This seemingly innocuous question tends to create as much anxiety as in any other aspect of the admissions process. This commonly stems from overthinking by the applicant but also a lack of overall comfort with this type of interview. For most candidates they have also not interviewed in some time, which can make the whole process daunting.

Now when it comes to dressing for success, treat the MBA interview as you would a traditional job interview, which for men involves a traditional suit. Keep it simple guys and wear basic colored suits and simple collared white or blue dress shirts. You can get a little more creative with your ties, but your choice of dress should not be something that even registers for your interviewer.

Now for women the same rules apply. Treat your MBA interview as if you were interviewing for a job. Interview day is not the time to take any risks; keep it simple and let the quality of your background and how you communicate it speak for itself.

Increasingly, MBA programs are evolving their interview practices. Programs like Kellogg and the Yale School of Management have incorporated virtual interviews and essays into their application process. You should treat dressing for these virtual sessions a bit different. For the remote virtual interviews, same rules apply; well at least for the upper half of your body. You want to dress business professional.

However for the video essays, that have become increasingly popular, business casual is more appropriate. Defer to the specific directions if provided but if not keep it neat and clean with your choice of clothing. For men, collared shirts or polo shirts with no jacket are acceptable. For women, aim for neat and clean with appropriate dresses, shirts and blouses. Same rules as the men, your wardrobe should not be a distraction, thus keeping the focus on the content of what you are communicating.

A common rule of thumb is over dressing is better than under dressing, but if you can follow some of the guidance above, you will be dressed for success and in the perfect position to make the most of your interview opportunity.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

*Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more of his articles here. *

Some students will have done well, but feel they can do better on a certain section or feel with more time and preparation they can get a substantially better overall score. Others feel like they didn’t put enough time in and are nervous about the time commitment the SAT takes, but still feel that they should take it again. There a ton of different scenarios for students in terms of thinking about whether they should retake it or not, and here are some important factors to consider.

**Can you do a lot better on one specific section? **Most schools, large public universities non-withstanding, take super scores. This means that they will look at your best score on individual sections, even if they happened on different test dates. So, your score is enhanced if you did particularly well on math and reading in May and then focused on writing for the October test. This is one of the tricks that allows your score that is reported to college exceed your abilities for any one single test. It is a huge hack on the SAT, and if you are in a position to bring up one section it is highly recommended to take full advantage of the opportunity.

**Did you not put forth a full effort? **The SAT isn’t like school. During a normal class you have periodic quizzes that matter to your final grade, so you are extrinsically motivated to prepare. For the SAT, the only score that matters is on the day of the test. Up until that point, students can convince themselves and rationalize that they will work harder the next week and on the next practice test. Unfortunately, some students will perpetually procrastinate until the day of the test when they ultimately receive a lackluster score. This happens to a lot of students so don’t feel bad if you are in this group. Instead, you should get ready for the next test and use the score as motivation to constantly improve and work harder to make sure the next test is reflective of your true abilities.

**Were the test day intangibles off? ** Even if you prepped fully, there are those students who slept poorly, felt under the weather, or had a small desk. There are a host of reasons that could lead to a sub-optimal performance on the day of the test, and some students may feel like they tried their best and don’t want to take the test again. If something like this happened to you, it is highly recommended to retake the test. Testing conditions on average are pretty good, so the chances are high that the next time you take the SAT, you won’t deal with outside issues and achieve a score reflective of your ability.

There are many more reasons to take the test again, but here are three of the most prominent. Best of luck with your further preparations for the test!

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

*Jake Davidson** is a Mork Family Scholar at USC and enjoys writing for the school paper as well as participating in various clubs. He has been tutoring privately since the age of 15 and is incredibly excited to help students succeed on the SAT.*

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Once in a long while, Urban Dictionary is right—and this is one of those times. After college applications have been submitted, seniors often feel little incentive to continue trying hard in high school. Why care about high school classes, if college classes will be more interesting and informative? Why do homework, if your GPA has already been submitted with your applications? Why pay attention in class, when you can daydream about how cool college will be in just a few months?

Here are a few good reasons to resist the temptation, and a few tips on how to keep your head in the game.

**Know that your senior year grades still count.**Colleges can, and do, ask for your senior year grades even after they’ve seen your college application, and sometimes even after you’ve received an acceptance letter. Often, that acceptance letter is conditional on your maintaining your grades through to graduation. Once in a while a college will even retract your acceptance if you haven’t done so. Your grades still matter, even if you don’t feel like they do.

