The Best GMAT Essay Template to Help You Ace the AWA


The essay portion of the GMAT, known as the Analytical Writing Assessment, probably doesn’t resemble the kinds of essays that you’ve written for college.  Luckily, the essay task itself and the prompts that you’ll encounter for it are fairly formulaic. This means that your approach to writing the essay can be boiled down into a template. A template is like a blueprint or a model: it gives you a predesigned, customized format and structure. You’ve likely written outlines for essays before—the GMAT essay template is similar but a bit more detailed, as anything that is standard can be pre-written out, so that all you have to do is fill in the specifics. 

If you’ve already done some research, you know that there are several variations of GMAT essay templates out there—both individual high scorers and a few test prep companies have offered up their own template styles, based on the approaches they like best. In this post, we’ll go over what the GMAT essay assignment is, how a template can help you nail it, and give you a few example templates that reflect different kinds of approaches you can take. Finally, we’ll discuss how to make your own template based on what works best for you.

Continue reading “The Best GMAT Essay Template to Help You Ace the AWA”

GMAT Sample Tests: The Best Way to Start Studying


If you’ve looked at any GMAT study plan or enrolled in any GMAT prep classes, you’ve probably noticed that the first thing either one will have you do is take a full-length GMAT sample test. That’s because taking GMAT practice tests is a great way to establish your baseline skills and monitor your progress as you move towards test day. But where can you find sample tests to incorporate in your GMAT prep?

In this guide, I’ll talk about how to use sample GMAT tests to get started with your studying. First, I’ll discuss why it’s so important to take sample tests in the first place. Next, I’ll discuss what makes a good sample GMAT (all sample GMATs are not created equal). Then, I’ll give you links to free official and unofficial sample tests you can use. Finally, I’ll talk about how you can use GMAT sample tests to further your studying and get you closer to achieving your GMAT goal score.

Continue reading “GMAT Sample Tests: The Best Way to Start Studying”

GMAT Remainder Problems: 3 Key Tips

If you’re like me, you probably haven’t thought about remainders in over ten years, when you first learned about long division in elementary school. Remember those lessons on what we call the number that’s left over in a division problem? Yeah, that number’s called a remainder.

And guess what? Remainders show up a lot on the GMAT. Of course, the remainder problems you’ll encounter on the GMAT are much different than the ones you worked on when you were ten years old. GMAT remainder questions can often be quite tricky, but don’t worry! In this guide, I’ll give you a comprehensive overview of GMAT remainder problems so that you feel ready to solve them when you see them on test day.

Continue reading “GMAT Remainder Problems: 3 Key Tips”

#1 GMAT Reading Comprehension Trick: How to Avoid Trap Answers [Video]

Wrong answer choices on Reading Comprehension GMAT questions are designed to include words, phrases, and ideas from the passage the question is tied to. This means that many wrong answer choices look right, since we can find “evidence” for them in the text. We can only successfully prove that the answer choice is wrong if we carefully read and understand the context of the related portion of the passage, which is both easy to mess up and tremendously time consuming when applied to every single wrong answer choice.

So how can we avoid getting confused by and wasting time on these wrong answer traps? In “#1 GMAT Reading Comprehension Trick: How to Avoid Trap Answers”, we explain one of the most valuable GMAT Reading Comprehension tips: making predictions.

Before even looking at the answer choices on Reading Comprehension questions, we should spend time attempting to answer the question in our own words based on information from the passage — in other words, we should make a prediction for what the correct answer will be. Only after we’re confident in our prediction should we look at our answer choices.

If we make a solid prediction, the correct answer choice will often be immediately apparent, as it will match our prediction perfectly. This allows us to bypass the wrong answers altogether, meaning there’s no way for us to get caught in their traps! In the case that the correct answer isn’t immediately obvious, we’ll still be able to quickly eliminate most (if not all) of the wrong answer traps for not matching our prediction, increasing our accuracy and saving us time.

Watch the video to see how this strategy is applied on a real Reading Comprehension GMAT question!

Used in conjunction with the GMAT Reading Comprehension tips from our GMAT Reading Comprehension Question Types video, making predictions can transform your performance on the Reading Comprehension section. Making predictions is also a valuable strategy on the Critical Reasoning section, where wrong answer choices are often closely related to the wrong part of the passage.

To stay updated on our latest GMAT videos, you can subscribe to our new PrepScholar GMAT YouTube channel — we’ll have three new free videos every month.

Happy GMAT Reading Comprehension studies!

How to Plug in “Smart” Numbers on GMAT Math: 4 Tips [Video]

Like we discussed in our Online Lesson: Introduction to Data Sufficiency video, picking numbers should not be our go-to strategy for most questions on the GMAT Math section. Most problem types aren’t easily solved by plugging in numbers. Then, even on the problems where number picking is a viable strategy, most test takers approach it incorrectly, which causes them to waste time and confuse themselves. So when is this strategy actually useful? And how can we use it to improve our GMAT Math score?

