• GMAT Pill Review from Harsh: 720 (Q49, V39)

    Hey guys! This is Harsh Sundani from North Carolina.
    I recently took my GMAT and scored a 720 (Q49, V39). I just wanted to make this short video and say thank you GMAT Pill, Zeke, and his team.

    Initially when I was signing up for GMAT, I was looking for online tutoring for something that would give me a one-on-one experience but didn’t need me to actually go to an actual classroom since I was doing this while I was working. So I looked online, read through the various internet forums, read the reviews, and decided to sign up with GMAT Pill. Another 2 reasons that I chose GMAT Pill were first that their strategies were highly recommended by everyone on the internet who said it was excellent. And the second reason was that Zeke himself, being a Stanford graduate, and having scored 98th %ile in the GMAT – I was pretty confident that I was not making a wrong decision and I definitely was happy with my decision.

    All the videos in the quant, the verbal, and the reading comprehension section are very well laid out. Zeke does a good job of dividing them into various core frameworks and makes it very easy for you to identify the correct answer on the exam and telling you this is what you need to do step by step.

    So just wanted to say I would highly recommend these guys and you’re looking to score over 700, you should definitely check these guys out. Thanks.

    Table of Contents | See Pricing

    Verbal Questions: Sentence Correction | Critical Reasoning | Reading Comprehension
    Quant Videos: Problem Solving | Data Sufficiency

  • More “Helps Explain” Questions on GMAT CR

    Growing Emphasis on “Helps Explain”

    Every few years the GMAT makes some slight changes to the GMAT Exam. Yes, the new IR section launched in 2012 but there are still some slight changes to questions on the regular sections that you should be aware of.

    Since the OG12 and OG13 books contain questions that are most representative of the actual types of questions on the exam, it’s a good idea to take a look here to see what question types changed between OG12 and OG13.

    Out of the 124 OG13 CR questions, 25 of them are actually new and 99 of them are repeat questions from OG12. If you look at the breakdown of these 25 questions, you’ll see that there is a CR question type that is gaining more emphasis on the GMAT.

    25 NEW CR Questions in OG13
    11 NEW CR “Strengthens” questions
    7 NEW CR “Helps Explain” questions
    3 NEW CR “Weakens” questions
    2 NEW CR “Evaluate the Argument” questions
    1 NEW CR “Inference” question
    1 NEW CR “Assumption” question

    Yes, there is a greater emphasis on “Strengthens” and “Helps Explain” CR questions. We will give you more practice with the “Strengthens” questions and look at some of the changes in the structure of some of these questions.

    But “strengthens” CR questions are generally no surprise. What is a surprise, however, is the new “Helps Explain” questions. They no longer comprise less than 10% of the GMAT CR questions.

    Here is a breakdown of the 124 OG13 CR Questions
    34 CR “Strengthens” questions
    29 CR “Weakens” questions
    15 CR “Helps Explain” questions
    13 CR “Boldfaced/Structure” questions
    12 CR “Evaluate the Argument” questions
    9 CR “Inference” questions
    12 CR “Assumption” questions

    So as you can see, 7 new “Helps Explain” CR questions essentially doubles the number of “Helps Explain” questions. This means, you should be more prepared for questions of this type and understand what part of the Table-top Framework this question applies to.

    “Helps Explain” Example CR Question

    As media exposure increased for the Jersey Shore in the last 5 years, the annual number of people visiting the shore increased each year. Over the same period, however, the number of people getting sun burns from suntanning decreased, even though there was no reduction in the number of people suntanning on the beach each day. Further, the number of sunny days and the UV (Ultraviolet) Index actually increased.

    Which of the following, if true for the Jersey Shore over the last 5 years, most helps to explain the decrease?

    (A) Sunburns are most likely to happen when beach go-ers suntan for consecutive sunny days at the beach.

    (B) Sunburns severely damage at least several people’s skin each year at the Jersey Shore (hyperpigmentation, discoloration and burned patches of skin)

    (C) People going to the Jersey Shore used suntan lotion with increasing levels of UV protection and monitored UV levels to help determine what times during the day were most suitable for being in the sun.

    (D) The average length of stay for people visiting the Jersey Shore increased slightly.

    (E) Construction of new shops, malls, and casinos by the Jersey shore helped attract visitors to go indoors rather than stay outdoors.

    Let’s break down “Helps Explain” questions.

    1) Conclusion
    2) Action

    Some ACTION leads to some CONCLUSION. You can picture in your head that the ACTION is the supporting leg in the table-top framework; the CONCLUSION is the table-top.

    Usually there are two versions.
    A) At First Glance
    B) In Actuality

    At first glance, the ACTION should usually lead to the CONCLUSION happening (perhaps the conclusion makes a statement that something is either increasing or decreasing).

