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GMAT Critical Reasoning Problems: Arguments That Tell You Why [#permalink]

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FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMAT Critical Reasoning Problems: Arguments That Tell You Why
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There are really only a dozen different Critical Reasoning problems in the Official Guide to the GMAT. The test writers recycle the same basic argument structures over and over, and they use the same right answers over and over, too. Even though the topics change — an argument might be about school funding the first time you see it, and industrial efficiency the next — you can sometimes recognize the underlying structure, outsmart the test, and earn some well-deserved points on the Verbal section.

One example to be familiar with is the “tell me why” argument. When you see one of these arguments, it’ll probably be part of a Weaken the Argument or Find the Assumption Critical Reasoning problem. First, the author describes a phenomenon that he or she has observed. Then, in the conclusion, the author speculates on what caused the phenomenon.

Here are some examples:

There’s no toilet paper in the bathroom. My roommate must not have bought any.

Ever since the new toll was enacted on the interstate, I’ve seen less traffic on my way to work in the mornings. The toll must have led some drivers to start commuting by public transit rather than by car.

A deficiency of Vitamin D has been shown to contribute to illness. Adequate exposure to sunlight is necessary for the human body to produce sufficient Vitamin D. However, in Seattle, where there is little natural sunlight for much of the year, residents report rates of illness that are no higher than the national average. It’s clear that after residing for some time in a place with minimal natural sunlight, the human body adapts to require a lower level of Vitamin D to avoid illness.

Each of these “tell me why” arguments describes an observation, then tries to explain why it happened. More interestingly, each of them has the same flaw: what if there was actually a different explanation that made just as much sense? That would hurt the author’s argument.

My roommate bought toilet paper, but forgot to take it out of the car on her way upstairs. That explains why it isn’t in the bathroom.

The toll is only in effect during rush hour. The same number of people are commuting by car, but now they’re doing it at different times of the day to avoid being charged.

People who live in Seattle often take Vitamin D supplements, so they have the same levels in their bodies on average as people who live in sunnier areas. They don’t get sick because they actually don’t have a Vitamin D deficiency at all.

When one of these arguments is part of a Weaken problem, the right answer will very often give another, better explanation, or at least suggest that there is one. That means that the right answer can include information that has nothing to do with the argument, at least on the surface! When you see an answer choice that looks “out of scope”, ask yourself whether it might be giving an alternative explanation for the facts. That would make it a good Weakener.

These arguments also often appear in Assumption problems. In these cases, the right answer may describe something that the author has assumed not to be true.

… assuming that my roommate didn’t accidentally leave the toilet paper in her car.

… assuming that people are still commuting to work at the same time of day they did previously.

… assuming that people in Seattle don’t use Vitamin D supplements.

The arguments themselves don’t say anything about supplements, or about the time of day, or about my roommate’s car, so aren’t these assumptions out of scope? No. By creating a “tell me why” argument, the author is always assuming that the other possible explanations aren’t correct.

Start looking out for “tell me why” arguments on Critical Reasoning, and anticipate how the right answers might look! For practice, try out these Critical Reasoning problems from The Official Guide to the GMAT, 2016: 48, 69, 90, and 121.

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Chelsey Cooley 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 GMAT Critical Reasoning Problems: Arguments That Tell You Why appeared first on GMAT.
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Three things to love about GMAT Roman numeral problems [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jan 2016, 09:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Three things to love about GMAT Roman numeral problems
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I. Roman numeral Quant problems aren’t a whole lot of fun.

II. A lot of my students choose to skip them entirely, which is much smarter than wasting five minutes wondering what to do!

III. However, it’s possible to turn this rare and tricky problem type into an opportunity.

Read on, and learn why many GMAT high-scorers love Roman numeral problems.

Reason 1: They’re always easier than they look.
Roman numeral problems are a little bit like Data Sufficiency problems. The difficulty usually doesn’t come from the math itself; it comes from complicated logic and deliberately obscure writing. You should always start a tricky-looking Data Sufficiency problem by translating and simplifying the problem, and you can do the same on Roman numeral problems.

Here’s a problem from the GMAC’s GMATPrep software.

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At first glance, this problem is a mess. If you simplify the problem before you begin approaching it, though, you’ll discover a much easier problem underlying it. Start with the question stem, just like in Data Sufficiency:

Image

 

 

 

 

 

Then, simplify the statements, starting with the first:

Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first statement actually simplifies to exactly what you’re given in the question itself, so it must be true. As an exercise, simplify the second statement in the same way. It simplifies to ad > bc, which isn’t true.

At this point, you know that the right answer must include I, and it can’t include II. You could move on and simplify the third, much more complex statement, but do you really have to?

Reason 2: There’s partial credit.
Well, not technically. But take another look at those answer choices.

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You can actually eliminate all but two of them. Only (B) and (E) meet the criteria of including Roman numeral I, but not including Roman numeral II. If you’re quick enough with algebra, you could get to this point 1 minute into the problem — and a 50/50 guess after 1 minute beats a definitive answer after 3 minutes, when it comes to maximizing your final score. Since Roman numeral problems often have one or two statements that are much simpler than the others, they represent a fantastic opportunity to take a good guess quickly.

But if you’ve got plenty of time to solve a Roman numeral problem all the way through, what do you do?

Reason 3: Testing easy cases works really well.
I mentioned above that the difficulty of Roman Numeral problems doesn’t usually come from the math. When you test cases, you’ll rarely be tripped up by tough arithmetic or lengthy calculations. Plus, problems are often designed so that it’s clear what cases you should test. When they aren’t, you can sometimes get enough information by just testing a simple case at random. Try that approach with the third statement.

Since ad < bc, choose the following values:

a = 1                       b = 2

d = 1                      c = 2

Then, plug those values into statement III:

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Since that isn’t true, statement III doesn’t have to be true. The correct answer to the problem is (B) I only. The thing to notice here is how straightforward it was to test that case — and how, unlike in Data Sufficiency, testing just one case sometimes gives you all the information you need.

What to do next
Roman numeral problems are rare on the GMAT. There’s no reason to spend hours studying them, since you might not see even a single one on any given Quant section. That said, they’re sometimes easier than they look! After reading this article, you have all of the basic tools you need to approach most Roman numeral problems. To test them out, try the following problems from the Official Guide to the GMAT, 2016: Problem Solving 66, 96, and 107.

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Chelsey Cooley 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 Three things to love about GMAT Roman numeral problems 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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Here’s How to Avoid Calculations on GMAT Quant Problem Solving [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jan 2016, 09:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Here’s How to Avoid Calculations on GMAT Quant Problem Solving
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Last time, we talked about how to avoid annoying calculations on Data Sufficiency. It’s not so surprising that you can do this on DS, since you don’t “really” have to solve all the way on this question type.

But you can avoid annoying calculations on Problem Solving, too! Try this problem from the GMATPrep® free exams to learn how.

“*According to the directions on a can of frozen orange juice concentrate, 1 can of concentrate is to be mixed with 3 cans of water to make orange juice. How many 12-ounce cans of the concentrate are required to prepare 200 6-ounce servings of orange juice?

“(A) 25

“(B) 34

“(C) 50

“(D) 67

“(E) 100”

Ready? Okay, first, let’s understand what’s going on.

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Glance: PS. Story problem. The answers are numeric and aren’t super easy but they aren’t too ugly, either.

Read: Mix 1 can concentrate with 3 cans water. Okay. Each can is 12 ounces—they kind of snuck that detail in there, but I want to separate that out because I may need to use that by itself.

Okay, how many cans of concentrate do I need get 200 6-ounce servings … wow. There are a lot of moving parts. I want a picture.

Jot:

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I left some space in the middle to do the work. But I’m not ready to do the work yet! First, I need to think about how I want to approach this.

