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Pronoun Ambiguity on the GMAT: Finding the Antecedent [#permalink]

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New post 05 Sep 2017, 07:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Pronoun Ambiguity on the GMAT: Finding the Antecedent
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Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

The last time I wrote about pronoun ambiguity on the GMAT, we explored a couple of big ideas. Here’s a quick summary, before we dive deeper into the topic:

1. An ambiguous pronoun is a pronoun—like they or it—that could technically refer to more than one different thing.

2. According to the GMAT, ambiguous pronouns aren’t always wrong. If you see the sentence above in isolation, don’t cross it off.

3. However, if a Sentence Correction problem also has a pronoun split—if you get to choose whether to use a pronoun, or whether to “spell it out” and use a noun—you should go with the sentence that uses a noun.

That seems like a lot of rules just to explain how to use tiny little words like it and they! If you want to make your life simpler, you have my permission to forget about pronoun ambiguity on the GMAT. Focus on the other rules, like the rule that says a pronoun has to agree in number (singular or plural) with its antecedent. You’ll still get almost all pronoun problems correct, even if you don’t worry about ambiguity at all.

However, if you’re looking to take your Sentence Correction performance from good to great—or if you’re curious about grammar—keep reading.

On the GMAT, every pronoun “refers to” a noun in the same sentence. If you replaced the pronoun with this noun, also known as the antecedent, the sentence would still make logical sense. For instance, in this sentence,

Mariah wrote a book, but I didn’t read it.

“it” is a pronoun, and “a book” is the antecedent of that pronoun.

Mariah wrote a book, but I didn’t read the book.

After replacing the pronoun with its antecedent, the sentence still makes logical sense, even though it sounds a little awkward. Since it still makes sense, we know with confidence that “book” is the antecedent of “it.” You can use this test on tricky Sentence Correction pronoun problems.

Contrary to popular belief, the antecedent can be anywhere in the sentence. It can even appear after the pronoun itself! Here’s an example:

Because it was still frozen solid, I didn’t eat the ice cream immediately.

In this one, “it” is our pronoun, and “ice cream” is the antecedent. That’s totally fine. The antecedent and the pronoun also appear in different clauses. That’s fine, too. Don’t ever eliminate an answer choice because a pronoun seems to be too far away from its antecedent.

In some Sentence Correction problems, you’ll have to decide which pronoun should be used in a sentence: “it”, or “they”? In order to do that, you first need to determine what the antecedent of the pronoun is supposed to be. In some sentences, the decision is pretty straightforward. Unfortunately, the GMAT can make antecedents hard to spot. What’s the right antecedent for the pronoun in this sentence?

The climate of the tropical forests of Northern Peru, famous for rainfall that measures in the hundreds of inches each year, causes (them/it) to have far lusher vegetation than the temperate forests of the United States.

Does the pronoun stand for climate? Forests? Peru? Rainfall? Inches? Some of these can be eliminated immediately, using the test we applied earlier. Try plugging in “rainfall,” “inches,” or even “climate” in place of the pronoun—the resulting sentences don’t make logical sense, so none of these nouns can be the antecedent we’re looking for. However, both “forests” and “Peru” seem like reasonable options. Which is correct?

The right answer is forests, which is plural, so the right pronoun is they. Look closely at the end of the sentence. This part of the sentence compares two things, explaining that one of them has lusher vegetation than the other. One of the two things being compared is the temperate forests of the United States. What should we compare these forests to? To the forests of Peru, not to Peru by itself. This rule is called parallelism, and it’s one of the most commonly tested ideas in Sentence Correction. (Check out the Sentence Correction Strategy Guide for much more information!)

Here’s a second example:

In certain contexts, corporations are considered the legal equivalents of people, making it a complicated task to clearly distinguish between a corporation and the many people who work for and in association with (it/them).

Here, the antecedent is a corporation. Since the antecedent is singular, the correct pronoun is it. How do you know that the antecedent isn’t the plural noun corporations? Parallelism can help. Towards the end of the sentence, two things are compared to each other: a corporation, and the many people who work for … it. In order to be logically correct, the sentence should compare a single corporation to the people who work for that same corporation—not to people who work for other corporations, or for corporations in general. Since the pronoun should refer to the specific corporation that was just mentioned, it is the right choice.

It’s sometimes tough to tell what the antecedent of a pronoun is supposed to be. However, the sentence always has to give you enough information to figure it out. Often, that information includes parallelism. Look for comparisons or lists in the sentence, and remember that the different things in a list have to “look alike.” Often, this will be enough to help you choose the right antecedent. Image

Want more guidance from our GMAT gurus? You can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free! We’re not kidding. Check out our upcoming courses here.

[b]Chelsey CooleyImage
 is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Seattle, Washington.
 [/b]Chelsey always followed her heart when it came to her education. Luckily, her heart led her straight to the perfect background for GMAT and GRE teaching: she has undergraduate degrees in mathematics and history, a master’s degree in linguistics, a 790 on the GMAT, and a perfect 170/170 on the GRE. Check out Chelsey’s upcoming GRE prep offerings here.

The post Pronoun Ambiguity on the GMAT: Finding the Antecedent appeared first on GMAT.
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Your Business School Timeline [#permalink]

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New post 07 Sep 2017, 07:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Your Business School Timeline
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Each week, we are featuring a series of MBA admissions tips from our exclusive admissions consulting partner, mbaMission.

At mbaMission, we strongly advise MBA candidates to start the application process early by using the months preceding the release of applications in June and July to get organized and to proactively take steps to competitively position themselves. Here we present a rough business school timeline for the entire MBA application cycle to help candidates better manage the process so that all opportunities are maximized.

March
Start your GMAT/GRE Preparations
The earlier you begin studying for the GMAT/GRE, the more time you will have to absorb important concepts and master test-taking skills, of course, but you could also spare yourself much of the strain and chaos involved in juggling multiple aspects of the application process (e.g., essays, class visits, supplementary coursework) at once, later in the season. So, now is the time to begin your exam prep and thereby remove—or at least minimize—this time-consuming and potentially stressful element. We strongly recommend that you enroll in a Manhattan Prep course in March (April at the latest) so you will have time to complete a nine-to-ten-week preparatory course and take the exam for the first time before the application season begins.

Contemplate Additional Coursework/Enroll in Additional Courses
If you feel you might benefit from some additional coursework, enroll in classes now. If your undergraduate performance was weak (a GPA of 3.0 or lower) or you completed little-to-no quantitative coursework at all, despite otherwise performing well, you should identify nearby colleges and inquire about their available introductory course offerings in areas such as economics, accounting, finance, and statistics. By taking one or two classes in these areas, you could bolster the admissions committees’ impression of your academic aptitude and ability to handle an MBA curriculum. By enrolling now, you should have ample time to complete a semester-long class and have any academic “problems” solved by the end of summer at the latest.

Contemplate School Choices/Visit Target Schools
As you work to identify what will eventually become your list of target schools, look beyond the popular MBA rankings and consider visiting the campus of a few programs that interest you to learn firsthand about what they offer, their differences, and how they fit your personality, interests, and needs. (In addition, admissions committees generally appreciate when prospective students visit, and your time on campus will enable you to better describe your fit with the school via your essays.) Most MBA programs will facilitate class visits into mid-April, and by scheduling these visits now, you will be able to complete—and thus eliminate—this time-consuming aspect of the application process that would otherwise demand your attention as Round 1 deadlines approach (most schools open their class visit schedules in October).

Accelerate Personal Achievements
Start focusing now on accelerating the timeline of any endeavors or goals you have been actively pursuing. For example, if you have been intending to publish a certain article and are close to completing a final draft, then do the work necessary to finish it sooner rather than later. If you have been working toward earning your CFA designation and have only Level III of the exam left to pass, then be sure to take the final test this year. If you can run 20 miles and have been dreaming of completing a marathon, do it this year. We are not suggesting that if you have never run a mile in your life, you start training for a marathon now, but if you are close to achieving a goal and would likely do so naturally after your applications are due, accelerate your timeline to ensure that you have completed it before the schools’ Round 1 deadline.

Take a Leadership Role in Your Community
One way many candidates reveal more of their leadership potential and differentiate themselves from others is by taking a leadership role in their community. The earlier you take this step, the more time you have in which to create a track record and show that you are a substantive individual outside of the office. If you instead wait to start volunteering until the fall, your contributions will seem far less sincere, and you will not have sufficient time or opportunity to have the kind of profound experiences that lend themselves well to application essays. When identifying a volunteer activity in which to involve yourself, first and foremost, select an organization about which you feel legitimately passionate. If you are genuinely excited about the cause or organization you have chosen, you will be more committed to it, enjoy a more meaningful experience, and have a more heartfelt story to tell about it.

Pursue Firm Sponsorship of your MBA
If you plan to remain with or return to your current firm after you graduate from business school, do some research now to learn whether your company will sponsor part of all of your MBA. Firm sponsorship obviously confers financial benefits, but it also offers some additional power with respect to admissions. The schools know that company-sponsored candidates will be employed upon graduation and that their post-MBA goals are thereby “guaranteed,” which improves their attractiveness as applicants. However, securing firm sponsorship can be a timely process. We have worked with clients who have needed to apply for such scholarships 1.5 years before their proposed programs would begin, and you obviously do not want to be applying at the last moment if this is the case at your firm. Similarly, we have worked with clients whose companies did not originally have sponsorship programs but created them when the candidates brought forth the idea—a process that can take months of bureaucratic haggling. So, this is certainly a task you should undertake now.

