GMAT Question of the Day - Daily to your Mailbox; hard ones only

It is currently 22 Jan 2019, 23:21


GMAT Club Daily Prep

Thank you for using the timer - this advanced tool can estimate your performance and suggest more practice questions. We have subscribed you to Daily Prep Questions via email.

for You

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Your Progress

every week, we’ll send you an estimated GMAT score based on your performance


we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Not interested in getting valuable practice questions and articles delivered to your email? No problem, unsubscribe here.


Request Expert Reply

Confirm Cancel
Events & Promotions in January
Open Detailed Calendar
  • Leadership in Admissions

     January 23, 2019

     January 23, 2019

     10:00 PM PST

     11:00 PM PST

    Learn how to portray yourself as a leader in your MBA applications when you download this free guide!
  • No Stone Unturned: Your 2019/2020 MBA Application Starts Now!

     January 24, 2019

     January 24, 2019

     09:00 PM EST

     10:00 PM EST

    Planning to apply to business school in 2019 or 2020? It is not too early to start planning! By taking action now, you can dramatically improve your chances of gaining admission to a top MBA program.

Preparing Application Short Answer Questions

  new topic post reply Update application status  
Author Message

Hide Tags

Veritas Prep Representative
User avatar
Joined: 21 Jan 2010
Posts: 65
Preparing Application Short Answer Questions  [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 17 Jul 2013, 00:44

Preparing Application Short Answer Questions

With the recent release of the 2014 HBS application, it is clear that shortening the number of essays is a trend that is here to stay for now. With only one essay on the HBS application this year, it is becoming more important than ever to not only communicate effectively and concisely, but also to leverage the balance of the application (and of course the interview) to stand out from the crowd.

One result of the decreasing essay trend is an expansion of in-application short answer questions. Just a few years ago, there were few or none of these questions, but schools have since moved several opportunities to share your story out of the essay section and into the application itself. So just how do you go about preparing to answer these short questions? The preparation is remarkably similar to how you approached the essays in the past.

Sounds simple, but you must always be thinking of how you look compared to someone else with the exact same background, cultural experience and involvement because trust us, they are out there. Everyone thinks of themselves as unique, but when you are placed into a pile with other similar folks, you suddenly are not so unique anymore! The challenge comes when you are limited to just a few sentences (or even characters in some cases) to get your point across. There’s no room for dramatic storytelling or elaborate embellishment, but you still need to explain why something mattered to you or how it has shaped you.

One thing we generally recommend is to use a matrix to ensure you are communicating a balance of core essentials to the admissions committees. If you use this approach, you will be much more organized as you apply and will also be able to quickly ascertain where you may be coming up short. How does it work? We view the four core essentials of a perfect application are: Leadership, Innovation, Maturity, and Teamwork. These are the four critical areas that all business schools desire to see in their applicants.

Make a grid on a piece of paper with these four attributes across the top columns. Now on the left side of the grid, list the areas down the rows that are covered by the short answer questions (by the way, this also works with the long essay topics). For example, if there is a question in your application about your short and long term goals, write “short term goals” and “long term goals” in separate rows. Make sure you skip some rows between each topic to give you space to fill in information about yourself.

Now comes the easy part. Simply revisit your experience in your mind, and jot down what you see as relevant or compelling information about each topic. Don’t worry about whether or not you get everything exactly right, just stream your thoughts. Once you have the rows filled in, go across the grid and check off boxes which you think are adequately demonstrated by that piece of information. For example, if your short term goal is to work in investment banking, and your background is analyst work in an investment bank, you can check off the “maturity” box as well as likely the “teamwork” box, since you probably worked in a team environment and your post MBA goal selection demonstrates a mature plan (because it builds upon something you did in the past). If you feel something is detrimental to a particular area, or does not demonstrate leadership, innovation, teamwork or maturity, give yourself an X in that box.

Of course by the end of the exercise, you will have a scorecard from which you can see where you are strong and where you are weak regarding these four critical areas. If you don’t have any checks in the leadership column, for example, you should dig deeper into your experience to try and draw out examples of such. Feeling like your information communicates immaturity in some way? Try to tighten up your goals and plans or think of a situation you’ve had to handle which required wisdom. Thinking your job was a bit independent of working with others? Draw out examples of how you work in teams in your extracurricular activities.

Once you have your refined grid in hand, you should now be able to selectively draw the key components from your basket of experience to answer your short questions in a way that presents the right amount of balanced evidence. The key word is balance. Business schools like to admit candidates with the “total package,” that is, they possess a broad offering of skills and experience which illustrate all four key attributes of the perfect applicant. It’s not enough to be the best darn leader your company has ever seen. If you can’t work well in teams, schools will pass on you. Are you mature with great strengths in teamwork, but lack the creative spark of innovation? Schools may pass.

Sometimes, this exercise will expose an area where you need to go out and bolster your experience further. That’s why it’s good to do this early in the application process. Ultimately, the information you offer in the short answer questions is just as vital as the info in your essays. Don’t be fooled into thinking these are throwaway questions. The ability to concisely and completely answer a question with a very limited word restriction is an exercise in restraint and economy that demonstrates a very valuable skill in itself to the admissions committees. Don’t blow your chance to impress them!

If you have MBA admissions questions, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with a Veritas Prep MBA admissions expert today!


Veritas Prep | Veritas Prep Representative

Save $100 on live Veritas Prep GMAT Courses

Veritas Prep Reviews

Joined: 07 Jan 2014
Posts: 1
Re: Preparing Application Short Answer Questions  [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 21 Jan 2014, 22:17
very practical post, thanks.
Current Student
Joined: 02 Apr 2015
Posts: 42
Reviews Badge
Re: Preparing Application Short Answer Questions  [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 26 Aug 2016, 17:13
Hot on my mind right now!
Joined: 17 Dec 2014
Posts: 2
Re: Preparing Application Short Answer Questions  [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 23 Dec 2018, 01:45
Very useful thank you.
GMAT Club Bot
Re: Preparing Application Short Answer Questions &nbs [#permalink] 23 Dec 2018, 01:45
Display posts from previous: Sort by

Preparing Application Short Answer Questions

  new topic post reply Update application status  


GMAT Club MBA Forum Home| About| Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy| GMAT Club Rules| Contact| Sitemap

Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group | Emoji artwork provided by EmojiOne

Kindly note that the GMAT® test is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admission Council®, and this site has neither been reviewed nor endorsed by GMAC®.