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The 6-ounce and 12-ounce thing is annoying me. I want those to be the same. How can I make that happen?

If you have 200 6-ounce servings, then you’d have 100 12-ounce servings. Does that make this any easier to solve?

Ooh, I have an idea. Each batch of juice consists of 4 cans of liquid total, or (4)(12) ounces of liquid. (Don’t multiply that out yet—don’t do more math than you have to! We’re still just thinking here.)

Total, I’m trying to get to (100)(12). How do I do that? (Okay, now you can actually do math!)

One batch = (4)(12)

ALL batches = (100)(12)

How to get from 4 to 100? 4(25) = 100. I need 25 batches of juice to get (100)(12). Each batch contains 1 can of concentrate, so I need 25 cans of concentrate. (If they’d asked me how much water, I’d need (3 cans)(25 batches) = 75 cans of water.) Done!

The correct answer is (A).

See how long I held off any calculations? It was really tempting to turn (4)(12) into 48. Confession: I did actually jump straight to that in my head! But then I stopped myself, because 48 is an annoying number, especially when I knew I next had to deal with that 100. There isn’t an obvious relationship between 48 and 100, so I didn’t want to go down that path.

Instead, I wrote down that (4)(12) and left it alone until I had to do some math … and discovered that I just made my task a whole lot easier.

Key Takeaways for Avoiding Calculations on PS:
(1) Set up the calculations, but don’t solve unless / until you have to. First, think about what you’re doing and where you’re trying to go.

(2) Let your twinges of annoyance work for you. Whenever I get an “ugh” twinge—not even a huge one, just a little one!—I immediately stop trying to do the math and just think for a moment. If I don’t see the path yet, I just leave that math for a moment and see what the next step is (as I did above). I can always multiply 4 and 12 later, if I need to.

(3) When you’re reviewing problems, ask yourself where you could have saved yourself time, mental energy, and aggravation. Be demanding whenever you see anything annoying: there should be a way to make your life easier! (And, if there isn’t, then maybe that problem is to hard to bother doing!)

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

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

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

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GMAT Grammar Weekly: FANBOYS [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jan 2016, 07:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMAT Grammar Weekly: FANBOYS
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Join us each week for a commonly-tested grammar factoid that will improve both your accuracy and your confidence on GMAT Sentence Correction. ImageImage

Do you ever find yourself going on and on? And on? And on? Sentences can do the same. Sometimes  it works, but often it doesn’t. Let’s talk about when a GMAT sentence is a run-on (grammatically incorrect) and when it’s just very long (but grammatically correct).

A run-on sentence is any sentence that smushes two independent clauses together. Let’s take two simple clauses as an example.

Clause 1: Sara is wearing a purple shirt. Clause 2: She is wearing pink pants.

Both are independent clauses (meaning they can stand alone as their own sentence), but bring them together and trouble ensues:

Sara is wearing a purple shirt, she is wearing pink pants.

It’s not only a fashion faux pas, but also a grammatical one. So, how to fix it? FANBOYS to the rescue! Any of these seven simple conjunctions will turn a run-on sentence into a compound, and correct, sentence.

F             For

            And

N             Nor

B             But

O             Or

Y             Yet

S              So

Try it: Sara is wearing a purple shirt, yet she is wearing pink pants. Now we’re talking!

Now you know what FANBOYS are, but it’s time to talk GMAT. GMAT sentences are often incredibly complex, so we have to break down the complexity. Let’s practice on a much more complicated sentence:

After watching the documentary, Joe and Aaron, who had been friends since elementary school, stayed up most of the night talking about the pros and cons of the country’s leadership, which had been the subject of much criticism throughout the movie, they decided that many of the conclusions the documentary made were fallacious.

Take a moment to break this very long sentence down to it’s core. Find the main subject and verb (more on how to do this in the Sentence Correction Strategy Guide if you need more help). Start by eliminating all the modifiers:

After watching the documentary, Joe and Aaron, who had been friends since elementary school, stayed up most of the night talking about the pros and cons of the country’s leadership, which had been the subject of much criticism throughout the movie, they decided that many of the conclusions the documentary made were fallacious.

Already, we have a much simpler sentence. Keep breaking it down until you see the main subject-verb: “Joe and Aaron stayed up.” But we have a problem. The last clause is “They decided.” Both of those clauses are independent, so we should look for one of the FANBOYS.  Go ahead and look, but you won’t find. We’ve come across the fatal error of this sentence. Insert one of the FANBOYS, and you’ve got a sentence:

After watching the documentary, Joe and Aaron, who had been friends since elementary school, stayed up most of the night talking about the pros and cons of the country’s leadership, which had been the subject of much criticism throughout the movie, AND they decided that many of the conclusions the documentary made were fallacious.

So Grammar tip of the week in a nutshell: FANBOYS are used to turn run-on sentences into compound sentences. Image

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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. Check out Emily’s upcoming GMAT courses here!

The post GMAT Grammar Weekly: FANBOYS 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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Here’s How to do GMAT Unit Conversions Like a Pro [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jan 2016, 07:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Here’s How to do GMAT Unit Conversions Like a Pro
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Sometimes the whole point of a specific GMAT problem is to convert between miles and kilometers, or meters and centimeters. In other problems, you’ll need to do a unit conversion as part of a longer solution. It’s easy to mess up unit conversions, and the GMAT writers know this — they include them on the test in order to test your level of organization and your ability to double-check your work. Here’s how to add fast unit conversions to your repertoire of skills.

  • Write the units down
The easiest mistake to make is simply forgetting what units you’re working with. If the problem asks for a number of cents, but you calculate a number of dollars, you’ll be off by a factor of 100 even if you do all of the math correctly. If there’s any chance that units will come into play in a problem, write them out at every step.

[*] Treat units like variables[/list]
Units can be multiplied, divided, and canceled out, exactly like variables. (Remember that ‘per’ always translates to division.) Suppose you’re converting 1400 crowns to rupees, and you know that the exchange rate is 0.4 crowns per rupee. Do you multiply 1400 by 0.4, or do you divide? Check by trying to cancel out the units:

Wrong:

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Right:

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Since division causes the units to correctly simplify to rupees, division is correct. Think about which units will need to cancel, and arrange them so that they do.

[*] One step at a time[/list]
With complex unit conversions, don’t skip steps. Convert a single unit at a time. In this example, we’ll convert 15 meters per second to kilometers per hour, by first converting seconds to minutes.

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All that’s left is to do the arithmetic, by calculating (15 x 60 x 60)/1000. The result is 54 kilometers per hour.

[*] Sanity check[/list]
Do a basic sanity check each time you finish a unit conversion using familiar units. If you’re converting two hundred dollars to cents, should the result be greater than 200 or less than 200? If you’re converting 45 seconds to hours, should the result be greater than 45 or less than 45? It’s easy to mix up multiplication and division, and quickly checking to make sure your result is sensible can help you avoid this.

[*] Practice with Google[/list]
Type “15 meters per second in kilometers per hour” into a Google search box. Google Calculator automatically handles many unit conversions, including complex ones. That means that you can use it to drill this skill after reading this article! Make up a few complex unit conversions and simplify them on paper, exactly as you would if you saw them on the GMAT. Then, use Google to check your answers.

Half an hour of work, right now, will make you much quicker and more confident at unit conversions. While they don’t appear in every Quant problem, the GMAT test writers love to throw them in at the end of a tricky problem, in the hopes that unprepared test takers will make an easy mistake. Make them part of your GMAT toolkit, and outsmart the test! Image

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Chelsey Cooley 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 How to do GMAT Unit Conversions Like a Pro appeared first on GMAT.
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GMAT Critical Reasoning Problems: Benefit/Drawback Arguments [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jan 2016, 17:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMAT Critical Reasoning Problems: Benefit/Drawback Arguments
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Here are a few benefit/drawback arguments:

1. Inexperienced workers are willing to take jobs with lower pay and fewer benefits. So, FantasyCorp should exclusively hire new workers with little experience.

