## Articles published in June 2012

### Things to Do to Help Your Overall Test-Taking Skills

You don’t have to pore over a Strategy Guide in order to prepare for the GMAT. Here are some things you can do in “normal” life to improve your overall test-taking skills.

1. Work out your brain. Learn to do Sudoku, simple crossword puzzles, or other brain-teasers (iPod applications, even). Do some brain exercise every day, especially in the morning. Choose word puzzles and logic games over action.
2. Work out–period. Study after study has shown that regular exercise, especially aerobic, has a profound effect on your cognitive performance. See Brain Rules by John Medina for more about this.
3. Beef up your analytical and logical skills. Read a good book about logical thinking (Being Logical by D.Q. McIreny).

More about this: Other than intensive study and practice of test-specific strategies, the best way to improve your overall score on standardized tests is to read more for fun. If you don’t read every day, start with something light and entertaining”Harry Potter, romance novels, science fiction, Tom Clancy, or anything interesting to you. Keep the book with you and read whenever you have a spare 5 minutes. Eventually, move on to good contemporary non-fiction, which is closer to what you’ll see on the test itself.

### The Next-Gen GMAT: Table Analysis

I recently received a request to do more on Integrated Reasoning, so here you go: a Table Analysis problem. These problems will consist of some kind of complex table (sometimes with 20+ rows and / or 6 to 7 columns!) and one three-part question. We have to answer all three parts correctly in order to earn any points. The one we’re going to try has been released as a sample question on the mba.com website.

### Try the problem

Let’s try out the question: here is the link to the problem. Just in case that link changes, you can also click on this link to go to the next-gen GMAT website, and then, toward the bottom of the page, click on the Table Analysis link. We’re going to try the second problem (with the table labeled Percentage of Population Visiting).

Note: when you are done, do NOT click the next button. Just leave it up on the screen and come back here. Also, I’m going to reproduce the table below, but you won’t be able to sort the data “ and that’s a key feature in answering these question types. So while you can technically do the problem below, I strongly recommend that you go look at the original using the link above.

### Manhattan GMAT + New York Cares

Last month, a few Manhattan Preppers headed to Brooklyn to partake in our second New York Cares Day.  In the spring, New York Cares Day aims to clean up city parks, gardens and public spaces all around the five boroughs. This year, there was a special focus on the city’s waterfront, and volunteers set out to restore 10 miles of coastlines to make the areas more sustainable for plant and animal life and more accessible for city residents.

We were assigned to paint a mural at the Jersey Barriers near Cobble Hill – someone must have heard we have a great artist on our team (shout out to Jon S!). Leading up to the event, the rest of us were crossing our fingers that it would be a paint by numbers mural, and we were definitely relieved to find out that we would be utilizing stencils. After given a brief tutorial on the vision of the mural, we set out to paint the barriers to resemble a lush forest landscape.  It was awesome to work beside other great companies, such as ZocDoc, who also sent out a team of volunteers. There were even a few passers-by, out on their morning run, who stopped to help with the community project! By the end of the day, we had made a few new friends and also left our artistic touch on a part of Brooklyn.

New York Cares Day has become one of our favorite volunteering activities in the office, and we are looking forward to another New York Cares Day this fall! For more information on New York Cares, you can visit their website at newyorkcares.org.

### Manhattan GMAT’s Analysis Of GMAC’s Newly Released Integrated Reasoning Percentile Rankings

We’ve been talking a lot lately about how to prep for IR, including the idea that we only need a good enough score for now because the section is so new that the schools aren’t going to place heavy emphasis on IR right away. One key piece of information, though, has been missing: what’s a good enough IR score?

GMAC has just released the first set of percentile rankings for the 1 to 8 IR scoring scale. Here it is:

### Recognizing Relative Numbers On The GMAT

Given the statement, the ratio of men to women in the room is 3 to 5, how many men are in the room?

You probably recognize pretty quickly that it is not possible to answer the question above.  Just given a ratio, it is not possible to identify the actual number of men in the room.  At this point we know the number of men in the room must be a multiple of 3, but the actual number could be 3 or 3,000 (although I am not sure I have been in a room that large).

Along with ratios in their traditional form (3 to 5 or 3:5), there are other types of numbers that are ratios, slightly disguised

a) Fractions: The container is 2/3 full.