    In actuality, the ACTION leads to the CONCLUSION happening in the opposite direction (if we expected “increasing” before, the actual result is that we see something “decreasing”).

    Then the big question is, why are the results OPPOSITE from what we expect? What HELPS TO EXPLAIN why we see results different from what we might expect? We usually see a 3rd component in a “Helps Explain” question:

    1) Conclusion
    2) Disqualifiers (“even thoughs”)
    3) Action

    You can identify this 3rd component in the passage above:

    As media exposure increased for the Jersey Shore in the last 5 years, the annual number of people visiting the shore increased each year. Over the same period, however, the number of people getting sun burns from suntanning decreased, even though there was no reduction in the number of people suntanning on the beach each day. Further, the number of sunny days and the UV (Ultraviolet) Index actually increased.

    Translating to the Table-top Framework

    Let’s identify the components:
    1) Conclusion (table-top): “the number of people getting sun burns from suntanning decreased

    2) Disqualifiers: It’s NOT because of a “reduction in number of people suntanning on the beach each day”
    It’s NOT because of a fall in the # of sunny days or UV Index fell…because “the number of sunny days and the UV (Ultraviolet) Index actually increased

    3) Action (supporting leg): Annual number of people visiting the shore increased each year

    So there you go, that’s the general structure of this “helps explain” CR question. With the ACTION given, we would expect some CONCLUSION happening.

    Initial Thought: Since # of ppl visiting shore is INCREASING, we might expect # of ppl getting sun burns to INCREASE

    Actual Thought: # of ppl visiting shore is INCREASING but # of ppl getting sun burns is DECREASING.

    Why DECREASING? The passage immediately eliminates possible reasons for why the CONCLUSION may have gone the opposite direction from what we may have expected. It does so by beginning the phrase with “EVEN THOUGH”. The passage rules out some possibilities that might help explain the phenomenon we observed.

    It’s NOT because of a reduction in the number of people suntanning on the beach each day.

    The above actually could be a possible reason why the # of ppl getting sun burns is DECREASING (maybe there are more people visiting the Jersey Shore each year but those people are NOT going on the beach and suntanning. They may be at the Jersey Shore doing other things). However, the passage immediately DISQUALIFIES this statement as being a possibility for explaining why the conclusion reached is the way it is. It does so with the phrase “EVEN THOUGH”.

    It’s NOT because of a fall in the # of sunny days or UV Index fell

    The above statement also could be a possible reason why the # of ppl getting sun burns is DECREASING (maybe the UV index fell so the sun is less powerful and causes less harm OR more days at the Jersey Shore are cloudy and so there are fewer cases of sunburns). However, the passage immediately DISQUALIFIES this statement as being a possibility for explaining why the conclusion reached is the way it is. It does so with the phrase “EVEN THOUGH” and continues the disqualification by using “FURTHER…”.

    OK, well if the reason is not due to either of those statements above, then what could possibly explain why we see the number of sunburns DECREASE despite an increase in visitors to the Jersey Shore??

    Processing the Answer Choices

    As you go through each answer choice, you should be thinking the following in your head:

    “Despite MORE visitors, number of sunburns is DOWN because…”

    Is it (A)? Are sunburns down because sunburns only occur when visitors go suntan for consecutive days? OK well, do we have evidence that visitors are only suntanning on single days and are NOT suntanning on consecutive days? We don’t have information that says they are NOT suntanning on consecutive days, so we cannot say that (A) helps explain our observation.

    Is it (B)? Are sunburns down because sunburns severely damage at least several people’s skin each year? Even if this were true, even if sunburns severely damage several people’s skin each year, this does not help us understand why sunburns are down this year. We would need more. We would need something like: people are so scared of the sunburn damage that they now don’t suntan on the beach or they use beach umbrellas for the whole day to block the sun. (B) as it stands is not enough to help us understand why sunburns are down.

    Is it (C)? Are sunburns down because people are using suntan lotion with increasing levels of UV protection and are monitoring UV levels to help determine when they should be out in the sun and when they should not be? Well, maybe because of this suntan lotion with UV protection, people are still going to the beach but they are less likely to get sunburns because of this protection. And perhaps those that ARE going to the beach are going at times of the day that are less dangerous due to their ability to monitor UV Index levels. This one sounds like it helps us understand why sunburns are down. It’s because the UV protection from lotions are lowering the number of cases of sunburn and beach go-ers are being careful of when they are out in the sun.

    Is it (D)? Are sunburns down because people visiting are actually staying longer than they have in the past? Well, staying longer doesn’t help bring sunburns down…if anything, staying longer should INCREASE the chances of sunburns. So this one does not help us understand why # of sunburns is going down.

    Is it (E)? Are sunburns down because there are new indoor attractions by the Jersey Shore? And so instead of being outdoors in the sun, some visitors are actually indoors in shops and the casinos. This is certainly plausible, we are going in the right direction. Having indoor attractions can divert some of the traffic indoors. If visitors are indoors, then they are less likely to get sunburns and so the # of sunburns can potentially go down.

