It is currently 22 Feb 2018, 17:00

Close

GMAT Club Daily Prep

Thank you for using the timer - this advanced tool can estimate your performance and suggest more practice questions. We have subscribed you to Daily Prep Questions via email.

Customized
for You

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Track
Your Progress

every week, we’ll send you an estimated GMAT score based on your performance

Practice
Pays

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Not interested in getting valuable practice questions and articles delivered to your email? No problem, unsubscribe here.

Close

Request Expert Reply

Confirm Cancel

Events & Promotions

Events & Promotions in June
Open Detailed Calendar

EMPOWERgmat Blog

  new topic post reply Question banks Downloads My Bookmarks Reviews Important topics  
Author Message
Expert Post
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
D
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 11063
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170
Re: EMPOWERgmat Blog [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 01 Oct 2015, 23:04
4 Silly Mistakes That Many GMATers Make on Test Day (And What YOU Should Actually Do Instead)

Test Day is an almost universal ‘event’ for most Test Takers. While you might hear the occasional ‘horror story’ about how something went wrong at the Testing Center, the reality is that most administrations of the GMAT follow an established routine. As such, beyond preparing to face the Exam, you can also prepare to face the very Day itself. Regardless of whether you’ve given yourself just a month to prepare or if your studies are more thorough, you can plan ahead and avoid the following silly mistakes that other Test Takers make.

1 - Skipping breakfast

It’s not cliché – breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. The human brain and body need ‘fuel’ to function properly. Skipping breakfast will almost certainly hurt your performance over the course of the Exam. You DO have the time for breakfast – you just have to choose to do it.

INSTEAD: Beyond eating breakfast on just Test Day, you should be eating breakfast EVERY day. During the weeks and months of lead-up to Test Day, you should take the opportunity to experiment a bit with various foods. You might find that certain types of food impact your mindset and energy levels in a more beneficial way.

2 - Bringing practice materials with you to the Testing Center

You’ve been studying for some time and you’ve learned everything that you could reasonably learn. There’s nothing more to be gained, so you should leave all of your GMAT materials at home. Trying to ‘cram’ through a pile of materials while sitting in your car right before your GMAT is just going to upset you.

Bringing practice materials into any part of the Testing Facility is actually a violation of the Exam rules. If you are caught doing so, then you will not be allowed to take the GMAT and you will forfeit the $250 fee.

INSTEAD: You can do a little ‘warm-up’ work while you’re eating breakfast. Nothing too hard though, nothing complex and nothing that will upset you. This warm-up is meant to get you into the strategic mindset that you need to perform at a high level on the GMAT. When you leave your home, you must leave all of those materials behind.

3 - Attempting to arrive at the Testing Center ‘on time’

Many Test Takers end up extremely ‘excited’ on Test Day (some might use the words ‘nervous’ or ‘anxious’, but those words imply a lack of control and preparedness – you’re ‘excited’ for Test Day). That excitement keeps them from thinking about the realities of getting to the Testing Center. There could be heavy traffic, construction, inconsistencies with public transportation, etc. Any of those potential hindrances can make that trip to the Center take longer than expected. By extension, feeling as though you might be ‘late’ can really put you into a bad mindset and distract you from your goal. Unfortunately, you might not be able to anticipate any of these hindrances.

INSTEAD: Leave at least 15-30 minutes earlier than you think you need to. The extra time will lighten any of those stresses that you might face. In many cases, if you arrive at the Center early, and a computer is ‘open’ (which it should be – you’ve already scheduled the appointment), then the Center staff will likely let you start your Exam early (instead of having you wait in the lobby burning your energy).

4 - Writing “ABCDE” 37 or 41 times across the top of your pad before the section starts

Test Takers have been running this idea past me for years. It’s impractical on a variety of levels though. First, the time and effort that it takes to write down all of those characters is significant. Try it and you’ll see. You’ll likely need 2 minutes of furious scribbling just to get it done once. Second, certain questions won’t actually require that you write down ABCDE, so writing down those letters would be unnecessary. Third, unless you can answer every question in the section on that first laminated sheet, you’re going to need to flip pages. So when you’re on page 2 (or 3 or 4, etc.), do you really expect to flip BACK to page 1 where you wrote down all of those ABCDEs? Having to do THAT would be a huge distraction to your performance and could lead to a number of silly mistakes.

INSTEAD: Try writing down 5 dashes (to represent the 5 answers) as needed, in the same space that you’re taking notes for the question that you are working on. You won’t need to do that on every question, and you might choose to write “AD BCE” for DS questions, but you now have the freedom and flexibility to work as needed.

A big part of putting together a strong performance on Test Day is in making good decisions and avoiding as many little mistakes as possible. Thinking ahead, and properly preparing for the entire Test Day ‘event’, is essential to helping you maximize your performance. To that end, we’re here to help.

GMAT assassins aren’t born, they’re made,
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

Expert Post
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
D
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 11063
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170
Re: EMPOWERgmat Blog [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 04 Oct 2015, 23:29
Monday Mail-Bag: Advice on Big Picture Issues That Impact GMAT Test Takers…

This series of emails and PMs focuses on situations that many Test Takers face during their studies. The names of the original posters have been changed to protect their identities.

Dealing With Really Tough RC Passages
Dear Rich,

I am practicing RC and have dealt with some science passages where I just did not understood what the passage was about and even with note taking nothing made sense. Are there any articles or sources I could read to be more familiar with difficult areas of science that can appear on GMAT?

Che

Hi Che,

Unfortunately, there’s no practical way to learn about the topics of RC passages before you take your GMAT.

As far as dealing with a tough passage is concerned, do you honestly believe that "nothing" made sense? None of the words? The GMAT can throw you a crazy passage or two on Test Day (maybe it's the content, the style or the length), but if you think that nothing makes sense, then you're not trying very hard. In those situations, you're rarely required to understand the technical details, so put your energy into figuring out the purpose behind each paragraph and the purpose of the prompt as a whole.

Try this: Take a "tough" passage and draw a line through every word that you don't understand. Next, read the words that are left. I'll bet that you can still understand a big chunk of the passage and you'll be able to get at least half of the questions correct.

Note-taking IS Worth It On Many Levels
Rich,

My issue is that I think I am taking too long to answer questions due to writing notes. I think I may just start highligting my books in an effort to save time, so that I can keep up with my study schedule. Do you think I should continue to take notes?

De

Hi De,

Note-taking serves several purposes:

1) It helps you to emphasize things that matter (or things that you need to spend more time reviewing)

2) It engages your brain/learning on another level (as opposed to just running a high-lighter over some text. Since taking notes requires you to process what you're reading on a higher level, you're far more likely to remember something you wrote down than something you high-lighted (or just read).

Beyond that, to score at a high level on Test Day, you’re going to need to take consistent, organized notes. If you’re not training to do that now, then you won’t be able to improve your speed and you won’t be prepared to do it when it matters the most (on Test Day, when the clock is ticking).


To Retest or Not To Retest
Dear Rich,

I find myself in a peculiar situation. I gave my gmat today and got a disappointing 640 Q 48 V29. I scored in the high 600s on every CAT, with the lowest being 670. I took all CATs with essay and ir too.

I’m not applying to top 10 schools, and I think that my score is competitive for the schools that I’m planning to apply to, but I’m sure that I can score higher and I’m thinking about retesting. What would you advise?

EH

Hi EH,

A 640/Q48 is a solid combo and one that would give you a shot at every US Business School. You're just about at the 80th percentile overall, so you should take some measure of satisfaction in that. While you were aiming at a higher score, you don't necessarily need one. The application process is 6 or 7 pieces (sometimes there's an interview, sometimes there's not), so you have to make sure that the rest of your application is solid.

You could absolutely pick up those missing points in a month's time; it's more a measure of whether you really need to retest or not. If there’s a specific, definable reason to retest (such as a Scholarship requirement), then the decision is simple. If you just want to retest for personal ‘pride’, then that’s fine too. As it stands, it sounds like you have the score that you need, so you should now focus on your applications.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

Expert Post
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
D
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 11063
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170
Re: EMPOWERgmat Blog [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 08 Oct 2015, 23:07
8 Common, Must-Avoid GMAT Prep Mistakes - Can You Spot Them ALL?

The following article is meant as a critical thinking ‘test’ – the following Test Taker made at least 6 different ‘mistakes’ with his/her studies before taking the actual GMAT and has some questionable ideas about how to approach the next round of studies. Can you define what those ideas are and why they are mistakes?

***

I took the GMAT last week and got a 660 (Q 51/V 28). I am extremely disappointed with my verbal score. I plan to take the GMAT again in 2 months.

