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ContenMapping Your Strategy
A Special Note for International Students

Part One: The GMAT CAT Chapter 1: Introduction to the GMAT CAT
Chapter 2: Verbal Section Overview
Chapter 3: Critical Reasoning
Chapter 4: Sentence Correction
Chapter 5: Reading Comprehension
Chapter 6: Quantitative Section Overview
Chapter 7: Problem Solving
Chapter 8: Data Sufficiency
Chapter 9: Word Problems
Chapter 10: GMAT CAT Math Reference
Chapter 11: Analytical Writing Assessment

Part Two: Taking Control of the Test Chapter 12: Test Mentality
Chapter 13: Tips for the Final Week
Chapter 14: The Kaplan Advantage Stress Management System

Part Three: The Practice Test The Practice Test for the GMAT
Practice Test Answers
Compute Your Score

Part Four: Practice Test Explanations Quantitative Section Explanations
Verbal Section Explanations

Part Five: Getting Into Business School Chapter 15: Where to Apply
Chapter 16: When to Apply
Chapter 17: How to Apply

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684870083
  • Publisher: Kaplan Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/1/2000
  • Series: Kaplan GMAT CAT Ser.
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 8.33 (w) x 10.86 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Mapping Your Strategy vii
A Special Note for International Students ix
Part 1 The GMAT CAT
Chapter 1 Introduction to the GMAT CAT 3
Chapter 2 Verbal Section Overview 15
Chapter 3 Critical Reasoning 19
Chapter 4 Sentence Correction 53
Chapter 5 Reading Comprehension 85
Chapter 6 Quantitative Section Overview 109
Chapter 7 Problem Solving 113
Chapter 8 Data Sufficiency 137
Chapter 9 Word Problems 173
Chapter 10 GMAT CAT Math Reference 189
Chapter 11 Analytical Writing Assessment 207
Part 2 Taking Control of the Test
Chapter 12 Test Mentality 223
Chapter 13 Tips for the Final Week 227
Chapter 14 The Kaplan Advantage Stress Management System 231
Part 3 The Practice Test
The Practice Test for the GMAT 245
Practice Test Answers 286
Compute Your Score 287
Part 4 Practice Test Explanations
Quantitative Section Explanations 293
Verbal Section Explanations 308
Part 5 Getting Into Business School
Chapter 15 Where to Apply 327
Chapter 16 When to Apply 337
Chapter 17 How to Apply 339
Read More Show Less

First Chapter

CHAPTER 1 -- INTRODUCTION TO THE GMAT CAT Let's start with the basics: The GMAT CAT is, among other things, an endurance test. The GMAT CAT consists of 150 minutes of multiple-choice testing, plus two 30-minute Analytical Writing Assessment sections. Add in the administrative details, plus two 5-minute breaks, and you can count on being in the test center for about four hours.

It's a grueling experience, to say the least. And if you can't approach it with confidence and rigor, you'll quickly lose your composure. That's why it's so important that you take control of the test, just as you take control of the rest of your application process.

What's on the GMAT CAT?

The GMAT CAT begins with two Analytical Writing Assessment sections. For each of these sections, you have 30 minutes to type an essay into the computer using a simple word-processing program.

After the essay sections, there are two 75-minute multiple-choice sections -- one Quantitative and one Verbal. The Quantitative section contains 37 math questions in two formats: Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency, which are mixed together throughout the section. The Verbal section contains 41 questions in three formats: Reading Comprehension, Sentence Correction, and Critical Reasoning, which are also mixed throughout the section. Within each section, question types appear in random order, so you never know what's coming next.

On the following page, we'll show you how the sections break down. Some important things to note:

  • You'll get a five-minute break after the second essay section and another break between the two multiple-choice sections.
  • So-called experimental questions will be scattered through the test. They will look just like the other multiple-choice questions, but won't contribute to your score.

