Articles published in 2012

Challenge Problem Showdown – December 17, 2012

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challenge problem
We invite you to test your GMAT knowledge for a chance to win! Each week, we will post a new Challenge Problem for you to attempt. If you submit the correct answer, you will be entered into that week’s drawing for a free Manhattan GMAT Prep item. Tell your friends to get out their scrap paper and start solving!
Here is this week’s problem:

How many distinct positive factors does 30,030 have?

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This Fraction Problem Is Harder Than It Looks

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I’ve spoken with multiple students lately who received a disappointing (lower than they were expecting) score on the quant section and who all said that the quant felt relatively easy or straightforward. How is that possible?gmat factions

First of all, thinking that a test like the GMAT is easy is actually a warning sign: things probably are not going very well. If the test was going very well, then you’d be seeing some seriously hard “ next to impossible “ problems.

Second, the test writers are phenomenal at writing questions that don’t seem all that complicated but are in fact your worst nightmare. My worst nightmare is not an impossible question “ I know I can’t do it, so I just pick and move on. My worst nightmare is a question that I think I can do, and I spend a decent chunk of time doing it, and then I get it wrong anyway “ even though I’m sure I got it right!

Try this GMATPrep problem and you might see what I mean. Set your timer for 2 minutes. and GO!

*  Of the 3,600 employees of Company X, 1/3 are clerical. If the clerical staff were to be reduced by 1/3, what percent of the total number of the remaining employees would then be clerical?

 

(A) 25%

(B) 22.2%

(C) 20%

(D) 12.5%

(E) 11.1%

What’s hard about this one? It looks completely straightforward!

Hmm so I have 3,600 employees and 1/3 are clerical. That’s easy: 1,200 are clerical. Then I need to take 1/3 of that, so that’s 400. They want the percent of the total, so 400/3600 = 4/36 = 1/9 = ugh. Let’s see, a little quick long division right, 1/9 is 11.1%. Answer E. Done!

Where’s my mistake? Go find it. (Actually, find both of them.) Also note that my wrong answer was right there in the answer choices!!
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Challenge Problem Showdown – December 10, 2012

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challenge problem
We invite you to test your GMAT knowledge for a chance to win! Each week, we will post a new Challenge Problem for you to attempt. If you submit the correct answer, you will be entered into that week’s drawing for a free Manhattan GMAT Prep item. Tell your friends to get out their scrap paper and start solving!
Here is this week’s problem:

For how many different pairs of perfect squares is the difference of the squares equal to 105?

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Free GMAT Events This Week: Dec 10 – Dec 16

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Here are the free GMAT events we’re holding this week. All times are local unless otherwise specified.

12/10/12 – Houston, TX – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

12/10/12 – Online – Free Trial Class – 8:00-11:00 PM (EST)

12/12/12 – Toronto, ON – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

12/16/12 – Santa Monica, CA – Free Trial Class – 2:00-5:00 PM

Looking for more free events? Check out our Free Events Listings Page.

Challenge Problem Showdown – December 3, 2012

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challenge problem
We invite you to test your GMAT knowledge for a chance to win! Each week, we will post a new Challenge Problem for you to attempt. If you submit the correct answer, you will be entered into that week’s drawing for a free Manhattan GMAT Prep item. Tell your friends to get out their scrap paper and start solving!
Here is this week’s problem:

Operation F means take the square root, operation G means multiply by constant c, and operation H means take the reciprocal. For which value of c is the result of applying the three operations to any positive x the same for all of the possible orders in which the operations are applied?

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My Deadline is Approaching and I Don’t Have the Score I Want!

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I’ve been speaking with a lot of students in this position recently “ welcome to December. Most second round deadlines are rapidly approaching and some students, unfortunately, don’t yet have the score they want in order to apply. What to do?

What you CAN’T do

gmat deadlineThere are some things you can do “ but we can’t expect miracles either. If you tell me that your test is in less than 2 weeks and you need to improve your score by 100 or more points, I’m going to (gently) tell you that such a goal is unrealistic. I’m not going to discourage you from going for it (it doesn’t hurt to try), but you should also start examining your other options are. These could include accepting your lower score, changing the schools to which you apply, or postponing your candidacy to a later round or a later year. Some people, thinking through this, actually end up deciding that they’d rather wait a year anyway and take their time with the whole application process.
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Free GMAT Events This Week: Dec 3 – Dec 9

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Here are the free GMAT events we’re holding this week. All times are local unless otherwise specified.

12/3/12 – Philadelphia, PA – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

12/3/12 – San Diego, CA – Free Trial Class – 6;30-9:30 PM

12/4/12 – Online – Free Trial Class – 9:00 PM – 12:00 AM EST

12/5/12 – San Francisco, CA – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

12/6/12 – Chicago, IL – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

12/6/12 – New York, NY – MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed – 7:00-8:30 PM

12/6/12 – Online – Thursdays with Ron – 7:00-8:30 PM EST

12/8/12 – Santa Monica, CA – Free Trial Class – 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

12/8/12 – Online – Free Trial Class – 2:00-5:00 PM EST

12/9/12 – Boston, MA – Free Trial Class – 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

12/9/12 – Chicago, IL – Free Trial Class – 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

12/9/12 – San Francisco, CA – Free Trial Class – 2:00-5:00 PM

12/9/12 – Santa Clara, CA – Free Trial Class – 5:30-8:30 PM

12/9/12 – Online – Free Trial Class – 7:00-10:00 AM EST

 

Looking for more free events? Check out our Free Events Listings Page.