    So the best answers are either (C) or (E). Between these two, we must pick the answer choice that MOST helps explain the observation that the # of sunburns is going down, despite an INCREASE in visitors.

    Choosing Between (C) and (E)

    That second part of the above statement is really important – DESPITE an INCREASE in visitors.

    When choosing between (C) and (E), we must keep that in mind.

    For (C), we know that visitors wearing UV protection and being wise about when to go out in the sun is going to help reduce the number of sunburn cases. Even if there are more people going to the beach, when they are each taking protection precautions, this is going to help reduce the number of sunburn cases.

    For (E), we know that indoor attractions will bring SOME visitors indoor. How much is SOME? Well that’s where our questions come in.

    Case E1: If the number of beach visitors goes up from 1000 to 1500, that’s an increase of 500 visitors. If the indoor attractions remove only 100 visitors from the beach, then we STILL have an increase of 400 visitors to the beach area who are at risk for developing sun burns. Thus, the # of visitors at risk for sunburns increased from 1000 to 1400.

    Case E2: On the other hand, if the indoor attractions remove 800 visitors from the beach, then this means that only 1000+500-800 = 700 people are at sunburn-risk on the beach, while 800 are safe indoors. From 1000 down to 700, we see that it’s possible for the number of people with sunburn risk decrease, thus helping to explain why the # of sunburn cases could fall. However, this case is not guaranteed.

    Since both scenarios are possible, we are not 100% sure that (E) (having indoor attractions at the Jersey Shore) is going to help explain our observation as much as what (C) is saying. (E) has some scenarios that don’t help explain – it has some holes in it. (C) however does not have any such holes. By saying that visitors are using UV protection and using discretion as to when to be out in the sun, this applies to visitors in general and BETTER helps explain our observation than (E) does.

    (C) is our answer.

    As media exposure increased for the Jersey Shore in the last 5 years, the annual number of people visiting the shore increased each year. Over the same period, however, the number of people getting sun burns from suntanning decreased, even though there was no reduction in the number of people suntanning on the beach each day. Further, the number of sunny days and the UV (Ultraviolet) Index actually increased.

    Which of the following, if true for the Jersey Shore over the last 5 years, most helps to explain the decrease?

    (A) Sunburns are most likely to happen when beach go-ers suntan for consecutive sunny days at the beach.

    (B) Sunburns severely damage at least several people’s skin each year at the Jersey Shore (hyperpigmentation, discoloration and burned patches of skin)

    (C) People going to the Jersey Shore used suntan lotion with increasing levels of UV protection and monitored UV levels to help determine what times during the day were most suitable for being in the sun.

    (D) The average length of stay for people visiting the Jersey Shore increased slightly.

    (E) Construction of new shops, malls, and casinos by the Jersey shore helped attract visitors to go indoors rather than stay outdoors.

    Try some more “Helps Explain” questions on the GMATPill Practice Pill Platform:

    GMAT Critical Reasoning # 134: School Surveillance and Violence
    GMAT Critical Reasoning # 137: SUV Profits
    GMAT Critical Reasoning # 138: Renting or Buying Real Estate

    Table of Contents | See Pricing

    Verbal Questions: Sentence Correction | Critical Reasoning | Reading Comprehension
    Quant Videos: Problem Solving | Data Sufficiency

  • GMATPrep Software Analysis – What if ???

    We’ve been getting reports of GMATPrep software score testing from a variety of sources and have tested these with our staff.

    We thought we’d share the general insights we’ve found. Keep in mind the test is adaptive in nature. If you get lots of questions correct in a row, then you will likely be given incrementally more difficult questions. Likewise, if you get lots of questions wrong in a row, then you will likely be given less and less difficult questions.

    Q: Do the first 10 questions matter more than the last 10 questions?

    A: Yes – though note the details.

    Here are some stats:

    For QUANT, if you get the first 10 wrong and then the remaining 27 correct, your overall Quant score is only Q38.

    If you flip it and instead answer the first 27 correct and then the last 10 wrong, then your overall Quant score is Q50.

    Compare Q38 and Q50 – and that’s a significant different – especially for answering the same number of questions right/wrong.

    However, this insight is only true when you get 10 wrong in a row – which is pretty bad. Remember, you don’t want to get so many consecutive questions wrong.

    This leads us to our next question – what happens if you don’t so many wrong in a row?

    Instead of 10 wrong in a row, what happens when you get just 5 wrong in a row?

    Q: Do the first 5 questions matter more than the last 5 questions?

    A: No – again, note the details.

    Getting 5 in a row wrong in the beginning is not as bad as getting 10 in a row wrong. How much better is it?

    It’s significantly better to get 5 wrong in a row than it is to get 10 wrong in a row.

