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Everything you need to know about the New Official Guides, Part 1  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2015, 16:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Everything you need to know about the New Official Guides, Part 1
Image
The new Official Guide books are here! Aren’t you excited?!?

Okay, I realize that most people probably aren’t as excited as I am. But there are still some interesting and useful things to know about these new books as you get ready to take the GMAT. So let’s talk about it!

In this installment, I’ll discuss additions and changes to quant sections for The Official Guide for GMAT® Review 2016, aka the OG or the big book. Keep an eye out for later installments, in which I’ll discuss the verbal section of the big book, as well as the Quantitative Review and Verbal Review books. I’ll also be providing you with a list of the new questions, in case you decide to study from both the 2015 and 2016 editions.

If you haven’t already bought your official guide books, then do buy these latest editions—sure you might be able to get a discount on the 2015 editions, but since you have to spend money anyway, you might as well work from the latest and greatest.

If you have already bought the older editions and are debating whether to buy the new ones, too, then you’ve got a decision to make. On the one hand, there are a lot of great new questions in the 2016 editions. On the other, the 2015 edition already has a ton of problems; you may not need even more. If it were me, I’d wait until I’d used up the ones in the materials I already have. If I still felt that I needed more beyond that, then I’d consider getting one or more of the new books.

What’s new in OG 2016?
Approximately 25% of the questions are brand new, and there are some beauties in the mix. As I worked through the problems, I marveled anew at the skill with which the test writers can produce what I call elegant problems. On the quant side, I saw example after example in which the problem can be solved with little to no computation as long as you can decode and understand the fundamental concept underlying the problem—that’s the real test-taking skill!

Rich D’Amato, spokesperson for GMAT, confirmed that a decent number of the new questions were produced relatively recently; that is, you’ll be seeing questions that were on the real exam not too long ago. (The older questions are still great study questions, too; the GMAT is a standardized test so, by definition, the test makers can’t change things too drastically or rapidly. There can be some mild trends over time, though. For example, the test makers may decide that certain idioms should be retired from or introduced for Sentence Correction problems.)

The opening chapters of the book describe how the GMAT works and how to study for the test; these sections have not changed. Nor has the Math Review (chapter 4). This is no surprise—again, the GMAT is a standardized test and, as such, it remains very consistent over time. The Diagnostic test in chapter 3 also has not changed.

What’s new in Quant?
Overall, I noticed multiple new problems that crossed two or (occasionally) even three content areas. For instance, #18 is a geometry question that also crosses into percents, as does overlapping sets Problem #91. I chose those two examples on purpose so that I could also point this out: fractions and percents, in particular, are really good concepts to cross over into any other content area, so make sure you have a very solid foundation in both fractions and percents.

I also noticed a few visual questions—a couple of 3-D geometry and some coordinate plane problems that were made much harder by my general tendency to struggle with this kind of visual stuff. If you’re like me, beware; you may decide ahead of time that you want to bail immediately on 3-D or other problems that have a heavy visual component.

Problem Solving

Of the 230 questions in the Problem Solving (PS) section, 58 of them are new. (Disclaimer: I hope I counted correctly for all of these sections, but I’ve been going through about 1,500 questions and hundreds of pages quickly in order to get this review out to you right away. So please forgive me if I miscounted anything! I’ll correct any errors as soon as I find out about them.)

I noticed a number of what I’ll call “practical” questions: the question, usually a story problem, reads like something you might be asked to figure out in the real world. Problem #11, for example, asks you to figure out the minimum number of questionnaires you’d need to mail in order to achieve a certain desired number of responses. (The problem includes an assumed response rate.)

Note: I can’t actually reproduce the text of the question for copyright reasons, but I’m citing the problem number so that you can look it up if you do decide to buy the book.

Problem #39 can literally be counted out on your fingers—as long as you understand what you’re being asked to do. Be careful with definitions!

I also saw several problems that seriously disguised what the question was getting at. I don’t want to spoil you for the questions—better if you can figure it out for yourself!—but take a close look at #68 and #83. On the surface, these would be classified as algebra. But at least one can be done more easily using a different set of concepts. (I’ll tell you at the end of this article. But don’t look until you’ve tried to figure it out yourself!)

I used smart numbers to solve a number of the problems and I also worked backwards multiple times. In other words, these strategies are just as important as they always were. I did notice one question (#99) on which we could use smart numbers but the form of the answers indicated that it’d almost certainly be easier to do algebra. Look at the problem; you’ll see what I mean!

Finally, let’s talk about those elegant questions. If you can understand the concepts underlying #97, then you barely need to calculate anything at all—even though it looks as though you’re going to need to do some annoying algebra to answer the problem. Likewise, #107 has a huge disguise that, once uncovered, allows you to answer in two seconds without calculating anything at all. (Again, I’ll tell you what this is at the end of this article.)

Data Sufficiency

Of the 174 Data Sufficiency (DS) problems, 45 are new to this edition of the OG.

Continuing on the theme from PS, I was really struck by the number of new story problems for which translation is the whole key. If you translate carefully and accurately, then you don’t need to do anything more to solve. For example, #38 looks particularly nasty. Translate that thing very carefully, though, and you won’t have to do any messy calculations to answer. Problem #83 is another example; the story is pretty confusing, but if you can lay out the parts carefully and clearly, then the rest of the problem is more about logic than math.

Next, I used testing cases numerous times; as with PS, the standard test-taking strategies are still in full evidence on DS. I also noticed that, as before, it’s crucial to make sure you know what you were asked to find. This is true on PS too, of course, but DS tends to set more traps around solving for the wrong thing. Check out #39. You can’t find t by itself, but you can find t2, and that’s good enough to solve.

So what were all those cool disguises and tricks you mentioned?
Here you go. Again, do not read this until you have worked on these problems yourself! If you can figure out what’s going on yourself, the lesson will stick much better in the end. J

PS #68 and #83. These two problems share a consecutive integer disguise. The givens can be read to mean consecutive integers (the second one has to be rearranged to do so) and, since in each case the two terms multiply to an integer, that tells you that you’re dealing with the factors of that integer. For instance, in #68, the factors of 24 are (1, 24), (2, 12), (3, 8), and (4, 6). BUT note that the problem does not actually mention factors or specify positive numbers, so you also have to take into account that the pairs could be negative.

Next, you know that they have to be consecutive odds or consecutive evens, so the only two pairs that work are (4, 6) and (-4, -6). From there, you can figure out the answer. Problem #83 has a similar disguise, although it can also be solved via quadratic equations.

PS #97. The question asks you to maximize the depth, N(t). The -20(t – 5)2 term has that negative sign out front, so it could reduce the depth, so you need to minimize the negative value. How? Make the (t – 5) term equal to zero!

PS #107. I love this one. It’s a weighted average question in disguise. The formula x + y = 1 signifies that the two weightings add up to 100%: x + y = 100%, where x and y are the two weightings. The formula 100x + 200y signifies the weightings that you’re applying to each of the two endpoints, 100 and 200. The weighted average must be somewhere between the two starting numbers / endpoints, so only two of the roman numerals can work.

DS #38. The question tells you to set (1/12 + kv2) equal to 5/12. Then it asks you for v. If you know k, then you can find v. So the real question is whether the statement allows you to find k. Statement (1) obviously does, and statement (2) also does, because it gives you another equation: (1/12) + k(30)2 = 1/6.

