 2 or 8. So 2m is either 4 or 16.

The factors of 2m will be 1, 2 and 4 and additionally, 8 and 16 (if 2m is 16). We have no idea whether x+m and x-m will have these factors so this statement alone is not sufficient.

Statement 2: x + 26 is a prime number.

What does it tell us about x? Other than 2, all prime numbers are odd numbers. Since x is a positive integer, x+26 cannot be 2. It must be a prime number greater than 2 and hence, must be odd. But 26 is even. So x must be an odd integer (Odd + Even = Odd). But we have no information about m so this statement alone is not sufficient.

Using both statements together, since x is an odd integer and m is definitely even (either 2 or 8), both the numbers (x + m) and (x – m) are odd integers. Odd integers will not have any of these factors: 2, 4, 8, 16.

So (x + m) and (x – m) must have 1 as the only common factor. Hence their greatest common divisor must be 1.

Together, the two statements are sufficient to answer the question.

Answer (C)

To recap: Any common factor of two numbers has to be a factor of the difference between them. This also implies that the GCD of two numbers has to be a factor of the difference between them.

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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I like to arrive to my Monday evening classes a good half hour early so that I can spend some time talking to my students about how they spent their weekends. It helps me to get to know them, and it allows me to get a sense of the rhythm of their days. Some of my students do interesting things. They travel. They ski in the winters. They rock-climb when it’s warmer. But, unfortunately, they’re a minority.

The most common response is some variation of: I studied for the GMAT. Of course, they should be doing some studying, and I hope that this studying is at times enjoyable. But if an unusually satisfying Data Sufficiency problem is the highlight of your weekend, something is profoundly out of whack in your study-life balance. And yes, at times comments about studying all weekend are exaggerated for comic effect, but I think there is a distressing truth captured in these exchanges: people are so busy and overwhelmed during the week that they end up spending an unhealthy amount of time cramming for the GMAT on the weekends.

This isn’t good.

It isn’t good for the students’ physical or psychological wellbeing; and research is beginning to show that over-studying might be bad for performance as well.

According to one study performed by Stanford University, academic performance for high school students began to deteriorate once the students’ workloads exceeded two hours of homework per night. Now, there’s nothing magic about the figure of two hours – one imagines that people vary in terms of stamina levels, motivation, etc. – but this notion, that doing too much work not only will fail to help you, but also will actively stymie your efforts, is one well worth considering. And though this study involved high school students, there’s no reason to believe that this phenomenon wouldn’t hold for adults preparing for the GMAT. When we overexert ourselves in any capacity, be it physical training, work in the office, or studying, our performance tends to suffer.

I suspect that the most important factor is that if we’re studying too much, there are other beneficial things that we’re not doing. Put another way, if the benefits of additional studying begin to decrease once you’ve been at it for a few hours, wouldn’t it make more sense to use this time to engage in other activities that would not only be more enjoyable but could actually boost your score beyond what more study time could accomplish?

1. Exercise

The first, and most obvious consideration is that when we study, we’re typically inactive. (My apologies to anyone who is reading this at their treadmill desk.) The research on the benefits of aerobic exercise on academic performance is unambiguous. Aerobic exercise prompts the brain to generate, not just fresh neural connections, but new neurons, a phenomenon that was considered a physical impossibility as recently as 20 years ago. Students who exercise do better, on average, than those who don’t. We’ve been touting the benefits of exercise at Veritas Prep for years. There’s no reason not to have exercise be a part of your routine. (This is to say nothing of the whole feeling better, being healthier, and living longer perk).

2. Conversation

The second, and perhaps more surprising finding, is that socialization can boost intelligence. One study, conducted by the University of Michigan, found that as little as 10 minutes of conversation can boost working memory. Moreover, they found that the total amount of socialization in one’s day was positively correlated with performance on a variety of cognitive tests. (If you’ve been studying for Critical Reasoning, hopefully, you’ve taken a moment to object that correlation isn’t necessarily causation. Yes, you say: it’s possible that socializing causes our brains to work better; but isn’t it also possible that when our brains are functioning optimally, we’re more likely to seek out opportunities for socialization? Not to worry. The experiments were designed to see what happened to a given group that socialized before taking a test, and what happened to that same group when they hadn’t socialized. When controlling for extraneous variables, socialization still had a robust impact on performance.)

