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Our Thoughts on Yale SOM's Application Essay for 2015-2016 [#permalink]

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New post 01 Sep 2015, 15:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Our Thoughts on Yale SOM's Application Essay for 2015-2016
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Application season at the Yale School of Management is officially underway with the release of the school’s 2015-2016 essay question. Let’s discuss from a high level some early thoughts on how best to approach this year’s single essay prompt from Yale:

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

Again, Yale only has one essay this year so candidates must make sure to really double down on this aspect of the application. The first step should be to sift through anecdotes within your personal, professional and academic careers to discuss in this essay. It’s not enough to simply select an example where you made a big impact, but instead, one where the full breadth of your interpersonal skills are on display. The ideal social skills to highlight are ones that jive with the Yale SOM mission. This year, Yale brings back their same essay prompt as last year, so if you are a candidate who applied in the 2014-2015 application season or got a head start on your essays by bench-marking against that essay, you are in luck.

This is a hybrid “influence”/“impact” essay where applicants are asked to describe a unique personal, professional, or academic situation where they have made a difference. Also, it would be wise to leverage some of the clues within the prompt itself. Words like “deep”, “lasting”, “lead” and “influence” should serve as elements of the story you should lean on to make your case. Make sure the example(s) selected have a bit more staying power –Yale is looking for sustainable impact you have had on an organization.

The typical candidate will tell the Admissions Committee how they influenced an organization. Breakthrough candidates won’t just tell the AdComm how they influenced an organization, but instead will show the underlying process in how it happened. Introspection will be a key element to any successful Yale SOM essay, relating why this specific anecdote is significant to YOU. Finally, consider if and then how this experience will allow you to make a similar impact on the greater Yale SOM community as a whole.

Just a few thoughts on this year’s essay from Yale, hopefully this will help you get started.

If you are considering applying to Yale SOM, download our Essential Guide to Yale, one of our 13 guides to the world’s top business schools. Ready to start building your applications for Stern and other top MBA programs? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 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.
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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Think Like Einstein to Answer GMAT Data Sufficiency Questions [#permalink]

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New post 02 Sep 2015, 10:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Think Like Einstein to Answer GMAT Data Sufficiency Questions
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I recently read Manjit Kumar’s, Quantum, which is about the philosophical disagreement between Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein with respect to the nature of reality.  In high school physics, we learned about Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, which posits that we can never know both the position and the momentum of an electron with absolute certainty. The more precisely we measure an electron’s position, the less we know about its momentum, and vice versa.

There are two ways to interpret this phenomenon. Einstein thought that an electron had a defined position and momentum. We simply weren’t capable of documenting both at the same time due to the clumsiness of our measuring instruments. Bohr, on the other hand, believed that an electron didn’t have a position or momentum until we measured it. In other words, the electron doesn’t exist before it’s observed (which, of course, raises knotty metaphysical questions about how the observer exists, if the observer is herself made of sub-atomic particles, none of which exist before they’re observed. But this one is a little harder to connect to the GMAT, so the reader is invited to contemplate such a conundrum in his or her own time, once the test is in the rear view mirror).

Though physicists, by and large, are more likely to accept Bohr’s interpretation than Einstein’s, on the GMAT we’ll want to reason more like Einstein, particularly when it comes to Data Sufficiency. In almost every class I teach, a student will ask a question along the lines of, “Is it possible that, in a value question, Statement 1 will tell you definitively that x equals 8, and that Statement 2 will tell you definitively that x equals some other number?” The answer is a resounding “No” – x has a unique value, the question is whether we can definitively divine what that value is. If Statement 1 tells us decisively that x = 8, Statement 2 cannot tell us that x equals, say, 10.

Let’s see how this principle can be helpful in action:

If a certain positive integer is divided by 9, the remainder is 3. What is the remainder when the integer is divided by 5?

1)     If the integer is divided by 45, the remainder is 30.

2)     The integer is divisible by 2

Statement 1 tells me that when I divide an integer by 45, I get a remainder of 30. So I could test 75, because that will give a remainder of 30 when divided by 45 (And, just as importantly, it gives a remainder of 3 when divided by 9 – I have to satisfy the conditions embedded in the question stem too!). The question asks me for the remainder when the integer is divided by 5. Well, 75/5 will give no remainder, so the remainder, in this case, is 0.

Let’s see if that will always be the case. Next, we’ll test 105, which gives a remainder of 30 when divided by 45, and gives a remainder of 3 when divided by 9 [note: I can generate fresh numbers to test by simply adding the divisor, 30, to the previous number I test (75 + 30 = 105)]. Clearly 105/5 will give a remainder of 0, as any number that ends in 5 will be divisible by 5. The same will be true of 145, or 175, or 205. The remainder, when the integer in question is divided by 5 will always be 0, so Statement 1 is sufficient.

Now let’s reason like Einstein. We know that the answer to the question has a definitive value of 0. That can’t change. The only way Statement 2 can be sufficient is if it gives us that same value. So let’s pick a number that is divisible by 2 but gives a remainder of 3 when divided by 9. 12 will work. The remainder, when 12 is divided by 5, is 2. All we need to see is that we did not get 0.

We don’t have to test another number. Statement 2 cannot, alone, be sufficient, because we already know – the Einsteins that we are – that the value in question is 0. Statement 2 cannot tell us that the value is definitively 2 (if we continued to test, we’d eventually find values that gave us a remainder of 0 when we divided by 5, but because there are other possibilities, Statement 2 doesn’t give us enough information to determine, without a doubt, that the value is 0). We’re done. Statement 2 is insufficient. The answer is A: Statement 1 alone is sufficient.

Note that this same logic will work on “YES/NO” questions as well. If Statement 1 tells us that the answer to the question is definitively “YES”, Statement 2 cannot tell us that the answer is definitively “NO”, and vice versa. Recognizing this can save us valuable time.

Takeaway: Although Niels Bohr might say that there is no answer to a Data Sufficiency question until we evaluate a statement, for these questions we want to think more like Einstein and recognize that, in the mind of the question-writer, there is an objective answer – the question is whether we have enough information to definitely deduce what that answer is. There may be no objective reality in the quantum world, but on the GMAT, there most certainly is.

*GMATPrep question courtesy of the Graduate Management Admissions Council.

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

By David Goldstein, a Veritas Prep GMAT instructor based in Boston. You can find more articles by him here.
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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SAT Tip of the Week: Making the “Order of Difficulty” Rule Simple [#permalink]

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New post 02 Sep 2015, 13:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: SAT Tip of the Week: Making the “Order of Difficulty” Rule Simple
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The concept of “Order of Difficulty” is something that can be extraordinarily helpful to any SAT test taker. In general, the SAT orders its questions from easy to hard and on the surface, it seems to be a pretty simple concept (this information is readily available on the College Board’s website). While this is extremely important and helpful to know, it is even more essential to analyze and understand how to use this to your advantage. So let’s talk about the “Order of Difficulty” and how you can benefit from it come test day:

 

Math Section

On the Math sections, for the most part, questions go straight from the easiest to the most difficult. The one exception to this is when you have two questions that look at the same table or graph. The first of these two questions will be simpler and the second will be much more difficult. The third math section, which is both multiple choice and grid, follows a similar pattern BUT restarts at question nine when the grid-in questions begin.

On this section, understanding the “Order of Difficulty” phenomenon can help you catch errors. If an early problem is taking you a lot of time, you are probably doing something wrong. These problems are designed to be simple and most test takers across the board get them right. If you find yourself struggling with question one or two, start from the beginning and you will almost surely identify an arithmetic error or find that you may have misunderstood the directions.

The opposite applies on later problems: if a later question takes you just a few couple seconds to figure out, chances are you fell into one of the College Board’s traps. In this case, restart the problem again and see if you can catch the error you made. Once you rectify this, you will most likely be able to answer the difficult question correctly – which will separate you from the pack – and allow you to then proceed with the rest of the section.

