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The 7 Reasons You’re Struggling with Timing on GMAT Quant  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Mar 2016, 08:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: The 7 Reasons You’re Struggling with Timing on GMAT Quant
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Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

A lot of my GMAT students struggle to nail down their timing on the Quant section. If you’re in this situation, you can’t just tell yourself that you’ll work faster next time. Instead, with the help of this post, figure out where your timing problem is coming from. Then you’ll know exactly how to fix it.

  • Getting blindsided
Most GMAT test-takers don’t have great timing the first time they ever try a Quant section. You’ll probably need to try a few times before you get a feel for the pace of the test and how quickly you have to answer questions. If you’ve only done one practice test and your timing was horrible, don’t panic. Before you give up, spend a week or two studying and then try again, this time making timing your top priority.

[*] Diving in without a plan[/list]
Good timing is easier when you plan before you start taking the test. Don’t have a timing plan? Use this one on your next practice test. It’s easy and only takes a few minutes to learn.

[*] Lack of timing awareness[/list]
Maybe you’ve found yourself looking up at the clock, thinking only a minute has passed, to find that it’s actually been five minutes and you haven’t finished the problem. To build your timing awareness, try doing timing awareness drills. While you study, set a timer on your phone, and turn it over so you can’t see the screen. When you think two minutes have passed, flip the phone back over and check your accuracy. Repeat this until you can consistently estimate 1 and 2 minutes.

[*] Slow math[/list]
On some problems, you might have done fine if you’d only done the arithmetic faster. You had the right approach, you just fumbled with the actual numbers. Even if you already know how to do the math, you can still benefit from speed drills. Try the end-of-chapter drills from Foundations of Math, and the arithmetic drills at arithmetic.zetamac.com. See how fast you can get while still maintaining good accuracy.

[*] Picking the wrong strategy[/list]
Maybe you started the problem the wrong way, and only realized it once you were two minutes in. If this does happen on test day, the right response is usually to guess and move on. But how do you avoid it in the first place? First, start thinking of Choosing Smart Numbers and Backsolving as first-line strategies, not last resorts. Start reading story problems more slowly, and look at the answer choices before you begin working on any problem. The answer choices often contain crucial hints to what approach to use. Also, start a  “When I see this, do this” table for problem types that cause you trouble.

[*] Just a few more seconds…[/list]
You know that you’ve spent more than two minutes on a problem already, but you’re sure that if you just had another 10 or 15 seconds, you’d be able to get it right. Right? Wrong. You look up at the clock, and realize that your 10 or 15 seconds have turned into a minute or more. Start being very skeptical of the voice in your head that tells you that another few seconds will be worth it. Unless you only have one or two lines of math to do, it’s probably not going to happen. And that’s okay.

[*] Not getting out while you still can[/list]
Some timing problems are just pure stubbornness. I like to think of ‘too long’ problems as falling into three categories. Some of them are problems you could’ve done quickly if you’d only done the arithmetic faster. Others are problems that you could’ve done quickly if you’d noticed the correct strategy and known how to use it.

Finally, there are problems that are just too hard for you to do in two minutes (today). The only way to handle these problems is to dodge them. How? Develop a habit of always moving on at the 2:45 or 3:00 mark, regardless of how close you are to finishing a problem. Also, take notes whenever you review a problem like this. What was it about the problem that made it so hard? Could you have recognized it more quickly?

On test day, if you don’t understand a problem after 1 minute and two thorough readings, it’s probably not going to happen – ditch it and move on.

Not all timing problems are alike, but all timing problems can be fixed. Now is the time to change how you work: failing on a practice test or while doing timed sets alone is good, because you have a chance to learn from it. If you don’t ever completely screw up a practice test while testing a new approach, you’re probably not being creative enough. Target your timing problems just as diligently and creatively as you target content issues, and watch your Quant score improve. Image

Want full access to Chelsey’s sage GMAT wisdom? Try the first class of one of her upcoming GMAT courses for absolutely free, no strings attached. 

Chelsey CooleyImage
is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Seattle, Washington.
 Chelsey always followed her heart when it came to her education. Luckily, her heart led her straight to the perfect background for GMAT and GRE teaching: she has undergraduate degrees in mathematics and history, a master’s degree in linguistics, a 790 on the GMAT, and a perfect 170/170 on the GRE. Check out Chelsey’s upcoming GMAT prep offerings here.

The post The 7 Reasons You’re Struggling with Timing on GMAT Quant 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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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: My Months of Work Experience Will Not   [#permalink]

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New post 09 Mar 2016, 08:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: My Months of Work Experience Will Not Be Counted!
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What have you been told about applying to business school?


“I had an internship from June to August of 2014. Will the MBA admissions committee count it as work experience?”

“I was running a lab during my Master’s program—is that part of my total number of months of work experience?”

“I ran a small business that ultimately failed—will I get credit for my time as an entrepreneur?”

Business schools have not seriously considered a candidate’s number of months of work experience as a factor in admissions decisions for a long time. In fact, with Harvard Business School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business increasingly open to younger candidates, work experience on a strictly quantitative level is actually being devalued at some schools. A candidate’s quantity of work experience is just not relevant—quality is, of course, what is important. An “average” employee who has merely fulfilled expectations during a five-year stint at a Fortune 500 company could certainly be said to be at a disadvantage compared with an individual who has made the most of a three-year stint elsewhere and has been promoted ahead of schedule. Think about it—which of the two would you admit?

So, if you are asked on an application how many months of work experience you will have prior to matriculating, you should simply answer honestly. If you have any gray areas or are unsure about any aspect of your professional experience as it pertains to your application, you can always call the admissions office for guidance—most admissions offices are actually surprisingly helpful with this kind of simple technical question. Thereafter, stop worrying about the number of months you do or do not have and instead focus on revealing that—and how—you have had an impact in your professional life. Your essays, recommendations, interviews, resume, and other application elements will ultimately make a qualitative impact that will outweigh any quantitative data.

mbaMission is the leader in MBA admissions consulting with a full-time and comprehensively trained staff of consultants, all with profound communications and MBA experience. mbaMission has helped thousands of candidates fulfill their dream of attending prominent MBA programs around the world. Take your first step toward a more successful MBA application experience with a free 30-minute consultation with one of mbaMission’s senior consultants. Sign up today.

The post MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: My Months of Work Experience Will Not Be Counted! 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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Want to do better on GMAT Quant? Put your pen down!  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Mar 2016, 11:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Want to do better on GMAT Quant? Put your pen down!
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Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

Let’s do an experiment. This is one I do with all of my GMAT classes and tutoring students. Grab a piece of paper, a pen, and a stopwatch (or use the stopwatch function on your mobile device).

When you’re ready, click “start” on the stopwatch and begin the following Problem Solving problem…

Solution A contains 20% alcohol by volume, and Solution B contains 50% alcohol by volume. If the two solutions are combined, the resulting mixture of A and B contains 32% alcohol by volume. What percent of the total volume of the mixture is Solution A?

(A) 35%

(B) 40%

(C) 50%

(D) 60%

(E) 70%

Ok, write down the answer you got, and how much time it took you.

Right now, though, I’m not interested in what answer you got. I just want to know 2 things:

  • At what point did you start writing on your paper? 5 seconds into the problem? 10? 30?
  • How long did you take on the problem overall?
Believe it or not, there is probably an inverse correlation between those two answers. Students who dive in and start writing equations right away will often spend 2:30 to 3:30 on a question like this – generally much longer than students who take their time before writing things down. They’re also much more likely to get the question wrong!

Savvy test takers don’t dive in and start solving right away. They know that slowing down at first (even though it seems counter-intuitive) can improve both timing and accuracy.

The savvy way to approach Problem Solving questions is this:

  • Read the entire problem, pen down.
It’s not Reading Comprehension, so you don’t need to take notes! If you’re writing while you’re reading, you’re much more likely to miss key pieces of information. Think about the concept that’s being tested and what information the problem is giving you.

Here’s what I’d be thinking while reading the problem above: “Okay, this is a weighted average problem – we’re mixing 2 things together. They’re each different amounts of alcohol, and then we’re given a total.”

[*] Define what the question is asking for.[/list]
Again, before writing equations down, just define the question. Is it asking us for a value, a sum, a difference, a proportion, a variable “in terms of” another variable, etc.?

This is the best way to ensure that you don’t accidentally solve for the wrong thing! The GMAT loves to trick us into doing that. How many times have you looked back to realize that your algebra was correct, but you just answered the wrong question?

My thoughts: “The question is asking me about A as a percentage of the total of A and B. I bet they’ll include a trap if I accidentally solve for B!”

[*] Scan the answers & try to eliminate.[/list]
Before picking up the pen, do a common sense test first! This isn’t high school, where you have to show all of your work before picking an answer. Think of the answers as part of the problem itself!

Scanning the answers first can give you powerful clues for how to solve a PS problem. For example, if a geometry problem featured √3 in some of the answer choices, that’s your clue to think about 30:60:90 right triangles. If a ratio problem featured some ratios that were greater than 1 (e.g. 3:2) and some that were less than 1 (2:3), that’s your clue to assess which portion should be greater.

My thoughts on the problem above: “I notice that some of the answer choices are less than 50%, one is 50%, and the others are greater than 50%. If I can just figure out whether I have more A or more B in the mixture, I can narrow it down.”

“Since the 32% in the overall mixture is closer to A’s 20% than B’s 50%, that means that A must make up more of the overall mixture – in other words, more than 50%. I can eliminate (A), (B), and (C).”

[*] Look out for Traps[/list]
As I mentioned before, the GMAT loves to set traps for us. If you become aware of those traps, you can narrow down answer choices easily. Here are some common traps to watch out for:

  • Numbers in the Problem – these are rarely right answers. The GMAT imagines that if a student didn’t know what to do, she would just say, “um, that number looks familiar. I guess I’ll pick it.” Don’t do that! We could eliminate (A) and (C) (if we hadn’t already) since they’re in the problem.
  • One-Move Answers – similar to the above. If you can get to one of the answers just by performing one operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) to 2 of the numbers in the problem, that’s almost certainly a trap. 50 + 20 = 70, so (E) is almost certainly a trap answer.
  • “Evil Twins” – if we expect that the GMAT is trying to trick us into answering the wrong question (for example, solving for B instead of A here), we should look for answers that form a pair. We know that the percentage of A + the percentage of B will add to 100%. So, look for 2 answers that add to 100: only (B) and (D) in this case. Since we know A has to be more than half of the total, that means that (B) is probably an “evil twin” trap!
If we eliminate all of the likely trap answers, that just leaves us with (D).

[*] Be Strategic[/list]
In a situation like this, the best strategic move would be to pick (D) and move on. It’s a bad idea to get bogged down in a lot of algebra just to prove what you probably already know to be true. The savvy test-taker would say “90% sure of my answer in 40 seconds is better than 100% sure of my answer in 3 minutes.”

It’s an uncomfortable feeling not to know for sure, but the GMAT is a time-constrained game! You don’t have time to be 100% sure of every answer.

If this question were different, and you weren’t able to eliminate all of the other answer choices, you would want to make a strategic decision about which approach would work best. Don’t just dive into doing algebra! Remember that there are other strategies that can often be faster: picking smart numbers, working backwards from answer choices, estimating, etc.

On this problem, if we wanted to solve, we could do a combination of strategies. Since we don’t have any concrete amounts given, we can pick our own numbers. Let’s say that the total mixture is 100 liters.

We could also work backwards from the answer choices, based on that 100L total. Since we suspect that the answer is (D), let’s then say A = 60 liters. The amount of alcohol in A would be 20% of 60, so 12L. If A is 60L, then B must be 40L. 50% of 40L would be 20L of alcohol. Thus the total amount of alcohol is 12 + 20 = 32 liters of alcohol out of 100 à 32%.

That works! So (D) must be the right answer.

Saving time on PS.

If you did long or complicated algebra on this question, you probably took well over 2 minutes to solve. It’s also far more likely that you got the answer wrong! Putting the pen down and thinking through the problem in the way we outlined above will improve both your timing and your accuracy.

The next time you’re doing a set of PS problems, write this on a post-it note and keep it next to you as you’re working:

  • Read the entire problem, pen down
  • Define what the question is asking for
  • Scan answers & try to eliminate
  • Look out for traps
  • Be strategic (either in solving, or in guessing & moving on)
Good luck!