This statement is expressing that there are 2 full parts for every 3 total parts of the container (a ratio of 2 to 3).

b) Percentages: 33% of company employees have Master’s degrees.

This statement is expressing for every 33 employees with Master’s degrees there are 100 total employees (a ratio of 33 to 100).

c) Percentage or fractional increase: The company’s profits increased 25% (or ¼) from 2010 to 2011.

### Challenge Problem Showdown – June 25th, 2012

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:

In the x-y coordinate plane, what is the minimum distance between a point on line L and a point on line M?

### Attacking GMAT Critical Reasoning Problems Part 2: Role Playing with Critical Reasoning

Eliminating Bad Answer Choices will help to save you time and give you better odds at guessing, but bad answer choices are fewer and further between on the more difficult end of the GMAT. Even the correct answer might, at first glance, look irrelevant to the conclusion. Oftentimes on difficult CR questions, students can get down to two or three plausible answer choices, but are forced to guess because they aren’t 100% confident in their answer. And while this is often a good thing” remember the test is adaptive and tough questions often mean that you are doing well” it’s important to have a strategy to help better your chances when you are trying to make that final decision.

One of my favorite TV shows, Pardon the Interruption, used to have a regular feature called Good Cop, Bad Cop. The two hosts would choose an issue in sports and pick sides- will Tiger Woods win the golf tournament this weekend? The good cop would make arguments for why Tiger would win the tournament while the bad cop would make arguments for why he wouldn’t. The set-up was farcical and the hosts would choose sides arbitrarily, but I loved it because you would hear reasoning for both sides of an issue. Neither person argued for the side they truly believed in 100% of the time, but they pretended they cared deeply about one side of an issue, made a case for their side, and would preemptively rebut the argument that they knew the other host would make. That’s how I approach Critical Reasoning on the GMAT- on one question I’m the project manager for Hotco Oil Burners (OG #97) and the next I’m President of Country Z (#66). But no matter what role I’m playing, I am constantly asking myself what would help and hurt my argument. Let’s try a problem out to see how this works:

### Where are the Splits? Handling the New GMAT Sentence Correction

A lot of students have reported lately that the Sentence Correction questions on the official test were a lot harder than what they were expecting, or that they’ve been having trouble finding splits (differences) in the answers. Or they find the splits but don’t know how to process them / what to do with them. They narrow down to two answers but then don’t know how to pick between the two “ they can see the differences but aren’t sure of the significance of those differences.

The title of this article is a little bit misleading “ nothing about the SC section is technically new. The proportion of certain types of questions, though, has been changing, and so the section can feel very different (and challenging!) for someone who’s not prepared for that.

Before we dive into our discussion, I also want to mention another major reason why someone might feel that SC (and / or CR and RC) are much harder on the real test: if you’re suffering from mental fatigue late in the test, everything will feel harder. People are more prone to suffer from mental fatigue if they are not taking practice tests under 100% official conditions (including essay + IR, two 8-minute breaks, and so on).

### How have things been changing?

Many people have heard by now that meaning is much more commonly tested than it used to be “ GMAC announced this about 9 months ago. Lots of students, though, don’t quite know what to do with that information. This changes what we study, of course, but it also changes what we expect to see when looking at the questions themselves, and it can change the process we use to answer an SC question.

### Manhattan Prep’s Pre-MBA Boot Camps: Getting Ready for the Intensity that is Business School

Last year, Chris Ryan, our GMAT instructor and Vice President of Academics, realized that helping our students through the GMAT just wasn’t enough. When I had students come up to me and tell me their GMAT score, I was thrilled, said Chris, but I wanted to help them with their next step and set them up for success in business school.

Although Chris considers the two years he spent at Duke Fuqua to be some of the most incredible of his life, the beginning was nothing short of overwhelming.  Considered to have a non-traditional b-school background (pretty much anything besides investment banking and consulting!), Chris was immediately surrounded by terms like NPV, puts and calls, and game theory.  In thinking back, Chris knew that, had he had a leg up when he had arrived, he would felt more comfortable in business school.

### Challenge Problem Showdown – June 18th, 2012

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:

The 4 sticks in a complete bag of Pick-Up Sticks are all straight-line segments of negligible width, but each has a different length: 1 inch, 2 inches, 3 inches, and 4 inches, respectively. If Tommy picks a stick from each of 3 different complete bags of Pick-Up Sticks, what is the probability that Tommy CANNOT form a triangle from the 3 sticks?