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Category Archives: GMAT COMPASS


Using (and Misusing) GMAT Practice Tests

Among the many myths that abound regarding optimal preparation for the GMAT, one of the more common and, unfortunately, more harmful ones is that there exists a direct relationship between quantity of practice tests taken and score improvements. And, unfortunately, this myth is perpetuated by large GMAT classes that will advertise 6 or 8 or 15 practice tests in conjunction with their course offerings. All…

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GMAT Quantitative Errors: Understanding Incorrect Answers

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

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

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

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Using the LSAT for GMAT Practice: User Beware

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

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

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

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GMAT Timing Tip: Is It Time to Guess?

GMAT Timing Tip: Is It Time to Guess?

If you even scratch the surface of a GMAT prep book, a GMAT forum, or just a random GMAT conversation on the street (those do happen, I swear), you’ll hear something about the scoring algorithm — that you MUST get the first 10 questions right, that you’re doing poorly if you get an easy question in the middle of the test, and so on (both…

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How to Study for the GMAT: Fooled by Randomness

How to Study for the GMAT: Fooled by Randomness

Because of the unique nature of the GMAT, many test-takers find that their progress hits a plateau about a month or two into their preparation. This fact isn’t a denunciation of the student’s ability or their study materials, but, more often than not, a consequence of how these students prepare for the exam. If you’re at a point in your preparation where you feel you…

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GMAT Anxiety: Your Worst Enemy or Your Best Ally

Everyone who takes the GMAT suffers from at least some anxiety. I’ve taken it three times and scored 760+ each time, but even at my last sitting, I remember feeling that rush of adrenaline and nerves as the test started. In the back of your mind, you will always wonder whether they will suddenly throw 5 nasty combinatorics questions at you or give you 7…

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GMAT Calculations: Avoid the Dirty Work!

If you’ve been studying for the GMAT, you’ve inevitably found yourself in a situation where you were thinking “If only I had a calculator!” Many of my students express this sentiment, especially when doing weird digits questions or when forced to evaluate seemingly impossible percentages or fractions. I’m going to say here what I tell all my students: If you’re bemoaning the lack of access…

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