I worked with a private tutor and most of his materials were questions taken from official guides and Manhattan. I worked through the material several times and used to do each problem within 2 minutes.

While studying, I didn't have much of a problem with either Quant or CR. My accuracy in RC was consistently bad until a couple of weeks before my GMAT. I am not sure if the accuracy improved because I started getting better at RC or if I was more familiar with the passages. My accuracy in SC improved considerably and reached a stage where I was getting only 2 SC questions wrong per set of 10 questions and on my CATs. About two weeks before my Test I stopped studying SC. Instead I started doing Quant & RC.

I gave my MGMAT mocks again one week prior to my GMAT and was very pleased with the results (considering the fact that they are known to be tougher than the real GMAT)

MGMAT 3 710 - Q47 V40 (27/08)
MGMAT 4 690 - Q46 V38 (29/08)
MGMAT 5 720 - Q47 V41 (31/08)
MGMAT 6 730 - Q50 V39 (01/09)

GMAT PREP 2 760 - Q51 V40

Exam Day

On the exam day, AWA, IR & Quant went pretty well. Once I started my Verbal, I found the sentence correction problems very "unfamiliar". I was unsure about the answers I marked for many SC questions. I tried maintaining the 2 minute/question time limit, but by the time I reached the 20th question I was lagging behind. I ended the Verbal section a minute ahead of time, so I think I might have gone through the last 20 questions a bit too fast at the expense of my accuracy. RC passages were not easy. Even as I was doing my verbal, I was getting a feeling that it was going very bad.

I have never got a V 28 in any of my mock exams. I guess there was Exam Stress and I didn't sleep that well the day before my exam. My plan going forward is to do 2-hour blocks of RC and use LSAT materials for extra RC and CR practice.

=====

Based on the above ‘story’, here are the mistakes with the initial round of studies – this is a list of what could have hurt this Test Taker’s performance:

1) Planning on spending about 2 minutes per question. The amount of work that is required to answer an SC question is considerably less than the amount of work that's required to answer an RC question, so planning to spend the same amount of time on each question is not a good idea. It might work for a time, but it's not a good plan. As a general rule, SCs should take 1 to 1.5 minutes, CRs should take about 2 minutes. RC is tricky because it's best to read the passage and take notes BEFORE you answer the questions (and since RC passages vary in length/content, you could spend up to 5 minutes just reading and taking notes - that's time WELL SPENT though, because it makes answering the questions much faster and easier).

2) Not studying SC for the last 2 weeks before the Test. GMAT skills fade if you don't practice them. Silly mistakes are more likely to occur, etc.

3) 5 CATs in 1 week was a TERRIBLE IDEA. That can lead to a much higher chance of "burn out" right before taking the actual GMAT. The general rule is no more than 1 CAT/week; you need time to review it and do additional practice before you take the next one.

4) Rushing through the last 20 questions. If that is true, then the Test Taker was unable to handle HALF of the Verbal section properly. It's tough to score at a high level in any section if you're rushing through it.

5) Stress & lack of sleep. This is likely the "biggest" cause of many score drops in the Verbal section. Lack of sleep can have the same "effect" on performance as being really drunk. I hope it goes without saying that neither option will lead to a great result on Test Day.

6) Retaking a CAT that you’ve already used almost always means that you’ll see repeat questions. Any number of repeat questions (on a practice CAT) can artificially "inflate" your score results (some or all of your practice CAT scores could have been 50-100 points higher than your actual ability). If that occurred, then a 660 is within range (albeit at the low end) of how you were actually performing.

7) Doing 2 hours of RC practice in a row is a bad idea. There's no point. On the real GMAT, you won't see any RC until over 3 hours have gone by (and after you've worked through the essay, IR, and the Quant). Everybody is tired by that point, so you have to train to handle RC when you're tired.

8) There's been some debate about using LSAT material to prep for the GMAT. While it has worked for some people, I don't recommend it. LSAT RC is different from GMAT RC - it's longer, has more questions and is pencil-and-paper based. LSAT LR is different from GMAT CR - The questions sometimes involve logic that does NOT appear on the GMAT, includes question types that don't appear either and is also pencil-and-paper. The most realistic practice involves GMAT material used on a computer… and you have to be able to take notes and think while tired.

Think about how aspects of this scenario might match how you are currently studying. Work to adjust your studies so that you can avoid the pitfalls that impact many other Test Takers. The GMAT is a predictable, standardized Test – so are the errors that many Test Takers make during their studies. To that end, we’re here to help.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

Expert Post
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
D
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 11063
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170
Re: EMPOWERgmat Blog [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 11 Oct 2015, 23:09
Monday Mail-Bag: Advice on Big Picture Issues That Impact GMAT Test Takers…

This series of emails and PMs focuses on situations that many Test Takers face during their studies. The names of the original posters have been changed to protect their identities.

Easy Ways to Deal With Absolute Value Questions
Hi Rich,

I am really struggling with the questions pertaining to inequalities and specifically when they include mods. Could you suggest a good source to develop concepts and to practice question on the same.

Regards,
EFF

Hi EFF,

Absolute Value questions aren't too frequent of an issue on the actual GMAT (you might see 1-2 in total). Sometimes these questions involve inequalities, sometimes they don't.

Assuming a variable is involved, you can normally AVOID doing algebra and just FIND the values that fit the Absolute Value/inequality.

For example:

| X + 2 | > 5

Don't over-think this, just figure out what the possibilities are. Since it's an absolute value, there should be some positive possibilities and some negative ones. With a bit of "brute force", you should be able to figure out the "borders."

Here X CAN'T = 3 because 3 + 2 is NOT > 5, but X COULD be > 3
Also, X CAN'T = -7 because |-7 + 2| = |-5| = 5 exactly, but X COULD be < - 7

Most GMAT questions can be solved with a variety of approaches, so there's some advantage to being flexible with your thinking. Sometimes the "math approach" takes too long and the "fast way" to get the answer is just a mix of TESTing VALUES and "brute force."

Elimination/Guessing vs Actual Tactics in CR
Rich,

Can you please provide guidance on how to improve upon Critical Reasoning? I've practiced with a variety of materials, but I just don't understand what I am doing wrong! I am able to nail-down the answer choices to two potential answers, however the majority of the time, I end up picking the wrong choice.

Gee

Hi Gee,

What you're describing is essentially "guessing"; even though you're narrowing the options down to two choices, probability says that you'll get half of those questions wrong (and if you're having a bad day, or just unlucky, then you'll get more than half of them wrong). Like any other question type, CR questions have patterns to them, require you to take notes and "make connections" and PREDICT what the correct answer is before you look at the 5 choices. You should focus more on a learning/using a consistent set of Tactics to approach CR – once you do, you’ll likely see a huge improvement in this area.

The Reality About Answer A in Sentence Corrections
Rich,

When I work through SCs, I’m always looking for errors to fix and patterns that I can use (parallelism etc), but I often get questions wrong where the answer is A: the same answer that is the original prompt. Is there a way to get better at just accepting the original sentence as correct?

Ache

Hi Ache,

The GMAT tends to evenly distribute the "correct" answer among the 5 choices, so each answer is equally likely over the course of the entire Test. In terms of Sentence Corrections, if you saw 15 SCs, then it's likely that about 3 of the questions would have answer A as the correct answer. This will vary, of course, depending on how you're performing and the "randomizer" computer program, but it's a point worth noting. Since Answer A is a "duplicate" of the original sentence, there will be a few SCs that are grammatically correct (and don't need to be changed). You’ll still need to continue using your grammar knowledge to determine when there is an ‘error’, but if you don’t spot any obvious errors, then the question is likely correct as is.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

Expert Post
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
D
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 11063
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170
Re: EMPOWERgmat Blog [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 15 Oct 2015, 23:07
3 Reasons Why it’s Actually Advantageous to Apply For Round 2

The process of putting together a strong overall application involves a number of different ‘steps.’ However, many prospective MBA candidates come into the application process with an unrealistic sense of how long it actually takes to put together a ‘winning’ application, so they inevitably miss the Round 1 application deadlines. Some part of the application just isn’t strong enough (for many, it’s the GMAT Score, but sometimes it’s some other feature) and those same applicants are often really ‘upset’ about missing Round 1. However, there are some significant advantages to applying for Round 2.

