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GMAT Scores: The Essay is Still Important

June 30, 2012 by

Often times, the portion of the GMAT most neglected by students is the writing sample.  While this section of the test is certainly less important than your overall 200 to 800 score, you still want to make sure that you know how to handle it.

The essay is graded on a scale from 1 to 6 and most business schools are expecting you to achieve a score of 4 or higher.  While the difference between a 4, 5, or 6 is not all that influential on your admissions prospects, receiving a score lower than a 4 can have a negative impact on your application.

While the integrated reasoning section, which was recently added to the GMAT, replaced the issue essay, the argument essay remains a part of the test.  In fact, it will be the very first section you see on test day.

The key to the essay … Read full post

GMAT Essays: Avoid Fallacy Fallacy

June 13, 2012 by

Scene: a busy street. A businessman in a suit and tie stands before a cloth covered table. A fortune teller sits on the other side of the table, peering into a crystal ball.

Fortune teller: “I see danger in your future, you are at grave risk! For $20, I shall peer into this crystal ball and tell you how disaster can be avoided!”

Businessman: “What a load of $&#%! Fortune telling is nonsense, and there is no way you could see my future through the crystal ball. I’m certain I’m in no danger whatsoever!”

Businessman walks across the street without looking and is run over by an ice cream truck.

So, GMAT students, was the fortune teller right? Was she genuinely psychic? Did her crystal ball receive emanations from the spirits predicting the future?

Of course not. Scientific consensus is that psychic powers don’t exist, and even the superstitious … Read full post

New GMAT Transition Coincides with Venus Transit

June 10, 2012 by

June 5, 2012 has finally come and gone.  To those of us within the gravitational pull of the GMAT, this date was no less than a celestial event.  June 5th not only marked the transit of Venus across the sun, but also the launch of the New GMAT.

What has changed?  A new section called Integrated Reasoning (IR) has replaced the Analysis of an Issue essay and taken its time allotment.  Hence, the GMAT is still the same total length.  That is, you write a 30-minute Analysis of an Argument essay, then take the new 30-minute Integrated Reasoning section, then take the 75-minute Quantitative section, and finally complete the 75-minute Verbal section (note: you get two 8-minute breaks; one between IR and Quant, and then another between Quant and Verbal).

Integrated Reasoning questions appear in four different formats and across twelve questions total in the 30-minute time frame.  … Read full post

GMAT Essays: Computers score your work, and they are really good at it.

May 9, 2012 by

Here’s a fun fact:  An expert human essay grader spends 2-3 minutes per essay and is, thus, capable of scoring up to 30 essays in an hour.

Here’s another fun fact:  A computer can score 16,000 essays in 20 seconds (and does it just as accurately as the human).

A new study out of the University of Akron published some very intriguing findings on the efficiency and accuracy of automated readers (aka, robo-readers, e-Raters, e-graders, etc.).  A team of researchers used more than 20,000 essays across eight different prompts and nine different programs to evaluate our electronic counterparts and the algorithms that govern them.  Turns out, not only are these programs staggeringly more efficient, but they are also just as accurate as their human workmates.  Sorry, John Henry.

So does this mean that GMAC is keeping mere mortals on the payroll out of pity?  Or perhaps to protect themselves … Read full post

Analytical Writing Grading Criteria

April 27, 2010 by

Video 12 in a series of official excerpts from the Kaplan GMAT program. This video covers the grading criteria for Analytical Writing essays. The instructor is Dennis Yim – over 700 students taught and counting.

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