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GMAT Critical Reasoning Practice Question & Explanation

March 6, 2014 by

You may not love doing GMAT Critical Reasoning practice, but it’s good for your score. We initially posted this stimulus and question on Facebook – give it a try:

While the average American reads only two books per year, researchers have recently concluded that by reading  two books per month, people can expect their memorizing capacity to double. The most effective way for Americans to begin to read two books per month – thus increasing their memory capacity – is to support Proposition 75, which will require students to read at least two books per month beginning in 2nd grade and through their senior year of high school. 

Which of the following can be most properly drawn, if the statements above are true, about future reading habits and memorization capacity?

  • A)  If Proposition 75 passes, all teen-agers will see a significant increase in their ability to memorize for tests.
  • Read full post

Get Your Fresh GMAT Practice Question Here!

February 27, 2014 by

Yesterday, we posted a GMAT practice question on Facebook. It got a lot of attention and many responses. Here it is again:

What is the value of b if a = ?


(2) and

Our Facebook audience mostly answered A, with a few votes for D. The correct answer is indeed A, and here’s why…

First, you can multiply both sides of the equation in the question stem by  to make it clear that . Then, look for values a, c and .

  • Statement (1) is exactly what is needed – it gives you a precise value for . Statement (1) is sufficient, so eliminate answer choices C and E.
  • Statement (2) alone, however, leads to two possible values for b, because you’d have to substitute the square roots of 25 for a, and those square roots are BOTH positive AND negative 5 (remember this! The GMAT likes to
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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 Study Tip: Try Coffivity

January 17, 2014 by

I’ve got a quick GMAT study tip for you today. We tell our students to think critically and strategically when approaching problems on the GMAT. So, for those of you who need a cognitive boost or who like a little ambient noise while you’re studying, I found a helpful little website with associated apps. It’s called Coffivity.

According to the site,

“Research shows it’s pretty hard to be creative in a quiet space. And a loud workplace can be frustrating and distracting. But, the mix of calm and commotion in an environment like a coffee house is proven to be just what you need to get those creative juices flowing. Our team has delivered the vibe of a coffee shop right to your desktop, which means when your workspace just isn’t quite cutting it, we’ve got you covered. Coffitivity. Enough noise to work.” (Read the research here:… Read full post

GMAT Critical Reasoning: How to Make Predictions

January 13, 2014 by

If you still need to be convinced about the value of making predictions on the GMAT, then read this: Beating GMAT Verbal by Making Predictions. Now that we are all on board, let’s learn how to do it…

When a Critical Reasoning (CR) question pops up on the screen, adept test takers know to read the actual question first. The Question is always found in the middle between the Stimulus and the Answer Choices. By reading the question first and, thus, depending solely on the type of CR question posed, the test taker knows how to most efficiently and effectively untangle the stimulus above.

There are many different types of CR questions, but most of them will fall under the category we at Kaplan like to call the Argument Family. The members of the Argument Family are Assumption, Strengthen, Weaken, Flaw, and Evaluation. The correct answer to every question … Read full post

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

Using Common Knowledge on GMAT Critical Reasoning

December 27, 2013 by

Here is a very simple argument:

A – B = C. Over time, A has increased. Therefore, C has increased.

If the argument seems simplistic, that’s because it is—it’s not very test-like or very challenging. It gives evidence about changes in A and concludes about a change in C; the assumption (the missing piece necessary for the conclusion to be logical) is that B has not also increased. After all, if A went up but B went up as well, who knows what C will turn out to be!

But this simple example underlines a pattern that can turn into big points on Critical Reasoning questions. The GMAT testmakers expect students to understand certain common knowledge. And some of that common knowledge takes the form of simple three-part equations just like the one above. For instance:

Revenue – Cost = Profit

Price * Sales = Revenue

Imports – Exports = … Read full post

Free GMAT Question of the Week: Discover Data Sufficiency!

December 9, 2013 by

GMAT Question:

If b ≠ 0 and a > b, is a > c?

(1) a/b> c/b

(2) 5ab > 6bc

From a cursory glance, you can see that GMAT math takes you back to concepts that you learned in high school. Look a bit closer and you see that it actually takes you back much further than that, to math you learned in elementary school – integers, positives/negatives, etc. One of the interesting things about the GMAT is that sometimes these throwbacks to simple math are used to create challenging critical thinking problems. The problem above is one of those.

Post your answer and your method in the comments below. We’ll share the full Kaplan explanation, with secrets for how to master GMAT Data Sufficiency, in tomorrow’s blog entry. … Read full post

GMAT Quantitative Section: Stacking Percents

September 15, 2012 by

The Wrentham Village Premium Outlets are a great place to stop for cheap brand-name clothes, and they’re a popular tourist destination for visitors to Massachusetts.  Like all tourist/retail locations, they need to get people in the door. They’ve tried lot of things, but their latest gimmick has interesting implications for GMAT students. They’ve started stacking discounts.

Nearly every store in the mall has signs that say something like, “65% off, PLUS take an additional 20% off!” Moreover, a coupon book gives additional discounts—the particular store with that sign also offered 15% off purchases over a certain value.

To the unenlightened, this seems too good to be true. After all, 65% + 20% + 15% = 100%. Are we seriously to believe that the outlet store is giving away things for free?

Well, that might be a trap answer on the GMAT—and it’s a trap answer for the unwary … Read full post

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