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FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Are Brain Training Exercises Helpful When Studying for Standardized Tests? 
In the last two classes I’ve taught, I’ve had students come up to me after a session to ask about the value of braintraining exercises. The braintraining industry has been getting more attention recently as neuroscience sheds new light on how the brain works, babyboomers worry about cognitive decline, and companies offering brainimprovement software expand. It’s impossible to listen to NPR without hearing an advertisement for Lumosity, a braintraining website that now boasts 70 million subscribers. The site claims that the benefits of a regular practice range from adolescents improving their academic performance to the elderly staving off dementia. The truth is, I never know quite what to tell these students. The research in this field, so far as I can tell is in its infancy. For years, the conventional wisdom regarding claims about brainimprovement exercises had been somewhat paradoxical. No one really believed that there was any magic regimen that would improve intelligence, and yet, most people accepted that there were tangible benefits to pursuing advanced degrees, learning another language, and generally trying to keep our brains active. In other words, we accepted that there were things we could do to improve our minds, but that such endeavors would never be a quick fix. The explanation for this disconnect is that there are two different kinds of intelligence. There is crystalized intelligence, the store of knowledge that we accumulate over a lifetime. And then there is fluid intelligence, our ability to quickly process novel stimuli. The assumption had been that crystallized intelligence could be improved, but fluid intelligence was a genetic endowment. Things changed in 2008 with the release of a paper written by the researchers Susanne Jaeggi, martin Buschkuehl, John Jonides, and Walter Perrig. In this paper, the researches claimed to have shown that when subjects regularly played a memory game called Dual NBack, which involved having to internalize two streams of data simultaneously, their fluid intelligence improved. This was groundbreaking. This research has played an integral in role in facilitating the growth of the braintraining industry. Some estimates put industry revenue at over a billion dollars. There have been articles about the braintraining revolution in publications as wideranging as The New York Times and Wired. This cultural saturation has made it inevitable that those studying for standardized tests occasionally wonder if they’re shortchanging themselves by not doing these exercises. Unfortunately, not much research has been performed to assess the value of these braintraining exercises on standardized tests. (A few smaller studies suggest promise, but the challenge of creating a true control group makes such studies extraordinarily difficult to evaluate). Moreover, there’s still debate about whether these braintraining exercises confer any benefit at all beyond helping the person training to improve his particular facility with the game he’s using to train. Put another way, some say that games like Dual NBack will improve your fluid intelligence, and this improvement translates into improvements in other domains. Others say that training with Dual NBack will do little aside from making you unusually proficient at Dual NBack. It’s hard to arrive at any conclusion aside from this: the debate is seriously muddled. There are claims that the research has been poorly done. There are claims that the research is so persuasive that the question has been definitively answered. Obviously, both cannot be true. My suspicion is that the betterresearched exercises, such as Dual NBack, confer some modest benefit, but that this benefit is likely to be most conspicuous in populations that are starting from an unusually low baseline. This brings us to the relevant question: is it worth it to incorporate these brainexercise programs into a GMAT preparation regime? The answer is a qualified ‘maybe.’ If you’re very busy, there is no scenario in which it is worthwhile to sacrifice GMAT study time to play braintraining games that may or may not benefit you. Secondly, the research regarding the cognitive benefits of aerobic exercise, mindfulness meditation, and social interaction is far more persuasive than anything I’ve seen about braintraining games. However, if you’re already studying hard, working out regularly, and finding time for family and friends, and you think can sneak in another 20 minutes a day for braintraining without negatively impacting the other more important facets of your life, it can’t hurt. Just know that, as with most challenging things in life, the shortcuts and hacks should always be subordinated to good, oldfashioned hard work and patience. 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: SAT Tip of the Week: How to Stay Sharp Over the Summer 
One of the biggest barriers to success on the SAT is summertime. For most students entering their senior year, the summer represents the first time during their SAT prep experience that they will have a prolonged break from school. After months of prep, you probably took the test in either January, March, or May, but still didn’t get that exact score they were hoping for. Some students fall into a false sense of security during the summer months and don’t stay sharp. The October date represents the next available time to take the test, and while that seems like a far off time in June, it’s actually just around the corner. Staying sharp and actively preparing throughout the summer is an absolute necessity for students seeking a top score. In reality, it would be even better if students were able to take advantage of the summer months to advance their skills and take their score to the next level. However, sometimes, the allure of a break and “leisure” time after an academically rigorous semester makes students want to kick back and rest. Don’t be like the others, understand that if you want to get into your top school, you need a top score. Understanding this reality, here are a few tips that can keep you sharp during the summer without truly overextending your mind and feeling too stressed out.
[*]Study Vocabulary. Studying vocabulary is something you can do every day, no matter where you are. As this is the only part of the test that requires memorization, your performance on vocabulary is highly correlated to effort. If you put in the time, and make vocabulary a challenge, the summer is the perfect time to use this to stay sharp. It will keep your mind active for ten to fifteen minutes a day, and add consistency to your routine. Building this habit will allow you to snap right back into the heavier test prep once you resume that.[/list] [*]Take a prep course or online class. Taking an academic enrichment course is another way to keep your mind active and it allows you to pursue an interest you like, or get a leg up on the SAT or ACT. These courses are less of a commitment than school, and you don’t have the added pressure of performing well for a grade. Instead, you can take this at your own pace, and the results are indicative of the effort you put in. It’s another great way to stay in a routine, to make sure your mind is sharp when the SAT ramps up again.[/list] All of these tips follow a similar model; keep your brain active and engaged and make sure that you don’t lose all the progress you have made up to this point when it comes to getting ready for the test. Happy studying this summer! 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: Set Up a Consistent and Manageable Study Schedule to Succeed on Test Day 
When I ask my students how their studying is going, the response is often to give an embarrassed smile, and admit that they just haven’t found as much time as they would have liked to devote to GMAT problems. This is understandable. Most of them have fulltime jobs. Many serve on the boards of nonprofit organizations. Others have young families. Preparing for a test as challenging as the GMAT can often feel like taking on a parttime job, and when piled on top of an already burdensome schedule, the demands can feel overwhelming and unreasonable. Consequently, whenever they do find time to study, they tend to cram in as much work as they can, forsaking little things like socializing, exercise, and sleep. In an earlier post, I discussed why it can be counterproductive to engage in marathon study sessions, so in this one, I want to explore strategies for consistently finding small blocks of time so that our study regimens will be less painful and more productive. The good news is that while we all feel incredibly busy, research shows that, in actuality, we’re a good deal less saturated with responsibilities than we think we are. In Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No Has the Time, Brigid Schulte discusses how our sense of having too much to do is, in a sense, a selffulfilling prophesy. When we feel as though there’s too much to do, we tend to procrastinate, and part of this procrastination involves lamenting to others about how overwhelmed we are. Of course, while we’re complaining about our busy schedules, we’re not exactly models of productivity, and so we fall even further behind, which compounds our overriding sense of helplessness, compelling us to complain even more, a cycle that deepens as it perpetuates itself. So then, how do we break this cycle? First, we need to identify the biggest productivitykillers that trigger our procrastination tendencies in the first place. It will surprise no one to hear that email is a major culprit. What is surprising, at least to me, is how much of our idea was devoted to responding to emails. According to a study conducted by Mckinsey, we spend, on average, 28% of our workdays on email. If you’re working a 10hour day, as many of my students are, that’s nearly three hours of pure email time. If they can cut this down to 2 hours, well, that’s an hour of potential GMAT study time. A few simple strategies can accomplish this. This Forbes article offers some excellent advice. The most salient recommendations are pretty simple. First, set up an autoresponder. Unless an email is urgent, the sender will not expect to hear back from you right away. Second, get in the habit of sending shorter emails. If complicated logistics are involved, make a phone call rather than going back and forth over email. Also, make judicious use of folders to prioritize which messages are most important. And last, do not, under any circumstances, send an email that is mostly about how you don’t have any time to do things like, well, sending recreational emails. Next, during those times when we’d otherwise have been on our phones complaining how much we have to do, we can instead use our phones to sneak in a bit of extra study time. Many of my students take the subway or commuter rail to work. While I don’t expect anyone to crack open their GMAT books in this environment, there’s no reason why they can’t use a good app on their phones to sneak in a good 20minute session each day. And if you were wondering, yes, Veritas Prep has an excellent app for precisely such occasions. The hope is that simple strategies, like the ones outlined above, will allow you to make your study regimen both consistent and manageable, diminishing the need to overstudy when you finally have a block of free time on the weekend. If you’re able to do something more restorative on the weekend and feel refreshed when you begin the following work week, you’ll find you’ll be more productive that week and more inclined to stick with your study plan without running the risk of burnout. In time, you’ll feel less busy, and paradoxically, will be able to get more done. 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: Wharton Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 20152016 
