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Chicago Booth Application Essay and Deadlines for 2014-2015 [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2014, 10:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Chicago Booth Application Essay and Deadlines for 2014-2015
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The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business recently released its admissions essays and deadlines for the Class of 2017. Once again we see a top-ranked MBA program cut back on its number of required essays this year; now Booth only has one essay, and it’s not a traditional essay at all. Booth has decided to keep its famous “PowerPoint” question and drop everything else! Of course, this puts even more importance than ever on how well you answer this prompt.

Here are Chicago Booth’s deadlines and essay, followed by our comments in italics:

Chicago Booth Admissions Deadlines

Round 1: September 25, 2015

Round 2: January 6, 2015

Round 3: April 7, 2015

Booth’s Round 1 deadline has crept up by about a week, making Booth the latest top MBA program to move its first deadline into September. Note that applying to Booth in Round 1 means that you will get your decision back by December 18, which gives you at least a couple of weeks before most business schools’ Round 2 deadlines come. Booth’s Round 2 and Round 3 deadlines each budged only slightly compared to last year.

Chicago Booth Admissions Essay

  • Chicago Booth values adventurous inquiry, diverse perspectives, and a collaborative exchange of ideas. This is us. Who are you? (You can see all of the technical requirements and limitations here.)

    Chicago Booth’s “PowerPoint question” returns once again, although the wording of the question is new. Still, our advice mostly remians the same. As you think about how you want to approach this prompt, remember that the Chicago Booth admissions committee members already hold in their hands a great deal of information about you… What else do you want them to know? Don’t simply use this response to just show off professional achievements that you already cover elsewhere in your application. Be creative! The reason Booth kept this question is because, while it hasn’t worked perfectly for the school so far, it really is the admissions committee’s best chance to tease some personality out of your application. So don’t be afraid to give them some!

    Finally, note that an essay truly is okay here. Don’t feel that, because PowerPoint is an option, it’s expected or preferred. If you can best “broaden their perspective about who you are” using plain old words, then we recommend that you go that route.
Do you dream of getting into Chicago Booth? Download our Essential Guide to Booth, one of our 14 guides to the world’s top business schools. If you’re ready to start building your own application for Booth and other top business schools, fill out a free profile evaluation and speak with an MBA admissions expert. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

By Scott Shrum
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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How to Successfully Complete Your Thoughts on Critical Reaso [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2014, 16:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: How to Successfully Complete Your Thoughts on Critical Reasoning GMAT Questions
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In today’s world of instant gratification and ubiquitous mobile phone usage, we are becoming used to things going fast. Multitasking has become the new norm, and it seems like no one takes the time to finish anything before jumping off to the next task. While this hectic pace may allow more tasks to be accomplished (although not necessarily well), it also makes it harder for any one task to be attentively completed. In short, it’s becoming harder to finish any one thought.

The GMAT is an exam that tests many different facets of understanding, and some questions are designed to test your ability to finish a thought. In Critical Reasoning, we are often asked to establish which answer choice is the correct answer to a given question. However, sometimes there is no actual question posed, but simply an unfinished thought that must be completed. The thought cannot end in multiple different ways, but rather, it must end in the only answer choice that is coherent with the rest of the passage. These questions combine elements of strengthen, weaken and inference questions and ask you to best complete the passage given.

These questions do tend to be harder than a typical Critical Reasoning question, and therefore may not show up that frequently on any one test. However, they are important to understand because they ______________

A) Build confidence

B) Underscore important concepts

C) Squirrel!!

The answer to my little trivia game was B, but you could make a case for any of the given answers. Let’s try it again with an actual GMAT question:

Environmentalists support a major phase-down of fossil fuels and substitution of favored ‘non-polluting’ energies to conserve depleting resources and protect the environment. Yet energy megatrends contradict those concerns. Fossil-fuel resources are becoming more abundant, not scarcer, and promise to continue expanding as technology improves, world markets liberalize, and investment capital expands. However, these facts do not mean a smaller role of the non-polluting sources of energy in the long run given that ______________

A) The costs of producing energy from non-polluting sources of energy have remained constant in the last five years.

B) The availability of fossil fuels does mean an increased use of the same.

C) The amount of confirmed deposits of fossil fuels is sufficient to serve the world energy needs at least over the next two centuries.

D) There is an increasing sense of acceptance across the world on the harmful effects of the use of fossil fuels on the environment.

E) Non-polluting sources of energy are less cost-effective than fossil fuels.

The correct answer must correctly finish the thought as if it were always supposed to be there. If there are any contradictions or illogical conclusions drawn, that answer choice must be incorrect. The thought began by discussing fossil fuels and how environmentalists are calling for decreasing their use. However, the worldwide trend is that their use is increasing (#FossilFuels). These facts must somehow combine to indicate that non-polluting sources of energy will still be prevalent in the future, and we must select the answer choice that supports that. Let’s examine them one by one.

Answer choice A “The costs of producing energy from non-polluting sources of energy have remained constant in the last five years” introduces cost into the equation. There was no mention of cost prior to this, so it seems illogical that cost will be a determining factor in this issue. We can safely eliminate A.

Answer choice B “The availability of fossil fuels does mean an increased use of the same” is actually a 180°. If this were true, then there would be ever more fossil fuel use, and the alternatives would be significantly reduced. Answer choice B may seem tempting, but it’s going the wrong way.

Answer choice C “The amount of confirmed deposits of fossil fuels is sufficient to serve the world energy needs at least over the next two centuries” brings up an arbitrary timeframe for the purposes of sounding grandiose. Two centuries seems like a long time, but it’s also unfounded and irrelevant to the process. What if the answer choice had been two decades instead? Or two millennia? Would that make it more or less likely to be true? The arbitrary timeframe does not have any bearing on this thought, so we must eliminate answer choice C.

Answer choice D “There is an increasing sense of acceptance across the world on the harmful effects of the use of fossil fuels on the environment” brings the argument back to the cause of the environmentalists. This harkens back to the first sentence of the passage, and logically concludes why the facts may indicate something, but the long term trend will eventually indicate something else. Answer choice D is correct.

Answer choice E “Non-polluting sources of energy are less cost-effective than fossil fuels“ can be particularly tempting, because it is actually true in real life. However, just like with answer choice A, the concept of cost is parachuted into the passage with no antecedent to build upon. This factoid may be largely true in 2014, but does that mean it will be true in 2015 or 2025? We cannot select answer choices that seem correct in real life but are unsupported in the text. Answer choice E can also be eliminated.

When it comes to finishing a thought, it is important to note that the conclusion is often the most interesting part. Even if you’re already contemplating the next element or task, ensure that you do a thorough job finishing up the previous job. No one likes to leave loose threads, and it completely undermines your conclusion when the last portion is unclear or unfinished. Above all, the most important thing is to always…

Plan on taking the GMAT soon? We have GMAT prep courses starting all the time. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Ron Awad is a GMAT instructor for Veritas Prep based in Montreal, bringing you weekly advice for success on your exam.  After graduating from McGill and receiving his MBA from Concordia, Ron started teaching GMAT prep and his Veritas Prep students have given him rave reviews ever since.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Get Creative on Your College Essay: Part 2 [#permalink]

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New post 01 Aug 2014, 10:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Get Creative on Your College Essay: Part 2
ImageIn the previous edition of this series on cultivating creativity on the college essay, we looked at what makes for a good structure for a college essay. More specifically, we discussed that it won’t look like your typical high school expository essay. Even the most well structured college essay is ineffective without an idea to work with when molding your statement.

However, merely nestling down into a cozy armchair and staring at the blank “Document 1” in Microsoft Word won’t likely spark any ideas. Oftentimes even the world’s most prolific writers are afflicted with the dreaded writers’ block. So, how do you come up with great, original ideas for your college essay?

A few weeks ago on TED Radio Hour (a weekly show that airs on National Public Radio) the theme was “What Is Original?” The show explored questions of where good ideas come from and how they are ‘remixed’ across music, technology, and other fields. Ultimately, the most thought-stimulating notion in the show was that perhaps there’s no such thing as an original idea.

We are almost always changing, breaking down, and improving upon the ideas that have preceded us. Even inventions that seem revolutionary and completely new at the time of their launch actually stand upon the shoulders of past inventions.

The iPhone changed the way the world uses technology, but most of the components (camera, GPS, touchscreen) existed beforehand. Apple brought them together to create an aesthetically and technologically groundbreaking product. Besides the fascinating legal implications related to patents, it also holds an important key to unlocking our creative potential:

To become a great writer, read great writing.

