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How to Be a Good Student in a Flipped GMAT Class [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2017, 09:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: How to Be a Good Student in a Flipped GMAT Class
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Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

This article is particularly for students who are currently enrolled in a flipped GMAT class. Your teacher will tell you if you’re in a flipped class on the first day. If you’re not in a flipped GMAT class, but you just like investigating different methods of learning, feel free to read on!

What is a Flipped GMAT Class?
At Manhattan Prep, we always strive to develop ourselves as teachers. Part of the way we do that is by experimenting with different learning delivery systems. Most of our classes function the way normal school classes function: a concept is introduced in the classroom by the teacher and then it is practiced at home by the student. But why get entrenched in the conventional school-model way of learning? What if the concept were introduced at home first and then practiced in the classroom with the guidance of a teacher? Maybe the conversation behind the concept could then go even deeper. That is exactly the thinking behind a flipped GMAT class.

What Should I Do for Homework in a Flipped GMAT Class?
Given the reverse nature of a flipped GMAT class, your number-one priority for homework is getting prepared to come to the next class session. So that means you should be doing the Interact lesson ahead of the scheduled class session. (In case you forgot, Interact has all of our class lessons as interactive videos.) Currently, on Atlas—the learning management system you use to find your homework and other resources—our Interact lessons are listed as reinforcement for the lesson you just covered in class. So the Session 2 Interact lesson is listed under “After Session 2.”

BUT, for a flipped GMAT class, you need to be thinking ahead. So, for example, between Sessions 1 and 2, you would want to watch the Session 2 Interact lesson to prepare for your upcoming session. So even though it’s listed under “After Session 2,” you would actually watch this lesson BEFORE Session 2. And then you would continue always doing the Interact lesson ahead of the class. (So Interact “After Session 3” is actually done BEFORE Session 3. “After Session 4” is actually done BEFORE Session 4. etc.)

This way, you get to take time on your own to begin to understand the basics of the concepts we’re going to be covering in class. These Interact lessons aren’t just passive videos that you’re watching. You will be inputting answers and actually learning along the way. Then, in class, we can move a little faster on the basics and spend more time on deeper analysis of problems. It is imperative that you keep up with Interact because everyone else in the class will be doing so. If you don’t do the lesson ahead of time, it will be hard for you to understand what we’re talking about in class.

Don’t forget that the Interact lessons might take 3-4 hours in between sessions. So you must make time in your schedule to do them! You can still continue to do the other homework that is assigned (remember, we say homework usually takes 5-10 hours between sessions), but the priority is Interact.

What Will a Flipped GMAT Class Actually Be Like?
A flipped GMAT class will be like a breath of fresh air. It will be rainbows and puppies.

Okay, maybe not quite that far, but I personally think it feels great and I’ve heard the same from students. When everyone comes to class with the same foundational knowledge, it allows the teacher and the students greater freedom to stretch the boundaries of learning. Sometimes we’ll do a question that might have been in Interact—just to reinforce an important concept!—but most of the time, we’ll be doing similar-but-different or more complex questions than what you’d normally see in a class. I promise you, it will be fun!!

If you want to learn more about the history of flipped classes, check out this quick infographic. Or, if you want something more academic, check this article out.

So, I hope this little tutorial on how flipped GMAT classes work has gotten you prepared and excited to continue in this great experiment that we call learning! Now, go do your Interact lesson. Image

Want more GMAT tips? Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn!

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[b]Elaine Loh is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Los Angeles, California. 
[/b]She graduated from Brown University with a degree in psychology and a desire to teach others. She can’t get enough of standardized tests and has been a test prep tutor and teacher for over half her life. Check out Elaine’s upcoming GMAT courses here.

The post How to Be a Good Student in a Flipped GMAT Class appeared first on GMAT.
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Wharton Team-Based Discussion 2017: What to Expect and How to Prepare [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2017, 06:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Wharton Team-Based Discussion 2017: What to Expect and How to Prepare
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Each week, we are featuring a series of MBA admissions tips from our exclusive admissions consulting partner, mbaMission.

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania sent out Round 1 interview invitations on October 31, and once again, the school is using its team-based discussion format rather than a traditional admissions interview to evaluate its candidates. Understandably, Wharton applicants get anxious about this atypical interview, because the approach creates a very different dynamic from what one usually encounters in a one-on-one meeting—and with other applicants also in the room, one cannot help but feel less in control of the content and direction of the conversation. Yet despite the uncertainty, here are a few things that Wharton team-based discussion interviewees can expect:

1. You will need to arrive at the interview with an idea—a response to a challenge that will be presented in your interview invitation.

2. Having the best idea is much less important than how you interact with others in the group and communicate your thoughts. So while you should prepare an idea ahead of time, that is only part of what you will be evaluated on.

3. Your peers will have prepared their ideas as well. Chances are that ideas will be raised that you know little or nothing about. Do not worry! The admissions committee members are not measuring your topical expertise. Instead, they want to see how you add to the collective output of the team.

4. After the team-based discussion, you will have a short one-on-one session with someone representing Wharton’s admissions team. More than likely, you will be asked to reflect on how the Wharton team-based discussion went for you; this will require self-awareness on your part.

To give candidates the opportunity to undergo a realistic test run before experiencing the actual event, we created our Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation. Via this simulation, applicants participate anonymously with three to five other MBA candidates in an online conversation, which is moderated by two of our experienced Senior Consultants familiar with Wharton’s format and approach. All participants then receive feedback on their performance, with special focus on their interpersonal skills and communication abilities. The simulation builds confidence by highlighting your role in a team, examining how you communicate your ideas to—and within—a group of (equally talented) peers, and discovering how you react when you are thrown “in the deep end” and have to swim. Our Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation allows you to test the experience so you are ready for the real thing!

The 2017 Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation Round 1 schedule is as follows:

  • Group A: Saturday, November 4 at 11:00 a.m. ET
  • Group B: Saturday, November 4 at 2:00 p.m. ET
  • Group C: Sunday, November 5 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Group D: Monday, November 6 at 6:00 p.m. ET
  • Group E: Monday, November 6 at 9:00 p.m. ET
  • Group F: Tuesday, November 7 at 6:00 p.m. ET
  • Group G: Tuesday, November 7 at 9:00 p.m. ET
  • Group H: Wednesday, November 8 at 6:00 p.m. ET
  • Group I: Thursday, November 9 at 6:00 p.m. ET
  • Group J: Saturday, November 11 at 11:00 a.m. ET
  • Group K: Saturday, November 11 at 2:00 p.m. ET
  • Group L: Sunday, November 12 at 11:00 a.m. ET
  • Group M: Monday, November 13 at 9:00 p.m. ET
  • [b]Group N: Tuesday, November 14 at 9:00 p.m. ET Image
    [/b]

To learn more or sign up for a session, visit our Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation page.

ImagembaMission 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. Click here to sign up today.

