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FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: SAT Tip of the Week: Here Are 3 Things You Should NOT Do When Aiming for a Perfect Score 
A lot of times, students focus on the things they should be doing to get a perfect score. This is a great attitude to have, as it puts the focus on students actively completing tasks. Many of these tips, like studying vocabulary on a daily basis and taking consistent practice tests form the foundation of a successful SAT plan. However, it’s also important to note that there are certain habits and strategies to avoid during preparation in order to get your best score possible. Here are 3 things you absolutely should not be doing if you want a 2400. 1. Studying Vocabulary once a week Depending on your studying timeline and horizon, you will be learning anywhere from 30 to 60 new words a week. If you really wanted to, you could knock these out in one forty five minute session once a week. You would be able to memorize the words for that week, but over the long term this would be very detrimental to your score. Instead of this, you should be learning smaller chunks of words on a daily basis. By cramming them all in once a week, you limit the amount of times you are exposed to each word, as well as your ability to really concentrate on the more difficult words. There are countless studies out there that show studying in smaller chunks is the best way to memorize, and this is no exception. If you want a 2400, make sure not to only study vocabulary once a week. Even if you can memorize a decent amount of words, it won’t nearly be as effective as the recommended way for the 2400 plan. 2. Using your own strategies on practice tests As the old saying goes, if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten. The SAT is not like high school subjects, where there are a variety of ways to get to the correct answer. The SAT is an extremely coachable test that students do well on if they follow a specific criteria of strategies. The biggest problem many students have is that they will learn these strategies, but then it’s difficult at the onset to apply them when taking practice tests. So, in order to succeed on these early tests, students fall back on their comfortable strategies that unfortunately do not yield the results they are looking for. It’s important to remember that early practice test scores don’t matter; they are there to build your skills. Don’t be so fixated on the score that you build upon bad habits. 3. Stay up late Some students feel it is a badge of honor to push themselves to the brink in terms of SAT preparation and the college process in general. It is an extremely stressful time, and doing this has diminishing marginal benefits. Of course the more work students put in, the better they will do, but this is only to a certain extent. Sleep is crucial to the brain performing optimally, and ensuring that you get enough sleep will allow you to perform better on practice tests and sections. Space out your study schedule so you can accomplish all of your goals and get a full night of sleep in. That is the true way to a 2400. Happy Studying! Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! 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. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: How to Network Your Way into Business School 
Networking your way into business school can be a tricky road. Recognize that in the corporate world, it’s all about who you know. When it comes to acceptance into an academic program, there are some dos and don’ts. If you are friendly with the Dean, it is certainly fine to meet with them to explore what they think are good qualities to highlight, what they see as desirable traits for successful applicants, etc., but I would stop way short of asking for a favor specifically regarding your admission. The truth is, the Dean will likely have some positive influence, but your visit with him or her is essentially asking for their endorsement implicitly, so there is no need to be direct. My guess is, if you know the dean of the school, you will benefit from an admissions perspective. Regarding networking with alumni, especially prominent alumni, you should be careful here because you never want to do anything that the admissions committees would regard as taking advantage or trying to seek an extra advantage that the typical applicant doesn’t have. Can successful alumni (aka donors) have an influence on your admission? You bet they can. The key is in their endorsement coming unsolicited from you (or at least seemingly so). Don’t ever have an alumnus or alumna write a letter of recommendation that seems in any way like you arranged it, and definitely do not send it yourself or include it in your admissions package if it’s beyond the required recommendations. Best case would be for these folks to reach out to the dean or admissions director personally to explain they “understand” or “have heard” you are applying and because they know you well, wanted to express their endorsements. If you can pull this off without making it seem like you are pulling strings, you could benefit again, and without running the risk of upsetting anyone in admissions. Applying to business school? Call us at 18009257737 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. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: When You'll Need to Bring Outside Knowledge to the GMAT 
It is often said that outside knowledge is not required on the GMAT. The idea is that everyone should be on relatively equal footing when starting to prepare for this exam, minimizing the advantage that someone with a B.Comm might have over someone with an engineering or philosophy degree. Of course, it’s difficult to determine at what point does outside knowledge begin and end. Knowing that there are 26 letters in the (English) alphabet or that blue and red are different colors is never explicitly mentioned in the GMAT preparation, but the concepts certainly can come up in GMAT questions. This statement “No outside knowledge is required on the GMAT” is true in spirit, but a fundamental understanding of certain basic concepts is sometimes required. The exam won’t expect you to know the distance between New York and Los Angeles (19,600 furlongs or so), but you should know that both cities exist. The exam will always give you conversions when it comes to distances (miles to feet, for example), temperatures (Fahrenheit to Celsius) or anything else that can be measured in different systems, but the basic concepts that any human should know are fair game on the exam. If you think about the underlying logic, it makes sense that a business person needs to be able to reason things out, but the reasoning must also be based on tenets that people can agree on. You won’t need to know something like all the variables involved in a carbon tax or on the electoral process of Angola, but you should know that Saturday comes after Friday (and Sunday comes afterwards). Let’s look at a relatively simple question that highlights the need to think critically about outside knowledge that may be important: Tom was born on October 28th. On what day of the week was he born? 1) In the year of Tom’s birth, January 20th was a Sunday. 2) In the year of Tom’s birth, July 17th was a Wednesday. A) Statement 1 alone is sufficient but statement 2 alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked. B) Statement 2 alone is sufficient but statement 1 alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked. C) Both statements 1 and 2 together are sufficient to answer the question but neither statement is sufficient alone. D) Each statement alone is sufficient to answer the question. E) Statements 1 and 2 are not sufficient to answer the question asked and additional data is needed to answer the statements. Since this is a data sufficiency question, it’s important to note that we must only determine whether or not the information is sufficient, we do not actually need to figure out which day of the week it is. Once we know that the information is knowable, we don’t need to proceed any further. In this case, we are trying to determine Tom’s birthday with 100% certainty. There are only 7 days in a week, but we need a reference point somewhere to determine which year it is or what day of the year another day of that same year falls (ideally October 27th!). Statement 1 gives us a date for that same year. This should be enough to solve the problem, except for one small detail: the day given is in January. Since the Earth’s revolution around the sun is not an exact multiple of its rotation around itself, some years contain one extra day on February 29th, and are identified as leap years. The day of January 20th gives us a fixed point in that year, but since it is before February 28th, we don’t know if March 1st will be 40 days or 41 days away from January 20th. Since this is the case, October 28th could be one of two different days of the week, depending on whether we are in a leap year, and so this statement is insufficient. Statement 2, on the other hand, gives us a date in July. Since July is after the possible leap day, this means that the statement must be sufficient. Specifically, if July 17th was a Wednesday, then October 28th would have to be a Monday. You could do the calculations if you wanted to: there are 14 more days in July, 31 in August, 30 in September and 28 in October, for a total of 103 days, or 14 weeks and 5 days. The 14 weeks don’t change anything to the day of the week, so we must advance 5 days from Wednesday, taking us to the following Monday. Statement 2 must be sufficient, even if we don’t need to execute the calculations to be sure. Interestingly, if you consider January 20th to be a Sunday, then you could get a year like 2013 in which the 28th of October is a Monday. 