You should never copy something you’ve read into your own writing—that’s plagiarism. However, you should try to soak up as many great pieces of writing that you can. In doing so, you’ll expand your vocabulary and writing style. When talking and reading, we tend to use words and phrases that we are comfortable with and have heard or seen many times before. By reading the works of the world’s renowned wordsmiths (e.g. Kurt Vonnegut, Mark Twain, Shakespeare, Joseph Heller, or Christopher Hitchens), you’ll become familiar with words you’d never hear otherwise, and more relevantly, learn different ways to tell a story.

Furthermore, you’ll get a sense of how creative writers develop characters, including how to appropriately use narrative arcs, tension building, setting description, and humor. There’s no need to stop there. Try picking up a newspaper, listening to radio journalism, or even reading a screenplay. As you surround yourself with these materials, write down any ideas that come to you about your own experiences.

To be continued… Happy Writing!

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Michael Rothberg is a Veritas Prep SAT instructor. He began tutoring his freshman year of college and is excited to help students conquer the SAT by unlocking their academic potential. Currently a rising sophomore at Harvard University, he is a Cognitive Neuroscience and Evolutionary Psychology major and Staff Reporter at the Harvard Crimson.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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GMAT Tip of the Week: Instagram Your Way To Sentence Correct [#permalink]

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New post 01 Aug 2014, 14:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: GMAT Tip of the Week: Instagram Your Way To Sentence Correction Success
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As our attention spans get shorter, the GMAT’s verbal section gets harder. Admit it – at some point in the verbal section of your latest practice test, and maybe earlier in that section than you’d like to admit, you just got bored, or at least lost in all the reading.

Open to a random page (let’s pick 691) in the verbal section of the Official Guide for GMAT Review’s new 2015 edition and you’ll find that you have to read about:

-The illustrator Beatrix Potter

-Marconi’s invention of the radio

-Proton-induced X-ray emission

-The cost to run nuclear power plants

And while you may even find 1-2 of these topics interesting, at a certain point they distract your mind from its ultimate job – get these Sentence Correction questions right! How can you overcome these way-longer-than-140-characters sentences in today’s Twitter age? Think about Instagram and take a 3-5 second “snapshot” of each problem before you actually read it.

What does a snapshot entail? It’s different from normal “reading” in that you’re not starting from left to right, top to bottom; in fact, there’s no one starting point overall. It’s looking at a problem in its entirety and getting a sense for “what’s up” before you actually do begin reading. You’re looking for clues:

  • Obvious differences between answer choices (“Decision Points”)
  • The presence of different pronouns in the answer choices (if 2 say “its” and 3 say “they”, you’re working with a pronoun error somewhere and you should immediately be looking for singularity/plurality in the referent)
  • The presence of different verbs in the answer choices (“was” vs. “were” means you’re looking for singular/plural as you read; “was” vs. “is” vs. “has been” means you’re looking for a timeline)
  • Comparison language (more, less, better, etc.) in the answer choices or the original sentence (which tells you that you’re looking for a parallel comparison)
  • The beginning of a “must-be parallel” construction (“both” or “either” or “not only” – in these cases, you know that you’re dealing with parallelism)
  • Easy indicators of a modifier as part of the underline in the original sentence (if a comma touches the underline in the first 10 words, or the sentence starts with “Unlike,” you’re almost always dealing with a modifier decision)
While this isn’t a completely comprehensive list, it should serve the purpose of getting you to think this way:

Within the first 3-5 seconds you look at a Sentence Correction problem, take a quick mental snapshot of the whole sentence and see if you can figure out what you’re looking for when you do dig in to read. On most problems, there’s a clue (or more than one) from a first glance, meaning that you don’t have to read the entire original sentence from scratch – you get to go in looking for something specific (what’s the timeline? what’s the subject and is it singular or plural? what two items are being compared?). And when you do that, you’re much less likely to get lost in the sentence or have to reread just to figure out what’s going on. You’re using the first few seconds to draw your eye to what is most likely important so that when you do read you’re in “attack mode” looking for something specific.

Consider this example, which appears courtesy the GMATPrep Question Pack:

Unlike many other countries, Thailand’s commercial crafts are influenced both by ancient beliefs and tradition and have remained relatively unchanged over the years.

(A) many other countries, Thailand’s commercial crafts are influenced both by

(B) many other countries, commercial crafts in Thailand have as an influenced both by

(C) the commercial crafts of many other countries, in Thailand they are influenced both by

(D) the commercial crafts of many other countries, those of Thailand are influenced by both

(E) in many other countries, Thailand’s commercial crafts have as an influence both

What does your initial snapshot show you? You should quickly notice a couple things:

1) The first word “Unlike” almost always signifies a modifier decision, and the comma after “countries” is another huge modifier clue (it’s a comma after the 4th word and it’s underlined). You should immediately be thinking “Modifier”

2) Even if you didn’t notice that, look at the differences between the first few words in each answer choice: “many other countries” vs. “the commercial crafts of many other countries” – that, again, should scream “modifier” (or “comparison”), as the change in “noun” vs. “something that belongs to a noun” tends to make you pick which one one those you need.

3) Or if you look down the right hand side, you’ll see that parallelism marker “both” and differences between answer choices “both by” and “by both” – that’s another huge indicator of what you may need to read for.

So before you know that this problem is about commercial crafts, Thailand, and influences, your initial snapshot should have you thinking “What subject works best with this modifier ‘Unlike’?” and “where should ‘by’ go?”. And now you’re in attack mode – the comparison/modifier is about boats/crafts in different countries, not the countries themselves, so you need the construction in C and D. And the non-underlined portion doesn’t have a “by” next to “tradition” so “both by ancient beliefs and (you need “by” here) tradition” isn’t parallel. So the answer has to be D, and if you took a mental snapshot your work was already cut out for you well before you started reading.

So steal a page from Instagram – take a quick snapshot of each Sentence Correction question before you start reading, and train yourself to recognize common clues in those snapshots so that you’re always reading with a purpose. Sentence Correction problems can go up to 56 words, but if you use your snapshot to read strategically you’ll usually find that well fewer than 140 characters really matter.

Take a Sentence Correction snapshot on test day, and your next big decision will be what filter to use when posting a snapshot of your 700+ score report.

Are you studying for the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

By Brian Galvin
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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How to Go From a 48 to 51 in GMAT Quant - Part III [#permalink]

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New post 04 Aug 2014, 08:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: How to Go From a 48 to 51 in GMAT Quant - Part III
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Let’s get back to strategies that will help us reach the coveted 51 in Quant. First, take a look at Part I and Part II of this blog series. Since the Quant section is not a Math test, you need conceptual understanding and then some ingenuity for the hard questions (since they look unique). Today we look at a Quant problem which is very easy if the method “strikes”. Else, it can be a little daunting. What we will do is look at a “brute force” method for times when the textbook method is not easily identifiable.

Question: What is 0.99999999/1.0001 – 0.99999991/1.0003?

(A)   10^(-8)

(B) 3*10^(-8)

(C) 3*10^(-4)

(D) 2*10^(-4)

(E) 10^(-4)

Solution: Usually, when we have decimals such as .99999999 or 1.0001, we round them off to 1 without thinking twice. The issue here is that all numbers are very close to 1 so if we round them off to 1, we will get 1/1 – 1/1 = 0. This, obviously, doesn’t work and we need to work with the complicated numbers only.

Now here is the official method, something a Math professor will give us:

Method 1:

For simplification, you will need to use a^2 – b^2  = (a – b)(a + b)

Note that 0.99999999 is .00000001 less than 1 and 1.0001 is .0001 more than 1.

.00000001 is the square of .0001.

0.99999999/1.0001 – 0.99999991/1.0003

{1 – .00000001}/{1 + .0001} – {1 – .00000009}/{1 + .0003}

{1^2 – .0001^2}/{1 + .0001} – {1^2 – 0.0003^2}/{1 + .0003}

{(1 – .0001)(1 + .0001)}/{1 + .0001} – {(1 – .0003)(1 + .0003)}/{1 + .0003}

(1 – .0001) – (1 – .0003)

.0002 = 2*10^{-4}

All in all, the question only required us to recall something we learnt in 7th standard: a^2 – b^2  = (a – b)(a + b)

Does it mean it is a very simple question? Not really. The problem is that it is hard to identify that all you need is this formula and that you need to bring the terms in this format.

So here is a “brute force” method that people came up with and that we can use when Math fails us:

Method 2:

The fractions are quite complicated but the options are not fractions. This means that we are able to get rid of the denominator somehow. This brings an idea to mind: 0.99999999 might be a multiple of 1.0001. But how do we find ‘which multiple’?

