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How Veritas Prep Helped me Reach a 770 on the GMAT [#permalink]

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New post 28 Aug 2014, 13:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: How Veritas Prep Helped me Reach a 770 on the GMAT
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The following article comes from Eliza Chute, a motivated GMAT self-studier who scored an impressive 770 on the GMAT.  Eliza utilized numerous resources to help her prepare for the GMAT, including Veritas Prep’s GMAT Question Bank and GMAT Practice Test.  Here, Eliza describes her experience using both resources and makes strategic recommendations for how to get the most out of each resource to help you with your GMAT preparation.

The Veritas Prep Question Bank and GMAT practice test helped me find my weaknesses and focus my study so that I could break the 700 barrier and ultimately helped me reach a 770.

The Question Bank was an essential part of my study plan.  I could pick which topics I wanted included in each quiz and could set the amount of questions, so I used it to help me hone in on specific skills I learned.  For example, after completing a sentence correction lesson, I used the  Question Bank to help me practice the skills I just learned and solidify the strategies in my mind.  Also, it was a great resource to help me keep up with subjects I wasn’t currently studying.  If I was having a particularly quant heavy few days, I would use the Question Bank to practice with 5-10 verbal questions to make sure I was keeping up with the topics I wasn’t actively studying at the time.

Question Bank shows you a comparison of your accuracy vs. other test takers, which is extremely valuable considering you are scored based on how well you do in relation to others on the actual GMAT.  I used this to ensure that I was up to snuff as far as my accuracy on each topic.  I was aiming for above a 700, so I needed to be well above average for everything.   After a few months of study, I saw that I was still only at average for Sentence Correction and above for everything else.  After identifying Sentence Correction as my weakness, I was able to correct it by doing a lot of review of grammar rules.

The Question Bank also showed me the progression of my accuracy over time, which I used to help plan future study.  For example, I saw that I had an increase in Data Sufficiency and then I began to plateau at an accuracy level below what I wanted for my goal score.  This showed me that I needed to go back to the books and work with more advanced problems to help me increase to where I needed to be.

Finding the right pacing strategy is such a key part of doing well on the GMAT and the Veritas Prep practice GMAT test helped me identify key areas where I was going wrong.  After you take the test, you can look at how long it took you to answer each type of question on average and how that compares to other test takers.  It also shows you a comparison of how long you spend on questions you get wrong versus how long you spend on the ones you get right.  Not only did my practice test reveal that I was taking much longer than average on problem solving, but that I spent longer, on average on the questions that I got wrong.  This helped me see that I needed to make a change and learn to let go of some questions that I just was not capable of answering.  By trying to answer these questions, I allowed myself less time to answer other questions and I wasn’t even getting them right anyway, making it a complete waste of time.  After seeing this, I adopted a strategy of guessing on 1-3 questions on the quant section to save me more time for the rest of the questions; a strategy that helped me earn a 51 in quant.

I took over 20 full length practice tests during my study and I found the Veritas Prep practice GMAT test one of the most accurate test experience and score simulators.  Not only that, but it opened my eyes to something I hadn’t thought about previously in my study: my score balance.  Though it is something that is pretty important, it is something that is not often emphasized.  Veritas Prep helped me see that while my score was pretty good, it was also very unbalanced towards the verbal side and in order to make my GMAT score more competitive, I needed to step it up in the quant department, so I did.

To learn more about how Eliza prepared for the GMAT, visit http://bestgmatprepcourse.com!
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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Common Errors to Avoid on Sentence Correction GMAT Questions [#permalink]

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New post 28 Aug 2014, 20:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Common Errors to Avoid on Sentence Correction GMAT Questions
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There are many famous expressions in the English language. Many of them are clever turns of phrase that refer to commonplace ideas and concepts in everyday life. You obviously don’t need to memorize these for the GMAT (A house divided against itself is not an integer), however some expressions can be easily applied to various GMAT problems. One common expression is that you’re comparing apples and oranges. This expression typically means that you are attempting to compare two elements that are not analogous and therefore incomparable. This idiom can be particularly apt in sentence correction problems.

When looking over Sentence Correction questions, there are common errors that appear over and over as potential gaffes that must be avoided in the correct answer. One such error is that of the false comparison, where the author erroneously compares one thing to another of a different type. Consider the frequently misused example of “The Yankees’ record is more impressive than the Mets.” Without adding a possessive determiner (Mets‘) at the end of the sentence, we are comparing the Yankees’ record with the actual Mets team. This is clearly an illogical comparison, yet one that often goes unnoticed.

Some questions will contain more than a simple comparison issue, and the other rules of English grammar we know must also be followed, but comparison issues tend to disproportionally mess students up. These errors frequently occur in daily life without anyone batting an eyelash (well, except for those studying for the GMAT), so they’re often difficult to spot.

Let’s look at an example that highlights this issue:

Unlike the terms served by Grover Cleveland, separated by four years, all former two-term U.S. Presidents have served consecutive terms.

(A)   Unlike the terms served by Grover Cleveland, separated by four years

(B)   Besides the terms of Grover Cleveland that were separated by four years

(C)   Except for Grover Cleveland, whose terms were separated by four years

(D)   Aside from the terms of Grover Cleveland that were separated by four years

(E)    Other than the separated terms of Grover Cleveland, of four years

Many amateur historians will stop to consider the accuracy of the subject matter (feel free to check “the Google”), but more astute GMAT students will quickly recognize that the original sentence contains a comparison trigger word. The word “unlike” typically signals that we’ll be comparing two or more elements; however these elements may or may not be congruent. If they are not comparable, we’ll be dealing with a glaring comparison error. This may not be the only error we have to sort through, but it’s undeniably a good place to begin our analysis.

The sentence begins by comparing the terms of the 22nd (and 24th) U.S. president to the other 11 presidents who have served two presidential terms. This connection should immediately seem incorrect, as presidential terms and people are not interchangeable. The underlined portion will thus need to be changed as the second half of the comparison is not underlined and therefore must remain untouched. Answer choice A can be eliminated because of this comparison mistake.

Looking through the other choices, answer choice B changes a couple of words in the answer choice, but still starts by comparing terms to humans. It can therefore be eliminated. Answer choice C changes the wording to begin with “Except for Grover Cleveland, whose terms…”, which changes the comparison to one person versus other people. This comparison is logical and acceptable, and the rest of the sentence seems fine as well. We can eliminate answer choices A and B so far, but not answer choice C. Let’s look at the two remaining choices before we look for another error.

Answer choice D again tries to compare terms to a person, which can easily be eliminated. Answer choice E makes the same mistake, and this sentence makes more mistakes as we read through all of it, however one strike is all you get on the GMAT. Only answer choice C correctly compares the 24th (and 22nd) U.S. president to the other presidents. Answer choices A, B, D and E are all eliminated because of the same comparison error, and choice C must be the correct answer.

Sentence Correction on the GMAT is full of questions like this, where one issue will get you to the correct answer, but if you don’t see it, you’ll spend time dissecting slight meaning differences between synonyms. If you don’t recognize the comparison error, you might think that this question is asking you to choose between “Aside” and “Unlike” in a sentence, which is a fool’s errand. Recognizing the common errors that pop up on the GMAT helps both your success rate and your pace, helping build confidence. Best of all, it ensures you’re comparing apples with apples.

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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UC Berkeley (Haas) Application Essays and Deadlines for 2014-2015 [#permalink]

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New post 29 Aug 2014, 09:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: UC Berkeley (Haas) Application Essays and Deadlines for 2014-2015
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Earlier this summer UC Berkeley’s Haas School of business released its MBA admissions essays and deadlines for the Class of 2017. Like other business schools, Haas has chopped an essay yet again, dropping down to three required essays (although we should note that the school’s word limit for each essay actually increased). The Haas MBA admissions team has also made significant changes to the questions that it asks in its essay prompts, so we have plenty of new advice for applicants this year.

Here are the UC Berkeley (Haas) application deadlines and essays for 2014-2015:

Berkeley (Haas) Admissions Deadlines

Round 1: October 1, 2014

Round 2: January 7, 2015

Round 3: March 11, 2015

Another top-ranked MBA program has significantly moved up its Round 1 deadline! Haas has pushed its Round 1 deadline earlier by more than two weeks, meaning that only several other top schools have earlier first-round deadlines. Note that, while most schools will give you your admissions decision in December if you apply in Round 1, Haas may not notify you until January 15, 2015, meaning that you will probably have to have your Round 2 applications completed for most business schools before you get your Haas decision. Looking at the other rounds, Haas barely changed its Round 2 and Round 3 deadlines this year.

