Articles published in November 2014

Manhattan Prep’s Black Friday GMAT Special!

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11-20-BF-GMATOne of the biggest shopping days of the year has arrived–Happy Black Friday! In case you’re too full of turkey and stuffing to make your way out to the shops today, we’re serving up something extra special.

Today through December 15th, we’re offering $200 off all of our Complete GMATLSAT, and GRE courses*! This deal includes all Complete Courses– in-person as well as Live-Online. To receive this limited-time discount, register for a course that starts in December and enter the code Holiday200 at checkout.

This is only the beginning of the holiday season, which means we have many more amazing things coming your way, including our BRAND NEW 6th Edition GMAT Strategy Guides. You can pre-order your copies now and be the first to experience the best!

*Offer is valid for courses starting in the month of December only. Not valid for students currently registered for courses, or with any additional offers. Offer expires 12/15/2013 for GMAT courses

 

Studying for the GMAT? Take our free GMAT practice exam or sign up for a free GMAT trial class running all the time near you, or online. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+,LinkedIn, and follow us on Twitter!

GMAT Data Sufficiency Strategy: Test Cases

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DS StrategyIf you’re going to do a great job on Data Sufficiency, then you’ve got to know how to Test Cases. This strategy will help you on countless DS problems.

Try this GMATPrep® problem from the free exams. Give yourself about 2 minutes. Go!

* “On the number line, if the number k is to the left of the number t, is the product kt to the right of t?

“(1) t < 0 “(2) k < 1” If visualizing things helps you wrap your brain around the math (it certainly helps me), sketch out a number line: GMAT_Chart

k is somewhere to the left of t, but the two actual values could be anything. Both could be positive or both negative, or k could be negative and t positive. One of the two could even be zero.

The question asks whether kt is to the right of t. That is, is the product kt greater than t by itself?

There are a million possibilities for the values of k and t, so this question is what we call a theory question: are there certain characteristics of various numbers that would produce a consistent answer? Common characteristics tested on theory problems include positive, negative, zero, simple fractions, odds, evens, primes—basically, number properties.

“(1) t < 0 This problem appears to be testing positive and negative, since the statement specifies that one of the values must be negative. Test some real numbers, always making sure that t is negative.

Case #1:

Table_1

Testing Cases involves three consistent steps:

First, choose numbers to test in the problem

Second, make sure that you have selected a valid case. All of the givens must be true using your selected numbers.

Third, answer the question.

In this case, the answer is Yes. Now, your next strategy comes into play: try to prove the statement insufficient.

How? Ask yourself what numbers you could try that would give you the opposite answer. The first time, you got a Yes. Can you get a No?

Case #2:

table_2

Careful: this is where you might make a mistake. In trying to find the opposite case, you might try a mix of numbers that is invalid. Always make sure that you have a valid case before you actually try to answer the question. Discard case 2.

Case #3:

table_3

Hmm. We got another Yes answer. What does this mean? If you can’t come up with the opposite answer, see if you can understand why. According to this statement, t is always negative. Since k must be smaller than t, k will also always be negative.

The product kt, then, will be the product of two negative numbers, which is always positive. As a result, kt must always be larger than t, since kt is positive and t is negative.

Okay, statement (1) is sufficient. Cross off answers BCE and check out statement (2):

“(2) k < 1” You know the drill. Test cases again! Case #1: table_4

You’ve got a No answer. Try to find a Yes.

Case #2:

table_5

Hmm. I got another No. What needs to happen to make kt > t? Remember what happened when you were testing statement (1): try making them both negative!

In fact, when you’re testing statement (2), see whether any of the cases you already tested for statement (1) are still valid for statement (2). If so, you can save yourself some work. Ideally, the below would be your path for statement (2), not what I first showed above:

“(2) k < 1” Case #1: table_7

Now, try to find your opposite answer: can you get a No?All you have to do is make sure that the case is valid. If so, you’ve already done the math, so you know that the answer is the same (in this case, Yes).

Case #2: Try something I couldn’t try before. k could be positive or even 0…

table_8

A Yes and a No add up to an insufficient answer. Eliminate answer (D).

The correct answer is (A).

Guess what? The technique can also work on some Problem Solving problems. Try it out on the following GMATPrep problem, then join me next week to discuss the answer:

* “For which of the following functions f is f(x) = f(1 – x) for all x?

