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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, 10:01
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, 07:01
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, 07:01
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.
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GMATPrep Reading Comprehension: Tackling a History Passage (Part 3)  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Nov 2017, 23:01
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, 23:01
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.

Reed ArnoldImage
 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, 09:01
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.

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

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

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

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New post 04 Dec 2017, 09:01
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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New post 04 Dec 2017, 09:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Quick GMAT Tips: The Top 5 Things to Keep in Mind
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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.

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, 17:01
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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New post 08 Dec 2017, 17:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: How to Read Faster on the GMAT
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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.

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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New post 12 Dec 2017, 14:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMATPrep Reading Comprehension: Tackling a History Passage (Part 5)
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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.

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?

Image

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.

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 5) appeared first on GMAT.
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: My High GMAT Score Will Get Me In  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Dec 2017, 14:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: My High GMAT Score Will Get Me In
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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.

So, you have taken the GMAT and exceeded even your highest expectations, scoring at the very top of the scale. Congratulations! However, do not assume that earning such a high GMAT score means you can relax with respect to the other components of your application. Every year, applicants who have scored 750 or higher are rejected from their target business schools—even when their GMAT score falls within the top 10% of the schools’ range. Many of these candidates were rejected because of a fatal, but ultimately avoidable, mistake: they became overconfident and assumed their high GMAT score alone would get them in.

Business schools want to learn a lot more about you than your GMAT score alone can convey. MBA admissions committees are interested in hearing about your ambitions, accomplishments, leadership skills, teamwork experience, perseverance, motivation, integrity, compassion… the list goes on and on. Fundamentally, admissions committees need to determine whether you will be a vital and contributing member of their community, and your high GMAT score tells them only that you can do the work.

Heed our advice—even (or especially!) those of you with a 780 score—and commit yourself to the rest of your application with the same enthusiasm with which you approached the GMAT. 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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How to Study for the GMAT: The First Two Weeks (Part 1)  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Dec 2017, 14:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: How to Study for the GMAT: The First Two Weeks (Part 1)
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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.

Not sure where to start? Here’s how to handle the first two weeks of your GMAT journey.

Day 1: Learn the format.
If you’re just getting started now, take a day to learn the problem types on the GMAT. There are descriptions of all of the problem types in the Official Guide to the GMAT. There’s also a summary page here.

Then, read this article to learn which skills the GMAT tests and which skills don’t really matter.

Day 2: Take a practice test.
Here’s a link to a free practice GMAT. Set aside three hours and take the Quant and Verbal sections only. The point isn’t to get a great score! The point is to learn, through hands-on experience, what the test looks and feels like.

Day 3: Choose your study style.
At this point, you could sign up for a GMAT course. One huge advantage to the course is structure: you won’t have to make as many tough decisions about what to study and when to study it. If you take a course, you’ll be able to skip a lot of the planning described in this article. But if you go for self-study instead, you’ll want to have these resources:

Day 4: Start an error log and a study calendar.
Here’s how to create an error log. For your study calendar, plan out one week at a time, and be realistic. Build in plenty of time to review. A reasonable target for official problems is about 10-12 problems in an hour. You’ll spend 15-25 minutes doing the problem set, then take a quick break, then spend the rest of the hour reviewing.

What you put on your study calendar will depend on your priorities. In the next article in this series, I’ll share a couple of sample study sessions for your first two weeks. You can use any or all of them, in any order (as long as you regularly return to previous topics to review!). They’ll cover a few of the highest-value topics on the GMAT at a basic level, and will prepare you for your second practice test.

For now, I’ll leave you with one example study session: how can you effectively spend an hour or two with the Foundations of Math book?

Sample Session 1: Building the Foundations
Maybe your practice test showed you that you’ve forgotten a lot of the math basics. Here’s how to use the Foundations of GMAT Math book during a study session.