DS #83. There are x processors. Each processor can process up to y calls. Think about what this means—maybe even draw a picture. Note that x has to be at least 1 and y has to be at least 1. If you have x = 1 processor that can process y = 500 calls, then sure, you can process 500 calls at once. If you have x = 10 processors that can process y = 10 calls each, then nope, you can’t process 500 calls at once.

So you need to know something about x and y in order to answer. It looks, then, like statements (1) and (2) can’t work alone, since each talks about only one variable. But don’t forget the constraint that each has to be at least 1!! If you have x = 600 processors, then you can definitely process 500 calls, since each processor has to be able to process at least one call.

What about Verbal? And the other books?
Next time, we’ll dive into the verbal sections of the Big OG. Then, we’ll discuss the quant and verbal supplements, and finally, I’ll provide you with lists of the new questions in each book and also the new question numbers for the old questions that remain in the book from the last edition.

Happy studying!

The post Everything you need to know about the New Official Guides, Part 1 appeared first on GMAT.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Everything you need to know about the New Official Guides, Part 2  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jun 2015, 19:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Everything you need to know about the New Official Guides, Part 2
Image
The new Official Guide books are here! Last time, we talked about the Quant portion of The Official Guide for GMAT, aka the OG or the big book. In this installment, we’ll discuss the Verbal section of the big book. Later installments will talk about the Quant Review and Verbal Review (the smaller books), as well as question lists for the new questions.

(Note: I have not yet had time to analyze the IR problems that come via your special online access. I’ll get to that soon—the quant and the verbal are higher priority!)

Part 1 included an overview of the changes to the whole book; I’ve included that overview here as well (the next section!), in case you’re reading this installment first. (The only difference is one sentence in the first paragraph.)

What’s new in OG 2016?
Approximately 25% of the questions are brand new, and there are some beauties in the mix. As I worked through the problems, I marveled anew at the skill with which the test writers can produce what I call elegant problems. On the verbal side, I loved how some of the new questions wove meaning into the issue of Sentence Correction; if you have been focusing on grammar and shortchanging meaning, you’re definitely going to need to change your approach.

Rich D’Amato, spokesperson for GMAT, confirmed that a decent number of the new questions were produced relatively recently; that is, you’ll be seeing questions that were on the real exam not too long ago. (The older questions are still great study questions, too; the GMAT is a standardized test so, by definition, the test makers can’t change things too drastically or rapidly. There can be some mild trends over time, though. For example, the test makers may decide that certain idioms should be retired from or introduced for Sentence Correction problems.)

The opening chapters of the book describe how the GMAT works and how to study for the test; these sections have not changed. Nor has the Math Review (chapter 4). This is no surprise—again, the GMAT is a standardized test and, as such, it remains very consistent over time. The Diagnostic test in chapter 3 also has not changed.

What’s new in SC?
Of the 140 questions in the Sentence Correction (SC) chapter, 35 are new. Sentence Correction is always difficult to classify because one question can test multiple different topics, and one difference can straddle the line between two topics. A full 16 of the new questions, though, test meaning or sentence structure (or both). I thought that there were some interesting sentence structure examples; keep an eye out for my eventual problem lists, in which I’ll add notes about things that caught my eye when doing the problems.

When comparing the questions that were dropped to the ones that were added, meaning definitely jumped in the count. This is again a judgment call: when do we classify something as pure meaning vs. a grammar error that messes up meaning? But using a consistent standard across all of the questions, I counted 10 new meaning SCs compared to 3 dropped.

All of the other categories didn’t change substantially (not a big surprise, since this is a standardized test). I do want to point out that 19 out of the 35 new questions cover parallelism or comparisons. In other words, these two topics were important before and they still are. Study them!

What’s new in CR?
Of the 130 questions in the Critical Reasoning (CR) chapter, 35 are new.

When comparing the number of questions dropped vs. added, it was the case that Strengthen questions jumped a bit, while Weaken and Inference dropped a bit. These trends also appeared in the Verbal supplement, so I’m noting them here, though I also want to add that the numbers are small enough that we can’t say definitively that they reflect any kind of change in the test. (Also, there were some other seeming trends that didn’t actually hold for both books, so I’m ignoring those.)

All of the questions except for one (#39) fit neatly into our existing classification categories. I’m still trying to decide how I would classify #39. It’s in the Assumption Family but I keep going back and forth on whether I would call it a Strengthen or a Weaken. The question stem alone is most like a weaken (an “alternative explanation” would be like saying “Hey, here’s a better conclusion than the one you came up with!”). But the reasoning for the correct answer choice can be interpreted as a Strengthen. I’m going to be asking some fellow teachers, and even GMAC, about this one; I’ll get back to you.

What’s new in RC?
We lost 3 shorter and 3 longer passages from the 2015 edition; 3 of these were social science, 2 were science, and 1 was business.

We gained 4 longer passages and 2 shorter ones; 4 of these were science and 2 were social science. I’m not sure whether that indicates any kind of increased emphasis on science topics, but it’s certainly interesting that not one of the new passages is a business passage.

There are 31 new questions total out of 139 questions total. 15 specific detail question were dropped and only 7 were added. That 8-question differential was added to specific purpose (why) questions (+5), weaken (+2), and main idea (+1). The latter two are pretty small changes, but I found it very interesting that 5 why questions were added.

What else? Tell me more!
I’ve got more for you! In later installments, we’ll talk about the Quant Review and Verbal Review (the smaller OGs) and I’ll give you lists of the new question numbers as well as the updated question numbers for the problems that are in both books. Until then, happy studying!

 

The post Everything you need to know about the New Official Guides, Part 2 appeared first on GMAT.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Everything you need to know about the New Official Guides, Part 3  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jun 2015, 17:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Everything you need to know about the New Official Guides, Part 3
I have now done every last one of the new quant problems in both new books—and there are some really neat ones! I’ve also got some interesting observations for you. (If you haven’t yet read my earlier installments, start here.)

In this installment, I’ll discuss my overall conclusions for quant and I’ll also give you all of the problem numbers for the new problems in both the big OG and the smaller quant-only OG.

What’s new in Quant?
Now that I’ve seen everything, I’ve been able to spot some trends across all of the added and dropped questions. For example, across both The Official Guide for GMAT® Review (aka the big book) and The Official Guide for GMAT® Quant Review (aka quant-only or the quant supplement), Linear Equation problems dropped by a count of 13. This is the differential: new questions minus dropped questions.

That’s a pretty big number; the next closest categories, Inequalities and Rates & Work, dropped by 5 questions each. I’m not convinced that a drop of 5 is at all significant, but I decided that was a safe place to stop the “Hmm, that’s interesting!” count.

Now, a caveat: there are sometimes judgment calls to make in classifying problems. Certain problems cross multiple content areas, so we do our best to pick the topic area that is most essential in solving that problem. But that 13 still stands out. Image

The biggest jump came from Formulas, with 10 added questions across both sources. This category includes sequences and functions; just straight translation or linear equations would go into those respective categories, not formulas. Positive & Negative questions jumped by 7, weighted average jumped by 6, and coordinate plane jumped by 5.

Given that Linear Equations dropped and Formulas jumped, could it be the case that they are going after somewhat more complex algebra now? That’s certainly possible. I didn’t feel as though the new formula questions were super hard though. It felt more as though they were testing whether you could follow directions. If I give you a weird formula with specific definitions and instructions, can you interpret correctly and manipulate accordingly?