Writing Section

On the SAT Writing sections, the rule of “Order of Difficulty” also applies. The section with 35 questions will go from easy to hard for the first 11 questions of this sequence, and deal with improving sentences. The order of easy to hard restarts from questions 12 to 29 and reviews identifying sentence errors. Questions 30 through 35 do NOT follow the “Order of Difficulty” rule, so if problems are taking a while there, it is a good idea to come back to the troublesome questions later.

In this section, the advanced strategies for “Order of Difficulty” center on the idea of “no error”. Many students will be hesitant to choose a “no error” answer on a later problem because they feel as if they are missing some difficult, obscure grammar rule. Generally, this leads to students picking an answer that might sound awkward or “off.” Don’t fall prey to this temptation and remember it is very common for one or two of the later Writing questions on identifying sentence errors to not have any error at all. Unless you can point to a specific grammar rule, don’t choose an answer that sounds weird just because you feel the question MUST have an error – that is exactly what the SAT wants you to do.

Reading Section

The Reading Comprehension section is the one area of the SAT where the “Order of Difficulty” rule doesn’t apply as frequently. Here, all of the sentence competition questions increase in order of difficulty. However, once the passage-based reading questions start, there is absolutely no order in terms of question difficulty. This means that it is possible for an early question to be very difficult. If you are stumped on one of these, the best thing to do is to move on to the next question, as no single problem is worth a large portion of your time.

Unlike with passage-based reading questions, the “Order of Difficulty” concept is great for sentence completion problems. Generally speaking, easier words will be the correct answers on the earlier questions and more complex words will be the correct answers on the later questions. Even without understanding the specific definitions of some words, this pretty rudimentary concept can help eliminate some incorrect answer choices and improve your chances of getting the answer correct.

“Order of Difficulty” is a fairly well known concept among test takers, and understanding it is essential. You will separate yourself from fellow test takers nationwide by working with this concept and turning it to your advantage.

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, YouTube 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.

 

 

 
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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99th Percentile GMAT Score or Bust! Lesson 6: Practice Tests Aren't Re [#permalink]

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New post 02 Sep 2015, 16:01
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: 99th Percentile GMAT Score or Bust! Lesson 6: Practice Tests Aren't Real Tests
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Veritas Prep’s Ravi Sreerama is the #1-ranked GMAT instructor in the world (by GMATClub) and a fixture in the new Veritas Prep Live Online format as well as in Los Angeles-area classrooms.  He’s beloved by his students for the philosophy “99th percentile or bust!”, a signal that all students can score in the elusive 99th percentile with the proper techniques and preparation.   In this “9 for 99th” video series, Ravi shares some of his favorite strategies to efficiently conquer the GMAT and enter that 99th percentile.

First, take a look at Lessons 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5!

Lesson Six:

Practice Tests Aren’t Real Tests: read the popular GMAT forums and you’ll see lots of handwringing and bellyaching about practice tests scores…but not very much analysis beyond the scores themselves.  In this video, Ravi (along with his alter ego Allen Iverson) talks about practice, stressing the importance of using the tests to increase your score more than to merely try to predict it.  Pacing is paramount and diagnosis is divine; as Ravi will explain, practice tests are critical for learning how you would perform if that were the real thing, with the added bonus of having the opportunity to fix those things that you don’t like about that practice performance.

Click HERE to check out Ravi’s latest video on this subject.

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

Want to learn more from Ravi? He’s taking his show on the road for a one-week Immersion Course in New York this summer, and he teaches frequently in our new Live Online classroom.

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

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Oh, the Place You'll Go! How to Choose Your Study Abroad Program [#permalink]

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New post 03 Sep 2015, 11:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Oh, the Place You'll Go! How to Choose Your Study Abroad Program
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Congratulations–you’ve decided to study abroad! (If you haven’t yet, read my previous article for 9 good reasons you should take the plunge.) The next step is to decide where to go. If you still aren’t sure, here are a few tips:

  • If you currently receive financial aid or scholarships, check whether your funding will carry over to all the study abroad programs you might be interested in. Some may cover any educational costs you incur no matter which country you’re in, but others may only cover study abroad programs if they are hosted by your school. (It may not be worth signing up for a multi-site study program in Asia if your full ride will only cover study in Europe.)

[*]If you need to save money, consider traveling to countries with exchange rates that are in your favor. I was able to travel to India last year because the rate at the time was 60 rupees to 1 dollar; the only truly substantial cost I ended up having to cover out of pocket was my airfare.[/list]

[*]Take any language barriers into account. If you don’t know the language already, it will take quite a lot of time to pick it up; many study abroad students never move past introductory phrases, especially if they have never had exposure to the language before. Language immersion is most effective when students already have some knowledge of the language beforehand.[/list]

[*]Research the academic programs available in each country and each program you have access to. Singapore, for instance, runs plenty of great programs for science and engineering, but few for the humanities. Sticking to programs that offer you good academic opportunities in your field(s) of interest will make it easier for you to incorporate your time abroad into your overall course of study.[/list]

[*]Check whether your classes abroad will transfer back to your home university. The last thing you want is to return home after a great semester abroad only to realize too late that you’re a few credits short of graduation, or a class short of declaring your major. Ensure that your four-year academic plan can accommodate your time abroad, and check with your school and major advisors to make sure everything will line up academically.[/list]

[*]Opt for longer programs, if you have the time and resources to do so. The longer you stay, the better understanding you’ll gain of your host country—which is, after all, the point of studying abroad.[/list]

[*]Understand your own comfort zone. If you’ve never traveled outside of your home state before, it might not be the best idea to plan a 6-month home-stay in developing country where you don’t know the language and don’t understand the culture. Culture shock is real, and studying abroad can be lonely and scary if you have trouble adapting to your host country and community.[/list]

[*]Go somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. College is a great time to travel, and you’ll have an easier time settling in to new surroundings if you’re excited to be there.[/list]

[*]Just go. Don’t get too caught up in planning the perfect trip; no matter which study abroad program you choose, you’ll learn and grow in amazing ways you never could from your home campus. Have fun, and best of luck![/list]
Need help prepping your college application? Visit our College Admissions website and fill out our FREE College profile evaluation!

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.
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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Our Thoughts on Berkeley Haas' MBA Application Essay for 2015-2016 [#permalink]

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New post 03 Sep 2015, 12:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Our Thoughts on Berkeley Haas' MBA Application Essay for 2015-2016
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Early Thoughts on Berkeley Haas 2015-2016 Essay Questions


Application season at the Haas School of Business is officially underway with the release of the school’s 2015-2016 essay questions. Let’s discuss from a high level some early thoughts on how best to approach these new essay prompts. Haas has three required essays, so keep in mind how you plan to balance out your narratives across them all.

 

Essay 1:

If you could choose one song that expresses who you are, what is it and why? (250 words)

This is a very creative essay prompt from Haas. Candidates should rejoice at the opportunity to provide some insight into their personality and background. Typically, there are very few chances where candidates can bring the Admissions Committee into their world that does not conflict with remaining professional. Be authentic here and do not focus on what you think the AdComm wants to hear, but instead on what you feel is meaningful for you to share. The “why” is the most important aspect of this prompt so make sure the relevance of the chosen song is clear.

Essay 2:  Respond to one of the following prompts

1) Describe an experience that has fundamentally changed the way you see the world and how it transformed you. (250 words)

Think broadly with this one – the prompt emphasizes “the world,” so identify something that is beyond you that strikes at the core of your belief system. Again, I caution against overthinking in your essay. The more honest the response the more authentically it will be received by the AdComm.

2) Describe a significant accomplishment and why it makes you proud. (250 words)

These situational type essay prompts will be structured very similarly for whichever one you choose. One key element that should be in each response is self-reflection. The AdComm is really trying to get at your thought process and whether these skills shared are repeatable or one-off examples. Make sure your response here comes full-circle with a focus on the relevance of the chosen accomplishment.

3) Describe a difficult decision you have made and why it was challenging. (250 words)

With each question option in Essay 2, your choice of topic can be quite telling for the AdComm. How you define significant, difficult or life changing provides a unique glimpse into your value system. Make sure the topics selected align with the value system you wish to present to the AdComm in your application.