The post Wharton Team-Based Discussion 2017: What to Expect and How to Prepare 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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High-Value GMAT Quant [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2017, 06:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: High-Value GMAT Quant
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Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

Every time you study GMAT Quant, you give your full attention to just a couple of topics. During that time, you won’t be studying all of the other topics the GMAT Quant section tests. The smartest way to make the tradeoff is by going straight to the highest-value Quant topics: the ones that are most likely to score you points on test day.

The highest-value GMAT Quant topics are different for every person. If you’re already scoring 47s and 48s on Quant and you’re looking for that elusive 51, you might have one set of high-value topics. If you just scored a 23 on your first practice test, your list will look very different. Don’t let someone else write your list for you—only you know yourself well enough to do that. Here are some guidelines on how to do it. 

1. Fixing your GMAT Quant foundation is high-value.
GMAT Quant scoring is weird. When you miss relatively easy Quant questions, the test assumes that you’re weak in Quant. That wouldn’t be a big deal, except that the questions you see on the GMAT are based on what the test thinks it knows about you. If the algorithm decides that you’re not too good at GMAT Quant, it won’t give you the toughest questions, even if you could actually get them right. Since your score is based on the difficulty level of the test, this will hold you back.

If you’re missing easy questions in one area of GMAT Quant, that will keep your score down across the entire Quant section. Missing hard questions, on the other hand, has almost no impact on your score. Fixing the areas where you’re lagging behind is higher-value than pushing ahead in areas where you’re doing okay.

One important note: that doesn’t just translate to “focus on your weaknesses!” A “hole in your foundation” is specifically an area where you’re missing easy questions, even if you’re only missing a few of them. Missing a lot of questions is fine, as long as they’re tough ones—but missing even a few easy questions is a problem. To find these areas, why not review a practice test?

2. Learnable topics are high-value.
Some GMAT Quant topics will be fun and easy to learn, while others will be a slog. If a topic isn’t too important, and it’ll take you weeks to master it, why bother? But, if it’s something you can learn in an afternoon, you might as well invest a little time. Even if you don’t see that topic on your official test, you didn’t waste too much time working on it—and you learned something cool in the process.

Here’s a list of GMAT Quant topics that many of my students have described as ‘quick’ or even ‘fun’. Don’t worry if you disagree! Every brain is different, and struggling with these topics doesn’t mean that you’re lagging behind.

On the other hand, here are some GMAT Quant topics that are notoriously tricky to learn. Again, your mileage may vary, so try them out! But don’t get bogged down if you aren’t improving quickly.

  • Rates & Work
  • Combinatorics
  • Probability
3. Frequently-tested GMAT Quant topics are high-value.

If you’re struggling with a topic that the GMAT tests rarely, consider choosing ahead of time to guess on those problems on test day. Sure, you could study for hours and hours and improve your odds of getting one or two problems right. Or, you could devote the same amount of time to a topic that you’ll see more often.

Based on our own experiences, here are the most commonly-tested GMAT Quant topics:

Algebra: Exponents & Roots, Linear Equations, Quadratic Equations

FDPs: Percents, Fractions, Ratios

Word Problems: Translations, Statistics

Number Properties: Divisibility & Primes, Positives & Negatives

Geometry: Triangles, Polygons

Luckily, a few of our least favorite GMAT Quant topics don’t show up: combinatorics, probability, coordinate geometry, formulas, functions, and sequences. If you already have a very high Quant score, you may need to work on those topics. But if you’re just starting out, or if your Quant score isn’t at least at the 70th percentile, you should spend almost all of your time on the more frequent areas. That’s where you get the best return on your investment.

That’s true even if you’re missing a lot of problems in these ‘rare’ areas! Due to the other two factors we’ve talked about—fixing your foundation and learnability—topics like combinatorics or coordinate geometry are very unlikely to be high-value for you, even if you don’t understand them at all.

Based on this information, take some time to make a plan. Sure, you could spend that time studying instead. But if you put some thought early on into what to study, you’ll never have to wonder whether you’re working on the right material. You’ll also give yourself the best possible chance of improving your score. Hoping for even more structure than that? Think about signing up for the Manhattan Prep 9-week GMAT Complete Course—we hit all of the highest-value GMAT Quant topics and have fun doing it. Image

Want more guidance from our GMAT gurus? 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.

[b]Chelsey CooleyImage
 is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Seattle, Washington.
 [/b]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 GRE prep offerings here.

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

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GMATPrep Reading Comprehension: Tackling a History Passage (Part 3) [#permalink]

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New post 18 Nov 2017, 22:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMATPrep Reading Comprehension: Tackling a History Passage (Part 3)
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Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

In the first installment of this series, we examined a Reading Comprehension history passage from the GMATPrep® free exams. If you’re just starting, go through parts 1 and 2 first, then come back to this one. Feel free to do all three questions (one per installment) in a block for the passage.

Here are the history passage and the third problem. Good luck!

“Two recent publications offer different assessments of the career of the famous British nurse Florence Nightingale. A book by Anne Summers seeks to debunk the idealizations and present a reality at odds with Nightingale’s heroic reputation. According to Summers, Nightingale’s importance during the Crimean War has been exaggerated: not until near the war’s end did she become supervisor of the female nurses. Additionally, Summers writes that the contribution of the nurses to the relief of the wounded was at best marginal. The prevailing problems of military medicine were caused by army organizational practices, and the addition of a few nurses to the medical staff could be no more than symbolic. Nightingale’s place in the national pantheon, Summers asserts, is largely due to the propagandistic efforts of contemporary newspaper reporters.

“By contrast, the editors of the new volume of Nightingale’s letters view Nightingale as a person who significantly influenced not only her own age but also subsequent generations. They highlight her ongoing efforts to reform sanitary conditions after the war. For example, when she learned that peacetime living conditions in British barracks were so horrible that the death rate of enlisted men far exceeded that of neighboring civilian populations, she succeeded in persuading the government to establish a Royal Commission on the Health of the Army. She used sums raised through public contributions to found a nurse’s training hospital in London. Even in administrative matters, the editors assert, her practical intelligence was formidable: as recently as 1947 the British Army’s medical services were still using the cost-accounting system she devised in the 1860s.

“I believe that the evidence of her letters supports continued respect for Nightingale’s brilliance and creativity. When counseling a village schoolmaster to encourage children to use their faculties of observation, she sounds like a modern educator. Her insistence on classifying the problems of the needy in order to devise appropriate treatments is similar to the approach of modern social workers. In sum, although Nightingale may not have achieved all of her goals during the Crimean War, her breadth of vision and ability to realize ambitious projects have earned her an eminent place among the ranks of social pioneers.”

“The passage is primarily concerned with evaluating

“(A) the importance of Florence Nightingale’s innovations in the field of nursing

“(B) contrasting approaches to the writing of historical biography

“(C) contradictory accounts of Florence Nightingale’s historical significance

“(D) the quality of health care in nineteenth century England

“(E) the effect of the Crimean War on developments in the field of health care”

First, what kind of question is this one?

The primarily concerned with language signals a Primary Purpose question. They want to know what the main idea is.

Glance at your Map. Here’s mine:

Image

Use that to jog your memory. Briefly re-articulate the main story to yourself.