If you think about it, work is a lot more like this than “Oh, here are two linear equations; can you solve for x?” So it makes sense that they would want to emphasize questions of a more practical nature.

Anything interesting about the new questions?
In an earlier installment, I told you about some interesting problems from the big book. Here are a few more observations from the Quant-only supplemental book.

Problem Solving

Of the 176 questions in the Problem Solving (PS) section, 44 of them are new. (Disclaimer: I hope I counted correctly for all of these sections, but I’ve been going through about 1,500 questions and hundreds of pages quickly in order to get this review out to you right away. So please forgive me if I miscounted anything! I’ll correct any errors as soon as I find out about them.)

Note: I can’t actually reproduce the text of the question for copyright reasons, but I’ll cite the problem number so that you can look it up if you do decide to buy the book.

A number of questions relied on some type of pattern recognition: #125, #143, #161. They’re not interested in you doing crazy math. They’re interested in whether you can recognize patterns and draw some kind of meaningful conclusion.

In my notes, I labeled #80 “Wow. That’s just mean.” And #152 got a “Pure evil” tag. (#152 requires mental manipulation of a 3-D shape and that’s just not something I have ever been able to do.)

I’d far rather work backwards on #127 than do the actual math. Others may feel differently, but the textbook math on this one is pretty annoying.

Data Sufficiency

Of the 124 Data Sufficiency (DS) problems, 32 are new to this edition of the Quant OG. There were some doozies.

I couldn’t believe #124, the highest numbered question in the section: a parabola inequality (not even an equation!). Now, if you like geometry, great—learn how to tackle parabolas. If you don’t, then if you happen to get one of these on the real test, give yourself a mental high five for earning this question, then pick your favorite letter and move on!

I almost fell into the trap on #123. I’m so used to rate and work questions specifying that whatever was moving at a steady rate that I almost didn’t notice the omission in this one…

Also, as with the big book, I was testing cases all the time on these DS problems. That technique is just a lifesaver (and it even works on some PS problems!).

So what are all the NEW problem numbers?
Here you go! I’ve got these organized by book and question type.

The Official Guide for GMAT® Review 2016 (aka the big OG)

Problem Solving

Key: FDP = Fractions, Decimals, & Percents; WP = Word Problems; NP = Number Properties

Image

Image

 

Data Sufficiency

Key: FDP = Fractions, Decimals, & Percents; WP = Word Problems; NP = Number Properties

Image

Image

 

The Official Guide for GMAT® Quant Review 2016 (aka the quant-only book)

Problem Solving

Key: FDP = Fractions, Decimals, & Percents; WP = Word Problems; NP = Number Properties

Image

Image

 

Data Sufficiency

Key: FDP = Fractions, Decimals, & Percents; WP = Word Problems; NP = Number Properties

Image

Image

What about Verbal?
Next time, we’ll dive into the final summary of everything verbal and I’ll also have the problem lists for you.

Until then, happy studying!

The post Everything you need to know about the New Official Guides, Part 3 appeared first on GMAT.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Everything you need to know about the New Official Guides, Part 4  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jun 2015, 18:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Everything you need to know about the New Official Guides, Part 4
I’ve just finished trying all of the new verbal OG problems. (If you haven’t yet read my earlier installments, start here.) This installment includes my summary of All Things Verbal as well as lists of the new problems by book and question type.

Also, we’re hard at work writing new solutions to add to our GMAT Navigator program, so if you have access to Navigator, you can start to check for new solutions there in—best guess—July.

What’s new in Verbal?
Now that I’ve seen everything, I’ve been able to spot some trends across all of the added and dropped questions. For example, across both The Official Guide for GMAT® Review (aka the big book) and The Official Guide for GMAT® Verbal Review (aka verbal-only or the verbal supplement), 6 science passages were added (out of 11 new passages total), while only 3 were dropped. In addition, 3 social science passages were added (compared to 5 dropped) and 2 business passages were added (compared to 2 dropped).

So, in the books at least, there’s a slight shift towards science. It’s unclear whether this signals an actual change in emphasis on the test, though; these may just be the best retired passages that they wanted to use.

For Critical Reasoning, the same total number of questions were added and dropped. The differential (added minus dropped) for Strengthen questions was +8. Further, 6 of the 22 total new Strengthen questions are fill in the blank (FitB) format, and no new FiTB’s were introduced that were not Strengthen questions.

The differential for Weaken questions was -8 and for Inference questions, it was -4. I’m not entirely sure what to make of the drop in Weaken. I’ve been hearing from students that they’ve been seeing a lot of Strengthen / Weaken on the real test and not many (CR) Inference questions. The Strengthen jump and the small Inference drop seems to go along with that, but not the larger Weaken drop. (This is why I’m always skeptical about drawing broader conclusions based on changes in the books.)

As I mentioned in my first report on Sentence Correction (part 2 of this series), it is difficult to compare categories here because one SC can (and usually does) cross multiple topics. The trends I reported before still hold after my review of the Verbal supplement: meaning and sentence structure are increasingly important, and parallelism and comparisons are just as important as they’ve always been.

Ready for the problem lists?

New verbal problem lists

The Official Guide for GMAT® Review 2016 (aka the big OG)

Reading Comprehension

Image

 

Critical Reasoning

Image

 

Sentence Correction

Note: we only tagged two topics per problem; many SC problems test more than two topics. Also, the order in which the topics are presented is generally whatever we happened to notice first in the original sentence or in the answers.

Image

 

The Official Guide for GMAT®Verbal Review 2016 (aka the verbal-only book)

Reading Comprehension

Image

 

Critical Reasoning

Image

 

Sentence Correction

Note: we only tagged two topics per problem; many SC problems test more than two topics. Also, the order in which the topics are presented is random—whatever we happened to notice first!

Image

Phew. I think that’s it…
A week and several thousand words later, I think that’s all, folks! Of course, I’m sure that we’ll have plenty of things to discuss over the coming weeks as we dive more deeply into all of the fun new OG questions. But for now, I hope you’ve found this review valuable and I’m going to go take a well-earned break. Image

Happy studying!

 

Missed anything in this four-part series? Start here! 

The post Everything you need to know about the New Official Guides, Part 4 appeared first on GMAT.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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BREAKING: Two new GMAT policies you need to know  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jun 2015, 10:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: BREAKING: Two new GMAT policies you need to know
On June 24th, GMAC (the organization that makes the GMAT®) made two announcements that change the GMAT testing game. Read on to find out what they are!

Canceled scores will NOT show on your score report
In the past, we have counseled students not to worry much about canceling scores, because the vast majority of business schools are interested only in your highest scores (and this is still true). Besides, the school would have been able to see that you took a test and then canceled the scores, so they could guess that you had a “bad” test on record.

As of July 19th, if you cancel the scores from a test administration, those scores will not even show up on your record. The schools won’t have any idea that you took a GMAT that day!

As such, the conversation about when to cancel becomes trickier. I need to think about this some more, but I think I’m going to advise my students to keep any scores that are within 100 points of their goal scores.

Why? There are two possible scenarios. #1: you eventually get to your goal score. In this case, schools will see that you buckled down, studied, and really improved. Obviously, that’s a win. #2: you do not eventually reach your goal score. (Perhaps your goal score is unrealistic.) In this case, at least you still do have this other score on your record. It would be terrible to have taken the test 3 times, with scores in a certain range, but to have canceled all those scores; now you have nothing on record!

