## How to write your GMAT AWA Essay [Effectively]

### INTRODUCTION

Hello there!

If you’ve found your way to this blog, we assume that you have begun to think about that often-neglected section of the GMAT – the AWA!

If wishes could come true, we’re guessing that GMAT aspirants would have wished away the AWA section away by now!

The AWA involves staring at a blank page and cursor and thinking up stuff to write, not an easy task for many people.

It also consumes a lot of mental bandwidth at the very beginning of the test.

To top it off, it does not even add to your final score!

We can understand why it isn’t your favorite section on the GMAT 🙂

But here’s the good news! There are not many shortcuts to mastering GMAT Quant and Verbal, but there are shortcuts to cracking the AWA section.

By the time you finish reading this guide, you will know what these hacks are. You will learn how to write an effective AWA essay that gets you a good score and leaves you charged for the real test that lies ahead.

This blog will teach you –

• What you need to know BEFORE you start preparing for the AWA
• How to use the 30 minutes allotted to AWA to maximum effect
• How to use a template to make the AWA writing process simpler

Besides this, you will find 8 sample AWA essays to observe and learn from.

### 7 Things to remember before you start prepping for the AWA

Before you dive into AWA preparation, there are a few things you should know about the AWA. Many of these facts will ease your AWA fears and bring a smile to your face!

1. Why is the AWA section on the GMAT?

Each section of the GMAT is carefully constructed ( at the expense of millions of dollars, we kid you not!), to test your readiness for an MBA program and for your post-MBA career. One of the skills you will definitely need post-MBA is an ability to analyze an argument impartially and convey your perspective clearly.

This is what the AWA tests you on.

2. On the AWA, you need to be a lawyer, that is, you need to find faults with the given argument. You do not need to be a journalist, that is, you do not need to write about all possible perspectives of an issue.

Also remember, that this is an analysis, not an opinion piece. Do not bring YOUR perspective and your opinions into the essay. Your only goal is to analyse the given argument.

3. Unlike the Quant and Verbal sections, where your thumb-rule should be to get as high a score as possible, we’d suggest that you do not expend too much mental energy on the AWA, trying to score a 6 on 6.

Getting a perfect 6 will look good on your GMAT score card, and will sound great as you’re telling your friends about it. But it will not be the make-or-break factor in your application. A 4 or a 5 is good enough.

4. The AWA is graded by an E-reader application and by a human reader. Since there is an element of automated grading, you can rig the test to an extent. We’ve found that if you write a substantial essay of over 500 words, and if you structure the argument well ( check our CrackVerbal template in the following chapter), you are almost guaranteed to get a 4+ score!

5. Assuming that you prepare for the GMAT over a course of three months, we recommend that you practice writing 5 to 10 essays, and make sure you get feedback for all of them. If you cover this much practice ground, you’re good to go!

6. One of the best things about the AWA section is that you know all of the questions beforehand ( yes, they’re all up there on the GMAC site – Analytical Writing Section ). So you do not have to go hunting for ‘authentic’ AWA essay questions.

7. Now you can choose the order in which you want to take up the sections before starting the test. It is advisable to keep in mind the order that would be helpful for you and prepare for the AWA based on that strategy.
This is a recent change to the GMAT test structure. It was introduced in July 2017. We have done a detailed analysis of what this means to an Indian GMAT test-taker in the this blog

GMAT Section Selection – Everything you need to know

8. We saved the coolest point for last 🙂

The AWA lends itself very easily to the use of an essay template. No matter what the argument prompt is, you can bet that there will be at least 3 glaring errors of logic in it. You can therefore use a template to structure your AWA essay. Using a template takes most of the stress away from the AWA section.

In the few minutes before you start, you can jot down the template on your scratchpad, so that you don’t have to remember it anymore. Also, because you can plan many of your sentences beforehand, you can get at least a 100 words down before you even read the question!

There are a lot of templates on the internet – probably the most famous one being the Chineseburned AWA template.

At CrackVerbal, we have our own template for the AWA, a modified version of the Chineseburned template. We call it the CrackVerbal AWA Template on Steroids! 🙂

### The AWA Writing Process

#### 1. Write your templatized response

This should take you about 5 minutes:

Type out your prepared template response. Below is a sample. We definitely do not recommend that you use the same words. What you can do, however, is read a few templates on the net, and then write your own. Since you have written it yourself, it will be that much easier to memorise it.

#### CRACKVERBAL AWA TEMPLATE

The argument claims that < restate the argument >. Stated in this way the argument fails to take into account a few key factors which could call the conclusion to question. It rests on some assumptions, for which there is no clear evidence. Therefore, the argument is unconvincing and falls apart at the seams.

Paragraph 1:

1. Firstly, ( )
2. This statement is a stretch and not substantiated in any way.
3. The argument would have been much clearer if ( )

Paragraph 2:

1. Second ( ). This is again a very weak and unsupported claim as the argument ( ).
2. For example,
3. This argument would have sounded a lot more convincing if
4. In addition, it would have been strengthened ever further if the argument provided evidence that

Paragraph 3:

1. Finally, the argument concludes that
2. However, what is not clear here is ( )
3. If there had been evidence to support ( )

In summary, the argument fails to convince because of the faulty assumptions aforementioned. If the argument had drawn upon examples as suggested, and thereby plugged in the holes in the reasoning, it would have been far sounder on the whole.

#### 2. Brainstorm

This should take you about 5 minutes:

Now that you have put the pre-planned portion of the essay down, it’s time to read the AWA prompt and wear your thinking hat. GMAT, in its politically correct, non-partisan way, says ‘Discuss how well-reasoned you find this argument’. Remember however, that an AWA argument is never well-reasoned!

There are always a couple of glaring flaws in logic you can pounce on. If these flaws do not occur to you immediately, because of test-day stress, do not assume that you have been given a particularly sound argument. There is no such thing on the AWA!

If you’re unable to be critical, imagine that the author of the argument is somebody you dislike..a teacher you hated at college, or that guy who overtook you and almost dented your car this morning! There, now you’re in the right frame of mind to attack the argument 🙂

Before you do so, you need to understand the three elements of the argument – Conclusion, Premise and Assumptions.

Let us look at an example, and detect these three elements.

“Most companies would agree that as the risk of physical injury occurring on the job increases, the wages paid to employees should also increase. Hence it makes financial sense for employers to make the workplace safer: they could thus reduce their payroll expenses and save money.”

The conclusion is the decision/statement that the author has arrived at. In this case, the conclusion is the last sentence – “Hence it makes financial sense for employers to make the workplace safer: they could thus reduce their payroll expenses and save money.”

The premises are the building blocks of facts on which the conclusion rests. In other words, a premise is what is offered as support for the conclusion. In this case, the premise is – Most companies would agree that as the risk of physical injury occurring on the job increases, the wages paid to employees should also increase.

Assumptions are the unstated, unwritten premises that plug the gap between the written premises and the conclusion. It is the assumptions that you need to attack on the AWA!

How do you attack assumptions?

Remember that an assumption can be incorrect for a variety of reasons. Here are a few types of incorrect assumptions –

1. The Sampling Assumption – The sampling argument assumes that a small group is representative of a much larger group to which it belongs.

2. The illogical analogy assumption – The illogical analogy states that because something applies to A, it applies to B also.

3. The Causal Assumption – The Causal Assumption confuses correlation with causation. That means, just because ‘A’ usually occurs after ‘B’ occurs, does not necessarily imply that B happens because of A.

4. The Data Bias – This occurs when the data for a statistical inference itself is drawn from a sample that is not representative of the population under consideration. This is a case of faulty data leading to faulty assumptions.

5. The Non Sequitur – This simply means, finding a connection where there is none. Non Sequitur means “does not follow,” which is short for: the conclusion does not follow from the premise.

Don’t let these categories overwhelm you. We’ve put them down here to get you thinking. However, you can find faulty assumptions with ease, even if you have no clue what a non sequitur is!

As you brainstorm, you will need to jot down your thoughts on the scratchpad. Keep it crisp and brief. Make sure you have these things down –

1. Conclusion + Premise:
2. Flawed Assumption #1:
3. Flawed Assumption #2:
4. Flawed Assumption #3:

For each assumption, also make a cursory note of why it is flawed, an example that talks about why it is flawed, and what additional data would strengthen the argument ( or if you are convinced that you can remember these additional details without having to make a note of them, you can get on with the writing! )

### 3. Write!

This should take you about 15 minutes:

Here is where you fill in your templatized response with specific details.

Paragraph 1:

The only detail you need to add to the first paragraph is a summary of the argument that is presented. In the above template, your summary should go here ->

Paragraph 2:

1. Start off by pointing out the first flawed assumption.
2. Explain why this assumption is flawed.
3. Give an example that supports the flaw.
4. Explain what further information could have strengthened this argument.

Paragraph 3:

1. Start off by pointing out the second flawed assumption.
2. Explain why this assumption is flawed.
3. Give an example that supports the flaw.
4. Explain what further information could have strengthened this argument.

Paragraph 4:

1. Start off by pointing out the third flawed assumption.
2. Explain why this assumption is flawed.
3. Give an example that supports the flaw.
4. Explain what further information could have strengthened this argument.

Paragraph 5:

This is the concluding paragraph. You already have it down in your template! 🙂

This should take you about 5 minutes:

Are you wondering if three minutes is really enough time to proof-read a 500 word essay?

Here’s the deal – The AWA section is about whether you can analyse an argument and discuss it in an articulate manner. It is not a test of grammar and spelling. Hence, the GMAT will excuse minor errors in spelling and grammar.

However, you should understand that a human reader is going to be reviewing your work, and any human reader will have an unconscious bias against bad grammar and spellings. Hence, you want to keep your essay as error-free as possible, without worrying about it too much.

Three minutes should be able time for you to quickly glance through the document and make sure you haven’t made any obvious errors.

### Sample AWA Essays

#### Sample Essay 1

”Most companies would agree that as the risk of physical injury occurring on the job increases, the wages paid to employees should also increase. Hence it makes financial sense for employers to make the workplace safer: they could thus reduce their payroll expenses and save money.”

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument.

For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlying the thinking and what alternative explanations or counter examples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.

Introduction:

This argument states that it makes financial sense for employers to make the workplace safer because lower wages could then be paid to employees. This conclusion is based on the premise that as the risk of physical injury increases, the wages paid to employees should also increase. However, this argument makes several unsupported assumptions. For example, the argument assumes that the costs associated with making the workplace safe do not outweigh the increased payroll expenses due to hazardous conditions.

Body Paragraph 1

The first issue to be addressed is whether increased labor costs justify large capital expenditures to improve the work environment. Clearly one could argue that if making the workplace safe would cost an exorbitant amount of money in comparison to leaving the workplace as is and paying slightly increased wages than it would not make sense to improve the work environment. For example, if making the workplace safe would cost \$100 million versus additional payroll expenses of only \$5,000 per year, it would make financial sense to simply pay the increased wages. No business or business owner would pay all that extra money just to save a couple dollars and improve employee health and relations. To consider this, a cost benefit analysis must be made. I also feel that although a cost benefit analysis should be the determining factor with regard to these decisions making financial sense, it may not be the determining factor with regard to making social, moral and ethical sense.

Body Paragraph 2

Finally one must understand that not all work environments can be made safer. For example, in the case of coal mining, a company only has limited ways of making the work environment safe. While companies may be able to ensure some safety precautions, they may not be able to provide all the safety measures necessary. In other words, a mining company has limited ability to control the air quality within a coal mine and therefore it cannot control the risk of employees getting black. In other words, regardless of the intent of the company, some jobs are simply dangerous in nature.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while at first it may seem to make financial sense to improve the safety of the work environment sometimes it truly does not make financial sense. Furthermore, financial sense may not be the only issue a company faces. Other types of analyses must be made such as the social ramifications of an unsafe work environment and the overall ability of a company to improve that environment (i.e., coal mine). Before any decision is made, all this things must be considered, not simply the reduction of payroll expenses.

#### Sample Essay 2

The following appeared in a memorandum issued by a large city’s council on the arts.

“In a recent citywide poll, fifteen percent more residents said that they watch television programs about the visual arts than was the case in a poll conducted five years ago. During these past five years, the number of people visiting our city’s art museums has increased by a similar percentage. Since the corporate funding that supports public television, where most of the visual arts programs appear, is now being threatened with severe cuts, we can expect that attendance at our city’s art museums will also start to decrease. Thus some of the city’s funds for supporting the arts should be reallocated to public television.”

Discuss how well reasoned… etc.

Introduction

In this argument the author concludes that the city should allocate some of its arts funding to public television. The conclusion is based on two facts: (1) attendance at the city’s art museum has increased proportionally with the increases in visual-arts program viewing on public television, and (2) public television is being threatened by severe cuts in corporate funding. While this argument is somewhat convincing, a few concerns need to be addressed.

Body Paragraph 1

To begin with, the argument depends on the assumption that increased exposure to the visual arts on television, mainly public television, has caused a similar increase in local art-museum attendance. However, just because increased art-museum attendance can be statistically correlated with similar increases in television viewing of visual-arts programs, this does not necessarily mean that the increased television viewing of arts is the cause of the rise in museum attendance.

Body Paragraph 2

Moreover, perhaps there are other factors relevant to increased interest in the local art museum; for instance, maybe a new director had procured more interesting, exciting acquisitions and exhibits during the period when museum attendance increased, in addition, the author could be overlooking a common cause of both increases. It is possible that some larger social or cultural phenomenon is responsible for greater public interest in both television arts programming and municipal art museums.

Body Paragraph 3

To be fair, however, we must recognize that the author’s assumption is a special case of a more general one that television viewing affects people’s attitudes and behavior. Common sense and observation tell me that this is indeed the case. After all, advertisers spend billions of dollars on television ad time because they trust this assumption as well.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I am somewhat persuaded by this author’s line of reasoning. The argument would be strengthened if the author were to consider and rule out other significant factors that might have caused the increase in visits to the local art museum.

#### Sample Essay 3

The following appeared in a report presented for discussion at a meeting of the directors of a company that manufactures parts for heavy machinery.

“The falling revenues that the company is experiencing coincide with delays in manufacturing. These delays, in turn, are due in large part to poor planning in purchasing metals. Consider further that the manager of the department that handles purchasing of raw materials has an excellent background in general business, psychology, and sociology, but knows little about the properties of metals. The company should, therefore, move the purchasing manager to the sales department and bring in a scientist from the research division to be manager of the purchasing department.”

Discuss how well reasoned… etc.

Introduction

In response to a coincidence between falling revenues and delays in manufacturing, the report recommends replacing the manager of the purchasing department. The grounds for this action are twofold. First, the delays are traced to poor planning in purchasing metals. Second, the purchasing manager’s lack of knowledge of the properties of metals is thought to be the cause of the poor planning. It is further recommended that the position of the purchasing manager be filled by a scientist from the research division and that the current purchasing manager be reassigned to the sales department. In support of this latter recommendation, the report states that the current purchasing manager’s background in general business, psychology, and sociology equip him for this new assignment. The recommendations advanced in the report are questionable for two reasons.

Body Paragraph 1

To begin with, the report fails to establish a causal connection between the falling revenues of the company and the delays in manufacturing. The mere fact that falling revenues coincide with delays in manufacturing is insufficient to conclude that the delays caused the decline in revenue. Without compelling evidence to support the causal connection between these two events, the report’s recommendations are not worthy of consideration.

Body Paragraph 2

Second, a central assumption of the report is that knowledge of the properties of metals is necessary for planning in purchasing metals. No evidence is stated in the report to support this crucial assumption. Moreover, it is not obvious that such knowledge would be required to perform this task. Since planning is essentially a logistical function, it is doubtful that in-depth knowledge of the properties of metals would be helpful in accomplishing this task.

Conclusion

In conclusion, this is a weak argument. To strengthen the recommendation that the manager of the purchasing department be replaced, the author would have to demonstrate that the falling revenues were a result of the delays in manufacturing. Additionally, the author would have to show that knowledge of the properties of metals is a prerequisite for planning in purchasing metals.

#### Sample Essay 4

The following appeared in an announcement issued by the publisher of The Mercury, a weekly newspaper.