**Know that good performance in your senior year classes can still offer advantages in college.**High AP scores and strong math and English grades can often help you skip prerequisite classes or qualify for advanced classes. Honing your basic academic skills will help you enter college more prepared for more rigorous work. It’s more tempting to slack off in your hard classes than in your easy ones; remember that your harder classes may be the ones you stand to gain most from.

**Know your course schedule for Fall.**To see how much your senior year high school courses might help you in college, check your college’s online course catalogs and read about the courses you plan to take. Knowing exactly what you can gain from staying focused in senior year can help motivate you to power through these last few months.

**Recognize that your free time will be much more enjoyable after you’ve finished your work.**It’s much easier to relax when there aren’t English essays floating around in the back of your mind, even if you think you’re really good at ignoring them.

**Make a schedule and stick to it.**This is an old-fashioned, often repeated study tip, but for good reason: done right, it*works*!

**Make time to slack off.**Senioritis is famous because it’s real, pervasive, and occasionally unavoidable. Don’t give in completely to it, but do recognize that you probably*do*deserve some free time, especially after finishing all your college applications. Feel free to kick back once in a while to daydream about your next four years—but when you’re done, sit back up, grab your pen, and churn through that math assignment. Your future college self will thank you.

*Senioritis got the best of you? Are you uncertain about your college application? We can help! Visit our College Admissions website and fill out our FREE College profile evaluation! *

*Courtney Tran is a student at **UC Berkeley**, studying Political Economy and Rhetoric. In high school, she was named a National Merit Finalist and National AP Scholar, and she represented her district two years in a row in Public Forum Debate at the National Forensics League National Tournament.*

Similarly, for all the dizzying content the GMAT requires you to internalize, the exam, more than anything else, is about pattern recognition. There are two ways we can improve at pattern recognition. The first, and most obvious, is that by doing many practice questions, our brains, like those of the aforementioned chess masters, will subconsciously absorb recurring patterns.

The second is to learn to recognize certain signposts and triggers that indicate what’s being tested. In Sentence Correction, for example, there are certain classic trigger words for parallel construction, such as “both,” “either/or,” and “not only/but also.” As soon as we see one of these constructions, we can immediately zero in on this part of the sentence and evaluate whether the items that follow the signpost are parallel to one another. If a phrase begins with “both in x,” for example, I know I want to see the parallel construction, “and in y,” in that same sentence. All of the other grammatical, stylistic, and logical considerations can temporarily be put aside. Once I’ve resolved this issue, if I’m left with more than one answer choice, I’ll look for other differences, but I’ll likely have narrowed my possibilities so much that the problem will be much less taxing than it would have been otherwise.

Take this Official Guide* problem, for example:

Many of the earliest known images of Hindu deities in India date from the time of the Kushan empire, fashioned either from the spotted sandstone of Mathura or Gandharan grey schist.

A) Empire, fashioned either from the spotted sandstone of Mathura or

B) Empire, fashioned from either the spotted sandstone of Mathura or from

C) Empire, either fashioned from the spotted sandstone of Mathura or

D) Empire and either fashioned from the spotted sandstone of Mathura or from

E) Empire and were fashioned either from the spotted sandstone of Mathura or from

The moment I see that “either” I’m focusing on this part of the sentence. Now watch how quickly I can eliminate incorrect options:

A) “either **from** spotted sandstone of Mathura or grey schist.” I want “either **from** x” or “**from**” I don’t have a second “from” here. A is out.

B) “either the spotted sandstone of Mathura or **from** grey schist.” See what they did here. Parallel construction begins when we see the parallel marker “either.” Now there is no “from” before the first item, but we do have it before the second one. “either x or from y” is not parallel. B is out.

C) “either **fashioned from** the spotted sandstone of Mathura or gray schist” Now we’re back to the original error of having “from x or y” rather than the desired “from x or from y.” C is out.

D) “either fashioned **from** the spotted sandstone of Mathura or from **grey**” A little better. We’d prefer “either **fashioned from** x or **fashioned from** y,” but at least we have the preposition “from” in front of both items. But now read that full first clause, “Many of the earliest known images of Hindu deities in India date from the time of the Kushan Empire and either fashioned from the spotted sandstone…” Well, that doesn’t make any sense. We’d want to say that the images *date* from the time of the Kushan Empire and *were fashioned* from the spotted sandstone. Without the verb “were,” the sentence is incoherent. Eliminiate D.