Want full access to Céilidh’s trove of GMAT knowledge? Try the first class of one of her upcoming GMAT courses absolutely free, no strings attached. 

Image
Céilidh Erickson is a Manhattan Prep instructor based on New York City. When she tells people that her name is pronounced “kay-lee,” she often gets puzzled looks. Céilidh is a graduate of Princeton University, where she majored in comparative literature. After graduation, tutoring was always the job that bought her the greatest joy and challenge, so she decided to make it her full-time job. Check out Céilidh’s upcoming GMAT courses (she scored a 760, so you’re in great hands).

The post Want to do better on GMAT Quant? Put your pen down! 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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User avatar
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New GMAT Cancelation Policies and Pricing  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Mar 2016, 11:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: New GMAT Cancelation Policies and Pricing
Effective March 10th (today!), GMAC has announced some interesting new cancelation policies. The organization has also announced a limited-time special discount for undergraduates.

Canceled scores can be reinstated at any time

Prior to today, if you canceled your scores, you had 60 days from the date of your GMAT to decide that you really did want to have those scores on your record after all. (You also had to pay a $100 fee to reinstate those scores.)

Now, there is no time limit to reinstate canceled scores. As long as the score is still valid (5 years from the date of the test), you can reinstate the scores. Bonus: you’ll only pay $50 to do so, not $100.

If you do choose to reinstate scores, any schools to which you had previously reported scores will receive an updated score report at no additional cost to you. Basically, the $50 you are paying to reinstate will cover re-reporting your scores to any of your previously-selected schools.

You have 3 days to cancel, not just 2 minutes

Before today, you had 2 minutes at the end of the test to decide whether to keep or cancel your scores. If you chose to keep your scores, they were immediately and permanently put on your official record.

Now, you can take up to 72 hours after your test to decide whether to cancel. Take note of a potential fee, though. If you choose to cancel during the 2 minute period given immediately after the test, you won’t pay anything extra. If you choose to cancel within the 72-hour period after leaving the testing center, you will have to pay $25.

What does this cancelation stuff mean?

It’s still smart to go into your test having an idea of what kind of score you would want to keep or cancel, so that your decision immediately after the test is likely your best decision. As before, any canceled scores will not appear on the score reports sent to schools; schools will not even know that you took the test that day.

Circumstances can change over time, though, so it’s great to have the flexibility to cancel for three days or to reinstate for five years. Thanks, GMAC!

Undergrad discounts (US only) – Limited-Time Offer

GMAC is offering some interesting discounts for current undergraduate students in the United States. These discounts target people who are contemplating business school but aren’t sure yet that they will go.

The “full price” GMAT costs $250 and includes 5 free official score reports sent to the schools of your choice. You can order additional official reports for $28 each.

Alternatively, undergrads in the US can pay just $150 to take the test, but this price does not include any official score reports. You’ll have to pay $50 per score report if you eventually decide that you do want to go to business school.

Or you can choose a “medium” option: pay $200 and receive 2 free official score reports. Additional score reports again cost $50 each.

Essentially, you can save some money now—but you might pay more if you do decide to go to business school down the road. Still, if you aren’t sure whether you really do want to go to business school, this could be a more affordable way in the short-term to get your GMAT score locked in.

(Note: this is a limited-time offer. You must register by June 1st of this year and take the exam by December 31st of this year.)

Leave us a comment to let us know what you think of this news!

Here is GMAC’s full blog post regarding the new cancelation policy.

And here is GMAC’s landing page for the undergrad discounts.

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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 New GMAT Cancelation Policies and Pricing 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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The Top Three GMAT Sentence Correction Errors That Sound Totally Norma  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Mar 2016, 09:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: The Top Three GMAT Sentence Correction Errors That Sound Totally Normal
Image
Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

Here are three simple mistakes that can fool even the best-trained ear. The GMAT loves testing these rules on tough Sentence Correction problems, since the test writers know that we misuse them constantly in speech and in writing. Learn these rules by heart, and prevent avoidable mistakes when you take the GMAT.

  • ‘Which’ modifiers modify nouns, not ideas.
Wrong: Laura kept kicking my chair during class, which is why I moved to a seat in the back row.

When a modifier starts with a word like which, who, whose, where, and when, it’s always a noun modifier! It can only ever modify a specific noun (or noun phrase) that’s in the sentence verbatim. It also has to be completely obvious which noun is being modified.

In the sentence above, the which phrase describes a consequence of ‘the fact that Laura kept kicking my chair’. ‘The fact that…’ isn’t a noun in the sentence; it’s the idea expressed by the entire first clause. That’s a common way to use which in casual speech and writing, but it’s technically wrong. Here’s a sentence that uses which correctly:

Right: Laura spent the whole class kicking my chair, which finally collapsed to the floor.

Which finally collapsed to the floor modifies one specific noun, chair. Since it’s clearly the chair that collapsed to the floor, this sentence uses which correctly. Image

[*] ‘Like’ means ‘similar to’, not ‘for example’. [/list]
Wrong:  Tovia eats a lot of healthy food, like kale and spinach.

I’d feel comfortable saying or writing this, but on the GMAT, it’s unacceptable. A good rule of thumb is that like means similar to, while such as means for example. Since kale and spinach aren’t similar to healthy food — they’re actually examples of healthy food — only such as is correct.

Right: Tovia eats a lot of healthy food, such as kale and spinach.

Right: Tovia’s spinach casserole was foul-tasting and chewy, like a piece of rubber.

In the second sentence, like is correct because Tovia’s casserole wasn’t actually a piece of rubber. Unfortunately, it was similar to one. Image

[*] ‘Either/or’ needs good parallelism. [/list]
Wrong: For an afternoon snack, Manoj either eats an avocado, or a whole head of broccoli.

Whenever you see either and or in a Sentence Correction problem, check out the two things that are being compared. Mentally highlight everything that comes after either, and everything that comes after or:

For an afternoon snack, Manoj either eats an avocado, or a whole head of broccoli.

This sentence sounds good to my ear, but it’s technically wrong. It’s actually comparing the verb phrase ‘eats an avocado’ with the noun phrase ‘a whole head of broccoli’. Correct sentences always compare nouns to nouns, and verbs to verbs. Fix this sentence by moving the word either.

Right: For an afternoon snack, Manoj eats either an avocado, or a whole head of broccoli.

Here’s another correct sentence, this time comparing a verb phrase to a verb phrase:

Right: After eating his snack, Manoj either goes back to work, or plays a round of foosball.

 In casual speech, we aren’t very careful about where we put the word either in either/or sentences!  To avoid this error on the GMAT, look for splits that move the word either around in the sentence. Some of the answer choices will probably have bad parallelism. Image

These three grammar rules often fool test-takers who are otherwise great at Sentence Correction. The more you use your ear, the easier it is to pick a bad answer choice just because it sounds fine to you. For more practice with these specific rules, check out the Modifiers, Parallelism, and Parallelism & Comparisons: Extra chapters of our Sentence Correction Strategy Guide. Also, consider keeping a list of other rules that have fooled your ear in the past. The more aware you are of the specific rules that trick you when you practice, the less likely it is that you’ll make the same mistakes on test day. Image

 

Want full access to Chelsey’s sage GMAT wisdom? Try the first class of one of her upcoming GMAT courses for absolutely free, no strings attached. 

Chelsey CooleyImage
is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Seattle, Washington.
 Chelsey always followed her heart when it came to her education. Luckily, her heart led her straight to the perfect background for GMAT and GRE teaching: she has undergraduate degrees in mathematics and history, a master’s degree in linguistics, a 790 on the GMAT, and a perfect 170/170 on the GRE. Check out Chelsey’s upcoming GMAT prep offerings here.

The post The Top Three GMAT Sentence Correction Errors That Sound Totally Normal 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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User avatar
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Posts: 181
The New Mini-GMAT for EMBA Candidates  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Mar 2016, 09:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: The New Mini-GMAT for EMBA Candidates
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Big news! GMAC, the makers of the GMAT, have launched a new test, the Executive Assessment exam. It contains the same question types as the GMAT, but fewer content areas are tested, and there aren’t as many questions to answer. The exam is intended for candidates applying to Executive MBA (EMBA) programs.

Do I have to take it?

Maybe. It depends on where you’re applying. Currently, exactly 6 schools accept the Executive Assessment:

CEIBS (China European International Business School)

Chicago Booth

Columbia

University of Hong Kong Business School

INSEAD

London Business School

Until this new exam launched, LBS required the GMAT. The website for its EMBA program now still asks for the GMAT in some places but also says that it accepts the Executive Assessment. Presumably, either test is acceptable.

The Columbia EMBA website asks for the GMAT, the Executive Assessment, or the GRE.

In short, if you want to apply to the EMBA program at one of these 6 schools, you will need to take some kind of standardized test. You may have a choice as to which test to take.

What’s on the Executive Assessment?

Superficially, it looks like a mini-GMAT. All of the sections and question types on the GMAT are also on the Executive Assessment (with the exception of the essay). The test isn’t just a cut-down version of the GMAT, though. There are some noticeable differences in the sample questions that have been released.

The 90-minute exam consists of three 30-minute sections, as follows:

Image

Not many questions have been released so far, so we can’t draw any definite conclusions yet, but I was struck by the absence of certain things. The quant questions contain absolutely no geometry. (Yay!) More “textbook-y” math is also absent: quadratic equations, functions, overlapping sets, combinatorics, and probability. (Double yay!)

The Critical Reasoning samples mostly fell into the classic Assumption categories: Find the Assumption, Strengthen, and Weaken. One is more of an Inference. The Reading Comp samples are all Specific Detail or Inference.

The Sentence Correction samples covered a pretty decent range of grammar and meaning. The underlines were noticeably on the shorter side, but it’s unclear at this stage what might not be tested on SC.

That’s not to say that any of the missing content areas or sub-question types won’t pop up. Hopefully, GMAC will be releasing additional guidelines regarding what is—and is not—tested on the Executive Assessment.

Any logistical details I should know?

  • You’re allowed to take the exam two (2) times…apparently in total. That is, it seems that you can never take this test more than twice in your lifetime. So, if you’re going to take it, you’ll need to think carefully about when to take it.
  • If you do take it twice, you can decide which schools will receive which results. For example, you can send Columbia your results from just test 2, not test 1. You don’t have to pay to send the results to any schools.
  • The test is available at all of the centers where the regular GMAT is given. If you want to take it a second time, you’ll only have to wait 24 hours, not 16 days.
  • The test costs US $350. You have unlimited rescheduling power up until 24 hours before the exam (and it’s free to reschedule on-line). You can also cancel the exam entirely for a $250 refund (again, until 24 hours before).
So…should I take it?

If you are applying only to the schools that accept this new exam (i.e., you aren’t also applying to any programs that require the full GMAT or GRE), then you should definitely consider taking the Executive Assessment instead. Why not take a shorter-and-sweeter exam? The preparation level will hopefully be much more manageable than that for one of the “big” tests. You’ll still need to learn about all of these question types, as well as how to manage your time appropriately, but the content areas should not be as voluminous as on the GMAT.

The 2-test limit could be a little nerve-wracking, though, so you’ll want to make sure that you are well prepared the first time. At the moment, little information and few practice problems have been released, but the Executive Assessment is only about 10 days old. Let’s keep an eye on the official website in coming days for more information about what we should know and how we should practice in order to do well on this exam.

Want more? Here is the source: GMAC’s website for the Executive Assessment.

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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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GMAT Grammar Biweekly: Opening Modifiers  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Mar 2016, 09:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMAT Grammar Biweekly: Opening Modifiers
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Modifiers can seem overwhelming. They have lots of rules, impact meaning, and come in different kinds, each of which is restrictive in different ways. So why not throw modifiers out the window? They are the grammatical spice of life! Consider this simple sentence:

The dog ran down the street.

Basic. Boring. Factual, but unimportant. Now compare it this sentence:

Barking ferociously, the dog, which was known to be vicious, ran down the street, chasing the boy who had been poking at it just moments before.