April
Continue to Visit Target Schools/Contemplate School Choices/Meet with Alumni and Current Students
Another way to gain a deeper understanding of your target schools is by meeting with alumni or students, and you can begin doing this now as well. Students may be able to bring specific programs and classes to your attention that are not prominently featured on a school’s website or in its marketing materials but that may be quite appealing and/or relevant to you. Referring to such resources and offerings may also help you strengthen your case for attending that particular school. By meeting with students and alumni and by visiting classes, you will collect a variety of data points that will serve as a foundation for you to persuade the admissions committee that its school is ideally suited to you, in a way that few other candidates will be able to do.

Continue with Leadership/Community Work/Continue to Advance Personal Achievements (Ongoing Basis)
We will assume that you understand that community leadership and advancing personal achievements should be conducted on an ongoing basis throughout the admissions season. However, because the schools will not be tracking your hours from week to week, you can dedicate yourself heavily to these activities in the early months and then, as your time demands become more intense in August and September with various application responsibilities, you can shift your focus to other aspects of the application process.

May
Identify Recommenders/Reconnect with Previous Supervisors
At this point, start identifying your potential recommenders (even if you do not actually approach them about the task for several more months) and gathering intelligence on each of the individuals you are considering. We find that one of the most frustrating parts of the application process for candidates is connecting with and motivating recommenders, so the more time you give yourself for this task and the earlier you begin, the better. Strive to find out whether your recommender has written letters for anyone else and whether he/she tends to generously dedicate time to employee feedback and review sessions. One of the best windows into your possible recommendation process with an individual will be the previous experiences of others who also called on that person for assistance, so you may want to speak with these earlier applicants to learn about what their experience was like. By identifying recommenders who will be helpful and supportive, you will potentially alleviate the stress of missed deadlines and unpredictable letters.

Similarly, take time to reconnect with previous supervisors who could be strong potential recommenders but with whom you may have fallen out of touch. You do not want to be in a position where you are calling a former supervisor for the first time in a year and asking him/her for a large chunk of time on a tight timeline. If you identify someone whose time you expect to need, make contact now and keep the relationship alive over the next few months. By doing so, you will be in a much better position when the times comes for your recommenders to begin letter writing.

June
Take the GMAT/GRE
Taking the GMAT/GRE by June is ideal, because doing so allows you to finish one major component of the process just as another—starting to draft your essays—looms on the horizon. Furthermore, if you take the GMAT/GRE in June and do not do as well as you had hoped, you have sufficient time to take the exam again. Many MBA admissions committees even encourage candidates to take the exams more than once. Your scores will not be averaged; instead, the programs tend to, forgivingly, take the higher (or highest) of your scores.

Prepare Your Resume
Prepare your resume now so that come October, during the latest stages of the application process, you will need to make only small modifications and updates regarding your most recent position, if necessary. By working on your resume now, you can give it your full attention, without the distraction of essay writing. Further, because the activity naturally requires you to reflect on your skills and accomplishments, this will remind you of certain meaningful experiences and achievements. In this way, preparing your resume can be an invaluable stage of the brainstorming process for your essays, so that when the schools begin releasing their questions, you already have some clear ideas for strong narratives you can use.

July
Take the GMAT/GRE Again (If Necessary)
As noted earlier, the GMAT/GRE may not go as well as you had hoped on your first attempt. But do not worry—if you did not achieve the score you wanted, simply prepare now for a stronger second attempt. Candidates must wait one month before they can retake the GMAT and 21 days before retaking the (online) GRE, so a test in July would likely be the next available option. If you do need a second shot at the GMAT/GRE, schedule your next session immediately, while the information is still fresh in your mind.

Conduct Informational Interviews/Job Shadow
Virtually every business school requires that candidates write an essay that discusses their short- and/or long-term career goals, which means you should expect to need to articulate your post-MBA aspirations. If you hope to enter a competitive field, such as banking or consulting, now would be a good time to conduct informational interviews or even job shadow an individual for a day, if possible. The admissions committees frown on vague goal statements or generic claims that lack a profound personal connection to a position and are therefore less credible. By connecting with and learning from people in the position and/or industry you are targeting, you will gain insight that will imbue your stated career goals with sincerity and authenticity.

Define Your List of Target Schools
By mid-July, typically, most MBA programs will have released their essay questions for the coming year. So at this time, you should pare down the list of schools you have been considering and determine which ones will be your target programs—the ones to which you will apply in Round 1. Although we generally recommend that MBA aspirants apply to four to six schools, including a mix of safe, competitive, and reach programs, do not sacrifice quantity for quality—apply only to the number of schools to which you can commit yourself entirely.

Brainstorm and Start Writing Essays
A core truth about essay writing is that you cannot turn a bad idea into a good essay. At mbaMission, we insist on taking our candidates through a lengthy brainstorming process (beginning with a thorough questionnaire) to discover the stories that make each applicant distinct. As you uncover your stories, you must also consider them from as many different angles as possible. For example, coaching a baseball team at an underfunded high school can be a story about creatively motivating an underachieving team and changing attitudes, despite losses; or about initiating and leading fundraising efforts so that each player can afford proper equipment; or about mentoring a struggling player and seeing an improvement in his on-field performance. Your essays will be only as good as your ideas, so do not settle for just the most obvious anecdotes that readily come to mind—dig deeper to find options that will help distinguish you from other applicants.

August
Complete Additional Coursework
At this point, you should have completed your supplemental coursework and earned an A grade (or multiple As, if you took more than one class).

Meet with Recommenders
Schedule opportunities to meet with your chosen recommenders to discuss their important role in the application process and to review your major accomplishments with them. This will ensure that these elements are fresh in their minds when they start to write about you and your achievements. Such meetings are not only appropriate but are even recommended by a number of admissions directors at the top schools, and of course by us at mbaMission. Although recommenders should write their letters independently, candidates who meet with their recommenders before the writing begins have an opportunity to remind these individuals of long-forgotten stories and accomplishments, thereby helping ensure that the resulting letters are sincere, personal, and powerful.

Continue Drafting and Redrafting Your Essays
Writing standout essays takes real time and patience. We recommend that you really immerse yourself in the process, because it is the foremost avenue by which you can differentiate yourself from other applicants. By devoting the time necessary and writing about your experiences with sincerity, you will give the admissions committee a better sense of who you are and what makes you special. Share your essay drafts with one or two people you trust to give you honest feedback—if possible, a professional consultant or someone with insight into the application process—but limit your feedback loop thereafter. Because the application process is subjective, the more people you involve, the more opinions you will receive, and if these opinions differ markedly, they can create unnecessary uncertainty. We are not suggesting, of course, that you ignore critical feedback, but take care not to complicate the final days before you submit your application by creating doubt where it may not be due. If one or two readers support your ideas and feel that your application needs minimal work, you are probably best off ending your feedback loop there and submitting your application.

Complete the Short Answer Portion of the Applications
The short-answer sections of the MBA application—the portions of the forms that pertain to your work history, community accomplishments, scholarships, and other such criteria—should be completed with the same spirit of diligence that candidates ideally bring to all aspects of their applications, yet many applicants choose to  postpone addressing these “details” until the last moment. As a result, some applicants miss the opportunity to put their best foot forward with these seemingly simple elements. By working on them now, however, you can avoid an enormous headache later and increase the likelihood that you are providing more thoughtful, complete, and effective answers. Furthermore, as with updating your resume well in advance, you may discover stories in the process of completing these sections that will prove quite useful when you are later writing your essays.

September
Follow Up with Recommenders
Unfortunately, many recommenders tend to not make writing recommendations a priority and will wait until the last minute to craft these letters, leaving the MBA applicants to worry about whether the recommendations will ultimately be submitted before the school’s deadline. The best way to improve your chances that your recommenders will complete this important task on time is to present them with your own deadline, which is earlier than the school’s. For example, if the application to your chosen program is due October 10, tell your recommenders that you plan to submit your application on September 30. This way, even if your recommenders end up being a little  “late” with respect to the date you stated, you should still be able to obtain their letters in time for the MBA program’s required deadline.

Continue Drafting and Redrafting Essays (See August)
October
Complete Essays, Follow Up with Recommenders (See August and September)
Submit Round 1 Applications
As the Round 1 deadlines approach (typically in the first two weeks of October), do whatever you can to submit your best work, but once your application has been submitted, shift your focus to letting go and trying your best to be patient. If you realize later that your application included a typo or some other minor error, this would be unfortunate, but it is not a reason to panic. The admissions committees are not looking for reasons to reject you but are seeking to get to know you through your files. So, press submit, and start looking forward rather than back.

Visit Additional Target Schools
As we noted earlier, having firsthand experience with a school is crucial in that it allows you to get to know a target MBA program much better and to more easily make a case for your fit with the school. If you have any additional schools that you intend to visit, you can ideally do so before their Round 1 submission date, so that you can learn from your experience and apply your learning to your applications.

November
Prepare Round 2 Essays/Applications
With Round 2 application deadlines only nine or ten weeks away (typically in early January), now is the time to get started on the applications for your next few target schools. Most candidates are typically admitted in the first two rounds, so completing any remaining applications by the Round 2 deadlines should be your goal.