We'll talk more about each of the question types in later chapters. The big thing to take note of right now: You'll be answering roughly 78 multiple-choice questions in two and a half hours. That's just a little less than two minutes for each question, not counting the time required to read passages. Clearly, you're going to have to move fast. But you can't let yourself get careless. Taking control of the GMAT means increasing the speed of your work without sacrificing accuracy!

Your GMAT CAT Scores

You'll receive four scores for the GMAT CAT:

  • Overall scaled score, ranging from 200 to 800
  • Quantitative scaled subscore, ranging from 0 to 60
  • Verbal scaled subscore, ranging from 0 to 60
  • Analytical Writing Assessment score, ranging from 0 to 6
Because the test is graded on a preset curve, the scaled score will correspond to a certain percentile, which will also be given on your score report. An overall score of 590, for instance, corresponds to the 80th percentile, meaning that 80 percent of test takers scored at or below this level. The percentile figure is important because it allows admissions officers at business schools to quickly get a sense of where you fall in the pool of applicants.

Percentile -- Approximate Score (Range 200­800)
99th percentile -- 720
95th percentile -- 670
90th percentile -- 630
80th percentile -- 590
75th percentile -- 570
50th percentile -- 500

Although many factors play a role in admissions decisions, the GMAT score is usually an important one. And, generally speaking, being average just won't cut it. Although the median GMAT score is somewhere around 500, you need a score of at least 600 to be considered competitive by the top B-schools. According to the latest Kaplan/Newsweek careers guide, the average GMAT scores of the best business schools in the country -- such as Stanford, Sloan (MIT), Kellogg (Northwestern), and Wharton (Penn) -- are above 650. That translates to a percentile figure of 92 and up!

CAT Scores Versus Paper-and-Pencil Scores

Some of you may be worried that B-school admissions officers will consider CAT and paper-and-pencil scores to be equal, even though these two test formats are so different. But in the end, there is little reason to believe that your score would be either much higher or lower on the CAT than it would have been on the paper-and-pencil test. ETS has pretested and "normed" the CAT to make sure that people score pretty much the same as they would on the traditional exam. Norming is a statistically valid process, and most people are well within the average statistical boundaries.

Fortunately, there are strategies that can give you an advantage on the CAT. You can learn to exploit the way that the CAT generates a score. We'll explain how in the next section.

How Does the CAT Format Work?

The CAT format takes some getting used to -- in fact, it's pretty weird at first. Here's how it works. You will see only one question at a time. Instead of having a predetermined mixture of basic, medium, and hard questions, the computer will select questions for you based on how well you are doing.

The first question will be of medium difficulty. If you get it right, the second question will be selected from a large pool of questions that are a little harder; if you get the first question wrong, the second will be a little more basic.

If you keep getting questions right, the test will get harder and harder; if you slip and make some mistakes, the test will adjust and start giving you easier problems, but if you answer them correctly, it will go back to the hard ones. Ideally, the test gives you enough questions to ensure that scores are not based on luck. If you get one hard question right, you might just have been lucky, but if you get ten hard questions right, then luck has little to do with it. So the test is self-adjusting and self-correcting.

Because of this format, the GMAT CAT is very different structurally from the paper-based test. After the first problem, every problem that you see is based on how you answered the prior problem. That means you cannot return to a question once you've answered it, because that would throw off the sequence. Once you answer a question, it's part of your score, for better or worse. That means you can't skip around within a section and do questions in the order that you like.

Another major consequence of the CAT format is that hard problems count more than easy ones. It has to be this way, because the very purpose of this adaptive format is to find out at what level you reliably get about half the questions right; that's your scoring level.

Imagine two students -- one who does ten basic questions, half of which she gets right and half of which she gets wrong, and one who does ten very difficult questions, half of which she gets right and half of which she gets wrong. The same number of questions have been answered correctly in each case, but this does not reflect an equal ability on the part of the two students.

In fact, the student who answered five out of ten very difficult questions incorrectly could still get a very high score on the GMAT CAT.