To start, the applicants who receive their invites during Round 1 often give themselves far more time to prepare their submissions (sometimes upwards of 6-12 months) than the average applicant, so they’ve honed each of the pieces of their applications and nothing appears ‘rushed’ or ‘sloppy.’ The first impression that these applicants establish is fantastic, which is why they receive their invites. Once all of the Round 1 invites are sent, then you have to think about what happens to all of the other Round 1 applicants… If those applicants don’t establish an amazing first impression, then the Business School Admissions Committees would have absolutely NO reason to offer any of them an invite just yet. Many of those applicants get wait-listed.

The Value of a First Impression
1) While it might sound cliché, you really do get just one shot at a first impression. If you look at any part of your application and think “I can make this better…” then your application isn’t ready yet. Getting wait-listed isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if the Admissions Committee didn’t love you upon first review, then they’re probably not going to suddenly start loving you later. You’ll have to wait as hundreds and thousands of other applications are reviewed and the Schools give out those coveted invites to those ‘new’ applicants who have established a great first impression. You could still receive an invite, but you’ll have to wait while everyone else gets reviewed. If the Admissions Committees have somehow lost track of your application, or they just forgot about you, then you’re out of luck.

You CAN establish that same amazing first impression in Round 2 though – and imagine how good you might come across relative to all of those other applicants who rushed to apply for Round 1, didn’t present themselves properly and got wait-listed…

Relatively Easy-to-Improve Areas
2) You can make some BIG improvements to specific (and important) areas of your application in a relatively short amount of time. Business Schools place a certain amount of emphasis on both the GMAT Score and the Essay portion of the application. Both of these areas are fairly standardized (relative to the other aspects of the application) – as such, they’re predictable and can be ‘beaten.’ With the proper resources, Expert advice and overall guidance, you can make definable improvements to these areas (and by extension, your overall application). The extra 2-3 months between the Round 1 and Round 2 deadlines can be remarkably useful to the enterprising applicant who is willing to do the work to take advantage of that extra time.

More Prep Time = Greater Chance to Succeed
3) Attempting to work on an entire application, while juggling all of the other aspects of your life (work, family, social, etc.) will almost certainly be a challenge. Having more time to work on the application will allow you to focus on one ‘piece’ at a time, hone it, and then move on to the next ‘piece.’ Some of the people that you’re in competition against have been working on their applications for upwards of a year; if, after the Round 1 deadlines pass, you’ve been working on your application for just a couple of months, then working with the Round 2 deadlines will allow you to literally DOUBLE the amount of time that you can spend on your application. For something as meaningful and valuable as an MBA, the extra short-term investment can lead to an amazing payoff over time.

To that end, we’re here to help.

GMAT assassins aren’t born, they’re made,
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

Expert Post
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
D
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 11063
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170
Re: EMPOWERgmat Blog [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 18 Oct 2015, 23:05
Monday Mail-Bag: Advice on Big Picture Issues That Impact GMAT Test Takers…

This series of emails and PMs focuses on situations that many Test Takers face during their studies. The names of the original posters have been changed to protect their identities.

Memorizing OG Verbal Answers vs Having Strong Verbal Skills
Rich,

I have exhausted and memorized all the verbal questions in the OG & GMAT Prep, Now I’m looking for really hard 700-800 level questions to work on. Is there a good problem source for difficult questions which is close to actual GMAT Verbal.

EE

Hi EE,

You said something interesting – you "memorized all the verbal questions in the OG...." I assume that you mean that you’ve memorized the correct answers to these questions (probably through heavy repetition and working through the same questions over and over). This is not necessarily the same as learning all of the necessary grammar and style rules for SCs and the necessary tactics, patterns and wrong answer types for RC and CR.

If you aren’t scoring at a really high level on your FULL-LENGTH CATs, then you shouldn’t be focused on really hard practice questions.

AWA Expectations From Most Schools
Dear Rich,

I scored 710 with AWA of 4. Will this AWA score hurt my chances to get into a good school, considering I have a decent profile (professional & educational).

Jota,

Hi Jota,

As a general rule, most Business Schools are satisfied if you score a 4.0 or higher on the AWA. Whenever a Test Taker scores below a 4.0, then there is typically a ‘problem’ with the essay (the Test Taker didn't understand the prompt, didn't follow the instructions or went "off topic" in what he/she chose to write about) and THAT issue can certainly affect one's chances at acceptance. With what you're describing, your AWA is fine and it won't hurt your chances.

What You DON’T Need To Know For Graphing Questions
Hi Rich,

Can you tell me where and how the following formulae or concepts are useful:

1. Distance between point "A" and "origin" = D = √x^2 + y^2

2. Midpoint theorem

3. Equation of line passing through points = {(y-y1)/y1 - y2} = {(x-x1)/(x1-x2)}

Ka

Hi Ka,

Your list is based on ideas/formulas that you might use on graphing questions. However, graphing questions are not frequently tested in the Quant section; you'll likely see just 1-2, so the category isn't a big "point getter" or "point loser."

Most graphing questions come down to knowing the basic graphing rules (slope-intercept formula, slope=rise/run, sometimes drawing the graph, etc.) and occasionally using a diagonal line to draw a right triangle. So it’s not likely that you would ever need to use the above rules on Test Day.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

Expert Post
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
D
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 11063
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170
Re: EMPOWERgmat Blog [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 22 Oct 2015, 23:02
Spot the 6 Major Problems With How This GMAT Test Taker Studied

Much like the article from October 9th, 2015, the following article is meant as a critical thinking ‘test’ – the following Test Taker made at least 6 different ‘mistakes’ with his/her studies before taking the actual GMAT. Can you define what those mistakes were and why they are mistakes?

****

The Story:
My GMAT studies started off in February with the view of taking the exam in September. I hired private tutors for both the quant and the verbal. I was always better off with quants as compared to verbal.

From February to April:
Studying was difficult because of work. I stopped studying for a month, as work got really busy.

I practiced from sources provided by the private tutors to get a grip on the basics of the GMAT. The quants sources seemed to be a bit outdated and they seemed like non-GMAT type questions. The tutors told me to start off with the least effective book for the GMAT and then gradually move onto better books.

From May to June:
For Quant - practiced from the sources provided by the tutor. I felt that they helped me to get a feel of the topics covered in the GMAT, although not right from the basics. Everything felt like it was moving very slow.

For Verbal - did not get much time to practice for the verabal section. Was completely tied down because of work.

From July to August:
This is when I started my intense preparation for the GMAT. I took leave from work so that I could devote the entire day for the GMAT.

For Quant - Revised the questions practiced from the material given by the tutor. Solved questions from the OG in exam type format i.e. 37 questions at a time (22-PS & 15-DS). Scores on these tests kept decreasing, as I assume the difficulty level was increasing. Did not complete the OG - was left with around 100 questions in Quant. Also started working with the Manhattan Strategy Guides (All 5 quant books). Completed them in 10 days.

For Verbal – Worked through Verbal books from Aristotle, The Princeton Review, Cliff’s Guide, Arco guide, Kaplan Verbal book, GMAT Bible and Manhattan Strategy Guide for CR.

September:

3 weeks before my test date, I started taking CATs. The following are my scores:

1. GMAT Prep - Test 1 - 570 (Q41 V28)
2. GMAT Prep - Test 2 - 610 (Q46 V28)
3. Barron's - Test 1 - 580
4. MGMAT - Free - 570 (Q42 V27)
5. MGMAT - Test 2 - 630 (Q43 V33)
6. MGMAT - Test 3 - 510 (Q37 V23)
7. MGMAT - Test 4 - 590 (Q44 V28)
8. MGMAT – Test 5 - solved at midnight. Got tired and randomly marked answers (didn't bother about score)
9. MGMAT - Test 6 - 570 (Q42 V27)
10. Kaplan - Free - 630
11.MGMAT - Test 1A - 590 (Q45 V27)
12.Veritas - Free - 650 (Q44 V35)

Real GMAT - 550 (Q46 V21 IR4 AWA6)

****

GMAC has publicly stated that a Test Taker’s Official Score is within +-30 points of actual ability, so this student’s Official Score (550) isn’t that far off from many of the practice CAT scores.

Based on the above ‘story’, here is a list of what almost certainly hurt this Test Taker’s performance:

1 - Since this student admits to being stronger in Quant than in Verbal, waiting so long (several months) to really work on Verbal concepts was a bad choice. If it’s going to take longer to improve in a certain area, then you need MORE time (not less).

While I can't speak to the ‘expertise’ of these tutors, some of the activities described are strange:

2 - Starting off one’s studies with questionable resources and "the least effective book" seems like a waste of time. With so much quality practice material on the market, it seems odd to spend time with material that anyone would refer to as "least effective."

3 - If you’re not comfortable with the basics, then working through tougher concepts is not a logical progression. For example, there’s no point in working through higher-level Algebra if you cannot properly do the basic arithmetic ‘steps’ involved.