Essay 3: 

Tell us about your path to business school and your future plans. How will the Berkeley-Haas experience help you along this journey? (500 words)

This is a very typical “Career Goals”/“Why School X” essay, so most applicants should have a pretty easy time handling the format and structure of this essay. Breakthrough candidates will avoid using a generic and repurposed career essay, and instead fashion a highly tailored response to the prompt. Haas has many unique aspects to their program, so make sure you are directly connecting your personal and professional development goals to the specific offerings of the Haas MBA.

One thing to keep in mind, the prompt does signal that Haas is looking for a bit of a recap of your career as well. This should be concise and really align tightly with where you see the rest of your career headed and how Haas fits into this vision.

Just a few thoughts on the new essays from Haas, hopefully this will help you get started. For more thoughts on Berkeley’s deadlines and essays, check out another post here.

If you are considering applying to Berkeley Haas, download our Essential Guide to Berkeley, one of our 13 guides to the world’s top business schools. Ready to start building your applications for Haas and other top MBA programs? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube 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.
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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Thou Shalt Not Repeateth Thyself in Thine MBA Application Essays [#permalink]

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New post 03 Sep 2015, 16:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Thou Shalt Not Repeateth Thyself in Thine MBA Application Essays
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Schools have gotten increasingly stingy over the years on how much information they are willing to accept from applicants. Partly due to the increase in applications to top schools (making it onerous to review everyone’s application in full), and partly due to the wide range of responses schools were receiving (making it difficult to compare applicants), the overall application, including the essay word counts, has been trimmed.

You might also notice that many schools now require you to describe your career goals and work history within the application and then also ask you to upload a resume and speak to your goals again in the essays. This leaves some applicants scratching their heads, since a resume is indeed a description of work history, and your goals are your goals, and these don’t change from the application to the essay. However, there is a key opportunity here that you don’t want to miss: schools hate it when you repeat yourself.

With the few words you already have to make your case for admission, the last thing you want to do is be redundant. With your resume, think of it as an organized map key for the rest of your application, with dates, names and locations of your work experience as well as official duties, responsibilities and quantification of your unique impact in your various roles. The work history list on the application, therefore, is your opportunity to put a bit of a different spin on what you did – perhaps adding more qualitative insight into your career, where you can highlight teamwork, leadership skills and creativity in the workplace.

For career goals, use the short section in the application to boil it down to a straightforward plan, then use the essay to bring out why you want to achieve that plan. This will allow the application, resume and essays to work together to make a strong, multi-layered case for your admission.

If you look at the resume and essays as having different purposes than the application short questions, you will be one step ahead of the other applicants who rush to “fill in the boxes,” and may therefore become someone who stands out for the admissions committee above the rest.

Applying to business school? 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, YouTube 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.
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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6 Great Ways to Research MBA Programs and Boost Your Chance of Admissi [#permalink]

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New post 04 Sep 2015, 10:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: 6 Great Ways to Research MBA Programs and Boost Your Chance of Admission
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One of the biggest complaints admissions committees have with submitted packages is the lack of school-specific references within an application. MBA programs are looking for applicants to showcase why their school is uniquely tailored to help the applicant reach their development goals – what schools receive instead are ill-tailored, non-customized packages that don’t distinguish one candidate from the next.

The key to delivering a customized, school-specific application package is research. Applying to, and eventually attending, business school is not only a very important endeavor, but a very expensive one as well. Because of this, it is important to invest in the process to optimize your chance at admission and improve the overall quality of your eventual school selection. Let’s take a look at 6 ways you can best research MBA programs and use what you learn to your advantage in the application process:

1) Online Research

This is probably the easiest research type to conduct and one of the most effective to get started on in the application process. This form of research involves utilizing school websites like http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/, news sites like http://www.businessweek.com/business-schools and admissions consulting company websites like http://www.veritasprep.com/ to learn more about your target schools.

2) Current Students

Students are one of the best ways to get the most current info on MBA programs of interest. These individuals have recently been through the application process, so they can provide relevant tips for candidates. Current students can also provide great anecdotes about day-to-day academic, extracurricular and professional opportunities that you can reference in your application.

3) Alumni

Alums also offer another perspective for interested candidates. Alums can discuss aspects of their alma mater schools, like the impact of the school’s MBA program, career trajectory and strength of the alumni network. Many alums also serve as interviewers, so they can provide some nuanced information on the school’s interview process that would otherwise be publically unavailable.

4) MBA Tours

There are some great MBA Tour companies that travel across the country to various cities, allowing candidates a chance to meet with representatives from business schools across the country and the world. This is a great opportunity to save some time and “one-stop shop” for programs of interest.

5) Information Sessions

One of the most specific types of school research is the information session. These events are completely run and hosted by specific business schools, which use this setting to provide information to attendees about the upcoming application season as well as an opportunity to meet alums and representatives from admissions.

6) Campus Visits

Along with information sessions, campus visits are school specific and attendance is often even noted in a candidate’s file during the application review process. Information aside, making a campus visit or sitting in on a class can help show interest in a particular program, as well as help fuel fodder for essays and interviews, which can provide nice context for your application.

Utilize these 6 research methods to narrow down which schools’ MBA programs will be the best fit for you, and personalize your application to fit those unique programs and help you stand out from the crowd of other applicants.

Considering applying to MBA programs? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube 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.

 

 

 
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GMAT Tip of the Week: Test Day Should Not Be Labor Day [#permalink]

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New post 04 Sep 2015, 12:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: GMAT Tip of the Week: Test Day Should Not Be Labor Day
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As we head into the Labor Day weekend here in the U.S., it seems a fitting time to talk about labor.  Precious few people consider the GMAT to be a labor of love; to most aspiring (and perspiring?) MBAs, the GMAT is a lot of hard work.  And while, to earn the score that you’re hoping for, it’s likely that you’ll have to put in a good amount of sweat and a few tears (but hopefully no blood…), it’s important to recognize that test day itself should not be a Labor Day!

Your hard work should take place well before you get to the test center, so that on test day you’re not overworking yourself.  Working too hard on test day takes time (which is a precious resource on the exam), saps your mental energy (which also tends to be in short supply as you get later into the test with only two 8-minute breaks to recharge), and leads to errors.  Accordingly, here are a few tips to help you take the heavy labor out of your test day:

1. Only do the math you absolutely have to do.

The GMAT rewards efficiency and ingenuity, and has been known to set up problems that can be awful if done “by the book” but relatively smooth if you recognize common patterns.  For example:

  • Answers are assets! If the math looks like it’s going to get messy, look at the answer choices.  If they’re really far apart, you may be able to estimate after just a step or two.  Or if the answer choices are really “clean” numbers (0, 1, 10…these are really easy numbers with which to perform calculations) you may be able to plug them into the problem and backsolve without any algebra.
  • Don’t multiply until you’ve divided. Working step by step through a problem, you may see that you have to multiply, say, 51 by 18.  Which is an ugly thing to have to do for two reasons: that calculation will take time by hand, and it will leave you with a new number that will be hard to work with for the following step.  But the next step might be to divide by 34.  If you save the multiplication (just call it (51)(18) and don’t actually perform the step), then you can divide by 2 and 17.  Which works out pretty cleanly: 51/17 is 3 and 18/2 is 9, so now you’re just multiplying 3 by 9 and the answer has to be 27.   The GMAT goes heavy on divisibility, so keep in mind that you’ll do a lot of division on this test…meaning that it usually makes sense to wait to multiply until after you’ve seen what you’ll have to divide by.
  • Think in terms of number properties. Often you can determine quickly whether the answer has to be even or odd, or whether it has to be positive or negative, or what the first or last digit will be.  If you’ve made those determinations, quickly scan the answer choices and see how many fit those criteria.  If only one does, you’re done.  And if 2-3 do but they’re easier to plug in to the problem or to estimate between, then you can avoid doing the actual math.
2. Don’t take too many notes.