2. Regular exercise reduces the risk of heart disease. To protect my heart, I exercise for three hours every day.

3. Certain chemical pesticides leave a residue on the leaves of plants treated with them. This pesticide residue is known to kill caterpillars that harmlessly feed on fallen leaves, ensuring that they never mature into butterflies. If farmers in GMATopia continue using chemical pesticides on their crops rather than alternative methods of pest control, they will inevitably decimate the butterfly population in the area.

In the first two arguments, the author promotes a plan. In the third argument, the author predicts negative consequences. In Critical Reasoning arguments, the author is never 100% correct: if he or she is promoting the plan, then there’s probably a hidden drawback. If he or she disagrees with the plan, there may be a hidden benefit, or perhaps one of the author’s claims about drawbacks will turn out to be irrelevant.

1. One drawback to hiring inexperienced workers is that they’re likely to do their jobs poorly.

2. The second argument is a little more complex. Here are two possible drawbacks: think of them as two possible answers to a Weaken the Argument question.

Wrong: Exercising for three hours a day is time-consuming, making it difficult to keep a job or pursue other hobbies.

Right: Exercising for more than ten hours each week has been shown to cause lasting damage to heart muscle.

Only the second option is an acceptable GMAT answer.

On the GMAT, you have to address the conclusion exactly as it’s written. It says, specifically, that the author exercises to protect his heart. A drawback will have to show that exercising that much might not actually keep his heart healthy.

3. In the third argument, the author predicts that the farmers’ use of pesticides will have a specific negative consequence. To prove him wrong, you’d have to show that the butterfly population might not suffer: either by finding a hidden benefit that outweighs the drawbacks, or by proving his claims about drawbacks incorrect.

Wrong: Butterflies have been shown to harm many common crops.

Right: Most chemical pesticides, including the ones commonly used in GMATopia, are actually harmless to caterpillars.

The conclusion doesn’t say “we shouldn’t decimate the butterfly population,” even though the author probably does believe that! The conclusion claims that “using chemical pesticides will decimate the butterfly population.” Only the second option given above actually addresses that claim.

Now, imagine seeing these arguments in a Strengthen the Argument problem. Do the reverse of what we’ve already done: add an additional benefit or drawback, or address the relevance of one that’s already given. The following statements all strengthen these cost/benefit arguments.

1. Inexperienced workers are generally more careful with their work, and have fewer bad habits.

A cost-benefit analysis has shown that the cost of training and supervising inexperienced workers is significantly less than the loss accrued due to paying higher salaries to more senior workers.

2. The heart-protective effects of exercise increase in direct proportion to the amount of exercise performed.

 Regular exercise also prevents the normal deleterious effects of aging on heart tissue.

3. The type of chemical pesticide commonly used in GMATopia kills butterflies that happen to alight on crops that have been sprayed with it, as well as killing caterpillars that feed on these crops.

Farmers generally use harmful chemical pesticides on their crops in the springtime, which is the main feeding season for young caterpillars.

Work out how each of these facts would successfully strengthen the arguments above. Can you also think of some incorrect “strengtheners” that actually miss the point, similar to the incorrect “weakeners” provided earlier? Can you think of some assumptions that are being made in these arguments? (Think about benefits and drawbacks when you identify assumptions — if the author believes the plan is good, he or she is assuming that it lacks major drawbacks.) If you can, then you understand the benefit/drawback argument type.

As you practice with the Critical Reasoning Strategy Guide, or the Official Guide to the GMAT, look for this type of argument. When you notice one, remember to identify the specific conclusion, steer clear of tempting “real world” answers, and think about adding, removing, supporting, or disagreeing with benefits and drawbacks. The next time you see one of these arguments, predict some possible right answers before you check the answer choices. You may surprise yourself with your accuracy!

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Chelsey Cooley 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 GMAT Critical Reasoning Problems: Benefit/Drawback Arguments 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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How to Master Every GMAT Critical Reasoning Question Type [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jan 2016, 12:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: How to Master Every GMAT Critical Reasoning Question Type
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Has GMAT Critical Reasoning been driving you crazy? Do you keep getting tangled up in arguments, agonizing back and forth between answers, or picking an answer confidently only to find that you fell straight into a trap? This article is here to save you. ☺️

It’s going to take some work, but if you follow these steps, you’ll see your CR performance improve significantly. Ready? Let’s do this!

Open up an Excel spreadsheet (Seriously!)…

Now, set up this template on the first worksheet:

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Label this first worksheet your Key.

Are you wondering why I didn’t just give you an Excel file with this template? I specifically want you to type out each step and think about what it means. You’re about to apply this analysis to the different question types; you’ll do so more effectively if you have a solid understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish.

If you aren’t using Manhattan Prep’s CR book, then read my blog post on our CR process. It explains the four steps listed above.

Now, create new worksheets in the spreadsheet.

You’re going to need a total of 10 worksheets, including the first worksheet that you already created above. Copy that worksheet 9 times.

Now label those other 9 questions in this way (and in this order!):

  • Assump (for Find the Assumption)
  • Str (for Strengthen the Argument)
  • Weak (for Weaken the Argument)
  • Infer (for Inference)
  • Discrep (for Find the Discrepancy)
  • Role (for Describe the Role) (could also call this BF for Boldface)
  • Eval (for Evaluate the Argument)
  • Flaw (for Find the Flaw)
  • DA (for Describe the Argument)
I put these in this order because this is the rough order of importance based on the frequency with which these are tested. The three most common types are Assumption, Strengthen, and Weaken; you will most likely see more than one of each of these. After that, the next four (Infer, Discrepancy, Role, and Evaluate) are about equally common; you will most likely see just one of each. The Flaw and

Describe the Argument questions are the least frequently seen; you may or may not see one of these.

Start filling out your templates!

Each question type now has its own worksheet with the template. Your task is to start replacing the template with your answers to those questions for each question type. Get going!

Is that all?

Okay. I’ll give you a little more. ☺️

Here’s what I have in my template for the Describe the Role question type. (I chose a medium-frequency one because I really want you to put the three most common ones in your own words. You’re going to use those the most.)

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Ready? Set? Go!

Okay, you’ve got your instructions—now go make it happen! This template will help you to know exactly what to ask yourself and what to examine while you’re working through any CR problem. Want to test out your templates? Take a look at this Master Resource CR article. It contains links to articles on every type of CR problem with the exception of Describe the Argument (these are really pretty rare). Each article gives you a problem to try (from the free resources in GMAT Prep) and then analyzes it thoroughly using this same 4-step process.

Happy Studying!

Live in L.A.? I’m teaching a GMAT Complete Course in West Hollywood starting February 2nd. Anyone is welcome to attend the first class for free. I hope to see you there!

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

The post How to Master Every GMAT Critical Reasoning Question Type appeared first on GMAT.
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Just Started Studying for the GMAT? Here’s Where to Begin [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jan 2016, 12:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Just Started Studying for the GMAT? Here’s Where to Begin
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When you first look at the resources available to get you through the GMAT, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Should you read through all the strategy guides? Complete every Official Guide problem you can find? Sign up for every workshop? Let’s breakdown your options and take this step by step.

Step 1: Assess your comfort with math

You may already know you need some extra help, but if you’re unsure, start with the basic math diagnostic. If you stumble through it, it’s time to build up you foundation. You can work through our foundations of math strategy guide, attend the two foundations workshops, or find review sheets for each of the topics tested online. You should be comfortable with manipulating different kinds of numbers, including fractions, percents, and square roots. You do not, however, have to be completely confident in your arithmetic before you start the next steps.