For that, we need to use some pattern recognition.

9*1.0001 = 9.0009

99*1.0001 = 99.0099

and so on till 9999*1.0001 = 9999.9999 (to get eight 9s)

Now since the decimal is 4 digits to the left i.e. the number is actually 0.99999999,

0.9999 * 1.0001 = 0.99999999

This means 0.99999999/1.0001 = 0.9999

On the same lines, we might guess that 0.99999991 is a multiple of 1.0003. To find ‘which multiple’, we might need to think even harder now.  Note that something needs to multiply 1.0003 to give something ending in 1. Perhaps this multiple ends with a 7 because 3*7 ends in 1.

And sure, 9997*1.0003 = 9999.9991 which gives us 0.9997 * 1.0003 = 0.99999991

This gives us 0.99999991/1.0003 = 0.9997

Thus, the problem boils down to

0.9999 – 0.9997 = .0002

We encourage you to look for some more brute force methods.

Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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School Profile: Create Your Own Major at the University of S [#permalink]

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New post 04 Aug 2014, 16:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: School Profile: Create Your Own Major at the University of Southern California
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Ranked #43 among colleges in the Veritas Prep College Rankings is The University of Southern California. Located in Los Angeles, USC is one of the largest research universities in the nation. Set in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, the campus boasts breathtaking renaissance-style architecture surrounded by beautiful sculptures, water fountains, and well-manicured seating areas. The campus is an oasis of tranquil beauty, but once you step outside its comfort, you’re in the hustle and bustle of all things LA. A wide array of delicious eateries, cute shops, excellent nightlife, and the chance to spot a celebrity or two when grabbing your favorite chai are just a few of the perks of going to school in the City of Angels. If you want a well-rounded education in a city that is famous for making dreams come true, then the University of Southern California is the college for you.

The academic experience at the University of Southern California is one of endless possibilities. They allow their students to create unique major and minor combinations that few have done before. Each student is allowed the flexibility and given the proper resources to build the ideal academic plan that best suits them. Allowing students to pair majors and minors that are vastly different from one another is what sets this university apart from many. Along with a wide range of degree options and couplings there are also great programs that can help students achieve academic prowess that they could not attain at other universities. Their progressive degree program is just one of the options that showcases this; students can start to work on their master’s degree while finishing the requirements of their bachelor’s degree.

The University of Southern California offers a wide range of Research and Discovery programs that can lead to opportunities such as having your work published or showcasing findings at conferences. Having this campus located in the hustle and bustle of LA also gives students the chance to participate in several community service and service learning projects. USC focuses on the importance of technology in society, and also the significance of global experiences. Many students participate in study abroad programs learning second and third languages. The wide range of programs, resources, and freedom of academic expression are what make the University of Southern California one of the most sought after colleges among high school students.

Campus life at the University of Southern California starts with housing options; freshmen residence halls, suites, apartments, along with family housing, ensure each student finds his or her perfect fit in a new home. On campus there is never a dull moment with over 800 student organizations to choose from. That is just the beginning; students can take part in many arts and culture programs, classes, and festivities, cultural organizations, and community service projects. Along with student government and an active Greek life, there isn’t much the University doesn’t offer its students. The extracurricular activities assist students in pursuing their interests, becoming leaders, finding their niches, and most of all, having a great college experience.

When it comes to athletic excellence, there are few universities that can compete with the University of Southern California. They are a powerhouse in NCAA Division I sports with 115 team and 361 individual national championship titles to prove it, not to mention the 11 football championships. The number of athletic accolades this University holds is mind-blowing and would take up several pages. Other student-athletes on campus can also compete in intramural and club sports teams that are open to all students. The facilities at USC are vast and top-of-the-line; they include tennis courts, a swim stadium, track and field facilities, and a fitness center, just to name a few. Students also have several fitness options available to them such as yoga, martial arts, aquatics programs, and more.

The University of Southern California is one of the oldest universities in California with deep roots and traditions, and as a top-tier sports competitor, it’s no wonder most of them revolve around athletics. USC has no shortage of rivals. Notre Dame and UCLA head the list, so be sure you’ve learned the words to “Fight On,” the school’s official fight song, and be prepared to belt them out at these games. The pride of Trojan spirit is big at USC. The marching band, known as the Spirit of Troy, has been featured in more than ten major movies and performed at two summer Olympics that were hosted in Los Angeles. To attend the University of Southern California is to embrace the red and gold.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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School Profile: Get 'Mobotic' at Carnegie Mellon [#permalink]

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New post 05 Aug 2014, 09:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: School Profile: Get 'Mobotic' at Carnegie Mellon
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Carnegie Mellon University is ranked #48 among the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. This private research university is a blend of the former Carnegie Institute of Technology and the former Mellon Institute of Industrial Research. The University became an epicenter for education in robotics, artificial intelligence, business, and the arts. Their pioneering “Andrew” computing network that linked together every computer work station on campus became a model for technology in education.

Not only does Carnegie Mellon rank high among U.S. colleges and universities, but it also ranks among elite universities internationally; several Carnegie programs individually rank on elite lists as well. The University reaches across the globe to provide learning opportunities on virtually every continent, including Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar that offers a complete undergraduate program.

Carnegie Mellon is an urban school in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood, which is considered the cultural hub of the city. Carnegie Mellon students share the neighborhood with the University of Pittsburgh; it has an international flair and boasts, art cinemas, museums, an array of ethnic cuisines, and unique coffee houses.  Shadyside, an upscale neighborhood of boutique shops, intimate lounges, and high end restaurants is within walking distance of the University. Squirrel Hill, a Pittsburgh favorite among neighborhoods, is also within walking distance and offers an eclectic blend of old and new making it the trendy place to be. Carnegie Mellon students easily blend into their urban environment and quickly feel at home.

On campus, there are over 270 student organizations, which are all detailed in their webpage The Bridge; get a head start in seeing where you might best fit in on campus. If you still are unsure about where you might fit in, Carnegie hosts activities fairs in September and January where you can get an overview of the vast opportunities to get involved in student life and talk to organizers face-to-face.

The Arts Pass program gets students free admission into a number of Pittsburgh attractions with a college ID. Winter Gala is the first Friday of the spring semester and is held at the campus student union; it features a no-cash casino with entertainment, and an assortment of activities and prizes. The school’s Scottish roots are celebrated during Celildh weekend for homecoming. Late Night offers Carnegie students free weekend activities from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

All first-year students must live on campus, but nearly 75% opt to continue with campus student housing during their academic careers. Carnegie Mellon offers the typical single-gender and co-ed dormitories, suites, and apartments available at most major universities. There are also Greek houses and special interest housing options, including a sustainable living situation at the New House. Students can enjoy over two dozen dining options on campus serving a wide variety of cuisines. Meal plans even include off-campus restaurants affiliated with the University.

Since Carnegie Mellon is recognized as a leader in science and technology, it makes sense that over 60% of students graduate with degrees in science technology, engineering, or mathematics. There is a 10:1 student faculty ratio, where 99% of undergraduate classes are taught by faculty, 96% of whom hold Ph.D.s. Students at Carnegie Mellon have the opportunity to research side-by-side with some of the greatest minds in their respective fields. Award-winning Carnegie faculty and alumni have embraced Andrew Carnegie’s vision, “My heart is in the work,” and gone on to change the world. One of the most recognizable faculty is Professor Randy Pausch, author of the best-selling book, The Last Lecture.

Carnegie students are encouraged to pursue interdisciplinary work through the University’s seven undergraduate and graduate schools: the Carnegie Institute of Technology, the College of Fine Arts, the H. John Heinz III College, the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Mellon College of Science, the School of Computer Science, and Tepper School of Business. Students can participate in several important research efforts including research in robotics, software engineering, and human-computer interaction.

The Carnegie Mellon Tartans field eight men’s teams and eight women’s teams in NCAA Division III varsity sports, and compete in the University Athletic Association (UAA). The school has several club teams and an active intramural program. Fitness classes are non-elective at Carnegie. Students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to take advantage of the vast health and fitness opportunities in Carnegie’s state-of-the-art facilities.