Berkeley (Haas) Admissions Essays

  • Describe an experience that has fundamentally changed the way you see the world. How did this transform you? (400-500 words)

    This question is entirely new this year, and it replaces a fun one that asked, “If you could choose one song that expresses who you are, what is it and why?” This new question, while more conventional, is still a good one. Note the second part of the question, which tips you off to what the admissions committee really wants to see: How did you grow as a result of this experience? Think about the “SAR” (Situation-Action-Result) essay framework that we so often tell our clients to use — describe what happened, what you did, and then what happened as a results. Sounds obvious, right? You would be surprised by how often applicants get lost in the details and end up devoting 300 words or more to the situation, and not devoting enough space to their actions or the results! And, in this case, the “result” is not only what happened in that particular instance, but — again — how the applicant changed as a result. You could have experienced a terrible setback that made you more mature, or achieved something great that you never thought you would accomplish… It can be a “good” or a “bad” story, but the key is that it will only be interesting to Haas admissions officers if it shows how you changed (for the better) as a result!
  • What is your most significant professional accomplishment? (200-300 words)

    This essay almost carries over unchanged from last year, but it contains one very important change. This year the Haas admissions team introduced the word “professional” to the question. That’s right… Previously, any story would do, whether it was from your professional life or your personal life, but now Haas wants you to devote this essay specifically to a professional experience. Often this kind of change means that the admissions team hadn’t been getting exactly what it wanted, and is trying to nudge applicants in a certain direction. However, in this case, we think the change has more to do with Haas’s new Question #1 (above). Applicants are likely to give stories from their personal lives, leaving this one wide open for a good professional story. Said another way, if you were thinking about using a professional story for the first question, think again, since this is where Haas wants you to tell that story. Again, use the “SAR” framework, and put special emphasis on the results and how you grew or changed as a result.
  • What is your desired post-MBA role and at what company or organization? In your response, please specifically address sub-questions a., b., and c. (500-600 words combined)
    a. How is your background compelling to this company?

    b. What is something you would do better for this company than any other employee?

    c. Why is an MBA necessary and how will Haas specifically help you succeed at this company?

    This question is also new this year, and it replaces a fairly typical “Post-MBA career goals” that Haas used to ask. What makes this version less typical is how specific it is. In part (b), for example, Haas practically makes you prove your worth and talk your way into a new post-MBA job on the spot! Note that this question is very focused on the near future. While many such questions ask what you see yourself doing in 5-10 years, with this question it’s clear that the Haas admissions team wants to see that you have a clear and realistic goal for what you will do right after business school.

    Several thought here: First, Haas knows that you may not totally, completely know what you want to do after you get your MBA, and that your career goals are certainly subject to change. This is fine. The admissions committee just wants to know that you have realistic goals, and that you seem at least somewhat like someone who will hold up well in the grueling MBA job recruiting process. Second, you are obviously not yet a finished product, because if you were, you wouldn’t need an MBA. So, use part (c) to really highlight the two or three things that you expect to get out of the program. Finally, resist the temptation here to try to zig when everyone else is zagging — e.g., don’t fool yourself into thinking you need to write that you want to do non-profit work when your heart is really set on the financial sector. Be honest, and be specific.
Do you dram of getting into Haas? Be sure to download our Essential Guide to The Haas School of Business, one of our 14 guides to the world’s top MBA programs. If you’re ready to start building your own application for Haas 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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GMAT Tip of the Week: 4 Questions You Must Ask Everytime You Miss A Pr [#permalink]

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New post 29 Aug 2014, 13:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: GMAT Tip of the Week: 4 Questions You Must Ask Everytime You Miss A Practice Problem
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“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” -Thomas Edison, speaking about mistakes.

If you study for the GMAT for any appreciable amount of time (and you should) you’ll make mistakes. And that’s a good thing. People love to track their study progress with all kinds of metrics: percent correct, time per question, hours spent, problems completed – but in the end the only numbers that matter are the numbers on your official score report. So whether you were 10 for 10 on your homework or 0 for 20, whether you took less than 2 minutes per problem or spent almost an hour trying to figure it out, the key “metric” to your study sessions should be “what did I learn from this?”. And you can learn a lot from the mistakes you made, whether they’re silly (“I forgot to convert hours to minutes”) or confusing (“why does it matter that health care quality improved in the last three decades?”). You just need to know which questions to ask about the questions you missed. And there are four questions you should ask yourself any time you miss a problem:

1) Why was the right answer right?

This one comes pretty naturally to people – there was a right answer, you didn’t see it, and you want to know how to see it in the future. But don’t just take the back-of-the-book’s word for it – ask yourself in your own words and logic why that answer was right. One of the most common study mistakes people make is that they accept the written solution as “THE” way to solve the problem, but don’t internalize how they’d do it themselves or how they’d apply that particular problem’s steps (first you factor the common term, then you combine like terms within parentheses…) to a bigger strategy (“When I see exponents with addition and subtraction, I usually have to factor so that I can apply the exponent rules that require multiplication.”)

So instead of just reading the steps that the book or forum post took to get that problem right, ask yourself strategically how you’d get a similar problem like that right in the future.

2) Why was my answer wrong?

This is where you can really start to learn from your mistakes – what did you do/see/think that led you into a wrong answer. Did you make a careless math error? Did you eliminate the right answer too quickly because it didn’t seem “perfect”? Did your answer look great in terms of subject-verb agreement but actually contain a tense error you weren’t aware of? Was it “probably true” but not “definitely true”? With a standardized, multiple choice test, most wrong answers are created carefully to elicit common mistakes, so you should see your wrong answers as a blueprint for the types of mistakes you may well make in the future. Where did you go wrong?

3) Why was my wrong answer tempting?

This is first question that not nearly enough students ask themselves. The GMAT is a master of misdirection, of methods to get you focusing on the wrong thing or feeling uncomfortable with the right answer or falling in love with the wrong one. Your answers to this question might include:

-Answer choice B just seemed so obvious that I didn’t really do the math – I dove straight for the bait.

-I solved for x but the question wanted y, and I was so happy to be done “doing math” that I stopped too early.

-Answer choice D was just like I’d write that sentence and the others didn’t feel right, so I totally missed the pronoun error in D.

-I didn’t consider negative numbers so I thought this was sufficient.

-I know in my heart that B is true, but there wasn’t enough evidence in the answer choice to support it…they baited me into picking something that was close but just not there.

4) Why didn’t I like the right answer?

This is another huge question that not enough people ask (or that they don’t ask frequently enough). For the previous question, the GMAT is “selling the wrong answer” and usually that’s paired with this one – “hiding the right answer” by making it look irrelevant or awkward. Your answers might include:

-Statement 2 didn’t really seem relevant at all so I didn’t spend any time considering how I might use it…but I guess if the units have to be positive integers I could have just used trial and error.

-I hated the sentence structure of answer choice A so much that I immediately eliminated it and never even considered the verb tenses.

-The first few words of this CR answer choice seemed way out of scope, so I eliminated without reading the whole thing.

-It seemed almost like a double-negative so I never really understood the answer choice.

And here’s the really big takeaway – people often get so caught up in learning rules, facts, formulas, etc. that they don’t realize that they have to learn “the test” and “themselves”. The mistakes you make in practice are perfect opportunities to see what kinds of mistakes you’ll make on the test. Sometimes it’s because you just didn’t know the rule or couldn’t finish the math, but often it’s because the test used your tendencies – assumptions, hasty mistakes, etc. – against you. Ask yourself all four of these questions – and especially #s 3 and 4, which people rarely do – and you’ll be a much more well-rounded test-taker when test day comes and mistakes actually do count against you.

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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A 700+ GMAT Quant Question on Races [#permalink]

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New post 02 Sep 2014, 09:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: A 700+ GMAT Quant Question on Races
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This week we will look at the question on races that we gave you last week.

Question 3: A and B run a race of 2000 m. First, A gives B a head start of 200 m and beats him by 30 seconds. Next, A gives B a head start of 3 mins and is beaten by 1000 m. Find the time in minutes in which A and B can run the race separately?

(A)   8, 10

(B)    4, 5

(C)   5, 9

(D)   6, 9

(E)    7, 10

Solution: Now this question is a little tougher than the previous ones we saw last week.

There are two scenarios given:

1 – A gives B a head start of 200 m and beats him by 30 seconds.

2 – A gives B a head start of 3 mins and is beaten by 1000m.

Let’s study both of them and see what we can derive from them.

Scenario 1: A gives B a start of 200m and beats him by 30 seconds.

As we suggested before, we will start by making a diagram.

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A runs from the Start line till the finish line i.e. a total distance of 2000 m.

A gives B a head start of 200 m so B starts, not from the starting point, but from 200 m ahead. A still beats him by 30 sec which means that A completes the race while B takes another 30 sec to complete it. So obviously A is much faster than B.

In this race, A covers 2000m. In the same time, B covers the distance shown by the red line. Since B needs another 30 sec ( i.e. 1/2 min) to cover the distance, he has not covered the green line distance. The green line distance is given by (1/2)*s where s is the speed of B in meters per minute. The distance B has actually covered in the same time as A is the distance shown by the red line. This distance will be (1/2)*s less than  1800 i.e. it will be [1800 - (1/2)*s].

Scenario 2: A gives B a head start of 3mins and is beaten by 1000m.

Image

A gives B a head start of 3 mins means B starts running first while A sits at the starting point. After 3 mins, B covers the distance shown by the red line which we do not know yet. Now, A starts running too. B beats A by 1000 m which means that B reaches the end point while A is still 1000 m away from the end i.e. at the mid point of the 2000 m track.

In this race, A covers a distance of 1000 m only. In that time, B covers the distance shown by the green line. The distance shown by the red line was covered by B in his first 3 mins i.e. this distance is 3*s. This distance shown by the green line is given by (2000 – 3s).

Now you see that in the first race, A covers 2000m while in the second race, he covers only 1000m. So in the second race, he must have run for only half the time. Therefore, in half the time, B would also have covered half the previous distance.

Distance covered by B in first race = 2*Distance covered by B in second race

1800 – (1/2)*s = 2*(2000 – 3s) (where s is the speed of B in meters/min)

s = 400 meters/min

Time taken by B to run a 2000 m race = Distance/Speed = 2000/400 = 5 min

Only one option has time taken by B as 5 mins and that must be the answer.

