Using Strategy on the GMAT to Improve your Score

When a GMAT student asks me, “What can I do to get better scores?” usually the first thing I ask is, “What is your current strategy?” Most of the time, I get a pretty vague response. Reading about strategy is the OG, on the BTG forum, or in a GMAT book is NOT the same as actually having a solid strategy. The word “strategy” may sound fuzzy, but all it means is a simple step-by-step approach for each unique question type.

Not only do you have to choose a strategy that works for you, but you have to implement it every time, practicing enough so that is becomes second-hand. Ballet dancers practice a pirouette millions of times, so that when they perform onstage they don’t have to think about it. You want to do the same thing for GMAT.

Before you sit down to take your next diagnostic on GMATPrep, quickly review this strategy cheat sheet (or make one of your own). These methods may not necessarily work for you, but you’ll only learn what does through trial and error. For more in-depth discussion on each of these strategies, search my other posts.

Verbal

Reading Comprehension –

1. Break down the passage. 2. Rephrase the question. 3. Predict an answer. 4. Eliminate.

Critical Reasoning –

1. Identify the Conclusion, Evidence & Assumptions. 2. Rephrase the question. 3. Predict and answer.

Sentence Correction –

1. Spot the primary error. 2. Eliminate answer choices that do not fix. 3. Look for secondary errors and eliminate.

Quant

Problem Solving –

1. Write down the given information. 2. Scan the answer choices. 3. Look for ways to pick numbers or plug in. 4. Recall relevant formulas. 5. Solve.

Data Sufficiency –

1. Identify the type of DS. 2. Determine what is needed for sufficiency. 3. Evaluate statements independently. 4. Combine if needed.

GMAT Critical Reasoning Question of the Day!

This Complete the Passage comes to you from the Official Guide!

Which of the following most logically completes the argument given below:

The irradiation of food kills bacteria and thus retards spoilage. However, it also lowers the nutritional value of many foods. For example, irradiation destroys a significant percentage of whatever vitamin B1 a food may contain. Proponents of irradiation is no worse in this respect than cooking. However, this fact is either beside the point, or else misleading, since ________________.

(A) many of the proponents of irradiation are food distributors who gain from foods’ having a longer shelf life
(B) it is clear that killing bacteria that may be present on food is not the only effect that irradiation has
(C) cooking is usually the final step in preparing food for consumption, whereas irradiation serves to ensure a longer shelf life for perishable food
(D) certain kinds f cooking are, in fact, even more destructive of vitamin B1 than carefully controlled irradiation is
(E) for food that is both irradiated and cooked, the reduction of vitamin B1 associated with either process individually is compounded

Here’s how we can break this passage down:

Irradiation = less spoilage, but less nutrition
Irradiation destroys vitamins (but no worse than cooking)

The “no worse than cooking” argument is misleading BECAUSE…we need something that continues to show that irradiation IS worse than cooking (“misleading”), or something that shows the comparison is not valid (“beside the point”).

A – doesn’t relate to cooking
B – doesn’t relate to cooking
C – about cooking
D – about cooking
E – about cooking

It comes down to C, D, and E. So how are they different? C shows 1 fact about cooking and 1 pro for irradiation. D shows cooking can be worse than irradiation, which is the OPPOSITE of what we want. (E) shows the comparison is not valid b/c the argument doesn’t take into account that combining the processes may be worse.