Tag Archives: GMAT

GMAC Debuts Integrated Reasoning Prep Tool

The Graduate Management Admission Council has announced the debut of a new web-based resource to help applicants prepare for the Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT. The Official GMAT Integrated Reasoning Prep Tool is a …

The Graduate Management Admission Council has announced the debut of a new web-based resource to help applicants prepare for the Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT.

The Official GMAT Integrated Reasoning Prep Tool is a set of 48 items and answer explanations, and it’s the only dedicated Integrated Reasoning prep tool available that contains retired IR items.

Users may customize question sets by difficulty and type of question, easy to hard or random, and may choose exam or study modes. The tool contains timers that track time spent per question as well as total time.

It also provides multiple reporting options, which focus on time management, session history, and question history. Benchmarking features show what percentage of GMAT examinees, by IR score, got each individual item correct.

“We developed Integrated Reasoning as a way to measure ‘big data’ skills, the ability to evaluate and synthesize information presented in multiple formats,” says Ashok Sarathy, GMAC’s vice president for product management.

“The Official GMAT Integrated Reasoning Prep Tool offers a valuable opportunity for test takers to prepare to do their best on the GMAT exam to showcase important skills that business schools and global employers are seeking today,” Sarathy adds.

The Official GMAT Integrated Reasoning Prep Tool is priced at $19.99 and is available at mba.com. Purchasers will have access to the web-based tool for six months for unlimited practice sessions, and the option of purchasing an additional three months for $9.99.

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Free GMAT Flashcards from Magoosh

Studying for the GMAT is no easy feat! It’s a laborious, time-intensive test, and it can be very expensive to prepare for. Ever wish you had affordable and high-quality resources that’d help you along the …

Studying for the GMAT is no easy feat! It’s a laborious, time-intensive test, and it can be very expensive to prepare for. Ever wish you had affordable and high-quality resources that’d help you along the way? Say hello to our friends at Magoosh! They’ve released free flashcards that’ll help you build skills in GMAT math and grammar. You can download them onto your Android or iOS phone, or you can practice them right on your computer.

gmat flash cards

So, if you’re ready to dominate the GMAT, now’s the time to study. Take your pick of free GMAT math flashcards or GMAT idiom flashcards (or both!), and begin!

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How NOT to Approach GMAT IR

Guest post by our friends at Magoosh As of June 2012, the GMAT lost an essay and gained a new section. The GMAT Integrated Reasoning (IR) was born. This section appears at the beginning of …

Guest post by our friends at Magoosh

As of June 2012, the GMAT lost an essay and gained a new section. The GMAT Integrated Reasoning (IR) was born. This section appears at the beginning of the test and asks students to deal with complex and disperse forms of data to solve problems. The test makers explicitly state that this section is meant to mimic skills that students will need in business school, and more importantly, in business.

These skills, as stated by the GMAT, are “synthesizing information presented in graphics, text, and numbers; evaluating relevant information from different sources; organizing information to see relationships and to solve multiple, interrelated problems; combining and manipulating information from multiple sources to solve complex problems.”

If all this is true, and I think it is, the IR section is an important measure of your potential success in school and in business. As such, practicing for the IR section will benefit you long after you take the GMAT, and the GMAC has evidence from actual test takers to prove it.

But what exactly are these skills and how do you prepare for this new section? I’d like to walk you through what not to do and end with what you should do to prepare for the IR section.

Not Just About Math

You will need to exercise your math brain and use your logical, numerical reasoning powers for this section, but you are greatly mistaken if you think that your preparation for Quantitative Reasoning is sufficient preparation for the IR section.

Students may find that being strong in algebra or data analysis will help them through some of the IR section, but most of what they will see there is in the form of text, tables, or graphs. The closest things to IR, in the Quantitative Section, are the word problems that require both reading comprehension and math sense. But even these questions don’t touch the level of complexity that you will see in IR.

You will need to do more.

Not Just About Reading

The IR contains a lot to read—messages and emails, announcements and descriptions, explanations of graphs and prompts to answer, statements to evaluate and column headings to understand. Having strong reading skills is a must, as with the entire test, but again, it is not sufficient for success.

The ability to quickly read for meaning will help. The ability to organize information from multiple sources will help. The ability to locate details will help. But none of it is sufficient.

You will need to do more.

Not Just About Graphs and Tables

Students sometimes misunderstand the IR section. It’s not just graphs, charts, and tables. Yes, they are there. Yes, you’ll be dealing with scatter plots, radar charts, and graphs like this one. Having experience in statistics will help, but that won’t be all that you need to be ready.

Understanding U.S. Today charts is a start, but you’ll probably want to move on to The Wall Street Journal and The Economist tables and charts to be ready. But even comfort with graphs at that level is only part of what you need.