4 - Attempting to use the OG in "exam format" (working through 22 PS and 15 DS at a time) is an odd way to use that book. Assuming the user simply chose those questions ‘in a row’, it’s unlikely that the sample was diverse enough to represent the overall pool of subjects that he/she would have see on Test Day. There’s also little variation in the difficulty of the material. I'm NOT a fan of this idea at all; it's a waste of a great resource. Given that this book is one of the MOST realistic sources for practice questions available, leaving a ‘block’ of those question unanswered also seems like a questionable choice.

5 - Using a variety of resources during one’s studies is fine, but the high number of books listed (and the speed with which they were worked through) implies that little of the concepts/tactics/advice were actually absorbed (or even practiced). Churning through practice questions without ‘honing’ one’s skills is pointless. Evidence of this problem occurs when….

6 - So many CATs (12 in total!) were taken during the last 3 weeks. Most of those scores are within 30 points of 600, so improvement was clearly NOT happening. It takes time to review each CAT, focus on the mistakes that were made, put extra practice time into those areas, etc. With so many CATs in such a short period of time, it’s clear that NONE of that review/improvement happened.

The reference to taking CAT5 at midnight also seems problematic. If the other CATs were taken at that time (or even at inconsistent times) then there would be little way for this student to be mentally ready for the start time of his/her Official GMAT.

****

Think about how aspects of this scenario might match how you are currently studying. Work to adjust your studies so that you can avoid the pitfalls that impact many other Test Takers. The GMAT is a predictable, standardized Test – so are the errors that many Test Takers make during their studies. To that end, we’re here to help.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

Expert Post
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
D
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 11063
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170
Re: EMPOWERgmat Blog [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 25 Oct 2015, 23:24
Monday Mail-Bag: Advice on Big Picture Issues That Impact GMAT Test Takers…

This series of emails and PMs focuses on situations that many Test Takers face during their studies. The names of the original posters have been changed to protect their identities.

“Debatable” Answers in SC
HI Rich,

During practice I have sometimes seen SC questions that seem like the correct answer is debatable. Is that something that I need to be worried about on the Official GMAT?

Ele

Hi Ele,

For the real GMAT, questions go through a rigorous testing process before they are considered "fair" and appear as "questions that count" on a live Test. During the testing phase, questions appear as "experimental" questions (which do not count) on live GMAT exams. In that way, the questions can be statistically measured and compared against expectations.

For example, if an experimental question is expected to be answered correctly by 40% of Test Takers, AND 40% of Test Takers DO answer it correctly, then it is considered "fair" and then put into the pool of active questions. The process is fairly standardized and remarkably accurate, although sometimes there are anomalies and questions are removed.

All of this means that It's possible (however rare) that an SC that appears debatable could show up on Test Day, but if the results don't match the expectations, then the question would be removed. Questions with an "interpretational bias" don't get very far on the real GMAT though, so it’s highly unlikely that you’d see them very often. If you’re working with practice materials that seem questionable though, you might want to invest in different resources.

The Importance of Attention-to-Detail
Rich,

On one of the OG questions, I didn’t notice that the question listed “1/10 percent” and thought that it said 1/10. Are these types of traps something that will show up a lot in the quant section?

Eye

Hi Eye,

Many GMAT questions will come with little "twists" that are meant to test how well you're paying attention. These are not tricks/traps, they're a legitimate measure of your aptitude and attention-to-detail, so you have to pay careful attention to the wording of each question. On many questions, one (or more) of the wrong answers could either be an answer to a different question or a "math mistake" – those types of answers are meant to "catch" the people who make silly mistakes, since Business Schools need to know if you’re prone to making little mistakes (and the GMAT will give you the score that you EARN). The way to protect yourself against these mistakes (and losing those points) is to take good notes and do all of your work on the pad.

Planning For, and Properly Defining, a 650
Dear Rich,

I’ve just started studying for the GMAT. How many months am I supposed to study gmat to get an average score like 650?

I ultimately want to enroll in an MBA program in California. Would 650 be enough to enroll to MBA programs at universities like CalState, SF State and others?

Eme

Hi Eme,

To start, a 650 is not an ‘average’ score (it’s actually right around the 80th percentile overall). The average score on the Official GMAT is right around 540-550 most years.

For most Test Takers who are just starting out, I recommend that they plan for a 3-month study program. Some people need less time, some people need more, but it's important not to lose sight of your goal. To score a 650 will take you X amount of time; we can try to guess what that X is, but we don't know enough about your abilities just yet to say for sure.

To measure your current abilities, you need to take a FULL-LENGTH practice CAT Test (including the Essay and IR sections). You can download 2 for free from http://www.mba.com. You then have to take additional FULL CATs at regular intervals so that you can measure your progress and adjust your studies to focus on your ‘weak spots.’

As to your question, a 650 would be enough for you to apply to just about any US Business School, so it would certainly be enough to help you confidently apply to the Schools that you’ve listed. Keep in mind that the application process is 6 or 7 pieces (some schools do interviews, some don't), so your applications involve more than just a GMAT score.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

Expert Post
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
D
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 11063
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170
Re: EMPOWERgmat Blog [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 29 Oct 2015, 23:53
Big Factors in Why Verbal Scores Can Drop on Test Day

Recently, someone who is currently studying for the GMAT asked for my insights into why so many GMATers seem to experience a big drop in their Verbal Scaled Scores between their practice CATs and Test Day. The discussion was detailed and included some insightful follow-up questions. Below is the relevant content of that discussion.

Test Taker X: I wanted to ask you about the recent trend of very low verbal scores on the real exam. I have seen an increased number of topics on this - in which test takers mention that they had high verbal scores but received a disproportionally low one on the real exam (e.g. V40-45 --> V20-25), but this appears to happen in the Verbal section only. Could you share you thoughts?

You ask an important question, although the answer will vary somewhat from Test Taker to Test Taker, and each answer is a combination of a lot of detailed 'pieces.' Without going into every little detail, here are the major issues:

1) The realism with which each Test Taker works through his/her CATs. Test Day is a specific 'event', made up of specific details that you CAN define... so you SHOULD be able to prepare for those details. Most Test Takers don't consider all of those details (much less properly train to deal with those details), thus they are not properly prepared for Test Day.

2) There are a number of lower-quality products on the market that a certain number of Test Takers use; that lack of quality/realism impacts practice scores and gives those same people a false sense of their own readiness.

3) The Verbal section of the GMAT is just as predictable and pattern-based as the Quant section is, although many Test Takers find it easier to deal with Quant patterns than Verbal patterns. For example, the process that you go through to calculate 1+2 is the same general process that you go through to calculate 123+456 (it's just a little more work to do the second calculation and the digits are different). In that same way, the logic behind 'X causes Y' in a CR prompt is the same as the logic behind 'A causes B.' You just might have to do a little more work to sort through the details because the wording is different.

This is all meant to say that you CAN train to score at a higher level in ALL areas of the GMAT, but a certain responsibility falls on the Test Taker to train in the proper way.

Test Taker X: Really comprehensive answer, thank you. But a question arises - why does the quant performance remain almost the same and why are the CAT scores still high?

If one is not able to cope with verbal (re: cannot recognize verbal patterns) then his scores would be lower on the CAT, wouldn’t they? And if one gets nervous on the real exam then the quant part should suffer too.


You ask some good follow-up questions. In both cases, the primary issue often comes down to fatigue and endurance skills. The Verbal section is the final 75 minutes of a 4-hour Exam. Since you're not going to start the Verbal section until almost 3 full hours have gone by, almost everyone is tired by that point (and tired brains make bad decision - including missing details, not taking notes, randomly guessing when the correct answer is just one or two more 'steps' away, etc.). That issue can be compounded by the little 'details' that most Test Takers don't account for during their studies.

As an example… How long does it take you to get the Testing Center on Test Day, enter the waiting area and wait for your Test to start? 30 minutes? 45 minutes? An hour or more? Well, then you've just added another 30-60+ minutes to the day's activities BEFORE you even begin the GMAT. Energy must be spent on all of those tasks and all of that nervous energy (that you would focus into your CAT work) could be 'wasted' before the Test even begins. In this way, you'll be further 'depleted' by the time you start the Verbal section. Most Test Takers do not experience ANY of that when they take their practice CATs, so they're not prepared for it when it occurs on Test Day.

Since Quant questions are generally less 'wordy' than Verbal questions, it's often easier/faster to assess the concepts that are being tested in Quant questions than in Verbal questions (and again, you're likely more 'alert' and have more energy when the Quant section starts). So big Quant 'drops' are less likely to happen.