Step 2: Assess your comfort with the GMAT

If you either score in the midrange of the basic math diagnostic, or have started working through the foundations, it’s time to see how you do on a full test. Take a GMAT Practice Test. You can find a free one in the list of free resources on our site, labeled practice CAT (Computer Adaptive Test). Don’t worry about the score yet.

Instead, use the test as it’s meant: as a diagnostic. Analyze the results carefully, using this blog post series to help guide you. While you should focus more on areas of weakness at this point, you should make sure not to ignore any major topic. A course, the interact lessons, or the self study toolkit can each help keep you on track, as well as providing a schedule that will tell you what to work on.

Step 3: The heart of the preparation

Now that you’ve analyzed the exam and have taken a refresher course on math basics, it’s time to get to the heart of the preparation. Where you go now depends on your level and the way you learn. Take a moment to reflect on how you have mastered topics in the past. Did you take classes? Watch videos? Read through textbooks? If you have a strong preference for a certain learning style, that can help you decide the next steps. If not, you need to rely a bit more on your level and availability. Let’s discuss the top three studying styles.

Take a class. 

Consider this option if you like a little extra structure, learn well in study groups, or want a teacher’s expertise without the one-on-one feel of a tutor.  Each week, you’re accountable for specific homework to prepare you for the upcoming session, but if you fall behind, there’s plenty of opportunity to catch up after class. You get the benefit of an expert working you through the most challenging problems, as well as the chance to learn from the mistakes and breakthroughs of students in situations similar to yours. Check out classes near you.

Private tutoring.

Think about private tutoring if you need a more flexible schedule, have specific areas/issues you want to work on, or get the most benefit from a one-on-one with an expert. The study schedule will be tailored to your needs and availability, and you’ll have the opportunity to explore different topics in as much or as little depth as you need. The sessions will require a lot of work since each moment will be focused on improving your specific performance, but that work will pay off with a large benefit.

Self-studying.

Choose this option if you’ve had a lot of success with independent study in the past. However, do not be fooled into thinking that completing as many Official Guide problems as possible is the same as self-studying. By themselves, OG problems are not particularly helpful in getting ready for the test. Instead invest in a set of strategy guides, our self-study tool-kit, or the interact lessons. You’ll learn not only the content, but also the strategies that will result in significant score improvement.

Pick your preference, and get studying!

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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. Check out Emily’s upcoming GMAT courses here. Your first class is always free!

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Here’s What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do on the GMAT [#permalink]

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New post 08 Feb 2016, 17:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Here’s What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do on the GMAT
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You’re staring at a GMAT problem that you just don’t understand. There’s a minute left on the clock. What do you do?

Are you behind on time?
If so, guess randomly and move on. Making up for lost time is much more valuable than anything I’ll describe in this article. Even if you’re ahead on time, consider moving on from the problem anyway, especially if you tend to work slowly.

Question-Type Strategies
Integrated Reasoning

Unless it’s the very last problem, or you’re way ahead on time, guess randomly and move on. Integrated Reasoning rewards strategic skipping more than any other problem type, since the problems often have multiple parts (making it much less likely that you’ll get the right answer by guessing) and the difficulty comes mainly from intense time pressure.

Problem Solving

  • Eliminate “Homers.” A Homer is any answer choice that Homer Simpson might pick. Homer is clueless, so he’d probably just look at the numbers in the problem, look at the answer choices, and pick one that looks similar. The test writers expect this, so don’t be like Homer. If an answer choice contains a lot of the numbers from the problem, or if it’s a simple combination of those numbers (like a sum or a product), don’t pick it.
  • If there are two variables in the problem, eliminate singletons. Suppose that a problem states that the sum of Archie’s and Betty’s ages is 38. The test writers will probably include both Archie’s actual age and Betty’s actual age among the answer choices, just because it’s easy to slip up and pick the wrong one. The right answer, and one of the wrong answers, will sum to 38. Eliminate any answers that aren’t part of such a pair.
  • Benchmark. If you understand the problem a little, but you don’t know how to do the math, check the answer choices. Are some of them greater than 1, and some less than 1? Are some of them very large, and others very small? If so, guess which category the right answer would belong to.  When in doubt, pick an answer choice that looks complex over one that looks simple.
Data Sufficiency

  • Don’t forget that you can work with just the easier statement. This will allow you to eliminate either 2 or 3 answer choices.
  • If the two statements look almost identical, guess A or B. The test writers are probably trying to see if you can identify a small but crucial difference between the statements.
  • In general, avoid guessing C. On the one hand, C is the right answer 20% of the time, just like any other answer choice. On the other hand, a lot of logically complex problems are designed to trick you into choosing C. If C feels right, but you’re not really sure why, it’s probably a trap.
Sentence Correction

  • Mentally cross off modifiers to find the core of the sentence. If you’re really struggling to understand the sentence, there’s probably something wrong with the core.
  • Find a single, easy, grammatical split to work with. Hard problems often have a single, subtle pronoun or subject/verb agreement split that’ll let you eliminate 2 or 3 answer choices.
  • Never guess an answer choice if you know there’s a grammatical error in it, even if it sounds the best overall. The right answer will never have any errors.
  • If you’re out of ideas, it’s okay to go with what sounds right. That’s the great thing about Sentence Correction — on a Quant problem, you can get completely stuck and have no idea where to start. On Sentence Correction, you always have your instincts as an English speaker!
Reading Comprehension

  • Look at the first few words of every answer choice if you’re guessing the answer to a general Reading Comprehension question, such as a Main Idea question. They’ll usually include a term such as explain or argue. Eliminate any answer choices that don’t seem to describe the passage you read. Don’t guess an answer choice containing argue or advocate unless the author is obviously doing that. Just because the author seems to have a slight preference or voices a positive or negative about something, you can’t necessarily describe the point of the passage as arguing.
  • Avoid guessing an answer that contains too many keywords from the passage. It’s probably a trap.
  • If there’s anything wrong with an answer choice, it’s wrong. Wrong answers will often have a single incorrect word or phrase, but otherwise look great — don’t pick an answer that looks mostly right if you can identify anything wrong with it.  
Critical Reasoning:

  • Pick the most boring, wishy-washiest answer if it’s a Draw a Conclusion or Find the Assumption problem. The right answers to these problem types rarely consist of bold statements.
  • Don’t pick a guess that contains strong language, such as “all” or “every” or “never”. These are sometimes right, but they’re often traps.
  • Don’t pick a guess that makes a comparison, such as “GMATopia exports more books than any other country.” These answer choices are sometimes right, but they’re also often inserted to trick you.
These aren’t the only ways to make a quick strategic guess, but they’re a few of the best ones.

As you practice, you’ll observe other patterns in which answers tend to be right or wrong. Which wrong answer choices you’re tempted by, or which answers tend to be correct on problems that you struggle with, will also depend on your own habits as a test-taker. Use this list as a jumping-off point, but whenever you make a successful guess — or whenever you notice a clever way to guess while reviewing a problem — write down what you’ve discovered, and use it on test day. Guessing is necessary for everyone, and guessing is a skill you can learn — that’s why we teach good guessing skills in our 9-week GMAT Complete Courses, alongside lots of real math and language content. Improve your guessing abilities now to avoid trouble when you take the official GMAT. Image

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 to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do on the GMAT appeared first on GMAT.
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GMAT Sentence Correction: What can the underline tell you? [#permalink]

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New post 08 Feb 2016, 17:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMAT Sentence Correction: What can the underline tell you?
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I ran across the GMAT problem below when I was reviewing a GMATPrep® test that I took a while back, and as soon as I saw it, I knew I needed to share it with you. There are some really intriguing aspects to this one.