“(A) f(x) = 1 – x

“(B) f(x) = 1 – x2

“(C) f(x) = x2 – (1 – x)2

“(D) f(x) = x2(1 – x)2

“(E) prob

Key Takeaways: Test Cases on Data Sufficiency

(1) When DS asks you a “theory” question, test cases. Theory questions allow multiple possible scenarios, or cases. Your goal is to see whether the given information provides a consistent answer.

(2) Specifically, try to disprove the statement: if you can find one Yes and one No answer, then you’re done with that statement. You know it’s insufficient. If you keep trying different kinds of numbers but getting the same answer, see whether you can think through the theory to prove to yourself that the statement really does always work. (If you can’t, but the numbers you try keep giving you one consistent answer, just go ahead and assume that the statement is sufficient. If you’ve made a mistake, you can learn from it later.)

* GMATPrep® questions courtesy of the Graduate Management Admissions Council. Usage of this question does not imply endorsement by GMAC.

Studying for the GMAT? Take our free GMAT practice exam or sign up for a free GMAT trial class running all the time near you, or online. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+,LinkedIn, and follow us on Twitter!

Ready for Round 2 Applications? Deadline Reminders for the Top 25 Business Schools

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Round 2The round two deadlines for business schools are right around the corner, which means that we start hearing from students who are planning to apply during round two but are worried because they haven’t quite hit their target GMAT score. Sound like you? Use the chart below to check the deadlines for the top 25 business schools, and evaluate whether you have enough time to prep and retake the official exam.

Looking for some guidance to maximize your study time? Our upcoming December GMAT Boot Camps are designed to prep you in just two weeks. Be prepared for intensive in-class work paired with hours of one-on-one coaching that will get you ready for the exam quickly, without sacrificing content knowledge. There are still a few spots open in our December Boot Camps (New York City and Live Online). Check out the full schedule and see all that’s included!

School Round 2 Deadline
Harvard University Monday, January 05, 2015
Stanford University Wednesday, January 07, 2015
University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) Sunday, January 05, 2014
University of Chicago (Booth) Tuesday, January 06, 2015
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) Thursday, January 08, 2015
Northwestern University (Kellogg) Wednesday, January 07, 2015
University of California–Berkeley (Haas) Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Columbia University Final Application Deadline: April 09, 2015
Dartmouth College (Tuck) Tuesday, January 06, 2015
New York University (Stern) Saturday, November 15, 2014
University of Michigan–Ann Arbor (Ross) Saturday, March 14, 2014
University of Virginia (Darden) Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Yale University Thursday, January 08, 2015
Duke University (Fuqua) Monday, January 05, 2015
University of Texas–Austin (McCombs) Tuesday, January 06, 2015
University of California–Los Angeles (Anderson) Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Cornell University (Johnson) Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper) Sunday, January 04, 2015
University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flager) Friday, December 12, 2014
Emory University (Goizueta) Friday, November 14, 2014
Indiana University–Bloomington (Kelley) Sunday, March 01, 2015
Washington University in St. Louis (Olin) Saturday, November 15, 2014
Georgetown University (McDonough) Monday, January 05, 2015
University of Notre Dame (Mendoza) Monday, January 12, 2015
University of Washington (Foster) Saturday, November 15, 2014

News from the GMAT Summit Fall 2014

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GMAC_Logo1

Last week, I attended the annual GMAT Summit, held by the fine folks at GMAC (who own / make the GMAT), and I have some interesting tidbits to share with you.

It really is a myth

You know what I’m going to say already, don’t you? The first 7 (or 10, or 5) questions are not worth more than the questions later in the exam. I’ve written about this topic before but I’m going to mention it once again because of something that happened at the conference.

Fanmin Guo, Ph. D., Vice President of Psychometric Research at GMAC, was answering questions after a presentation on the test algorithm. A couple of people were peppering him with questions about this myth and apparently just didn’t seem to believe that it could possibly be true that the early questions aren’t worth more. One of the questioners also made a pretty significant faulty assumption in his arguments—and now I’m worried that an article is going to pop up trying to revive this debate. I don’t want any of my students led astray on this topic.

First, to understand why the early questions actually aren’t worth any more than the later ones, see the article I linked a couple of paragraphs back.

Second: here was the faulty assumption that I heard:

“You said that the earlier questions aren’t worth any more than the later ones. So you’re telling us that students should spend the same amount of time on every question.”