“Since a competing lower-priced newspaper, The Bugle, was started five years ago, The Mercury’s circulation has declined by 10,000 readers. The best way to get more people to read The Mercury is to reduce its price below that of The Bugle, at least until circulation increases to former levels. The increased circulation of The Mercury will attract more businesses to buy advertising space in the paper.”

Discuss how well reasoned… etc.

Introduction

A newspaper publisher is recommending that the price of its paper, The Mercury, be reduced below the price of a competing newspaper, The Bugle. This recommendation responds to a severe decline in circulation of The Mercury during the 5-year period following the introduction of The Bugle. The publisher’s line of reasoning is that lowering the price of The Mercury will increase its readership, thereby increasing profits because a wider readership attracts more advertisers. This line of reasoning is problematic in two critical respects.

Body Paragraph 1

While it is clear that increased circulation would make the paper more attractive to potential advertisers, it is not obvious that lowering the subscription price is the most effective way to gain new readers. The publisher assumes that price is the only factor that caused the decline in readership. But no evidence is given to support this claim. Moreover, given that The Mercury was the established local paper, it is unlikely that such a mass exodus of its readers would be explained by subscription price alone.

Body Paragraph 2

There are many other factors that might account for a decline in The Mercury’s popularity. For instance, readers might be displeased with the extent and accuracy of its news reporting, or the balance of local to other news coverage. Moreover, it is possible The Mercury has recently changed editors, giving the paper a locally unpopular political perspective. Or perhaps readers are unhappy with the paper’s format, the timeliness of its feature articles, its comics or advice columns, the extent and accuracy of its local event calendar, or its rate of errors.

Conclusion

In conclusion, this argument is weak because it depends on an oversimplified assumption about the causal connection between the price of the paper and its popularity. To strengthen the argument, the author must identify and explore relevant factors beyond cost before concluding that lowering subscription prices will increase circulation and, thereby, increase advertising revenues.

#### Sample Essay 5

The following appeared as part of an article in a magazine devoted to regional life.

“Corporations should look to the city of Helios when seeking new business opportunities or a new location. Even in the recent recession, Helios’s unemployment rate was lower than the regional average. It is the industrial center of the region, and historically it has provided more than its share of the region’s manufacturing jobs. In addition, Helios is attempting to expand its economic base by attracting companies that focus on research and development of innovative technologies.”

Discuss how well reasoned… etc.

Introduction

In this argument corporations are urged to consider the city of Helios when seeking a new location or new business opportunities. To support this recommendation, the author points out that Helios is the industrial center of the region, providing most of the region’s manufacturing jobs and enjoying a lower-than-average unemployment rate. Moreover, it is argued, efforts are currently underway to expand the economic base of the city by attracting companies that focus on research and development of innovative technologies. This argument is problematic for two reasons.

Body Paragraph 1

To begin with, it is questionable whether the available labor pool in Helios could support all types of corporations. Given that Helios has attracted mainly industrial and manufacturing companies in the past, it is unlikely that the local pool of prospective employees would be suitable for corporations of other types. For example, the needs of research and development companies would not be met by a labor force trained in manufacturing skills. For this reason, it’s unlikely that Helios will be successful in its attempt to attract companies that focus or research and development of innovative technologies.

Body Paragraph 2

Another problem with the available work force is its size. Due to the lower than average unemployment rate in Helios, corporations that require large numbers of workers would not find Helios attractive. The fact that few persons are out of work suggests that new corporations will have to either attract new workers to Helios or pay the existing workers higher wages in order to lure them away from their current jobs. Neither of these alternatives seems enticing to companies seeking to relocate.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the author has not succeeded in providing compelling reasons for selecting Helios as the site for a company wishing to relocate. In fact, the reasons offered function better as reasons for not relocating to Helios. Nor has the author provided compelling reasons for companies seeking new business opportunities to choose Helios.

#### Sample Essay 6

The following appeared in the health section of a magazine on trends and lifestyles.

“People who use the artificial sweetener aspartame are better off consuming sugar, since aspartame can actually contribute to weight gain rather than weight loss. For example, high levels of aspartame have been shown to trigger a craving for food bydepleting the brain of a chemical that registers satiety, or the sense of being full. Furthermore, studies suggest that sugars, if consumed after at least 45 minutes of continuous exercise, actually enhance the body’s ability to burn fat. Consequently, those who drink aspartame-sweetened juices after exercise will also lose this calorie-burning benefit. Thus it appears that people consuming aspartame rather than sugar are unlikely to achieve their dietary goals.”

Discuss how well reasoned… etc.

Introduction

In this argument the author concludes that people trying to lose weight are better off consuming sugar than the artificial sweetener aspartame. To support this conclusion the author argues that aspartame can cause weight gain by triggering food cravings, whereas sugar actually enhances the body’s ability to burn fat. Neither of these reasons provides sufficient support for the conclusion.

Body Paragraph 1

The first reason that aspartame encourages food cravings is supported by research findings that high levels of aspartame deplete the brain chemical responsible for registering a sense of being satedHidden text (sated, sating ), or full. But the author’s generalization based on this research is unreliable. The research was based on a sample in which large amounts of aspartame were administered; however, the author applies the research findings to a target population that includes all aspartame users, many of whom would probably not consume high levels of the artificial sweetener.

Body Paragraph 2

The second reason that sugar enhances the body’s ability to burn fat is based on the studies in which experimental groups, whose members consumed sugar after at least 45 minutes of continuous exercise, showed increased rates of fat burning. The author’s general claim, however, applies to all dieters who use sugar instead of aspartame, not just to those who use sugar after long periods of exercise. Once again, the author’s generalization is unreliable because it is based on a sample that clearly does not represent all dieters.

Conclusion

To conclude, each of the studies cited by the author bases its findings on evidence that does not represent dieters in general; for this reason, neither premise of this argument is a reliable generalization. Consequently, I am not convinced that dieters are better off consuming sugar instead of aspartame.

#### Sample Essay 7

The following appeared in the editorial section of a corporate newsletter.

“The common notion that workers are generally apathetic about management issues is false, or at least outdated: a recently published survey indicates that 79 percent of the nearly 1,200 workers who responded to survey questionnaires expressed a high level of interest in the topics of corporate restructuring and redesign of benefits programs.”

Discuss how well reasoned… etc.

Introduction

Based upon a survey among workers that indicates a high level of interest in the topics of corporate restructuring and redesign of benefits programs, the author concludes that workers are not apathetic about management issues. Specifically, it is argued that since 79 percent of the 1200 workers who responded to survey expressed interest in these topics, the notion that workers are apathetic about management issues is incorrect. The reasoning in this argument is problematic in several respects.

Body Paragraph 1

First, the statistics cited in the editorial may be misleading because the total number of workers employed by the corporation is not specified. For example, if the corporation employs 2000 workers, the fact that 79 percent of the nearly 1200 respondents showed interest in these topics provides strong support for the conclusion. On the other hand, if the corporation employs 200,000 workers, the conclusion is much weaker.

Body Paragraph 2

Another problem with the argument is that the respondents’ views are not necessarily representative of the views of the work force in general. For example, because the survey has to do with apathy, it makes sense that only less apathetic workers would respond to it, thereby distorting the overall picture of apathy among the work force. Without knowing how the survey was conducted, it is impossible to assess whether or not this is the case.

Body Paragraph 3

A third problem with the argument is that it makes a hasty generalization about the types of issues workers are interested in. It accords with common sense that workers would be interested in corporate restructuring and redesign of benefits programs, since these issues affect workers very directly. However, it is unfair to assume that workers would be similarly interested in other management issues—ones that do not affect them or affect them less directly.

Conclusion

In conclusion, this argument is not convincing as it stands. To strengthen it, the author would have to show that the respondents account for a significant and representative portion of all workers. Additionally, the author must provide evidence of workers’ interest other management topics—not just those that affect workers directly.

#### Sample Essay 8

The following appeared in the opinion column of a financial magazine.

“On average, middle-aged consumers devote 39 percent of their retail expenditure to department store products and services, while for younger consumers the average is only 25 percent. Since the number of middle-aged people will increase dramatically within the next decade, department stores can expect retail sales to increase significantly during that period. Furthermore, to take advantage of the trend, these stores should begin to replace some of those products intended to attract the younger consumer with products intended to attract the middle-aged consumer.”

Discuss how well reasoned… etc.

Introduction

Based on an expected increase in the number of middle-aged people during the next decade, the author predicts that retail sales at department stores will increase significantly over the next ten years. To bolster this prediction, the author cites statistics showing that middle-aged people devote a much higher percentage of their retail expenditure to department-store services and products than younger consumers do. Since the number of middle-aged consumers is on the rise and since they spend more than younger people on department-store goods and services, the author further recommends that department stores begin to adjust their inventories to capitalize on this trend. Specifically, it is recommended that department stores increase their inventory of products aimed at middle- aged consumers and decrease their inventory of products aimed at younger consumers. This argument is problematic for two reasons.

Body Paragraph 1

First, an increase in the number of middle-aged people does not necessarily portend an overall increase in department-store sales. It does so only on the assumption that other population groups will remain relatively constant. For example, if the expected increase in the number of middle-aged people is offset by an equally significant decrease in the number of younger people, there will be little or no net gain in sales.

Body Paragraph 2

Second, in recommending that department stores replace products intended to attract younger consumers with products more suitable to middle-aged consumers, the author assumes that the number of younger consumers will not also increase. Since a sizable increase in the population of younger consumers could conceivably offset the difference in the retail expenditure patterns of younger and middle- aged consumers, it would be unwise to make the recommended inventory adjustment lacking evidence to support this assumption.

Conclusion

This argument is unacceptable. To strengthen the argument the author would have to provide evidence that the population of younger consumers will remain relatively constant over the next decade.

We hope that our strategies help you conquer GMAT AWA with enough and more energy to spare for the sections that follow!

Now that you’ve figured out how to tackle the AWA section, do you want to put theory to practice and get your AWA essay graded?

Our experts here at CrackVerbal will evaluate and grade your AWA essay and give you specific, actionable feedback.

You can now have a copy of your own GMAT AWA guide here!

• June, 16th, 2019
• Posted in

## Retaking the GMAT? Here’s What You Need to Know First!

Since you’re reading this article, we know that you must be thinking about retaking the GMAT after a previous attempt in which you did not get a good GMAT score.

But honestly – what exactly is a ‘good GMAT score’, anyway?

In our opinion, it is entirely subjective because it depends entirely on what you need a GMAT score for. For example, a GMAT 700 is a decent score for someone who wants to get into ISB. But the same score won’t cut it for a Harvard aspirant!

Anyway, you may have your own understanding of what a good GMAT score is for you. And right now, you may be stuck with a lower score than what you think is ‘good’. If you’ve taken your GMAT with a certain expectation and ended up with a score lower than that, you’re likely to consider retaking the GMAT in the hope of a better GMAT score.

That’s a good idea!

Retaking the GMAT is honestly a good idea for most people who are thinking about doing so. However, retaking a \$250 test without proper planning and expectation management is not the best way forward.

There are two critical perspectives to consider when you’re trying to figure out whether you should retake the GMAT or not. One perspective considers the various reasons that may have caused you to score lower than you were hoping to. The other perspective looks into the statistical details of how often retaking improves people’s score and the extent to which that is possible, based on your existing score.

Let us discuss the nitty-gritty of each perspective, one at a time.

### 1. Scenarios that can cause Low Scores

You probably know that the first step in problem-solving is admitting that you have a problem. Congrats on having done that part already!

Now, let’s move on to step 2 of solving problems: identifying the problem. It’s important to understand what went wrong before you set out to correct it. Failing this, you will just be shooting in the dark.

Accordingly, let’s take a look at six possible scenarios that may have caused you to get a low score.

1. Issue with Basics

Sometimes, you may decide to skip brushing up on your basics because there’s so much advanced stuff to learn. Many of our students have also fallen victim to this mistaken belief that solving practice questions will be sufficient for GMAT prep.

The thing is that basics are much more important than you may think. Let us demonstrate just how this works using an example.

Suppose you are weak with Inequalities which is within GMAT Arithmetic, but you choose to focus on your strengths instead. On the GMAT, you get a minimum of two questions based on Inequalities. These could be 700-level questions or 500-level ones, depending on your luck.

We say ‘luck’ because in case even one of those questions based on your weak topic is a 500-level question and you get it wrong, the next few questions will all be 500-level. So your expertise on all other subjects will make no difference!

It’s important to make sure you cover all your bases.

If you leave anything untouched, you may end up regretting it quite badly. If you think this scenario may be the explanation as to why you got a low score in spite of getting a majority of questions right, you should retake the GMAT. However, this time around, you should identify your weaknesses and strengthen them before you book your attempt.

2. Application Trouble

We often come across students who grasp concepts very easily. It could take as little as a single session for them to really understand what a concept means. If we ask them to explain the concept to someone else, they can do it pretty well.

However, when it comes to applying these concepts to GMAT questions, they struggle.

The point we’re trying to make is that it is not enough to understand a concept. You need to be able to apply them to solve the questions you’ll have to face on the GMAT. There’s a full chance that you walked into your exam center feeling fully prepared.

You probably knew all the concepts necessary to do well. But maybe seeing the questions threw you completely off your game, because of which you ended up scoring badly.

If this scenario sounds anything like what happened to you during your attempt, retaking GMAT sounds like a great idea for you.

This time around, we would highly recommend that you invest a lot of time into examining where you went wrong. Opt for the Enhanced Score Report and analyze it thoroughly. It might be a good idea to get a third person’s perspective on this if you know someone who will be able to give you a balanced opinion here.

CrackVerbal provides Personal Tutoring for exactly this kind of a situation.

Our experts can help you better understand your strengths and work on your weaknesses in a manner that suits your individual needs. Even if you choose not to opt for this highly personalized service, you should consider getting a neutral third person involved, anyway.

Additionally, we highly recommend solving practice questions. Stick to using official test questions only, like the ones we provide through our guides to GMAT Quant, Critical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, and Sentence Correction respectively. Solving official questions will get you accustomed to the style and difficulty of actual GMAT questions.

If you work on identifying and effectively targeting your weaknesses, retaking the GMAT will most likely yield great results for you.

3. You Got Nervous!

The simplest explanation for a low GMAT score could be nervousness.

There are times, especially when it comes to competitive exams like the GMAT, when you could be so worried about performing well that you become far too nervous at the time of the exam.

Trying to answer multiple choice questions while you’re nervous is a bigger challenge than most people will dare admit. You often end up clicking the wrong option simply because you’re in a tearing hurry to answer it well within time and move on to the next section.

Unfortunately, since the GMAT is an adaptive test, you can’t afford to make many mistakes. You can’t know which questions carry more marks than the others, so there’s no way to know where you can afford to be reckless. In effect, that means you can never really be reckless at all.

In a situation where you need to be alert and on top of your game the entire time, nervousness can really wreak havoc.

If tension and nerves were responsible for your low score, you should retake the GMAT.

4. Insufficient Section Scores

Did you look at your scorecard and think, “Okay this is not very bad, but I could have done better on Verbal.”?
Or, “Oh, I could have done so much better on Quant!”?

You should know that this is one of the most common reactions we’ve observed among our students. In most cases, people choose to go ahead and apply to suitable B-Schools anyway. A few people end up carrying this feeling on for much longer.

If you’re one of those people who cannot shake the feeling that you could score better in one of the two major sections of the GMAT, retaking the test may have its benefits for you.

You see, when you make up your mind to focus on a certain aspect of an exam, you’re essentially strengthening whatever weaknesses you had the first time around. If you retake the GMAT after ironing out the rough patches in your prep, chances are that you will score significantly more than you did the last time.

Since the GMAT is an adaptive test, it leaves very little space for error. So, take the effort to expand the horizons of your prep to include every aspect of the GMAT syllabus. Cover every detail before you attempt to retake the GMAT, and we believe you will stand a good chance to score quite well.

5. You Weren’t in the Right Frame of Mind

Sometimes the reason why you didn’t do well on your GMAT attempt is just intangible. It is nearly impossible to put into words the feeling you get when you just know that something is not right. If you carried this feeling with you into the test center, chances are, you were too distracted to do well.

