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GMAT Stress Management: Improve Your Performance

April 17, 2014 by

Last time I talked about anticipation stress and how it can impede your preparation for the GMAT. Keep working on conquering that kind of stress.

Now, let’s talk about the other type of stress that I mentioned in my previous blog entry – test day/performance stress. On test day, there is a chance that you might experience one of the following situations:

  1. Getting stuck on a question
  2. Losing focus
  3. Starting to panic

What to do if you get stuck on a question

If you get stuck on a question, don’t spend an unnecessary amount of time on it.  Think about employing a guessing strategy and move on.  Good test takers realize that everyone misses a point here or there – they have to get the MOST points, not all the points. After about 2 minutes of work on a question, if you haven’t yet reached an answer, it’s a good … Read full post

GMAT Stress Management: Anticipation Stress

April 15, 2014 by

Are you dealing with any of these potentially stressful situations?

1) Paying on student loans
2) Trying to secure an impressive job
3) Making time to network with friends
4) Attempting to date in the Google Glass world

You get the idea. Now, you want to go to business school and all the admissions officers and literature talk about how important the GMAT is for successful applications.

Did you need any more stress?

The Benefits of Stress

Stress can be a good thing: Stress produces adrenaline which can help increase concentration and focus your mind. On the other end of this, however, adrenaline can cause an increase in anxiety, sweaty palms, nervous ticks, and nausea. You are going to have adrenaline when you take the test – you MUST learn to control and use it to increase your score. Stress management is part of your GMAT prep strategy.

Think about … Read full post

How to Beat GMAT Reading Comprehension – Part II

April 14, 2014 by

As I mentioned in my previous exploration of GMAT Reading Comprehension, most of the questions focus on the author’s purpose, so if you can at least identify her main idea as you slog through the passage, the author will guide you to the right answer in three out of four of those main question types:

  • The correct answer to a Global question is essentially a statement of the author’s purpose
  • The right answer choice to Inference questions, even though these can seem completely speculative, will never contradict the author’s purpose, and is often directly informed by that purpose.
  • Logic questions look for an answer that addresses why our author has included a detail or a paragraph in her passage; the why is that that detail or paragraph always serves her purpose.

Common GMAT Reading Comprehension Trap Answers

Now comes the fun part: beating the test designers at their … Read full post

How to Beat GMAT Reading Comprehension

April 11, 2014 by

There are some fortunate beings among us who seem to thrive on GMAT Reading Comprehension problems. The rest of look on with veiled mirthless smiles at these blessed souls, all the while muttering under our collective breaths, “what, are ya nuts!” If you’re like most of us mere mortals, Reading Comp is a complete pain: long, nearly incomprehensible passages on subjects about which we know little or nothing, and care even less, followed by inscrutable questions that seem to have been devised by the Sphinx herself.  What’s to be done to tackle this part of the Verbal section?

How To Beat GMAT Reading Comprehension

Well, if you’ve looked into any part of the GMAT with the least little bit of attention, you will have noticed that this beastly test is filled with recurring patterns, and, though widely varying Reading Comp passages hardly seem likely to harbor repeated patterns, the questions Read full post

Should You Start a New Job Before First-Round Deadlines?

April 10, 2014 by

mbamission-2With approximately six months to go before first-round deadlines for the 2014–2015 MBA application season, many business school aspirants are considering ways they might enhance their candidacy. While candidates can take a variety of steps to accomplish this—from boosting their community and personal profiles, to pursuing additional classes, to reinvigorating relationships with potential recommenders—some even consider seeking a new position with a different firm or industry. Is this a good idea?

If you are contemplating such a move, the first thing to consider is your tenure at your current firm. If you have been with the company for less than one year, changing positions is generally unwise. MBA admissions committees tend to appreciate consistency and frown on what they perceive as opportunism. So, if you have had several positions in the past that you have held for approximately one year or less, staying put now and proving your commitment may … Read full post

Beating the GMAT: Intelligence is Insufficient

April 8, 2014 by

Ping pong playerUndoubtedly, the GMAT can be a frustrating test to learn how to beat. Most who find themselves in battle with it end up following a red herring by questioning what the heck this test has to do with business. Entertaining this line of inquiry is a fool’s errand and takes the focus off the necessary work. Further, getting distracted by a why-do-I-have-to-what-does-this-have-to-do-with-anything mindset constructs cognitive walls that impede progress.

