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How to prepare for the GMAT in 3 months?

Categories : GMAT Study Plan

GMAT Prep Plan 3 monthsKnewton: At Knewton, we generally recommend a prep period of around three months for GMAT Preparation. It’s enough time to build a solid foundation in critical areas of GMAT study, but not so long that you burn out by the rigorous focus and training.

Here is the 3 Month GMAT Prep Plan:

Week 1: Take a diagnostic practice test to see where you stand overall.  Learn the basic parameters of each section including scoring and question types.

Weeks 2 – 4: Do as many practice problems as possible for each section and read explanations for any wrong answers. The goal is not just to see whether you are better at Verbal or Quant, but specifically which sections (Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction) and which question types (strengthening arguments, usage of idioms) are the most difficult for you.

Weeks 4 – 8: Now that you have a lot of practice questions under your belt, you want to focus on the...

4 Summer Habits for GMAT Preparation

Categories : GMAT Preparation

As you read this article, the entire summer is ahead of you.  But if you are planning to apply to business school this fall, you should heed the warning that you learned in your earlier scholastic days – time flies when you’re having fun, and the fall, like those objects in your rearview mirror, is probably closer than it appears.

Rest assured that you can still enjoy most of your summer even if you don’t plan on taking the GMAT until later in the fall.  But even without dedicating much of the summer to studying, there are at least four habits you can add to your day-to-day lifestyle that will get you ready to hit the ground running when you do begin your GMAT preparation in earnest sometime soon:

1) Read

The GMAT verbal section is a test of focus and concentration, assessing your ability to process written information on a variety of topics and to do so while tired and distracted.  There are certainly techniques to help you navigate the GMAT-specific passage formats and question types, and you’ll learn those when you’re ready to buckle down on GMAT study.  But in the meantime, you can improve your ability to process that information simply by reading more, and by reading articles and books on topics that aren’t as natural of choices for you.  Traveling this summer?  Bring The Economist on...

Learn when Diction Impacts Grammar in GMAT Sentence Correction Questions

Tone Diction GMATAs you may know, diction refers to word choice. Usually, we use the term “diction” to describe an author’s tone or style - rarely does word choice have an effect on grammar. In some cases, though, it does. The GMAT Sentence Corrections will test you only on those occasions when word choice affects grammar, not when one word will be more effective than another.

1. Adverbs vs. Adjectives

While the subject of adverb usage may deserve its own category, the topic can be included under diction. Simply put, an adverb (those words that often end in ly) describes a verb, adjective, or another adverb, while an adjective describes a noun.

Adverb usage is the reason we say “I did well on my test” and not “I did good on my test;” well is an adverb while good is an adjective.

Example 1. Scientists dream of one day creating armies of nanobots, tiny robots smaller than a cell, that can enter the human body and use their practical unlimited access to find and repair defects in bodily structures.

Top 10 Tips to Ace GMAT Data Sufficiency

Ever heard of a Math problem that you actually don't have to solve. If you have just started your GMAT prep, then this can be confusing. Don't worry! With some practice, your mind will be trained to think like a DS Wizard. Follow these 10 tips and you will be on your way to mastering GMAT Data Sufficiency.

1. Familiarize with the Answer Choices

No excuses: On Data Sufficiency, they’re always the same! Know in the blink of an eye what choice C is. On test day, if you find that Statement 1 is insufficient, be able to cross out choices A and D without hesitation.

2. Takes notes efficiently

Each statement alone will be sufficient if both of the statements on their own contain all the information necessary to answer the question. The statements will be sufficient together if they contain every piece of necessary information between them. Take the area of a parallelogram: Do you need to know every side length to determine the area? If you have every side length, can you find the area?

3. Don’t look at the statements together.

Statement 2 may tell you that x is negative, but that fact has no bearing on Statement 1 when viewed by itself. Explore all the possibilities offered by each statement individually. If you’ve...

How to solve GMAT Critical Reasoning Inference question

GMAT Critical Reasoning InferenceYou’re having lunch with your friend Jane, and you suggest getting hot fudge sundaes for dessert; Jane tells you that she doesn’t eat hot fudge sundaes.  In real life, you could draw several valid inferences from this: she’s lactose intolerant, she has sensitive teeth and so can’t eat frozen desserts, she’s on a diet and trying to avoid sweets, or maybe she just doesn’t like ice cream or hot fudge. 

In real life, those would all be acceptable inferences, because the real-world definition of infer is to do any of the following:

1. to derive by reasoning; conclude or judge from premises or evidence: e.g., They inferred his anger from his heated denial.
2. (of facts, circumstances, statements, etc.) to indicate or involve as a conclusion; lead to.
3. to guess; speculate; surmise.
4. to hint; imply; suggest.