    Yes – to the extent that you can still score a Q50 – even if you get the first 5 wrong – as long as you get all remaining 32 questions correct.

    So it’s possible to screw up the first few questions – and still come out acing the Quant.

    However, if you start of strong, you’d better finish strong to maintain the high score.

    Q: OK, can you sum that all up?

    A: Sure. The first 5 questions are not AS important as everybody seems to say, but definitely don’t get more than 5-10 questions wrong in a row – because that could seriously damage your possible score. Yet even if your first 5 questions are wrong, you can still potentially score a solid Q50.

    Likewise, if you get everything right except the last few questions, you can still get a Q50.

    So the last few questions aren’t as important if you’re on a roll. Generally, the last few questions will be very difficult questions anyway – since you got so many questions correct.

    However, if you screwed up in the beginning, then the last few questions is your chance to redeem yourself for a higher score than you might otherwise think.

    Table of Contents | See Pricing

    Verbal Questions: Sentence Correction | Critical Reasoning | Reading Comprehension
    Quant Videos: Problem Solving | Data Sufficiency

  • Strategy for Bold-faced GMAT Questions

    Students facing the Critical Reasoning section of the GMAT exam often ask for more practice with “Bold-faced Questions.” These questions comprise only a fraction of the questions you’ll see on the exam (less than 8%) – but somehow students who are stumped on these types of questions tend to get all of them wrong.

    So why are they such a tough hill to climb for some students?

    Firstly, if you’re getting these questions, it’s usually a good sign as they tend to be more difficult.

    Secondly, chances are, the weakness underlies are more fundamental problem in the students’ ability to breakdown the parts to an argument. Bold-faced questions are all about structure and as you read the statement, you should be able to quickly identify the components of that statement. What is the argument? What is supporting that argument?

    Identifying the Argument

    Look for keywords like:

    [ASSUMPTION/SUPPORT] Thus, … [ARGUMENT]
    [ASSUMPTION/SUPPORT] Therefore, …[ARGUMENT]
    [ASSUMPTION/SUPPORT] As a result, …[ARGUMENT]
    [ASSUMPTION/SUPPORT] infer that…[ARGUMENT]
    [ASSUMPTION/SUPPORT] Consequently, …[ARGUMENT]
    [ASSUMPTION/SUPPORT] Clearly, …[ARGUMENT]
    From the observations, it appears that…[ARGUMENT]
    Researchers believe that...[ARGUMENT]
    Topic X…should be like this…[ARGUMENT]

    The conclusion of the statement (ie the argument) will come directly after these key words.

    Identify the Assumption

    You may often come across fancy words like “premise” and “assumption”. Here at GMATPill, we simplify it and treat them the same. They are both “assumptions” in our view.


    Refer to the picture above.

    Within the table-top framework, we have:

    1) Table-top, which is the argument.
    2) Supporting leg, which is the stated assumption (sometimes called “premise”)

    3) Supporting leg, which is the unstated assumption (“assumption”). Sometimes the “screw” connecting the leg and table-top can also be the unstated assumption – it’s what is necessary to link one topic to another in order to make the argument valid.

    Others may reference a “premise”/”assumption” as different things, but we at GMATPill simplify it and refer to both the premise and assumption as “assumption”. They both help explain why the argument is valid.

    Key words to look for when identifying the assumption:

    [ARGUMENT] because…[ASSUMPTION/SUPPORT]
    [ARGUMENT] since…[ASSUMPTION/SUPPORT]
    [ARGUMENT] on the basis of…[ASSUMPTION/SUPPORT]
    [ARGUMENT] the reason is that…[ASSUMPTION/SUPPORT]

    CR questions can get more complicated when the statement starts off in one direction, then changes direction. Whatever new direction it takes, the statement still will come down to a conclusion and supporting statement. Key words that signal a change are:

    actually, …
    despite, …
    except, …
    although, …
    however, …

    Strategy for solving Boldface CR Questions

    Step 1) Scan for key word. Determine whether supporting statement comes after the keyword or before it.

    Example: ________ since _______
    Argument comes before the keyword “since”.
    Assumption comes after the keyword “since”.

    Example: _________ therefore ______
    Argument comes after the keyword “therefore”.
    Assumption comes before the keyword “therefore”.

    Step 2) Identify where the boldface statements are, and what role they play relative to this initial structure that is identified

    Step 3) Eliminate answer choices

    Step 4) Reread closely and pick answer.

    Examples

    Example 1

    Gotham City currently supplements its funding for the new tunnel project into the neighboring city of Farmville through a 3% unincorporated business tax, for all businesses operating in Gotham City. In place of this system, the city plans to increase the sales tax rate from 5% to 7% on all retail sales made in the city. Critics protest that the two percent increase in sales tax falls short of the amount raised for public works by the unincorporated business tax. The critics are correct on this point. Nevertheless, implementing the plan will probably not reduce the money going to the tunnel project. Several large retailers are opening stores in Gotham City and these stores will certainly attract a large number of shoppers from neighboring towns, where sales tax rates are ten percent and more. Therefore, retail sales in Gotham City are bound to increase significantly.