The Reasoning is in the Details

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gmat reasoningWhich type of RC passage is your favorite “ social science, business, hard science? Just kidding! I know that most people don’t have a favorite type (though most of us have a least favorite type).

Let’s try one out. Because of space constraints, I’m not going to give you the full passage, but I promise I’ll give you everything you need to know in order to answer the question. This problem is from the free set of questions that comes with GMATPrep. Give yourself up to 1.5 minutes to read the passage excerpt and approximately another 1.5 minutes to answer the question.

*  The modern multinational corporation is described as having originated when the owner-managers of nineteenth-century British firms carrying on international trade were replaced by teams of salaried managers organized into hierarchies. Increases in the volume of transactions in such firms are commonly believed to have necessitated this structural change. Nineteenth-century inventions like the steamship and the telegraph, by facilitating coordination of managerial activities, are described as key factors. Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century chartered trading companies, despite the international scope of their activities, are usually considered irrelevant to this discussion: the volume of their transactions is assumed to have been too low and the communications and transport of their day too primitive to make comparisons with modern multinationals interesting.

In reality, however, early trading companies successfully purchased and outfitted ships, built and operated offices and warehouses, manufactured trade goods for use abroad, maintained trading posts and production facilities overseas, procured goods for import, and sold those goods both at home and in other countries. The large volume of transactions associated with these activities seems to have necessitated hierarchical management structures well before the advent of modern communications and transportation. For example (I’m going to stop you here! There are two more long sentences in this paragraph plus a third paragraph.)

Here’s the question:

The author lists the various activities of early chartered trading companies in order to

(A) analyze the various ways in which these activities contributed to changes in management structure in such companies

(B) demonstrate that the volume of business transactions of such companies exceeded that of earlier firms

(C) refute the view that the volume of business undertaken by such companies was relatively low

(D) emphasize the international scope of these companies’ operations

(E) support the argument that such firms coordinated such activities by using available means of communication and transport

 

Got your answer? Debating between two answers? Pick! The clock is ticking J

Let’s start with the passage. What did you get out of it? Here are my notes (as far as we read):

P1: MMC: 19c Brit int’l hierarch b/c of >> vol

16-17c: low vol, prim

P2: BUT 16-17 Cos did lots of stuff, >> vol

Note: at this point, while reading the second sentence of paragraph 2, I realized that the first paragraph was some other people theory “ that this hierarchy and MMC thing started in the 19th century “ but the author is disagreeing in the second paragraph. So now I have the author’s overall point and I’m going to add a couple of things to my already-written notes, like this:

P1: HYP: MMC: 19c Brit int’l hierarch b/c of >> vol

As: 16-17c: low vol, prim

P2: BUT 16-17 Cos did lots of stuff, >> vol, had hierarch already?

HYP means hypothesis, and As: means assumption coming! Note that I’m not using the word assumption in the same way I would on a critical reasoning problem. In critical reasoning, assumptions are unstated. Here, this assumption actually was stated “ the author is pointing out what some people assume to be true (but the author disagrees!).

Okay, on to our question. The question stem mentions a particular group: early chartered trading companies. Oh no! I didn’t write that down. What should I do?
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Challenge Problem Showdown – November 26, 2012

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challenge problem
We invite you to test your GMAT knowledge for a chance to win! Each week, we will post a new Challenge Problem for you to attempt. If you submit the correct answer, you will be entered into that week’s drawing for a free Manhattan GMAT Prep item. Tell your friends to get out their scrap paper and start solving!
Here is this week’s problem:

For a particular company, the profit P generated by selling units of a certain product is given by the formula P = 128 + (“Q2/4 + 4Q “ 16)z, where z > 0. The maximum profit is achieved when Q =

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Comparisons and Parallelism in GMATPrep

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GMAT sentence correctionLast time, we took a look at a Comparisons problem; in today’s article, we’re going to examine another one. This question is from the free problem set included in the new GMATPrep 2.0 version of the software. Try it out (1 minute 15 seconds) and then we’ll talk about it!

*  In Holland, a larger percentage of the gross national product is spent on defense of their coasts from rising seas than is spent on military defense in the United States.

 

(A) In Holland, a larger percentage of the gross national product is spent on defense of their coasts from rising seas than is spent on military defense in the United States.

(B) In Holland they spend a larger percentage of their gross national product on defending their coasts from rising seas than the United States does on military defense.

(C) A larger percentage of Holland’s gross national product is spent on defending their coasts from rising seas than the United States spends on military defense.

(D) Holland spends a larger percentage of its gross national product defending its coasts from rising seas than the military defense spending of the United States.

(E) Holland spends a larger percentage of its gross national product on defending its coasts from rising seas than the United States does on military defense.

 

I think this one follows nicely from the conversation that we had last week. We’ve got another comparison structure, we’ve got an entire sentence underlined, and yet there are also some differences here.
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