[Want to learn even more about GMAT Sentence Correction? Check out our famous Manhattan Prep GMAT Sentence Correction Strategy Guide.]

First, try it out. (Note: in the solution, I’m going to discuss aspects of our SC Process; if you haven’t learned it already, go read about it right now, then come back and try this problem.)

* “Analyzing campaign expenditures, the media has had as a focus the high costs and low ethics of campaign finance, but they have generally overlooked the cost of actually administering elections, which includes facilities, transport, printing, staffing, and technology.

“(A) Analyzing campaign expenditures, the media has had as a focus”

“(B) Analyses of campaign expenditures by the media has been focused on”

“(C) In analyzing campaign expenditures, the media have focused on”

“(D) Media analyses of campaign expenditures have had as a focus”

“(E) In their analysis of campaign expenditures, the media has been focusing on”

First Glance

The comma in the middle of the underline jumped out at me. There’s probably some kind of modifier—I’m going to keep an eye out for that when I read the full sentence.

Next, glance down the beginning of each choice.

There are some pretty significant differences. I’m not sure what they mean yet, but this is reinforcing the idea that I need to get a handle on the core sentence vs. the modifiers.

I also noticed how very long the non-underlined portion is at the end—and that immediately made me suspicious. What are they trying to hide from me?

Next, I read the original sentence and realized that I’ve got an opening modifier.

It sounds a little funny to me. I’m not sure why.

Then I thought back to that really long non-underline.

Often, this means that there’s some word or sequence of words in the non-underlined part that has to connect with something in the underlined part. If I can figure out what that is, I can cross off some wrong answers.

The best way to figure out the possibilities? Scan the answer choices vertically to find the differences.

Boom. There’s a difference between has and have: singular vs. plural. Now I need to choose: do I move forward with this or go back to that opening modifier?

I’m going to stick with this; I like subject-verb agreement better. Okay, so the subject is…oh. They actually change the sentence structure in some of the answers! The subject is not always media. Hmm. I’m going to look first only at choices that use media as the subject (which the original sentence does).

Answers (A), (C), and (E) fit the bill. (A) and (E) use media has. But (C) uses media have. Is media singular or plural?

It depends! I’ve heard people use it both ways. So how am I supposed to be able to tell?

Whenever they use a word that could go both ways (media, data, etc.), they will always give me a clue in the non-underlined portion of the sentence. I just have to find it.

Scanning, scanning…there it is!

“they have generally overlooked the cost of actually administering elections”

The plural pronoun they is referring back to the subject,media, so I have to make the earlier part of the sentence match: media is plural. Answers (A) and (E) are both incorrect.

What about (B) and (D)? They switch up the subject there:

“(B) Analyses of campaign expenditures by the media has been focused on”

“(D) Media analyses of campaign expenditures have had as a focus”

In both cases, the subject is the plural analyses. Answer (B) pairs that subject with the singular has. Nope.

Okay, so on subject-verb agreement alone, I’m down to (C) and (D). I’m feeling pretty good.

Let’s compare the final two:

“(C) In analyzing campaign expenditures, the media have focused on”

“(D) Media analyses of campaign expenditures have had as a focus”

The final distinction here is pretty tricky. If you narrowed down to these two and then had to guess, you should still feel good about this problem.

If I were discussing my career, I could say:

In my career, I have had as a focus the GMAT.

I could also say:

In my career, I have focused on the GMAT.

The second construction is the more idiomatic construction. In general, don’t say that something “had as a focus” XYZ (or had XYZ as a focus) when you can just say something “focused on” XYZ.

Also note the implications for the second part of the sentence:

“(C) In analyzing campaign expenditures, the media have focused on…”

“(D) Media analyses of campaign expenditures have had as a focus…”

“…but they have generally overlooked the cost of actually administering elections”

In answer (C), the subject is media, so the second half of the sentence says that the media overlooked certain costs.

In answer (D), the subject is analyses, so the second half of the sentence says that the analyses overlooked certain costs.

The analyses are not animate—they can’t actually think for themselves. I could say that your analysis fails to address certain topics, but I would say that you overlooked those topics.

I will admit that I have heard people say something similar to “your analysis overlooks blah blahblah,” but that’s generally because people don’t enjoy directly criticizing others (at least…most of us don’t!). It’s more confrontational to say that you overlooked it—even though that is more correct.

The correct answer is (C).

I also want to point out a subtle issue at the beginning of answer choice (A). We didn’t need to use this to eliminate, but it’s still something you should know.

The opening modifier in (A) is a comma –ing modifier. These kinds of modifiers apply to the subject and verb of the core sentence. In addition, comma –ing modifiers imply a certain sequence to the events presented. Take a look at these (correct) examples:

Running as fast as she could, she barely caught the bus.

She ran as fast as she could, barely catching the bus.

The event that is presented first in the sentence is also the one that happens first in the sequence of events. She ran as fast as she could; as a result, she caught the bus.

You would not say:

She barely caught the bus, running as fast as she could.

This implies that she caught the bus, and as a result, she ran as fast as she could. That’s illogical! The sequence is out of order.

So in the original sentence of our GMATPrep problem, we have:

“Analyzing campaign expenditures, the media has had as a focus…”

First, they analyzed campaign expenditures…and then, as a result, they had a particular focus?

No! If anything, first they had a focus and then they used that focus to drive their analysis. Or you could say that these things were simultaneous; they’re really the same event.

Answer (C) fixes this by turning that opening modifier into a prepositional phrase:

“(C) In analyzing campaign expenditures, the media have focused on…”

In this kind of construction, think of in as a synonym for while or in the process of. In the process of analyzing this stuff, they focused on blah blah blah.

Key Takeaways for a long, non-underlined block of text
(1) Keep an eye out for this characteristic. They’re probably trying to hide something from you. Compare the answers (vertically!) to spot the differences. Then, think about what you would need to know to make the call for those various differences.

(2) If they give you a “two-way” noun (one that can be singular or plural), then they have to give you a clue to tell you which way to go, and that clue is going to be in the non-underlined portion of the sentence. It could be a pronoun (as in this problem) or a verb. Go find it!

(3) It’s really important to be able to find the core sentence. Want more practice with that skill? Check out this series.

Want to learn more about GMAT Sentence Correction? Check out our famous Manhattan Prep GMAT Sentence Correction Strategy Guide.

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

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

The post GMAT Sentence Correction: What can the underline tell you? 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 Supervisor Graduated from HBS—He Kn [#permalink]

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New post 10 Feb 2016, 08:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: My Supervisor Graduated from HBS—He Knows!
The Following post has been brought to you by our friends at mbaMission.

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What have you been told about applying to business school? With the advent of chat rooms, blogs, and forums, armchair “experts” often unintentionally propagate MBA admissions myths, which can linger and undermine an applicant’s confidence. Some applicants are led to believe that schools want a specific “type” of candidate and expect certain GMAT scores and GPAs, for example. Others are led to believe that they need to know alumni from their target schools and/or get a letter of reference from the CEO of their firm in order to get in. In this weekly series, mbaMission debunks these and other myths and strives to take the anxiety out of the MBA admissions process.

We at mbaMission know of a now 70-year-old man who graduated from a virtually unknown Canadian undergraduate school in 1963 and who, with no work experience at all, applied to Harvard Business School (HBS), Wharton, and the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB), earning acceptance at all three (though the GSB deferred his entry for one year so he could earn a little more experience first). He ultimately studied at HBS and now runs a small grain-trading business. You could not meet a nicer man, and although he is certainly wise in many respects, one thing he knows nothing about is MBA admissions. “I attended so long ago, things must have changed since then,” he says. “I did not have any work experience at all. I had studied four years of commerce, and that was it!”