There are two elements to the book: chapters and end-of-chapter drills. Suppose that you’re feeling confident about Arithmetic and awful about Fractions. Start your study session by flipping to the Arithmetic end-of-chapter drills and completing the odd-numbered problems. Take a quick break. Then, without looking at the right answers, double-check your work, trying to catch any errors on your own. If you end up getting almost all of the problems right, feel free to skip reading the chapter and move on.

In subjects you’re less confident about, or if you tried the end-of-chapter drills and they didn’t go well, read the Foundations of Math chapter with a stack of flashcards next to you. For every rule described in the chapter, write down the rule and one or two examples on the back of a flashcard. On the front of the flashcard, describe when you’d use the rule. For instance, here’s a flashcard you might create as you read the chapter on Fractions:

Image

When you finish the chapter, go through your flashcards twice. Clarify anything that you’re not sure about. Then, put your flashcards next to you and switch to a clean sheet of scratch paper. Work through the odd-numbered problems at the end of the chapter carefully. (Don’t do all of them—you’ll learn why later.)

Every time you get a problem wrong, or you aren’t sure how to approach a problem, check your flashcards. If you already made a flashcard for that type of problem, you now know that it’ll be an important one for you to review: set it aside in a separate pile for “hard-to-remember rules.” If you didn’t have a flashcard that related to the problem you missed, make one now.

Finish your Foundations of Math study session by doing some quick arithmetic drills. I like to use the Arithmetic Game—record your scores and see if you can improve each time. Or, try writing down the numbers from 1 to 100 and breaking each one down into its prime factors, or do a quick drill set or two from Khan Academy.

Followup: Shoring Up Your Foundations
Don’t ever just study something once. If you put a Foundations of Math session on your calendar, add a quick followup session a couple of days later. Use it to look through your flashcards and do a few more of the end-of-chapter drill problems. (That’s why you only did the odd-numbered problems at first!) After a week or two, schedule some time to review all of your flashcards. Your brain thrives on spaced repetition—coming back to an old topic after giving yourself a chance to partially forget it.

What’s Next?
In the next article in this series, I’ll share a few more sample study sessions for your first two weeks to three weeks of GMAT studies. Then, we’ll cover what happens during, and after, your second practice test. For now, if you’re just getting started, take some time to structure your studies! You’ll thank yourself for it later on, when you have a strong foundation and good study habits. 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 Study for the GMAT: The First Two Weeks (Part 1) appeared first on GMAT.
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GMATPrep Reading Comprehension: Tackling a History Passage (Part 6)  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jan 2018, 17:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMATPrep Reading Comprehension: Tackling a History Passage (Part 6)
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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.

We’re done! Phew! That was a complicated history passage and those questions got pretty tricky at times. (If you’re just joining us for the first time now, follow that link back to part 1 of the series and work your way back here.)

How did you do? More importantly, how can you get better? The whole point of studying is not to see what percentage of things you get right the first time. The main point is to figure out how you can perform better when you see something new (but similar) on the real test.

So in the final installment of the series, we’re going to talk about how to Review Your Work on a history passage in order to improve your GMAT prowess. (And, yes, Review Your Work gets capital letters because it’s such a crucial part of the study process. Image
If you leave this part out, then you are not maximizing your learning potential.)

Rewrite Your Map
Think about what you know about the main messages of the history passage—now that you’ve actually had to dig in and answer all of those questions. How does it compare to what you understood about the passage before you started?

Do expect to know or understand more now. You did, after all, answer five questions. But did you have any disconnects or misunderstandings on the main picture? Did you think a paragraph was doing one thing when it was actually doing another? Or did you miss any of the main twists and turns entirely?

And let’s get even more particular. Did you not know certain words or expressions in the passage? If you ran across anything that didn’t look familiar, now is the time to look it up and learn it.

Now, look back over your Map. Here’s mine.

Image

If you could do this all over again for the first time, how would you change your Map to make it better?

