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Problem Solving

After some diligent preparation, we are excited to share with you all that our first GMAT teaching video is ready for you to enjoy and learn! Each teaching clip lasts 3-7 minutes long, short enough for you to catch a quick overview and long enough for you to understand a concept thoroughly.

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In the coming weeks, we will continue to release more recordings on the following GMAT topics. A number of our most popular instructors will be featured in the series, each focusing on different aspects of the GMAT with his/her own very unique teaching style. We will continue to expand our video library with more in-person classroom recordings and online class videos, with a goal of providing our students a complete spectrum of GMAT teaching media, GMAT teaching methods, problem solving approaches and MBA Admissions consultation.

  • GMAT Verbal, Sentence Correction, Grammar – Pronoun Tips
  • GMAT Verbal, Sentence Correction, Grammar – Modifier
  • GMAT Verbal, Sentence Correction, Grammar – Comparison
  • GMAT Verbal, Sentence Correction, Grammar – Parallelism, Prepositions
  • GMAT Verbal, Sentence Correction, Grammar – Diction
  • GMAT Math, Data Sufficiency, Algebra
  • GMAT Math, Problem Solving, Permutation & Combinatorics I
  • GMAT Math, Problem Solving, Permutation & Combinatorics II
  • GMAT Math, Data Sufficiency, Geometry
  • GMAT Math, Problem Solving, Statistics

Look forward to your comments and suggestions.

Posted on December 14, 2009 by Manhattan Review

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As part of our commitment to helping students achieve high scores on the GMAT, we stay on top of the latest configurations of the test. We have compiled very recent reports from real test takers for today’s post. We certainly gained some insight into the latest look and feel of the GMAT.


Our sources reported that the Quantitative section heavily covered algebra. Even many of the more challenging questions were algebra-related. Test takers also encountered many inequalities, second-order equations, and absolute value. One person observed that many of the Problem Solving questions involved “which of the following three statements are true.” You might see a few probability questions and one or two combinatorics questions. However, there could be six or seven geometry questions. Also be prepared to tackle challenging coordinate geometry questions.

Data Sufficiency questions were prevalent (as high as 40% of 37 questions with some appearing consecutively in a string) in the tests of very high-performing candidates. 


Like the Quantitative section, the Verbal section also seemed to be weighted in a particular area. In this case, it was Sentence Correction. One test taker counted 16 Sentence Correction questions, 12 Critical Reasoning, and 13 Reading Comprehension in total.

Sentence Correction

Sentence fragments and tangled syntax were common issues in the sentence correction questions. Some test takers were actually surprised to see such a high number of those kinds of questions. Many of the Sentence Correction questions were primarily testing idioms, including:

X grew “at twice last year’s rate” (vs. the incorrect “at twice that of last year’s rate” or simply “grew twice last year’s rate”)
“more so than”
“attested to” (vs. the incorrect “testified of”)
“such as” vs. “like”

There were a few questions in which many of the incorrect answer choices were missing main verbs.These sentences, and others as well, featured highly tangled syntax, with the main verb following a confusing clause in the subject. In one particular case, the sentence as written was incomprehensible and could only be figured out after the student looked at the answer choices. Verb tense and parallelism were other issues that came up often.

Critical Reasoning

This section did not offer as many surprises. There are some inference questions. One person reported that two questions asked to resolve a paradox.

Reading Comprehension

Most test takers saw about four Reading Comprehension passages. Most of the passages asked about the main purpose and were quite short. Some topics tested include the likes of savings rates, fossil fuels, civil rights, and dinosaurs. Each passage had three or four questions. Some questions from these sections often seemed like critical reasoning ones, in which they ask what would weaken or strengthen the passage’s reasoning or which choice best illustrated a point made in the passage.

1.) Start from the VERY basics: memorize all the glossaries and formulae until they come to you as a second nature.

2.) Formulate a plan with dedicated math hours per day, per week, per topic and per test category.

3.) Practice with each separate and related math conceptual areas and sub-areas at ONE time. Do NOT move on to a less relevant topic until you achieve your targeted proficiency level.

4.) If you start at least 2 or 3 months before the scheduled exam, do NOT time yourself initially to dampen your own confidence. Rather, after solving a problem, compare your solution to the one in the book, stop for a moment and think about other approaches you could have taken or intermediate steps you could have avoided to get to the same answer choice.

5.) Write down the type of mistakes you have made while practicing. Scan through the list of your common errors each time before you start to practice a series of problems to reinforce the correct approach in your mind.

6.) Start with Problem Solving first to build or rebuild a solid math foundation. Master it. Then go on to Data Sufficiency.

7.) When in Data Sufficiency, ask yourself “Is the answer definitive with ONLY one result?” If yes, then ask yourself “Which condition or combination of the conditions will lead to this ONE result. Do not get yourself confused with the question “Can this problem be solved based on the conditions given?” Often times, the answer can be derived based on the conditions; however, multiple answers can be derived, not the single result the Data Sufficiency question is typically asking for.

8.) After you studied all the conceptual topics and finished a good number of practice problems related to those topics, then start to time yourself and try to finish 37 questions within 75 minutes WITHOUT a break. If you are doing well, try to finish 40 questions within 75 minutes WITHOUT a break. Continue to increase number of questions you work with in the same time span.

9.) So you are ready now. Take a mock computer adaptive test and focus on math only. Take another one.

10.) Take an entire mock computer adaptive test with the scheduled breaks just as on the real test.

11.) Practice, practice, practice! Consult with expert instructors when you need help!

12.) You will achieve your targeted math score!

Additional Tips:

*Be aware of the relative weight the GMAT places on topics. Number properties and algebra come up again and again–master these topics before spending time on less commonly tested areas such as probability.

*Train yourself to avoid unnecessary calculations, particularly on Data Sufficiency. Remember that it is enough to know that a solution can be derived, whether or not you know the actual solution.

Posted on November 3, 2007 by Manhattan Review

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