To reiterate, you CAN train for all of these details during your studies, but it takes a high commitment to the task.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

Expert Post
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
D
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 11063
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170
Re: EMPOWERgmat Blog [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 02 Nov 2015, 00:08
Monday Mail-Bag: Advice on Big Picture Issues That Impact GMAT Test Takers…

This series of emails and PMs focuses on situations that many Test Takers face during their studies. The names of the original posters have been changed to protect their identities.

The Value of Jotting Down Patterns as You See Them
Dear Rich,

What is the most efficient way to deal with DS questions like this one:

If z is a positive integer and y = 6.038 x \(10^{z}\) , what is the value of z?

(1) 6500 < y < 65,000
(2) \(10^{4}\)< y < \(10^{5}\)

Ene

Hi Ene,

On DS questions (and to be fair, on ALL GMAT questions), I'm always curious about WHY the numbers/words are what they are. GMAT questions are written by humans to test other humans, so there's likely to be a pattern/formula/rule that is "built in" to the question (and there's usually more than one).

Here, I'm curious about the 6.038; THAT'S a really specific number. WHY did the author choose THAT number???? As such, it’s often quite useful to jot down any patterns that you recognize before you get to the rest of what the prompt has to offer….

Before going to the Facts, I'm going to make some quick notes about the info that we're given:

If Z = 1, then Y = 60.38
If Z = 2, then Y = 603.8
If Z = 3, then Y = 6038
If Z = 4, then Y = 60,380
If Z = 5, then Y = 603,800

Having these basic notes ‘sketched-out’ should make dealing with the rest of the question remarkably easier (think about which of those values fits each of the ranges in the two Facts). I’ll bet that it would take you just a few seconds to finish this question off now.

“Average” Students CAN Score 700+
Hi Rich,

I Just started back up with the GMAT after taking a break due to other commitments. My question is -- Can anyone who works hard and practices a lot get a 700+? Or is it only the intelligent/genius types who notch those numbers? I’m a pretty average student. Is 700+ a long-shot for average people like me?

Enie

Hi Enie,

700+ is the 90th percentile, which means 90% of Test Takers score below that level. While intelligence certainly factors in, the GMAT is NOT an IQ test, so you don't have to be "a genius" to score at a high level on that Test.

While "content knowledge" is the basis for approaching most exams, that knowledge is usually not enough (on its own) to guarantee success. Here are some of the other factors: flexible thinking (knowing more than 1 way to approach a question), pattern matching, organizational skills, note-taking ability, focus and clarity of thought, pacing, proper handling of physical and psychological stresses, endurance, keeping silly mistakes to a minimum, etc. It takes a lot of effort to build up those skills.

Since the GMAT is a standardized Test, you can absolutely train to score at a high level. It's important to note that you won’t necessarily need to score 700+ to get into a top Business School. The application process is 6 or 7 pieces (sometimes there's an interview as part of the process) and the GMAT is just 1 of those pieces. A strong overall application will do more for you than just a high GMAT score will.

The Most Realistic Practice CATs
Rich,
I took the GMAT Prep test today and scored 690 (Q44 / V40). I'm pretty happy with this score since it's above the median and average for the program I'm applying to. Would you all say that the GMAT Preptest is the most indicative of the actual test and scoring algorithm compared to other practice tests?

Oh

Hi Oh,

The GMATPrep CATs are populated with questions that were once Official GMAT questions, so you're not going to find a more realistic practice CAT. Those CATs contain a limited number of questions though, so the "available pool" isn't as large as the one you’ll face on the real GMAT; other than that, the CAT is arguably the most valid indicator of your performance. That result is still based on how realistically YOU chose to take this CAT – if you skipped sections, paused the CAT, retook the Exam, etc., then the result becomes far less realistic (and likely ‘inflated’). There are also a variety of non-GMAC CATs that provide reasonably accurate score assessments when used properly.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

Expert Post
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
D
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 11063
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170
Re: EMPOWERgmat Blog [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 06 Nov 2015, 00:10
Anatomy of an OG Question: How ‘Brute Force’ Can Work Really Fast

The following article refers to the Problem Solving question #229 in the OG13, GMAT2015 and GMAT2016 books. You can view the question in its entirety here:

how-many-of-the-integers-that-satisfy-the-inequality-x-2-x-134194.html

One of the interesting aspects of most GMAT questions is that they can be solved using more than one approach. In that way, you don’t have to be a brilliant mathematician to get to the correct answer - strong critical thinkers, pattern-matchers and ‘workers’ can still get to the correct answer in a reasonable amount of time.

From a pacing standpoint, sometimes the easiest/fastest way to get to the correct answer is to use what’s called ‘brute force’ – no fancy logic or math is required – just the willingness to do a bunch of simple calculations to PROVE what the correct answer actually is.

In this prompt, we’re told that (X+2)(X+3)/(X-2) >= 0. We’re asked for the number of INTEGERS that are LESS than 5 that satisfy this inequality.

The ‘key’ to recognize that this question is susceptible to ‘brute force’ is that the answer choices are 1 through 5, inclusive. This emphasizes that there are not that many possible values for X - there is at least one solution, but no more than 5 solutions. How hard can it possibly be to find them all?

To start, we should consider the largest integer that fits the given ‘restrictions.’ In this case, that would be X = 4.

When X = 4, the fraction becomes….

(6)(7)/(2) = 21

This is clearly greater than or equal to 0, so X = 4 is a solution to the prompt. Now we just have to ‘brute force’ as many additional integers as it takes to discover the number of additional solutions.

Rather than ‘cheat’ you out of experiencing ‘brute force’ for yourself, I’m going to ‘nudge’ you through the steps that have to come next.

Is X = 3 a solution? How long would it actually take you to prove it (if it takes you more than about 10 seconds, then I would be surprised). X can’t equal 2, since that would create a 0 in the denominator of the fraction, but could X = 1 or 0? How about negative integers? Could X = -1 or -2? At what point would you stop ‘brute forcing’ and conclude that you were done? (Hint: look at the ‘sign’ of each of your end calculations).

All in, how long did it actually take you to ‘brute force’ this question? My guess is that it wouldn’t take more than 2 minutes of basic calculations for you to get to the correct answer (AND the calculations were NOT difficult).

This is all meant to show that a flexible thinker (and not one who’s necessarily a ‘genius’) can solve lots of GMAT questions in a relatively short period of time. You too can train to think in these ways. To that end, we’re here to help.

GMAT assassins aren’t born, they’re made,
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

Expert Post
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
D
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 11063
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170
Re: EMPOWERgmat Blog [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 09 Nov 2015, 00:02
Monday Mail-Bag: Advice on Big Picture Issues That Impact GMAT Test Takers…

This series of emails and PMs focuses on situations that many Test Takers face during their studies. The names of the original posters have been changed to protect their identities.

System Algebra Rules
Hi Rich,

I have a question about systems of linear equation w/ n variables - you need n distinct linear equations to be able to solve for each variable. My question is does each distinct linear equation have to include every one of the n variables? What if you have a system of linear equations with 3 variables (x, y, and z) and 3 distinct linear equations where the 1st equation includes all variables (x, y, and z) in the system, but the 2nd and 3rd equations only include 2 of the 3 variables?

Would it still be possible to solve? Is there a general rule associated with this?

PE

Hi PE,

The 3 equations do NOT need to include all 3 variables.

Here's a simple example:

A + B + C = 6
A = 1
B = 2

Here are 3 variables and 3 unique equations, but each equation does NOT include all 3 variables; notice that you can still solve for each variable.

It's worth noting that sometimes a “system" question does NOT require you to solve for each variable, so you might have fewer equations than you THINK you need (but you can still get the correct answer):

For example:

D + E + F = 9
D + E = 5
What is the value of F?

Here, you don't need 3 distinct equations to answer the question.

Improving Quant in a Limited Amount of Time
Rich,

I recently took my GMAT for the first time, and did very well in Verbal but I need some help in Quant. I was wondering if you had any advice on how to take my Quant score from a 39 (49%) to an 80th percentile score. I did the Official Guide 13 and all of the Quant practice questions in the Gmat Prep software (& I have a tutor). I'm retaking the test in a month.

Koo

Hi Koo,

These days, the 80th percentile is just above a Quant Scaled Score of 49. To score at THAT level, you have to eliminate almost all of your silly mistakes, be very strong at Data Sufficiency and have proper pacing skills (so that you're not guessing on a bunch of questions at the end of the section).