Today we break down Wharton’s admissions deadlines and essays for the Class of 2018. Although Wharton frequently plays with its application’s essay questions from one year to the next, this year the admissions team has decided to stay the course. Consequently, our advice mostly remains the same. Let’s get down to it. Here are Wharton’s application deadlines and essays, followed by our comments in italics: Wharton Application Deadlines Round 1: September 29, 2015 Round 2: January 5, 2016 Round 3: March 30, 2016 Wharton’s admissions deadlines have changed just slightly vs. last year. Its Round 1 deadline crept up two days, pushing into September, but that’s not a huge change. Wharton’s Round 2 deadline is the same as it was last year, and its Round 3 deadline was moved back by four days. Note that applying in Round 1 means that you will receive your decision by December 17, giving you several before most top school’s Round 2 deadlines, if you need to hurry up and apply to some “Plan B” schools. Many top business schools make a point of emphasizing that there’s no ideal time to apply, but not Wharton. The admissions team gives pretty explicit advice about application timing: “We strongly encourage you to apply in Round 1 or 2. The first two rounds have no significant difference in the level of rigor; the third round is more competitive, as we will have already selected a good portion of the class. However, there will be sufficient room in Round 3 for the strongest applicants.” So, unless you walk on water (and even if you do walk on water), you should plan on applying no later than Round 2 if you want to have a good chance of landing at Wharton next fall. Wharton Application Essays
By Scott Shrum 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: The Easiest Type of Reading Comprehension Question on the GMAT 
Reading comprehension questions on the GMAT are primarily an exercise in time management. If you gave yourself 30 minutes to complete a single Reading Comprehension passage along with four questions, you would find the endeavour very easy. Most questions on the GMAT feature some kind of trap, trick or wording nuance that could easily lead you astray and select the wrong answer. Reading Comprehension questions, while occasionally tricky, are typically the most straightforward questions on the entire exam. So why doesn’t everyone get a perfect score on these questions? Often, it’s simply because they are pressed for time. Reading a 300+ word passage and then answering a question about the subject matter may take a few minutes, especially if English isn’t your first language or you’re not a habitual reader (you’ve only read Game of Thrones once?). Add to that the possibility of two or three answer choices seeming plausible, and you frequently waste time rereading the same paragraphs over and over again in the passage. Luckily, there is one type of question in Reading Comprehension that rarely requires you to revisit the passage and search for a specific sentence. Universal questions ask about the passage as a whole, not about specific actions, passages or characters. I often define universal questions as the “Wikipedia synopsis” (or Cliff’s notes for the older generation) of the passage. The question is concerned with the overarching theme of the passage, not about a single element. As such, it should be easy to answer these questions after reading the passage only once as long as you understood what you were reading. Let’s delve into this further using a Reading Comprehension passage (note: this is the same passage I used previously for function, specific and inference questions). Nearly all the workers of the Lowell textile mills of Massachusetts were unmarried daughters from farm families. Some of the workers were as young as ten. Since many people in the 1820s were disturbed by the idea of working females, the company provided wellkept dormitories and boardinghouses. The meals were decent and church attendance was mandatory. Compared to other factories of the time, the Lowell mills were clean and safe, and there was even a journal, The Lowell Offering, which contained poems and other material written by the workers, and which became known beyond New England. Ironically, it was at the Lowell Mills that dissatisfaction with working conditions brought about the first organization of working women. The mills were highly mechanized, and were in fact considered a model of efficiency by others in the textile industry. The work was difficult, however, and the high level of standardization made it tedious. When wages were cut, the workers organized the Factory Girls Association. 15,000 women decided to “turn out”, or walk off the job. The Offering, meant as a pleasant creative outlet, gave the women a voice that could be heard by sympathetic people elsewhere in the country, and even in Europe. However, the ability of the women to demand changes was severely circumscribed by an inability to go for long without wages with which to support themselves and help support their families. The same limitation hampered the effectiveness of the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association (LFLRA), organized in 1844. No specific reform can be directly attributed to the Lowell workers, but their legacy is unquestionable. The LFLRA’s founder, Sarah Bagley, became a national figure, testifying before the Massachusetts House of Representatives. When the New England Labor Reform League was formed, three of the eight board members were women. Other mill workers took note of the Lowell strikes, and were successful in getting better pay, shorter hours, and safer working conditions. Even some existing child labor laws can be traced back to efforts first set in motion by the Lowell Mill Women. The primary purpose of the passage is to do which of the following? (A) Describe the labor reforms that can be attributed to the workers at the Lowell mills (B) Criticize the proprietors of the Lowell mills for their labor practices (C) Suggest that the Lowell mills played a large role in the labor reform movement (D) Describe the conditions under which the Lowell mills employees worked (E) Analyze the business practices of early American factories The most frequent universal question you’ll see is something along the lines of “what is the primary purpose of this passage”. In essence, it’s asking you to summarize the 300+ word passage into one sentence, and that is difficult to do if you don’t remember anything about the passage. Ideally, you retained the key elements during your initial read. If need be, you can reread the passage, noting the main point of each paragraph in about five words. The synopsis of each paragraph, especially the last one, should give you a good idea about the overall goal of the passage. In this passage, each paragraph is talking about the labour strife at the Lowell textile mills of Massachusetts in the 1820s. The first paragraph describes the conditions at the mill and sets the stage, the second paragraph describes the worker strike and subsequent resolution, and the third paragraph discusses the legacy of these workers. The overall theme has to capture the spirit of the entire passage, which is often summarized in the final paragraph (often the author’s conclusion). Pay special attention to that paragraph in order to determine why the author wrote this text and what he or she wanted you to learn from it. Let’s look at the answer choices in order. Answer choice A, describe the labor reforms that can be attributed to the workers at the Lowell mills, is a popular incorrect answer. The goal of the passage is to shed light on these events, and describing the labor reforms attributed to these workers seems like a good conclusion, but it is specifically refuted by the first line of the third paragraph: “No specific reform can be directly attributed to the Lowell workers…” This means that answer choice A, while tempting, is hijacking the actual conclusion of the passage, as we cannot describe things that do not exist, and is therefore incorrect. Answer choice B, criticize the proprietors of the Lowell mills for their labor practices, seems like something the reader could agree with, but is completely out of the scope of the passage. The mill is not being scrutinized for their labor practices; rather, the efforts of certain people are being underlined. If anything, the text suggests that the conditions at this mill were better than most at the time (and still today in certain countries). Answer choice B is somewhat righteous, but ultimately wrong in this passage. Answer choice C, suggest that the Lowell mills played a large role in the labor reform movement, is supported by what is being said in the final paragraph. The legacy of the Lowell mills is being discussed, and since other workers were inspired by the events that transpired at these mills, the Lowell mills played a significant part in the larger labor reform movement. While this answer focuses