“Infer” is, as you can see, a word with fairly flexible meaning.  We most often use it in day-to-day life to mean “make an educated guess.”  If your friend Jane says she doesn’t eat hot fudge sundaes, you apply your existing knowledge about the possible reasons someone could have for...

(GMAT 800) Conventional wisdom holds that financial markets

GMAT 800 Reading Comprehension QuestionConventional wisdom holds that financial markets are informationally efficient—that stocks are always priced and traded at the intrinsic value of their underlying assets. Thus, investors cannot expect to achieve returns consistently in excess of average returns, given information that is publicly available at the time, without taking on large economic risks akin to gambling risks. In other words, one can only obtain higher returns by purchasing riskier investments, and not through expert timing or speculative stock selection. There are three major interpretations of this efficient market hypothesis: Weak Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH), which holds that current prices for assets, such as stocks, bonds, and property, reflect all past prices, Semi-strong EMH, which argues that prices change instantly to reflect all new public information (such as news of a take-over or a change in fiscal policy), and Strong EMH, which claims that prices adjust perpetually to reflect hidden, insider information not yet made public.

Weak EMH holds that technical analysis, the analysis of past stock performance, will not consistently produce excess returns because future price movements are only determined by...

How to Ace GMAT Critical reasoning application questions

GMAT Critical reasoning application questions go one step further than Inference questions, asking you to apply what you have learned from the passage to a different or hypothetical situation. For these questions, it’s important to ignore the answer choices until you’ve effectively broken down the passage. Understand the author’s argument. Some application questions will focus on the author’s point of view. Just like you would for a critical reasoning passage, identify the author’s conclusion and the evidence provided. Put yourself in the author’s shoes and ask yourself questions. What is my argument? What would make my argument stronger? What might weaken it?

1) Focus on process

2) Pay attention to how a particular process is performed
For example, if the passage focuses on describing an experiment, you must clarify step-by-step how the experiment is carried out, before you can apply that same method to a different situation.

Go back through the passage and list the verbs on your scratch pad. This will help you to understand the steps of the process and not confuse the sequence.


Three Types of GMAT Profit and Loss Problems

You will encounter the following three types of Profit/Loss problems in the GMAT:

Profit/loss as percentage of Cost Price

In this case you will be given the cost price and sales price, and will be asked to simply calculate the profit/loss incurred by the seller by entering into the given transaction. This will be done by dividing the difference between the Sales Price and the Cost Price by the Cost Price. To convert the decimal into a percentage, you will multiply it by 100.

Profit Percentage = ((Sales Price - Cost Price)/Cost Price) x 100

Selling price = Z x (Cost price)

Where Z is any positive number. When Z < 1 we have a loss. When Z = 1 we have neither profit nor loss. When Z > 1 we have a profit.

Profit or Loss % = (Z - 1) x 100.

Selling price = [(Y / 100) + 1]x (Cost price)

Where Y is the profit or loss percentage. When Y < 0 we have a loss. When Y = 0 we have neither profit nor loss. When Y > 0 we have a profit.

Profit/loss as percentage of Sales Price

Sometimes the problem will be worded differently and will require the test taker to calculate...

Top 10 GMAT Verbal tips for Non-native speakers

Categories : GMAT Verbal

Top Verbal Tips for Non-Native GMAT Test TakerEven if English isn’t your first language, you can still achieve an excellent score on the GMAT Verbal section. Here are a few tips to get you started!

1. Build your grammar skills first. You can ignore most of the challenging vocabulary on sentence corrections as long as you identify what part of speech each word is, and how it functions within the sentence. To do this, you’ll need to spend some time with a solid English grammar review book. I recommend pairing a heavy-duty review book, like the Oxford Guide or those published by McGraw-Hill or...

GMAT Trap - Wordy and Awkward but still correct

Categories : Sentence Correction

Wordy Awkward GMAT TrapSome of our best students have their grammar rules down pat. They can talk for hours about adjective clauses, dangling modifiers, gerunds, and the subjunctive, but they’re so busy checking to make sure that all the sentence parts fit into place that they forget to read the sentence for meaning. Consider this example:

Most studies approximate that 70 percent of individuals with an amputation experience phantom sensations in the amputated limb, often in the form of pain that is identical to the pain that they typically experienced when the limb was still attached to the body but contorted in an unnatural position.

(A) that is identical to the pain that they typically experienced when the limb was still attached to the body but
(B) that is identical to the pain that they typically experienced when that limb was still attached to the body but that was
(C) that was identical to the pain that they typically experienced when the limb was still attached to the body but was
(D) identical to the pain that they typically experienced when that limb had still been attached to the body but that had been
(E) identical to the pain that they would be...