But in order to get to these hard questions, she first had to get medium-difficulty questions right.

What this means for you is that no matter how much more comfortable you might be sticking to the basic questions, you definitely want to get to the hard questions if you can, because that means your score will be higher.

Section Management Techniques

In the chapters that follow, we'll cover techniques for answering various types of questions that you can expect to see on the GMAT. But you'll also need strategies for managing a section as a whole. Here are some strategies for attacking a section of the GMAT CAT.

Be Systematic Because it's so important to get to the hard questions as early as possible, work systematically at the beginning of a GMAT CAT section. Use scratch paper to organize your thinking. If you eliminate choices, cross them off and guess intelligently. The first 10-15 questions of a section are crucial in determining your ability estimate, so invest the necessary time to try to answer these questions correctly. You must, however, leave enough time to mark an answer for every question in the section. You will be penalized for questions you don't reach.

Draw a Grid

If crossing off answer choices on paper tests really helps to clarify your thinking (using a process of elimination), you may want to consider making a grid on your scratch paper before you begin the CAT. Use it to mark off answer choices that you have eliminated, as shown below. That way you can tell at a glance which answer choices are still in the running. If you end up using it often, it'll be worth the 10 seconds it takes to draw a simple grid, like this one:

Pace Yourself

Of course, the last thing you want to happen is to have time called before you've done half the questions. It's essential, therefore, that you pace yourself, keeping in mind the general guidelines for how long to spend on any individual question or passage.

No one is saying that you should spend, for instance, exactly 90 seconds on every critical reasoning question. But you should have a sense of how long you have to do each question, so you know when you're exceeding the limit and should start to move faster. You'll develop this sense if you time yourself while working on practice GMAT questions.

Stop the Clock

The timer in the corner can work to your advantage, but if you find yourself looking at it so frequently that it becomes a distraction, you should turn it off for 10 or 15 minutes and try to refocus your attention on the test, even if you lose track of time somewhat. The CAT rewards focus and accuracy much more than it does speed.

We know that foregoing a possibly tough question is easier said than done; we all have the natural instinct to plow through test sections, answering every question as it appears. But it just doesn't pay off on the GMAT CAT. If you dig in your heels on a tough question, refusing to move on until you've cracked it, you're letting your test macho get in the way of your test score. Like life itself, a test section is too short to waste on lost causes.

Remain Calm

It's imperative that you remain calm and composed while working through a section. You can't allow yourself to be rattled by one hard question or reading comp passage to the degree that it throws off your performance on the rest of the Verbal section. Expect to find some difficult questions, but remember, you won't be the only one encountering difficult problems. The test is designed to challenge everyone who takes it. Having trouble with a difficult question isn't going to ruin your score, but getting upset about it and letting it throw you off track will. When you understand that part of the test maker's goal is to reward those who keep their composure, you'll recognize the importance of not panicking when you run into challenging material.

Analytical Writing Assessment -- CAT Style

The GMAT CAT begins with two 30-minute essay topics. You not only have to analyze the given topic and plan your attack, but you must also type your essays into a simple word processing program. If you aren't comfortable with complex word processing programs, don't worry. The only commands you'll use are cut, paste, and undo. There's nothing fancy here, not even a spell-check. If you're worried about having to type your essays, you should spend some time practicing typing and getting comfortable with a keyboard between now and the day of the test. A slow typing speed could lower your score.

Your essays will be graded by a human grader as well as a computerized essay grader, called the e-rater. But don't be thrown by this high-tech twist. The e-rater was designed to make the same judgments that a good human grader would make. Even though you don't have to reinvent your writing style to suit the e-rater, there are some steps you can take to improve your chances of getting a good score for the e-rater.

  • Good organization always counted, and now it's more important than ever. Outline your essay before you begin to write.
  • Keep in mind that the length of your essay is not a factor; the computer doesn't count the number of words in your response.
  • Use transitional phrases like first, therefore, because, and, for example so that the computer can recognize the structured argument your essay contains.
  • Avoid spelling and grammar errors. Although the e-rater doesn't grade spelling per se, if it can't tell what word you were trying to use or thinks you used the wrong words, it could give you a lower score.