somewhat on the third paragraph, don’t forget that the final paragraph has the most sway in the majority of passages, just as the last section of a movie is usually the most important section (the denouement, in proper English). Answer choice C is correct here, as the passage is primarily discussing the legacy of these events. Let’s continue on for completion’s sake. Answer choice D, describe the conditions under which the Lowell mills employees worked, focuses on one small portion of the first paragraph, and even then the conditions are not covered in great detail. It’s a big stretch to try and claim that this is the primary focus of the entire passage, and thus can be eliminated fairly quickly. Answer choice E, analyze the business practices of early American factories, is an answer choice that seems to bring some larger context to the passage, but is even more out of scope than answer choice B because it’s much broader. Only one mill is being examined in the passage, and its business practices were not even the main focus of the passage, so broadening the scope to all American factories is certainly incorrect. Answer choice E can also be eliminated, leaving only answer choice C as the correct selection. Generally, universal questions do not require a rereading of the passage as the questions are primarily concerned with the broad strokes of the passage. If you didn’t grasp the major facets of the passage when reading through it, you probably didn’t understand the passage at all. If you understand the major elements of the passage as you read through it the first time, noting the primary purpose of each paragraph as you go along, you’ll be ready for any question in the universe. 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: Dave Chappelle's Friend Chip Teaches Data Sufficiency Strategy 
“Officer, I didn’t know I couldn’t do that,” Dave Chappelle’s friend, Chip, told a police officer after being pulled over for any number of reckless driving infractions. In Chappelle’s famous standup comedy routine, he mocks the audacity of his (privileged) friend for even thinking of saying that to a police officer. But that’s the exact type of audacity that gets rewarded on Data Sufficiency problems, and a powerful lesson for those who, like Dave in the story, seem more resigned to their plight of being rejected at the mercy of the GMAT yet again. How does Chip’s mentality help you on the GMAT? Consider this Data Sufficiency fragment: Is the product of integers j, k, m, and n equal to 1? (1) (jk)/mn = 1 The approach that most students take here involves plugging in numbers for j, k, m, and n and seeing what answer they get. Knowing that jk = mn (by manipulating the algebra in statement 1) they may pick combinations: 1 * 8 = 2 * 4, in which case the product is 64 and the answer is no 2 * 5 = 1 * 10, in which case the product is 100 and the answer is no And so some will, after picking a series of arbitrary number choices, claim that the answer must be no. But in doing so, they’re leaving out the possibilities: 1 * 1 = 1 * 1, in which case the product jkmn = 1*1*1*1 = 1, so the answer is yes 1 * 1 = 1 * 1, in which case the product is also 1, and the answer is yes And here’s where Chip Logic comes into play: in any given classroom, when the two latter sets of numbers are demonstrated, at least a few students will say “How are we allowed to use the same number twice? No one told us we could do that?”. And the best response to that is Chip’s very own: “I didn’t know I COULDN’T do that.” Since the problem didn’t restrict the use of the same number twice (to do so they might say “unique integers j, k, m, and n”), it’s on you to consider all possible combinations, including “they all equal 1.” Data Sufficiency tends to reward those who consider the edge cases: the highest or lowest possible number allowed, or fractions/decimals, or negative numbers, or zero. If you’re going to pick numbers on Data Sufficiency questions, you have to think like Chip: if you weren’t explicitly told that you couldn’t, you have to assume that you can. So on Data Sufficiency problems, when you pick numbers, do so with a sense of entitlement and audacity. Numberpicking is no place for the timid – your job is to “break” the obvious answer by finding allowable combinations that give you a different answer; in doing so, you can prove a statement to be insufficient. So as you chip away at your goal of a 700+ score, summon your inner Chip. When it comes to picking numbers, “I didn’t know I couldn’t do that” is the mentality you need to know you can use. 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: The GRE Scoring Range: Where Does Your Score Fall? 
Students who plan to apply to graduate school must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). At Veritas Prep, one of the first things our students ask us about is the scoring process for the exam. They are curious about the GRE scoring range for each of the three sections. Interestingly, in August of 2011, the GRE revised its scoring scale to paint a clearer picture of a student’s performance. Look at some facts about this exam that can help students to determine where their results fall on the GRE scoring scale. Learning About the GRE Scoring Process The GRE is divided into three parts; verbal reasoning, quantitative, and analytical writing. There is a range of possible scores for each section. For example, a student can score anywhere from 130 to 170 points on the verbal reasoning section of the exam. The GRE score range for the quantitative section also goes from 130 points up to 170. The verbal reasoning and quantitative sections are scored in one point increments. As for the analytical writing section, a student can earn a score ranging from 0 to 6 points. This section is scored in half point increments. There are some graduate schools that look at a composite score for the GRE, but many look at a student’s scores on the individual sections of the test. Evaluating GRE Scores As with other standardized tests, there are excellent, good, and average scores on the GRE. For instance, if a student’s verbal reasoning results fall into the GRE score range of 160 to 170 points, then he or she has achieved an excellent score on that section. A score of 155 points to 159 on the verbal reasoning section qualifies as a good score. On the quantitative section of the exam, a score of 163 points or more is excellent. A score in the mid150s is a good score on this section. As for the analytical writing section, someone who scores a 6.0 would be in the 99th percentile. A score of around 5.0 is a good score for a student to earn for this section. The Key to Achieving an Impressive Score on the GRE In order to achieve the score they want, students must thoroughly prep for the GRE. One of the most effective ways to do this is to take practice exams. Taking a sample exam gives students the chance to learn about the format of the test as well as what types of questions they will encounter. Students who feel anxious about the GRE are likely to feel more at ease after getting a sneak preview of what they’ll see on test day. Plus, students can put the techniques and tips they learn at Veritas Prep into action as they work through sample questions. Students who walk into the test location feeling confident in their abilities are sure to achieve results that fall on the high end of the GRE scoring range. Researching Test Score Requirements for Specific Schools One thing students can do to get a better idea of what score to achieve on the GRE is to research the admission requirements of the graduate schools they are interested in. In many cases, colleges and universities post GRE scores and other statistics on their website to give visitors an idea of what they expect of their students. A college or university may even display a range of GRE scores that are acceptable on an admissions application. At Veritas Prep, our instructors are experts at conveying strategies and tips that are useful to students on any section of the exam. Students receive individualized attention, so they can get help with the skills that require improvement. We use proven study materials and resources that give students the tools they need to submit their best performance on this challenging test. Our students appreciate the opportunity to study for the GRE with professional instructors who are both supportive and encouraging. Our team at Veritas Prep is proud to provide effective online classes that can help you to achieve your highest score on the GRE! Call us at Veritas Prep to start studying today! We have an online GRE course starting in July! And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Advanced Applications of Common Factors on the GMAT  Part II 
There is something about factors and divisibility that people find hard to wrap their heads around. Every advanced application of a basic concept knocks people out of their seats! Needless to say, that the topic is quite important so we are trying to cover the ground for you. Here is another post on the topic discussing another important concept. In a previous post, we saw that “Two consecutive integers can have only 1 common factor and that is 1.” This implies that N and N+1 have no common factor other than 1. (N is an integer) Similarly, N + 5 and N + 6 have no common factor other than 1. (N is an integer) N – 3 and N – 2 have no common factor other than 1. (N is an integer) 2N and 2N + 1 have no common factor other than 1. (N is an integer) We are sure you have no problem up until now. How about: N and 2N+1 have no common factor other than 1. (N is an integer) It is a simple application of the same concept but makes for a 700 level question! 2N and 2N+1 have no common factor other than 1 – we know The factors of N will be a subset of the factors of 2N. It will not have any factors which are not there in the list of factors of 2N. So if 2N and another number have no common factors other than 1, N and the same other number can certainly not have any common factor other than 1. Taking an example, say N = 6 Factors of 2N (which is 12) are 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 12. Factors of 2N + 1 (which is 13) are 1, 13. 2N and 2N + 1 can have no common factors. Now think, what are the factors of N? They are 1, 2, 3, 6 (a subset of the factors of 2N) They will obviously not have any factor in common with 2N+1 (except 1) since these are the same factors as those of 2N except that these are fewer. So we can deduce the following (N and M are integers): M and NM +1 will have no common factor other than 1. 