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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

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

GMAT Study Tip: Do the “Write” Thing

March 31, 2014 by

I take notes.  I write things down.  Those statements may sound less than novel, but more and more such actions seem to be just that.  In the classes I teach, both for Kaplan and at DePaul, it is the rare student I observe actually taking notes and it is the rare student who clamors for pen and paper to assist in communication during group work or to record the communication that takes place.  Instead, most learners and communicators either do not use a pen and paper at all or they have developed the lesser habit of using a computer to capture important information. However, I’ve got a GMAT study tip that will change your approach.

In a FastCompany article I came across the other day, it looks like some there’s data offering a few more bones on the pile advocating for taking the ol’ reliable route of writing things down.  … Read full post

MBA Admissions: How do you look on the Internet?

March 28, 2014 by

MBA admissionsYou have an online reputation. You might not know what it is, your friends and family might not know what it is, but it is there. Granted, it is reasonable to conclude that some people (remember, “some” just means “at least one”) interested in applying to b-school do not have nor have ever had a social media or social networking account. Perhaps there’s at least someone out there that has never been ‘tagged’ in anything, never written anything, or been written about in anything published online.

Guess what. That is a reputation.

As we march relentlessly into the future… Wait a minute. Aren’t we already in the future? Whatever the case, the way in which we are perceived online can matter, and for MBA aspirants that perception matters more and more. While most schools have not yet spelled out official policies and procedures for screening online reputations, according to a Read full post

Top 5 GMAT Study Tips from Your Fellow Students

March 24, 2014 by

top5I always ask my GMAT students who are nearing the end of their Kaplan course if they have any recommendations for incoming students.  While not all of you are or will be Kaplan students, the Top 5 pieces of advice that come from this survey are absolutely useful to everyone on the road to GMAT Test Day.  Read them and take them to heart, especially because this counsel was borne from the trials and tribulations of people who have been there.

Top 5 GMAT Study Tips from Your Fellow Students

  1. Don’t underestimate how long it takes to go through a completed practice test.  Set aside at least as much time as it took you to take it to go back over it.
  2. Start making flashcards from day 1.  There’s a lot to memorize.
  3. Make it to every class.  Things happen, sure, but don’t let avoidable situations keep you from going
  4. Read full post

GMAT Math: Happy Pi Day — 3.14

March 14, 2014 by

piHappy Pi Day, to all our GMAT Math enthusiasts!! We here at Kaplan know you have been waiting all year for the 14th day of the 3rd month. You are not alone! We share in your excitement that the most glorious day of all annual commemorations has finally arrived. On this Day of Days, people the world over take a moment to laud the sublime ratio that irrationally but nonetheless numerically describes the relationship of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. In not so many words: π = C/d.

Fortunately for you and me, humans love a good challenge. While it is generally accepted that scientists, when calculating with π, only need to take the transcendental number out forty places to the right of the decimal, mankind has banded together over the centuries culminating in the modern use of supercomputing technology for its undoubted intended purpose. We … Read full post

Beat GMAT Verbal: Reading Comprehension in a Nutshell

March 11, 2014 by

reading on a laptopIn this fourth part of a series of posts on the GMAT’s Verbal Section, we take a look at Reading Comprehension (RC) and reveal some key takeaways that mean more points for you on test day. If you’ve not yet read the first two posts in this latest GMAT Verbal series, check out GMAT Verbal: Some Big Ideas, pt. 1, Beat GMAT Verbal by Making Predictions, and GMAT Critical Reasoning: How to Make Predictions. Ideally, read those first then come back in here and let’s crack GMAT RC.

To get mine as many points as possible from these questions, you absolutely must have a standard method for attacking both Reading Comprehension passages and the banks of questions that follow them. Furthermore, it is important to note the adaptive nature of the GMAT’s scoring algorithm. Recall that as you do better on the exam, it gets harder.

On … Read full post

GMAT Success is in the Details

March 4, 2014 by

A little thing here or there doesn’t usually make a lot of difference.  But when you aggregate, knowing some of the little things about the GMAT can be a big help on Test Day.  In this blog post, I am going to highlight some unexpected or otherwise novel little tidbits.  This list is not comprehensive, of course, but I believe you’ll find it contributes to your GMAT success on test day.  If you have anything you’d like to add, please do so in the comments.

  • Your photograph taken at the testing center on test day will be sent to schools.  That’s right, folks.  Just when you thought it was safe to wear your lucky shirt—you know, the one with the crass cartoon of a feral dog at a cocktail party—Big Brother steps in and spoils it for you.  According to GMAC’s website, your test day photograph as well
  • Read full post

Once You Get In, How Do You Pay For Business School?

February 28, 2014 by

Gold ingotsWhen assessing business school and an MBA, the ‘Money Issue’ is nothing if not multi-faceted. Since graduate degrees are an investment, like any other investment, there is up front cost. Some are fortunate enough to not have to secure student loans to help pay for graduate school, but most, unfortunately, do need this type of financial assistance. So, how do you pay for business school once you’re in?

Last year, I wrote about a proclamation made by the student loan ombudsman at the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), Rohit Chopra. Mr. Chopra declared the student loan system in the United States economy as ‘too big to fail.’ The student loan debt market, comprised of public and private lenders, shot past $1 trillion in early 2013 and continues its relentless climb.

It is a wonderful thing to not have to take on debt in order to pursue a graduate … Read full post

National Black MBA Association and other opportunities

February 17, 2014 by

National Black MBA AssociationBlack History Month allows everyone the opportunity to reflect on the storied history and impact of the African diaspora around the world. In case you were not aware, the annual observance is not exclusive to the United States—it is also officially observed during the month of February in Canada and Germany. Additionally, the United Kingdom celebrates Black History Month in October.

February also marks a waiting period for many b-school applicants. With most Round 2 deadlines passed, awaiting word on acceptance is all that remains in the long process of applying to business school. That also means that February is a great time to look forward to the fall! While you might not yet know where you will be come August or September, chances are you may well be starting your graduate school career and it is critical you make the very best of it.

There is more to b-school … Read full post


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