E) “either from the spotted sandstone of Mathura or from grey schist.” Now we see it. “either from x or from y.” We have our parallel construction. E is correct.

Let’s try another example*:

Thelonious Monk, who was a jazz pianist and composer, produced a body of work both rooted in the stride-piano tradition of Willie (The Lion) Smith and Duke Ellington, yet in many ways he stood apart from the mainstream jazz repertory.

A) Thelonious Monk, who was a jazz pianist and composer, produced a body of work both rooted

B) Thelonious Monk, the jazz pianist and composer, produced a body of work that was rooted both

C) Jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk, who produced a body of work rooted

D) Jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk produced a body of work that was rooted

E) Jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk produced a body of work rooted both

Again, we see one of the parallel trigger words. In this case, “both.” So the first thing I’ll do is examine the items that follow the parallel marker, “both **rooted in** the stride piano tradition.” If I begin a phrase with “rooted **in** x” I’ll want to follow that with “**in** y.” Notice that not only does the original sentence fail to do this, but the portion of the sentence we wish to change isn’t even underlined! Because we cannot produce a parallel construction here, we’ll need to eliminate the parallel marker “both” altogether. That means A, B, and E are all out. Now let’s evaluate C and D.

C) the clause, “who produced a body of work…” is set off by commas and functions as a modifier of Thelonious Monk. This means that the clause is incidental to the meaning of the sentence. But if we read the sentence without the modifier, we get, “Jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk, yet in many ways he stood apart from the mainstream jazz repertory.” Well, that doesn’t make any sense. “Yet” should connect two full clauses, but in this case, it connects the noun phrase, “Jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk” to the full clause, “in many ways he stood apart from the mainstream jazz repertory.” This is incoherent. Eliminate C.

That leaves us with D, which is our answer. Recognizing the pattern and focusing on parallel construction allowed us to ignore the rest of what was a fairly complex sentence.

Takeaways: The GMAT is less a test of memorization than it is an exercise in pattern recognition. There’s no getting around having to see many examples of questions to prime our brains to recognize these patterns on test day, but there are certain structural clues that provide insight into what a particular question is testing. If we internalize those structural clues, suddenly the patterns we’re tasked with recognizing become far more conspicuous.

*Official Guide questions courtesy of the Graduate Management Admissions Council.

Plan on taking the GMAT soon? We have GMAT prep courses starting all the time. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

*By David Goldstein, a Veritas Prep GMAT instructor based in Boston. You can find more articles by him here. *

There are a few documents that must be submitted to a college or university along with an official application. It’s a good idea for students to have a checklist to refer to as they move through the steps of applying for graduate school. Consider some of the materials that should be included with a student’s application.

**1. GRE Results**

The Graduate Record Examination, or the GRE, is a test that measures a student’s skills in writing, reading and math. Graduate school officials who are evaluating an application factor the results of a student’s GRE into their decision. It’s a wise idea for students to take the GRE about a year before applying to graduate school. The fee a student pays to take the GRE includes payment to have test results sent to four graduate schools. If a student wants to send test results to more than four graduate schools, he or she must pay an additional fee for that service. Students can get help preparing for the GRE from our talented team of instructors at Veritas Prep. We use first-rate study resources to provide students with test-taking tips and strategies. Our online courses teach students how to simplify problems in every section of the exam. Our knowledgeable team is proud to assist students as they work toward earning their best possible scores on the GRE.

**2. Locate Transcripts**

Another important document students must include with their graduate school application is a transcript. Most graduate schools want a student’s final transcript. In addition, there are many institutions that ask for a copy of a student’s undergraduate diploma. Students can get a copy of their final transcript from the office of the registrar at their university.

**3. Fill Out the Graduate School Application**

Of course, applying for graduate school also involves filling out a school’s official application. Most universities and colleges allow students to do this via their school’s website. A student must create an account in order to have access to a graduate school application. There is usually a fee for submitting an application to a graduate school, which can be paid online. It’s important for students to fill out every part of the application. If there is information missing on an application, a school may put it aside, creating a delay in the process.

