## Articles published in November 2013

### Free GMAT Events This Week: December 1 – December 7

Here are the free GMAT events we’re holding this week. All times are local unless otherwise specified.

Remember, our Black Friday GMAT special ends on December 15th. Receive $150 off all December GMAT courses will the code BLACKFRIDAY150. 12/2/13– Chicago, IL – Free Trial Class- 6:30PM- 9:30PM 12/3/13- Washington, DC- Free Trial Class– 6:30PM- 9:30PM 12/3/13-Seattle, WA- Free Trial Class– 6:30PM- 9:30PM 12/3/13– New York, NY- Free Trial Class– 6:30PM- 9:30PM 12/4/13– Online- Free Trial Class – 8:00PM- 11:00PM (EST) 12/4/13– Santa Monica, CA- Free Trial Class– 6:30PM- 9:30PM 12/4/13– Boston, MA – Free Trial Class- 6:30PM- 9:30PM 12/4/13– New York, NY-Free Trial Class- 6:30PM- 9:30PM 12/7/13– New York, NY- Free Trial Class– 2:00PM- 5:00PM ( Looking for more free events? Check out our Free Events Listings Page. ### Manhattan Prep’s Black Friday Deals Happy Black Friday! In case you’re too full of turkey and stuffing to make your way out to the shops today, we’re serving up something extra special. Today through December 15th, we’re offering$150 off all of our December GMATLSAT, and GRE courses*! This deal includes all Complete Courses– in-person as well as Live-Online. To receive this limited-time discount, register for a course that starts in December and enter the code “BLACKFRIDAY150” at checkout.

This is only the beginning of the holiday season, which means we have many more amazing things coming your way. Be sure to check back next week when we unlock our most student-focused holiday campaign. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with everything happening at Manhattan Prep. Oh what fun this is going to be!

*Offer is valid for courses starting in the month of December only. Not valid for students currently registered for courses, or with any additional offers. Offer expires 12/15/2013 for GMAT courses.

### What Kind Of CR Question Is This? (part 3)

We’ve been on a CR kick lately! In the first two parts of this series, we talked about how to tackle Fill in the Blank and Complete the Passage questions. This time, I’ve got something different for you: a question that looks very familiar at first glance but turns a bit… well, weird.

Let’s try it before I say anything more. This GMATPrep© problem is from the two free exams that come with the GMATPrep software. Give yourself about 2 minutes (though it’s okay to stretch to 2.5 minutes on a CR as long as you are making progress.)

“On of the limiting factors in human physical performance is the amount of oxygen that is absorbed by muscles from the bloodstream. Accordingly, entrepreneurs have begun selling at gymnasiums and health clubs bottles of drinking water, labeled “SuperOXY,” that has extra oxygen dissolved in the water. Such water would be useless in improving physical performance, however, since the amount of oxygen in the blood of someone who is exercising is already more than the muscle cells can absorb.

Which of the following, if true, would serve the same function in the argument as the statement in boldface?

“(A) world-class athletes turn in record performances without such water
“(B) frequent physical exercise increases the body’s ability to take in and use oxygen
“(C) the only way to get oxygen into the bloodstream so that it can be absorbed by the muscles is through the lungs
“(D) lack of oxygen is not the only factor limiting human physical performance
“(E) the water lost in exercising can be replaced with ordinary tap water”

### Step 1: Identify the Question

The boldface font is immediately obvious, of course. Boldface denotes a Describe the Role question.

The question stem does have one little idiosyncrasy, though: it asks what answer would serve the same function. Normally, Role questions ask what function the boldface statement plays in the argument. The question stem also contains “if true” wording, which we normally see on Strengthen, Weaken, or Discrepancy (paradox) questions.

Glance at the answers. Notice anything? This is not what Role answers typically look like! Usually they say something such as “The statement provides evidence supporting the author’s claim” or similar.

What’s going on here? Read the argument.

### Step 2: Deconstruct the Argument

Here’s what I thought and wrote while I did the problem. Your own thought process won’t be exactly the same as mine and, of course, your notes will probably look quite different, since we all have our own ways of abbreviating things. (Note: R = role; note that I put a question mark next to it because I wasn’t 100% sure what was actually going on).

