### The Benefits Of Knowing Yourself

Invariably when I ask a student what about their strengths and weaknesses related to the GMAT, his list focuses on topics or question types.

- I struggle with the quant section.
- Sentence correction is my best verbal question type.
- I hate data sufficiency.
- I’m good at rate problems, but I can’t figure out probability.
- Etc.

Now, the ability to generate this sort of inventory is important. You should generally devote more study time to those topics and question types where you are weaker. But along with this topic-based inventory, other aspects of your personality and approach will impact your GMAT experience. Understanding these underlying tendencies in yourself can be invaluable to improving your GMAT performance.

In each of the four cases below consider which statement sounds more like you.

*1) To solve a challenging problem*

A. Give me a formula. Give me an algorithm. As long as I know an approach I can crank through the math and get the problem done.

B. I like the chance to get creative. Drawing diagrams and recognizing patterns is what I do best.

### Developing a GMAT Study Plan – Part 2

How do you study? More importantly, how do you know that the way in which you’re studying is effective—that is, that you’re learning what you need to learn to improve your GMAT score? Read on!

In the first part of this series, we discussed how to get started: setting up your timeframe, picking out your materials, and so on. (If you haven’t read it yet, please do so before you continue here!) In today’s installment, we’ll talk about how to study and make progress over the actual length of your study timeframe.

### HOW Do I Learn?

This section addresses probably the single biggest mistake that people make when preparing for the GMAT.

At first, you’re going to concentrate more on __what__ you need to learn / re-learn, but as you progress, you’re going to concentrate more on learning how to think. Yes, you need to know the formula for the area of a circle and how modifiers work and so on. But that’s only the start. Once you learn or re-learn a lot of that content, you will then need to move to the next level, which is what this test is really testing: how to think your way through any given problem.

At the end of each study session, jot down in your journal what you did that day, what you think went well, and what you think needs more work. (This knowledge will all come from your *analysis* of what you did that day.) If something didn’t go as well as you’d hoped, then feel free to adjust your calendar. At the end of the week, review your journal and set up your plan for the next week.

### Developing a GMAT Study Plan – Part 1

Just starting out? Or maybe you’ve been studying for weeks already? Perhaps you’ve already taken the official test once but want another crack at it? Whatever stage you’re at, you need a plan, so that’s what we’re going to talk about this week: how to develop your own personalized study plan. (Note: this is an update from the original article about 2.5 years ago. If you run across the older version, ignore it; use this newer one instead!)

In this first part, we’re going to talk about setting up your overall timeframe and getting yourself set up to go! In part 2, we’ll talk about how to study and make progress over time.

Get a notebook, open up a file on your computer, or start a blog. *Record everything.* The record doesn’t need to be exhaustive in detail, but pay particular attention to three things: (1) what you’ve done, (2) what you’ve learned (big lessons, such as how do I know when to cut myself off on a problem? and not things like memorize this formula, and (3) what you want to review at a later date (again, high level).

### Getting Started

First, you need to know your current score and the score level that will make you competitive at the schools to which you plan to apply. This gives you an idea of how much improvement you will need and may affect your prep plans, including the length of time you plan to spend and whether you work on your own. (Generally speaking, the larger the desired improvement, the more likely it is that the student will need more time and / or more outside help.) Put this info in your journal.

### Challenge Problem Showdown – August 27th, 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:

Harold plays a game in which he starts with $2. Each game has 2 rounds; in each round, the amount of money he starts the round with is randomly either added to or multiplied by a number, which is randomly either 1 or 0. The choice of arithmetic operation and of number are independent of each other and from round to round. If Harold plays the two-round game repeatedly, the long-run average amount of money he is left with at the end of the game, per game, is between

### How to Analyze a GMAT Integrated Reasoning Multi-Source Reasoning Question

This is the latest in a series of How To Analyze articles that began with the general How To Analyze A Practice Problem article (click on the link to read the original article). This week, we’re going to analyze a specific IR question from the Multi-Source Reasoning prompt category.

These prompts typically come with multiple questions (similar to a Reading Comp passage). First, give yourself about 2 to 2.5 minutes to read the prompt and take short notes. Then take up to about 2 minutes to answer the question.