For instance, I’ve noticed that a lot of students initially miss the fact that, in the third paragraph, the author does acknowledge that Summers may have some valid grounds for her criticism. Their Map, then, might say only that the author agrees with #2 (the editors), with the implication that FN’s achievements were great and her reputation completely deserved.

But the author does, in fact, acknowledge that Summers may have a point (although Nightingale may not have achieved all of her goals during the Crimean War), even as the author asserts that FN generally does deserve her reputation. So if you didn’t already have something in your Map that looks like the last line for paragraph 3 in mine, then you’d want to rewrite your notes to include that line.

Yes, I actually want you to rewrite your Map! Don’t just tell yourself that you should have noticed XYZ. On a Quant problem, you wouldn’t just say, “Oh, I messed up the math on that—don’t do that next time.” You’d try the math again! Ditto here: Practice making your Map what you want it to be next time.

Alternatively, maybe you wrote down too much. What if you’d tried to enumerate every one of those examples in your Map? During your review, you might realize that that was overkill. The passage is always in front of you. In this case, it’s also pretty well-defined: P1 = Summers, P2 = editors, P3 = author. So you can go back to re-read the examples used by each person/group whenever you want. Rewrite your Map to show yourself what you would want the Map to look like the next time you see a similar passage structure.

Review Your Simple Story
Along with the above, review your Simple Story. You generally won’t write this down—it’s just your mental narrative of the flow of the history passage. Was the flow accurate? Did your narrative miss anything important? Did it get too bogged down in the weeds at any point?

Think about your general performance on this and prior RCs, too. Do you tend to be too high-level with the Simple Story and miss important twists? Do you include so much technical detail that it takes a long time to tell yourself the story?

Make it better! Re-state the Simple Story to yourself in whatever way you would want to articulate it next time you see something similar.

Review the General Question(s)
Not all passages will include general questions, but when they do, that’s where you want to start. If you’ve done a good job on the Map and Simple Story, then you have a much better shot at answering any main idea questions correctly.

The most common general type is the Primary Purpose (aka main idea)—it literally asks what the primary purpose of the passage is. If you missed this problem, or struggled with it, then the issue may be in your fundamental understanding of the history passage itself.

In this case, be extra-thorough in your review of your Map and Simple Story. If you can figure out what went wrong there, then you may also fix whatever problem you were having with the main idea question, too.

Finally, analyze the question in the same way that we did in this series. Did you properly identify the question type? Did you know what you were supposed to do with that type of question? Were you able to spot and avoid trap answers or did you fall into a trap? Why? How can you avoid that same type of trap next time?

The “why” and “how” questions are the most important ones. Any time you miss something or make any kind of mistake, don’t be mad. Think, “I’m about to get better!” Then ask yourself, “Why did I make this mistake?” and “How will I avoid making this same kind of mistake next time? What do I need to change about my process or my thinking to avoid that type of mistake?”

In the Nightingale history passage, the third question was the Primary Purpose question (The passage is primarily concerned with evaluating).

The passage also includes another general type: the Paragraph question. These types ask you to describe the role that a certain paragraph plays in the overall passage. In this passage, the first question was a Paragraph question (In the last paragraph, the author is primarily concerned with).

Review the Specific Question(s)
You’ll typically have at least two specific questions per passage—sometimes three or all four. In this history passage, we had three specific questions: a Detail question, an Inference question, and a hybrid general/specific question.

Analyze the specific questions in the same way as the general ones, with one addition: Were you able to find the right part of the detail in the passage to review? Did you understand that material when you reviewed it?

And, in the end, get yourself back to the “Why?” and the “How?” If you didn’t understand the material when you reviewed it, you might realize that it was because the passage used an expression that you misinterpreted—and you can learn how to interpret that expression properly for next time. Or perhaps you didn’t look at the right part of the passage—but you realize now that certain phrasing in the question stem could have pointed you to the right part.

