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Get Your “ACT” Together: Understanding the ACT [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jun 2014, 12:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: Get Your “ACT” Together: Understanding the ACT
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The ACT is the most popular college admission test taken by students. Doing well on the ACT can get you into the college of your choice, expands your choice of colleges and may also land you more scholarships. Because your performance in the ACT is crucial to your future, you need to be fully prepared before taking the test.

Being prepared for test day means first getting to know every section of the ACT — how the questions work, what material is tested, and what the common mistakes tend to be. With that in mind, we have assembled the following infographic to help you fully understand the exam and get your ACT preparation started the right way!

(Click on the infographic below to enlarge it.)

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Make no mistake about it: Doing well on the ACT takes hours of preparation, and no one book or article will make you an ACT rock star over night. But first make sure that you fully understand the test before you embark on your ACT prep odyssey. We hope this infographic helps!

For more tips on acing the ACT and getting into the most competitive universities in the nation, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

By Scott Shrum.
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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What Do Top MBA Programs Like Harvard, Wharton, and Booth Lo [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jun 2014, 10:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: What Do Top MBA Programs Like Harvard, Wharton, and Booth Look for in Your Application?
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When deciding to go back to business school, the first thing applicants often do is make a self-assessment of their core qualifications.  While things like work experience and career goals can be very subjective, there are two key numbers which like it or not, tend to size up candidates fairly easily, at least from a cursory overview.  It’s no big secret that these metrics are the GMAT score and the grade point average.

It’s easily argued that the GMAT is the most objective measure of all, since everyone must take the same exam.  After all, everyone goes to different colleges and even inside the same college, different majors and even different professors for the same course can impact the final grade outcome.  Schools are savvy enough to know if you earned a 3.8 GPA at a top 200 state school, it’s not as impressive as a 3.2 GPA at a top 10 college, but what applicants often fail to recognize, is that some b-schools value certain achievements in this area more highly than others.

A good example is Harvard Business School, which like the other ivy league schools, tends to put more emphasis on GPA than they do on the GMAT.  While it certainly helps to get a great GMAT score, HBS is not coming up short each year in the area of high scoring applicants and figured out long ago that it’s more difficult to pull off a stratospheric GPA at a rigorous school for four years than it is to study hard over a few weeks or months and nail the GMAT.  Perhaps they like that the GPA, unlike the GMAT, can’t be improved upon once it’s posted.

You certainly can’t go back and un-do that “C” you earned in calculus or the failing grade you unfortunately got in Lit 101.  There is a certain amount of legitimacy to comparing say, engineering students from different programs’ GPAs to each other despite the subjectivity I mentioned before.  In this regard, if you have a high GPA from a good school, you are well on your way to gaining the initial approval of a place like HBS.

Contrasting this with the Whartons and Chicago Booths of the world, you get a slightly different picture.  Schools in this camp, whose programs are highly quantitatively driven and value the kind of math and analytical skills which come in handy on the dreaded math portion of the GMAT test, tend to value a high GMAT score and will let applicants off the hook more often on their GPAs.

Their view is that GPA often happened a “long” time ago and are rather subjective anyway, so the GMAT is a better measure of current raw intelligence and aptitude for their curricula.  I often tell candidates that for these exact reasons, GPA is largely considered the most flexible raw profile characteristic in one’s application.  This is especially true for schools such as Wharton or Chicago.

So what’s the bottom line?  I hate putting cutoffs in writing, but if you don’t have a 3.6 or better GPA from a good (top 50 at least) college, you should be concerned about HBS and the ivys.  Building an alternative transcript may be a good idea.  The good news is, if you have something below 3.0, but still went to a rigorous program, the Whartons of the world may still take a look at you, but you will need that GMAT with a 7-handle on it.  No 7-handle?  HBS won’t be as concerned.  Of course if you come up short in both categories, you will find acceptance at a top school much more challenging.

Craft a strong application! Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. Click here to take our Free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Scott Bryant has over 25 years of professional post undergraduate experience in the entertainment industry as well as on Wall Street with Goldman Sachs. He served on the admissions committee at the Fuqua School of Business where he received his MBA and now works part time in retirement for a top tier business school. He has been consulting with Veritas Prep clients for the past six admissions seasons. See more of his articles here.
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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School Profile: Is Your Character Strong Enough for Universi [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jun 2014, 18:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: School Profile: Is Your Character Strong Enough for University of Virginia?
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The University of Virginia ranks #32 among the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. Inspired by Thomas Jefferson, the University was founded in 1819 and opened in 1825, under Jefferson’s guiding principle to “shed light on the public mind.” It was the first university to separate church and state. Located in Charlottesville, one of the most livable cities in the US, the campus is set on property formerly owned by James Monroe. With its Jeffersonian architecture, expansive green space, lush gardens, famous Rotunda and Academical Village, it has been called one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, and is the only university to be designated a World Heritage Site.

The University of Virginia has 51 undergraduate degree programs in eleven schools. Additionally, the school offers 81 master’s degrees and 57 PhDs, plus professional degrees in both medicine and law. It has a strong emphasis on humanities, and has produced more Rhodes Scholars than any other state university. Its business and economics programs are well known and highly respected. UVA is among a consortium of elite international research universities called the Universitas 21.

The faculty have earned prestigious accolades in several academic circles including a Pulitzer Prize winner and a Nobel Laureate among many others. UVA faculty have been instrumental in Internet networking and astrophysics. Notable faculty and alumni include President, Woodrow Wilson; social and Civil Rights Activist, Julian Bond; Poet Laureate, Rita Dove; author, Edgar Allan Poe; Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Charles Wright; Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Edward Jones; journalist, Katie Couric; astronaut, Kathryn Thornton; Senator, Robert Kennedy; and many more. This is the school to help you make your personal impact on the world through research, humanities, and science.

There are 13 first-year suite-style houses clustered on Alderman Road, or 10 single/double room dorms clustered along McCormick Road. There are also residential colleges grouped by area of study with faculty representatives. There are also five apartment buildings for students. Seniors can apply to live on the prestigious section of campus known as The Lawn, alongside the ten Pavilions housing the university Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer, the Academic Deans, and notable University professors.

There is a vibrant Greek life with several fraternities and sororities clustered along Rugby Road. The Corner is the section of University Avenue where students gather to unwind in the eclectic mix of shops and restaurants. Social life on “the Grounds,” as they refer to their campus, is such that UVA was rated the top party school in 2012. Charlottesville is a laidback community with a comfortable vibe that attracts artists, musicians, creatives, and professionals. The city’s proximity to the Blue Ridge Mountains also offers students many opportunities for outdoor activities in the splendor of nature.

The NCAA Division I Virginia Cavaliers are part of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Cavaliers are a national powerhouse in nearly every sport with accolades too numerous to mention. Some highlights include over 20 national championships in men’s tennis, soccer, lacrosse, and boxing, women’s rowing, lacrosse, and cross country, and combined track and field. The basketball and football teams have won a number of conference titles. The men’s soccer team holds the most national titles of any team at the University. The football team has produced notable NFL players, the soccer team boasts alumnus Claudio Reyna who was named Player of the Century by Soccer America, and several alumni have earned Olympic medals in various sports. The Cavaliers, also known as Wahoos or ‘Hoos, have long-standing rivalries with Virginia-Tech, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Maryland. Get your orange and navy blue ready, because the University of Virginia is serious about sports.

Secret societies, an 1842 Honor Code, unprecedented student governance, prestigious honor societies, and University specific lingo are hallmarks of UVA tradition. In honor of Thomas Jefferson’s commitment to lifelong education, students are not referred to as freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors, but rather as first years, second years, third years and fourth years. Third years participate in the annual UVA ring ceremony where they receive their class rings in the presence of their families. Another annual tradition is the Lighting of the Lawn in December for the holidays accompanied by acapella music. Students wear casual dress attire to football games; after UVA scores, students link arms and sway together while singing the school anthem “The Good Old Song.”

One of the most unique aspects of the University of Virginia is its long-standing Honor System. The principle behind the system is that students adhere to a code of conduct where they do not “lie, cheat, or steal.” It applies to both academic and personal life on campus and a single violation results in dismissal from the University. Although it is controversial and has been challenged a number of times since the 1990s, it remains in place and several students have been expelled from the University for violations, including some who had already graduated and had their diplomas revoked. If the University of Virginia is on your short-list of schools, make sure that your commitment to character is strong enough to keep you in school.

We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill
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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SAT Tip of the Week: 30 Minute Daily Workout Routine for You [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jun 2014, 10:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: SAT Tip of the Week: 30 Minute Daily Workout Routine for Your Brain
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Preparing for the SAT is a lot like working out. In order to maximize results, it’s best to put in a little bit of work everyday. If you are trying to bench-press 300 pounds, you won’t get there in one work out (if you do, you probably have a career in professional weightlifting ahead of you). Similarly, if you are trying to score at the highest level on the SAT, it’s best to prepare with at least a little work each day. Here is a sample five day, thirty minute a day, brain work out plan that will leave you ready for brain swimsuit season (OK, that’s not a thing, but it will leave you ready to attack the SAT).

Monday:

Monday should be a big vocabulary day. Start by familiarizing yourself with ten to twenty vocabulary words (depending on how soon you will be taking the SAT). Simply look at the words and definitions and repeat each one seven times. A study showed that repeating something seven times is more or less the “magic” number to help something stick in your mind. Quickly test yourself on the word and move on. After learning five words, quiz yourself on the words you’ve learned. Write any words you didn’t get right on a piece of paper. Repeat the previous steps, reviewing each of the five words, until you have familiarized yourself with all the vocabulary.