People differ on FN’s importance. Summers thinks FN wasn’t as important as she was/is made out to be. The editors think FN was really important. The author agrees that FN was important.

Okay, which answer choice matches your idea?

“(A) the importance of Florence Nightingale’s innovations in the field of nursing”

Some of the people in the history passage thought her innovations were really important—but Summers didn’t think so. And that contrast or disagreement was really the main message, so this can’t be the main idea. Eliminate (A).

“(B) contrasting approaches to the writing of historical biography”

The word contrasting is good. What about the rest? Summers does seem to have written a biography on FN. But the editors in the second paragraph just edited a volume of FN’s letters. That’s not the same as writing a biography of someone.

Also, the contrast isn’t about how these different people wrote about FN. The contrast is that they had fundamentally different conclusions about FN’s ultimate contributions and importance. This one is a tempting trap—but it’s still a trap. Eliminate (B).

“(C) contradictory accounts of Florence Nightingale’s historical significance”

Contradictory is a good word for this history passage. There are definitely contradictory opinions at play. And the contradiction was around how important or significant FN was. This one is looking pretty good—leave it in.

“(D) the quality of health care in nineteenth century England”

While the history passage does talk about health care in that time frame, this choice doesn’t mention FN or the contrasting opinions about her importance. This choice is too broad to be the main point of the passage. Eliminate (D).

“(E) the effect of the Crimean War on developments in the field of health care”

The passage does mention the Crimean War, but it’s mostly only in the first paragraph. Summers uses the war to talk about FN’s importance. The 2nd and 3rd paragraphs talk about lots of other examples that took place at different times, with a focus on FN, so the war alone is not the main idea. Eliminate (E).

The correct answer is (C).

Key Takeaways for Tackling a History Passage on GMAT Reading Comprehension
(1) Follow the process. Don’t skip steps! That’s how mistakes creep in.

(2) On your read-through, go for the big ideas and the main contrasts or twists. Don’t get sucked into annoying detail. Jot down an abbreviated Map to help you navigate the passage later, when you’re answering questions. By the time you’re done, you will (hopefully!) be able to articulate the Simple Story of the history passage.

(3) Know what kind of question type you have, as each type is asking you to perform a different kind of analysis. On main idea (Primary Purpose) questions, your simple story and passage map should be enough to get you to your answer. Watch out for traps that involve going too broad (like answer D above) or too narrow (like answer E above). Also watch out for a “mix-up” type answer, where they use words that sound good (like contrasting in answer B) but they mix it up with other stuff that wasn’t actually what the passage said. Image

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

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

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

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

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Tiny GMAT Critical Reasoning Mistakes You Might be Making (Part 3) [#permalink]

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New post 18 Nov 2017, 22:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Tiny GMAT Critical Reasoning Mistakes You Might be Making (Part 3)
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Guess what? 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.

The hunt for tricky GMAT Critical Reasoning games continues. (Check up here and here for the first two parts on this series).

As before, I’ll present three types of GMAT Critical Reasoning mistakes I see students (and myself) make, and I’ll give some sample questions demonstrating the trick. Then I’ll give you a number for an actual CR problem in the 2017 OG that has this kind of thing going on in it.

How Might an Answer Trip You up in GMAT Critical Reasoning?
1) It Gives Information on a Relationship that Doesn’t Matter

The start-up company Pillow Inc. makes pillows that ensure a perfect night’s sleep, and thus, many companies are seeking to acquire it. The two largest contenders, SleepCo and SweetDreams, are set to make offers soon, and Pillow Inc. will probably sell to the company that offers them the most money. Because SleepCo had much more profitable years than SweetDreams in the last decade, it’s likely that SleepCo will soon acquire Pillow Inc.

Which of the following would be most useful to compare in evaluating the argument?

A) The proportion of available funds both SleepCo and SweetDreams have set aside for the specific purpose of acquiring other companies.

B) The number of times in recent years that each company has reinvested all of its profit into business ventures.

“I don’t care about other business ventures. And just because a company has had a lot of profit, I need to know how much of that profit they can spend on buying Pillow Inc. So I say A. Now comes the part where you tell me I’m wrong.”

You know me too well, disembodied voice in my head. A is incorrect, though it sounds very tempting. We need to specify what really matters to this argument, though. The only thing that matters is which company can give more money to Pillow Inc.

“Doesn’t that depend on what percentage of their funds they have to spend on acquisitions?”

Sure, relative to the amount that company has. If I knew the information in A, I could tell you the proportion of dollars a company could give to Pillow Inc. to the dollars it could not give to Pillow Inc. But that tells me absolutely nothing of the proportion of dollars one company could give to Pillow Inc. to the dollars the other company could give to Pillow Inc. And that’s the relationship that matters—who can give more.

For instance, if SleepCo can give 100% of its available to funds to Pillow Inc., you might think SleepCo has got it in the bag… until you hear that its available funds amount to a grand total of $3.27. Meanwhile, SweetDreams can only give 2% of its available funds… but it’s 2% of $100 million, and suddenly it seems like SweetDreams is the winner, despite its low percentage of funds available to pay for acquisitions.

The GMAT loves relationships and relative values, in both the Quant and Verbal sections. It loves requiring you to notice the difference between relative values and actual values, and to note which relationships are important to the discussion at hand. Always make sure you’re considering the relationship that actually matters in a GMAT Critical Reasoning problem.

(EXAMPLE: CR 655 about burning trash)

2) It Tempts You to Bring in Real World Knowledge

The city council in Hobbiton is disturbed by the terrible nutritional value of the meals served for lunch at the public schools in the Frodo District. One step they’re taking to alleviate this issue is to stop purchasing animal products from Everything Fried, and they are instead looking at Healthy Meats for the meat and dairy portions of the lunches. Because Healthy Meats uses significantly less salt than Everything Fried, this change would make school lunches healthier.

Which of the following would weaken the argument?

A) Everything Fried is unhealthy because of the unusually high mercury levels in all of its food.

B) Healthy Meats provides meats for two large fast food chains.

“Well, I don’t care about why Everything Fried is unhealthy, because you told me once not to explain a premise, and I learned my lesson. But if Healthy Meats is giving food to fast food chains, it’s probably not as healthy as its name implies, so B.”

You are making some very valid inferences in the real world. Your brain has noticed a trend: meats served at fast food joints are usually, to put it delicately, [cuss word] gross. We’ve all seen the documentaries: it’s the worst cuts of the meat, often the stuff no one else wants, ground up and mashed together into something that looks vaguely like a meat patty.

But that’s the real world. And it has no place on the GMAT. We’re not given the information in the problem that ‘fast food=poison.’ You have to leave that at the door, along with all other circumstantial knowledge. It’s not applicable.

The answer here is A. It doesn’t really explain the premise (and remember: that’s a tempting wrong answer choice for Strengthen questions)—the premise is that Healthy Meats is better because it uses less salt than Everything Fried. Does that mean, though, that Everything Fried uses too much salt? That’s one of the assumptions (notice again: what relationships matter?). But if Everything Fried is unhealthy for something other than salt—for instance, mercury—then the difference in salt content won’t matter all that much.

