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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

GMAT Strategy and Time Management: When to Guess

February 24, 2014 by

Guessing on the GMAT is a painful decision – especially for advanced test takers.  In the past, sometimes you were punished for guessing (like on the SATs) and sometimes you were made to feel like you weren’t fully prepared (remember college Spanish classes?). However, on the GMAT, while you want to minimize the amount of guess you do, realize that having a guessing strategy in place is important.  A guessing strategy is more important in the Quantitative sections since most test takers have a more difficult time finishing that section.  However, it is also important not to lose track of time on the Verbal section.  For sound GMAT strategy, primarily there are two distinct times when you want to guess:

When You Don’t Know the Concept

Let’s face it, on GMAT Test Day, you have a chance of forgetting one of the many equations you have memorized.  Additionally, sometimes … Read full post

When Should You Take the GMAT?

February 10, 2014 by

when to take the gmatPrepping for the GMAT is tough, and it’s easy to underestimate the time and work necessary for GMAT success.  Even when a GMAT student does lay out a sufficient runway, exploits the highest quality test prep materials available and utilizes those materials consistently and effectively, that MBA hopeful might still not feel ready to sit for the exam when test day finally arrives.

If you reach this point, you have two options:

  1. take the GMAT and hope for the best, or,
  2. push the test date and continue studying.

Assume choice 1: Take the GMAT and hope for the best.

It becomes very clear for everyone who seriously prepares for the GMAT that hope does not yield a strong GMAT score. A GMAT score is derived from the work you put in. It is absolutely true that one may work very hard yet still not see the level … Read full post

Kaplan Exclusive: Have an Official GMAT Test Day Experience

February 7, 2014 by

real GMAT practice testRealistic practice is key to success on GMAT test day when preparing for your exam.  If your preparation does not stress practice that is similar to the actual GMAT, you will encounter surprises on test day and may not achieve the highest score possible.

Many of you use Kaplan books or the GMAT Official Guide for practice problems, and time yourself while trying problems and taking numerous computer adaptive tests. These are all great ways to prepare for test day, but only Kaplan offers our students one more: The Official Test Day Experience (or ‘The Experience’ for short). In fact, Kaplan is theonly test prep provider whose students are allowed to sit for a practice exam in the actual GMAT exam testing facilities.

The Experience allows Kaplan students to go to a Pearson Professional Center, the location that administers the actual GMAT exam, and take a practice computer adaptive … Read full post

What to Expect on GMAT Test Day

January 24, 2014 by

GMAT test dayMost of you, after months of careful study, know what to expect on test day in terms of GMAT content.  However, it also important to know what to expect when you arrive at the Pearson Center for your GMAT test day.  Just as you have learned and practiced GMAT strategies, you should have a plan for handling your breaks and using your noteboard (the odd beast that stands in for scratch paper) wisely.

When you first arrive at the Pearson Center, you will use your ID to check in and register a digital scan of the vein patterns in your palm.  Next, you will place all of you personal items in a locker.  This includes ID’s, watches, phones, wallets, keys, and even tissues.  You will not be able to bring anything with you into the testing room, and you will not be able to access these items … Read full post

Test Your GMAT Sentence Correction Skills

January 21, 2014 by

I’m always telling you to practice, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes. It’s true, all those short study sessions, over time, add up. To that end, I’ve made a short GMAT Sentence Correction quiz for you, designed to take just about five minutes. Ideally, when you’re at your Test Day Best, you’ll be running through Sentence Correction questions in an average of one minute each. Note the important words in that sentence: Ideally, Test Day Best, and average.

Today, you’ll set your timer for five minutes for this quiz, and it will give you a sense of how you’re doing on pacing with GMAT Sentence Correction questions. Don’t castigate yourself if you’re not done within five minutes – that just means that you need to devote more time and practice to this question type. This practice quiz is just practice, and will give … Read full post

‘Twas the Night Before GMAT 2013

December 24, 2013 by

the night before GMAT

What’s the holiday without a classic tale rewritten for the GMAT test taker? We know you’ve been waiting patiently, and you’re on the “Nice” list, so here’s our holiday gift to you.

‘Twas the night before GMAT, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The knowledge was learned by the student with care,
In hopes that their Score soon would be there.

The test-takers were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of radicals danced in their heads.
With she in her ‘kerchief, and he in his cap,
They’d just settled down for a fitful night’s nap.

When up in their heads arose such a clatter,

They sprang from their beds and thought, “What is the matter?”

Away to the bathroom they flew like a flash,
Will they tear open their stomachs and throw up their mash?

The nerves in the … Read full post

GMAT Basics: What to Expect, What is a Good GMAT Score, How to Test

December 15, 2013 by

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is probably unlike any test you’ve ever taken in your academic career. The GMAT is a computer-adaptive test designed to provide a common yardstick by which business school admissions committees can measure applicants and their ability to succeed in their M.B.A. programs.

The test consists of three sections and is scored on a range between 200 and 800.

GMAT sections

Your GMAT Score

GMAT scores are used by business schools to provide a common yardstick to compare candidates for admission. On the GMAT, you will actually receive four scores:

  • A total score, ranging from 200-800
  • A math subscore, ranging from 0-60
  • A verbal subscore, ranging from 0-60
  • A score for your AWA, ranging from 0-6
  • An Integrated Reasoning subscore, ranging from 1-8

Your Percentile Rank

Each of the above scores will be accompanied by a percentile rank. The percentile rank highlights what proportion of test takers … Read full post

How Do You Study for the GMAT? Part I: The Calendar

December 13, 2013 by

Studying for the GMAT is not something that most test-takers take lightly and is usually a commitment of 2-3 months or more. While most of you studying for a test like the GMAT often know what to study, you probably have many questions about how to study. Study schedules can definitely vary depending on your particular situation such as goal score, starting score, work schedule, school schedule, and family obligations, but, based on a long history of working with students and studying how we learn, here are some general rules of thumb to remember as you begin to form your personalized study schedule.

The first thing to know about studying for the GMAT is that this is not a test that you can cram for. Studying for the GMAT is like preparing for a marathon. You want to build up to test day with a plan that builds … Read full post

Ben Franklin would kill the GMAT

February 8, 2013 by

GMAT BlogRead this article. It’s about how Benjamin Franklin, a notable and influential founding father of the United States, structured his life so as to be as productive as possible and always live knowing tomorrow is, in fact, today. In the article, the author, Samuel Bacharach, a labor management professor at Cornell University, lists five habits Franklin employed to ensure procrastination was not part of his personal description.

In this post, I will apply each habit as listed by the author of the article in order to provide a framework for a productive GMAT study schedule—one that begins today and does not relent until Test Day!

1.  Start a group and share knowledge. GMAT study is too often a very lonely endeavor. Despite my encouragement, it is with rare frequency my students organize study groups. I could speculate reasons as to why—busy schedules, different strengths/weaknesses, not wanting to … Read full post


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