In “How to Plug in ‘Smart’ Numbers on GMAT Math Problems: 4 Tips”, we’ll teach you how apply one of the most misused GMAT Math strategies successfully on test day with four GMAT Math tips.

While number picking shouldn’t be our first resort on any GMAT Math problem, some questions lend themselves more to number picking than others. Our first tip explores how we can identify questions that are good candidates for number picking.

In our second tip, we delve into our goals for number picking. One of the reasons that number picking is not always an effective strategy is that test takers often plug numbers in randomly without considering how the result will impact which answer choice they’ll pick. We look at how we should have different objectives for different GMAT Math question types, and how these goals will impact the types of numbers (as well as how many numbers) we pick.

Our third and fourth GMAT Math tips explore how to pick “smart” numbers to meet these goals. First, we look at how thinking about categories of numbers can give us a window into which numbers “work” in our problem and which numbers don’t. Then, we consider how to pick specific numbers within these categories for quick math without a calculator.

Watch the video to learn more!

To stay updated on our latest GMAT videos, you can subscribe to our new PrepScholar GMAT YouTube channel — we’ll have three new free videos every month.

Happy GMAT Math studies!

GMAT Essay: Format, Scoring, and Tips for the AWA


The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) can be one of the most intimidating sections of the exam for test-takers. Many students feel unsure of what is expected of them on the GMAT essay or how it’s scored. But there’s nothing to fear as long as you prepare!

In this article, I’ll go over the basics of the GMAT essay, the structure of the prompt, and how the Analytical Writing Assessment is scored. I’ll also give you plenty of GMAT essay tips and strategies to help you ace the Analytical Writing on test day. Continue reading “GMAT Essay: Format, Scoring, and Tips for the AWA”

Expert Review: Manhattan GMAT Books


The Manhattan GMAT books (or more properly, the Manhattan Prep GMAT Strategy Guides) are arguably the most well-known GMAT guides out there. But are they really worth the time and money? In this guide, I’ll examine the Manhattan GMAT prep resources in depth, discuss their pros and cons, and talk about how to figure out whether they’re right for you.

Continue reading “Expert Review: Manhattan GMAT Books”

Grammar Order of Operations: Prioritizing GMAT Sentence Correction Rules [Video]

I spend a lot of time on online GMAT forums, and one thing I see all the time is test takers ruling out their first few wrong answer choices based on something relatively unimportant like an ambiguous pronoun. Nobody ever told them that some GMAT Sentence Correction rules matter more than others! In fact, some GMAT Sentence Correction “rules”, are more like “suggestions” — some things that test takers consider “errors” are only wrong if there aren’t any worse errors in the other answer choices.

So how do we ensure that we’re eliminating the most egregious errors first and saving the less important errors for last? In “Grammar Order of Operations: Prioritizing GMAT Sentence Correction Rules”, we walk through which GMAT grammar rules are most important and how to ensure you’re not ruling out a correct answer for an unimportant reason.

When solving a complex math equation, we use the concept of order of operations to determine when to look at each part of the equation. We start by evaluating anything that’s in parentheses, then we apply exponents. Next, we multiply and divide, and finally we add and subtract. If we do these steps in the wrong order, we often end up with the wrong answer for our equation. 

Just like math has PEMDAS, there is an order of operations for GMAT grammar rules. We can use this grammar order of operations to eliminate answer choices in order from most important to least important. So when we evaluate answer choices using our GMAT Sentence Correction rules, we should look for errors in in the following order:

  1. Meaning Errors
  2. Hard Grammar Errors
  3. Rhetoric Errors

This means that if we notice a rhetorical issue (like an ambiguous pronoun), we should wait to eliminate the answer until we are sure that there are no more meaning or hard grammar errors in any of the other answer choices.

In the video, we walk through the different kinds of errors in GMAT Sentence Correction rules that fall into each category, such as misplaced modifiers, parallelism, concision, etc. We also discuss how Idiom and Diction Errors can sometimes fall into either the Hard Grammar category of GMAT grammar rules or the Rhetoric category, and how test takers need to be especially careful with them — watch the video to find out why!

To stay updated on our latest GMAT videos, you can subscribe to our new PrepScholar GMAT YouTube channel — we’ll have three new free videos every month.

Happy GMAT Sentence Correction studies!

How to Beat the GMAT: 10 Key Strategies


You’ve heard about beating the GMAT, but is it really possible? Can you vastly improve your score before the exam? In this article, I’ll go over how likely it is to improve your GMAT score by leaps and bounds and explain 10 key tips for how to beat the GMAT. Continue reading “How to Beat the GMAT: 10 Key Strategies”

The Best GMAT Math Practice: 500+ Questions and Tests


The quantitative section is probably the most notorious and daunting section of the GMAT exam. It can feel like you need to be a genius to get a good score, but really all you need is practice!

In this guide, I’ll explain what you need to prepare for the GMAT quant section and list the best resources for GMAT math practice. Last but not least, you’ll see my best study tips for the math section to help you achieve your goal score.

Continue reading “The Best GMAT Math Practice: 500+ Questions and Tests”