(EXAMPLE: CR 658 about hotel carpentry)

3) It Does Make the Argument Slightly Better/Worse… But You’re Looking to Guarantee/Ruin It

In Oceanside, recent thunderstorms have brought about some of the most severe flooding the city has ever seen. This is most likely due to the city’s zoning laws. The lack of such laws allowed developers to build as much as they wanted, and this required the pouring of acres and acres of concrete. Concrete lacks the permeability of soil, so even with the draining system designed by the city planners, the ground just didn’t have the ability to absorb the rainwater at rates even close to what it could before.

Which of the following would strengthen the argument?

A) If zoning laws had been in place, the same developments could have been built at three times the cost due to steep fees paid to the city.

B) Concrete is the least permeable substance of all common building materials.

“Well, since in A the buildings could have been built regardless of any zoning laws, I’d pick B. But B just seems to be explaining a premise, so I don’t know what to choose.”

The answer here is A. It sounds like a weakener. In fact, with one letter change, it would be. If the ‘could have been built’ were ‘would have been built,’ it would have been a weakener, because ‘would’ implies that the buildings were going to be there no matter what the zoning laws did. But this answer says that they could have been built at three times the cost. That gives developers an incentive to not build—perhaps it’s just too expensive.

“PERHAPS?! YOU’RE MAKING ME CHOOSE AN ANSWER BASED ON ‘PERHAPS?!’”

You’re upset, I can see that—

“I’ve been told not to bring in my own assumptions! Don’t I have to assume that three times more expensive is too expensive for the developers? Maybe they can afford the cost and it’s no big deal to them!”

Maybe so. But you have to remember that with a Strengthen question, you’re not looking to guarantee the argument. With a Weaken question, you’re not looking to destroy it. You’re just trying to make the argument more likely, or less likely. Even if it’s only a teensy, tiny, itty bit more likely, that’s the answer. The argument could still be wrong. Yes, the developers could build the exact same thing and the flooding could be the exact same even with zoning laws. But A brings up a reason to think that maybe, possibly, zoning laws would have changed what was eventually built. It doesn’t guarantee it; it just makes the argument a little bit stronger. So that’s the answer.

“But isn’t that real-world knowledge? That higher costs could affect developers that way?”

Yes, it is. I wish I could tell you that everything on the GMAT is absolute. But there are bends to the rules of the test. For example, “being” is almost always incorrect in Sentence Correction—but I found a question recently in which it wasn’t. While you can’t bring too much circumstantial, real-world knowledge to the test, you will need to keep some ‘common sense’ about you. I admit, it’s a fine line to walk. But keep practicing and you’ll develop your sense for when you’re crossing it and when you’re just toeing it.

(EXAMPLE: CR 666 about casinos)

EXPLANATIONS:
CR 655: C and E are both relative values that distract you from the only relative value that actually matters: amount of trash burned this year compared to the amount of trash burned last year, which I’m already told will be ‘half as much.’ It doesn’t matter what proportion of the trash they can recycle—whether it’s 0%, 50%, or 100%, they’re still going to burn half as many trucks of trash as they did last year. It doesn’t matter if I collect less or more trash this year, as long as the amount of trash that gets burned is half as much as last year. I can collect way, way, way more trash, and still only burn half as much as I did last year.

CR 658: Answer B is commonly chosen because, “Bigger hotels have worse carpentry. If they’re spending so much time and money on size, they can’t afford nice carpentry,” or something to that effect. I think when students think this, they’re pondering the gigantic Holiday Inns of the world and the plastic paneling on the walls. But that’s real-world knowledge. There’s no real reason a large hotel can’t have beautiful carpentry, and without that information given in a problem, we can’t assume it away.

CR 666: This is a tough one. I first ignored answer A because I thought, “What if Moneyland already has casinos in the five counties Apex is selling in? Moneyland needs to be able to buy at least three of the five, and I have no idea if it has that capability.” But the point is, there’s a chance Moneyland can buy three of the five and tie Apex. That’s enough to say the argument is weakened. It’s not ruined at all—Apex could still very well have the most casinos. That might still even be the most likely outcome. But it’s a little less likely if what is given in A is true. Image

Want some more GMAT tips from Reed? Attend the first session of one of his upcoming GMAT courses absolutely free, no strings attached. Seriously.

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 is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in New York, NY.
 He has a B.A. in economics, philosophy, and mathematics and an M.S. in commerce, both from the University of Virginia. He enjoys writing, acting, Chipotle burritos, and teaching the GMAT. Check out Reed’s upcoming GMAT courses here.

The post Tiny GMAT Critical Reasoning Mistakes You Might be Making (Part 3) appeared first on GMAT.
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GMATPrep Reading Comprehension: Tackling a History Passage (Part 4) [#permalink]

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New post 29 Nov 2017, 08:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMATPrep Reading Comprehension: Tackling a History Passage (Part 4)
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Are you ready for your fourth question? We’ve been examining a Reading Comprehension history passage from the GMATPrep® free exams. If you’re just starting, go through the earlier installments first, then come back to this one—and feel free to do all four questions (one per installment) in a block for the passage. (Take some screen shots or set up separate browser tabs so that you can cycle through them all efficiently.)

Here are the history passage and the fourth problem. Good luck!

“Two recent publications offer different assessments of the career of the famous British nurse Florence Nightingale. A book by Anne Summers seeks to debunk the idealizations and present a reality at odds with Nightingale’s heroic reputation. According to Summers, Nightingale’s importance during the Crimean War has been exaggerated: not until near the war’s end did she become supervisor of the female nurses. Additionally, Summers writes that the contribution of the nurses to the relief of the wounded was at best marginal. The prevailing problems of military medicine were caused by army organizational practices, and the addition of a few nurses to the medical staff could be no more than symbolic. Nightingale’s place in the national pantheon, Summers asserts, is largely due to the propagandistic efforts of contemporary newspaper reporters.

“By contrast, the editors of the new volume of Nightingale’s letters view Nightingale as a person who significantly influenced not only her own age but also subsequent generations. They highlight her ongoing efforts to reform sanitary conditions after the war. For example, when she learned that peacetime living conditions in British barracks were so horrible that the death rate of enlisted men far exceeded that of neighboring civilian populations, she succeeded in persuading the government to establish a Royal Commission on the Health of the Army. She used sums raised through public contributions to found a nurse’s training hospital in London. Even in administrative matters, the editors assert, her practical intelligence was formidable: as recently as 1947 the British Army’s medical services were still using the cost-accounting system she devised in the 1860s.

“I believe that the evidence of her letters supports continued respect for Nightingale’s brilliance and creativity. When counseling a village schoolmaster to encourage children to use their faculties of observation, she sounds like a modern educator. Her insistence on classifying the problems of the needy in order to devise appropriate treatments is similar to the approach of modern social workers. In sum, although Nightingale may not have achieved all of her goals during the Crimean War, her breadth of vision and ability to realize ambitious projects have earned her an eminent place among the ranks of social pioneers.”