Plan and Prepare for Interviews with Target Schools
Good news—you have been invited to interview! Your interview may occur on campus with a student or member of the admissions staff, or it could be somewhere in your area with an alumnus or alumna, but neither kind of interview is better than the other, and admissions committees consistently reassure candidates that all interviews are weighed equally. To prepare for this important meeting, start by reviewing your entire application in depth, paying particular attention to the stories you presented in your essays. Be sure to reexamine your reasons for targeting the school in question and get comfortable speaking out loud about your short- and long-term ambitions. In short, your goal is to be ready to engage in a thoughtful conversation, with anecdotes that highlight important aspects of your personality, capabilities, and experience.

Complete Campus Visits (See October)
December
Continue Drafting and Redrafting Round 2 Essays (See November)
Follow Up with Recommenders (See September)
Conduct Round 1 Interviews (See November)
Follow Up with Recommenders (See September)
Await Round 1 Decisions
By December, Round 1 decisions will start to be announced. Some schools release them all at once online, whereas others slowly alert applicants to their fate over a period of a few weeks, via phone calls or online. If you have a friend who receives a decision and you are still waiting, do not panic—and definitely avoid the temptation to call the admissions office and ask whether a verdict has been reached about your candidacy. Admissions personnel are easily frustrated by such calls and will not give you the answers you seek. Sit back and try to be patient.

January
Submit Round 2 Applications (See October)
Complete Round 1 Interviews (See November)
Await Round 1 Decisions (See December)
February
Plan Interviews with Target Schools (See December)
Await Round 2 Decisions (See January)
March
Plan Interviews with Target Schools (See December)
Await Round 2 Decisions (See January)
Contemplate Acceptances
We hope that by now, you are weighing multiple offers. If you are not yet confident as to which program to select, perhaps another campus visit is in order. You have the opportunity at this point to really spend time getting to know your target schools even better and completing diligence that may not have been possible before. For example, as a nervous applicant, you may not have truly pushed the students you met to discuss a program’s weaknesses or thought that delving too deeply into the recruiting situation on campus was not appropriate. Further, you may not have felt comfortable experiencing the social environment on campus, preferring to maintain a profile that was strictly professional. Although attending “welcome weekends” will help you get to know your future classmates, visiting (or revisiting) campuses now—while classes are in session and the schools are operating as they will the next year—will provide you with insight that will facilitate one of the most important choices of your life.

Apply for/Leverage Financial Aid
Some schools make their financial aid decisions based on the information contained in candidates’ applications, while others have additional applications that applicants must prepare to be considered for such funds. If you have been accepted to two or more programs, you can actually—if you do so diplomatically—leverage the financial aid offer you received from one school to influence the funding decision at another. If you make your request in too forceful a manner, however, you will only alienate the financial aid office, and they may choose to not offer any additional resources to help influence your decision to attend the other school in consideration. So, tread carefully and judiciously, and you might just reap some unexpected rewards.

Final Thoughts
The MBA admissions process is a marathon, not a sprint. By contemplating the many stages of the application process and preparing appropriately for each one in a timely manner, you will ultimately find yourself ahead of the game. Image

ImagembaMission is the leader in MBA admissions consulting with a full-time and comprehensively trained staff of consultants, all with profound communications and MBA experience. mbaMission has helped thousands of candidates fulfill their dream of attending prominent MBA programs around the world. Take your first step toward a more successful MBA application experience with a free 30-minute consultation with one of mbaMission’s senior consultants. Click here to sign up today.

The post Your Business School Timeline appeared first on GMAT.
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

_________________

http://manhattangmat.com

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GMAT Grammar that Will Impress Your Friends [#permalink]

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New post 07 Sep 2017, 07:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMAT Grammar that Will Impress Your Friends
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Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

I was at a dinner party the other night and we started discussing the four uses of the word “that”. Apparently, I hang out with a lot of nerds at dinner. Not only did I impress these nerds with my grammar skills, but I also came up with a great idea for a blog post! So, from time to time, I’m going to write about some of the important GMAT grammar rules that I like to cover in my classes.

I always tell my students to look out for the small words—the words that we barely even read because we’re so used to them. “And” or “of”, or in this case, the word “that”. These small words are actually indicators of what the GMAT is testing. We just need to pay attention to them!

“That” can be used in four distinct ways, and we need to know which way it is being used in order to figure out if it’s being used correctly.

As a MODIFIER:
The GMAT most frequently tests the word “that” as an introduction to modification. For example, check out this sentence:

The house that is red belongs to me.

When the word “that” follows a noun, it must be functioning as a noun modifier. Here, we get a little extra description of the house: it is red. Clearly, we could not write, “The house belongs to me that is red.” This would be an example of a misplaced modifier. I am not red. Obviously, this sentence is short and easy. But the GMAT will test you in the exact same way, just with longer sentences and more garbage to sift through.

As a RESET:
We are used to sentences with a subject and verb. But what about sentences that have TWO subject-verb pairs? One way the GMAT likes to dazzle with this set-up is by using the word “that” to separate the independent and dependent clauses. In this scenario, “that” will come after a reporting verb. Check it out:

Moira proclaimed that she would not attend the party.

So did you figure out what a reporting verb is? It’s something that doesn’t sound quite done on its own. We wouldn’t say “Moira proclaimed.” If we did, someone is bound to ask, “WHAT did Moira proclaim?” We need more information. (Examples of other reporting verbs are said, believed, responded, asserted, etc.)

Notice in this configuration, “Moira” (the first subject) is paired with “proclaimed” (the first verb). Then we get the word “that”, and we reset for “she” (the second subject) and “would not attend” (the second verb). You can visualize it as S – V – reset – S – V. The GMAT likes to see if you’re paying attention to all the subjects and verbs.

As a NEW COPY:
You’ll see “that” functioning as a new copy most frequently in questions that are testing parallelism. For example:

My wealth is greater than that of my parents.

First of all, I hope this is true for you. But secondly, and more importantly, you’ll notice that the meaning of the sentence is that “My wealth is greater than the wealth of my parents.” But why would we want to say “wealth” twice? It’s clunky and it’s way too straightforward for the GMAT. Instead, they’ll put in a word that copies the meaning of wealth—in this case, “that”!

The GMAT will test you to see if you’re paying attention by giving you something like “My wealth is greater than those of my parents.” Clearly, this doesn’t make sense. “Those” is plural! I’m sure you caught that easily. But again, the GMAT will complicate matters by making this sentence long and full of junk, so you might not notice what “those” is referring to.

As a DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUN:
Give me that book.

Which book?

Oh, THAT book.

You just learned what demonstrative pronouns are from that little exchange. Congratulations! Unfortunately, the GMAT will not test you on this use. But your nerd friends will LOVE you.

So, in summary, pay attention to those little words that we often just skip over in our everyday lives. And let me know how your friends respond when you school them on the four uses of the word “that”. I think they’ll be stoked. Image

Want more GMAT tips? Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

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[b]Elaine Loh is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Los Angeles, California. 
[/b]She graduated from Brown University with a degree in psychology and a desire to teach others. She can’t get enough of standardized tests and has been a test prep tutor and teacher for over half her life. Check out Elaine’s upcoming GMAT courses here.

The post GMAT Grammar that Will Impress Your Friends appeared first on GMAT.
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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Breaking GMAT Study Barriers: Content vs. Process [#permalink]

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New post 12 Sep 2017, 09:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Breaking GMAT Study Barriers: Content vs. Process
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Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

You’ve been engaged in GMAT study for a while, maybe taken a course, maybe just done a lot of studying on your own, done lots of OG questions, taken several practice tests, and your score just seems stuck. You feel like you know a lot more than you used to, and when you look at the answer explanations they make sense, but your score just won’t go up. You look at your assessment reports from your practice exams and practice more questions in the areas of weakness, but your score still stays stuck. Sound familiar?

It can be a frustrating place to be, but one that many GMAT students are in. Sometimes to break through the GMAT study barrier, you need to be able to think in different categories. Most students think in terms of types of problems: Fractions vs. Exponents vs. Ratios, etc. If your improvement has stalled, consider thinking in terms of content vs. process.

Content is the raw facts that you need to know for the GMAT: the rules of exponents, the formulas of geometry, the concepts of rates, and much more.

Process is the way that you approach problems: proving insufficient on Data Sufficiency, taking time to understand and plan on Problem Solving, crossing off answers on Sentence Correction, etc.

Armed with those categories, you can gain new insight as you review problems. As you look over a problem that you got wrong, you can categorize your mistake as a content error or a process error (or both!).

  • Forgot an exponent rule – content error
  • Thought I could add √4 + √5 and get √9 – content error
  • Thought it was fine to say “I ran to the store, which made me sweaty” – content error
  • Chose B on SC without actually eliminating E – process error
  • Concluded that a statement was insufficient because I couldn’t solve the equation – process error
  • Made an unsure decision about a split in SC without looking for other options – process error
Once you’ve identified the error as process or content, you are in a better position to work on improving, because you work on fixing these errors in different ways.

Content issues can be improved through creating flashcards of the content, reviewing chapters in the strategy guide, and practicing applying the content on other problems that test the same content.

Process issues require you to explicitly identify the issue and recognize it as a problem. Then you need to make a concrete commitment to doing something differently and practice the different way of doing it. For example, if you have a habit of choosing a Sentence Correction answer without fully considering the others, you need to put in place a concrete practice of writing down ABCDE and physically crossing off 4 wrong answers. Practice that first by re-doing wrong ones and then make a commitment that you will do so every time.

