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FROM Veritas Prep Blog: SAT Tip of the Week: 5 Secret Study Resources for Students 
Free web resources can be useful supplements to your SAT study, but only when used correctly. Practice questions, essay hints, and sample passages vary widely in their correctness and helpfulness. At best, web resources can provide free information and explanations to aid your understanding of concepts. At worst, they can mislead and confuse students about the SATs expectations, format, and scoring system. Here are a few tips about making the most of what Google has to offer. 1. Check out the CollegeBoard website—both the student and the professional version. These sites are full of useful information about scoring, format, subjects covered, and average performance. They even include practice questions, essay prompts, scored sample essays, and test day advice. Many times while perusing the site, I’ve found interesting and useful answers to questions that I didn’t even know I had. 2. Don’t trust unofficial practice tests and questions. Many of these contain errors and most aren’t representative of real SAT tests. For example, some strategies that are effective on official tests don’t work on unofficial ones, and some unofficial questions reference concepts that don’t appear on official tests. 3. Khan Academy, Grammar Girl, dictionaries, and other reputable online sources for explanations of concepts are almost always useful. Even after two years of teaching classes on misplaced modifiers and semicolon use, I still refer to Grammarbook and the Purdue Online Writing Lab whenever I encounter a grammatical ambiguity. I also refer some of my students to various Dummies and freemathhelp.com pages for explanations of math concepts, since alternative forms of explanation help many students to better understand ideas. 4. Forums are generally unreliable. Though they occasionally contain useful information, more often they contain overgeneralizations, opinions, and guesses about how the SAT works. Unless you’re looking for reviews of test prep resources or a way to connect to other testtakers, avoid relying on these for facts. 5. Libraries, schools, and counselors are extraordinarily underrated sources of test prep help. Counselors can clarify the logistical and financial aspects of the SAT, as well as offer personalized advice about when to take the test and how to submit scores to colleges. Teachers can explain concepts that appear on the SAT and look over your practice SAT essays. Libraries contain plenty of different books that explain SAT concepts in different ways, and some libraries even offer tutoring services, practice tests, and test prep guides. The Internet can be useful but we may miss out on resources right in front of us. Once you know how to identify what will truly help to support you in your studies (and pair it with a Veritas Prep course) you’ll be ready to handle the SAT come test day. Still need to take the SAT? 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! Courtney Tran is a student at UC Berkeley, studying Political Economy and Rhetoric. In high school, she was named a National Merit Finalist and National AP Scholar, and she represented her district two years in a row in Public Forum Debate at the National Forensics League National Tournament. 
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: How Good Is Your GMAT Score, Really? 
There was an article in the Wall Street Journal recently about how the GMAT is slowly but authoritatively being dominated by international applicants. Not only is there an increasing number of international hopefuls taking the test, they are also performing remarkably better than US testtakers. The numbers are staggering. Test takers from America, in fact, now only make up about 36% of all GMAT hopefuls, which is down considerably over the past several years. As a comparison, AsiaPacific students now make up 44% of total test takers. This, of course, makes applying to business school much more competitive for international students (since there are simply more applicants in the pool competing for slots), but it also makes things tougher for American applicants, mostly because the scores of these international applicants is considerably higher as well. It has long been established through gradeschool and highschool statistics that the Asian population dominates over the U.S. in mathematic performance. Since business schools discovered a strong connection between GMAT quantitative scores and business school success, this translates into a distinct advantage for Asian applicants who perform well on the GMAT. Again, the numbers are impressive (or depressing if you are from the U.S.). Asian test takers average 45 raw score on the quant portion of the GMAT, whereas U.S. test takers average just 33. This is a significant difference, and one that has sent U.S. students scrambling to catch up. The boom in testprep services is a stark indicator of this, and there is much ground still to cover. Asian students, for example, put about twice as many hours into preparing for the GMAT as U.S. students do. There is talk of bifurcating the test results from GMAT so the business schools in the U.S. can separate out scores by region. This would help U.S. students be more favorably compared to other students with a similar background and culture. While it would not be fair to have two different scoring systems, it seems that GMAC is at least trying to help bschools make better assessments on which students in the U.S. will be (comparatively) decent performers in their curriculum. Of course the headline here, is twofold. If you are an international applicant, you must have more than just a good GMAT score to differentiate yourself. If you are an American applicant, you need to do whatever you can to press out a decent GMAT score in order to be competitive. The extra hours you put in will more than pay off if you end up being invited to join the school of your dreams, vs. being left out in the cold because your paper qualifications didn’t measure up. Learn about top MBA programs by downloading our Essential Guides! Call us at 18009257737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or 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. Bryant Michaels 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. 
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: A Closer Look at Parallel Structure on GMAT Sentence Correction Questions 
The holiday season is upon us in North America, as many families unite for Thanksgiving, some decadent shopping, and the imminent Christmas season. While Thanksgiving and Christmas are independently two of the biggest holidays of the year, the fact that they always come together and are so habitually linked makes me think of the GMAT (yes a lot of things make me think of the GMAT, it’s what I do). Just as the thought of Christmas makes a lot of people think of Black Friday deals and line ups at their local stores, some elements on the GMAT are as inextricably linked together. The most common constructs that come in pairs are idioms, which are accepted turns of phrase, and elements requiring parallel structure. Both of these concepts can come up in sentence correction questions, and both play into whether a sentence has been properly constructed. Idioms often come up in pairs because one part of a sentence necessitates a parallel structure down the road. Similarly, parallel structure needs to have consistent elements or the sentence loses efficacy and becomes hard to read (like reading the word efficacy in a nonGMAT context). A common example of the duality of idioms is the “Not only… but also…” idiom, whereby something will be described as “not only this… but also that”. If you don’t have the second part of the idiom, the first part doesn’t make much sense. You can say: “Ron is eating turkey”, but if you say “Not only is Ron eating turkey.” There must be some logical conclusion to that sentence, or you’re committing a sentence construction error. As an example: “Not only is Ron eating turkey, but he’s also eating yams.” Now the sentence is complete, as the idiom requires a second portion to complete the entire thought. A common example of the importance of parallel structure is when making lists (and checking them twice). As an example, consider: “Ron likes eating turkey, watching football and to spend time with family”. The parallel structure is not maintained in this sentence because the first two are participial verbs and the third is an infinitive. You could rewrite this example as “Ron likes eating turkey, watching football and spending time with family” and it would be fine. However, that is not the only option. You could also rewrite this as “Ron likes to eat turkey, to watch football and to spend time with family”, or even “Ron likes to eat turkey, watch football and spend time with family”. Any of these constructions would be acceptable, because they all maintain the consistency required in parallel structures. Now that we’ve seen how important it is to stick together, let’s look at an example that highlights these concepts in sentence correction: In a plan to stop the erosion of East Coast beaches, the Army Corps of Engineers proposed building parallel to shore a breakwater of rocks that would rise six feet above the waterline and act as a buffer, so that it absorbs the energy of crashing waves and protecting the beaches. (A) act as a buffer, so that it absorbs (B) act like a buffer, so as to absorb (C) act as a buffer, absorbing (D) acting as a buffer, absorbing (E) acting like a buffer, absorb One ongoing difficulty in sentence correction is that a problem is rarely about only one concept. Frequently multiple issues must be addressed, such as agreement, awkwardness and antecedents of pronouns (and that’s just the letter A!) As such, it’s paramount to identify the decision points and see which types of errors could potentially occur in this sentence. It may not be as obvious on test day as it is now to note that this sentence has some issues with parallelism, but the fact that some verbs are underlined while others are not can help guide your approach here. There is a verb (rise) before the underlined portion, and another verb (protecting) after the underlined portion. (Rise and protect make me think this sentence is about Batman). The correct answer choice will have to work with both verbs effortlessly, so let’s evaluate them one at a time. The first decision point we have in the underlined portion is deciding between “act” and “acting”, and this verb must match up with the previous verb “rise” as both are being commanded by the wall of rocks that is their shared subject. Since “rise” is an infinitive, and it is not underlined, the correct match must be with “act”. This parallel structure eliminates answer choices D and E, as both have the verb in its participle form. As an aside, please note that you don’t need to know the grammatical terms; they’re listed primarily for clarity. The second decision point is the other verb, which comes in three different forms (absorbs, absorb, absorbing) in the three answer choices. Since the verb at the end of the sentence is in its participle (protecting), the parallel structure dictates that the answer choice must be answer choice C, as it is the only remaining choice with “absorbing”. We have thus eliminated four answer choices using only parallel structure. While answer choice C is indeed the correct answer, we can also note the idiom “act as a buffer”, which is used correctly, as opposed to “act like a buffer” in answer choice B. This decision point could be sufficient on its own, but you can often knock out a single incorrect answer choice for multiple reasons. Answer choice C is the only choice that does not contain any sentence construction errors. Often, I compare the concept of parallelism to the banal notion of wearing socks. Any two socks are acceptable as long as they match, but wearing unmatched socks is a surefire way to get mocked (by me). Similarly, parallel structure only requires that you remain consistent within the same sentence, not that lists must be constructed exclusively in a certain way. Parallelism is very important in sentence correction, as it’s often the only reason to eliminate an answer choice that otherwise makes grammatical sense. If you’re studying for the GMAT during the holidays this year, I wish you the best of luck, and remember that studying well and succeeding on the GMAT go hand in hand. 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. 