Now we’re talking! Amazingly, the only difference between these sentences is in the second, we’ve inserted some colorful modifiers. The sentence core is the same. Each of the major modifiers added to this sentence is different in some way, each with its own rules. Today we’re going to talk about the “Barking ferociously” modifier.

We start with this not only because opening modifiers, including “barking ferociously” in the previous example, are commonly tested on the GMAT, but also because they are easy to spot. Opening modifiers, as the name implies, always open the sentence. If present, they will be the first clause, followed by a comma. Each of these sentences have opening modifiers:

After staying up late last night, I slept through my alarm this morning.

An expert in astronomy, the scientist concluded that the meteor shower was unusual.

Studied for decades, the theory of relativity is considered almost absolute fact.

Did you notice some patterns in what those first clauses were doing? Though each was phrased differently, they all served to describe the subject of the sentence. “I” stayed up late last night, “the scientists” is an expert, and “the theory” was studied for decades. This brings us to two definitional points of opening modifiers: they modify nouns and, specifically, they modify the subject of the next clause.

So when you spot an opening modifier, you can be confident that the clause needs to describe the upcoming subject. But let’s back up a step. How do you know you’re looking at an opening modifier? Some of these sentences have them, and some don’t:

Alchemy is an old science, but one that has been largely disproven.

Running quickly, the sprinter took the lead.

Aeysha, who had always excelled at math, was discouraged by the poor grade.

Considered unreliable, Lawrence made little impact with his outlandish accusations.

To tell which have opening modifiers, find the sentence core of each. If the first clause is part of the sentence core, it can’t be a modifier.

Alchemy is an old science, but one that has been largely disproven.

Running quickly, the sprinter took the lead.

Aeysha, who had always excelled at math, was discouraged by the poor grade.

Considered unreliable, Lawrence made little impact with his outlandish accusations.

With this breakdown, it is clear the first and third sentences do NOT have opening modifiers. The opening portion is part of the main sentence. Both the second and fourth do have opening modifiers (the sprinter is running quickly and Lawrence is considered unreliable). Both correctly use opening modifiers. However, watch for subtle shifts in the subject. Each of the following INCORRECTLY use opening modifiers:

Having experience in these cases, Erica’s reports were deemed valid.

Using only shades of red, the museum claims that the artist’s work, “Reds,” is profoundly moving.

A world-renown novelist, Jose’s books quickly sold over one million copies.

Not sure what’s wrong with these? Isolate the subject in each. Erica’s reports have experience in these cases. The museum uses only shades of red (not the artist or the painting). Jose’s books are a world-renown novelist.  Watch for subtle shifts in subject.

In sum, spot opening modifiers by isolating the sentence core, then check for accuracy by determining whether the modifier describes the specific subject of the next clause.

These will hopefully become quick eliminations when used incorrectly and will let you dive into the more nuanced parts of the sentence. If you want more practice with participles visit the modifier section of our Sentence Correction Strategy Guide, or Foundations of VerbalImage

Of course, the most in-depth way to learn the ins-and-outs of the GMAT is to take a complete course with one of our master instructors. You can try out any first session for free! No strings attached. We promise.

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Emily Madan is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Philadelphia. Having scored in the 99th percentile of the GMAT (770) and LSAT (177), Emily is committed to helping others achieve their full potential. In the classroom, she loves bringing concepts to life and her greatest thrill is that moment when a complex topic suddenly becomes clear to her students. Check out Emily’s upcoming GMAT courses here. Your first class is always free!

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Easy Answers Are Lousy Answers on the GMAT  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Mar 2016, 13:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Easy Answers Are Lousy Answers on the GMAT
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The number one rule in my GMAT classes is this: we stay in control of the test, not the other way around. Many GMAT questions have both a right answer, and an answer they hope you’ll pick — and those often aren’t the same! Learn to recognize the “too easy” answers that the test writers want you to pick, and stay far away from them.

Word Problems

A common type of Problem Solving question is a word problem that includes a few numbers. Since it’s a word problem, the difficulty of this problem comes from translation: depending on how hard the problem is for you, you may or may not be able to set up equations based on the text. This one comes from the GMAC’s free GMAT Prep software:

Of the 3600 employees of Company X, 1/3 are clerical. If the clerical staff were to be reduced by 1/3, what percent of the total number of the remaining employees would then be clerical?

(A) 25%

(B) 22%

(C) 20%

(D) 12.5%

(E) 11.1%

The test writers hope that you’ll get overwhelmed, fail to be thoughtful, and just jam the numbers from the problem together in a way that looks good. In this case, they’re hoping that you’ll multiply 1/3 by 1/3, ending up with 1/9, or 11.1%. That’s not the right answer, and it’s too easy to be a good guess. If you’re guessing on a problem that looks like this, pick something more unusual!

Reading Comprehension

Reading Comp passages are tough to understand. It’s easy to miss the really important stuff — the way that ideas in the passage relate to each other — in favor of the useless but flashy stuff, particularly jargon. The test writers throw a ton of jargon into Reading Comp passages, to disguise what usually is a very simple structure. (Since the longest passages are only a few paragraphs, there isn’t room for complicated rhetoric.) They want you to miss the forest for the trees.

In Reading Comp questions, particularly general questions, avoid answer choices that use a lot of fancy terms and phrases directly from the passage. If one of these answer choices seems correct to you, be skeptical. Don’t fall for an answer choice that actually reverses, or subtly changes, what the passage is saying. And never guess an answer choice that repeats a lot of technical terms from the passage. It could be right, but it’s probably just there to tempt you.

Data Sufficiency

One of the things I most hate hearing from my students, when we study Data Sufficiency, is the phrase “It just looks insufficient.” (Remember this if you ever take one of my classes!) The test writers hope you’ll glance at the statement and conclude that since it looks insufficient, it must be insufficient. Of course, looks can be deceiving. Here’s a question to try out — we wrote this one, but there are a number of similar problems in the Official Guide.

During each GMAT Quant study session, Paul balances his studies by always solving five Data Sufficiency problems for every eight Problem Solving problems.  How many Quant problems did he solve during today’s study session?

(1) Paul solved between 9 and 19 Data Sufficiency problems.

(2) Paul solved between 9 and 19 Problem Solving problems.

Neither statement looks sufficient. They provide ranges, while the question asks for a value. But unless you’re really pressed for time, take a moment to formally test the statements. The only way to prove insufficiency is to show that even if the statement were true, the problem could have two different correct answers.

(1) 16 PS problems and 10 DS problems = 26 total

24 PS problems and 15 DS problems = 39 total

Insufficient

(2) 16 PS problems and 10 DS problems = 26 total

Sufficient! There are no other solutions.

Critical Reasoning

One of the toughest parts of a CR problem is dissecting the question being asked. When the test asks for a strengthener, or a weakener, or an assumption, it means something very specific. The best approach is to think through what the right answer will need to look like before checking your options. But what the test writers hope is that you’ll give up on this process, and default to picking answers that ‘seem true, based on what you’ve read.’ This will sometimes lead you to the right answer, and more often lead you to a wrong one. Here’s an example from the GMAT Prep software.

Reviewer: The book Art’s Decline argues that European painters today lack skills that were common among European painters of preceding centuries. In this the book must be right, since its analysis of 100 paintings, 50 old and 50 contemporary, demonstrates convincingly that none of the contemporary paintings are executed as skillfully as the older paintings.

Which of the following points to the most serious logical flaw in the reviewer’s argument?

(A) The paintings chosen by the book’s author for analysis could be those that most support the book’s thesis.

(B) There could be criteria other than the technical skill of the artist by which to evaluate a painting.

(C) The title of the book could cause readers to accept the book’s thesis even before they read the analysis of the paintings that supports it.

(D) The particular methods currently used by European painters could require less artistic skill than do methods used by painters in other parts of the world.

(E) A reader who was not familiar with the language of art criticism might not be convinced by the book’s analysis of the 100 paintings.

The right answer is (A). But several of the wrong answer choices make a lot of sense and are probably true. For instance, it’s certainly the case that there are several other criteria besides technical skill that can be used to evaluate a painting. If you were having this argument in the real world, that’d even be an interesting fact to bring up. But being true, and being relevant, aren’t enough to make the answer correct. It also needs to make the specific conclusion of the argument less likely to be true. In this case, the conclusion is specifically that modern painters lack technical skill, not that their paintings are nebulously worse — and (B) fails to address the former.

Learn and use the technical definitions for the different types of CR correct answer! Don’t settle for an easy answer that “just seems to make sense.” Justify your answer every time you review a problem.

What to do next

In this article, we’ve listed four ways in which going for the easy, straightforward answer can hurt you on test day. You can use this knowledge to answer problems more confidently, and you can use it to make better guesses. When you review problems, look for “too easy” answer choices like the ones described above, even if you didn’t pick them (but especially if you did). The mark of GMAT mastery is being able to explain, in your own words, exactly how the test writers tried to trick you — and to keep them from succeeding. Image

Want full access to Chelsey’s sage GMAT wisdom? Try the first class of one of her upcoming GMAT courses for absolutely free, no strings attached. 

Chelsey CooleyImage
is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Seattle, Washington.
 Chelsey always followed her heart when it came to her education. Luckily, her heart led her straight to the perfect background for GMAT and GRE teaching: she has undergraduate degrees in mathematics and history, a master’s degree in linguistics, a 790 on the GMAT, and a perfect 170/170 on the GRE. Check out Chelsey’s upcoming GMAT prep offerings here.

The post Easy Answers Are Lousy Answers on the GMAT appeared first on GMAT.
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How to Review Easy GMAT Quant Questions (And Why They’re Important)  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Mar 2016, 13:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: How to Review Easy GMAT Quant Questions (And Why They’re Important)
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Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

If you’re already comfortable with most of the Quant content (big if, but hey, let’s play the hypothetical game), then you’ll find some of the questions in the GMAT official guide book are relatively easy. Even if you’re struggling, there will be a few questions that you get right and understand without much difficulty. Let’s talk about how those can be powerful tools.

Imagine you come across this problem:

A company is composed of 300 employees. If 30% of the employees are managers, 10% are administrators, and the remaining employees are workers, how many workers are employed in the company?

a) 60

b) 90

c) 120

d) 150

e) 180

You solve it in this way:

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And you correctly choose answer choice (E)

Do not move on to the next question! Instead ask yourself three follow-ups:

Did I Perform My Calculations as Efficiently as Possible?

As you may have already noticed, in this case, the answer is no. There are several things we could have done to make the math easier and less subject to error.

First, when multiplying numbers by fractions (or percents turned into fractions), eliminating common factors first increases your accuracy. Watch the simple change:

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Simple, but very powerful as the arithmetic gets harder.

Second, we could have done this in fewer steps. There was no need to calculate the number of managers or administrators. Instead try it this way:

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Seeing this method would require more planning before jumping into the calculations, but it is a better route. In this simple problem, it’s not decisively better, but having seen it here, we can use this method on harder problems.

We have now perfected the method we chose to use. Let’s move on to question 2:

Was there A Better Method?

In our Complete Course and Quantitative Strategy Guides, we go through several methods of solving that use little if any algebra. Often, these are faster. Sometimes, they are necessary. The main alternate strategies are: Working Backwards, Smart Numbers, Testing Cases, and Estimation. Add to that list “Guessing” because sometimes the best method is just to cut your losses. See if you can find the better method to use in this problem.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

My vote is for estimation. Why? Because of the answer choices. They are widely varied, spanning from a tiny percentage to more than half of the total. Let’s see if we can find answers that are logically too high or too low.

The total is 300. More than half of that total is workers. We should be looking for an answer choice above 150. That eliminates every answer except for (E). Essentially no math, but still an answer! This is a far better method, and you can use it on many percentage problems. Sometimes you’ll have to estimate a maximum in addition to a minimum, but that’s not much harder with practice.

Having seen this better method, you’ll be more prepared for much harder questions. Speaking of, let’s get to question three:

How can I make This Problem Harder (And Could I still Solve It?)

Let’s start by making our better method a little less perfect. What if the answer choices didn’t end at 180, but there was another, higher choice:

a) 90

b) 120

c) 150

d) 180

e) 210

We could still logically eliminate A, B, and C, but how could we pick between D and E without the bother of arithmetic?

