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GMAT Problem Solving: Tips for Roman Numeral Questions

March 10, 2014 by

It’s finally time! You’ve waited all weekend for it, and we’re finally going to share the solution, and more importantly, helpful tips for dealing with GMAT Roman Numeral questions. If you didn’t see Friday’s practice question, take a look now:

GMAT Problem Solving
Roman Numeral Question

If x, y, and z are consecutive odd integers, with x < y < z, then which of the following must be true?

I. x + y is even

II.  is an integer

III. xz is even

  • A) I only
  • B) II only
  • C) III only
  • D) I and II only
  • E) I, II, and III

Strategy and Tips for Solving GMAT Roman Numeral Questions

For Roman Numeral questions, start by finding the statement that appears most often in the answer choices, and evaluate it first. Therefore, if it is untrue, you can eliminate the highest number of answer choices.

In this case, … Read full post

GMAT Problem Solving Practice: The Solution

February 3, 2014 by

Did you try out Friday’s GMAT problem solving practice question? If not, give it a try before you look at the solution. Here’s a reminder:

A theater charges $12 for seats in the orchestra and $8 for seats in the balcony.  On a certain night, a total of 350 tickets were sold for a total cost of $3,320.  How many more tickets were sold that night for seats in the balcony than for seats in the orchestra?

  • (A) 90
  • (B) 110
  • (C) 120
  • (D) 130
  • (E) 220

The first step in this problem is to translate the word problem into math.  You can write two equations based on the information in the question stem.  Call the balcony seats B and the orchestra seats R (avoid using the letter O as a variable because it looks like the number 0.) Now, you can write one equation based on the number … Read full post

GMAT Problem Solving Practice

January 31, 2014 by

It’s time again for some GMAT practice. Hey, I know you’re gearing up for a weekend of football and snacks, but why not set aside a few minutes to try this practice problem before you put on your beer hat? Here, I’ll even give you some hints to help you out…

When you encounter a word problem that you need to solve algebraically, write out your equations first, then solve.  Then, when you get the solution, make sure that you are answering the question being asked.

GMAT Problem Solving Practice

A theater charges $12 for seats in the orchestra and $8 for seats in the balcony.  On a certain night, a total of 350 tickets were sold for a total cost of $3,320.  How many more tickets were sold that night for seats in the balcony than for seats in the orchestra?

GMAT Data Sufficiency Practice Question – The Solution

January 9, 2014 by

Did you try out our GMAT Data Sufficiency practice question? If not, take a couple minutes now to give it a try before reviewing the explanation.

Now, let’s get down to brass tacks on the Geometry and DS skills you need to solve this one…

One way to find the area of a quadrilateral is to divide it into triangles and add the areas of the triangles, which can be found using the formula for the area of a triangle: (1/2)(Base)(Height).
If you add dashed lines to the diagram connecting points A and C and points B and D, you will see that the quadrilateral is composed of 4 right triangles:

You can see that one side of each triangle is a radius of one of the circles; for example, AB is a radius of circle A and is the hypotenuse of triangle ABE. Also, you’ll notice that triangles … Read full post

GMAT Word Problems: Own them to Conquer Them

June 6, 2012 by

One of our wonderful student guest bloggers, Candice Batts, recently wrote about her on-going fight to conquer GMAT word problems.  Translating word problems into quantifiable, workable information is her GMAT Achilles’ heel.  Candice called me out at the tail end of that post and my response to her is something everyone wrestling with the same GMAT Problem Solving demon should hear.

First of all, the strategies Candice lists in the last paragraph of her post are spot on.  Creating and taking quizzes in her online account (who doesn’t love the Quiz Banks tool?!?) and then reviewing BOTH the right AND wrong answers is critical to increasing your problem solving (PS) question skill level.  Also, making flashcards for the “Big Two” strategies (Picking Numbers and Backsolving) is a good idea to help train up on what type of PS question set-ups are good candidates for these strategic approaches.  Further, … Read full post

GMAT Challenges: Finding My Achilles’ Heel

May 20, 2012 by

Greetings, I would like to announce that I have officially figured out that my biggest challenge on the GMAT is translating word problems into workable equations that allow me to get to the right answer quickly.

When I first started studying for the GMAT, the words from these long and confusing paragraphs would float in one ear and out the other. I would desperately try to hold on to each word, analyzing each one looking for a clue that would help me.  Then I would read one question over and over and over like the answer was going to suddenly appear and say ‘I was hear all along!!’ That’s the habit that Kaplan instructors train you NOT to do first. With this strategy, no wonder the words were just swimming around in my head with no meaning!

As I said, my Kaplan instructor showed me how to strategically read … Read full post

GMAT Studying: Correct Answers Can Be a Bridge to Success.

May 13, 2012 by

For about a year, I always used the same method to solve the following GMAT problem:

How many liters of water must be evaporated from 50 liters of a 3 percent sugar solution to get a 5 percent sugar solution?

“This is simple percentages,” I would say. “Just start by taking 3% of 50 liters, which is 3 over 100 times 50, which comes out to 1.5 liters sugar…”

But one day, teaching this same quantitative problem, a student’s hand shot straight up. “Yes, James?” I said. (That wasn’t his real name, by the way, but it will do.)

“Eli, who cares about the sugar?”

I paused. “Well, the sugar will help us figure out the solution.”

“But you don’t need it!” James explained. “I’ve been a chemical engineer for years, so I do this problem all the time. The sugar is a constant. The amount of sugar doesn’t change, … Read full post

On the GMAT, Use Primes to Crack Big Numbers

May 12, 2012 by

Everyone studying for the GMAT wants to identify the skills that will lead directly to the greatest point increases.  While this can be difficult to do, given the adaptive nature of the exam, some skills definitely do come into play more often than others.

One of the most important skills to master for the GMAT is prime factorization.  Finding prime factors can be useful on many different types of questions.  On test day, if you are stuck on a question and unsure of how to solve, remember the big number rule.  The big number rule is simply this: if you see a big number, one that is so large it is unreasonable to work with, find its prime factors.  Once you have those factors, you should be able to simplify.

Every positive integer that is not prime, with the exception of 1, can be broken down into a … Read full post

GMAT Combinations Problems Demystified

May 2, 2012 by

Not surprisingly, most GMAT test takers have a background in the business world.  As such, many readers have worked on a committee formed from a larger group of employees.  Every time a committee is formed in this fashion, you are, in fact, doing a GMAT problem.   More specifically, you are attempting one of the most dreaded question types on the GMAT quantitative section – combinations.

While these questions can be tough, by thinking about the real life experience of forming a committee, you can more easily understand exactly what a combinations question is asking you to do.  Let’s say that your business has ten employees and needs to create a committee of four people.  If you want to determine how many different possible committees you could create, you would use the combinations formula, n!/[k!(n - k)!], where n is the number of people with which you start (in this case … Read full post

Translation on the GMAT

April 21, 2012 by

One of the big GMAT skills that is often overlooked by students is translation.  Any time you decide approach a word problem using algebra, you will need to translate the English in the question stem into an algebraic equation.  While this seems as if it would usually be fairly straightforward, the GMAT will often find ways to make it more difficult.  A translation error will often lead to a trap answer, so it is essential that you learn how to translate difficult statements before test day.

To understand why translation can be more difficult than it seems, think about translating a foreign language.  If you only need to translate one word, you can usually just find the equivalent word in English.  Similarly, if a GMAT problem uses the phrase “more than” you know that it must translate to addition.

However, when you try to translate an entire sentence from … Read full post

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