Absolutely necessary; essential
Most businesses are built on a simple principle: the founder identified a problem in the world and decided to solve it. In order to be successful in the business world, and in daily life, we need to be excellent problem solvers. The problem-solving techniques that we leave you with will definitely help you dominate the GMAT, but we use the GMAT as a vehicle to teach you crucial skills that will help you solve complex problems well beyond test day. Enjoy the rest of your life being indispensable.
As the old adage goes..."How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."
How exactly do we instill these problem-solving fundamentals? The core of it is breaking down complex problems into simpler parts. If you can take an intimidating question and look at it step by manageable step, you simplify things greatly. Figure out what you can do first, then what you can do next, and so on, building positive momentum which will ultimately lead to your goal. We provide you with various frameworks, procedures, and formulas (suited to your learning style) to make this process more concrete.
The Methods "There are no right answers to wrong questions." — Ursula K. Le Guin Asking the Right Questions
In the business world, you will be faced with hundreds of questions every day. This method exists to allow you to simplify even the most complicated questions. Any time you face a problem, whether on a test or in the real world, if you ask the right questions, you cut through the bullshit to get at the heart of the issue, coming up with a viable solution. Some GMAT applications:
Rephrase the Question: In Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension, the questions are often convoluted, and it is tempting to race through them and move onto the text. To avoid the error and confusion that this often leads to down the road, rephrase the question to make it simpler and you will find the answer falls neatly into place.
Ask Yes/No Questions: We simplify the open endedness of Reading Comprehension questions by asking a series of yes/no questions, such as, “Have we heard the author’s voice yet?” We have essentially boiled down the number of possible answers from infinity to two. The process of solving every Reading Comp problem is constantly asking ourselves simple questions.
Identify the Root Issue: When confronted with a complicated Data Sufficiency problem, instead of focusing on what you don’t know, ask yourself, “What do I know?” You have the tools to solve almost any GMAT question in your pocket, it’s just a matter of identifying which ones you need in the allotted time. By putting everything you know about a problem on the table, you build inertia towards figuring out the core of what the problem is asking, making it much easier to solve.
"The important thing is to not stop questioning." — Albert Einstein
Being Critical About What You Think You Know
It’s a lesson we hear constantly. If you can learn to think critically about every piece of information presented to you, whether it’s on the GMAT or in a business meeting, you will be absolutely unstoppable. Some GMAT applications:
Beware of Assumptions: The writers of the GMAT have set traps for you in the Critical Reasoning section. They’re hoping you make certain assumptions that seem logical when you’re reading the question. If you’re constantly on your guard, constantly aware of when assumptions are made, then you will avoid these pitfalls on your way to dominating the GMAT.
Reframe the Issue: Oftentimes, especially in the Data Sufficiency section, you will read a question and think, “Pshh. This is stupid easy,” and pick an answer within 15 seconds of starting the problem. And then you get the problem wrong. How does this happen? Well, the issue that the problem is trying to get at isn’t always on the surface. Reframe the question in more basic terms, and you will see what the question is really asking.
Be Solution Critical: When you do arrive at an answer while practicing Data Sufficiency or Problem Solving questions, it is tempting to select it and move on, especially when your answer matches one of the available choices. Instead, pause for a moment and think about your solution. Does it make sense? This is useful for two reasons. For one, it allows you to learn a little extra from a problem because you’re forcing yourself to evaluate your method and thought process. Secondly, you will often discover mistakes that you’ve made along the way, and learning from your mistakes is the quickest way to improve.
"Details create the big picture." — Sanford I. Wiell, Former CEO, Citigroup
Understanding the Macro and the Micro
The big picture, the "zoomed out" view, is composed of a bunch of little pictures. In order to understand the big picture in any situation, we have to clearly see the finer details. At the same time, the small nuances are nonsensical without the perspective provided by the macro view. The best problem solvers understand the complex relationship between the macro and the micro. They know that one cannot exist without the other. Some GMAT applications:
Detail Oriented: The process of solving a Sentence Correction question is the act of zooming in and out. You're very focused on small details in the text, looking for specific errors, while also stepping back and understanding what the sentence is trying to say. You have to be on the lookout for both grammar errors and meaning errors, while understanding that the two are interrelated.
Parts Make a Whole: The hardest Problem Solving questions have us racking our brains, trying to figure out what the complicated wording is hinting at. Understand that the complexity of the question is made up of basic parts. The most efficient way to solve these problems is to tackle those smaller, simpler parts, one at a time, and put the pieces back together at the end.
If you're enticed by our methods and want to learn much, much more about how to be indispensable on the GMAT and in life, click the link to check out our pricing page, or just put your email in the "Email Address" spot at the bottom of the page, and we'll reach out to you.