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MBA News for Prospective Students

October 20, 2014 by

From business schools critiquing the (new-ish) GMAT Integrated Reasoning section to a historic first at Rutgers Business School (and—you guessed it!—more business school rankings lists), here’s the latest in MBA news for prospective students applying to business school or taking the GMAT.

How relevant is Integrated Reasoning for your GMAT score?

  • According to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2014 survey of admissions officers at over 200 business schools across the United States, 60% say that a prospective student’s score on the GMAT Integrated Reasoning section (launched in June 2012) is not currently an important part of their evaluation of an applicant’s overall GMAT score.This represents a slight uptick from Kaplan’s 2013 survey, when 57% said an applicant’s GMAT Integrated Reasoning score was not important. Despite that finding, Kaplan’s survey also finds that 50% of business schools pinpoint a low GMAT score as “the biggest application killer,” confirming that prospective students still
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Business Schools Explore How to Use Integrated Reasoning in the Admissions Process

March 14, 2013 by

Last summer, the GMAT made the most major change to its format in 15 years by replacing one of the essays with the Integrated Reasoning (IR) section.  Since then, GMAT test-takers have been wondering how IR impacts their b-school applications.  As it turns out, business schools are wondering exactly the same thing.

In the IR section of the GMAT, test-takers evaluate data in graphs, spreadsheets, and charts, similar to the materials they will eventually see in business school.  In theory, IR can better assess students’ ability to perform the tasks expected of them in business school and the work world.  Nearly a year after the inclusion of IR, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), who administers the GMAT, and business schools nationwide are taking the first steps to determine what role IR should play in the admissions process.

Bloomberg Businessweek recently reported that business schools across the country are actively … Read full post

Does my GMAT Integrated Reasoning score matter?

September 13, 2012 by

The Associate Director of MBA Admissions at Stanford University, Allison Davis, amplified the discussion over the potential impact of the Integrated Reasoning (IR) score in an admissions decision. Back in August 2012, she posted on her department’s blog titled “Why you shouldn’t worry about Integrated Reasoning.”

Since you are reading Kaplan’s GMAT Blog, I can only assume that you are in the midst of prepping for the GMAT exam or otherwise quite interested in topics surrounding the GMAT exam such as business school, MBA programs, graduate school admissions, etc.  I can also imagine that Ms. Davis’ provocative title may well have sparked a hesitant albeit palpable feeling of relief.  After all, such a bold statement about a generally feared section of the test from a representative of one of the most competitive and influential MBA programs in the world must be either commonly held or similarly held within … Read full post

The 4 Truths of the GMAT Argument Essay

August 25, 2012 by

As you likely know, with the inclusion of the Integrated Reasoning (IR) section came the exclusion of the one of the previously required essays.  Before the test change, GMAT test takers built their Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) score on the backs of two essays: Analysis of an Argument and Analysis of an Issue.  These two essays would be scored independently—by one human and one computer—then those two scores would be averaged for a total AWA score on a 0-6 point scale in ½-point increments.  In order to keep total testing time at 3.5 hours, test makers decided to cut the thirty-minute Analysis of an Issue essay and insert a thirty-minute Integrated Reasoning section.

So what can we make of this decision?  Now, let’s not bicker about the Integrated Reasoning section here; it is what it is and we all have to deal with it.  Rather, let’s focus on the essay … Read full post

GMAT Integrated Reasoning Percentile Distribution Scale

July 4, 2012 by

Data, data, data…  After 20 days and 6,229 test takers since the new Integrated Reasoning (IR) section went live on June 5th of this year, GMAC has compiled and published the first IR percentile distribution table.  A mean score of 4 out of 8 will land you in the 46th percentile and a 5 will get you to the 54th (See below for the complete rankings).

So what does this mean for you and your GMAT prep?  Well, a couple of things.  First, your IR score goal ought to be somewhere between 5 and 8.  As I’ve mentioned before, anyone’s target score needs to be relevant to their respective programmatic goals.  Since no one—including schools—have any idea what to do with IR scores just yet nor what the average IR score of an admitted applicant is/will be, your best bet is to focus on turning in a score … Read full post

GMAT Product Update: Kaplan’s New GMAT Course

July 2, 2012 by

Being the best means never letting up—always moving forward and always striving to be even better.  It is with great excitement that we officially launch our new and improved GMAT prep course offerings.

As always, you can choose to study with Kaplan GMAT On Site, Classroom Anywhere, On Demand, or GMAT One-On-One – and we have revamped all of these GMAT prep course packages. From the textbook to the number of class sessions, our students get more and better of everything.  Let’s take a look at some of the features and details of the new course:

  • 11 class sessions: We have added 2 sessions.  Our new GMAT course is now comprised of  11 class sessions. If you’re in an instructor-led course (On Site or Classroom Anywhere), your session structure will include Fixed and Flex sessions to heighten personalization, convenience, and in-depth, structured training (more on this in a moment).
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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

Taking the GMAT with Your Eyes Closed

June 18, 2012 by

The GMAT is a long test, but it can feel like it goes by quickly. You’re working straight through after all, at a rapid pace of 2 minutes per math problem, 4 minutes per quickly-scanned passage, and 1 minute per sentence correction question. You’re testing for three and a half hours, so your two eight-minute rests may not seem like enough. The solution?  Take more breaks.

This may seem like odd advice, especially given that I’ve written blogs about shaving mere seconds off math problems. And certainly, seconds do count. But taking breaks on the test is similar to paraphrasing question stems and taking notes or reading passages: spending time to rest can save you more time on the rest of the test.

For starters, humans blink less often when they are staring at computer screens. This can result in dry eyes and eyestrain—the last thing you want … Read full post

Kaplan’s GMAT Course Undergoes Continuous Improvement

June 16, 2012 by

One thing I like about Google is that they are constantly churning out both new products and improvements to additional products.  Google knows that in order to stay relevant and lead the market, innovation is fundamental.  Kaplan does, too.

For more than 70 years, Kaplan has been training ambitious individuals to reach and exceed their goals on standardized tests so they can reach and exceed their goals professionally.  We have been teaching the GMAT to prospective business students almost since its inception in 1954.  In short, Kaplan Test Prep is a product leader and, like Google, we have multiple teams devoted to continuous product improvement and innovation.

Instead of letting all this hard work and commitment go unnoticed, I want our students to know what is going on behind the scenes.  Not only do the smart people behind these projects deserve some recognition, but it is also important that … 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

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