The point is, you may have just been having a bad day when you had to take your attempt. For whatever reason, if your head was not in the game when you took the test, it’s no wonder you didn’t get your target score.

We would recommend that you retake the test if you feel like this was the case with you.

If you’re willing to invest the time and money into retaking the GMAT, doing so might actually bring you a better score.

However, to achieve this, you will need to make a few changes to your prep strategy. Developing the right frame of mind for the test is also an important part of preparing for the GMAT. This needs to be a part of your GMAT prep strategy.

To get professional guidance on the best way to design your GMAT prep, you can check out our prep options and reach out to us at CrackVerbal.

6. Wrongly Selected Section Order

In 2017, the GMAC introduced a new feature into the GMAT: the Select Section Order option. Basically, this allows you to choose which part of the test you want to attempt first.

The Select Section Order option has had quite an impact on percentiles and scoring patterns among test-takers, globally.

Unless your latest GMAT attempt was before 2017, you’re probably well-versed with how this option works. What we want to talk about in this section is what happens if you pick the wrong order of sections.

When we say ‘wrong order’, we’re not talking about the possibility of you mistakenly picking one section when you meant to pick another. Let us demonstrate with an example.

Suppose Quant is your strong suit and you find Verbal comparatively easier. As such, you may decide to finish Quant first and then solve Verbal. However, you might end up feeling much more mentally drained by the time you finish the Quant section. This is more likely to happen especially if you haven’t prepared using official questions.

So, when we say ‘wrong order’ we mean you may have chosen a poor section order.

If you aren’t used to solving official questions like those provided in the Official Guide, it’s easily possible that you may end up underestimating how exhausting it can be to finish a given section. Often, this can lead to poor performance in the subsequent sections. This leaves you with a lower GMAT score than you may have hoped for.

Retaking the GMAT is a good idea if this is the reason why you didn’t score well in your first attempt.

As discussed before, this was one perspective that considers the reasons behind your low GMAT score. In the next section, let’s move on to talking about your chances of improving your score and the extent to which it could rise, based on statistics.

### 2. Advice on Retaking GMAT based on Current Scores

The reason we’re dividing our advice based on your existing score is simple: your reasons for retaking the GMAT and your expectations from it will vary according to your existing score. Our advice is tailored to fit your reasons.

As such, we’ve divided this section of the blog into five parts:

Before we proceed any further, we’d like you to take a careful look at these charts detailing statistics released by the GMAC.

Next, let’s discuss what you should do based on your current score.

• GMAT score more than 750
•
If you’ve scored 750 or above on the GMAT, retaking it will serve no real purpose. Let us demonstrate why, using GMAT score charts.

As you can see, if you’re at 750 or so, you currently lie in the 98th percentile. Scoring beyond 760 will only put you in the 99th percentile. The effort it takes to raise your score by that much is not proportional to the reward of doing so. Retaking the GMAT only to rise up by a single percentile point will not make much of a difference, no matter which schools you plan to apply to.

If you’re thinking of retaking the test in the hope that scoring higher will improve your chances of getting into one of the top ten B-Schools in the world, rest assured that this is not the case.

A well-written MBA application can have the same effect.

Instead of breaking your head trying to get a higher GMAT score, focus on perfecting your Why MBA essay, and work on your other essay responses as well.

• GMAT score between 700-750
•
The only reason that would justify retaking GMAT with a score between 700 and 750 is if you’re intent on getting into the top 10 MBA programs in the world. in general, a GMAT score between 700 and 750 is beyond just ‘acceptable’ for a vast number of highly reputed B-Schools.

However, it is important to understand here that crossing this score bracket is the most challenging of all.

Take a look at the chart detailing the maximum score increase from retesting. You will notice that those who score over 700 in their first attempt are not likely to gain much from retaking the GMAT. More than 40% of those who retake the test after scoring over 700 the first time are not likely to see a score increase.

But if you have made up your mind to try again anyway, you must be aware that there’s probably a rather complex set of reasons as to why you didn’t do better.

Not all the scenarios mentioned earlier in this blog will be applicable to you if you’ve scored more than 700 on your first GMAT attempt.

For example, Scenario #1 (Issue with Basics) is almost impossible if you’ve scored above 700. The GMAT is adaptive, so you would have had to answer most of the questions correctly in order to get that kind of a score. You can’t possibly have answered a majority of the questions correctly if your basics were not up to the mark.

Similarly, Scenario #2 (Application Trouble) is also improbable because those who have trouble applying concepts to GMAT questions will most likely be unable to score more than 700.

The point is, your problems are not likely to be covered in the six simple scenarios mentioned earlier. You’re likelier to be facing a combination of various issues, so you should have a bespoke strategy that addresses these issues to help you retake the GMAT and improve your score.

As such, we suggest that you get an Enhanced Score Report before designing your strategy to retake the GMAT.
Take the time to analyse your mistakes, figure out where you went wrong and identify the reason behind each mistake. If you feel like you need help with this, you can avail of our personal tutoring service.

• GMAT score between 650-700
•
This is probably the most competitive score band on the GMAT. The percentiles for this band range from 76 to 89 percentile.

The reason this band has the highest competition, especially among Indian test-takers, is that this score range falls squarely between being just short of good enough for premier B-Schools and being too good for second-tier B-Schools.

It gives people just about enough reason to try harder to make it to the absolute top rather than settling for something less.

However, the competition among Indians in this range is greater because most of these aspirants belong to one over-represented majority or another.

People who come from over-represented groups find it fairly difficult to stand out of the crowd and be noticed. They often perceive securing a high score on the GMAT as a way to differentiate their profile from the rest.

For example, a male Indian IT Engineer with a GMAT 690 might stand a chance to get into a B-School like Columbia. However, a male Indian IT Engineer with a GMAT 730 stands a much better chance of getting into the same school.

The idea that a great GMAT score is the only way for a person from an over-represented group to stand out, is not entirely correct. There are many ways in which you can differentiate your profile; these ways have nothing to do with your GMAT score.

In fact, at CrackVerbal, we have seen many candidates make it into reputed B-Schools in spite of low GMAT scores. Samvit Roy and Shripad Sonavay both scored 690 on the GMAT and got into Schulich School of Business, while Vivek Saurabh got into Purdue and Pittsburgh with just a 630 on his GMAT.

You don’t HAVE to retake the GMAT to get into a reputed B-School if your score is between 650 and 700. Focusing your time and energy on building a strong application can give you great results, too.

But if you’re aiming for B-Schools with average GMAT scores above 710, retaking might be worth it.

• GMAT score between 600-650
•
There’s a wide range of schools you can apply to if your score falls within this range. If you build a strong MBA application, you could get into some great B-Schools around the world.

To get into reputed schools with a score in the range of 600-650 is not easy, but you can still make it if you can differentiate your profile from the rest. Having generic achievements, skills, and qualifications will not help your chances of getting into a B-School.

Here are 40 things you can do to differentiate and improve your MBA profile.

However, if you’re looking at getting into any of the top 30 B-Schools in the US and Europe or even the leading B-Schools in India, like ISB, IIM-A, IIM-B, etc., you may want to retake the GMAT. A higher score will drastically improve your chances of getting into the tier-1 business schools around the world.

Analyze the scenarios mentioned earlier in this post, see which ones apply to you, and work on ensuring that the same things do not go wrong the next time around.

If your schedule is too hectic to allow you to study for the GMAT properly, consider signing up for an online course like CrackVerbal’s GMAT Online course.

• GMAT score between 500-600
•
You may stand a chance to get into some B-Schools with a GMAT score that falls in the 500-600 range. But this score range is too generic for us to guide you on where you should apply and which programs will suit your needs.

If you are serious about getting an MBA, we would highly recommend that you consider retaking the GMAT.

It may come as bad news to hear that your application stands a high chance of rejection with a GMAT score in this range, but there’s a largely positive flipside to this situation, too.

You may have noticed that only 23% Indian test-takers retake the GMAT after their first attempts. Of those, the ones who score less than 600 in their first attempt are also the ones who routinely see the highest increment in scores upon retaking the test.

Around 30% of the GMAT retakers who score less than 600 in their first attempt can expect to see a score increase between 30 and 100 points. A few students from this score range have also seen an increase of 190+ points! Isn’t that incredible?!

The key takeaway here is that if you retake the exam, you have a better chance to improve your GMAT score than those who’ve scored more than 600 the first time around. Don’t lose hope; instead, get your Enhanced Score Report, analyze your mistakes, and get back to the drawing board.

You can score significantly higher on your second attempt if you really put your back into your GMAT prep. There’s an opportunity here to turn your low GMAT score into a tool to help you do much better on your next attempt.

To help you do this, you can choose between taking personal tutoring, attending classes, or doing a GMAT course online.

That should cover everything you need to know at this point. Hopefully, these pointers will also help you create an effective GMAT retake strategy that suits your needs and abilities.

In the next part of this article, we’d like to debunk some myths that you may have heard about the GMAT.

### 3. GMAT Myth Busting

We’ve heard some incredibly superstitious myths and seemingly logical “facts” about the GMAT that may be affecting the way you approach the test. So, we have taken it upon ourselves to debunk these myths and hopefully keep them from having any bearing on any of your decisions regarding retaking the GMAT.

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

• Myth 1: You can score better if you take the GMAT from a different country
•

From where we stand, we believe this “theory” comes from the idea that the questions you will face on the GMAT will differ according to the country you’re in.

Fact: GMAT questions are the same all over the world.

Going to a different country will not make any difference to the questions that will appear on the GMAT for you. The same set of questions will appear for every person taking the GMAT around the world at a given point in time. Since it is a standardized test, the GMAT cannot be tweaked to create a discrete difficulty level per country.

Another reason we can think of why that particular myth might have gained traction is the belief that your percentile rank will change based on the scores of people taking the GMAT from the same country.

Fact: Percentile ranks have nothing to do with the country you’re in.

Your GMAT percentile rank is calculated based on the scores of people who have taken the GMAT in the three years preceding your attempt. These are scores that people from all over the world have achieved in three years. That will not change no matter where you take your test from.

• Myth 2: Your score is affected by the time of the year you choose to take the GMAT
•

A surprising number of people believe that you could score better during some months as compared to others. This idea may be stemming from the belief that the GMAT is tweaked to make it tougher during the B-School application season.

The difficulty level of the GMAT is based entirely on your performance on the test. If you correctly answer tougher questions on a consistent basis, the average difficulty and value of successive questions will rise. We say average because you may answer a 500-level question incorrectly and still get a 700-level question next, and vice versa.

The GMAT adaptive algorithm is designed to randomize the difficulty levels from question to question, so you will not face a steady rise in difficulty levels. However, if you answer most questions correctly, you will get a greater number of tougher questions as you go.

In short, you decide the difficulty level of your GMAT test. It cannot be tweaked from the other end.

• Myth 3: Your performance in one section affects your score in other sections
•
There’s a chance that this idea comes from the assumption that the GMAT must be rated manually. That’s the only reason we can think of that would make anybody believe that you can score well on one section because of your good performance on another.

Fact: Sections of the GMAT are discrete and disconnected from each other. The test is assessed by a computer.

There is no question of leaving a good impression on the ‘examiner’ in the hope of getting good marks on Verbal because you did well on Quant or vice versa. Since this is a computer-adaptive test, your answers are being evaluated by a computer. The four sections of the exam are designed to be entirely disconnected from each other.

If you know of any more myths or have some beliefs about the GMAT that you suspect may be mistaken, let us know in the comments below and we will be happy to cross-check them for you!

We hope this article has helped you make up your mind on whether you want to retake the GMAT or not and to build an effective GMAT retake strategy if you have decided to go for it. In case you have any doubts or questions about this, you can submit your Enhanced Score Report to us and one of our counselors will get in touch with you.

If you only need help to streamline your GMAT prep and make the best of whatever little time you get to study, you can sign up for our free GMAT Online trial course.

• May, 20th, 2019
• Posted in

## 5 Things You Should Know Before Taking GMAT Practice Tests

There’s this trend among GMAT aspirants:

For some reason, many aspirants believe that taking practice test after practice test is a great way to prepare for the GMAT.

We’re so baffled by this idea that we decided to write an entire blog about GMAT practice tests and how you should be using them.

And no, this is not a rant. Promise. You’ll learn useful stuff from it!

In case you don’t believe us, here’s what we’ll discuss in this article:

Confused? Don’t worry!

Read on to figure out what we mean.

### 1. GMAT Practice Tests = Thermometers

Do you ever just pick up a thermometer to check your body temperature as you walk about your house?

No?

Well, nobody does.

Are you getting the drift?

There’s such a thing as an appropriate time to use a thermometer even though there’s no rule that says you can’t randomly use it to check your temperature.

It’s a different matter entirely that it’s just weird to check your body temperature for no reason.

The case is exactly the same when it comes to GMAT practice tests. Of course, you can go take a test whenever you feel like it, but it is really odd to just keep taking them.

We think it’s odd because it serves no purpose. Just like a thermometer, a GMAT practice test is a diagnostic tool. You’re supposed to use it when its report is going to help you decide on a future course of action.

Depending on the score you get on a practice test, you can figure out whether you need more prep or if you’re ready for the real deal.

What on earth is the point of thundering through some 50 tests one after the other?! It is literally like measuring your body temperature every hour of the day just because you can!

If you think we’re wrong and that you are, in fact, finding it useful to take test after test, this next one is for you.

### 3. Simulate the Test Environment

The GMAT is unlike any other public test in that it is more interested in seeing how you apply what you know rather than in testing how much you know in the first place.

As such, there are two elements to GMAT prep:

One is that you are expected to work on expanding your knowledge. Actually, the entire GMAT Syllabus, from Quant to Verbal, is based on things we’ve already learned in high school. So, you don’t really have to learn “new” concepts, you just have to refresh your memory.

The second element of preparing for the GMAT is learning how to take advantage of the GMAT exam pattern. Given the way the exam is structured, it allows you to leverage the given information to find answers without actually solving every question.

In fact, there are many tips and tricks to game the system and use the GMAT exam pattern to your advantage.

What we’re trying to say is this:

As such, there are a few Dos and Don’ts that we recommend while taking GMAT Practice Tests:

Dos:

1. Take the test with the AWA and IR sections. This is to help you understand that you’re already going to be mentally tired after the Quant and Verbal sections.
2. Take the test at the same time as your booked or prospective test slot. This way you are able to understand your circadian cycle a lot better.
3. Eat and drink whatever you would during the breaks. This is to ensure that you understand how your body responds to the surge of carbohydrates.

Don’ts:

1. Take extra long breaks. On the real test you will get around 8 minutes; so stick to that. Use a small alarm or a watch to help you do this.
2. Eat or drink anything during the test. A nice mug of steaming coffee can surely help you while you practice, but remember that on the real test day you will have none of this. The same rule applies to cigarette breaks.
3. Check your mobile phone or emails during the test. On the real test day, you will have it switched off in a locker – try to do the same here.

Basically, do everything that you’d do during your actual GMAT test attempt and don’t do anything you wouldn’t do then.

### 4. Learn to Strategize

As mentioned in the previous point, a lot of your GMAT prep is about learning to take the GMAT test. That’s based on how you strategize.

For example, a good time management strategy can be the difference between a 600 and a 700.

With so much at stake, you should get your test strategies down to a science.

You should know exactly how to pace yourself, when to give those extra 30 seconds to a question, and when to guess and move on. This is something we train our students to do, throughout the duration of our course.

In our opinion, these are 3 absolute must-dos for any test you take:

1. Keep an Error Log
2.
An Error Log tells you WHY you made the mistake and not WHAT mistakes you made. The difference is crucial because it helps you to not repeat it. As you go through the questions you got wrong, ask yourself, “Can I get the right answer now?”

If you can, the Error Log has done its job.

4.
Honestly – analyze the hell out of every practice test you take from a behavior point of view.

Ask yourself why you made that silly error, go over the scratch pad to see what was going on in your brain when you were solving the question, check why you did not guess when you know you should have, look into why you didn’t use back-solving for that tough quant problem – you get the drift?