One of the wackiest traditions at Carnegie Mellon is painting the fence. The fence is in the area of campus known as “the cut,” and to be able to paint it you need at least two 24-hour guards to secure the fence, you can only paint between midnight and 6 a.m., and only with hand brushes. It is the “world’s most painted fence” according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Other traditions include Spring Carnival, Schenley Park buggy races, and the annual mobot competition. No respectable school with Scottish roots would go to a football game without their Kiltie Band; Carnegie’s performs at each football game. Carnegie Mellon also offers the only bagpipe music master’s degree in the country, so the University’s Pipes and Drums frequently play at University events.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill

 
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Round 1 vs. Round 2: When Is It Best for You to Apply to Bus [#permalink]

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New post 05 Aug 2014, 16:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Round 1 vs. Round 2: When Is It Best for You to Apply to Business School?
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There is little more debated in the b-school application world than whether it’s better to apply in round one or round two.  Most can agree that the third round is the most challenging, but late night discussions have endured and fights started over the topic of whether to submit for the first or second deadline.  For those of you with a short attention span, I will go ahead and cut to the chase by quoting Bruce DelMonico, assistant dean and director of admissions at Yale SOM, who says: “We definitely advise people to avoid the third round if possible, because space can become an issue by the time the third round rolls around. But we do view the first two rounds as roughly equivalent.”

If you care to hear more strategy about round one vs. round two, however, read on…

There are theories out there which propose skipping round one in favor of round two because you not only gain more time to work on your application, but you also circumnavigate all those super-organized, b-school robot applicants who had every T crossed way back in the spring, and waited patiently to pounce on the application process when the packages were first released in July.

Not many people know, however, that only about 30% of applicants to b-school apply in the first round.  With all the hoops you must jump through, including tracking down obscure transcripts from that one summer you took calculus at the local community college, to finding supervisors who have the time to sit down and put real thought into your recommendations, not even to mention studying for and taking the GMAT, it’s no small feat to pull off a complete application by October.  The numbers certainly indicate that most people do not, so being afraid of the “throngs” of applicants in round one is largely an unfounded fear.  About 55% of applicants apply in round two, leaving the balance of around 15% applying in the dreaded third and final round in the Spring, so you are actually competing for seats against far more applicants by waiting.  In a nutshell, don’t delay your application for strategic reasons.

As for fearing the quality or caliber of your competition in the first round, there has never been a study done on this to substantiate it.  B-schools have access to plenty of good candidates in all three rounds, so trying to avoid competing against the “best” is a losing strategy.  Remember that in round one, all the seats are unfilled, and schools, knowing they want every seat filled in the end, are generally more inclined to nail down good applicants as they come across them, rather than wait to see what may or may not come down the pipeline in round two.  While some schools hold out a specific number of seats in round one to make sure they don’t miss out on good round two applicants, there are generally no hard and fast rules about this, which means if you are qualified and they like your story, you should try to catch the adcom at their freshest, and grab a seat in round one.  In my next post, I will however, discuss the merits of applying in round two.  Stay tuned.

Ready to apply in Round 1? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. Click here to take our Free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Scott Bryant has over 25 years of professional post undergraduate experience in the entertainment industry as well as on Wall Street with Goldman Sachs. He served on the admissions committee at the Fuqua School of Business where he received his MBA and now works part time in retirement for a top tier business school. He has been consulting with Veritas Prep clients for the past six admissions seasons. See more of his articles here.
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SAT Tip of the Week: How to Attack Passage Based Reading [#permalink]

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New post 06 Aug 2014, 09:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: SAT Tip of the Week: How to Attack Passage Based Reading
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Once you’re familiar with the Passage-Based Reading section of the SAT, it’s usually easy to eliminate three out of five answer choices, even on difficult questions. Selecting the right answer from the remaining two, however, can be considerably more challenging. Many test-takers simply guess, resigning themselves to a 50% chance of picking the right answer. Fortunately, there is a better way to tackle this problem.

If you’ve taken a Veritas Prep SAT course or read the SAT 2400 book, you’re familiar with the strategy “Don’t Defend, Do Attack”. Essentially, it refers to the fact that confidently spotting the answer choices’ flaws is more effective than noticing their strong points. This is because multiple answer choices in any given SAT question (or even all five answer choices) can contain correct information backed by evidence in the passage. Many trick questions draw a reader’s eye by mixing correct and incorrect information. However, only one answer choice will be entirely free of assumptions, off-topic arguments, and unsupported claims.

This strategy is helpful throughout the Passage-Based Reading section, but becomes absolutely essential when all but two answer choices have been eliminated. The easiest answer choices to eliminate are those that contain little to no information supported by the passage, so the last two answer choices are usually similar in that they are both highly plausible. To pick out the wrong answer, search for the flaws; don’t waste your time considering the merits of each answer, since both will almost certainly have merits.

Consider this example, taken from a recent SAT administration. Skim through the following passage. Don’t worry about the details; just pick up the main idea, and then focus on the last sentence, which is the subject of our sample question. This passage is taken from a pair of Long Comparison Passages, but the question relates only to Passage 2, so only that passage is shown.

 

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(A) is easy to eliminate. The sentence does not mention artists facing moral dilemmas while selling their work; in fact, the entire passage never mentions artists selling their work at all, beyond a single cursory mention of “book buyers”. This answer choice is not supported by the passage.

(B) is also easy to eliminate. The last sentence discusses the government’s role in financing artists, not the artists’ need for money. This answer choice is not supported by the passage.

(C) seems possible. It mentions that it would be a bad thing if the public subsidized art. That seems to align with the views of the author, and is pretty relevant to the last sentence. The author even spends the fifth paragraph discussing bureaucrats’ views on art.

(D) seems possible, too. The author doesn’t want humanists (artists) to be funded by the government, since that could limit artistic freedom. The last sentence essentially summarizes that view.

(E) is easy to eliminate. Other social programs have nothing to do with the last sentence. This answer choice is not supported by the passage.

To choose between (C) and (D), it is important to note that (C) assumes that the author’s focus is specifically the public rather than the government. As test-takers, we can reason that government funding for art would probably draw on money collected from the public. Because the author’s argument is based on the role of the government, not of the public, in art, and because the public is not directly mentioned in the passage at all, (D) is more correct than (C). (C) makes the faulty assumption that the author’s point is to express concern about the public subsidizing art, rather than the government funding art. The difference is subtle but key.

Three answer choice eliminations bring your chances up to 50%, but are not enough to achieve a high score. The fourth answer choice elimination is almost always the most difficult, but is the most important in that it identifies the correct answer. The best SAT scorers look not only for supported information, but also for the small details that truly set the right answers apart from the wrong.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Courtney Tran is a student at UC Berkeley, studying Political Economy and Rhetoric. In high school, she was named a National Merit Finalist and National AP Scholar, and she represented her district two years in a row in Public Forum Debate at the National Forensics League National Tournament.
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NYU Stern Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2014-2015 [#permalink]

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New post 06 Aug 2014, 13:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: NYU Stern Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2014-2015
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NYU Stern has released its MBA application deadlines and essays for the 2014-2015 admissions season. Among top MBA programs, Stern has perhaps made the fewest changes of any school. But, Stern’s famous “Personal Expression” prompt — for which you can submit almost anything at all — remains, which we like. Overall, our advice has changed very little since last year. Read on….

Here are NYU Stern’s admissions deadlines and essays for the Class of 2017, followed by our comments in italics:

NYU Stern Application Deadlines

Round 1: October 15, 2014

Round 2: November 15, 2014

Round 3: January 15, 2015

Round 4: March 15, 2015

Well, nothing new here. Nothing at all. In fact, NYU Stern’s admissions deadlines are exactly the same as they were last year! After adding an additional round last year — making NYU Stern one of the few top American MBA programs to stray from the typical 3-round model — the Stern admissions team has apparently decided to stand pat this year. Note that applying in Round 1 means that you will be notified by December 15, giving you several weeks to prepare Round 2 applications to other schools if you’re not admitted to Stern.

NYU Stern Application Essays

Note that the first prompt is required. Then, choose one of the next two prompts.

  • Professional Aspirations: (750 words)
    (a) Why pursue an MBA (or dual degree) at this point in your life?

    (b) What actions have you taken to determine that Stern is the best fit for your MBA experience?

    (c) What do you see yourself doing professionally upon graduation?

    Once more, this question carries over unchanged from the previous year, and so our advice pretty much remains the same. Pay special attention to part (b) of this essay prompt — Stern clearly wants to see that you have done your homework and are applying to the school for reasons that go beyond the obvious. Besides looking at the rankings or seeing that Stern places a lot of graduates in investment banks every year, what have you done to be sure that Stern is a good fit for you, and vice versa? Like most top-ranked business schools, Stern places a good deal of emphasis on fit, and you need to demonstrate that you have done the same.
  • Option A: Your Two Paths (500 words)
    The mission of the Stern School of Business is to develop people and ideas that transform the challenges of the 21st century into opportunities to create value for business and society. Given today’s ever-changing global landscape, Stern seeks and develops leaders who thrive in ambiguity, embrace a broad perspective and think creatively about the range of ways they can have impact.