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: Get Ahead With Our Winter Break SAT Course! 
Thanksgiving has come and gone, Winter Break is coming up. The semester has flown by with quizzes, tests, memorizing odd facts about Charlemagne and imaginary numbers. But before you can relax, you have to climb and conquer those treacherous peaks of your final examinations. Only then will you be able to rest and sleep long hours, forget about setting your alarm, and float into nothingness (with the exception of all that fun time hanging out with your friends and listening to Taylor Swift). Man, if only you hadn’t procrastinated all semester on studying. You always tell yourself at the beginning of each semester, “This one will be different. I’m going to really buckle down this time and stick to a system.” But waves of assignments, obligations, and random distractions ensue. Where did the time all go? The last thing on your mind right now is the SAT. The test may be a whole year away. Or is it? It’s the end of Fall semester and you’re going to have to take them sooner than later. You’re going to have to work on and turn in college apps within the next 12 months. Okay, take a deep breath, it’s all going to be fine! Here’s how you can have your cake and eat it too. This winter break, you can sleep in AND get your SAT prep on! Finals will be over, the new semester not yet begun. Not good at creating a system or scheduling your study time? No problem, we have the system and schedule created for you. Three weekday afternoons a week, from December 15  January 9th, log on to an interactive class with an expert, 99th percentile SAT scorer (me!) – stay in your pajamas, eat a bowl of ice cream, no one will be the wiser. And the added bonus is that you complete the whole course in just 4 weeks (as opposed to our usual 6 week courses)! You won’t be distracted with the usual school work, APs, commute to class, etc. Another bonus? All our lessons are recorded, so you can rewatch each class for extra review! You’ll have a leg up over your classmates who wait until Spring to prep in the midst of all the other chaos. An interactive online Veritas Prep SAT 2400 course over Winter Break. Think about it: less pain, more gain. Win, win, right? Click here to enroll! Lalita Singhasriis a graduate of Columbia University in English and Comparative Literature. Teaching has been a longtime passion and talent for Lalita, as she has over a decade of experience tutoring and teaching various academic subjects, including: test prep, Thai language, ESL, Asian American Studies, and University Writing. Most recently, she has spent two years as a Thai Town foodie tour guide, four years as a lecturer at Cal State University, Northridge, and three years as a Literacy Program volunteer for the Los Angeles Public Library. She looks forward to demystifying the SAT for her students and even making it fun! 
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: GMAT Tip of the Week: Today's Date in Geometry History 
Today is December 5, or in date form it’s 12/5. And if you hope to score 700+ on the GMAT, you should see those two numbers, 5 and 12, and immediately also think “13″! Why? There are certain combinations of numbers that just have to be top of mind when you take the GMAT. The quantitative section goes quickly for almost everyone, and so if you know the following combinations you can save extremely valuable time. Based on Pythagorean Theorem, a^2 + b^2 = c^2, these four ratios come up frequently with right triangles: a_______b________c 3_______4________5 5______12_______13 x_______x______x*(sqrt 2)___(in an isosceles right triangle) x____x*(sqrt3)___2x________(in a 306090 triangle) These four ratios come up frequently when right triangles are present, so they’re about as high as you can get on the “should I memorize this?” scale. But just as important is using these ratios wisely and appropriately, so make sure that when you see the opportunity for them you keep in mind these two important considerations: 1) These “Pythagorean Triplets” are RATIOS, not just exact numbers. So a 345 right triangle could also be a 6810 or 152025, and an isosceles right triangle could very well have dimensions a = 4(sqrt 2), b = 4(sqrt 2), and c = 8 (which would be one of the short sides 4(sqrt 2) multiplied by (sqrt 2) ). An average level question might pair 5 and 12 with you and reward you for quickly seeing 13, while a harder question could make the ratio 15, 36, 39 to reward you for seeing the ratio and not just the exact numbers you memorized. Similarly, people often memorize the 454590 and 306090 triangles so specifically that the test can completely destroy them by making the “wrong” side carry the radical. If the short sides are 4 and 4, you’ll naturally see the hypotenuse as 4(sqrt 2). But if they were to ask you for the length of the hypotenuse and tell you that the area of the triangle is 4 (so 1/2 * a * b = 4, and with a equal to b you’d have 1/2 a^2 = 4, so a^2 = 8 and the short side then measures 2(sqrt 2)), it’s difficult for many to recognize that the hypotenuse could be an integer. So be careful and know that the above chart gives you *RATIOS* and not fixed numbers or fixed placements for the radical sign that denotes square root. 2) In order to apply these ratios, you MUST know which side is the hypotenuse. In a classic GMAT trap, they could easily ask you: What is the perimeter of triangle ABC? (1) Side AB measures 5 meters. (2) Side AC measures 12 meters. And it’s common (in fact a similar problem shows that about 55% of people make this exact mistake) to think “oh well this is a 51213, so both statements together prove that side BC is 13 and I can calculate that the perimeter is 30 meters.” But wait – 5 and 12 only lead to a third side of 13 when you know that 5 and 12 are the short sides. If you don’t know that, the triangle could fit the Pythagorean Theorem with 12 as the hypotenuse, meaning that you’re solving for side b: 5^2 + b^2 = 12^2, so 25 + b^2 = 144, and b then equals the square root of 119. So while it’s critical that you memorize these four right triangle ratios, it’s just as important that you don’t fall so in love with them that you use them even when they don’t apply. Important caveats aside, knowing these ratios is crucial for your ability to work quickly on the quant section. For example, a problem that says something like: In triangle XYZ, side XY, which runs perpendicular to side YZ, measures 24 inches in length. If the longest side of the the triangle is 26 inches, what is the area, in square inches, of triangle XYZ? (A) 100 (B) 120 (C) 140 (D) 150 (E) 165 Those employing Pythagorean Theorem are in for a fight, calculating a^2 + 24^2 = 26^2, then finding the length of a and calculating the area. But those who know the trusty 51213 triplet can quickly see that if 24 = 12*2 and 26 = 13*2, then the other short side is 5*2 which is 10, and the area then is 1/2 * 10 * 24, which is 120. Knowing these ratios, this is a 30 second problem; without them it could be a slog of over 2 minutes, easily, with a higher degree of difficulty due to the extensive calculations. So on today of all days, Friday, the 5th day of the 12th month, keep that 13th in there as a lucky charm. On the GMAT, these ratios will get you out of lots of trouble. 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 
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: Figuring Out the Topic of Discussion on the GMAT 
You must have come across questions which you thought tested one concept but later found out could be easily dealt with using another concept. Often, crafty little mixture problems belong to this category. For example: Mark is playing poker at a casino. Mark starts playing with 140 chips, 20% of which are $100 chips and 80% of which are $20 chips. For his first bet, Mark places chips, 10% of which are $100 chips, in the center of the table. If 70% of Mark’s remaining chips are $20 chips, how much money did Mark bet? You can view this as a word problem where you assume the number of chips and then go splitting them up or you can view this as a mixtures problem even though it doesn’t use words such as ‘mixture’, ‘solution’, ‘combined’ etc. As we have seen enough number of times, our mixture problems are solved in seconds using the weighted average concept. The question discussed here also belongs to the same category – looks super tricky but can be easily solved with weighted averages formula. But we have seen plenty and more of such questions in our blog posts. Today we will take a look at a different type of sinister question and I suggest you to think about the concept being tested in that before trying to solve it. Question: Mark owns four low quality watches. Watch1 loses 15 minutes every hour. Watch2 gains 15 minutes every hour relative to watch1 (that is, as watch1 moves from 12:00 to 1:00, watch2 moves from 12:00 to 1:15). Watch3 loses 20 minutes every hour relative to watch2. Finally, watch4 gains 20 minutes every hour relative to watch3. If Mark resets all four watches to the correct time at 12 noon, what time will watch4 show at 12 midnight that day? (A)10:00 (B)10:34 (C)11:02 (D)11:48 (E)12:20 Before we look at the solution, think about the concept being tested here – clocks? Circular motion? Neither! Solution: Note that when giving data about watch1, you are told how it varies with the actual time. Data about all other watches tells us about the time they show relative to the incorrect watches. The concept being tested here is Relative Speed! What do we mean by “gains 15 mins” or “loses 20 mins” etc? When a watch gains 15 mins every hour, it means that even though it should show that one hour has passed, it shows that 1 hr 15 mins have passed. So the watch runs faster than it should. Hence the speed of the watch is more than the speed of a correct watch. Now the question is how much more? The minute hand of the correct watch travels one full circle in one hour. The minute hand of the incorrect watch travels one full circle and then a quarter circle in one hour (to show that 1 hour 15 mins have passed even when only an hour has passed). So it is 5/4 times the speed of a correct watch. On the same lines, let’s analyze each watch. Say the speed of a correct watch is s.  “Watch1 loses 15 minutes every hour. “ Watch1 covers only three quarters of the circle in an hour. Speed of watch1 = (3/4)*s  “Watch2 gains 15 minutes every hour relative to watch1 (that is, as watch1 moves from 12:00 to 1:00, watch2 moves from 12:00 to 1:15).” Now we have the speed of watch2 relative to speed of watch1. Speed of watch2 is (5/4) times the speed of watch1. Speed of watch2 = (5/4)*(3/4)s = (15/16)*s  “Watch3 loses 20 minutes every hour relative to watch2.” Watch3 loses 20 mins every hour means its speed is (2/3)rd the speed of watch2 Speed of watch3 = (2/3)*(15/16)*s = (5/8)*s  “Finally, watch4 gains 20 minutes every hour relative to watch3.” Speed of watch4 = (4/3)*Speed of watch3 = (4/3)*(5/8)*s = (5/6)*s So the speed of watch4 is (5/6)th the speed of a correct watch. So if a correct watch shows that 6 hours have passed, watch4 will show that 5 hours have passed. If a correct watch shows that 12 hours have passed, watch4 will show that 10 hours have passed. From 12 noon to 12 midnight, a correct watch would have covered 12 hours. Watch4 will cover 10 hours and will show the time as 10:00. Answer (A) 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! 
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: 7 MustHave Items for Your Business School Recommenders 
A lot of time and effort for candidates is spent on areas like the GMAT, essays, and the resume. However, an equally important component of the MBA application is consistently overlooked. Business school recommendations are an integral part of any successful candidate’s application because they give the only external evaluation of an applicant’s work experience and career progression. This component of the application tends not to get as much focus from prospective MBAs, which can be a grave mistake come decision day. As applications become more detailed and specific, so do recommendation forms so the days of blanket recommendations are long gone. Typically recommenders are senior people in organizations so with all of their own personal obligations writing recommendations can be a tedious act amid their busy schedules. So make the process easier for them by creating a recommendation package. The recommendation package should arm your recommenders with all the tools they need to write you a breakthrough recommendation. The following elements should be included in your package: 1. Resume Give your recommender the full picture of your professional background especially if your current job/role is not your only career stop. The resume is also helpful because it includes academic experience and some personal interests in your “Activities” or “ExtraCurricular” section that your recommender may otherwise be unaware of. 2. Reminder of Accomplishments Highlight the great things you have done while working with your recommender, this reminder will make it easy for them to get specific in the evaluation form. 3. Sample Essays I would limit this to a Why MBA/Career Goals essay just so you both are on the same page on your motivations for pursuing a graduate education in business. 4. Application Positioning Help your recommender understand your interest in each specific school and provide some insight on how you will position yourself. 5. Recommendation Questions Some schools will have the questions available for candidates for others it will be sent directly to the recommender. Either way a quick internet search should pull these up for most schools. 6. Recommendation Question Deconstruction Just like essay questions, the recommendation questions are not always as straightforward as one might imagine. Help your recommender connect the dots on what the admissions committee is looking for here. 7. Timeline This might be one of the most important aspects of your package. Remember YOU are applying to business school, not them. It is in your best interest to make sure they are clear on all dates and deadlines. A missed deadline can equate to you missing a target admissions round. I even like to give recommenders a hard deadline that is in advance of the real one, so even if they miss your selfimposed deadline, which most will, you are still in good shape. Take advantage of these tips and help your recommenders help you! Want to craft a strong application? Call us at 18009257737 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! Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. 
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: 3 Ways to Make Your MBA Application Essays More Interesting 
This essay is about how to make your essays for admission to graduate school in business more interesting. Oh wait, that opener didn’t catch your attention? Well that is exactly what admissions officers think when they read the majority of business school essays. Admissions officers read thousands and thousands of essays a year and for lack of a better term the majority are boring. Now the term boring in a vacuum may not be perceived as necessarily a bad thing, when considering these essays are in fact for professional school, but the similar feel of most essays can clump most candidates together. With so much competition at top schools around the world it is important for candidates to utilize their essays to stand out from the pack. Essays are a natural place to stand out, but how? The key here is to make your essays more interesting. Here are a few ways candidates can make their essays more compelling. Topic: Making your essays more interesting starts right from the beginning. Your choice of topic can go a long way in piquing the interest of admissions. When possible, choose topics outside of the typical professional variety. Topics that dive deep into personal, social, and academic anecdotes while highlighting bschool friendly skills like leadership and teamwork diversify your application in a very interesting way and will help you stand out from the masses. Writing Style: Clearly your main goal with any essay is answering the question but how you answer the question is just as important. The best essays read almost like a story where the reader is immersed into a colorful world that provides unique insight into the candidate and their life experiences. Leverage vivid imagery through “live” or “hot” openings to capture the audience’s attention. I know I already said making your essay more interesting starts at the beginning but it really does. How you open an essay can really set a positive vibe and direction for the reader. Personalization: What better to way to create a unique essay than by writing in a way and about things that only you can. Essays that utilize selfreflection, very personal anecdotes and internal dialogue can really stand out in a sea of monotonous essays while highlighting the maturity and insight bschools crave in applicants. Other opportunities to personalize essays include using actual names and locations to really set an introspective context for your essays. Follow these tips and watch your essays move to the top of the pile on decision day! Want to craft a strong application? Call us at 18009257737 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! Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. 
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: Making the Best of Application Season: A Guide for High School Juniors 
Though my junior year was the most academically challenging of my high school experience, my senior year was easily the most stressful. Even though I only took three serious academic courses, none of which were particularly difficult, I found myself consistently swamped with work, short on sleep, and starved of social interaction. Between August and December, I applied to seventeen universities and twelve scholarships, wrote fifteen unique essays, took two SAT’s and three SAT II’s, spent hours with college counselors exploring financial aid options, and maintained straight A’s and a parttime job. The work was certainly worth it—I got more than 90% of my application fees waived, was accepted or waitlisted at 14 of the 17 colleges, and am now a UC Berkeley student studying on a full scholarship—but there are countless ways I could have spared myself unnecessary stress (and gotten a lot more sleep.) Here are a few of the things I’m glad I did (and a few I wish I had done) four years ago to prepare for application season.