As I mentioned, GMAC has announced that this policy change will take effect on July 19th. It will apply retroactively. If you have not yet sent your scores to a particular school, then when you do finally send the scores, they will remove the canceled scores from your report.

The re-take period has been shortened to 16 days (from 31)
As of July 19th, instead of waiting 31 days to re-take the exam, you’ll only have to wait 16 days. This is fantastic for someone who got sick during the exam or got really nervous and seriously messed up the timing.

Note that this could create a problem for those students who really should take longer to study for a re-take but instead try to cram it in too fast. In my experience, most people need a solid 4 to 8 weeks (if not longer!) before a re-take. Maybe 10% to 15% of the students with whom I talk could reasonably re-take in 2.5 to 3 weeks and expect to get a different score. So just be careful about this one—it’s a double-edged sword.

Thanks, GMAC!
These changes are huge so I just wanted to say that. Image
 Oh, and if you want to read the full official announcement, here you go.

Happy studying!

 

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Stacey Koprince is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Montreal, Canada and Los Angeles, California.
Stacey has been teaching the GMAT, GRE, and LSAT  for more than 15 years and is one of the most well-known instructors in the industry. Stacey loves to teach and is absolutely fascinated by standardized tests. Check out Stacey’s upcoming GMAT courses here! 

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How to Get the Most out of the GMAT Official Guides  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jul 2015, 21:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: How to Get the Most out of the GMAT Official Guides
Image
Now that the new 2016 Official Guide books are out, I’d like to talk about how to use these problems to get the most out of your study. I also want to talk about what not to do, as a lot of people end up essentially wasting these great study problems (not to mention valuable time!).

What should I NOT do?
Your goal is to learn from the Official Guide (OG) problems in such a way that, if you see something similar on the real test, you’ll recognize what to do on that new problem.

Keep some things in mind:

  • Your goal is NOT to memorize how to do the problems that you’re studying. You won’t see these exact problems on the test! Can you tell me exactly how to do a particular problem? That’s great. But I care far more whether you can tell me how you know what to do and why you want to take the steps that you take. If you can, then you’ll know how to think your way through a new problem on the real test.
  • Your goal is NOT to try to get everything (or even most problems) right. Sometimes, what you want to recognize fairly quickly is that you should guess immediately and move on. Other times, you want to recognize that your best strategy is to spend some time making an educated guess—and then move on. Still other times, you’ll have to be able to recognize that you initially thought you could do this one but it’s just not happening, so you’ll need to cut yourself off, guess, and move on.

This is all true not just when the clock is ticking but when you’re studying as well. Take a look at Problem Solving #152 in the 2016 Quant supplement (the smaller, quant-only book). I thought about this problem for about 15 seconds, then laughed and admitted that I will never get a problem like this one right (unless I get lucky!). My brain just doesn’t work this way. I’m not even going to bother studying this problem; if I see something like it on the real test, I’ll pick my favorite letter and move on immediately. And I won’t feel bad in the slightest. J

Most people could lift their Q and V sub-scores by 2 to 3 points just by making better decisions about what not to do while the clock is ticking.

[*] Your goal is NOT even to do all of the problems. Rather, your goal is to learn everything you can from the problems that you do study. Here’s the thing: probably 80% of what you learn will come after you have picked your answer! Your analysis of the problem itself and your own work / thought process will do the most to help you get better at thinking your way through new problems.[/list]
Okay, so what SHOULD I do?
You’re going to use OG problems in three different ways. The below steps apply to everything except Reading Comprehension (RC). I’ll talk about RC after.

First, as you study particular topics or question sub-types (say, quadratic equations, modifiers, or CR strengthen the argument), try 2 to 3 problems from that particular area when you’re ready to test yourself to see how well you learned the material. Start with easier to medium problems (in general, lower-numbered problems tend to be easier than higher-numbered problems). Don’t do the hard ones yet! Just make sure you’ve got the basics down.

Second, during the phase of your studies when you’re still learning all those basics (quant and grammar rules, the different CR question types, etc.), try doing small, semi-mixed (and timed!) sets of 4 to 6 questions. “Semi-mixed” means, first, that you’ll mix types (DS + PS, SC + CR + RC, or two of those three). It also means that you’ll mix up topics or question sub-types. Learning science (the science of learning!) has established very clearly that interleaving topics allows you to learn much better.

What does that mean? Interleave is the formal term for mix it up! Make a set of questions that mixes up topics you’ve been studying for the past week or so. Do not sit down and do a bunch of Rates & Work questions all in a row (this is called blocking or blocked study). You will think you’re learning well, but you won’t be learning as well as you would if you interleaved the topics.

Take a look at this video from Dr. Robert Bjork, a UCLA professor who specializes in human learning and memory. Yes, it can be a little dry, but stay till the end; the big payoff is in the last 90 seconds (it’s only 6 minutes long).

Here’s the big payoff, just in case: interleaving your study feels harder than doing blocked study, but we’re actually wrong when we think that we’re learning more via blocking. Interleaving will allow you to recall more in the long run!

Third, after you’ve learned* the general content and question type strategies, start doing longer mixed sets of about 8 to 15 questions; again, time yourself and make yourself stick to the time limit! The real test isn’t going to give you one second extra. These sets will be truly mixed; don’t include more than a couple of questions from the same sub-category and always include some questions that are randomly chosen—that is, you have no idea ahead of time what the question tests. At least 50% of the questions in the set should be randomly chosen; sometimes, do sets that are 100% random.

*Note: “learned” means you will have now gone through your study material once (say, all of your non-OG books or your classes), but you will likely have a list of things that you want to review again. Still, move to stage 3 of your OG problems. Trust me: you will learn better by studying under official conditions. Remember, on the real test, you have no idea what’s coming next and you have to figure it out each time a new question pops up on the screen!

What about RC?
RC questions come in sets with a passage, of course, so here’s what you’re going to do.

Passages generally have 3 to 9 questions. For any passages with 3 to 5 questions, do that passage and all its associated questions in one batch. For any passages with 6 to 9 questions, split the questions into two batches.

The first time you do that passage, do the odd-numbered questions. Then, put that passage aside for a month or two. When you come back to it, you can do the even ones. (Note: I picked the order of odd vs. even randomly; you can reverse that if you like. But to keep your life simpler, make your choice consistent, so that two months from now, you’re not asking yourself, “Wait, did I do the odd ones or the even ones last time?”)

Is there an easier way to set up the OG problem sets?
Yes! When you’re doing the shorter sets of 4 to 6, you are just going to pick them out of your book yourself; use sticky notes to mark the pages so that you can flip quickly while the clock is ticking.

You can do the same thing when you do longer sets, for the specific problems that you do choose, but note that the randomness works in your favor now. It doesn’t matter what you do for 50% (or more) of the set: pick anything! Just remember to jot down the question number.

Plus, when you want to do completely random sets, you can let the OG online program set those up for you. (Look at the cover page for chapter 1 for instructions on how to access the online program.)

Here are some more detailed instructions for putting together larger sets of OG problems on your own.

Take-aways
(1) Initially, use a very small number of OG problems just to test your understanding of some new question type or content area.

(2) Do most of your OGs in timed, mixed sets. Remember, interleaving your study may feel harder but you learn more in the end!