Let’s estimate more! We know 60% are workers. I’m not sure how to estimate 60% without solving, but it’s between 50% and two-thirds (66%), both of which we can easily estimate. Two-thirds of 300 is 200. So 66% is 200. That’s higher than the right answer, 60%. We can eliminate every answer higher than 200. E goes out the window, and we’ve got the right answer, D.

Ok, we’ve made the estimation harder, let’s make the actual problem harder. Try changing the numbers to harder versions. Make the total something tougher to take a percent of, such as 340. Make the percents harder to calculate, such as 16% in place of 10 and 37% in place of 30. Take a moment and see if you can still solve the problem.

(The answer with the new numbers is 180.2. When you start making up your own numbers, the answers often won’t come out evenly.)

As you get more comfortable, try changing more than just the numbers. How would the same information be presented in ratio form? What would happen if they gave you total numbers and you had to calculate percents?

An easy problem can profoundly help your score if you take the time to analyze it correctly. Don’t make the mistake of skipping over any problem. Image

Of course, the most in-depth way to learn the ins-and-outs of the GMAT is to take a complete course with one of our master instructors. You can try out any first session for free! No strings attached. We promise.

Image
Emily Madan is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Philadelphia. Having scored in the 99th percentile of the GMAT (770) and LSAT (177), Emily is committed to helping others achieve their full potential. In the classroom, she loves bringing concepts to life and her greatest thrill is that moment when a complex topic suddenly becomes clear to her students. Check out Emily’s upcoming GMAT courses here. Your first class is always free!

The post How to Review Easy GMAT Quant Questions (And Why They’re Important) 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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Five Simple Tips for GMAT Word Problems  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Apr 2016, 07:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Five Simple Tips for GMAT Word Problems
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Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

This article won’t teach you how to solve GMAT word problems from scratch. (Check out our Word Problems Strategy Guide for that!) However, it will suggest five easy changes that’ll help you save time, earn points, and reduce stress. Make just a few small changes to how you solve word problems, and watch your Quant score improve.

  • Check the answer choices early.
Always read the answer choices before you start doing math. The test writers know that most people don’t do this, so they sometimes put clues in the answer choices to reward diligent test takers. The answer choices will tell you whether to use the Choosing Smart Numbers or Backsolving strategies, and might give you other hints as well.

[*] Create an answer box. [/list]
Jot down what you’re solving for before you write anything else. Then draw a box around it, so it’ll stand out on your scratch paper. There are three good reasons to do this. First, if you can’t work out what you’re solving for, you can be certain that you won’t successfully solve the problem in two minutes. You have my permission to move on from these problems! Second, doing this forces you to read thoroughly before you start doing math, rather than scribbling down equations that you might not even use. Third, it’ll help keep you from accidentally solving for the wrong thing, a mistake which the test writers often anticipate.

[*] Name your variables wisely.[/list]
No more x, y, and z — that’s only good for impressing your high school math teachers. Name your variables based on what they stand for, so you won’t forget which letter stands for what. Are you solving for the total number of bananas purchased? Call your variable b. Are you solving for a rate of travel? Call it r, for rate.

[*] Keep your scratch work tidy. [/list]
For every second you gain by writing quickly and sloppily, you’ll lose two seconds trying to decipher your own work. The best GMAT test takers use their neatest handwriting and organize their scratch work carefully. Well-organized thinking leads to well-organized work, but the opposite is also true for many test takers. Personally, I like using charts and tables to organize my work on word problems whenever I can.  For an overall strategy to organize your scratch pad, try out the Yellow Pad Technique, described in this article by Stacey Koprince.

[*] Slow down your reading, speed up your math. [/list]
You ought to spend at least 45 seconds reading and thinking about every word problem before you begin doing math. That may seem like way too much time at first, but the point is to know exactly what steps you’ll take before you start writing. It’s okay to ‘just try something and hope that it works’ when you’re reviewing a problem, but on test day or when doing timed practice, it’s a waste of time. When it matters, build your plan first, and then work. If you think that doesn’t leave you enough time to do the mathematical calculations, then speed up your math! Foundations of Math is a great resource for speed drills, as are websites like Zetamac Arithmetic and MathDrills.

Put it all together

If you’re doing a so-so job on GMAT Word Problems and you want to step up your game, incorporate these five tips into how you work. Test them out one at a time, and if a strategy seems to improve your speed, accuracy, or confidence, keep using it! Thoughtful practice will reveal the best way for you to solve problems. Image

Want full access to Chelsey’s sage GMAT wisdom? Try the first class of one of her upcoming GMAT courses for absolutely free, no strings attached. 

Chelsey CooleyImage
is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Seattle, Washington.
 Chelsey always followed her heart when it came to her education. Luckily, her heart led her straight to the perfect background for GMAT and GRE teaching: she has undergraduate degrees in mathematics and history, a master’s degree in linguistics, a 790 on the GMAT, and a perfect 170/170 on the GRE. Check out Chelsey’s upcoming GMAT prep offerings here.

 

The post Five Simple Tips for GMAT Word Problems appeared first on GMAT.
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GMATPrep Reading Comp: Tackling a Tough Passage (part 2)  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Apr 2016, 07:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMATPrep Reading Comp: Tackling a Tough Passage (part 2)
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Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

In the first installment of this series, we deconstructed a challenging Reading Comprehension passage from the GMATPrep® free exams. Pull up that page, as I’m not going to repeat the full text of the passage here.

I also gave you the first problem to try. Let’s talk about it now!

Here’s the problem again:

* “It can be inferred from the passage that application of “other mandates” (see highlighted text) would be unlikely to result in an outcome satisfactory to the female employees in which of the following situations?

“I. Males employed as long-distance truck drivers for a furniture company make $3.50 more per hour than do females with comparable job experience employed in the same capacity.

“II. Women working in the office of a cement company content that their jobs are as demanding and valuable as those of the men working outside in the cement factory, but the women are paid much less per hour.

“III. A law firm employs both male and female paralegals with the same educational and career backgrounds, but the starting salary for male paralegals is $5,000 more than for female paralegals.

“(A) I only

“(B) II only

“(C) III only

“(D) I and II only

“(E) I and III only”

If you recall, I was pretty annoyed by this problem. Roman numeral questions are always long and the three statements here are pretty complex. Don’t just dive into a question like this; decide whether it’s even worth your time in the first place.

If you’re going to do this problem, then it’s going to be crucial to make sure that you understand the question before going to the statements.

First, this is an inference question. Inference questions require you to figure out what must be true based upon some evidence presented in the passage.

Step two is to find the proof in the passage. Luckily, they highlighted the relevant text in the passage, so you know exactly where to go. Wait a second, though. Make sure you understand the question before you jump to this text.

Glance at the statements. Don’t read completely or try to understand them. Just articulate to yourself whatkind of info they contain.

They seem to be describing very specific scenarios that weren’t at all talked about in the passage. I guess these are hypothetical scenarios that I’m going to have to think about somehow.

Go back to the question stem to see how you have to think about the scenarios.

application of “other mandates”

hmm…”application” of this thing I’m going to read about in the passage…

would be unlikely to result in an outcome satisfactory to the female employees in which of the following situations?

Okay, they’re going to describe something in this text I’m about to read, and applying that something to the scenarios (in the roman numerals) would not be satisfactory to the female employees. So in this text I’m about to read, I need to be able to infer something about female employees in particular.

Step three: time to read that text and try to articulate my own answer. I need to read enough to understand how female employees would be affected.

Here’s the relevant text from the passage:

“Comparable worth pay adjustments are indeed precedent-setting. Because of the principles driving them,other mandates that can be applied to reduce or eliminate unjustified pay gaps between male and female workers have not remedied perceived pay inequities satisfactorily for the litigants in cases in which men and women hold different jobs. But whenever comparable worth principles are applied to pay schedules, perceived unjustified pay differences are eliminated.”

Put this all in the context of the overall point of the passage: CW did / does make a difference in alleviating the pay gap.

“Other mandates” means other things besides CW. But those things “have not remedied perceived pay inequities satisfactorily” when “men and women hold different jobs.” BUT CW did actually help in that situation.

Okay. So the “other” stuff, whatever it is, doesn’t really work when you’re talking about different jobs for the male and female employees involved. That would definitely be considered an unsatisfactory outcome for the female employees, so I need to look for scenarios in which the employees have different jobs.

Finally! I can go back to the statements.

 “I. Males employed as long-distance truck drivers for a furniture company make $3.50 more per hour than do females with comparable job experience employed in the same capacity.”

“Employed in the same capacity” = the same job, so this doesn’t fit what I’m looking for. I’m looking for situations in which the employees do not have the same kind of job.

Wow. I can eliminate answers (A), (D), and (E) based on this statement alone. (Note: this made me second-guess myself. Did I understand the question properly? So I re-read the question and confirmed that, yes, I really did understand and now I’m confident that this one is not right.)

“II. Women working in the office of a cement company content that their jobs are as demanding and valuable as those of the men working outside in the cement factory, but the women are paid much less per hour.”

Different jobs—office vs. factory. If the “other” methods (not CW) are used here, then the women aren’t likely to be happy with the outcome. This one works. Eliminate answer (C).

Only answer (B) is left. Let’s check the third statement just in case.

“III. A law firm employs both male and female paralegals with the same educational and career backgrounds, but the starting salary for male paralegals is $5,000 more than for female paralegals.”

Same job. Nope, this one’s wrong, too. Statement II is the only one that fits the “different job” criterion.

The correct answer is (B).

This problem required a lot of careful upfront work. If that is done well, then the statements aren’t that bad. The trick is that you actually have really understand both the convoluted question and the relevant text in the passage so that you can pick out the one key detail: these other methods don’t work well when the male and female employees have different jobs.

It would be really easy to get lost in either the question or the passage on this one, in which case, don’t push on. You already know this is a crazy one, by virtue of the roman numeral set-up. So if the question, or passage, or both are just too much, roll your eyes that they actually expected someone to do that much work, pick your favorite letter, and don’t look back. Dive right into the next problem.

Speaking of, here is the second question!

“According to the passage, which of the following is true of comparable worth as a policy?

“(A) Comparable worth policy decisions in pay-inequity cases have often failed to satisfy the complainants.

“(B) Comparable worth policies have been applied to both public-sector and private-sector employee pay schedules.

“(C) Comparable worth as a policy has come to be widely criticized in the past decade.

“(D) Many employers have considered comparable worth as a policy but very few have actually adopted it.

“(E) Early implementations of comparable worth policies resulted in only transitory gains in pay equity.”

In the next installment of this series, we’ll talk about how to work your way through the above problem. I’ll also give you the third problem in the set.

Key Takeaways for Roman Numeral questions
(1) Don’t dive straight to the statements. First, make sure you understand the question, especially if it’s as involved as this one. Your understanding of the question should tell you what you need to figure out from the passage text. If you don’t get that, guess and move on.

(2) Next, still don’t dive into the statements! Go back to the passage, read the relevant text, and try to formulate your own overall “answer” to the question. This won’t be the actual answer of course, but it will be the key to evaluating the statements. Again, if you don’t get this step, guess and move on.

(3) Finally, you can go to the statements! But you’re only going to get this far if you successfully pass the earlier steps. Don’t be stubborn and keep going just because you think you have to get it right or you “should” be able to figure it out.

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

Can’t get enough of Stacey’s GMAT mastery? Attend the first session of one of her upcoming GMAT courses absolutely free, no strings attached. Seriously. 

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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 GMATPrep Reading Comp: Tackling a Tough Passage (part 2) appeared first on GMAT.
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GMAT Grammar Biweekly: Noun Modifiers  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Apr 2016, 09:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMAT Grammar Biweekly: Noun Modifiers
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If you’ve been following these posts, you already have one kind of  noun modifier safely stashed away – opening modifiers. Let’s expand your repertoire using the same sentence:

Barking ferociously, the dog, which was known to be vicious, ran down the street, chasing the boy who had been poking at it just moments before.

If you recognize “barking ferociously” as an opening modifier, excellent! Opening modifiers are noun modifiers too. Why? Well, because they modify nouns. Profound, right? We started with them because they’re so specific. Not only do they modify nouns, they modify subjects (in this case, the dog). But the sentence has another, slightly less specific, noun modifier. Take another look. What else describes a noun?