Of course, one shouldn’t take any of this research to mean that preparing for this test won’t require a significant time investment. It will. But if you study so much that you stop taking care of yourself and neglect your personal relationships, you will not only make yourself unhappy, you’ll be artificially limiting your intellectual potential. So yes, do those few hours of Data Sufficiency questions. Take a four-hour exam on another day. Just make sure that you’re also taking time to go for a run or to play tennis or to see friends. You’ll be happier and less likely to burn out. And the fact that you’re also likely to do better on the exam with this approach is about as good an ancillary benefit as you’re likely to find.

By David Goldstein, a Veritas Prep GMAT instructor based in Boston. You can find more articles by him here.

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The current SAT is only available for a few more tests. In March of 2016, the College Board is officially introducing a completely redesigned test that will go back to the 1600 scale and have a shift in focus.

While the new test will certainly be coachable, there are a wide variety of benefits to preparing for the current one if you are entering your junior year. You know what is going to be on it, you have plenty of time to prepare, and you can put one of the more stressful aspects of the college process behind you before the second semester of 11th grade starts to ramp up.

The new SAT is still somewhat of a mystery. While we know the broad strokes of what will be on it, and the types of concepts they will be focusing on, the College Board themselves probably haven’t figured out the test in its entirety. With the SAT, and any standardized test, you want as much information and material on it as possible to prepare. The current SAT has tens of official College Board tests to practice on. It has thousands of questions and the strategies are finely tuned at this point.

The test in its current form is extremely coachable and anyone who is willing to put the work in, will have massive rewards in terms of the score. It is not to say that this won’t happen on the new test as well, it’s just that the current 2400-Scale SAT is a known quantity. It is a proven test with proven methods that work. While it’s not easy, it is a fairly simple plan that just requires time, dedication, and flexibility. If you have those three things, then the current test is for you.

A lot of incoming juniors are also worried about not having enough time to prepare for the test. While it is true that taking it once during the spring of your junior year and then again in the fall of senior year is optimal, it’s not the only option. Plenty of students have excelled taking the test in the fall of junior year. If you spend the whole summer taking a course and preparing, you will be more than ready for the fall test. Then if you want to take it again, you will have options for November, December, or even January which gives you even more time prepare.

Being done with the SAT by the spring of junior year relieves a huge burden of stress and anxiety for many college applicants. The second semester of 11th grade and the first semester of 12th grade are the hardest two academic periods of high school. If you are able to ease the level of anxiety by removing the SAT as a factor, it can make college applications and schoolwork a lot easier for students. Happy Studying!

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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With finals rolling around, students in colleges all around the country are starting to cram for their final exams. While this approach may yield some solid final performances (and a lot of sleepless nights), cramming is the wrong way to approach college studies.

For most students, each semester starts the same way. You enroll in new classes and decide that this will be the semester that you get organized and start working on assignments early. It will be the semester where you read the textbook on time and follow the homework timeline for each class. While these promises are noble in spirit, unfortunately they are rarely acted upon. Extracurriculars, games, and a host of other distractions get in the way and, before you know it, it is the first midterm. You are left with no other option left besides cramming – so students do so and sometimes, perform decently on the test.

The aftermath? You swear you will start reading on time to avoid cramming!

If this sounds familiar, it’s because this happens for the grand majority of students on college campuses. While it may be a solid short term solution, over the long term cramming have harmful effects overall. Here is why you should not procrastinate and how cramming actually can hurt you in your college studies.

Cramming does not allow for students to truly understand and internalize the material. College is not just about getting high scores on tests, it’s about the process of higher education. Learning interesting and engaging material for the sake of learning is part of college, and cramming inhibits this ability. Instead it takes these subjects that are full of fascinating content, and reduces it into bite sized pieces that one learns for a test.

College is the place where you learn things that you never would have – take advantage. Whether it is Art History, the conquests of the Middle Ages, or the complicated mathematics in an algorithm – college is the place to learn a variety of things in our diverse world. While learning unique material is not every student’s main objective in college, keep in mind that you are already in class – so take full advantage of the opportunity! If you cram, you memorize something for a day, whereas spacing out reading over a semester allows for one to keep the knowledge and critical thinking ability intact for much longer.