(3) Most of your learning will occur after you have finished the problem. Make sure you are thoroughly analyzing the problems you’ve already done before you start on a new set of questions; if you don’t, you’re just wasting those questions (and your study time!).

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Manhattan Prep secures endorsement from Dr. Lawrence Rudner, leading G  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2015, 22:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Manhattan Prep secures endorsement from Dr. Lawrence Rudner, leading GMAT authority
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I have some very exciting news to announce.

For the past several months, we have engaged Dr. Lawrence Rudner, former Chief Psychometrician of the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC, the makers of the GMAT®), to review our practice tests. Dr. Rudner is one of the world’s leading experts in item response theory, the testing principle on which the GMAT is based. He is the definitive authority on the GMAT examination.

And here’s what he has to say about Manhattan Prep’s practice exams:

“I conducted an extensive examination of student data for all of the Manhattan Prep test questions and I was very impressed. I can attest to the fact that very high percentages of Quant and Verbal items have excellent psychometric properties. I can further attest that Manhattan Prep’s GMAT practice exams do an excellent job of predicting a student’s score on the actual GMAT examination. Manhattan Prep’s GMAT practice exams can help you accurately gauge when you’re ready to achieve your goal score on the real test.”
Lawrence M. Rudner, PhD, MBA

In short, our tests do “an excellent job of predicting” your score on the real GMAT. That’s great news!

I am particularly excited about the fact that our CATs were so strong that Dr. Rudner offered his endorsement without requiring us to change a single thing. Going into the review, we had thought that we would be given a required list of changes before he could give his seal of approval.

I do have to add a caveat: nothing is perfect and not everyone scores on the real test exactly what they scored on our test (or any practice test). No standardized test is that precise, including the real GMAT. There are also other factors that can negatively affect certain students, such as anxiety (you know your practice tests don’t really count) or mental fatigue (don’t study for 6 hours the day before the real exam!).

Caveat over. In general, you can trust our exams to help you know when you’re ready to get in there and take the real thing. I already felt that way before, but now I can say it with conviction, because Dr. Rudner has confirmed the accuracy of our exams.

I have to give a shout-out to all of our instructors who have worked so diligently on our exams over the years—you know who you are. We literally would not be having this conversation right now if not for your hard work and dedication to making our materials the best. Thank you for your love of teaching and your complete fascination with the GMAT. I’m proud to call you colleagues and friends.

And back to our students: Go forth and study! You can beat this test!

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What is a good GMAT score?  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Aug 2015, 19:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: What is a good GMAT score?


Not sure what you should be aiming for on the GMAT? Manhattan Prep instructor & GMAT expert Johnathan Schneider breaks down what a good GMAT score is and what it means for you.

Want to know more about your score? Take a free GMAT practice test now. And be sure to check back every Tuesday for a new video in our GMAT 101 series, detailing some of the most frequently asked questions about the GMAT.

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What are the dates for the GMAT?  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Aug 2015, 06:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: What are the dates for the GMAT?


How often is the GMAT offered? When should you take it? How far in advance should you register? We’ve got the answers!

Be sure to check back every Tuesday for a new video in our GMAT 101 series, detailing some of the most frequently asked questions about the GMAT.

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Should I take a GMAT class or study on my own?  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Aug 2015, 23:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Should I take a GMAT class or study on my own?


Can you learn everything you need to know in order to ace the GMAT on your own?

Yes, but there are varying degrees of study with varying levels of difficulty. Watch this quick video to learn more about your options. Ready to get started? Check out our free GMAT prep resources.

Want more useful GMAT basics? Check out the rest of the GMAT 101 series.

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Everything you need to know about the New Official Guides, Part 1  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Aug 2015, 12:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Everything you need to know about the New Official Guides, Part 1
The new Official Guide books are here! Aren’t you excited?!?

Okay, I realize that most people probably aren’t as excited as I am. But there are still some interesting and useful things to know about these new books as you get ready to take the GMAT. So let’s talk about it!

In this installment, I’ll discuss additions and changes to quant sections for The Official Guide for GMATÒ Review 2016, aka the OG or the big book. Keep an eye out for later installments, in which I’ll discuss the Verbal section of the big book, as well as the Quantitative Review and Verbal Review books. I’ll also be providing you with a list of the new questions, in case you decide to study from both the 2015 and 2016 editions.

If you haven’t already bought your official guide books, then do buy these latest editions—sure you might be able to get a discount on the 2015 editions, but since you have to spend money anyway, you might as well work from the latest and greatest.

If you have already bought the older editions and are debating whether to buy the new ones, too, then you’ve got a decision to make. On the one hand, there are a lot of great new questions in the 2016 editions. On the other, the 2015 edition already has a ton of problems; you may not need even more. If it were me, I’d wait until I’d used up the ones in the materials I already have. If I still felt that I needed more beyond that, then I’d consider getting one or more of the new books.

What’s new in OG 2016?
Approximately 25% of the questions are brand new, and there are some beauties in the mix. As I worked through the problems, I marveled anew at the skill with which the test writers can produce what I call elegant problems. On the quant side, I saw example after example in which the problem can be solved with little to no computation as long as you can decode and understand the fundamental concept underlying the problem—that’s the real test-taking skill!

Rich D’Amato, spokesperson for GMAT, confirmed that a decent number of the new questions were produced relatively recently; that is, you’ll be seeing questions that were on the real exam not too long ago. (The older questions are still great study questions, too; the GMAT is a standardized test so, by definition, the test makers can’t change things too drastically or rapidly. There can be some mild trends over time, though. For example, the test makers may decide that certain idioms should be retired from or introduced for Sentence Correction problems.)

The opening chapters of the book describe how the GMAT works and how to study for the test; these sections have not changed. Nor has the Math Review (chapter 4). This is no surprise—again, the GMAT is a standardized test and, as such, it remains very consistent over time. The Diagnostic test in chapter 3 also has not changed.

What’s new in Quant?
Overall, I noticed multiple new problems that crossed two or (occasionally) even three content areas. For instance, #18 is a geometry question that also crosses into percents, as does overlapping sets Problem #91. I chose those two examples on purpose so that I could also point this out: fractions and percents, in particular, are really good concepts to cross over into any other content area, so make sure you have a very solid foundation in both fractions and percents.

I also noticed a few visual questions—a couple of 3-D geometry and some coordinate plane problems that were made much harder by my general tendency to struggle with this kind of visual stuff. If you’re like me, beware; you may decide ahead of time that you want to bail immediately on 3-D or other problems that have a heavy visual component.

Problem Solving

Of the 230 questions in the Problem Solving (PS) section, 58 of them are new. (Disclaimer: I hope I counted correctly for all of these sections, but I’ve been going through about 1,500 questions and hundreds of pages quickly in order to get this review out to you right away. So please forgive me if I miscounted anything! I’ll correct any errors as soon as I find out about them.)

I noticed a number of what I’ll call “practical” questions: the question, usually a story problem, reads like something you might be asked to figure out in the real world. Problem #11, for example, asks you to figure out the minimum number of questionnaires you’d need to mail in order to achieve a certain desired number of responses. (The problem includes an assumed response rate.)

Note: I can’t actually reproduce the text of the question for copyright reasons, but I’m citing the problem number so that you can look it up if you do decide to buy the book.

Problem #39 can literally be counted out on your fingers—as long as you understand what you’re being asked to do. Be careful with definitions!