    In the argument given, the two portions in boldface play which of the following roles?

    (A) The first is an objection that has been raised against a certain plan; the second is a prediction that, if accurate, undermines the force of that objection.[correct]
    (B) The first is a criticism, endorsed by the argument, of a funding plan; the second is a point the argument makes in favor of adopting an alternative plan.
    (C) The first is a criticism, endorsed by the argument, of a funding plan; the second is the main reason cited by the argument for its endorsement of the criticism.
    (D) The first is a claim that the argument seeks to refute; the second is the mainpoint used by the argument to show that the claim is false.
    (E) The first is a claim that the argument accepts with certain reservations; the second presents that claim in a way that is not subject to those reservations.

    For Example 1, let’s follow the twists and turns of the passage by identifying the keywords.

    Step 1: Scan for keywords. We see “therefore” at the end of the passage, and this is near the 2nd bolded phrase. We know that the 2nd bolded phrase is some kind of conclusion because anything after “therefore” signals a conclusion or argument that is reached.

    Step 2: See which answer choices indicate the 2nd bolded phrase to be a “conclusion”.
    (A) uses the word “prediction” – that’s possible so hold onto it. Possible.
    (B) references the second point as a supporting point. But “therefore” is a pretty strong word indicating conclusion. It’s unlikely that it is simply making a supporting point – unless “retail sales going up” is supporting some other larger argument. But that’s not clear here. Eliminate.
    (C) Similar to B, it is referencing the 2nd bolded phrase as “support” – when we are interpreting it to be a “conclusion/argument” instead. Eliminate.
    (D) Similar to B and C, it is referencing the 2nd bolded phrase as “support”. Eliminate.
    (E) “A claim that the argument accepts” – what does this mean? This is like an “inference”. The claim is the “inferred statement” – the argument is the initial statement. So in this case, the argument has to support the inferred statement. So it’s kind of like saying the inferred statement is the table-top or the “conclusion” that is reached. And the argument is “below” that – supporting it. That is okay, it’s saying the 2nd bolded phrase is an inferred statement and that it is the “table-top”. That’s okay. We can hold onto it. Possible.

    So we are left with (A) and (E).

    Step 3: Identify “key word” related to the 1st bolded phrase. “Critics protest that…” – this is basically telling us that the 1st bolded phrase is an objection or statement that goes against the very first thing that was presented in the first sentence.

    Step 4: See which answer choice makes sense:
    (A) this looks okay – it’s saying that the 1st bolded phrase is an objection against a certain plan. The first sentence was that certain plan and the second sentence is essentially against it. Sounds exactly right.
    (E) “a claim that the argument accepts with certain reservations”. There is a slight mismatch here. Yes, there is something here that is accepted with some reservations. The “plan” to increase sales tax is great, there are some objections, but “nevertheless”—- this process indicates some hesitation about the plan working. But acknowledges that it will/can still work.
    So what exactly is the claim that is being accepted with some hesitation? That claim is really that the plan to increase sales taxes from 5-7% is going to work. But that is not the bolded portion. The bolded portion is the “objection” part – not the “claim” part. So (E) is wrong here.

    (A) is the answer.

    As you can see, if you follow the structured approach of finding the keyword, then identifying what is “support” and what is “conclusion” before and after this keyword, you can more easily identify the structure of the whole passage.

    Example 2

    Studies have shown that, initially, amateur body builders who time their daily meals and calorie-count are far more successful at gaining muscle mass than those who don’t track what they consume. Researchers believe that many amateur body builders fail because they are not eating meals frequently enough and drinking enough water to supplement their strength-training workouts. One study followed a group of patients who reported they could not build muscle mass when eating more than 2,500 calories a day. The study found that the group consumed, on average, 41% more than it claimed and actively strength trained for 26% less, in terms of minutes at the gym. In contrast, when successful body builders record what they eat, their actual consumption more closely matches their reported consumption.

    The two boldface portions in the argument above are best described by which of the following statements?

    (A) The first is a conclusion reached by researchers; the second is evidence that that conclusion is correct.
    (B) The first is an explanation of why a certain theory is thought to be true; the second is an example of research results that support this theory.
    (C) The first is an example illustrating the truth of a certain theory; the second is a competing theory.
    (D) The first is a premise upon which the researchers base their opinion; the second illustrates that their opinion is correct.
    (E) The first introduces a theory that the researchers have disproved; the second is the basis for the researchers’ argument.

