Tag Archives: GMAT Hacks

GMAT Hacks: Mental Math

Aside from manipulating the GMAT’s favorite numbers (72, 64, etc.), one of the calculations you’ll do most often when working through GMAT problems is dividing and multiplying by five. It’s common in the real world, too. As …

Aside from manipulating the GMAT’s favorite numbers (72, 64, etc.), one of the calculations you’ll do most often when working through GMAT problems is dividing and multiplying by five. It’s common in the real world, too. As with most common calculations, there’s a better way to do them than long division or traditional multiplication.

For both division and multiplication, the key concept here is that 5 is simply 10 divided by 2. So, anywhere you see a 5 in an equation, you can substitute (10/2). You won’t always want to do that, but in some cases, I guarantee you that working with 10s and 2s is preferable to working with 5s.

Using that trick, consider multiplying 36 and 5. (If you automatically know that, work through the example with a less common number, like 47.) Using the trick outlined above, 36(5) = 36(10/2). You now have two options: you can multiply 36 and 10 and then divide by 2, or divide 36 by 2 and then multiply by 10. Either way, both steps are quite simple.

This is an excerpt from a longer article by Jeff Sackmann, originally published at GMAT Hacks.  Jeff has created several valuable GMAT-preparation resources, including Total GMAT Math and Total GMAT Verbal.

Interested in reading more? Click HERE to see more test prep advice.

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GMAT Hacks: Write Your Own GMAT Practice Questions

It’s often said that the only way to really learn something is to teach it; when it comes to GMAT quant problems, you could say the only way to really learn something is to create it. To …

It’s often said that the only way to really learn something is to teach it; when it comes to GMAT quant problems, you could say the only way to really learn something is to create it.

To get started writing your own variations on GMAT questions, take a problem (preferably from The Official Guide) that you’re not 100% comfortable with. Then start asking yourself “what if?”  What if x was negative? What if there were four coins instead of three? What if you added two or subtracted two from one of the numbers?

How you change the question will differ in every single example. It’s a test of imagination nearly as much as a test of knowledge. But if you generate, say, 10 new GMAT questions, you’re much closer to being inside the head of the testmaker. By extension, you’re that much more prepared for what the GMAT will throw at you when you take the real thing.

This is an excerpt from a longer article by Jeff Sackmann, originally published at GMAT Hacks.  Jeff has created several valuable GMAT-preparation resources, including Total GMAT Math and Total GMAT Verbal.

Interested in reading more? Click HERE to see more test prep advice.

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GMAT Hacks: Choosing Effective GMAT Practice Questions

Guest post provided by Jeff Sackmann of GMAT Hacks One of my main goals with this site is to help guide you through the quagmire that is the commercial GMAT prep marketplace. There are some good …

Guest post provided by Jeff Sackmann of GMAT Hacks

One of my main goals with this site is to help guide you through the quagmire that is the commercial GMAT prep marketplace. There are some good resources out there, and there’s a lot of garbage. Unfortunately, even if you find the best resources, you still may not use your time as effectively as you could.

Here are the two things that will help you use your time the most effectively when doing practice questions: (1) Choose realistic questions. Start with the Official Guides.  (2) Choose questions at the appropriate difficulty level.

The second one is much harder than the first. How do you know how difficult each question is? After all, you’d have to do it to know how challenging it is, right?

Yes and no.

If you want a more precise measurement of difficulty, consult my Guides to the Official Guides. (I hope I don’t sound like an infomercial here: I’ve specifically created these resources because the need for them is so glaring.) In each one, I organize every single question into one of five tiers of difficulty.

I do the same in each one of my problem sets, as well. When I work with students one-on-one, I often start them out at the lowest level, only moving up when they reach a certain degree of competence and comfort…

This is an excerpt from a longer article by Jeff Sackmann, originally published at GMAT Hacks.  Jeff has created several valuable GMAT-preparation resources, including Total GMAT Math and Total GMAT Verbal.

Interested in reading more? Click HERE to see more test prep advice.

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GMAT Hacks: Overprepare for the GMAT

There’s a key difference between math skills and tricks. A trick, usually, applies to one question, or a very small subset of questions. Sometimes the trick is extremely effective”“it might even amaze you with its …

There’s a key difference between math skills and tricks. A trick, usually, applies to one question, or a very small subset of questions. Sometimes the trick is extremely effective”“it might even amaze you with its efficiency when your GMAT instructor walks through it.