**4. Ask for Recommendation Letters**

Students who want to know how to apply for graduate school must learn all about letters of recommendation. Many universities and colleges require students to include letters of recommendation with their application for graduate school. Letters of recommendation can be written by instructors, employers, volunteer project leaders, and mentors. These letters give graduate school officials insight into the academic skills and talents of an applicant. Also, they describe the motivations of a student as well as his or her personal strengths. These letters serve to paint a clearer picture of a student for graduate school officials. Students should check the specific requirements of the schools they are interested in to find out how many letters to submit. As a general rule, students should have at least three letters included with their application.

**5. Create a Statement of Purpose Letter**

A statement of purpose letter is also known as an application essay. This letter conveys the reasons why a student wants to earn a graduate degree in a certain field. It is also a student’s opportunity to express why he or she is an ideal candidate for the graduate school program. The application, transcripts, and letters of recommendation are all necessary, but they don’t give graduate school officials a good look at the actual person behind those documents. This essay should be well-organized and free of spelling and grammar errors. It’s helpful for students to practice writing this essay to make sure they include everything they want graduate school officials to know about them.

Students who want to know more about our GRE prep classes may contact our helpful staff via email or telephone. Our professional instructors at Veritas Prep want to play a part in helping students get into their preferred school to earn a graduate degree.

We have an online GRE course starting in July! And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

]]>That said, there is a set of questions in which we should think of these strategies. Number plugging is very useful when you have one or two variables in the options. Algebra can be time consuming in these cases because of equation manipulation required.

Similarly, some questions beg you to use the process of elimination. Their question stem goes something like ”which of the following options can be the value of x?”, “which of the following options cannot be the sum of a and b?” etc. These questions are framed like this because often they have multiple solutions. x could possibly take many different values but the options would have only one of them. So it makes sense to check which values x can take from the options. Let’s look at one such instance of a tricky question where process of elimination can be very useful.

Question:

A list of numbers has six positive integers. Three of those integers are known – 4, 5 and 24 and three of those are unknown – x, y and z. The three unknowns are known to be distinct. It is also known that the mean of the list is 10 and the median lies between 7 and 8 (exclusive).

Which of the following CANNOT be the value of any one of the unknowns?

(A) 13

(B) 12

(C) 11

(D) 10

(E) 5

Solution: The question gives us concrete information about mean – it is 10 – but not about median – it is between 7 and 8 (exclusive). What can we say about median from this? That it cannot be 7 or 8 but anything in between. But we know that the list has all integers. When we have even number of integers, we know that the median is the average of the middle two numbers – when all are placed in increasing order. So can the average of the two middle numbers be, say, 7.1? Which two positive integers can average to give 7.1? None! Note that if the average of two integers is a decimal, the decimal must be (some number).5 such as 7.5 or 9.5 or 22.5 etc. This happens in case one number is odd and the other is even. In all other cases, the average would be an integer.

Since the median is given to be between 7 and 8, the median of the list of the six positive integers must be 7.5 only.

Now we know that the mean = 10 and median = 7.5

**Method 1: Algebra/Logic**

Let’s try to solve the question algebraically/logically first.

There are 6 elements in the list. The average of the list is 10 which means the sum of all 6 elements = 6*10 = 60

4 + 5 + 24 + x + y + z = 60

x + y + z = 27

Median of the list = 7.5

So sum of third and fourth elements must be 7.5 * 2 = 15

There are two cases possible:

Case 1: Two of the three integers x, y and z could be the third and the fourth numbers. In that case, since already 4 and 5 are less than 7.5, one of the unknown number would be less than 7.5 (the third number) and the other two would be greater than 7.5.

The sum of the third and fourth elements of the list is 15 so

15 + z = 27

z = 12

So, two numbers whose sum is 15 such that one is less than 7.5 and the other greater than 7.5 could be

5 and 10

6 and 9

7 and 8

x, y and z could take values 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12.

Case 2: The known 5 could be the third number in which case one of the unknown numbers is less than 5 and two of the unknown numbers would be more than 7.5.

If the third number is 5, the fourth number has to be 10 to get a median of 7.5. Hence, 10 must be one of the unknown numbers.

The sum of the other two unknown numbers would be 27 – 10 = 17.

One of them must be less than 5 and the other greater than 10. So possible options are

4 and 13

3 and 14

2 and 15

1 and 16

x, y and z could take various values but none of them could be 11

Answer (C)

**Method 2: Process of Elimination**

Let’s now try to look at the process of elimination here and see if we can find an easier way.

The three unknowns need to add up to 10*6 – 4 – 5 – 24 = 27.