FROM Veritas Prep Blog: SAT Tip of the Week: 6 Ways to Master Academic Tone on the Essay 
The SAT essay calls for a more formal and academic tone of writing than some students are comfortable with. Over my two and a half years as an SAT instructor, I’ve received an extraordinary number of questions about what formal tone should look like. Far too often, students mistake complexity for formality, misuse of advanced vocabulary or simply focus too much on tone that they forget the importance of strong content. Here are a few of the most common errors I’ve seen regarding SAT essay tone and how to avoid them. 1. Remember the assignment. Your job is to write an essay that expresses and explains a point of view. In other words, your job is to communicate with your reader in an understandable way. Clarity is always more important than tone; an informal sentence is always preferable to an incomprehensible or grammatically incorrect one. Do not modify the tone of a sentence if doing so will compromise its clarity or correctness. 2. Academic writing does not need to be complex. The first sentence of this tip had a formal and academic tone, but was still very simple and understandable. To achieve an SATappropriate tone, simply avoid contractions, omit slang, keep your analysis as objective as possible, and avoid writing in first or second person. Ensure that nothing you write could come across as offensive, and unless you’re writing proper nouns, only use words that you are sure you could find in a reputable dictionary. Flowery language, needlessly long sentences, and overuse of allusions do not improve tone; usually they only inhibit a reader’s ability to understand your main idea. 3. Advanced vocabulary is only helpful if used correctly. Advanced vocabulary can leave a good impression on a reader, but misused advanced vocabulary is considered an error. Every grammatical error detracts from your credibility as a writer and can badly damage the tone of your essay. Before incorporating an advanced vocabulary word, be sure you know both its definition and its usage. If you are ever unsure about either, use a different word. 4. Read your practice essays aloud. Could anything that you’ve stated come across as offensive or biased? Would you feel comfortable speaking in that manner to a judge, an employer, or a government official? Do you sound respectful and confident? If not, you may have an inconsistent or informal tone. 5. Have someone read your essay to you. Ask a friend to read your practice essay to you, and ask yourself these same questions. Sometimes it’s easier to recognize tone problems by listening rather than speaking. 6. Identify words you would use in a speech. Imagine that you’re the President speaking to a classroom full of high school seniors. What words would you use, and how would you present your argument? The tone you’re imagining—both formal and understandable—approximates correct SAT tone. Be aware of vocabulary, read your essay aloud, and know how to be concise and clear. Following this advice and you’ll be a master of academic tone on the SAT essay. 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! Courtney Tran is a student at UC Berkeley, studying Political Economy and Rhetoric. In high school, she was named a National Merit Finalist and National AP Scholar, and she represented her district two years in a row in Public Forum Debate at the National Forensics League National Tournament. 
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: Why Does the GMAT Test Geometry? 
One topic that always makes me think on the GMAT is geometry. It’s not that geometry is particularly hard, or even particularly easy, but rather that it’s particularly irrelevant! Having done an MBA in the past few years, I can virtually guarantee you that you will never have to calculate the area of a rhombus or the volume of a cone during your graduate studies. It’s possible that you have to calculate various geometric shapes in your career after graduating (say you run an ice cream shop!), but during your education the entire discipline seems somewhat superfluous. So if geometry isn’t useful in your studies, why would the GMAT regularly contain 46 questions that deal specifically with geometry? The answer is: the people making the exam want to know how you think. That’s all. The GMAT is a test designed to measure your critical thinking skills and your ability to reason out conclusions. The fact that geometry is being used as a vehicle to accomplish these goals is only because geometry is a key part of the high school curriculum. Similar questions could easily be formulated about linear algebra, calculus or other mathematical disciplines (please no one tell the GMAC about manifolds). However, the fact that not everyone has seen these disciplines before would give some people an unfair advantage. The GMAT may be many things, but unfair is not usually one of the qualities mentioned (cruel comes up a lot, though). The other issue about geometry is it seems that it’s a subject that requires a lot of memorization. While it’s true that many formulae (or formulas) need to be committed to memory before taking the test, most questions revolve around how to use that information. On occasion, it may seem that there’s a different formula for every situation, the majority of questions will require you to apply a simple concept or formula in an unfamiliar situation. Let’s look at an example of a geometry question that doesn’t require any special formula, but stumps a lot of students: If the radius of a circle that centers at the origin is 5, how many points on the circle have integer coordinates? (A) 4 (B) 8 (C) 12 (D) 15 (E) 20 There is a necessity to understand some of the verbiage in this question in order to be able to answer it properly. Firstly, a circle that is centered at the origin is centered at point {0,0}. The radius is 5, which means we know the diameter (2*r), the circumference (2*π*r) and the area (π * r^2). However, none of that information really helps us to answer this question. We are interested in how many points on the circle have integer coordinates. Quite simply, a circle has an infinite number of discrete points, so it’s easier to answer this question in the reverse: For each integer coordinate, is that point on the circle? Let’s start with the obvious ones. The point {5,0} has to necessarily be on the circle. If the origin is {0,0} and the radius is 5, then not only must point {5,0} be on the circle, but so must point {5,0}. The circle extends in all four directions, so we cannot forget the negative values. Similarly, the points {0,5} and {0,5} will also be on the points, effectively covering the four cardinal points from the original circle. The circle could look something like this: After solving for these four points, we must evaluate whether other integer coordinates could be on the circle. One thing should be clear: if the radius is 5, then any integer point above 5 will necessarily not be on the circle, as it is beyond the reach of our radius. We’ve already covered zero, so the only options we have left are one, two, three and four. Of course all of these numbers have negatives and can be considered on either the x or y axis, but still we have a finite number of possibilities to consider. Another important thing that might not be as obvious is that the answer to this question will necessarily be a multiple of four. Given that a circle extends in all directions by the same distance, it is impossible for point {x, y} to be on the circle and for points {x,y}, {x,y} and {x,y} to not also be on the circle. This is an important property of all circles and one of the reasons they’re so common in everything from architecture to cooking (and to alien crop circles, if you believe in that). This rule also guarantees that any answer choice that’s not a multiple of four can be eliminated. We can thus eliminate answer choice D (15). How do we go about finding other points on the circle? (Why am I asking rhetorical questions?) By using the Pythagorean Theorem, of course! Any point on the circle naturally forms a right angle triangle with the radius as the hypotenuse, and the radius is always five. Therefore, if the two other sides can be formed out of integers, we have a point on the circle with integer coordinates. The graph below will highlight this principle: Since the Pythagorean Theorem states that the squares of the sides will be equal to the square of the hypotenuse, we only need to look for numbers that satisfy the equation a^2 +b^2 = r^2. And given that r is 5, r^2 must always be 25. So if we plug in a as one, we find that 1 + b^2 = 25. This gives us b^2 = 24, or b = √24, which is not an integer. We only have to plug this in three more times, so there’s no reason not to try all the possibilities. If a = 2, then we get 4 + b^2 = 25. The value of b would be √21, which again is not an integer value. If a = 3, however, we quickly recognize the vaunted 345 triangle, as 9 + b^2 = 25, meaning b^2 is 16 and therefore b is 4. This means that the points {3,4}, {3,4}, {3,4} and {3,4} are all on the circle. We’ve brought the total up to 8, but we’re not done. The final value is when a equals four, which will again work and bring in the converse of the last iteration: {4,3}, {4,3}, {4,3} and {4,3}. These values are distinct from the previous ones, so we now have a total of 12 points. We’ve already checked five, so we can stop here. The answer to this question is answer choice C. There will be 12 distinct values with integer coordinates, as crudely demonstrated below (or on any analog clock). In geometry, even if it feels like you have to constantly commit more rules to memory, remember that the rules are not nearly as important as knowing how to apply them. This problem can be solved with just the Pythagorean Theorem and a little elbow grease (or a graphing calculator). The GMAT is very much a test of how you think, not of what you know. If you think about geometry problems as cases that must be solved, or obstacles to be overcome, you’ll be in good shape to solve them. 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. 