In fact, the other noun modifier also describes “the dog.” The author describes the dog, “which was known to be vicious.” That clause is describing the dog, which is a noun, so it makes it into our category of noun modifiers.Noun modifiers must be positioned as close as possible to the noun they modify.

See if you can spot the noun modifiers in each of the following sentences:

  • Her son was a swimmer of great renown.
A simple sentence, but if you break this down to the core, you get “Her son was a swimmer.” The excluded part “of great renown,” must be a modifier. It logically describes the type of swimmer her son was, so “of great renown” is a noun modifier that modifiers “swimmer.”If we moved this modifier away from its noun, we run into trouble: “Her son was a swimmer in the ocean of great renown.” The ocean is now the noun that is being modified and the meaning is just crazy. Try another sentence with a different kind of noun modifier:

2. The truck found by the side of the road was in poor condition.

Again, you need the sentence core in order to pick out the modifiers. The core is “The truck was in poor condition.” Therefore “found by the side of the road” is a modifier. The only logical thing it can modify is the truck. Truck is a noun, we just found another noun modifier. Ok, last one:

3. Jujutsu, a method of fighting initially designed to defeat an armed opponent, has evolved to fit modern needs.

Core: “Jujutsu has evolved.” See if you can find what the two excluded parts modify.

First, “a method…” describes Jujutsu. Noun modifier! Second, “to fit modern needs” is tougher. It’s describing the way this has evolved. As it’s written, that’s not a noun. This is a non-noun modifier, aka an adverbial modifier. Dealing with adverbial modifiers is another post, for now, let’s disregard it.

So what patterns did you notice with the noun modifiers? The second two modify the subject of the sentence, but the first doesn’t. As long as it’s a noun, that’s fine. More importantly, the noun modifier is immediately next to the noun it’s modifying. Go back to the sentences and try moving the noun modifier further from the noun. It can’t be done without changing the meaning of the sentence.

You’ll have to check that the meaning and the grammar line up. If the modifier is meant to modify a noun, grammatically it has to be near that noun.

Keep a particularly careful eye open for relative pronouns. While there are lots of relative pronouns, you should memorize and recognize the most common ones: which, where, when, who, whose, whom. These are always noun modifiers, so you can quickly jump to checking that the meaning works out.

Side note: “that” should technically be on this list as well, but as it doesn’t use a comma and can appear in non-modifier forms, it’s a bit more complicated, and we’ll save it for a “that” exclusive post.

Check out these sentences and see if you can spot the errors:

1. Joey ate tons of ice cream and cookies, who was known for his appetite.

The perfume smelled nice, which was a relief to Sara, who had an overdeveloped sense of smell.

The first sentence runs into trouble because the modifier is modifying the wrong noun. As written, it means the ice cream and cookies were known for his appetite. Obviously, we have a problem with that meaning. The fix is to move the modifier closer to the appropriate noun.

2. Joey, who was known for his appetite, ate tons of ice cream and cookies.

The second sentence has two relative pronouns: which and who. The “who” modifier is correct. Sara is the person with the overdeveloped sense of smell, and she is also the noun immediately before the comma. But what’s wrong with the “which”? It’s more subtle than the first example. Instead of modifying the wrong noun, it’s modifying a noun that doesn’t exist in the sentence. Try to pinpoint what was a relief to Sara. It’s not the perfume, nor is it the smell. It’s the entire idea that the perfume smelled nice. That’s not a noun, it’s a clause. This needs an adverbial modifier. You’d have to create a noun to make the sentence work with “which.”

3. The perfume smelled nice, a fact which was a relief to Sara, who had an overdeveloped sense of smell.

Practicing differentiation between noun modifiers and adverbial modifiers, then make sure the noun modifier is close to the noun it’s describing. If you want a more thorough discussion of modifiers, visit Chapter 6 of our Sentence Correction Strategy GuideImage

Of course, the most in-depth way to learn the ins-and-outs of the GMAT is to take a complete course with one of our master instructors. You can try out any first session for free! No strings attached. We promise.

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Emily Madan is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Philadelphia. Having scored in the 99th percentile of the GMAT (770) and LSAT (177), Emily is committed to helping others achieve their full potential. In the classroom, she loves bringing concepts to life and her greatest thrill is that moment when a complex topic suddenly becomes clear to her students. Check out Emily’s upcoming GMAT courses here. Your first class is always free!

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Two More Official Practice GMAT Exams Released!  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Apr 2016, 15:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Two More Official Practice GMAT Exams Released!
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GMAC® has released two new official practice CATs for your studying pleasure. In addition to the 2 free tests and the 2 previously-released paid tests, this brings to 6 the total number of official practice GMATs you can take as you get ready for the real test.

The GMATPrep® Exam Pack 2 contains 2 full-length practice tests for $49.99 and, as with the Exam Pack 1 product, you’ll receive an enhanced score report providing you with your overall scores and some detailed performance data by question-type.

GMATPrep Exam Tips

We do recommend that you time yourself per question while taking the GMATPrep® exams. Almost everyone has at least minor timing issues in at least one of the sections, so this is useful data to gather. Grab your smartphone and disable the screen saver (or make it so long that it won’t go dark on you between questions).

Pull up a timer or stopwatch app and play with it until you figure out how the lap timing function works. The lap timer allows you run a timer continuously as you hit the lap button periodically. Every time you hit the lap button, the timer will record how long it has been since you last hit the lap button, but the timer won’t stop. It’ll continue running.

Every time you finish a problem and click Next and Confirm, train yourself to hit a third button: Lap. Your sequence is always Next-Confirm-Lap and on to the new problem. When you’re done, you’ll have your per-question timing data.

Happy studying! Image

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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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Taking the new mini-GMAT for EMBA? Here’s how to prep! – Part 1  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Apr 2016, 06:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Taking the new mini-GMAT for EMBA? Here’s how to prep! – Part 1
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The Executive Assessment exam was launched in March 2016 to provide a more streamlined version of the GMAT for EMBA candidates at certain schools. Follow that link for logistics.

I’ve spoken with multiple students who are planning to take the exam and they all have the same question: How should I prepare for this test?

The short answer is: we’re going to have to make some best guesses. The information available is still pretty limited—the exam hasn’t even been in public existence for a month yet. But I will do my best to provide some guidelines in this two-part series!

GMAC has released some sample questions, but not many. The organization has not yet released any practice exams or any commentary regarding what topics are or are not tested. It’s clear that the Executive Assessment (EA) was built off of the GMAT (the question types are the same), but it also seems clear that the EA will not test the same breadth and depth of knowledge that the GMAT tests.

EA Overview

There are three sections on the EA and four scores: one score for each section and a total score that combines all three subscores (but doesn’t just add them up).

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The official Executive Assessment website always lists Verbal before Quant, so we are assuming that the test will be in this order: IR, Verbal, Quant. (On the GMAT, Quant comes before Verbal.)

Below, I’ll summarize what we know about the released practice questions and draw some conclusions about how to study. As I said, though, not many questions have been released yet. I’ll do my best with the information available, but I definitely reserve the right to update my thinking when more material is released!

Integrated Reasoning (IR)

When talking about the GMAT, I’d normally leave IR to the last, since people don’t care as much about that score. On the EA, though,the IR score is incorporated into your overall score (along with Quant and Verbal), so you do have to be well-prepared for IR.

This section appears to be identical on the two exams. As on the GMAT, you will answer 12 IR questions in 30 minutes and you will have access to an on-screen calculator. Many of the released sample questions are straight from official GMAT materials, so we’re expecting the IR section on the EA to be similar, if not identical, to GMAT IR. You should be able to use standard GMAT IR materials to prepare for the EA.

There are four IR question types. If you manipulate and analyze data at your job already, then at least two of these question types will feel not-too-weird to you: Tables and Graphs. Multi-Source Reasoning (MSR) questions can be a little more complicated, but they are primarily about synthesizing data and information from multiple sources—presumably you already do this on a daily basis at work. Image
One IR type is still a pretty classic “standardized-test” type of question: Two-Parts.

The more verbal- or analytical-reasoning questions do not require any outside factual knowledge, but you will need some factual knowledge for the more quant-focused questions. The released sample questions testpercentages (including percent change), fractions, ratios, and proportions. They also cover statistics, including median, correlation (positive, negative). Also expect some word problems in the form of unit conversions, population and rate of change and some probabilities.

Since median is in the mix, I would expect to see some questions on average, too.I’m not sure about weighted average, but I would guess you need to know how to reason using weighted average concepts, but you may not need to straight-up calculate a weighted average.

Verbal Reasoning
The Verbal section will consist of the same three question types that appear on the Verbal section of the GMAT, but you’ll only have to answer 14 of them, not 41. You’ll have 30 minutes or approximately 2 minutes and 8 seconds per question (on average). This is more generous than the approximately 1 minute and 50 seconds we have for each GMAT Verbal question.

Sentence Correction (SC)
Of the six sample questions released, the underlines are on the shorter side—no full-sentence underlines! With only six released questions, I can’t draw many conclusions about which grammar rules are tested and which aren’t, but we can assume that anything tested in these questions is fair game. I spotted issues from these broad categories in the released examples:

Meaning (and sometimes concision)

Sentence Structure

Modifiers

Verb Tense related to Meaning (illogical timeframe)

Parallelism and Comparisons

Idioms

Notice anything? That list is pretty comprehensive—it covers most of the major issues tested on the GMAT. I didn’t see any straight subject-verb mismatches, but I would still expect that topic to be fair game on this test. I also spotted a pronoun issue as part of a comparison, but no “pure” pronoun errors.

My best guess is that the overall grammar topics (as well as meaning!) are fair game, but that the questions may not get quite as detailed or specialized as some GMAT questions can get—so standard GMAT prep materials will work. Just don’t bother to learn it all.

If you’ve never had a solid grounding in grammar (parts of speech and so on), then you may want to start with something like our Foundations of Verbal strategy guide and work your way up to the regular Sentence Correction strategy guide. In that second book, learn the main lessons for the major grammar topics and ignore anything that the book says is more advanced or more rarely tested.

Critical Reasoning (CR)
Of the five sample questions, four could be pulled straight from the GMAT: the questions asked, the argument structures, even the trap answers are entirely consistent with GMAT questions. One is a bit different, but I would call it a variation on an Inference question.

The classic types are all Find the Assumption, Strengthen, or Weaken. The “minor-type” questions—the ones that don’t appear as frequently on the GMAT—are not in evidence at all: no boldface, no evaluate the argument, no discrepancies.

My best guess is that this was intentional and we won’t see these question types on the EA. Here, I would study the four main CR question types: Find the Assumption, Strengthen, Weaken, and Inference.

Reading Comprehension (RC)
These four sample questions have some noticeable differences compared to GMAT RC. First of all, there are three passages for these four questions. In other words, two of the passages have just one question each!

One of those passages is noticeably shorter than a typical GMAT passage—it has only about 130 words. (GMAT passages are more typically 250 to 350 words). Of the other two passages, one is a typical GMAT short passage (about 250 words) and the other is a typical GMAT long passage (about 350 words).

My guess is that we’ll see some shorter passages here with only 1 or 2 questions rather than the more GMAT-standard longer passages with 3 or 4 questions. There are only 14 verbal questions total, so a single passage with 4 questions would be your entire RC quota for the section. If they want to have any kind of topic mix (business, science, social science), they need to be able to give more than one passage.

The question types are classic GMAT: three specific detail questions and one inference question. My guess is that main idea questions will also be fair game.

You can use existing GMAT materials to practice, but the timing won’t be quite the same, as it appears that the EA may employ shorter passages with fewer questions. You may want to focus on the shorter GMAT passages until more EA practice questions are released.

That’s it for IR and Verbal. Next time, we’ll talk about the Quant section as well as overall study planning. Image

 

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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 Taking the new mini-GMAT for EMBA? Here’s how to prep! – Part 1 appeared first on GMAT.
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Think Like an Expert: How & When to Work Backwards on GMAT Problem Sol  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Apr 2016, 13:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Think Like an Expert: How & When to Work Backwards on GMAT Problem Solving
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What does it take to be a GMAT expert? It’s not just content knowledge (although of course that’s necessary). A GMAT expert knows how to quickly identify patterns and choose quickly from a variety of strategies. In each of these segments, I’ll show you one of these expert moves and how to use it.