8 and 8M + 1 will have no common factor other than 1. M and NM – 1 will have no common factor other than 1. and so on… Here is the 700 level official question of this concept: Question: If x and y are positive integers such that x = 8y + 12, what is the greatest common divisor of x and y? Statement 1: x = 12u, where u is an integer. Statement 2: y = 12z, where z is an integer. Solution: x = 8y + 12 We need to find the greatest common divisor of x and y. We have 8y in the equation. A couple of immediate deductions: The factors of y will be a subset of the factors of 8y. The difference between x and 8y is 12 so the greatest common divisor of x and 8y will be a factor of 12 (discussed in this post a few weeks back). This implies that the greatest factor that x and y can have must be a factor of 12. Looking at the statements now: Statement 1: x = 12u, where u is an integer. Now we know that x has 12 as a factor. The problem is that we don’t know whether y has 12 as a factor. y could be 3 —> x = 8*3 + 12 = 36 (a multiple of 12). Here greatest common divisor of x and y will be 3. or y could be 12 —> x = 8*12 + 12 = 108 (a multiple 12). Here greatest common divisor of x and y will be 12. So this statement alone is not sufficient. Statement 2: y = 12z, where z is an integer. This statement tells us that y also has 12 as a factor. So now do we just mark (C) as the answer and move on? Well no! It seems like an easy (C) now, doesn’t it? We must analyse this statement alone. Substituting y = 12z in the given equation: x = 8*12z + 12 x = 12*(8z + 1) So this already gives us that x has 12 as a factor. We don’t really need statement 1. Since both x and y have 12 as a factor and the highest common factor they can have is 12, greatest common divisor of x and y must be 12. This statement alone is sufficient to find the greatest common divisor of x and y. Answer (B) 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: 4 Common Types of Teaching Methods in Business School 
One of the more commonly overlooked aspects by candidates during the school selection process is teaching methods at their target schools. Given that business school is in fact “school” and students spend a lot of time in the classroom, this area should warrant a lot more attention. Teaching methods at certain schools like Harvard Business School and UVA’s Darden School, where the case method dominates, are core to the entire MBA experience for students, so it is important to know what you may be opting into. Most schools do not take as homogenous of an approach to teaching methods as these programs, so expect more of a mix from the majority of other schools. The four types listed below are the most common teaching methods you will find in MBA programs. Lecture: Lectures are probably the most common teaching method found in business schools. With this format, students are typically greeted by slides via a PowerPoint presentation during the lecture and engage with content through this mechanism. Lectures tend to be more of a “lean back” or passive experience that is driven more by the professor. This teaching method will be the most natural to students as it is very similar to the way many undergraduate classes are structured. Case Study: The case study format involves a professor leading students through a historical analysis of a business situation. The “cases” are largely the product of Harvard Business School, which has pioneered the use of the case method. In case studies, students are expected to come up with a solution to some of history’s toughest business problems. Cases are commonly used as the driver for interactive classroom discussions and there is an expectation of strong class participation from all students. Experiential Learning: One of the more truly immersive teaching methods is experiential learning. This method allows students to operate within a specific topical area or industry of interest. Classes ending with the moniker “lab” fall into this bucket. Think your global lab, venture lab, asset management practicums, and many entrepreneurship classes. Also, many internship programs fall into this category. This method is all about learning while doing, a trend that continues to grow in many MBA programs. Simulation: Simulations are probably one of the least common, but still prevalent, teaching methods. This teaching method primarily uses technology recreations of common business scenarios. One of the most popular is the “MarkStrat” simulation used in marketing strategy courses. The teaching methods at MBA programs are as diverse as the programs themselves, so do your research and make sure you are choosing the program that is right for you. 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: 7 Tips for your Application to the Chicago Booth MBA Program 
So you’ve decided to try the presentation for the Booth MBA application. Now what? A simple question accompanied by a blank canvas to start with can be daunting. It helps to have a structured process in place to put your ideas together, while still leaving plenty of room for creativity. When I work with my clients, I take them through a very simple process to help them think about the content for the pages that will ultimately answer the question “Who are you?” There are two parts to the process. First, you need to determine what you want to say to the Admissions Committee? And second, figure out how you want to say it? There are no real right or wrong answers to these two questions. Each individual will have his or her own story and style. And that is what makes this application so fun. It gives candidates the opportunity to truly be unique. What to write: Answering the question “Who are you?” is not easy for most people. To make it simple, I have my clients write down a list of bullet points that will act like the Table of Contents in a book about your life. If someone were to write a biography about your life, what would the main chapters be about? What would those defining characteristics and moments be that make it into your story? What are the things that are important to you and what are things that you like and enjoy? Don’t be afraid to get personal. Once you’ve created your list, ask yourself: do those chapters accurately capture the person that you are? Few of the chapters by themselves will differentiate you, but when you add them all together, you get…you. There are no rules about what can or cannot be included as part of your story. This simply means that you should not be limited by time or age or by things that haven’t happened yet. In other words, can your dreams be part of your story? Absolutely. Your dreams are part of who you are, right? Who you are encompasses everything: your past, your present, and your future. How to share your story: While you’re coming up with your outline and your Table of Contents for your own personal story, you will need to think about ways you can present your story to the Admissions Committee. I recommend that you try to use a ‘theme’ that is personal to you. What could a theme be? It can be anything, really. I’ve seen candidates who have used a children’s book as the backdrop to their story, their favorite magazine or newspaper, baseball cards and sports, or technology. The possibilities are endless and only limited by your imagination (and Booth’s minimal requirements: it can’t have animation, and it has to be under 16 MB in size). I always recommend that my clients open this challenge up to their friends and family members. What would be an interesting, creative, and personal way to share your story? The more ideas you have from the people who know you, the greater the chances are that you’ll have a good idea that is unique to you. Putting it together: Once you’ve got your outline and have identified your theme, it’s time to start putting your presentation together. A few guiding principles that I like to offer to my clients: Be efficient with your words. You don’t want to write a lot if you’re developing a presentation. While there is no word limit, a good rule of thumb is that your presentation shouldn’t have more than 750 words in it on the high end. It’s definitely possible to have an effective presentation with more words, but it all depends on the format you end up going with (e.g., using a newspaper theme might require more text compared to a shopping catalog, for example). Use images and visuals to enhance your story. It’s always good to include images from your life in your presentation, but they are by no means necessary. I’ve seen plenty of great presentations that don’t have personal images but instead use handdrawn pictures or visuals created in tools like Photoshop. Whatever you choose, try to use images that demonstrate the full spectrum of your personality, your interests, and the story you’re trying to tell. Pay attention to the details. The details can be a lot of fun. If you’re using a theme that would be recognizable to others, put the effort into making it as authentic as possible, and use your creativity to incorporate your own personal style into the presentation. For example, you may want to rename a newspaper to make it personal to you and Booth (for the record, I don’t recommend using a newspaper theme because you won’t be the only one doing it, but it’s an easy example to demonstrate with). Review, review, review. Ask your friends and family for feedback and input. You’ll be surprised by how many good ideas they will have and how willing they will be to invest in your success. The presentation is a way for you to stand out from the crowd, so make sure it is capturing the story that you want to tell to Booth. Have fun with it. The process of developing the presentation is often one of the most rewarding experiences for business school candidates. I have had many tell me that the Booth application was their favorite because it challenged them to think outside the box and forced them to think about questions they don’t normally think about. Many have surprised themselves by how creative their presentations ended up being, and everyone has had fun doing it. And that’s the point. This process of selfdiscovery and creativity is intellectually stimulating – and that’s one of the reasons you’re applying to Booth in the first place, right? If you get stuck, we’re here to help. Good luck! 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! Rich Williams is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. His specialties include consulting, finance, and nonprofit applicants. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Snack For Success: Healthy Suggestions That Aren’t As Boring As Grapefruit 