One month is probably not enough time for you to make the necessary changes to how you approach the Quant section and score a Q49. With a Q39, you have some gaps in your knowledge, you’re not using the proper Tactics and you’re making little mistakes throughout the section. Improving ALL of those areas will almost certainly take more than one month’s time.

You CAN make some changes to pick up some points though. Take a good look at the questions you're getting wrong, identify the errors/mistakes and try to fix those specific problems. Take a good look at how you're organizing your work and how quickly you start working and you might be able to improve your speed (and by extension, your pacing).

You EARN The Score You Receive On Test Day
Rich,

I’m aiming for a 700+ on the GMAT. There are a variety of books that I’m thinking about buying – can any of them get me to a 700+ and a 45+ raw score on the Quant side on its own?

Ere

Hi Ere,

You bring up two different issues – scoring 700+ and score Q45+. Depending on how well you perform in the Verbal section, you might not need a Q45+. It’s also possible that you would actually need much higher than a Q45 to hit 700+ (again, depending on your Verbal Scaled Score).

There are a variety of books/courses/etc out there that can help you to hit your maximum personal score, BUT none of those resources is a "magic wand" - you're not suddenly going to hit a 700+ just because you read a book.

Many Test Takers use a variety of resources during their studies, so you likely have to think in larger-scale terms. The Official GMAT gives you a score that you EARN, so plan to work hard and keep earning. If your current resources aren't working for you, then you should be able to figure it out pretty quickly and then invest in some new resources.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

Expert Post
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
D
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 11063
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170
Re: EMPOWERgmat Blog [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 13 Nov 2015, 08:50
Self-Analysis of Your GMAT Performance MUST Include Actual Analysis

Studying for the GMAT can be a challenging endeavor for many Test Takers. Arguably, one of the most common score goals for Test Takers (if not THE most common score goal) is 700+, but only about 10% of those same people can actually achieve that goal. One of the interesting aspects of scoring at that level though is that while you don’t have to be a ‘genius’, you do have to be able to figure out WHY you’re not getting questions correct... and then do specific work to fix those issues. As a GMAT Expert, I can tell you that the number of GMATers who cannot define WHY they’re under-performing is staggering. The reality is that the answers are never that complicated, but those same GMATers refuse to properly analyze their work.

As an example, consider Student X, who’s having trouble with Sentence Corrections. No matter how hard he studies, he still ends up getting over half of the SCs wrong on each CAT. What could POSSIBLY be the reason(s) for this? Stop reading this article and think about it. You should be able to name a couple of ‘causes’ right off the top of your head…

Seriously, you should consider this a critical thinking exercise (you’ll be asked to do considerably more difficult work in Business School, so embrace the challenge).

What did you come up with?

Here are some possibilities:

1) The obvious answer - Student X doesn’t know the necessary grammar rules well enough. This is essentially the same issue as not knowing the proper math formulas for the Quant section. While these rules are not the only things that you need to know, they are the basis for all of the work that is required in SCs. If there are ‘holes’ in your knowledge, then it will be difficult to answer the SC prompts that you’ll face on Test Day.

2) The realistic answer – Student X is ‘winging it’ through the Verbal section. If he didn’t actually study the proper materials, and just worked through 100s of SC prompts, then he never really trained correctly (even though he THINKS he did). There ARE patterns and Tactics that he could have learned to deal with SCs, but he never did learn them. Now he just narrows down the answers to 2 choices and picks the one that ‘sounds good.’ THAT is not a strategic approach (it’s what you would do when you had no other options) and it almost certainly will not lead to a high GMAT score.

3) The subtle answer – Student X is too tired to properly answer the question. Since the Verbal section of the GMAT is the final 75 minutes of a 4-hour Exam, it’s likely that Student X is slouching in his chair, not taking notes and not engaging with the Test. While he might be fine when he’s well rested and taking quizzes, when taking his CATs, he didn’t properly train for the physical challenges of the Test. As a result, all he can do is read through all 5 answers (sometimes repeatedly) without looking for the common themes that GMAT question writers use, then selecting an answer becomes all about guessing (and thinking about “how would I say this when talking.” Mathematically-speaking, you would be lucky to get 1 out of every 2 SCs correct when working in this way. The likelihood is that you’ll get fewer correct than that.

Any (or all) of these answers should be easy enough to define – you don’t have to be a genius to do so – and once the cause of the problem is known, then steps can be taken to FIX the problem. By extension, you have to be willing to do more than just extra practice problems to improve. If ‘your way’ of studying for the GMAT isn’t leading to improvement, then you have to find a new way to study.

To that end, we’re here to help.

GMAT assassins aren’t born, they’re made,
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

Expert Post
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
D
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 11063
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170
Re: EMPOWERgmat Blog [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 16 Nov 2015, 13:20
Monday Mail-Bag: Advice on Big Picture Issues That Impact GMAT Test Takers…

This series of emails and PMs focuses on situations that many Test Takers face during their studies. The names of the original posters have been changed to protect their identities.

Too Many CATs in Too Short a Period of Time
Hey Rich,

I’m in my last 2 weeks of studying and was planning to take the 2 prep tests next week (keeping it light in the final week of the exam). I also want to give 3 more tests in the next 3 days and then assess where I am at. Any other suggestions?

Ese

Hi Ese,

You mentioned taking 3 more CATs in the next 3 days. THAT is a TERRIBLE idea. Each CAT is a measuring device (it's really no different than stepping on a scale to gauge your weight); it does NOT make you a better Test Taker. When used correctly, a CAT will give you a reasonable score/assessment of your current ability and will certainly point out the things that you screw up. Without the necessary time to practice and improve BETWEEN CATs, there's a really good chance that your 3 CAT scores would all be within a small range of one another. Plan on taking no more than 1 CAT/week and spend the balance of your time on review and continued study.


Proper Study Includes the Right Resources AND the Right Schedule
Hello Rich,

I’ve been scoring in the 550-590 range on all my Cats and scores 580 on the GMAT. My goal is 650+ though. My personal analysis of what went wrong with my studies:

- I just worked on the basics of math mainly. Did concepts from school text books and a pool of GMAT style questions provided to me by a friend who had put them all together from various blogs and communities (no particular known source).
- My habit of studying is such that I pile up my work till the last couple of months and go full gear in those days. I guess, this approach is not quite suitable for GMAT. Because, I took the 4-5 CATs with a gap of 1-3 days max. and by the end of it, I was completely exhausted.
- I also tend to get anxious during my tests and I think that hurts my focus.

So, I definitely need to change my strategy here. Any advice?

Te

Hi Te,

It appears that your GMAT score is comparable to your practice CAT scores, so your performance shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. Based on what you've described, I'm going to point out some flaws in your process and confirm some of your suspicions:

1) Calm Test Takers tend to perform better than people who panic (or get overly psyched, etc.). The GMAT is a standardized Test, so keep that in mind as you continue to study. The concepts will be the same on Test Day; it's just the "packaging" that changes.

2) There's no way to know if the "material" provided by your friend was realistic, up-to-date, or representative of the makeup of the actual GMAT. I'm sure that he/she was trying to be helpful, but your goal score requires a bit more expert guidance.

3) "Cramming" is not the best way to study for your. While it may be difficult to schedule, GMAT studying is best done is small chunks spread throughout the week, as opposed to doing lots of studying all on one day.


Additional Verbal Resources?
Rich,

I’m currently working through a copy of Manhattan GMAT's verbal strategy guides. My weak areas are Critical reasoning and Reading comp. I find it very exhausting to comprehend dense material and thus struggle a lot. Especially when I am put on a clock. What else can I be doing to improve in verbal?

Uh

Hi Uh,

The Verbal section of the GMAT is as predictable and standardized as the Quant section is, so you CAN train to score at a higher level. There is some content to learn (grammar/idioms) and logical patterns in how information is presented (CR and RC), but then there is the proper mix of tactics and attitude that you have to bring to that section of the Test.

In addition to the MGMAT books, I'd suggest that you plan on working through the entire OG13. You’ll also likely need to invest in some non-book resources that will help you to hone ALL of your skills and work in the same format that you will on Test Day. Learning to deal with dense material isn’t as hard as you might think it is, but you have to learn the proper ways to handle the information. If your current resources don’t help you to do that, then investing in some additional resources will likely be necessary.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

Expert Post
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
D
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 11063
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170
Re: EMPOWERgmat Blog [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 20 Nov 2015, 00:09
When You’re Stuck, Ask For Help (And Try To Do So In A TIMELY Fashion)

We are currently right in the middle of “GMAT Season” – that busy time of year (after most of the Round 1 deadlines have passed) when many GMATers are still studying for their Tests while working on their applications for Round 2 AND juggling their lives, career, family, holidays, etc. Finding the proper time for all of those areas can be challenging, so staying organized is essential. To that end, planning ahead is a big part of successfully achieving all of your goals during this time of year. By extension, if your GMAT scores are ‘stuck’, then you have to be mentally prepared to ask for Expert help AND you really can’t afford to wait until the last days before your GMAT to do so.