Particularly with Reading Comprehension passages, GMAT test-takers on average take far too many notes.  This hurts you for two reasons: first, it’s time consuming, and on a question type that’s already time consuming by nature.  And second, very few of the notes that people take are useful. People tend to take notes on details – you generally write down what you don’t think you’ll remember – but the test will typically only ask you about one detail per passage.  And the passage stays on the screen the whole time, so if you need to find a detail it’s just as easy to find it on the screen as it is in your notes (plus you’ll want to read the exact way that it was written, which your notes won’t necessarily have).  So use your time wisely: use your initial read of the passage to get a feel for the general direction of the passage, and then you’ll know which area/paragraph to go back to if and when you do need to find the details.

3. Stay flexible.

The GMAT is a test that rewards “mental agility,” meaning that it often designs problems that look like they should be solved one way (say, algebra) but quickly become labor-intensive that way and then reward those who are able to quickly change approaches (maybe to backsolving or picking numbers).  When it looks like you’ve just set yourself up for a massive amount of work, take a quick step back and re-analyze.  At this point are the answer choices more helpful?  Should you abandon your number-picking and go back to doing the algebra?  Does re-reading the question allow you to set it up differently?  Generally speaking, if the math starts to get labor-intensive you’re missing a better method.  So let that be your catalyst for re-assessing.

As you sit down to take the GMAT (to get into a great business school to become a more valuable member of the labor force), those 4 hours you spend at the test center probably won’t be a labor of love.  But they shouldn’t be full of labor, anyway.  Heed this advice to lighten your labor and the GMAT just might feel like more of a day off than anything (like, you know, Labor Day).

Getting ready to take 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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Master the GMAT by Applying Jedi-like Skills [#permalink]

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New post 07 Sep 2015, 14:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Master the GMAT by Applying Jedi-like Skills
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Once you begin studying for the GMAT, you’ll realize quickly that there are different levels of mastery. There’s that initial level of competence in which you learn, or relearn, many of the foundational concepts that you learned in middle school and have since forgotten. There’s a more intermediate level of mastery in which you’re able to blend strategic thinking with foundational concepts.

Then there’s the highest level in which you achieve a kind of trance-like, fugue state that allows you to incorporate multiple strategies to break down a single complex problem and then seamlessly shift to a fresh set of strategies on the next problem, which, of course, will be testing slightly different concepts from the previous one.

It’s the GMAT equivalent of becoming a Jedi who can anticipate his opponent’s next light saber strike several moves in advance or becoming Neo in the Matrix, finally deciphering the structure of the streaming code that animates his synthetic world. Pick whatever sci-fi analogy you like – it’s this kind of expertise that we’re shooting for when we prepare for the test. The pertinent questions are then the following: how do we accomplish this level of expertise, and what does it look like once we’re finally there?

Fortunately for you, dear student, our books are organized with this philosophy in mind. Once you’ve worked through the skill-builders and the lessons, you’ll likely be at the intermediate level of competence. Then it will be through drilling with homework problems and taking practice tests that you’ll achieve the level of mastery we seek. But let’s take a look at a Sentence Correction question to get a sense of how our thought processes might unfold, once we’re functioning in full Jedi-mode.

Unlike most severance packages, which require workers to stay until the last day scheduled to collect, workers at the automobile company are eligible for its severance package even if they find a new job before they are terminated. 

(A) the last day scheduled to collect, workers at the automobile company are eligible for its severance package

(B) the last day they are scheduled to collect, workers are eligible for the automobile company’s severance package

(C) their last scheduled day to collect, the automobile company offers its severance package to workers

(D) their last scheduled day in order to collect, the automobile company’s severance package is available to workers

(E) the last day that they are scheduled to collect, the automobile company’s severance package is available to workers

Having done hundreds of questions, you’ll notice one structural clue leap immediately: “unlike.” When you see words such as “like” or “unlike” you know that you’re dealing with a comparison, so your first task is to make sure you’re comparing appropriate items. You’ll also note that the clause beginning with “which require” modifies “severance packages,” so whatever is compared to these severance packages will come after the modifier.

In A, you’re comparing “severance packages” to “workers.” We’d rather compare severance packages to severance packages or workers to workers. No good.

In B, again, you’re comparing “severance packages” to “workers.”

In C, you’re comparing “severance packages” to “the automobile company.” Nope.

That leaves us with D and E, both of which compare “severance packages” to “automobile’s company severance package.” Here, you’re comparing one group of severance packages to another, so this is logical. But now you have to switch gears – the comparison issue allowed you to eliminate some incorrect answer choices, but you’ll have to use another issue to differentiate between your remaining options.

Once we’re down to two options, you can simply read the two sentences and look for differences. One difference is that E contains the word “that” in the phrase “the last day that they are scheduled to collect.” Perhaps it sounds okay to your ear, but you’ll recall that when “that” is used as a relative pronoun, it should touch the noun it modifies. In this case, it touches, “last day.” Read literally, the phrase, “the last day that they are scheduled to collect,” makes it sound as though “they” are collecting the “last day.” Surely this isn’t what the sentence intends to convey, so we’re then left with ‘D,’ which is the correct answer.

Takeaway:

Notice how many disparate concepts you had to juggle here: You had to recognize the structural clue indicating that “unlike” signifies a comparison; recognize that temporarily skipping over a longer modifying phrase is an effective way to get a sense of the core clause you’re evaluating; recall that once you’re down to two answer choices, you can simply zero in on differences between your options; remember the rule stipulating that relative pronouns must touch what they modify; and last, you had to recognize that Sentence Correction is not only about grammar but also about logic and meaning, and all in under a minute and a half. I’d say that’s pretty Jedi-like.

*GMATPrep question courtesy of the Graduate Management Admissions Council.

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

By David Goldstein, a Veritas Prep GMAT instructor based in Boston. You can find more articles by him here.
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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A Closer Look at Set and Ratio GMAT Quant Questions [#permalink]

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New post 08 Sep 2015, 10:01
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: A Closer Look at Set and Ratio GMAT Quant Questions
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Writing this post on Teacher’s Day made me dedicate this post to questions on teachers! Considering that all GMAT questions are written by teachers, oddly enough, I found very few questions actually involving them. Looks like we are a humble bunch! Today, we will discuss two GMAT Quant questions on two different topics of discussion – sets and ratios. Both questions are official and of higher difficulty.

Question 1: Of the 1400 college teachers surveyed, 42% said they considered engaging in research an essential goal. How many of the college teacher surveyed were women?

Statement I: In the survey 36% of men and 50% of women said that they consider engaging in research activity an essential goal.

Statement II: In the survey 288 men said that they consider engaging in research activity an essential goal.

Solution:

On reading the question stem we realise that this question involves two variables:

Research Essential – Not Essential

Men – Women

This should immediately make us think about a matrix. Not that we cannot solve the question without one, but you know that I am a huge proponent of visual approaches.

We are given that 42% of total teachers (1400) considered research essential. So this means that 58% did not consider it essential. No need to actually calculate the number right now, let’s wait and see what else we know (anyway, we love to procrastinate calculations in Data Sufficiency questions).

Statement I: In the survey 36% of men and 50% of women said that they consider engaging in research activity an essential goal.

Say the number of women is W. We need the value of W. The number of men must be ‘Total – W’ = 1400 – W. 36% of men and 50% of women consider research essential. Knowing this, we see that we get:

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36% * (1400 – W) + 50% * W = 42% * 1400

This is a linear equation in W so we can solve it to get the value of W. Therefore, this statement alone is sufficient.

Statement II: In the survey 288 men said that they consider engaging in research activity an essential goal.

This statement doesn’t tell us the number of women who consider research essential, so it is not sufficient alone, therefore the answer is A, Statement I alone is sufficient but Statement II is not.

Question 2: If the ratio of the number of teachers to the number of students is the same in School District A and School District B, what is the ratio of the number of students in School District A to the number of students in School District B?

Statement I: There are 10,000 more students in School District A than there are in School District B.

Statement II: The ratio of the number of teachers to the number of students in School District A is 1 to 20.