Using “Whom” and “Who” in Sentence Corrections on the GMAT

Some GMAT sentence correction questions test not only for the accepted rules of grammar but also for the specific preferred style of the GMAT. Luckily, “who” vs. “whom,” is not one of those issues; this is a pretty straightforward issue, and is usually not tested in a complicated way. However, since even the most knowledgeable and educated writers sometimes misuse “who” and “whom,” it’s worth reviewing a couple of rules that can help guide you in determining the correct usage of these pronouns.

1. If someone were to ask a question about the sentence, would the answer be “him/her/them” or “he/she/they”?

This is probably the most effective way to remember the difference between “whom” and “who,” and most of the time, this will be enough to help you answer correctly. If a question about the action being described would be answered with “him,” “her,” or “them,” then the correct form is “whom.” If a question about the action being described would be answered with “he,” “she,” or “they,” then the correct form is “who.” Just remember this: the words with M’s at the end go together. They = Who, and Them = Whom. Here’s a basic sentence addressing this issue:

The Dalmation is a high-strung, energetic dog, and has historically been associated with firefighters, who/whom originally used the animal to guard...

(GMAT 800) Natural selection, the central doctrine of Darwinism

             Natural selection, the central doctrine of
             Darwinism, has been explained as the "survival of the
             fittest." On this process has depended the progress
             observable throughout organic nature to which the term
(5)         evolution is applied; although there has been from time
             to time degradation, this has had relation only to
             particular forms, organic life as a whole evidencing
             progress towards perfection. When man appeared as the
             culmination of evolution under terrestrial conditions,
(10)       natural selection would seem almost to have finished its
             work, which was taken up, however, by man himself, who

Area , Perimeter and Circumference

A sizeable number of GMAT math test questions belong to the Geometry section.  Some of these questions test  a candidate’s ability to understand 2-Dimensional Geometry by asking the candidate to calculate the area, perimeter or circumference of a geometrical shape.

The following geometrical shapes are most common – Triangles, Quadrilaterals, Rectangles, Rhombuses, Squares, Circles and Trapeziums.

Triangles – A triangle represents an enclosed shape made by joining three straight lines. The area of a triangle can be calculated as follows:

Area = ½*Base Side*Height of the triangle

In this formula, the Base Side can be any side of the triangle. However, depending on the base side chosen, height of the triangle needs to be ascertained. Height of the triangle is the shortest perpendicular distance from the Base side to the height of the Apex of that triangle.  Note that the height of a triangle may need to be calculated outside the triangle, depending on the base side chosen.  

Area of Triangle

Top 10 GMAT Problem Solving Tips

Categories : GMAT Tips, Problem Solving

GMAT Problem Solving TipsThe Problem Solving (PS) section of the GMAT may not be as quirky as the Data Sufficiency section of the test – but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to study for it! PS questions require more “straight math” than Data Sufficiency questions; in other words, they’ll probably be more like the questions you’re used to seeing on high school and college math tests. The best way to study? Master the basic concepts from geometry, algebra, statistics, and arithmetic — then check out these 10 helpful tips!

1. Make sure your fundamentals are strong.

The GMAT doesn’t allow you to use a calculator—which means you need to be quick and accurate with basic calculations. Be able to multiply and divide decimals. Know common higher powers and roots. Have fractions down to a science: Knowing right away whether 3/8 is less than 5/12 will mean you have more time later to work on more complicated calculations.

2. Choose numbers wisely.

Even questions that don’t contain variables can still be tackled by choosing numbers wisely. For example, if a question asks you about “a multiple of 6,” it’s probably quicker...

Set A consists of integers -9, 8, 3, 10, and J; Set B consists of integers -2, 5, 0, 7, -6,

Set A consists of integers -9, 8, 3, 10, and J; Set B consists of integers -2, 5, 0, 7, -6, and T. If R is the median of Set A and W is the mode of set B, and R^W is a factor of 34, what is the value of T if J is negative?

(A) -2
(B) 0
(C) 1
(D) 2
(E) 5


This problem demonstrates a helpful note about statistics problems – quite often the key to solving a stats problem is something other than stats: number properties, divisibility, algebra, etc. The statistics nature of these problems is often just a way to make a simpler problem look more difficult.

Here, the phrase “factor of 34? should stand out to you, as there are only four factors of 34, so you can narrow down the possibilities pretty quickly to 1, 2, 17, and 34. And because the number in question must be an exponential term that becomes a factor of 34, it’s even more limited: 2, 17, and 34 can only be created by one integer exponent – “itself” to the first power.

The base of that exponent is going to be the median of Set A, and because we know that the median of Set A will be 3 (a negative term for variable J means that 3 will be the middle term), the question becomes that much clearer. 3^W can only be a factor of 34 if it’s set equal to 1, and the only way to do that is for W to be 0. REMEMBER: anything to the power of...

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