Why are we telling you this? Many candidates each year tell us that their bosses, who applied to business school during far different times, have given them “sage” advice about applying and that they feel they should follow it—after all, what worked for their boss in 1966, 1976, 1986, or even 1996 must still be applicable today, right? Wrong.

For a long time, the MBA was actually not all that desirable a degree, so admissions was not quite so competitive. To give you an idea of the MBA’s relative popularity, Duke University (Fuqua) did not even start its MBA program until 1970, but its law school was founded in 1868. Yale University was founded in 1701, but it did not have an MBA program until 1976. So, the MBA is a relatively new degree that has only recently (in the late 1990s) reached its current level of popularity and prestige.

What does all of this mean with regard to your boss’s advice? Although your supervisor may have gotten into one of your target schools, he or she likely did so years ago and therefore may not have had to contend with the steep competition you now face. Your boss may also not know anything about what the admissions process is like today and could be—however inadvertently—leading you astray. If your supervisor starts any bit of his or her well-intended advice with the phrase “when I applied,” you should view the coming declaration with tremendous caution.

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 at www.mbamission.com/manhattangmat.

The post MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: My Supervisor Graduated from HBS—He Knows! appeared first on GMAT.
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Decoding Divisibility and Primes on the GMAT – Part 1 [#permalink]

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New post 18 Feb 2016, 16:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Decoding Divisibility and Primes on the GMAT – Part 1
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Most of my students are driven crazy by GMAT Number Properties. On the face of it, the topic seems straightforward: I know what positive and negative, odd and even are. Divisibility stuff is a little more complicated, but come on: this was taught in school when we were 10! How hard can it be?

Plenty hard, it turns out. The GMAT obviously can’t test you on what you were taught when you were 10; that’d be way too easy. So they have to find some way to make things conceptually harder—and they have definitely succeeded on Number Properties. (I secretly admire how good they are at testing NP, actually. I just don’t like to admit it.)

So we’re going to dive into a series of NP problems to see how they mess with us. We’ll focus specifically on divisibility and prime, the topic that tends to be the most tricky. Try this GMATPrep® problem from the free exams and then we’ll talk!

“*If x, y, and z are integers greater than 1, what is the value of x + y + z?

“(1) xyz = 70

“(2) Image


Got your answer? Okay, first, let’s understand what’s going on.

Image

Glance: DS. Three variables. The question is a combo (that is, I don’t necessarily have to find the individual values for these variables). Maybe I’m going to have to test cases?

Read: Can’t do much with the question stem, besides writing down that info.

Jot:

Image

How should I approach this?

Image

Hmm. They’re all positive integers greater than 1. That’s intriguing; why greater than 1 and not the more common greater than 0? I’ll need to think about that.

I just have to find the sum of the variables, not the individual variables. And each statement uses all three variables and provides some real numbers.

So, the question is whether I can rearrange that info somehow to tell me the sum, even if it doesn’t tell me the individual variables. Let’s see.

“(1) xyz = 70”

If they’re all integers, then they have to be made up of the various possible factors of 70.

Oh! This is key: they’re all integers greater than 1, so I can ignore the factor pair (1, 70). In other words, what I really care about is the prime factors of 70. I was wondering why they told me such a weird piece of info.

Okay, so I need to break 70 down into its prime factors and then test cases with those numbers to see whether I get a definitive sum or multiple sums.

70 = (7)(10) = (7)(2)(5)

There are three variables…and three prime factors. So the three variables have to be 7, 2, and 5! The sum of those three numbers is always the same, regardless of the order in which the addition occurs. Statement (1) is sufficient to answer the question.

“(2) Image


(Remember, reflect first! Don’t just dive in.) Fractions are annoying, so I could try cross-multiplying. That would give me 10x = 7yz. That doesn’t actually look simpler (at least, not to me!), though.

Oh, or how about this: x could be 7 and yz could be 10, in which case y and z have to be 2 and 5, in some order. That works! And those are the same numbers as in statement (1). Yay!

But wait. Reflect some more. This is one possible solution, yes, but is it the only one?

What if x = 14 and yz = 20? In that case, statement (2) is still true, but the values have changed. Will the sum be the same? No! It’ll be larger, since the values are larger.

Statement (2) allows more than one possible sum, so it is not sufficient to answer the question.

The correct answer is (A).

ImageImageImage

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

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

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The Top 6 GMAT Quant Mistakes That You Don’t know You’re Making [#permalink]

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New post 18 Feb 2016, 16:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: The Top 6 GMAT Quant Mistakes That You Don’t know You’re Making
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Sometimes, as you solve a GMAT Problem Solving problem, everything seems to go smoothly. You get an answer that matches one of the choices perfectly, so you select it and move on to the next problem. But much later, when you’re reviewing the problem, you realize that you picked the wrong answer entirely. Why does this happen, and how can you stop it?

According to data from GMAT Navigator, our online platform that lets students record their answers to GMAT practice problems (click here for the premium version or here for the basic version), there are certain Problem Solving problems that most students feel very confident about. Very few students guess on these problems. However, many students get these problems wrong, despite their high level of confidence. Here’s the list of mistakes these students make most frequently.

  • Off by 1: When a problem asks for a largest or smallest possible value, or when it includes inequalities, double-check your work before answering. The answer choices are often only 1 apart, and it’s easy to choose an answer that’s 1 too small or too large. For instance, what is the smallest integer that’s greater than 41/4? If you quickly divide 41 by 4 and take the integer part of the answer, 10, you’ll be off by
  • Off by 100: Be careful with percentage problems, especially ones with answer choices that are similar except for the number of decimal places (0.89, 8.9, 89, 890, etc.) If you miss the word ‘percent’ somewhere in a problem, or if you forget to multiply a decimal by 100 to convert it to a percent, your answer will be off by a factor of 100. Check out our guide to approaching percent problems if you make this mistake.
  • Bad unit conversion: It’s easy to make a mistake when converting between kilometers and miles, dollars and cents, or grams and kilograms. The worst culprits are problems that ask you to convert between units you may not be familiar with, or even made-up units, since your instincts won’t tell you that your answer is wrong. Always write out the entire unit conversion and check your work carefully. It’s more time-consuming, but it’ll ensure you never multiply when you should divide, or accidentally convert the wrong value. Read our guide to fast and safe unit conversions to get a handle on this issue.
  • Missing the last step: You get all the way through the problem, doing all of the math correctly, and solve for the value of n. Then you choose that value and move on, never noticing that the problem actually asked you to choose the value of 2n, or n2, as your answer. To avoid this, read the entire problem, and the answer choices, before you begin writing. Before you write anything else on your paper, jot down what you’re solving for and circle it.
  • Losing the units: Picture a rates & work problem that asks you to solve for the amount of time it would take two machines to complete a job when working together. Unbeknownst to you, one of the wrong answer choices is actually the rate at which the two machines are working, which is the reciprocal of the time. The answer choices don’t include units, so you have to keep track of them yourself. And be aware that the test writers might play dirty tricks with units in the text of a problem: for instance, rates are usually given in miles per hour, but I’ve seen a problem that includes a rate given in minutes per mile. Many of my students gloss right over the units, assume that the rate is written in miles per hour, and do all of the math correctly but get the wrong answer anyways. Don’t let that happen to you.
  • Percent more than/less than: 120 is 20 percent more than 100, but 100 isn’t 20 percent less than 120. (Take a moment to do the math, and figure out what number actually fits there!) You can’t switch back and forth between percent more than and percent less than, even if it seems to make the problem easier; the math just doesn’t work out. Make sure that when you translate a percent word problem into math, you’re keeping the same expressions as in the original problem.
These issues were the six most common culprits that caused students to unknowingly miss GMAT Problem Solving questions. Learn them now, and double-check your work whenever you see a suspicious problem. There’s nothing wrong with missing a problem because you haven’t learned the math yet, but you never want to miss problems that you could easily have gotten right. Image

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 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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GMAT Grammar Biweekly: Adverbial Modifiers [#permalink]

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New post 25 Feb 2016, 11:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMAT Grammar Biweekly: Adverbial Modifiers
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Have you been following our grammar tips series? We’ve already talked about opening modifiers and noun modifiers. We’re almost done with this much-feared topic. If you’re still having problems, it’s probably with adverbial modifiers.

