Introduction to GMAT Verbal Section

Categories : GMAT Verbal

GMAT Verbal Topics IntroductionThe GMAT verbal section can be distracting if only because of one truth: Sentences (for correction) or reading comprehension passages must be about something. Whether it is a technical topic (immunological reactions, biological discoveries involving microorganisms) or a business-related subject (the rise of multinational corporations, the origin of hedge funds), questions on the verbal section will take place within the context of some kind of subject matter.

Traditionally, the GMAT uses academic subjects such as:

• Natural Sciences (astronomy, biology, etc.)
• Social Science (history, political science, etc.)
• Business Related

As a test-taker your reaction to these subjects can take multiple forms, but usually falls in to one or two major categories: bored/intimidated by something you don’t like or understand, or engaged/interested by something that intrigues you. In either case, you’re likely to be distracted, either by your distaste for the subject of by your enjoyment of it. Don’t forget, though, that you’re not reading the sentence/paragraph/passage for the value of the knowledge contained within it! Your job, regardless of the topic...

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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...

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How to identify Style or Tone in GMAT Reading Comprehension

GMAT Reading Comprehension Tone and StyleOne question type you are bound to encounter on the GMAT Reading Comprehension is a style or tone question. Style and tone questions are particularly rare because most of the passages will be informational articles with neutral tones. For example, it would not be very challenging if you were asked to identify the tone of a passage about the many types of metamorphic rock - such a passage would surely be neutral.   

The tone of any given passage is the author’s emotion or feeling, usually towards his subject. An author’s style is the particular way he uses language to reflect his unique authorial voice. Most style or tone questions will include the words “attitude,” “tone,” “style,” “feeling,” etc. A typical question of this type might look like this:

•  The author’s attitude toward global warming might best be described as which of the following?

•  Which of the following best describes the tone of the passage?

•  Based on the statements in lines 43-46, which of the...

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(GMAT 800)The function g(x) is defined for integers x such that if x

The function g(x) is defined for integers x such that if x is even, g(x) = x/2 and if x is odd, g(x) = x + 5.  Given that g(g(g(g(g(x))))) = 19, how many possible values for x would satisfy this equation?

A. 1
B. 5
C. 7
D. 8
E. 11


The easiest way to approach this problem is probably to work backwards, at least until we see a pattern.

With g(...) = 19, then we can consider which operation applied to (...).  If it was x/2, then (...)= 38.  38 is even so that is fair.   If it was x + 5, then (...) was 14.  14 is even, so that operation would not have been applied.

On paper, you could make a tree, with 19 as the root, and 38 as the first node.  

Next consider 38.  38 could have come from 76/2 or 33 + 5.  Two possibilities give us two nodes branching from 38:

19  -> 38 -> 76, 33.

We can now observe the pattern that with an odd number, it must have come from an even, but an even could come from either of two numbers.

Therefore our 76 will branch into 2 numbers, and the 33 into just one.

33 -> 66
76 -> 73, 152..

We can represent this as shown here:


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What is the greatest prime factor of 12!11! + 11!10!?

Categories : Number Properties

What is the greatest prime factor of 12!11! + 11!10!?

(A) 7
(B) 11
(C) 13
(D) 17
(E) 19


While it is common for students to simply look at the numbers 12!, 11!, and 10! and see that the highest naturally-occurring prime number is 11, it is  important to know that this is an addition problem – the numbers 12!11! and 11!10! are combined to create a new number that may well have a higher prime factor than its factorial components.

When adding large numbers like factorials and exponents, it is  often quite helpful to factor out common terms. In this case, it’s particularly important, because our entire goal is to break out the large sum into prime factors so that we can determine which is biggest. Each term has a common 11!, so by factoring that out we can get from:

12!11! + 11!10!
11! (12! + 10!)

Now, 12! includes a 10! – it’s essentially 12 * 11 * 10!, so we have a common 10! within the parentheses that can also be factored out, going from:

11! (12*11*10! + 10!)
11!10! (12*11 + 1)

At this point, the largest prime factor must be either the 11 outside the...

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How to identify modifying Phrases In GMAT Sentence Correction

Modifying PhraseA common trick used by GMAT test makers is to insert modifying phrase incorrectly. Here are some sentences that incorrectly use modifying phrases:

Sentence A: Ever since her paw was crushed in the front door, Mrs. Benson has been worried about Muffin, her pet cat.

Sentence A starts off with the modifying phrase “Ever since her paw was crushed in the front door,” and then talks about Mrs. Benson and her worry for her cat.  But Mrs. Benson sounds like a person, and as a person, she probably doesn’t have a paw to be crushed.  It’s MUCH more likely that Muffin’s paw got crushed, causing Mrs. Benson’s worry.  This sentence needs to be corrected to put the modifying phrase next to the item it modifies. 

Here are a couple of ways that we can do that, depending on where the sentence’s underlining is placed:

Sentence A1: Ever since her paw was crushed in the front door, Mrs. Benson has been worried about Muffin, her pet cat.

If the modifying phrase isn’t underlined, we don’t have the opportunity to fix it-- but we can rearrange the rest of the sentence so that the thing that is modified (...

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GMAT 800 with Video Explanation - A newborn kangaroo, or joey

A newborn kangaroo, or joey, is born after a short gestation period of only 39 days. At this stage, the joey’s hind limbs are not well developed, but its forelimbs are well developed, so that it can can climb from the cloaca into its mother’s pouch for further development. The recent discovery that ancient marsupial lions were also born with only their forelimbs developed supports the hypothesis that newborn marsupial lions must also have needed to climb into their mothers’ pouches.