Once you start to think in these terms, hopefully it will open up new areas of improvement and you’ll see your score take another jump up! Image

Want some more amazing GMAT tips from James? Attend the first session of one of his upcoming GMAT courses absolutely free, no strings attached. Seriously.

James BrockImage
 is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Atlanta, Georgia.
 He holds a B.A. in mathematics and a Master of Divinity from Covenant Seminary. James has taught and tutored everything from calculus to chess, and his 780 GMAT score allows him to share his love of teaching and standardized tests with MPrep students. You can check out James’s upcoming GMAT courses here.

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University of Virginia Darden Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 [#permalink]

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New post 14 Sep 2017, 06:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: University of Virginia Darden Essay Analysis, 2017-2018
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How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Berkeley Haas essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.

This application season, the University of Virginia’s Darden School is maintaining its single essay question approach, though the content of the query has changed. The school has been known to later add a few—much shorter—prompts, however, so you will need to stay alert for those, in case Darden does so again this year. In the meantime, focus your efforts on the program’s primary essay question, which prods applicants to discuss a past situation in which their opinion on a matter was changed as a result of input from and interaction with others. At first glance, we assume that with this prompt, Darden’s admissions committee is hoping to gain insight into applicants’ capacity for self-assessment and their openness and responsiveness to other viewpoints. You have only 500 words with which to convey all this, so you will need to be simultaneously thorough and concise. We offer our Darden essay analysis to help you achieve this.

Essay #1: When preparing for class at Darden, students formulate an opinion on each case before meeting with their learning teams and class sections. When encountering different views and perspectives from their own, opinions frequently shift. Tell us about a time when your opinion evolved through discussions with others. (500 words maximum)
A cornerstone of the Darden MBA program is the case method of learning, in which students are presented with an actual business problem, along with all the relevant associated data, and tasked with identifying a solution to that problem. Each person analyzes the situation and information on his or her own, then discusses and debates it with the members of his or her learning team, and finally does so once again in the classroom. So having one’s ideas and opinions questioned and challenged is part and parcel of the Darden experience, which is undoubtedly why the admissions committee has chosen to pose this essay prompt. What better way to assess whether an applicant is the kind of person who would thrive in and benefit from such an interactive and intellectually stimulating environment?

Darden clearly wants evidence that you are capable of listening, reflecting, learning, and growing. If you are not able to do so, the school might assume that you simply do not have the necessary qualities to become an integral part of its next incoming class, let alone a standout manager later in your career. To craft an effective essay response to this query, focus on describing a “before and after” situation in which the information or input another person provided you served as an inflection point that triggered a dramatic change in your thinking.

In business school—as in life in general, in fact—you will encounter people who think differently from you, operate according to different values, and react differently to the same stimuli. And success in an endeavor often involves evaluating and even incorporating the views of others in one’s efforts, but it can also result from resisting opposing perspectives. With this essay prompt, Darden is hoping to learn how you act/react when faced with such differences, using the principle that past behavior is a fairly reliable predictor of future behavior. As we have explained, in the Darden MBA program, you will definitely be required to navigate and consider differing opinions in the course of analyzing case studies, as well as when completing group projects and pursuing other activities both inside and outside the classroom. Do you tend to hold firmly to your convictions, debating divergent views and attempting to persuade others to your mindset? Or do you readily receive contrasting opinions, taking time to weigh them and consider their applicability to the situation in question? Using a narrative approach, share with the admissions committee a situation in which you faced a perspective that deviated from your own and how this difference influenced your subsequent thought processes and perhaps even your actions. Image

For a thorough exploration of the UVA Darden academic program, unique offerings, social life, and other key characteristics, be sure to download your complimentary copy of the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the UVA Darden School of Business Administration.

ImagembaMission is the leader in MBA admissions consulting with a full-time and comprehensively trained staff of consultants, all with profound communications and MBA experience. mbaMission has helped thousands of candidates fulfill their dream of attending prominent MBA programs around the world. Take your first step toward a more successful MBA application experience with a free 30-minute consultation with one of mbaMission’s senior consultants. Sign up today at www.mbamission.com/manhattangmat.

The post University of Virginia Darden Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 appeared first on GMAT.
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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Do I Really Need to Study GMAT Verbal? [#permalink]

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New post 18 Sep 2017, 10:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Do I Really Need to Study GMAT Verbal?
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Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

You know the story. You haven’t taken a math class for eight (or ten, or fifteen, or twenty) years. You weren’t even that great at math when you were in school! And now that it’s been a decade since you last simplified a quadratic or calculated an average speed, you’re feeling rusty. You’ve got a lot of work to do.

GMAT Verbal, on the other hand, feels more natural to you. You read and write every day; you may even be a bit of a grammar maven. Critical Reasoning isn’t so tough—after all, you flex your logical thinking muscles every time you read the news or make a proposal to your boss.

When you took your first practice GMAT, you probably weren’t too surprised by the results. Let’s suppose that you scored in the 30th percentile in Quant and the 70th percentile in Verbal. What does that really mean? How much of your study time should you devote to each topic? And is it safe to totally ignore GMAT Verbal for now?

Let’s talk about percentiles, first. A percentile, by definition, compares you to your peers. Your 30th percentile Quant score indicates that you did better on Quant than 30% of test-takers. Likewise, you did better on Verbal than 70% of test-takers.

If everyone does very well on a test, a low percentile may still represent a strong performance. If everyone does very poorly, a high percentile may still represent a weak performance. Imagine being in the 10th percentile of intelligence… among NASA scientists. You’d still be crazy smart!

This quirk of percentiles has had a dramatic effect on the GMAT. To see why, focus on a different pair of numbers: your subscores. Those are the numbers ranging from 0 to 51, which represent your ‘Quant score’ and your ‘Verbal score’. For instance, if you’re at the 30th percentile in Quant, your Quant subscore was approximately 35. If you’re at the 70th percentile in Verbal, your subscore was approximately 33.

Look at those numbers one more time. Your Quant subscore was actually higher than your GMAT Verbal subscore, even though you were at a much lower percentile!

When you take the GMAT, you’re being compared to a very unique population. Many of the people who take the GMAT aren’t native English speakers. In 2013, only 38% of GMAT takers were in the United States. Although non-native speakers can achieve very high GMAT Verbal scores, it’s a greater challenge than it is for native speakers. Many GMAT test-takers from outside of the U.S. also have very strong quantitative backgrounds. Worldwide, the average GMAT student is much better at Quant than at Verbal—and that student is who you’re being compared against, when you look at your percentiles.

Admissions committees aren’t unaware of this trend. They like to see high percentiles, but they’re familiar with the GMAT. They know that a 70th percentile Verbal score represents a pretty strong performance, but a 70th percentile Quant score is spectacular.

In short, you shouldn’t directly compare your GMAT Verbal percentile to your GMAT Quant percentile. Because of the unique population of test-takers, the two percentiles mean different things.

Here are a few other facts about percentiles on the GMAT:

  • Percentiles can’t tell you how easy it will be for you to improve.
  • Percentiles can’t tell you how much it’s possible to improve.
  • Percentiles don’t determine your actual GMAT score.
We all want to get to our goal score—let’s say it’s a 700—as efficiently and quickly as possible. The way to do that is to gain as many easy subscore points as possible first.

If you’re very weak in Quant, you definitely have some easy points to add to your Quant subscore. For instance, you may need to brush up on some of the basic math rules. However, even if you’re at the 70th percentile or higher in Verbal, you probably have some easy points in Verbal, too. For instance, it’s likely that you’re still making a few simple grammar mistakes without realizing it.

Your GMAT score is (roughly) based on the sum of your subscores. Right now, a 700 requires about 87 total subscore points. Let’s look at those subscores from our example scenario one more time—33 in Verbal and 35 in Quant. That’s a sum of 68, or 19 points shy of our goal.

It doesn’t matter whether those points come from Quant, from Verbal, or from a combination of both! (Again, some schools may want to see a minimum subscore in one or both areas. That’s a conversation to have with the admissions committee, or an admissions consultant like the folks at mbaMission.) When it comes to hitting a 700, you just need as many subscore points as you can get, and Verbal points and Quant points are worth exactly the same amount. If you gain your easy points first, regardless of where they come from, you won’t have as far to go when you need to start studying the really tough stuff.

In fact, it may not even be possible to hit your goal score by solely improving in Quant. Once you’ve taken at least one practice test and decided on a goal score, check out our GMAT Score Calculator for the details.

It’s easy to put too much emphasis on GMAT Quant, once you see that your starting percentile is pretty low. There are a lot of reasons not to do that! It’s okay to spend a bit more of your time studying Quant, but unless your GMAT Verbal score is already very high—90th percentile or higher—you certainly still have some points to gain there as well. So treat yourself to a break from math and crack open your Sentence Correction Strategy Guide! Image

Want more guidance from our GMAT gurus? You can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free! We’re not kidding. Check out our upcoming courses here.

[b]Chelsey CooleyImage
 is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Seattle, Washington.
 [/b]Chelsey always followed her heart when it came to her education. Luckily, her heart led her straight to the perfect background for GMAT and GRE teaching: she has undergraduate degrees in mathematics and history, a master’s degree in linguistics, a 790 on the GMAT, and a perfect 170/170 on the GRE. Check out Chelsey’s upcoming GRE prep offerings here.