Or perhaps you still don’t understand the material when you review it again—even when you read the explanation. In that case, the solution may be to guess and move on before you use up too much precious time and mental energy. How do you know to make that decision? You may need to do so on the real test, too, so show yourself what that feels like.

Articulate Two (Yes, Only Two!) Big Takeaways
Sadly, you can’t remember every last thing that you study. There’s just too much. So you’re going to have to prioritize. Look back over your review of the passage and think about which takeaways are the most universal—that is, the ones that are most likely to apply to the greatest number of unknown future passages and questions you might see on the real test.

Encode these two Big Takeaways in some kind of Big Takeaway log that you are keeping in a notebook, on flash cards, or in a file on your computer.

It there’s only one Big Takeaway, don’t force yourself to come up with two. You can leave it at one. And if there are really three Big Takeaways this time, and you just can’t decide how to cut one, then you can leave it at three—as long as you aren’t always leaving it at three. Deal? Image

Skip Off into the Sunset…
…knowing that you just got a little bit better at the GMAT. Yay! Image

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Mission Admission: Deciding How Many Business Schools to Target and Ch  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jan 2018, 17:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Mission Admission: Deciding How Many Business Schools to Target and Choosing a Safe School
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Mission Admission is a series of MBA admissions tips from our exclusive admissions consulting partner, mbaMission.

These days, as candidates consider their strategies for the ongoing MBA application cycle, many have a logical question in mind: To how many business schools should I apply? The answer, of course, varies dramatically from applicant to applicant, but the golden rule is that you should only apply to an MBA program if you have enough time to polish your application to its best state. So, if you have time to “perfect” only three applications, you should focus on applying to just three business schools—and not consider submitting several additional “average” applications.

In terms of a target number—assuming that time is not a factor and you can commit yourself to all of your applications—five or six is generally optimal. With five or six applications, you can apply to a mix of reach, competitive, and safe schools—and can thereby truly cover your bases. Of course, each applicant has his/her own risk profile and timing to consider, but for most candidates, applying to too few business schools can increase the risk of not being admitted, while applying to too many can be overkill.

Some applicants prefer to be conservative and include a “safe school” or two in their target schools. But what constitutes a safe school? Although determining exactly what a safe school is can be difficult (given that many variables are involved, and the definition can shift depending on the candidate in question), a good place to start is with scores. If a candidate’s GMAT score and GPA are significantly higher than the target school’s averages, for example, then the school is—at first glance, at least—a “safe” choice. So, for example, if you have a 750 GMAT and a 3.8 GPA and you are applying to a school with a GMAT score middle 80% range of 620–730 and an average GPA of 3.4 for the most recent entering class, you are off to a promising start.

Next, you might consider your work experience relative to the target program. For example, many Goldman Sachs investment banking “alums” apply and are admitted to the so-called M7 business schools (Stanford GSB, Harvard, Wharton, Kellogg, Chicago Booth, Columbia, and MIT Sloan). If you happen to be such a candidate, choosing a school outside this tier could certainly make you more competitive.

Finally, you might consider the program’s general selectivity. If you consider yourself a competitive candidate at a program that accepts approximately 18% of its applicants, applying to one with an acceptance rate closer to 30% may be a safe option. Before you start applying to any safe business schools, however, ask yourself this relatively simple question: “Would I actually go if I got in?” Spending time applying to an MBA program that you would not be willing to actually attend is pointless. If you choose to apply to such a school (as some do) anyway, you will—rather ironically—find yourself with no “safety” net at all. 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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The GMAT’s Favorite Equation  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jan 2018, 23:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: The GMAT’s Favorite Equation
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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.

After you do even a little bit of studying for the GMAT, you’ll probably start to realize something: the test is as repetitive as a Katy Perry song. You’ll see that the one hard question you’ve never quite understood is actually the same old game, reformulated in some subtle way, but ultimately similar to what you’ve learned before.