    - Describe two different and distinct paths you could see your career taking long term. How do you see your two paths unfolding?

    - What factors will most determine which path you will take?

    - How do your paths tie to the mission of NYU Stern?

    This question also remains the same as it was last year. As far as MBA admissions essay prompts go, this is one of our favorites because it’s a great way for Stern to try to get past applicants’ super-polished answers and try to get a better sense of what makes them tick professionally. Yes, you should have at least a pretty good idea of what you want to do after earning your MBA, but the admissions committee knows that you probably don’t know for certain what you want to do. And, even if you do, circumstances change, new trends emerge, life events happen, etc. While there is no single “right” way to approach this essay, one thing we recommend trying is laying out a fairly standard path (the one that you have probably already been telling people) and one pretty creative one — perhaps one career path could be as an investment analyst and one could be as a manager of a charter school system. The more different the two paths are, the more interesting your story will be, and the more it will help admissions officers get a read in who you are.

    Resist the temptation to make your second path an altruistic-sounding one simply for the sake of sounding like a model citizen! But, if there is a career path you’ve been toying with but have been reluctant to share because it might make you sound aimless or unrealistic, don’t be afraid to describe it here.
  • Please describe yourself to your MBA classmates. You may use almost any method to convey your message (e.g. words, illustrations). Feel free to be creative. If you submit a non-written piece for this essay (i.e., artwork or multimedia) or if you submit this essay via mail, please upload a brief description of your submission with your online application.

    Ahh, Stern’s famous “personal expression” prompt, which the school has used for years! This is significant because it means that the admissions committee must feel that it’s effective in helping the admissions committee get to know candidates. Stern truly wants to learn about what makes you unique. The school’s admissions officers are almost begging you to stand out here, which is a reminder about how you can make their job easier by helping them remember the real you.

    One other note: Just because this question allows you to use any medium, that doesn’t mean that you need to submit something other than the written word. If that’s your best medium, use it. “Being memorable” means more than just sending them something outrageous; the most effective submissions really are the ones that leave admissions officers feeling like they know you better. Finally, while this essay prompt truly is wide open in terms of what you can submit, note that there are a few parameters (e.g., nothing perishable!) that you need to observe.
  • Additional Information (optional)

    Please provide any additional information that you would like to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee. This may include current or past gaps in employment, further explanation of your undergraduate record or self-reported academic transcript(s), plans to retake the GMAT, GRE and/or TOEFL or any other relevant information. If you are unable to submit a recommendation from your current supervisor, you must explain your reason, even if you are a re-applicant. If you are a re-applicant from last year, please explain how your candidacy has improved since your last application.

    As we always advise our clients when it comes to optional essays, only use this essay if you need to explain a low undergraduate GPA or other potential blemish in your background. No need to harp on a minor weakness and sound like you are simply making excuses when you don’t need any. If you don’t have anything else you need to tell the admissions office, it is entirely okay to skip this essay!
If you want to get into NYU Stern, download our Essential Guide to NYU Stern, one of our 14 guides to the world’s top business schools. If you’re ready to start building your own application for Stern and other top business schools, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

By Scott Shrum
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School Profile: Become a Global Graduate of Emory University [#permalink]

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New post 07 Aug 2014, 09:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: School Profile: Become a Global Graduate of Emory University
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Emory University is located in the beautiful suburb of Druid Hills, Georgia, and is ranked #46 among colleges in the Veritas Prep College Rankings. This is an exceptional and exquisite campus just 15 minutes outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Surrounded by gorgeous trees, flowers, and shrubbery, it has a small town feel within picturesque natural surroundings. This school is in a perfect location for those who like to experience all four seasons and want variety in their life and education. It’s only a half-day trip to many South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida beaches, or the Blue Ridge or Great Smoky Mountains are also just a few hours’ drive. Attending Emory University allows you the opportunity to explore all Georgia has to offer.

The academic philosophy of Emory University is “the active, passionate pursuit of learning for a better world.” With this simple and straight-forward principle, students graduate from Emory with the tools to make an outstanding difference in their desired fields. There are nine undergraduate and graduate schools within this University, offering small classes of 25 or fewer students in most cases. Students get a more intimate experience through this academic design. A little less than 40% of the student body travels overseas for research, service, or international projects that allow them to become global citizens well before graduation day. Studying in roughly 40 countries in over 100 programs allows Emory students the opportunity to impact the global landscape while shaping their own futures. If you’re looking for a great education combined with real life experience, Emory University is the place for you.

Campus life at Emory starts with the 75% of students who choose to live on campus, even though it is only a requirement for freshmen and sophomores. The mandatory meal plan offers a wide range of options that will satisfy the individual needs of all students. Arts at Emory gives students access to hundreds of concerts, exhibits, and programs for the best in cultural experiences. Creativity and Arts allows students to indulge in interdisciplinary creativity through groups and classes. There are also a plethora of community volunteer programs, various religious groups and activities, and more than a hundred clubs for student participation. Emory University ensures each student not only has a successful academic and athletic life, but also a well-rounded college experience.

Emory is a Division III University, with 18 varsity sports teams—football not being one of them. They’re ranked high in the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics for their topnotch athletics program. This exceptional feat is reserved for only a few schools in the nation. With 16 Division II national championships in various sports, they have proven they are an athletic force to be reckoned with. Emory also believes that all their students should participate in athletics, so they offer “Play” Emory programs. Four different athletic experiences, Emory Club Sports, Emory Intramurals, Fitness Emory, and Play4Life, allow students to find the niche that best suits them. State-of-the-art facilities and athletic educational programs encourage students to see their physical health as just as important as their intellectual development while attending Emory.

From the moment you step on campus at Emory University you will feel welcomed and begin to find your place in this college community. Classroom on the Quad, Wonderful Wednesdays, and Emory Cares International Service Day are just a few of the activities where you can start becoming a part of Emory tradition. The campus is riddled with secret societies; new people are chosen to become involved in them based on their contributions to the campus life, so join in right away.  One of the more unique traditions is campus fixation with “Who is Dooley?” Since 1899, Dooley has been the official spirit of Emory in the form of a biology lab skeleton. Maybe you’ll be the one to solve the mystery of Dooley.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill
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How to Do Math on the GMAT Without Actually Doing Math [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2014, 08:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: How to Do Math on the GMAT Without Actually Doing Math
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On the GMAT quantitative section, the exam is testing your logic and analytical skills using mathematics as a medium. The topics used include geometry, algebra and arithmetic, all concepts that have been covered in high school curriculums around the world. However, the emphasis is really on the logic more than the math. In short, the question is simply asking you to solve a given problem by any means at your disposal. As such, many questions can be solved without doing any math whatsoever.

I often tell my students this quote: “The better you are at math, the less math you do.” This seems counter-intuitive at first. Lebron James is very good at basketball, and he plays a lot of basketball (when he’s not choosing cities to play in). It is reasonable to assume that proficiency in something makes you more likely to want to do it. However, on the GMAT, simply understanding what will happen is often enough to answer the question. The math can be used to confirm your thought, but it is not necessary and often will just slow you down.

A simple example would be to answer the question: “At a red light, there are 4 cars in 3 lanes. Is there at least one lane that has at least 2 cars?” The answer must be yes (by the pigeonhole principle, actually), because you have more cars than lanes. You don’t have to actually try the combinations to know the answer, but if you wanted to, you could imagine scenarios of the cars all in one lane, in two lanes, or in all three lanes. The math skills required to try every combination aren’t actually needed to solve a question like this, only an understanding of the permutation rules.

Despite many people swearing that the math on the GMAT is very hard, it’s often more a question of understanding than of math skills. Let’s look at an example that highlights this type of question:

Submarine A and Submarine B are equipped with sonar devices that can operate within a 3,000 yard range. Submarine A remains in place while Submarine B moves 2,400 yards south from Submarine A. Submarine B then changes course and moves due east, stopping at the maximum range of the sonar devices. In which of the following directions can Submarine B continue to move and still be within the sonar range of Submarine A?

I. North

II. South

III. West

A) I only

B) II only

C) I and II only

D) II and III only

E) I and III only

The submarines have a 3,000 yard sonar range in all directions, which essentially makes a circle around the ship. Submarine B moves a certain number of yards south and then a certain number of yards east. The question then asks which direction the sub could move in without losing contact.