Dr. Guo was saying the first part: that the location of a question on the test doesn’t impact its weighting in the overall score. He and the other GMAC folks weren’t saying anything, though, about how you should take the test.

In fact, it would be silly to spend exactly the same amount of time on every question. Some questions are harder than others. In addition, you have various strengths and weaknesses in terms of both accuracy and speed. There are, in fact, very good reasons not to spend the same amount of time on each question. All Dr. Guo was saying was that the location of the problem in the section is not one of those reasons.

So, if you read something that says that you should spend more time on the earlier questions, roll your eyes and click away. Alternatively, if you read something that concludes that you should spend the same amount of time on every question, drop that source as well. Take a look at the data in my other article to see that GMAC actually does know what it’s doing and the GMAT is not just a test of how you perform on the first 7 or 10 questions.

GMATPrep offers more data

GMAC has been building more score reporting functionality into GMATPrep to give us a better idea of how we do when we take the official practice CATs. In fact, this capability has already launched! I need to go download the newest version of GMATPrep to see exactly what’s offered (and I’ll report back to you once I’ve done so), but they’ve started to offer data for sub-categories such as question type and content area.
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GMAT, LSAT, and GRE Instructor Auditions: Decision In A Day

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Decision

For the first time ever, Manhattan Prep is holding a one-day audition for new GMAT, GRE, and LSAT instructors! Come join us December 14, 2014 at 9:00 AM and transform your passion for teaching into a lucrative and fulfilling part-time or full-time career.

Manhattan Prep offers instructors flexible hours and great pay ($100/hour for all teaching and tutoring). In addition to teaching classes, instructors can work on other projects such as curriculum development.

Our regular instructor audition process, which includes a series of phone, video, and in-person mock lessons, usually takes weeks, even months, to complete. However, we are offering a one-day event on December 14th for teachers interested in working with us. Candidates who attend will receive a decision that day.

The event will take place at our company headquarters at 138 West 25th St., 7th Floor, in Manhattan, New York City at 9:00 AM EST.  It is open to candidates who live in the tri-state area, who have teaching experience, and who are GMAT, LSAT, or GRE experts.

The day will include several rounds of lessons, as well as other activities. Each round will be pass/ fail. The day will begin at 9 AM and may last as late as 4:30 PM for those who make it to the final round. Candidates will need to prepare lessons for some rounds; we will send a more detailed instruction packet to those who sign up for the event.

To register, please email Rina at auditions@manhattanprep.com. Make sure to include in your full name, an attachment of your resume detailing your teaching experience, and an official GRE, GMAT, or LSAT score report. We look forward to meeting you on December 14th!

The GMAT Review Game

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GMAT_ChartSo you’ve just taken a practice test. Chances are, you didn’t get a perfect 800. (If you did, stop studying and come work for us!). You probably didn’t even get a score that you like yet. That doesn’t mean that you’ve failed, though. In fact, you’ve barely started, because…

REVIEWING IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE PROCESS!!

Most people take tests, then look at the score, then click on the explanations to the ones they got wrong. Their review process takes about 15 minutes, and just involves “oh, I did that wrong. Oh, that’s the right answer.” This kind of review process teaches you next to nothing about how to do better on the next one.

So here’s what you need to do. The test gave you a score from 200-800 on accuracy, but you need to give yourself your own score on your review process. Here’s how it works…

For every single question – not just the ones you got wrong! – you should be going back and re-solving. Take yourself through this checklist for quant problems:

GMAT_Chart

1) Did I fully understand the concept and the rules behind it? +1
Give yourself a point if you could tell that a question was asking about DIVISIBILITY, or understood the RATE x TIME = DISTANCE relationship.

2) Did I understand what the question was asking for? +1
Did you rephrase DS questions to pinpoint what they were really asking for? Did you notice that it asked for “Amy’s age in 5 years,” and wrote down A + 5 instead of just A? Did you understand what it means when they ask for “x in terms of y and z”?

3) Did you solve it correctly? up to +5
Give yourself up to 5 points if you solved correctly the first time and got the right answer. Subtract a point or two if you took longer than you should have, or made a mistake before ultimately correcting it. Only give yourself +1 for a random lucky guess and +2 for an educated guess.