This is a good thing, and it’s part of the reason why this test is so learnable (were it not, we’d be out of a job). But the fact is, it’s probably even more repetitive than you’re aware. It’s definitely more repetitive than I was aware until I’d done a few years of teaching. But the more I teach the test, the more I realize certain high-level principles permeate the GMAT.

For example, you probably realize that a bunch of problems about distance and rate are similar. But maybe you haven’t fully connected these to questions about revenue.

“What? What does revenue have to do with distance?”

Well, as it turns out, they’re both a form of “the GMAT’s favorite equation.” This is a secret formula that underlies a great deal of GMAT word problems. It deserves a dramatic unveiling, but since this is a blog, a cool GIF is about all we got:

THE GMAT’S FAVORITE EQUATION IS…
(Total # of Thing A) = (# of Thing as per Thing B) x (Total # of Thing B)

….Tada!

Seriously. The GMAT gets off to this equation so much my company is letting me use a turn of phrase as crass as ‘gets off to.’

Let’s start with the form you’re most familiar with. You know the old equation, D=RxT. Using units of ‘miles’ and hours,’ all that amounts to is:

(Total Miles) = (# of Miles per Hour) x (Total Hours)

You might have realized already that this is very similar to the work equation, W=RxT. Well, that’s just:

(Total jobs done) = (# jobs per time unit) x (Total time units)

But now let’s think about revenue. Revenue for selling some item is the price of the item times the number of items sold. But what is a ‘price?’ It’s just the number of dollars for one unit. So:

(Total Dollars) = (# of Dollars per Unit) x (Total Units)

Exact same equation. How about averages? Those are different, yeah?

Nope.

Take a school with an average number of students in each classroom:

(Total students) = (Average number of students in each classroom) x (Total Classrooms)

An average, if you think about it, is just a rate.

Even something like ‘there are twice as many boys as girls’ turns into:

(Total Boys) = (2 boys per girl) * (Total Girls)  or B=2G

The number of people grew by 30%:

(Total ‘New’ People) = (130 New People per 100 ‘Old’ People) x (Total ‘Old’ People) or N = 1.3O

Jill has 20% fewer coffee cups than Darryl has:

(Jill’s total coffee cups) = (80 of Jill’s coffee cups per 100 of Darryl’s coffee cups) x (Darryl’s total coffee cups) or J = (4/5) * D

Have you figured out what’s going on here?

In the end, it’s all about ratios. That’s all it ever is. Even the word ‘rate,’ you might see now, sounds like ‘ratio.’ The GMAT is obsessed with this.

A percent change is just a ratio of the amount of items now to the amount of items before. An average is just the ratio of the amount of some ‘stuff’ to the amount of another ‘stuff.’ A ‘percent’ is just a ratio of the amount of a ‘thing’ to 100 units of another ‘thing.’  Price is just a ratio of the number of dollars to a single item.

The GMAT is obsessed with ‘parts’ and ‘wholes,’ and with the distinction and relationship between relative values (ratios) and actual values (totals). Hence, the favorite equation.

This shows up on both Quant and Verbal. Take a look at #655 in your 2017 OG. After you’ve done it, see if you can specify the form of the favorite equation that is used in this problem.

*Jeopardy music*

(Total Ash) = (Amount of Ash per Truckload burnt) x (Total # Truckloads burnt)

The problem says the city will reduce the Total Ash by half reducing the Total Truckloads by half, but what about that ratio in the middle? That’s where we’re playing here. You’ll find this same game in several other CR questions—keep your eyes peeled for it. Parts and wholes, rates and totals.

Think about how else they could use this relationship for this ash situation. What if—instead of burning half the total truckloads from last year—their plan to lower total ash was to recycle enough from each truck such that each truck of refuse makes less ash? What must be assumed then?

That the ‘# of truckloads’ doesn’t increase enough to offset this decrease in the rate of ash per truck. Parts and wholes.

Take a look at page 534. See if you can identify which of these questions also use(s) the favorite equation.

“Okay, this is all interesting… I guess… But so what? How does this help me?”