Two of the given options are 5 and 10. They have a median of 7.5 so lets assume that two of the unknown numbers are 5 and 10 (5 can be one of the unknowns since we are not given that all six integers need to be distinct). If two unknowns make up third and fourth numbers in the list and have a median of 7.5, their sum would be 15 and the third unknown will be 12 (to get the mean of 10). This case (5, 10, 12) satisfies all conditions so options (B), (D) and (E) are out of play.

Now we are left with two options 13 and 11. Check any one of them and you will know which one is not possible. Let’s check 13.

From the given options, any number greater than 7.5 must be either the fourth number or the fifth number. 13 cannot be the fourth number since the third number would need to be 2 in that case to get median 7.5. But we have 4 and 5 more than 2 so it cannot be the third number. So 13 must be the fifth number of the list. We saw in the case above that if two unknowns are third and fourth numbers then the fifth number HAS TO BE 12. So the already present 5 must be the third number and the fourth number must be 10. In that case, the leftover unknown would be 4 (to get a sum of 27). So the three unknowns would be 4, 10 and 13. This satisfies all conditions and is possible. Hence answer must be (C). 11 will not be possible.

Let’s see what would have happened had you picked 11 to try out. If 11 were the fourth number, to get a median of 7.5, we would need 4 as the third number. That is not possible since we already have a 5 given. So 11 must have been the fifth number. This would mean that the already present 5 and one unknown 10 would make the median of 7.5. So the third unknown in this case would be 6 (to get a sum of 27). But 6 would be the third number and the median in this case would be (6 + 10)/2 = 8. So one of the numbers cannot be 11.

Answer (C)

*Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the **GMAT** for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!*

Here are a few areas a 1^{st }year MBA can utilize their more experienced classmates:

Life

Where should you go grocery shopping? Which hair salon is the best? What’s the closest vegan restaurant? These basic questions can often be a challenge for incoming students as they transition to a new community. 2^{nd} year students are the best source to address all of these life related questions that are so integral to surviving the two years of business school. Of particular help are student clubs that cater to needs of students like the affinity, international, or lifestyle groups on-campus.

Academic

2^{nd} years are also key when it comes to handling academics on-campus. Knowing the best classes to take and when can help 1^{st} year students make better decisions when it comes to maximizing their academic experience. Timing is a major factor with academics because some classes can help prepare students for internships in certain industries like marketing or finance so might make more sense to take during the first year. Other classes require a lot of work so may not make sense to take during heavy recruiting periods. 2^{nd} year students in similar career paths can provide a lot of context when selecting which and what time to take certain classes.

Recruiting

Recruiting advice is one of the best uses of 2^{nd} year students on-campus. An easy way to tap into the right classmates is via campus groups. Each major recruiting track i.e. marketing, finance, consulting, etc. will have a campus group focused on providing support in the recruiting process. These career focused campus groups are led by 2^{nd} years that have already gone through the process and should serve as a resource for 1^{st} years. These groups will often match-up 1^{st} year students with experienced 2^{nd} years to encourage mentorship throughout recruiting season.

Make the most of your 2^{nd} year classmates during your first year and avoid all of the mistakes of inexperience by utilizing the bevy of resources available on-campus.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

**How Long Does the GRE Take?**

Students taking the GRE can expect to be at the testing location for approximately three hours and 45 minutes. This amount of time varies depending on how long the break periods are. Students are given 30 minutes to complete each of the two sections of the verbal reasoning test. They are allotted 35 minutes to finish each of the two sections of the quantitative test. For the analytical writing test, students have 30 minutes to complete each of the two essays.

**Total Number of Questions on the GRE**

How long is the GRE test? In terms of test length, there are 40 total questions in the verbal reasoning section and 40 in the quantitative section. As for the analytical writing section, students must write one issue essay and one argument essay. In short, there is a lot of material for students to complete on the GRE.

**Preparing for the GRE**

Some students have concerns about becoming overtired or burned out before they complete the GRE. This is a valid concern considering the length of the exam. However, there are ways for a student to avoid burnout on test day. One of the best ways to do this is to take timed practice exams. Some students become stressed and burned out during the GRE because they are rushing to finish test questions before time runs out. By taking timed practice tests, a student can establish a relaxed test-taking pace that they can use on test day. At Veritas Prep, we show students how to avoid spending too much time on puzzling questions. Our professional instructors use their practical experience with the GRE to teach students how to approach and tackle difficult test questions.