The argument in this passage relies on which of the following assumptions?

[A] All animals that are born after a short gestation period are born with some parts of their bodies underdeveloped.
[B] Well developed forelimbs would have been more advantageous to ancient marsupial lions than well developed hind limbs would have been.
[C] If the newborn marsupial lion did not climb into its mother’s pouch, then paleontologists would be able to find evidence of this fact.
[D] Newborn marsupial lions that crawled into their mothers’ pouches could not have done so had they not had only their forelimbs developed at birth.
[E] Newborn marsupial lions would not have had only their forelimbs developed if this development were of no use to the marsupial lions.

About Knewton

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How to handle nerves on GMAT test day?

Categories : GMAT Exam Day Tips

Handling Nerves on GMAT Test DayTest day is no different than any other GMAT prep days. You have to be focused, prepared and give your best shot. But we are not robots, we are humans. So it is natural to feel a little bit anxious. But if you feel: cold sweats, night terrors, the shakes, and so on, then you are showing signs of acute anxiety. Knowing what to expect in the testing center will help you relieve some of the unnecessary anxiety. Here is Knewton's minute by minute breakdown of what to expect in the test center.

1. Arrive early, but don’t plan on studying at the testing center. 30 minutes before liftoff

Show up to the test center 30 minutes before the official time, as the GMAC suggests. Although this may mean waking up even earlier than expected, avoiding any feeling of being rushed is priceless. However, many testing centers don’t allow studying in the waiting room, so don’t plan on getting there early and reviewing notes. Use the time before the test to relax and focus on the task at hand.

2. Locker Room. 10 minutes before liftoff

After presenting your identification and test reservation, you may be given...

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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...

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Exponents Lead to Cumbersome, Time-Consuming Calculations involving Large Numbers but it is Pattern-Driven

Categories : Exponents

GMAT ExponentsThe GMAT's quantitative section is increasingly emphasizing problem solving skills over calculation abilities, and often does so in the form of "Number Properties" questions. The authors of the exam are also quite adept at recognizing "mathematical psychology", and creating questions that increase an examinee's anxiety by enough to make that process of problem solving a bit more difficult. One of the major themes that arises as a result is the use of exponents, which carry with them a number of properties extremely useful to the writers of the GMAT.


• Inspire fear (or at least apprehension) in test takers
• Lead to cumbersome, time-consuming calculations involving large numbers
• Are actually quite pattern-driven, and reward those who seek out those patterns rather than attempt to perform the extensive calculations

How can this help you on the exam?

If you embrace the pattern-driven quality of exponents, you can rest easy on exponent questions...

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Using Possessive Pronouns in GMAT Sentence Correction

GMAT Possessive PronounPossessive pronouns aren’t one of the biggest issues tested on the GMAT, but they do appear sometimes, and understanding them can not only potentially boost your Verbal score but can also make you a better writer, which will help in your AWA and your business school application process.

Just like other pronouns, possessive pronouns must have a clear antecedent, and must agree with that antecedent in gender and in number. There are a few tricky rules that come into play with possessive pronouns that you don’t see elsewhere, however.

1.No apostrophes needed

Turning a singular noun into a possessive noun usually involves the use of an apostrophe.  For example, you might say “my neighbor’s car.”  “Neighbor” is the noun, and to make it clear that the car belongs to your neighbor, you add an apostrophe and an “s”.  If we replace “neighbor’s” with “his,” though, we don’t need an apostrophe to indicate possession.  People often become particularly confused by the possessive form of one specific pronoun: it. The rule is...

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GMAT Data Sufficiency Strategy - Prove Insufficiency

Categories : Data Sufficiency

GMAT DS InsuffiencyPerhaps 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”...

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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...

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GMAT Data Sufficiency Strategy - The Obvious Answer Trap

Categories : Data Sufficiency

GMAT DS Obvious Answer TrapData Sufficiency questions are supposed to be hard; more so than any other question type they tend to represent a chess match between you and the author, as the author has two chances to get you to make a mistake.  She won’t likely waste either statement giving you an easy pass – the questions have to elicit something from you in terms of efficiency or ingenuity in order to answer them correctly, so if an answer choice seems obvious within 15-20 seconds and you can’t spot a trap, well, you just fell into the trap.  Consider the question:

What is the value of x?

1) 3x + 2y = 15

2)  y = (-3/2) (x – 5)

This should pretty obviously be C. 

Two equations, two variables, neither works alone but both work together, right? 

But that is too easy, and the GMAT won’t often give you the answer that quickly.  Much as though the author had moved a pawn...

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GMAT Word Problems - Basics

GMAT Word ProblemsWord problems on the GMAT get an unfair reputation for being especially challenging. However, it’s helpful to think of them as just dressed-up algebra. The real challenge is that they are (1) long, (2) boring, and (3) require translation from ‘English’ to ‘Math.’ Here are a few questions to ask yourself to make sure you fully break down and understand the problem BEFORE you start to solve!

What is the problem really asking?

    Make sure to understand what the answer choices represent. Are they the total number of dollars of profit? The profit accumulated by Jenny only? The percent increase in profit from June to July? Taking the time to do this will also ensure you never leave a problem half finished. If you dive into setting up an equation too quickly, you may realize half-way through that you’re solving for the wrong variable. Sometimes word problems will add an extra step at the end. You may be busy solving for “x” and forget that the problem is asking for the value of “1/x”.

What information am I given?

    The best...

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