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: How to Prepare for Your Business School Interview 
For many applicants the notification of an interview invite from your dream school is an exciting next step after an arduous application process. All of your hard work has finally boiled down to some initial success. However, typically the excitement soon turns to anxiety as candidates begin to realize they have no idea how to prepare for an admissions interview for business school. “Is it just like a regular job interview?” “What type of questions do they ask?” are just some of the common initial questions that can arise once an interview invitation is received. The business school interview should not be viewed as anything new to you. It is more similar to the traditional job interview than you might expect. Just like a regular interview you are aiming to impress and the majority of the interview will be focused on YOU! The key difference with this interview is really just the goal, which in this case is admission to the MBA program of your dreams. I would recommend preparing for your MBA interview the same way you prepare for any job interview, it starts with knowing your own personal background inside and out along with your motivations for that target business school. Then it’s researching your target school and identifying the aspects that make the school uniquely attractive to you. A nice way to do this is to pair up schoolspecific offerings of interest with an adjoining explanation for why that offering is uniquely attractive to you. This includes academic offerings, extracurricular activities/professional clubs, career support/recruiting strengths, etc. Next I would identify common MBA questions like…
Also, breakthrough candidates will make sure to incorporate the “I” of what they accomplished into their script. Make sure to connect the dots with regards to the steps you’ve taken in your career, and remain structured in your responses. Utilizing the S.T.A.R format (SituationTaskActionResult) and talking in buckets – “There are 3 Reasons Why I Want to Go to Fuqua” are other tactics one can sneak into their preparation for the interview. Finally, take particular note of how the interview style of certain schools can affect your responses. Some schools like Kellogg have “blind” interviews so the interviewer will not have seen your application, so they will not have access to important information like GPA, GMAT, essays etc. Other styles can be influenced by the type of interviewer (Alum vs. Student vs. Admissions) or the location (On Campus vs. Off Campus) which can dictate the type of information you are prepared to share as well as list on your resume for the interview. Don’t let the interview be the end of your business school journey, prepare accordingly and come decision day you will be all smiles! Want to craft a strong application? Call us at 18009257737 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! Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. 
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: 4 Questions To Ask Yourself On Min/Max GMAT Problems 
Min/Max problems can be among the most frustrating on the GMAT’s quantitative section. Why? Because they seldom involve an equation or definite value. They’re the ones that ask things like “did the fisherman who caught the thirdmost fish catch at least 12 fish?” or “what is the maximum number of fish that any one fisherman caught?”. And the reason the GMAT loves them? It’s precisely because they’re so much more strategic than they are “calculational.” They make you think, not just plug and chug. However… There are three kneejerk questions that you should plug (if not chug) into your brain to ask yourself every time you see a Min/Max problem before you ask that fourth question “What’s my strategy?”:
#1: “Four friends go fishing and catch a total of 10 fish. How many fish did the friend with the highest total catch?” #2: “Four friends go fishing and catch a total of 10 fish. If no two friends caught the same number of fish, how many fish did the friend with the highest total catch?” #3: “Four friends go fishing and catch a total of 10 fish. If each friend caught at least one fish but no two friends caught the same number, how many fish did the friend with the highest total catch?” #4: “Four friends go fishing and catch a total of 10 pounds of fish. If each friend caught at least one fish but no two friends caught the same number, how many pounds of fish did the friend with the highest total catch?” Hopefully you can see the progression as this set builds. In the first problem, there’s clearly no way to tell. Did one friend catch all ten? Did everyone catch at least two and two friends tied with 3? You just don’t know. But then it gets interesting, based on the questions you need to ask yourself on all of these. With #2, two big restrictions are in play. Fish must be integers, so you’re only dealing with the 11 integers 0 through 10. And if no two friends caught the same number there’s a limited number of unique values that can add up to 10. But the catch on this one should be evident after you’ve read #3. Zero *IS* possible in this case, so while the totals could be 1, 2, 3, and 4 (guaranteeing the answer of 4), if the lowest person could have caught 0 (that’s where “min/max” comes in – to maximize the top value you want to minimize the other values) there’s also the possibility for 0, 1, 2, and 7. Because the zero possibility was still lurking out there, there’s not quite enough information to solve this one. And that’s why you always have to ask yourself “is 0 possible?”. #3 should showcase that. If 0 is no longer a possibility *AND* the numbers have to be integers *AND* the numbers can’t repeat, then the only option is 1 (the new min value since 0 is gone), 2 (because you can’t match 1), 3, and 4. The highest total is 4. And #4 shows why the seeminglyirrelevant backstory of “friends going fishing” is so important. Pounds of fish can be nonintegers, but fish themselves have to be integers. So even though this prompt looks very similar to #3, because we’re no longer limited to integers it’s very easy for the values to not repeat and still give wildly different max values (1, 2, 3, and 4 or 1.5, 2, 3, and 3.5 for example). As you can see, the scenario really drives the answer, although the fourth question “What is my strategy?” will almost always require some real work. Let’s take a look at a couple questions from the Veritas Prep Question Bank to illustrate. Question 1: Four workers from an international charity were selling shirts at a local event yesterday. Did one of the workers sell at least three shirts yesterday at the event? (1) Together they sold 8 shirts yesterday at the event. (2) No two workers sold the same number of shirts. (A) Statement (1) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (2) alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked (B) Statement (2) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (1) alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked (C) Both statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are sufficient to answer the question asked; but NEITHER statement ALONE is sufficient (D) EACH statement ALONE is sufficient to answer the question asked (E) Statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are NOT sufficient to answer the question asked, and additional data specific to the problem are needed Before you begin strategizing, ask yourself the three major questions: 1) Do the values have to be integers? YES – that’s why the problem chose shirts. 2) Is zero possible? YES – it’s not prohibited, so that means you have to consider zero as a min value. 3) Can the numbers repeat? That’s why statement 2 is there. With the given information and with statement 1, numbers can repeat. That allows you to come up with the setup 2, 2, 2, and 2 for statement 1 (giving the answer “NO”) or 1, 2, 2, and 3 (giving the answer “YES” and proving this insufficient). But when statement 2 says on its own that, NO, the numbers cannot repeat, that’s a much more impactful statement than most testtakers realize. Taking statement 2 alone, you have four integers that cannot repeat (and cannot be negative), so the smallest setup you can find is 0, 1, 2, and 3 – and with that someone definitely sold at least three shirts. Statement 2 is sufficient with really no calculations whatsoever, but with careful attention to the everimportant questions. Question 2: Last year, Company X paid out a total of $1,050,000 in salaries to its 21 employees. If no employee earned a salary that is more than 20% greater than any other employee, what is the lowest possible salary that any one employee earned? (A) $40,000 (B) $41,667 (C) $42,000 (D) $50,000 (E) $60,000 Here ask yourself the same questions: 1) The numbers do not have to be integers. 2) Zero is theoretically possible (but probably constrained by the 20% difference restriction) 3) Numbers absolutely can repeat (which will be very important) 4) What’s your strategy? If you want the LOWEST possible single salary, then use your answer to #3 (they can repeat) and give the other 20 salaries the maximum. That way your calculation looks like: x + 20(1.2x) = 1,050,000 Which breaks out to 25x = 1,050,000, and x = 42000. And notice how important the answer to #3 was – by knowing that numbers could repeat, you were able to quickly put together a smart strategy to minimize one single value. The larger lesson is crucial here, though – these problems are often (but not always) fairly basic mathematically, but derive their difficulty from a situation that limits some options or allows for more than you’d think via integer restrictions, the possibility of zero, and the possibility of repeat values. Ask yourself these four questions, and your answer to the first three especially will maximize your efficiency on the strategic portion of the problem. 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 