Click on this link for the prompt and question. In case that link changes or gets broken, I’ve also included the text below “ but it’s best to use the link if it works because then you’ll be doing the problem in its official format. When you’re done, leave that page open (don’t click next) and come back here to discuss the solution.

Multi-Source Reasoning prompts consist of 2 or 3 tabs of information. Here is the prompt:

### How To Make The Best Memories: Tips To Optimize Your Memory Abilities

How much did you study for the GMAT this past week-end? For how many hours? Over how many sittings? What did you study and how did you study it?

Most importantly: how many breaks did you take and how long were they?

Time Magazine just published a fascinating little article: To Boost Memory, Shut Your Eyes and Relax. Go take a look at it. Don’t worry, I’ll wait. : )

Has this happened to you? You have ambitious plans to study a ton of things this week-end. You get tired, but you’re determined to push through, so you keep studying. You begin to get a bit anxious because you feel you aren’t learning well (and you’re not!), so you study even more. You get even more tired, and that makes it even harder to learn. By the end of the week-end, you’re exhausted, frustrated, and demoralized.

You may have already heard me say this (many times on various forums or in blog posts!), but I’m saying it again because it’s so important: your brain makes better memories when it’s not tired.

### Challenge Problem Showdown – August 20, 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 symbol $ is defined by the formula

a$b=a^{2}+b^{2}. If 35$x= 37^{2}and ((3$4)^{½}$x)^{½}$n= 85^{2}, then |n| =

### Stanford Confirms that IR Doesn’t Matter (This Year)

We’ve been telling you for some time now that admissions officers have been indicating that Integrated Reasoning (IR) scores won’t factor much into admissions decisions this year. Now, Stanford has gone on the record on its own blog.

Stanford GSB Associate Director of MBA Admission Allison Davis confirms that the school will focus on the verbal, quantitative, AWA, and total scores this year and that they will use this year to determine how to evaluate them in our process for next year.

Note, though, that Stanford is figuring out how to bring IR into the admissions process starting next year “ so if you are taking the GMAT now but might want to use the score next year (or later), then you will likely need to prep more for the IR section than will this year’s candidates. While there may be a bit of leeway next year as well, it sounds like the IR score will be a factor “ assuming, of course, that GMAC has done its job and the IR section is a valid indicator of b-school success.

I see no reason to think that the IR section will turn out not to be valid, so I do expect this score to become an important part of the admission process longer term “ but if you’re applying this year, take Stanford’s announcement as one more strong piece of evidence that you don’t need to worry about IR for now!

### How to Analyze a GMAT Integrated Reasoning Two-Part Question

This is the latest in a series of How To Analyze articles that began with the general How To Analyze A Practice Problem article (click on the link to read the original article). This week, we’re going to analyze a specific IR question from the Two-Part prompt category. First, give yourself up to 2.5 minutes to try the below GMATPrep problem.

An architect is planning to incorporate several stone spheres of different sizes into the landscaping of a public park, and workers who will be applying a finish to the exterior of the spheres need to know the surface area of each sphere. The finishing process costs $92 per square meter. The surface area of a sphere is equal to 4Ï€

r^{2}, whereris the radius of the sphere.In the table, select the value that is closest to the cost of finishing a sphere with a 5.50-meter circumference as well as the cost of finishing a sphere with a 7.85-meter circumference. Make only two selections, one in each column.

Circumference 5.50 m Circumference 7.85 m Finishing cost $900 $1,200 $1,800 $2,800 $3,200 $4,500

After trying the problem, checking the answer, and reading the given solution (if any), I then try to answer the questions listed below. First, I’ll give you what I’ll call the standard solution (that is, one we might see in an Official Guide book if this were an official guide problem “ a correct solution but not necessarily one that shows us the easiest way to do the problem). Then we’ll get into the analysis.

Standard solution: The formula for circumference is *C* = 2Ï€*r*. We can use this to calculate the radii of the two spheres (note that the problem asks us to find the closest values, so we can estimate):

### Challenge Problem Showdown – August 13, 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:

Rounded to four decimal places, the square root of the square root of 0.9984 is approximately…