If you rush to cram material instead of truly learning it, then you may be at a disadvantage when you start your career. Many students take structured courses in engineering, accounting, and architecture that teach essential building blocks for the profession. Countless professors harp on this point, making it clear that it doesn’t matter what you do in the classroom, it’s about knowing how to apply the concepts in the real world to much more complex problems. Be sure to really take time and focus in on these specialized subjects that you may want to use in your future career. Outside of college is when you will notice these benefits, so be sure to take the time to study and really understand how concepts work.

These are just three examples of the many ways in which cramming can be a very harmful practice to one’s overall learning experience and time in college. A much easier way to avoid cramming is not to look at the semester as a whole, but make smaller week by week goals. These manageable chunks are less daunting and more easily achievable. Once you’re able to manage these smaller goals, it will be much easier when handling readings and practice sets and you will certainly be ready for whatever is to come on examinations!

Eliminate procrastination. This is the proper way to do college.

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

After studying for the GMAT for a few months (or years, in my case), you start to form expectations of exam questions. If you’re doing sentence correction, and you see a pronoun, there’s a good chance that the various answer choices will have different pronouns to ensure that you pick the correct one. If you’re doing math with three or four digit numbers, there’s a good chance that you have to deal with unit digits in order to shortcut the calculations. And if you’re doing geometry, there’s a good chance that the Pythagorean Theorem will show up, directly or indirectly. (My money is on directly.)

However, it does sometimes happen that a question shatters your expectations. You see the question, you peruse the answer choices, and you immediately look for the properties that you expect to show up. Then, after reading the question, you still don’t have what you expect, and you’re a little lost as to how you should proceed. After all, if you’ve seen the same type of question ten times in a row, a deviation on the 11th time can be somewhat discombobulating.

And yet, this is a strategy that the GMAT frequently employs. At the mid level questions (think 25th-75th percentile), the exam tests the same concepts repeatedly, driving home some crucial ideas through repetition. At the higher level questions (above 75th percentile), the questions tend to get trickier by using your own crutches against you. This throws you out of your comfort zone, and forces you to have to look at a problem through a different vantage point.

Let’s look at such a problem:

In right triangle ABC, BC is the hypotenuse. If BC = 13 and AB + AC = 15, what is the area of the triangle?

A) 2 √7

B) 2 √14

C) 14

D) 28

E) 56

Reading through this problem, we note that it’s a right angle triangle with a hypotenuse of 13. Immediately, my brain jumps to the fairly common 5-12-13 triangle that the GMAT likes to use. Apart from the ubiquitous 3-4-5 right angle triangle, the 5-12-13 triangle is the next smallest right triangle with all integer sides. Perusing the rest of the question, I fully expect AB + AC to be 5 + 12 or 17. However, the question states that AB + AC is not equal to 17, which takes me completely by surprise (and almost makes me question my very existence).

Now, knowing that this isn’t a 5-12-13 triangle isn’t that big of a deal, but it does shatter my expectations of this problem. Clearly, there’s still a solution because the question is being asked, but it deviates from what I thought I had to do. It’s like going to work and your usual route is blocked off. You won’t head back home and sulk, you just have to find an alternate route. Similarly, I now have to take a different approach to solve this geometry question.

Let’s review what we know: it’s a right angle triangle, which means it’s almost guaranteed that we’ll need to use the Pythagorean Theorem. The area is being asked, which is ½ Base * Height, as long as Base and Height are orthogonal to one another. The fact that it’s a right angle triangle and BC is the hypotenuse assures us that AB and AC will be the 90 degree angle we need. All we need to do is multiply AB by AC and divide the product by 2 to get our area.

The problem is that we only have one equation given: AB + AC = 15. To solve for two unknowns, we need two (independent) equations. The second equation will have to come from Pythagoras (possibly by text message). We know that the square of the two right angle sides will equal the square of the hypotenuse, meaning here we know AB^2 + AC^2 = BC^2. Since we know BC is 13, we really have

AB^2 + AC ^2 = 13^2 or

AB^2 + AC ^2 = 169

Combine this with our earlier equation of

AB + AC = 15

And we have two equations and two unknowns. This should be solvable, but the fact that one equation is linear and the other is quadratic can be somewhat disconcerting. We can square the second equation and use the elimination method to isolate variables and get to the right answer.