**Tips to Follow When Taking the Exam**

One tip for students to remember when they encounter a difficult question is to skip the question and return to it later. Puzzling over a question for too long can interfere with a student’s test-taking pace. Plus, looking at a difficult question for more than a few moments can start to affect a student’s confidence level. Once the student answers all of the other questions in the section, they can return to the skipped ones. Students must use different tactics to solve difficult questions. For instance, a student who is stumped by a question related to a passage in the verbal reasoning section can go back and look through the passage in search of keywords. These words can lead the student to the correct answer option. Veritas Prep instructors have a large supply of tips that can assist students in dealing with challenging questions in any section of the GRE.

**Advice for Test Day**

How long does the GRE take? We know now that it takes well more than three hours to complete. Besides taking practice tests and establishing a test-taking rhythm, there are some other things students can do to make sure test day goes smoothly. For instance, it’s a good idea to wear comfortable clothing to the test. Not surprisingly, wearing clothing that is too tight can become more and more uncomfortable as the test period continues. Also, a student should dress in layers in case it is cold at the testing location. In addition to wearing comfortable clothing, students should eat a protein-rich breakfast so they have sustained energy through the test period. They should avoid sugary foods at breakfast so they don’t run out of energy before the test is complete.

Veritas Prep uses quality study resources to assist students in preparing for the GRE. Students with questions about our courses can check out our frequently asked questions page to find quick answers. Call or email us today and let us help you prep for the GRE.

We have an online GRE course starting in July! And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

]]>Whatever the Canadian content, I’m always happy to see a question concerning something I already know, because I feel like I start with a leg up on the question. Indeed, I’m motivated whenever I see a question about a familiar topic, but I’m particularly excited when it’s aboot Canada (see what I did there?).

In actuality, questions that arouse your own interests can be dangerous. This is because they can sometimes cloud your judgment or make you feel like you know something that isn’t explicitly stated in the text (I know a 6 cylinder car accelerates faster than 4 cylinder car…). While this may be true in the real world, don’t forget that you can’t bring any outside knowledge with you to the GMAT.

The reason behind this is simple: anybody should be able to solve the question with the information provided in the question. Yes, you might already know something pertinent to the situation, but you cannot use it to solve the question unless it’s explicitly stated in the question. Especially on Critical Reasoning questions, these red herrings can come influence your decision without you even noticing it.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t get excited when a question mentions your favorite team; it just means that you have to maintain your objectivity regardless. I may be one of very few people who get excited when he sees a GMAT question about hockey, but as a Canadian I have to a duty to share as much hockey as possible with the world (and sing the national anthem before every home game).

*There are 16 teams in a hockey league and each team plays each of the others once. Given that each game is played by two teams, how many total games will be played?*

*A) 120
*

Now, ignoring that most leagues don’t play perfect round-robin tournaments because they are time consuming, but this question could be adopted to any sport of choice (perhaps even WWE wrestling) and would be solved the same way. I enjoy the casual mention of hockey in this problem, but you’re free to imagine your favorite sport instead if it makes seeing the pattern easier for you.

Let’s approach this in a brute strength manner first and refine our strategy as we go along. Each team will have to play each other team in the league. This means that the first team, which we’ll call team 1 for simplicity, has to play against team 2, team 3, team 4, etc up until team 16. This would comprise of 15 matches for team 1. Next, we consider team 2. Team 2 already faced team 1, so that game is off the books, and their schedule would start against team 3, then team 4, etc, up until team 16. This would lead to 14 separate matches.

We seem to have something of a pattern here, but let’s do a third team just to compare our hypothesis (H_{0}: It will be 13 matches. H_{A}: We’ll have to find another way). Team 3 has already faced teams 1 and 2, meaning that their schedule begins at team 4, and then goes on to team 5, etc up until team 16. This does indeed add up to 13 more games being played. The pattern seems to hold up logically, every team plays one fewer game than the last because they’ve already faced any opponent with a team number lower than theirs.

Now, this approach gives the correct answer, but yields a difficult sequence to be summed: 15+14+13+12+11+10+9+8+7+6+5+4+3+2+1. We can shortcut this calculation because the sequence is comprised of consecutive integers, which means the total will be the average multiplied by the number of terms. Since the terms run from 1 to 15 (easier to see this forwards than backwards), the average is (1+15)/2 or 8, and there are 15 terms. 15 x 8 is 120, answer choice A, and this is the correct answer.

