GMAT/GRE Quant Tip: Summation? Swap Rules for Strategy

Questions that involve the summation formula, whether on their own or one component of a more complicated problem, often trip test-takers up for the simplest of reasons: figuring out “how many items” are in the set can sometimes prove tricky. One way to avoid the headache of trying to remember the rule for each different kind of limitation (consecutive even/odd/other, inclusive vs. exclusive, whether the set starts/ends with an even/odd), is to simply employ a strategy that will quickly and consistently allow you to determine the number of items in the set: patterns.

Before we delve into how, let’s review the summation formula and when it’s used. The summation formula:

∑ = (# of Numbers in the Set)(Largest Number + Smallest Number)/2

Don’t Increase the Hype: The SAT is a’changing

Not too long ago the College Board hired David Coleman as the new president and his first few months can be summarized by the Wu Tang Clan  – “Kaboom, guess who stepped in the room!” In just a few short months, Coleman has kicked up enough dust to make notoriety seekers like  Lady Gaga and Madonna proud by speaking of the failures of the College Board and its programs (notably the SAT and AP).

“I have a problem with the SAT writing” – David Coleman, president of the College Board

 

GMAT or GRE, As Easy as 1-2-3

With a growing number of schools accepting the GRE for the MBA, we constantly get questions about which test people should take, so here are a few considerations to help students answer that question of GMAT or GRE:

1. The Advantage of History. The GMAT is the gold standard for the MBA application. Institutions have no questions about what GMAT scores mean and how to compare them retrospectively to students in their programs both current and past. Only recently (the last half-decade) has the number of schools accepting the GRE increased significantly. Advantage: GMAT.

ACT vs SAT: Myths and Legends

 

In recent years, students have increasingly faced the challenge of deciding which college admission tests to take. They are receiving conflicting, vague, or incorrect advice from counselors, parents, blogs, internet experts, admission officers, concerned citizens, and busybodies of all varieties. Instead of solving the problem and making the decision easier, this information overload can often increase the confusion. To help you make a decision (and hopefully not just add to the noise), we’ve started this “ACT vs. SAT” series, which will provide specific points points of comparison and clear (hopefully) unbiased information that will help you create your ACT vs. SAT scorecard. To kick things off, we’ll dispel a few of the most egregious myths we’ve heard in the ACT/SAT discussion.

5 Common Misconceptions

BC Review: GMATPrep v. 2.2

It has always been a love hate relationship with the GMATPrep software.  Every version of it has had some major flaw, but at the same time you have to love the thing because it houses the only official GMAT CATs available.  In any event, each revision of the software has come with incremental improvements (happily 2.1 brought GMATPrep to Apple computers! woot!), and the new GMATPrep 2.2 continues the slow crawl forward.

Installation was a snap.  I downloaded it, double clicked the install package, agreed to the terms and conditions, and entered my log-in information and within minutes I was exploring the new GMATPrep software.  I have had many install and functionality issues with the last version so this smooth sailing was a nice surprise.

What’s new?  There have been some solid organizational improvements in Question Pack 1, as well as a very critical functionality upgrade.

The Meaning and Value of Practice Tests

Often, confusion exists about the uses and benefits of practice tests, and the role of practice tests in preparing for the GMAT. Let’s try and offer some clarity to the situation:

Practice Tests

Practice tests are evaluative tools and should be used as such. They are NOT learning tools. You use tests to assess what you have learned and your ability to apply that learning under conditions as similar to the real exam as you can make them. As such you should only be taking practice tests at most once per week (unless you are not working), and should seek to simulate the conditions of the actual test as much as possible when doing so (especially in the last few weeks before the real exam). In the larger preparation picture, you should take a practice test at the very beginning of your preparations to establish a baseline and determine your areas of strength and weakness. After that, it would be advisable to hold off on doing another practice test until you’ve had a chance to do some content review and focused, small-scale practice. Once you’ve gotten a sizable chunk of material and practice behind you, you should start incorporating full-length practice tests into your preparation regiment.

Key points for simulating practice tests:

Revamping Your Prep

Below is a letter from a test-taker seeing advice for GMAT preparation (some names have been changed to maintain the person’s anonymity):

Hello,

My name is Nunya and I am currently planning to apply to MBA programs. I am struggling with the GMAT and am looking for any suggestions on study strategies that you may have to offer.

Last year, I took a six week GMAT prep course that the University of Malawi offered through their College of Continuing Education program. The course ended on July 19 and I took the GMAT on August 30. I will admit that my study schedule between the last class and the day of the test was not consistent and I could have devoted more time to it. My overall score was a 530 with a 32 in Verbal and 31 in Quantitative.

This year, I decided to get more serious about the test. I took an eight week Kaplan course that ended a few months ago. From the day that the course ended until last week (3 months), the day of my test, I studied three hours a day and took one practice exam almost every week. Most of my studying was focused on the quantitative area. When I first started taking the practice exams, my scores were all over the place from 490-590. In the last four exams, my scores were consistently at 590, however, I never scored in the 600s. On the day of the exam, I scored 540 overall with a raw score of 29 in verbal and 35 in quantitative.

I am going to retake the exam, but I undoubtedly need a new strategy. Is there anything that you would recommend? Any suggestions or feedback is greatly appreciated.

Thanking you in advance,

Nunya B.

Reply:

Dear Nunya,

SAT Tips: Don’t Compare Rooms and Floors

For the SAT Writing test (and grammar in general), there are few topics that warm the heart of grammarians as much as the enforcement of rules pertaining to creating logical comparisons. On every SAT, on every grammar blog, and in every college paper, psychometricians, editors, and English professors break out the brightest red ink and go to town on the violations of “apples to apples, oranges to oranges.” In order to get ready for the SAT (and college, the GMAT, or the workplace), you have to make sure you look for any comparisons that are created and always apply the rule.

SAT Tips: The Holy Grail of SAT Math

Click here to go to College Board and submit your answer

Today’s post, inspired by the SAT Question of the Day for 3/11/12 offers us another opportunity to remind you of one of the few remaining truly magical test-taking techniques: Plugging In!

SAT Tips: Guessing on Hard Math Questions

Not long ago the question above was the Question Of The Day on the College Board website and it inspired another blog post (found here), well this question is the question that keeps on giving (or teaching). Here we go again, taking this question apart so that you can learn from it and be ready for your SAT. Like many questions on the SAT you can look at them from multiple perspectives. We previously looked at this one for the content of the questions and what rules/terms you needed to learn, now we’ll explore what this question has to teach us about SAT strategy.

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