AB + AC = 15. We now want to square both sides.

(AB + AC)^2 = (15)^2. Remember to square each side, not the individual elements.

AB^2 + 2 AB*AC + AC^2 = 225. This is a perfect square on the left hand side.

Bringing back in the Pythagorean equation:

AB^2 + AC^2 = 169. Using the elimination method to subtract one statement from the other, we can eliminate two variables in one fell swoop, leaving us with:

AB^2 + 2 AB*AC + AC^2 = 225

–

AB^2 + AC^2 = 169

AB^2 + 2 AB*AC + AC^2 = 225

–

AB^2 + AC^2 = 169

2 AB*AC = 56.

Meaning that AB*AC = 28.

Finally, AB * AC is really just the Base * the Height. Since that is what we’re looking for, we don’t need to manipulate the algebra any further. However, there is one final step. The equation we’re looking for is ½ Base * Height, so we need to divide the result by 2 again, yielding just 14. Answer choice C is thus correct.

There are several clues that this solution is on the right track. Firstly, the answer we found is among the answer choices. Moreover, two other answer choices are steps we had to pass through in order to find the final answer, making for perfect trap answer choices for overzealous students. Finally, the area of the triangle is very small, which makes sense because the hypotenuse is 13 and the sum of the other two sides is 15. Even the 5-12-13 triangle, which is a relatively thin triangle with an area of 30 (Pythagoras FTW) is twice as big as this thin triangle. The sides of this triangle won’t be integers, but given their relative sizes, it’s something like 2.5-12.5-13, which is quite thin.

If you know the Pythagorean Theorem and can apply the elimination method to two equations, this problem isn’t that difficult once you start solving for variables. The difficulty lies primarily in getting started and not getting caught in trying to backsolve or pick numbers for this problem. When going through it, your mind might automatically think of 5-12-13, or whatever typical information is provided for similar questions. Sometimes you have to think of the problem from a different vantage point in order to solve it. Indeed, on the GMAT, you should expect the unexpected.

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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The Graduate Record Examination, also known as the GRE, tests the vocabulary skills of students in both its verbal reasoning and analytical writing sections. For some students, compound words can be a stumbling block on the GRE. For instance, a student may use a compound word in the wrong context or misspell a few of them while crafting an essay.

Our expert instructors at Veritas Prep can help students who want to expand their knowledge of compound words along with other types of vocabulary words. At Veritas Prep, students learn strategies that enable them to absorb unfamiliar vocabulary words as well as their definitions. Check out some examples of common GRE words and learn how to use them correctly on the exam.

What is a Compound Word?

A compound word is a combination of two words. There are three types of compound words that students should know. A closed compound word is two words pushed together to form a single word. Some examples of closed compound words include softball, childlike, keyboard, and makeup. There is also the open compound word. An open compound word is similar to the closed compound variety except that there is a space between the two words. Some examples of open compound words are post office, full moon, real estate, and middle class. There are also hyphenated compound words, such as over-the-counter and mother-in-law. One common mistake students make is unnecessarily hyphenating compound words (PDF). When students understand the nature of compound words, they have a better chance of using these words in the correct way on the GRE.

Compound Words That May Appear on the GRE

Students who are working to strengthen their vocabulary skills in preparation for the GRE may want to look at a list of compound words that may appear on the test. Some compound words that may be seen on the GRE include hallmark,watershed, piecemeal, foreshadow, superstructure, taskmaster, science fiction, aide-de-camp, and editor-in-chief. Students studying with a Veritas Prep instructor learn how to recognize the different types of compound words and use them correctly. In our online GRE prep courses, we guide students on how to write an effective essay using appropriate vocabulary. Also, we offer tips to students on when to use compound words to make an essay all the more convincing.