I also saw several problems that seriously disguised what the question was getting at. I don’t want to spoil you for the questions—better if you can figure it out for yourself!—but take a close look at #68 and #83. On the surface, these would be classified as algebra. But at least one can be done more easily using a different set of concepts. (I’ll tell you at the end of this article. But don’t look until you’ve tried to figure it out yourself!)

I used smart numbers to solve a number of the problems and I also worked backwards multiple times. In other words, these strategies are just as important as they always were. I did notice one question (#99) on which we could use smart numbers but the form of the answers indicated that it’d almost certainly be easier to do algebra. Look at the problem; you’ll see what I mean!

Finally, let’s talk about those elegant questions. If you can understand the concepts underlying #97, then you barely need to calculate anything at all—even though it looks as though you’re going to need to do some annoying algebra to answer the problem. Likewise, #107 has a huge disguise that, once uncovered, allows you to answer in two seconds without calculating anything at all. (Again, I’ll tell you what this is at the end of this article.)

Data Sufficiency

Of the 174 Data Sufficiency (DS) problems, 45 are new to this edition of the OG.

Continuing on the theme from PS, I was really struck by the number of new story problems for which translation is the whole key. If you translate carefully and accurately, then you don’t need to do anything more to solve. For example, #38 looks particularly nasty. Translate that thing very carefully, though, and you won’t have to do any messy calculations to answer. Problem #83 is another example; the story is pretty confusing, but if you can lay out the parts carefully and clearly, then the rest of the problem is more about logic than math.

Next, I used testing cases numerous times; as with PS, the standard test-taking strategies are still in full evidence on DS. I also noticed that, as before, it’s crucial to make sure you know what you were asked to find. This is true on PS too, of course, but DS tends to set more traps around solving for the wrong thing. Check out #39. You can’t find t by itself, but you can find t2, and that’s good enough to solve.

So what were all those cool disguises and tricks you mentioned?
Here you go. Again, do not read this until you have worked on these problems yourself! If you can figure out what’s going on yourself, the lesson will stick much better in the end. J

PS #68 and #83. These two problems share a consecutive integer disguise. The givens can be read to mean consecutive integers (the second one has to be rearranged to do so) and, since in each case the two terms multiply to an integer, that tells you that you’re dealing with the factors of that integer. For instance, in #68, the factors of 24 are (1, 24), (2, 12), (3, 8), and (4, 6). BUT note that the problem does not actually mention factors or specify positive numbers, so you also have to take into account that the pairs could be negative.

Next, you know that they have to be consecutive odds or consecutive evens, so the only two pairs that work are (4, 6) and (-4, -6). From there, you can figure out the answer. Problem #83 has a similar disguise, although it can also be solved via quadratic equations.

PS #97. The question asks you to maximize the depth, N(t). The -20(t – 5)2 term has that negative sign out front, so it could reduce the depth, so you need to minimize the negative value. How? Make the (t – 5) term equal to zero!

PS #107. I love this one. It’s a weighted average question in disguise. The formula x + y = 1 signifies that the two weightings add up to 100%: x + y = 100%, where x and y are the two weightings. The formula 100x + 200y signifies the weightings that you’re applying to each of the two endpoints, 100 and 200. The weighted average must be somewhere between the two starting numbers / endpoints, so only two of the roman numerals can work.

DS #38. The question tells you to set (1/12 + kv2) equal to 5/12. Then it asks you for v. If you know k, then you can find v. So the real question is whether the statement allows you to find k. Statement (1) obviously does, and statement (2) also does, because it gives you another equation: (1/12) + k(30)2 = 1/6.

DS #83. There are x processors. Each processor can process up to y calls. Think about what this means—maybe even draw a picture. Note that x has to be at least 1 and y has to be at least 1. If you have x = 1 processor that can process y = 500 calls, then sure, you can process 500 calls at once. If you have x = 10 processors that can process y = 10 calls each, then nope, you can’t process 500 calls at once.

So you need to know something about x and y in order to answer. It looks, then, like statements (1) and (2) can’t work alone, since each talks about only one variable. But don’t forget the constraint that each has to be at least 1!! If you have x = 600 processors, then you can definitely process 500 calls, since each processor has to be able to process at least one call.

What about Verbal? And the other books?
Next time, we’ll dive into the verbal sections of the Big OG. Then, we’ll discuss the quant and verbal supplements, and finally, I’ll provide you with lists of the new questions in each book and also the new question numbers for the old questions that remain in the book from the last edition.

Happy studying!

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Is an “On-Demand” course right for me?  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Aug 2015, 08:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Is an “On-Demand” course right for me?


What is “On-Demand” GMAT test prep? How does it compare to other test prep options? Watch and learn.

Want more useful GMAT basics? Check out the rest of the GMAT 101 series.

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Should I take the GMAT or the GRE?  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Sep 2015, 22:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Should I take the GMAT or the GRE?


Should you take the GMAT or the GRE? Well, it depends; watch and see what the experts have to say on the subject. Want more useful GMAT basics? Check out the rest of our GMAT 101 series.

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The 6 most common GMAT study mistakes  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Sep 2015, 08:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: The 6 most common GMAT study mistakes
 



Manhattan Prep GMAT Instructor Jonathan Schneider explains the six most common mistakes he sees students make when studying for the GMAT.

Be sure to check back every Tuesday for a new video in our GMAT 101 series, detailing the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the GMAT.

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Meteor Streams: Inference on GMAT Reading Comprehension (Part 3)  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Sep 2015, 09:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Meteor Streams: Inference on GMAT Reading Comprehension (Part 3)
Image
We’re up to the very last question in the series on the Meteor Stream passage from the free set of practice questions that comes with the GMATPrep® software.

If you haven’t already, go read the first article (linked in the first paragraph); I’m not going to reproduce the full passage here

because it’s so long. When you’re done, keep that passage open in another window and come back here. (Note: you can try the other questions first if you like, or you can come straight back here. Your choice.)

Ready for the question? Give yourself about 1.5 minutes to answer.

The Question
“It can be inferred from the passage that which of the following would most probably be observed during the Earth’s passage through a meteor stream if the conventional theories mentioned in the highlighted* text were correct?

“(A) Meteor activity would gradually increase to a single, intense peak, and then gradually decline.

“(B) Meteor activity would be steady throughout the period of the meteor shower.

“(C) Meteor activity would rise to a peak at the beginning and at the end of the meteor shower.

“(D) Random bursts of very high meteor activity would be interspersed with periods of very little activity.

“(E) In years in which the Earth passed through only the outer areas of a meteor stream, meteor activity would be absent.”

*In the GMATPrep software, the words Conventional theories in the second-to-last sentence of the first paragraph are highlighted in yellow.

The Solution
First, identify the question type. Inferred signals that this is an inference question. The question is asking you to deduce something that must be true from the information given in the passage.

Next, find the proof in the passage. Re-read the relevant text and try to formulate your own answer to the question.

Nicely, the question stem sends us straight to the relevant text.

“Conventional theories, however, predicted that the distribution of particles would be increasingly dense toward the center of a meteor stream. Surprisingly, the computer-model meteor stream gradually came to resemble a thick-walled, hollow pipe.”

The however and surprisingly language indicate that the conventional theories disagreed with the computer model in some way. How?

Picture a “stream” of particles flowing through the air. The conventional theories predicted that these particles would be most dense in the center of the stream. The computer model, surprisingly, was most dense around the outside edges, like a thick-walled hollow pipe.

