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
When you first begin prepping for the GMAT, staying motivated is easy. But after a couple of months, it can be difficult to keep yourself motivated as you continue to try to improve your score.
If this happens to you, there are a few strategies you can use to regain your motivation. First, you can remind yourself why you are doing all this work. It is easy to get into a rut in which it seems you are simply taking the GMAT for the sake of the GMAT. Remind yourself of your ultimate goal: to get into business school. Tell yourself not only that you need to study for the GMAT to get a high score, but also that it is that high score that eventually will lead to your admittance to the business school of your choice, which in turn directly affects your employment prospects after graduation…. Read full post
Once test-takers reach the final week before the GMAT, they are often unsure of the best way to utilize their remaining study time. Luckily, a few strategies exist that can ensure you maximize the effectiveness of your final week of studying.
First off, aim to take two practice tests during the week. Usually, taking one test six days before your exam and another three days before your exam works well. Make sure to write the essays, even if you are confident in your writing abilities, in order to prepare for the length of the real test. The GMAT Prep software, available on mba.com, is a good source for these tests. Be sure to thoroughly review each test that you take—learning from mistakes you made under realistic conditions is one of the most effective preparation strategies, particularly in the run up to test day!
Next, make sure to reinforce … Read full post
In our previous article, we covered some of the areas of content knowledge necessary to perform well on the GMAT. But content is only a small part of the suite of skills that leads to better GMAT scores; in other words, even if you could immediately memorize volumes of Math formulas, Grammar rules, and practice problems, that wouldn’t automatically lead to a perfect score. There are plenty of tests that could test the same subjects as the GMAT–math tests from high school come to mind–but the GMAT is unique, and it has an extreme amount of predictability in its formatting. This means that, ideally, we want to use this format to our advantage; own the GMAT, don’t let it own you.
One unavoidable fact about the test is its timing restrictions: 75 minutes for 37 Quantitative questions or 41 Verbal questions, depending on the section. At 2 minutes per question, … Read full post
While the two essays on the GMAT require you to do completely different things, the approach and foundation of each essay is exactly the same. In this blog article, I want to address two questions my students often ask: “How long should I spend on planning the essay vs. writing the essay?” and “How long should the essay be?”.
Pacing the Essay
Thirty minutes isn’t a great deal of time to write Shakespeare. However, you don’t need to be as eloquent and esoteric in your style. What you need to be is clear, organized, and direct. The best way to accomplish those three objectives is to spend a significant amount of time planning your essay before you start typing the essay. Kaplan has specific templates and approaches that we discuss in our course; however, I’m going to simplify our approach for this post:
Step 1: Spend about 8 minutes planning … Read full post
For many students, the day you step into your Kaplan GMAT class is the first time you’ve seen the inside of a classroom in a number of years. This can be both exciting and scary, and definitely should be used to your advantage as you work towards becoming a student again. In order to make the most of your study time, it is important to learn (or re-learn) effective ways of understanding, absorbing, and applying the content and Kaplan strategies that you need to be successful on the GMAT. Take some time to determine your learning style and what works best for you.
Fortunately, the newly-revised Kaplan GMAT course has something for every style – visual and auditory input in classroom and live online sessions, endless tactile/hands-on study in your syllabus, course book, and Official Guide, and kinesthetic experience as you interact in class and practice using the new noteboard. … Read full post
For many GMAT test-takers, the biggest challenge in GMAT practice isn’t Data Sufficiency, Sentence Correction, or permutations, but rather finding the time to practice at all. On average, the 700+ scorer prepares for about 100 hours for the exam, and finding those hours can seem impossible when you’re trying to keep your job, get promoted, avoid swine flu, and maybe even have a life.
Recently I coached a few of my students at one of Kaplan’s premiere corporate partners on this issue. My advice: the Punchcard Method.
The time card is an obsolete technology for the average b-school applicant (aged late twenties, on average, for a male, and a couple years younger for a female). In decades past, you used to enter your time card in a machine that clocked how many hours you worked.
If you were showing up, but not contributing to work much beyond that, people said … Read full post
Here it is, mid-September, and your business school plans are moving along on schedule. Your GMAT is (or will be) fine, you’ve researched and perhaps even visited your top-choice programs, and you’ve lined up your recommenders…
Well don’t look now, but first round deadlines are rapidly approaching. Check out just a few:
Harvard Business School - October 1
Wharton - October 1
Kellogg (Northwestern) - October 2
Stanford GSB – October 7
Haas (Berkeley) – October 20
If your plan is to apply for round one (and that’s a good plan), but your applications are not yet nearing completion, you’ve got two choices:
1. Kick into high gear, and get them done
2. Hold off and submit your applications for round two
The benefits of applying early are widely known. The first round applicant pools tend to be slightly smaller than in later rounds which may help your chances. After … Read full post