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

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UCLA Anderson Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 [#permalink]

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New post 29 Sep 2017, 08:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: UCLA Anderson Essay Analysis, 2017-2018
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How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough UCLA Anderson essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.

This season, the UCLA Anderson School of Management has abridged its primary essay question and shortened the word limit from 750 to just 500. However, it has also added a “short-answer” question (read: mini essay) that in many ways recollects the “lost” element of the main essay and reinstates those other 250 words. As the program has been doing for as long as we at mbaMission have been offering essay analyses, it asks applicants about their short- and long-term goals, this time along with the oft-seen “Why our school?” element. And the newly added short answer prompt focuses on what candidates will bring to the school’s community. Given this rather modest essay portion of the UCLA application, you will need to make the most of your recommendations, resume, and interview to ensure that the school gets the full story of who you are as a candidate. We offer our advice on approaching the school’s 2017–2018 queries with this UCLA Anderson essay analysis.

Essay 1: Describe your short-term and long-term career goals. How can the UCLA Anderson experience add value to your professional development? (500 words maximum)
UCLA Anderson has done away with the preamble to this question that last year outlined the school’s defining principles and plunged straight into a forthright request for your career goals. And considering you have just 500 words available for this entire essay, we recommend that you exercise this same kind of expediency with your response. Avoid going into excessive detail about your past, but be sure to offer enough information to provide context and support for your stated goals so that the progression from one stage of your professional career to the next is clear and reasonable.

Once your goals have been firmly stated and given context, explain how being a UCLA Anderson MBA student is a key step in achieving them. You need to demonstrate that you have dedicated just as much thought—or maybe even more—to why you want to study at UCLA Anderson as you have to where you want to go in your career. Think carefully about what you need to learn or experience (with respect to skills, network, and knowledge base) to be able to reach your stated aspirations and then detail which specific resources and opportunities at UCLA Anderson you believe will allow you to do so. Your goal is to convince the admissions committee that the school is the missing link between who and where you are now and who and where you envision yourself in the future.

The basic components of this essay prompt are elements of a traditional personal statement, so we encourage you to download your free copy of the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide. In this complimentary publication, we offer a detailed discussion of how to approach such queries and craft an effective essay response, along with multiple illustrative examples.

And to learn more about UCLA Anderson’s academic program, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, standout faculty members, and other key features, download a copy of the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the Anderson School of Management, which is also available at no cost.

Short Answer Question: Describe how you would contribute to the UCLA Anderson community. (250 words maximum)
Before you begin writing or even brainstorming for this one, you must familiarize yourself with the characteristics and tone of the UCLA Anderson community. As you do, pay special attention to the aspects and areas that speak to you personally in some way, and do not limit yourself to coursework and academic offerings, but also consider social events/clubs and professional development opportunities. Business school is meant to be a comprehensive environment and experience that enriches students in ways not just related directly to business in the conventional sense, and perhaps your greatest potential for contribution lies in one of these areas. If you are a Quant wizard, you can of course help your fellow students with classwork and projects. If you have a depth of knowledge or years of professional experience in a particular business area or industry, you could serve as a kind of subject matter expert for those around you in the program or as a valuable component in someone’s recruiting network. If you are particularly funny, creative, or athletic, you may be the ideal fit to lead an extracurricular group or play a significant role in a non-academic project or event. Work to cultivate a thorough understanding of all aspects of the UCLA Anderson program and identify the areas that catch your attention most. Like all other application questions, this one has no “right” answer, so do not try to guess what you think the school wants to hear. Authenticity and enthusiasm are the keys to your success with this mini essay.

Optional Essay: The following essay is optional and can be submitted by either first time applicants or reapplicants. No preference is given in the evaluation process to applicants who submit a response to the optional question.
Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? Please use your best judgment. (250 words maximum)
Here is your opportunity—if needed—to address any lingering questions that an admissions officer might have about your candidacy, such as a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT or GRE score, or a gap in your work experience. Do not simply try to fill this space because you fear that not doing so would somehow count against you. And however tempted you might be, this is not the place to reuse a strong essay you wrote for another school or to offer an anecdote or two that you were unable to include in your required essay. However, if you truly feel that you must emphasize or explain something that would render your application incomplete if omitted, write a very brief piece on this key aspect of your profile. We suggest downloading your free copy of the mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, in which we offer detailed advice on deciding whether to take advantage of the optional essay and how best to do so (with multiple sample essays), if needed.

Reapplicant Essay: Please describe your career progress since you last applied and ways in which you have enhanced your candidacy. Include updates on short-term and long-term career goals, as well as your continued interest in UCLA Anderson. (750 words maximum)
Whether you have improved your academic record, received a promotion, begun a new and exciting project, increased your community involvement, or taken on some sort of personal challenge, the key to success with this essay is conveying a very deliberate path of achievement and forward momentum. UCLA Anderson wants to know that you have been actively striving to improve yourself and your profile, remain focused on your goals, and have seized available opportunities during the previous year, because an MBA from its program in particular is vital to you. The responses to this essay question will vary greatly from one candidate to the next, of course, because each person’s needs and experiences differ. We are more than happy to provide one-on-one assistance with this highly personal essay to ensure that your efforts over the past year are presented in the best light possible. Image

ImagembaMission is the leader in MBA admissions consulting with a full-time and comprehensively trained staff of consultants, all with profound communications and MBA experience. mbaMission has helped thousands of candidates fulfill their dream of attending prominent MBA programs around the world. Take your first step toward a more successful MBA application experience with a free 30-minute consultation with one of mbaMission’s senior consultants. Sign up today at www.mbamission.com/manhattangmat.

The post UCLA Anderson Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 appeared first on GMAT.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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GMAT Study Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making [#permalink]

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New post 29 Sep 2017, 08:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMAT Study Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making
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Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

In a perfect world, everyone would take the GMAT exactly once, get a fantastic score, then never think about the test again. Unfortunately, things sometimes don’t work out that way. Part of my role at Manhattan Prep is to sit down with students who didn’t quite achieve their goal scores on their first try and help them analyze what happened. (This type of meeting is called a Post-Exam Assessment, and it’s part of what you get when you sign up for the Manhattan Prep 9-week GMAT course.)

This means I have a lot of conversations that start like this:

“I know I could have studied more effectively.”

Hindsight is 20/20, after all. When you’ve just missed your goal by a handful of points, you suddenly remember all those times that you skipped a study session to binge on Netflix, or avoided analyzing a practice test because you didn’t want to think about your score. At the time, those little behaviors didn’t seem like a big deal. It’s only later on that you see the larger pattern—a pattern that held you back from reaching your fullest potential.

Here are some GMAT study mistakes that students have described to me over and over. Many of these students went on to improve by 50 or 100 points on their next official GMAT attempt! But if you avoid falling into these traps in the first place, you might just hit your goal score on your first try.

“I knew that Quant was my weakness, so I didn’t study Verbal at all.”
Ignoring Verbal is a good way to leave easy points on the table. (Here’s a recent blog article with more detail on how Verbal affects your score.) Even if you’re totally happy with your Verbal score, I recommend spending one study session every week doing Verbal practice problems. If nothing else, it’s a good way to take a mental vacation from Quant!

“I took notes while I studied, but I never reviewed them.”
The act of taking notes is useful in itself. However, there are also some simple techniques that will help you review your notes and also create notes you want to review. The simplest approach is to start an error log right away. Make sure to mark problems you’d like to redo. Every other week, block out some time on your calendar—really—to just review your error log, and do nothing else. I also recommend these two note-taking techniques from our GRE blog: When I See This, I’ll Do This and Creating Your Own Cheat Sheets.

“I focused too much on getting lots of problems done. I didn’t think I had time to review.”
This is a tough one. It’s more satisfying to spend twenty minutes doing ten problems than to spend the same twenty minutes doing just two problems. You feel like you’re getting so much more work done! However, skimping on review might be one of the most common GMAT study mistakes. Mastering GMAT content takes time, patience, and careful thought, not just fast repetition.

“I should have looked at the problems I got right, not just the ones I got wrong.”
I sometimes hear this from students who struggled with timing on test day, or who, when under pressure, started missing questions that they’d normally have gotten right. Getting a problem right while you’re studying doesn’t mean you’ve learned everything you could from it! It doesn’t mean you’ve completely mastered it, it doesn’t mean you’ll get it right when you’re under pressure on test day, and it doesn’t mean you did it in the most efficient, smartest way. Check out this article for more thoughts on reviewing easy problems.

“I wasted a bunch of time studying [combinatorics, rates & work, etc.] and I only got one question on the test.”
Some content areas require more investment than others. For instance, mastering combinatorics might take many days or weeks, while mastering overlapping sets might only take an hour. Likewise, some content areas have a bigger payoff than others. Percent problems are common on the GMAT, while coordinate geometry is relatively rare. Don’t waste your time on high-investment, low-payoff areas, even if they’re big weaknesses for you. You’d be better off spending the time really mastering the more common areas.

Studying effectively is a learned skill, just like the other skills you’ll apply on the test. It isn’t complicated, but it does require thought and discipline. Put more time and attention into how you study, and you’ll get more out of every hour you put in! That doesn’t just help you maximize your odds of hitting your goal score—it’s also a huge confidence booster. Image

Want more guidance from our GMAT gurus? You can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free! We’re not kidding. Check out our upcoming courses here.