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: Finding the Last Two Digits on GMAT Quant Questions  Part I 
We all know how to find the last digit using cyclicity when we are given a number raised to a power. Last digit of a number depends only on the last digit of the base. You must be quite familiar with something like this  Last Digit of Base: 0 – Last digit of expression with any power will be 0. 1 – Last digit of expression with any power will be 1. 2 – 2, 4, 8, 6, 2, 4, 8, 6… Cyclicity is 4. 3 – 3, 9, 7, 1, 3, 9, 7, 1… Cyclicity is 4. 4 – 4, 6, 4, 6, 4, 6, 4, 6… Cyclicity is 2. 5  Last digit of expression with any power will be 5. 6 – Last digit of expression with any power will be 6. 7 – 7, 9, 3, 1, 7, 9, 3, 1… Cyclicity is 4. 8 – 8, 4, 2, 6, 8, 4, 2, 6… Cyclicity is 4. 9 – 9, 1, 9, 1, 9, 1, 9, 1… Cyclicity is 2. Cyclicity is nothing but pattern recognition. You see that when you multiply 2 by itself, there is a pattern of last digit which goes 2, 4, 8, 6, 2, 4, 8, 6 and so on. We can use the same principle for when a question asks us for the last two digits of the expression. Let me remind you first that here at QWQW, we sometimes flirt with the lines that define GMAT scope. Obviously, we do point out whenever we are indulging and that’s exactly what we are going to do in this post. We are carrying on for the love of Math and the Q51 score. The last two digits of the base decide the last two digits of the expression. For example, Example 1: Let’s look at powers of 11. 11^1 = 11 11^2 = 121 11^3 = 1331 11^4 = …41 (we should just multiply the last two digits together and ignore the rest) 11^5 = …51 11^6 = …61 11^7 = …71 Note that the last two digits are displaying a pattern depending on the power. So we expect the cyclicity here to be 10. 11^8 = …81 11^9 = …91 11^(10) = …01 11^(11) = …11 11^(12) = …21 and so on. So the last two digits should go from 11, 21 to 91, 01 and then go to 11 again. The cycle of 10 starts from power of 1, 11, 21 etc. This means that 11^(46) should have last two digits as 61, 11^(92) should have last two digits as 21 and 11^(168) should have last two digits as 81. Let’s look at some other numbers now: Example 2: Say, we need the last two digits of 6^{58} 6^1 = 6 (No second last digit) 6^2 = 36 6^3 = 216 6^4 = …96 (Just multiply the last two digits) 6^5 = …76 6^6 = …56 6^7 = …36 and hence starts the cycle again: 3, 1, 9, 7, 5, 3, 1, 9, 7, 5 and so on. The new cycle with tens digit of 3 begins at the powers of 2, 7, 12, 17, 22, 27 etc. So the new cycle will also begin at power of 57 and 6^58 will have 1 as the tens digit. Example 3: How about the last two digits of 7^102? 7^1 = 7 (No second last digit) 7^2 = 49 7^3 = 343 7^4 = …01 7^5 = …07 7^6 = …49 7^7 = …43 We see a cyclicity of 4 here: 49, 43, 01, 07, 49, 43, 01, 07 … and so on. The new cycle begins at 2, 6, 10, 14 i.e. even powers which are not multiples of 4. So a new cycle will begin at 102 too. So the last two digits of 7^(102) will be 49. Now there can be many variations in the questions asking us to find the last two digits. We will use different concepts for different question types. Today we saw how to use pattern recognition. We will look at some other methods next week. 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! 
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: How to Write Breakthrough Application Essays for Kellogg 
The Kellogg School of Management has always been known to be as innovative in the design of their unique academic community as they have been in the construction of their application. This year is no different as the school returns for the 20142015 application season with a stark departure from last year’s set of essays. Kellogg’s change has resulted in the school having some of the most introspective essay topics amongst top business schools. A school like Kellogg that has such a clear sense of the type of candidates they are looking for is looking for candidates to really open up in these essays. Let’s take a look at each individual essay: Essay 1 – Resilience. Perseverance. Grit. Call it what you will…. Challenges can build character. Describe a challenging experience you’ve had. How were you tested? What did you learn? The three adjectives signal right away what Kellogg wants from you in this essay. It’s all about selfreflection and maturity. So open up! It is not enough to simply offer up a challenging experience for this essay. Admissions is also looking for your thought process during this situation. Where was the strife? What made the situation so challenging? How did you overcome this challenging experience? How did this experience impact you moving forward? Be introspective and dive deep into the specific of the situation. Breakthrough essays will put the reader right in the middle of the conflict early on and show NOT tell the specific steps the applicant took to overcome the challenge while including the corresponding thought process during this experience. Also, since essay 2 is focused on a professional experience, this essay may be an obvious opportunity to get a little personal with your choice of topic. Essay 2 – Leadership requires an ability to collaborate with and motivate others. Describe a professional experience that required you to influence people. What did this experience teach you about working with others, and how will it make you a better leader? The core of the Kellogg MBA is development of interpersonal skills through collaborative learning. The school has always had the reputation as the premier teamwork school in the world. One rarely discussed nuance of the Kellogg MBA is that the school is not simply interested in developing team players but instead they want to develop leaders of teams. As you identify which experience makes sense here, select one that you can really tell a full and comprehensive story for. Too many candidates select anecdotes with limited scope, which really restricts the depth with which candidates can write. A key trap many applicants fall into here is to not fully answer the question. The essay is about two things: leadership and influence; not addressing both will be a major missed opportunity to show off those fancy interpersonal skills Kellogg loves so much. The “influence” component of this essay is the more common area where candidate underwhelm. Breakthrough candidates will showcase how they have changed mindsets as leaders and the mechanisms by which they have successfully done so. As with all Kellogg application components it is important to remain selfreflective while integrating the personal elements of your professional decision making into responses to these essays. Remain focused on these key tips and come decision day you will be seen as a breakthrough candidate by admissions. Want to craft a strong application? Call us at 18009257737 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! Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. 
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: SAT Tip of the Week: 5 Sources to Prepare Essay Examples 
Are you struggling with finding sources for your essay? You’re not alone! It can be challenging to find current examples to help you prepare for this part of the SAT. Check out these 5 tips to help you gain ideas to craft your essay: 1. CNN Student News (http://www.cnn.com/studentnews/) – Hate reading the newspaper? Want to watch a fastpaced video instead? CNN Student News is your answer. One caveat: while the “fun facts” may interest you generally, they probably aren’t good material for the SAT essay. After all, how would you sculpt an argument about the importance of privacy based on the fact that dark chocolate is good for your heart? (No kidding, that was part of a video three months ago.) 2. Sparknotes Videos (http://www.sparknotes.com/sparknotes/video/) – Pretty selfexplanatory, Sparknotes Videos translate lengthy plot summaries into animated 710 minute videos that sum up several commonlystudied novels. While you’re watching, be sure to have your SAT2400 Workbook handy so that you can note down full names of characters, the setting, relevant plot points, the author, and the time period. 3. History Class – Why not kill two birds with one stone and refresh your memory on something (a battle, a major treaty, etc.) you recently had to study for a history test? While choosing events – and this goes for your current events and literary examples as well – always make sure that the example can be “twisted” in multiple fashions to fit multiple topics. Several such multifaceted examples will ensure that you are prepared to answer any question with ease. 4. Wikipedia – Believe it or not, several students each class ask me if “it is okay” to use Wikipedia to look up specifics of their examples. Yes! This is not a high school research paper where your teacher has banned Wikipedia as a source. The website is a timeefficient way of noting the details you need for several examples in each category. 5. Facebook News – I mention this one because most of you are probably spending hours a day on Facebook anyways. You might even be inadvertently aware of what’s going on in current events because you just can’t help but glance to that upper right part of your home page! Let’s face it, taking a break from the “OMG LOOK AT THE SANDWICH I JUST ATE” pics will not only help you on the SAT but will prevent brain decay. Seriously. I studied Neuroscience in college. Lastly, NO NO NO personal examples! Do as much as you can to make yourself seem more educated than the average testtaker. Be sure to keep in mind academic tone when you write your essay. For more guidance on how to master this, check out last week’s tip here. 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! Sidhi Gosain studied Neuroscience at Brown University. She tutored for BRYTE, a studentled program which pairs undergraduate tutors with refugees from Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. While she is currently pursuing a film career in both acting and production in Los Angeles, Sidhi is excited to keep tutoring students to beat standardized tests! 