These can be the most overwhelming, so let’s break them down now. Back to our favorite modifier-riddled 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.

An adverbial modifier is something that describes almost anything in the world that is not a noun. There’s actually a one-word adverbial modifier in our ferocious dog sentence (or, put far more simply, an adverb). Go back and see if you can find it.It’s the second word in the sentence; ferociously. But “barking ferociously” is a noun modifier. “Ferociously” is an adverbial modifier. If you’re wearing a confused/exasperated/annoyed expression, you’re not alone. Don’t worry – the GMAT isn’t going to go so crazy as to have you dissect clauses word-by-word, but we can use this adverb to start explaining the role of an adverbial modifier.

Step back and try to focus on meaning. What, exactly, is “ferociously”? Your first instinct may be the dog, but there’s a problem with that instinct. Take a moment and create a sentence that describes a dog using that word. Here’s what I came up with:

The dog is ferociously.

Wait. Full stop. What I just wrote sounds really wrong. And it is really wrong! The sentence that makes sense is:

The dog is ferocious.

A dog can be ferocious, but cannot be ferociously. Go back to the original sentence and see if you can now find something that is described as “ferociously.”

It’s the way the dog is barking! The dog is barking ferociously. Adverbial modifiers describe verbs, adjective, clauses, and anything else that is not a noun.

The GMAT will often test adverbial modifiers using present participles. Translated for the non-grammarian: words ending in –ing. If you see “, -ing” think about what the –ing is describing. It is often the entire clause before the comma. Practice IDing what is being described by the adverbial modifier in each of these sentences:

  • The girl sat near the river, cooling her feet in the water.
  • Companies are more likely to report positive outcomes than negative ones, causing investors to make suspect decisions, though the information is available to those who look hard enough.
  • After taking up drumming, John seemed to constantly get complaints from the neighbors, forcing him to soundproof his garage.
What’s being described by each –ing modifier is more complex than we’ve seen with noun modifiers. Here’s a basic breakdown of the meaning:

  • “Cooling her feet” is modifying how the girl sits. Think of it as a result. She sits. Therefore, her feet are cooled. The cooling is describing what is happening because she’s sitting, not just the girl.
  • What is “causing investors to make suspect decisions”? That companies skew their reporting. Again, the adverbial modifier is describing what happens because of the action, not just describing the company or the reports.
  • The third is the same as the first two. What forced the soundproofing? Getting complaints. A large idea is being described, so we’re dealing with adverbial modifiers.
Seem simple enough? Look at the meaning to figure out what is being modified. If it’s an idea that’s larger than a noun, insert an adverbial modifier. Before we wrap up, let’s take a look at how the GMAT might throw in some flawed sentences. See if you can find and fix the errors:

[*]Everyone was enjoying the party, except Susan, calling her best friend and complaining about the evening.[*]Mike developed a game called Gongu, which pushed him to the limits of his developing ability.[*]Jordan and Kyle, racing against each other, were both in fourth grade.[/list]
All of these are GMAT-wrong, though some may have sounded right, and some may even be sentences you would happily say in actual speech. Let’s break this down GMAT style.

[*]“Calling her best friend…” describes Susan. This is a problem because Susan is clearly a noun (don’t you think “noun” every time you see Susan?), but the modifier is adverbial. Let’s swap it out for a noun modifier.[/list]
Everyone was enjoying the party, except Susan, who was calling her best friend and complaining about the evening.

[*]What pushed Mike to his limits? There’s two possible answers. Either the game itself, Gongu, or the act of developing the game. Fortunately, the sentence gives you a hint about which is correct. It’s his developing ability, so it makes sense that developing the game was challenging, not necessarily playing it. That’s not a simple noun, it’s a verb (with some extra specifics tacked on). “, which” is a noun modifier, so, again, we need to make a swap.[/list]
Mike developed a game called Gongu, pushing himself to the limits of his developing ability.

[*]This can be a toughie, even though it’s the shortest sentence. Racing is meant to describe the boys, but can’t because it’s adverbial. The easy fix is to make it a noun modifier:[/list]
Jordan and Kyle, who were racing against each other, were both in fourth grade.

but let’s not take the easy way out. How can you change the sentence so that an adverbial modifier works? You’d have to make “racing…” modify the entire clause, not just the boys.

Jordan and Kyle, racing against each other, showed their competitive spirits.

Now the adverbial modifier works because racing illustrates how the boys are showing their competitive sides, not just the boys themselves.

Adverbial modifiers can be tricky, but focus on their intended meaning, then compare that to actual meaning. 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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Decoding Divisibility and Primes on the GMAT – Part 2 [#permalink]

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New post 25 Feb 2016, 11:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Decoding Divisibility and Primes on the GMAT – Part 2
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Welcome to the 2nd installment of our dive into Number Properties. If you haven’t yet tried the first problem, start with the first article in the series.

Let’s dive right into our second problem from the GMATPrep® free exams:

“*What is the greatest prime factor of Image
 –    Image
?

“(A) 2

“(B) 3

“(C) 5

“(D) 7

“(E) 11”

You know the drill. First, what’s going on?

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Glance: PS. Ugly exponents. The answer choices are small/easy numbers.

Read: The question is pretty straightforward. Right up until we get to the ugly math. Image

Jot:

Image

Image

My first thought: it’s annoying that the bases are different. Oh, but I can fix that! 4 is a multiple of 2.

Image

Image
, in which case the answer would be 2. But you subtract the exponents when you’re dividing the two bases. Here, the two bases are subtracted, so subtracting the exponents is an illegal move. The answer probably isn’t 2; if I get stuck and have to guess, I won’t guess (A).

Oh, this is ringing a bell. I’ve seen something like this before. When I can’t combine the terms using standard exponent rules, I should try pulling out a common term. That math is more annoying, but at least it’s something I’m allowed to do.

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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Here’s What to Do When You Can’t Find the “Split” on GMAT Sentence Cor [#permalink]

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New post 29 Feb 2016, 17:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Here’s What to Do When You Can’t Find the “Split” on GMAT Sentence Correction
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In GMAT Sentence Correction, a “split” is a clear difference among the answer choices that allows you to identify and eliminate several incorrect answers. You can’t always find a perfect, straightforward answer choice split to work with in every Sentence Correction problem. Sometimes, most or all of the sentence is underlined, and the answer choices seem completely different from each other. When this happens, don’t fall back on bad habits. Even if you can’t find a great split, you can take a smart, fast approach to the problem. Let’s work through that approach using the following problem, from the GMAC’s GMAT Prep software.

In Holland, a larger percentage of the gross national product is spent on defense of their coasts from rising seas than is spent on military defense in the United States.

(A) In Holland, a larger percentage of the gross national product is spent on defense of their coasts from rising seas than is spent on military defense in the United States.

(B) In Holland they spend a larger percentage of their gross national product on defending their coasts from rising seas than the United States does on military defense.

(C) A larger percentage of Holland’s gross national product is spent on defending their coasts from rising seas than the United States spends on military defense.

(D) Holland spends a larger percentage of its gross national product defending its coasts from rising seas than the military defense spending of the United States.

(E) Holland spends a larger percentage of its gross national product on defending its coasts from rising seas than the United States does on military defense.