As an avid runner, hardcore foodie, and a fulltime student, I find it frustrating when people tell me that healthy food is difficult to prepare, or that healthy food can’t ever taste as good as a Big Mac or stuffed donut. I understand where they’re coming from, though; until college, I often thought the same thing. My study food stash was mostly comprised of Cheetos, chocolatecovered bananas, and criminally oversweetened coffee. I’ve loved cooking since I was little, but these days I rarely have time to spend more than 30 minutes at a time in the kitchen. I’ve also switched over to a healthier diet in order to fuel my running habits. The transition to my current lifestyle intimidated me at first, but I was surprised to find that I loved it—today, I’m more alert, more focused, and less tired throughout the day, and I’ve mastered the art of preparing speedy, healthy, tasty meals. The biggest difference I noticed was in my study performance: I paid more attention in class, needed less coffee (often, none at all) to get through the day, and was able to learn and retain information much more quickly and thoroughly. Today, my study food stash looks more like this. Butternut Squash Chips – my favorite snack, study or otherwise, on the planet. Prep time: Less than 15 minutes, but it depends on how strong you are. (Butternut squashes can be a little difficult to cut.) Instructions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut a butternut squash lengthwise into 4 quarters (no need to skin it.) Slice it crosswise into chips, about 3 millimeters thick. Spread them on a foilcovered baking tray, and rub them all with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake until golden and crispy on the edges. Notes: Baking time varies by oven type and personal crispiness preference. Try it once, checking it every 510 minutes, to figure out the baking time that works best for you. Peach Caprese – refreshing, tasty, colorful, and ohsoeasy. Prep time: Less than 10 minutes. With practice, 5. Instructions: Slice a ball of fresh mozzarella into discs about 3/8 of an inch thick. Slice a peach into about 12 wedges. Arrange it with fresh basil. Garnish with salt, pepper, olive oil, and—if you’re feeling fancy—some slicedup basil and some balsamic vinegar. Notes: Get creative with the arrangement. Personally, I like to stack the slices (peach, mozzarella, 2 basil leaves, repeat), so that they look like a row of dominoes that have been tipped over, and add garnish around and over the stack. You can add sliced tomatoes if you like. Egg Drop Soup – something a little more substantial. Prep time: 15 minutes, if you include waterboiling time. Instructions: Bring 4 cups of chicken broth to a low boil. Add a handful of vegetables—peas, diced carrots, green onions, sliced mushrooms, and spinach all work well. Add 1 tablespoon (or less—up to you) of cornstarch. Crack 3 eggs into a bowl or pitcher, beat them lightly, and pour them slowly into the soup while stirring. (It should take you at least 30 seconds to pour the whole thing in.) Add salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Notes: The best thing about this soup is that all of the ingredients except the egg and the broth are optional. This is my goto dish when I’m too busy to hit the grocery store, or when I want something warm and comforting but not too filling. A small pile of your favorite fruit (or vegetable). We’ve all heard people complain about not liking fruits or vegetables, but I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like at least one. Pick your favorite, buy a box, and churn through it, preferably raw or boiled/steamed. Still uncertain about college? We can help! Visit our College Admissions website and fill out our FREE College profile evaluation! 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: SAT Tip of the Week: Here is How You Break Down Subject Verb Agreement 
Whenever I talk with students about subjectverb agreement, there is at least one precocious youngster whose eyes glaze over as they wait for something more “challenging”. As basic as subjectverb agreement can seem, even those students who have an impressive grasp of grammar can have a difficult time identifying the true subject and verb of a sentence. The best way to get good at identifying subjectverb issues, as well as many other errors, is to get good at identifying the parts of a sentence. Here is an example of a rather complex sentence. “Throughout history, and even into the modern era, the upper class, in order to be able to identify the struggles of those of a station of less privilege, have had to be willing to step down from their ivory towers and walk a mile in a very different pair of shoes.” This sentence has a complex structure, which makes it difficult to identify the subject and central verb. To identify the core structure of the sentence, it is important to break the sentence into its component parts. “Throughout history”, “in order to be able to identify the struggles of those of a station of less privilege”, “from their ivory towers”, and “in a very different pair of shoes”, are all prepositional phrases with the most important prepositions in bold. Prepositional phrases, like all descriptive phrases, can be removed from the sentence without removing the subject and the verb. “and even into the modern era”, is a subordinate clause because the word, “even”, is acting as a subordinate conjunction. This subordinate clause is being joined with the preceding prepositional phrase using the coordinating conjunction, “and”, and a comma. This all sounds very technical, but stay with me! The important thing to remember is that there are a number of phrases in a sentence that will not contain the subject. These include phrases that start with prepositions (“in”,“with”, etc.), subordinate conjunctions (“although”, “even if”, etc.), relative pronouns (“who”, ”that”, etc.), or participles (mostly words ending in, “ed”, and, “ing”, that do not come before a verb of, “to be”, like, “am”, or, “was” ). These phrases do not contain the core elements of the sentence and should be able to be removed from the sentence without removing the subject or the verb. Another good rule of thumb is that if a phrase is descriptive and set off by commas, it probably doesn’t contain the subject. Here is the example sentence without these nonessential phrases. “The upper class have had to be willing to step down and walk a mile.” In this new sentence, it should be much easier to identify that the subject is, “the upper class”, and the verb is, “have”. It should be noted that many nouns that apply to multiple individuals are, in fact, singular. “Everyone”, “no one”, “the group”, “the company”, and many other nouns of this type are singular. “The upper class” is not plural, nor is it particularly helpful to think about those who make up the upper class as a single entity in the sentence. It would be much better to say “members of the upper class”. Voila! The sentence has been corrected! This correction has the added benefit of fixing the agreement problem between the singular, “upper class”, and the plural pronoun in the phrase, “from their ivory towers”. The simple task of identifying the subject and verb can often be surprisingly challenging. While grammar is a complex system, by understanding where the subject and verb are not, it becomes much easier to identify where these central pieces of a sentence are and where the error might be. Happy test taking! 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! 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: The GMAT Shortcut That Can Help You Solve a Variety of Quantitative Questions 
One thing I’m constantly encouraging my students to do is to seek horizontal connections between seemingly disparate problems. Often times, two quantitative questions that would seem to fall into separate categories can be solved using the same approach. When we have to sift through dozens of techniques and strategies under pressure, we’re likely to become paralyzed by indecision. If, however, we have a small number of goto approaches, we can quickly consider all available options and arrive at one that will work in any given context. One of my favorite shortcuts that we teach at Veritas Prep, and that will work on a variety of questions, is to use a number line to find the ratio of two elements in a weighted average. Say, for example, that we have a classroom of students from two countries, which we’ll call “A” and “B.” They all take the same exam. The average score of the students from country A is 92 and the average score of the students from country B is 86. If the overall average is 90, what is the ratio of the number of students from A to the number of students in B? We could solve this algebraically. If we call the number of students from county A, “a” and the number of students from country B “b,” we’ll have a total of a + b students, and we can set up the following chart. Average Number of Terms Sum Country A 92 a 92a Country B 86 b 86b Total 90 a + b 90a + 90b The sum of the scores of the students from A when added to the sum of the scores of the students from B will equal the sum of all the students together. So we’ll get the following equation: 92a + 86b = 90a + 90b. Subtract 90a from both sides: 2a + 86b = 90b Subtract 86b from both sides: 2a = 4b Divide both sides by b: 2a/b = 4 Divide both sides by 2: a/b =4/2 =2/1. So we have our ratio. There are twice as many students from A as there are from B. Not terrible. But watch how much faster we can tackle this question if we use the number line approach, and use the difference between each group’s average and the overall average to get the ratio: b Tot a 86——–90—92 Gap: 4 2 Ratio a/b = 4/2 = 2/1. Much faster. (We know that the ratio is 2:1 and not 1:2 because the overall average is much closer to A than to B, so there must be more students from A than from B. Put another way, because the average is closer to A, A is exerting a stronger pull. Generally speaking, each group corresponds to the gap that’s farther away.) The thing to see is that this approach can be used on a broad array of questions. First, take this mixture question from the Official Guide*: Seed mixture X is 40 percent ryegrass and 60 