What working backwards is

Working backwards from the answer choices, back-solving, plug-and-chug… no matter what you call it, you’ve probably heard of it before.  Many GMAT Problem Solving (PS) questions require laborious algebra to solve, but are much faster and easier to solve by simply plugging the answer choices into the problem to see what fits.

Try this problem:

Ada went to the supermarket with $36, expecting to buy a certain number of energy drinks. However, the store had recently raised the price of energy drinks by $1, causing Ada to purchase 3 fewer energy drinks than expected. How many energy drinks did she originally expect to purchase?

(A) 12

(B) 10

(C) 9

(D) 8

(E) 6

If you did the algebra, you probably ran into some really ugly, messy equations. If you picked numbers, you likely had a much easier time. (Explanations at the end)*

Here’s what I hear from students all the time: “oh, now that you showed me, I can see that working backwards is easier. But I didn’t even think to try it.”I blame high school teachers who made us show all of our work every time! We’re trained to think that algebra is the “right” way to do things, so we jump automatically into creating equations.

So, you’ll have to re-train yourself…

When are you allowed to work backwards?

Here’s the rule, and it’s pretty simple: you’re allowed to work backwards from the answer choices any time a PS question asks you for the value of an unknown (a variable) – in other words, if you could write the question as “x= ?,” you’re allowed to work backwards.

Working backwards usually does not work (or at least not easily) if the question asked for any other kind of information: a sum, a difference, a product, a ratio / proportion, a variable in terms of another variable, etc.

Consider the difference between these two ratio problems, and try working backwards for each:

At a certain animal shelter, the ratio of puppies to kittens on Monday was 4 to 5. During the week, 8 puppies and 7 kittens were adopted and left the shelter. If by Friday the ratio of remaining puppies to remaining kittens was 2 to 3, how many kittens were originally in the shelter on Monday?

(A) 18

(B) 20

(C) 25

(D) 27

(E) 30
At a certain animal shelter, the ratio of puppies to kittens on Monday was 4 to 5. During the week, 8 puppies and 7 kittens were adopted and left the shelter. If by Friday the ratio of remaining puppies to remaining kittens was 2 to 3, how many more kittens than puppies were originally in the shelter on Monday?

(A) 1

(B) 2

(C) 3

(D) 4

(E) 5

Question #1 asks for the original number of kittens, in other words the value of an unknown: k= ? We’re allowed to work backwards! We can easily plug in the answer choices into the original ratio (more on how to do so in a little bit).

Question #2 is asking for the difference between kittens and puppies. In other words, k – p= ? You probably had a lot more trouble working backwards on this one, so algebra probably was the most efficient strategy.

Train yourself to recognize working-backwards-problems

If you’re currently not using the strategy of working backwards because you “didn’t even think about it,” then you have to train yourself to recognize the signals.

Do this right now: grab a copy  of the Official Guide. (If you don’t have one, you should definitely get one).

Step 1: Flip open to the first page of the PS section. Glance through the questions, and without solving, just ask yourself which questions you could work backwards on. In other words, which questions ask for the value of a variable? Write the question numbers down.

I’ll give you the first few from OG 2016: #3, #9, #12, #15, #19, #32. Now you practice recognizing the rest!

Step 2: Once you’re confident that you can recognize these problems, you can then go back and solve them by working backwards.

Step 3: Go back and re-solve these same questions, trying algebra this time. Then compare: which strategy was more efficient for you, and on which problems? This might vary from person to person, or topic to topic. Make sure you’re strengthening both muscles!

How to work backwards efficiently

Let’s go back to that first kittens-and-puppies problem. When you’re working backwards, it’s a good idea to create a chart to keep your information organized.


kittens: 5x
puppies: 4x
kittens – 7
puppies – 8

A
18

B
20

C
25

D
27

E
30

Which answer choice should you start with? You’ll hear differing advice on this one: some people say to start with C, some say to start with B or D. The reasoning is that if you start with B and it’s too big, the answer must be A, and you can avoid testing a 2nd value. If it’s too small, test D. If D is too small, the answer is E. If D is too large, the answer is C. This way, you’ve tested a maximum of 2 answers.

My recommendation, though, is to start with your intuition, then go with something else in the middle… whatever answer choice seems easiest. Just don’t start with A and test all 5 in a row, because you’ll be doing more work than you need to.

On this problem, intuition should tell you that if the original ratio of puppies to kitten was 4 to 5, the original number of kittens had to be a multiple of 5. We can rule out A and D. Then, I’d start with C, because it’s in the middle of the 3 answers I have left:


kittens: 5x
puppies: 4x
kittens – 7
puppies – 8

A
18




B
20

C
25
20
18
12

D
27




E
30

If there were 25 kittens, there would have been 20 puppies to create a ratio of 4 to 5. If 7 kittens and 8 puppies leave, then the new ratio is 12 to 18, or 2 to 3. Correct!

Strategies are like muscles: you have to train them

Expert athletes don’t just know the rules of the game; they train themselves specifically to recognize and respond to different plays. If you want to become a GMAT expert, you need more than just knowing the rules: you need to train yourself on each individual skill.

Good luck!

*The algebraic solution:

Let p = expected price and q = expected quantity

pq = 36  and  (p + 1)(q – 3) = 36

FOIL:   pq – 3p + q – 3 = 36

Isolate: p = 36/q

Substitute: (36/q)q – 3(36/q) + q – 3 = 36

Simplify:  36 – 108/q + q – 3 = 36

Subtract 36 from both sides: – 108/q + q – 3 = 0

Multiply both sides by q:  – 108 + q2 – 3q = 0

Rearrange: q2 – 3q – 108 = 0

Factor:  (q – 12)(q + 9) = 0

Solve:  q = 12 or -9 ⇒  it must be positive, so q = 12

Hideous and complicated! Let’s try working backwards. We can create a chart:


q
p
q – 3
p + 1

A
12

B
10

C
9

D
8

E
6

Start with (B): 10 times what would equal 36? Nothing! Rule that out. Now try (C):


q
p
q – 3
p + 1

A
12

B
10

C
9
4
6
5

D
8

E
6

6 × 5 is not 36, so rule that out. The number was too small, so try a bigger number, (A):


q
p
q – 3
p + 1

A
12
3
9
4

B
10




C
9
4
6
5

D
8

E
6

9 × 4 = 36, so that works. (A) must be the answer!

Want full access to Céilidh’s trove of GMAT knowledge? Try the first class of one of her upcoming GMAT courses absolutely free, no strings attached. 

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Céilidh Erickson is a Manhattan Prep instructor based on New York City. When she tells people that her name is pronounced “kay-lee,” she often gets puzzled looks. Céilidh is a graduate of Princeton University, where she majored in comparative literature. After graduation, tutoring was always the job that bought her the greatest joy and challenge, so she decided to make it her full-time job. Check out Céilidh’s upcoming GMAT courses (she scored a 760, so you’re in great hands).

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Two Minutes of GMAT Quant: A Breakdown (Part 3)  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Apr 2016, 10:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Two Minutes of GMAT Quant: A Breakdown (Part 3)
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Ready for the long awaited conclusion of how to tackle a quant problem in two minutes? We’ll finally get to the point where you can submit an answer! If you haven’t been keeping up, catch up here.

From 0:30 To 2:00: Work
After thirty seconds, you know what the problem is asking, you’ve inserted some common sense, and you may have even eliminated some answer choices. Now it’s time to work efficiently.

If, in the first thirty seconds, you were able to see some equations fairly easily, meaning expressing the real world relationships as math doesn’t seem unreasonable, then it’s time to move into direct solving. Practice the first 30 seconds of analysis and then create whatever equations you can for this problem:

For every three boys, there are four girls in the group. If five boys join the group, and four girls leave the group, there will be an equal number of boys and girls in the group. How many boys are there initially?

  • 14
  • 21
  • 27
  • 32
  • 36
Did you catch the answer choices that you could eliminate? Look again if you didn’t – there are two that are proven wrong with very little math.

We know that initially we have more girls than boys. Beyond that, we know the total number of boys, at least initially, is some multiple of three. (The initial number of girls is some multiple of four, but that’s less helpful since the answers are referring to the boys.) The right answer, therefore, must be a multiple of three. Experiment with different possible values of boys and girls keeping the ratio of three to four if you don’t quite see why. Once you’ve convinced yourself, eliminate answers (A) and (D), because they are not divisible by three.

From here, some of you out there will be able to read this problem, write the correct equations, and quickly solve. Excellent work. However, the many people have some trouble converting this situation into algebra. We’ll go through how in just a moment (and if you want an in-depth analysis of how to solve ratio problems like this one, check out our Fractions, Decimals, and Percents Strategy Guide), but let’s first play with the idea that the equations are either challenging or potentially incorrect.

As soon as you think direct algebra may be a waste of time, either because it will take too long or you’re not confident that you could do it correctly, consider alternative strategies. In this case, working backwards is a great choice. Céilidh, one of our instructors, has recently published a phenomenal post on how to determine when to work backwards, so feel free to check it out if you want more insight into this process.

Arguably the most important aspect of working backwards is organization, so consider creating a table to help yourself out. Let’s start with answer (B).

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At this point, I often ask myself “What is the easiest thing to solve for next?” The beauty of working backwards is you select a series of simple steps, which eventually push you to either confirm or deny this answer choice as the correct answer. In this case, I think finding the number of boys after five more boys join is pretty easy. Let’s add that column to our table:

Image

Again, what’s the easiest thing to solve for next? My vote is for the current number of girls because it’s the same as the current number of boys.

Image

The only thing left to solve for is the initial number of girls, which we can get easily enough by adding 4 from the current number of girls.

Image

The final step of working backwards is to compare the numbers we’ve calculated to what’s given to find whether this is correct or not. The only thing we haven’t used yet is the initial ratio of three boys to four girls in the group. For answer (B), the initial ratio is 21 to 30, which we can reduce to 7 to 10, but is not the same as 3 to 4. So let’s try another. How about C?

Image

Try to fill in the rest of the chart and verify whether (C) is correct or not before reading on.

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Our ratio is 27 to 36, which reduces to 9 to 12 aka 3 to 4. This is a perfect fit and C is the right answer.

Just as an aside, working backwards was much easier because we’d knocked out two answer choices from the start. We had a maximum of three choices to test.

Now, as promised, let’s work through algebraically. Here’s the question again:

For every three boys, there are four girls in the group. If five boys join the group, and four girls leave the group, there will be an equal number of boys and girls in the group. How many boys are there initially?

  • 14
  • 21
  • 27
  • 32
  • 36
To start, you need to assign variables. Let’s make b and g the initial number of boys and girls in the group. We can express the ratio of three to four as b/g = 3/4. Now the tricky part. Five boys join the group, so we should create other variables for the new number of boys and girls. Try this:

bn = b + 5 and gn = g – 4.  We now have four variables, which is way too many. We can break it down by using the last bit of information; the new number of boys equals the new number of girls, or, mathematically, bn = gn. This is very helpful, because it allows us to substitute our expressions for bn and gn, giving us two equations with two unknowns: b + 5 = g – 4 and b/g = 3/4. You can solve using substitution like so:

b/g = 3/4 so 4b = 3g and 4b/3 = g

b + 5 = g – 4 so substitute to get b + 5 = 4b/3 – 4 and solve for b to get 27.

Most problems can be solved multiple ways, like this one. As you start to work, be sure you are using the most efficient process, not just the most obvious ones. Image

Of course, the most in-depth way to learn the ins-and-outs of the GMAT is to take a complete course with one of our master instructors. You can try out any first session for free! No strings attached. We promise.

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Emily Madan is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Philadelphia. Having scored in the 99th percentile of the GMAT (770) and LSAT (177), Emily is committed to helping others achieve their full potential. In the classroom, she loves bringing concepts to life and her greatest thrill is that moment when a complex topic suddenly becomes clear to her students. Check out Emily’s upcoming GMAT courses here. Your first class is always free!

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Boring is Sometimes Best on GMAT Verbal  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Apr 2016, 10:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Boring is Sometimes Best on GMAT Verbal
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There’s a particular exercise I like to do with students who overthink Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning problems. (I initially got it from fellow instructor Ceilidh Erickson, who developed this exercise for her own GMAT classes.) It involves answering GMAT RC and CR problems without looking at the passage or the argument. With a little training, my students can often reach 50% accuracy or better! That might seem impossible — but keep reading to learn the secret.