But what if the odds of being able to use it on the test are, say, 1 in 20? At that point, is it worth learning? I can think of dozens of tricks I know that apply to practice GMAT questions that have exactly that probability (or worse) of being applicable come test day.

By contrast, there is no underlying GMAT math skill that arises so infrequently. If you learn how to do weighted averages, it gives you an edge not only on weighted average problems, but also on conventional averages and on mixture problems. It may even come in handy on a ratio question now and then. If you really understand how to do a combined rate question, that skill will be tested in any number of guises.

This is an excerpt from a longer article by Jeff Sackmann, originally published at GMAT Hacks.  Jeff has created several valuable GMAT-preparation resources, including Total GMAT Math and Total GMAT Verbal.

Interested in reading more? Click HERE to see more test prep advice.

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SBC Scoop: Handling GMAT Test Anxiety

*Please note that no client details are ever shared in SBC Scoop or otherwise without complete sign off from client. Stacy Blackman Consulting helps clients gain admission to every MBA program globally, but one thing …

*Please note that no client details are ever shared in SBC Scoop or otherwise without complete sign off from client.

Stacy Blackman Consulting helps clients gain admission to every MBA program globally, but one thing that is NOT in our scope is GMAT prep. However, every year we work with clients who struggle with the MBA admissions test. This week I wanted to provide a few tips from one of our clients who struggled with GMAT test anxiety before he gained admission to a strong program.

Sandeep had a technical background both in his home country of India and in the United States. He spent several years in IT management at Tata consultancy, and then moved to the United States to work in various start-ups on the technical team. Sandeep had management experience working directly for CTOs at several start-ups and was able to show his leadership potential through his work experience. His strong academic experience at IIT in Delhi was another asset to his application. However, the GMAT test continued to frustrate him.

When Sandeep first started working with us he was convinced that his GMAT score would tap out at 650 and he could not improve it further. Unfortunately, a 650 GMAT was not going to help his achieve his goal of admission to Michigan, MIT and Duke. Though we are not GMAT test prep coaches, we suggested a few test prep firms who focus on addressing GMAT test anxiety. I also spent time talking to Sandeep about his test anxiety and helping him think about the test a bit more objectively.

Specifically, I told Sandeep to use this anxiety to help him to focus. Anxiety naturally forces your brain to address the immediate threat ”“ the GMAT test ”“ and focus all of your mental energy there. With breathing exercises and a solid plan you can make your anxiety work for you. Practice tests will show you that focusing on the first few questions of the GMAT is most important because the test adapts to your perceived skill level. While it may seem stressful, it’s great if the questions start to feel more and more difficult. When you find yourself in “over your head” on a GMAT question you are likely in high scoring territory!!

Many candidates spend a lot of time trying to figure out a “target score.” Rather than stressing about the score you need to get for any particular program, focus on getting the best score you are capable of in this sitting. Remember, you can always take the GMAT again.

Sandeep went back for his fourth GMAT test attempt three weeks before the 2nd round deadlines for his target schools. He was nervous but prepared, and was able to take deep breaths before each question to center his focus. He relaxed, did what he could, and ended up with a 690 score. This was good enough (along with his other credentials) to gain admission to Michigan.

**Read more SBC case studies

Interested in reading more? Click HERE to see more test prep advice.

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GMAT Hacks: Take the Drudgery Out of the GMAT Verbal Section

If you’re like me, the hardest thing about the GMAT Verbal section is that it is just plain boring. The content is uninteresting and unfamiliar, the arguments are flawed, the sentences are ungrammatical (even the …

If you’re like me, the hardest thing about the GMAT Verbal section is that it is just plain boring.

The content is uninteresting and unfamiliar, the arguments are flawed, the sentences are ungrammatical (even the right ones aren’t very good sometimes), and you’ve got to focus on every last detail for more than an hour.

It’s like reading a bad in-flight magazine but with the expectation of a detailed quiz you land. You can learn all the test-taking tips in the world, but they won’t make taking the exam any less of a slog.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can tell you to really solve these problems: Reading Comprehension will always use topics that you don’t know much about; Sentence Correction answers will always be objectionable; and Critical Reasoning passages will require you to switch gears every couple of minutes. But I can show you a couple of ways to deal with the drudgery.

Want to read more? Click on the link below for Jeff’s three tips to take the drudgery out of the GMAT verbal section.

This is an excerpt from a longer article by Jeff Sackmann, originally published at GMAT Hacks.  Jeff has created several valuable GMAT-preparation resources, including Total GMAT Math and Total GMAT Verbal.

Interested in reading more? Click HERE to see more test prep advice.

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