Thoroughly understand the mistakes you’re making and see what mental blocks are leading you to make them.

5. If you found a specific area uncomfortable on the test, go back to practicing more questions from that area. Maybe you want to ask for help – if you are a CrackVerbal student, our faculty is just a phone-call/email away!
6.

Ultimately, the GMAT is as much a mind game as it is a test of your aptitude for management. Anyone preparing seriously for the GMAT can tell you that. That’s why the way you handle failure is very important.

Taking a test and getting a low score can be devastating to morale. So, it’s important to know how to stay focused and keep chipping away at the prep. Also, remember that practice tests are not indicative of the final score you should expect on the GMAT.

You could never cross 650 on practice tests and end up with a 700+ on the actual GMAT, or vice versa. In short, no matter what your practice score is, don’t let it affect your prep.

The GMAT is like cricket – it’s a game of glorious uncertainties and you never know the result till the last ball is bowled!

Next up, we talk about the kinds of practice tests you should be taking.

### 5. Keep it Official!

Did you know that the GMAC spends close to \$2000 to create a single question on the GMAT?

There’s no way any test prep company could do anything close to that!

Besides, in a conversation between our founder Arun Jagannathan and Dr. Larry Rudner, who has served as the VP of GMAC Research and chief psychometrician of the GMAT, we found out that even what we know of the test now, such as the number of experimental questions used, could be wrong.

None of the practice tests available on the internet come close to simulating the algorithm and question elegance of the real GMAT test. The only ones that can do so are the official GMAT practice tests provided by the GMAC.

However, there are only 6 such tests available.

That’s another reason why we recommend that you solve practice questions from official sources first and then go on to intelligently use the 6 available official GMAT practice tests.

By ‘intelligently’ use these tests, we don’t mean ‘save them all for the end’.

We’ve observed that most test-takers don’t take the official GMAT prep tests until the very end because they want to save the best for the last. The problem with this approach is that your prep will end up being guided by tests that don’t adequately reflect the GMAT.

That way, there’s a chance you may not be prepared for how the real GMAT test at all!

Isn’t that scary?!

Sure is, to us! The best way to avoid that is to pace out and plan your prep in a way that incorporates the official GMAT practice tests from time to time.

One thing you can do to make up for the lack of unlimited official tests is to solve GMAT prep questions on online forums. CrackVerbal students get a personal copy of a composite Question Bank with about 2000 questions from previous GMAT tests!

So, if you are one – don’t worry, just stick to the study plan we have made for you!

Hope these techniques make a positive difference to your GMAT prep! If you’d like to share what works for you and what doesn’t, please let us know in the comment section below.

Head over to our free GMAT Resource Library for more useful information on how to achieve an awesome GMAT score!

• April, 9th, 2019
• Posted in
• 1 Comment

## CrackVerbal’s Comprehensive Study Material to Prepare for the GMAT

With the plethora of GMAT Study Material out there, how do you pick the right the GMAT prep material for you?

And how updated are you with the changes in the GMAT syllabus, and if the material you are currently using is not outdated?

You cannot be too careful.

If you are going to be investing time and effort towards getting a good score on the GMAT, it only makes sense to look around for the right study material.

And what luck!

You’ve landed on our page 🙂

Let us tell you how we are going to help improve your GMAT scores with our custom-designed GMAT Prep Study Material.

Our faculty have been meticulously hand-picked and individually trained. They are and continue to be the reason behind our successful students who have made it to their dream b-schools.

Our approach is directed towards boosting your scores. With experience comes learning – we have custom tailored our teaching methods to the Indian mindset thus able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of Indian Test-Takers.

We show our support by being available at all times. If you are facing roadblocks, the gmatprep team will prepare a plan suited to your needs, till you reach your dream score.

We at CrackVerbal are here to make sure you get the right study material to ace the test.

We students 3 channels to prepare for the GMAT.

Here is what you will gain with us as a student:

#### Online Course

Our online course gives you the flexibility to prepare your GMAT study plan.

You can study at your pace – early morning or night – however you feel convenient.

Here’s what our online course offers:

We know you are going to do a lot of research before signing up for our GMAT online course, so we thought you could check out our GMAT free resources, or sign up for a free demo.

GMAT Video Library
GMAT E-books
GMAT Forum
FREE GMAT practice test

#### Classroom Assistance

We have three centers in Bangalore – Koramangala, Malleshwaram, Marathahalli – pick one closest to you.

Here’s what our Classroom course looks like:

If you want a taste of our classroom course, attend a free demo session 🙂

Book your free demo class here.

#### Personalized Tutor

With our Personal Tutoring course, you will be assigned one of our top GMAT instructors.

Our trainers are focused on the one student and they work on building his strengths and improving his weaknesses.

The trainer’s device a customized study plan tailor-made to the student’s requirements.

Crackverbal caters to non-native speakers and helps them in a way they best understand.

The sessions are face-face if the student is in Bangalore, and if not, we host video call sessions.

Get a call from our Experts

If you have any queries about our course, anything related to the GMAT exam, or about MBA applications, please write to us at [email protected] on or call us on +91-8880560000

• March, 12th, 2018
• Posted in

## 9 Tips for Taking GMAT Practice Tests (Must Know!)

“If you don’t know where you are, then you can’t get to where you want to go.”

Simulation exams a.k.a Practice tests are one of the most important elements for your GMAT preparation plan.

Every practice test you take brings you one step closer to getting a similar question right on the actual GMAT.

It basically acts like a preview of the test.

The scores you get on your practice tests only predict your scoring range and not your actual score – because of the GMAT adaptive algorithm.

As you take more tests, your score also improves – meaning if you scored a 500 on the first practice test, a 570 on another, and a 650 on the third, your score is now up to the 650 mark.

However, as we know the discrepancies in the adaptive algorithms on practice tests, you may be in the 630-650 score range, but not exactly 650.

So, if you manage to get a 710 on a practice test, it is safe to assume (provided you answer the questions right and within the time frame) that on the actual GMAT your score would range from 690 – 720)

Any practice test you take (official practice tests) won’t follow the actual algorithm but will be as close to the original as possible.

Disclaimer :There are a lot of unofficial GMAT Practice tests out there, so if you want a close-to-accurate score, we suggest you don’t pick random tests.

Read our article on Decoding the GMAT Algorithm – A Cheat sheet to get a detailed understanding on the working of the adaptive algorithm.

The GMAC provides 6 full-length GMAT practice tests on its website, two free and four paid. Once you take the test, after analysing where you stand, you can reset and take the test again -provided your level has improved, you will start scoring better, and therefore start seeing tougher questions on the same test.

Apart from the official full-length practice tests from mba.com, you can also give CrackVerbal’s abridged mini-test a try : GMAT Score Calculator.

Now that we’ve established where you should be looking to take the right GMAT practice tests, let’s move on to tell you the impact these tests will have on your final GMAT score!

### Importance of taking Practice Tests

The GMAT practice test act as diagnostic tests.

If you sign up for a test-prep course, ideally the first thing you should be doing is taking a practice test.

The objective of taking a practice test first is to determine the level you are at before you begin your GMAT preparation. It will help you recognize your strengths and make you aware of the areas where you need to focus more.

Apart from the limitations of the test (adaptive algorithm scoring pattern), there are 9 factors you should watch out for while taking the test :

#### 1. Knowledge of the content (Quant and Verbal)

Say out of 10 questions, you recognize only 6. That leaves you with 4 questions you’ve never come across before.

Practice tests will help explore different question types and improve your chances to get a higher score on the actual GMAT.

#### 2. Increase in Speed

At first – if you’re a beginner, meaning, you may not even be able to complete the whole test within the given time frame.

If you can – that’s brilliant!

Taking practice tests improves your speed and time management skills. Once you start getting a hold of the concepts, solving multiple questions during your prep time, applying them during the test makes it only that much faster and easier.

For example – completing the test in 55 minutes instead of 65 minutes isn’t necessarily the best strategy.

It’s all about giving every question the right amount of time and also working on it with a certain pace.

#### 3. Familiarity with the exam

Whether you are taking the test for the first time, or the third time, practice tests are a way to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses.

Understanding concepts in isolation while preparing for the test is different from applying all of them in a random sequence, one after the other – during the actual test.

To do that, mental preparation and stamina is essential.

And when it comes to preparing a study plan, practice tests play a major role. For example, if your RC skills are weaker than your SE skills – and you found that out through the practice test, you can adapt your strategy according to your requirement.

The more tests you take, your accuracy improves. It will help you calculate the approximate time taken to solve each question (maintain a log – it’ll help track progress).

Say, if you are super confident about Algebra Questions, and are weak at Statistics, you can allot more time towards solving Statistics, and get the Algebra questions out of the way faster.

Granted- you can’t choose which chapters you want to complete first as the questions are thrown at random, but it’s up to you to decide how much time you want to devote to each question.

#### 5. Analyze your Verbal and Quant score split

If your practice test result shows you got a 30 in Quant and a 43 in Verbal, you can shift your focus on strengthening your Quant skills first.

As you keep taking these practice tests parallely with your prep, you’ll know how to balance your Quant and Verbal scores to land up with a great 3 digit score!

Practice tests usually let you review the questions you answered incorrectly.

And next time if a similar question appears, you’ll wrap it up within minutes – thus improving your speed and accuracy.

Use these practice tests as a tool to measure your performance.

Practice tests act as stimulation tests.

When we say stimulation tests, it is not just about familiarizing yourself with the test pattern, questions and the structure.

It is also about making yourself comfortable in that environment where your focus lies completely on the test for 3 and a half hours – well in the case of a practice test ( 62 minutes + 65 minutes) – Quant and Verbal.

It is important that you mentally prepare yourself for that kind of focus. And thus – practice tests act as a stimulation to help build your endurance.

#### 8. Maintain a log

When you know you’ve got a question wrong, make a note of it. You can later go over the question and review where you went wrong.

You can also answer a series of similar questions – it will help tackle the question the next time around much easier.

Once you’ve taken a few tests, you’ll figure which areas need more attention, and the concepts you are more confident about.

It will help create a study plan for the week/month – based on your personal plan.

### Basic Do’s and Don’ts

No coaching centre or tutor will ever not, not ask you to take practice tests.

However there are a few things you need to keep in mind :

And that is about all you need to know on taking GMAT Practice Tests.

If you need any assistance while preparing for the GMAT, we’re just one click away.

• February, 26th, 2018
• Posted in

## A Guide to Integrated Reasoning

Before getting into details of number of questions, question types etc. Let’s understand the GMAT Integrated reasoning.

I am pretty much sure below three questions would be going on your mind, before starting the preparation for GMAT Integrated Reasoning,

How important is GMAT IR?
What would be the good score in GMAT IR?
How and when should I prepare for GMAT IR?

How important is GMAT IR?

To answer the first question, let’s see little bit of history about GMAT Integrated Reasoning.

GMAT Integrated Reasoning was introduced somewhere in the month of August 2012, earlier it used to be another Essay (Issue) of half an hour. So they replaced it with Integrated Reasoning.

Integrated Reasoning is made up of 12 questions and the time limit is 30 minutes.
Now to answer “how important is GMAT Integrated Reasoning”,
If this question was asked couple of years ago, answer would have been, “may not be that important” because that time B – Schools didn’t had the enough data to understand “what would be good score in Integrated Reasoning”?

But now since it has been more than 4 years, answer would be “yes” it is very much important. Four years is a good time to have the data points to show what would be the good score
Lot of B- Schools started looking for the GMAT Integrated Reasoning scores.

Since GMAT Integrated Reasoning itself asks “Mini – case” studies, it helps B – Schools to understand the students reasoning ability.

A manager expected to deal with large numbers, representation using graphs, dealing multiple components etc.
GMAT Integrated Reasoning tests upon those skill sets.

So GMAT Integrated Reasoning is very important from student perspective.

Purpose of the IR Section

AdComs hardly use GMAT essays to judge candidates. Essay writing skills were anyways evaluated through application essays!

Most business schools now use case studies to teach some or even most topics
The old GMAT could not mirror two key aspects of case analysis, math – verbal integration and a flood of real world data.

The questions in the Integrated Reasoning section act as mini case analysis themselves.

The IR section assesses higher order reasoning skills among candidates.

Data Analysis and reasoning are essential skills for any manager. This gives AdComs slightly better insight into the managerial potential of a candidate

What would be the good score in GMAT IR?

This is actually a tricky question to answer,

Let me first project the last year trend in GMAT Integrated Reasoning scores and then I will let you decide on what would be a good score.

Integrated Reasoning is scored out of 1- 8 which intervals of one point increment.

Above image shows the last three years (2013 – 2015) scoring trend in GMAT IR section among the students,

If you look at it, scoring 8(which is maximum) is 92nd percentile that means anybody who scores 8 would be among the top 8 percent of students.

Also scoring a 4 in IR is less than 50th percentile and according to the above image it is exactly 40th percentile.

So definitely everyone would like to score more than 5 to be in safer side.
If you ask me, a good score is something which lands you in a comfortable space when applying for top b – schools,
So certainly a GMAT score of 700 with Integrated Reasoning score 3, does not look very comfortable.

Also note that, the above details are for the period of 2013 – 2015.
I am sure these percentiles would definitely change in the coming years.
So I think now you have a fair idea what the score you should look for while preparing.

How and when should I prepare for GMAT Integrated Reasoning?

This is something a very important question, for someone who is very new to GMAT.
Let’s keep few things clear here first about GMAT IR,
Still GMAT Integrated Reasoning is not a part of the composite of 800.

Still Scoring a 700 or above (above 90th percentile) is more important than scoring above 90th percentile in GMAT Integrated Reasoning.

Getting an IR score of 8, doesn’t mean that you could score little less in the GMAT composite score of 800.

So one should first fix the GMAT composite score then move onto IR and AWA,
It’s again about prioritizing which is more important.

So if anybody starting the preparation for GMAT, his/her first focus should be on GMAT Verbal and Quant sections then move on to Integrated Reasoning.

Also IR doesn’t test anything which is totally different from GMAT Verbal and Quant sections,
Yes the question types are different and scoring is different but still the concepts are same. You no need to know anything new conceptual wise.

You have same Quant and verbal skills tested in IR section.

Also the best thing to do is whenever you sit to write a mock test, don’t skip any sections try to write the full 210 minutes test.

Most of the students skip AWA and IR while writing a mock test, which is not advisable.

Write the mock test along with IR section and analyze the IR section after the mock test in the same way you do for Quant and Verbal.

One can use official IR questions to practice.

Also listing down the pros and cons of Integrated Reasoning section will help us to strategize it better.

Let’s list down the pros first,

GMAT Integrated Reasoning section is linear:

Unlike your Quant and Verbal sections in GMAT which is adaptive (the next set of questions are dependent on how well you have scored in the previous set of questions) IR is linear(questions are pre defined nothing going to change for the next set of questions even if you answer the current question wrong).

On-Screen Calculator:

You will be given an On-Screen calculator for Quant questions. If you are a good estimator of big values then actually you no need of on-screen calculator but otherwise you can use it for some big calculations if necessary.

Integrated Reasoning section also has Experimental questions:

Like your Quant and Verbal section, IR section also has 25% of the questions as experimental.
How this would be a positive?
Since it’s not an adaptive section, it’s better to guess and move on for questions which you find it hard, because there is a chance of it being experimental question.

Weight-age towards quant is more than verbal:

Most of the question types in Integrated Reasoning, inclined towards testing your Quant knowledge than verbal.
Especially question types Graphical interpretation and Table Analysis mostly they would test is Quant skills.

So anyone who loves numbers and graphs, this section would be a little bit easy for them.

Let’s see what would be the cons?

Some questions have more than one answers:
You would see Bi-polar questions (Yes –No , true – false) in GMAT Integrated Reasoning, mostly it would come with three (sub)questions, only if you answer all the three correct, you will be given the credit for the question. Even one of the bi-polar questions if you get wrong you won’t get the credit for it. We shall discuss this with an example in detail later.
Let’s have a rough look at it first,

You can see in the above image, it’s just one question but it has three bi-polar questions to answer to it. Only if you get all three correct you will get a point.