Four specific problem types on the GMAT reward boring, wishy-washy answers. Those problem types are as follows:

  • Critical Reasoning – Find the Assumption
  • Critical Reasoning – Draw a Conclusion (Inference)
  • Reading Comprehension – Inference
  • Reading Comprehension – Main Idea
CR Assumption problems ask you to identify an argument’s background assumptions. There are always certain facts that an argument takes for granted. If one of these facts actually isn’t correct, then the argument won’t make logical sense. The right answer to an assumption problem, therefore, will be a statement that definitely has to be true in order for the argument to work. If an answer choice is “optional”, then the argument isn’t really assuming that it’s true, and it isn’t the right answer.

CR Draw a Conclusion problems also have you identify something that has to be true. This time, you’re choosing a conclusion that must be true, based solely on the facts in the argument. The right answer will be the only one that can be definitively proven using only the information from the argument, with a minimum of real-world knowledge.

RC Inference questions are very similar. The right answer always needs to be provable based on the passage. If there’s any way an answer choice could be false, it won’t be correct.

Finally, RC Main Idea questions are slightly different. You’re asked to choose an answer that accurately reflects what the whole Reading Comprehension passage does. The right answer won’t leave out any major parts of the passage, and it won’t add anything in — it won’t make any claims that the passage doesn’t make.

Notice what these problem types have in common.  In the first three types, the right answer is something that has to be true. That’s a very high standard. If there’s even a single counterexample to an answer choice, then it doesn’t have to be true, and it won’t be the right answer. In the last problem type, the Main Idea question, the right answer can’t disagree with the passage in any detail. It also can’t leave out any major parts of the passage. That’s why the right answers to these problem types are generally weak, boring, and non-specific. It’s much easier to prove a weak, vague claim than a strong, specific one.

Give it a shot. Here are the answer choices that go with a particular CR Draw a Conclusion problem from the GMAC’s GMAT Prep software. Without having read the argument, which answer choices do you think would be easier to prove? Which would require quite a bit of evidence to prove?

(A) Individuals who are underweight do not run any risk of developing high levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream.

(B) Individuals who do not exercise regularly have a high risk of developing high levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream late in life.

(C) Exercise and weight reduction are the most effective methods of lowering bloodstream cholesterol levels in humans.

(D) A program of regular exercise and weight reduction lowers cholesterol levels in the bloodstream of some individuals.

(E) Only regular exercise is necessary to decrease cholesterol levels in the bloodstream of individuals of average weight.

Here are those answer choices again, with strong language in red, and wishy-washy language in green.

(A) Individuals who are underweight do not run any risk of developing high levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream.

(B) Individuals who do not exercise regularly have a high risk of developing high levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream late in life.

(C) Exercise and weight reduction are the most effective methods of lowering bloodstream cholesterol levels in humans.

(D) A program of regular exercise and weight reduction lowers cholesterol levels in the bloodstream of some individuals.

(E) Only regular exercise is necessary to decrease ch olesterol levels in the bloodstream of individuals of average weight.

(A), (C), and (E) would be pretty difficult to prove. For instance, to prove (C), the argument would have to somehow show that every other possible method was definitively less successful than exercise and weight reduction. It’s unlikely that a one-paragraph argument could do that! (D), on the other hand, intentionally makes a weak claim. It’s easy to prove that exercise and weight reduction work for some individuals, since you’d only need to show that it works for at least one person. And in fact, (D) is the correct answer.

Here’s another set of answer choices, this time from a RC Inference problem. This time, eliminate two answer choices that make excessively strong claims, without reading the passage.

With which of the following generalizations regarding management structures would the author of the passage most probably agree?

(A) Hierarchical management structures are the most efficient management structures possible in a modern context.

(B) Firms that routinely have a high volume of business transactions find it necessary to adopt hierarchical management structures.

(C) Hierarchical management structures cannot be successfully implemented without modern communications and transportation.

(D) Modern multinational firms with a relatively small volume of business transactions usually do not have hierarchically organized management structures.

(E) Companies that adopt hierarchical management structures usually do so in order to facilitate expansion into foreign trade.

If you chose to eliminate (A) and (C), you’re correct: neither of those is the right answer. (A) makes the powerful claim that one structure is the most efficient possible, while C claims that something cannot possibly happen. Both of those are unlikely to be provable based solely on the passage. The right answer is the much weaker (B), which hedges by specifying that only certain firms need to adopt hierarchical management.

Of course, you shouldn’t quit reading the passage when you do these problems on test day! But there are a few great ways to include this strategy in your GMAT practice. First, you can use it to double-check your answer. If you’re about to select an answer choice that makes a very strong or specific claim, be skeptical. If there isn’t equally strong evidence in the argument or passage to back up that strong claim, you’re probably falling for a trap. For practice, look through the answer choices to verbal problems from the Official Guide to the GMAT, and try to predict what answers are likely to be correct without reading the argument or passage. That’ll help you develop an intuitive feeling for right and wrong answers. You can even use the principle of “picking the boring answers” as a starting point on certain problems. Save time by identifying the answers that are most plausible first, then check the best answers against the text. Don’t bother checking the wrong-looking answers unless you’ve eliminated all of the right-looking ones. Image

Want full access to Chelsey’s sage GMAT wisdom? Try the first class of one of her upcoming GMAT courses for absolutely free, no strings attached. 

Chelsey CooleyImage
is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Seattle, Washington.
 Chelsey always followed her heart when it came to her education. Luckily, her heart led her straight to the perfect background for GMAT and GRE teaching: she has undergraduate degrees in mathematics and history, a master’s degree in linguistics, a 790 on the GMAT, and a perfect 170/170 on the GRE. Check out Chelsey’s upcoming GMAT prep offerings here.

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Here’s What My Most Successful GMAT Students Have in Common  [#permalink]

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New post 02 May 2016, 16:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Here’s What My Most Successful GMAT Students Have in Common
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Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

After a few years of working with GMAT students, I’ve noticed a couple of trends among the super-successful — those who increase their GMAT score by 100 points, 200 points, or even more. Take a page out of these students’ books to increase your own GMAT studying efficiency.

Successful students have neat scratchwork

This isn’t always true, of course — I’ve known a number of students who hit the 700+ mark with horrible chickenscratch handwriting. But one thing I’ve noticed, from looking over the shoulders of many tutoring and classroom students, is that really successful GMAT test-takers often have neat, careful scratchwork. For one, it keeps them from making silly mistakes or wasting their own time when they have to reread what they’ve written down. Two, I suspect that keeping your writing organized helps to keep your thinking organized as well.

Successful students ask general questions

If you’re taking a GMAT class or working with a tutor, ask as many questions as you can! But remember that asking really great questions takes thought and practice. My most successful GMAT students don’t just ask questions about the problem we’re working on. They ask questions that generalize to other problems as well: what if this was a yes/no question instead? Could we use this on a problem with fractions instead of percents? Are all sentences with multiple modifiers ungrammatical, or is it just this one? Remember that every problem you do while you study for the GMAT is just that: a single problem. You definitely won’t see it verbatim on the test! But if you ask your teacher, or ask yourself, how to use the lessons from one problem to solve other ones, then you’re making real progress.

Successful students do each problem more than once.

Everyone should keep an error log. It doesn’t matter too much what your problem log looks like; what really matters is what you do with it. My most successful students are the ones who take the idea of problem logging and run with it. They don’t just record the problems they do and forget about them. They also mark down problems they’d like to redo, regardless of whether they got those problems right or wrong. Then, consistently, they go back and redo that list of problems and reanalyze them. If you get a problem wrong once, but are able to do it successfully afterwards, you’ve learned something useful. If you get a problem wrong (or take too long solving it) repeatedly, then something is going wrong and you should address it specifically. Is that problem ‘skippable’, or does it demonstrate an issue you need to address by studying?

All GMAT test-takers are different, and what works for one student might not work for another. But in my time at Manhattan Prep, I’ve watched a number of students increase their GMAT scores dramatically. When a student shows the three characteristics described in this article, I’m always more optimistic that he or she will gain a ton of points. If you want to improve your GMAT score massively, then on top of learning the GMAT content, do what the best students do: keep your work neat, generalize, and redo problems. Image

Want full access to Chelsey’s sage GMAT wisdom? Try the first class of one of her upcoming GMAT courses for absolutely free, no strings attached. 

Chelsey CooleyImage
is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Seattle, Washington.
 Chelsey always followed her heart when it came to her education. Luckily, her heart led her straight to the perfect background for GMAT and GRE teaching: she has undergraduate degrees in mathematics and history, a master’s degree in linguistics, a 790 on the GMAT, and a perfect 170/170 on the GRE. Check out Chelsey’s upcoming GMAT prep offerings here.

The post Here’s What My Most Successful GMAT Students Have in Common appeared first on GMAT.
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GMATPrep Reading Comp: Tackling a Tough Passage (part 3)  [#permalink]

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New post 06 May 2016, 11:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMATPrep Reading Comp: Tackling a Tough Passage (part 3)
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Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

In the first installment of this series, we deconstructed a challenging Reading Comprehension passage from the GMATPrep free exams. Pull up that page, as I’m not going to repeat the full text of the passage here. (And if you’re just starting here, go through parts 1 and 2 first before you read this one!)

At the end of the second installment, I posted the second problem for the passage. Let’s figure it out!

Here it is again:

“According to the passage, which of the following is true of comparable worth as a policy?

“(A) Comparable worth policy decisions in pay-inequity cases have often failed to satisfy the complainants.

“(B) Comparable worth policies have been applied to both public-sector and private-sector employee pay schedules.

“(C) Comparable worth as a policy has come to be widely criticized in the past decade.

“(D) Many employers have considered comparable worth as a policy but very few have actually adopted it.

“(E) Early implementations of comparable worth policies resulted in only transitory gains in pay equity.”

What’s the first step?

Right, figure out what kind of RC problem this is. The language according to the passage signals that this is a Specific Detail question. On SD questions, your task is to find something that is specifically stated in the passage and “spit it back” to them as an answer.

So move to step 2: find the proof. What information do you need from the passage and where is that info located? The question stem asks what is true of comparable worth as a policy. Where do they talk about that?

The whole passage, of course, is about this CW idea, so it might be good to start by reminding yourself of what this idea is. It’s a way to help close pay gaps and it works well even when you’re dealing with different jobs, unlike some other methods.

Where, in general, does the passage detail the whole CW idea as a policy? Glance at your notes if needed; that was in paragraph 1. Review the text:

“Comparable worth, as a standard applied to eliminate inequities in pay, insists that the values of certain tasks performed in dissimilar jobs can be compared. In the last decade, this approach has become a critical social policy issue, as large numbers of private-sector firms and industries as well as federal, state, and local governmental entities have adopted comparable worth policies or begun to consider doing so.”

Now, I just want to caution you about something. The rest of the passage gets more at how CW has actually worked in practice (versus what the underlying policy is) and how it compares to some other policies. It’s possible that you’ll need info from one of those paragraphs to answer the question, but don’t go searching everything now. That’s a mistake—they’re trying to suck you into spending too much time.

Most likely, what you need is in paragraph 1, because paragraph 1 is where they discuss the overall policy, and that’s what the question specifically asks.

In short: start with the most likely paragraph. If that doesn’t work, you can decide at that point whether to look in another paragraph or whether to guess and move on. But don’t try to review the entire passage now; just go for the most likely paragraph.

Okay, step 3: try to predict what you need in the answer. There are a few bigdetails in this paragraph. CW applies when you’re talking about dissimilar jobs. This approach has become a critical social policy issue. (In this sense, critical means important, not negative. It’s critical that you study hard!) Finally, lots of organizations have started using CW or are considering doing so.

Now, you can take your final step: look at those answers and find a match.

“(A) Comparable worth policy decisions in pay-inequity cases have often failed to satisfy the complainants.”

This choice doesn’t match anything in paragraph 1, but could it be somewhere else in the passage? Wait! Don’t go searching yet. First, ask yourself: how does this choice fit in with the overall main point?