Look at your sheet of paper and go through the words you missed in your first review. When you have successfully recalled all the definitions, go through all the words one more time and write the words you miss on your sheet of paper. Review those missed words one more time and you are done! With even twenty words, this process shouldn’t take more than twenty minutes. With the remaining ten minutes, pick one strategy from the SAT 2400 book that applies to a section you do not feel as strong in and practice using this strategy for five or six problems.

That’s it! You have learned some vocabulary and done some practice problems. Drink some water and let your brain rest!

Tuesday:

Tuesday should be all about practice problems. Take 5 minutes to review your vocabulary then get straight to work. Pick a section you do not feel is your strongest and do the middle ten questions (if you have trouble with many medium questions) or the final ten questions (if you mainly struggle with the hard questions) and apply the strategies from the SAT 2400 book. Try to figure out what type of problem you are dealing with (Is it a math problem where you have to deal with undefined variables that would be easier with real numbers? Or is it a question with an idiomatic preposition error?).

Start categorizing these questions so you know how to attack them when you see them. This should take up the remaining twenty five minutes.

Wednesday:

Take ten full minutes on Wednesday to review vocabulary from this week and previous weeks. Put all the words you don’t know onto a sheet of paper and then review this list. For the next twenty minutes take your second strongest section and time yourself to see if you can complete the final fifteen questions in a section in twenty minutes (If the section is writing, try to do ten improving sentences questions, ten identifying sentence error questions, and all of the improving paragraph problems. If the section is reading, do all the completing sentences questions and a short and a long paragraph with all of the related comprehension questions). Take the final five minutes to check work and see what type of problems you missed. Review any SAT 2400 strategies that apply.

Thursday:

Do five minutes of vocabulary review followed by a five minute look at some strategies you are not familiar with for your strongest section. Then try to do the final half of the section in ten minutes. Finally, take ten minutes to outline an essay with a complete intro paragraph and topic sentences. Take the final time to check work and look at more strategies.

Friday:

Test yourself on all vocabulary for about five minutes, then do a complete timed section of the SAT. This should rotate every week so you are practicing a different timed section every Friday. With any remaining time check your answers and review strategies that apply. This may take you over your thirty minutes, but you have the whole weekend to rest, so it might not be the worst idea to take a few extra minutes to check everything over.

Voila! There you have it: a prototype for thirty minutes a day of work that will leave you feeling exhausted, but pumped up and ready to take the SAT. This is only an example of what a student could do if he or she had a lot of preparation time. If you have less time (a month or less) it will require more time per day to adequately prepare.

The best option would likely be to seek out some private tutoring help or to make a very regimented schedule of a few hours a day. The only caveat to all of this is that it is a VERY good idea to augment daily preparation with a full practice SAT every couple of weeks. My recommendation is if you have two months to prepare, try to take an SAT practice test every month. I would also augment the vocabulary with any new vocabulary words you encounter on the reading sections. This will help to expand your vocabulary knowledge as you encounter words on the test. Good luck, and let’s get SAT ready!

Plan on taking the SAT soon? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

David Greenslade is a Veritas Prep SAT instructor based in New York. His passion for education began while tutoring students in underrepresented areas during his time at the University of North Carolina. After receiving a degree in Biology, he studied language in China and then moved to New York where he teaches SAT prep and participates in improv comedy. Read more of his articles here, including How I Scored in the 99th Percentile and How to Effectively Study for the SAT.
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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Columbia Business School Application Essays and Deadlines fo [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jun 2014, 14:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: Columbia Business School Application Essays and Deadlines for 2014-2015
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Columbia Business School has released its application deadlines and essays for the 2014-2015 admissions season. Like other business schools, Columbia has done some more trimming to its essays, which we discuss in more detail below.

Columbia stands out among top U.S. MBA programs because of its January intake in addition to the more common August/September intake. Columbia’s “J-Term” program allows students to complete their degrees in less than a year and a half, and is ideally suited for applicants who don’t need a summer internship — especially those who plan on returning to the same job or industry, and those who plan on starting their own business.

Here are the Columbia Business School application essays and deadlines for the 2014-2015 admissions cycle, followed by our comments in italics:

Columbia Business School Admissions Deadlines

January 2015 Entry: October 8, 2014

August 2015 Entry (Early Decision): October 8, 2013

August 2015 Entry (Merit Fellowship Consideration): January 7, 2015

August 2015 Entry (Regular Decision): April 15, 2015

Columbia is fairly unique among top business schools since uses a rolling admissions cycle. One way to look at it is that the one truly hard deadline for entry in Fall ’15 is the April deadline. The advice that we normally give regarding admissions deadlines still holds, though: We recommend that you apply early rather than later. Applying as late as March or April means competing for one of the very few seats still open at that point.

Also, remember that “Early Decision” means that you’re committing to attend Columbia if you are admitted. If you go back on your word, the worst that can happen is that you lose your deposit, but don’t forget the ethics of the situation: You take away a seat from someone who wants to attend Columbia more than you do. So, only exercise this option if Columbia truly is your first choice.

Columbia Business School Admissions Essays

Short Answer Question:

What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (75 characters maximum)

Wow! Last year more than one admissions consultant said, “This response can’t get any shorter,” when Columbia asked this same question and gave applicants just 100 characters to work with (down from 200 characters the year before). Now, after the school has chopped 25 characters, we’ll take a risk and say it: It’s hard to imagine this response getting much shorter!

Almost regardless of how few characters you have to work with here, your main takeaway is this: Columbia’s MBA admissions team truly just wants a super brief headline about your post-MBA career goals to better understand where you think you want to go with your degree. That’s it. Think of the Short Answer Question as the positioning statement for your short-term career goals. Do you want to be known as the applicant who wants to start a non-profit organization, or perhaps the applicant who wants to sharpen his skills and return to the technology sector as a business leader? Columbia provides some examples on its site, and you’ll see that there’s nothing particularly creative or special about them (e.g., “Work for an investment firm that focuses on real estate.”). Avoid the temptation to get too gimmicky here, but remember that this is the one thing (about your short-term career goals) that you want the admissions committee to remember.

Essay Questions:

  • Given your individual background and goals, why are you pursuing a Columbia MBA at this time? (500 words)

    This question carries over unchanged from last year, and so our advice mostly remains the same. This essay prompt is the fairly typical “Why an MBA? Why this school?: question that most business schools ask in their applications. Many applicants fail to adequately to explain why Columbia is the best place for them to earn their MBA, given the school’s culture, academic strengths, ties to certain industries, etc. Yes, Columbia has a big name and proximity to Wall Street. Those strengths are obvious. What else does Columbia offer that you can’t find anywhere else? And why — given where you’re coming from and where you want to go — is Columbia the best place for you to grow as a business leader? This is what the school is looking for when it asks about “fit.”
  • Please view the video below:

    The Center

    How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business?” (250 words)

    This question is new this year, although it replaces a question that wasn’t radically different last year. Basically, Columbia swapped out two videos for this one, and changed the question’s wording a bit, but the meat the this question hasn’t changed dramatically. So, our take hasn’t changed much from what it was last year: We find it interesting that the Columbia MBA admissions team chose to put so much emphasis on its New York City roots — we don’t think that many applicants need to be alerted to the fact that Columbia is in Manhattan or need to be sold on the benefits of being in New York. If you want to go into finance, then your answer here will obviously touch upon this fact. (Columbia bills itself as “The Very Center of Business” in this video, but much of the message relies on New York City’s reputation as a global hub.)Don’t limit yourself just to this obvious New York City tie-in, however. What other benefits do you expect you will gain from living and learning in one of the biggest cities in the world? Also, We’ve noted before that Columbia doesn’t want to be viewed as a commuter school in the middle of a huge city… Keep this in mind as you spell out how you will fit in at Columbia. Especially if you already live in New York, be sure to emphasize that you’re excited about immersing yourself in the Columbia culture.
  • What will the people in your Cluster be pleasantly surprised to learn about you? (250 words)

    This question was new last year, and Columbia must like what it saw since the question returns unchanged for this year. This essay doesn’t need to be whimsical (although it can be), but it should present something that is interesting about you as a person, rather than rehashing something that’s already in your application or your resume. Go back to our comments above about fit and about Columbia wanting to build a strong community. Have an unusual hobby or funny story that people enjoy hearing? Can you think of something in your personal life that makes you feel very proud? This is the place to use it!
Like may other MBA programs, Columbia also provides space for an optional fourth essay. Our advice here is always the same: If you really do feel the need to explain something, then address it in this essay and then move on. Whatever you do, don’t dwell on it or provide that weakness with more stage time than it deserves!

Think you have what it takes to get into Columbia? Download our Essential Guide to Columbia Business School, one of our 14 guides to the world’s top business schools. If you’re ready to start building your own application for Columbia and other top business schools, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

By Scott Shrum
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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Avoiding Traps in GMAT Quant Questions [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jun 2014, 14:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: Avoiding Traps in GMAT Quant Questions
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A common mantra at Veritas Prep is that the GMAT is a test of how you think, not of what you know. This shouldn’t be interpreted to mean that you can go into the exam without knowing anything and expect to get a good score. Rather, it means that how you apply concepts is crucial in this exam. You need to have a strong base, like the foundation of a house, but the difficulty is in using the information you have to solve the problem in front of you.

