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Idioms



On the GMAT sentence corrections, an “idiom” is a recognized grammatical construction that is a rule simply because of tradition. The idiom constitutes the ultimate tautology: we say something a certain way because, well, that’s how we say it.

On the test, most of the idioms you will face involve preposition usage. Why do I listen “to” the radio instead of listen “at” the radio? We say “listen to” because that is how English speakers have said it for hundreds of years. We like it that way, and we are not willing to change.

For some test-takers, idiom errors can be the easiest to spot on the exam. To these test-takers, an idiom error sticks out like a sore thumb. When they read something like “listen at the radio,” they hear dissonance. The only way to restore grammatical harmony is to replace the grating “at” with the soothing “to.” Balance is restored.

English as second language

Not everybody thinks this way. For many who learned English as a second language, and even for those who have a purely logical--as opposed to intuitive--understanding of language, idiom errors are extremely difficult to detect. After all, there is no logical explanation for why we say “listen to” instead of “listen at.”...

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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.
...

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Solving GMAT Questions with two linear equations and two unknowns


Categories : Equations, Problem Solving

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...

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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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International Students - Are you ready for GMAT Verbal?


Categories : GMAT Verbal

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...

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How can I raise my Verbal score?



GMAT Verbal ScoreThere are many who might feel that, while quantitative questions are clear-cut and objective, verbal questions are shrouded in the ambiguity of language and that, as a result, achieving a high score on the verbal section is to some degree a matter of luck that is determined by the whims of the little evil verbal GMAT goblins.

This could not be farther from the truth.  The language and communication skills that the GMAT tests are as straight-forward as any algebra problem.  So let's look at how you can take control of your score on the verbal section.

Test Strategy

As you probably already know, the GMAT is an adaptive exam.  This means that whether you answer the question presented correctly determines the level of the next question.  For example, say you are given a critical-reasoning question at a 600 level.  If you answer the question correctly, the next question will be at approximately a 650 level.  (These figures are not precise, for the exact calculations are not disclosed.)  If you get the question wrong, however, the next question might be a 550-level question.  ...

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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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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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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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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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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...

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How to use your Common sense in GMAT Data Sufficiency Questions?


Categories : Data Sufficiency

Data Sufficiency questions are not the same as your regular "Find the value of x" question. GMAT DS Questions require you to adjust in your approach to Math Problems. You are not primarily concerned with the final answer, but rather whether you have enough information to get you to that answer. For example, if you’re asked to find the value of x, and a statement tells you that 300x + 257 = 1345, you know that this statement is sufficient, because you can perform arithmetic on that equation to isolate x. Are you going to perform it? No, because it’s too complicated and you don’t need to! All you’re concerned with is whether you can find the answer.

It might strike you as odd, but because of this principle, you can tackle some supposedly difficult DS questions without writing down a single equation or calculation! Sounds too good to be true, but in actuality, it makes a lot of sense. Remember, in business school you’ll be given data in case studies, and you’ll be expected to determine relatively quickly what information is relevant. DS questions are perfect for testing this ability because you have to look at the information given to you and cut to the heart of what is most important about that information.

As an example, let’s look at this rather wordy DS problem:

...

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GMAT Sentence correction General Strategies



GMAT Sentence Correction General StrategiesGMAT Sentence correction(SC) comprises 15 of the total 41 verbal questions, which means that the majority of verbal questions are from GMAT SC. With SC questions, you will be presented with a question followed by five answer choices. The question will be underlined in part. You have to select the best answer choice that rephrases the underlined part of the question. Remember - the first answer choice will repeat the original text so don't bother to read it again.

Here is a step by step action plan to solve GMAT SC Questions

1. Read the whole sentence slowly and carefully. We all have different reading speeds, but as a good rule of thumb, you’ll want to read the sentence significantly slower than you would read a novel. For you fast readers who don’t subvocalize as you read, you might want to try subvocalizing SC sentences; sometimes it’s best to hear the mistake rather than see it.

2. If you notice what looks like an error in the underlined portion, try to identify the type of error before you move...

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Non-native English speakers - GMAT Verbal Study Plan designed for you!



Non-Native Speaker GMAT Verbal Study PlanEnglish, like all living languages, is complex and constantly-changing; what is acceptable in spoken English is not always accepted in Standard (written) English.  The key to improving your English reading, processing, and writing skills for the GMAT is consistent high-quality practice.  It's true that native speakers have a big advantage -- they have typically been listening to correct English for at least two decades.  Non-native speakers, however, have a small advantage -- they (unlike native speakers) have not been listening to incorrect English for two decades.  Build your study around quality writing and daily practice -- and start as early as you can.


Quality writing:

New Yorker
The Economist
Harper's Magazine
The Atlantic

...

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GMAT Reading Comprehension Time Management - 7 Rules


Categories : Reading Comprehension

GMAT RC Time ManagementTiming is everything in GMAT. Computer Adaptive Tests (CATs) have additional constraints apart from limited time: You cannot return to previous questions, you can't skip a question and you are penalized more for unanswered questions than for wrong answers.

For many GMAT test takers, the ticking clock on the top right corner of the screen is a constant source of worry. "How much time should I spend on this question?". "Should I guess and move on?". These questions will force even the coolest test takers to make irrational decisions.

Don’t let stress over the clock have a negative impact on your confidence or your GMAT score! You do not want the time crunch to take focus away from answering the questions correctly.

Consistently practicing time management skills will allow you to become more comfortable with this aspect of the test and refocus your energy on reasoning skills necessary to pick the correct answer choice.

1) 6 Minutes vs 8 Minutes: Spend around 6 minutes on a reading comprehension passage with 3 questions, and around 8 minutes on a passage with 4 questions.

2) 2 Minutes Quick...

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