The main point of the passage was that this CW thing worked well in cases where other methods failed. CW didn’t fail (at least, not according to this passage). So this choice doesn’t fit with the main idea. Eliminate it.

“(B) Comparable worth policies have been applied to both public-sector and private-sector employee pay schedules.”

What does public-sector mean? That’s a synonym for government, as private-sector is typically a synonym for for-profit companies (whether the companies are privately-held or publicly-held). They do expect you to be familiar with this type of language, but note that they also gave you a clue in paragraph 1:

“…as large numbers of private-sector firms and industries as well as federal, state, and local governmental entities…”

They use the word private-sector in the passage, and they contrast that with governmental entities, so you can infer that the private ones are non-governmental. And then when you see public-sector, you can infer that this is the opposite of private, so this is a synonym for those governmental entities.

In short, this choice says that CW has been used by companies and by government groups. Hey! That’s exactly what paragraph 1 did say. This is the correct answer.

Do run your eye over the other answers, just to be thorough.

“(C) Comparable worth as a policy has come to be widely criticized in the past decade.”

Again, this doesn’t match with the main idea, which generally praises CW. No good.

“(D) Many employers have considered comparable worth as a policy but very few have actually adopted it.”

We call this one a Direct Contradiction trap. The passage says the opposite: large numbers of employees have adopted it or are considering doing so.

These Direct Contradiction traps can be really tempting when you don’t take the time to re-read the passage. You remember reading something about that…what was it again? And then you might fall into the trap of thinking that the passage said the opposite of what it really said.

“(E) Early implementations of comparable worth policies resulted in only transitory gains in pay equity.”

Transitory means temporary or not-long-lasting. If you don’t know the word, then pay attention to the word only: it signals some kind of a negative. Only (blank) gains in pay equity isn’t a good thing.

Paragraph 1 said nothing about early implementations of CW. It is possible that CW didn’t work as well early on. And if you hadn’t already found a good answer, maybe you’d go look elsewhere in the passage for a discussion of the early implementation. But since you already know that (B) works and since the point of the passage was really that this CW thing has generally worked well at least in the longer-term, cross this one off.

The correct answer is (B).

I want to summarize the process here, because a consistent process is really what’s going to help you most on these questions.

First, identify the question. According to the passage signals a Specific Detail question.

Second, find the proof. Figure out what you need to re-read in the passage in order to answer the question. (Do NOT skip this step. Do NOT rely on your memory. This is an open-book test! Re-read the needed material.)

Third, read that text and use it to formulate your own answer to the question. Your wording, of course, won’t match the wording of the correct answer. That’s okay. You’re just trying to articulate to yourself the kinds of things you want the answer to say or address. Get that clear in your head (or even jot down a note or two) before you go to the final step.

Fourth, eliminate wrong answers and find a match! This is what I want to emphasize here: look at how much work comes before you get to look at the answers. Don’t jump straight to the answers. Figure out what’s going on with the question first!

All right, are you ready for the third problem in the set? Here you go!

“Which of the following best describes an application of the principles of comparable worth as they are described in the passage?

“(A) The current pay, rates of increase, and rates of promotion for female mechanics are compared with those of male mechanics.

“(B) The training, skills, and experience of computer programmers in one division of a corporation are compared to those of programmers making more money in another division.

“(C) The number of women holding top executive positions in a corporation is compared to the number of women available for promotion to those positions, and both tallies are matched to the tallies for men in the same corporation.

“(D) The skills, training, and job responsibilities of the clerks in the township tax assessor’s office are compared to those of the much better-paid township engineers.

“(E) The working conditions of female workers in a hazardous-materials environment are reviewed and their pay schedules compared to those of all workers in similar environments across the nation.”

In the next installment of this series, we’ll talk about how to work your way through the above problem. I’ll also give you another new problem from the set.

Key Takeaways for Specific Detail questions
(1) Follow the process. Don’t skip steps!

(2) Even though these are detail questions, you can still use the main idea / main point to help you eliminate answer choices. If something contradicts the main point, it’s probably incorrect (unless that question was worded in such a way as to contradict the main point: e.g., what would the author disagree with?).

(3) Reading Comp is an open-book test. The passage is always there while you’re answering questions. Don’t feel like you need to learn everything the first time you read it and don’t hesitate to go back to it whenever you need to do so. Image

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

 

Can’t get enough of Stacey’s GMAT mastery? Attend the first session of one of her upcoming GMAT courses absolutely free, no strings attached. Seriously. 

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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 GMATPrep Reading Comp: Tackling a Tough Passage (part 3) appeared first on GMAT.
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GMATPrep Reading Comp: Tackling a Tough Passage (part 3)  [#permalink]

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New post 06 May 2016, 12:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMATPrep Reading Comp: Tackling a Tough Passage (part 3)
Image
Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

In the first installment of this series, we deconstructed a challenging Reading Comprehension passage from the GMATPrep free exams. Pull up that page, as I’m not going to repeat the full text of the passage here. (And if you’re just starting here, go through parts 1 and 2 first before you read this one!)

At the end of the second installment, I posted the second problem for the passage. Let’s figure it out!

Here it is again:

“According to the passage, which of the following is true of comparable worth as a policy?

“(A) Comparable worth policy decisions in pay-inequity cases have often failed to satisfy the complainants.

“(B) Comparable worth policies have been applied to both public-sector and private-sector employee pay schedules.

“(C) Comparable worth as a policy has come to be widely criticized in the past decade.

“(D) Many employers have considered comparable worth as a policy but very few have actually adopted it.

“(E) Early implementations of comparable worth policies resulted in only transitory gains in pay equity.”

What’s the first step?

Right, figure out what kind of RC problem this is. The language according to the passage signals that this is a Specific Detail question. On SD questions, your task is to find something that is specifically stated in the passage and “spit it back” to them as an answer.

So move to step 2: find the proof. What information do you need from the passage and where is that info located? The question stem asks what is true of comparable worth as a policy. Where do they talk about that?

The whole passage, of course, is about this CW idea, so it might be good to start by reminding yourself of what this idea is. It’s a way to help close pay gaps and it works well even when you’re dealing with different jobs, unlike some other methods.

Where, in general, does the passage detail the whole CW idea as a policy? Glance at your notes if needed; that was in paragraph 1. Review the text:

“Comparable worth, as a standard applied to eliminate inequities in pay, insists that the values of certain tasks performed in dissimilar jobs can be compared. In the last decade, this approach has become a critical social policy issue, as large numbers of private-sector firms and industries as well as federal, state, and local governmental entities have adopted comparable worth policies or begun to consider doing so.”

Now, I just want to caution you about something. The rest of the passage gets more at how CW has actually worked in practice (versus what the underlying policy is) and how it compares to some other policies. It’s possible that you’ll need info from one of those paragraphs to answer the question, but don’t go searching everything now. That’s a mistake—they’re trying to suck you into spending too much time.

Most likely, what you need is in paragraph 1, because paragraph 1 is where they discuss the overall policy, and that’s what the question specifically asks.

In short: start with the most likely paragraph. If that doesn’t work, you can decide at that point whether to look in another paragraph or whether to guess and move on. But don’t try to review the entire passage now; just go for the most likely paragraph.

Okay, step 3: try to predict what you need in the answer. There are a few bigdetails in this paragraph. CW applies when you’re talking about dissimilar jobs. This approach has become a critical social policy issue. (In this sense, critical means important, not negative. It’s critical that you study hard!) Finally, lots of organizations have started using CW or are considering doing so.

Now, you can take your final step: look at those answers and find a match.

“(A) Comparable worth policy decisions in pay-inequity cases have often failed to satisfy the complainants.”

This choice doesn’t match anything in paragraph 1, but could it be somewhere else in the passage? Wait! Don’t go searching yet. First, ask yourself: how does this choice fit in with the overall main point?

The main point of the passage was that this CW thing worked well in cases where other methods failed. CW didn’t fail (at least, not according to this passage). So this choice doesn’t fit with the main idea. Eliminate it.

“(B) Comparable worth policies have been applied to both public-sector and private-sector employee pay schedules.”

What does public-sector mean? That’s a synonym for government, as private-sector is typically a synonym for for-profit companies (whether the companies are privately-held or publicly-held). They do expect you to be familiar with this type of language, but note that they also gave you a clue in paragraph 1:

“…as large numbers of private-sector firms and industries as well as federal, state, and local governmental entities…”

They use the word private-sector in the passage, and they contrast that with governmental entities, so you can infer that the private ones are non-governmental. And then when you see public-sector, you can infer that this is the opposite of private, so this is a synonym for those governmental entities.

In short, this choice says that CW has been used by companies and by government groups. Hey! That’s exactly what paragraph 1 did say. This is the correct answer.

Do run your eye over the other answers, just to be thorough.

“(C) Comparable worth as a policy has come to be widely criticized in the past decade.”

Again, this doesn’t match with the main idea, which generally praises CW. No good.

“(D) Many employers have considered comparable worth as a policy but very few have actually adopted it.”

We call this one a Direct Contradiction trap. The passage says the opposite: large numbers of employees have adopted it or are considering doing so.

These Direct Contradiction traps can be really tempting when you don’t take the time to re-read the passage. You remember reading something about that…what was it again? And then you might fall into the trap of thinking that the passage said the opposite of what it really said.

“(E) Early implementations of comparable worth policies resulted in only transitory gains in pay equity.”

Transitory means temporary or not-long-lasting. If you don’t know the word, then pay attention to the word only: it signals some kind of a negative. Only (blank) gains in pay equity isn’t a good thing.

Paragraph 1 said nothing about early implementations of CW. It is possible that CW didn’t work as well early on. And if you hadn’t already found a good answer, maybe you’d go look elsewhere in the passage for a discussion of the early implementation. But since you already know that (B) works and since the point of the passage was really that this CW thing has generally worked well at least in the longer-term, cross this one off.

The correct answer is (B).

I want to summarize the process here, because a consistent process is really what’s going to help you most on these questions.

First, identify the question. According to the passage signals a Specific Detail question.

Second, find the proof. Figure out what you need to re-read in the passage in order to answer the question. (Do NOT skip this step. Do NOT rely on your memory. This is an open-book test! Re-read the needed material.)

Third, read that text and use it to formulate your own answer to the question. Your wording, of course, won’t match the wording of the correct answer. That’s okay. You’re just trying to articulate to yourself the kinds of things you want the answer to say or address. Get that clear in your head (or even jot down a note or two) before you go to the final step.

Fourth, eliminate wrong answers and find a match! This is what I want to emphasize here: look at how much work comes before you get to look at the answers. Don’t jump straight to the answers. Figure out what’s going on with the question first!

All right, are you ready for the third problem in the set? Here you go!

“Which of the following best describes an application of the principles of comparable worth as they are described in the passage?

“(A) The current pay, rates of increase, and rates of promotion for female mechanics are compared with those of male mechanics.

“(B) The training, skills, and experience of computer programmers in one division of a corporation are compared to those of programmers making more money in another division.

“(C) The number of women holding top executive positions in a corporation is compared to the number of women available for promotion to those positions, and both tallies are matched to the tallies for men in the same corporation.

“(D) The skills, training, and job responsibilities of the clerks in the township tax assessor’s office are compared to those of the much better-paid township engineers.

“(E) The working conditions of female workers in a hazardous-materials environment are reviewed and their pay schedules compared to those of all workers in similar environments across the nation.”

In the next installment of this series, we’ll talk about how to work your way through the above problem. I’ll also give you another new problem from the set.

Key Takeaways for Specific Detail questions
(1) Follow the process. Don’t skip steps!

(2) Even though these are detail questions, you can still use the main idea / main point to help you eliminate answer choices. If something contradicts the main point, it’s probably incorrect (unless that question was worded in such a way as to contradict the main point: e.g., what would the author disagree with?).

(3) Reading Comp is an open-book test. The passage is always there while you’re answering questions. Don’t feel like you need to learn everything the first time you read it and don’t hesitate to go back to it whenever you need to do so. Image

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

 

Can’t get enough of Stacey’s GMAT mastery? Attend the first session of one of her upcoming GMAT courses absolutely free, no strings attached. Seriously. 

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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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GMATPrep Reading Comp: Tackling a Tough Passage (part 3) &nbs [#permalink] 06 May 2016, 12:00

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