In a few ways:

1) It specifies one of the ‘hidden gears’ of the test. Understanding and recognizing it will help you understand the test better.

2) When in doubt on a word problem, look for a chance to set up a form of this ‘favorite equation.’ How could you express the values for the two totals and the ratio in between? A number? A variable? An expression? See how you can set up this relationship.

3) It shows how your improvement on a question can permeate throughout the test, even across the Quant/Verbal sections, so long as you review that question deeply, correctly, and frequently.

Now go out and find this thing all over the test. Image

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Mission Admission: Limit the Use of “I” When Beginning Sentences and N  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jan 2018, 23:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Mission Admission: Limit the Use of “I” When Beginning Sentences and Never Use “Etc.” in MBA Application Essays
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Mission Admission is a series of MBA admissions tips from our exclusive admissions consulting partner, mbaMission.

Although putting yourself at the center of the stories in your MBA application essays is certainly important, a common mistake applicants tend to make is beginning too many sentences with the word “I.” As a general rule, you should never begin two sentences in a row this way. Consider the following example:

“I worked for three years at ABC Plastics, a small injection molding company. I was responsible for overseeing the overall management of ABC Plastics, from day-to-day operations to strategic planning. I managed 100 people. I worked very long hours, but I learned more than I could have ever imagined.”

Now, consider the same statement reworked to avoid using “I” at the beginning of subsequent sentences:

“For three years, I worked at ABC Plastics, a small injection molding company. My responsibilities at ABC included overseeing the overall management of the company, from day-to-day operations to strategic planning. Because I supervised more than 100 staff members, my days were long, but the experience taught me more than I could have ever imagined.”

As you can see, the second example reads much better than the first—and none of the sentences in the second example begin with “I.”

Our next tip applies to the entire essay, instead of just the beginning of a sentence. As a general rule, “etc.” should never appear in the text of your MBA application essays. Consider the following sentences:

  • I helped draft prospectuses, analyze key company data, value companies, etc.
  • I look forward to courses such as “Small Business Management,” “Leading Teams,” “Multiparty Negotiations,” etc.
In the first example, “etc.” replaces information that the reader values. The reader cannot make the leap and just assume where the writer’s experiences lead and what they include. In the second example, “etc.” trivializes the school’s resources and may even suggest to the admissions committee that the applicant is just too lazy or disinterested to properly do his/her research.

We are at a loss to think of one instance in which “etc.” could be used appropriately in a business school essay. Very simply, ensure your MBA application essays do not include this term. 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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Use Smart Numbers to Speed Up Your GMAT Quant  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jan 2018, 23:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Use Smart Numbers to Speed Up Your 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.

Are you having trouble finishing GMAT Quant word problems within two minutes? Here’s a technique that will help.

How Do I Know to Use Smart Numbers?
First of all, this technique is only for Problem Solving problems. It won’t work on Data Sufficiency.

It also doesn’t work on every Problem Solving problem. There are two scenarios where smart numbers will work:

  • The answer choices are given in terms of a variable, not a number.
  • The answer choices are ratios, percents, or fractions.
In both scenarios, the clues are in the answer choices. This means you have to build a new habit. From now on, you have to read the answer choices before you choose an approach. This will feel strange at first. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to start writing down variables and equations before you even finish reading the problem, let alone the answer choices.

The problem is, once you’ve started writing down a bunch of algebra, you’ve already committed yourself to doing the problem with algebra. But algebra isn’t usually the smartest approach on these problems. The GMAT doesn’t give you enough time to test out an algebraic approach, then start over with smart numbers. Read the answer choices early, and start with smart numbers.

How Do I Do It?
It’s a little easier to apply smart numbers when there are percents, fractions, or ratios in the answer choices, so we’ll start there. Here’s an example problem:

Team A and Team B are raising money for a charity event. The ratio of money collected by Team A to money collected by Team B is 5:6. The ratio of the number of students on Team A to the number of students on Team B is 2:3. What is the ratio of money collected per student on Team A to money collected per student on Team B?