2013 is not a leap year, so July 17th is also a Wednesday and either statement would lead to the same answer. However, if you consider January 20th to be a Sunday, you could also get a year like 2008, which was a leap year, and then October 28th was a Tuesday. July 17th would no longer be a Wednesday, which is why the second statement is consistently correct whereas the first statement could lead to one of two possibilities. Some students erroneously select answer choice D, that both statements together solve this issue. While the combination of statements does guarantee one specific answer, you’re overpaying for information because statement 2 does it alone. The answer you should pick is B. On the GMAT, it’s important that outside knowledge not be tested explicitly because it’s a test of how you think, not of what you know. However, some basic concepts may come up that require you to use logic based on things you know to be true. You will never be undone on a GMAT question because “I didn’t know that,” but rather because “Oh, I forgot to take that into account.” The GMAT is primarily a test of thinking, and it’s important to keep in mind little pieces of knowledge that could have big implications on a question. As they say, knowing is half the battle (G.I. Joe!). 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. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: 3 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Last Summer Before College 
Imagine this scenario: you’ve finished high school, you have your diploma, and you’re ready to step off into the almostreal world of college. (Congratulations, hypothetical you!). Now all that’s standing between you and your dream school is this summer – your last summer before the next phase of your life begins. This inbetween time can feel exciting, scary, anxiety provoking, and a whole host of other emotions. After all, you are a hypothetical teenager, and emotional stability is not a hallmark of that age group. In spite of all these feelings, it’s both possible and important to make your last summer before college a great one. You can use this time to forge relationships with your hometown, get mentally set for a new educational chapter, and make good use of still having the luxury of your parents! It is true that you will probably be home next summer, and possibly even a few summers after that, but for all intents and purposes this could be the last summer of your childhood and therefore it holds a special importance. Use this time as a foundation to propel you onto success in college. As all good weightlifters know, you need a strong base in order to find that success! There’s no one right way to wrap up your last summer, but here are some general tips and recommendations that have a lot of value for almost everyone: 1. Put the final bows and ribbons on your high school life
Are you that teenager who is nervous about application season? We can help! Visit our College Admissions website and fill out our FREE College profile evaluation! By Aidan Calvelli 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: GMAT Tip of the Week: Shake & Bake Your Way To Function Success 
For many of us, cooking a delicious homemade meal and solving a challengelevel GMAT math problem are equally daunting challenges. So many steps, so many places to make a mistake…why can’t there be an easier way? Well, the fine folks at Kraft foods solved your first problem years ago with a product called “Shake and Bake.” You take a piece of chicken (your input), stick in the bag of seasoning, shake it up, bake it, and voila – you have yourself a delicious meal with minimal effort. So gourmet level cooking is now nothing to fear…but what about those challenging GMAT quant problems? You’re in luck. Function problems on the GMAT are essentially Shake and Bake recipes. Consider the example: f(x) = x^2 – 80 If that gets your heart rate and stress level up, you’re not alone. Function notation just looks challenging. But it’s essentially Shake and Bake if you dissect what a function looks like. The f(x) portion tells you about your input. f(x) = ________ means that, for the rest of that problem, whatever you see in parentheses is your “input” (just like the chicken in your Shake and Bake). What comes after the equals sign is the recipe. It tells you what to do to your input to get the result. Here f(x) = x^2 – 80 is telling you that whatever your input, you square it and then subtract 80 and that’s your output. …And that’s it. So if they ask you for: What is f(9)? (your input is 9), then f(9) = 9^2 – 80, so you square 9 to get 81, then you subtract 80 and you have your answer: 1. what is f(4)? (your input is 4), then f(4) = 4^2 – 80, which is 16 – 80 = 64. What is f(y^2)? (your input is y^2), then f(y^2) = (y^2)^2 – 80, which is y^4 – 80. What is f(Rick Astley), then your input is Rick Astley and f(Rick Astley) = (Rick Astley)^2 – 80. It really doesn’t matter what your input is. Whatever the test puts in the parentheses, you just use that as your input and do whatever the recipe says to do with it. So for example: f(x) = x^2 – x. For which of the following values of a is f(a) > f(8)? I. a = 8 II. a = 9 III a = 9 A. I only B. II only C. III only D. I and II only E. I, II, and III While this may look fairly abstract, just consider the inputs they’ve given you. For f(8), just put 8 wherever that x goes in the “recipe” f(x) = x^2 – x: f(8) = 8^2 – 8 = 64 – 8 = 56 And then do the same for the three other possible values: I. f(8) means put 8 wherever you see the x: (8)^2 – (8) = 64 + 8 = 72, so f(8) > f(8). II. f(9) means put 9 wherever you see the x: (9)^2 – (9) = 81 + 9 = 90, so f(9) > f(8) III. f(9) means put a 9 wherever you see the x: 9^2 – 9 = 81 – 9 = 72, so f(9) > f(8), and the answer is E. Ultimately with functions, the notation (like the Shake and Bake ingredients) is messy, but with practice the recipes become easy to follow. What goes in the parentheses is your input, and what comes after the equals sign is your recipe. Follow the steps, and you’ll end up with a delicious GMAT quant score. 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 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Expression vs Equation on GMAT 
Today, we want to take up a conceptual discussion on expressions and equations and the differences between them. The concept is quite simple but a discussion on these is warranted because of the similarity between the two. An expression contains numbers, variables and operators. For example x + 4 2x – 4x^2 5x^2 + 4x 18 and so on… These are all expressions. We CANNOT equate these expressions to 0 by default. We cannot solve for x in these cases. As the value of x changes, the value of the expression changes. For example, given x + 4, if x is 1, value of the expression is 5. If x is 2, value of the expression is 6. If value of the expression is given to be 10, x is 6 and so on. We cannot say, “Solve x + 4.” If we set an algebraic expression equal to something, with an “=“ sign, we have an equation. So here are some ways of converting the above expressions into equations: I. x + 4 = 3 II. 2x – 4x^2 = 0 III. 5x^2 + 4x 18 = 3x Now the equation can be solved. Note that the right hand side of the equation needn’t always be 0. It might be something other than 0 and you might need to make it 0 by bringing whatever is on the right hand side to the left hand side or by segregating the variable if possible: I. x + 4 = 3 x + 7 = 0 x = 7 II. 2x – 4x^2 = 0 2x(1 – 2x) = 0 x = 0 or 1/2 III. 5x^2 + 4x 18 – 3x = 0 5x^2 + x – 18 = 0 5x^2 + 10x – 9x – 18 = 0 5x(x + 2) 9(x + 2) = 0 (x + 2)(5x – 9) = 0 x = 2, 9/5 In each of these cases, we get only a few values for x because we were given equations. Think about what you mean by “solving an equation”. Let’s take a particular type of equation – a quadratic. This is how you usually depict a quadratic: f(x) = ax^2 + bx + c or y = ax^2 + bx + c This is a parabola – upward facing if a is positive and downward facing if a is negative. When we solve ax^2 + bx + c = 0 for x, it means, when y = 0, what is the value of x? So you are looking for x intercepts. When we solve ax^2 + bx + c = d for x, it means, when y = d, what is the value of x? Depending on the values of a, b, c and d, you may or may not get values for x. Let’s take an example: x^2 – 2x – 3 = 0 (x + 1)(x – 3) = 0 x = 1 or 3 This is what it looks like: When y is 0, x can take two values: 1 and 3. So what do we do when we have x^2 – 2x 3 = 3? We solve it in the same way: x^2 – 2x 3 + 3 = 0 x(x – 2) = 0 x = 0 or 2 So when y is 3, x is 0 or 2. It has 2 values for y = 3 as is apparent from the graph too. Similarly, you can solve for it when y = 5 and get two values for x. What happens when you put y = 5? x will have no value for y = 5 so the equation x^2 – 2x – 3 = – 5 has no real solutions (so ‘no solutions’ as far as we are concerned). We hope you understand the difference between an expression and an equation now and also that you cannot equate any given expression to 0 and solve it. 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! 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: 3 Ways to Write the Perfect Business School Application Essay 