Tips for Word Problems

Students who dedicate a part of their study time to expanding their vocabulary are less likely to run into unfamiliar words on the GRE. But if a student does encounter one, there are some ways that they can figure out a word’s definition. For instance, a student who sees the word lodestar in the verbal reasoning section may be unsure about its meaning. One tip to employ here is to dissect the word. The word star is familiar to the student, whereas the word lode may not be. It’s a good idea for the student to examine the multiple-choice options to find one that somehow relates to the word star. In short, a student must choose an answer option based on the part of the word that they are familiar with. Also, when it comes to tips for word problems, it’s useful to look at the suffix of a word when trying to determine its definition. Fortunately, many common GRE words contain suffixes. The meaning of the suffix can offer clues to the meaning of the entire word. For example, the word convalescent has the suffix “-escent.” This suffix means “in the process of.” The student may know that the root word convalesce means to recover. These pieces of information enable a student to choose the correct multiple-choice option.

Using Compound Words in an Essay

Memorizing a list of compound words can assist students as they write sample essays in preparation for the GRE. They can practice using compound words in the right context and work on spelling the words correctly. Sometimes, a few compound words used in the right places can help to fully express a student’s ideas.

Students who want to improve their vocabulary skills for the GRE can get the help they need from our team of instructors at Veritas Prep. We use quality study resources that are effective in helping students achieve their best possible score on the test. Contact our office and let our professional instructors prepare you for the GRE!

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Much of your GMAT preparation will focus on “more” – learning more content, memorizing more rules, feeling more comfortable with the test format, and ultimately getting more questions right. But might impact your score more than “more” is your emphasis on “less” (or “fewer”). Feeling less anxiety, taking less time on tricky problems, having to guess less than in your previous attempts, and this ever-important concept:

Making fewer mistakes.

On an adaptive test like the GMAT, making silly mistakes on problems that you should get right can be devastating to your score. Not only do you get that question wrong, but now you’re being served easier questions subsequent to that, with an even more heightened necessity of avoiding silly mistakes there. So you should make a point to notice the mistakes you make on practice tests so that you’re careful not to make them again. Particularly under timed pressure in a high-stress environment we’re all susceptible to making mistakes. Here are 5 of the most common so that you can focus on making fewer of these:

1) Forgetting about “unique” numbers.

If someone asked you to pick a number 1-10, you might pick 5 or 6, or maybe you’d shoot high and pick 9 or low and pick 2. But you probably wouldn’t respond with 9.99 or 3 and 1/3. We tend to think in terms of integers unless told otherwise. Similarly, if someone asked “what number, squared, gives you 25″ you’d immediately think of 5, but it might take a second to think of -5. We tend to think in terms of positive numbers unless told otherwise.

On the GMAT, a major concept you’ll be tested on is your ability to consider all relevant options (an important skill in business). So before you lock in your answer, ask yourself whether you considered: positive numbers (which you naturally will), negative numbers, fractions/nonintegers, zero, the biggest number they’d let you use, and the smallest number they’d let you use.

2) Answering the wrong question.

An easy way for the GMAT testmaker to chalk up a few more incorrect answers on the problem is to include an extra valuable or an extra step. For example, if a problem asked:

Given that x + y = 8 and that x – y = 2, what is the value of y?

You might quickly use the elimination method for systems of equations, stacking the equations and adding them together:

x + y = 8

x – y = 2

2x = 10

x = 5

But before you pick “5” as your answer, reconsider the question – they made it convenient to solve for x, but then asked about y. And in doing so, they baited several test-takers into picking 5 when the answer is 2. Make sure you always ask yourself whether you’ve answered the right question!

3) Multiplying/dividing variables across inequalities.

By the time you take the test you should realize that if you multiply or divide both sides of an inequality by a NEGATIVE number, you have to flip the sign. -x > 5 would then become x < -5. But the testmakers also know that you’re often trained mentally to only employ that rule when you see the negative sign, –

To exploit that, they may get you with a Data Sufficiency question like:

Is a > 5b?

(1) a/b > 5

And many people will simply multiply both sides of statement 1’s equation by b and get to an ‘exact’ answer: a > 5b. But wait! Since you don’t know whether b is positive or negative, you cannot perform that operation because you don’t know whether you have to flip the sign. When you see variables and inequalities, make sure you know whether the variables are negative or positive!

4) Falling in love with the figure.