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: How to Use Your Time Wisely on Reading Comprehension GMAT Questions 
On the verbal section of the GMAT, students invariably spend more time on Reading Comprehension questions than on either Sentence Correction or Critical Reasoning problems. In fact, I’ve seen score reports where people spent more time on Reading Comprehension than on the other two question types combined! Students spend a lot of time on these passages because they are consistently packed with pointless information, runon sentences and dense technical jargon. Attempting to untangle these passages can lead to a lot of frustration for test takers (Fortunately, there’s an app for that). One reason people spend a lot of time on these questions is that they try to read the entire passage thoroughly. This is normal because this is how most reading is done, be it in newspapers or periodicals or novels. However, on the GMAT, speed is the name of the game. If I were doing a book report on Shakespeare’s works, then I would read the text multiple times, looking for nuance and symbolism. The goal on the GMAT is quite different: you have roughly eight minutes to read a passage and then answer four questions about it. That isn’t much time, but it can work if you’re questionfocused. Why be question focused? (Rhetorical question) A typical passage may have 300400 words, and you could be asked 2030 different questions about the information contained within it. In reality, you will only be asked 345 questions about this text, so becoming an expert on the minutiae contained within seems like a complete waste of time. In fact, considering that you only have ~2 minutes per question, it is not only a waste of time but a distraction that will waste precious time and lower your score. The vast majority of questions will require you to go back to the passage and reread the relevant portion, so your initial read is only there to give you a general sense of the text. After the initial read, you should be able to answer broad, universal questions. However, for questions that deal in specifics, you’ll have to go back to the text. Specific questions deal with (drum roll please) specific elements of the passage. At first glance, you wouldn’t necessarily recall such minute details, but if you know where to go back in the text, it becomes a trivial case of rereading until you find it. As an example, you might not remember what Luke Skywalker was wearing on Tatooine when he first meets ObiWan Kenobi, but you could just rewatch the first act of Star Wars and see for yourself. There is no need to memorize every minor detail, as long as you know where to find the answer, you can just look it up. Let’s look at a GMAT passage and answer a question that deals with a specific element of the passage (note: this is the same passage I used in October for a function question). Nearly all the workers of the Lowell textile mills of Massachusetts were unmarried daughters from farm families. Some of the workers were as young as ten. Since many people in the 1820s were disturbed by the idea of working females, the company provided wellkept dormitories and boardinghouses. The meals were decent and church attendance was mandatory. Compared to other factories of the time, the Lowell mills were clean and safe, and there was even a journal, The Lowell Offering, which contained poems and other material written by the workers, and which became known beyond New England. Ironically, it was at the Lowell Mills that dissatisfaction with working conditions brought about the first organization of working women. The mills were highly mechanized, and were in fact considered a model of efficiency by others in the textile industry. The work was difficult, however, and the high level of standardization made it tedious. When wages were cut, the workers organized the Factory Girls Association. 15,000 women decided to “turn out”, or walk off the job. The Offering, meant as a pleasant creative outlet, gave the women a voice that could be heard by sympathetic people elsewhere in the country, and even in Europe. However, the ability of the women to demand changes was severely circumscribed by an inability to go for long without wages with which to support themselves and help support their families. The same limitation hampered the effectiveness of the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association (LFLRA), organized in 1844. No specific reform can be directly attributed to the Lowell workers, but their legacy is unquestionable. The LFLRA’s founder, Sarah Bagley, became a national figure, testifying before the Massachusetts House of Representatives. When the New England Labor Reform League was formed, three of the eight board members were women. Other mill workers took note of the Lowell strikes, and were successful in getting better pay, shorter hours, and safer working conditions. Even some existing child labor laws can be traced back to efforts first set in motion by the Lowell Mill Women. According to the passage, which of the following contributed to the inability of the workers at Lowell to have their demands met? (A) The very young age of some of the workers made political organization impractical. (B) Social attitudes of the time pressured women into not making demands. (C) The Lowell Female Labor Reform Association was not organized until 1844. (D) Their families depended on the workers to send some of their wages home. (E) The people who were most sympathetic to the workers lived outside of New England. If you’ve been following the Veritas technique on Reading Comprehension, then you should have spent about two minutes reading through the passage and summarizing each paragraph in a couple of words. If you didn’t do this, feel free to go back and do it now. Once completed, your summaries of each paragraph should be something like: 1) Lowell Mills and context 2) Labor strife and consequences 3) Legacy of Lowell Mills Your exact wording may vary, but you want to keep it at about 35 words or so. This should give enough of a framework so you know where to go in every question. If we look at the question at hand, it asks why were the workers at Lowell unable to have their demands met. This has to be in the second paragraph, as that was the part that dealt with the actual worker strife. Rereading this paragraph, we go through a description of what prompted the strike and then how many people participated. Directly following this is the line: “However, the ability of the women to demand changes was severely circumscribed by an inability to go for long without wages with which to support themselves and help support their families”. This was their downfall: they needed money to support themselves and their loved ones (unsurprisingly the downfall of most strikes). The wording used may be somewhat obtuse, but the context makes it quite clear that the issue was money. Going through the answer choices, D is the only option that is remotely close to what we want, and is therefore the correct answer. On Reading Comprehension questions, it’s very easy to experience information overload (TL;DR for the new generation). A lot of information is contained in each passage, and this is not an accident. The test is designed to try and waste your time with frivolous sentences, so your goal is to read for overarching intent and know that you’ll have to revisit the text on most questions. Specific questions tend to ask about something minor, or possibly tangential, and therefore usually require you to reread the passage. Practice Reading Comprehension timing and you will find that you can answer these specific questions faster. 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. 
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: Mind The Gap Year: 6 Considerations for a High School Senior 
I have quite a number of friends who participated in The Gap Year, taking a break between high school and college. The results were mixed. As a graduating high school senior, I thought the idea of a gap year was ridiculous (why put off something I had been planning on doing since elementary school?) but now that I’m nearing graduation I see its value a lot more clearly. Here are a few things I wish I had considered three years ago. 1. Burnout is real. Throughout high school and my first two years of college, I filled my schedule with extracurriculars, classes, and travel, reasoning that I’d only have one high school and one undergraduate experience, and that I should try to get as much out of both as I could. However, at the end of my sophomore year, I realized that I wasn’t enjoying my work. My grades, my health, and my mood took a few heavy hits before I realized that the problem wasn’t that my major and my work didn’t fit my interests; I was just completely exhausted, mentally and physically, and the only possible solution was rest. Burnout isn’t a sign of laziness or weakness, but an occasionally unavoidable symptom of overwork. Unfortunately, if not dealt with in a healthy way, burnout can sap energy and waste time, and at worst can interrupt academic ambitions or make retention and learning impossible. I know plenty of people who became burned out earlier or later than I did in their academic careers, and productively used time off—often in the form of a gap year—to refresh themselves and to rekindle their passion for their work. 2. Once you start school, it’s hard to stop. A summer abroad in England and a light course load in my fall semester helped me recover from my burnout, but the process was slow and frustrating because I never found time to completely relax. My heavy reliance on financial aid and scholarships, the yearlong lease on my apartment, and my desire to graduate at the same time as my peers made the prospect of taking a semester off seem impossible, and my fouryear class plan couldn’t easily be reorganized since the classes I needed to graduate were only offered in particular semesters. I chose to lighten rather than to pause my work, but academic and financial limits prevented me from lightening it as much as I would have liked to. By starting college, I had laid a fairly inflexible groundwork for the next four years, and two years later I had little choice but to stick to it, regardless of the fact that a break would probably have been extremely healthy at the time for me, both academically and personally. 3. Once you stop school, it’s hard to start again. Many students who take a gap year never return to their studies. College is demanding, expensive, and very tempting to postpone indefinitely once you’ve shifted away from the “school mode” mindset. Consider how committed you are to getting a college degree before deciding to take time off. 4. If you’re going to take a gap year, do something meaningful with it. Many students take a year to travel to incredible places or to gain valuable work experience, and return to school with amazing stories to tell and a unique perspective that ends up enriching their education. The ones I know recount these experiences as easily the most valuable part of their gap year. Others take a muchneeded break, or save up money in order to be able to spend more time studying and less time working once they do enter college. College is fantastic, but so is the rest of the world, and both places have a lot to offer. The last thing you want to do is feel like you’ve done nothing but waste time while others around you have grown and learned. 6. Admissions offices don’t discriminate one way or the other. Again, the key is not where you spent your time but how you’ve used it. The things that appear on your resume and in your essays represent your interests and your character, whether they took place in a classroom or on a mission trip to Ecuador. A good friend of mine, who sat on an admissions committee for many years, once told me that some of the most interesting candidates he ever interviewed made themselves stand out by using a gap year to acquire unique experience. There is no one perfect path. Just as everyone’s college experience is unique, every gap year is unique as well. If you’re really not sure, check with your university of interest to see what their policies are about taking time off. Three short years after starting college, I’ve already had to begin considering whether I’ll take time off before graduate school. Twelve months isn’t very long, just like four years (shockingly) isn’t very long; and ultimately, whether or not you take a gap year after high school won’t determine whether or not you succeed in life, whether you’ll be happy, or even whether you finish your education. 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! Courtney Tran is a student at UC Berkeley, studying Political Economy and Rhetoric. In high school, she was named a National Merit Finalist and National AP Scholar, and she represented her district two years in a row in Public Forum Debate at the National Forensics League National Tournament. 