[b]Chelsey CooleyImage
 is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Seattle, Washington.
 [/b]Chelsey always followed her heart when it came to her education. Luckily, her heart led her straight to the perfect background for GMAT and GRE teaching: she has undergraduate degrees in mathematics and history, a master’s degree in linguistics, a 790 on the GMAT, and a perfect 170/170 on the GRE. Check out Chelsey’s upcoming GRE prep offerings here.

The post GMAT Study Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making appeared first on GMAT.
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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Securing Effective Letters of Recommendation [#permalink]

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New post 29 Sep 2017, 10:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Securing Effective Letters of Recommendation
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Each week, we are featuring a series of MBA admissions tips from our exclusive admissions consulting partner, mbaMission.

Letters of recommendation are a vital element of every MBA applicant’s profile, because they provide a school’s admissions committee with its only truly objective insight into what the candidate has to offer. For this reason, recommenders can play a significant role in helping an applicant gain admission to his/her target business school, but only if the letters they write are credible and compelling. Fortunately, even though your letters of recommendation are technically in someone else’s hands, you still have some measure of control over them. Here, we explain where some of these opportunities lie—and where they do not—to help you navigate this portion of your application with less anxiety and better results.

Resist Writing Your Own Letters of Recommendation
Sometimes, when applicants ask an individual to be their recommender, that person responds by saying something like “Just write whatever you want, and I’ll sign it.” At first glance, this proffered opportunity for complete control may seem like a gift. What a great way to ensure that your recommendation says exactly what you want it to, right? The truth is that this initially appealing option is just a mirage—not the recipe for effective letters of recommendation.

The admissions committees want letters of recommendation that are detailed, personal, and sincere, and writing about oneself with objective, dispassionate sincerity is all but impossible for even the most self-aware among us. Moreover, because you lack that true “outside” perspective, you are likely unaware of—and therefore incapable of writing about—the many positive subtleties that set you apart from your fellow applicants. You are, of course, unquestionably aware of the many important functions you fulfill at work every day, the responsibilities you shoulder, and the accomplishments you have experienced. However, you are probably equally unaware of certain qualities you possess, lesser achievements you have facilitated, and more elective things you do that those around you find impressive, valuable, or admirable. These special qualities and contributions of yours can only be brought to light by someone other than you, and they are crucial aspects of authentic and powerful letters of recommendation. In short, if you write your recommendation yourself, these key bits of information will almost certainly be missing, and without you even realizing it!

Choose Your Recommender(s) Judiciously
Unfortunately, too many MBA applicants believe that for letters of recommendation to be valuable, one or more of the following must be true:

  • The recommender has an impressive title or is a senior member of the organization.
  • The recommender is the candidate’s direct supervisor.
  • The recommender is an alumnus/alumna of the target school.
As a result, candidates often request letters of recommendation from people who do not—or simply cannot—provide the kind of strong, influential input the candidate needs. You must determine whether the individual you choose can speak knowledgeably about your skills and contributions, can offer concrete examples to support their claims, and will respect the admissions committee’s requests and guidelines for the letter/form to be submitted. If your chosen recommender knows you only by name or face within the organization and therefore has only sweeping generalizations to offer, or if he/she intends to simply write a standard letter and attach it to the school’s recommendation form, that person will not help you in your efforts and could actually hurt your chances for acceptance into the program. A well-written, substantive, and personalized letter from a knowledgeable interested party is always far better than a poorly written and uninformed letter from someone whose credentials you feel may be impressive to outsiders. Note also that approximately 20% of applicants, by our estimation, are unable to ask their direct supervisor for letters of recommendation because of one or more of the following issues:

  • The candidate has been with the firm for only a short time.
  • The candidate may risk losing out on promotions, bonuses, or potential salary increases by disclosing his/her business school plans.
  • The supervisor is “too busy” to help and either refuses the request or tells the applicant to write the recommendation him-/herself.
  • The supervisor does not support the candidate’s plans to earn an MBA degree.
  • The supervisor is a poor manager in general and unwilling to assist junior staff.
  • The candidate is an entrepreneur or works in a family business.
If your direct supervisor is not an ideal candidate to write your letters of recommendation or you need additional individuals to provide such letters, consider alternative recommenders, such as a mentor, previous employer, supplier, client, legal counsel, representative from an industry association, or anyone else who knows you and your work particularly well. Then, submit an optional MBA essay with your application that briefly explains the nature of your relationship with this person and the reason(s) you selected him/her as a recommender. As long as you clarify your choice, the admissions committee will understand your situation.

Manage the Timeline of Your Letters of Recommendation
A common concern for candidates as their target application deadline approaches is that their recommenders will not complete or submit their letters of recommendation on time. We believe that the easiest way to ensure that they do so is to present them with a deadline you have set yourself and that is earlier than the school’s official one. For example, if you need to submit your application on January 25th, tell your recommenders that you must have their letters by the 18th. This way, even if one of your recommenders ends up being a little “late” with respect to the date you stated, you should still be able to obtain their letters of recommendation in time for the MBA program’s required deadline.

Many business school candidates simply hope for the best when choosing their recommenders, but we can assure you that this is not an element of your application that you have to leave up to luck. With some strategic choices and thoughtful preparation, you can make the recommendation process not only more fruitful but also less stressful—for yourself as well as your recommenders! Image

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Manhattan Prep’s GMAT Score Calculator: What Quant and Verbal Scores W [#permalink]

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New post 03 Oct 2017, 09:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Manhattan Prep’s GMAT Score Calculator: What Quant and Verbal Scores Will Result in a 700+ Score?
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The three-digit Total GMAT score is calculated from your performance on the Quant and Verbal sections of the test. The actual algorithm isn’t disclosed—but we’ve been able to “backwards engineer” the process via a lot of official score research, leading to our GMAT Score Calculator tool. (Thank you to all of our students who shared their official test score reports!)

You can use the Manhattan Prep GMAT Score Calculator to figure out approximately what you need to reach on the Quant and Verbal sections in order to hit your goal score.

Here’s why the word approximately has to be in the previous sentence:

Any pair of Quant+Verbal subscores can map to up to three different Total scores.

If you want to understand why, read the next section; if you want to just take my word for it, feel free to jump to the section after the next one.

Pairs of Subscores Map to Multiple Total Scores
Most people are very surprised to learn that any pair of Q+V subscores can map to up to three different Total scores. For example, the pairing V41, Q49 can map to a 720, 730, or 740! What’s going on?

Each section of the test has what’s called a raw score. The Quant raw score determines your Quant subscore, the Verbal raw score determines your Verbal subscore—and the two raw scores (not subscores!) are used to calculate your Total score.

You can score between 6 and 51 on the Quant section, for a total of 46 different subscores. The same is true on the Verbal section.

The Total score ranges from 200 to 800—there are 71 different scores in that range. Since there are more possible Total scores, it has to be the case that some pairs of subscores can map to more than one Total score.

From the research we’ve done, it seems to be the case that any pair of subscores can map to 2 or 3 different Total scores.

So What Do I Need to Get My Goal Score?
Let’s say that your goal score is a 690. Plug that number into the GMAT Score Calculator to see what score combos will probably allow someone to reach that score. (Note: depending on your screen size, you may need to scroll to see all of the highlighted score combos.)

Let’s say that your last CAT score was 640, with subscores Q40, V38. (Note: These scores show that Verbal is your stronger area, even though Q is the higher number. V38 is currently the 85th percentile, while Q40 is the 41st percentile.)

A lot of people would look at that score pairing and think, okay, V is looking good! But I really need to bring Q up, so I’m going to study mostly Q from now on.

Hang on a second. Look at the chart.

If you don’t improve V at all, then you’d need to improve Q to ~46 in order to hit 690. You are planning to get all of your desired score improvement from your weaker area.

(The flip side: If you don’t improve Q at all, you’d need to improve V to ~45 in order to hit 690. V45 is the 99th percentile—that’s a tall order.)

It’s not a good idea to rely on just one of the two sections for all or most of your improvement. Set goals to improve both sections.

For instance, if you improve both sections by 3 points each (to Q43 and V41), you have a good chance to hit your 690 goal.

Your score could be a 680, though, due to the factors discussed in the previous section. So if you really want that 690 and a 680 just won’t cut it, set your sights a little higher, just in case. If you aim for a Q44, V42, your underlying raw score should get you at least to 690—and who knows? You might just hit that elusive 700!

The Big Picture: Set Goals for Both Q and V and Give Yourself a Little Leeway
Realistically, most people need to improve both Quant and Verbal to hit their goal score. But it’s often the case that we see people focus primarily on one area. Relying almost entirely on your weaker area to get you to your goal is not a good idea!

Use the GMAT Score Calculator to prove that to yourself. Set goals for both Quant and Verbal. Also, think about whether you want to set your sights a little bit higher to give you some leeway in case you fall a little bit short on test day. Image

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Duke Fuqua School of Business Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 [#permalink]

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New post 12 Oct 2017, 09:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Duke Fuqua School of Business Essay Analysis, 2017-2018
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How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Duke Fuqua School of Business essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.

