The holidays are upon us, and with them come a flurry of seasonal activities: shopping trips, parties, and visits with family and friends. If you’re planning on taking your GMAT in January, you’re probably struggling with the challenge of fitting your studies into your holiday schedule. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of this busy time.
First, acknowledge your limitations. Because of your holiday obligations, you’ll probably need to scale back your GMAT study time. The holidays provide you with a great opportunity to recharge mentally and emotionally, so there’s nothing wrong with cutting back a little on your studies to give yourself some more personal time. You’ll be able to create a study schedule–and stick to it–if you’re realistic with yourself about how much time you’ll actually have for studying over the holidays.
Second, since you’ll have less time to study, plan out … Read full post
A few months ago I had a student in one of my GMAT classes tell me her study plan. She was very diligent and committed to the study process, and the plan was a very well thought out and detailed. Furthermore, she was executing the plan brilliantly. The problem was that her score was going nowhere. She wasn’t gaining any ground from her masterful execution. What was the problem?
After digging a bit deeper, one thing stood out. She was using all the tools: practice tests, online quizzes, workshops, workbooks etc. None of this seemed odd. In fact, it was all commendable. However, there was a fatal flaw in the way she was using these resources. She wanted to makes sure that she had the endurance to answer these questions on test day. Therefore, when she sat down to do quantitative problems, she would create a set of 37, do … Read full post
In a blog last last week, I talked about the importance of identifying the common question types in the reading comprehension portions of the GMAT and delved into the specifics for detail and global questions. Today, let’s continue that deeper look at the specifics for the common reading comprehension questions with a look at inference and function (logic) questions. Specifically let’s look at how to spot them, how to predict using the pattern behind the question, and how to spot the most common wrong answer types. Both of these questions generally constitute the harder or more commonly missed set of questions in the reading comprehension.
One of the most commonly missed reading comprehension questions is the inference question because of how it is treated on tests versus our common everyday use of inference. First of all, to spot them you are looking either for something that references “is … Read full post
Do you want to take your reading comprehension performance on the GMAT to the next level? Once you’ve developed your passage mapping, it’s time to turn your attention to the question stems. In order to truly master the questions in an effective and efficient way, knowing the nuanced and blatant differences among the question types helps you approach the question in a way that avoids the common missteps and tightens your evaluation of the answer choices.
There are really four primary question types that appear with the typical reading comprehension passage with great regularity. For our purposes right now, we’ll focus on those; however, there can be other outlier question types that appear occasionally. The main question types are global, detail, inference, and function/logic. Let’s take a look at the first two – global and detail – today.
First, global questions are so incredibly common. You can spot them … Read full post
As you likely know, with the inclusion of the Integrated Reasoning (IR) section came the exclusion of the one of the previously required essays. Before the test change, GMAT test takers built their Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) score on the backs of two essays: Analysis of an Argument and Analysis of an Issue. These two essays would be scored independently—by one human and one computer—then those two scores would be averaged for a total AWA score on a 0-6 point scale in ½-point increments. In order to keep total testing time at 3.5 hours, test makers decided to cut the thirty-minute Analysis of an Issue essay and insert a thirty-minute Integrated Reasoning section.
So what can we make of this decision? Now, let’s not bicker about the Integrated Reasoning section here; it is what it is and we all have to deal with it. Rather, let’s focus on the essay … Read full post
We’ve already covered modifiers in GMAT sentence correction several times before. But, as one of the most common question types on the verbal section, and one of the types that requires the most finesse, there is still more to cover!
Today, I want to address a common misconception. Generally, modifiers must be placed as close as possible to the thing they modify. However, students sometimes mistake “as close as possible” for “adjacent.” Many test-takers find themselves confused when a long string of nouns, often peppered with prepositions, precedes a modifier. But as long as the modifier can be unambiguously linked to a specific part of that phrase, the sentence is grammatically correct. To illustrate, look at the following sentence, which is correct as written:
The members of parliament who attended the conference were pleased with the lush accommodations they received.
The modifier is the phrase “who attended the conference,” … Read full post
As anyone who has spent any time on GMAT Sentence Correction can tell you, the English language is complex. SC problems will frequently test idioms and tricky verb tenses, among other things. But despite a few exceptions (do you know the difference between economic and economical?), subtle shifts in the meanings of similar words aren’t usually tested in GMAT sentences. They are, however, tested on Critical Reasoning and Analytical Writing prompts.
Assumptions on the GMAT occur when the scope of discussion shifts between the evidence and the conclusion. In an earlier article, I discussed a stimulus involving burgers. One such “scope shift” in that article was that the evidence discussed cholesterol, while the conclusion discussed health in general; another involved evidence about a price reduction and a conclusion about increased consumption of burgers. Some of these are easier to spot than others, but all of them involve looking for … Read full post
Listen to a politician speaking, and you’ll hear a lot of platitudes and vague statements. Occasionally, a senator or congressman will make a statement about a specific number or an exact proposal; rarely, those statements will even be correct. But mostly, you’ll hear things like, “the hidden costs will total billions,” or “this program will have far-reaching negative impacts,” or “some have suggested that this proposed law will do nothing but enrich corporations.”
When you think about it, these claims make perfect sense. With a claim as vague as the ones above, it’s hard to be proven wrong or caught in a lie. For instance, “hidden costs” could refer to net costs, but it also could refer to gross costs even if the proposal actually netted a profit. “Billions” could refer to two billion, or it could refer to two hundred billion!
In other words, the vaguer the claim, the … Read full post
You might guess that I’m on a diet, perhaps, or maybe that I’m lactose intolerant. Or maybe it’s not the milk that’s the problem; I could be deathly allergic to chocolate. Or, you might infer (correctly) that I just don’t like the flavor.
What could you infer if the GMAT told you that I don’t eat chocolate ice cream?
You can infer that if I eat ice cream, I will always choose a flavor other than chocolate. And that’s about it.
The Inference category of GMAT Critical Reasoning questions asks you to make logically supported inferences. You take the text of the stimulus at its word (recognize these questions by language such as “If the statements above are true”), and find the answer choice that must be true on the basis of the prompt.
In … Read full post
In your GMAT preparation you have probably learned to tackle critical reasoning assumption questions by identifying the conclusion of the argument, followed by the evidence and then looking for the missing link between these, which will be the central assumption. However, you have also probably encountered GMAT problems in which you either cannot figure out what the assumption is before you go to the answer choices or the assumption you found is not listed as an option. When this happens you want to be ready with a backup strategy.
The standard backup strategy for assumption questions – and do keep in mind this should not be used as a primary strategy, since it is more time consuming than the usual approach – is the denial test.
The denial test is based on the idea that the assumption is something that must be true in order to link the evidence … Read full post