Essays are one of the most important aspects of the MBA application process. They are also one of the most challenging for many applicants to excel at. The essays are a critical opportunity for candidates to distinguish themselves from the hordes of similar applicants in the process. Admissions committees are looking for a surprisingly small list of things in these essays and executing on these elements is a step in the right direction for breakthrough candidates. Now there is no such thing as a perfect business school essay but the three points below are necessary in executing a successful business school essay: Relevance Have you answered the question asked? Candidates would be surprised how often this very basic question goes unanswered at the end of an essay. Many applicants become so consumed with including every element of their past, present, and future into an essay that often times the most obvious aspect of the essay goes unnoticed. Not only is it important to ensure you have answered the question but also that the response selected is the most relevant to the question posed. It is important to step back and consider if there are any better anecdotes, stories, or examples that could be used for this essay. Authenticity Could anybody else have written this essay? Successful applicants present their authentic selves in a captivating and compelling fashion in each essay and the entire application as a whole. Don’t be afraid to explore uncomfortable themes and personal anecdotes that can amplify interpersonal elements of your candidacy. Remember it is easy to write the bland, impersonal essay that is commonplace with unsuccessful applicants. Dive deep and show the admissions committee what makes you unique and why you will be a valuable addition to their business school community. Polish There is no worse way to show you are not business school material than to submit an essay loaded with typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors. Mistakes like this show an obvious lack of attention to detail and carelessness that can be disastrous for an applicant during such a competitive process. Take the extra time to earmark additional reviews from friends and trusted advisors like Veritas Prep to ensure come decision day minor typos do not stand in the way of an admit. Considering applying to MBA programs? Call us at 18009257737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more of his articles here. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: SAT Tip of the Week: Boost Your Score Over Summer in 13 Minutes a Day 
As the last day of school bell rings, the sun is shining, the beach is beckoning, and studying for the SAT is often the last thing on students’ minds. It is almost certain that taking a little bit of time to not think about standardized tests is beneficial, but that does not mean that the next two months should be devoid of any work. With a work out plan, the two most important things are consistency and attitude. This is true of SAT studying as well. The summer should be fun, but in less than an hour and a half a week (about 13 minutes a day!), students can keep sharp on the SAT without sacrificing their tans (please students, tan responsibly). 1. Do A Few Problems Every Day. The time necessary to do three or four math problems, three sentence completions, one reading passage, three improving sentences problems, and three identifying sentence error problems is actually quite small. Doing twelve problems, three times a week, shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes per week and is a good way to keep sharp even if you are spending most of your time sipping green juices by the pool. Just make sure to go through every type of problem to give you some practice changing your mindset to attack different types of questions. Set a clock for 13 minutes and see if you can get through all the problems in the allotted time. Try to do questions you find challenging but not impossible. If you make careless arithmetic errors, be sure to include some easy and medium problems so that you can practice avoiding such errors. You can also start selfselecting problems that are particularly tricky to give you more pointed practice. Do those math problems with only variables and no numbers give you problems? Spend a few days focusing on those. If you are working with a tutor, you can also ask them to design homework in this way. 2. Every Week, Do A Full Timed Section. This practice is helpful for making sure you are dealing with time effectively. Many students don’t do enough practice in a timed setting, so the idea of being timed on the actual test becomes overwhelming. Help acclimate yourself to this stress by normalizing the timed nature of the test. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t finish a section in the prescribed time. Make it a race against yourself to get closer to the time that is required. See if you can make it a game to see how quickly you can do problems without making errors. Finishing the SAT in time isn’t an easy task, so keep striving if it is challenging at first. Feeling like you have a handle on the timing of the SAT can go a long way toward helping you to feel confident during the test. Each section is just 25 minutes at most, but by the end of a nine week summer, you will have completed a full practice test in a timed manner (in addition to all other practice). 3. Learn A Little Vocab Every Week. Developing a system for vocabulary with regular learning and reviewing is crucial to developing a great SAT vocabulary. Look at five or six words every other day and at the end of the week, review the 20 or so that you have learned. Learning five or six new words should only take about five minutes, and though this sounds like some kind of scam work out product, just five minutes a day can produce fantastic results. In nine weeks students can add 200 vocab words to their repertoire and have thoroughly reviewed the words they already know. If you are using vocabulary lists in the SAT 2400 In Just 7 Steps book by Shaan Patel, remember to eliminate words you already know to maximize your efforts (though its a good idea to review all of the words, just in case). This method will actually prove extremely effective in creating long term memory for these definitions as gradual repetition is one of the best methods for forming memory. Challenge yourself to use all five words in a conversation the day you learn them. The lower work load in the summer provides an opportunity to utilize your time for tons of fun activities, but it also provides time for other efforts (like college applications, extra curriculars, and the SAT). Remember, consistency and attitude are the two keys to success, so turn off all distractions, and use the summer to bolster your studying so you come out of it rested and ready to attack the test! We hope you have a wonderful summer, and thank you for letting us help you attack 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! David Greenslade is a Veritas Prep SAT instructor based in New York. His passion for education began while tutoring students in underrepresented areas during his time at the University of North Carolina. After receiving a degree in Biology, he studied language in China and then moved to New York where he teaches SAT prep and participates in improv comedy. Read more of his articles here, including How I Scored in the 99th Percentile and How to Effectively Study for the SAT. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: What Should I Do About My Low GMAT Score? 