Unlike a number of the top U.S. business schools, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business has made no changes at all to its application essay questions this year, meaning that it is again posing its rather unique “25 Random Things” prompt. This decision will likely make some candidates happy but dismay others. If you are among the dismayed, we encourage you to view this submission as the generous opportunity it is to provide a comprehensive picture of yourself as a well-rounded candidate. Few application essays provide such a broad platform through which to share your most meaningful values, experiences, interests, and accomplishments. Fuqua’s second required essay focuses on candidates’ expectations of their role within the school’s MBA program. You must discuss how you anticipate engaging with and being a benefit to others in the Fuqua community. The school also poses a few short-answer goal questions concerning the basic professional elements of the applicant’s profile. In our Duke Fuqua School of Business essay analysis, we offer our advice for approaching each of Fuqua’s prompts for this season…

Required Short Answer Questions: Answer all 3 of the following questions. For each question, respond in 500 characters only (the equivalent of about 100 words).
  • What are your short-term goals, post-MBA?
  • What are your long-term goals?
  • Life is full of uncertainties, and plans and circumstances can change. As a result, navigating a career requires you to be adaptable. Should the short-term goals that you provided above not materialize, what alternative directions have you considered?
With this trio of questions, Fuqua is essentially asking for a standard, albeit very brief, personal statement—though the third query does include a rather nonstandard component. Candidates often feel they must be totally unequivocal in their goals, but in this case, Fuqua is giving applicants room to address and speculate on other options. The admissions committee knows that sometimes the best-laid plans do not play out as expected or may even yield unintended results, and the school wants to know that you are prepared to switch gears and recommit to a different path, if necessary—and that you are fully capable of doing so. The key in answering this question is showing that your alternate goal is just as connected to your skills, interests, and ambitions as your original plan and does not come “out of left field,” so to speak. For example, you would probably have a difficult time convincing the admissions committee that your short-term goal is to work in technology consulting while your alternate goal would be to work in human resources, because these industries, for the most part, require entirely different skills and personalities. Just be mindful that both goals you present must be plausible and achievable.

As we noted, these questions concern many of the same topics covered in a traditional personal statement, so we encourage you to download your free copy of the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which helps applicants write this style of essay for any school. This complimentary guide offers detailed advice on approaching and framing these subjects, along with multiple illustrative examples. Be sure to claim your copy today.

Required Essay 1: 25 Random Things About Yourself
Present your response in list form, numbered 1 to 25. Some points may be only a few words, while others may be longer. Your complete list should not exceed 2 pages.
The “Team Fuqua” spirit and community is one of the things that sets The Duke MBA experience apart, and it is a concept that extends beyond the student body to include faculty, staff, and administration. When a new person joins the Admissions team, we ask that person to share with everyone in the office a list of “25 Random Things About Yourself.” As an Admissions team, we already know the new hire’s professional and academic background, so learning these “25 Random Things” helps us get to know someone’s personality, background, special talents, and more. 



In this spirit, the Admissions Committee also wants to get to know you—beyond the professional and academic achievements listed in your resume and transcript. You can share with us important life experiences, your likes/dislikes, hobbies, achievements, fun facts, or anything that helps us understand what makes you who you are. Share with us your list of “25 Random Things” about YOU.

Be prepared to have fun creating this list for your Fuqua application! Before you start scribbling down random things, though, stop and take some time to thoroughly brainstorm. You cannot simply draft a list of “typical” accomplishments—remember, the school is asking for a random list, and keep in mind that your reader should learn more about you as an individual with each item presented. Make sure that every new story or tidbit of information you share gives the admissions committee a different window into your personality, into what really makes you tick and makes you you. Most important is that you own all the points on your list—that your final list could apply to no one but you. For example, a statement such as “I love the movie Goodfellas and have watched it multiple times” could easily be made by many applicants—therefore, it could not be considered truly yours. However, if you were to instead write, “At least once a year, my friends and I get together to watch our favorite movie, Goodfellas, all wearing dark suits, eating fresh pasta with homemade sauce, and reciting the dialogue line-for-line,” you would present an experience that is unquestionably yours, because few—if any—other candidates would be likely to say this exact same thing.

Although Fuqua does not want you to rehash your professional and academic accomplishments in this list, and you should certainly avoid repeating facts that already appear elsewhere in your application, you can of course still touch on significant moments that occurred in these spheres. Use detail and a narrative style (keeping things brief!) to give these elements life and ensure that they are personal. For example, rather than saying that you “won a creative thinking award for implementing an innovative training solution,” you might write that you “once won an award for instructing trainees to flip their desks upside down and face what was previously the back of the room—thereby creating an exercise to introduce new hires to the concept and value of new perspectives.”

Required Essay 2: Fuqua prides itself on cultivating a culture of engagement. Our students enjoy a wide range of student-led organizations that provide opportunities for leadership development and personal fulfillment, as well as an outlet for contributing to society. Our student-led government, clubs, centers, and events are an integral part of the student culture and are vital to providing you with a range of experiential learning and individual development experiences.
Based on your understanding of the Fuqua culture, how do you see yourself engaging in and contributing to our community, outside of the classroom? (Your response should be no more than 2 pages in length.)
With this essay prompt, Fuqua clearly wants to see evidence that you have done your research on the school’s culture and community and developed a true and thorough understanding of it. Ideally, your essay will convince the admissions committee that you are eager to take advantage of opportunities to lead and contribute, that you have thoughtfully considered your place within the school’s community at length, and that as a result, you know the value of what you can offer and have a clear vision of how this will manifest when you are a Fuqua student.

For this to be possible, you really (really!) must know the school well, because if you hypothesize incorrectly about the contribution you will make—meaning that what you propose is just not possible at the school or does not align with Fuqua’s values and culture—you will definitely not get in. The question specifically mentions “student-led government, clubs, centers, and events,” so you could start your research there to find niches and opportunities that correspond with your strengths, knowledge, and experience. But if you feel you can contribute in a different area or way altogether (while still adhering to the “outside of the classroom” element of the prompt), you can certainly take that approach instead. Read student blogs, peruse discussion boards, catch up on the past year or more of press releases from the school, spend some time on Fuqua’s YouTube channel—these are all good places to start (or better, continue!) educating yourself about what life at the school is really like, beyond the coursework.

Optional Essay: If you feel there are circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware, please explain them in an optional essay (such as unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance).
  • Do NOT upload additional essays nor additional recommendations in this area of the application.
  • The Optional Essay is intended to provide the Admissions Committee with insight into your circumstances only.
  • Limit your response to one page.
Fuqua stipulates a maximum length for its optional essay of just one page. We see this, along with the other clarifying bullet points, as confirmation that the admissions committee is not interested in additional information from applicants who fear that not submitting an optional essay would somehow count against them and would like to reserve this essay exclusively for those who truly need it. So be judicious in your use of this opportunity, and submit an optional essay only if you truly believe that explaining a key element of your story or profile is necessary for Fuqua to have a complete and accurate understanding of you as a candidate. Consider downloading a free copy of our mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, in which we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay (along with multiple sample essays) to help you mitigate any problem areas in your profile. Image

ImagembaMission is the leader in MBA admissions consulting with a full-time and comprehensively trained staff of consultants, all with profound communications and MBA experience. mbaMission has helped thousands of candidates fulfill their dream of attending prominent MBA programs around the world. Take your first step toward a more successful MBA application experience with a free 30-minute consultation with one of mbaMission’s senior consultants. Sign up today at www.mbamission.com/manhattangmat.

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A Simple Strategy for GMAT Find the Assumption Problems [#permalink]

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New post 12 Oct 2017, 09:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: A Simple Strategy for GMAT Find the Assumption Problems
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The basic rule of GMAT Find the Assumption problems on Critical Reasoning is this:

The right answer is the only one that’s necessary to the argument.

But what does that actually mean, and how can you apply it on test day?

Think of an argument as a car. Successfully making an argument is like driving that car to the conclusion. Some parts of a car are truly necessary: the wheels and the engine, for instance. These parts of the car are like assumptions. If you take one away, you can no longer drive that car to where you’re going.

Other parts of the car, like the air conditioning, the radio, the airbags, or even the doors, aren’t necessary. Having them does make your drive more comfortable, faster, or safer. But these parts of the car are like statements that strengthen the argument. They’re nice to have, but when you take them away, you can technically still get to your destination.

When you do GMAT Find the Assumption problems, some wrong answers can be eliminated quickly. Some of them have absolutely nothing to do with the argument. If your argument is like a car, an irrelevant answer is like a xylophone or a platypus. Since a xylophone isn’t part of a car at all, you don’t need to think too hard to eliminate it.

Other ‘easy’ wrong answers are the opposite of what you’re looking for. In our car analogy, an ‘opposite’ wrong answer would be like a flat tire or a traffic jam. They’re not only unnecessary, they’re also harmful.

At this point, you’re probably down to two or three answers, and they all look pretty good. None of them disagree with the argument, and none of them are totally nonsensical.

Try the Negation Test
When you only have a few answer choices left on GMAT Find the Assumption problems, use the Negation Test to spot the right one. To use this test, go one-by-one through the remaining answers. For each one, imagine what would happen if it was false. Here’s an example:

Argument: The state government will pay a percentage of university tuition for high school students who attend a four-year university within the state. This will improve the state’s economy by increasing the number of university-educated adults in the workforce.

Question: Which of the following is an assumption made by the state government in proposing this plan?

A) High school students whose tuition is subsidized will stay within the state after graduating from college.

B) Some students who otherwise would have attended trade schools after high school will instead attend universities within the state.