percent bluegrass by weight; seed mixture Y is 25 percent ryegrass and 75 % fescue. If a mixture of X and Y contains 30% ryegrass, what percent of the weight of the mixture is X? A. 10% B. 33 1/3% C. 40% D. 50% E. 66 2/3% In a mixture question like this, we can focus exclusively on what the mixtures have in common. In this case, they both have ryegrass. Mixture X has 40% ryegrass, Mixture Y has 25% ryegrass, and the combined mixture has 30% ryegrass. Using a number line, we’ll get the following: Y Tot X 25—–30———40 Gap: 5 10 So our ratio of X/Y = 5/10 = ½. (Because X is farther away from the overall average, there must be less X than Y in the mixture.) Be careful here. We’re asked what percent of the overall mixture is represented by X. If we have 1 part X for every 2 parts of Y, and we had a mixture of 3 parts, then only 1 of those parts would be X. So the answer is 1/3 = 33.33% or B. So now we see that this approach works for the weighted average example we saw earlier, and it also works for this mixture question, which, as we’ve seen, is simply another variation of a weighted average question. Let’s try another one*: During a certain season, a team won 80 percent of its first 100 games and 50 percent of its remaining games. If the team won 70 percent of its games for the entire season, what was the total number of games that the team played? a) 180 b) 170 c) 156 d) 150 e) 105 First, we’ll plot the win percentages on a number line. Remaining Total First 100 50—————70———80 Gap 20 10 Remaining Games/First 100 = 10/20 = ½. Put another way, the number of the remaining games is ½ the number of the first 100. That means there must be (½) * 100 = 50 games remaining. This gives us a total of 100 + 50 = 150 games played. The answer is D. Note the pattern of all three questions. We’re taking two groups and then mixing them together to get a composite. We could have worded the last question, “mixture X is 80% ryegrass and weighs 100 grams, and mixture Y is 50% ryegrass. If a mixture of 100 grams of X and some amount of Y were 70% ryegrass, how much would the combined mixture weigh?” This is what I mean by making horizontal connections. One problem is about test scores, one is about ryegrass, and one is about baseball, but they’re all testing the same underlying principle, and so the same technique can be applied to any of them. Takeaway: always try to pay attention to what various questions have in common. If you find that one technique can solve a variety of questions, this is a technique that you’ll want to make an effort to consciously consider throughout the exam. Any time we’re stuck, we can simply toggle through our most useful approaches. Can I pick numbers? Can I backsolve? Can I make a chart? Can I use the number line? The chances are, one of those approaches will not only work but will save you a fair amount of time in the process. *Official Guide 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: The Importance of Recognizing Patters on the GMAT 
In life, we often see certain patterns repeat over and over again. After all, if everything in life were unpredictable, we’d have a hard time forecasting tomorrow’s weather or how long it will take to go to work next week. Luckily, many patterns repeat in recurring, predictable patterns. A simple example is a calendar. If tomorrow is Friday, then the following day will be Saturday, and Sunday comes afterwards (credit: Rebecca Black). Moreover, if today is Friday, then 7 days from now will also be Friday, and 70 days from now will also be Friday, and onwards ad infinitum (even with leap years). These patterns are what allow us to predict things with 100% certainty. Some patterns are inexact, or can change dramatically based on external factors. If you think of the stock market or the weather, people often have a general sense of prediction but it is hardly an exact science. Some patterns are more rigid, but can still fluctuate a little. Your work schedule or the weekly TV guide tend to remain the same for long stretches of time, but are not always exactly the same year over year. Finally, there are patterns that never change, like the Earth’s rotation or the number of days in a year (accounting for the dreaded leap year). These patterns are rigid, and can be forecasted decades ahead of time. On the GMAT, this same concept of rigid prediction is utilized to solve mathematical questions that would otherwise require a calculator. A common example would be to ask for the unit digit of a huge number, as something like 15^16 is far too large to calculate quickly on exam day, but the unit digit pattern can help provide the correct answer. Given any number that ends with a 5, if we multiply it by another number that ends with a 5, the unit digit will always remain a 5. This pattern will never break and will continue uninterrupted until you tire of calculating the same numbers over and over. A similar pattern exists for all numbers that end in 0, 1, 5 or 6, as they all maintain the same unit digit as they are squared over and over again. For the other six digits, they all oscillate in predetermined patters that can be easily observed. Taking 2 as an example, 2^2 is 4, and 2^3 is 8. Afterwards, 2^4 is 16, and then 2^5 is 32. This last step brings us back to the original unit digit of 2. Multiplying it again by 2 will yield a unit digit of 4, which is 64 in this case. Multiplying by 2 again will give you something ending in 8, 128 in this case. This means that the units digit pattern follows a rigid structure of 2, 4, 8, 6, and then repeats again. So while it may not be trivial to calculate a huge multiple of 2, say 2^150, its unit digit can easily be calculated using this pattern. Let’s look at a problem that highlights this pattern recognition nicely: What is the units digit of (13)^4 * (17)^2 * (29)^3? (A) 9 (B) 7 (C) 4 (D) 3 (E) 1 Looking at this question may make many of you wish you had access to a calculator, but the very fact that you don’t have a calculator on exam day is what allows the GMAT to ask you a question like this. There is no reasoning, no shrewdness, required to solve this with a calculator. You punch in the numbers, hope you don’t make a typo and blindly return whatever the calculator displays without much thought (like watching San Andreas). However, if you’re forced to think about it, you start extrapolating the patterns of the unit digit and the general number properties you can use to your advantage. For starters, you are multiplying 3 odd numbers together, which means that the product must be odd. Given this, the answer cannot possibly be answer choice C, as this is an even number. We’ve managed to eliminate one answer choice without any calculations whatsoever, but we may have to dig a little deeper to eliminate the other three. Firstly, recognize that the unit digit is interesting because it truncates all digits other than the last one. This means this is the same answer as a question that asks: (3^4) * (7^2) * (9^3). While we could conceivably calculate these values, we only really need to keep in mind the unit digit. This will help avoid some tedious calculations and reveal the correct answer much more quickly. Dissecting these terms one by one, we get: 3^4, which is 3*3*3*3, or 9*9, or 81. 7^2, which is just 49. 9^3, which is 9*9*9, or 81 * 9, or 729. The fact that we truncated the first digit of the original numbers changes nothing to the result, but does serve to make the calculations slightly faster. Furthermore, we can truncate the tens and hundreds digits from this final calculation and easily abbreviate: 81 * 49 * 729 as 1 * 9 * 9. This result again gives 81, which has a units digit of 1. This means that the correct answer ends up being answer choice E. It’s hard to see this without doing some calculations, but the amount of work required to solve this question correctly is significantly less than what you might expect at first blush. An unprepared student may approach it by calculating 13^4 longhand, and waste a lot of time getting to an answer of 28,561. (What? You don’t know 13^4 by heart?) Especially considering that the question only really cares about the final digit of the response, this approach is clearly more dreary and tedious than necessary. The units digit is a favorite question type on the GMAT because it can easily be solved by sound reasoning and shrewdness. In a world where the biggest movie involves Jurassic Park dinosaurs and a there is a Terminator movie premiering in a week, it’s important to note that trends recur and form patterns. Sometimes, those patterns are regular enough to extrapolate into infinity (and beyond!). 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: The Importance of Recognizing Patterns on the GMAT 
In life, we often see certain patterns repeat over and over again. After all, if everything in life were unpredictable, we’d have a hard time forecasting tomorrow’s weather or how long it will take to go to work next week. Luckily, many patterns repeat in recurring, predictable patterns. A simple example is a calendar. If tomorrow is Friday, then the following day will be Saturday, and Sunday comes afterwards (credit: Rebecca Black). Moreover, if today is Friday, then 7 days from now will also be Friday, and 70 days from now will also be Friday, and onwards ad infinitum (even with leap years). These patterns are what allow us to predict things with 100% certainty. Some patterns are inexact, or can change dramatically based on external factors. If you think of the stock market or the weather, people often have a general sense of prediction but it is hardly an exact science. Some patterns are more rigid, but can still fluctuate a little. Your work schedule or the weekly TV guide tend to remain the same for long stretches of time, but are not always exactly the same year over year. Finally, there are patterns that never change, like the Earth’s rotation or the number of days in a year (accounting for the dreaded leap year). These patterns are rigid, and can be forecasted decades ahead of time. On the GMAT, this same concept of rigid prediction is utilized to solve mathematical questions that would otherwise require a calculator. A common example would be to ask for the unit digit of a huge number, as something like 15^16 is far too large to calculate quickly on exam day, but the unit digit pattern can help provide the correct answer. Given any number that ends with a 5, if we multiply it by another number that ends with a 5, the unit digit will