As can be expected, different quantitative questions will pertain to different mathematical notions. However some more advanced questions will begin to blur the lines (#BlurredLines) between multiple concepts. A question can ask you to solve an equation using variables from a given shape, incorporating geometry, algebra and even arithmetic concepts in one fell swoop. It’s important to note that all these seemingly disparate topics you’re studying while preparing for the GMAT can be combined into one question. These questions tend to be more difficult, but mostly because they require more steps, and therefore more opportunities to make mistakes.

The mathematical concepts don’t have to be any harder on these questions; the simple fact of merging them into a Frankenstein’s monster question can make the problem harder than the sum of its parts. (The question wants you to use your BRAINS). Add to this the time pressure of having to solve such questions in roughly two minutes, and you can imagine how longer questions combining various elements can frustrate even the most experienced student.

Let’s review a question and examine the various pitfalls we can fall into:

If you select two cards from a pile of cards numbered 1 to 10, what is the probability that the sum of the numbers is less than the average of the pile?

(A) 1/100

(B) 2/45

(C) 2/25

(D) 4/45

(E) 1/10

The first hurdle here is interpreting the question. To paraphrase, if I were to choose two random cards, would their sum be less than a certain other number. This is essentially a probability question, as evidenced by the answer choices as fractions. However there are a couple of elements to keep in mind. The first task is to determine the average of the pile.

Given 10 numbers, we could simply sum them up and divide by 10, but it’s probably much faster to recognize that the mean of an evenly spaced set is equal to the median of the set. A set with 10 numbers has a median that’s the average of the 5th and 6th elements (Not the Bruce Willis movie). Conveniently, the 5th element is 5 and the 6th element is 6, yielding an average of 5.5. Since we’re dealing with integers, we must now determine the number of possibilities that give a sum of 5 or less.

The options are limited enough that we can just reason out the choices. A good strategy is just to assume that the first card is a 1, and figure out what numbers work for the second number. If we pick 1, the next smallest card is 2. Thus the possibility (1,2) works. Similarly, we can see that (1,3) and (1,4) will work. (1,5) is too big, so we can stop there as any other option would only be bigger than this benchmark. It’s worth noting that the question is set up so that there’s no repetition, thus the option (1,1) cannot be considered. If the first card picked is a 1, there are three options that will keep the average below 5.5 (like a Russian judge at the Winter Olympics).

Next, supposing that the first card were a 2, there would be the separate option of (2,1). Since the order matters, (2,1) is not the same as the aforementioned (1,2). This is another valid choice. (2,2) is eliminated because of duplication, leaving us only with (2,3) that will also work if the first card is a 2. Since (2,4) is too big, we don’t need to examine any further. That’s two more options to add to our running tally.

Continuing, if the first card were a 3, then (3,1) and (3,2) would work. (3,3) is above the average, and it is a duplicate, so it can be eliminated for either reason. That gives us two more options for our running tally. The final option is to start with a 4, giving (4,1). Anything bigger is above the average. Similarly, anything starting with 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10 will be above the average. Only eight options work out of all the possibilities.

The question is almost over, but there is one final trap we need to avoid before locking in our answer. The stimulus purported 10 different cards to select. If we were to compile all the possibilities, a natural total to think of would be 100 (10×10). However, since there is no replacement, we’re first selecting from 10 choices, and then from 9 choices. Exactly as a permutation of two selections out of 10, this gives us a total of 90 possible choices. If there are eight options that satisfy the conditions out of 90 choices, then the correct answer must be 8/90, which simplifies to 4/45. Answer choice D.

Examining the answer choices, we can see some of the more obvious traps. Compiling eight options out of 100 choices would give us the erroneous 2/25 fraction in answer choice C. Overlooking the lack of replacement would give us 10 total choices (the same eight plus (1,1) and (2,2) out of 100 possibilities, or answer choice E. The exam is designed to ask tricky questions, which means that the answer choices will often be answers you can get if you make a single calculation error or unfounded assumption. Be vigilant until the end of the question, as you don’t want to spend a full two minutes on a complicated question just to falter at the finish line. Questions can have many aspects to consider and many steps to execute, but by continuously thinking in a logical manner, you can solve any GMAT question. Remember that even the longest journey begins with a single step.

Plan on taking the GMAT soon? We have GMAT prep courses starting all the time. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Ron Awad is a GMAT instructor for Veritas Prep based in Montreal, bringing you weekly advice for success on your exam.  After graduating from McGill and receiving his MBA from Concordia, Ron started teaching GMAT prep and his Veritas Prep students have given him rave reviews ever since.
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GMAT Tip of the Week: The Best GMAT Study Strategy You're Pr [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jun 2014, 15:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: GMAT Tip of the Week: The Best GMAT Study Strategy You're Probably Not Using
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Just because successful people share certain habits does not mean that those habits leads to success. Spend some time teaching successful adults – the pre-MBA crowd with great academic resumes and good work experience, for example – and you’ll see that they often study ineffectively. Watch them complete homework problems and you’ll find the same. What are they doing?

They’re learning the problem and not the takeaway. They’re memorizing the skill and not conceptualizing the strategy. They’re treating the back-of-the-book solution as a step-by-step guide and not a reference point.

Simply put, they’re learning 1,000 ways to solve 1,000 problems, when all the while the questions that truly matter to them on test day – those 600+ level questions – are questions #1,001, 1,0002, etc.

Consider this example from the Official Guide for GMAT Review, one of our favorite to showcase the thought processes required on the GMAT:

When positive integer x is divided by positive integer y, the remainder is 9. If x/y = 96.12, what is the value of y?

A. 96

B. 75

C. 48

D. 25

E. 12

And here’s the official solution (again appearing courtesy the Official Guide for GMAT Review):

The remainder is 9 when x is divided by y, so x = yq + 9 for some positive integer q. Dividing both sides by y gives x/y = q + 9/y. But, x/y = 96.12 = 96.012. Equating the two expressions for x/y gives q + 9/y = 96 + 0.12. Thus, q = 96 and 9/y = 0.12.

9 = 0.12y

y = 9/0.12

y = 75

Now…you can try to memorize that solution, or memorize “Dividend = divisor(quotient) + remainder,” but in doing so you’re likely missing the point of this question. Similarly, if this comes up in a class, you can, like many, copy down all the mathematical steps to review later. But again you’re likely missing the point – you won’t see *this* exact setup on the GMAT, but you will see this concept of “Reverse Engineering” in which they provide you with several (but not all) “outputs” of a mathematical operation (here the result of the division and the remainder) and ask you to find your way back to some of the “inputs” (here the divisor, y). What you *really* need to take away from this problem is that overall concept – the GMAT likes to test mathematical operations out-of-order through Reverse Engineering – and a strategy to attack future problems. We’d suggest:

STRATEGY: Try a simple problem with the same operation and small, easy-to-use numbers to remind yourself how the operation works. If you have, say, 11 divided by 4, you know how that works:

2, remainder 3

2 and 3/4

2.75

Now you take that small problem and relate it to the bigger one – in the bigger one they gave you the integer-plus-decimal result (96.12 looks like 2.75) and the remainder (9, which performs the role of the remainder of 3 in our smaller problem). How do those two relate? In our smaller problem we divided 3 by the divisor of 4 to get to the decimals of .75. In the larger, then, do the same thing – take the remainder of 9 and divide by the divisor y, and that will equal the decimals .12. So:

9/y = .12

9 = .12y

900 = 12y (and then since you don’t have a calculator you can do the math in small chunks)

450 = 6y

225 = 3y

75 = y

So what’s the difference in the approaches/takeaways? The written solution isn’t written specifically to “teach” but rather to explain, to justify the validity of the right answer. And many students study in class the same way – they copy the steps and hope to remember them as a step-by-step “how to” manual. But in doing so you just learn how to solve this particular problem, you don’t give yourself bigger strategies to attack plenty of future problems. And let’s be frank here – the last few steps (going from 9/y = 0.12 to solving for y) aren’t where the difficulty lies…if you can’t perform that math by the time test day comes around, you’re not getting anywhere near your goals. Basic linear algebra and multiplication/division are muscle memory…there’s no shame in being rusty at first, but you need to get that up to speed through repetition and practice.

What makes this problem difficult is its abstract setup and the reasoning required to make it concrete and get it going – precisely the portion that the written solution glosses over, and sadly the portion that many students fail to notate when they’re learning the problem, in favor of copying down the steps to finish the calculation at the end.

The most valuable thing that you can do as you study is learn strategies and concepts – not mere skills and formulas. But we’ve been trained through schooling that you can typically copy down what the teacher did, repeat those steps over and over again, and spit them back on the test and do well. That’s what successful people have often done to succeed – it’s just that the GMAT is different. Everyone taking the GMAT has already demonstrated that they can memorize and regurgitate – they’ve all graduated high school with solid grades and gotten at least almost done (if not totally done) with college doing much of the same.

So how should you study?

-Of course brush up on your basic skills, but don’t leave it there

-Look for bigger-picture takeaways every time you do a problem. What made the problem difficult? How was it similar to other problems you’ve seen? What strategies would help to set it up properly or avoid the trap answer? This is where good instructors and lessons can make a huge difference.

-Focus your notetaking and energy on the takeaways and strategies, and then worry about the steps through practice.

-Use the written solutions as references, not as how-to manuals. Written solutions often have to choose between “technically accurate” and “practically helpful” and usually choose accuracy; they’re very often not the best way to think about a problem, or the most scalable way to do multiple problems.