So back to that weird question stem. If this were just a straight Role question, then what would the answer be? The boldface statement is support for the conclusion; it’s a premise.

But what’s the goal for this question?

Step 3: State the Goal

The answers don’t describe the existing boldface statement. Rather, they contain new facts that we’re supposed to accept as true. Further, the question asked us to find an answer that “would serve the same function” as the original statement.

What function did the original statement serve? Aha! The original statement served as a premise to support the conclusion. So we need to find another statement that serves that same purpose.

Will it support the conclusion in exactly the same way? I’m really not sure. (Seriously! When I first saw this question, I didn’t know!) So I’m going to keep an open mind and look for anything that could support the conclusion in general.

### Work from Wrong to Right

Interesting. We just learned something new. Most Describe the Role (or Boldface) questions ask us to describe the role of the given statement. We might be asked, though, to demonstrate our knowledge of the role by finding a different, completely new statement that serves the same role as the original statement in the argument.

What do we have to do? We have to “decode” the original statement (in the above case, we had a premise supporting the conclusion) and then we have to find another statement that could also serve as a premise.

That new premise might be really different from the original premise. In this problem, the original premise focused on the oxygen already in our blood. The new premise, answer (C), provided a different piece of the puzzle: we have to take oxygen in through our lungs in order to get that oxygen into the bloodstream. Either piece of information serves to support the idea that OXY is useless, but each does so in different ways.

### Take-aways for “Same Function As” Role Questions:

(1) The standard task on role questions is to describe the role of the statement given in the argument.

(2) You might see a variation on this standard task: you may be asked to find a new statement that plays the same role as the original.

(3) This new statement may discuss a different aspect of the argument. That’s perfectly all right as long as the statement overall plays the same role as the original boldface statement.

* GMATPrep® questions courtesy of the Graduate Management Admissions Council. Usage of this question does not imply endorsement by GMAC.

### What Kind Of Critical Reasoning Question Is This? part 2

Last time, we talked about Fill in the Blank CR questions: what are they and how do we tackle them efficiently? If you haven’t already read that article, go ahead and do so.

Then, come back here and test your new-found skills on this GMATPrep© problem (it’s from the two free exams). Give yourself about 2 minutes (though it’s okay to stretch to 2.5 minutes on a CR as long as you are making progress.)

“Which of the following best completes the argument?

“A new machine for harvesting corn will allow rows to be planted only fifteen inches apart, instead of the usual thirty inches. Corn planted this closely will produce lower yields per plant. Nevertheless, the new machine will allow corn growers to double their profits per acre because ________________

“(A) with the closer spacing of the rows, the growing corn plants will quickly form a dense canopy of leaves, which will, by shading the ground, minimize the need for costly weed control and irrigation

“(B) with the closer spacing of the rows, corn plants will be forced to grow taller because of increased competition for sunlight from neighboring corn plants

“(C) with the larger number of plants growing per acre, more fertilizer will be required

“(D) with the spacing between rows cut by half, the number of plants grown per acre will almost double

“(E) with the closer spacing of the rows, the acreage on which corn is planted will be utilized much more intensively than it was before, requiring more frequent fallow years in which corn fields are left unplanted”

### Step 1: Identify the Question

The blank line tell us that we have an argument in the “complete the passage” format.

### What Kind Of Critical Reasoning Question Is This? Part 1

I was talking to a student today about Complete the Passage CR arguments (people also call these the Fill in the Blank questions). The student was struggling with these and talking about them as though they were their own category. The problem: they’re not actually a separate category at all!

Try this GMATPrep © problem out (it’s from the free set that comes with the software) and then we’ll talk about it. Give yourself about 2 minutes (though it’s okay to stretch to 2.5 minutes on a CR as long as you are making progress.)

“Which of the following best completes the passage below?