(A) 4:5

(B) 5:4

(C) 5:6

(D) 5:9

(E) 9:5

Step one: read through the entire problem, including the answer choices. It’s okay to jot down the given information on your paper, but don’t start writing equations.

Step two: identify the simple unknowns. In this step, ask yourself: what number or numbers would I most like to know? In this problem, you’d like to know the number of students on each team and the amount of money raised by each team.

Step three: choose your numbers. The numbers should fit what the problem tells you, and they should be easy to do math with. For instance, you can’t just pick any number for the number of students on Team A and the number of students on Team B. You need to pick numbers that have a 2:3 ratio, in order to match what the problem says.

Here’s what your scratch paper might look like after this step:

Team A: $50, 2 students

Team B: $60, 3 students

Step four: solve the problem, using your numbers instead of the variables. Don’t write down equations with variables! Instead, just do math with the numbers you’ve already picked.

Team A: $50 / 2 students = $25/student

Team B: $60 / 3 students = $20/student

25:20 = 5:4

The answer to this problem is 5:4. Choose (B) and move on to the next problem!

If there are variables in the answer choices, rather than relationships, you’ll need to do one extra step before picking the answer. The first four steps are exactly the same, so practice them on your own with this problem before reading further.

If a, b, c, and d are consecutive integers and a b c d, what is the average (arithmetic mean) of a, b, c, and d in terms of d?

(A) d – 5/2

(B) d – 2

(C) d – 3/2

(D) d + 3/2

(E) (4d – 6)/7

Step one: Read the entire problem! You know you can use smart numbers because the answer choices are written in terms of the variable d.

Step two: The simple unknowns are the four unknown values, a, b, c, and d.

Step three: Choose some small, simple consecutive integers, like 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Step four: Solve the problem. You’ll end up with a number as your answer. The arithmetic mean of 1, 2, 3, and 4 is (1 + 2 + 3 + 4)/4, which equals 5/2.

Step five: This is the trickiest part. You know what your answer should equal: it should come out to 5/2. However, the answer choices are expressions with variables, not numbers. To finish the problem, you need to determine which of those expressions comes out to 5/2.

To do that, you have to replace the variable d with a number. Don’t replace d with 5/2! You chose a value for d earlier in the problem: d equals 4. Plug in 4 to each answer choice.

(A) 4 – 5/2 = 3/2

(B) 4 – 2 = 2

(C) 4 – 3/2 = 5/2

(D) 4 + 3/2 = 11/2

(E) (16-6)/7 = 10/7

Answer choice (C) comes out to 5/2. Since we know that the right answer to the problem is 5/2, it’s a match! (C) is the right answer.

How Can I Practice?
Using smart numbers to solve GMAT Quant problems will probably feel unnatural at first. That goes away with consistent practice. Part of what the GMAT tests is your ability to learn new approaches and unusual ways of thinking—think about how weird Data Sufficiency problems seemed when you first saw one!

The best way to practice is to consistently use smart numbers whenever you get the opportunity, even if you don’t feel comfortable with them yet. Try this exercise to really drive the concept home, as well. Open your Official Guide to the GMAT to the Problem Solving section. Skim through the problems, only looking at the answer choices. You’ll notice that most problems have numerical answer choices, but many problems have variables, fractions, percents, or ratios. Whenever you see any of those things in the answer choices, stop and read the entire problem from beginning to end. Then, try to solve it using smart numbers. Finally, take notes: did it work? Why or why not? Did you do all of the steps correctly? If you really get stuck, check out the explanations in GMAT Navigator—when a GMAT Quant problem can be solved using smart numbers, we’ll walk you through exactly how to do 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.

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Sign Up for Our Free GMAT Practice Test Analysis Workshop!  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jan 2018, 15:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Sign Up for Our Free GMAT Practice Test Analysis Workshop!
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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.