“With which of the following statements regarding the differing interpretations of Nightingale’s importance would the author most likely agree?

“(A) Summers misunderstood both the importance of Nightingale’s achievements during the Crimean War and her subsequent influence on British policy.

“(B) The editors of Nightingale’s letters made some valid points about her practical achievements, but they still exaggerated her influence on subsequent generations.

“(C) Although Summers’ account of Nightingale’s role in the Crimean War may be accurate, she ignored evidence of Nightingale’s subsequent achievement that suggests that her reputation as an eminent social reformer is well deserved.

“(D) The editors of Nightingale’s letters mistakenly propagated the outdated idealization of Nightingale that only impedes attempts to arrive at a balanced assessment of her true role.

“(E) The evidence of Nightingale’s letters supports Summers’ conclusion both about Nightingale’s activities and about her influence.”

First, what kind of question is this one?

It asks us to find an answer with which the author [would] most likely agree. You can think of this as a sort of mix of Primary Purpose (main idea) and Specific Detail. The answer should go along with the main idea (since the main idea is the author’s idea) but you’ll likely have to get more into the detail than that. The specific wording of the question stem will tell you what kind of detail you need to examine.

In this case, the question talks about the differing interpretations of Nightingale’s importance. Glance at your Map, with an eye toward reminding yourself about each of those interpretations and what the author thought about them. Here’s my Map:

Image

Use that to jog your memory.

Summers is not a fan of FN.

But the editors are.

The author mostly goes along with the editors, though she does acknowledge that Summers may have had a point.

This would be a good time to go back into the text of the third paragraph to clarify exactly what the author thought.

“I believe that the evidence of her letters supports continued respect for Nightingale’s brilliance and creativity. [skimming…examples…skimming] In sum, although Nightingale may not have achieved all of her goals during the Crimean War, her breadth of vision and ability to realize ambitious projects have earned her an eminent place among the ranks of social pioneers.”

So the author acknowledges that Summers might be right that FN’s accomplishments during the Crimean War might have been somewhat exaggerated, but overall the author thinks that FN did some amazing things and her reputation is justified.

Okay, which answer choice matches that idea?

“(A) Summers misunderstood both the importance of Nightingale’s achievements during the Crimean War and her subsequent influence on British policy.”

The author does seem to think that Summers’ position about FN’s overall influence on British policy is not correct. However, the author also acknowledges that Summers might have a point about the importance of FN’s achievements during the Crimean War—not that Summers misunderstood that part. Eliminate (A).

“(B) The editors of Nightingale’s letters made some valid points about her practical achievements, but they still exaggerated her influence on subsequent generations.”

The author mostly agrees with the editors. She doesn’t say that they exaggerated anything. Rather, she acknowledges that Summers’ viewpoint (that Nightingale’s importance during the Crimean War has been exaggerated) may be valid. Eliminate (B).

“(C) Although Summers’ account of Nightingale’s role in the Crimean War may be accurate, she ignored evidence of Nightingale’s subsequent achievement that suggests that her reputation as an eminent social reformer is well deserved.”

The first part of this matches what we said: the author acknowledges that Summers’ view of FN’s role in the Crimean War may be valid. The second part might be good, too, as it does criticize Summers for not giving FN more credit for other things.

The words she ignored evidence are pretty strong, though—so double-check paragraph 3. The author begins by praising the evidence of the letters (discussed in paragraph 2—i.e., not Summers’ evidence). The passage doesn’t indicate that Summers addresses this evidence, so perhaps ignored could be acceptable.

Leave this in—but if something else exists that doesn’t have this kind of possible objection, that other choice might be better.

“(D) The editors of Nightingale’s letters mistakenly propagated the outdated idealization of Nightingale that only impedes attempts to arrive at a balanced assessment of her true role.”

This choice says that the editors have a faulty view of FN, but that’s not what the author thinks. The author generally agrees with what the editors said. Eliminate (D).

“(E) The evidence of Nightingale’s letters supports Summers’ conclusion both about Nightingale’s activities and about her influence.”

The editors argue that the letters do not support Summers’ conclusion—and the author generally agrees with the editors. In other words, the author does not think that the letters support Summers’ point of view. Eliminate (E).

Everything else has been eliminated, so the correct answer is (C).

Key Takeaways for Tackling a History Passage on GMAT Reading Comprehension
(1) Follow the process. Don’t skip steps! That’s how mistakes creep in.

(2) On your read-through, go for the big ideas and the main contrasts or twists. Don’t get sucked into annoying detail. Jot down an abbreviated Map to help you navigate the passage later, when you’re answering questions. By the time you’re done, you will (hopefully!) be able to articulate the Simple Story of the history passage.

(3) Know what kind of question type you have, as each type is asking you to perform a different kind of analysis. Occasionally, you’ll see a question like this one—something that asks what the author would most likely agree with. Keep an eye out for two things. First, the correct answer has to go along with the author’s overall point or position, so remind yourself what that is. Second, the history passage will have some kind of twists with respect to that overall position—otherwise, the question would be too easy. Dive into the detail enough to make sure that you know what the author thinks as well as what the author does not think, so you can avoid the trap answers. Image

* 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.

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Mission Admission: Finding “Safe” Writers for Your MBA Recommendation  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Dec 2017, 08:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Mission Admission: Finding “Safe” Writers for Your MBA Recommendation Letters
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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 series, mbaMission debunks these and other myths and strives to take the anxiety out of the admissions process.

MBA recommendation letters are an important part of your overall application package—they provide the only outside information the admissions committee receives about you. However, one of the most stressful parts of the application process can be choosing your recommenders.

The first question you should ask is who can write a valuable letter on my behalf? Many candidates believe that recommenders must have remarkable credentials and titles to impress the admissions committee. However, selecting individuals who can write personal and knowledgeable MBA recommendation letters that discuss your talents, accomplishments, personality, and potential is far more important. If senior managers at your company can only describe your work in vague and general terms, they will not help your cause. Lower-level managers who directly supervise your work, on the other hand, can often offer powerful examples of the impact you have had on your company. As a result, their MBA recommendation letters can be far more effective.

Nonetheless, not everyone who knows you and your capabilities well will make a good recommender. For starters, you should of course feel confident that your potential recommender likes you and will write a positive letter on your behalf. As you contemplate your choices, try to gather some intelligence on your potential recommenders. Have they written letters for anyone else? Are they generous with their time with regard to employee feedback and review sessions? Will they devote the effort and time necessary to write a letter that will really shine?

One step that you can take to ensure you submit the strongest applications possible is doing some research on your recommenders to confirm that your choices are indeed “safe.” After all, if you are playing by the strictest interpretation of the rules of recommendations, you will not get to see what your recommenders ultimately write about you. By doing a little intelligence work in advance, you can better understand whether you are making the right decision before committing to a certain individual.