Read the original sentence carefully. The GMAT tests the same grammatical rules over and over, and the test writers write Sentence Correction problems that showcase these rules. Regardless of whether it’s grammatically correct, the original sentence will contain modifiers, pronouns, lists, or other GMAT-like features.

Choose one of these interesting features in the original sentence. It doesn’t have to be an error, although it’s fine if it is. Pick something that you’re comfortable working with. The best candidate in this problem is the pronoun their in the original sentence. The rules of pronouns are easy to remember, and it’s easy to scan the sentence for pronouns quickly.

In Holland, a larger percentage of the gross national product is spent on defense of their coasts from rising seas than is spent on military defense in the United States.

In this case, their is an error. The plural pronoun their is only grammatical when it refers to a specific plural noun in the sentence. In this case, it refers to ‘people from Holland’ or ‘government officials from Holland’, neither of which appear in the sentence.

Your next task is to examine how each answer choice handles this issue. It might handle it the same way as the original sentence. It might do something different. Or, it might even avoid the issue entirely by restructuring the sentence.

(B) In Holland they spend a larger percentage of their gross national product on defending their coasts from rising seas than the United States does on military defense.

(C) A larger percentage of Holland’s gross national product is spent on defending their coasts from rising seas than the United States spends on military defense.

On investigation, (B) and (C) use the exact same pronoun, even though it’s in a different location. Eliminate them with confidence! Once you find an error in an answer choice, no matter how small, never consider that option again.

(D) Holland spends a larger percentage of its gross national product defending its coasts from rising seas than the military defense spending of the United States.

(E) Holland spends a larger percentage of its gross national product on defending its coasts from rising seas than the United States does on military defense.

(D) and (E), however, use the correct pronoun its.

If you still had three or more answer choices remaining, you’d pick a second feature and check it against all of the remaining options. Here, though, only two answer choices remain. At this point, you should compare the two answer choices directly against each other. Identify exactly what they do differently, and then decide which one is correct.

The only real difference between these two sentences is how they structure the comparison. Compare them directly against each other by simplifying them.

(D) Holland spends a larger percentage… than the spending of the US.

(E) Holland spends a larger percentage… than the US does.

Only one of these will be correct. In this case, (E) is grammatical. It compares a sentence about Holland (‘Holland spends…’) to a sentence about the US (‘the US does’). (D) is ungrammatical, because it compares the same sentence about Holland to a noun describing an amount of spending (‘the spending of the US’). So, the right answer is (E).

Let’s review the key principles of handling long, complicated SC problems without obvious splits:

  • You don’t need to see a split in every answer choice immediately. It’s okay to start with something interesting that you notice in a single answer choice, and work from there.
  • Pick a ‘feature’ of the first answer choice, such as a pronoun, a modifier, or a tensed verb, and check how each answer choice handles it. Eliminate any answer that handles it incorrectly.
  • Choose easy features first. Only work with difficult grammar rules if you have to.
  • Eliminate wrong answers completely. If a sentence has a single incorrect element, you can ignore it from then on.
  • Even the toughest SC problems have a process. Don’t let the test intimidate you into working carelessly. Instead, when you see a problem like this, remind yourself that there is a fast way to solve it. You just need to find it! Take a deep breath, and start looking for the best place to start.
Of course, there are many more nuances to GMAT Sentence Correction than can be covered in a single blog post. For further reading, check out our GMAT Sentence Correction Strategy GuideImage

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. 

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 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 to Do When You Can’t Find the “Split” on GMAT Sentence Correction appeared first on GMAT.
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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, 09:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: The 7 Reasons You’re Struggling with Timing on GMAT Quant
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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.
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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, 09:00
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.
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Decoding Divisibility and Primes on the GMAT – Part 3 [#permalink]

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New post 09 Mar 2016, 16:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Decoding Divisibility and Primes on the GMAT – 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.

Welcome to the 3rd and final installment of our mini-series on GMAT Number Properties. We’ve been doing a deep dive into Divisibility and Prime issues (see Part 1 and Part 2), exploring how the GMAT can disguise these topics and get us to fall into traps.

Here’s your third GMATPrep® problem from the free exams—and our hardest one yet. Good luck!

“*For every positive even integer n, the function h(n) is defined to be the product of all the even integers from 2 to n, inclusive. If p is the smallest prime factor of h(100) + 1, then p is

“(A) between 2 and 10

“(B) between 10 and 20

“(C) between 20 and 30

“(D) between 30 and 40

“(E) greater than 40”

Yikes. Where to start?

Image

Glance: PS. A lot of words. The answers are in a weird form. But maybe that means I can estimate?

Read: Ugh: functions. I need to jot this down while I’m reading in order to figure out what it means.

Jot:

ImageImage

What does that mean? I’m not really sure. I have to think about this using a real number. 2 is the smallest prime number period; could it be a prime factor of that h(100) + 1 thing?

Let’s see. 2 is a factor of h(100), because h(100) = (2)(4)(6)(…)(100).

And then if I add 1…oh, 2 can’t be a factor if I add 1! That would make h(100) odd, and anything odd doesn’t have 2 as a factor! Okay.

I can’t keep testing every prime, of course, but I haven’t found a pattern yet. There must be a pattern, since nobody could really calculate this number without a computer. So I think I’ve found my path; I’m going to try 3 next.

Image

Hmm. Oh, check it out: h(100) = (2)(4)(6)(…)(100). 6 has 3 as a factor, so 3 is a factor of h(100), too. And then I add 1…

I think I see! So if that big number has 3 as a factor and then I add just 1, the new number can’t also be a factor of 3. I would have to add another 3 to get the new number to also be a factor of 3, since all multiples of 3 are at least 3 apart.

In other words, if h(100) has a factor of 3, then h(100) + 3 has a factor of 3, but h(100) + 1 does not. I have to add at least the factor itself in order for the new number to have that same factor.

Okay, I’m excited. This might be the pattern…

h(100) = (2)(4)(6)(…)(100)

This multiplication is in the form (2)(1), (2)(2), (2)(3), (2)(4), and so on up to (2)(50). In other words, every integer between 1 and 50 is part of the multiplication at least once, so every integer between 1 and 50 is a factor of h(100), including all the prime numbers between 1 and 50.

If any given prime is a factor of h(100), then that prime cannot be a factor of h(100) + 1, because adding 1 isn’t enough. For example, if h(100) has a factor of 5, then h(100) + 5 has a factor of 5, but h(100) + 1 does not. And so on.

All the primes up to 50 are covered, so p has to be something greater than 50.

The correct answer is (E).

If you want to know, 53 is the first prime number after 50, so the smallest possible value for p is 53. But this doesn’t mean that p is 53! In fact, it’d be pretty impossible to figure out what p is without a calculator or computer program and in only 2 minutes. Sure, a human calculator can probably do it, but business schools aren’t actually looking for human calculators (even though it can feel like that sometimes!). That’s why the question doesn’t ask what p is.

Key Takeaways for Divisibility and Primes on the GMAT:

(1) When the math looks ridiculous…that’s because it is. Image
Look for the pattern. If you can find it, as we did above, then you may be able to solve. If you can’t, shrug your shoulders, be glad that you earned such a hard question in the first place, pick your favorite letter, and move on.

(2) As you study Number Properties, start to train yourself to read the clues: what are they hiding from you in the language or setup? In all three problems, we had to manipulate or think about the math given in a way that we never learned in school. For divisibility and primes, this often revolves around what factors multiplied by what other factors do—or do not, in the case of Data Sufficiency—get us to the answer.

* 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 Decoding Divisibility and Primes on the GMAT – Part 3 appeared first on GMAT.
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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, 12:01
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. 

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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).

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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Want to do better on GMAT Quant? Put your pen down!   [#permalink] 11 Mar 2016, 12:01

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