Over concentrating on this might exhaust the mental energy:

One needs to be smart in Handling GMAT Integrated Reasoning section, because it easily exhausts the mental energy.
Typing an essay is far easier task than solving an Integrated Reasoning section.

Because for some questions like MSR (Multi Source Reasoning) you need to analyze the multiple tabs before coming to a conclusion for a question.

So here students should not focus on getting all the 12 questions correctly, one should be smart and chose questions based on their strengths and weakness.

That would be the pros and cons of a GMAT Integrated Reasoning section.

Now let’s see the question types in detail

The Integrated Reasoning section will basically have four parts:
Graphics Interpretation

Table Analysis

Two-part analysis

Multi-source reasoning

1).Graphical Interpretation:–

Generally, a pie chart, graph, flow-chart or some other graphic depiction is given and the candidate has to discern which data is useful to answer the question. Questions will be generally pertaining to Maths itself.

Special feature: There will be a calculator on the screen for some questions to assist students.

2). Table Analysis: –

A table will be provided. The candidate has to arrange or pick out selective data and use it for analysis. Questions will be generally pertaining to Maths or logical reasoning.

Special feature: Sorting the tables is allowed!

3).Two-part analysis:–

A problem statement is given, followed by some statements, each of which contains two columns. The candidate has to select an option in both the columns correctly to get the answer correct. Questions may be pertaining to Maths or critical reasoning.

Special feature: The candidate cannot guess, as the total number of possible answers here are not 5, but 25 (Owing to two answers!)

4).Multi-source reasoning: –

This bit of Integrated Reasoning is similar to Reading Comprehension. The candidate has to make sense out of multiple sources of text, such as an email exchange between two people etc., and then answer the questions that follow based on the multiple sources of data.
Multi Source Reasoning

Format

As you see in the above picture, you will have multiple tabs in this question type; one has to have a good idea about what each tab referring to before moving into the actual question.

MSR Working Procedure

-Create a summary or a map for the information in every tab. When you get a detail question, follow your map back to the relevant tab
-Always try to figure out two things
-Where the pieces of information are located
-How information given on one card influences or plays into information given on other cards

Verify the answer to each question with concrete information on the cards

Example

Let’s take this below question (OG question) to understand MSR.

Article:

The expenses related to sponsoring a conference can be immense. An organization sponsoring a conference can recoup these expenses through registration fees and partnership with the host hotel. As part of the partnership, the host hotel sets aside a block of rooms for conference attendees, with rooms available at a slightly higher-than-normal rate.

While most conference attendees prefer to stay in the host hotel, they often follow an alternate strategy to avoid the extra cost of reserving a room within the block at the host hotel. Some attendees reserve rooms outside the host hotel — the ROHH strategy. Others reserve rooms outside the block — the ROB strategy.

Conference sponsors have succeeded in countering these strategies by increasing the conference registration fee by a fixed amount and then offering an equivalent registration fee discount to attendees who book rooms in the block. A study has shown that if this registration discount is equal to at least half the potential savings of an attendee’s particular cost-saving strategy, the attendee is much more likely to reserve a room within the block.

Weekend Conferences

Ten conferences are scheduled for the same weekend in City X. For each conference, the table lists the conference sponsor, the registration fee, the discounted registration fee (if any), the host hotel, the rate for rooms in the block at the host hotel, and the lowest rate for an available room in the host hotel during that same weekend. Conference attendees will require two nights lodging, and all room rates are per guest, per night, assuming two guests per room. The lowest rate for an available room in City X on this same weekend is \$65.

Start by taking good amount of time to understand the information in the tabs. There are two tabs here, one says “Article” and other says “Weekend Conferences”.
The first passage, “Article,” explains that hotel rooms at conference hotels can be more expensive than the typical rates for those rooms.

It then describes two strategies conference-goers can use: staying elsewhere (ROHH) and staying at the hotel but not booking through the conference (ROB). Finally, we learn that conferences offer discounts to those who stay within the block of allotted rooms, and that “if the discount is equal to at least half” of the savings of staying elsewhere, the conference-goer will stay within the block at the host hotel.

And there’s more, in the “Weekend Conferences” tab. This is Multi-Source reasoning at its best: plenty more information, both in written and table form. Continue to work deliberately, since there is important data in the passage: “attendees will require two nights lodging.” In other words, if an attendee saves \$50 per night by staying elsewhere, that’s \$100 over two nights.
Before attacking the questions, make sure you understand the table, as well.

The leftmost column lists conferences, while the next two columns list the registration fee and the registration fee if the attendee stays within the allotted block of rooms. The next columns name the host hotel, the rate within the block, and the rate outside of the block. The passage gives us another point of comparison, that the cheapest room for the ROHH strategy is \$65–lower than almost all of the prices in the table.

You can take good 2 minutes to understand the tabs before getting into the actual questions

Question 1:

For each of the following sponsors, select Yes if an attendee of the sponsor’s conference would spend less money by employing the ROB strategy—paying the lowest possible room rate in the host hotel and paying the non discounted registration fee—than by reserving a room in the block. Otherwise, select No.

Explanation:
Here the question asks for three conferences, whether staying outside the block at the host hotel (the ROB strategy) is cheaper than staying in the block (and getting the registration discount).
Also remember that one has to get all three correct to get the credit of the question.
To determine that, consider the savings from each strategy.
For CC, the savings from the registration discount is \$100. The savings from using the ROB strategy is \$80 (\$40 per night, paying \$70 instead of \$110). Thus, first one is NO, staying in the block is cheaper than employing the ROB strategy.

For FFNA, the registration discount is \$50. The savings from ROB is \$140 (\$70 per night). This is YES, since staying outside the block is less expensive.
For HMHPA, the registration discount is \$25. The savings from ROB is \$50 (\$25 per night). This again will be YES, since staying outside the block is less expensive.
So answer would be NO, YES and YES.

Question 2:

Assume that host hotels receive a reimbursement from the conference organizers for 25% of the block rate per night for each r unoccupied room in the conference block. For each of the following hotels, select Yes if, for at least one conference on the weekend listed, the hotel would lose room revenue if a room in the block is vacant because an attendee employed the ROB strategy. Otherwise, select No.

Explanation:

This particular question provides additional data: If a room in the block is vacant, the conference organizers pay the hotel 25% of the block rate. Of course, if an attendee uses the ROB strategy, the hotel is still renting a room, but at a different rate.

Start with the Asiawest Center. Note that Asiawest is hosting three conferences, and the question is asking whether the hotel would lose revenue if an attendee of any of the conferences used the ROB strategy. For CDA, the block rate is \$190 and the lowest rate is \$185. If an attendee uses ROB, the hotel earns \$185 from the attendee and a reimbursement of 25% of \$190 (nearly \$50) from the conference. That’s better than renting the block room!

The same math applies to QRTA and RCD, where the ROB-using guest pays \$185 and the conference organizers pay nearly \$50.

Thus, first option is NO. Note that you didn’t have to do much math–approximation was sufficient. While 25% of \$190 or \$195 isn’t quite \$50 (25% of \$200), it doesn’t matter whether the reimbursement is \$40, \$48.75, or \$57–the answer is the same.

Only one conference, PNDA, is at the Bard Inn. There the block rate and the lowest rate in the hotel are the same, so if a guest uses the ROB strategy, the hotel doesn’t lose money even if the conference doesn’t reimburse it. So second one is NO.

Three conferences are at the Hilton: CC, FFNA, and PPOA. For CC, if an attendee uses the ROB strategy, they pay \$70, and the conference reimburses 25% of \$110, or a bit more than \$25. Thus, for that guest, the hotel earns a bit more than \$95–a loss compared to the block rate. There’s no need to evaluate the other two conferences at the Hilton: So this is YES.
So here the answers are NO, NO and YES.

3. Let X denote the block rate of the host hotel for a particular conference, and let Y denote the lowest room rate available in the host hotel outside of the conference block. For a conference that requires a two-night hotel stay, which one of the following expressions represents the least amount of discount on the conference registration fee that, according to the article, would be sufficient to deter conference attendees from employing the ROB strategy in choosing accommodations?

X+Y2

X-Y2

X-Y

X+Y

2(X-Y)

Explanation:

This question is more to do with the abstract thinking. Recall from the article that if the registration discount is at least half of the possible savings of the ROB or ROHH strategies, attendees will stay within the block. Since X is the block rate and Y is the non-block rate, the savings per night from staying outside the block is X – Y. The savings for staying two nights outside the block is double that: 2(X-Y).

But the registration discount only needs to be half that. Divide by two, and the result is (X – Y), choice (C).

Two Part Analyses:

As you see in the below picture, you will be give a questions stub followed by a table where you have two columns (questions) and one more column with answer choices common for both the questions.

Best part about the two –part analysis is sometimes both the columns (questions) are linked, so one would be solving only one question still get the answer for both.

You have to get both correct to get the credit of the question.

TPA Working Procedure

-Determine the relationship of the two questions

-For a quant TPA use strategies of plugging in and backsolving since all the answer options contain variables

-For a verbal TPA, read the entire prompt carefully and hold onto relevant information that helps to answer the questions

-Pay close attention to what must be true, could be true and what absolutely can’t be true

Example
Consider a right circular cylinder for which the following quantities are all numerically equal: the height, in meters; one-fourth of the volume, in cubic meters; the area of the circular base, in square meters.

In the table, select a value for the diameter of the circular base and a value for the height, where both are measured in meters, so that the two values are jointly consistent with the information provided. Make only two selections, one in each column

Explanation:

This question is easy to solve because it test you quant very directly,
To solve this question, one must know the Volume of the cylinder which is, pi * r2 * h

Given:

For what values the height, in meters; one-fourth of the volume, in cubic meters; the area of the circular base, in square meters are equal,
h = 1/4th of pi * r2 * h = pi * r2
Let h denote the height (in meters); and let r and d denote the radius (in meters) and diameter (in meters).
Let’s solve the First column, Infer that the volume of a right circular cylinder is equal to the area of its base times its height,
h = 1/4th of pi * r2 * h
¼ pi * r2 = h
r2 = 4/pi
r = 2 sqrt(pi)
So d = 4 sqrt(pi)
So answer is B for the first column.
Second column,
1/4th of pi * r2 * h = pi * r2
¼* h = 1
h = 4
So the answer is C for the second column.

Table Analysis:

Generally Table analysis questions are data heavy, so one should have a quick look at the tables and have a clear on the picture on the columns and rows.
Good thing about table analysis is they allow you to sort the columns and mostly it would be the bi-polar questions.

TA Working Procedure

-Figure out what kind of information is in each row and column

-Understand the nature of numbers in each column

-Do not confuse columns which contain a mix of absolute quantities and percents

-Pay close attention to the column labels

Example

Data

The table lists data on the 22 earthquakes of magnitude 7 or greater on the Richter scale during a recent year. Times are given in hours, minutes, and seconds on the 24-hour Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) clock and correspond to standard time at Greenwich, United Kingdom (UK). Latitude, measured in degrees, is 0 at the equator, increases from 0 to 90 proceeding northward to the North Pole, and decreases from 0 to —90 proceeding southward to the South Pole. Longitude, also measured in degrees, is 0 at Greenwich, UK, increases from 0 to 180 from west to east in the Eastern Hemisphere, and decreases from 0 to —180 from east to west in the Western Hemisphere.

For each of the following statements, select Yes if the statement is true based on the information provided, otherwise select No.

Explanation:
“For the 22 earthquakes; the arithmetic mean of the depths is greater than the median of the depths.”
In mathematical terms:
Is Mean > Median?
The question asks us to compare mean and median. Our natural instinct will be to first calculate the mean and then the median.
But lets find out median first, because its easier(Remember you can sort the column here).
The median –>
Median is the value of the middle-most cell of depth column, when data points are arranged in ascending order.
In this dataset, there are 22 elements.
So middle most value = mean of 11th and 12th values
Median = =25.5.

Now let’s find the mean, you got to be smart don’t do any unnecessary calculations.
Don’t find mean by the standard approach, be smart here, knowing a small rule would help here,

Fundamental principle – In a series of all positive numbers, mean of the series is always greater than the sum of limited data divided by total # of data points in the set.

When we glance at the dataset, we find that the last value 641 is disproportionately high. This implies that mean of the all depths must be greater than 1/22 times 641. This equals to 1/22*(641) = 29.136 km. Now, 29.136 km itself is already greater than the median depth (25.5 km), so the actual mean of the depths must be greater than the median of the depths. So we could arrive at the answer without actually calculating the exact mean of the list.

Next two questions(statements) are much simpler.

Second question, given location is north of the equator provided that its latitude is positive. So you can sort the latitude column here. You can see that only 10 of the 22 earthquakes listed occurred at positive latitude, so fewer than half of the earthquakes occurred north of the equator. So the answer would be No.

Third question, to determine the number of earthquakes occurring between 10:00:00 and 20:00:00 GMT, you can sort the column on Time (GMT) and then count. The 9 earthquakes appearing in positions 5 through 13 of the sorted list meet the criterion, but 9 out 22 is less than half. So the answer is No.

Graphical Interpretation:

Graphs could be of multiple types like pie – chart, line graph, and column charts etc. Let’s try to list down all the different types of graphs.

Graphical Interpretation question is mostly be text followed by a blank which has a drop-down menu with options, you can see that in the below image.

Before solving it, one should open the options of drop-down menu and then solve it.
It avoids unnecessary calculations of the objects which are in the graph but not in the options.

GI Working Procedure
– Analyze the graph/graphs. If there is more than one graph look for a linking factor between the two graphs
– Read the text accompanying the graph carefully. Pay attention to how the graph is labeled
– Estimate! You need not read the precise value on the graph if the value is between two ranges
– If you see words like ‘nearest to’ or ‘closest to’ then that is a clear invitation to estimate

PIE CHARTS

– Used to show the relative sizes of slices as proportions of a whole
– Can be either a percentage pie chart or a degree pie chart
– In a percentage pie the entire circle represents a total of 100% and in a degree pie the entire circle represents a total of 360 degrees
– Can show only one series of data. If you see two pie charts then they represent two separate series of data

COLUMN CHARTS

– Shows amount as heights and can be used to show trends over time
– Estimation is a key skill that you need to use here as you will have to read a value of a column which is between the gridlines
– Questions will deal with a percent increase or decrease from one time period to the next

LINE GRAPHS

– Very similar to column charts but each value is shown as a floating dot rather than a column
– X axis almost always represents time and the Y axis represents a definite value or a percentage
– Line graphs are used to track changes over short and long periods of time

SCATTER PLOTS

– Displays bi variate data i.e. data in which we measure two different variables for each participant
– Each individual (each car, each company) would be a single dot on the graph, and the graph would have as many dots as individuals surveyed or measured
– When the points on a scatter plot lie more or less in a straight line that is called correlation.
– When it’s a straight line with a positive slope, that’s positive correlation, and when it’s a negative slope, that’s negative correlation

BUBBLE CHARTS

Very similar to scatter plots but instead of having two pieces of information we have three
Size of the bubble adds a third variable
Bubble charts provide a quick way to visually display what is going on with three different variables at once

Example:

In Country X, a building is in Category A if it has a roof height of at least 350 meters. In the graph, each of the 22 Category A buildings is represented by two points arranged vertically: one representing the comparison of the height of the building’s roof to the number of floors (red circles), the other representing the comparison of the height of the building’s roof to the mean height per floor (black squares). Based on the given information, use the drop down menus to most accurately complete the following statements about Category A buildings in Country X.

The building with the greatest mean height per floor has a roof height between __________ metres.

There is a ___________ correlation between the number of floors and the mean height per floor.

Explanation:

On some Graphics Interpretation questions, the graph will not be intuitive. In those cases, spend a little more time reading the labels on the graph and the introductory paragraph so that you can gain a thorough understanding of the data.

Identifying the units in the graph is very important, I would suggest write down the units in the scratch pad provided to you, so that you avoid careless errors.

In this case, the graph includes two dots–one red, one black–for each of several buildings. Each building has a height between 350 and 510 meters. That measurement is the x-axis.
There are two y-axes. On the left, we have “number of floors,” and each building has a red dot that reflects the number of floors given the building’s height.