If required, you can easily calculate the time required by A too.

Distance covered by B in scenario 1 = 1800 – (1/2)*s = 1600 m

In the same time, A covers 2000 m which is a ratio of A:B = 5:4. Hence time taken by A:B will be 4:5.

Answer (B)

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: What You Can Expect as a Cadet in the US Air Force Aca [#permalink]

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New post 02 Sep 2014, 10:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: School Profile: What You Can Expect as a Cadet in the US Air Force Academy
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The United States Air Force Academy, is ranked #42 among schools on the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. Located just north of Colorado Springs, Colorado, it is the third most visited tourist attraction in the state. The pine-covered 18,000 acre campus offers stunning views of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 7,258 feet; visitors can also often see cadets dotting the bright blue skies as they practice parachuting. Frequent maneuverings of Thunderbird jets during their practices offer yet another breathtaking experience. The 10th and the larger Air Force installation, including firefighting, medical support, security, civil engineering, and logistical support.

Students admitted to the US Air Force Academy are referred to as Cadets; instead of freshmen through seniors, they are fourth class (freshmen) through first class (seniors). All students attend Basic Cadet Training for six weeks before their first year of study. The core curriculum leans heavily toward science, engineering, and technology. There are 21 departments in four academic divisions – basic sciences, engineering, social sciences, and humanities offering a number of majors. All students graduate with Bachelor of Science degrees due to the rigor of the core curriculum. Cadets can participate in a number of research projects associated with their majors at one of the Academy research centers that include the Eisenhower Center for Space and Defense Studies, the Institute for National Security Studies, the Institute for Information Technology Applications, and many more. When cadets graduate from the Academy, each student is sworn in as a commissioned officer to the Air Force during the ceremony. Following graduation, newly commissioned officers begin their military service.

The Cadet Area of the Academy is the student campus. Student dormitories, the dining hall, the academic building—which houses classrooms, a library, and the Aeronautics Research annex, anchored by the Cadet Chapel, are all situated around a pavilion called the Terrazzo. The campus is a model of American modernist architecture with many buildings sporting gleaming aluminum exteriors that mirror the exterior of an aircraft. The unique Cadet Chapel is the showpiece of the Cadet Area with 17 silver spires that reach 150 feet into the air; it has been designated a National Historic Landmark. The Cadet Chapel houses sacred spaces for Protestant, Catholic, Buddhist, Islamic, and Jewish cadets to practice their faith. Campus life is strictly regimented by the school’s Honor Code Handbook. Because every student is a future officer in the Air Force, a rigorous curriculum of character and leadership defines social interactions and regulates the college scene. Beyond academic and military activities, the remaining free time is directed toward athletics. Arnold Hall, outside the Cadet Area, provides lounges, recreation facilities, a theater, and a ballroom for occasional downtime.

All Air Force cadets are required to participate in intramural athletics; if they are on competitive intercollegiate teams, they must still participate in their off-seasons. All cadets are fitness tested every semester; those who fail are put into rigorous physical fitness training until they are able to pass the test. There are 17 men’s and 10 women’s varsity teams competing at the NCAA Division I level in the Mountain West Conference. Some teams compete in other conferences based on the sport. The USAFA Falcons have traditional football rivalries with Army and Navy, as well as Colorado State University; they’ve also made regular appearances in football bowl games. The men’s and women’s rugby teams and boxing team have all won multiple national championships.

Although the United States Air Force Academy is the youngest of the three US military academies, it still has developed important traditions like the Prop and Wings, an honor given to fourth class cadets (freshmen) at the end of their first year in Academy. Cadet sabres are worn to distinguish first class cadets in command positions. Class rings are presented to third class cadets at the Ring Dance during the fourth class graduation week. The tradition is for the rings to be placed in glasses of champagne, then caught with the teeth after a toast. Cadets wear their rings with the class crest on the ring facing the cadet and after their own graduation, they’re changed to facing outward. Fourth class cadets are  awarded their shoulder boards and take the Honor Oath during Parents Weekend following Basic Cadet Training. There are many more formal traditions at the Academy, plus a nearly equal number of informal traditions that have developed over the years.

If you have an interest in applying to the United States Air Force Academy, you will have to secure a nomination from a U.S. Senator or member of the U.S. House of Representatives; plan to start the admission process your junior year of high school.

Do you 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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Yale SOM Application Essay and Deadlines for 2014-2015 [#permalink]

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FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Yale SOM Application Essay and Deadlines for 2014-2015
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Today we dig into the Yale School of Management’s admissions essays and application deadlines for the Class of 2017. Last year, Yale was one of the most aggressive movers in reducing its essay count, dropping from four required essays down to two. This year, the Yale admissions team has gone even further, announcing just one required essay for the 2014-2015 admissions season. Note that Yale has kept its video questions, which the school added last year.

Here are Yale SOM’s application deadlines and admissions essay for the coming year:

Yale SOM Admissions Deadlines

Round 1: September 18, 2014

Round 2: January 8, 2015

Round 3: April 23, 2015

Yale’s Round 1 deadline has crept forward by a week this year, although its Round 2 and Round 3 deadlines are virtually unchanged. Note that, if you apply to Yale in Round 1, you will receive your decision by December 8. This gives you plenty of time to get your Round 2 applications deadlines together for other MBA programs if you don’t get good news from Yale.

Yale SOM Admissions Essay

  • The Yale School of Management educates individuals who will have deep and lasting impact on the organizations they lead. Describe how you have positively influenced an organization —- as an employee, a member, or an outside constituent. (500 words)

    Very interesting. Yale SOM has narrowed down its slate of essays to just one, and for that one essay the Yale has chosen a topic that focuses on one of the defining attributes of a leader — the ability to have a positive impact on those around you. When you hear the term “leader” it’s normal to envision an elected official or a CEO, but leaders exist at every level of an organization, even if they don’t have any people reporting directly to them. And, one of the best ways to spot a leader in a group is to find the person who is able to posively impact those around him or her.

    Note that the Yale admissions team not only wants to know what you accomplished, but also wants to understand exactly what you did to make it happen. Examples where you went above and beyond the call of duty, or went beyond your standard job description, will be the most powerful here. For this essay you can use the classic SAR (“Situation Action Result”) format: Describe the challenge or opportunity you identified, explain in detail what you did, and then be sure to spell out exactly how your actions positively influenced those around you.

    Finally, note that this question focuses on the impact that your actions had on your organization, not the role you were in. In other words, admissions officers care about what positive impact you truly have on those around you much more than they care about your job title.
Thoughts on Yale SOM’s Video Questions

As Yale SOM Admissions Director Bruce Delmonico wrote earlier this year, the work that goes into your application overall should prepare you well for the video questions. That means knowing how to deliver a short “headline”-type introduction of yourself, being able to succinctly explain why you want a Yale MBA, and being prepared for basic behavioral questions (the kind that start with “Describe a time when you…”). As Delmonico mentions in that article, the school isn’t looking for a perfect level of polish. In fact, the more off-the-cuff your remarks seem, the more likely you are to come across as authentic. You shouldn’t ramble for 90 seconds, but your answers should be just as they probably would be in an in-person interview — imperfect, yet succinct and convincing.

Want to earn a Yale MBA? Get yourself a copy of our Essential Guide to Yale SOM, one of our 14 guides to the world’s top business schools. For even more personalized advice, sign up for a free profile evaluation by one of our MBA admissions experts. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

By Scott Shrum
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GMAT Tip of the Week: 3 Essential Test Day Strategies [#permalink]

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FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: GMAT Tip of the Week: 3 Essential Test Day Strategies
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The GMAT is an intimidating test. Here are 3 strategies to help you succeed on test day:

1) Check your work and be thorough.

Because of the Item Response Theory powered adaptive scoring engine, the GMAT comes with a substantial “penalty” for missing questions below your ability level. As the test attempts to home in on your ability level, it knows that approximately 20% of the time when you completely guess on problems that are beyond your ability, you’ll guess correctly. So the system is designed to protect against “false positives.” So even if you don’t get that hard problem right “accidentally,” but rather by investing extra time at the expense of other problems, the algorithm will continue to hit you with hard enough problems to undo the benefit of your getting that one outlier problem right. The same isn’t as true for “false negatives’ – problems below your ability level that you get wrong. There, that’s all on you – and getting easy problems wrong hurts you more than getting hard problems right helps you. So while your energy and attention may well naturally go toward the problems you find the most challenging, you simply cannot afford more than 1-2 silly mistakes on test day. Those wrong answers give the computer substantial data that your ability is lower than you’d like it to be, and the system responds by showing you even easier questions to determine just “how low can you go?”.

So make sure that if you’re on the verge of getting a problem right, you leave no doubt. Whatever silly mistakes you’re susceptible to – solving for the wrong variable, answering in the wrong units, miscalculating certain cells on the multiplication table – take the extra 10 seconds to double check and solidify your work. Yes that may mean that you have less time available for other questions, but the biggest score-killer out there is the “leaky floor” via which you’re in such a hurry to save time for hard questions that you make mistakes on easier ones. If you know that you should get a problem right, you have to make sure that you do.

2) Know when to give up and guess.