On geometry questions, you can only rely on the figure’s dimensions as fairly-reliable measurements if: One, it’s a Problem Solving question (you can never bring in anything not explicitly provided on a DS problem); and, two, if the figure does not say “not drawn to scale”. But if it’s a Data Sufficiency problem *or* if the figure says not drawn to scale, you have to consider various ways that the angles and shapes could be drawn. Often times people will see a “standard” triangle with all angles relatively similar in measure (around 60 degrees, give or take a few), and then base all of their assumptions on their scratchwork triangle of the same dimensions. But wait – if you’re not told that one of the angles could be, say, 175 degrees, you could be dealing with a triangle that’s very different from the one on the screen or the one on your scratchwork. Don’t get too beholden to the first figure you see or draw – consider all the options that aren’t prohibited by the problem.

5) Forgetting that a definitive “no” answer to a Data Sufficiency question means “sufficient.”

Say you saw the Data Sufficiency prompt:

Is x a prime number?

1) x = 10! + y, where y is an integer such that 1 < y < 10

Mathematically, you should see that since every possible value of y is a number that’s already contained within 10 * 9 * 8 * 7 * 6 * 5 * 4 * 3 * 2 * 1, whatever y is the new number x will continue to be divisible by. For example, if y = 7, then you’re taking 10!, a multiple of 7, and adding another 7 to it, so the new number will be a multiple of 7.

Therefore, x is not a prime number, so the answer is “no.” But here’s where your mind can play tricks on you. If you see that “NO” and in your mind associate that with “Statement 1 — NO”, you might eliminate statement 1 when really statement 1 *is* sufficient. You can guarantee that answer that x is not prime, so even though the answer to the question is “no” the statement itself is “positive” in that it’s sufficient.

So be careful here – if you get a definitive “NO” answer to a statement, don’t cross it out or eliminate it!

Remember, a crucial part of your GMAT study plan should be making fewer mistakes. While you’re right to seek out more information, more practice problems, and more skills, “fewer” is just as important on a test like this. Make fewer of the mistakes above, and your score will take you more places.

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Sometimes, you come across some seriously interesting questions in Combinatorics. For example, this question I came across seemed like any other Combinatorics question, though it was a little cumbersome. But when I saw the answer, it got me thinking – it couldn’t have been a coincidence. There had to be a simpler logic to it and there was! I just wish I had thought of it before going the long route. So I must share it with you; you never know what might come in handy on test day!

But before I tell you what that question was, let’s solve a couple of questions which are similar to some questions you might have seen before (for the sake of brevity, let’s ignore the options):

Question 1: In how many ways can 10 different paintings be distributed between two collectors – Dave and Mona – if Dave should get either three paintings or five paintings? (All paintings should be given away).

Solution 1:

There are two ways of distributing the paintings in this case:

Dave gets 3 paintings and Mona gets the rest: You select 3 of the 10 paintings and give them to Dave. This can be done in 10C3 = 120 ways

Dave gets 5 paintings and Mona gets the rest: You select 5 of the 10 paintings and give them to Dave. This can be done in 10C5 = 252 ways

Total number of ways in which you can distribute the paintings = 120 + 252 = 372 ways

Simple enough, right? Let’s take a look at another simple similar question.

Question 2: In how many ways can 10 different paintings be distributed between two collectors – Dave and Mona – if Dave should get at least two paintings? (All paintings should be given away.)

Solution 2:

Dave should get at least two paintings so it means he can get 2 or 3 or 4 or more up to 10 paintings. Calculating all those cases would be tedious so this is a perfect opportunity to use ‘Total – Opposite’ method.

Total ways in which you can distribute 10 paintings between two people without any constraints: Each painting can be given away in two ways – either to Dave or to Mona. So the paintings can be distributed in 2*2*2*…*2 = 2^10 = 1024 ways

Number of ways in which Dave gets 0 paintings or 1 painting: 1 + 10C1 = 11 ways

So number of ways in which Dave gets 2 or 3 or 4 … upto 10 (i.e. at least 2 paintings) = 1024 – 11 = 1013 ways

Another ‘seen before, know how to solve it’ kind of question. Now let’s come to the question of the day which doesn’t look much different but actually is.

Question 3: In how many ways can 10 different paintings be distributed between two collectors – Dave and Mona – if both collectors should get an even number of paintings? (All paintings should be given away.)

Solution 3:

Paintings can be distributed in the following ways:

0, 10 – One person gets 0 paintings and the other gets 10

2, 8 – One person gets 2 paintings and the other gets 8

4, 6 – One person gets 4 paintings and the other gets 6

You will need to calculate each one of these ways and then add them. Note that the ‘Total – Opposite’ method does not work here because finding the number of ways in which each person gets odd number of paintings is equally daunting.