Solution:

In both schools, the ratio of the number of teachers : the number of students is the same.

Statement I: There are 10,000 more students in School District A than there are in School District B.

We don’t know the number of students in either school district, so it is not informative enough to know that School District A has 10,000 more students. Therefore, this statement alone is not sufficient.

Statement II: The ratio of the number of teachers to the number of students in School District A is 1 to 20.

With this statement, we know that the ratio of the number of teachers : the number of students in School District A = 1:20.

Say the number of teachers in A = a; the number of students in A = 20a. We also know the ratio of the number of teachers : the number of students in School District B = 1:20.

Say the number of teachers in B = b; the number of students in B = 20b. Mind you, we don’t know the value of a and b. All we know is that the teacher student ratio is 1:20 in both.

The ratio of the number of students in A: the number of students in B = 20a : 20b = a:b. With this ratio, we don’t know a:b (even using both statements, we just know that a – b = 10,000). Therefore, the answer is E, Statements 1 and 2 together are not sufficient.

Were you able to solve both questions effortlessly? No? Don’t worry, that’s what we are here for! (Ignore the preposition at the end. It sounds most natural this way.)

Not so humble anymore, eh? :)

Getting ready to take the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

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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Why You Shouldn't Rely on Your Ear for GMAT Sentence Correction Questi [#permalink]

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New post 08 Sep 2015, 13:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Why You Shouldn't Rely on Your Ear for GMAT Sentence Correction Questions
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The other night, when we were reviewing Sentence Correction strategies in class, a student asked if it was acceptable to rely on his ear to find the correct answer. This was what he’d done when he’d taken his diagnostic test, and he’d performed quite well on this section, so he figured it just made more sense to devote his study time to other areas. It’s a common question. After all, if you’re naturally good at something, does it really make sense to make an investment of time and energy just to tamper with an approach that’s been effective?

Whenever I get this question, I always take pains to give a nuanced response. My goal, when I’m teaching, isn’t to indoctrinate anyone or impose a given philosophical approach to a problem. The last thing any of us should be doing when we take the GMAT is wringing our hands over whether our instinct for how to tackle the problem is the “right” one. However, some approaches have potential shortcomings that we need to be mindful of, and using your ear alone to solve Sentence Correction questions is no exception.

The first problem with using your ear alone is that while a good instinct for syntax and grammar is immensely helpful for writers, on the GMAT, this instinct will often cause us to reject sentences that are technically correct but are specifically engineered to sound a little off. If you were a question-writer for the GMAT, and your goal was to make a given question as challenging as possible, wouldn’t you make some correct answers sound a little strange to amplify the difficulty of the question?

In these cases, we simply have to use a blend of logic and grammar rules to rule out the four definitively wrong answer choices. The remaining answer, which sounds strange, but has no glaring errors, will have to be correct. Take this official question, for example:

For many revisionist historians, Christopher Columbus has come to personify devastation and enslavement in the name of progress that has decimated native people of the Western Hemisphere.

A) devastation and enslavement in the name of progress that has decimated native peoples of the Western Hemisphere.

B) devastation and enslavement in the name of progress by which native peoples of the Western Hemisphere have been decimated.

C) devastating and enslaving in the name of progress those native peoples of the Western Hemisphere that have been decimated.

D) devastating and enslaving those native peoples of the Western hemisphere which in the name of progress are decimated.

E) the devastation and enslavement in the name of progress that have decimated the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere.

I like to pride myself on having a good ear when it comes to Sentence Correction, but none of these options strike me as terribly appealing. Let’s evaluate them one by one:

A, in its entirety, reads as follows: Christopher Columbus has come to personify devastation and enslavement in the name of progress that has decimated native peoples of the Western Hemisphere.

Notice, the relative clause beginning with “that.” “That” has a singular verb “has,” meaning that the antecedent for “that” should be the closest singular noun. Here, the closest singular noun is “progress.” Read literally, the sentence is saying that progress has decimated native peoples! That makes no sense. Eliminate A.

B: Christopher Columbus has come to personify devastation and enslavement in the name of progress by which native peoples of the Western Hemisphere have been decimated.

Again, it sounds like “progress” is responsible for the decimation of native peoples. No good.

C: Christopher Columbus has come to personify devastating and enslaving in the name of progress those native peoples of the Western Hemisphere that have been decimated.

Here “that” seems to refer to “native peoples.” The GMAT prefers “who” when referring to people. Moreover, the phrase “those native peoples that have been decimated” makes it sound as though there were some native peoples who were devastated and others who weren’t. This is not the intended meaning of the sentence. Eliminate C.

D: Christopher Columbus has come to personify devastating and enslaving those native peoples of the Western hemisphere which in the name of progress are decimated.

This one is riddled with problems. Again the phrase “those native peoples” is problematic. “Which” appears to refer to people, when the GMAT would prefer “who.” And last the verb “are” implies that the action is happening in the present tense. Clearly incorrect.

That leaves us with E: Christopher Columbus has come to personify the devastation and enslavement in the name of progress that have decimated the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere.

It still sounds off to my ear, but if we read the sentence without the prepositional phrase “in the name of progress,” we get: Christopher Columbus has come to personify the devastation and enslavement that have decimated the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere. This makes perfect sense. Notice that because “that” has the plural verb “have,” it must have a plural antecedent, so “that” refers to “devastation and enslavement.” Not the world’s prettiest sentence, but far superior to the other four options, each of which have glaring mistakes.

Takeaway: No single strategy will allow you to answer every question within a given category correctly. Because some correct Sentence Correction answers are engineered to sound strange, it’s important to keep logic and grammar in mind as we’re justifying our decisions to eliminate the incorrect answers.

*GMAT Prep question courtesy of the Graduate Management Admissions Council.

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

By David Goldstein, a Veritas Prep GMAT instructor based in Boston. You can find more articles by him here.
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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2 Simple Calculation Tricks to Help You Overcome the GMAT Quant Sectio [#permalink]

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New post 08 Sep 2015, 18:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: 2 Simple Calculation Tricks to Help You Overcome the GMAT Quant Section
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Much of the Quant section of the GMAT involves calculations, and as calculators are not allowed, we need to be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide numbers quickly and accurately. A surprising number of errors are made on easier problems simply because of computational error and, interestingly, many trap answers on the exam come from common errors made in computations!

American legend Wyatt Earp once said of gunfights, “Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.” For the GMAT, if we can combine speed with accuracy, not only will you minimize silly mistakes but you can also pick up time that can be spent reasoning through more difficult problems or double-checking your work. Here are two simple math tricks that can help:

1) The Distributive Property is Your Friend

Many of us recall the basic properties of operations (associative property, commutative property, distributive property and identity property), but rarely do we consciously use them except in some algebraic manipulations. However the Distributive Property is also very useful in quickly and easily multiplying larger numbers.

For example, take the following: 163 x 30. Multiplying this out long-hand is not overly difficult, however, since we do not do this in our everyday lives, we are prone to errors. Using the Distributive Property here can help.  Intuitively, many of us would see that 163 x 30 can be broken up into 163 x 10 three times – THAT is the Distributive Property. We can then re-write the expression as 163 x (10 x 3), and then “distribute” the operands into (163 x 10) x 3

Now, couple the Distributive Property with some other tricks that many of you already use, and this tip becomes even more valuable.  Take, for instance, a more difficult calculation to “distribute” – say, 163 x 48.  You could “distribute” this into 163 x (40 + 8) and get 163 x 40 (an easy calculation) + 163 x 8.

A common trick that is used when multiplying by 8 or 9 is multiply the number by 10 and then subtract out “extra.” In this case, we would multiply 163 by 10 and then subtract out the 2 additional 163’s. If we combine these steps on the front end, we could say 163 x 48 can be re-written as 163 x (50 – 2) and get (163 x 50) – (163 x 2). 1633 x 50 can be further broken down as 163 x 10 x 5, 1630 x 5. Putting it all together, we get 163 x 50 = 163 x 10 x 5 = 1,630 x 5 = ½ of 16300 = 8,150.

