Read an Excerpt
Congratulations to you who have graduated or are about to graduate college! You are about to begin another great adventure. Before the journey starts, you must take the GMAT. This book is designed for you to maximize your score on the quantitative section, the math.
This book teaches you the skills you need for the GMAT, some of which you may have forgotten. It then gives numerous problems that are typical of this test. I wrote this book in a way so that you will enjoy it and to help relieve some of your anxiety about the test.
The propaganda about the GMAT says that the test attempts to find out your knowledge of business, your job and interpersonal skills at the beginning of your undergraduate work, and subjective skills such as motivation and creativity. This, of course, refers to the English sections as well as the math sections. The math skills that are required are no more than those learned in Algebra II. An interesting twist is that you cannot use scratch paper to work out answers.
The following items are not permitted: notes, scratch paper (again), calculators or watch calculators, stop watches or watch alarms, personal data assistants (PDAs), telephones or cells, beepers or pages, photographic devices, stereos, radios or TVs, any other electronic aid that could help you, books or pamphlets, dictionaries, translators or thesauri, pens or any other writing devices, rulers or any other measuring devices. It other words, you are taking the test on computer by yourself.
Because of these conditions, you must memorize the formulas that you will use for this test. In addition, you must do all the arithmetic in your head. This isn’t quite as scary as it sounds. Because you have to do everything in your head, the algebraic manipulations are not too complicated. Complicated arithmetic is not on this test. This book will show you ways to minimize how much arithmetic you need or, in some cases, eliminate it completely. However the test will require that you understand the material. You do have to be creative in coming up with some of the solutionsthinking “outside the box.” This test really appeals to me because I love puzzles.
There are two kinds of questions on the GMAT. The first is the same kind of questions you took on the SAT. There is a problem to solve with five answer choices. The second kind of question is new: data sufficiency. Chapter 15 discusses this kind of question in detail (you can peek if you want to see more now). Briefly, the problems ask whether there is sufficient information given to solve a problem. In virtually all of the examples, you solve nothing; but you do have to know the facts of the question. This is a very important skill in the real world. It is tremendously important to know when you have enough information to solve a problem or whether you need more.
The GMAT is now a computer-adaptive test (CAT), given in English. The math section gives 75 minutes for 37 questions, approximately two minutes a question. You are given a question of moderate difficulty. When you know the answer, enter it. If your answer is correct, you will be given a harder question. Otherwise, you will be given an easier one. BE CAREFUL TO CHOOSE THE ANSWER YOU THINK IS CORRECT. It would be awful to get a lower score than you deserve only because you hit the wrong key!
You must pace yourself, since failure to finish the 37 questions will result in a significantly lower score. If there is a question you absolutely don’t know, you must guess. If wrong, the next question will be easier. If you answer it correctly, you will return to a similar level of difficulty. Getting those correct will result it harder questions.
By the end of the test, the computer closes in on a score that best approximates your ability. You will probably take the GMAT in a room with many other people. However, the GMAT has a vast resource of questions. The people to your left and right will be taking different questions to arrive at their scores.
You must focus on your goal: it is to get a score that will get you into the MBA program of your choice. However, please keep in mind the following: When you get your MBA, the degree itself only gets your first job and first salary. If you go to a more prestigious school, your beginning salary of your first job will be higher, and so will be their expectations of you. Once you get your first job, what counts is your ability to do your job well! As I said, I really like GMAT questions. In fact, I like all kinds of puzzles, both mathematical and word. To me the GMAT is a game. When you win, you win the graduate school of your choice.