By the same token, you can’t get stubborn on hard questions. Everyone misses problems on the GMAT – the adaptive algorithm ensures it, by continuing to throw you challenging problems to test the upper limit of your ability. If you’re doing the little things right – double checking your work, being patient to avoid careless errors – you’ll see hard problems throughout the test. And no one hard problem will determine your score – the test expects that you’ll miss several, and you know that you’ll guess correctly on at least a few, so you can’t afford to spend 3-4 minutes on a question particularly if you’re not likely to get it right anyway. Often you have to lose the individual battle to make sure that you win the war – if your conscience starts to tell you “you’re spending a lot of time on this problem” and you can’t see a direct path to the correct answer at that point, it’s wise to give up and strategically guess so that you save the time to work on problems that you can or should get right later.

3) Have a pacing plan – and make sure it comes with a Plan B.

One of the easiest ways – and a surprisingly common way – to waste time on the GMAT is to try to calculate your pace-per-question as you’re going through the test. Which is crazy if you think about it – if you’re that worried about how long you’re taking, why would you spend *extra* time doing additional math problems that don’t count? So have a pacing plan well before you enter the test center. For most, it will look similar to:

Quant Section

After question 10 you should have approximately 53 minutes left

After question 20, approximately 33 minutes left

After question 30, approximately 13 minutes left

Verbal Section

After question 10, approximately 56 minutes left

After question 20, approximately 37 minutes left

After question 30, approximately 18 minutes left

If you find that you have less than that amount left at any point, it’s certainly not time to panic, but it is time to start thinking of how you’ll earn that time back. And by a fair margin the better way to do it is NOT to start rushing (which leaves you vulnerable to silly mistakes on several problems) but rather to give yourself one “free pass” over that next set of 10 problems. There, if you see a problem that after 15-20 seconds just doesn’t look like it’s one you’d likely get right, then guess. That saves you the time and means that you’ll probably (but not definitely) get that problem wrong, but it also allows you to continue to be thorough on future problems and avoid those score-killing “leaky floor” mistakes.

Students often get in a hurry when they start to feel the pressure of the ticking clock, and that pressure and haste leads to multiple mistakes. If you strategically make one big mistake instead of several small ones, you’ll maximize the likelihood that that big mistake doesn’t matter (it’s on a crazy hard problem) because you’ve done the little things well enough to have earned monster problems that are assessing your ceiling.

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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A Closer Look at Absolute Phrases on the GMAT [#permalink]

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New post 08 Sep 2014, 08:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: A Closer Look at Absolute Phrases on the GMAT
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Read the following sentences:

  • About 70 percent of the tomatoes grown in the United States come from seeds that have been engineered in a laboratory, their DNA modified with genetic material not naturally found in tomato species.
  • The defense lawyer and witnesses portrayed the accused as a victim of circumstance, his life uprooted by the media pressure to punish someone in the case.
  • Researchers in Germany have unearthed 400,000-year-old wooden spears from what appears to be an ancient lakeshore hunting ground, stunning evidence that human ancestors systematically hunted big game much earlier than believed.
Which grammatical construct is represented by the underlined portions of these sentences?

These are called absolute phrases. They often confuse people but once you understand properly what they are and what they do, they will not be intimidating.

Structure of Absolute Phrases

Often (but not always), this is the structure of an absolute phrase:

noun + participle (could be -ing or -ed) + optional modifier or object

An absolute phrase modifies an independent clause as a whole.

Usage of Absolute Phrases

It is often useful in describing one part of the whole person/place/thing or in explaining a cause or condition etc.

For example:

There was no one in sight and Sanders, his hands still jammed in his pockets, scowled down the empty street. (The underlined absolute phrase describes just the hands of Sanders)

We devoured the yummy pastries, our fingers scraping the leftover frosting off the plates. (The underlined absolute phrase describes just our fingers)

The underlined absolute phrase in sentence 1 above describes the DNA of the seeds.

The underlined absolute phrases in sentences 2 and 3 above describe conditions.

Some Alternative Structures of Absolute Phrases

Some absolute phrases have a different structure.

  • The participle being is often omitted in an absolute phrase, leaving only a noun and a modifier:
The boys set off for school, faces glum, to begin the winter term.

  • Also, an absolute phrase may contain a pronoun instead of a noun, or an infinitive (to + a verb) instead of a participle:
The customers filed out, some to return home, others to gather at the piazza.

[pronoun ‘some’ + infinitive ‘to return’ ; pronoun ‘others’ + infinitive ‘to gather’]

Now let’s look at the sentence correction question which uses statement 2.

Question: The defense lawyer and witnesses portrayed the accused as a victim of circumstance, his life uprooted by the media pressure to punish someone in the case.

(A) circumstance, his life

(B) circumstance, and his life

(C) circumstance, and his life being

(D) circumstance; his life

(E) circumstance: his life being

Solution:

“his life uprooted by the media pressure to punish someone in the case.” and “his life being uprooted by the media pressure to punish someone in the case.” are not independent clauses because they have no finite verbs in them.

With the coordinating conjunction (‘and’) and semi colon, you need an independent clause.

Accuracy wise, the use of ‘being’ is still suspect. ‘Being’ is not used to describe a state; it is used to describe an ongoing action such as ‘the tree is being uprooted’.

Colon is used if you need to give a list and hence, is not suitable here. Hence, options (B), (C), (D) and (E) are wrong.

Only option (A) describes circumstances suitably using the absolute phrase: his life uprooted by the media pressure to punish someone in the case.

Answer (A)

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: Find Your Path to Giving at Brandeis University [#permalink]

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New post 08 Sep 2014, 15:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: School Profile: Find Your Path to Giving at Brandeis University
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Brandeis University is ranked #57 on the Veritas Prep College Rankings. Located in Waltham, Massachusetts, it is a small research university with a focus on liberal arts. Students get to experience all the great activities on campus and enjoy a bonus of having historical Boston just nine miles away. The University is notable for their involvement in and dedication to policies that address mental health, health, youth, families, substance abuse, child abuse, and elder abuse, as well as being pioneers in international and community development. The University’s philanthropic identity is the backdrop for developing young students into mature adults who wish to change the world on both a large and small scale.

The academic advantage of attending Brandeis University is its combination of a global research university and liberal arts college. As one of the smaller research universities in the nation, it allows students to work closely with faculty who are leaders in their noted fields. The student body is just under 6,000 students with a majority of them falling into the College of Arts and Sciences undergraduate program. There are also two professional schools, and a graduate school in Arts and Sciences. The noted Rabb School of Continuing Studies enhances students’ opportunities through its relationships with other colleges in the Boston region. This is the perfect university for those who want to integrate theory with practice through internships, field-work, international opportunities, and experiential learning. At Brandeis it’s not just about the individual; it’s about finding ways to contribute to the greater good through academic excellence.

‘Be Brandeisian.’ What does that mean, exactly? It’s a way of life; it’s who you become when you attend Brandeis University. Here individuals thrive within their unique community sharing and embracing all viewpoints and opinions. Through extracurricular activities and academic pursuits students come to value all points of view, consequently bettering themselves and those around them. With a wide array of student clubs, activities, and campus events students can delve deeply into long-held interests as well as discover some new ones. There is no Greek life at Brandeis; sororities and fraternities are not allowed, as they are in contrast with the school’s philosophy of inclusivity based on capability and interest. Brandeisians can participate in a number of community service programs that serve Waltham and give back to the community that embraces them. At Brandeis University, you have all the tools and support needed to become a well-rounded individual in service to the world.

 

Brandeis University has nineteen Division III varsity teams competing in the University Athletic Association; this league has a reputation for being the cream of the crop among Division III athletic conferences. This allows Brandeis students to compete at the top level in their division, fully exercising their athletic prowess. The school holds numerous NCAA team and individual championship titles across an array of sports. Brandeis University believes physical health and well-being is just as important as academics, so each student must engage in at least two semesters of activity courses. Students who do not play on one of the varsity sports teams have a wide variety of intramural club teams that they can choose from to enjoy some good old-fashioned competition. For those primarily interested in personal fitness, they can access state-of-the-art facilities on campus including a pool and weight room. Brandeis also offers its students group classes such as yoga, or personal fitness training that ensures each individual has their fitness needs met.

Brandeis has a tradition of political activism, including a student takeover of Ford Hall (now the location of Shapiro Campus Center), and graduating notable activists like Angela Davis. However, the University seems more committed to the present than attached to the past. While they are light on tradition, they are long on volunteerism, and have a strong sense of school spirit and camaraderie. There are many factors that make Brandeis University an exceptional choice, the biggest of which is their sense of community. Their commitment to inclusion and open-minded thought creates a vibrant and welcoming environment. If you want to attend a school where your individuality will be appreciated and your voice heard, then Brandeis University could be the place for you.

Do you 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: This is Why Harvard University is Ranked # 1 [#permalink]

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New post 09 Sep 2014, 10:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: School Profile: This is Why Harvard University is Ranked # 1
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Founded in 1636, Harvard University is the oldest academic institution of higher learning in the United States, the #1 university in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, and the #1 university in the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. It is easy to see why this prestigious research university is in such high demand among graduating high school seniors every year. Forty-seven Nobel Laureates, 48 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 32 heads of state – including eight U.S. Presidents have come out of Harvard University. Nearly 325,000 students have graduated from Harvard since it began conferring degrees. Its 5,076-acre campus in and around Cambridge, Massachusetts is home to over 27,000 students – 7,181 of which are undergraduates, and boasts the largest academic library in the world. Add to that 24 University Professors doing groundbreaking research across many disciplines, and you have a highly sought after private university.