Many Test Takers spend months studying (however they choose to) before stopping to properly evaluate their ‘situations.’ At a certain point, almost all Test Takers get ‘stuck’ – some part of the process just doesn’t seem to improve. With enough time and the willingness to make changes to how they study, those same Test Takers can potentially improve on their own. However, most Test Takers don’t have lots of available time and they don’t know how to make the necessary changes. At this critical point in the process, something almost unbelievable often occurs – those GMATers keep studying in the exact SAME way that they were studying before– and then they wonder why they aren’t improving.

Improvement, by definition, involves some type of ‘adjustment.’ An adjustment can be relatively minor, such as adding more labeling to your notes. An adjustment can also be relatively major, such as learning, practicing and mastering a new Verbal Tactic. In almost all cases, regardless of the magnitude of the adjustment, it takes TIME for you to incorporate those changes into a natural part of your test-taking process (since you have to overcome whatever tendencies you had developed during your prior studies). There’s a big different between using a new approach to answer a few practice problems and then properly using that same approach during a timed, Full-Length CAT.

Asking for help with less than a month to go before your Official Test Date makes it much tougher on YOU to properly make those adjustments. The GMAT is a predictable, standardized Test, so you CAN train to score at a higher level. That training takes time though.

As an example, consider the act of purchasing a gym membership. In real basic terms, you’re essentially purchasing resources. The membership isn’t what helps you get in shape – your regular use (and proper use) of the gym equipment is what leads to the change. Working with an Expert/Trainer (or seeking out Expert Advice in some other form) can also help make the whole process more efficient (and lead to better, faster results), but the ‘time investment’ is still a big factor in the magnitude of the improvement. You won’t be able to make gigantic improvements at the gym in a short period of time – that’s not how training works. Studying for the GMAT has those same restrictions.

The more ‘lead time’ that you can give yourself to learn/incorporate Expert GMAT advice, the more likely you will be to improve and score higher on the GMAT. This is all meant to say that you shouldn’t wait to ask for help. The moment that you think that there’s something off/wrong/problematic with your studies, then you should IMMEDIATELY seek out that advice (and be prepared to invest in the process). A higher GMAT score is never that far out of reach; you just have to be conscientious and forward-thinking enough not to put yourself in a difficult position.

To that end, we’re here to help.

GMAT assassins aren’t born, they’re made,
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

Expert Post
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
D
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 11063
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170
Re: EMPOWERgmat Blog [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 23 Nov 2015, 11:31
Monday Mail-Bag: Advice on Big Picture Issues That Impact GMAT Test Takers…

This series of emails and PMs focuses on situations that many Test Takers face during their studies. The names of the original posters have been changed to protect their identities.

Opportunities to Pick Up Points
Rich,

I just took a practice test and scored a 510. The breakdown was 40 (52 percentile) in math and 20 (20th percentile) in verbal. What am I doing wrong in verbal? My goal is to get a 600. Do I need to increase both scores or just the verbal?

Uve

Hi Uve,

A big part of your improvement is going to be based on your review. If you haven't done so yet, then you should review your CAT question-by-question and determine WHY you got each question correct or incorrect. In the case of the correct questions, then what tactics did you use that you can repeat later? If you just got lucky, then some additional studying should be done to "shore up" those areas. In the case of incorrect questions, then WHY did you get the question wrong? Review your notes and your approach. If you "narrowed it down", but still got the question wrong anyway, then you need to adjust THAT approach. If grammar or math rules are the problem, then you need to learn (or relearn) the "rules" that are tested.

Thankfully, the Official GMAT is a standardized, predictable exam, so you can learn the patterns behind it and make sure that you're ready for them when they show up. As an example, "causality" is a concept that shows up on a number of CR questions. Knowing how to spot it, the assumptions behind it and how to strengthen/weaken it (as needed) will lead to some easy points on your CATs and on Test Day.

As to your question, you'll probably find some easy points in BOTH sections, so be sure to continue doing work on both the Quant and Verbal.

Finishing Early = Missed Opportunities
Dear Rich,

Hit a 680 (Q44 / V38) today on my second GMAT Prep Test. Did a bit worse on verbal. It was a bit surprising to me since I finished with 8 minutes left and felt like I was getting all the questions right. What would you suggest to raise that score back up?

Doble,

Hi Doble,

Proper pacing and usage of the entire amount of time for each section can have a significant impact on a Test Taker's performance. Since you're scoring at a higher level now, there's really not too much to be concerned about. However, finishing a section early (in your example, 8 minutes early) usually represents a missed opportunity. As you review that CAT, think about what you COULD have done with those extra 8 minutes. Your use of that time probably could have helped you to get a number of additional questions correct.

Be Open to Change When Progress is Slow
Hi Rich,

I don't often post on here but I'm getting a little stressed out with my recent GMAT experience. I started studying about a couple of months ago for the test. First, took a CAT and scored a 410 (mostly due to the low score in Quant). Went back and learned the basics, practiced 75% of the Quant questions in the OG, read through most of the Manhattan Prep guides for Quant, etc. I didn't focus on Verbal at all during this process as I wanted to see if I could improve Quant.

Took my second CAT last night and scored a 460 (28Q/27V). Again, I haven't even looked at a Verbal problem as I have been studying math the past couple of months. Problem solving isn't bad but my DS skills are lacking, hardly getting any problems right.

My question is, should I keep focusing on improving my math or start to look at the Verbal section?

Equis

Hi Equis,

If you’ve spent two months of study time without practicing Verbal at all, and this 50 point improvement is the result, then it’s likely time to make some adjustments to your overall Study Plan and schedule.

The length of time that you spend studying isn't necessarily the most important factor in your progress. There's something to be said for the QUALITY of your study - the materials you use, the tactics you learn, you retention levels, etc.

You have a great opportunity to earn BIG points in BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections. As such, a more "balanced attack" against both the Quant and Verbal sections will have to happen and you'll need to learn some new tactics (and practice them until they become a natural part of your Test Taking process).

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

Expert Post
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
D
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 11063
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170
Re: EMPOWERgmat Blog [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 30 Nov 2015, 08:56
Monday Mail-Bag: Advice on Big Picture Issues That Impact GMAT Test Takers…

This series of emails and PMs focuses on situations that many Test Takers face during their studies. The names of the original posters have been changed to protect their identities.


Translating Wordy Quant Prompts
Hi Rich,

I'm having a hard time trying to put the following statement together into numbers. Can you explain it to me like I'm five years old? I just want a clear explanation to translating the English into numbers.

“Working alone, Manuel finishes cleaning half the house in a third of the time it takes Nick to clean the entire house alone. Manuel alone cleans the entire house in 6 hours. How many hours will it take Nick and Manuel to clean the entire house if they work together?”

Grieva

Hi Grieva,

GMAT Quant questions sometimes give you information "out of order" to see if you can organize the data efficiently.

In the second sentence, we're told that Manuel can clean an entire house in 6 hours.

We're going to use THAT information to properly translate the PRIOR sentence: "Manuel finishes cleaning half the house in a third of the time it takes Nick to clean the entire house alone."

Since Manuel cleans the whole house in 6 hours, he cleans HALF the house in HALF the time: 3 hours.

So, 3 = (1/3)(N)

9 = N

Nick's time to clean the entire house = 9 hours

With both Manuel's time (6 hours) and Nick's time (9 hours), you can then use the Work Formula to figure out how long it takes the two of them to clean the entire house, when working together:

(6x9)/(6+9) = 54/15 = 18/5 = 3.6 hours

Be prepared to face information that’s out-of-order in the Verbal section too (especially in CR). Your ability to handle that ‘issue’ is something that you will face in Business School and beyond.


General Last Minute Advice CAN ONLY Be General
Rich,

I recently took an official mock exam and got 640 (Q44,V35). This is an improvement over my prior scores, but it's not enough.

I'm sitting the gmat in 4 days and I probably won’t get another chance at it.
What should I do to maximize my chances of reaching the 700 threshold?

Zeta

Hi Zeta,

Since you waited until the last few days to ask for advice, there's not much that anyone can offer you beyond some general perspective:

1) Keep your review light - DO NOT take any practice CATs. Review past questions and note the tactics that worked for you. You can even do some new questions, but don't work on anything too difficult or too spend any time "cramming."