    Step 1: Scan for keywords. In this case, there aren’t any real keywords you can refer to. “In contrast” is used in the last sentence, but it doesn’t seem helpful in identifying whether the phrase before/after is “support” or “conclusion”

    Step 2: “Studies have shown that…” – this seems to be some kind of factual data. As we know with facts, they are often used to support some kind of argument. Keep reading to find out whether some actual argument is made.

    Step 3: “Researchers believe” – aha! Keyword has been found to indicate an argument that is expressed. What do researchers believe? They believe that many amateur body builders fail because they are not eating enough protein calories and drinking enough water to supplement their strength training workouts.
    How is this related to the 1st bolded phrase? Well they are connected. The “argument” says amateurs fail because of not eating frequently enough, the facts say that amateurs who succeed tend to be disciplined about their eating. So the “facts” tend to somewhat support the argument.

    One way to check is to ask the challenge question. How do we know that amateurs are failing because they do not eat frequently enough? Let’s try to answer that – because a study showed that amateurs who do succeed tend to be disciplined about their eating. Using the “A vs Not A Framework” – this is implying that those who fail might NOT be disciplined about their eating. THis is exactly the argument that is made by researchers.

    So this tells us the 1st bolded phrase is some kind of support.
    (A) NO, the 1st bolded phrase is not a conclusion, it is support.
    (B) While this is “support”, it’s not an explanation for why a theory is true. It is the results of a factual study.
    (C) While this is “support”, it’s not an explanation illustrating the truth of a theory. The theory is about those who fail – while the study is about those who succeed.
    (D) YES, this is “support”. It uses the word “premise” which is a support, explicitly stated. The 1st bolded phrase supports the researcher’s belief, and it does so through some fact-based study – and that is explicitly mentioned. The “support” is based on those who succeed, researchers then hypothesize on those who fail. This one is okay.
    (E) NO, the first is not a “theory” which is a similar word to “argument or conclusion”. We are looking for “support” – not “argument/conclusion”. So “introducing a theory” is not what the 1st bolded phrase does.

    Step 4:
    We’ve eliminated all answer choices except for (D) by just looking at the first bolded phrase. Let’s confirm that it’s correct by looking at the 2nd bolded phrase.

    “the second illustrates that their opinion is correct”

    Let’s go back and find our argument:
    “Researchers believe that….”

    From here, the sentence that follows is most likely supporting that argument, unless a contradictory key word is used.

    “One study followed…” — identify this as “support”

    “The study found that…” — these are the results, also “support”. The study is about those who failed. The researcher’s argument or belief is also about those who failed. We can see that these supporting sentences are illustrating that the researchers’ opinion is correct.

    Thus, the 2nd bolded phrase seems to be accurate in (D) as well.

    (D) is the answer.

    Now go ahead and apply the same strategy to these two questions and let me know what you get!

    Example 3

    Learning to play a musical instrument can be an integral part to enjoying life, developing self-expression, and releasing stress. The mind needs beats and music to be stimulated and motivated to live life’s ups and downs. However, much practice is required to master the art of playing a musical instrument and over-practicing can lead to fatigue and despair. A practice schedule should always maintain a progression that slowly builds up and fits in time for rest and recovery.

    In the argument given, the two portions in boldface play which of the following roles?

    (A) The first is an opinion; the second is a conclusion based on that opinion.

    (B) The first is a factual possibility; the second is an opinion that opposes that possibility.

    (C) The first is a general opinion; the second is a conclusion that supports that opinion.

    (D) The first is a factual possibility; the second is a conclusion that presents a method of preventing the occurrence of that possibility.

    (E) The first is a possible event of cause and effect; the second denies the possibility of such an event to occur.

    Your answer?

    Example 4

    Hiring managers: Large corporations tend to set up high cubicles for employee work spaces – allowing each person to have his/her privacy. Unfortunately, such a set up discourages employees from brainstorming and interacting with each other, which is essential especially for companies that hope to innovate. Nevertheless, it is possible to create the appropriate corporate culture under which cubicle walls are kept high during quiet project periods and are kept low during periods of open brainstorming, thus enabling employees and company to benefit on both fronts.

    In the argument given, the two portions in boldface play which of the following roles?

    A. The first describes a behavior which the organizational consultant deems problematic in certain circumstances; the second explains why this behavior can be problematic.

    B. The first is a strategy advocated in order to alleviate an undesirable condition; the second describes that condition.

    C. The first describes a certain condition which the organizational consultant deems undesirable; the second is a strategy advocated in order to alleviate that condition.

    D. The first describes a certain condition which the organizational consultant deems undesirable; the second is a suggestion on how to preserve that situation.

    E. The first is an opinion expressed by the organizational consultant; the second is evidence which supports this opinion.

    Your answer?

    Are you getting (D) and then (A)?

    Relax your brain

    Remember, on bold-faced GMAT questions, your job is not to make sense of the argument and figure out how to support or weaken it. Nor do you have to choose among the answer choices to find something that helps you better evaluate the argument or to better explain it.