Watching many GMAT students study, it’s striking how often they copy down steps or flip to the back of the book, memorizing and copying instead of thinking and conceptualizing. The GMAT is a reasoning/concept test, not a fact/skill test. Make sure that you focus on the takeaway and not just the steps, and your next step will be to take away that unofficial score report with a big number on it.
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Easy (A)/(B) Trap in Data Sufficiency Questions on the GMAT [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jun 2014, 11:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: Easy (A)/(B) Trap in Data Sufficiency Questions on the GMAT
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We know that ‘Easy C’ is a common trap of DS questions – have you wondered whether there could be trap called ‘Easy A/B’ such that the answer would actually be (C)? Such questions also exist! The point is that whenever you feel that the question was way too simple, you might want to take a step back and review. GMAT will try every trick in the trade to delineate you. Let us show you a question which looks like an easy (A) but isn’t:

Question: 25 integers are written on a board. Are there at least two consecutive integers among them?

Statement 1: For every value in the list, if the value is increased by 1, the number of distinct values in the list does not change.

Statement 2: At least one value occurs more than once in the list.

Solution: Let’s first review the information given to us here:

25 integers are written on the board – we don’t know whether they are all distinct. We want to know if there is any pair of consecutive integers among them.

Let’s look at the statements:

Statement 1: For every value in the list, if the value is increased by 1, the number of distinct values in the list does not change.

It is easy to fall for statement 1 and think that it is sufficient alone. Say, if any single value is increased by 1 and it doesn’t match any other value already there in the list, it means that there are no consecutive integers, doesn’t it? Well, no! But we will talk about that in a minute. Let’s first look at why we might think that statement 1 is sufficient.

Say, the numbers are: 1, 5, 8, 10, 35, 76 …

If you increase 1 by 1, you get 2 and the list looks like this:

Now the numbers are 2, 5, 8, 10, 35, 76 …

Note that the number of distinct integers is the same.

Had there been two consecutive integers such as 1, 2, 8, 10, 35, 76 …

If we increase 1 by 1, the list would have become 2, 2, 8, 10, 35, 76 … – this would have decreased the number of distinct integers.

You might be tempted to say here that statement 1 alone is sufficient. What you might forget is that when you increase a number by 1, one distinct integer could be getting wiped out and another taking its place! It may not occur to you that the case might be different when one value occurs more than once, but statement 2 should give you a hint. Obviously, statement 2 alone is not sufficient but let’s analyze what happens when we take both statements together.

Since statement 1 doesn’t tell you that all values are distinct, statement 2 should make you think that you need to consider the case where one value occurs more than once in the list. In that case, is it possible that number of different values in the list does not change even though there is a pair of consecutive integers?

Say the numbers are 1, 1, 2, 8, 10, 35, 76 …

Now if you increase 1 by 1, the list would look like 1, 2, 2, 8, 10, 35, 76 …

Here, the number of distinct integers stays the same even when you increase a number by 1 and you have consecutive integers! In this case, if there were no consecutive integers, the number of distinct integers would have increased. Hence if the numbers are not all distinct and the number of distinct numbers needs to stay the same, there must be a pair of consecutive integers.

This tells you that statement 1 is not sufficient alone but both statements together answer the question with a ‘Yes’.

Answer (C)

Takeaway – Just as when you get an easy (C), you must check whether the answer could be (A) or (B), when you feel that the answer is an easy (A) or (B), you might want to check whether the other statement gives some relevant data and is necessary.

Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!
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Build a Stronger Application for Business School [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jun 2014, 12:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: Build a Stronger Application for Business School
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It’s not uncommon for students to have an academic transgression in their undergraduate experience.  Perhaps you failed your introductory computer programming course as I did, or just never got your mind around all those esoteric English courses or math courses.  Even if you graduated with a decent GPA, unless you had a perfect record, you likely have something you can point to in college that you wish you could do over.  While you can’t go back and literally do it over again, you do have the opportunity now to build what some refer to as an “alternative transcript,” which can help mitigate the poor performance of the past and reassure the admissions committee you now have what it takes to succeed in a rigorous curriculum.

Building an alternative transcript simply means taking classes at a local school or university, either on a for-credit or not-for-credit basis and doing well, which in turn will yield a documented record which you can include in your business school applications to help demonstrate your aptitude either in something you did not do well on in your past, or perhaps did not take at all.  A common example is calculus.  Lots of folks either did poorly in college calculus or didn’t even take it, and since most business schools want you to show up having taken calculus, you can make some progress with admissions if you pursue it on your own before you apply.

Some people use an alternative transcript to take business courses which they feel will help them be prepared for business school.  For students who were liberal arts majors, for example, building an alternative transcript with accounting, finance or statistics courses can not only demonstrate aptitude but also show them you are really serious about being ready for school.  The real benefit of building an alternative transcript is that it actually does help you show up to b-school more confident and ready to tackle the curriculum.  You are paying a lot for school, so getting the most out of it sometimes means putting something in ahead of time.

If you decide to build an alternate transcript, do it wisely.  Make sure you are taking courses that will be valuable to the schools to which you are applying and will give you the kind of credibility you are seeking.  While online courses can sometimes be a fine choice, be careful in general about where you gain the credentials, since schools will give you more acknowledgement for taking courses from an accredited, known school vs. a correspondence course, for example.  Additionally, make sure you are taking courses which are appropriately difficult.  If you have a low quant score on the GMAT and are trying to demonstrate your math skills, simply taking an introductory math course at the local community college will likely not earn you any points and be a waste of time and money.

Ultimately, you must demonstrate you have the academic chops to make it through two years of quantitative and analytical coursework at the graduate level.   GMAT scores are good indicators of aptitude, and doing well in courses you are able to take before you matriculate can go a long way as well.

Craft a strong application! Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. Click here to take our Free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Scott Bryant has over 25 years of professional post undergraduate experience in the entertainment industry as well as on Wall Street with Goldman Sachs. He served on the admissions committee at the Fuqua School of Business where he received his MBA and now works part time in retirement for a top tier business school. He has been consulting with Veritas Prep clients for the past six admissions seasons. See more of his articles here.
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School Profile: Community is Number One at the University of [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jun 2014, 16:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: School Profile: Community is Number One at the University of Notre Dame
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Number 39 in the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings is the University of Notre Dame. This private research university is wholeheartedly dedicated to its Catholic roots; it embraces a philosophy that holds religion and science in equal regard, and stands for “values in a world of facts.” The college, founded in 1842, is located on a 1,250-acre beautiful park-like campus outside South Bend, Indiana.

The Gothic architecture on campus conveys the school’s devotion to tradition, and as new facilities are added, they’re blended into the existing architectural design. New construction is guided by sustainability principles with several buildings being LEED certified. The overall campus design includes a number of outdoor sacred spaces for contemplation and communing with nature. In 2011, Travel + Leisure magazine listed it one of the most beautiful campuses in the country.

Notre Dame is academically rigorous and traditionally puts more weight on teaching and learning than research. That said, the college has recently received a $75 million gift dedicated to advanced research in science and technology. There are currently 19 research cores on campus dedicated to everything from chemical synthesis and drug discovery to tree genetics to computer aided molecular design. In keeping with the spirit of The Fighting Irish, research projects are often referenced by desired outcome, and prefaced with the word, “Fighting.” For example, recent research has focused on Fighting: To Cure Prostate Cancer, or Fighting: For Ethical Use of Technology. Notre Dame is one of twelve universities in the world chosen to partner with UNESCO in an effort to conserve World Heritage Sites.

After the groundwork of First Year Studies, students can choose from among schools of Arts and Letters, Business, Science, Engineering, and Architecture. Students can go on to graduate studies in law, architecture, and business at Notre Dame. The college of Arts and Letters has 20 departments and 33 majors, Mendoza College of Business offers four degree programs and earned honors as best undergraduate business school in 2010, the College of Science offers six degrees and its pre-professional program boasts more acceptances to medical schools than any university in the U.S., the College of Engineering has five departments and eight degree programs, and the School of Architecture offers one Bachelor of Science degree, plus all third-year students study abroad in Rome. The most popular majors are finance, political science, and psychology.

There will be no mistaking the influence of Catholicism on campus at Notre Dame. Of the nearly 8,500 undergraduate students, 80% are Catholic. Each of the 29 residence halls have chapels, and most have priests and/or nuns in residence. There are over 100 masses conducted on campus during each school week, and every classroom has a crucifix hanging from the wall. The crown jewel of the campus is the grand Basilica of the Sacred Heart, and behind it the Grotto. There are numerous religious statues and figures adorning campus, including the “Touchdown Jesus” mosaic on the 14-story Hesburgh Library.

Community is central to Notre Dame campus life; students often comment on forums about the welcoming campus atmosphere and close-knit community. Eighty percent of students live on campus, and the campus residences are the hub of social life. There is no Greek life at Notre Dame, but students typically stay in the same dorm for all four years, which contributes to the strong sense of community. Legends, the on campus restaurant and pub, hosts a variety of music and entertainment events including concerts, comedy, karaoke, and more. The four-story LaFortune Student Center, a.k.a. LaFun, is another hub of student activity on campus.

If you’ve never heard of Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish football team, you just aren’t paying attention to college sports. The NCAA Division I athletic program, which is part of the Atlantic Coast Conference, fields 21 men’s and women’s varsity teams in all, but is most famous for the football team. The football team plays some ACC opponents, but they remain part of the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, the top level of college football. Notre Dame has more All-Americans than any other FBS team. They’ve also produced at least seven Heisman Trophy winners, and have more national championships than any other FBS team. They’ve accomplished this level of excellence while consistently having the most Academic All-Americans and one of the highest student-athlete graduation rates. Notre Dame has also had some of the most famous college football coaches—Knute Rockne,  Ara Parseghian, and Lou Holtz, to name a few. The school has amassed a number of ACC titles over the years in other sports. Students are also heavily invested in intramural sports on campus.