At Harvard, the Arts and Sciences are emphasized in undergraduate study. Classes are offered on a semester basis, with students take 32 semester-long courses toward their degree completion. These include courses in one of 48 majors, eight general education classes, an expository writing class, a foreign language requirement, and a number of electives that focus on research, study abroad, language certification, or other endeavors. Incoming students also attend one of over 110 Freshmen Seminars, which gives them a place to deeply explore an interest with a small group of like-minded people without the pressure of grades.

Harvard’s three most popular majors, determined by enrollment, are economics, political science and government, and neurobiology and neurosciences. Undergraduates have the opportunity to work with renowned faculty researchers, either assisting them or creating their own research projects. Harvard undergraduates may also participate in unique summer research programs through BLISS, Behavioral Laboratory in the Social Sciences; PRIMO, Program for Research in Markets and Organizations; PRISE, Program for Research in Science and Engineering; and SHARP Summer Humanities and Arts Research Program.

Incoming freshman will live in or next to Harvard Yard and eat at Annenberg Hall. Students are divided into entryways of 20 to 40 students who share a particular area in a dormitory in suite-style living. These small communities help freshman get comfortable with the social aspect of life at a major research university through shared organized activities and social events. In the spring of freshman year, students will join a lottery to be placed in one of 12 Upperclass Houses—each with 350 to 500 students.

At the center of campus life are the Harvard Houses, which are communities of faculty, grad students, and undergrad students all living, working and learning together. The multigenerational communities provide an enriching environment for undergraduates coming from every state in the U.S. and more than 80 countries. The diversity of culture and life experience in this comfortable and open environment encourages students to challenge each other’s preconceived notions in a respectful way and delve into life’s big questions creatively and deeply. There is no Greek life at Harvard.

Houses feature a library, lounge, recreational space and several other amenities. Each house also has a senior faculty master, resident tutors, department tutorials, seminars, spaces for personal creativity, and more. Houses sponsor their own intramural athletic teams, and have community-building committees who design House activities and community-service opportunities. Add to that hundreds of campus organizations, and students will discover that it isn’t difficult to find their niche in one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Harvard University is home to 40 men’s and women’s NCAA Division I varsity sports teams competing in the Ivy League Conference. Its fiercest rivalry is with Yale where the two football teams meet annually in “The Game.” Although Harvard and Yale are not the football powerhouses today, they were a century ago and they both contributed to shaping American college football in their own ways. Harvard was the first to have an actual concrete stadium, and Yale’s Father of Football, Walter Camp, helped to create new rules that included legalizing the forward pass – a true game changer.

Harvard and Yale’s longest-standing athletic competition is in crew. The two teams compete in the Harvard-Yale Regatta on the Thames River in Connecticut each year. In fact, the two universities compete with fervor in almost every varsity sport. Ironically, Harvard and Yale partner in track and field every other year against Oxford University and Cambridge University in the longest standing international college competition in the world.

Harvard has as long a tradition of excellence in sports as in academics. They’ve won 140 national team championships – 111 men’s/coed and 29 women’s. They are four time NCAA champions in men’s hockey and women’s lacrosse, rowing, and fencing. In fact, the women’s lightweight rowing captured the most recent NCAA championship for Harvard in 2014. Harvard students can participate in sports at the varsity, club, intramural, or personal fitness level at one or more of the 21 campus athletic facilities.

Although there are probably more time-honored traditions at Harvard University, it seems that students gravitate toward what they refer to on college review sites as the “trifecta of embarrassing things.” The big three traditions are peeing on the statue of John Harvard, having sex in the stacks of Widener library, and streaking (yes, naked) around Harvard Yard in the semi-annual Primal Scream – the night before semester finals. The likelihood that a majority of Harvard graduates manage even one of these embarrassing challenges before graduation is slim, but it’s the thought that counts.

Do you 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: This is Why Harvard University is Ranked #1 [#permalink]

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New post 09 Sep 2014, 14:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: School Profile: This is Why Harvard University is Ranked #1
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Founded in 1636, Harvard University is the oldest academic institution of higher learning in the United States, the #1 university in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, and the #1 university in the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. It is easy to see why this prestigious research university is in such high demand among graduating high school seniors every year. Forty-seven Nobel Laureates, 48 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 32 heads of state – including eight U.S. Presidents have come out of Harvard University. Nearly 325,000 students have graduated from Harvard since it began conferring degrees. Its 5,076-acre campus in and around Cambridge, Massachusetts is home to over 27,000 students – 7,181 of which are undergraduates, and boasts the largest academic library in the world. Add to that 24 University Professors doing groundbreaking research across many disciplines, and you have a highly sought after private university.

At Harvard, the Arts and Sciences are emphasized in undergraduate study. Classes are offered on a semester basis, with students take 32 semester-long courses toward their degree completion. These include courses in one of 48 majors, eight general education classes, an expository writing class, a foreign language requirement, and a number of electives that focus on research, study abroad, language certification, or other endeavors. Incoming students also attend one of over 110 Freshmen Seminars, which gives them a place to deeply explore an interest with a small group of like-minded people without the pressure of grades.

Harvard’s three most popular majors, determined by enrollment, are economics, political science and government, and neurobiology and neurosciences. Undergraduates have the opportunity to work with renowned faculty researchers, either assisting them or creating their own research projects. Harvard undergraduates may also participate in unique summer research programs through BLISS, Behavioral Laboratory in the Social Sciences; PRIMO, Program for Research in Markets and Organizations; PRISE, Program for Research in Science and Engineering; and SHARP Summer Humanities and Arts Research Program.

Incoming freshman will live in or next to Harvard Yard and eat at Annenberg Hall. Students are divided into entryways of 20 to 40 students who share a particular area in a dormitory in suite-style living. These small communities help freshman get comfortable with the social aspect of life at a major research university through shared organized activities and social events. In the spring of freshman year, students will join a lottery to be placed in one of 12 Upperclass Houses—each with 350 to 500 students.

At the center of campus life are the Harvard Houses, which are communities of faculty, grad students, and undergrad students all living, working and learning together. The multigenerational communities provide an enriching environment for undergraduates coming from every state in the U.S. and more than 80 countries. The diversity of culture and life experience in this comfortable and open environment encourages students to challenge each other’s preconceived notions in a respectful way and delve into life’s big questions creatively and deeply. There is no Greek life at Harvard.

Houses feature a library, lounge, recreational space and several other amenities. Each house also has a senior faculty master, resident tutors, department tutorials, seminars, spaces for personal creativity, and more. Houses sponsor their own intramural athletic teams, and have community-building committees who design House activities and community-service opportunities. Add to that hundreds of campus organizations, and students will discover that it isn’t difficult to find their niche in one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Harvard University is home to 40 men’s and women’s NCAA Division I varsity sports teams competing in the Ivy League Conference. Its fiercest rivalry is with Yale where the two football teams meet annually in “The Game.” Although Harvard and Yale are not the football powerhouses today, they were a century ago and they both contributed to shaping American college football in their own ways. Harvard was the first to have an actual concrete stadium, and Yale’s Father of Football, Walter Camp, helped to create new rules that included legalizing the forward pass – a true game changer.

Harvard and Yale’s longest-standing athletic competition is in crew. The two teams compete in the Harvard-Yale Regatta on the Thames River in Connecticut each year. In fact, the two universities compete with fervor in almost every varsity sport. Ironically, Harvard and Yale partner in track and field every other year against Oxford University and Cambridge University in the longest standing international college competition in the world.

Harvard has as long a tradition of excellence in sports as in academics. They’ve won 140 national team championships – 111 men’s/coed and 29 women’s. They are four time NCAA champions in men’s hockey and women’s lacrosse, rowing, and fencing. In fact, the women’s lightweight rowing captured the most recent NCAA championship for Harvard in 2014. Harvard students can participate in sports at the varsity, club, intramural, or personal fitness level at one or more of the 21 campus athletic facilities.

Although there are probably more time-honored traditions at Harvard University, it seems that students gravitate toward what they refer to on college review sites as the “trifecta of embarrassing things.” The big three traditions are peeing on the statue of John Harvard, having sex in the stacks of Widener library, and streaking (yes, naked) around Harvard Yard in the semi-annual Primal Scream – the night before semester finals. The likelihood that a majority of Harvard graduates manage even one of these embarrassing challenges before graduation is slim, but it’s the thought that counts.

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By Colleen Hill

 
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US News & World Report Announces 2015 Best Colleges [#permalink]

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New post 09 Sep 2014, 18:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: US News & World Report Announces 2015 Best Colleges
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The always-anticipated, always-talked-about US News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings were released today, and…

Not a whole lot has changed!

Which makes a good deal of sense. If it were possible for centuries-old institutions like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton or massive state-funded universities like the University of California system to experience wild shifts in quality, your college choices would be a whole lot more unpredictable. College is a long-term investment and these rankings tend to evolve slowly even as schools update their curricula and campuses to stay cutting-edge. Within the Top 25 for National Universities and the Top 25 for Liberal Arts Colleges, the biggest mover was:

(drumroll…)

Wellesley College, which jumped from #7 to #4 in the Liberal Arts Rankings, part of another huge showing for the Greater Boston Area and perhaps just that extra bump that famous alumna Hillary Clinton needs to finally announce that she’s running for President?

You can see the full lists for National Universities and for National Liberal Arts Colleges on US News & World Report’s site, but we’ve included the Top 25 rankings below, followed by some thoughts on what’s interesting for the 2015 rankings.