For instance, the red dot is the far lower left tells us that a building roughly 355 meters high has approximately 53 floors.

The black dots reflect the “mean height per floor,” which is the y-axis on the right. The black dot that refers to that same ~355-meter-high building is near the top of the graph, indicating that that building’s mean height per floor is just above 6.5 meters.
The intro says there are 22 buildings. Thus, the graph contains 22 black dots and 22 red dots–one of each for each building.

First Blank asks you to identify the building with the greatest mean height per floor. Mean height per floor is the black dot, and the highest black dot is near the upper left corner of the graph, corresponding with a roof height of about 365 meters. Thus, the height of this building is between 350 and 370 meters. This a lot easier.

Second Blank refers to a concept that you may not be familiar with: correlation. There are three choices: strong negative, negligible, and strong positive.

If a correlation is positive, it means that when one attribute is high, the other is generally high, and vice versa.

When a correlation is negative, if one attribute is high, the other is low, and vice versa.
A negligible correlation refers to situations where there is no consistent relationship between the two attributes.

In this example, the correlation is strong negative. For most of the buildings with roof heights of 410 and above, the red dots and high and the black dots are low. For two of the shortest buildings, the black dots and high and the red dots are low. There are a few instances where both are in the middle, but in general, one attribute is high and the other is low.
So the answer would be strongly negative.

So that’s sums up the discussion of all the different question types which tested in GMAT IR.
Note that, I have used the official question as examples to show you the work around for each question type.

I hope you found this article useful while you prepare for GMAT.
All the best

Pro Tip: Curious about how to start off your own journey towards an awe-inspiring GMAT score ? Try out our free GMAT Online Trial course.

• March, 14th, 2017
• Posted in

## 3 Month Study Plan for the GMAT

### “A goal without a plan is just a wish”, goes an anonymous saying.

We at CrackVerbal, believe that the most important part of the GMAT preparation is having a plan to it and following it to achieve the desired outcome.

A study plan usually is very subjective. It depends on various factors like the amount of time you have, the amount of effort that you are ready to put in and your personal stamina and mental bandwidth. This post aims at giving you a general road map – however you will need to make it more objective by filling in the necessary details.

### DAY – 0

#### Step: 01 – Take the Diagnostic test

If someone asks you “How long does it take to go to Delhi?”what would your answer be? The first question that you would obviously ask them is “From where?” Isn’t it?

The diagnostic test on the GMAT essentially helps answer that question. It gives you a ballpark idea of where you stand and also helps you realise the following two things –

1. It gives you a taste of what the actual GMAT feels like (length, difficulty and fatigue).

2. It helps you understand what your current level is and what your core weaknesses are. Also, since most of us are number-driven, the diagnostic test will also give you a number to begin with so that progress can be gauged as you move on with prep.

Some points to remember when you are taking the test –

2. Make sure you take the ENTIRE test in one sitting (This includes AWA, IR, Quant and the Verbal).

3. Once you give the diagnostic test, we recommend that you take screenshots of the mistakes and store them so that you can analyse them once you take the next test.

Remember that your GMAT journey begins with this single step. So make sure that you take this test on Day 1 of your preparation.

### MONTH 1 – WEEK 1 AND WEEK 2

#### Step: 02 – Start working on the basics

There are a finite number of concepts tested on the GMAT. GMAT is more to do with the applications of theoretical knowledge to everyday problems. Hence, working through the basics shouldn’t really be a problem.

For both Quant and Verbal, go through the Official Guide. These guides have all the theory that you will need to know to ace the GMAT. Make sure you understand these basic concepts well.

P.S:The CrackVerbal Guides for SC, CR, RC and Quant are a comprehensive collection of all the theory that you will need to know for the GMAT. The best part is that we have made consistent efforts to break the entire information down into smaller, more understandable pieces.

This phase should not take more than 2 weeks of time.

### MONTH 1 – WEEK 3, 4 & MONTH 2 – WEEK 1, 2 AND 3

#### Step: 03 – Easy / Medium Questions

Once all the theory you need to know is in place, you will now need to learn to apply these concepts to Original GMAT questions to see how they work. The three main sources of questions to be used in this phase are as follows.

1. Official Guide 2015.

2. The GMAT Guide for the Quantitative Review – 2nd edition.

3. The GMAT Guide for the Verbal Review – 2nd edition.

When you are solving the questions from these books, make sure that you are learning from your mistakes. You will have to analyse your errors as much as you can so that you do not repeat the same error more than once on any other question. You can refer to this blog to see how you can analyse the questions in the OG and VR.

Also, once you have finished solving the questions, you can view CrackVerbal’s video explanations to all questions from the Official Guide from here.

### MONTH 2 – END OF WEEK 3

#### Step: 04 – Take another test.

This time, take the second GMAT Prep test full-length to see how your preparation has been working for you. There HAS to be a considerable improvement in your score this time. If there isn’t, you will realise that your problem is with the basic concepts – either understanding or application.

#### Step: 05 – Analyse this test

Once this test is done, analyse the errors in the first and second test just as you have analysed the questions in the Official Guides.

If your scores haven’t improved considerably, then you should go over all the theory and go over the questions that you have got wrong in the OG and VR and solve them again to understand the mistakes that you’ve made.

### MONTH 3 – WEEK 4 & MONTH 4

#### Step: 06 – Start working on more questions (The tougher ones!)

You will now be at a stage where you have worked out almost a 1000 questions and have taken 2 full length tests. Post this, the key to effective GMAT preparation is to maintain consistency and the heat to solve questions. But the question is, “Where do I get more questions from?”

There are two sources of official materials that come handy at this stage.

1. GMAT Prep Exam Pack 1 – This tool gives you two more full length GMAT Prep tests for \$49.99.

2. GMAT Prep Question Pack 1 – This tool gives you access to an additional set of 404 questions to practice.

3. GMAT Paper tests – Additionally there are three full-length GMAT tests printed on paper that can help you practice more for the GMAT.

Topping up all of this, there is also the GMAT Focus Online Quantitative Diagnostic Tool, which helps a student hone his quant test-taking skills, GMAT Write, which helps a student practice more AWA tasks, and the IR prep tool, which helps a student practice more IR questions. All this material is from GMAC, the official test-makers.

If you are a CrackVerbal student, then you will receive a document, which is a collection of all the questions from the current GMAT Prep software, from us for free. Or else you can check out sources of some tough questions from the links below.

Though it’s easier said than done, the journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step. Hence, it’s very important that you begin your preparation somewhere.

If you need help, just comment below and we’d be more than glad to help.

All the very best!

Check out our E-Book library and get deeper insights into the GMAT!

• September, 23rd, 2015
• Posted in

## Identifying GMAT Patterns

Let us first understand the GMAT before we delve deeper into the topic of “patterns”. We believe that the reader must first understand what the GMAT is.

GMAT is a standardized test. Think about it – within 78 questions (many of which are experimental so the actual number of questions are fewer) the GMAT can accurately predict your score within a standard deviation of +/- 29 points.

This means if you take the GMAT on a Tuesday and score, say, 650 then without any prep, if you were to take it again on Thursday, your score should be either 620 or 680. That is pretty remarkable if you think about it. Most of the tests that we have taken are liner and not adaptive (like the GMAT – read more about it here)

This means the GMAT test-setter has to conform to very strict guidelines on what makes a “standard” GMAT question. There is very little leeway to change question structures or what can be asked.

As a GMAT question creator ourselves (and through our interactions with others in this business), we can tell you that the hardest job is to condense the question into its CORE part. Once you do so, you will realise that there are only so many ways that GMAT can test you.

Wait! I hear you. You are asking –

“What does all this mean for me?”

The answer is: Once you understand the “framework” of what GMAT can (or cannot) test, it becomes a lot more easier for you to study for the test. These “frameworks” or “patterns” unfortunately don’t exist in any rules book – you need to practice official GMAT questions

To make things easier for you, we have put here some of the learnings and GMAT patterns that I have had through years of teaching the GMAT:

#### 1. Sentence Correction:

The biggest mistake people make is thinking this is a test of grammar. It is not. If they wanted to test your grammar to give admission to Harvard Business School, they would have asked for your 5th standard score report.

This is a test of logic based on some finite grammatical concepts. Understand the meaning and the logic behind the sentence and the rules of grammar should automatically fit in. Try to make this a test of grammar and you will realise that it will make no sense.

#### 2. Critical Reasoning:

Don’t drown yourself in theory. There is very little that you need to know. So keep the Powerscore CR bible out. Instead try to focus on WHAT each question is trying to ask. As it is a standardized test you will realise that the test-taker is basically going to ask you from a set pattern.

For example an objective data would be provided and a subjective conclusion drawn from it. Something like I have a 770 on the GMAT so I will get into ISB. Or the movie collected 250 crores in the box-office so it is a good movie. You get the gist.

The shortest way to put it is – RC is not about reading – it is about answering questions! We see so many students worried sick about understanding the passage (and spending way too much time on the test trying to do so). Baaad strategy. We would not recommend spending more than a few quick minutes before jumping to the questions.

While solving the questions we’d revisit the passage multiple times (after all this is not a memory test – it is a comprehension test). Your focus should be on getting the answers – not on understanding the passage.

#### 4. Problem Solving:

On the GMAT, you will never get a question that will depend on any formulae or theory that a 10th standard student won’t know. So technically speaking, *any* GMAT quant question can be solved by a high school teenager.

What the GMAT (and effectively the top b-schools) are looking at is – Can this person take a set of data, manipulate it, and come out with a result? Theory is not the reason – don’t externalise the problem. Just solving good quality official questions with an acute analysis of the approach should be enough.

#### 5. Data Sufficiency:

The difference between a Q47 and Q51 is usually this : Q47 getter will try to “solve” a DS problem. A Q51 getter will try to “answer” the DS problem correctly. There is a slight change in approach that is required.

One common trap I have noticed if you are picking C as the answer then be careful – usually putting both the data points will make you “solve” the question very easily. If you analyse carefully, you will realise that taking either one (or one alone) should be sufficient so you should be “solving” it as A or B or D. So, don’t solve – answer the question.

If you have just started your prep and are not able to figure out this then bookmark and revisit this blog when you are done. For those who are already a few weeks/months into their prep – you know what we are saying 🙂

Don’t worry! If you need help, just comment below and we’d be more than glad to help.

All the very best!

Check out our E-Book library and get deeper insights into the GMAT!

• February, 13th, 2015
• Posted in

## 7 Deadly Mistakes GMAT Test-takers Make

Here are some things we’ve heard GMAT test takers say time and again:

“I score well in practice sessions but I don’t know what happens in the test.”

“I lost track of time during the test.”

“I ran out of time and had to guess towards the end of the test.”

“I just couldn’t focus on the first few questions, and then I panicked!”

Any of these sound familiar? If yes, congrats! You’re about to discover one or more of the reasons why your score isn’t where it should be.

The GMAT is your ticket to a B-school, where you’ll be transformed into a future business leader. So, like any good business decision, your preparation for the GMAT must also be driven by strategy, meticulously planned and well-executed. However smart or hardworking you are, if you do not have a clear strategy for the GMAT and do not manage the challenges and traps the test sets, you will end up with a score far removed from your expectations.

Today, we’d like to share with you, some best practices and tips that have worked extremely well for hundreds of our students.

### 1. More Is Not Better

“I have completed all the questions from the OG and the Verbal & Quant Reviews. But I am still getting about 40% of them wrong. Can you suggest more material to practice from?”

We see a lot of GMAT students worry themselves silly about not having solved enough questions, even though they may have solved a few thousand questions already! We’ve also encountered some ‘serial question killers’ – they will dig out questions from the core of the earth, regardless of relevance or quality, in the mistaken assumption that ‘more is better’.

What they miss is the real problem – if you have solved close to 3000 questions, and still do not see significant improvements in your score, then more practice is not the solution.

You need to identify where and why you are going wrong, identify mistake patterns and work towards rectifying specific errors you’re making.

### 2. Accuracy – A Bad Metric

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” Albert Einstein.

Accuracy may not always be a true indicator of your performance. Let’s say you scored 13/20 in a drill. The following week, you take another drill and get a score of 17/20. Do you think you’ve improved? Your score certainly suggests this!

However, the improvement can only be determined if we analyze the complete drill in detail, and not just the test results. Some important questions to ask are:

Have you identified your errors in the first drill and worked on them?

What was the difficulty level of the second drill compared to the first one?

How many questions did you guess in each drill?

If the second drill was easier than the first, or you got a large number of guesses correct in the second test, you may not have made any improvement at all!

### 3. Analysis of Test Performance – Why & How

Let’s look at how 2 GMAT test-takers, Joe and Jenny, have cracked a Sentence Correction question – both of them got it right.

Joe

Eliminated A for passive construction

Eliminated C for wordiness

Eliminated B and D for an idiom error

Picks E

Jenny

Eliminated A and C for Subject verb agreement error (also considered wordy and passive constructions)

Eliminated B and D for parallelism error

Found idiom error in B and D

Picks E

Joe based his elimination on style and structure errors, and played it by the ear. However, Jenny identified the rules and also considered the structure of the answer choices. Who do you think is preparing effectively for the GMAT? J

#### So how should you analyze your test performance?

Go over the questions you’ve solved and try to identify

What concept(s) were you tested on?

What areas are you making mistakes in? – SC, CR or RC?

Which concepts within SC, CR or RC are tripping you up?

What kind of mistakes are you making- silly/ conceptual/ timing?

Use an error log to categorize your mistakes.

Refer to this error log later to understand error patterns and work on those specific areas.

### 4. Asking The Right Questions

Reading Comprehension is many a test taker’s Waterloo. A major reason for this is that we are habituated to reading what is given to us; however, we need to change our approach to read only what is required in order to answer the question correctly or draw a conclusion on the matter.

Take for instance, GMAT reading passages are dense but do we need to read everything in detail to be able to answer questions? Given that we have limited time to answer questions, the most effective strategy would be to read and identify only the relevant part of the text that helps to answer the questions!

Likewise, Sentence Correction also requires you to ask the right questions. For example – if a sentence begins with a modifying phrase, the right question to ask would be “What does this phrase intend to modify?” If the verb is underlined, the right question to ask would be “What is the subject of this verb?”

### 5. Picking Variables Over Numbers

When Problem Solving questions have answer options as percentages or fractions, a number could work more effectively than the variable ‘x’. Take a look at this GMAT Prep question:

At the end of the first quarter, the share price of a certain mutual fund was 20 percent higher than it was at the beginning of the year. At the end of the second quarter, the share price was 50 percent higher than it was at the beginning of the year. What was the percent increase in the share price from the end of the first quarter to the end of the second quarter?

A. 20

B. 25

C. 30

D. 33

E. 40

In the question above, observe how easy it is when you assume that the share price of the mutual fund at the beginning of the year is \$100! The probability of you going wrong is higher when you use variables than when you use numbers. This is because we are innately better at dealing with numbers than with variables. In fact, we calculate using numbers at least once every 15 minutes!

### 6. Losing Sight of the Forest!

This is an error of technique than of concept. In GMAT Quant, you may feel compelled to minutely calculate each aspect of a problem – yet this is unnecessary! As we all know, all the figures in problem solving questions are drawn to scale (unless stated otherwise) which means that we can ballpark effectively without wasting time. Let us see one tough question.

An equilateral triangle, with a circle inscribed, is inscribed in a square as shown above in the figure. What is the ratio of the area of the circle to the area of the square?

A. π/2

B. π/4

C. π/6

D. π/8

E. π/12

Since the figure above is drawn to scale, we can clearly see that the circle takes approximately half the area of half the square, which means it take one-fourth the area of the square. So by plugging in π as 3+, we can see that answer option E is the only possible answer. Therefore, ballpark when it comes to Problem Solving Geometry if you get stuck.

### 7. Be Adaptive – after all, the GMAT is!

GMAT Quant uses Math but in a crooked way: so, taking the GMAT armed with just knowledge of math is very dangerous. What you need is multiple strategies when it comes to attacking a question. For instance: plugging in numbers or negating the first statement to disprove the second statement.

