For some international students who are new to the language, ESL classes might be a necessary step before they even start thinking about business school . For others, whose foundation in English grammar is stronger, study time may be better spent reading books in English, writing essays, taking practice tests, or doing focused grammar drills. So how can you know whether your English is at the right level for the GMAT?

Simply put, to do well on the GMAT you should know enough English to function in a university environment. First, check your proficiency by listening to sample lectures on Youtube. This is a practical recommendation that pertains to spoken as well as written English. In business school you will be expected to make arguments, back up opinions, and discuss case studies in depth. You should be comfortable stating your opinions and answering questions. Though you want to have better grammar than Borat or Jackie Chan, don’t worry if you have an accent or make a few mistakes when speaking.

Here’s an easy test: Watch a movie in English without subtitles; try something business related, like Glengarry GlenRoss, Wall Street, or Working Girl if you can. When you’re done, read a detailed summary of its plot online. If you find that you missed out on...

### International Students - Are you ready for GMAT Verbal?

**Categories**: GMAT Verbal

### General Strategies for Critical Reasoning

**Categories**: Critical Reasoning

Unless the question is a GMAT conclusion question, there will always be two parts to an argument: The premises—these are the facts that the author presents—and conclusion—the sentence that the author wants you to believe is true, but is not necessarily true.

Since you cannot mess with the facts that are presented, almost any question impacts the conclusion. Therefore, there are always two basic steps to answering a critical-reasoning question:

Step 1: Read the question first! When you start reading that long, wordy, cumbersome paragraph of an argument, you want to already know what you are looking for so that you do not get lost in the text.

Step 2: Find the conclusion! Unless the question is a conclusion question (in which case you have synthesize all the facts presented in the paragraph), your job is to strengthen, weaken, identify the flaw of, identify the assumption of, or infer something from not the entire argument, but the conclusion of the argument. So make sure you really zone in on that one...

### (GMAT 800) Conventional wisdom holds that financial markets

**Categories**: GMAT 800 Reading Comprehension

Conventional 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...

### Proportions

**Categories**: Ratio and Proportion

A proportion is represented by two ratios which are equated to each other. In GMAT Quant questions, we would be presented with one variable and three values for proportions. Reduce the ratio in either side to the lowest possible value before cross-multiplying.

For example , a proportion can be presented as a/b = c/d or a:b = c:d

So as per our strategy reduce a/b to the smallest possible fraction

ex: 24/10 should be translated to 12/5

GMAT Proportion: A football field is 9600 square yards. If 1200 pounds of fertilizer are spread evenly across the entire field, how many pounds of fertilizer were spread over an area of the field totaling 3600 square yards?

A. 450

B. 600

C. 750

D. 2400

E. 3200

The key word here is “spread evenly”. This implies that the relationship of fertilizer per square foot is uniform, and you can set equal the relationship of the wholes to the relationship of the parts.

A/F = 9600/1200 = 3600/x

Clearly, we can eliminate the zeros on the left side:

9600/1200 = 3600/x

96/12 = 3600/x

Then we can divide 96/12:

8 = 3600/x

Here, we can still reduce left-to-right, by canceling 4 in both:

2 = 900/x

Oh wait! There’s more! Both 2 and 900 are divisible by 2!

...

### GMAT Data Sufficiency Strategy - Prove Insufficiency

**Categories**: Data Sufficiency

Perhaps no GMAT item is as symbolic of the test as is a Data Sufficiency question. It is an iconic question format, unique to the GMAT and true to the aims of this specific test: to reward those who show the higher-order reasoning skills that will lead to success in business.

The corporate world is full of “yes men” and “groupthink” – of the kind of inertia that leads companies to think in the same direction without considering alternate points of view. To combat that, employers and business schools seek those who can see the entire array of possibility, and the GMAT tests for that in many Data Sufficiency problems. Consider a problem like:

Is the product jkmn = 1?

(1) jk/mn = 1

(2) j, k, m, and n are integers

Considering statement 1 it’s quite easy to get the answer “NO”. Using 1, 8, 2, and 4, for example, satisfies statement 1?s constraints but clearly gives a product unequal to 1. So does 1, 20, 5, and 4. But having just one “NO”...

### First Ten GMAT Questions - 9 Things to consider

**Categories**: GMAT Tips

A common belief is that the first ten questions “count” the most in each section of the GMAT, and that in light of this “fact,” you should spend more time on these early questions than you do on the rest of the test. Unfortunately, this belief is false, and its implied course of action could actually be detrimental to your score. Put plainly: you might hurt your score by spending more time on the early questions that you do on later ones.

Some people continue to believe this legend, despite all the evidence to the contrary. If you still think that the first questions count more than later ones, or if you’re still not sure what you think, then read on. You need to know the facts of the matter if you’re going to succeed on the GMAT.

1. The GMAT itself states that the first ten questions don’t count more.

If you have your Official Guide handy, open it up to page 17, bottom right. There’s a text box there with the header “Myth vs Fact.” Here the test maker specifically says that it is a myth that you should invest all your time in the first ten questions, and adds, “all questions count.”

...

### Solving GMAT Questions with two linear equations and two unknowns

In order to solve such equations, you need at least 2 distinct equations involving these unknowns.

For example, if we are trying to solve for x and y, we won't be able to solve it using these 2 equations.

2x + y = 14

4x + y - 14 = 14 - y

Why? Because the two equations on top are the same. If you simplify the second equation, you get 4x + 2y = 28 which reduces to 2x + y = 14 - the same equation as the first. If the two equations are the same, then there will be infinitely many values for x and y that will satisfy the equations. For example, x = 2 and y = 10 satisfies the equation. So does x = 4 and y = 8. And so does x = 6 and y = 2.