8,150 – (163 x 2) = 8, 150 – 326 = 7, 824

This is a good trick to help make long-hand multiplication simpler. Be careful in breaking numbers down into too many pieces as this can overly complicate the process and lead to errors.

2) Estimation and Proportionality

The GMAT expects us to be able to move between fractions, decimals, percents and even ratios easily. Many times this is straightforward, but other times it can be quite vexing. For instance, a problem may tell you that the ratio of boys to girls in a particular class is 4:9 and ask what percentage of the class is boys. Obviously, we can see that the TRAP answer would be 44% (4/9 = 44%). But, how can we easily and accurately calculate, or estimate, the correct answer?

Here is a trick to help with that: because we have ratios down pat, we know that a ratio of 4:9 tells us that there are 4 boys out of a class of 13, so the proper fraction would be 4/13. Now the tough part is turning this into a percent. Since percents simply are fractions with a denominator of 100, we can set up an algebraic equation. In this case, we have 4/13 = x/100 and using cross-multiplication we see the answer is 400 ÷ 13, 30 and 10/13, or a little less than 31%.

An easier way, might be to use proportionality to estimate the answer. Here is how that would work:  proportionally, our fraction of 4/13 needs to be converted to a fraction over 100. To increase our denominator of 13 to 100, we need to multiply it by a bit over 7 ½. To keep the fraction in its original proportion, we will also need to multiply the numerator by the same (a bit over 7 ½), giving us a value of a little over 30%.

The takeaway from this is that by sharpening your computational skills, you can save time, improve accuracy and even minimize your effort on the exam. This can translate to higher scores by eliminating silly mistakes and saving brain power for the more difficult questions.

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By Dennis Cashion, a Veritas Prep instructor based in Denver.
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Is Positive Thinking Enough to Actually Succeed on the GMAT? [#permalink]

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New post 09 Sep 2015, 10:01
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Is Positive Thinking Enough to Actually Succeed on the GMAT?
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At some point during each course I teach, I’ll ask my students if they’re familiar with this famous quote from Henry Ford “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”  Of course, they always know it. It’s a quote so popular it’s become a pedagogical cliché. Next, I’ll ask them if they believe the quote is true. They usually do. I’ll follow up with a series of GMAT-related questions. “Who struggles with probability questions?” “Who sees Reading Comprehension as a weakness?” Different hands go up for different questions.

They realize immediately that there’s a disconnect here. Why would anyone maintain the belief that he or she struggles in a given area if he or she subscribes to the notion that the pessimistic belief is a self-fulfilling prophesy? My sense is that this disconnect is rooted in our tendency to nod politely when greeted with popular aphorisms we’d like to be true, while at some level, not really believing them.

We can pay lip service to Henry Ford all we want. Our actual belief is something more along the lines of: sure, it would be nice if you could improve your performance via thought alone, but that doesn’t actually work. It’s a fantasy, one that is so appealing that we’ll collectively agree to pretend that it’s true.

 Part of my job as an instructor is to get my students to move past the cliché and somehow internalize the truth of the sentiment that our beliefs do matter. This isn’t a New Age chimera that we’d like to be true. It’s an area of extensive scientific research. In 2007, researchers at Stanford University conducted a study in which they tracked the development of 7th grade students who believed that intelligence was innate vs. students who believed that intelligence is a fluid phenomenon, something that can be cultivated and improved through dedicated effort.

The students who believed that intelligence is innate were deemed the “fixed mindset” group, and the group who believed that intelligence could be improved were deemed the “growth mindset” group. Most importantly, at the start of the study, these groups had similar academic background. Sure enough, over the next couple of years, there was a marked divergence in performance – the growth mindset group outperformed their fixed mindset peers by a significant margin (take a look at this study here).

One component of the growth mindset is the belief that adversity isn’t evidence of an inherent shortcoming, but rather, an opportunity to learn and improve. This is absolutely essential on the GMAT. Students will, on average, take about a half-dozen practice tests. It is extremely rare that every one of those practice tests goes well.

At some point, during every class I teach, I’ll get a panicked email, the general gist of which is that things had been going well, but now, after a disappointing practice test, the student has significant doubts about whether the previous successes were real. I’m often asked if it will be necessary to push the test date back. The growth mindset compels us to see this setback as a positive. Isn’t it better to uncover the need for a strategic tweak on a low stakes practice test than on the official exam?

 Sure enough, once my students are able to re-frame their beliefs from, “I’m just not good at X,” to, “Maybe I’ve struggled with X in the past, but with a little practice I can actual convert this former liability into an asset,” they improve. The student who struggled with probability wasn’t inherently bad at probability, but had a less than stellar teacher in high school or college and never learned the underlying concepts properly. The student who struggled with Reading Comprehension simply wasn’t taking notes properly.

Most importantly, the students who believed that they just weren’t good at standardized tests realized that the ability to do well on standardized tests is a skill that they simply hadn’t acquired yet. In the past, when they were convinced that they couldn’t do well on, say, the SAT, they hadn’t bothered to study, because what was the point of expending any effort if the result was going to be disappointment? Once they see that they their past struggles weren’t functions of innate deficits, but rather, of self-limiting beliefs, a world of possibility opens up.

Takeaway: how we frame our thoughts with respect to academic performance is extraordinarily important. Unfortunately, our culture generally pays lip service to the growth mindset while perpetuating the notion of a fixed one. We’ll thoughtlessly spout that Henry Ford quote, all the while thinking of people as high IQ or low IQ, not realizing that IQ is itself malleable (take a look at this idea here).

Think of someone you knew in high school who did unusually well on the SAT’s. You probably thought, “That person is great at standardized tests,” rather than “That person has been successful at cultivating a particular skill set that translated well in the domain of this one particular exam.” But the latter is true. So don’t set arbitrary limits of yourself, because, contrary to some our deepest intuitions, belief and performance are inextricably linked.

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

By David Goldstein, a Veritas Prep GMAT instructor based in Boston. You can find more articles by him here.
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SAT Tip of the Week: Should You Enroll in Private Tutoring or a Group  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Sep 2015, 15:01
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: SAT Tip of the Week: Should You Enroll in Private Tutoring or a Group Class?
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The SAT is a coachable test, so any type of structured preparation is extremely beneficial and almost certain to help raise your score. Whether this is a class with others or one on one tutoring, any type of instruction is helpful. To decide which option is best for you though, here is a breakdown of the benefits of both group lessons and one-on-one tutoring:

Group Lessons:

These provide an atmosphere of collaboration for students. Much like a classroom, students are able to get into the normal groove of learning and work well with the other students in the class. The SAT is a stressful test and understanding that others are going through the same thing as them can be a very calming influence for individuals. Additionally, the idea of friendly competition and having a little extra push to do your homework or hone in and sharpen your test taking strategies comes in handy.

While it would be great if every student was self-driven and had intrinsic motivation, a lot of times external factors are what get the student going.  There is no problem with this as long as you can recognize this trait in yourself and realize that a group class might be your best option.

In terms of pure content, group classes are great as students ask a variety of questions, which helps everyone grow and review together. The one drawback to this approach for some students is that they have already mastered certain concepts, and reviewing them is not the best use of their time. However, this is a pretty rare phenomenon as most concepts take a few times to review and really internalize.

Reviewing old test and homework problems as a group also has one unexpected benefit. Sometimes, students will get a question right for the wrong reason. Getting a question right coincidentally doesn’t necessarily prove mastery of the concept, and understanding how to actually do the problem will pay dividends when the test rolls around. Having others in the class acts as a good safety net for students to check their work and ensure they understand both the strategies and the problems. While understated and unexpected, I have found that this is one the most beneficial aspects of group lessons.

One-on-One Tutoring:

One-on-one instruction provides a plethora of benefits. First and foremost, if you are a student who struggles to learn in large groups or needs more personalized attention, then one on one tutoring is way to go. Especially on the SAT, which is an incredibly teachable test, having individualized attention allows students to break down strategies and problems to the level that makes the most sense for them.