Most Notre Dame traditions revolve around the football program. Traditions include the cheers of the Irish Leprechaun mascot and the cheerleaders, Friday Tunnel, The Irish Guard march into the stadium, the cheers and songs from the Alma Mater student section of the stadium, and the tunnel entrance of the team before the game. If you’re looking for a school where community is number one, values are as important as knowledge, and partying is a low priority, Notre Dame could be your school.

We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill
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SAT Tip of the Week: Basic Grammar for Subjects, Verbs, and  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jun 2014, 10:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: SAT Tip of the Week: Basic Grammar for Subjects, Verbs, and Descriptive Phrases
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For those of us who grew up speaking English as our native language, grammar can be somewhat of an afterthought. We take for granted that the linguistic constructions that we use when we are arguing with our parents or flirting with a prospective prom date employ a regimented structure that we may not realize we are using. Basic understanding of piecing a sentence together is necessary for really taking that grammar score to the next level. Let’s take a look at some of the basic grammatical elements that make up our language.

Subjects And Verbs

At the most basic level, a sentence is a subject and a conjugated verb. “I ran.” “We lost.” In each case there is a noun which is associated with some conjugated verb. Sometimes the subject is hard to spot. Let’s look at an example SAT sentence with an error.

“Before the dawn of man, but not before the dawn of life itself, there was creatures who was able to survive in a world with a completely different chemical composition than the world we live in now.”

Where is the subject in the above sentence? As we can see, the subject can be rather tricky to spot when there are a lot of other grammatical pieces and less common sentence structures around. Before we delve into what the subject is, why don’t we talk about what the subject isn’t.

Descriptive Phrases

There are many different varieties of descriptive phrases (prepositional phrases, introductory elements, appositives, etc.), but the essential definition for descriptive phrases is a piece of language that can be removed without affecting the core structure of the sentence. That is to say, a phrase that can be removed without making the sentence incomplete.

The granddaddy of all descriptive phrases is the prepositional phrase. A prepositional phrase is simply a phrase that begins with a preposition. The phrases, “Before the dawn of man” and “not before the dawn of life itself” and “in a world…live in now” are all prepositional phrases and can be removed without making the sentence grammatically incomplete. If we read the sentence without these phrases, it reads, “There was creatures who was able to survive.” As we can see, this is still a complete sentence, albeit an incorrect one. Can we find the subject now?

It’s still a little difficult to nail it down because of the construction, “There was…”. This is what is called an expletive construction. An expletive construction is an inversion of the normal subject-verb sentence structure which employs the word “there” and a conjugated verb of “to be” (is, are, was, were, etc.) to emphasize something in existence. “There are three books on the table,” is a expletive clause. If I were to write this as a subject-verb sentence, it would read, “Three books are on the table.” The subject, then, are the books, since they are the objects on the table. So in our original sentence, the subject is “creatures” and the verb “was” has to agree with that subject, which it does not. The sentence should read:

“Before the dawn of man, but not before the dawn of life itself, there were creatures who were able to survive in a world with a completely different chemical composition than the world we live in now.”

For Advanced Users

The final type of construction we see in this sentence is a “who” phrase. Who, Whom, That, and Which, phrases are descriptive phrases that provide some descriptions for another noun in the sentence. “Who” is used to describe subjects of a sentence, whereas “Whom” is used to describe objects of a sentence.

“This is the person who I was telling you about (subject = “person”).”

“My friend knew Albert Einstein, whom we all admired (subject = “my friend”and object = “Albert Einstein”).”

“That” is used for restrictive clauses, or descriptions that are necessary for specifying the object being discussed, whereas “Which” is used for non-restrictive clauses, or clauses that can be removed and have the specificity of the noun in question remain. I get that this is confusing so lets look at some examples.

“This is the gun that killed Abraham Lincoln (“that killed Abraham Lincoln” restricts which gun we are discussing. Without this phrase the sentence reads “This is the gun,” which could be any gun.)”

“The gun that killed Abraham Lincoln, which is housed in the private collection of a wealthy history enthusiast, is valued in the millions (“which…enthusiast” does not restrict which gun we are discussing, it simply gives further information about this gun).”

The “That-Which” distinction can be very tricky, but the real takeaway is that these phrases describe a noun and can be removed without affecting the grammatical structure of the sentence. This is very useful when checking for subject-verb agreement in the main clause of the sentence. The other takeaway is that if a new verb is introduced in these kinds of phrases, it must either agree with some new subject or the noun being described by the phrase.

“He is the kind of person who can always get you out of a jam. (“can” must agree with “who,” which is referring to the subject “He”).”

“This is the one piece of advice that I have remembered from childhood. (the verb “have remembered” must agree with the new subject “I”).”

Though discussing grammar can seem tedious, it is amazing how quickly these restrictions become apparent when we open our eyes to them. By learning more about the rules that govern our language, we can not only become better SAT students, but better able to understand the rules that are hard wired into our language. Happy studying!

Plan on taking the SAT soon? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

David Greenslade is a Veritas Prep SAT instructor based in New York. His passion for education began while tutoring students in underrepresented areas during his time at the University of North Carolina. After receiving a degree in Biology, he studied language in China and then moved to New York where he teaches SAT prep and participates in improv comedy. Read more of his articles here, including How I Scored in the 99th Percentile and How to Effectively Study for the SAT.
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Predicting the USA's World Cup Chances Tomorrow Using Integr [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jun 2014, 14:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: Predicting the USA's World Cup Chances Tomorrow Using Integrated Reasoning
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By this time tomorrow, the results will be in: will the United States have survived the Group of Death with Germany, Portugal, and Ghana? Or will Portugal’s late equalizer from Sunday have yanked the dream of Elimination play from the Yankees? A lot is riding on the concurrent USA vs. Germany and Portugal vs. Ghana matches tomorrow as all four teams have the potential to advance to the knockout stage of this year’s World Cup.

So much is at stake, actually, that some of the greatest minds in the world have dedicated time to breaking down all the possibilities; Nate Silver’s website gives the US a slightly better than 75% chance of moving through, with those possibilities including:

-An outright win against Germany

-A draw with Germany (around which a popular conspiracy theory is growing, given that a draw puts both teams through)

-A close loss to Germany with a Portugal win (but not blowout) over Ghana

-A close loss to Germany with more overall goals scored in the tournament than a victorious Ghana

Given all the situations – all requiring math, encompassing all the permutations available and including probabilities…all GMAT-relevant terms – some of these great minds have put together helpful infographics that can shed light on the scenarios…and help you study for the GMAT’s Integrated Reasoning / Graphics Interpretation section. How? Consider this infographic (click to enlarge):

Image

This graphic has a lot of similarities to some you may see on the Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT. It’s a “unique graphic” – not a standard pie chart, bar graph, line graph, etc. – so it includes that “use reasoning and logic to figure out what’s happening” style of thinking that you’ll almost certainly find on at least one Graphics Interpretation problem. And like many GI problems on the GMAT – even those classic bar graphs, etc. – this one has a potentially-misleading scale or display if you’re not reading carefully and thinking critically. Most notably:

If Nate Silver is right (as he usually is) and the US is better than a 3-1 favorite to advance, why is there so much red on this graph?!

And here’s where critical thinking comes into play:

1) What’s more likely – that both Germany and Ghana win 4-0, or that they each win 1-0? Soccer history tells us that 4-0 wins are quite rare, but 1-0 wins are fairly common. The blue Germany 1-0 / Ghana 1-0 box, though, is the same size as the red 4-0/4-0 box, making the scale here a little misleading. This graph does not incorporate probability into its cell size, so it treats all outcomes as equally likely, therefore skewing the red-vs-blue dynamic. On Integrated Reasoning, you may well have to consider a chart’s scale and determine whether it can accurately be extrapolated into something like probability!

2) This graph only expands “__________ side wins” into scores for three teams: Germany, Ghana, and Portugal. Why doesn’t it do so for the USA, or include the goals scored in a US-Germany tie? Likely because this graph is designed for an American audience, and the American side’s “what if?” scenarios are the same for *all* wins – if the US wins, it finishes #1 in the group and moves on – and for draws, in which the US would finish second. It’s only if the US loses that any other situations matter – by how much did the US lose? what was the score of the other match? – so in order to save space and draw attention to the meaningful “what ifs” this graph treats all US > Germany scenarios with one column. Which works for the purpose of this graph, but leads to another really misleading takeaway if all you’re looking at is blue vs. red – the blue columns for the US are wildly consolidated (and it’s all noted correctly so it’s not “wrong”), so you have to read carefully and think critically in order to understand what the graph truly displays.

Note that this is in no way a “misleading graphic” – it’s a well-constructed infographic to talk about all the possibilities that could happen and change US fortunes tomorrow. It’s just that the maker of the graphic chose to display the valid information in a certain way, one that may mislead the eye if the user is not being careful and thinking critically. That’s also very true of GMAT Integrated Reasoning – the graphics you see will be valid and meaningful, but you’ll need to read them carefully and think logically to avoid making assumptions or drawing flawed conclusions. And as this graphic shows, sometimes your mind’s initial reaction needs to be checked by some critical thinking.

So when you see Graphics Interpretation problems on the GMAT Integrated Reasoning section, be careful. What may seem obvious or too-good-to-be-true (like, it hurts to say, a 2-1 lead into the 95th minute) may require that little extra attention to detail to gain the result that you’re looking for, the one that gets you through to the next stage where you want to be.