2) Try to get a good night's sleep - while you're going to be excited about Test Day, the right amount of sleep can factor in greatly in your mindset and performance.

3) Try to stay calm - Make sure to sit up and breathe during the exam. Read carefully and take notes. Most GMAT questions are pretty straight-forward, so organize whatever information you're given and do the work that needs to be done.

Quality vs. Quantity During Your Studies
Hi Rich,

Do you know where I can find the following documents - 1000 rc, 1000 sc and
1000 cr? I really want to do lots of verbal practice questions to improve my score.

Ahi

Hi Ahi,

You should be careful NOT to confuse quantity with quality. You don't need to do "as many questions as possible" to crush the GMAT. You need to learn the proper tactics, then do enough practice problems to hone your skills and keep them sharp up to Test Day.

To that end, the most realistic practice materials are the ones offered by GMAC (through the various books and resources offered through the Official website). If you're interested in using free material only, then you shouldn't be surprised if your GMAT score isn't as high as you want it to be. "Free" doesn't necessarily mean "high quality" or "representative" or "up-to-date." Sometimes you have to spend some money to make sure that you're using relevant material and to help make the optimum result occur.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

Expert Post
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
D
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 11063
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170
Re: EMPOWERgmat Blog [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 04 Dec 2015, 00:10
Efficient GMAT Test-Taking Comes From Efficient GMAT Studies

Any time a looming application deadline approaches, you’re more likely to see a group of Test Takers scrambling to jam as much extra study time into their schedules as possible. While putting in that extra study might seem like a logical idea (especially as far as earning that Official GMAT Score before the deadline is concerned) the reality is that quantity of study is not the same as quality of study (and/or efficiency of study). If you’ve been studying a certain way for some time and you haven’t achieved your score goals, then studying a lot more in that SAME way will likely not lead to an appreciable improvement in your performance. To improve, you have to make some logical choices about how you study AND take advantage of the efficiencies that can be gained by adjusting your routine.

Have you ever studied for a lengthy period of time (4 or more hours in a row)? At what point do you start to lose focus? For many Test Takers, it’s right around the 2-hour mark. This is one of the reasons why you never have to work for more than 75 minutes in a row on Test Day (unless you’re foolish enough to skip your 8-minute breaks). The human brain can handle only so much study time in a row, so you have to account for that and plan your study sessions for that efficiency. Plan to take a ‘break’ of some type every 1.5 to 2 hours or so. The break can be 15 minutes or longer (it’s up to you, but it’s important to get up, walk away from your studies and do something less mentally taxing – a physical task can be quite helpful to your overall wellbeing - take a walk, run an errand, etc.). As a general rule, on LONG study days, I recommend 1 hour ‘off’ for every 2 hours ‘on.’

Another common trait of many GMATers is that they have full-time jobs and long work hours. As a result of their work schedules, they often study AFTER work, when they’re already exhausted from a full day’s activities. That is an inefficient way to go about training for this Test. The human brain tends to do its most effective and efficient thinking in the first 4-5 hours of the day, so how can you take advantage of that fact? While it will require ‘shuffling’ your daily routine a bit, you could go to bed EARLIER, wake up EARLIER and study before going to work. You’ll be far more likely to practice effectively, learn new concepts, etc. when you’re awake and alert.

Pacing issues tend to hurt many Test Takers as well. While that might seem like an odd subject to bring up in the middle of this essay, ANY pacing problem that you might face during your studies or on Test Day is because of the inefficiencies in how YOU handle GMAT questions. Having to read prompts over-and-over is inefficient. Doing work in your head is inefficient (and actually takes longer, over time, than doing that same work on the pad). Randomly jotting down notes instead of doing so in an organized way on one ‘section’ of the notepad is inefficient. Take a good look at any question that you get wrong during practice because of a silly/little mistake. WHY did that mistake happen?....Answer: You did something inefficiently.

Thankfully, EVERY aspect of the GMAT can be accounted for. With the proper planning and decision-making, you can take advantage of ALL of the above efficiencies (and plenty more besides those ones). If you’re not sure how to find those efficiencies, then you should seek out advice sooner rather than later (when it is too late to properly incorporate those efficiencies into your studies).

To that end, we’re here to help.

GMAT assassins aren’t born, they’re made,
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

Expert Post
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
D
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 11063
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170
Re: EMPOWERgmat Blog [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 07 Dec 2015, 00:07
Monday Mail-Bag: Advice on Big Picture Issues That Impact GMAT Test Takers…

This series of emails and PMs focuses on situations that many Test Takers face during their studies. The names of the original posters have been changed to protect their identities.

Improvement Takes Time
Hi Rich,

I took a CAT a week ago and scored 610 and this week I score 580.

I am not sure what to say about the above scores. I tried to improve on the first CAT by going through the answers and developing a strategic approach to Quant and RC this past week, and put in a lot of hard work. I was expecting the scores to climb near 650 or so. What am I doing wrong?

Arty

Hi Arty,

Those two scores (610 and 580) are close enough to one another that you likely haven't adapted your approach enough to pick up the missing points that you're after. I'd suggest that you do a thorough review of your most recent CAT. Count up the number of "silly mistakes" vs. the number of "hard questions"; the missing points will add up in a hurry.

It takes time to absorb new ideas, especially if you've just learned them. You wouldn't be an expert at playing the guitar after a couple of lessons and a week of practice, so you shouldn't expect that with the GMAT either. Keep your eye on the bigger picture; you're learning new tactics that you need to practice MORE. Again, the CAT review should give you an opportunity to do so.

TESTING THE ANSWERS Applied
Dear Rich,

I can’t seem to figure out the logic behind this question. I picked B but the answer was C. How should I be approaching this?

In a certain deck of cards, each card has a positive integer. In a multiplication game, a person draws a card and multiplies that integer by next larger integer. If the product of the two numbers is between 15 and 200, then the least and greatest integer on the cards could be?

A) 3 & 15
B) 3 & 20
C) 4 & 13
D) 4 &14
E) 5 & 14

Betty

Hi Betty,

Since the answers to this question are numbers, I'm going to TEST THE ANSWERS.

We're told that, after drawing a card, you must multiply the number on the card by the next LARGER integer and end up with a number between 15 and 200. We're asked for the smallest and largest possible numbers on the cards.
Looking at the answer choices, I want to see what happens IF the lowest number is 3…

IF the number was 3, then…
3(4) = 12, which is NOT between 15 and 200. Eliminate A and B.

IF the number was 4, then…
4(5) = 20, which IS between 15 and 200. Eliminate E.

Now, on to the biggest number:

IF the number was 13, then…
13(14) = 182
IF the number was 14, then…
14(15) = 210

So, 14 is TOO BIG.

Final Answer: C

Possible Wrong Answer Penalty
Rich,

I recently took the gmat for a second time and scored 710/Q47/V40. I was not able to complete the quant section (I ran out of time on question 36), so I wanted to know how bad the penalty was for not finishing. How much higher could I have scored?

Carney

Hi Carney,

It's important to answer EVERY question on the GMAT, even if you're just taking a guess. Any question that is left unanswered is marked as incorrect AND is penalized. The "effect" of the penalty is based heavily on the number of unanswered questions. Leaving 1-2 questions unanswered could have incurred a minor penalty (assuming the question(s) actually "counted", and were not experimental questions). A longer string of unanswered questions (4 or 5, for example) would result in a significant penalty. There’s also the question of how well you answered the prior ‘block’ of questions BEFORE question 36. A long ‘string’ of wrong answers, combined with some unanswered questions, could have brought your score down quite a bit. As it stands, we’ll never know the exact ‘damage’, but you’ve ended up with a fantastic overall score, so there’s really no point in wasting your efforts trying to figure it out.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

Manager
Manager
avatar
Joined: 22 Sep 2015
Posts: 110
Re: EMPOWERgmat Blog [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 08 Dec 2015, 08:45
.

Last edited by nycgirl212 on 12 Dec 2015, 10:03, edited 1 time in total.
Re: EMPOWERgmat Blog   [#permalink] 08 Dec 2015, 08:45

Go to page   Previous    1   2   3   4   5   6   7    Next  [ 126 posts ] 

Display posts from previous: Sort by

EMPOWERgmat Blog

  new topic post reply Question banks Downloads My Bookmarks Reviews Important topics  


GMAT Club MBA Forum Home| About| Terms and Conditions| GMAT Club Rules| Contact| Sitemap

Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group | Emoji artwork provided by EmojiOne

Kindly note that the GMAT® test is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admission Council®, and this site has neither been reviewed nor endorsed by GMAC®.