Case 1: 0, 10

One person gets 0 paintings and the other gets 10. This can be done in 2 ways – either Dave gets all the paintings or Mona gets them.

Case 2: 2, 8

One person gets 2 paintings and the other gets 8. Select 2 paintings out of 10 for Dave in 10C2 = 45 ways. Mona could also get the 2 selected paintings so total number of ways = 45*2 = 90 ways

Case 3: 4, 6

One person gets 4 paintings and the other gets 6. Select 4 paintings out of 10 for Dave in 10C4 = 210 ways. Mona could also get the 4 selected paintings so total number of ways = 210*2 = 420

Total number of ways such that each person gets even number of paintings = 2 + 90 + 420 = 512 ways

But 512 is 2^9 – in form, suspiciously close to 2^10 we used in question 2 above. Is there some logic which leads to the answer 2^(n-1)? There is!

You have 10 different paintings. Each painting can be given to one of the 2 people in 2 ways. You do that with 9 paintings in 2*2*2… = 2^9 ways. When you distribute 9 paintings, one person will have odd number of paintings and one will have even number of paintings (0 + 9 or 1 + 8 or 2 + 7 or 3 + 6 or 4 + 5).

The tenth painting needs to be given to the person who has the odd number of paintings so you give the tenth painting in only one way. This accounts for all cases in which both get even number of paintings.

Total ways = 2^9 * 1 = 512

On the same lines, now think about this:

Question 4: In how many ways can 10 different paintings be distributed between two collectors – Dave and Mona – if both collectors should get an odd number of paintings? (All paintings should be given away.)

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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Most students who plan to take the Graduate Record Examination, or the GRE, know that the questions in the quantitative and verbal reasoning sections are in multiple-choice form. But there is one section on the test that requires students to write essays. Specifically, students must write an issue essay and an argument essay for the GRE writing section. Whether someone is confident about their essay-writing skills or needs a little review, there are several GRE writing tips that can prove helpful. Check out a few valuable writing tips to use on the analytical writing section of the GRE.

Create an Outline

A student who is anxious about finishing the analytical writing section of the GRE may be tempted to jump in and start writing immediately. However, it’s a smart idea to make an outline before beginning to write either essay. Creating an outline helps a student to include all of the necessary parts of an essay. Students should begin by thinking about a question: What is the essay going to prove? The answer to this question is the thesis statement. Next, the outline should list evidence or details that support the thesis statement. Students may want to use bullet points or dashes to separate each of the supporting details. It’s worth dedicating five minutes of test time to crafting a logical outline for each essay. It helps if a student can practice making simple outlines before test day arrives. This gives a student the opportunity to learn how to write a thorough outline in a short amount of time. Not surprisingly, the best GRE tips and tricks are the ones that help students develop a plan for their essay before putting pencil to paper.

Follow a Basic Essay Format

Five paragraphs is the typical format for each essay in the analytical writing section of the GRE. The first paragraph, or introduction, provides some background for the essay and ends with the thesis statement. Each of the next three paragraphs contains a supporting point and specific examples that back it up. The fifth paragraph is a short conclusion that restates the main point of the essay. By following this format, a student can craft a succinct, organized essay that doesn’t contain any extraneous material. After finishing an essay, students should always go back and check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. These types of errors can distract a test grader from the content of a student’s essay.

Study the Writing Prompt

One of the easiest GRE writing tips to follow is to take a close look at the writing prompt before starting the essay. It’s very useful to underline important parts of the writing prompt. This can help students to better understand what the prompt is asking. Similarly, when students are reading passages in the verbal reasoning section of the GRE, they should underline important points in each paragraph. These underlined sections can guide students in choosing the correct answer option for each multiple-choice question. Our instructors at Veritas Prep provide students with many GRE verbal reasoning tips and strategies that can contribute to a higher score on this section.