    No, all those types of CR questions require a lot of brain thinking.

    You don’t have to do that for bold-faced questions. You ONLY have to pay attention to keywords in the passage. Identify where the “support” and “argument/conclusion” are by focusing in on KEY words. Then take into consideration other key words that change the direction of the argument.

    Do NOT spend your time trying to make sense of the argument and determine whether it’s valid or not. It does not matter whether the argument made is sound or not sound. Your job is not to determine it’s strength, but merely to determine the structure of the argument.

    Don’t waste your time. Do NOT try to make sense of bold-faced CR questions.

    More GMAT Practice

    For more practice, try the CR questions on the GMATPill Practice Pill Platform.

    If you have the OG13, try #18, #28, #34, #63, #76, #78, #84, #85, #89, #98, #104, #116, #123.

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    Quant Videos: Problem Solving | Data Sufficiency

  • Prime Numbers: Know the pitfalls for the GMAT

    Prime numbers are the funny numbers – and the GMAT always throws some question related to prime numbers on their exam.

    When you hear “prime number” – you should be thinking firstly about these numbers:

    2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23

    Then, you should be thinking about the properties of these numbers to help you figure out what makes a prime number a prime number.
    Simple prime number rule:

    Prime Number = Divisible ONLY by 1 and itself

    Are all prime numbers odd?

    No, not all prime numbers are odd. They almost all are since even numbers generally cannot be prime (“2″ is the exception). Starting with 4, the even numbers are 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, etc… All of these numbers are divisible by 1 and itself…BUT they are also divisible by 2 since by definition an even number is divisible by 2.

    So if the factors for even numbers are:
    1, 2, itself….we already know that number violates the prime number rule of ONLY “1 + itself” as divisors.

    Example:
    4: Factors are 1, 2, itself
    8: Factors are 1, 2, itself, and others
    24: Factors are 1, 2, itself, and others

    Is “2″ a prime number?

    2 is the only exception to even numbers NOT being a prime number.
    Because “2″ in fact IS a prime number. It is divisible by 1 and itself.

    The problem with other even numbers greater than 2 is that the factors are 1, 2, and itself. They cannot be prime.
    But 2 is prime because its factors are 1 and itself. Here, the value of “itself” happens to be the same as 2. But for the rule of being divisible by 1 and itself, this rule is satisfied and thus 2 IS a prime number.

    Is “1″ a prime number?

    1 is NOT a prime a number. If you ask yourself whether it passes the rule, is 1 divisible by 1 and itself?
    If you answer the question individually, the answer to each of those questions is YES.

    However, the question should not be answered individually, but rather collectively. This means that the answer to “itself” only counts if it is a value different from “1″.

    So is 1 divisible by “1″ and “itself” — the latter being a value different from the former value?

    The answer is NO.

    1 only satisfies the first statement, not the second one there.

    1 is NOT a prime number.


    Tricky Prime Numbers – from 50 -100

    Knowing the definition to prime numbers is pretty basic, but the GMAT still manages to trip students up in different ways. For large numbers, it’s difficult to tell whether a number is prime as some numbers might look prime, but actually aren’t.

    Example: 51

    51 actually is NOT prime. It may look like nothing divides into it, but actually it’s factors are 1, 3, 17, 51.

    Example: 91

    91 actually is NOT prime. You may think that the multiples of 3 go to 90 and then 93. It skips 91 so 91 must be prime. But hey, if you build out the factor tree, notice that it’s factors are 1, 7, 13, 91.

    So when it comes to large prime numbers, just be very careful!


    Prime Number Examples

    How many prime numbers are there between 50-70?

    Well, even numbers are not prime numbers. So let’s list out the odd:
    51, 53, 55, 57, 59, 61, 63, 65, 67, 69

    Now let’s remove the ones that are multiples of 5: (55, 65)
    51, 53, 57, 59, 61, 63, 67, 69

    And then remove the ones that are multiples of 3: (51, 57, 63, 69)

    53, 59, 61, 67

    Test out multiples of 7? 70, 63, 56. Looks like these numbers are not in our list.

    So after a few rounds, it looks like there are 4 prime numbers remaining. There are 4 prime numbers in that original list of numbers between 50 and 70.


    Prime Numbers Example 1
    B is a prime number. If 6b is between 15 and 95, which of the following can be a value of 7b + 2?

    A) 13
    B) 77
    C) 125
    D) 93
    E) 19

    So the range of possible b that can satisfy 15 < 6b < 95 is:

    2.5 < b < ~16

    But we have another constraint. "b" is prime. So within this range, what are possible prime b values?

    b = 3, 5, 7, 11, 13

    Now, try a value for 7b + 2 using these prime numbers:

    3 => 7*3 + 2 = 23
    5 => 7*5 + 2 = 37
    7 => 7*7 + 2 = 51
    11 => 7*11 + 2 = 79
    13 => 7*13 + 2 = 93

    93 is the only one that satisfies the constraint for the range of 6b (6*13=78; this value is between 15 and 95). It also takes on a value for b that is prime (13). And it is the only possible value for 7b+2 in the list.

