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 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.
This section did not offer as many surprises. There are some inference questions. One person reported that two questions asked to resolve a paradox.
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.
Our students have often times come to us for special advice on Critical Reasoning as they found it hard to improve their scores on it. Here are a few special tips:
- There are additional real GMAT tests for sale on www.mba.com in pdf files. It is about $25 for 3 tests.Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension are the two areas that require inherent skill sets and knowledge. There are limited shortcuts. You need to find the best way you can read fast and comprehend accurately.
- Locate a LSAT book and do the Critical Reasoning problems from there. They are harder than the GMAT. It will be a good practice. You need to read editorial columns of a top English newspaper on a daily basis to improve your Reading Comprehension.
- Private tutoring will be helpful. We have seen our students improve over 1 month’s time.Visit our online recording library at manrev.webex.com and focus on watching the sessions on Critical Reasoning. You can have unlimited access beginning at US$150! We look forward to sharing with you our GMAT, MBA, and career success stories, experiences and advice!
GMAT Updates – Noticeable Trends
Based on quite a few recent student reports, the GMAT is becoming increasingly challenging, both on the math and verbal sections. Therefore thorough and serious GMAT preparation plays a crucial role in scoring high. Practice, practice and practice to get your time management under full control!
Here is a summary of recent trends, which might not be representative for all GMAT tests.
Reading Comprehension: Instead of 3-4 passages, you may see 4-5 passages now with 2 science passages (non-social science) in the same exam. Some of them can be much longer or shorter than normally expected.
Takeaway Point: Gaining time from finishing Sentence Correction problems seem to become more and more inadequate. You also need to practice Reading Comprehension more diligently as it takes significantly more time and concentration to skim through each passage and jot down notes either mentally or physically.
Sentence Correction: Out of 14-15 questions in this category, you might see 3-4 fully underlined problems in the same exam.
Takeaway Point: This means that instead of zeroing in on the common errors of parts of a sentence, you should also work on most efficient and grammatically correct sentence construction to convey the underlying logic clearly. This skill also ties with your AWA practice.
Data Sufficiency: This is an increasing number of Data Sufficiency questions, making it harder to score high, as most students have more issues with this category.
Takeaway Point: Practice more with Data Sufficiency after you get a good handle on problem solving. Do not become complacent at your math skills. Get more used to drawing conclusions based on conditions, while skipping the interim calculation. Data Sufficiency prepares you well to be a manager who is comfortable with making quick calls based on limited resources and information!
Problem Solving: The difficulty level is increasing. So study all the advanced topics as well!
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