always remain a 5. This pattern will never break and will continue uninterrupted until you tire of calculating the same numbers over and over. A similar pattern exists for all numbers that end in 0, 1, 5 or 6, as they all maintain the same unit digit as they are squared over and over again. For the other six digits, they all oscillate in predetermined patters that can be easily observed. Taking 2 as an example, 2^2 is 4, and 2^3 is 8. Afterwards, 2^4 is 16, and then 2^5 is 32. This last step brings us back to the original unit digit of 2. Multiplying it again by 2 will yield a unit digit of 4, which is 64 in this case. Multiplying by 2 again will give you something ending in 8, 128 in this case. This means that the units digit pattern follows a rigid structure of 2, 4, 8, 6, and then repeats again. So while it may not be trivial to calculate a huge multiple of 2, say 2^150, its unit digit can easily be calculated using this pattern. Let’s look at a problem that highlights this pattern recognition nicely: What is the units digit of (13)^4 * (17)^2 * (29)^3? (A) 9 (B) 7 (C) 4 (D) 3 (E) 1 Looking at this question may make many of you wish you had access to a calculator, but the very fact that you don’t have a calculator on exam day is what allows the GMAT to ask you a question like this. There is no reasoning, no shrewdness, required to solve this with a calculator. You punch in the numbers, hope you don’t make a typo and blindly return whatever the calculator displays without much thought (like watching San Andreas). However, if you’re forced to think about it, you start extrapolating the patterns of the unit digit and the general number properties you can use to your advantage. For starters, you are multiplying 3 odd numbers together, which means that the product must be odd. Given this, the answer cannot possibly be answer choice C, as this is an even number. We’ve managed to eliminate one answer choice without any calculations whatsoever, but we may have to dig a little deeper to eliminate the other three. Firstly, recognize that the unit digit is interesting because it truncates all digits other than the last one. This means this is the same answer as a question that asks: (3^4) * (7^2) * (9^3). While we could conceivably calculate these values, we only really need to keep in mind the unit digit. This will help avoid some tedious calculations and reveal the correct answer much more quickly. Dissecting these terms one by one, we get: 3^4, which is 3*3*3*3, or 9*9, or 81. 7^2, which is just 49. 9^3, which is 9*9*9, or 81 * 9, or 729. The fact that we truncated the first digit of the original numbers changes nothing to the result, but does serve to make the calculations slightly faster. Furthermore, we can truncate the tens and hundreds digits from this final calculation and easily abbreviate: 81 * 49 * 729 as 1 * 9 * 9. This result again gives 81, which has a units digit of 1. This means that the correct answer ends up being answer choice E. It’s hard to see this without doing some calculations, but the amount of work required to solve this question correctly is significantly less than what you might expect at first blush. An unprepared student may approach it by calculating 13^4 longhand, and waste a lot of time getting to an answer of 28,561. (What? You don’t know 13^4 by heart?) Especially considering that the question only really cares about the final digit of the response, this approach is clearly more dreary and tedious than necessary. The units digit is a favorite question type on the GMAT because it can easily be solved by sound reasoning and shrewdness. In a world where the biggest movie involves Jurassic Park dinosaurs and a there is a Terminator movie premiering in a week, it’s important to note that trends recur and form patterns. Sometimes, those patterns are regular enough to extrapolate into infinity (and beyond!). 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: GMAC Announces Two New GMAT Policies, Both In Your Favor! 
MBA applicants, your path to submitting a score report that you can be proud of just got a bit smoother. In an announcement to testtakers today, GMAC revealed two new policies that each stand out as particularly studentfriendly: 1) As of July 19, 2015, the designation “C” will no longer appear on score reports to designate a cancelled score. This couples nicely with the recent change to the GMAT’s cancellation policy allowing you to preview your score before you decide whether to “keep” or cancel it. So as of July 19, there is zero risk that anyone but you will ever notice that you had a bad test day (unless, of course, you decide to publish that score). Even better, this policy also applies to previously cancelled scores (not just to tests taken after July 19). If you submit a score report to a school now, and you have multiple test sittings in which you cancelled your score, business schools will never know it. What does this policy mean for you? For one, you can feel markedly less pressure when you take the GMAT, as a bad score only has to be your business. There is no downside! Furthermore, you can feel confident selecting an aggressive timeline for your GMAT test date, as even if you do not perform to your goals at worstcase that attempt is “an expensive but very authentic practice test.” While in the vast majority of cases, that C never felt to schools like a Scarlet Letter, the stigma in students’ minds was often enough to inspire fear on test day and anxiety in the admissions process. Fear no more! 2) Effective immediately, you only need to wait 16 days (as opposed to 31) before retaking the GMAT. With that waiting period now cut just about in half, you have a few terrific advantages:
Are you getting ready 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: GMAT or GRE: How Will MBA Admissions Officers View My GRE Score? 
Over the past five years or so, more business schools have been jumping on the GRE bandwagon by accepting either a GMAT or a GRE score. The percentage of candidates to top MBA programs who apply with only a GRE score is growing, but it’s still very small — less than 5% at most schools. This leads many candidates to wonder how applying with a GRE score may be viewed by MBA admissions committees. After speaking with dozens of admissions officers, I have a few insights that may be helpful:
[*]Unless stated otherwise, almost all business schools genuinely do not have a preference between the GMAT and the GRE. While Veritas Prep believes that the GMAT exam offers a more accurate and nuanced assessment of the skills that business schools are looking for, according to feedback from admissions officers across the board and our independent analysis, the two exams are treated equally. Using data published by the business schools, trends clearly show that average GMAT scores and average GRE scores are nearly identical across the board. There is no inherent advantage or disadvantage to applying with a GRE score.[/list] [*]Across the board, admissions officers use the official ETS score conversion tool to translate GRE scores into equivalent GMAT scores. Because so few candidates apply with a GRE score, the admissions committees don’t have a really strong grasp of the scoring scale. Every school we’ve spoken to uses ETS’ score conversion tool to convert GRE scores to GMAT scores so they may compare applicants fairly. You can use the same tool to see how your scores stack up.[/list] [*]The GRE is not a differentiator. I get a lot of “traditional” MBA applicants with a management consulting or investment banking background who ask if they should take the GRE. They’re often nervous that their GMAT score won’t stack up against the stiff competition in their fields and hope that the GRE will differentiate them. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. If anything, admissions officers may wonder why they chose to take the GRE even though all factors in their career path point toward applying to MBA programs and not any other graduate programs. There’s no need to raise any questions in the mind of the admissions reader when the GMAT is a clear option.[/list] [*]The GRE isn’t easier, but it’s different. I also see a lot of applicants who struggle with standardized tests who seek to “hide” behind a GRE score because they believe that it’s easier than the GMAT. Even if the content may seem more basic to you, what matters is how you stack up against the competition. Remember that every Masters in Engineering and Mathematics PhD candidate will be taking the GRE, focused solely on the Quant sections. They’re going to knock these sections out of the park without even breaking a sweat. On the other side, English Lit majors and other candidates for humanitiesrelated degrees will be focused exclusively on the Verbal sections, and their grammar abilities are likely to be much better than yours. This means that getting a strong balanced score (which is what MBA admissions officers are looking for) becomes extremely difficult on the GRE. Even if the content feels easier to you, remember that the competition will tough. That said, if you’re struggling with the way the GMAT asks questions, you might find the GRE to be a more straightforward way of assessing your abilities. This can be an advantage to some applicants based on their unique thought process and learning style, but it shouldn’t be seen as a panacea for all testtakers.[/list] [*]Some schools are GMATpreferred. For example, Columbia Business School now accepts the GRE, but its website and admissions officers clearly state that they prefer the GMAT. If you’re applying to any business schools that fall into this category, we highly recommend that you take the GMAT unless there’s a very compelling argument for the GRE. One compelling argument might be that you have already scored well on the GRE to attend a master’s program directly out of undergrad and you would prefer not to take another standardized test to now get your MBA. Or perhaps you’re applying to a dualdegree program where the other program requires the GRE. Without a compelling reason otherwise, you should definitely plan to take the GMAT.[/list] Bottom line: We recommend that the GMAT remain your default test if you’re planning to apply to exclusively to business schools. If you really struggle with the style of questions on the GMAT, you might want to explore the GRE as a backup option. In the end, you should simply take the test on which you can get the best score and not worry about trying to game the system. If you have questions about whether the GMAT or the GRE would be a better option for your individual circumstances, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 18009257737 or submit your profile information on our website for a free admissions evaluation. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Travis Morgan is the Director of Admissions Consulting for Veritas Prep and earned his MBA with distinction from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He served in the Kellogg Student Admissions Office, Alumni Admissions Organization and Diversity & Inclusion Council, among several other posts. Travis joined Veritas Prep as an admissions consultant and GMAT instructor, and he was named Worldwide Instructor of the Year in 2011. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: GMAT Tip of the Week: Talking About Equality 