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: GMAT Tip of the Week: Serial and Sufficiency 
Like most offices in the United States today, Veritas Prep’s headquarters had its fair share of water cooler and coffemaker discussions about yesterday’s final episode of the Serial podcast. Did Adnan do it? Did Jay set him up? Why does Don get a free pass based on a LensCrafters timecard punch? Does Best Buy have pay phones? The one answer we can give you is “we used MailChimp” so there’s that at least. The other answer we can give you? Sarah Koenig would do pretty darned well on Data Sufficiency questions, where often it’s just as important to determine what you don’t know as it is to determine what you do. While the internet buzzed with theories certain that Adnan did it, that Jay did it, that a recentlyreleased serial killer did it, Koenig was often ridiculed for being so noncommittal in her assessment of whether Adnan is guilty or not. But that’s an important mentality on Data Sufficiency questions, as one of the common ways that the GMAT will bait you is giving you information that seems overwhelmingly sufficient (The Nisha call! The phone was in Leakin Park!) but that leaves just enough doubt (Why did Jay’s story change so much?) that you can’t prove a definitive answer. And like the jury in the Serial case, we all have that tendency to jump to conclusions (“well if he didn’t kill her, who did?”) and filter out information that we don’t like (Christina Gutierrez’s performance…). This Serialthemed Data Sufficiency problem should exemplify (forgive the lack of subscript formatting, but a sequence problem in a Serial blog post seemed fitting): The infinite (serial) sequence a1, a2, …, an, … is such that a1 = x, a2 = y, a3 = z,a4 = 3 and an = a(n4) for n > 4. What is the sum of the first 98 terms of the sequence? (1) x = 5 (2) y + z = 2 As people unpack the mystery in this problem, they start to see what’s going on. If an = a(n4), then each term equals the term that came four prior. So the sequence really goes: x, y, z, 3, x, y, z, 3, x, y, z, 3… So although it looks like a pretty massive mystery, really you’re trying to figure out x, y, and z because 3 is just 3. And here’s a common way of thinking: Statement 1 is not sufficient, but it gets you one of the terms. And Statement 2 is not sufficient but it gets you two more. So when you put them together, you know that the sum of one trip through the 4term sequence is 5 + 2 + 3 = 10, so you should be able to extrapolate that to the whole thing, right? Just figure out how many trips through will get you to term 98 and you have it; like the Syed jury, you have the motive and the timeline and the cell phone records and Jay’s testimony, so the answer has to be C. Right? But let’s interview Sarah Koenig here: Sarah: The pieces all seem to fit but I’m just not so sure. Statement 2 looks really bad for him. If we can connect those dots for y and z, and we already have x, we should have all variables converted to numbers. Literally it all adds up. But I feel like I’m missing something. I can definitely get the sum of the first 4 terms and of the first 8 terms and of the first 12 terms; those are 10, and 20, and 30. But what about the number 98? And that’s where Sarah Koenig’s trademark thoughtfulnessoveropinionatedry comes in. There is a giant hole in “Answer choice C’s case” against this problem. You can get the sequence in blocks of 4, but 98 is two past the last multiple of 4 (which is 96). The 97th term is easy: that’s x = 5. But the 98th term is tricky: it’s y, and we don’t know y unless we have z with it ( we just have the sum of the two). So we can’t solve for the 98th term. The answer has to be E – we just don’t know. Now if you’ve heard yesterday’s episode, think about Dana’s “think of all the things that would have to have gone wrong, all the bad luck” rundown. “He lent his car and his phone to the guy who pointed the finger at him. That sucks for him. On the day that his girlfriend went missing. That’s awful luck…” And in real life she may be right – that’s a lot of probability to overcome. But on the GMAT they hand pick the questions. On this problem you can solve for the 97th term (up to 96 there are just blocks of 4 terms, and you know that each block sums to 10, and the 97th term is known as 5) or the 99th term (same thing, but add the sum of the 98th and 99th terms which you know is 2). But the GMAT handselected the tricky question just like Koenig handselected the Adnan Syed case for its mystery. GMAT Data Sufficiency questions are like Serial…it pays to be skeptical as you examine the evidence. It pays to think like Sarah Koenig. Unlike Jay, the statements will always be true and they’ll always be consistent, but like Serial in general you’ll sometimes find that you just don’t have enough information to definitively answer the question on everyone’s lips. So do your journalistic due diligence and look for alternative explanations (Don did it!). Next thing you know you’ll be “Stepping Out!!!” of the test center with a high GMAT score. This message presented by Mail Chimp. Send us a high five. 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 
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: The Power of Routine: 3 Tips To Improve Your ACT Score 
Once you have acquired the toolbox of skills and knowledge you need to do well on the ACT, there is one more valuable strategy to help you do well on test day: routine. Routine is one of the more underestimated elements of testprep, but it can be a powerful aid in preparing for test day. Routine will help you conquer your nerves and walk into test day prepared and confident. Routine works to improve your test score on a few levels. It gets your body physically accustomed to test day conditions as well as works to quell the nerves (your biggest enemy on test day can be anxiety). Routine is powerful! Here are a few ways in which you can establish a routine that will help you score better on test day. Sleep Schedule: You want to ensure that you know exactly how your body and mind will feel on test day. Establishing a good sleep schedule in the weeks before the test will play a crucial role in this. If you’re used to sleeping in until 10am and taking your practice ACT at 11am, it will come as a shock to wake up at 6am on test day. You will know your test time weeks before the actual exam; work on getting your body accustomed to the sleep schedule that this test time requires. “Test” Practice: You can work to simulate testing conditions in a number of ways. If you’re scheduled to take your ACT on Saturday at 8 am, practice waking up at 6am, driving to another location, sitting down, and taking a practice exam four Saturdays before the test. The more times you do the routine, the more comfortable you will feel on test day. If you can practice at your actual test center, that’s great! Be sure to account for timing and standardized breaks. Nutrition: Food is a critical part of routine that is often forgotten. Hunger can distract your attention from the exam, so be sure to figure out what kinds of snacks you need to bring. This plays a significant role on test day, from the breakfast you eat, to the snacks you bring, to the amount of liquids you consume. Everyone is different, so it can be helpful to test out what kinds of breakfast keeps you full and satisfied throughout your exam. While it may seem trivial, making sure you stay hydrated without overhydrating is important too; no one wants to feel uncomfortable during testing. These three simple tips for establishing a routine will help you feel more comfortable on test day. Once you’ve established a routine, you can walk into your actual test day feeling more confident and you’ll know exactly what to expect. Happy Studying! 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! Sarah Smith is a Premed, Bioethics major at Northwestern University. She’s editor in chief and cofounder of the student health magazine and enjoys being involved in various clubs around campus. Sarah is passionate about education and enjoys learning and teaching. She enjoys helping Veritas Prep students prepare for the ACT! 