By doing some “intelligence,” we mean—where possible—contacting past colleagues in a discreet and diplomatic way to find out what their experiences were like with your potential recommender. For example, was your potential recommender a generous advocate or was he/she a disinterested third party who had a tendency to be harsh? Clearly, learning more about your target recommender’s approach in advance can help you understand whether or not you should offer him/her this important responsibility. Past colleagues can also guide you in how best to manage your recommenders, which can be just as important as choosing them. Knowing up front that your recommender is a procrastinator or performed better after being given a list of accomplishments from which to work can help ensure the best letter possible and can prevent you from inadvertently antagonizing your recommender or delaying the process.

If your prospective MBA program asks for two MBA recommendation letters, you should generally approach two of your recent supervisors, with one ideally being your current supervisor. Your letters will have added credibility if they are written by individuals who are senior to you, because your recommenders are in evaluative positions and will not have anything to lose by critically appraising your candidacy. Image

ImagembaMission 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. Click here to sign up today.

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Quick GMAT Tips: The Top 5 Things to Keep in Mind [#permalink]

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FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Quick GMAT Tips: The Top 5 Things to Keep in Mind
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I was teaching online with another instructor a few days ago when he told a story about retaking the GMAT (as we instructors often do). He and another woman were riding up in an elevator to the testing facility, and they struck up a conversation. When she found out that he was a Manhattan Prep GMAT instructor, she said, “Quick, tell me something I just HAVE to know for the test!” Talk about pressure!! So, I started thinking about how I would answer that question. Here are the five quick GMAT tips I would tell you during an elevator ride. This is by no means meant to replace actual studying!! These are just quick GMAT tips to keep in mind. (By the way, the other instructor’s answer is below, too—read on.)

1. Sentence Correction – Peanut Butter Words
The GMAT loves to test “peanut butter words.” Actual grammatical term? No. Easy way to remember a concept? Yes. Peanut butter words stick to the noun in front of them, with very few exceptions. Get it, stick? Like peanut butter! The peanut butter words are who, whose, which, when, and where. Memorize them, and ANY time you see one of them underlined, you better check and see if it’s modifying the noun in front of it correctly.

You decide:

The analysts predicted a severe drop in profits, which made the shareholders unhappy.

Right or wrong?

Well, the peanut butter word “which” is stuck to “profits.” Are the profits the thing or things that made the shareholders unhappy? Nope. Bad modifier! So, this is an incorrect use of the word “which.” A correct use of the word would look like this: I am eating a cupcake, which is my favorite type of dessert. Not only is this a correct use of a peanut butter word, it’s also true. Mmm, cupcakes.

2. Data Sufficiency – Don’t Confuse “NO” with Not Sufficient
The most common error I see on Data Sufficiency is forgetting that either a definite yes or a definite no is sufficient to answer the question. People get a “no” and, without thinking, they decide that the statement is insufficient. But they’re wrong to do so.

For example, let’s say the question is “Is x > 1?”

Statement 1: x = -2

Statement 2: x is less than or equal to 1.

Of course, the GMAT wouldn’t give such a simple question, but this is just for the illustration. If we look at Statement 1, we know that x is DEFINITELY NOT greater than 1. The answer to the question is a DEFINITE NO. So, this statement is sufficient.

Then, we move on to Statement 2. If x is less than or equal to 1, then it is DEFINITELY NOT greater than 1. So again, this statement is sufficient. The correct answer to this question would be “D,” either statement alone is sufficient. I can’t tell you how many times I see people do the right math and then put the wrong answer because they confused NO with not sufficient. Be careful!

3. Reading Comp and Critical Reasoning – An Inference MUST BE TRUE
If I told you that I stopped eating pizza recently, what could you infer?

Here are answers that I get in class all the time:

I’m on a diet.

I became lactose intolerant.

I don’t like pizza.

I’m trying to lose weight.

I’m crazy (because who doesn’t eat pizza?).

What do you think? Are any of those proper inferences? Spoiler alert: Those are all wrong!! In the real world, we use the word inference to mean that we should read between the lines. Like, what could be true? Why might I not eat pizza anymore? This is the WRONG way to approach Inference questions. You instead should think of an inference as asking you, WHAT MUST BE TRUE?

So, let’s try again. If I tell you that I stopped eating pizza recently, WHAT MUST BE TRUE?

The ONLY thing that must be true is that I must have eaten pizza at some point before now. If I don’t eat pizza anymore, then the only thing you know is that I used to eat it. That’s it!! You don’t know anything about why I stopped eating it or how I feel about it. So, remember GMAT inferences are different from the way we use inferences in the real world. Also, the GMAT is often tricky because the test-makers don’t say the words “inference” or “must be true” very often. Instead, they’ll say stuff like, “What does the passage suggest?” or “What does the author imply?” They use these loosey-goosey words when they really mean WHAT MUST BE TRUE? I put these words in all caps several times, so you know that I feel strongly about this!

4. Sentence Correction – The Five Deadly Pronouns
I’ve referred to the five deadly pronouns before (in Good GMAT Student Vs Bad GMAT Student and also in My GMAT Class Just Ended – Now What?), so clearly, I think this is an important topic. In fact, this is what that instructor told the woman in the elevator. So, pay attention!

Anytime you see it, its, they, them, or their underlined in a sentence, you better check and see if the word is being used correctly. How do you do that? You need to see if you can properly identify the antecedent (the noun that the pronoun is taking the place of) and that it matches in terms of singular or plural.

You decide:

The football team won their game and all the fans cheered.

So, you see the word “their,” one of the five deadly pronouns, and you look for the antecedent. Whose game? The football team’s. Well, there is only ONE team, so the sentence should actually read: The football team won ITS game and all the fans cheered. Whaaaa? Nobody talks this way. And the GMAT knows that nobody talks this way, so that’s how they try to get you. Reminder—don’t listen to your ear! Don’t care about what sounds right! You need to know your RULES.

5. Problem Solving – The Four Scenarios for Smart Numbers
I have some students who loooooooove algebra. I also have some students who hate algebra. You know what they have in common? They both try to use algebra when it’s totally unnecessary, and in fact, more difficult to do so. Regardless of your prowess with algebra, you should think about using Smart Numbers (picking a number in place of any variables or unknowns) when you see certain scenarios pop up.

The Scenarios:

  • When you see VARIABLES in the question and variables in the answer choices.
  • When you see PERCENTS in the question and percents in the answer choices.
  • When you see FRACTIONS in the question and fractions in the answer choices.
  • When you see RATIOS in the question and ratios in the answer choices.
Did you know there are 39 questions in the 2017 Official Guide that can be done with Smart Numbers?! That’s a lot of questions to struggle through long or annoying algebra when you don’t have to. If you want to know exactly which questions they are, email me at eloh@manhattanprep.com and I’ll send you a list!

In summary, I hope you end up in a long elevator ride with a Manhattan Prep instructor. But should that not happen, these 5 quick GMAT tips will get you pretty far. Make sure you practice them!

Want more GMAT tips? Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn!

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[b]Elaine Loh is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Los Angeles, California. 
[/b]She graduated from Brown University with a degree in psychology and a desire to teach others. She can’t get enough of standardized tests and has been a test prep tutor and teacher for over half her life. Check out Elaine’s upcoming GMAT courses here.

