GMAT is famous for using your own momentum against you

GMAT MomentumLike a  tae kwon do blackbelt or an icy road, the GMAT is perhaps most famous for its ability to use your own momentum against you.  Few places is this as evident as on Critical Reasoning questions, in which the most common way to answer incorrectly is to allow your subconscious mind to lead you to a slightly-out-of-scope conclusion that the psychological warriors at GMAC have already anticipated you’d conclude.  Accordingly, to perform well on Critical Reasoning questions it is, well, critical that you pay particular attention to the narrow scope of the conclusion.  As an example, consider the question:

Poor physical fitness among children has become an epidemic among American children.  In Europe, however, where schoolchildren participate in calisthenics and other athletic activities on a daily basis while at school, children are significantly more fit.  Tests show that European students have superior strength and agility, and that they are significantly more likely than are American children to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout their lives.  Therefore, we must conclude that American children can become more physically fit only through a daily calisthenics program at school.

Which of the following is an assumption on which the above argument relies?

(A)    Student physical fitness is a pressing concern worthy of taxpayer resources
(B)    All children can be made equally physically fit
(C)    It is possible within the current American school budgets and logistics to implement a nationwide calisthenics program
(D)    School calisthenics programs are an indispensable factor in European children’s fitness
(E)    American schools have been unable to provide healthier lunch options for overweight children

What is the conclusion of this argument? While most students will be able to note that the last sentence contains the conclusion, many will read their own conclusion that isn’t as narrowly-focused as the given statement.  Did you read this passage as an advertisement for a school-based calisthenics initiative?  Note that the conclusion does NOT say that “we should implement a school calisthenics program” (which might lead you toward choices A or C).  It, instead, states that the ONLY way for American students to improve their fitness is through DAILY, SCHOOL calisthenics.  That’s a strikingly different conclusion – the paragraph argues not in favor of implementing such a program,  but rather that no other program or initiative could work.  Whether such a program is viable, as choices A and C seek to establish, is irrelevant.  What we need is an answer choice that indicates that DAILY, SCHOOL calisthenics are a vastly superior program and that nothing else will do; choice D is the  answer that does so, and is therefore correct.

The GMAT loves to employ techniques like the above to bait test-takers into assuming a conclusion that is a few degrees off of center.  An answer choice that falls outside the scope of the given conclusion will be incorrect every time, but the GMAT is quite deft at creating situations that use your mental inertia to convince you of an off-scope conclusion.  Beware of the following tricks that the GMAT employs to draw you slightly off the scope:

• As in the above, use an argument that you assume to be a sales pitch
• Include subject matter about which nearly all pre-MBAs share a common sentiment, and make the actual conclusion slightly off your natural leaning (e.g. nepotism or long work hours)
• Make a fairly bland statement in the conclusion (e.g. “ancestors lived in this region during this era”) knowing that you’ll mentally want to infer a superlative term (e.g. “the earliest ancestors in this region lived at this time”)
• Use a principle as a premise upon which a conclusion depends, knowing that you’ll often read the authoritative presence as a conclusion itself (e.g. “No newspaper can fairly be blamed for adverse repercussions if its reporting was accurate.  As officials have validated our translation of the prime minister’s remarks, we bear no responsibility for the outcome of the protests.”  Here, the first sentence is simply given as a fact; the last statement “we bear no responsibility” is the conclusion.)

In order to maximize your performance on Critical Reasoning questions, you need to take care to ensure that you understand the true scope of an argument’s conclusion before you delve into the answer choice, as the GMAT will employ tricks like those listed above to shift your view of the argument and bait you toward incorrect answer choices that already anticipate your error.  When reading Critical Reasoning passages, not all sentences are created equal; make sure that you devote an extra few seconds to fully process and identify the conclusion and its narrow scope, and you’ll avoid the trap, out-of-scope answer choices that befall most examinees.

VeritasPrep Veritas Prep is the world’s largest privately-owned GMAT preparation and admissions consulting provider, offering industry-leading programs to help applicants improve their test scores and gain admission to the world’s best graduate schools. Founded in 2002 by graduates of the Yale School of Management, Veritas Prep is now live in more than 90 cities worldwide, as well as interactive online courses available everywhere. Additionally, Veritas Prep offers industry-leading admissions consulting services for applicants seeking admission to the most competitive business schools, law schools, and medical schools in the world.

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Top 31 MBA Programs + Analysis of 24 Industries (United States)

We analyze the MBA Curriculum, Class Profile, Total Cost and Post-MBA Salary of Top 31 MBA programs in the US.

+ Industry Trends

+ Future of Aerospace, Agriculture, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Automobile, Clean Tech, Education, Energy, Fashion, Financial Services, Insurance, FinTech, Government, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Military, Manufacturing, Maritime, Media/Advertising, Technology, Tourism, Trade, Transportation and Logistics, Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR).

Pages: 327


"I have not reviewed many books for MBA Admission consulting companies but doing it now to give all applicants a brief idea on what the book covers. The book includes 31 top MBA programs - almost all the top schools you have heard or considering for your MBA application. Each chapter is categorized by US States where there is at least one top MBA program. So you have California and Massachusetts with the most number of MBA programs and several states with one top program (Washington, Minnesota, Washington D.C., Connecticut, Virginia, and Maryland) and other states with two to three MBA programs. The book focuses on four aspects of an MBA program - curriculum, cost, class profile and post-MBA salary. For me, the breakdown of the cost and post-MBA industry was useful to make my decision on selecting the top 5 programs for 2017-18. It is a fascinating read in an industry where consultants overprice for their expertise. I recently bought a 30-page guide for $49. Compared to the obvious observation in that book, the 300+ page, MBA in US - the Ultimate guide is a goldmine of information and analysis." - Verified Purchase (21st June 2017)

"I bought the ultimate guide after a friend recommended it for me. The guide covers a lot of ground on the history of each prominent US states and goes into the reasons why a certain industry emerged from each state. In addition to the analysis of the economy, trends and expected changes in the next 5 years, the book features top MBA programs in each state with an extensive study of its curriculum. Ultimate guide is an essential reference book for MBA Applicants if they want to shortlist MBA programs based on value and cost, and not just ranking. " - Verified Purchase (14th June 2017)

"Should be a required reading before applying for an MBA. School events and MBA Tours are PR events disguised as a Q&A. On the contrary, the book is an unbiased analysis of each Top MBA program in the US supported by a large dataset and historical context on each industry. The guide builds a case for indstries that are likely to emerge as favourite for MBA graduates. Thorough and a valuable book." - Verified Purchase (15th June 2017)

"What I liked: The breadth of the information. Some of my favorite nonfiction books have taken the same approach as the ultimate guide have - cover background information in-depth. In the book, the author uses parallel threads to demonstrate the history of the state and the rise of industries. Will make you think how schools thrive based on the policy set by the state. California's obsession with Technology has revolutionized how we do Business and changed post-MBA trends. Many MBA applicants will be consulting or doing marketing for a Technology company. That is one key finding from the book. The latest development in AI, FinTech, and Automation is an additional context that I found valuable in the book.

Very informative. I would recommend that you read the book at least once in chronological order before using Table of Contents." - Verified Purchase (2nd July 2017)

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(2018 Entering Class)

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