This is a question we get every year, as candidates walk away from their GMAT test date wideeyed and shocked that their score came in 50 points under all their practice exams. You will surely hear over and over, that the GMAT is only a portion of your application, albeit a fairly important one. We have seen firsthand that top schools are not always lenient on incoming scores because the average GMAT has a big impact on the schools’ rankings and they can’t afford to slip from the coveted top 10 or 20 slots they so desperately try to hold. Even lower tiered schools are beginning to see their GMAT scores climb, and every school likes to see their average score go up each year. Last year, Stanford’s average topped 729! If you take a close look at the numbers, it is likely that your score, although perhaps disappointing to you if it was below the posted average, may still be in the 80% range of top schools, so don’t be discouraged. In order for them to offer a seat to people with scores in the lower part of that range, however, you will need to be bringing something “else” to the table that is unique. Ask yourself what you offer that is out of the ordinary and stands to potentially add some level of diversity to the class makeup. This diversity could come in almost any form, not just the obvious racial, cultural, or professional diversity. Have you ever done anything unusual that impresses your friends and family? Well, it might just impress an admissions committee as well. Overcame a monumental hardship in your life? Achieved something truly out of the ordinary? And don’t think it must have something to do with your professional goals, either. An unusual hobby or pastime about which you can relate an interesting story, especially one which has shaped you as a person, can sometimes also capture the interest of the admissions committee. Additionally, your post MBA vision and career goals will need to be clear and sensible, and your overall application must be tight and impressive. Consider the help of someone you know who has an MBA to look them over before submitting, or get help from a professional consultancy like Veritas Prep. Lower scoring applicants must do all they can to go the “extra mile” on their applications in order to stand out in the crowd, but it can be done with the right elements to balance it out. Good luck! Applying to business school? Call us at 18009257737 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. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Get Educated: 4 Ways to Pick Your College Elective Courses 
Electives in college are one of the best educational opportunities available. Outside of your major, you are able to take an extremely diverse set of classes all based on your individual interests. Whether it’s fascination with ancient Roman history or a curiosity about Eastern Asian artwork, there are electives on campus that can help you explore and discover passions you never knew that you had. Here are some tips for making the most out of your elective options and ensuring that you leave college as a wellrounded renaissance student. 1. GET ANCIENT. Even if history isn’t necessarily your biggest passion, taking a class or two on antiquity is a great way to broaden your perspective about life in general. This isn’t limited to your stereotypical history class. You can take classes on ancient literature in Egypt or ancient art in China. You could learn about military strategy or how they built the pyramids. Mythology and religion are other opportunities. There is so much to learn about in the world, and starting with a base of where we all came from is a good thing to do in college. It also will help you make connections with present day news and events. History mirrors itself and even repeats itself sometimes. Understanding different aspects of the historical narrative can be beneficial for the future, and help you to understand there here and now. 2. GET PHYSICAL. Physical Education or P.E. in high school was no one’s favorite activity. That’s because for most it was multidisciplinary and followed a strict curriculum. While it may have hit on a few areas of interest, most PE classes were probably more of a “have to” rather than want to. In college, it couldn’t be further from the truth. You can dive deep into a subject of your interest. Whether that is a conventional sport like basketball or tennis or something more offbeat like Yoga or Badminton, PE gives you the chance to exercise and clear your mind while doing something you really enjoy. PE isn’t necessarily something that comes to mind when you think of college, but it truly is one of the hidden gems of the elective system. 3. GET TECHNICAL. Technical expertise is one of the keys moving forward in the world. This doesn’t mean everyone has to be a computer coder or build the next Facebook, but having some understanding in regards to technology will be very beneficial as you move throughout your college career. There are a ton of different skills one can learn including movie editing, graphic design, game building, hardware design and more. Such a broad offering of technologically focused classes means that anyone can find some small sliver of interest worth pursuing for a semester. 4. GET RANDOM. Sometimes the greatest classes are the most random ones. Maybe try picking a class just because the name intrigues you or you have heard great things. It could be an improve class or the history of Disney. Getting outside your comfort zone and thinking differently is what college is all about. By following quirky ideas, you can stimulate your brain and think of new connections and perhaps even help you with your major or other projects. Electives are one of the best parts about college. In addition to studying what you love in your major, you can expand your mind and learn about entirely new things. Make sure to step outside your comfort zone and get diverse with your interests and pursuits. Want to attend college where you can do tons of elective coursework? We can help! Visit our College Admissions website and fill out our FREE College profile evaluation! 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. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Find TimeSaving Strategies for GMAT Test Day 