The brute force approach is rarely the best strategy, but it’s worth noting that it does get you to the correct answer. You can also shortcut this calculation by ignoring the fact that some teams have already played against one another in your initial count. That is to say: Team 1 has to face 15 opponents, and Team 2 has to face 15 opponents as well. Team 3 will end up facing 15 opponents too, and eventually all 16 teams will face 15 opponents, meaning the total number of games should be 15*16. This math isn’t trivial, but you can get to 240 relatively quickly. The problem with 240 is that you have double counted all the games (i.e. 1 vs. 2 and 2 vs. 1). Simply taking this product and dividing it by two will eliminate the double counting and yield the correct answer of 120.

The final strategy I want to point out here is that we’re essentially making all the unordered pairs of a group. This means we can use combinations to get the correct number. If we have n = 16 teams, and we’re trying to make all the combinations of 2 teams (k = 2), then we have a combination of the form:

n! / (k! * (n-k)!)

This formula gives us 16! / (2! * (16-2)!).

Solving for the subtraction gives us:

16! / (2! * 14!)

Simplifying by eliminating the redundant 14! from both numerator and denominator gives:

16 * 15 / 2.

This of course simplifies to 8 * 15 or the aforementioned 120. No matter the approach, you should get the same result, which is still choice A.

The GMAT will ask you all kinds of questions about topics you’ve never heard of, but sometimes it will contain a topic that’s near and dear to your heart. It’s okay to be a little elated; you need some positive moments during the 4 hour GMAT marathon. Just keep in mind that the question will be like any other problem, you solve it using the information contained in the question and your hours of GMAT prep. If you do that properly, you’ll be able to put the puck in the net on test day.

Plan on taking the GMAT soon? We have GMAT prep courses starting all the time. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

*Ron Awad is a GMAT instructor for Veritas Prep based in Montreal, bringing you weekly advice for success on your exam. After graduating from McGill and receiving his MBA from Concordia, Ron started teaching GMAT prep and his Veritas Prep students have given him rave reviews ever since.*

In order to do this, the best thing you can do is look even deeper into the section breakdowns, to look at the types of questions you missed and which specific areas you should devote more time to, and which you can be confident in for future tests. Areas are specific. It’s not just how many math problems you got correct, but actually figuring out how many geometry type questions you got right and how many you missed. An evaluation at this level will provide the insight necessary to allow you to succeed.

For writing, it’s helpful to break down your essay as well as the multiple choice questions. * The essay is a more holistic review. *Look at your score, and reread the essay from a grader’s perspective. Was your word choice too simplistic? Was your organization of paragraphs confusing or did it flow? Identify the areas of weakness, and make a note to start honing in on these facets of the essay for future practice tests. At this point you know what your strengths are on the essay; it’s time to improve the weaknesses.

In terms of the multiple choice section, figure out which specific skills you are good at, and which you need help with. If you scored exceptionally well on grammatical relationships between words, but struggled on phrases and clauses, then that is the area you should devote the majority of your preparation time moving forward. While it may be easier and more fun to reinforce your strengths, **t****he true score growth comes from carefully targeting your weaknesses and making sure you are able to improve on them on future practice tests and the real thing.**

For math, you should see how you did on the easy questions vs the medium and hard ones. * The best thing to do to raise your score is to make sure you answer all the easy ones correctly.* If you are still making errors, do your best to clean those up before moving onto the medium and hard questions. In terms of breaking down the specifics, it’s similar to the writing breakdown. If you are doing well in Algebra and Functions, but struggle in Data, Statistics, and Probability then do more data and statistics problems.

Finally, for reading the first thing to do is check out how many sentence completion problems you got wrong. If you got less than 17 out of 19, the first thing you should be doing to move up your reading comprehension score is to memorize vocabulary. ** It is the simplest way to boost your score**. After this, find if you are struggling with meaning of passage questions or literary element problems. When you do passages moving forward, be especially cognizant of this in order to improve your reading comprehension skills.

Your SAT score report provides a wealth of information; you just need to know how to use it. If you follow these steps, you will maximize the opportunities given to you. Best of luck prepping for the June 6th exam!

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

*Jake Davidson** is a Mork Family Scholar at USC and enjoys writing for the school paper as well as participating in various clubs. He has been tutoring privately since the age of 15 and is incredibly excited to help students succeed on the SAT.*

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