Top 25 National Universities

1. Princeton University

2. Harvard University

3. Yale University

4. Columbia University

4. Stanford University

4. University of Chicago

7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

8. Duke University

8. University of Pennsylvania

10. California Institute of Technology

11. Dartmouth College

12. Johns Hopkins University

13. Northwestern University

14. Washington University in St. Louis

15. Cornell University

16. Brown University

16. University of Notre Dame

16. Vanderbilt University

19. Rice University

20. University of California-Berkeley

21. Emory University

21. Georgetown University

23. UCLA

23. University of Virginia

23. Carnegie Mellon University

23. University of Southern California

Top 25 National Liberal Arts Colleges

1. Williams College

2. Amherst College

3. Swarthmore College

4. Wellesley College

5. Bowdoin College

5. Pomona College

7. Middlebury College

8. Carleton College

8. Claremont McKenna College

8. Haverford College

11. Davidson College

11. Vassar College

13. United States Naval Academy

14. Washington and Lee University

15. Colby College

15. Hamilton College

15. Harvey Mudd College

15. Wesleyan University

19. Bates College

19. Grinnell College

19. Smith College

22. Colgate University

23. Oberlin College

24. Macalester College

24. Scripps College

24. United States Military Academy

What’s Noteworthy?

Boston leads the way

Long known as America’s biggest college town, Boston maintained its status as the capitol of higher education; seven schools ranked within the top 42 National Universities are reachable from the T: Harvard at #2, MIT at #7, Tufts at #27, Boston College at #31, Brandeis at #35 (well…it’s almost right on the T), and Boston University and Northeastern tied at #42. Northeastern’s ascension is also noteworthy in and of itself, as the school climbed deep into the top 50 from #69 four years ago.



It’s good to be Californian…


Never mind that several top private schools in California ranked in the top 10 of their lists (Stanford, Caltech, Pomona, and Claremont McKenna). California’s public schools are among the best value anywhere in the world, with six UC schools making the top 50: UC-Berkeley, UCLA, UC-San Diego, UC-Davis, UC-Santa Barbara, and UC-Irvine.

…and not bad to be Virginian, either

Virginia also has two of the top six public schools, with the University of Virginia and the College of William and Mary each ranking among the top 33 National Universities.

The rankings are in large part a numbers game

Rankings like these are more evidence that people like assigning numerical values to education, and the rankings themselves are a huge part of that. For the first time in recent memory, Sarah Lawrence College in upstate New York jumped on to the list (at #59 among National Liberal Arts Colleges), largely because it recently began incorporating ACT and SAT scores into its admissions process. And on the other side of the ledger, Hampshire College was dropped from the rankings this year, having chosen to eliminate the ACT/SAT from its admissions decisions.

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

By Scott Shrum
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SAT Tip of the Week: Practice Makes Perfect When Aiming for a 2400 [#permalink]

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New post 10 Sep 2014, 09:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: SAT Tip of the Week: Practice Makes Perfect When Aiming for a 2400
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There is no better way to study for the SAT then taking official College Board practice tests. Just trying these problems alone will give you familiarity for the cadence, structure, and outline of the test. There are a few things you can do to maximize your effectiveness when using the practice tests.

Treat them like they are the real SAT.

I recommend that my students take practice tests in simulated situations. Specifically, put away your phone and other electronics for about four hours. Mark the breaks at the same exact time you would have on the real SAT and time each section as well. Don’t walk around or dilly dally. Approaching the test like you are performing in real time is a guaranteed way to increase your score. By the time the SAT rolls around, it will be second nature to get up early on Saturday. Timing yourself will build your stamina and pacing so by the time you take the test, you will be ready to excel.

Know Your Challenges.

Review every single problem you got wrong, as well as ones you had questions about. When I say review, I don’t mean glancing at the problem. Not only should you figure out where you took a wrong turn, but also identify the strategy and type of question it was. This means investigating if a problem is testing you on idioms or parallelism. In math, are you consistently getting 45-45-90 right triangles wrong or is it more of an issue with circumscribed circles? Taking this route of deeper analysis will not only strengthen your weaknesses with SAT 2400 strategies, but will also help you start to identify patterns before you take the test.

Review.

Reviewing your practice tests and having the stamina to take a full test and not get tired will elevate your performance to an unbelievable level. Combine this with studying vocabulary and mastering all SAT strategies and there is no reason why you can’t hit a 2400. It comes down to taking the time to analyze individual problems and identify why you answer certain questions wrong. Do this enough and the test will start to slow down and crystallize. I credit the effectiveness of this approach because of my personal success on the SAT. It got me to the point where I was able to determine the type of problem the test was asking right away. I knew that they were looking for an incorrect modified or a subject-verb agreement error on a particular problem. Having this pattern recognition is crucial in succeeding on the SAT. Once this happens, you will be ready to conquer the SAT!

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

Jake Davidson is a Mork Family Scholar at USC and enjoys writing for the school paper as well as participating in various clubs. He has been tutoring privately since the age of 15 and is incredibly excited to help students succeed on the SAT.
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How Many Times Should I Take the GMAT? [#permalink]

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New post 10 Sep 2014, 18:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: How Many Times Should I Take the GMAT?
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The GMAT is of course one of the most important components of the application process, so there is little else more devastating than not doing well on it.  Often, applicants find their actual performance is below their practice exams, leaving them not only bewildered and shocked, but also desperate with anxiety.  Schools know how tough the test is, and expect to see applicants who have taken it more than once, but a common question always seems to be:  how many times is too many?  It might help to first discuss how schools look at the test overall.

Most schools will only consider your best score, so no matter if you take it once or 100 times, you will list only the score with which you are applying and none other.   The wrinkle will come when the schools get the official report from GMAC, where every score you have logged over the past five years will be recorded.  Again, the schools will only consider one score, and you have the choice as to which one it is, but all the others will still be there, so they will indeed know how many times you took it.  There is a common misconception that schools look at only your most recent score, but this is not true.  What if you scored the same on two different tests?   Submit the score with the higher quantitative section, yes, even if your writing assessment and inductive reasoning score is higher on another one.  These two ancillary scores are not yet being considered in earnest by business schools, and since they must only report the core Quant/Verbal score to the rankings boards, they are not yet caring much how well applicants do on these sub sections.

It is a good rule of thumb to shoot for your target score within three attempts over the five year window on your GMAC record.  Schools recognize that it sometimes takes a couple of sittings before you “get the drill” on how to master the exam, but after the third time, studies have shown very little improvement in scores overall, so schools begin to wonder why you are choosing to beat your head against a wall which has very little chance of caving in.  Remember that every little thing in your application sends a message, and taking the GMAT five times could be communicating that you have poor judgment or worse, that you can’t be contributing much on the job if you have time to study and take the GMAT every month.

My recommendation is to sign up for a tutoring class, spend time taking practice tests, and then relax and take the first sitting seriously.  If you bomb, try some different preparation methods including possibly hiring a private tutor such as Veritas Prep offers.  The most important thing to improve is your quant score, so if you at least do that, and your score is within the 80% range of your target schools, you could possibly call it finished.  If not, feel free to give it one more try, but remember that your score can also go down!  Try to balance your time and ensure you save enough for the actual application.  In the end, a marginal 10 or 20 points on the GMAT will not mean much if you write a poor application.

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.

Bryant Michaels 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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School Profile: Become a World Class Researcher at Princeton Universit [#permalink]

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New post 11 Sep 2014, 09:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: School Profile: Become a World Class Researcher at Princeton University
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Princeton University is ranked #2 in the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. It is a private Ivy League research university located in Princeton, New Jersey. Princeton University was founded in 1746 and is the fourth oldest college in the United States. This university is committed to cultivating young minds who are in the top percentile of their high school graduating classes and furthering their knowledge to become people who change the world. Princeton’s generous financial aid program ensures that no matter the student’s economic background, if they are talented enough they can go to Princeton. With all the things to discover at Princeton it would be hard to imagine leaving it, however, a shuttle train known as the “Dinky” can have you in New York City or Philadelphia within an hour.

At Princeton University, students have the chance to utilize excellent resources coupled with top tier faculty members who have a reputation of excellence in their respective fields. This world-class research institution offers its undergraduates the opportunity to graduate with either a Bachelor of Arts degree or a Bachelor of Science and Engineering degree. Students can choose from thirty-four different departments in social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, and engineering. They may also choose from interdisciplinary certificate programs to personalize their main concentration in the field they have chosen, and are encouraged to participate in international studies and internships nationally and globally.

The academic programs for the Bachelor of Arts degree and the Bachelor of Science and Engineering are quite different from one another. If you are attending Princeton to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree, you will be required to complete general education requirements as well as pre-requisites for your possible area of concentration along with a wide variety of classes that peak your academic interest. In the spring of sophomore year students choose their concentration from twenty-nine academic departments. For students who want to expand their reach, there are forty-seven certificate programs that they can add to their degree earning them proficiency in areas like computational mathematics and teacher preparation.

The Bachelor of Sciences and Engineering academic program at Princeton is a little different. The primary goal is to develop leaders who will be able to solve problems. Students in this academic program will be required to complete general studies courses in the humanities and social sciences as well as completing courses in mathematics, computing, and the physical sciences their first two years. At the beginning of their junior year they will choose their preferred concentration from one of six departments. For the last two years students in this degree program will take advanced classes in their specified concentrations and participate in independent research projects. Many students also take on multidisciplinary study and often times undertake interdepartmental work.