I’ve often heard from people studying for the GMAT that they would score much higher on the test if there were no time limit to each section. The material covered on the exam is not inherently complicated, but the combination of subtle wordplay and constant stress about time management creates an environment where test takers often rush through prompts and misinterpret questions. Unfortunately, time management and stress management are two of the major skills being tested on the GMAT, so the time limit isn’t going away any time soon (despite my frequent letters to the GMAC). Instead, it’s worth mastering simple techniques to save time and extrapolate patterns based on smaller samples. As an example, consider a simple question that asks you how many even numbers there are between 1 and 100. Of course, you could write out all 100 terms and identify which ones are even, say by circling them, and then sum up all the circled terms. This strategy would work, but it is completely inefficient and anyone who’s successfully passed the fourth grade would be able to see that you can get the answer faster than this. If every second number is even, then you just have to take the number of terms and divide by 2. The only difficulty you could face would be the endpoints (say 0 to 100 instead), but you can adjust for these easily. The next question might be count from 1 to 1,000, and you definitely don’t want to be doing that manually. Other questions might not be as straight forward, but can be solved using similar mathematical properties. It’s important to note that you don’t have a calculator on the GMAT, but you will have one handy for the rest of your life (even in a noWiFi zone!). This means that the goal of the test is not to waste your time executing calculations you would execute on your calculator in real life, but rather to evaluate how you think and whether you can find a logical shortcut that will yield the correct answer quickly. Let’s look at an example that can waste a lot of time if you’re not careful: Brian plays a game in which he rolls two die. For each die, an even number means he wins that amount of money and an odd number means he loses that amount of money. What is the probability that he loses money if he plays the game once? A) 11/12 B) 7/12 C) 1/2 D) 5/12 E) 1/3 First, it’s important to interpret the question properly. Brian will roll two die, independently of one another. For each even number rolled, he will win that amount of money, so any given die is 50/50. If both end up even, he’s definitely winning some money, but if one ends up even and the other odd, he may win or lose money depending on the values. The probability should thus be close to being 50/50, but a 5 with a 4 will result in a net loss of 1$, whereas a 5 with a 6 will result in a net gain of 1$. Clearly, we need to consider the actual values of each die in some of our calculations. Let’s start with the brute force approach (similar to writing out 1100 above). There are 6 sides to a die, and we’re rolling 2 dice, so there are 6^2 or 36 possibilities. We could write them all out, sum up the dollar amounts won or lost, and circle each one that loses money. However, it is essentially impossible to do this in less than 2 minutes (or even 34 minutes), so we shouldn’t use this as our base approach. We may have to write out a few possibilities, but ideally not all 36. If both numbers are even, say 2 and 2, then Brian will definitely win some money. The only variable is how much money, but that is irrelevant in this problem. Similarly, if he rolls two odd numbers, say 3 and 3, then he’s definitely losing money. We don’t need to calculate each value; we simply need to know they will result in net gains or net losses. For two even numbers, in which we definitely win money, this will happen if the first die is a 2, a 4 or a 6, and the second die is a 2, a 4 or a 6. That would leave us with 9 possibilities out of the 36 total outcomes. You can also calculate this by doing the probability of even and even, which is 3/6 * 3/6 or 9/36. Similarly, odd and odd will also yield 9/36 as the possibilities are 1, 3, and 5 with 1, 3, and 5. Beyond this, we don’t need to consider even/even or odd/odd outcomes at all. The interesting part is when we come to odds and evens together. One die will make Brian win money and the other will make him lose money. The issue is in the amplitude. Since we’ve eliminated 18 possibilities that are all entirely odd or even, we only need to consider the 18 remaining mixed possibilities. There is a logical way to solve this issue, but let’s cover the brute force approach since it’s reasonable at this point. The 18 possibilities are: Odd then even: Even then odd: 1, 2 3, 2 5, 2 2, 1 4, 1 6, 1 1, 4 3, 4 5, 4 2, 3 4, 3 6, 3 1, 6 3, 6 5,6 2, 5 4, 5 6, 5 Looking at these numbers, it becomes apparent that each combination is there twice ((2,1) or (1,2)). The order may matter when considering 36 possibilities, but it doesn’t matter when considering the sums of the die rolls. (2,1) and (1,2) both yield the same result (net gain of 1), so the order doesn’t change anything to the result. We can simplify our 18 cases into 9 outcomes and recall that each one weighs 1/18 of the total: (1,2) or (2,1): Net gain of 1$ (1,4) or (4,1): Net gain of 3$ (1,6) or (6,1): Net gain of 5$ Indeed, no matter what even number we roll with a 1, we definitely make money. This is because 1 is the smallest possible number. Next up: (3,2) or (2,3): Net loss of 1$ (3,4) or (4,3): Net gain of 1$ (3,6) or (6,3): Net gain of 3$ For 3, one of the outcomes is a loss whereas the other two are gains. Since 3 is bigger than 2, it will lead to a loss. Finally: (5,2) or (2,5): Net loss of 3$ (5,4) or (4,5): Net loss of 1$ (5,6) or (6,5): Net gain of 1$ For 5, we tend to lose money, because 2/3 of the possibilities are smaller than 5. Only a 6 paired with the 5 would result in a net gain. Indeed, all numbers paired with 6 will result in a net gain, which is the same principle as always losing with a 1. Summing up our 9 possibilities, 3 led to losses while 6 led to gains. The probability is thus not evenly distributed as we might have guessed up front. Indeed, the fact that any 6 rolled with an odd number always leads to a gain whereas any 1 rolled with an even number always leads to a loss helps explain this discrepancy. To find the total probability of losing money, we need to find the probability of reaching one of these three oddeven outcomes. The chance of the dice being odd and even (in any order) is ½, and within that the chances of losing money are 3/9: (3, 2), (5, 2), and (5, 4). Thus we have 3/9 * ½ = 3/18 or 1/6 chance of losing money if it’s odd/even. Similarly, if it ends up odd/odd, then we always lose money, and that’s 3/9 * 3/9 = 9/36 or ¼. We have to add the two possibilities since any of them is possible, and we get ¼ + 1/6, if we put them on 12 we get 3/12 + 2/12 which equals 5/12. This is answer choice D. It’s convenient to shortcut this problem somewhat by identifying that it cannot end up at 50/50 (answer choice C) because of the added weight of even numbers. Since 6 will win over anything, you start getting the feeling that your probability of losing will be lower than ½. From there, your choices are D or E, 15/36 or 12/36. Short of taking a guess, you could start writing out a few possibilities without having to consider all 36 outcomes, and determine that all odd/odd combinations will work. After that, you look at the few possibilities that could work ((5,4), (4,5), etc) and determine that there are more than 12 total possibilities, locking you in to answer choice D. Many students struggle with problems such as these because they appear to be simple if you just write out all the possibilities. Especially when your brain is already feeling fatigued, you may be tempted to try and save mental energy by using brute force to solve problems. Beware, the exam wants you to do this (It’s a trap!) and waste precious time. If you need to write out some possibilities, that’s perfectly fine, but try and avoid writing them all out by using logic and deduction. On test day, if you use logic to save time on possible outcomes, you won’t lose. 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. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: GMAT Tip of the Week: Kanye West's Everything I Am Teaches Critical Reasoning 