Are you studying for the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

By Brian Galvin
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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Connect the Sentence Correction Dots and Succeed on the GMAT [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jun 2014, 12:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: Connect the Sentence Correction Dots and Succeed on the GMAT
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Studying for GMAT sentence correction questions can seem like a primer on grammatical rules. This is because any given phrase could have a pronoun issue, or a verb agreement issue, or even a logical meaning issue. Most GMAT preparation involves at least some amount of time on the specific issues that are frequently tested on the GMAT. There is, however, one important rule that must always be adhered to and that cannot be easily pigeonholed. This rule should cross your mind on every single sentence correction problem you may see, and is often overlooked when speeding through practice questions. Quite simply: the underlined portion of the phrase must work seamlessly with the rest of the sentence.

You may wonder why such a simple rule is often overlooked. The problem is often one of perspective. When evaluating five different choices, it is easy to concentrate on the differences among the options given and ignore the rest of the world (like watching Game of Thrones). Whichever choice you select must merge effortlessly with the rest of the sentence. If it doesn’t, the answer choice selected cannot possibly be the correct answer.

It’s surprisingly easy to overlook this aspect of sentence correction. However, there’s a simple strategy to combat this inertia: (i.e. There’s an app for that) we must ensure to pay special attention to the first and last words of the underlined portion. These are the connector words that link the sentence fragment back to the rest of the sentence. It’s possible that there is only one such word if the underlined portion is at the beginning or at the end. As long as the whole sentence isn’t underlined (which brings a whole different set of problems to the table), pay attention to the connector word(s) and any syntax that must be respected.

Let’s look at a typical Sentence Correction question to illustrate the point:

To Josephine Baker, Paris was her home long before it was fashionable to be an expatriate, and she remained in France during the Second World War as a performer and an intelligence agent for the Resistance

(A)   To Josephine Baker, Paris was her home long before it was fashionable to be an expatriate

(B)   For Josephine Baker, long before it was fashionable to be an expatriate, Paris was her home

(C)   Josephine Baker made Paris her home long before to be an expatriate was fashionable

(D)   Long before it was fashionable to be an expatriate, Josephine Baker made Paris her home

(E)    Long before it was fashionable being an expatriate, Paris was home to Josephine Baker

Since I’ve spent three paragraphs discussing the perils of ensuring that the underlined portion flows flawlessly with the rest of the sentence, let’s start the discussion there. The underlined portion ends with a comma, and then there’s immediately an “and she” that we cannot modify. This means the subject of the underlined portion must unequivocally be “Josephine Baker”, lest we not have a clear antecedent for the pronoun. Let’s look at the answer choices one by one and eliminate them if they do not make logical and grammatical sense until only one remains.

The original answer choice “To Josephine Baker, Paris was her home long before it was fashionable to be an expatriate“ doesn’t work because the sentence contains a modifier error. The sentence is also set up so that Paris seems to be the subject, making the “she” pronoun unclear (is this referring to Paris Hilton, perhaps?) This sentence is grammatically incorrect, and the transition into the rest of the sentence highlights this discrepancy.

Moving on, answer choice B “For Josephine Baker, long before it was fashionable to be an expatriate, Paris was her home” suffers from the same ambiguity. We can mentally strike out the modifier “long before it was fashionable to be an expatriate” as it adds nothing to the grammatical structure of the sentence. This leaves us with “For Josephine Baker,…, Paris was her home, and she…”. This time the pronoun should refer back to Paris, clearly incorrect. In the best case this sentence is hopelessly unclear, and in the worst case it’s inadequate and unnecessary (Some would argue that’s another Paris Hilton reference).

Answer choice C “Josephine Baker made Paris her home long before to be an expatriate was fashionable” actually works fairly well with the rest of the sentence. However it’s often the first answer choice to be eliminated because of the phrasing “long before to be an expatriate”, which is clearly wrong. The underlined portion must gel with the rest of the sentence, but that is not the only criterion that matters.

Answer choice D “Long before it was fashionable to be an expatriate, Josephine Baker made Paris her home”, seems to work. It puts the modifier at the beginning of the sentence and clearly identifies Josephine Baker as the subject. The rest of the sentence flows naturally from this sentence. D should be the correct answer, but we should still eliminate E for completion’s sake.

Answer choice E “Long before it was fashionable being an expatriate, Paris was home to Josephine Baker” recreates the same problem that’s pervaded this sentence since answer choice A. This sentence clearly has Paris as a subject, and everything after the comma naturally refers to Paris. Answer choice E is incorrect, cementing our decision that answer D is correct (Final answer, Regis).

On sentence correction problems, it’s very easy to get so enthralled by the underlined text that you ignore the rest of the sentence. While the underlined portion is the most important part, focusing exclusively on those words makes you lose perspective and gives you a fishbowl mentality (Orange Is the New Black style). The words that aren’t underlined may be indispensable to selecting the correct answer, especially the connector words that link the underlined text back to the rest of the sentence. To see the big picture, sometimes you have to make sure to connect the dots.

Plan on taking the GMAT soon? We have GMAT prep courses starting all the time. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Ron Awad is a GMAT instructor for Veritas Prep based in Montreal, bringing you weekly advice for success on your exam.  After graduating from McGill and receiving his MBA from Concordia, Ron started teaching GMAT prep and his Veritas Prep students have given him rave reviews ever since.
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Exciting News From GMAC About Your Test Day Experience [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jun 2014, 13:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: Exciting News From GMAC About Your Test Day Experience
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In an announcement that should be quite welcome for all GMAT examinees, the Graduate Management Admissions Council has changed a policy. Now:

GMAT examinees will be able to preview their unofficial scores before deciding whether to report or cancel them.

No longer, then, will examinees need to try to predict their score based on how the GMAT “felt” (a tricky proposition, since a computer-adaptive test is designed such that very few examinees make it to the end of the exam feeling particularly good about their performance). You’ll have the real data in front of you to decide whether it’s a score you would be proud to have on your record, or whether you’d rather hide that score and take the GMAT again in search of a higher one. But make sure to read the fine print – this policy has a few key items that you’ll want to know before you take the exam:

*You will have 2 minutes, upon viewing your scores, to decide whether you want to report those scores or have them cancelled.

*If you do not choose to accept your scores within that 2-minute period, they will be automatically cancelled. Make sure that you actively select “keep/report scores” so that they are not cancelled due to inactivity!!!

*If you decide later, within 60 days, to reinstate your cancelled scores, you can do so for a $100 fee.

*Before you decide, you’ll see your Integrated Reasoning, Quant, and Verbal scores (and overall); AWA scores will still not be included on unofficial score reports.

GMAC has published its own blog post with some pointers on what this new policy means for you. What is Veritas Prep’s take?

What the new score policy means for you:

1) Know what score range you’re willing to accept, and make that decision before you go to the test center. After a full-length GMAT, your mind will be a little fried for that final 2-minute decision. Have a plan ahead of time.

2) When in doubt – if you hit that gray area of a score that you don’t love but don’t hate – don’t cancel. Schools still only care about your top score, a sentiment that made this decision possible for GMAC. While your gray area score may not be ideal, there’s no guarantee that you’ll exceed it on your next try, so you may still want it for your applications. And if you do exceed it on your next try, having a gray area score on your report won’t hurt you at all.

3) Maybe our favorite feature of this whole thing: even if you do have a rough outing on the GMAT, seeing your scores before you cancel allows you to learn from the performance. Make a quick mental note of your score breakdown even if you’re going to cancel, and then use that to compare to your practice tests and expectations. One huge downside to the sight-unseen cancellation of scores to date has been that you never knew whether you were cancelling a good score – or just a good section – or not. Here you may not love your verbal score but you might learn that a quant section that felt rocky was actually your highest score to date. Or you may see that you felt really strong on one section but as it turns out that was the one that hurt you. Either way, seeing your score before you cancel is helpful in game-planning your retake strategy.

4) Relax. The best part of this news is that there’s one less variable to contend with on test day. There’s no chance that you’ll have to carry a dismal score on your record for the next five years, or that you’ll inadvertently cancel a 700. This news is great for you – your job is ever-more to go in and do your absolute best on each section, and then see where the score shakes out. One piece of pressure has been removed, so use that to your confident advantage!

Are you studying for the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

By Brian Galvin
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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Exciting News From GMAC About Your GMAT Test Day Experience [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jun 2014, 09:00
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FROM Veritas Prep Blog: Exciting News From GMAC About Your GMAT Test Day Experience
Image
In an announcement that should be quite welcome for all GMAT examinees, the Graduate Management Admissions Council has changed a policy. Now:

GMAT examinees will be able to preview their unofficial scores before deciding whether to report or cancel them.

No longer, then, will examinees need to try to predict their score based on how the GMAT “felt” (a tricky proposition, since a computer-adaptive test is designed such that very few examinees make it to the end of the exam feeling particularly good about their performance). You’ll have the real data in front of you to decide whether it’s a score you would be proud to have on your record, or whether you’d rather hide that score and take the GMAT again in search of a higher one. But make sure to read the fine print – this policy has a few key items that you’ll want to know before you take the exam:

*You will have 2 minutes, upon viewing your scores, to decide whether you want to report those scores or have them canceled.

*If you do not choose to accept your scores within that 2-minute period, they will be automatically canceled. Make sure that you actively select “keep/report scores” so that they are not canceled due to inactivity!!!

*If you decide later, within 60 days, to reinstate your canceled scores, you can do so for a $100 fee.