Here’s What You Need to Do

First thing you’ll need to do is take the time to learn all the question types. There are four of them—Two-Part Analysis, Multi-Source Reasoning, Table Analysis, and Graphical Interpretation. Learn the difference among these questions and also learn how much variety exists within each question type.

Although the general format will be the same, the types of information and presentation of data can vary greatly. For example, a Two-Part Analysis question can involve algebraic expressions or valid statements based on a passage.

Next you’ll need to deal with timing. Integrated Reasoning is deceptively long. The test makers tell us that we have twelve questions to answer in 30 minutes, but in reality, we have twelve pages that have anywhere from two to five questions to answer.

We must answer all questions correctly on a page to receive credit. As such, we all need to practice these questions in a timed environment. We all need an impeccable pacing strategy to avoid guessing on questions as time is running out.

Finally, you’ll need to work on your executive function. No, not that type of executive. I am talking about neuroscience. Executive function refers to the management and control of certain cognitive processes. These processes are skills needed for success on the test and later in life.

They include deciding priorities, weighing benefits and liabilities, designing strategies, resolving conflicting values, planning, and execution. The key to honing these skills, as with most skills, is practice. And not only practice of IR questions, but also general practice of these skills in your life, while reading the newspaper or managing your finances.

Takeaway

Preparing for the IR section is not the same as preparing for the Verbal section or the Quantitative section. But the preparation can greatly benefit you. Not only will it help you in understanding a GMAT score report or help you in applying to Wharton, but it also will make you a more competitive student and a more competent employee.

More than anything else you will practice for the test, besides good reading skills perhaps, is IR prep. You are practicing life skills—not abstract math concepts or contrived arguments. Practice them well.

This post was written by Kevin Rocci, resident GMAT expert at Magoosh, a leader in GMAT prep. For more advice on taking the GMAT, check out Magoosh’s GMAT blog.

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3 Surprising Application Mistakes Prospective MBAs Make

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com When it comes to making mistakes on a business school application, there are many places where candidates can run afoul and ruin their …

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

When it comes to making mistakes on a business school application, there are many places where candidates can run afoul and ruin their chances at admission.

The road to an MBA contains countless potential pitfalls, including writing the wrong school name or otherwise failing to proofread; having generic essays designed to impress rather than reveal; and choosing recommenders based on their titles, not your relationship with them.

However, there are also more process-oriented mistakes students commonly make – and ways to avoid them.

[Follow these tips to recover from a botched MBA interview.]

Reality Check: Unrealistic School Selection

With all of the hype around the top b-school brands, it’s no wonder most applicants dream of earning their MBA at Harvard University or Stanford University. The cold, hard truth, however, is that these schools admit a tiny fraction of applicants each cycle.

Harvard Business School admitted just 12 percent of applicants to the class of 2015, while Stanford offered a seat to a mere 8 percent. Programs like those at University of California—Berkeley Haas School of Business or MIT Sloan School of Management are only a tad less competitive, with acceptance rates of about 14 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

This doesn’t mean you should abandon all hope of attending one of the world’s best business schools, especially if your stats are strong and your extracurriculars and leadership examples varied. But, should you happen to fall in the camp of the other 85 percent of applicants – that is, the vast majority – then the subject of having appropriate back-up schools comes into play.

Not all programs are the same, so I suggest applicants do a lot of research as well as soul-searching prior to the school selection process. Being realistic about your profile and aligning yourself with programs that mesh with your particular academic and professional background is the surest recipe for success.

[Look beyond a top business school for your MBA.]

Reality Check: Scores Affect Selection

As we’ve talked about in this space before, preparing early and adequately for the entrance exam is critical. You can’t be stressing about studying for the GMAT or GRE when you should be focused on drafting compelling application essays or cultivating additional leadership opportunities.

Truth is, the school selection process will be greatly influenced by your GMAT score. While each year we hear of that miracle case where someone gets into Harvard with a 550, it’s likely that person’s profile was so extraordinary in every other way that it offset the low score.

It would be foolhardy to believe you too have a decent chance simply because a handful of people out of 10,000 applicants made it in with a score nearly 100 points below the median.

Use your GMAT or GRE score as a barometer to determine a comfortable range of schools to target. If you do decide to go for the “reach school” as well despite a middling test score, make sure you incorporate the fact that you have a low score into your overall strategy.

Reality Check: You’re Not Ready for B-School – Yet

A huge mistake, and one that’s more common that you’d think, is applying to business school before you are really ready. It is true MBA programs are skewing younger these days, accepting applicants with five or fewer years of work experience rather than the typical seven of the past, but that just means candidates need to be even more amazing in less time.