Rest assured: the GMAT is a valid and useful tool for assessing your business school application package. If you want more information as to the how-and-why of GMAT validity, read this and this or go here. Despite the legitimacy of the exam, I always like to offer brief comments to my students regarding the relevance of GMAT questions and tested skills to managerial acumen when the opportunity arises. The reactions I get are seldom revelatory, but I like to sow … Read full post

Top 3 GMAT Time Management Strategies

April 7, 2014 by

GMAT time managementTime management is a very important element of the GMAT. Those of us who have chosen this path are juggling so many different deadlines and time constraints, and effective time management is critical to ensuring your success. Here are my top 3 GMAT time management strategies while preparing Test Day!

1. Be specific

Early in my career, I was introduced to the idea of a model calendar and I still utilize it to this day. When creating my model calendar, I’m specific. I don’t just list Monday – ‘GMAT PREP’.  I choose a day, specific time, and list the aspect of the test that I plan to review. On Monday from 7 – 9pm, I concentrate on Data Sufficiency questions, Tuesday from 8-10pm is dedicated to Sentence Structure, etc.  This strategy helps me feel confident that I have covered the five question types and one CATRead full post

GMAT Data Sufficiency Tips: A Breakdown

April 4, 2014 by

Rubiks cube_dismantledData Sufficiency (DS) questions are unique to the GMAT. When first encountered they are cumbersome, confusing, and generally frustrating. Admittedly, Data Sufficiency questions often remain cumbersome, confusing, and generally frustrating, but such is the nature of the GMAT. After all, the better you do, the harder the test gets! However, thorough understanding of the characteristics and attributes of these questions coupled with a proven method of attack will allow you to handle just about anything the GMAT has to offer. In this blog entry, I will offer some GMAT Data Sufficiency tips to help you master this challenging question type.

The prescribed task for Data Sufficiency questions is straightforward enough: based on provided information, determine whether a posed question can be answered. The structure of these questions is unwaveringly consistent: a question is asked, two statements of additional information are provided, and the five answer choices that follow are always … Read full post

Take Responsibility in Your Optional Essay

April 3, 2014 by

mbamission-20_600Business school candidates who have an obvious weakness in their profile—such as a low GPA or GMAT score or a prolonged gap in work experience—often worry that they are destined to attend a virtually unknown business school. Whenever such applicants ask admissions officers how their weakness might affect their candidacy, they hear this straightforward and common refrain: “We look at applications holistically.”

Although this may sound like a cliché, it is actually the truth; at mbaMission, we have seen dozens of candidates with sub-600 GMAT scores and GPAs under 3.0 find their respective ways into top-ten programs. The key to overcoming any weakness in your candidacy is to address it in the optional essay, not with excuses, but by taking responsibility:

Example 1:

In my freshman year, I had the flu the day before my midterms and did quite badly on my first batch. As a result, my Read full post

Don’t Fall for Common Misconceptions About the GMAT

April 1, 2014 by

April 1st is here, and you know what that means: pranks, jokes, and odd press releases in which companies make outrageous claims, like: “Wow, Google says they’re going to set up a colony on Mars!” . . . “Hey, Nike has invented an anti-gravity shoe!” . . . “Whoa, did you see that Taco Bell is going to start serving breakfast?” (Wait, that one is true.)

On one level, most of us are naturally skeptical of any seemingly suspicious claim made on April Fools’ Day. One another level, what harm is it to entertain the thought? Perhaps some of us choose to believe these stories simply because we want them to be true.

When it comes to the GMAT, be careful to separate what you want to be true, and what is actually true. Don’t fall for the common misconceptions that so … Read full post


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