4) … or if you didn’t solve correctly, did you make a good decision to skip? +2
You’re not going to be able to solve every question on the GMAT, because you’re always going to run into questions that are above your ability level – that’s how the test is designed! So you should pat yourself on the back whenever you recognize that a question is too hard to solve, and you make the decision not to attempt it. Lock in an educated guess and save that extra time for a problem that is doable for you.
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The Last 14 Days before your GMAT, Part 2: Review

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - The last 14 Days Before Your GMAT - Part 2: Review by Stacey KoprinceDid you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.


This is the original version of a piece that has since been updated. See Stacey’s latest tips on maximizing the last two weeks before your GMAT.


As we discussed in the first half of this series, Building Your Game Plan, during the last 7 to 14 days before you take the real test, your entire study focus changes. In this article, we’re going to discuss the second half of this process: how to review. (If you haven’t already read the first half, do so before you continue with this part.)

What to Review Read more

Top GMAT Prep Courses: Interview with Manhattan Prep Instructor Ron Purewal

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TOP_GMAT_COURSES_LogoThe following excerpt comes from Top GMAT Prep Courses, a helpful resource for comparing your GMAT prep options, gathering  in-depth course reviews, and receiving exclusive discounts. Top GMAT Prep Courses had the chance to connect with Ron Purewal, one of Manhattan Prep’s veteran GMAT instructors, to ask questions about the GMAT that we hope all prospective MBA candidates will benefit from. Want more? Head on over to the full article!

 

What are the most common misconceptions of the GMAT that you notice on a regular basis?

“There are two BIG misconceptions in play here.

The first is “knowledge.” Too many people view this test as a monumental task of memorization. A test of knowing stuff. If you’re new to this exam, it’s understandable that you might think this way. After all, that’s how tests have always worked at school, right? Right. And that’s exactly why the GMAT doesn’t work that way. Think about it for a sec: When it comes to those tests, the tests of knowing stuff, you already have 16 or more years of experience (and grades) under your belt. If the GMAT were yet another one of those tests, it would have no utility. It wouldn’t exist. Instead, the GMAT is precisely the opposite: It’s a test designed to be challenging, and to test skills relevant to business school, while requiring as little concrete knowledge as possible.

If you’re skeptical, go work a few GMAT problems.  Then, when the smoke clears, take an inventory of all the stuff you had to know to solve the problem, as opposed to the thought process itself.  You’ll be surprised by how short the list is, and how elementary the things are.  The challenge isn’t the “what;” it’s the “how.” …Continue reading for the second misconception.
 

How common is it for a student to raise his or her GMAT score 100 points or more, and what is the largest GMAT score increase you’ve personally seen while working at Manhattan Prep?

“We’ve seen such increases from many of our students. I’ve even seen a few increases of more than 300 points, from English learners who made parallel progress on the GMAT and in English itself. I don’t have statistics, but what I can give you is far more important: a list of traits that those successful students have in common.

1) They are flexible and willing to change. They do not cling stubbornly to “preferred” or “textbook” ways of solving problems; instead, they simply collect as many different strategies as possible.

2) They are resilient. When an approach fails, they don’t internalize it as “defeat,” and they don’t keep trying the same things over and over. They just dump the approach that isn’t working, and look for something different. If they come up empty, they simply disengage, guess, and move on.

3) They are balanced. They make time to engage with the GMAT, but they don’t subordinate their entire lives to it. They study three, four, five days a week—not zero, and not seven. They review problems when they’re actually primed to learn; they don’t put in hours just for the sake of putting in hours. If they’re overwhelmed, exhausted, or distressed, they’ll shut the books and hit them another day. In short, they stay sane… Continue reading for more traits of successful students.

 

Studying for the GMAT? Take our free GMAT practice exam or sign up for a free GMAT trial class running all the time near you, or online. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+,LinkedIn, and follow us on Twitter!

The Last 14 Days before your GMAT, Part 1: Building Your Game Plan

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The Past 14 Days Before Your GMAT - Part 2: Review by Stacey KoprinceDid you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.


This is the original version of a piece that has since been updated. See Stacey’s latest tips on maximizing the last two weeks before your GMAT. 


What’s the optimal way to spend your last 14 days before the real test? Several students have asked me this question recently, so that’s what we’re going to discuss today! There are two levels to this discussion: building a Game Plan and how to Review. We’ll discuss the former topic in the first half of this article and the latter in the second half.

What is a Game Plan?

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