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Beat GMAT Verbal: Reading Comprehension in a Nutshell

March 11, 2014 by

In this fourth part of a series of posts on the GMAT’s Verbal Section, we take a look at Reading Comprehension (RC) and reveal some key takeaways that mean more points for you on test day. If you’ve not yet read the first two posts in this latest GMAT Verbal series, check out GMAT Verbal: Some Big Ideas, pt. 1, Beat GMAT Verbal by Making Predictions, and GMAT Critical Reasoning: How to Make Predictions. Ideally, read those first then come back in here and let’s crack GMAT RC.

To get mine as many points as possible from these questions, you absolutely must have a standard method for attacking both Reading Comprehension passages and the banks of questions that follow them. Furthermore, it is important to note the adaptive nature of the GMAT’s scoring algorithm. Recall that as you do better on the exam, it gets harder.

On … 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

Beat GMAT Verbal by Making Predictions

December 19, 2013 by

In Part II of my series on the Verbal section of the GMAT, we are going to cover the necessity of predicting correct answers to Verbal questions before evaluating the answer choices available. Predicting is a skill one must learn and practice over time. Start now, do it consistently, and you will make a breakthrough.

Let’s first take a moment to appreciate a simple GMAT truism: for every question on the exam, there is always one right and four rotten answers. Always. All answer choices that are not the correct one are definitively incorrect.

Understand that the GMAT is written by human beings. Just like the questions, answer choices are deliberately composed. In every list of five GMAT answer choices, the test makers thoughtfully construct the four wrong answers. Each of these wrong answers will, in some way, address a possible misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the original stimulus or … Read full post

GMAT & The Real World: Critical Reasoning Flaws & Entrepreneurship

December 18, 2013 by

Maybe you heard about (or read) a recent story in the Washington Post entitled: Are business schools graduating the wrong leaders? If so, the GMAT may be to blame. Hopefully you’ve been watching my blog series on this story, and tracking the various critical reasoning errors. Let’s discuss another one today.

The article suggests that people interested in entrepreneurship don’t do as well on the GMAT, and it concludes that the GMAT discourages entrepreneurship.

“Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) results are an important assessment criterion for business-school applications. The higher the GMAT score, the better the odds of gaining admission. A study in the Journal of Business Ethics makes the surprising finding that high GMAT scores may be correlated to some of the negative traits of American business: lack of ethical orientation, male domination of executive ranks, uncertainty avoidance, and individualism. What’s more, GMAT scores may be inversely correlated with … Read full post

GMAT Basics: What to Expect, What is a Good GMAT Score, How to Test

December 15, 2013 by

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is probably unlike any test you’ve ever taken in your academic career. The GMAT is a computer-adaptive test designed to provide a common yardstick by which business school admissions committees can measure applicants and their ability to succeed in their M.B.A. programs.

The test consists of three sections and is scored on a range between 200 and 800.

Your GMAT Score

GMAT scores are used by business schools to provide a common yardstick to compare candidates for admission. On the GMAT, you will actually receive four scores:

  • A total score, ranging from 200-800
  • A math subscore, ranging from 0-60
  • A verbal subscore, ranging from 0-60
  • A score for your AWA, ranging from 0-6
  • An Integrated Reasoning subscore, ranging from 1-8

Your Percentile Rank

Each of the above scores will be accompanied by a percentile rank. The percentile rank highlights what proportion of test takers … Read full post

Balancing the Holidays and Your GMAT Studies

December 18, 2012 by

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

Study the GMAT in Small Batches

October 1, 2012 by

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

Master Reading Comprehension Question Types: Part II

September 6, 2012 by

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

Master GMAT Reading Comprehension Question Types: Part I

August 30, 2012 by

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

The 4 Truths of the GMAT Argument Essay

August 25, 2012 by

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

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