All GMAT quantitative questions will test how observant, careful and logical you are. This is why GMAT is a STANDARDized test: every person has an equal chance of solving all the questions, otherwise mathematicians would rule this world!

Do you have doubts? Comment below and get them cleared!

Looking for reliable, useful GMAT resources? Check out our E-Book on Tips from Top scorers!

• February, 6th, 2015
• Posted in

## Online Classes Versus Classroom Coaching – Which is Better?

Welcome to this week’s edition of Wednesday Wisdom. The question that I get asked a lot by our students and also by a few people in the GMAT community is –

“I have decided to go in for GMAT coaching (I had a separate Wednesday Wisdom on whether you should do self study or coaching, but now that I have made the decision to go for coaching), should I pick an online option or should I pick a classroom option, where I need to physically go?”

Great question!

I think there are 3 factors you need to consider, and it’s something that your preference should be based on.

Watch a quick video to know about the 3 factors!

#### So what are the 3 factors that you need to consider?

1. The first factor you need to consider is flexibility – how far is the centre away from your house? Does it take an hour, 2 hours for you to commute? Or maybe it’s not even there in your city! Or, though typically classroom coaching, like the ones we have at CrackVerbal, are on the weekends, we have weekday online programs.

If you are a person who says you’re going to be back home by say 7:30 p.m. and you can take a class at say 8 p.m., then maybe the weekday online class maybe better suited, considering, say you’re working over the weekend. So that’s another thing you want to consider – between flexibility on weekends and flexibility on weekdays.

2. The second thing that you want to consider is your own persona – what kind of person are you? Are you a person who goes and meets people? You’re the kind of person who likes to talk to people? Or you are the person who feels that you are super focused and you don’t want the kind of interaction, the kind of face-to-face thing that you would do in a classroom?

Ask yourself – “Am I focused enough to take the course online?”, “Am I disciplined enough to do that?” or “Do I need the social structure that comes when I attend a weekend classroom program?”.

3. The third thing that you need to ask yourself is in terms of infrastructure. Many-a-times I get students who tell me, “Though I have a laptop or a computer at home, I don’t get free time.” or “I have room-mates disturbing me.” or “My internet connection is very low, the bandwidth is very poor”.

If these are the concerns you have, then probably online is not for you. But if you feel you have a laptop, the requisite internet connection and you would like to go for it then probably an online course is for you, if not a physical classroom.

So there are 3 things, let me just summarise it once more :

1. Flexibility – are you available on weekend/weekdays, if it’s weekdays, are you open to taking the classes in the evening?

2. Would you be the kind of person who likes the interaction or you feel that you’re a person who focuses more when he studies by himself? and

3. In terms of the overall infrastructure – “Do I have a laptop?”, “Do I have an internet connection?”, “Do I have space to study by myself?” are all questions you need to ask yourself.

So these are the 3 things, I hope this was helpful.

Please write into us and mail us or comment on Facebook or Twitter to let us know if there is anything specific you’d like me answer, I’ll be glad to do that for you. Thank you!

Hope these techniques make a positive difference to your GMAT prep! If you’d like to share what works for you and what doesn’t, please leave a comment in the comment section below.

If you are looking for more customized and focused prep, why don’t you check out our GMAT courses!

• January, 15th, 2014
• Posted in

## Classroom Coaching Versus Self Study for the GMAT

This week’s Wednesday Wisdoms addresses the topic of classroom coaching versus that of self-study for the GMAT. . 🙂

Welcome to this week’s edition of Wednesday Wisdoms. So one question that I keep getting asked a lot, often is

“Do I really need to join a GMAT coaching or a GMAT training centre?”

“Can I study on my own?”

My answer to them is – yes, you can study by yourself!

Today there are so many things on the internet if you look at forums like Pagalguy, BeattheGMAT & GMAT club, you get a lot of things which are free.

So then why would you need to join GMAT coaching?

According to me and I can speak on behalf of CrackVerbal, because that is what we believe in – there are 4 reasons why you should join any coaching :

Watch a quick video for the 4 reasons and read the transcript below!

1. You’re here because you want to learn from the expertise of the faculty. You want to really learn from the people who have been there and done that. So in my class one measure that I have for myself is if I can come in and if you can kind of distil whatever I have to say into an A4 size paper, then probably I have not done my job.

So my job really gets done when I’m able to translate my experience of many years of GMAT coaching into the class room. So I think that’s really one thing that you should look for. You should look for great faculty, I think that really defines the coaching.

2. You want to focus on the kind of techniques that they teach you. I have seen a lot of companies that get into 100 different things, they would use techniques that maybe great for a particular test onto the GMAT and you realise it doesn’t work.

One common example is many techniques that are taught for GMAT actually come from a test called LSAT. A lot of these techniques which could be great for LSAT, just don’t work on the GMAT. Though it looks similar, Critical Reasoning you know.. apples to apples, but it’s not apples to apples.

So that is probably the second thing that you want to understand, what are these techniques you know… can I go and ask students whether these techniques really work for them? So you can probably look at student debriefs and try to see if the techniques that are being taught are actually useful.

3. You want to join for the discipline of attending a course. It has been proven, tried and tested that your motivation and your ability to stick to a schedule goes up when you make a commitment to something. Joining a course is a commitment.

At CrackVerbal, what we give is, we give a list of things that you should be doing, so each class they have homework. So when you attend a class, you know you have to go back and do the homework before you come into the next class. So really, it is about being on the straight and narrow. That is the 3rd reason why you should be joining.

4. Learning is just one part of it, it’s the tip of the ice berg. The actual thing that would really come, is when you’re stuck with questions that are at a 750 level on the GMAT, do you have someone who can show you how to do it right? So that’s where the support becomes so important.

For example at CrackVerbal, we have unlimited support which means that till the point you take the test, till the point you do well, we are committed to helping you. Even if it means revisiting the class, access to all our forums, access to the e-mail and phone support that we have, so we are pretty open about that part because we believe that teaching is half in the class, but also half when you go back and start studying by yourself.

#### So in a summary 4 things why you should join GMAT test prep – because

You want to learn from instructors who have been there and done that.

You want to learn techniques that work for you.

You want to pick a programme that will help you, motivate you to keep you on the schedule &

You want to pick coaching for the support you get after the course.

So that’s what I had for this week, I’ll catch you again, thank you!

Hope these techniques make a positive difference to your GMAT prep! If you’d like to share what works for you and what doesn’t, please leave a comment in the comment section below.

If you are looking for more customized and focused prep, why don’t you check out our GMAT courses!

• January, 7th, 2014
• Posted in

## The 3 Mistakes Indian Aspirants Make on the GMAT

This week’s edition of Wednesday Wisdoms talks about the 3 classic GMAT mistakes Indian aspirants make, & how to modify your test prep techniques for a higher score.

Over the last couple of years, I have been teaching students both in India, and I have also had students who have come in from the U.S., and the question that I usually get asked by my students is – do you see the difference between the way an Indian approaches the GMAT versus the native speaker (American) would approach the GMAT? The answer is yes. I think there is a significant difference in the way we tend to look at the test.

So let me give you the 3 things that I think that as Indians we tend to do a little differently.

But before that, watch a quick video of the same!

1. The first thing I have noticed that on Sentence Correction, one advice that I usually tell students is – do not focus on idioms! The exclusion of other things such as parallelism or modifiers or any basic rule. First apply the basic rules, don’t get into clarity and concession and idiomatic usage till the very end.

Only when you are in the last 2 answer choices, and you have to decide between them based on these rules, do not do so. It’s just that we tend to not have a very good ear for English because it’s just that we have been exposed to English which is sub-optimal English.

2. The second thing I usually advice students, especially when it comes to Reading Comprehension – do not try to understand the passage. I don’t see the need to understand the entire passage to answer questions. Usually what I say is the way we read, we tend to read it to understand so we can be asked anything based on that (passage), but it doesn’t work that way on the GMAT.

Don’t focus on understanding the whole passage, I don’t see the reason behind it. In fact many a time on a tough passage, I may not be able to understand more than say 50 to 60% of the passage at any given point. But, I would be able to go back to the passage if required to answer questions, so get away with this fixation of trying to understand the whole passage.

3. The third thing and something which is probably non-verbal is the way Indians tend to approach maths. The way our curriculum is, it’s not problem solving really. If you understand, GMAT says it’s problem solving. Where as what we are very good at is given a formula, we’ll be able to plug in values and we will be able to get an answer.

On the GMAT, this is not going to work above the 70th percentile, above a 47-48 raw score, this is not going to work. You would need to have a swiss-knife… kind of approach where we have multiple ways to attack a problem.

You could actually go from the answers to the questions, try to plug in values in the case of data-sufficiency, try to do something which is more than just putting in the values and getting the answer. Try to expand the way you solve the problem.

So these are the 3 things I would like to share with the Indian GMAT test takers – first, do not worry about idioms on SC, anyway GMAT is reducing the focus on American idioms. #2 in RC do not get fixated with understanding the entire passage and #3 try to look at various ways in which a Quant problem can be solved.

So that’s what we have for this week’s Wednesday Wisdoms, I’ll share some more tips with you next week. Thank you.

Hope these techniques make a positive difference to your GMAT prep! If you’d like to share what works for you and what doesn’t, please leave a comment in the comment section below.

Head over to our E-book library for more useful information on how to achieve an awesome GMAT score!

• January, 1st, 2014
• Posted in

## Top 5 Mistakes Indian Aspirants Make on the GMAT

Over the last few years, I have trained over 5000s of students for the GMAT. Some have scored spectacularly well , while some have not been able to score as much as they desired. Recently a student asked me what my observations were, on the top mistakes made by my students on the GMAT.

Since most of my students are Indians, I will qualify it further, as in the title of this blog.

### #1 Incorrectly focusing on Idioms in sentence correction.

In the class, despite telling them more times than I care to remember, I invariably have someone picking the answer based on their understanding of the idioms. While these are obviously valid reasons to separate the right from the wrong answer options, I insist that as Indians, we should pick something more clear (and certain) such as parallelism, subject verb agreement, and comparisons.

Some variations of this problem would be the students picking the right answer choice because it “Sounds right” or because “Being” is considered wrong on the GMAT.

### #2 Trying to focus on understanding the entire RC passage

While solving RC questions, students seem to be caught up in the details of the passages. Instead the students who do very, very well on the GMAT understand that they just need to have a bird’s eye-view (as opposed to a worm’s eyeview) of the passage.

Remember you are NOT tested on how much of the passage you understand. You are tested on whether you can answer the questions correctly. Trying to understand the entire passage not only takes your focus away from the main task but also ends up sucking your time in a big way.

### #3 Getting lost in dense CR arguments

Perhaps the culprit here is the Indian mentality of solving based on “rules”. The only “rules” that really help you on the GMAT CR are the ones you make while solving 100s of questions. So when you see a subjective conclusion being made based on an objective data (“He will get into Harvard because he has a 760 on the GMAT”) you will be able to quickly spot the underlying link (“correlation between GMAT scores and getting into HBS”).

As long as you are able to do this, there is no reason to really learn the X->Y therefore Y’-> X’ stuff (I just made it up – but you know what I mean :)). Instead learn to apply yourself on the question by using real-world assumptions and some solid reasons to eliminate the wrong answers.

### #4 Having a limited approach on Quant

This is a corollary to the above problem. In Quant, the inability to step outside your comfort zone – solving questions by plugging in values into the variables of an equation – is perhaps your biggest enemy.

Remember that there is no single “best” approach in Quant and that you just need to get it right within the prescribed time-limit. This means you may need to “hack” your way through by plugging in test-cases in DS and back-solving & approximation in PS.

Are these methods very elegant? Heck no! But they are effective. So unless you have this “swiss-army knife” equivalent of strategies on quant – you will be in trouble in Quant on the GMAT especially after the 80th%ile.

### #5 Inability to make educated guesses on the GMAT

Right from childhood we are taught to keep chipping away at the problem till we get a solution. Maybe it is a great approach to life (though I disagree with the fundamental concept). But on the GMAT, the consequences can be disastrous.

At the cost of sounding like a shrink, I just tell my students to “let go” of the fear that a particular question can tank their scores. It’s like kung-fu, unless you are able to overcome your “ego” – you will not be able to get better of the opponent (read as “the GMAT”)

Hope these techniques make a positive difference to your GMAT prep! If you’d like to share what works for you and what doesn’t, please leave a comment in the comment section below.

Head over to our Video library for more useful information on how to achieve an awesome GMAT score!

• December, 5th, 2013
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## Top 10 Ways to Improve Your GMAT Score

CrackVerbal presents the top 10 GMAT Prep tips from our top scorers. We’ve also added 9 other tactics that our students used to ace the test!

Our students have made it to top B-schools like Harvard, Kellogg, Wharton, MIT Sloan, ISB and many more, and are delighted to share their strategies with you to help you achieve the same. Click on the slides below to see what our students have to say! 🙂

Inspired by the tips? Read more about the experiences of Top scorers.

Hope these techniques make a positive difference to your GMAT prep! If you’d like to share what works for you and what doesn’t, please leave a comment in the comment section below.

Head over to our E-book library for more useful information on how to achieve an awesome GMAT score!

• October, 23rd, 2013
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## What differentiates High Scorers (760+) From the Rest?

There is 1 question that plagues most GMAT test-takers – especially when they seem to get “stuck” at a particular score –

Do I have it in me to score high on the GMAT?

The answer is YES! However, before you start looking for the magic sauce, let me give you the magic sauce…..high scorers DO NOT look for a magic sauce.

Baffled? 🙂

In my experience of teaching high scorers (CrackVerbal has produced many 750-760 scores over the years – a few samples here, I have noticed that these students tend to be more analytical in their overall approach to life, they don’t give up easily, and yes – they work very, very hard.

Persistence and hard work are easy to understand in the list of traits given above. It is “being analytical” that could make you think “How do I analyze where I am going wrong?”. I am listing 3 things that make up a broad-framework to help you understand how and where you can improve your GMAT score.

#### 1. Concepts

You should have clarity on how a formula/rule works, and conditions under which you cannot use it to solve a problem. A common mistake made by students is to read too much theory and get confused/overwhelmed. Truth be told – the GMAT requires you to know only a limited set of concepts.

The difference between a Verbal score of 30 and a score of 40 is understanding the more subtle rules such as the exception to the relative pronoun “which” when used with prepositions (<- if you don’t know what this exception is, then you know what I am talking about :))

Our sessions are structured in such a way that we quickly work from the basics to the more advanced concepts tested on the GMAT.

#### 2. Application

All the concepts in the world are of no use if you are not able to apply them correctly on the question. Ensure that your approach to solve a question helps you to solve any question with a similar pattern (this requires you to identify underlying patterns) and that you have a methodical approach to each question type – almost zombie-like. 🙂

To a large extent, there is very little theory in RC and CR – doing well on these depends just on having a rock solid approach. You should know exactly how to eliminate the wrong answer choices – not just know how to pick the right answer choice.

We have researched for over 8 years to make our techniques work very well for Indians (because we Indians think and process information differently).

#### 3. Strategy

Even if you know the concepts and have been able to apply it on questions, none of it will help if you are not able to bring it together on the actual test.

Let me give you an example – the difference between a Q51 and Q48 is a whopping 21 percentile i.e. 97%ile and 76%ile. So do you think the person scoring Q48 knows “less”? Of course not! It boils down to strategies such as back-solving, plugging in values, and avoiding traps.

We stress on various things during the CrackVerbal course, such as managing stress, building mental stamina, managing the time, and developing strategies to guess (<- you heard it right). Without this bit, it is hard to score above 730-740 on the GMAT.

Do you have any questions about how to improve your GMAT scores? Or maybe something you want to share with the readers? I am always on the lookout for new tips and tricks for scoring well on the GMAT that I can pass on to my readers.

If you feel that you know some cool Ninja techniques for the GMAT – just drop us a comment below. I personally check all responses; so you will certainly hear from me!

We have distilled the TOP 10 pieces of Advice from our high scorers. Check it out here.

Hope these techniques make a positive difference to your GMAT prep! If you’d like to share what works for you and what doesn’t, please leave a comment in the comment section below.

