Exponents Lead to Cumbersome, Time-Consuming Calculations involving Large Numbers but it is Pattern-Driven
The 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 involving large numbers, knowing that you can test the pattern with small numbers, and simply extrapolate it to solve the overall question. Take, for example, a question that asks:
What is the sum of the digits of 10^25 - 37?
Listing out the numbers will be time consuming and contains the potential for error (counting to 25 when writing out the zeroes, then writing out that many digits in the difference, is a...
How GMAT Scoring Algorithm Works?
The 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 early)
Was this person famous before the Declaration of Independence? (Yes – 1776 is too late)
Was this person famous before 1600? (Yes – 1600 is still too late)
Did this person become famous before 1500? (Yes – now we’re getting close to that period between around 1300-1500)
Was this person famous in the late 1400s? (Yes – now we’re getting close to really knowing the answer)
Was this person famous for something that happened in the 1490s...
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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?
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 0 is equal to 1, a great equalizer on the GMAT!
Therefore, the correct answer is 0.
Planning to Retake GMAT? Here's What Helped Me
F1GMAT: What strategies should MBA candidates follow while retaking the GMAT?
Veritas Prep: It is not uncommon for MBA candidates to take the GMAT more than once. It’s a difficult test and often students find that some of the “intangible” factors like pacing, test-day anxiety, etc. can detract from what felt like would be an optimal test-day experience. Other times, students underestimate the difficulty of the exam and fail to prepare as thoroughly as they likely should have; or they may simply have had great intentions of preparation but seen those plans evaporate as life got in the way, but they still choose to take the test just to see how it goes.
In any case, retaking the GMAT is not ideal – it does cost money and take time, but it’s not a major cause for alarm. Schools do not look unfavorably on retakes; your 730 score is just as valid if it comes on your third attempt as it would be if it were your first time.
But know this: the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If you do plan to retake the GMAT, you need to rethink the way you think. Here’s how:
3 Things That You Should Know about the Multimedia Admissions Essay
Imagine the business school application of the future: Rather than spending weeks on dozens of revisions of multiple essays, you sit down at a computer and give short verbal responses to questions, which are recorded via a webcam and uploaded to your target business school’s online application system. Sound crazy? It’s not necessarily as far away as you might think.
Multimedia Essays: Some MBA admissions officers have begun to experiment with wildly different formats that replace the traditional essay. These multimedia questions, which are completed through such platforms as audio, video and sometimes PowerPoint, are an increasingly common tool used by the likes of the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago and the Anderson School of Business at UCLA to learn about the “real” applicant, or the person behind the resume, GMAT score and undergraduate institution of record.
Opportunity for MBA applicants: A shift in the response format of an MBA admissions essay generally indicates that admissions offices were not getting what they needed to make accurate determinations about applicants. Rather than being intimidated by these new multimedia questions, you can think of them as offering a fresh opportunity for applicants to be creative and demonstrate the key qualities that admissions officers look for, including emotional intelligence (also known as “EQ”) and capacity for critical thinking and self reflection....
Read about Properties of Zero Before attempting GMAT Questions
The number 0 on the GMAT is tricky as its properties are the trap in to which a seemingly logical solution can lead you or are often either the key to unlocking a difficult solution. Learning the properties of zero (keep in mind that it is an even number) is a crucial skill, particularly on data sufficiency problems. Even more importantly, never forget to consider zero as a potential value for a variable, as it often produces surprising results. Consider the case of zero as an exponent:
x^0 is, by definition, equal to 1. Noting the properties of exponents can help you to prove and more easily remember this useful device: take, for example, the expression x^2 * x^-2. You could rearrange this two ways:
a) (x^2) / (x^2) --> The negative exponent moves that term to the denominator
b) x^(2-2), or x^0 --> When multiplying terms with the same base, taken to different exponents, you add the exponents
Because we can prove that (x^2) / (x^2) must be equal to 1, and that the two expressions above are equal to each other, we can prove that x^0 = 1.
Now here comes the payoff - because x^0 is equal to 1, it's the ultimate in cop-out solutions to difficult problems. Say that a question asks:
For what value of x will 5^x be a factor of 2^10?
2^10 is not divisible by 5 (its only prime factor is 2), but the question might seem to necessitate you to multiply that value out, as well as some potential values of 5^x, in futility to...
Introduction to GMAT Verbal Section
The 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, is to perform a specific function:
- Sentence Correction: identify and correct flaws in the grammar
- Critical Reasoning: answer the question presented following the paragraph(s)
- Reading Comprehension: prepare yourself to answer 3-6 questions about the scope, tone, and purpose of the passage
Because of that, do not either become intimidated...
What do MBA admissions committees want to hear?
F1GMAT:What do MBA admissions committees want to hear?
VeritasPrep: The truth. They want to get to know about you, your background, your goals, and how they can help you to reach them. MBA admissions committees don’t need to hear a script-worthy story, they just want to hear your story.
What may seem like incredible cliché ends up more than often being pure truth – the end result of the MBA admissions process should be that you have a much stronger sense of what you want to do with an MBA. And while this provides incredible value to an admissions committee in filling out a class of students who will thrive in that program, add value to one another’s experiences, and fully value the process, it may well provide even more practical utility to you. By forcing you to honestly assess what type of classroom environment you seek, what kind of curriculum you’d like to pursue, and how an MBA education will help you to transition your current skills, abilities, and interests to a fulfilling career, schools are doing you a favor.
And as you are forced to question yourself – your goals, your background, and what you want out of the MBA experience – you’re much more likely to fully take advantage of the opportunities that await you once you are admitted; the MBA admissions process provides you with an itinerary of what you want to do once you do finally reach campus.
How to know if you should wait until Round 2 to apply?
F1GMAT: How to know if you should wait until Round 2 to Apply for MBA Admissions?
VeritasPrep: Here are three reasons why applying to top MBA programs in Round 2 is probably a smarter bet than applying in Round 1:
1) The “Numbers” Advantage is Slight, if It Exists at All
“Wait,” you ask. “I read that more people apply in Round 2, and that applying in Round 1 means that you will have less competition in the early going, so it makes sense to apply as early as possible.” While it is true that more applicants tend to apply in Round 2 (in a traditional three-round admissions schedule), admissions officers know this as well, and they plan accordingly. Do you really think that, for Harvard’s class of about 910 students, the admissions committee will gorge on Round 1 applicants, leaving no room for Round 2 and 3 applicants? Of course they know that more people will apply in Round 2, and they have been doing this long enough that they can plan accordingly.
2) You Still Have Time to Erase or Overcome Weaknesses
As we’ve written before, if your GMAT score takes any sort of explaining, why not devote yourself to a few weeks of serious preparation and try again? (Schools really only care about your highest score, so you have nothing to lose, other than the $250 GMAC test fee.)
If your work stories are underwhelming, you still have three months (that’s a lot of time!) to take on a new project and make a significant impact on your...