This seems like a geometry question, and there are some numbers provided in this question. Let’s look through it quickly for the sake of completion, but you may have already noticed they won’t help in any meaningful way and are only there to bait you into tedious calculations. If submarine A has a circular range of 3,000 yards and submarine B moves south for 2,400 yards and then east, how far will it go east? The answer is actually a triangle inscribed within a circle, something like the figure below.

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Given that submarine B ends up at the edge of the 3,000 yard range, the hypotenuse of the triangle is 3,000 yards, and the y-axis is 2,400 yards. The x-axis displacement is easy to calculate if you recognize this pattern as a glorified 3-4-5 triangle. Multiply those values by 600 and you get an 1,800-2,400-3,000 right triangle. Thus the sub moved east by exactly 1,800 yards. However, this information won’t really be helpful in answering the question as we’re being asked for directions, not distances.

The graph may help clarify the issue, but you can solve it without even using the graph either. Clearly the sub on the edge of the triangle can head back west and be within sonar range. Similarly, it can travel due north and stay within range as well. The only two directions that are not allowed are east and south. The answer must this be I and III together, which is answer choice E (also Kanye West’s daughter).

While proficiency in mathematics is helpful on the GMAT (and in life in general), it is often not a necessary skill in solving “math” questions on the exam. Remember that the main goal is to test your reasoning skills and determine whether you can correctly solve problems. Being a business student isn’t about being an expert at math, but rather using the information provided to swiftly reach the correct conclusion. Oftentimes, the better you are at math, the less math you’ll actually end up using.

Plan on taking the GMAT soon? We have GMAT prep courses starting all the time. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Ron Awad is a GMAT instructor for Veritas Prep based in Montreal, bringing you weekly advice for success on your exam.  After graduating from McGill and receiving his MBA from Concordia, Ron started teaching GMAT prep and his Veritas Prep students have given him rave reviews ever since.
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Get Creative on Your College Essay: Part 3 [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2014, 14:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Get Creative on Your College Essay: Part 3
ImageIn the past two blog posts in this series, I have guided you on how to structure your creative college essay and where you could look for stylistic inspiration. However, by its very definition, the college essay is a personal response to the most common interview question, “Why don’t you tell me about yourself?”

Depending on the college application, the prompts for the personal statement will often be some variant of this question, and thus you can be certain of a two things: The prompt will be broad and it will encourage self-reflection. While some applicants might relish the opportunity to look inward and exercise their creative license, others might be more taken aback or even panicked by such the question.

No matter which end of the spectrum you fall into, there’s absolutely no need to fret. Every high school student has a story to tell and a unique background from which to tell it. Consider this: After living 2 decades, it’s essentially impossible that you haven’t achieved countless interesting things, learned about the world around you, and experienced some of the things that life has to offer. If nothing stands out immediately, here are a few tools you can use to produce some great ideas.

Transformation:

Read any Shakespeare play or watch any Steven Spielberg movie; you’ll notice that the main character always undergoes a transformation in some way. These changes come in various forms and can range from subtle to life altering. It might be a change in perspective or attitude brought on by some powerful experience. It might be a change in extracurricular interests or hobbies. Often the “change” occurs due to hardships, challenges, or moral dilemmas.

Whatever change you may have gone through, discussing personal transformations can be relatable, honest, reflective, and complex. Admissions officers are pining for this when reading your college essay.

You’re a lot different now than you were 10 years ago, 10 months ago, maybe even 10 days ago. So let me pose the question, “how are you different, and what things catalyzed the change?”

Quality arises from quantity:

If you are having trouble coming up with “good” ideas, keep at it. Even if you think you’ve found the golden egg of essay topics, keep thinking. You might have to write a few different personal statements to answer curve ball essay prompts. More importantly, when thinking creatively, you should never settle. Never stop when you think that you’ve arrived at your creative acme.

The more ideas you churn out, the more raw materials you have to work with. Ideas you don’t explicitly use in your essay can come in handy to jog your memory or serve as an anecdote. So, when brainstorming, think outside of the box, never strike down your own ideas, and don’t give up!

To be continued… Happy Writing!

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Michael Rothberg is a Veritas Prep SAT instructor. He began tutoring his freshman year of college and is excited to help students conquer the SAT by unlocking their academic potential. Currently a rising sophomore at Harvard University, he is a Cognitive Neuroscience and Evolutionary Psychology major and Staff Reporter at the Harvard Crimson.
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GMAT Tip of the Week: 5 Words to Recognize Before You Start  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Aug 2014, 08:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: GMAT Tip of the Week: 5 Words to Recognize Before You Start a Sentence Correction Problem
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After
you read this post about what to look for before you begin reading a Sentence Correction problem, you’ll be an SC expert since this strategy will tell you when to shift your focus from whatever it’s on to timeline and tense. Ready to get started?

So much of Sentence Correction mastery comes not from “learning more things” but from “recognizing when you can use the things you do well.” And one of the major themes you do know how to do well is recognize the timeline of events when you need to choose between different verb tenses. But, like many GMAT test takers, you’ve probably experience some trouble with two major Sentence Correction themes:

-How do you know that it’s a verb tense problem? (really, how do you know what type of problem it is)

-How do you choose a correct verb tense once you’ve identified that?

The answer very frequently lies outside the underlined portion and answer choices, and your clues can often be found in these words:

Since

Example: Since 1992, when Ross Perot ran for election as a third-party presidential candidate, …

“Since” indicates that something started in the past and has continued into the present, so you’ll want a corresponding verb tense like “has been”.

When

Example: The Republican stronghold on the White House lasted until 1992, when Bill Clinton…

“When” often indicates a turning point or beginning/ending event, helping you organize the timeline of events.

Before

Example: Before Australia become known as Australia, it had been known as the antipodes…

“Before” is a major indicator of timeline, letting you know that an event came prior to another. “Before” is often instrumental when you need to know whether the past-perfect tense (“had visited”) is in play (which is allowable when one event happened before another past-tense event).

After

Example: Human beings couldn’t have existed until well after dinosaurs, whose lifestyles would have drastically altered the current ecology of the planet, became extinct.

“After” is similar to “before” in its ability to help you quickly determine the order of events.

From

Example: Schembechler’s tenure lasted from 1969, when the fresh-faced young coach arrived to little fanfare, to 1989, when his retirement shocked many in the community.

“From” indicates a timespan, and one which typically has an endpoint that would call for past tense. “From” is your signal to look for the beginning and end of a time period to determine when/if it started and when/if it has yet ended.

BONUS: Dates

Dates, like 1985 and 1492, are easy to spot on the GMAT – words almost always contain a combination of TALL and short letters, but dates are always numbers in sequence. When you see that a Sentence Correction problem includes a date – particularly a 4-digit year – there’s a high likelihood that verb tense will come into play. So start thinking about what that date signifies (the beginning? the end?) and how that would affect the verb tense.

Overall, these words (and dates) can provide you with a massive clue as to how to read the sentence. When you see that timeline is likely in play, you’re not reading the sentence just hoping to find an error, you’re actively in “attack mode” looking for verb tenses and events and making sure that they’re consistent with the time markers elsewhere in the sentence. The more proactive you can be as you read these sentences, the better, so train your mind to look for words that signal timeline and you’ll have much of your job in mind before you begin the sentence so that there will be plenty to celebrate after you finish the test.

Are you studying for the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

By Brian Galvin
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Advanced Number Properties on the GMAT - Part IV [#permalink]

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New post 11 Aug 2014, 08:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Advanced Number Properties on the GMAT - Part IV
Image
As pointed out by a reader, we need to complete the discussion on a question discussed in our previous ‘Advanced Number Properties’ posts so let’s do that today. Note that the discussion that follows doesn’t fall in the purview of GMAT and you needn’t know it. You will be able to solve any question without taking this post into account but that has never stopped us from letting loose our curiosity so here goes…

Question 1: Which of the following CANNOT be the sum of two prime numbers?

(A) 19

(B) 45

(C) 58

(D) 79

(E) 88

Solution: We discussed in that post that the sum of two prime numbers is usually even because prime numbers are usually odd. We also discussed that if the sum of two prime numbers is odd, it means one of the prime numbers is certainly 2 – the only even prime number.

For example:

2 + 3 = 5

2 + 7 = 9

2 + 17 = 19

Then it makes perfect sense to first look at the options which are odd. To be sum of two prime numbers, the sum must be of the form 2 + Another Prime Number.

We saw that (D) 79 = 2 + 77 (77 is not prime.) and hence we got (D) as our answer.

Now the question we raised there was: What happens if instead of 79, we had 81?

81 = 2 + 79

Then all three odd options would have been sum of two prime numbers and we would have needed to check the even options too. How do you figure whether an even number can be written as the sum of two prime numbers?