“People buy prestige when they buy a premium product. They want to be associated with something special. Mass-marketing techniques and price reduction strategies should not be used because ________________

“(A) affluent purchasers currently represent a shrinking portion of the population of all purchasers

“(B) continued sales depend directly on the maintenance of an aura of exclusivity

“(C) purchasers of premium products are concerned with the quality as well as with the price of the products

“(D) expansion of the market niche to include a broader spectrum of consumers will increase profits

“(E) manufacturing a premium brand is not necessarily more costly than manufacturing a standard brand of the same productâ€

### Step 1: Identify the Question

The blank line immediately leaps to eye of course: as soon as you see that, you know you have an argument in the “complete the passageâ€ format.

What kind of question type is it? Actually these fall into one of the regular types that you already know: Strengthen, Weaken, Find the Assumption, Inference, and so on. The trick is that it’s a bit harder to tell which type.

The majority of Complete the Passage questions are Strengthen. The second most common category is Find the Assumption. Typically, if you see the word because or since right before the underline (as in this problem), then you probably have a Strengthen question. The word because (or since) indicates that the correct answer will add a piece of evidence to support some statement. You’ll need to read the argument to be sure, but you can have a pretty strong hunch.

### Step 2: Deconstruct the Argument

This is likely a strengthen question, so it should contain a conclusion.

Here’s what I thought and wrote while I did the problem. Your own thought process won’t be exactly the same as mine and, of course, your notes will probably look quite different, since we all have our own ways of abbreviating things. (Note: S = strengthen; at first I put a question mark next to it because I wasn’t 100% sure until I finished the argument.)

If the conclusion is NOT to use mass-marketing techniques and price reduction strategies because of some reason, then that reason must support that conclusion. This is, indeed, a Strengthen question.

### Step 3: State the Goal

The goal on Strengthen questions is to find a new piece of information that makes the conclusion at least a little more likely to be valid. I’m trying to validate the idea that you should NOT use certain strategies. (Note: in Complete the Passage format, sometimes the correct answer won’t really be new; it will mostly just restate something that the argument already said. This is acceptable as long as it strengthens!)

Why not? The first two sentences said that premium products are all about prestige and “something special.â€ If you’re trying to sell premium products, then, mass-market techniques probably aren’t going to make people feel “special.â€ Likewise, a reduction in price doesn’t scream “premium product!â€ We expect premium products to cost more and we don’t expect everyone in the world to have them.

I’m going to keep that in mind while I examine the answers!

### Work from Wrong to Right

Note that answers (A) and (D) both seem to go along with the idea that we might want to use mass-marketing techniques or price-reduction strategies. Both are trap answers designed to catch someone who didn’t notice or forgot that the conclusion says these strategies should NOT be used.

Looking for more help on Critical Reasoning? Check out the Master Resource List for Critical Reasoning.

### Take-aways for Complete the Passage formats:

(1) These are not a separate question type. A “complete the passageâ€ question falls into one of the same categories as all other questions; you have to figure out which it is.

(2) Most often, these questions are Strengthen (as in the above case) or Find the Assumption. If you see the word because or since right before the underline, you probably have a Strengthen question. If you see something else, then you may have an Assumption question instead.

(3) As with any CR question, the key is to identify the type of question and follow the standard process from there!

* GMATPrep © questions courtesy of the Graduate Management Admissions Council. Usage of this question does not imply endorsement by GMAC.”

### How to prep for the GMAT in 14 days if you absolutely Must

Prepping in 14 days is obviously not the ideal situation. There are limits to how much you can learn in such a short period of time.

Still, sometimes people get stuck. Maybe you haven’t gotten the GMAT score that you need to be competitive at a particular school and 2nd-round deadlines are fast approaching. Maybe you’re on a waitlist and the school has indicated that your chances would be better if you could lift your score. Whatever the circumstance, there are some things that you can do to try to achieve a score boost in a short period of time.

Make no mistake: you’re going to have to work hard! You’re going to live, sleep, and breath the GMAT for the next two weeks. You’ll also need to set realistic expectations for yourself: nobody is going to jump from a 500 to a 720 in two weeks.

### Getting Started: Time and Resources

First, if you can take these two weeks off of work (or at least some of the time), then do so. You’re about to undertake a mental marathon; you can’t waste brain energy on many other mental tasks and still get through your GMAT tasks effectively.