*Before you decide, you’ll see your Integrated Reasoning, Quant, and Verbal scores (and overall); AWA scores will still not be included on unofficial score reports.

GMAC has published its own blog post with some pointers on what this new policy means for you. What is Veritas Prep’s take?

What the new score policy means for you:

1) Know what score range you’re willing to accept, and make that decision before you go to the test center. After a full-length GMAT, your mind will be a little fried for that final 2-minute decision. Have a plan ahead of time.

2) When in doubt — if you hit that gray area of a score that you don’t love but don’t hate — don’t cancel. Schools still only care about your top score, a sentiment that made this decision possible for GMAC. While your gray area score may not be ideal, there’s no guarantee that you’ll exceed it on your next try, so you may still want it for your applications. And if you do exceed it on your next try, having a gray area score on your report won’t hurt you at all.

3) Maybe our favorite feature of this whole thing: Even if you do have a rough outing on the GMAT, seeing your scores before you cancel allows you to learn from the performance. Make a quick mental note of your score breakdown even if you’re going to cancel, and then use that to compare to your practice tests and expectations. One huge downside to the sight-unseen cancellation of scores to date has been that you never knew whether you were canceling a good score – or just a good section – or not. Here you may not love your verbal score but you might learn that a quant section that felt rocky was actually your highest score to date. Or you may see that you felt really strong on one section but as it turns out that was the one that hurt you. Either way, seeing your score before you cancel is helpful in game-planning your retake strategy.

4) Relax. The best part of this news is that there’s one less variable to contend with on test day. There’s no chance that you’ll have to carry a dismal score on your record for the next five years, or that you’ll inadvertently cancel a 700. This news is great for you – your job is ever-more to go in and do your absolute best on each section, and then see where the score shakes out. One piece of pressure has been removed, so use that to your confident advantage!

Are you studying for the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

By Brian Galvin
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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MIT Sloan Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2014-2015 [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jun 2014, 11:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: MIT Sloan Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2014-2015
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The MIT Sloan School of Management has released its admissions essays and deadlines for the 2014-2015 application season. Sloan has actually bucked the trend we’ve seen lately; the school still has two admissions essays, and actually increased the maximum allowed word count for its second essay (which is new this year)! The new question that Sloan added is a good one, but it will present you with some unique challenges, which we discuss more below.

Here are MIT Sloan’s admissions deadlines and essays for the coming year, followed by our comments in italics:

MIT Sloan Application Deadlines

Round 1: September 23, 2014

Round 2: January 8, 2015

MIT Sloan’s deadlines are virtually unchanged since last year. Keep in mind that MIT Sloan is fairly unique in that it only has two main admissions rounds, so there is no “Round 3 or not Round 3?” dilemma here. Although Round 2 is Sloan’s final round, you should not assume that applying in Round 2 is as bad as applying in Round 3 anywhere else. If you need the extra several months to get your application in order, then take that time to improve your chances. Round 2 is a very valid round in which to apply when it comes to MIT Sloan.

MIT Sloan Application Essays

  • The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and generate ideas that advance management practice. Discuss how you will contribute toward advancing the mission based on examples of past work and activities. (500 words)

    This question carries over unchanged from last year (when it was new). Consequently, our advice mostly remains the same. At its core, it is a “Why MIT Sloan?” question. Sloan admissions officers have stated before that they don’t love explicit “Why this school?”-type questions, but it’s clear that this type of insight is what they’re looking for here, at least in part. The admissions committee wants to see that you have done your homework on Sloan, that you understand what the school stands for, and that you really want to be there.

    When Sloan asks you how you will contribute, it’s not just asking about what you will do while you’re in school for two years, but also about how you plan on taking what you’ve learned (and the connections you’ve built) and going farther than you could ever have without an MIT Sloan MBA. Note the very last part of the question: The key to a believable essay here will be to cite specific examples from your past when you got involved and make things better around you. Don’t be intimidated by the high-minded ideals in the first part of the essay prompt — making an impact (rather than just standing idly by and being a follower) is what they want to see here, even if it’s on a relatively small scale.
  • Write a professional letter of recommendation on behalf of yourself. Answer the following questions as if you were your most recent supervisor recommending yourself for admission to the MIT Sloan MBA Program: [see the rest of the question here] (750 words)

    This is a new question for Sloan this year. In some ways, it’s a descendent of Sloan’s old “Write a cover letter describing your accomplishments” prompt that MIT Sloan used to include in its application. This is a tricky one because most applicants actually tend to be too humble when describing themselves. After all, it’s easy to fear coming off as too confident or obnoxious, especially when the stakes are this high, so your natural tendency may be to not toot your own horn enough.

    The key to tooting that horn, and doing in a way that’s believable, is to provide specific examples. This is exactly what we tell applicants to tell their recommendation writers, and this advice also applies when you write your own letter of recommendation. The easy part is that the specific questions Sloan asks (e.g., “Please give an example of the applicant’s impact on a person, group, or organization.”) make it very clear what the admissions committee is looking for. Now it’s your job to find examples in your recent professional past to show them that you have what they want.

    Finally, the question that asks “Which of the applicant’s personal or professional characteristics would you change?” don’t be afraid to talk about a weakness here. Even though you’re writing your recommendation (as if your boss were writing it), some introspection is really what the admissions officers want to see here. Here is a weakness or undeveloped area for you… here is what you’re doing to improve on it… and here is a recent example of how you have made progress toward this goal.
Are you thinking about applying to MIT Sloan? Download our Essential Guide to MIT Sloan, one of our 14 guides to the world’s top business schools. If you’re ready to start building your own MBA application plan, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

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

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GMAT Tip of the Week: Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda - How To Analy [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jun 2014, 17:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: GMAT Tip of the Week: Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda - How To Analyze Your Practice Test Results
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So you’ve taken a practice test and want to know how to use it to improve. You’re not alone, but actually you’re a step ahead of much of the competition! Read the various GMAT forums and you’ll see a lot of data dumps:

On my most recent CATs I scored 640, 610, 630, 580, and 620. What must I do to score 750+ for H/S/W???? Please Help!

Particularly if you’ve taken reputable tests (we recommend GMATPrep and, naturally, the Next-Generation Veritas Prep exams, both types being scored using Item Response Theory) the scores can be quite helpful in gauging whether you’re near the range you’d like to score in on test day. But think about other scored or timed pursuits: Michael Phelps didn’t become a great swimmer by simply looking at the clock at the end of each race, but rather by analyzing his stroke, his aerodynamics (or I guess hydrodynamics), his conditioning, etc. Similarly, the best use of your practice tests isn’t as a gauge of your score, but rather as evidence of why your score is approximately what it is. To capitalize on that information, it’s important that you analyze your results so that you can prioritize your study. Here’s how:

1) Never take a practice test without analyzing its results.

There’s flawed conventional “wisdom” that simply taking practice tests will improve your score. But real improvement comes between those tests, when you’re reviewing the results and considering what they tell you. Did you miss several questions of the same type? Did you mismanage your pacing? Did you fall into common traps and make silly mistakes? Doing the tests helps – it builds stamina and familiarity with the interface and exposes you to dozens of practice problems under real conditions – but analyzing the tests helps you to learn from your mistakes. Once you’ve seen your mistakes or determined your weaknesses, you can use the next few study sessions to address them – revieiwing skills you missed, drilling problems of those types under timed conditions, creating mental checklists to avoid the same mistakes, etc.

2) Prioritize your study sessions by categorizing mistakes.

This is critical – many people will simply look at their problems and say “I missed X geometry questions, Y sentence corrections, etc.” but remember that not all questions are created equally! Were the questions you missed easy or hard? Did you miss them because of silly mistakes or because you just didn’t know what to do? One way to prioritize your study is to divide your mistakes into categories:

Should Get Right – these are the questions that should hurt the most; you knew what you were doing but made a silly mistake or dove hard for the trap answer or completely blanked on something you’d ordinarily remember. These are your top priorities – don’t write them off as “silly mistakes,” but instead come up with a plan to avoid those mistakes. See if these come up in families (“answered the wrong question” vs. “calculation mistake” vs. “made an assumption” etc.) and if they do make it an even more critical plan to have a reminder on test day to slow down and double check. These problems are probably holding you back the most, since “shoulda” questions are in your CAT scoring wheelhouse and missing them lowers your score significantly.

Could Get Right – these problems aren’t silly mistakes, but you know that the concepts aren’t beyond you. You could invest a little more time in practice to make them strengths, so you should carve out some study time and consult a few study resources (like maybe our YouTube channel) to build those iffy concepts or question types into strengths.

Probably Wouldn’t Get Right Anytime Soon – These are the problems you save for later. Anything that you stare at and say “I don’t even…” – these are probably problems that would waste your study time and your test day time. And that’s okay, at least for now – until you can comfortably get problems around your ability level or a little higher correct, these problems well beyond you won’t impact your score much at all. Think about it – getting a monster question right in a CAT test means you get an even scarier question next, and that one will take even longer. You need to shore up your floor before you shoot for the ceiling. Which isn’t to say you’ll never get these, just that they’re not your top priority right now. Since much GMAT study is incremental – harder probability questions require you to be good with algebra and factors/multiples, for example – while you’re shoring up that floor you’re already building toward these, too.

3) Focus on Why – Not Just What

People love to give themselves surface information (think of those Buzzfeed “Which _________ Are You?” quizzes – they’re almost never all that detailed or thought out, but we can’t help but click on them), so you naturally gravitate to “I missed ____ geometry questions and only _____ algebra questions.” But those are big families of conceptual knowledge, and often the reason you missed a geometry question isn’t “geometry” but rather “I screwed up the algebra” or “I assumed something in a Data Sufficiency construct”. Hold yourself accountable for the “why” you got it wrong so that you can better address your specific needs.