This is where Goldbach’s Conjecture comes into play (you don’t really need to know it. We are doing it for intellectual purposes. GMAC will never put you in this fix).

It says “Every even integer greater than 2 can be expressed as the sum of two primes.”

Mind you, it’s a conjecture i.e. it hasn’t been proven for all even numbers (only for even numbers till 4 * 10^{18}) but it does seem to hold.

For example:

4 = 2 + 2

6 = 3 + 3

8 = 3 + 5

10 = 3 + 7 = 5 + 5

12 = 5 + 7

and so on…

So given any even sum greater than 2, you can say that it CAN be written as sum of two prime numbers, for all practical purposes.

In fact, and here we are going into really geeky territory, we expect that every large even integer has not just one representation as the sum of two primes, but in fact has very many such representations. For all we know, 6 may be the only even number greater than 2 which cannot be written as the sum of two distinct prime numbers.

Coming back to our original question, we will actually check only odd numbers to see whether they can be written as sum of two primes. One of them has to be such that it cannot be written as sum of two primes and finding that is very simple! (as discussed in the previous post)

So all in all, the question that seemed very tedious turned out to be very simple!

Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!
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School Profile: Graduate in 3 Years from Wesleyan University [#permalink]

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New post 11 Aug 2014, 14:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: School Profile: Graduate in 3 Years from Wesleyan University
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Wesleyan University is liberal arts college that is ranked #40 in the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. Located in beautiful Middletown, Connecticut, this campus overlooks the gorgeous Connecticut River. Within Middletown, students have access to a variety of museums, restaurants, and shops, as well as outdoor activities like hiking trails and river cruises. Wesleyan offers small class sizes, elite professors, and rigorous academic programs. Faculty and staff are devoted to making each individual’s college experience one that is completely unique for them. This University is dedicated to shaping students into diverse, creative, driven, independent, and generous people of the world. Wesleyan is more than a University; it is a place for students to thrive both academically and personally.

The academic program at Wesleyan is a rigorous one dedicated to giving students an expansive education at the highest level. There are no core requirements to adhere to at Wesleyan; students work closely with advisors to customize their schedule to fit their individual needs. Natural sciences and mathematics, the arts and humanities, and the social and behavioral sciences are the three spheres utilized to customize each student’s course load. Aside from creating an individualized academic plan, students are also given the opportunity to participate in many research programs with professors who are leaders in their fields.

There are two things in particular that make Wesleyan stand out, their summer sessions and their three-year program. Students get the chance to take rigorous five week courses during the summer, this is beneficial to those who want to advance more quickly through their schedule and is a main part of the three-year program. The three-year program is set up for students who possess the desire, dedication, and commitment to their academics to complete their degrees a year ahead of schedule. There are many benefits to this program, the main being the reduction in tuition. If you are a go-getter with the desire to work hard and get ahead quickly Wesleyan is the school for you.

Wesleyan University has 26 NCAA Division III teams that play in a wide variety of sports from crew to football. They offer both club teams and Intramural sports programs for all students to participate in. Wesleyan is devoted to providing the best athletic opportunities for their students, because they believe it assists them in becoming well-rounded individuals. Wesleyan also offers many community programs and outside programs such as adult fitness and sport camps and clinics. Along with outstanding facilities and competitive sports teams, students are provided with health and wellness courses that teach them how to live balanced and healthy lives.

Campus life at Wesleyan is extremely well-rounded; students typically have their hands in many different pies, juggling a multitude of diverse activities. Aside from their studies and athletics you’ll see them participating in at least one of the 200 student organizations. Students can also assist in tutoring at the local elementary school and various other community support programs. There is a wide variety of artistic and cultural events for students to participate in or watch. Several events from listening to world renowned speakers to student and faculty potlucks are offered throughout the year. All students are required to live on campus throughout their four years with a variety of housing options to choose from that encourage community. Religious and spiritual programs, health and wellness centers, and career resource centers are just a few of the student support services at Wesleyan University.

If you attend Wesleyan University you will soon find your favorite colors to be cardinal red and black. This college is all about spirit and tradition. At sporting events students show their pride by singing “The Fight Song.” One of the most celebrated traditions is the firing of the Douglas Cannon. It began in the 1860s as a contest between freshman and sophomores, with freshmen dead set on firing the cannon and sophomores tasked with trying to prevent them. This rivalry was known as the “Cannon Scrap.” As time went on the game changed, and now you will see the cannon often “missing” from its normal location on College Row and popping up in random places such as being presented to the White house and the Russian Mission at the United nations, editor’s office of Life magazine, and the inauguration of Wesleyan President Roth in 2007; its current location is unknown. If you’re a freshmen heading to Wesleyan, start thinking about how are you and your class can outdo some of these legendary locations.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill
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School Profile: Create Your Leadership Legacy at the Univers [#permalink]

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New post 12 Aug 2014, 09:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: School Profile: Create Your Leadership Legacy at the University of North Carolina
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When the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill opened the doors to its first students in 1795, it was the first public university in the United States. Over the years it has grown into a leading research university that embraces the role of change agent, and supports its diverse student body in their quest for success and prosperity. It is ranked #47 among the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. The 729 acre urban campus is located in the downtown area Chapel Hill, NC, and is divided into three sections; north, middle, and south campus. Most student housing and classes are on north campus, most athletic facilities, the schools of government and law, and additional student housing are on middle campus, and the basketball facility, medical school, UNC hospital, and the newest student housing are on south campus.

UNC’s 18,400 undergraduate students and 10,700 graduate students can choose from among 78 bachelor’s, 12 master’s, 68 doctorate’s, and seven professional degree programs. The University offers these majors through the College of Arts and Sciences and 14 other academic schools. Communication and Media Studies, Psychology, and Biology are the most popular majors. UNC has more Rhode’s Scholars than nearly any other public university. The most unique aspect of a UNC education is the opportunity to meld your academic major with the University’s two-year pan-campus theme, “Water in Our World.” Led by the UNC Water Institute, the University hopes to create a lasting legacy of global leadership in the area of water expertise.

UNC calls on all of its students, faculty, support, and resources to mobilize around this issue and contribute significant teaching, learning, understanding, research, and action toward the common goal. Students at UNC have the opportunity to take a number of classes related to their majors addressing an array of worldwide water issues, as well as participate in any of the University’s nine global research initiatives. If your dream is to make a significant contribution to solving the world’s water crisis, UNC is where you need to be.

UNC Chapel Hill offers dormitories, apartment-style living, foreign language and substance-free themed housing. Additionally, there is living-learning communities and social specific housing on a smoke-free campus. North campus residence halls are closest to most academic classes. Rams Head Dining Center includes a Starbucks and a small market; it’s open until midnight.  There are hundreds of clubs and organizations on campus including in music and performing arts; the Campus Y is the hub of student activism. Consider getting involved with The Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper that has been nationally recognized. The student-run radio station, WXYC, earned another UNC first as the first radio station in the world to broadcast on the Internet. There is an active Greek life on campus to join that is present without being overbearing. Drinking on campus is allowed for students of legal age. The UNC student government includes the Honor System, a student-run campus judicial system. There are countless ways for students to find their niche in this large University and carve out their personal UNC experience.

The UNC Tar Heels compete in NCAA Division I sports in the Atlantic Coast Conference with 13 men’s and 15 women’s teams. Men’s teams have won 12 NCAA National Championships, half of them in Men’s Basketball; women’s teams have won 31 National Championships with 22 of them being in Women’s Soccer. UNC is the alma mater to professional basketball standout Michael Jordan and professional soccer star Mia Hamm, who both elevated the level of play in their respective sports. UNC’s primary sports rival is Duke University, particularly in basketball; both teams are regular national title contenders in basketball. North Carolina State University poses the opposition in another long-standing bitter in-state rivalry. Students from both schools often prank the other prior to football or basketball games. The UNC fans are famous for wildly pouring into Franklin Street (named after Benjamin Franklin) following big athletic victories, fondly referred to as “rushing Franklin.”

Besides rushing Franklin, UNC students also have a tradition of creating spontaneous “bonfires” following basketball wins against Duke University; they usually take place in Fraternity Court, but occasionally also on Franklin Street. Another fun-loving tradition at UNC Chapel Hill is the “Naked Library Run,” where students streak the library during preparations for finals. As a new Tar Heel, you’ll be expected to learn the University fight songs, “I’m a Tar Heel Born” and “Here Comes Carolina.” You may hear either song being sung near the campus bell tower or after big sporting wins.