The question asks what would be expected to happen as the Earth passes through a stream that is most dense in the center. Where does the passage talk about the Earth passing through a meteor stream in general?

That was paragraph 2:

“Whenever the Earth passes through a meteor stream, a meteor shower occurs. Moving at a little over 1,500,000 miles per day around its orbit, the Earth would take, on average, just over a day to cross the hollow, computer-model Geminid stream if the stream were 5,000 years old. Two brief periods of peak meteor activity during the shower would be observed, one as the Earth entered the thick-walled “pipe” and one as it exited.”

I’ve underlined the most relevant text. Which scenario is that last sentence describing? According to the sentence before, it’s describing the computer-model theory, the one that is not like the conventional theory. Ah, now I’m beginning to have an idea: they described what happens under the computer model, so I need to use that information to predict, or infer, what would happen under the conventional theory.

In the computer-model theory, the stream was most dense on the edges; it resembled a thick-walled, hollow pipe. According to the passage, this kind of shape, shows two peaks of meteor activity, at the beginning and at the end, as the Earth passes through the “pipe.” In other words, the peak activity matches when the Earth passes through the densest part of the pipe.

The conventional theory said that the stream would be most dense in the center of  the pipe, not at the edges. So what would happen in that case? Peak meteor activity would occur right in the middle of the Earth’s passage through the stream.

Look for a match in the answers.

“(A) Meteor activity would gradually increase to a single, intense peak, and then gradually decline.”

Bingo! That’s what we predicted: activity would peak in the middle of the passage through Earth. (And this one is the correct answer.)

“(B) Meteor activity would be steady throughout the period of the meteor shower.”

Nope. Peak activity occurs at the densest point, in the middle of the shower.

“(C) Meteor activity would rise to a peak at the beginning and at the end of the meteor shower.”

Trap! This is what happens under the computer-model theory, not the conventional theory.

“(D) Random bursts of very high meteor activity would be interspersed with periods of very little activity.”

The activity isn’t random. It peaks when the densest part of the pipe passes through the Earth’s atmosphere.

“(E) In years in which the Earth passed through only the outer areas of a meteor stream, meteor activity would be absent.”

Tricky! The passage doesn’t say that the less dense areas result in zero meteor activity, though. It says only that the activity peaks during the most dense times.

The correct answer is (A).

Key Takeaways for RC Inference Questions
(1) The correct answer will not repeat something that the passage says straight out, so the trap in answer (C) is also the reason not to pick it. On an inference question, cross off any choices that are stated directly in the passage.

(2) Inference questions require you to deduce something that must be true. If peak meteor activity is associated with the densest part of the meteor stream, as the passage says, and the conventional theory says that the stream will be densest in the middle, then the conventional theory would predict that meteor activity would gradually increase until Earth is in the center of the stream and then decrease as the Earth moves out of the stream.

* GMATPrep® text courtesy of the Graduate Management Admissions Council. Usage of this question does not imply endorsement by GMAC.

 

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Stacey Koprince is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Montreal, Canada and Los Angeles, California.
Stacey has been teaching the GMAT, GRE, and LSAT  for more than 15 years and is one of the most well-known instructors in the industry. Stacey loves to teach and is absolutely fascinated by standardized tests. Check out Stacey’s upcoming GMAT courses here

 

The post Meteor Streams: Inference on GMAT Reading Comprehension (Part 3) appeared first on GMAT.
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How many GMAT practice tests should you take?  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Sep 2015, 15:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: How many GMAT practice tests should you take?


How many GMAT practice tests should you take while studying for the test? GMAT expert Jonathan Schneider weighs in. Want more useful GMAT basics? Check out the rest of our GMAT 101 series.

 

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The GMAT’s not a math test – it’s a foreign language test!  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Sep 2015, 18:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: The GMAT’s not a math test – it’s a foreign language test!
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A student of mine once emailed me after he took the GMAT. Instead of telling me his score, he wrote, “let’s just say that 4 times my score is a multiple of 88, and 5 times my score is a multiple of 35.”

Can you tell what he got? If not…you may need to work on your GMAT translation skills!Most people expect math on the GMAT to be like math in high school, when memorizing formulas and applying them correctly – rigorous memorization and meticulous application – was all you needed to get an A. That’s not nearly enough on the GMAT, though!

Because the content of GMAT is relatively simple(middle school and basic high school math), the only way to make the test challenging is to make the structure complex. Test writers encode simple concepts in complicated language. Instead of saying “n is odd,” for example, they’ll say “the remainder when n is divided by 2 is 1.” That way, we have to do the extra work of translating: if a number has a remainder when divided by 2, it can’t be even. It must be odd!

To move through the test quickly and efficiently without getting stuck, you’ll need to quickly decode complex GMAT language to find the simple underlying concept.

See if you can translate these coded messages:

  • the remainder when x is divided by 10 is 3.
  • p = n3 – n, where n is an integer
  • integer y has an odd number of distinct factors
  • |b| = –b
  • the positive integer q does not have a factor r such that 1<r<q
  • n = 2k + 1, where k is a positive integer
  • a2b3c4 > 0
  • x and y are integers, and yx < 0
  • what is the greatest integer n for which 2n is a factor of 96?
When you come across this kind of coded language, ask yourself, “what is the underlying concept here? What are the clues?” Then, create flashcards – coded message on the front, translation and explanation on the back.

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Then, push yourself further: try to think of different iterations of the same idea (e.g. a/b > 0, or pqr < 0) and make flashcards for those.

Here are the translated versions of the codes above (but make sure you try to translate them yourself before you look at these answers!):

  • The units digit of x is 3 (the remainder when divided by 10 is always the same as the units digit).
  • pis the product of 3 consecutive integers. Factor out n first: n(n2 – 1). Then, factor the difference of squares: n(n + 1)(n – 1). A number × one greater × one smaller = the product of 3 consecutives.
  • y is a perfect square (like 9, whose factors are 1, 3, & 9). Any non-square integer will have an even number of distinct factors (e.g. 5: 1 & 5, or 18: 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, & 18).
  • b must be negative. If the absolute value of b is equal to -1 times b, then b cannot be positive or 0; it must be negative.
  • q must be prime. If q were a non-prime integer, it would have at least one factor between 1 and itself.
  • n is odd. 2k must be even (regardless of what k is), so adding 1 to an even will give us an odd.
  • b must be positive. The even exponents hide the sign of a and c, but a2 and c4 must be positive, so b3 – and therefore b – must be positive.
  • y must be negative, because only a negative base would yield a negative term. And x must be odd, because an even exponent would make the term positive.
  • How many factors of 2 are there in 96? If we break 96 down, we get a prime factorization of 2×2×2×2×2×3, so 25 will be a factor of 96, but 26 won’t.
A lot of the coded language on the GMAT comes from Number Properties concepts (perhaps because “even & odds” and “positives & negatives” seem elementary until we disguise them). You probably already know the basic rules: even + odd = odd, even × odd = even, etc. Don’t just make flashcards for the basic rules – look for the coded language, and be ready to translate.

By the way, that student that I mentioned at the beginning… were you able to figure out his score?

4 times my score is a multiple of 88 – Translation: the score is a multiple of 22, and therefore 2 and 11.

5 times my score is a multiple of 35 – Translation: the score is a multiple of 7.