    Answer choice (D).


    Prime Numbers Example 2
    If n is equal to 11!, how many different prime factors greater
    than 1 does n have?

    (A) Four
    (B) Five
    (C) Six
    (D) Seven
    (E) Eight

    This question is asking you to find the prime factors in a large number. That large number is broken down into factors that are multiplied with each other:

    11! = 11 * 10 * 9 * 8 * 7 * 6 * 5 * 4 * 3 * 2 * 1

    “How many different prime factors greater than 1 does n have?”

    Ok, let’s break this question down.

    First, “how many different prime factors greater than 1…”

    think in your head about 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, etc….

    Then continue reading, “…does n have?”

    11! = 11 * 10 * 9 * 8 * 7 * 6 * 5 * 4 * 3 * 2 * 1

    What are the factors? Which of them are both greater than 1 and are prime?

    Well, these would be 2, 3, 5, 7, 11

    Total, there are 5 prime factors. The answer use be (B).

    Data Sufficiency Example

    Prime Numbers Example 3
    If the sum of the digits of b are not divisible by 7, What is the value of the integer b?

    (1) b is a prime number.

    (2) 51 ≤ b ≤ 65

    If we only look at (1), b can have many different values. Valid values for “b” are 2, 3, 5, 7, 11. Using this, if we answer the question “what is the value of b?” – well, we have multiple answers. When our answer is NOT DEFINITIVE, we have insufficient information to give a definitive answer.

    So (1) is not sufficient.

    (2) Same idea here. b has multiple values here and we get multiple answers to our question. Not sufficient.

    (1+2) Overlap of prime numbers between 51 and 65. OK, so here the prime numbers are 53, 59, 61.

    Now we have multiple values here, but we still didn’t account for the extra constraint inserted at the beginning of the question stem. The sum of the digits of b must be divisible by 7.

    So let’s check each of the values for b and see which ones pass the test.

    53 => 5+3 = 8; not divisible by 7
    59 => 5+9 = 14; YES divisible by 7
    61 => 6+1 = 7; YES divisible by 7

    So the only valid value for b is then b=53. So we see that together 1+2 provide sufficient information to answer the question. (C) is the answer.


    Prime Numbers Example 4
    Does the integer n have at least three different positive prime factors?

    (1) n/6 is an integer.
    (2) n/14 is an integer.

    Step 1: Think of positive prime factors in your head. {2, 3, 5, …} We are looking for these primes to be factors in some number n.

    Step 2: Rewrite constraints (1) and (2)

    (1) n = 6 * k
    = 2 * 3 * k
    Factors are 2, 3, and something else.

    (2) n = 14 * k
    = 2 * 7 * k
    Factors are 2, 7, and something else.

    The problem in 1 is that the 3 factors are “2, 3 and something else”. “Something else” could just be 1 – which is not a prime factor. If k=1, then the value of n is just n = 6, in which case there are only two prime factors: 2 and 3. We don’t necessarily know that there is a 3rd factor that is prime.

    We may have n = 2 * 3 * 1 = 6 2 different prime factors
    n = 2 * 3 * 2 = 12 2 different prime factors
    n = 2 * 3 * 3 = 18 2 different prime factors
    n = 2 * 3 * 5 = 30 3 different prime factors
    n = 2 * 3 * 6 = 36 2 different prime factors

    So we can see that we don’t necessarily have 3 different prime factors when looking at constraint (1).

    Constraint (2) has the same problem.

    We know that 2 and 7 are definitely factors for n, but that the third factor could be some number that is not prime (ie 1 or 4).

    We may have n = 2 * 7 * 1 = 14 2 different prime factors
    n = 2 * 7 * 2 = 28 2 different prime factors
    n = 2 * 7 * 3 = 42 3 different prime factors
    n = 2 * 7 * 4 = 56 2 different prime factors
    n = 2 * 7 * 5 = 70 3 different prime factors

    We don’t necessarily have 3 different prime factors when considering constraint (2).

    Now consider combining constraints (1) + (2)

    (1+2) n = 6 * k1 AND n = 14 * k1
    Factors must include all the factors of the two above. If divisible by both 6 and 14, the number should be divisible by 2, 3, AND 7. Potentially others as well but at least these numbers are factors. The question is asking whether there are at least 3 different positive prime factors. Yes, here there are at least 3.

    n = 2 * 7 * 3 * k

    Regardless of the value of k, n has at least 3 different prime numbers as factors so (1+2) is sufficient.

    The answer is (C).

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