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MBA Admissions Myth: “I Have No Weaknesses!”

May 19, 2014 by

Most business schools will ask an applicant’s recommenders to describe a weakness of yours, or a time when they offered you constructive feedback. You may face great temptation to ask your recommenders to avoid writing anything critical or to present a “disguised strength” as a weakness. Your recommender might write something like one of the following entirely disingenuous statements, believing that he/she is helping you, when in fact he/she is not:

  • “John needs to learn to balance his work and home life better—he is always at work, making sure that he stays on top of every detail.”
  • “Mary is a perfectionist and holds others, who just may not be capable, to the same high standard that she holds herself.”

Alternatively, a recommender who is afraid of hurting your candidacy may write about a “professional development” weakness, focusing on a business skill that you have not yet had the opportunity to … Read full post

Are You Mentally Tough? Your B-School Preparation Requires It

April 24, 2014 by

Like many MBAs who are naturally filled with ambition and competitiveness, I would love to be an elite athlete, but like so many of us mere mortals (MBA or otherwise), I am not.  I’m pretty good at some things (e.g., I love to get my yah-yahs out on the ski slopes, or tooling around at questionable speeds on my motorcycle), but when it comes to high-performance sports, I know I will never be a Michael Jordan or a Tom Brady.  However, a recent article from Scientific American caught my eye in its discussion of the notion concerning Mental Toughness, a concept described by, among others, sports psychologist James Loehrer, and I realized how applicable the concept is to that competitive sport known as taking the GMAT.

The article describes 12 key attributes of mental toughness, identified from a series of interviews with highly-accomplished athletes:

  1. Unshakeable self-belief in your ability
  2. 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

Beating the GMAT: Intelligence is Insufficient

April 8, 2014 by

Undoubtedly, 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

Data 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

Is GMAT Tutoring Right for You?

March 25, 2014 by

Why Does GMAT Tutoring Work?

It is different than the classroom prep experience, where the agenda is set and you work at the rate established by the rest of the students in class and the teacher’s lesson book. While some students function perfectly within the classroom environment, others find that they need the focused, flexible attention of tutoring in order to flourish.

Do you learn best in a one-on-one, face-to-face setting?

When you work one-on-one with an expert Kaplan GMAT tutor on your own schedule and at your own pace, you can create the ideal test prep experience for YOU. With GMAT Private Tutoring you’ll work with a rigorously trained instructor who will focus exclusively on your needs. Do you need to spend more time on a specific area? No problem. Prefer to breeze through a section that’s easier for you? You got it. With GRE Tutoring, your test prep … Read full post

GMAT Sentence Correction Practice

March 21, 2014 by

Yesterday, we posted a slightly disturbing GMAT Sentence Correction practice question on Facebook. It was mostly disturbing due to the content (creeeepy!), but there was also a lot going on in this particular sentence and the answer choices. Check it out.

As is often the case in GMAT Sentence Correction, this question tests several issues, which you can identify by verbally scanning the answer choices:

  1. “If Professor…is right” versus “Should Professor…(be) right”
  2. Verb tense: “is” versus “had been”
  3. “connection of X and Y” versus “connection between X and Y”

Let’s address these issues one at a time.

  • “If Professor…is right” versus “Should Professor…(be) right”

The GMAT prefers “If Professor…is right” to “Should Professor…(be) right”. The former is simpler and uses the simple present tense to match the later verb “is (not merely coincidental)”. These two verbs must match tense since they describe events that happen simultaneously. Thus you can eliminate … Read full post

Spring Study Tips for the GMAT

March 20, 2014 by

Today is the Vernal Equinox in the northern hemisphere. This marks the beginning of spring, which is a great time for change and celebration – and for us to share some study tips for the GMAT.

Springtime Studies

When we think of the spring, we think of new beginnings. The trees and flowers are waking up (for better or worse, where allergy sufferers are concerned), the birds and frogs start singing again, and we’ve got new, longer hours of daylight now that we’ve changed the clocks. I’ve got a tray of seedlings going, and the tomatoes, basil, and okra are starting to poke their heads out of the soil, reminding me that it’s time to start new things.

Use this time of year to restart or kick-start your GMAT studies, if needed. Are you stalled out, slacking, or just plain burned out? Take a cue from the verdant vernal changes … Read full post

4 Reasons to Take a Free Kaplan GMAT Practice Test

March 17, 2014 by

Why should you sign up for one of the many upcoming Free Online GMAT Practice Tests that Kaplan offers? There are a number of reasons, but here are some of the most important.

1. You need GMAT stamina training

It’s tough to sit still for hours and focus your mental energy on Writing, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, and Verbal tasks. Begin your stamina training by trying a GMAT Practice Test to see how it feels to be planted in a chair for a stretch of time with nothing but your critical thinking skills and your math formulas to defend you.

2. You will discover your strengths and opportunities

Once you see your score, you may learn that you’re great at Data Sufficiency, but need to focus a lot more on your reading comprehension skills. Knowing this will help you to focus your study time more efficiently and effectively.

3. You … Read full post


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