Head over to our Video library for more useful information on how to achieve an awesome GMAT score!

• October, 11th, 2013
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## 5 Ways To Make Your GMAT Preparation More Effective – Starting Now!

Every few days, I get different versions of this question from students:

“I have completed all the questions from the OG and the Verbal & Quant Reviews. But I am still getting about 40% of them wrong. Can you suggest more material to practice from?”

This is a question that usually leaves me flabbergasted. Here’s why:

In most such cases, I find that the student has also gone through a huge list of GMATPrep questions (from one of the many compilations available on the internet) as well as questions unique to older versions of the Official Guide.

In all probability, he/she has also gone though material from various test prep companies (despite our strong recommendations to stick to official material!) In all, about 3000-3500 questions!

This is where I tell them:

“You have solved over 3000 questions – yet, your performance has not significantly improved. Clearly, your problem is not lack of practice! Have you identified where you are going wrong?”

It is now the student’s turn to be stumped!

The issue is very elementary – many GMAT test-takers simply do not know how to prepare ! Practice wins you only half the game – the other half can be achieved only through Analysis.

Put simply, if you get an answer wrong, it means that:

You missed the errors in an answer choice and picked it.

You thought there was something wrong with the correct answer choice and eliminated it.

To see an improvement in your scores you will have to analyze your mistakes with the keenness of jeweler looking through his loupe.

### 1. Do not solve questions mindlessly.

Make sure that you review your performance using an error log so that you can pinpoint 2 things:

Which Quant/Verbal areas do you need to work on?

What type of mistakes are you making?

### 2. Review not just questions you got wrong, but also the ones you got right

Yes – you heard me. Many test-takers unfortunately do not do this. “I got it right, so I know it” is the typical attitude. But there is much to be gained from reviewing questions that you got correct:

What if yours was just a lucky guess? (Yes, it is hard to admit that you simply guessed the right answer, but hey, no one else is going to know!) A look at the explanation will tell you WHY a particular choice is right and others are not.

You may have eliminated certain answer choices for certain reasons – but on the GMAT, almost all wrong answer options are wrong for more than one reason. It is a good idea to see what else is wrong with the choices that you eliminated – this will definitely help you while attempting other questions.

### 3. Check the answer key first, before you look at the explanations.

Don’t jump straight to the explanation and start reading it – give yourself a second chance. Look at the answer key and see if you got the question right or wrong. If you got it wrong, go back to the question and revisit the two choices – the correct answer and the one you picked.

Have another shot at the question – try to see what you missed the first time around. If you had made just a silly mistake, this is a good time to correct it! Make the best out of this chance – after all, you can’t do this on test day!

### 4. Solve “blocks” of questions, not just one at a time.

You solve one question, quickly turn to the answer key, find out that you got it wrong, read the explanation, and move to the next question.

Is this how you practice? If yes, it’s time to change! This sort of practice is not going to give you any returns. Your practice sessions are the time to build you stamina for the demanding 4-hour long GMAT – so utilize them well.

Pick up a “block” of say, 20 SC questions. You will need approximately 1.5 minutes to solve one question – this means that you will be done in 30 minutes. Now, go over the key, and revisit the ones that you got wrong. If you got 6 questions wrong, this would take you another 9 minutes.

In the last round, check the explanations to all the questions – right and wrong. The total time you spend on these questions would now be about 1 hour – time well-spent!

As you practice, increase the rigor of your prep sessions – solve larger “blocks” of questions.

### 5. Keep your practice sessions focused.

Solved a few questions and checked the explanation. Qn 6 is wrong. According to the OG, option C in Qn 6 is “wordy and awkward”.

What does that even mean?

Let me Google and check if someone has given a better explanation online.

Ah, yes, here it is…

C has an ambiguous pronoun.

Hmm… I need to brush up my basics in Pronouns – Googling “gmat sc pronouns”.

Wow, someone’s got a 2 MB PDF on pronouns – awesome!

hey, there’s a nice video tutorial on pronoun ambiguity – let me watch that now….

Sounds familiar?

At the end of 2 hours, you will suddenly realize that you have solved just 5 questions and analyzed just 1!

This is not a good way to utilize your time – make sure that your prep sessions are focused – this means No internet, No mobile and No chatting with anyone!

By taking these simple steps, you can utilize your prep time more productively and see better results.

Hope these techniques make a positive difference to your GMAT prep! If you’d like to share what works for you and what doesn’t, please leave a comment in the comment section below.

If you are looking for more customized and focused prep, why don’t you check out our GMAT courses!

• February, 12th, 2013
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## Accelerate your GMAT preparation with GMAT practice tests!

Is your turn to crack the GMAT fast-approaching? I am sure you must be working hard to score 700+ to secure your admission to one of the top B-schools in the world. You are not alone – there are hundreds of other test-takers in the same boat as you!

All of you have great potential, face similar challenges and have to overcome similar constraints. Yet, the bottom line still remains unanswered – why are some test takers able to score the 99th percentile while others languish in the lower 600s? What factors influence your getting that extra-edge to not just crack the GMAT, but to crack it commendably?

Once you are well-versed with all your English and Math fundamentals and the know-how to apply these strategically on the GMAT, you are half-way through! But the problem with most students is that they stop here, assuming they have conquered the GMAT!

But remember, only half the battle is won; the other half is still to be experienced – that of taking as many full-length practice tests as possible to achieve mental vigor and excellent time management.

### Why are full-length practice tests so imperative?

#### GMAT exam – A computer adaptive test!

As GMAT is a computer adaptive test, it is essential for you to be familiar with the actual GMAT pattern. You need to be well-versed with the user interface of GMAT including how to scroll up and down, submit answers, move between sections, exit a section and quit the test; even a minor mistake may mess up your precious GMAT. Only full-length practice tests will give you this much-needed familiarity.

#### GMAT – A good 4 hours long test!

Most test takers tend to lose their concentration and attentiveness halfway through the test itself, which could make it quite difficult to hit the 700+ score. Full-length practice tests will improve your mental stamina and attention span to endure this 4 hours long test (including the short breaks you take in between).

#### The SWOT Analysis!

Once you are done with your practice test, you can see and analyze your results -which questions you got wrong and which you could nail. Thus, full-length practice mock tests help you to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, which sections you are more comfortable with and which question-types you need to work on more.

#### Conquering the AWA section!

AWA is one section where you need to accelerate your thinking and typing speed the most. Here too, only mock tests will help you out to assemble your thoughts logically and articulate them skillfully in the AWA section.

Once you have taken a couple of mock tests, you will be able to identify the GMAT’s requirements thoroughly. You will gradually acquire the skills to eliminate wrong choices and select the best answer choice. Full-length practice tests will also lessen your chances of making silly mistakes.

#### Exposure to all question types!

The more full-length tests you give, the more you will be exposed to different types of questions at different levels of difficulty that can appear on the GMAT. In turn, you will learn how to approach each type of question and how much time you need to devote to it.

#### Time Management!

Ironically, time tends to run faster than usual while taking your GMAT! This is because of the stress you are under and the length of the test itself. If you are practicing only particular sections of the test, it will be of hardly any use, as only a full-length test can teach you how to manage your time on the GMAT.

More and more practice will enable you to finish your test within the stipulated time, as nothing is more frustrating than losing out questions due to lack of time. Imagine losing out 5 questions just because you were 5 minutes short of time! Isn’t it heartbreaking?

### Some Do’s and Don’ts to approach the GMAT practice tests:

#### Do’s:

1. There are quite a few reliable GMAT practice tests available in the market and on the internet.

Practice GMAT sample questions to improve your scores.

2. Before beginning the test, read all the instructions carefully.

3. Try to take practice tests at the exact time at which you have scheduled your actual GMAT. This will help you to consider and make allowances for factors such as sleepiness, hunger and low energy levels and reschedule your GMAT accordingly.

4. Make use of scratchpads while taking practice tests.

5. After taking each practice test, review and appraise your performance without fail.

6. Use an approved timer while taking your practice tests.

#### Don’ts:

1. Use of calculators and mobile phones during the test is a big no-no.

2. Don’t think that mere practice will help you enough to crack the GMAT. It is equally important to evaluate your performance and sketch out a course of action to improve your scores.

3. Do not take unnecessary breaks in between.

4. Practice, but too much of practice can lead to adverse results too! Avoid getting exhausted and take appropriate gaps between practice tests.

5. Try not to leave out any question. Remember the thumb rule: getting a question wrong on the GMAT is better than leaving questions unanswered. So, instead of getting flummoxed on the D-day, follow the above best practices and face your GMAT confidently.

Remember, it is useless to run 100 meters 100 times if your aim is to run a 10Km marathon. To win it, you need to practice running 10 kilometers at a stretch and spot your strengths and weaknesses. It is not just practice, but full-length practice that will accelerate your chances to get impressive 700+ scores!

Hope these techniques make a positive difference to your GMAT prep! If you’d like to share what works for you and what doesn’t, please leave a comment in the comment section below.

Head over to our Video library for more useful information on how to achieve an awesome GMAT score!

• September, 27th, 2012
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## Time Management on the GMAT

### How to effectively manage time on the GMAT?

On the GMAT, you are bombarded with 36 Verbal and 31 Quant questions to be finished in 62 minutes & 65 minutes respectively! Suddenly you will realize that these 127 minutes are the shortest of all the 127 minutes you ever experienced!

Let us look at it from a mathematical angle.

The usual gyaan that every potential test taker receives from everyone: ‘Solve each verbal question in 1.5 minutes and quant in 2 minutes in order to prevent running out of time, because on the GMAT, leaving questions unanswered in even worse than getting a few of them wrong!’

NOTE: We have updated this blog based on the announcement by GMAC on some major changes in the GMAT test timing and the number of questions you’re going to be having in both Quant and Verbal.The new GMAT exam will be shorter by 30 minutes from April 16th, 2018.

#### Let us do some math on the time you have on the GMAT to answer the Quantitative and Verbal sections:

62 minutes means 3,720 seconds for the quant section.

65 minutes means 3,900 seconds for the verbal section.

31 questions in Quant means 120s per math question.

36 questions in Verbal means 108.33s per verbal question.

What if I told you that you have to come as close to the 120/108.33 mark as possible for you to do well? Sounds a bit stupid right? I mean how do you guarantee you are going to be able to solve a question in precisely the time allotted?

After all, this is not making widgets in a factory assembly line. You will argue that you need to alter your approach on each question and it could take more or less depending on various factors (position of the question, mental fatigue, difficulty of the question, your comfort with the topic tested etc).

So now you would rather have a “range” of time within which you will work.

#### Agreed!

So what is that range?

Can we assume 100 to 140 seconds for a quant questions and 100 to 120 seconds for a verbal question?

What if you are able to solve a straight-forward SC question in 50 seconds?

Or say you have a tough CR boldface that requires 3 minutes? What would you do?

Can we make the range 40s to 180s?

Does it mean you now cannot solve the question in 39s?

Or give yourself 181s?

As you will realize this argument can keep going on…There is no perfect answer to this question.

What is important is that you give merit to each question and answer it in whatever time that it takes you to solve it.

#### However the bad news is that –

The test also imposes constraints on you. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you spent way too much time on many questions and eventually ran out of time.

However, will it be possible for you to check after every 2 minutes how many questions you were able to finish or after every question, check how much time was spent on it?

It is like eating custard apple and spending a good amount of time in picking up each of its seeds and counting on how many are left? This approach will instead increase the anxiety of the test takers and affect the concentration, thereby affecting his performance on the wrong side of the scale.

So, is there a better approach? What about a muskmelon that can be easily divided into big 5-6 wedges?

#### What is the time strategy that we prescribe?

Well for Quant, instead if trying to manage the whole 62 minutes,

Try to break it into 4 parts:

So allocate 17 minutes for the first part and the subsequent 15 minutes each for the next 3 parts.

So basically you should be looking at solving 7 questions in the first 17 minutes and solve 8 questions each in the subsequent 15 minutes chunk.
Now for verbal, they way we suggest you split is 17 minutes for the first quarter, 16 minutes for the second, 16 minutes for the third and 16 minutes for the fourth

In the each of these quarters we recommend you solve at least nine questions each.
So 9 +9 + 9 + 9 = 36 questions & you are done with Verbal.

If you see the strategy is based on you spending slightly more time in the first quarter. Just because we feel that when you’re starting your test – there is going to be a little bit of inertia.

This strategy will give you that extra one or two minutes initially as opposed to the second, third and fourth quarter.

Now you can choose the order in which you want to take up the sections before starting the test. This is a recent change to the GMAT test structure. It was introduced in July 2017. We have done a detailed analysis of what this means to an Indian GMAT test-taker in the this blog

GMAT Section Selection – Everything you need to know

Try out this strategy and let us know if it works. Please post your comments on what strategy *you* use to manage your time!

Hope these techniques make a positive difference to your GMAT prep! If you’d like to share what works for you and what doesn’t, please leave a comment in the comment section below.

If you are looking for more customized and focused prep, why don’t you check out our GMAT courses!

• July, 17th, 2012
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## Top 4 mistakes Test-takers commit on the GMAT

Over the last decade I have spent countless hours with thousands of students, helping them understand why their scores were not going up. I have come to the conclusion that the root of all lies in the same four basic problems in our approach to test-taking.

#### 1. Brute Force Approach:

If your scores are not going up then we are told, as per the Indian education system, that we need to practice harder. Isn’t that what we saw in the guy who topped in school and college – that he burned the midnight oil? So we hit the books even more intensely only to realize we have hit a “plateau” and it is very, very frustrating to be “stuck” at this 620 or 640.

The problem here is not with practice – the problem is that you have an underlying technique that is flawed. So the more you practise the better you are getting at that flawed technique. In fact you are getting BETTER AT BEING BAD. The only way to improve scores is to use the right technique – practice will only help hone it.

#### 2. The famous Indian “pattern” recognition technique:

I see way too many students fussing over how they saw a question they never encountered before during their practice. On the GMAT the chances are bleak that you see a new question type (I can imagine the surprise on the face of the first guy who got the bold-face!). What this means is that you simply have not been able to apply yourself to the question or the verbiage intimidates you.

#### 3. Saving the best for the last – not taking enough tests:

It is going to take an hour and 30 minutes from the time you reach the Prometric testing center to the time you even see 1 question that will count towards your 3-digit GMAT score. It will be another excruciating 3 hours before you stagger your way out of the center.

GMAT, above all, is a test of your mental stamina. Any test of endurance, like say a marathon, cannot be won by building your reserves the night before. It takes many, many practice runs before you can build the patience and energy to last the full distance.

Take around 10 tests before your final GMAT in the same time slot as your actual test. Your reaction to a question under the duress of a test is a lot different than how you will react in isolation.

#### 4. Consistency and not Contingency:

I have heard way too many people crib about how they find time only during the weekends. My only answer to this is if Anil Ambani can spend an hour in the morning running in the streets of Mumbai, you or I have no reason to say we do not have time.

At least for the GMAT – which can catapult your career to great heights! In pure monetary terms, a higher GMAT score can potentially win you a scholarship worth a few lakhs. It is hard to argue against such over powering logic that you are not able to spend 2 hours a day for just 6 to 8 weeks!

I suggest if you are a morning person wake up a bit early and practice from say 6am to 8am before heading for office. If you are an evening person then come back home, watch TV, relax and then hit the books at 10pm going on till 12 midnight. Whatever works for you – but make sure you study diligently everyday.

Studying only on the weekends (or whenever the mood strikes) will produce a very low return on investments. In fact studying 2 hours a day for 5 days is a lot more productive than studying 10 hours over the weekend because the former allows your brain to internalize the problem better and let the concepts sink in better.

Also the gap between 2 weeekends is too large for the brain to properly assimilate and absorb the information.

Now that you know the “secret” behind studying effectively I hope you are able to practice these principles and keep a small note above your study area which reminds you of them.

Hope these techniques make a positive difference to your GMAT prep! If you’d like to share what works for you and what doesn’t, please leave a comment in the comment section below.

Head over to our E-book library for more useful information on how to achieve an awesome GMAT score!

• January, 15th, 2011
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