Campus life at Princeton University is one full of vast and unique experiences and opportunities. One of the main draws of Princeton is their close-knit vibe that starts with the residential community. Undergraduates are guaranteed housing all four years, thus most of the student body lives on campus. This not only brings faculty and students together in a social way, but it is also a fundamental aspect to the academic success of each student. Residential colleges are each equipped with a dean, faculty master, director of studies, and director of student life. Each one plays a role in assisting cultivating and enriching students’ academic and social experiences on campus, giving guidance, and advising them throughout their college careers.

Student run organizations are central to campus life at Princeton; with over 300 to choose from, students can immerse themselves in their current passions as well as develop new ones. There are also a plethora of other activities for students to enjoy such as art exhibitions, performing arts performances,  and a variety of social events, lectures, and readings to name a few. At Princeton there is no shortage of activities and organizations to immerse yourself in making it one of the best college experiences in the nation.

NCAA Division I Princeton University is a member of the Ivy League conference. Thirty-eight teams compete in varsity sports. The Princeton Tigers football team is a member of the Football Championship Subdivision of NCAA Division I and holds 26 national football championship titles, more than any other school. The Tigers also excel at men’s basketball with 13 Ivy League Championship titles; they have made it to the NCAA tournament 11 times. Most recently the men’s water polo team has been getting recognition for making it to the Final Four two of the last three years in the Collegiate Water Polo Association. Thirty-five Princeton club teams, both men’s and women’s, also compete in intercollegiate sports.

For those who do not enjoy competing at the varsity or club team levels, there are roughly 300 intramural teams open to students, faculty, and staff. For those who just enjoy a good workout sans the competition, there are many options such as instructional classes and group fitness. A dance studio, spinning room, and pool are just a few of the options at your disposal. There are also several groups you can join such as Princeton Start! Walking, and Outdoor Action; the fitness opportunities are endless.

Princeton University has a vast amount of traditions and annual events for their students. A prominent (and recently celebrated) tradition is the Bonfire, which is ceremonial in nature and only takes place if Princeton beats both Harvard and Yale in the same season. Freshman coming into their first year at Princeton can look forward to the Cane Spree, where they and the sophomores go at it for control of a cane. It might seem a little odd, but if you are lucky enough to attend this university you will receive a perfectly reasonable explanation, well sort of. Seniors have a tradition all their own to enjoy before they exit the campus for good. Class Jackets, otherwise known as “Beer Jackets,” are designed to showcase the features of each class. These are just three of the many traditions you will bear witness to when attending Princeton University.

If you are looking for a school that is long on tradition and academically challenging, Princeton could be your school.

Do you 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 Well Would Mark Twain Do on the GMAT? [#permalink]

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New post 11 Sep 2014, 18:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: How Well Would Mark Twain Do on the GMAT?
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I’ve often contemplated who would excel at the GMAT. After all, the exam is about logic, analytical skills, problem-solving abilities and time management. Surely to shine on the exam a test taker should be smart, methodical, insightful and perceptive (and blindingly handsome). Clearly, some people have done quite well on this exam, but others never got the chance because they never actually took the test. While some have been intimidated by the nature of the test, others simply were born too early to have even heard of this exam.

The GMAT was first administered in 1953, and roughly 250,000 students take this exam on a yearly basis. Every year, I see students studying for the exam, hoping that a good grade gets them accepted to the business school of their choice. However, I believe one person who would have fared well on the test died about 40 years before the first exam was even introduced. I’m referring to noted American author Mark Twain.

Mark Twain is often referred to as the father of American literature, but his off colour remarks made him something of a celebrity in the 19th Century. He was known for quotes that could be construed as inconsiderate, but often were just humorous observations on everyday minutiae (like a historical Seinfeld). As a renowned author, he undoubtedly could have excelled at the verbal section of the GMAT by noticing little details that others could overlook.

As this blog is nothing if not introspective, let’s look at a sentence correction problem about Mark Twain, and solve it in the way Twain likely would (Inception).

A letter by Mark Twain, written in the same year as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were published, reveals that Twain provided financial assistance to one of the first Black students at Yale Law School.

(A)   A letter by Mark Twain, written in the same year as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were published,

(B)   A letter by Mark Twain, written in the same year of publication as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,

(C)   A letter by Mark Twain, written in the same year that The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published,

(D)   Mark Twain wrote a letter in the same year as he published The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn that

(E)    Mark Twain wrote a letter in the same year of publication as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn that

An astute observer such as Mark Twain would first notice that there is a clear 3-2 split between answer choices that begin with “A letter by Mark Twain” and “Mark Twain wrote a letter…” It is possible that either turn of phrase could be correct, but it is more likely that we can eliminate one selection entirely because it does not flow properly with the rest of the sentence.

The original sentence (answer choice A) postulates that a letter by Mark Twain reveals that he provided financial assistance to an aspiring young law student many years ago. This phrase makes logical sense and does not have to be automatically discarded. The other options begin with “Mark Twain wrote a letter that reveals that Twain provided financial assistance…” Even without the redundancy of “that reveals that”, the timeline of this sentence does not work properly. If Mark Twain wrote a letter in the past, then the letter would have “revealed” the information, and would have needed to have been conjugated in the past. An author like Twain would eliminate answers D and E as the timeline construction does not make sense.

With only three options remaining, Twain would examine the differences between answer choices A, B and C more closely. The only real difference between answer choices A and C is the verb agreement of the publication of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Answer choice proposes that the verb be plural, while answer choice C contains the singular conjugation of the verb. While “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” sounds plural, it is actually the title of a single book and therefore must be treated as a singular noun. Answer choice A can thus be eliminated because of the agreement error.

Having narrowed the quest down to only two choices, Twain would likely contrast the two choices again and note the construction of answer choice B is faulty.  If we follow the logic: “A letter by Mark Twain, written in the same year of publication as Huck Finn…” doesn’t make any sense. Grammatically, the letter is supposed to have been written in the same year that the novel was published, yet the grammar indicates that both the letter and novel were published in the same year. This change in meaning eliminates answer choice B, and leaves only answer choice C as the correct option.

Eliminating incorrect answer choices is the name of the game in Sentence Correction, and a shrewd reader can easily differentiate between turns of phrase that are acceptable and garbled prose that doesn’t mean anything. Remember that only one answer choice can be correct, so you must eliminate incorrect answer choices by any means you have available to you. It’s fine to think of yourself as a 19th Century author and begin to decimate the given answer choices. Just because most people don’t think of themselves as Cosplayers during the GMAT (they just can’t pull off the elaborate costumes), that doesn’t mean you can’t use your imagination to your advantage. To quote Twain: “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect”.

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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School Profile: Creative Thinking and Campus Living at Yale University [#permalink]

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New post 12 Sep 2014, 10:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: School Profile: Creative Thinking and Campus Living at Yale University
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Yale University is ranked #3 in the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. It is a private Ivy League research university located in New Haven, Connecticut. Yale consists of twelve constituent schools; the undergraduate college, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and ten professional schools. The undergraduate school makes up a little under half of the entire student body and is one of the toughest undergrad programs to get into. Yale is an extremely diverse university where half of the student body is women, more than half are minorities or international students, and 55% came from public high schools. This is a university for academic excellence and 97% of those who get in were in the top 10% of their graduating class. As one of the few need-based financial aid universities, students in need usually get grants or scholarships and parents are expected to have zero contributions making it easy on the students. Yale University is committed to providing its current and incoming students with a well-rounded and profoundly rewarding college experience.

The undergraduate program at Yale University is one of the most sought after in the nation, making it a highly competitive college to get into. Students that make it into the undergraduate program can look forward to a rewarding academic experience. With over sixty-five departments, students can choose from over 2,000 undergraduate courses in liberal arts and sciences. The academic vision at Yale was best explained from the Yale Report back in 1828, “expanding (the mind’s) powers, and storing it with knowledge.” Simply put, it means the main goal of the academic program at Yale is to instill the skills and knowledge necessary for each student to thrive in whatever they field they choose by offering exploration before they decide their ultimate contribution to society. Yale firmly believes that the first years of a student’s academic studies should be focused on exploration, and the later years spent honing in on their chosen field and preparing for the future.

Students at Yale are taught that while acquiring facts is important, the main focus should be to think creatively and critically in any academic or real world arena. The academic program at Yale requires students to participate in diverse subject matter in the first few years, reserving the later years for focused concentration in their major or program of choice. All students must participate in particular foundational skills such as writing, quantitative reasoning, and foreign language. This supports the Yale academic ideal that students are neither too narrowly focused, nor too broad in their academic studies.

Combining foundational skills and exploration allows students to mature and deepen their academic repertoire ensuring they are well prepared upon graduation. Yale understands the dynamics of globalization and the importance of students experiencing cultures both academically and firsthand. Many students are encouraged to spend a term, summer, or year studying abroad at some point in their college careers. If you get the chance to attend Yale University, you will come away with a highly esteemed and greatly diverse academic experience that ensures you will be fully prepared to move forward with your career goals.

