Category Archives: GMAT

GMAC Reports Historic Highs in GMAT Testing Volume

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), owner of the GMAT exam, has announced that last year was a record year for the exam. Volume for the 2012 testing year (July 1, 2011, to June 30, …

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), owner of the GMAT exam, has announced that last year was a record year for the exam. Volume for the 2012 testing year (July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012) was up 11 percent from the prior year, and eight percent higher than the previous record of 265,613 in 2009.

A total of 286,529 GMAT exams were taken, with 831,337 score reports sent to 5,281 graduate business and management programs around the world ”” all historic highs, says GMAC.

The record volume partially reflects increased interest in the exam brought on by the addition of the Integrated Reasoning section on June 5, 2012. Historically, test volume rises just before changes are made to a standardized exam as test takers opt for a familiar format at the transition.

GMAT testing outside of the United States continues to grow quickly. Tests taken by non-US citizens rose 19 percent in 2012 and represented 59 percent of global GMAT volume.

Chinese test takers, the second-largest citizenship group after the US, represented 20 percent of global testing. In 2012, the number of exams taken by Chinese citizens increased 45 percent to 58,196 exams. Meanwhile, Indian citizens, the third-largest citizenship group, took 30,213 GMAT exams, a figure that increased 19 percent in 2012.

The percentage of exams taken by women hit 42.9 percent in 2012””a record for the third straight year.

“Today’s global students ”” who may be a citizen of one country, study in second and choose to work in a third ”” recognize the significance and the superiority of the GMAT exam in gaining admission to the best management programs around the world,” says David Wilson, GMAC president and CEO.

“Business and management skills are needed more than ever in an ever increasing variety of organizations. Business schools have responded by offering a deeper portfolio of programs to meet these diverse needs,” Wilson adds.

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Map Out Your MBA Timeline

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA blog on U.S.News.com Once you’ve decided to pursue an MBA, you’ve got your work cut out for you. MBA applicants need to fit studying for the …

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA blog on U.S.News.com

Once you’ve decided to pursue an MBA, you’ve got your work cut out for you. MBA applicants need to fit studying for the GMAT and developing essays in with other personal and professional commitments. If you’re planning to apply to business school in the fall, now is the time to come up with a game plan for completing the admissions components within a schedule that doesn’t necessitate sleepless nights and a jumbo bottle of Maalox. The best way to do this is to put together your MBA application timeline months before your target deadlines.

Allot time for essays and the GMAT: We’re slightly more than three months away from Round One at most schools. If you haven’t started your applications and are wondering if you still have time, it depends. Among the factors you should weigh: how much time you have in your schedule, how difficult it is for you to write essays, and how focused and motivated you are. In general, three to four months is enough time to submit several applications in the first round. You’ll be working hard, but that is a realistic timeline.

The amount of time MBA aspirants will spend on their applications will vary, depending on writing abilities and general work efficiency. That said, plan to spend between 40 and 60 hours preparing four to eight applications. Non-native English speakers will also likely need to allot more time on their applications, particularly on writing, revising, editing, proofing, formatting, and inputting essays.

The other piece of this puzzle is, of course, the GMAT. Have you completed the GMAT and are you satisfied with your score? If you still need to take the GMAT, you may have a lot of work ahead of you, as applicants typically devote at least 100 hours to test preparation. Depending on where you are in the process, you may have to take a prep class and perhaps take the test more than once. If this is the case, Round One may not be a realistic option.

Structure your work sessions: Some people work most efficiently when they can break up tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces, while others prefer to devote several hours to their writing in one sitting. MBA applicants should be aware of the way they work most effectively and structure their writing and editing sessions accordingly.

I’ve had candidates call me a week before applications are due, planning to take the week off of work, deprive themselves of sleep, and devote all of their time to writing essays to submit in the first round. They figure that 100 hours of work should do the trick. While that may be plenty of time, I’m a big believer that the time should be spread out. Because this is such a personal, soul-searching process, sometimes you just need to call it a night and sleep on it””tough to do when you only have a week.

I typically recommend that candidates allocate two to three hours each time they sit down to work on their essays, particularly for the first few drafts. Essays should be approached holistically; you won’t have a compelling final product if you snatched 15 minutes here and 30 minutes there to cobble together that “knowledge into action” essay for the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania.

Conversely, most applicants should also avoid the “marathon session.” Few people are still sharp or creative eight hours into a writing and editing session. If you need to make up for lost time, try breaking it up with a session in the morning and another in the evening.

Allow some distance: Applicants should also build several weeks for reflection and feedback into their MBA timeline. If you can come back to your essays days later with fresh eyes, you’ll often think of a better example or more inspired language to illustrate a certain point. This won’t happen if you’re forced to work at warp speed.