Strategically, assuming your typing skills are adequate, you don't have to do much of anything differently on the CAT than you would when writing an essay on paper. You can write an outline on your scratch paper. You should spend about five minutes developing, 20 minutes composing, and the last five minutes proofreading each essay. For more tips on dealing with the CAT AWA, take a look at chapter 11.

Navigating the CAT: Computer Basics

Let's preview the primary computer functions that you will use to move around on the CAT. ETS calls them "testing tools," but they're basically just boxes that you can click with your mouse. The screen on the following page is typical for an adaptive test.

Here's what the various buttons do.

The Time Button Clicking on this button turns the time display at the top of the screen on and off. When you have five minutes left in a section, the clock flashes and the display changes from Hours/Minutes to Hours/Minutes/Seconds.

The Exit Button This allows you to exit the section before the time is up. If you budget your time wisely you should never have to use this button‹time will run out just as you are finishing the section.

The Help Button This one leads to directions and other stuff from the tutorial. You should know all this already, and besides, the test clock won't pause just because you click on Help.

The Quit Button Hitting this button ends the test.

The Next Button Hit this when you want to move on to the next question. After you press Next, you must hit Confirm.

The Confirm Button This button tells the computer you are happy with your answer and are really ready to move to the next question. You cannot proceed until you have hit this button.

The Scroll Bar Similar to the scroll bar on a windows-style computer display, the scroll bar is a thin, vertical column with up and down arrows at the top and bottom. Clicking on the arrows moves you up or down the page you're reading.

Pros and Cons of the GMAT CAT

There are both good and annoying things about the GMAT CAT. The following are a few things you should be thankful for/watch out for as you prepare to try your luck on the test.

Eight Good Things about the CAT

  • There is a little timer at the top of the computer screen to help you pace yourself (you can hide it if it distracts you).
  • There will be only a few other test takers in the room with you -- it won't be like taking it in one of those massive lecture halls with distractions everywhere.
  • You get a pause of five minutes between each section. The pause is optional, but you should always use it to relax and stretch.
  • You can sign up for the CAT two days before the test, and registration is very easy.
  • The CAT is much more convenient for your schedule than the pencil-and-paper exam was. It's offered at more than 175 centers three to six days a week (depending on the center) all year long.
  • The CAT gives you more time to spend on each question than you got on the paper-based test.
  • You can see your scores before you decide which schools you want to send them to.
  • Perhaps the CAT's best feature is that it gives you your scores immediately and will send them to schools just 10 to 15 days later.

Seven Annoying Things about the CAT

  • You cannot skip around on this test; you must answer the questions one at a time in the order the computer gives them to you.
  • If you realize later that you answered a question incorrectly, you can't go back and change your answer.
  • If the person next to you is noisy or distracting, the proctor cannot move you or the person, since your test is on the computer.
  • You can't cross off an answer choice and never look at it again, so you have to be disciplined about not reconsidering choices you've already eliminated.
  • You have to scroll through reading comprehension passages, which means you won't be able to see the whole thing on the screen at once.
  • You can't write on your computer screen the way you can on the paper test (though some have tried), so you have to use scratch paper they give you, which will be inconveniently located away from the computer screen.
  • Lastly, many people find that computer screens tire them and cause eyestrain -- especially after four hours.

The following chapters of this book provide an overview of the different sections you'll encounter on the GMAT CAT exam. But before you move on to them, take note of the GMAT CAT Registration Checklist opposite. This checklist will serve as a useful resource for you when it's time to sign up for the test.

Copyright © 2000 by Kaplan Educational Centers

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2001

    Good book. Very good results

    It was just the book I needed to pass the GMAT exam. It has all the topics and good questions (so similar to those of the exam). I recommend it, but I give a piece of advice: take your time to practice.

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