A multiple of 7, 11, and 2? It must be a 770!

A score like that takes serious translation skills!

The post The GMAT’s not a math test – it’s a foreign language test! appeared first on GMAT.
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Help! Deadlines are approaching and I don’t have the GMAT score I want  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Oct 2015, 23:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Help! Deadlines are approaching and I don’t have the GMAT score I want!
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In the past month, I’ve spoken to more than a few students who were aiming for round 1 deadlines but hadn’t yet gotten the GMAT scores they thought they needed for “their” schools. If you’re in this boat, too, let’s talk about your various options.

Do I really need that goal score?

Some of the students were looking for a higher goal score than they necessarily needed—say, 20 to 30 points higher than the average for a particular school. A better measure is the middle 80% range

of scores.

For instance, a school might post an average score of 700, but a middle 80% range of 650 to 740. In other words, they accepted people scoring 670, 660, 650 (and even lower, for a small number of students). You don’t necessarily have to beat the average. You do, though, have to be within a range that they will generally consider, and the middle-80% range of scores gives you a good idea of what that is. (Of course, you also have to have some great things in the rest of your application. That’s true regardless of what GMAT score you get.)

Am I applying to an appropriate range of schools?

It’s great to have ambitious goals, but if you apply only to “reach” schools (or schools that are hard to get into), then you may find yourself not going to business school next year. Make sure that you’ve got some “mid-range” (for you) schools in the mix.

Should you also include “safety” schools (programs that you’re almost guaranteed to get into)? It depends. Do you want to go to b-school no matter what? Or would you rather not go or wait a year and apply again if you don’t get into a certain group of schools? If the former, then include at least one safety school in your mix.

Do I really have to apply round 1?

All other things being equal, sure, it’s great to have your application submitted during the first round. However, that assumes that you can put together the best application package in time. If the GMAT—or any other part of your application—isn’t quite coming together, then it’s better to wait for second round. There isn’t that much of an advantage to applying during the first round.

Most of the students with whom I’ve spoken recently have gone this route. Really, it’s the best choice when you realize that any part of your application just won’t be what you want it to be in time for the very early first round deadlines. Far better to put together a great package that you feel confident will give you your best shot.

Here’s what you do NOT want to do: stick with the original plan to hit a first round deadline, cram like crazy, wipe your brain out, and crash on test day. Now, you don’t have the score you want, you’re burned out, you’ve lost motivation and confidence, and you still have to take the test again (and postpone your application) anyway.

That’s all great. But how do I get a better score?

Okay, we can talk about this, too. Image
 In general, you’re going to need to figure out what is holding you back from getting to your desired scoring level. Then, you’re going to need to figure out what changes you need to make in order to fix those problems and lift your performance.

Here’s what I tell people on our forums (feel free to ask for advice yourself—make sure to give me all of the information I discuss below!).

First, read this article on Executive Reasoning. Is this how you have been approaching the test? If not, what have you been doing differently and what do you need to change in order to approach the test in the way described in the article? (Here’s more on developing this business mindset.)

Next, you need to master the 1st level of the GMAT: math formulas and rules, grammar rules, and the main strategies for solving the different kinds of question types (PS, DS, SC, CR, RC). What holes do you have in your foundation?

You can find this out by analyzing your most recent Manhattan Prep practice test (I’m specifying our company’s tests for a reason: we give you certain data that you’ll need to do the necessary analysis). How many questions did you miss that are rated well below the scoring level that you’re trying to hit? For instance, if you’re trying to score 650 to 700, how many sub-600 questions did you miss? Were they careless mistakes? Or do you really have a hole in your foundation? Either way, fix the problem!

In order to hit a high score on this test, you also need to master the 2nd Level of the GMAT. Read all about it at that link and think about what you need to do differently in order to be studying in that way.

Pause and think about all of the above. Then, get ready for an in-depth analysis of your two most recent Manhattan Prep CATs. Use this two-part article to dig deep and figure out what you should put in your Bucket 2 (you’ll understand when you read the article!).

From there, I strongly recommend that you talk to your teacher or tutor (if you have one) or come visit us on the forums to get advice tailored to your specific strengths and weaknesses.

(Note: a little tough love! On the forums, we will not do all of this analysis for you. You will have to do everything described in this section and tell us what you think before we tell you whether we agree and advise you further. If you are paying for a tutor, you can have him/her do all of this for you…but I strongly recommend that you take a crack at coming up with your own analysis, too. You’ll get better faster if you actually know how to analyze your own work.)

Let’s do this!

Pick a path and get cracking! Good luck, happy studying, and try not to stress too much!

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Stacey Koprince is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Montreal, Canada and Los Angeles, California.
Stacey has been teaching the GMAT, GRE, and LSAT  for more than 15 years and is one of the most well-known instructors in the industry. Stacey loves to teach and is absolutely fascinated by standardized tests. Check out Stacey’s upcoming GMAT courses here

The post Help! Deadlines are approaching and I don’t have the GMAT score I want! appeared first on GMAT.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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GMAT or GRE for b-school? Business Insider consults Manhattan Prep  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Oct 2015, 13:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMAT or GRE for b-school? Business Insider consults Manhattan Prep
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Whether it’s the GMAT or the GRE, let Manhattan Prep be your guide.

Business Insider sat in on our “GMAT vs. GRE: Which is right for you?” workshop recently in order to glean expert advice from Manhattan Prep’s very own Stacey Koprince.

They found the course to be so informative that they published a nifty piece featuring a decision tree for prospective b-school students grappling with the age-old (or 2-years old, as it were) GMAT vs. GRE quandary; check it out below!

Interested in further reading on the “GMAT or GRE?” question? We’ve made a special page just for you. Want expert advice straight from the source at Stacey’s next workshop? Click here!

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“GMAT vs. GRE” decision tree. Credit: Business Insider

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

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Manhattan Prep Instructor Stacey Koprince advises Business Insider on   [#permalink]

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New post 28 Oct 2015, 09:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Manhattan Prep Instructor Stacey Koprince advises Business Insider on the “GMAT or GRE?” question
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Stacey Koprince

Business Insider recently reached out to our very own Stacey Koprince for expert guidance on navigating the increasingly relevant “GMAT or GRE?” conundrum.

Stacey told Business Insider that there are only two circumstances in which a prospective b-school student would spurn the GMAT for the GRE: 

1. They are applying to a dual-degree MBA program wherein the non-MBA program requires the GRE as part of the application.

2. They are appreciably better at the GRE than the GMAT due to the particular natures of each test, and will therefore score significantly higher on it, helping their chances of admission.

Even under one of these circumstances, the student should still choose the GMAT over the GRE if: 

1. They plan to enter either banking or consulting after achieving their MBA, two fields which sometimes require GMAT scores on job applications.

2. Their target schools have a stated preference for the GMAT over the GRE.

But don’t just take it from us; check out the full piece for yourself here.

Want to learn from Stacey directly? Check out her upcoming GMAT courses here.

Image

Stacey Koprince is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Montreal, Canada and Los Angeles, California. Stacey has been teaching the GMAT, GRE, and LSAT  for more than 15 years and is one of the most well-known instructors in the industry. Stacey loves to teach and is absolutely fascinated by standardized tests. Check out Stacey’s upcoming GMAT courses her

 

 

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

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Manhattan Prep Instructor Stacey Koprince advises Business Insider on   [#permalink] 28 Oct 2015, 09:01

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