4) Be Practical With Pacing

Look for problems on which you spent way too much time and be honest: were you going to get it right and just ran out of time, or were you spinning your wheels the whole time? Look at problems that you missed in a minute or less: could you have gotten it right with 10 seconds of double-check? It’s easy to see a test and say “if I get pacing under control I won’t make those mistakes” but that “if” is a really big hypothetical. Keep track of the types of problems that take you too long and know that as you get closer to test day you may need to triage them, guessing earlier to save time. And keep track of the types of problems that you miss when you’re rushing; that extra time you save by having a quick “guess” trigger finger may save the day on these. Far too many examinees take “I just ran out of time” lightly and assume that will get better on its own; those who know better know that pacing is almost always a struggle for even the 750+ crowd, and make plans to address pacing, not excuses for why pacing held them back on this particular test.

Remember – taking a practice test is only part of the battle; analyzing it and using it for improvement is the other half and arguably the most important half. When you’re done taking your test you’re not done with it overall – put in some analysis time and watch how it impacts your score on the next one.

Are you studying for the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

By Brian Galvin
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6 Study Habits to Improve Your SAT Score [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jun 2014, 09:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: 6 Study Habits to Improve Your SAT Score
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As a high school student, you’ve got plenty on your plate. You’re likely consumed by classwork and social activities, and are preparing emotionally for one of the biggest transitions of your life. In addition to all that, however, there’s the SAT, which plays a major role in your ability to get into a good college. All too often, teenagers let the SAT take a back seat in favor of more immediate, day-to-day responsibilities, and one of the biggest reasons is that they simply don’t know how to attack such a daunting exam. Here are six general study habits that can help improve your SAT score.

1. Start Projects Early

Whenever you get a broader assignment or long-term project, do not put it off. Before you know it, the deadline is going to be a few days away and you’ve got to put something together in a frantic rush.

Instead, start early and take baby steps immediately after you get the assignment. Take it slow and steady to ensure that you don’t make any major mistakes or produce low-quality work. You learn a lot more when you take your time, and that knowledge can come in quite handy when it comes to taking the SAT.

2. Set a Study Schedule and Stick to It

Chances are, you know when you’re at your best mentally. Create your study schedule accordingly and stick to it. If you’re most pumped up right after school, schedule your heavy lifting for then. If you feel energized after supper, that’s when you should do your studying.

Once your schedule is in place, stick to it. Turn down those last-minute calls from friends to hit the mall, and avoid flipping on the TV or checking in on your social media pages. You’re going to have plenty of free time to spend with friends and family after you ace your SAT.

3. Find a Mentor

A mentor can be a great help with your study habits. Reach out to someone you know who recently graduated high school and understands what you’re going through, or use those social media accounts productively – you never know what kinds of recommendations you might receive. You could also ask your teachers if they know anyone who might make for a suitable mentor.

4. Take Appropriate Breaks

Breaks are an important part of effective studying. If you’ve been staring at your monitor for 20 minutes and you’re just not getting anywhere, walk around the block, go talk to your parents for a few minutes, or make a snack for yourself in the kitchen. And be sure to avoid all-nighters. You might think of them as a great way to get a lot done in a short period of time, but you just won’t end up retaining a lot of that information.

5. Choose a Quiet Place for Studying

Are you in the habit of trying to do your studying on an iPad while sitting in front of the TV? Are you constantly bothered by a brother or sister when working at the kitchen counter?

If so, find a quiet place to do your work instead. If your bedroom doesn’t work, choose a guest room. Maybe you could study in the living room if it’s a low-traffic area. Chances are, there’s a least one part of your home where you can concentrate with little to no interruption – you just have to find it.

6. Start With the Most Challenging Subject

If you’re good at math but are challenged in chemistry, take on the science project first. It’s a lot easier to squeeze in study time for a subject you’re comfortable with once the more difficult ones have been crossed off the list. Start with the subjects that tend to give you a hard time, then tackle the assignments you can complete quickly.

What ways can you think of for students taking the SAT to study more effectively?
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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The Reason Behind Absolute Value Questions on the GMAT [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jun 2014, 15:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: The Reason Behind Absolute Value Questions on the GMAT
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Even after working extensively on absolute value questions, sometimes students come up with “why?” i.e. why do we have to take positive and negative values? Why do we have to consider ranges etc. They know the process but they do not understand the reason they need to follow the process. So here today, in this post, we will try to explain the reason.

You know how to solve an equation such as x + 2x = 4. Simple enough, right? Just add x with 2x to get 3x and separate out the x on one side. But what do you do when you have an equation with absolute values? How will you handle that equation? Say, you have |x| + 2x = 4. Is this your regular equation? No! You CANNOT say that x + 2x = 4 => 3x = 4 => x = 4/3. You have an absolute value and that complicates matters. You need to get rid of it to get a solution for x. How do you get rid of absolute values? The definition of absolute value helps us here:

|x| = x if x >= 0

|x| = -x if x < 0

So you can substitute x for |x| to make it a regular equation but only if x is non negative. If x is negative, then you put -x instead of |x| to convert it into a simple equation. And that is the reason you need to take positive and negative values of what is inside the absolute value sign.

Similarly,

|x-5| = (x-5) if (x-5) >= 0 i.e. if x >= 5

|x-5| = -(x-5) if (x-5) < 0 i.e. if x < 5

Let’s go back to the previous example and see how we can get rid of the absolute value to make it a regular equation:

Question 1: What is the value of x given |x| + 2x = 4?

We don’t know whether x is positive or negative so we will look at what happens in both cases:

Case 1: x is positive or 0

If x >= 0 then equation becomes x + 2x = 4 => x = 4/3

Our initial condition is that x is non negative. We get a positive solution on solving it and hence 4/3 is a valid solution.

Case 2: x is negative

If x < 0 then equation becomes -x + 2x = 4 => x = 4

Our initial condition is that x is negative. We get a positive solution on solving it and hence x = 4 is not a valid solution. Had we obtained a negative solution, it would have been valid.

So there is only one solution x = 4/3.

We hope the entire process makes more sense now. Let’s follow it up with a complex question from our algebra book.

Question 2:  If x and y are integers and y = |x+3| + |4-x|, does y equal 7?

Statement 1: x < 4

Statement 2: x > -3

Solution: Now what do you do when you have y = |x+3| + |4-x|? How do you convert this into a regular equation? You don’t know whether whatever is in the absolute value sign is positive or negative. How will you get rid of the sign then? You will work on all the cases (messy algebra coming up!).

Now, we see the same logic in this question:

y = |x+3| + |4-x|

|x+3| = (x+3) if (x+3) >= 0. In other words, if x >= -3

|x+3| = -(x+3) if (x+3) < 0. In other words, if x < -3

|4-x| = (4-x) if (4-x) >= 0. In other words, if x <= 4

|4-x| = -(4-x) if (4-x) < 0. In other words, if x > 4

So our absolute values behave differently when x < -3, between -3 and 4 and when x > 4. We say that -3 and 4 are our transition points.

Case 1:

When x < -3, |x+3| = -(x+3) and |4-x| = (4-x).

So the equation becomes y = -(x+3) + (4-x)

y = 1 – 2x

For different values of x, y will take different values. Recall that x must be less than -3. Say x = -4, then y = 9. If x = -5, y = 11.

Case 2:

When -3 <= x <= 4, |x+3| = (x+3) and |4-x| = (4-x).

So the equation becomes y = (x+3) + (4-x)

y = 7

In this range, y will always be 7.

Case 3:

When x > 4, |x+3| = (x+3) and |4-x| = -(4-x)

So the equation becomes y = (x+3) – (4-x)

y = 2x – 1

For different values of x, y will take different values. Recall that x must be more than 4. Say x = 5, then y is 9. If x = 6, then y is 11.

Note that y equals 7 only when x is between -3 and 4. Both statements together tell us that x is between -3 and 4. No statement alone gives us this information. Hence, using both statements, we know that y must be 7.

Answer (C)

Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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GMAT Scores vs. Average Starting MBA Salaries [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jul 2014, 16:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: GMAT Scores vs. Average Starting MBA Salaries
It’s not a stretch to say that the more prestigious the business school you attend, the higher your starting post-graduation salary will tend to be. The more prestigious your MBA program is, the more options you will tend to have in the job hunt, and the higher potential employers will be willing to go to hire you. The more options you have and the more marketable you are, the more you’re probably going to make when you come right out of business school.

But, believe it or not, the correlation is actually very strong when comparing average GMAT scores and average starting salaries at top business schools! So, strong, in fact, that the relationship can neatly be summed up by this formula:

325 x GMAT Score – $123,000 = Starting Salary

This is just an approximation, of course, but it works surprisingly well at giving you an idea of what starting salary you might have in store for you when you graduate with your MBA, given a certain GMAT score.

To see more about this strong correlation, take a look at the newest infographic that we put together.

(Click on the infographic below to enlarge it.)

Image

 

Of course, this demonstrates a correlation, but that’s not the same as proving causation. Your future salary will be determined by your own choices, including which MBA program you attend and what job you take immediately after graduation. If you’re a good fit for your company, you should be able to negotiate a salary that both parties can be happy with.

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

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GMAT Scores vs. Average Starting MBA Salaries   [#permalink] 01 Jul 2014, 16:00

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