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What Makes a Hard GMAT Question: Part 2

In part 2 of this series, we'll look at another major criterion that determines the difficulty level of hard GMAT questions: Disguising the Mathematical Concept the Question is Addressing. As in part 1, I suggest that you attempt both questions first,…

Why Cutting Corners Kills Your GMAT Score

I get it. The GMAT is a timed exam, and, faced with the challenge of completing more questions than you have time for, it’s all too natural to deal with rigors of time management by rushing through questions. Maybe you get through a tough quant question, realize you’ve already spent two minutes, and quickly do…

What Makes a Hard GMAT Quant Question: Part 1

Two years ago, GMAC reached out to me with an offer to curate and write explanations for their GMAT Official Advanced Questions. Since the job required selecting the “hardest” of the hard questions, they asked me to explain to them what I thought constituted a difficult GMAT question. I wrote up a pretty lengthy explanation for…

GMAT Verbal: Think Before You Write

The GMAT Verbal can be tough to crack. While GMAT Quantitative percentiles have been steadily increasing over the years (compare old GMAT Quant Percentiles from 2007 to this current Quant percentile chart), Verbal scores have mostly stagnated, with, for example, a 40 scaled score from 2007 corresponding to same percentile now (again, compare old GMAT…

Using (and Misusing) GMAT Practice Tests

Among the many myths that abound regarding optimal preparation for the GMAT, one of the more common and, unfortunately, more harmful ones is that there exists a direct relationship between quantity of practice tests taken and score improvements. And, unfortunately, this myth is perpetuated by large GMAT classes that will advertise 6 or 8 or…

GMAT Quantitative Errors: Understanding Incorrect Answers

When most people miss a GMAT quant question, the ensuing chain of events tends to be some version of the following: refer to the answer explanation, make sure they understand the explanation, re-do the question, and move on to the next question. Though such an approach certainly benefits test-takers whose only issue is conceptual, it…

GMAT Critical Reasoning vs Data Sufficiency: Two Sides of the Same Coin

Traditional GMAT wisdom suggests that the skills needed for success on the Verbal section overlap little, if at all, with one’s quantitative abilities. Given our educational system and the very fact that the GMAT has separate Quantitative and Verbal sections, such a distinction seems uncontroversial and downright obvious. But, as we all know, the structure…

Using the LSAT for GMAT Practice: User Beware

As an independent tutor, I pride myself in taking unorthodox approaches to meet my clients’ needs. Sometimes, this requires creativity in how I teach a concept, how I structure a lesson, or how I assign homework to my students. A good GMAT tutor will target your specific needs, and if that requires breaking from convention, then…

GMAT Data Sufficiency: “I don’t know” vs “Not Sufficient”

If you’ve been preparing at all for GMAT data sufficiency, you’ve probably been confronted with situations in which the information in the statement seems inscrutable. You know that it’s telling you something, but you’re not quite sure what, if any, relevance the information has to the question in the prompt. This, in and of itself, is a…

Pigeonholing GMAT Questions

This post is inspired by a recent student of mine who was able to improve from a 480 on his diagnostic to a 660 on the real GMAT. He was great at categorizing GMAT questions, but he really started seeing a jump after he took the below advice to heart. If you spend enough time…
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