An Introduction to the GMAT

• What is the GMAT and how is it used?
• What does the test involve?
• How can you best prepare?
Part One
What is the GMAT and how is it used?
The basics
• What GMAT means
• How the GMAT may be used
– by schools
• one of several metrics
• test of character
– by you
• application
• CV
• learning
Part Two
What does the test involve?
Test overview
Essay (AWA) ~ 30 minutes
Integrated Reasoning ~ 30 minutes
8 minute break
Quant ~ 75 minutes
8 minute break
Verbal ~ 75 minutes
The less important bits 1
• Analytical Writing Assessment
– importance
– how to ace it
• template
• keep it simple
• be clear & concise
– preparation
• planning
– timing
• plan, write, review
The less important bits 2
• Integrated Reasoning
– importance
1. according to GMAC
2. according to schools & tutors
– preparation
• question types
• synthesising information
– timing
– all multiple choice
The less important bits 3
• Do
– stay calm ~ you know what to expect
– keep it simple (AWA)
– do what you can (IR)
• Don’t
– take them too seriously
– show off (AWA)
– worry about getting everything right (IR)
Your mission in the first hour is…
Be fresh and focused
Quant and Verbal!
Quant overview
• 37 questions
– almost exactly 2 mins per question
made up of…
• 22 Problem Solving (normal Maths)
• 15 Data Sufficiency
– same theory, different format
Verbal overview
• 41 questions
– a little less than 2 mins per question
• Sentence Correction
– correcting grammar and style
• Critical Reasoning
– a question about an argument
• Reading Comprehension
– what it sounds like
• In both sections, question types are
mixed up
• All questions are multiple choice (A-E)
Problem Solving 1
The two big areas of theory are..
Number Properties
Problem Solving 2
Other reasonably important areas are..
Fractions & Percentages
Powers & Roots
Rate & Ratio
Problem Solving 3
And finally, don’t worry too much about..
Venn diagrams
Coordinate geometry
Data Sufficiency 1
• Requires same theory as Problem
• You are asked a question
• You are given statements (1) and (2)
• You decide whether the statements give
sufficient information to answer the
There are two types of questions…
Data Sufficiency 2
“What is the value?” questions
What is the value of x + y?
(1) x = 3 and y = 5
(2) a = 2 and b = 1
We can answer with (1) but not with (2)
Data Sufficiency 3
A similar example
What is the value of x + y?
(1) x = 7
(2) y = 11
We need both statements together to
answer the question; one statement on its
own is not enough
Data Sufficiency 4
Yes / No questions
Is x a prime number?
(1) 6 < x < 8
(2) x has two factors
Got an answer?
Data Sufficiency 5
Either statement on its own is sufficient
to know that the answer is Yes
If a statement (or statements) is
sufficient to give a definite answer of
NO, that’s ok too
Sentence Correction 1
Theory required:
Rules of (old-fashioned, formal, written)
English grammar
An understanding of (good) style in
written English
Sentence Correction 2
• You are given a sentence, some or all of
which is underlined
• You must replace the underlined portion
with one of five options
• Answer choice A is always the same, i.e.
the sentence is correct as it stands
Critical Reasoning 1
• You are given an argument. Arguments
may contain the following:
– Premise (fact)
– Assumption
– Conclusion (opinion)
• You get a question on that argument
– multiple choice answers
Critical Reasoning 2
Sample questions:
• What would strengthen/weaken the
• On what assumption is the argument
• What would help us to better evaluate
the argument?
Reading Comprehension 1
• You are given a passage of ~350 words
• Any topic ~ no outside knowledge
• You answer 3 (or sometimes 4) multiple
choice questions
Reading Comprehension 2
Sample questions:
• What is the primary purpose of this
• The author would most likely agree with
which of the following statements?
• Theory A differs from Theory B on
which of the following points?
Part Three
How can you best prepare?
What To Do 1
Quant first steps
• Learn the theory
• Use a Maths book
• Do one topic at a time
• Practise processes until they become
What To Do 2
OG questions
• Start with the lower-numbered
questions in each section as they’re
easier (supposedly)
• Work out what you don’t know, or can’t
do, and then fix it
How To Do It 1
When you sit down to study,
Never an amount of questions
Never a set time
By the end of this session…
What do I want to have achieved?
I want to be better at….. what?
How To Do It 2
When going through the OG,
1. Test conditions
2. Long as you like
3. Review (later)
How To Do It 3
(especially when you’re tired after work ~
save new questions for when you’re
Fixing it 1
I didn’t know what to do =(
• Look for clues
– Keywords
– Answer choices
• Compare similar questions
Fixing it 2
It took too long =(
• Practise processes
• Learn to read questions (clues / similar
• Find shortcuts
• Just get the answer however you can!
Fixing it 3
I don’t understand this topic very well =(
Go back to basics
Work on one topic at a time
Practise until you do understand
Ask for help
Fixing it 4
I made a silly mistake =(
• Work out why
– copying error
– going too quickly
– messy working
– misread the question
• Always re-read the question!
Top tips 1
Have a timing strategy
• Time as an investment ~ ROI
• Faster and slower ~ what difference
does it make?
Top tips 2
Use the answer choices
• Issues
• Similarities and differences
• Clues, common elements
Top tips 3
Learn to eliminate wrong answers
Problem Solving skills
Multiplication and division
Prime factorisation
Identifying number properties
Deriving algebraic equations
Solving algebraic equations
Applying formulae
• Reading the question
Data Sufficiency skills
• Being methodical
• Finding a method that works for you
Sentence Correction skills
• Applying rules of grammar
• Spotting small differences
• Developing an instinct for the sound of
a sentence
• Giving reasons why things that sound
wrong are wrong
Critical Reasoning skills
• Simplifying an argument
– line of reasoning
• Identifying premises, assumptions,
conclusions, inferences etc.
• Knowing what is ‘outside the scope’
• Clarifying the two sides of an argument
– double negatives
Reading Comprehension skills
• Speed reading
• Summarising
• Mind-mapping or other note-taking
– descriptive vs argumentative
• Identifying keywords
• Recognising synonyms
GCSE level Maths book
The Official Guide to GMAT Review
A book on English grammar and style free software
Other online resources
More fun ways to prepare
Spot the difference
Card games
Old newspaper reports
Numbers in everyday life
Deliberate mistake 1
Is x a prime number?
(2) x has two factors
Statement (2) is the definition of a prime
number, therefore statement (2) is
Deliberate mistake 2
Is x a prime number?
(1) 6 < x < 8
x does not have to be an integer,
therefore statement (1) is NOT
Area 51
This is slide #51
What are the properties of 51?
Slide 52
51 = 3 x 17 (it has no other properties, so
if 51 appears in a question it’s probably
because it divides by 17)
And 52?
52 = 2 x 26
52 = 4 x 13 (4 suits of 13 cards)
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