If you’ve ever struggled with algebra, wondered which operations you were allowed to perform, or been upset when you were told that the operation you just performed was incorrect, this post is for you. Algebra is all about equality. What does that mean? Consider the statement: 8 = 8 That’s obviously not groundbreaking news, but it does show the underpinnings of what makes algebra “work.” When you use that equals sign, =, you’re saying that what’s on the left of that sign is the exact same value as what’s on the right hand side of that sign. 8 = 8 means “8 is the same exact value as 8.” And then as long as you do the same thing to both 8s, you’ll preserve that equality. So you could subtract 2 from both sides: 8 – 2 = 8 – 2 And you’ll arrive at another definitelytrue statement: 6 = 6 And then you could divide both sides by 3: 6/3 = 6/3 And again you’ve created another true statement: 2 = 2 Because you start with a true statement, as proven by that equals sign, as long as you do the exact same thing to what’s on either side of that equals sign, the statement will remain true. So when you replace that with a different equation: 3x + 2 = 8 That’s when the equals sign really helps you. It’s saying that “3x + 2″ is the exact same value as 8. So whatever you do to that 8, as long as you do the same exact thing to the other side, the equation will remain true. Following the same steps, you can: Subtract two from both sides: 3x = 6 Divide both sides by 3: x = 2 And you’ve now solved for x. That’s what you’re doing with algebra. You’re taking advantage of that equality: the equals sign guarantees a true statement and allows you to do the exact same thing on either side of that sign to create additional true statements. And your goal then is to use that equals sign to strategically create a true statement that helps you to answer the question that you’re given. Equality applies to all terms; it cannot single out just one individual term. Now, where do people go wrong? The most common mistake that people make is that they don’t do the same thing to both SIDES of the inequality. Instead they do the same thing to a term on each side, but they miss a term. For example: (3x + 5)/7 = x – 9 In order to preserve this equation and eliminate the denominator, you must multiply both SIDES by 7. You cannot multiply just the x on the right by 7 (a common mistake); instead you have to multiply everything on the right by 7 (and of course everything on the left by 7 too): 7(3x + 5)/7 = 7(x – 9) 3x + 5 = 7x – 63 Then subtract 3x from both sides to preserve the equation: 5 = 4x – 63 Then add 63 to both sides to preserve the equation: 68 = 4x Then divide both sides by 4: 17 = x The point being: preserving equality is what makes algebra work. When you’re multiplying or dividing in order to preserve that equality, you have to be completely equitable to both sides of the equation: you can’t single out any one term or group. If you’re multiplying both sides by 7, you have to distribute that 7 to both the x and the 9. So when you take the GMAT, do so with equality in mind. The equals sign is what allows you to solve for variables, but remember that you have to do the exact same thing to both sides. Inequalities? Well those will just have to wait for another day. 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: When to Make Assumptions on GMAT Problem Solving Questions 
Today we will discuss the flip side of “do not assume anything in Data Sufficiency” i.e. we will discuss “go ahead and assume in Problem Solving!” Problem solving questions have five definite options, that is, “cannot be determined” and “data not sufficient” are not given as options. So this means that in all cases, data is sufficient for us to answer the question. So as long as the data we assume conforms to all the data given in the question, we are free to assume and make the problem simpler for ourselves. The concept is not new – you have been already doing it all along – every time you assume the total to be 100 in percentage questions or the value of n to be 0 or 1, you are assuming that as long as your assumed data conforms to the data given, the relation should hold for every value of the unknown. So the relation should be the same when n is 0 and also the same when n is 1. Now all you have to do is go a step further and, using the same concept, assume that the given figure is more symmetrical than may seem. The reason is that say, you want to find the value of x. Since in problem solving questions, you are required to find a single unique value of x, the value will stay the same even if you make the figure more symmetrical – provided it conforms to the given data. Let us give an example from Official Guide 13th edition to show you what we mean: Question: In the figure shown, what is the value of v+x+y+z+w? (A) 45 (B) 90 (C) 180 (D) 270 (E) 360 We see that the leg with the angle w seems a bit narrower – i.e. the star does not look symmetrical. But the good news is that we can assume it to be symmetrical because we are not given that angle w is smaller than the other angles. We can do this because the value of v+x+y+z+w would be unique. So whether w is much smaller than the other angles or almost the same, it doesn’t matter to us. The total sum will remain the same. Whatever is the total sum when w is very close to the other angles, will also be the sum when w is much smaller. So for our convenience, we can assume that all the angles are the same. Now it is very simple to solve. Imagine that the star is inscribed in a circle. Now, arc MN subtends the angle w at the circumference of the circle; this angle w will be half of the central angle subtended by MN (by the central angle theorem discussed in your book). Arc NP subtends angle v at the circumference of the circle; this angle v will be half of the central angle subtended by NP and so on for all the arcs which form the full circle i.e. PQ, QR and RM. All the central angles combined measure 360 degrees so all the subtended angles w + v + x + y + z will add up to half of it i.e. 360/2 = 180. Answer (C) There are many other ways of solving this question including long winded algebraic methods but this is the best method, in my opinion. This was possible because we assumed that the figure is symmetrical, which we can in problem solving questions! But beware of question prompts which look like this: – Which of the following cannot be the value of x? – Which of the following must be true? You cannot assume anything here since we are not looking for a unique value that exists. If a bunch of values are possible for x, then x will take different values in different circumstances. If we know that the unknown has a unique value, then we are free to assume as long as we are working under the constraints of the question. Finally, we would like to mention here that this is a relatively advanced technique. Use it only if you understand fully when and what you can assume. 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: Why a Top 10 MBA Program Might Not Be Your Best Match 
“I want to go to HBS…” I want to go to Stanford…” “I want to go to Wharton…” These are the cries of MBA candidates around the world when contemplating what business schools they want to attend. But these venerable institutions and others like them can’t possibly accept all interested students for a variety of reasons that include space, qualifications, and fit. Every year many students are forced to reevaluate their target school list. Applicants should approach the school selection process with an open mind and use this as the basis to conduct research on the programs that best align with their unique needs. For some students, profile limitations like GPA, GMAT, or work experience can restrict opportunities at higher ranked programs, so it makes sense to consider all alternatives. Often lowerranked schools are better aligned with the development needs of certain students. Some of the best programs for areas like entrepreneurship, operations, and supply chain management fall outside of the various rankings done every year. These programs can provide direct pipelines into career paths into these industries of interest. Location should also be an area of note for aspiring MBAs. For some, targeting a specific location where the applicant wants to reside postMBA is another smart strategy when identifying the ideal program. This is key because most schools have at the very least strong local recruiting within their geographic area. This strategy will increase the likelihood of landing at a target firm. These schools will often also have stronger alumni networks in their geographic region that trump higher ranked programs, so choose wisely. A complimentary approach is identifying MBA programs close to target recruiters. For example if a career in Venture Capital is important then the west coast or Silicon Valley in particular should influence the school selection process. Interested in oil and gas? Then researching the local MBA programs in the state of Texas is a no brainer and would make more sense than pursuing admission at some higher rated programs outside the state. Finally, some students just may not be academically equipped to perform or compete at certain MBA programs. Intense academic rigor, heavy workloads, and cumbersome prerequisite coursework make some lower ranked programs a more comfortable academic environment. Don’t be constrained by the various school rankings on the market. Create your own list that allows you to pick the program that makes the most sense for YOU! 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. 