Distributing your writing and editing over a reasonable period also makes it easier for friends, family, or colleagues to provide feedback. It’s unfair to ask someone to turn around comments in a 24-hour period, so provide them with a few days to give you their critiques. Leave yourself adequate time to reflect upon and incorporate their feedback.

We’re just getting into the thick of things for most schools. If you’re planning to apply this year, now is the time to get started: on GMAT prep, writing essays, selecting recommenders, or just generally piecing together your strategy. The b-school application process is stressful, but careful planning will make the experience manageable and help you channel your energies into continually improving your candidacy until the moment you submit your applications.

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Applying to Business School

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA blog on U.S.News.com We’re coming up on MBA application season again, with Round One deadlines just a few short months away. If you’re applying to business …

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA blog on U.S.News.com

We’re coming up on MBA application season again, with Round One deadlines just a few short months away. If you’re applying to business school in the fall, now is the time to set your strategy. Here are some of my top tips to ease your journey as you navigate this challenging process.

Testing strategies:

In a sea of highly qualified candidates, the GMAT is an important screening tool, so take this element of your application seriously, as it’s very much within your control.

DO take a class in order to prepare rigorously. Establish and adhere to a study schedule and practice exams in a realistic environment. One basic key to success is familiarity””both with question type and the computer-adapted format.

DON’T wait until the last minute to sit for your GMAT. Take care of it early in the season, before you have to hone your focus on other aspects of the application.

DO plan to take the exam more than once. Calmer nerves and more experience often lead to a higher score the second time around.

DON’T cancel a score, no matter how badly you think you have done. Schools will evaluate only your highest score. In any case, it will provide valuable information about your testing strengths and weaknesses. And you may be surprised that a score is not as low as you expected.

DO consider sitting for the GRE. Because the GRE isn’t reported in class profiles and isn’t a factor in b-school rankings, if you struggle with the GMAT but have good grades and other strong credentials, submitting a GRE may make it easier for a school to take a chance on you. If you do well on the GMAT, though, submit it.

Narrowing your school list:

DO apply to your dream school, even if it’s a stretch. This is your only chance, so don’t leave yourself open for regrets later.

DO apply to at least four schools of varying levels of competitiveness to maximize your chances of success.

DON’T apply to more than six schools. This is an intense and time-consuming process. Applying to too many schools leads to burnout and diminishing returns.

DON’T rely solely on rankings when deciding where to apply. Only you can decide which program is the right fit for your personality and goals, so engage in first-hand research by visiting schools and speaking with current students and alumni.

Recommendation letters:

Letters of recommendation are an essential part of the admissions process””some top schools have said they are the most important part””so choose your recommenders carefully!

DO use references from your current and most recent jobs. An academic reference won’t be able to answer the most common recommendation questions. Insights from your supervisors help create a picture of you now. The admissions committee isn’t as concerned with how you behaved eight years ago.

DON’T be tempted to seek a letter of recommendation from the CEO of your company, or another high ranking person, if he or she hardly knows you. The admissions committee always prefers placement over prestige, so make sure your recommender knows you well enough to comment in a thoughtful way, with supportive examples that help flesh out the candidate they see on paper.

DO prepare your recommenders and manage them closely. These references are a small but crucial test of your management abilities. If you can’t ensure that your recommenders submit on time or follow other directions, what does this say about your skills as a manager?

The interview:

As with all aspects of this process, it’s important to prep for the interviews. The subject matter of the interview will be you, and you will be expected to be the polished expert.

DO practice out loud, rather than just mentally preparing answers. Conduct mock interviews with a friend, or speak to yourself in the mirror.

DON’T opt to interview on campus if you would perform better off campus. Set yourself up for success by choosing the environment where you’ll feel most relaxed.

DO follow up with a thank you note, via E-mail or regular mail.

Reapplying:

Many schools welcome reapplicants; it shows you are seriously interested in the program. If you approach the process correctly as a reapplicant, you can feel cautiously optimistic.

DO be sure to highlight how you have progressed since your previous application. Demonstrate professional and personal advancements. Help the admissions committee understand how you’ve evolved and become a better applicant since your last attempt.

DON’T completely overhaul your application. Some schools ask you to submit an entirely new application, but too much change can signal that you’re not being honest.

DO apply to new schools in addition to the old ones. If you were unsuccessful the first time, it may be because you applied to the wrong set of schools.

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Kaplan Survey Says GMAT Still Reigns Supreme

Has the increase in business schools accepting the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) as an admissions alternative swayed prospective applicants away from the GMAT? Not so much, a recent Kaplan Test Prep survey reveals. Just 16% …

Has the increase in business schools accepting the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) as an admissions alternative swayed prospective applicants away from the GMAT? Not so much, a recent Kaplan Test Prep survey reveals.

