Tag Archives: GMAT
May 12, 2014
Guest post by our friends at Magoosh We need every edge we can get. Every prospective student is looking for some advantage for their application to business school whether it’s a unique personal story, unique …
Guest post by our friends at Magoosh
We need every edge we can get.
Every prospective student is looking for some advantage for their application to business school whether it’s a unique personal story, unique work experience, or a slightly stronger GMAT score. To gain that edge, we have to dedicate our time and energy. There’s no way to fake it.
The GMAT is no exception. We have to allocate our time wisely and focus our energies efficiently to gain that edge. To ramp up your GMAT prep and gain that edge, I have four pieces of advice. You’ll find that these tips will supercharge your prep and better prepare you for test day.
Quality Test Prep Material
Nothing can boost test prep like using quality materials. The market is suffuse with materials that are mediocre to terrible. Bad materials mean insufficient prep and lead to poor test scores. It’s not just that the materials don’t mimic the GMAT; if they aren’t created with rigor and constantly improved, these materials can be downright misleading.
Step back a moment and assess your materials. Are you using one of the best GMAT books of 2014? Or do you rely on questions posted to forums, such as Beat the GMAT and GMAT Club. Don’t expect to hit your stride in the weeks before the test if you haven’t prepped with the best of the best. Find the best materials now so you aren’t one of the 20% of students who retake the GMAT.
Wind Sprints—Not Marathons
Bad study habits dampen success—not ramp it up. The trouble, though, is that many students don’t know that they’ve adopted bad study habits. They believed a myth and haven’t thought to question its validity since. Let’s dispel it: long study sessions don’t work!
Students tell me they study eight hours a day and are still not improving. My first recommendation is to stop studying eight hours a day. Long sessions of studying don’t help students learn more; it’s a fallacy to think that more time equals more learning.
They need to stop running long distances and practice their wind sprints. Plenty of research shows that short bursts of focus and learning outweigh long periods of study.
Let’s say you want to study 12 hours a week. Plan on four sessions, three hours each, and after each hour take a 10 minute break. Better yet, budget six sessions, two hours each. Studying in this way encourages spaced repetition, which is shown to improve the long-term retention of information. Instead of doing everything in a six hour period, you give your mind time to rest and incorporate the information into long-term memory.
As counterintuitive as it may sound, short bursts are better than marathons.
Set a Timer
One of the biggest misconceptions is that students think their abilities untimed are the same timed. Many students do not make time a part of their prep and pay the price on test day. Or students wait too long to start practicing under time pressure and realize that they are in trouble. So as soon as possible, set a timer when solving practice problems.
Choose a set of five questions and try to finish them in ten minutes. If this is too difficult at first, that is, you can’t even get close, set the timer for thirteen minutes. Even though this is more time than you should take to solve a problem, at least you have a timer on and you are practicing your pacing. As you progress, dial down the time until you are at a good pace—about nine minutes for five Verbal questions and about ten minutes for five Quant questions.
Spend Time Studying—Not Planning
Time management doesn’t refer only to pacing on the test. It also refers to how we spend our study time. As little time should be spent planning your studies. Front-load all your planning so that you don’t have to do it every session. Decide what to do each day based on your materials and how much time you have. Use a study schedule created by experts, such as a 1 month GMAT study schedule, or base your study schedule on their recommendations.
As you will see in the study schedules, each day is broken into parts. Work on multiple skills in a single study session. This is the best way to study and the best way to learn. Ramp up your studies with more focused study.
Every applicant to business school is looking for that unique advantage. With the GMAT, it’s no different. Take these suggestions and ramp up your study sessions. Grab quality materials, aim for focused, short bursts of study, start practicing your timing, and get all your planning out of the way so you can spend more time actually studying. Start implementing them now to improve your chances for success on test day.
April 24, 2014
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.
April 22, 2014
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.
April 3, 2014
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.
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.
March 24, 2014
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.