If you can’t, then cancel all of your other plans. Outside of work, you’re only going to be working on the GMAT.

Second, it’s important to identify your study resources and set up a solid plan from the start. You don’t have the luxury of trying something for a week (or even a few days!) and then discovering that it isn’t working for you.

At the least, you need the materials in the below list. The starred (*) materials are made by GMAC (the company that makes the real test); GMAC’s materials consist of real, past GMAT questions.

It’s best to practice using real problems, but note that practice problems don’t actually teach you how to get better at the test. You’ll also need material designed to teach you how to get betterâ€”this is what test prep companies do.

1. *The Official Guide for GMAT® Review, 13th Edition
2. *GMATPrep CATs (practice exams)
3. Additional practice exams that give you performance data (any test prep company, including ours, sells these)
4. Materials that teach you all of the math and verbal facts you need to know as well as strategies for answering different kinds of math and verbal questions
5. Test-taking strategies, including time management, educated guessing, and so on

Items 4 and 5 might come in the form of books, online lessons, classes, or even private tutoring. Expect to spend some money, particularly because you’re trying to do this in 14 days!

### Day 0: Read Two Articles

Before you do anything, learn what the GMAT really tests.

Next, learn about the second level of GMAT study.

### GMAT Challenge Problem Showdown November 25, 2013

We invite you to test your GMAT knowledge for a chance to win! Each week, we will post a new Challenge Problem for you to attempt. If you submit the correct answer, you will be entered into that week’s drawing for a free Manhattan GMAT Prep item. Tell your friends to get out their scrap paper and start solving!

Here is this week’s problem:

Which of the following is the largest?

(A) 227.3

(B) 318.2

(C) 511.1

(D) 79.1

(E) 115.1

### Free GMAT Events This Week November 24 – November 30

“Here are the free GMAT events we’re holding this week. All times are local unless otherwise specified.

11/24/13– OnlineÂ – Free Trial Class-Â 5:00PM- 8:00PM (EDT)

11/24/13- Chicago, IL- Free Trial Class-Â 2:00PM- 5:00PM

11/25/13-Online- Essay Writing Workshop presented by mbaMission-Â 7:00PM- 8:30PM (EST)

11/25/13– Â Santa Clara, CA-Â Free Trial Class-Â 6:30PM- 9:30PM

11/25/13– Online-Â Free Trial ClassÂ -Â 9:00PM- 12:00AM (EST)

Looking for more free events? Check out ourÂ Free Events Listings Page.

### Manhattan Prep’s Social Venture Scholars Program

“ManhattanÂ Prep is offering special full tuition scholarships for up to 16 individuals per year (4 per quarter)Â who will be selected as part of Manhattan GMATâ€™sÂ Social Venture ScholarsÂ program. This program provides the selected scholars with free admission into one ofÂ Manhattan GMATâ€™s live online Complete Courses (a \$1290 value).

These competitive scholarships are offered to individuals who (1) currently work full-time in an organization that promotes positive social change, (2) plan to use their MBA to work in a public, not-for-profit, or other venture with a social-change oriented mission, and (3) demonstrate clear financial need. The Social Venture Scholars will all enroll in a special online preparation course taught by two of Manhattan GMATâ€™s expert instructors within one year of winning the scholarship.

The deadline our next application period is December 6, 2013.

### GMAT Challenge Problem Showdown November 18, 2013

We invite you to test your GMAT knowledge for a chance to win! Each week, we will post a new Challenge Problem for you to attempt. If you submit the correct answer, you will be entered into that week’s drawing for a free Manhattan GMAT Prep item. Tell your friends to get out their scrap paper and start solving!

Here is this week’s problem:

Right triangleÂ ABOÂ is drawn in theÂ xy-plane, withÂ OBÂ as hypotenuse, whereÂ OÂ is at the origin andÂ BÂ at (15, 0). What is the area of the triangle?

(1) TheÂ x– andÂ y-coordinates of all three points are non-negative integers.

(2) No two sides of the triangle have the same length.