In terms of pacing, a one-on-one setup is also better as it allows students to go at a speed that is most comfortable for them. Whether that is jumping through more rudimentary concepts or slowing down and focusing on areas of weakness, having the ability to really steer the direction of your learning is a huge benefit on the test.

Finally, review in a one-on-one setting is one of the best things about individualized tutoring. This is the area where students really benefit, as their tutors can identify the areas where they are still struggling and offer even more attention and help. Having the ability to go over every problem that is incorrect or difficult proves to be extremely helpful for the actual test, as similar problems are sure to come up. The experience of reviewing them will allow students to excel on the test and achieve their target scores.

You can’t go wrong with SAT preparation. Choosing between these two options comes down to understanding the type of student you are and what environment you will flourish in.

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, YouTube 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
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99th Percentile GMAT Score or Bust! Lesson 7: Read Like You Drive [#permalink]

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New post 09 Sep 2015, 16:01
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: 99th Percentile GMAT Score or Bust! Lesson 7: Read Like You Drive
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Veritas Prep’s Ravi Sreerama is the #1-ranked GMAT instructor in the world (by GMATClub) and a fixture in the new Veritas Prep Live Online format as well as in Los Angeles-area classrooms. He’s beloved by his students for the philosophy “99th percentile or bust!”, a signal that all students can score in the elusive 99th percentile with the proper techniques and preparation. In this “9 for 99th” video series, Ravi shares some of his favorite strategies to efficiently conquer the GMAT and enter that 99th percentile.

First, take a look at lessons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6!

Lesson Seven:

Read Like You Drive: very few GMAT examinees will make mistakes driving to the GMAT test center, but most test-takers will make several Reading Comprehension mistakes once they’re there. As Ravi will discuss in this video, however, the two activities are much more similar than you realize: your job is to follow the signs. Certain keywords in Reading Comprehension passages will tell you when to yield, stop, turn, and pass with care, and if you’re following those signs properly you can proceed much faster than your self-imposed “speed limit” (most people read the passages far too slowly – stay out of the left lane!) and save valuable time for the questions themselves.



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

Want to learn more from Ravi? He’s taking his show on the road for a one-week Immersion Course in New York this summer, and he teaches frequently in our new Live Online classroom.

By Brian Galvin
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How and When to Cancel Your GMAT Score [#permalink]

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New post 10 Sep 2015, 10:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: How and When to Cancel Your GMAT Score
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A brand new feature of GMAC’s infamous GMAT test this summer is the ability to cancel your score AFTER you have seen what it is. If you have taken the GMAT in the past, you know the only way you used to be able to cancel your score was before you were able to see how you did, which was quite frustrating and more than a little intimidating, particularly considering the maddening countdown clock reminding you the decision was immediate and permanent. I always found this to be a bit unfair to test takers, and finally the GMAC agrees.

Now, immediately after taking the test and receiving your score, but before leaving the test center, you are given the option of reporting or canceling your scores. Knowing your unofficial score and having the ability to delete it can be a relief for some who don’t quite achieve their target score or prefer the school not see the score for other reasons.

Once you see your unofficial scores – Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal, and Total – you will be given two minutes to decide whether to accept them. With the control in your own hands, it’s much less intimidating, but know that if you do not make a choice, your scores will be canceled!  In other words, you must actively choose to submit your scores to be officially recorded.

If you do decide to cancel your scores, and have a change of heart later, you can actually have them reinstated within 60 days of the test date, but the indecision will cost you – $100 to be exact. After the 60 day window, scores cannot be reinstated, and in fact cannot even be reviewed ever again.

This new feature, while comforting to some, can also be nerve-wracking. How do you decide whether to submit or cancel? There are lots of rules of thumb, such as to cancel it if your score is more than 150 points lower than your target, or you feel your performance was particularly inhibited for some reason.

Don’t forget one thing: the admissions committees will only consider one score on your application, so even if you score poorly, but subsequently do well, only the good score will count. Sure, all your official scores within five years will be on the report, but schools truly only use the one you tell them to use – and will not hold against you any other scores.

One tip before sitting for the test now is to know exactly what score you’re willing to accept so you won’t find yourself making an impulsive decision in the heat of the moment with the clock counting down. Much like a bid on eBay, where you are best served by deciding your maximum bid in advance vs. in the final second of an auction, you will likely find yourself much more at ease if you make the cutoff score decision ahead of time.

One last thing, clients are asking often whether or not the schools will be able to see that you cancelled a score – the answer is no. Canceled scores will not be shown or otherwise indicated on your score reports.

Applying to business school? 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,YouTube 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.
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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Our Thoughts on Tuck's MBA Application Essays for 2015-2016 [#permalink]

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New post 10 Sep 2015, 13:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Our Thoughts on Tuck's MBA Application Essays for 2015-2016
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Application season at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business is officially underway with the release of the school’s 2015-2016 essay questions. Let’s discuss from a high level some early thoughts on how best to approach these new essay prompts. With all of your essays for Tuck, treat your responses holistically and try to paint a complete picture of your candidacy within the school-specific suite of essay questions.

Essay 1:

What are your short- and long-term goals? Why do you need an MBA to achieve those goals? Why are you interested in Tuck specifically? (500 words)

This essay is Tuck’s take on the common “Why MBA?”/“Why School X?”/“Career Goals” essays. One of the biggest challenges with this incarnation of this common question is the word limit. These are all common application prompts, but having to address them all in the same essay is a bit uncommon and really forces applicants to be concise with each point.

It is important to directly address each point while highlighting your strong fit with the Tuck MBA. Tuck is known for their strong culture and highly connected alumni base, so your evaluation by the Admissions Committee will be based on how well you will fit into the student community.

Tuck is a very specific MBA experience. From the small class size to the tight-knit community to the remote location, it is your job to convince the AdComm that Tuck is the best place for you and your development goals.

Essay 2:

Tell us about your most meaningful leadership experience and what role you played. How will that experience contribute to the learning environment at Tuck? (500 words)

This is a classic “Leadership” essay that really puts a responsibility on the applicant to clearly articulate the role they played in a leadership anecdote. Like many business schools, Tuck places a premium on leadership skills, so it is important to use this essay as a conduit to highlight your strengths.

Don’t limit yourself to just professional examples – this prompt is purposefully vague with which direction your response can go, so select the topic that best highlights your leadership skills. Make sure you connect the dots for the AdComm by also detailing out the impact the lessons learned from this experience had on you and your career, and how it will factor into your contributions as a Tuck MBA student. This area should be directly aligned with Tuck’s reputation for having a tight-knit community. Make sure your contributions to this community are clear, and reference specific programs at the school.

Just a few thoughts on the new batch of essays from Tuck, hopefully this will help you get started. For more thoughts on Tuck’s essays and deadlines, check out another post here.

If you are considering applying to Dartmouth Tuck, download our Essential Guide to Tuck, one of our 13 guides to the world’s top business schools. Ready to start building your applications for Tuck and other top MBA programs? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube 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.
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Why is There “Math” in the GMAT Critical Reasoning Section? [#permalink]

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New post 10 Sep 2015, 16:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: Why is There “Math” in the GMAT Critical Reasoning Section?
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The Critical Reasoning portion of the GMAT will sometimes test basic mathematical concepts. My more verbally-minded students sometimes complain that this tendency is unfair, as the test seems to have imported a question-type from the section of the test that they find less agreeable into the section they consider their strength. But the truth is that the “math” in Critical Reasoning is really about logic and intuition rather than higher-level abstraction.

Take percentages, for instance. We can understand percentage reasoning without doing much calculation. When I introduce this topic, I’ll offer a simple real-world example:

In the 2014 playoffs, Lebron James made roughly 56% of his field goal attempts. In the 2015 playoffs, he made roughly 42% of his attempts. Therefore, he made fewer field goals in 2015 than in 2014.