“Everything I’m not made me everything I am,” says Kanye West in his surprisinglyhumble track Everything I Am. And while, unsurprisingly, much of what he’s talking about is silencing his critics, he might as well be rapping about making you an elite critic on Critical Reasoning problems. Because when it comes to some of the most challenging Critical Reasoning problems on the GMAT, everything they’re not makes them everything they are. Which is a convoluted way of saying this: On challenging Strengthen and Assumption questions, the correct answer often tells you that a potential flaw with the argument is not true. Everything that’s not true in that answer choice, then, makes the conclusion substantially more valid. Consider this argument, for example: Kanye received the most votes for the “Best Hip Hop Artist” award at the upcoming MTV Video Music Awards, so Kanye will be awarded the trophy for Best Hip Hop Artist. If this were the prompt for a question that asked “Which of the following is an assumption required by the argument above?” a correct answer might read: A) The Video Music Award for “Best Hip Hop Artist” is not decided by a method other than voting. And the function of that answer choice is to tell you what’s not true (“everything I’m not”), removing a flaw that allows the conclusion to be much more logically sound (“…made me everything I am.”) These answer choices can be challenging in context, largely because: 1) Answer choices that remove a flaw can be difficult to anticipate, because those flaws are usually subtle. 2) Answer choices that remove a flaw tend to include a good amount of negation, making them a bit more convoluted. In order to counteract these difficulties, it can be helpful to use “Everything I’m not made me everything I am” to your advantage. If what’s NOT true is essential to the conclusion’s truth, then if you consider the opposite – what if it WERE true – you can turn that question into a Weaken question. For example, if you took the opposite of the choice above, it would read: The VMA for “Best Hip Hop Artist” is decided by a method other than voting. If that were true, the conclusion is then wholly unsupported. So what if Kanye got the most votes, if votes aren’t how the award is determined? At that point the argument has no leg to stand on, so since the opposite of the answer directly weakens the argument, then you know that the answer itself strengthens it. And since we’re typically all much more effective as critics than we are as defenders, taking the opposite helps you to do what you’re best at. So consider the fulllength problem: Editor of an automobile magazine: The materials used to make older model cars (those built before 1980) are clearly superior to those used to make late model cars (those built since 1980). For instance, all the 1960’s and 1970’s cars that I routinely inspect are in surprisingly good condition: they run well, all components work perfectly, and they have very little rust, even though many are over 50 years old. However, almost all of the late model cars I inspect that are over 10 years old run poorly, have lots of rust, and are barely fit to be on the road. Which of the following is an assumption required by the argument above? A) The quality of materials used in older model cars is not superior to those used to make other types of vehicles produced in the same time period. B) Cars built before 1980 are not used for shorter trips than cars built since then. C) Manufacturing techniques used in modern automobile plants are not superior to those used in plants before 1980. D) Wellmaintained and seldomused older model vehicles are not the only ones still on the road. E) Owners of older model vehicles take particularly good care of those vehicles. First notice that several of the answer choices (A, B, C, and D) include “is not” or “are not” and that the question stem asks for an assumption. These are clues that you’re dealing with a “removes the flaw” kind of problem, in which what is not true (in the answer choices) is essential to making the conclusion of the argument true. Because of that, it’s a good idea to take the opposites of those answer choices so that instead of removing the flaw in a Strengthen/Assumption question, you’re introducing the flaw and making it a Weaken. When you do that, you should see that choice D becomes: D) Wellmaintained and seldomused older model vehicles ARE the only ones still on the road. If that’s the case, the conclusion – “the materials used to make older cars are clearly superior to those used in newer ones” – is proven to be flawed. All the junkers are now off the road, so the evidence no longer holds up; you’re only seeing wellworking old cars because they’re the most caredfor, not because they were better made in the first place. And in a larger context, look at what D does ‘reading forward': if it’s not only wellmaintained and seldomdriven older cars on the road, then you have a better comparison point. So what’s not true here makes the argument everything it is. But dealing in “what’s not true” can be a challenge, so remember that you can take the opposite of each answer choice and make this “Everything I’m Not” assumption question into a muchclearer “Everything I Am” Weaken question. 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 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: UC Berkeley (Haas) Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 20152016 
The Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley recently published its MBA admissions deadlines and essays for the coming application season. After chopping away at its essay count in the recent past, Haas has held steady this year, keeping the required essay count at three. But, interestingly, the school has made some changes that make this year’s application look more like the application that Haas used two years ago. We’ll dig in and tell you everything you need to know below. Now let’s dig in! Here are Haas’s deadlines and essays for the Class of 2018, followed by our comments in italics: Berkeley (Haas) Application Deadlines Round 1: October 1, 2015 Round2: January 7, 2016 Round 3: March 31, 2016 Haas’s Round 1 and Round 2 deadlines are exactly the same as they were last year. The one bit of news here is that while the school used to wait until midJanuary to notify Round 1 applicants, now applying in Round 1 means that you will get your decision by December 17, giving you at least a couple of weeks before most schools’ Round 2 deadlines, should you need to scramble and apply to some backup schools. Looking at Round 3, Haas pushed back this deadline by nearly three weeks vs. last year, matching similar moves at some other top schools to hopefully catch a few more great candidates who may have missed the earlier rounds. Berkeley (Haas) Application Essays
By Scott Shrum 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: What to Do When Math Fails You on the GMAT! 
