The key to GMAT success is structured multi-tasking. You must work with specific tasks in mind – content, approaches, and timing, etc. – in the context of the bigger picture – holistic GMAT mastery. You must be aware of both your tasks and your state of mind. You must constantly push yourself to do things the right way, consistently, over a period of weeks or months. You must be detail oriented and goal oriented at the same time. Approaching the preparation process comprehensively will allow you the best chance to achieve the score you’re happy with.

Here are few more tips to help make this a reality:


Use What You Learn – The more you incorporate the rules you have learned into your everyday life, the more easily you will be able to apply those rules and principles on the test. The grammar rules tested on the GMAT are the rules of standard written English, so you should try to incorporate them into all your writing and begin to recognize the errors that people make on a daily basis. Pop culture is full of incorrect grammar. Quite possibly the most famous example is the phrase “to boldly go where no man has gone before,” which is from the opening monologue of the original Star Trek. This phrase incorrectly splits the infinitive verb “to go.” The proper version (but much less pleasing to the ear) is “to go boldly where no man has gone before.”

Also, because the GMAT does not allow the use of calculators, you should give up your calculator until after you take your last test. Whether in the grocery store or figuring out the discount on that cute pair of boots, it’s time to work the calculations out on your own, using the methods and shortcuts you’ve learned during your preparation.


 Getting Scores to Go Up – Score improvement is often undermined by a test-taker’s unwillingness or inability to identify specific problems or issues in how he/she approaches questions. Some common problems that prevent improvement:

  • Lack of knowledge
  • Lack of confidence
  • Lack of attentiveness

Develop solutions to each problem you identify. You will gain knowledge and understanding of how to approach problems from your prep. The confidence to use that knowledge effectively will come with an understanding of and familiarity with the content, structure, format, and “feel” of the test. You must work to avoid careless errors because they will counteract all other improvements you make. You should build preventative measures, such as double-checking your math and working slowly, into your preparation. Your score will reflect your knowledge if you do not let the test situation stress you, scare you, or make you change your approach to questions. Make sure that you keep all these goals in mind during the course of your preparation.


 Hone Your Skills – The distinction between a good test-taker and a person who has memorized rules is that the good test-taker knows the rules and understands how and when to use them. The definitions, rules, and formulas you learn will appear on the GMAT in several different ways. When you learn a new rule or formula, you must learn how that rule is tested and how to recognize that a rule is being tested.

Let’s look at a Quantitative and Verbal example of how this works:


 

Quantitative Example:

1. Which of the following is a multiple of both 12 and 15?

(A) 195
(B) 228
(C) 240
(D) 253
(E) 270

2. The senior class at Jamestown High School is comprised of between 181 and 279 students. If the senior class were to be divided into groups of 15 students each for their senior projects, 3 students would be left without a group. If the students were divided into groups of 12 students each for their senior projects, all the students would be in groups. How many students comprise the senior class at Jamestown High School?

(A) 195
(B) 228
(C) 240
(D) 253
(E) 270

 

Review and Explanation

Question 1 is a more obvious test of divisibility rules. Question 2 tests the same rules but requires a test-taker first to recognize that the question tests divisibility rules. As you learn rules and formulas, be sure to devote some time to developing your understanding of how they are tested and how to recognize that they are being tested.

The sample questions tested the rules and definition provided below.

Multiple: A number that is the product of two integers is a multiple of both those integers. A multiple can be divided evenly by any integer that is a factor of it.

Divisibility rules: A number that is a multiple of 12 must also be a multiple of all the factors of 12.

A number that is a multiple of 15 must also be a multiple of all the factors of 15.

A number is divisible by 2 if the number ends in an even digit.

A number is divisible by 3 if the sum of the digits is a multiple of 3.

A number is divisible by 5 if the last digit of the number is 5 or 0.

A number is divisible by 6 if the number is divisible by 2 and 3.

Question 1

Solution: C


Any number that is a multiple of 12 and 15 must be divisible by the least common multiple of 12 and 15.

Since the least common multiple of 12 and 15 is 60, the number must be a multiple of 60. The only multiple of 60 among the choices is 240.


Question 2

Solution: B


If the senior class were to be divided into groups of 15 students each for their senior projects, 3 students would be left without a group.” defines a number that is 3 more than a multiple of 15. “If the students were divided into groups of 12 students each for their senior projects, all the students would be in groups.” defines a number that is divisible by 12.

Therefore, the total number of riders must be a multiple of 12, 3 more than a multiple of 15, and fall between 181 and 279. The only number among the choices that does this is 228, which can be found by using the divisibility rule for 2 (since 2 is a factor of 12), then looking for a number that ends in either a 3 or 8 (since any number that is a multiple of 15 will also be a multiple of 5, thus ending in either 5 or 0, and any number that is 3 more than a multiple of 5 will end in 3 or 8).


Verbal Example:

1. Like poet Edgar Allen Poe, architect Frank Lloyd Wright fought against the prevailing ideas in their respective fields and created works that have had lasting artistic and social impact.

    (A) Like poet Edgar Allen Poe, architect Frank Lloyd Wright fought

    (B) As with poet Edgar Allen Poe, architect Frank Lloyd Wright fought

    (C) Poet Edgar Allen Poe’s fight, as that of architect Frank Lloyd Wright was

    (D) As did poet Edgar Allen Poe, architect Frank Lloyd Wright fought

    (E) Like poet Edgar Allen Poe, architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s fight was

2. Manatees, unlike other animals, have a large nose that is similar in function and structure to that of the elephant and have been identified as one of the elephant’s closest living relatives.

    (A) Manatees, unlike other animals, have a large nose that is similar in function and structure to that of the elephant

    (B) The manatee, unlike other animals, has a large nose that is similar in function and structure to that of the elephant

    (C) The nose of the manatee, unlike that of other animals, has a large nose that is similar in function and structure to the elephant’s

    (D) The manatee’s nose, unlike that of other animals, is similar in function and structure to the elephant’s

    (E) Manatees, unlike other animals, have a large nose that is similar in function and structure to the elephant’s

 

Review and Explanation

The sample questions above test the rules and definitions provided below.

    Comparisons: Comparisons must be logically and structurally parallel.

    Lists: Lists must be logically and structurally parallel

Questions 1 and 2 test comparisons, but question 1 tests this particular error type in a more basic way. Question 2 is more difficult in that it requires that test-takers recognize there are two comparisons in the underlined portion, in addition to having a list.

Question 1

Solution: A

The indicator that this sentence is testing comparisons is the use of the word “like.”

Here, either Edgar Allen Poe must be compared to Frank Lloyd Wright using “like” (since “like is used to compare nouns), or Poe’s fight must be compared to Wright’s fight using “as” (since “as” is used to compare verbs).

A is the correct answer because it contains the parallel comparison of the two men, Poe and Wright.




Question 2

Solution: A

The indicator that this sentence is testing comparisons is the use of the words “unlike” and “similar to”. This sentence makes two comparisons: first—Manatees, unlike other animals; second—large nose similar to that of the elephant. Either the manatee and the elephant must be compared, or the manatee’s nose and the nose of the elephant must be compared.

The indicator that this sentence is testing lists is the presence of a list. Here the list as originally given is “Manatees… have a large nose… and have been identified.” Since “have been identified” is not underlined, the subject cannot be singular.


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