You don’t need to be an avid basketball fan to recognize the glaring logical flaw in this statement. To determine whether that percentage dip is meaningful, we have to know how many shot attempts he was taking. Because he took so many more shots in 2015 than in 2014, he ended up making more field goals in that year, when his field goal percentage was lower. The notion that a percentage isn’t terribly meaningful without knowing the percent of what is obvious to everyone.

What the GMAT will typically do, however, is to test the exact same concept using a scenario that we may not grasp quite as intuitively. Consider the following official argument:

In the United States, of the people who moved from one state to another when they retired, the percentage who retired to Florida has decreased by three percentage points over the last ten years.  Since many local businesses in Florida cater to retirees, these declines are likely to have a noticeably negative economic effect on these businesses and therefore on the economy of Florida.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument given?

  • People who moved from one state to another when they retired moved a greater distance, on average, last year than such people did ten years ago.
  • People were more likely to retire to North Carolina from another state last year than people were ten years ago.
  • The number of people who moved from one state to another when they retired has increased significantly over the past ten years.
  • The number of people who left Florida when they retired to live in another state was greater last year than it was 10 years ago.
  • Florida attracts more people who move form one state to another when they retired than does any other state.
The logic here may not be as obvious as the Lebron example, but it is, in fact, identical. The argument’s conclusion is that Florida’s economy will suffer negative consequences. The central premise is that of the people moving from one state to another, a smaller percentage are going to Florida now than were going to Florida ten years ago. The assumption is that a smaller percentage moving to Florida means fewer people moving to Florida.

This line of reasoning is no more valid than asserting that Lebron shooting a lower percentage in 2015 than in 2014 means he made fewer shots in 2015. Just as we needed to know if there was a change in the total number of shots Lebron was taking in order to evaluate whether the change in percentage was meaningful, we need to know if there was a change in the total number of people moving from one state to another in order to properly assess whether it’s meaningful that a smaller percentage are moving to Florida.

Let’s evaluate the answer choices one by one:

  • The distance people moved doesn’t matter. Out of Scope. A is out.
  • North Carolina isn’t relevant to what’s happening in Florida. Out of Scope. B is out.
  • This is the logical equivalent of pointing out that Lebron took many more shots in 2015 than in 2014. If far more people are moving from one state to another now than were moving from one state to another ten years ago, it’s possible that more total people are moving to Florida, even if a smaller percentage of movers are going to Florida. This looks good.
  • First, the number of people leaving Florida has no bearing on whether a smaller percentage of people moving to Florida will have an impact on Florida’s economy. Moreover, we’re trying to weaken the idea that Florida’s economy will suffer. If more people are leaving Florida, it would strengthen the notion that Florida’s economy will endure negative consequences. That’s the opposite of what we want. D is out.
  • Tempting perhaps, but ultimately, irrelevant. Just because Lebron led the league in field goals made in both 2015 and 2014 (he didn’t, but play along), doesn’t mean he didn’t make fewer field goals in 2015. E is out.
The answer is C.  If more people are moving from state to state, a lower percentage moving to Florida may not mean that fewer people are coming to Florida, just as Lebron’s dip in field goal percentage does not mean he was making fewer field goals if he was taking more shots.

Takeaway: The “math” concepts tested in Critical Reasoning are, in fact, logic concepts. By connecting the prompt to a more concrete real-world example, we make this logic far more intuitive and easily graspable when we encounter it on the test.

*Official Guide question courtesy of the Graduate Management Admissions Council.

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

By David Goldstein, a Veritas Prep GMAT instructor based in Boston. You can find more articles by him here.
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GMAT Tip of the Week: There's a Hole in the Bucket... But Not in Your  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Sep 2015, 10:00
FROM Veritas Prep Admissions Blog: GMAT Tip of the Week: There's a Hole in the Bucket... But Not in Your GMAT Score!
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If you’ve ever attended a summer camp or roasted marshmallows over a campfire, there’s a good chance you know the popular children’s singalong song “There’s a Hole in the Bucket.”  Sparing you the repeat lyrics, let’s take a look at the ridiculous (and GMAT-relevant) musical conversation between Dear Henry and Dear Liza:

Henry: There’s a hole in the bucket (dear Liza, dear Liza, dear Liza…)

Liza: Then fix it (dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry…)

Henry: With what shall I fix it?

Liza: With straw.

Henry: The straw is too long.

Liza: Well, cut it.

Henry: With what shall I cut it?

Liza: With an axe.

Henry: The axe is too dull.

Liza: Then sharpen it.

Henry: With what shall I sharpen it?

Liza: With a stone.

Henry: The stone is too dry.

Liza: Then wet it.

Henry: With what shall I wet it? (Editor’s note: really, Henry?)

Liza: With water.

Henry: With what shall I fetch it?

Liza: With a bucket.

Henry (and his redemption): There’s a hole in the bucket.

<Repeat over and over again>

Now, what makes that song such a children’s and family favorite?  In some part it’s popular because it repeats upon itself, but mostly it’s popular because even small children have to laugh at Henry’s heroic lack of critical thought.  Henry simply can’t function unless Liza directly hands him the specific next step.

…and Liza and Henry’s conversation is not all that much unlike many GMAT tutoring sessions.

Among the pool of GMAT test-takers, there are plenty of Henrys.  And as much as you may laugh at him, you’re playing the part of Henry just a little too much when you:

  • Stop working on a problem in less than 2 minutes and flip to the back of the book for the solution. (“With what shall I solve it, dear textbook, dear textbook…”)
  • Give up on the calculations without first checking the answer choices to see if they afford you a shortcut. (“The calculation is too long, dear GMAT, dear GMAT”)
  • Frustratedly ask “but how am I supposed to see that I should do that?”. (“But how should I know that, dear teacher, dear teacher…”)
  • Write off the question as flawed because you disagree with the correct answer. (“The solution is just wrong, dear answer key, dear answer key…”)
Eavesdrop on a GMAT tutoring session at your local library or coffee shop and there’s a good chance you’ll hear more Liza-and-Henry than you’d expect.  Students frequently ask for the rule but not the lesson, and tutors often simply oblige.  But to avoid Henrydom on test day (this conversation should last 3-5 seconds, not be a song that kids will sing for an entire field trip bus ride.  Figure it out, Henry!) you need to train yourself to ask and answer those questions for yourself.

We at Veritas Prep suggest the “toolkit” approach as opposed to a “if it’s this kind of problem I will steadfastly use this method without critical thought” mindset.  When the bucket has a hole or the straw is too long, ask yourself what other tools are in your toolkit.

For example, if you blank on a rule, try proving it with small numbers.  Unsure whether Even + Odd is Even or Odd?  Just try 2 + 1 (an even plus and odd) and recognize that the answer is 3 (Odd!).  Or if the algebra looks too messy, see if you can plug in an answer choice to get a better feel for the solutions’ relationship to the problem.

What makes “There’s a Hole in the Bucket” funny is what could ultimately make your own GMAT test experience miserable: you (and Henry) have to employ a combination of critical thinking, trial-and-error, and patience to solve problems. The exam simply isn’t testing your ability to memorize a “Liza List” of steps to solve each problem; many hard problems are designed specifically to reward those who overcome the adversity of the “obvious” method leading you down a rabbit hole of awful algebra or those who find a familiar theme in a completely unfamiliar setup.  So to train yourself to be an anti-Henry:

  • Force yourself to fight and struggle through hard practice problems. The written solution isn’t likely to be nearly as helpful as your having had to struggle to gain understanding.
  • Think in terms of your “toolkit” – if your first inclination doesn’t lead to success, rummage around your toolkit to see what other types of concepts might apply to that problem.
  • When you don’t know or can’t remember a rule, test the concept with small numbers to see if you can retrain your brain or prove the relationship to yourself.
  • Hold your tutor accountable – they should be asking you probing questions like Socrates, not handing you one-time solutions and steps like Liza (she’s not totally innocent in this either…she enables Henry way too much!)
The way the song goes, there will be a hole in Henry’s bucket forever, but if there’s a hole in your GMAT score you can fix it with a new study mindset (even if the straw is too long…).

Getting ready to take the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

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

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