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GMAT Tip of the Week for the week of October 3, 2011

This week’s GMAT tip* concerns drawing figures on GMAT problem solving questions when no figure is given.

* Each week, one of the GMAT experts at Dominate the GMAT shares a valuable GMAT test-taking tip, strategy, trick, or content item. These tips are designed to augment your GMAT study program and provide you with additional information that will help you improve your GMAT score.

GMAT Tip of the Week: During your GMAT preparation you’ve probably encountered quantitative problem solving questions that would seem to lend themselves to using a geometric figure, yet none is provided. The question clearly requires the use of geometry, yet there is no accompanying diagram. In this case, it is always best to draw a figure on your scratch paper. More importantly, however, if you’re going to bother to draw a figure, you should always draw that figure to scale.

This methodology accomplishes two things. First, drawing a figure helps you to visually “see” what the question is talking about. Often the very act of drawing what the problem is explaining helps you to better think through and understand what the questions is even asking. More importantly, however, drawing a figure to scale opens the door to numerous non-standard geometry techniques including “eyeballing” a correct answer if you can’t quite figure out the actual math (for a full explanation of these techniques, with examples, see video lesson “Geometry – Overview, Figures, and Non-Standard Geometry Techniques“).