Ask yourself if you have had enough life experiences to provide an interesting perspective to a class. Will your potential recommenders act as champions for your cause, or is your relationship with a supervisor still new and untested? Can you devote time to improving your test score in order to expand your portfolio of program options? Would taking another year to strengthen your profile make more sense and yield better results?

Making 100 percent sure that an MBA is the right step at this time is a crucial part of the soul-searching I mentioned above, and once you can answer in the affirmative, you can embark on the challenging but rewarding journey toward an MBA.

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The Basics of Applying to B-School

The Financial Times published an article this week with advice on how to apply for an MBA program, and I contributed a few of my own tips to the piece. For one, I always advise …

The Financial Times published an article this week with advice on how to apply for an MBA program, and I contributed a few of my own tips to the piece. For one, I always advise students to apply to a range of schools, some of which you could consider “sure things”, and one or two “reach” schools.

Much of your list can be determined as you progress through the process. As you become more invested in going to business school, and your story solidifies, you made decide to add additional schools. Once you clarify your goals, you may consider schools that you had never looked at in the past. Similarly, this process may cause you to drop schools.

The FT article has a lot of useful insight regarding the essay component of the MBA application, particularly in light of the dramatic shift that has taken place in this area during the current application cycle.

Several top schools slashed the number of required essays and/or word count, and Harvard Business School made huge headlines when it announced it would only have one essay prompt, and it would be optional. Admissions director David Simpson of London Business School says that applicants have fewer chances to impress, so “What they do write has to be absolutely perfect.”

If you’re just getting started in your MBA application journey and would like to know more about how much time you’ll need to devote to the GMAT or GRE, interview techniques, choosing recommenders or what mistakes to avoid, please check out this great overview article.

You may also be interested in:

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

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The GMAT and Hard Work

Guest post by our friends at Magoosh President Theodore Roosevelt, a scholar and adventurer, said, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth …

Guest post by our friends at Magoosh

President Theodore Roosevelt, a scholar and adventurer, said, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”  At least some of the folks pursuing an MBA have something of this vision: a quest to do deeply satisfying hard work in the world.  In one way or another, the MBA is a “prize” for most of the people pursuing it.

For some people at the initial stages, the GMAT stands as a kind of obstacle in the path to this prize.  Perhaps some students even think: “If I could only dispense with this hindrance, then I could move on to the good stuff!”  The GMAT, though, is not an arbitrary barrier.  Instead, the challenges posed by the GMAT are reflections of some of the challenges you will face in the business world.

How hard the GMAT is depends in part on your perspective.  On the GMAT, you have to do math in a relatively tight time frame, if you make a mistake under pressure, you will get the question wrong.  In the business world, there may be moments when you may have to do calculations about budgetary issues, perhaps even under pressure, if you make a mistake there, it could cost the company big money.

On the GMAT, you have to sift through tricky arguments, looking for the words and phrases that make a big difference in the logic.  As an executive, on multiple occasions, you will be presented with potential sales, partnerships, deals, or other opportunities: some will truly be beneficial in a win-win way, but others will be by ruthless people trying to rob you blind, and you will have to discern what is best for your company and its long-term health.

In each of these examples, the ultimate downside for the first is the possibility of bombing this test that, after all, you can take again, whereas the direst negative outcomes in the latter cases can involve tremendous personal, legal, and financial liabilities.   The challenges of the GMAT are small potatoes compared to the potential challenges of the world to which the GMAT gains you access.

Students invest a great deal of importance in GMAT score percentiles, perhaps in part because all grades and assessments carry such existential import for folks.  Think about this chain of connection: elite GMAT scores often lead to one of the best B-schools, which often leads to landing a coveted management position – that is, a position that entails a tremendous amount of both responsibility and risk.

By all means, reach for the most you can achieve, but understand that whatever is challenging about the GMAT typically leads to more significant challenges down the road.

Some folks coming from more academic pursuits have already taken a GRE and understandably might be interested in GRE to GMAT score conversion.  I would caution, though, those students who seek out the GRE because they want something less challenging than the GMAT.

Both tests are hard.  If someone has a particularly large vocabulary, it may be that the GRE would be a slightly more advantageous test for that person, but for most folks, the GMAT is the better test to take for business school, simply because it mirrors more closely what is challenging, what is hard, about business world.

In the movie A League of Their Own, player Dottie Hinson tells her manager that she doesn’t like baseball anymore because it became too hard.  Her manager, Jimmy Dugan, tells her, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.”  If that’s your attitude, toward both the GMAT and the business world, then, like Teddy, you can embrace the challenges with relish.

This post was written by Mike McGarry, resident GMAT expert at Magoosh, a leader in GMAT prep. For more advice on taking the GMAT, check out Magoosh’s GMAT blog.

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