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Mission Admission: Waiting Patiently for B-School Interview Invitation [#permalink]

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New post 08 Dec 2017, 16:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Mission Admission: Waiting Patiently for B-School Interview Invitations? Consider What to Expect
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Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips from our exclusive admissions consulting partner, mbaMission.

As b-school interview invitations begin to roll out, do your best to remain calm and let the admissions committees do their work. Although becoming a little apprehensive is natural if you have not yet received an invitation, you will certainly not increase your chances of receiving one by calling the admissions office and asking if the school does indeed have all your files or if an interview decision has been made. In fact, such calls can actually have a negative effect on your candidacy, inadvertently making you seem pushy or even belligerent.

Admissions offices are increasingly transparent and should be taken at their word. If they say they are still releasing decisions, then they are in fact still doing so. If they say that the timing of your interview decision does not signify an order of preference, then it does not. Unless something has changed materially in your candidacy, all you can really do—as painful as it may be—is wait patiently and try not to think about the decision or second-guess your status.

With the 2017–2018 MBA application season just kicking off, we thought it would be appropriate to discuss some challenging interview situations you might encounter. Most business school interviews are straightforward opportunities for an interviewer to learn more about a candidate’s personal and professional backgrounds, goals, reasons for selecting a specific school, and leadership/team experiences. Yet interviews can vary dramatically from school to school, and sometimes they include a few peculiarities. So, what constitutes a “tough” interview, and how can you best navigate one?

Stoic Interviewer
Some interviewers can be unemotional, refusing to give you any indication as to whether you are making a positive impression or not. And amid the intense pressure of an interview, you may perceive this lack of clear positive response as a sign of actual disapproval. The key to managing such a situation is to tune out the interviewer’s lack of emotion. Focus on your answers and do your best to not be distracted by anything about the interviewer, ignoring everything except the questions he/she is posing. “Reading” the interviewer in real time can be challenging, so you should instead concentrate on showcasing your strengths.

Philosophical Questions
Most candidates are ready to discuss their experiences and accomplishments, but many are not prepared to discuss their values and philosophy on life. Harvard Business School, in particular, likes to understand applicants’ motivations and will ask questions like “What is your motivation to succeed?”, “What drives you?”, and “What gives you purpose in life?” The key to answering these sorts of questions is pretty simple: expect and prepare for them in advance (after all, you are being warned right now). However, you should not assume that all the questions you will receive during your interview will be experiential.

Persistent Questioning
Sometimes a tough interviewer will continuously delve deeper into a subject, such as by repeatedly asking “Can you be more specific about [the topic under discussion]?” after posing an initial question. These kinds of unusual pressure tactics can be disconcerting, but the key is to simply stay on topic. No matter how persistent he/she is, the interviewer is always essentially asking you about a subject that you know quite well—you! So again, by avoiding the distraction of the tactic and sticking to your agenda, you should be fine. Image

mbaMission offers even more interview advice in our FREE Interview Primers, which are available for 17 top-ranked business schools.

ImagembaMission 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. Click here to sign up today.

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How to Read Faster on the GMAT [#permalink]

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FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: How to Read Faster on the GMAT
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Are you struggling to finish the GMAT Verbal section within the time limit? Are you spending six minutes on every Reading Comprehension passage and using up time that you really need somewhere else? Here are some ideas on how to read faster on the GMAT that might turn your Verbal performance around.

You can probably train yourself to read faster on the GMAT. The secret is that you have to read a lot: not just GMAT materials, but also high-density nonfiction writing of the same type you’ll find on the test. (This article has great sources for this type of reading.) You also have to read regularly: spend half an hour reading, every single day. This will take time and patience, but practice is the best way to make yourself a faster overall reader.

However, you’re not necessarily trying to get faster at reading in general! If you’re still reading this article, you probably want to be a faster GMAT reader. Sure, being a faster reader in general will make you faster on the GMAT. But there are also some big differences between reading on the GMAT and reading in real life.

  • In real life, you want to remember what you read. On the GMAT, you can forget the whole passage as soon as you answer the last question.
  • In real life, you can’t always refer back to what you’ve read. On the GMAT, you can always look back at the passage.
  • In real life, you might have a lot of different reasons to read a piece of writing. On the GMAT, you only care about answering specific types of questions correctly.
Because of these differences, you can get away with speed-reading habits on the GMAT that wouldn’t be very useful in real life. For example, as soon as you realize what a certain part of the passage is saying, you can stop reading it closely and skim until you see the next contrast or big idea. GMAT passages are often repetitive: the author will make a claim, then elaborate on that claim, then back up the claim with an example, then explain how the example supports the claim, and so on and so forth. You don’t need to read five sentences just to understand one claim! As soon as you get what the author is saying, speed up and tune out. Don’t tune back in until the author tells you something new.

When it comes to details, you can get away with a lot. You don’t know ahead of time which details the GMAT will test you on. You can also look back at the passage whenever you need to. So, you don’t need to know what any particular detail says or means. Here’s all you really need to know about the details in a passage:

  • What’s it talking about? Is this a detail about oxygen saturation in ocean water or about the hazards of volcanic ash? Don’t get too specific. This is just so you’ll know where to look for the answer if you happen to get a question about this detail.
  • What’s the purpose? The author put this detail there to support a bigger point. If you know what that bigger point was, you’ll have a better grasp on the passage as a whole. You’ll also be prepared for ‘purpose’ questions.
If you find yourself rereading a detail, trying to make sense of what it’s saying, you’re wasting time! You’re also probably wasting time if you write anything about the details in your notes. It’s much more important to get a broad overview of the passage on your first read. Save the details for later.

Finally, if your test date is coming up and you’re still having a tough time reading quickly, think about how reading speed fits into the bigger picture. Every single person who takes the GMAT has some weaknesses; people who get great scores are the ones who acknowledge and work with their weaknesses, rather than trying to pretend they aren’t there.

If you’re a slow reader, you may need a guessing strategy for Reading Comp questions. Luckily, RC is a great question type for educated guessing. This article and this article should give you some ideas. You may also need to practice your Sentence Correction speed, to buy more time for the more reading-oriented problems. Make sure you’re guessing proactively; the worst possible scenario for a slow reader is one where you run out of time at the end and have to make a ton of guesses in a row. If you guess on every eighth or tenth question from the very beginning, you’ll get a higher score than someone who makes the same number of guesses all at once.

Slow reading doesn’t mean you’ll get a bad score on the GMAT Verbal section! You can learn to read more quickly and more efficiently, and you can even learn to avoid reading and make a smart guess. With a little practice and thoughtful test-taking strategy, you can keep this weakness from keeping you down. Image

Want more guidance from our GMAT gurus? 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.

[b]Chelsey CooleyImage
 is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Seattle, Washington.
 [/b]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 GRE prep offerings here.

