Articles published in November 2012

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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Free GMAT Events This Week: November 26 – December 2

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Here are the free GMAT events we’re holding this week.

11/26/12 – New York, NY – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

11/27/12 – New York, NY – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

11/27/12 – Atlanta, GA – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

11/27/12 – Ann Arbor, MI – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

11/27/12 – Dallas, TX – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

11/27/12 – Santa Monica, CA – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

11/28/12 – New York, NY – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

11/28/12 – Arlington, VA – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

11/28/12 – Glendale, CA – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

11/28/12 – Santa Clara, CA – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

11/29/12 – Online – Free Trial Class – 8:00-11:00 PM

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

12/1/12 – Austin, TX – Free Trial Class – 1:00-4:00 PM

12/1/12 – Online – GMAT Preview – 1:00-2:30 PM

12/2/12 – Washington, D.C. – Free Trial Class – 2:00-5:00 PM

12/2/12 – Irvine, CA – Free Trial Class – 5:30-8:30 PM

12/2/12 – Online – Free Trial Class – 4:00-7:00 PM

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

Comparisons in GMATPrep Sentence Correction

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I’ve got a fascinating (and infuriating!) GMATPrep problem for you today; this comes 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!

*  Unlike computer skills or other technical skills, there is a disinclination on the part of many people to recognize the degree to which their analytical skills are weak.

 

(A) Unlike computer skills or other technical skills, there is a disinclination on the part of many people to recognize the degree to which their analytical skills are weak.

(B) Unlike computer skills or other technical skills, which they admit they lack, many people are disinclined to recognize that their analytical skills are weak.

(C) Unlike computer skills or other technical skills, analytical skills bring out a disinclination in many people to recognize that they are weak to a degree.

(D) Many people, willing to admit that they lack computer skills or other technical skills, are disinclined to recognize that their analytical skills are weak.

(E) Many people have a disinclination to recognize the weakness of their analytical skills while willing to admit their lack of computer skills or other technical skills.

 

gmat skillsI chose this problem because I thought the official explanation fell short; specifically, there are multiple declarations that something is wordy or awkward. While I agree with those characterizations, they aren’t particularly useful as teaching tools “ how can we tell that something is wordy or awkward? There isn’t an absolute way to rule; it’s a judgment call.

Now, I can understand why whoever wrote this explanation struggled to do so; this is an extremely difficult problem to explain. And that’s exactly why I wanted to have a crack at it “ I like a challenge. : )

Okay, let’s talk about the problem. My first reaction to the original sentence was: nope, that’s definitely wrong. When you think that, your next thought should be, Why? Which part, specifically? This allows you to know that you have a valid reason for eliminating an answer and it also allows you to figure out what you should examine in other answers.

Before you read my next paragraph, answer that question for yourself. What, specifically, doesn’t sound good or doesn’t work in the original sentence?
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Challenge Problem Showdown – November 19, 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:

If n is a prime number greater than 2, is 1/x > 1?

(1) xn < x < x(1/n)

(2) x(n“1) > x(2n“2)

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Free GMAT Events This Week: November 19-25

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Here are the free GMAT events we’re holding this week. There are only a few, due to the holiday. All times listed are local unless otherwise specified. Happy Thanksgiving!

11/19/12 – London, England – Free Trial Class – 7:00-10:00 PM

11/19/12 – New York (Wall Street), NY – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

11/19/12 – Online – Free Trial Class – 9:00 PM – 12:00 AM

 

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

How Would Nate Silver Take The GMAT?

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image via xkcd.com

Image via xkcd.com

Over the past several days, Nate Silver has gone from baseball and political forecasting guru to full-blown media darling. Since correctly forecasting the winning presidential candidate in 49 and 50 states in the last two elections, Silver has been seen everywhere from NBC to Comedy Central. All of this culminated Wednesday when Silver won the ultimate modern-day achievement: trending Twitter topic. And while #DrunkNateSilver has already predicted the next two presidential elections and the ending to Star Wars 7, his sober counterpart has lessons that we can apply to our GMAT studying.

The PECOTA System- Finding historical similarities

Nate Silver first became famous outside of his consulting job when he developed PECOTA, which sought to predict the statistics and career arc of major league baseball players, as well as projected team win totals. PECOTA wasn’t the first projection system for baseball, but it was the first to use other players’ previous performances instead of that player’s trends. By comparing each player with 20,000+ player’s seasons since World War II, Silver was able to make a probabilistic distribution for individual players and their teams.
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Challenge Problem Showdown – November 12, 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:

5/6 of the population of the country of Venezia lives in Montague Province, while the rest lives in Capulet Province. In the upcoming election, 80% of Montague residents support Romeo, while 70% of Capulet residents support Juliet; each resident of Venezia supports exactly one of these two candidates. Rounded if necessary to the nearest percent, the probability that a Juliet supporter chosen at random resides in Capulet is

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Free GMAT Events This Week: November 12-18

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

11/12/12 – Evanston, IL – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

11/12/12 – San Francisco, CA – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

11/13/12 – Chicago, IL – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

11/13/12 – Bellevue, WA – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

11/13/12 – Santa Clara, CA – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

11/13/12 – Online – Free Accelerated Class Trial – 8:00-11:00 PM

11/14/12 – West Hollywood, CA – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

11/14/12 – Online – GMAT Preview – 8:00-9:30

11/15/12 – Boston, MA – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

11/15/12 – Online – Thursdays With Ron – 7:00-8:30 PM

11/16/12 – Online – Free Trial Class – 8:00-11:00 PM

11/17/12 – Washington, D.C. – Free Trial Class – 2:00-5:00 PM

11/18/12 – Mumbai, India – Learn To Think Like An Expert – 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM

11/18/12 – Boston, MA – Free Trial Class – 5:30-8:30 PM

11/18/12 – Toronto, ON – Free Trial Class – 5:30-8:30 PM

11/18/12 – Chicago, IL – Free Trial Class – 2:00-5:00 PM

11/18/12 – San Francisco, CA – Free Trial Class – 5:30-8:30 PM

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