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.


Learn More

How GMAT Scoring Algorithm Works?

Categories : GMAT Score

GMAT AlgorithmThe GMAT is a computer-adaptive test where your score is calculated by an algorithm that provides you with harder questions (and higher score returns) when you answer previous questions correctly, and with easier questions (and lower returns) when you’ve answered previous questions incorrectly.

Through this method, the GMAT can determine your ability level in a relatively short period – 37 math and 41 verbal questions – and provide you with an immediate score upon completion of the test. To save you the stress of trying to figure out the secrets of the algorithm, here are some important things you should know about GMAT scoring:

1) Good news: You can get a lot of questions wrong and still do well!

The job of the GMAT scoring algorithm is to determine your ability level by asking you questions that begin to close in on it. Think of how you’d play a game of 20 Questions as you attempt to zero in on the historical figure that your “opponent” has selected:

Was this person famous in the era BC? (No – too early)

Was this person famous before the Middle Ages? (No – still too...

Learn More

(GMAT 800 CR Bold Faced) A leading board member of AutoSnip

A leading board member of AutoSnip Co., makers of an automated home haircutting system, recently stated that the company was in terrible shape and headed for a disastrous year. His concern was that, since the introduction of the AutoSnip III last year, calls to the customer service line have nearly doubled, indicating that people are very unhappy with the new product. Although it's true that it is the job of responsible board members to raise issues of concern, in this case the board member's analysis of the situation is mistaken. The customer service line handles not only complaints but also sales, and the majority of the new calls have been to place new orders.

What role do the two boldfaced selections play in the above argument?

A.The first provides evidence supporting the main conclusion of the argument; the second provides evidence supporting a conclusion that the argument opposes.
B. The first provides evidence, an interpretation of which supports the main conclusion of the argument; the second provides evidence supporting the main conclusion of the argument.
C. The first provides incontrovertible evidence opposing the main conclusion of the argument; the second provides evidence supporting the main conclusion of the...

Learn More

GMAT Sentence Correction Strategies - Use Logic

GMAT SC LogicThe single-most crucial type of Sentence Correction error, Modifiers, Comparisons, and Verb Tenses all share one thing in common: you do not  need to be an expert editor to recognize that this sentence is illogical!  The introductory phrase in this sentence, “the single-most type…” is clearly meant to describe one item, but the rest of the sentence lists three.  This does not make logical sense!  Technically you’d call this a modifier error, in that the modifying phrase to begin the sentence – recognizable because it begins the sentence, is separated by a comma, and does not include its own subject and verb (note: these aren’t essential characteristics of any modifier, but they are one surefire way to identify a commonly-occurring type of modifier in which SC errors often crop up) – does not logically modify the noun that follows.

If you want to get really technical, it is an appositive modifier (a noun phrase used to describe another noun), but the GMAT will never require you to describe the...

Learn More

Using Venn Diagrams to solve GMAT Set Questions

Categories : Venn Diagrams, Sets

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:
Four Total Categories
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...

Learn More

GMAT Data Sufficiency Strategy - Don’t Contradict Yourself

Categories : Data Sufficiency

GMAT Don't Contradict YourselfTrue to their name, Data Sufficiency questions ask you to determine when you will have enough information to make a conclusive decision.  In doing so, these questions can assess your ability to plan ahead for a task; to elicit an effective return-on-investment (remember, you can’t use both statements if one of them is, alone, sufficient), to find flaws with conventional wisdom, and to think flexibly. Data Sufficiency questions also strike fear and loathing in the hearts of many GMAT examinees, but hold a special place in the hearts of a select few who love the nuance that these questions permit.  

There’s a hard-and-fast rule regarding Data Sufficiency that people don’t know and use as much as they should: the statements can never contradict each other.  Knowing this, if your answers for statement 1 and statement 2 are different, you must go back and reconsider your math; as Boston GMAT tutor David says, that’s an “answer choice F”, meaning that you just effed up the math somehow.

Consider the question:

Is x...

Learn More

How to study for the GMAT in Two Weeks?