They say Mathematics is a perfect Science. There is a debate over this among scientists but we can definitely say that Mathematical methods are not perfect so we cannot use them blindly. We could very well use the standard method for some given numbers and get stranded with “no solution.” The issue is what do we do when that happens? For example, review this post on averages. Here we saw that: Average Speed = 2ab/(a + b) Applicable when one travels at speed a for half the distance and speed b for other half of the distance. In this case, average speed is the harmonic mean of the two speeds. So now, say if we have a question which looks like this: Question: In the morning, Chris drives from Toronto to Oakville and in the evening he drives back from Oakville to Toronto on the same road. Was his average speed for the entire round trip less than 100 miles per hour? Statement 1: In the morning, Chris drove at an average speed of at least 10 miles per hour while travelling from Toronto to Oakville. Statement 2: In the evening, Chris drove at an average speed which was no more than 50 miles per hour while travelling from Oakville to Toronto. Solution: We know that the question involves average speed. The case involves travelling at a particular average speed for one half of the journey and at another average speed for the other half of the journey. So average speed of the entire trip will be given by 2ab/(a+b) But the first problem is that we are given a range of speeds. How do we handle ‘at least 10’ and ‘no more than 50’ in equation form? We have learnt that we should focus on the extremities so let’s analyse the problem by taking the numbers are the extremities:10 and 50 Statement 1: In the morning, Chris drove at an average speed of at least 10 miles per hour while travelling from Toronto to Oakville. What if Chris drives at an average speed of 10 mph in the morning and averages 100 mph for the entire journey? What will be his average speed in the evening? Perhaps around 200, right? Let’s see. 100 = 2*10*b/(10 + b) 1000 + 100b = 20b 1000 = 80b b = – 1000/80 How can speed be negative? Let’s hold on here and try the same calculation for statement 2 too. Statement 2: In the evening, Chris drove at an average speed which no more than 50 miles per hour while travelling from Oakville to Toronto. If Chris drives at an average speed of 50 mph in the evening, and averages 100 mph, let’s find his average speed in the morning. 100 = 2a*50/(a + 50) 100a + 5000 = 100a 5000 = 0 This doesn’t make any sense either! What is going wrong? Look at it conceptually: Say, Toronto is 100 miles away from Oakville. If Chris wants his average speed to be 100 mph over the entire trip, he should cover 100+100 = 200 miles in 2 hrs. What happens when he travels at 10 mph in the morning? He takes 100/10 = 10 hrs to reach Oakville in the morning. He has already taken more time than what he had allotted for the entire round trip. Now, no matter what his speed in the evening, his average speed cannot be 100mph. Even if he reaches Oakville to Toronto in the blink of an eye, he would have taken 10 hours and then some time to cover the total 200 miles distance. So his average speed cannot be equal to or more than 200/10 = 20 mph. Similarly, if he travels at 50 mph in the evening, he takes 2 full hours to travel 100 miles (one side distance). In the morning, he would have taken some time to travel 100 miles from Toronto to Oakville. Even if that time is just a few seconds, his average speed cannot be 100 mph under any circumstances. But statement 1 says that his speed in morning was at least 10 mph which means that he could have traveled at 10 mph in the morning or at 100 mph. In one case, his average speed for the round trip cannot be 100 mph and in the other case, it can very well be. Hence statement 1 alone is not sufficient. On the other hand, statement 2 says that his speed in the evening was 50 mph or less. This means he would have taken AT LEAST 2 hours in the morning. So his average speed for the round trip cannot be 100 mph under any circumstances. So statement 2 alone is sufficient to answer this question with ‘No’. Answer (B) Takeaway: If your average speed is s for a certain trip, your average speed for half the distance must be more than s/2. 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! 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Saving Cash in College: What to Buy, What to Skip, and What to Save For 
College is chockfull with financial temptation. You’re eager to explore a new town with new friends, your fashion sense is rapidly developing into cool college kid, and everything in the grocery store looks delicious. If you’re like the majority of college students, you don’t have the funds to buy everything you’d like to—so where should you draw the line? I’m no financial expert, but as a soontograduate senior who’s watched plenty of friends feed savings accounts or run their wallets to empty, here’s what I’ve learned. SKIP
Courtney Tran is a student at UC Berkeley, studying Political Economy and Rhetoric. In high school, she was named a National Merit Finalist and National AP Scholar, and she represented her district two years in a row in Public Forum Debate at the National Forensics League National Tournament. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: 1 Strategy That Will Lead You to Better Pacing on the GMAT 
Let’s look at a vastly important testing issue that is largely misunderstood and its seriousness underappreciated. Throughout multiple years of tutoring, this has been one of the most common and detrimental problems that I have had to work to correct in my students. It pertains to the entire GMAT exam, but is typically more relevant to the quant section as students often struggle more with pacing during quant. No single question matters unless you let it. Reflect on that for a second, because it’s super important, weird, true, and again…important. The GMAT exam is not testing your ability to get as many questions right as you can. You can get the exact same percentage of questions right on two different exams and end up getting very different scores as a result of the complicated scoring algorithm. Mistakes that will crush your score are a large string of consecutive incorrect answers, unanswered questions remaining at the end of the section (these hurt your score even more than answering them incorrectly would), and a very low hit rate for the last 5 or 10 questions. These are all problems that are likely to arise if you spend way too much time on one/several questions. Each individual question is actually pretty insignificant. The GMAT has 37 quantitative questions to gauge your ability level (currently ignoring the issue of experimental questions), so whether you get a certain question right or wrong doesn’t matter much. Let’s look at a hypothetical example and pick on question #17 for a second (just because it looked at me wrong!). If you start question 17, realize that it is not going your way, and ultimately make an educated guess after about 2 minutes and get it wrong…that doesn’t hurt you a lot. You missed the question, but you didn’t let it burn a bunch of your time and you live to fight another day (or in this case question). Now let’s look at question 17 again, but from the perspective of being stubborn. If you start the question and are struggling with it but refuse to quit, thinking something like “this is geometry, I am so good at geometry, I have to get this right!”, then it will become very significant. In a bad way. In this example you spend 6 minutes on the question and you get it right. Congratulations! Except…you are now statistically not even going to get to attempt to answer two other questions because of the time that you just committed to it (with an average of 2 minutes per question on the quant section, you just allocated 3 questions’ worth of time to one question). So your victory over infamous question 17 just got you 2 questions wrong! That’s a net negative. Loop in the concept of experimental questions, the fact that approximately onefourth of quant questions don’t count, and therefore it is entirely possible that #17 isn’t even a real question, and the situation is pretty depressing. Pacing is critical, and your pacing on quant questions should very rarely ever go above 3 minutes. Spending an excess amount of time on a question but getting it right is not a success; it is a bad strategic move. I challenge you to look at any practice tests that you have taken and decide whether you let this happen. Were there a few questions that you spent way over 2 minutes on and got right, but then later in the test a bunch of questions that you had to rush on and ended up missing, even though they may not have been that difficult? If that’s the case, then your timing is doing some serious damage. Work to correct this fatal error ASAP! 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! Brandon Pierpont is a GMAT instructor for Veritas Prep. He studied finance at Notre Dame and went on to work in private equity and investment banking. When he’s not teaching the GMAT, he enjoys longdistance running, wakeboarding, and attending comedy shows. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Chicago Booth Admissions Essay and Deadlines for 20152016 
The Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago recently released its MBA application deadlines and essay for the Class of 2018. After years of whittling down its essay count to just one single essay last year, Booth returns with one essay this year, although it’s a new one. Booth has always been one of the pioneers in using unusual essay prompts, and it’s good to see that continue. The way they go about it this year is a little different (and perhaps not ideal), but we dig into that in much more detail below. Here are Chicago Booth’s admissions deadlines and essays for the 20152016 season: Chicago Booth Application Deadlines Round 1: September 17, 2015 Round 2: January 5, 2016 Round 3: April 5, 2016 Once again Booth has moved its Round 1 deadline forward by a week, making Booth the latest top business school to have its first deadline come in midSeptember. (Five years ago, Booth’s Round 1 deadline was October 13… Things have changed!) The good news is that applying to Booth in Round 1 means that you will get your decision back by December 10, which gives you almost a month before most business schools’ Round 2 deadlines come in early January. Booth’s Round 2 and Round 3 deadlines each moved only slightly compared to last season. Chicago Booth Application Essay
By 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: SAT Tip of the Week: Your 3 Step Beginner's Guide to Study Planning 
The highest achievers on the SAT all have one thing in common, a ton of preparation time. The grand majority of these students also have another thing in common; they used their summers effectively in terms of studying for the test. This doesn’t mean that you have to hit the books 95 every day and effectively eliminate any possibility of a relaxing and rejuvenating summer. In fact, that type of approach would probably lead to burnout and actually be detrimental to your test performance. Instead, planning an effective and feasible study plan for the summer is a much more fruitful approach. Most students who are taking the test in October or November are Seniors, as Juniors generally do not take the SAT for the first time until the spring of their 11th grade year. Many of the seniors who take the test in the fall are veterans of the SAT, having sat for the exam before. This means that the summer can be used to brush up on skills and review the areas of weakness that were holding students’ scores down on their earlier attempts. VOCABULARY IS YOUR FRIEND One of the best ways to take advantage of the extra time in summer is to schedule a consistent vocabulary session each day. These do not have to be extremely time intensive, as long as you dedicate 1530 minutes on a daily basis to learning new words and reviewing old ones. Vocabulary is the one thing you can absolutely memorize for the test, and if you actually put in the time it is like picking up free points. Unfortunately, most students during the school year have a finite amount of time and decide to prioritize other elements of the test. During the summer, this is not an issue and you can use the extra time to really hone your vocabulary skills. Not only are there 19 sentence completion questions that are directly related to vocabulary, but there are also tremendous benefits on the essay and within the passage based section that come with learning your vocabulary. BECOME BFF WITH YOUR SCORE REPORT Another great thing to do during the summer is to review your score report, and identify the specific areas of weakness on your test. On the College Board website, go to the advanced report which tells you how you fared in different sub sections of each subject. If data and operations seemed to be an area that you struggled with in the mathematics section, then you should dedicate study sessions to doing more practice problems and reviewing the strategies associated with that topic. The same could be said about understanding the main idea in passage based reading or identifying apples to apples comparison problems in the writing mechanics section. POLISH YOUR ESSAY Finally, the summer is the perfect time to work on crafting a stellar essay. If you aren’t in English class during the summer and actively writing, your sentence composition and overall essay writing ability might temporarily flounder. A good way to counteract this and stay sharp is to set aside an hour a week to writing two practice essays. This will allow you to perfect your essay template and get comfortable with explaining strong examples in your body paragraphs. All in all, summer is a great time to jump ahead on the SAT. Using an hour or two a day or even every other day, will pay major dividends when the test rolls around and summer ends. Happy Studying! Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! 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. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: A Breakdown of Columbia Business School Essay Questions for 20152016 
Application season at Columbia Business School is officially underway with the release of the school’s 20152016 essay questions. Let’s discuss from a high level some early thoughts on how best to approach these new essay prompts. There are three essay questions for Columbia, which is a high number in these days of essay consolidation at most other business schools. With so many essays it is critical that applicants present their candidacy in a clearly aligned fashion. Essay 1: Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals going forward, and how will the Columbia MBA help you achieve them? (Maximum 500 words) Columbia’s first essay falls into the category of your typical “career goals” essay and is double the word count of the other essays so the school is expecting a fully fleshed out path forward. Avoid spending much time detailing your past as the prompt clearly has taken account of your past professional career. This is purely a futureoriented career essay. With that said, clear articulation and alignment of your shortterm and longterm career goals will be key to executing a successful essay here. Probably even more important, given the ubiquity of the career goals portion of the prompt, is the fit portion of the essay. Breakthrough candidates will cite specific references to Columbia’s professional, academic, and extracurricular programs that will support the applicant’s development goals. With so much competition amongst similar institutions it is critical to make a bold case for a strong fit with the program. Essay 2: Columbia Business School’s location enables us to bridge theory and practice in multiple ways: through Master Classes, internships, the New York Immersion Seminars, and, most importantly, through a combination of distinguished research faculty and accomplished practitioners. How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business”? (Maximum 250 words) Again keeping in mind the totality of the three essays, it may make sense to reserve the NY specific advantages until essay two. Essay one presents a clear opportunity to do this but doubling down here would make more sense. With so few words to work with you want to get right to the point in this essay. Columbia outlines a few of the potential advantages the school offers in the prompt, so you want to get specific on what the relationship between the school and the “Big Apple” can offer you. Breakthrough candidates will personalize this essay right from the start and structure the essay around specific aspects of the Columbia Business School experience relevant to the candidate’s personal and professional development. Essay 3: CBS Matters, a key element of the School’s culture, allows the people in your Cluster to learn more about you on a personal level. What will your Clustermates be pleasantly surprised to learn about you? (Maximum 250 words) This is a great opportunity to let your personality shine through. The first two essays cover career goals and fit and interest in Columbia, but this essay is a bit more open. These types of essays tend to be the greatest opportunities for candidates to differentiate themselves, so don’t miss out on this chance! As you choose which topic to discuss keep in mind what would engage your classmates and it goes without saying but whatever you share should actually be something not immediately obvious to the Admissions Committee. Breakthrough candidates will leverage their research into the Columbia culture to frame a response that is not only unique but also compelling to the admissions team. These are just a few thoughts on the new batch of essays from Columbia Business School. Hopefully these thoughts will help you get started. Considering applying to MBA programs? Call us at 18009257737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more of his articles here. 
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Dartmouth (Tuck) Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 20152016 
Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business recently released its application deadlines and essays for the Class of 2018. Tuck stuck with two required essays this year, and the questions are substantially the same, although both of them have been reworded a bit for this year’s application. These small changes suggest that the Tuck admissions team was mostly happy with the responses they saw from last year’s applicant pool. Without further ado, here are Tuck’s deadlines and essays for the 20152016 application season, followed by our comments in italics: Dartmouth (Tuck) Application Deadlines Early Action round: October 7, 2015 November round: November 4, 2015 January round: January 6, 2016 April round: April 4, 2016 Tuck’s deadlines are almost exactly the same as they were last year. Rather than joining other top MBA programs in pushing its first round deadline into September, Tuck decided to hold steady. Note that Tuck is one of the few top business schools to offer an Early Action admissions option. “Early Action” means that the decision is nonbinding, although if you are admitted you will need to send in a $4,500 deposit by January 15 if you plan on enrolling. If Tuck is your top choice, or at least a very strong 2nd or 3rd choice, Early Action is a great way to demonstrate that you’re seriously interested in Tuck. Dartmouth (Tuck) Application Essays
By Scott Shrum 

