At Kaplan Test Prep, we talk to future MBAs every day, so the GMAT is a hot topic of conversation. Those conversations come with their share of myths that are just begging to be busted. So, to celebrate the beginning of 2015, we’re also counting down the top 10 GMAT myths … and then debunking them!
10. GMAT math is really tough.
False. GMAT math is deceptively simple—high-school-level simple. The GMAT assumes that you have mastered those basic concepts, and it challenges you to a mental duel based on them that requires critical thinking and a strategic approach.
9. I can always pull out my trusty calculator!
Sorry, but you can’t. Other than on the Integrated Reasoning section, there are no calculators allowed on the GMAT. The bad news: if you’re uncomfortable with mental arithmetic, you will struggle. The good news: no calculator means that the GMAT will only … Read full post
Last time I talked about anticipation stress and how it can impede your preparation for the GMAT. Keep working on conquering that kind of stress.
Now, let’s talk about the other type of stress that I mentioned in my previous blog entry – test day/performance stress. On test day, there is a chance that you might experience one of the following situations:
- Getting stuck on a question
- Losing focus
- Starting to panic
What to do if you get stuck on a question
If you get stuck on a question, don’t spend an unnecessary amount of time on it. Think about employing a guessing strategy and move on. Good test takers realize that everyone misses a point here or there – they have to get the MOST points, not all the points. After about 2 minutes of work on a question, if you haven’t yet reached an answer, it’s a good … Read full post
Are you dealing with any of these potentially stressful situations?
1) Paying on student loans
2) Trying to secure an impressive job
3) Making time to network with friends
4) Attempting to date in the Google Glass world
You get the idea. Now, you want to go to business school and all the admissions officers and literature talk about how important the GMAT is for successful applications.
Did you need any more stress?
The Benefits of Stress
Stress can be a good thing: Stress produces adrenaline which can help increase concentration and focus your mind. On the other end of this, however, adrenaline can cause an increase in anxiety, sweaty palms, nervous ticks, and nausea. You are going to have adrenaline when you take the test – you MUST learn to control and use it to increase your score. Stress management is part of your GMAT prep strategy.
Think about … Read full post
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
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
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
I 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
- 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.
- Start making flashcards from day 1. There’s a lot to memorize.
- Make it to every class. Things happen, sure, but don’t let avoidable situations keep you from going
After only a few weeks of 2012, I can already see increased interest in taking the GMAT before GMAC adds the new Integrated Reasoning section in June. A good percentage of my students (I’ll not try to estimate how many) have said the impending change is the #1 reason they decided to start studying now. Wise move.
As the year trods on, I hope to see more and more people with this brand of forethought. Since GMAT scores are good
for five years after Test Day, I implore you: please do not wait to take the test until the year or semester before you plan to start grad school. Even if you are on the fence about whether you’ll even end up going, that is a good enough reason to get the GMAT out of the way now. Load your bases, set your table, tee up your … Read full post
I ran across a post on the HBR Blog Network about strategy entitled, “Strategy on One Page.” It’s an interesting little tool useful for summarizing the overarching strategic direction of a company through four directed questions:
- Why do you exist (what’s the big idea)?
- What is your value proposition?
- Who are you trying to serve?
- How do you know you are winning?
As I was reading through the article, I found myself directing the questions inwardly. As it turns out, these questions are useful as a tool for personal reflection. For you, dear reader, these are a fantastic set of queries to ask yourself as you embark on the road toward a graduate degree in business. Try it out. What are your answers? One immediate application of the information that bubbles to the surface, by the way, is on those admissions essays you keep putting off…. Read full post
At Kaplan, we’ve been working with standardized tests for years. Through this experience, we continue to see trends and patterns. The GMAT is fundamentally different from other standardized tests – the test is a competency based test: meaning that the GMAT isn’t testing your quantitative facility as much as it is testing your ability to deal with certain situations – situations that are repeated test administration after test administration. There are several core competencies that permeate the test, and are necessary not just for the test, but for business school and for success in the corporate world.
Competency #1: Critical Thinking
It is easy for a test prep company to say that the GMAT is testing your Geometry skills. It is easy to learn geometry – you already have in high school. However, do you believe that business schools are primarily focused on your ability to manipulate squares and … Read full post