If you want to make an impact on the world water crisis, you’re confident enough to find your niche in a big university, and you love UNC sports, this is definitely your school.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of ChicagoPomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

By Colleen Hill
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3 Benefits of Applying in Round 2 for your MBA [#permalink]

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New post 12 Aug 2014, 12:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: 3 Benefits of Applying in Round 2 for your MBA
ImageIn my last post, I wrote about the virtues of applying in round one, but there are a few reasons why you might want to consider applying in round two instead.

1. New Experiences

Firstly, you should be considering your personal readiness to submit an application no matter what strategy you employ for timing.  Do you have the best GMAT score you can achieve?  Do you have the appropriate amount of progressively responsible work experience logged?   What if there is a pending promotion in your near future, and by delaying your application a few months, you will be able to experience something extraordinary which could impress the admissions committees?

I know of an applicant who was on the verge of receiving a new international assignment and decided to wait until round two so they could add it to their resume where before they had no international experience at all.  These kinds of opportunities are not only good for the resume, but can also provide great fodder for the essays themselves and will position you as a more mature, seasoned employee.

2. School Visits

Another reason to wait until round two might be to give you more time to visit individual schools.  The personal visit is one of the most important components of the due diligence process, as there is simply no substitution for sitting in an actual class and meeting real, live students in your target program when it comes to deciding where you fit in.  Some schools will even give you brownie points in the admissions process for visiting in person.  Look for schools with a historically low yield number (yield being the number of students who actually accept an offer of admission), which assume that an in person visit indicates you are truly serious about coming there.

3. Time to Prepare

Finally, the most important reason you might want to delay your application is because it is simply not its best yet.  If you feel you are rushing things and not spending an appropriate amount of time on introspection, you shouldn’t submit in round one.   Submitting an application that is incomplete or sub-standard, especially one that has not been vetted by either a consultant or confidant who perhaps went through the process themselves, you should delay.  Statistically, your chances of admission in either round is similar, so don’t let application strategy tempt you to submit an application that is not fully ready.

In my next post, we’ll explore the best kept secret for when to apply…as long as you are willing to commit to a school!

Working on your MBA applications? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. Click here to take our Free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Scott Bryant has over 25 years of professional post undergraduate experience in the entertainment industry as well as on Wall Street with Goldman Sachs. He served on the admissions committee at the Fuqua School of Business where he received his MBA and now works part time in retirement for a top tier business school. He has been consulting with Veritas Prep clients for the past six admissions seasons. See more of his articles here.
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SAT Tip of the Week: 8 Tips for Your Best Writing Score [#permalink]

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New post 13 Aug 2014, 09:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: SAT Tip of the Week: 8 Tips for Your Best Writing Score
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The SAT essay is daunting for many reasons: the time limit, the fact that prompts aren’t revealed until the test begins, and the significance of the SAT Writing score. While it’s important to address all of these obstacles (and to remember not to stress too much about them!) it is equally important not to forget about the core element of the essay itself: writing well. Here are a few SAT-customized tips to keep in mind.

1. Write naturally. Flow and tone are key to good writing. Unfortunately, since the SAT essay calls for academic writing, students who are uncomfortable with academic tone attempt to artificially professionalize their natural writing voice. The result is choppy, stiff, awkward prose that ends up detracting from the essay. To avoid this, try imagining that you are explaining something important to a highly attentive and interested politician. (This shouldn’t be hard; most SAT prompts discuss serious subjects, from morality to global concerns like technology and the environment.) Write as you would speak and check your grammar as you go.

2. Don’t incorrectly incorporate complex vocabulary. Complex vocabulary is impressive if you know how to use it. However, if you are at all unsure how to appropriately integrate a complex vocabulary word, don’t use it. From a grading perspective, there are few clearer signs of an inexperienced or unskilled writer trying to fake it. If you are learning vocabulary for the sake of improving your SAT score, make sure to learn the words definition but also the correct usage.

3. Read sample essays available online on the College Board website. Why did high-scoring essays achieve the scores they did? What could low-scoring essays have done better? Sample essays can be instrumental in gaining a more complete understanding not only of what constitutes good writing, but also what the College Board identifies as good writing—a great standard to keep in mind while crafting your essay.

4. Become a grammar nut. Great writing requires great grammar, perhaps the strongest building block of good writing (no great sentence ever mixed up “your” and “you’re”). Ask your English teacher whether he or she has noticed any specific grammatical errors in your writing. You can also take a Veritas Prep SAT course or read books and news articles to improve your grammar.

5. Get good at writing quickly and well…at the same time. This is difficult, but far from impossible. One good exercise to improve the quality of your speed writing is stream-of-consciousness journaling. Pull out a piece of paper and write as well as you can about anything you like—your day, your dreams, your dog—make sure your hand never stops moving. After a few minutes, stop writing and read what you’ve written. This is a great way to identify the types of mistakes you are most likely to make when crunched for time during the SAT essay. Practicing SAT essays is also helpful. Therefore…

6. Practice writing timed SAT essays. This is the best way to improve your SAT writing, since there is no point in learning about elements of good writing unless you incorporate them into the way you write. The only effective way to do this is by developing good habits, which can only be achieved with good practice.

7. Revise your practice essays the day after writing them. A little distance can make it easier to spot your own mistakes. Note what you have done well and recognize areas in need of improvement.

8. Ask others to help you revise your essays—people who you know you. Think English teachers, parents, or friends in higher grade levels. Their input will give you a fresh perspective on your writing. If you’re anything like me, knowing that your essay will be read by someone whose opinion you value will motivate you to write better essays.

The best SAT essays are set apart by excellent writing. Practice and plan in order to become a better student to develop your writing skills and—of course—to write the best SAT essay you can.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Courtney Tran is a student at UC Berkeley, studying Political Economy and Rhetoric. In high school, she was named a National Merit Finalist and National AP Scholar, and she represented her district two years in a row in Public Forum Debate at the National Forensics League National Tournament.
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Determine Which Business School Has the Right Culture for Yo [#permalink]

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New post 13 Aug 2014, 15:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Determine Which Business School Has the Right Culture for You
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When applying to business school, one of the most reliable questions you will get from just about any institution deals with how you feel you will fit within that school’s culture.  While it’s fairly easy to see if you have an academic fit or a professional fit at a school (by researching their curriculum and statistics for admitted students), it’s far more difficult sometimes to ascertain the “culture” of a school.

Assessing business school culture is akin to assessing someone’s personality.  What does the school “feel” like to you?  Does it have a reputation for being competitive or collaborative among its students?  Does it have a proud history of traditions?  What are its customs both inside and outside the classroom?  What is the collective spirit of the school as embodied by the staff, faculty and students?

A school’s culture will manifest itself both inside and outside of the core learning environment.  Inside the classroom, culture is driven by the curriculum, so make sure you know how classes are conducted.  Many schools give grades for classroom participation, but some do not, so make sure you sit in on a class to observe the engagement of the students.  Do you appreciate an environment of rigorous debate and challenge, or do you prefer a quieter learning environment where the professor does most of the talking?

One of the best ways to observe a school’s culture, however is outside the classroom.  When the bell rings, do the students scatter, or do they hang around and engage in conversation?  Do they conglomerate in common areas to work on projects or discuss business and social topics or do they move rapidly through the buildings to keep up with their busy schedules.  As for clubs, are they popular and well attended?   Are they making an impact, or are they having trouble getting attendance?

One of the big drivers of school culture is the demographic makeup of the student body.  What is the international student population vs. the domestic student population?  Do these groups mix, or do they run together in homogeneous groups?   How many married students are there?

Married students are less likely to have the same amount of time outside the classroom as unmarried students, so a school with a large number of married students may have a social culture that is less vibrant on the surface.  Then again, if there are enough married students, there can often be a very tight “club” of students who gather together as couples and bond closely over the two year period.   Some students will even have children.  Nothing changes the dynamic of a social situation like children.  Because of the average age of b-school students being in the late 20’s, you encounter many who are just starting their families.  All these things play into how a school’s inhabitants interact with each other, and you are well served to try it before you buy it by touring the school and participating in their official visit offerings.

In the end, all schools are going to want to know how you see yourself in their environment and demonstrating why you think you would fit in well.  One size does not fit all.

Learn about top MBA programs by downloading our Essential Guides! Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or click here to take our Free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter.

Scott Bryant has over 25 years of professional post undergraduate experience in the entertainment industry as well as on Wall Street with Goldman Sachs. He served on the admissions committee at the Fuqua School of Business where he received his MBA and now works part time in retirement for a top tier business school. He has been consulting with Veritas Prep clients for the past six admissions seasons. See more of his articles here.
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