The post How to Read Faster on the GMAT appeared first on GMAT.
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GMATPrep Reading Comprehension: Tackling a History Passage (Part 5) [#permalink]

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FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMATPrep Reading Comprehension: Tackling a History Passage (Part 5)
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Are you ready for your fifth and final question? We’ve been examining a Reading Comprehension history passage from the GMATPrep® free exams. If you’re just starting, go through the earlier installments first, then come back to this one—and feel free to do all five questions (one per installment) in a block for the passage. (Take some screen shots or set up separate browser tabs so that you can cycle through them all efficiently.)

Here are the history passage and the fifth problem. Good luck!

“Two recent publications offer different assessments of the career of the famous British nurse Florence Nightingale. A book by Anne Summers seeks to debunk the idealizations and present a reality at odds with Nightingale’s heroic reputation. According to Summers, Nightingale’s importance during the Crimean War has been exaggerated: not until near the war’s end did she become supervisor of the female nurses. Additionally, Summers writes that the contribution of the nurses to the relief of the wounded was at best marginal. The prevailing problems of military medicine were caused by army organizational practices, and the addition of a few nurses to the medical staff could be no more than symbolic. Nightingale’s place in the national pantheon, Summers asserts, is largely due to the propagandistic efforts of contemporary newspaper reporters.

“By contrast, the editors of the new volume of Nightingale’s letters view Nightingale as a person who significantly influenced not only her own age but also subsequent generations. They highlight her ongoing efforts to reform sanitary conditions after the war. For example, when she learned that peacetime living conditions in British barracks were so horrible that the death rate of enlisted men far exceeded that of neighboring civilian populations, she succeeded in persuading the government to establish a Royal Commission on the Health of the Army. She used sums raised through public contributions to found a nurse’s training hospital in London. Even in administrative matters, the editors assert, her practical intelligence was formidable: as recently as 1947 the British Army’s medical services were still using the cost-accounting system she devised in the 1860s.

“I believe that the evidence of her letters supports continued respect for Nightingale’s brilliance and creativity. When counseling a village schoolmaster to encourage children to use their faculties of observation, she sounds like a modern educator. Her insistence on classifying the problems of the needy in order to devise appropriate treatments is similar to the approach of modern social workers. In sum, although Nightingale may not have achieved all of her goals during the Crimean War, her breadth of vision and ability to realize ambitious projects have earned her an eminent place among the ranks of social pioneers.”

“According to the passage, the editors of Nightingale’s letters credit her with contributing to which of the following?

“(A) Improvement of the survival rate for soldiers in British Army hospitals during the Crimean War

“(B) The development of a nurses’ training curriculum that was far in advance of its day

“(C) The increase in the number of women doctors practicing in British Army hospitals

“(D) Establishment of the first facility for training nurses at a major British university

“(E) The creation of an organization for monitoring the peacetime living conditions of British soldiers”

First, determine the kind of question you were asked.

The language according to the history passage signals a Detail question. Which details, in particular, will you need?

In this case, the question stem wants to know about what the editors said. Glance at your Map (here’s mine). Which paragraph do we need?

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Right, second paragraph. And what does the question specifically want to know here? The editors credit (Nightingale) with contributing to something.

It’s super important at this stage not to go just by memory. Each paragraph mentions various things that Nightingale did. You don’t want to mix up something that someone else said; you care about what the editors said.

Here’s the second paragraph again. Start skimming with an eye toward giving credit to FN for contributing to some good thing. (Emphasis added below.)

“By contrast, the editors of the new volume of Nightingale’s letters view Nightingale as a person who significantly influenced not only her own age but also subsequent generations. They highlight her ongoing efforts to reform sanitary conditions after the war. For example, when she learned that peacetime living conditions in British barracks were so horrible that the death rate of enlisted men far exceeded that of neighboring civilian populations, she succeeded in persuading the government to establish a Royal Commission on the Health of the Army. She used sums raised through public contributions to found a nurse’s training hospital in London. Even in administrative matters, the editors assert, her practical intelligence was formidable: as recently as 1947 the British Army’s medical services were still using the cost-accounting system she devised in the 1860s.”

I italicized four different details that might help to answer this question. The first two go together—at a broad level, she helped to reform sanitary conditions for soldiers. The specific example given here was establishing a Royal Commission on the Health of the Army. The other two examples are distinct: found a nurse’s training hospital and establish a cost-accounting system that was still in use nearly a century later.

Time to look for an answer choice that matches one of those details!

“(A) Improvement of the survival rate for soldiers in British Army hospitals during the Crimean War”

Survival rate is a very specific term. The second paragraph doesn’t mention survival rate, nor does it mention things she did during the war, only after. Eliminate (A).

“(B) The development of a nurses’ training curriculum that was far in advance of its day”

Training nurses—that sounds good. What was the specific language from the second paragraph? She found(ed) a nurse’s training hospital. Hmm. Founding a hospital and developing the curriculum for that hospital are not exactly the same thing. Nor do we know whether the curriculum was far in advance of its day. We might be able to infer that her cost-accounting system was far in advance of its day (since it was still used nearly 100 years later). But we have no information about the nurse’s training curriculum. Eliminate (B).

“(C) The increase in the number of women doctors practicing in British Army hospitals”

This paragraph mentions nothing specifically about female doctors (or even female nurses, for that matter). Eliminate (C).

“(D) Establishment of the first facility for training nurses at a major British university”

She did establish a nurse’s training hospital! Is this it? Hmm. The history passage doesn’t say that it was the first one at a major British university. It just says it was a training hospital in London. This one is closer than any of the previous answers, so you might leave it in—but an according to the passage question really should repeat what the passage says, so this one probably isn’t correct either. Let’s check (E).

“(E) The creation of an organization for monitoring the peacetime living conditions of British soldiers”

Check the passage again. She succeeded in persuading the government to establish a Royal Commission on the Health of the Army. What did that Royal Commission do? Go to the prior sentence: this is an example of her efforts to reform sanitary conditions after the war, in response to the fact that peacetime living conditions in British barracks were … horrible. So, yes, she did help create an organization that monitored the peacetime living conditions of these soldiers.

This answer fully matches, unlike (D) which only partially matches, so the correct answer is (E).

Key Takeaways for Tackling a History Passage on GMAT Reading Comprehension
(1) Follow the process. Don’t skip steps! That’s how mistakes creep in.

(2) On your read-through, go for the big ideas and the main contrasts or twists. Don’t get sucked into annoying detail. Jot down an abbreviated Map to help you navigate the passage later, when you’re answering questions. By the time you’re done, you will (hopefully!) be able to articulate the Simple Story of the history passage.

(3) Know what kind of question type you have, as each type is asking you to perform a different kind of analysis. According to the passage questions are asking you to find and repeat back some specific detail from the passage (that’s why we call them Detail questions!). Don’t rely on your memory—use the clues from the question stem to re-read the part of the history passage specifically referenced by the question. Get that information straight in your head (maybe even jot down a few words), then look for a match in the answers. Image

* 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 GMATPrep Reading Comprehension: Tackling a History Passage (Part 5) appeared first on GMAT.
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GMATPrep Reading Comprehension: Tackling a History Passage (Part 5)   [#permalink] 12 Dec 2017, 13:01

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