Use Specific Examples

When crafting an analytical writing assessment, one tip for students to keep in mind is to be specific when citing examples. Not surprisingly, a piece of supporting evidence is more convincing when a specific example is used. This example could be a student’s personal observation or experience or perhaps a fact from a well-known book, or the example may cite the experiences of a famous person. At Veritas Prep, our instructors help students learn how to develop and express their ideas in order to write effective essays for the GRE. We share GRE tips and tricks that show students how to approach various questions on the test to make them more manageable.

The professional instructors who teach our online GRE prep courses at Veritas Prep have the knowledge and resources to help students conquer this critical exam. Students who have questions about our services can find answers in our FAQ section. We give our students the support and encouragement they need to achieve their best score on every section of the GRE. Call or email our offices today!

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It seems that these days, everyone talks about admissions consulting, but what is college admissions consulting?

With school counselors’ caseloads at an all-time high and student needs going unmet, many students and families are turning to admissions consultants to provide them with the support they need through the college application process.

Admissions consultants are counselors, guides, coaches, and cheerleaders, all rolled into one.

They can help you through every step of the application process and provide guidance through each of the application components. Consultants can help you to stay on task and on track so that you can submit your college applications with confidence. They help you organize your activities and accomplishments and then describe them in a manner that is succinct, yet informative. They can help you brainstorm essay topics and then start to flush out those topics, usually working through several drafts of an essay with you. In addition, consultants can help brainstorm supplemental essay topics and provide value in commenting on those particular short essays. They can provide advice on extracurricular activities, volunteer opportunities, ways to increase your leadership potential, and how to spend your summer. Parents, consultants should be transparent with you throughout the process so that you are clear on your child’s progress.

Veritas Prep college admissions consultants are individuals who graduated from the nation’s top colleges and have admissions experiences at those colleges. This means that they are familiar with the admissions processes and so can provide effective advice on how to improve your candidacy. They are also well-equipped to know exactly what the culture of the college they attended was so that they can help a student find the best fit college.

There are several things that admissions consultants should not do. First, they should not write your essays. Your personal statements should be a reflection and representation of you – not your consultant – and the voice should be yours. While consultants can help brainstorm topics and flush out ideas, the writing should be yours alone.

Second, they should not support creating false statements to make your application sound better. There’s a difference between making your accomplishments sound good versus making up accomplishments that sound good. No good consultant will ever support fabricating items just for the sake of improving your application.

Finally, no good consultant should ever guarantee admissions into a specific university. Consultants will do their best to help you achieve your dream schools, but the admissions decisions are made by the colleges and can be unpredictable. A good consultant will be able to gauge the likelihood that you may or may not be accepted, but should not guarantee admissions.

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Hiring an admissions consultant is a great way to make sure you produce the best possible business school application possible, leveraging the inside knowledge and experience from someone who has been through the process successfully many, many times. Yet, working with an expert does not mean that you can take a back seat and put things on cruise control.

You should still expect to do a lot of work writing, editing and rewriting essays, in addition to making sure you complete each step of the application process on time. (We will certainly provide expert guidance to help you make the right decision at every step of the way).

Below is a list of some of the mistakes I have seen clients make over the years:

Missing deadlines by getting the time zone wrong. Even if this mistake can be remedied with a very apologetic phone call the next day, it is not a situation you want to put yourself in. Our advice is to always submit a day early to avoid missing any technical glitches from overloaded servers, or a computer that crashes.

Missing communications from schools: make sure those emails do not end up in your junk folder. Reading and responding to requests from the admissions committees should be a priority. If you don’t respond in a timely fashion, they will wonder about your commitment and professionalism.

Recommendations being late: not too uncommon, but there is no excuse for this to happen. Most online application systems allow for a reminder to be sent. In addition, you should check in with recommenders to make sure they are on track. Also, be aware of their schedules, whether vacations or major high priority projects that could delay or postpone completing your letters of recommendation.

Insufficient school research: not everyone has the ability to visit each school they are applying to, but this is not an excuse to not have a firm grasp of what resources are relevant to your career goals. We will certainly point you how and where to look, including relevant professors, courses, clubs and experiential learning programs, but you have to take the time to follow through.

Underestimating the amount of work needed to complete the applications on time. It requires a significant amount of work to prepare successful applications. This is especially true given the amount of introspection required to answer essay questions about who you are, what motivates you, etc.

Granted, much of the above can be avoided by following a logical and detailed process, so there is no reason the above should happen to you.

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