Just 16% of prospective MBA students said they considered taking the GRE route. Of the 84% who said they never considered taking the GRE instead of the GMAT, 60% said the primary reason was because some or all their target schools only accept the GMAT; 19% said it was because they felt applicants who submit a GMAT score have an admissions advantage over applicants who submit a GRE score; and 8% said it was because they thought they’d do better on the GMAT than on the GRE.

Lee Weiss, director of graduate programs at Kaplan Test Prep, says students reporting that they never considered the GRE due to it not being accepted at their target schools may have skewed the numbers out of a lack of information. Many of them would be surprised to know that most, if not all, of the business schools they plan on applying to accept the GRE in addition to the GMAT, Weiss adds.

“However, it’s still a smart business school admissions strategy to take the GMAT if you are only applying to business school, and not considering applying to graduate school too.  According to a separate Kaplan survey of business school admissions officers, applicants who submit a GMAT score have a slight admissions advantage over applicants who submit a GRE score.”

Kaplan Test Prep believes an increasing number of business school will accept the GRE in the years to come, though applicants who submit a GMAT score may continue to hold an advantage, especially because the GMAT is adding an Integrated Reasoning section in June to reinforce its status as the best predictor of student success in business school.  Kaplan will continue to track this trend.

Meanwhile, ETS announced last week that starting in July 2012, anyone taking the GRE will be able to take advantage of a new option called ScoreSelect, which allows test-takers to decide which test scores to send to the institutions they designate, so they can send the scores they feel reflect their personal best.

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GMAT Hacks: Mental Math

Aside from manipulating the GMAT’s favorite numbers (72, 64, etc.), one of the calculations you’ll do most often when working through GMAT problems is dividing and multiplying by five. It’s common in the real world, too. As …

Aside from manipulating the GMAT’s favorite numbers (72, 64, etc.), one of the calculations you’ll do most often when working through GMAT problems is dividing and multiplying by five. It’s common in the real world, too. As with most common calculations, there’s a better way to do them than long division or traditional multiplication.

For both division and multiplication, the key concept here is that 5 is simply 10 divided by 2. So, anywhere you see a 5 in an equation, you can substitute (10/2). You won’t always want to do that, but in some cases, I guarantee you that working with 10s and 2s is preferable to working with 5s.

Using that trick, consider multiplying 36 and 5. (If you automatically know that, work through the example with a less common number, like 47.) Using the trick outlined above, 36(5) = 36(10/2). You now have two options: you can multiply 36 and 10 and then divide by 2, or divide 36 by 2 and then multiply by 10. Either way, both steps are quite simple.

This is an excerpt from a longer article by Jeff Sackmann, originally published at GMAT Hacks.  Jeff has created several valuable GMAT-preparation resources, including Total GMAT Math and Total GMAT Verbal.

Interested in reading more? Click HERE to see more test prep advice.

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Latest GMAC Survey Shows Chinese Flocking to B-School

The number of GMAT scores sent by Chinese citizens to schools around the world nearly tripled (from 48,664 to 126,090) in the past five years, says a new report on GMAT score-sending patterns in Asia …

The number of GMAT scores sent by Chinese citizens to schools around the world nearly tripled (from 48,664 to 126,090) in the past five years, says a new report on GMAT score-sending patterns in Asia from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

With 40,069 exams taken by Chinese citizens in the testing year ending June 30, 2011, growth has been driven by women test takers and those younger than 25, who are largely interested in specialized master’s programs outside of China.

According to an interview with Dave Wilson, president and chief executive of GMAC, the reason for this shift is that a lot of young people realize that the best time to take the GMAT is when they are in the last year of undergraduate program, when they’re used to exams and have the time to study.

The 2012 Asian Geographic Trend Report also illustrates the globalization of management education and the quality options within Asia and around the world. Programs in Asia saw a 63 percent increase in the number of GMAT scores received from test takers in testing year 2011 (42,933) when compared with 2007 (26,296). India remains the region’s leading destination for GMAT scores, receiving 11,484 score reports in 2007 and increasing to 17,638 in 2011, with the vast majority of scores coming from Indian citizens.

Overall, Asian citizens sent 69 percent of their scores to management programs in the U.S. in 2011, compared with 74 percent in 2007. Other study destinations among the top 10 that received more than 10,000 score reports from Asian citizens included India, United Kingdom, Singapore, and Canada.

The report also shows that Asian citizens sent an average of 3.4 GMAT scores per exam taken in 2011, significantly higher than the global average of 2.9.  However, there were substantial regional differences in score-sending habits. For example, Indian citizens sent the highest average number (4.4), and South Koreans sent the lowest (2.0).

“The significance of the Asian impact on management education is real,” says Wilson. “The flows of graduate management students to, from and within the region have positive benefits for Asian firms as well as multi-national companies that operate there.”

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