In order to solve for an actual value of x and y, we need 2 distinct equations.

For example, if we had

2x + y = 14 --------(1)

x - y = 4 ----------(2)

Then from equation (2), we can get x = 4 + y and substitute that into equation (1) to get:

2(4 + y) + y = 14 We can then solve for y. See if you got y = 2 Once you've got y = 2, you can substitute that into x= 4 + y to get x = 6.

An important lesson here is that you need as many distinct equations...

### How to start preparing for the GMAT Quant Section

Some of you have left Math behind, never to touch it again and all of a sudden GMAT comes along :-) . You know that you were good in Math but now that since there has been a lag; there is always a fear to catch up on the fundamentals. The lines, polygons, integers, triangles and the worst of all-permutation and probability start to bother you. You know you knew this stuff- Infact you were always a grade A student and know to have to get back on it.

What’s the best way to get at it? Well there are different strategies and people figure out what works for them and what does not. But always remember this- If you were good in Math at one point of time, you are still good in Math. You have not lost your Quant and so do not loose faith…. Have confidence. It’s just a matter of days before you can catch on to it and then GMAT Quant is fun and you will enjoy it. The best way to work the Quant preparation is to get to the Official Guide notes and go through them. Try to not only read them but also try to derive, think and work out similar formulas. This will brush up some of the formulas and the topics. Also, this is what you can do if you want fast results. Read a topic from the Official Guide, and immediately get to the Grockit site and play a game on those topics preferably in groups. That would bring out a lot of questions and while discussion you will tend to get the old Math concepts from...

### (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

...

### Using Venn Diagrams to solve GMAT Set Questions

On your GMAT, you will encounter 1-3 questions that contain overlapping groups with specific characteristics. You will almost never see more than two characteristics (since you can’t draw 3D on your scratch paper). For illustration, let’s take a look at the following Data Sufficiency example:

Q) Of the 70 children who visited a certain doctor last week, how many had neither a cold nor a cough?

(1) 40 of the 70 children had a cold but not a cough.

(2) 20 of the 70 children had both a cold and a cough.

There are two characteristics (cough and cold) and two categories for each (yes and no), so there are four total categories, as indicated by this matrix:

I’ve filled in the given information from both statements, and the parenthetical information is inferred. This clearly lays out the 4 combinations of options. If we sum vertically, we can infer that there are 60 total children with colds. Because there are 70 total children, this also means that 10 do NOT have colds. The bottom-right quadrant cannot be found because we do not know how those 10 children get divided between the two empty boxes. Choice E – together the statements are insufficient...

### 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

Solution

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...

### 5 Steps for GMAT Data Interpretation

1. Read the labels first. Mentally categorize each graph, chart and table. (EX: “This is a graph showing the change in the price of gas per gallon over the course of one year.”) Do not just skip the statistics entirely and go straight to the question! While you may think this will save you time, it actually significantly decreases your accuracy.

Data Interpretation questions are like an open-book test. You wouldn’t skip a Reading Comp passage, so don’t skip the data. Make sure you read every tiny piece of writing on or near the data, including titles, the labels for the x and y-axes, column names, and even footnotes. Scroll down to make sure you’ve caught everything.

2. Note the units. Once you understand the labels, take special care to note the units (mph, m/sec, cm2, etc.). Are we dealing with seconds, minutes, or hours? Does one graph represent the month of June, while the other graph represents the entire year? The units may change from graph-to-graph or chart-to-table. Especially note any given information about percentages, as DI questions frequently require you to work with...

### Understanding "Of" for GMAT Quant and Verbal Sections

One of the smallest and least noteworthy words in the English language, the word “of” is crucial to your success on the GMAT, on both the quantitative and verbal sides of the exam. It is of great importance that you recognize these two common appearances of, and traps set by, the word **“of“**:

1) Sentence Correction

In Sentence Correction questions, the word **“of”** is usually employed as a modifier, which the GMAT often throws in to lengthen sentences and distract you from subject-verb agreement errors. Consider the following items:

The number **of** applicants to business schools are increasing given the current economic climate.

The House **of** Representatives are meeting this week to continue working on an environmental bill.

In each instance, the subject is actually the singular noun before the word “of” – “of applicants to business schools” just tells us “which number?”, and “of Representatives” simply indicates “which House?”. The authors of the GMAT know that examinees are often unsure of which noun to choose as the subject; by using the word “of” to set up modifiers with multiple nouns, the writers can exacerbate this problem. If you...

### How to use Active Thinking in GMAT Problem Solving

**Categories**: Problem Solving

Quick brainteaser for you: If 3 bunnies can eat 3 carrots in one hour, how many carrots can 1.5 bunnies eat in one hour?

Really take a moment to think about it.

Do you have an answer?

Ok. If you answered, or even were tempted to answer, “1.5 carrots,” then I’m glad that you’re reading this article! The thing is, while the bunnies are eating carrots at the rate of one per hour, it doesn’t follow that 1.5 bunnies will eat 1.5 carrots. 1.5 bunnies will only eat one carrot, because 1.5 bunnies is really just 1 bunny. (That half a bunny isn’t feeling very well and doesn’t want any carrots.)

I don’t mean to say that this is a GMAT-style problem, but if you found yourself answering “1.5 carrots,” then you are prone to operating on autopilot. Students who operate on autopilot will often fall into traps, and they may become overwhelmed by questions that don’t fall clearly into easily recognized patterns. And let me tell you – you will likely see many problems on the GMAT that don’t fall into common patterns!

Active Thinking...

### GMAT Trap - Wordy and Awkward but still correct

**Categories**: Sentence Correction

Some 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...