Campus life at Yale University is as diverse as the academic program with nearly 500 organizations to choose from. Students can enjoy participating with like-minded individuals in interests they’ve already established, and also acquire news ones. Service/Outreach, Religious, Performance, Cultural, and Culinary organizations represent just a few of the categories available from a long list of student organizations. There are many cultural centers on campus that serve as meeting spaces for everything from art exhibits to parties. Each one is equipped with a kitchen, library, computers, and more. While each cultural center is based on a particular background, they can also be used as social centers for a multitude of ethnicities and cultures to co-mingle. Greek life doesn’t play much of a role at Yale with only 11 fraternities and three sororities. Sigma Chi is the most notable fraternity and Kappa Kappa Gamma, the most popular sorority.

Living on campus is a unique experience in itself with twelve residential colleges, students will be placed in one starting freshmen year. What’s exceptional about this residential design is that each one of the twelve colleges has its own meeting/classrooms, architectural design, courtyards, dining hall, and commons room. Some of the colleges even have libraries, chapels, cafes, pool tables, and more. Within each residential college they offer their own seminars, Master’s Teas, and social events that are usually offered to all, but can be solely for their residential college. While each residential college has its own dining hall, students are permitted to eat at the Commons dining halls for any college. Yale offers a unique campus life experience where you can engage in several activities and enjoy lectures, movie nights, and concerts among others.

Yale University sports teams compete in the NCAA Division I Ivy League and Eastern College Athletic conferences. They also participate in the New England Intercollegiate Sailing association; sailing is of the university’s thirty-five varsity athletic teams. Yale has a multitude of athletic facilities including the world’s second largest indoor athletic complex, and the nation’s first natural bowl stadium known as the Yale Bowl. While Yale holds many athletic championships from their varsity teams, they are most well-known for Yale crew, the oldest collegiate athletic team in America. Yale crew has even won Olympic gold medals in the past. A notable rivalry in Yale athletics is with Harvard where every year their heavyweight rowing teams battle it out. If you choose not participate in varsity sports, there are still plenty of athletic opportunities, and of course the vast athletic facilities to get your heart pumping.

Ivy League colleges are known for their traditions, and Yale is no exception. Freshmen coming to Yale should seek out the statue of Theodore Dwight Woolsey and rub the toe for a promise of good luck. Four years later, it’s time to participate in another tradition to end the college career on a good note.  It’s one of the most long-held traditions performed by Yale graduates where they smash bubble pipes under their feet to symbolize passage from their “bright college years.” Traditions give students the sense of good fortune from the beginning to the end of their time at Yale, but the real good fortune is being able to attend Yale University.

Do you 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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UCLA Anderson Application Essays and Deadlines for 2014-2015 [#permalink]

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New post 12 Sep 2014, 15:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: UCLA Anderson Application Essays and Deadlines for 2014-2015
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Today we take a look at UCLA Anderson’s admissions essays and deadlines for the Class of 2017. Last year Anderson was on the vanguard of the effort across MBA programs to reduce essay count, dropping down to just one required essay, and for the 2014-2015 admissions season the school’s application returns with just one required essay once again. However, that one essay is all-new this year.

Here are UCLA Anderson’s admissions deadlines and essays for the coming year, followed by our comments in italics:

UCLA Anderson Admissions Deadlines

Round 1: October 22, 2014

Round 2: January 7, 2015

Round 3: April 15, 2015

Not too much to discuss here. UCLA Anderson’s admissions deadlines are exactly the same as they were last year. Note that, unlike most top business schools, Anderson doesn’t release its Round 1 admissions decisions until late January. So, if UCLA is your first choice, you will need to already have your Round 2 applications done for your backup business schools before you now where you stand with Anderson.

UCLA Anderson Admissions Essays

  • UCLA Anderson is distinguished by three defining principles: Share Success, Think Fearlessly, Drive Change. What principles have defined your life and pre-MBA career? How do you believe that UCLA Anderson’s principles, and the environment they create, will help you attain your post-MBA career goals? (750 words)

    This question is new this year, although it’s really a heavy revision of last year’s question more than an entirely new prompt. The difference this year is that this question highlights Anderson’s three principles, and the takeaway here is that the Anderson admissions team clearly is looking for a fit with the program here. You don’t need to echo those same themes — in fact, the question explicitly asks what your own principles are — but here the school sends a strong signal about what traits it values in applicants. Knowing that Anderson wants applicants who are generous with others (“Share Success”), aren’t afraid to take chances (“Think Fearlessly”), and make an impact on those around them (“Drive Change”), what traits and experiences do you want to highlight from your career up until now?

    Not that you really want to demonstrate a knowledge of and a passion for UCLA Anderson. One way any school protects its admissions yield is by eliminating applicants who don’t show enough enthusiasm for the program. Failing to answer the second part part of the question — how will UCLA Anderson help you to achieve your goals? — is a quick and easy way to get weeded out by the admissions committee.
  • Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words)

    We always tell applicants the same thing regarding optional admissions essays: Only answer them 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’re making excuses when you don’t need any. If you don’t have anything else you need to tell the admissions office, it’s entirely okay to skip this essay. That advice especially holds now that Anderson’s application only includes on essay prompt… Don’t feel the need to submit extra essays simply to command a few extra minutes of the admissions committee’s attention!
Do you plan on applying to UCLA Anderson? Be sure to download our Essential Guide to UCLA Anderson, one of our 14 guides to the world’s top business schools. For even more personalized advice, sign up for a free profile evaluation by one of our MBA admissions experts. 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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95% of Students Find This GMAT Quant Question Difficult [#permalink]

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New post 15 Sep 2014, 09:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: 95% of Students Find This GMAT Quant Question Difficult
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Today we continue to look at ways to achieve that much desired score of 51 in Quant. Obviously, we don’t need Sheldon Cooper’s smarts to realize that for that revered high score, we must do well on the high level questions but the actual question is – how to do well on the high level questions?

We will illustrate that with the help of a supremely beguiling official question today. We are sure you wouldn’t call an academician’s work exactly thrilling but questions like these do add a decent bit of joie de vivre to our lives. It’s hard to explain the gratification we get when it all falls into place in your mind and you light up with – “shoot, so simple, and yet, it seemed like a monster a few minutes back!” – we basically live for those moments!

Let us first give you some stats which indicate the difficulty level of this question:

95% of people find this question hard. Only 1/3rd of respondents answer it correctly (which includes the ton of people who had tried it before and hence knew the correct answer).

Let us give you the question now:

Question: Each piglet in a litter is fed exactly one-half pound of a mixture of oats and barley. The ratio of the amount of barley to that of oats varies from piglet to piglet, but each piglet is fed some of both grains. How many piglets are there in the litter?

Statement 1: Piglet A was fed exactly 1/4 of the oats today.

Statement 2: Piglet A was fed exactly 1/6 of the barley today.

First think, what concept does it test? Fractions? Ratios? Or is it just a word problem requiring algebraic manipulation?

Actually, none of these. We can look at the question and say straight away that the answer  is (C). It needs no manipulation and no calculation. Of course, what it does need is a solid understanding of the weighted averages principle!

For now, forget the data given in the question.

Consider this:

Say, 10% of total Oats and 20% of total Barley was fed to a piglet.

The question now is – Of the total food (Oats + Barley) what percentage was fed to this piglet?

We hope you agree that it will depend on the ratio of Oats and Barley. If the mixture was only oats, the piglet was fed 10% of the total food. If the mixture was only Barley, the piglet was fed 20% of the total mixture. If the mixture was half oats and half barley, the piglet was fed 15% of the total mixture. If the mixture was 1 part Oats for every 4 parts of Barley, the piglet was fed 18% of the mixture (it is just weighted average with weights being the amount of initial quantity of Oats and Barley). Whatever the case, the piglet was fed more than 10% of total food and less than 20% of total food if the mixture consisted of both Oats and Barley.

If this is not clear, look at this example:

Say a meal consists of a sandwich and a milkshake. You eat 1/2 of the sandwich and drink 1/2 of the milkshake. Can we say that you have had 1/2 of the meal? Sure.

If you eat only 1/4 of the sandwich and drink 1/4 of the milkshake, then you would have had only 1/4 of the meal.

What happens in case you eat 1/2 of the sandwich but drink only 1/4 of the milkshake? In that case, you have had less than 1/2 of the meal but certainly more than 1/4 of the meal, right?

Go through this again till you are satisfied with this logic.

If this sounds good, consider data given in the question – piglet A was fed 25% Oats (1/4 Oats) and 16.66% Barley (1/6 Barley). So definitely, the piglet was fed more than 16.66% (which is 1/6) of the total mixture and less than 25% (which is 1/4) of the total mixture (as reasoned above).  Stay with this idea.

Another piece of information from the question stem: the total food mixture was split equally among all the piglets. Since all piglets got the same quantity of food, we can say that all piglets were fed more than 1/6 of the total mixture but less than 1/4 of the total mixture. Number of piglets has to be an integer, say n. Then, each piglet gets the same amount of food i.e. 1/n of the total mixture. This 1/n must lie between 1/4 and 1/6. Note that the number of pigs i.e. n, must be a positive integer. What integer value can n take? Can it be 7? Will 1/7 lie between 1/6 and 1/4? No. 1/7 will be less than 1/6. Can n be 3? Will 1/3 lie between 1/4 and 1/6? No, because 1/3 will be greater than 1/4. n cannot be greater than 6 or less than 4 because it goes out of range. Only 1/5 lies between 1/4 and 1/6 (such that n is a positive integer). Hence n must be 5.

Notice that we did not need to do any calculations – just looking at the two statements, we can say that 1/n must lie between 1/4 and 1/6 and hence n must be 5.

Questions such as this one set GMAT apart from other tests. It tests you on basic concepts but how!!!

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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