Categories : GMAT Study Plan

GMAT Two Weeks Study PlanKnewton: Let us start by saying "Try not to prepare for your GMAT in 2 Weeks". Two weeks is not enough time to master the topics or the test taking strategies (Read GMAT One Month Study Plan and GMAT Three Month Study Plan) But circumstances like a B-School Deadline might force you to cram for the test in two weeks. Follow this efficient GMAT Study Plan:

Day 1 – Diagnosis: Take a practice test. This will likely be your one and only assessment. If you score evenly on both sections, then you will need a more comprehensive study plan. If you ace verbal but bomb the quant, then you know to focus your attention there.

Days 2 to 4 – Prime the Pump: After you take an official practice test,  spend the next few days going through as many practice problems as possible. If you have an Official Guide, make certain you read the explanations for all of the questions you answer incorrectly. Try to focus...

Learn More

GMAT Will Wear you Down: Avoid Unnecessary calculations and Don't Analyze Unnecessary Verbiage

GMAT Save Time and EnergyThe GMAT finds much of its competitive advantage in its ability to wear down its unsuspecting challengers, who perform unnecessary calculations on the quantitative side and reading and analyzing unnecessary verbiage on the verbal side, while all the while the GMAT packs its "knockout punch" in the form of a subtle uniqueness in the line of questioning that a tired examinee is unlikely to notice.

In order to combat this opponent, be sure to seek out opportunities to save time and energy when possible:

Quantitative Section

When answering a Data Sufficiency question, once you know that you will get one definitive answer, you can stop performing the calculation. The actual answer does not matter, as the question is only concerned with whether you will, indeed, arrive at an answer.

When calculating the answer for a Problem Solving question, consider the answer choices and whether an estimate, or a property of the correct value (does it have to be even? Must it be negative?) will be...

Learn More

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

Learn More

Understanding "Of" for GMAT Quant and Verbal Sections

Word OfOne 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...

Learn More

(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

Learn More

How to use Active Thinking in GMAT Problem Solving

Categories : Problem Solving

Active Thinking for GMATQuick 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...

Learn More

Top 10 Ways to Save Time in GMAT

1. Prepare: This one is on the obvious side, but too important to leave off the list. The most important things you can do to prepare for the GMAT is to understand all the concepts tested and to be familiar with all the question types. There is no magic formula–the best strategy is to spend a lot of time beforehand practicing and familiarizing yourself with the various concepts and question formats.

2. Be confident: If you know the right answer, stick with it. Often on, say, a Problem Solving question, you’ll need to figure out the right answer before you even get to the choices. Don’t waste time second guessing yourself when you see a different answer that looks appealing; you studied for this, you did the question properly. Select your answer and proceed to the next question.

3. Don’t spend time on calculation: This one is obvious but often overlooked. Data Sufficiency problems ask you to say when you have enough information to answer the question in the prompt, not to actually compute the answer. Sometimes you need to work all the way to a solution, but often, all you need to know is how to get the...

Learn More

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...

Learn More

How to study for the GMAT in one month?

Categories : GMAT Study Plan

Ideally you should spend 3 months for your GMAT Prep(Read How to prepare for the GMAT in 3 months?). If you have one month, here is a focused way to plan your studies:

Week 1: Diagnosis and Practice

Take a practice test and carefully go over your wrong answers. Look for patterns. You want to see if there is one particular section or problem type that is hurting you more than all others. Do additional practice problems if the practice test yields inconclusive information. Read explanations for wrong answers and map out three to five consistent weaknesses. You will focus on these in the next week.

Week 2: Focused Study

Now is the time to deal with your weaknesses. Depending on how many you identified, you will want to spend 1 – 2 days focusing on each. If strengthening arguments questions are your Kryptonite, put a night or two of studying into that. If data sufficiency algebra is killing you, spend an afternoon reading strategies and explanations related to it. You should spend this week doing a combination of practice problems and content coursework about math and English. Take super-concise notes that you can review later.

The goal during this period is...

Learn More

Get F1GMAT's Newsletters (Best in the Industry)
Included in the Newsletter:

  • Ranking Analysis
  • Post-MBA Salary Trends
  • Post-MBA Job Function & Industry Analysis
  • Post-MBA City Review
  • MBA Application Essay Tips
  • School Specific Essay Tips
  • GMAT Preparation Tips
  • MBA Admission Interview Tips
  • School Specific Interview Tips
  • Funding Guidance and
  • Special Consultation Service (only for Subscribers)

Subscribe to F1GMAT's Newsletter