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Category Archives: GMAT COMPASS


GMAT Shortcuts

An enduring myth among many test-takers (GMAT and otherwise) is that standardized test preparation is simply a matter of memorizing a few rules and shortcuts and implementing these tricks on test day. This belief is only reinforced by large test-prep companies like The Princeton Review and Kaplan, whose curriculum is oriented around such superficial techniques. Unfortunately, I’ve had to break the news to a few…

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GMAT Sentence Correction: “That” versus “Which”

One of the common grammatical stumbling blocks for GMAT test-takers concerns the appropriate use of “that” and “which.” Although the difference between “that” and “which” will almost never be the make-or-break difference in a GMAT Sentence Correction question, understanding when each term is correct can help you quickly eliminate choices on test day. The key difference between “that” and “which” is the following: “That” introduces…

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GMAT Sentence Correction: Relative Clauses

As an independent GMAT tutor, I find that many of the students I work with struggle on Sentence Correction because they find it difficult to breach the gap between grammatical intuitions and concrete grammatical rules. In such cases, I find that students benefit most from clearly delineating the grammatical rules that appear on the test and learning how to identify them. In this and subsequent…

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The Logic of GMAT Data Sufficiency

I recently received an e-mail from someone undergoing a mini-crisis over GMAT Data Sufficiency. I’ve decided to share the e-mail and my thoughts with the GMAT world: “… so critical reasoning isn’t much of a problem, nor is problem solving. But I can’t, for the life of me, wrap my mind around data sufficiency. And, really, I don’t understand why it appears on the GMAT….

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The Logic of GMAT Data Sufficiency

I recently received an e-mail from someone undergoing a mini-crisis over GMAT Data Sufficiency. I’ve decided to share the e-mail and my thoughts with the GMAT world: “… so critical reasoning isn’t much of a problem, nor is problem solving. But I can’t, for the life of me, wrap my mind around data sufficiency. And, really, I don’t understand why it appears on the GMAT….

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The Most Common GMAT Data Sufficiency Mistake

As anyone who has prepared for the GMAT would attest to, the GMAT data sufficiency is probably the trickiest component of the test. Along with requiring an abundance of abstract thought, its strange wording and structure naturally induce students to make mistakes. Here, I’m going to discuss the #1 mistake students make on data sufficiency: They don’t evaluate the statements independently! Let’s look at a…

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Understanding the GMAT CAT: Verbal Success is More Important than Quantitative Success

A lot of the students who come to me looking for tutoring are looking for intensive work in the Quantitative section of the GMAT. This, of course, makes sense. Many people studying for the GMAT haven’t taken a math course since high school, and the idea of doing a weighted average question in Data Sufficiency often inspires a reaction somewhere between mild dread and existential…

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How to study (and not study) for the GMAT

A wise dude named Einstein once defined insanity as such: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Despite the somewhat philosophical tenor of this quote, I find it highly applicable to the situation that confronts many GMAT test-takers. Having developed and familiarized themselves with a certain approach, many GMATers come to practice that approach habitually, even when it yields less-than-desirable…

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The downside of commercial GMAT materials

As a full-time GMAT tutor and a frequent reader of GMAT forums, I see many students who spend a decent chunk of their prep time using commercial materials. In a way, the use of commercial practice questions is almost inevitable: If you sign up with a company, you do so with the belief that its materials will accurately reflect what’s on the GMAT, and you…

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GMAT Inconsistency

I recently began working with a student who is confronting a fairly unique challenge. She is fantastic at Quant, but the two times she took the GMAT, her Verbal scores varied wildly: 36 her first sitting and 15 the next. When confronted with such a situation, my first assumption is that the student’s problem is only somewhat conceptual. After all, if she was able to…

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