We know your time is precious while you’re prepping for the GMAT. To get the most out of your prep, we recommend analyzing your GMAT practice test results and then using those findings to create a smart study plan moving forward. This will help you strategize, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and get more accustomed to the format of the test.

But how do you do that? We’ll show you! We’re hosting a free 90-minute workshop on February 3 to help you analyze your practice tests and focus your GMAT prep with a data-driven study plan. The workshop will be hosted by 99th-percentile instructors Jamie Nelson and Logan Thompson, who are experts at this, so you’ll be in great hands.

You can even submit your own GMAT practice test for live expert analysis!

What: GMAT Practice Test Analysis and Study Plan WorkshopWhen: Saturday, February 3 from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. (EST)

Where: Live Online

Register here to save your spot—we’ll see you there! 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.

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GMAT Approach: Think Like a Computer  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Feb 2018, 15:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMAT Approach: Think Like a Computer
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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.

The GMAT is a computer-adaptive test, so it makes sense that to beat it, you might need to think like a computer, right? It really is true, but maybe not in the way that you would expect. You might think that a computer is really smart and could solve lots of problems on the GMAT. Actually, the problems on the GMAT require a fair amount of creativity and critical thinking that would be hard for a computer. For solving problems, you need your own human brain.

But here’s where a computer would excel on the GMAT: the computer can’t get flustered and will always make completely rational decisions. That’s the part of computer thinking you want to emulate.

If you’ve been studying the GMAT for a while, you’ve probably heard that the GMAT is a test of executive reasoning. It may look like a math test or a grammar test, but it’s really a decision-making test. Can you follow the proper process for each question type? Can you let go of a challenging problem and invest your time in problems you’re more likely to get right? Can you choose to skip problems when you’re behind on time?

In many ways, these are all fairly straightforward decisions with clear answers, but it’s hard to execute them under pressure. This is when the computer brain excels and you want to train your brain to function the same way.

Let’s say you’re in the middle of the test and you’re struggling. You know you’ve missed four questions in a row and then a crazy, convoluted exponents question pops up. You remember your instructor saying that if you don’t understand a problem or you don’t have a plan or you know it would take a really long time, it’s not worth doing. But you’ve already gotten 4 in row wrong!! Surely you can’t miss ANOTHER one, so you dive in and try to work it out. Three minutes later, you have to give up, even more frustrated and discouraged.

That’s your human brain at work, unwilling to give in to five in a row wrong and irrationally hoping against hope that you’ll be able to pull this one out. But the computer doesn’t care, the computer is totally rational about it. The computer brain says, “Right now at this time, I’m looking at a question that I’m not likely to get right, so the best thing to do is to let it go and save my time for another problem.”

And the computer is totally right here, as you can see looking in from the outside. Rationally, there is little chance of getting this question right, so all you gain by trying it is frustration and the loss of two to three minutes spent working it out. The computer knows that’s not a good bet, so it just takes a guess and goes on to the next problem.

And that’s just one example. For another, the computer brain doesn’t care that you studied rates last week and really SHOULD know how to do this rates problem in front of you. It only cares what you DO know how to do right now. And if right now, you don’t know how to do the rates problem in front of you, it’s time for a guess. The computer brain takes the guess and feels good about it.

There are more, of course, but that’s enough for this post! The more you can simplify your GMAT decision-making to concrete rules and then apply those rules rigorously without getting caught up in the emotion and stress of the moment, the better off you will be. Happy computer thinking! ImageImage

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

James BrockImage
 is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Virginia Beach, VA.
 He holds a B.A. in mathematics and a Master of Divinity from Covenant Seminary. James has taught and tutored everything from calculus to chess, and his 780 GMAT score allows him to share his love of teaching and standardized tests with MPrep students. You can check out James’s upcoming GMAT courses here.

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GMAT Approach: Think Like a Computer &nbs [#permalink] 03 Feb 2018, 15:01

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