C) The majority of students who receive the tuition subsidy will successfully graduate from college.

If the first answer choice was false, here’s how it would read:

High school students whose tuition is subsidized will not stay within the state after graduating from college.

This takes the wheels off of the argument. If these students leave the state after graduating, they won’t become part of the state’s workforce. It’s no longer possible for this argument to get to its destination. (A) is an assumption.

If the second answer choice was false, what would happen? This one is a little harder to negate: try it on your own before continuing.

No students who otherwise would have attended trade schools after high school will instead attend universities within the state.

Even if we get rid of the trade school students, it’s still possible that other students—maybe students who otherwise would have gone to out-of-state universities, or students who wouldn’t have gone to college at all—will accept the tuition discount. Taking away this answer choice is like taking away the air conditioning: the argument isn’t quite as good, but it can still reach its destination. That’s why (B) isn’t an assumption.

Let’s try the third one:

The majority of students who receive the tuition subsidy will not successfully graduate from college.

This is a tricky one. It certainly hurts the argument. But is it more like taking the wheels off, or more like removing the radio? The difference is in whether the argument could still get to its conclusion. In this case, it still can, even though it’s harder to get there. Even if the majority of students drop out of college, there could be a significant number of students who don’t drop out. In that case, the conclusion could still be reasonable. (C) isn’t an assumption.

What made (B) and (C) seem reasonable, though? Let’s dive a little deeper.

(B) actually strengthens the argument. If it were true, that would be a point in favor of the state government’s plan. However, an assumption has to do more than just help the argument. It has to be critical to the argument. Strengtheners are tricky wrong answers, because they do relate to the argument, and they do support the conclusion, just like assumptions do. But they break a critical rule of Critical Reasoning: they aren’t necessary.

(C)’s biggest flaw comes from the word majority. If the phrase the majority of were replaced with some, (C) would actually be an assumption. Let’s check it out:

Assumption: Some students who receive the tuition subsidy will successfully graduate from college.

Negation: No students who receive the tuition subsidy will successfully graduate from college.

Suddenly, the engine falls out of the argument! If none of these students graduate, there’ll be nobody to join the workforce. But we didn’t need a majority of them to graduate. We just needed some of them to get there.

The Short Version
When you do GMAT Find the Assumption problems, some of the answer choices will be quick to eliminate: they’ll have nothing to do with the argument, or they’ll go against the author’s reasoning. But once you’ve made those eliminations, the best way to handle the trickier answers is with the Negation Test. Reverse each answer choice in your head, then think about what just happened to the argument. Did the engine fall out of it, or was it more like breaking one of the windows? If there’s any way the argument could still get to its conclusion—even by getting there slowly and awkwardly—you didn’t find an assumption. But if the argument ends up broken down on the side of the road, you know you’ve found the right answer. Image

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 [/b]Chelsey always followed her heart when it came to her education. Luckily, her heart led her straight to the perfect background for GMAT and GRE teaching: she has undergraduate degrees in mathematics and history, a master’s degree in linguistics, a 790 on the GMAT, and a perfect 170/170 on the GRE. Check out Chelsey’s upcoming GRE prep offerings here.

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GMATPrep Reading Comprehension: Tackling a History Passage (Part 1) [#permalink]

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New post 17 Oct 2017, 10:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMATPrep Reading Comprehension: Tackling a History Passage (Part 1)
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Some people really like history-based Reading Comprehension passages—and others find them pretty boring. Either way, you’ll probably have at least one historical passage, so let’s talk about how to tackle these.

Let’s start with this: If you get a topic that you think is boring, pretend you’re reading for a friend who actually likes this topic. In fact, I go into the test already having certain friends in mind who I know like topics that I really don’t like. So I think of them when I get one of those passages—and that helps me pay more attention so that I can “tell” my friend about this passage I know they’ll like.

Next, the passage I’ve selected for you comes from the free questions that come with the GMATPrep® software. It’s got 5 questions, not just 3 or 4 as the real test will, so I’m not going to give them all to you at once. We’ll do the passage and one question today and then talk about the other questions in subsequent installments.

And let’s talk about timing. In general, give yourself approximately 2 to 3 minutes to read (on the shorter end if you’re a faster reader and/or like the topic; on the longer end if you’re a slower reader and/or hate this topic).

Give yourself about 1 to 2 minutes depending on how detailed the question is. In this case, the first question I’m giving you is a pretty general question, so I’d say to aim for just 1 minute. Total, then, give yourself about 3 to 4 minutes to read the passage and answer the first question.

Ready? Go!

“Two recent publications offer different assessments of the career of the famous British nurse Florence Nightingale. A book by Anne Summers seeks to debunk the idealizations and present a reality at odds with Nightingale’s heroic reputation. According to Summers, Nightingale’s importance during the Crimean War has been exaggerated: not until near the war’s end did she become supervisor of the female nurses. Additionally, Summers writes that the contribution of the nurses to the relief of the wounded was at best marginal. The prevailing problems of military medicine were caused by army organizational practices, and the addition of a few nurses to the medical staff could be no more than symbolic. Nightingale’s place in the national pantheon, Summers asserts, is largely due to the propagandistic efforts of contemporary newspaper reporters.

“By contrast, the editors of the new volume of Nightingale’s letters view Nightingale as a person who significantly influenced not only her own age but also subsequent generations. They highlight her ongoing efforts to reform sanitary conditions after the war. For example, when she learned that peacetime living conditions in British barracks were so horrible that the death rate of enlisted men far exceeded that of neighboring civilian populations, she succeeded in persuading the government to establish a Royal Commission on the Health of the Army. She used sums raised through public contributions to found a nurse’s training hospital in London. Even in administrative matters, the editors assert, her practical intelligence was formidable: as recently as 1947 the British Army’s medical services were still using the cost-accounting system she devised in the 1860s.

“I believe that the evidence of her letters supports continued respect for Nightingale’s brilliance and creativity. When counseling a village schoolmaster to encourage children to use their faculties of observation, she sounds like a modern educator. Her insistence on classifying the problems of the needy in order to devise appropriate treatments is similar to the approach of modern social workers. In sum, although Nightingale may not have achieved all of her goals during the Crimean War, her breadth of vision and ability to realize ambitious projects have earned her an eminent place among the ranks of social pioneers.”

“In the last paragraph, the author is primarily concerned with

“(A) summarizing the arguments about Nightingale presented in the first two paragraphs

“(B) refuting the view of Nightingale’s career presented in the preceding paragraph

“(C) analyzing the weaknesses of the evidence presented elsewhere in the passage

“(D) citing evidence to support a view of Nightingale’s career

“(E) correcting a factual error occurring in one of the works under review”

What did you think? What does your Passage Map look like? What’s the basic story (or Simple Story) here?

This is my Map:

Image

What’s the story? Summers thinks FN wasn’t so great and provides reasons why. The “editors” (whoever they are) disagree—they think FN had a great impact both in her time and in future times. And the author agrees with the second opinion: FN had a big impact both in her own time and later (though, the author acknowledges, Summers may have a small point and maybe some of FN’s achievements were exaggerated).

The passage told me up front that these two publications have different points of view, so I numbered them as I went. That helps me to keep them clear/separate from each other. (By the way, the (ex) stuff I have up there is my little shorthand for “the passage gives some examples here to support this point.”)

Interestingly, the author gives her own opinion very clearly—even using “I” in the passage. That doesn’t often happen on the GMAT. She agrees with #2 overall, though she acknowledges that #1 may have some valid points.

At this point, I hadn’t seen any of the questions yet, but I was still guessing that at least one of the questions was going to get at the difference of opinion between Summers and the “editors.” I also suspected that some trap answers were going to try to get me to mix up what each one thinks or mix up which one the author agrees with. So I made sure that I had very clear notes on that information.

Okay, let’s tackle that question. What kind of question is it?

This is a somewhat less common question type but it falls under the category of main idea or primary purpose. Instead of asking for the primary purpose of the entire passage, though, it asks for just the primary purpose of the final paragraph.

So what is the primary purpose of that paragraph? Why did the author include it?

That’s where she gave her opinion. She generally agreed with #2 (even giving some additional examples to support this view), though she acknowledged that #1 may have a point. So the correct answer should go along with this idea—she agreed with the side presented in the second paragraph.

Let’s check the answers.

“(A) summarizing the arguments about Nightingale presented in the first two paragraphs”

This choice is very neutral, but paragraph 3 is not neutral. She doesn’t just summarize some stuff—she definitely agrees with the second view and even provides new examples to support that view. (I would guess that this one is a trap answer for someone who thinks that this is a regular Primary Purpose question—the passage overall is about these two different arguments, but the third paragraph does not just summarize them.)

“(B) refuting the view of Nightingale’s career presented in the preceding paragraph”

Whoops, wrong paragraph. The “preceding” paragraph is the second one, but she agrees with the second paragraph. You could say she refutes the view presented in the first paragraph—but not the second one.

“(C) analyzing the weaknesses of the evidence presented elsewhere in the passage”

She doesn’t dive into the other evidence presented earlier. Rather, she provides new evidence to support one of the points of view.

“(D) citing evidence to support a view of Nightingale’s career”

Yes! This is it. She does cite new evidence and she does support one particular view (the one presented in the second paragraph).

“(E) correcting a factual error occurring in one of the works under review”

She doesn’t say that any of the earlier info is wrong. Rather, she provides additional evidence to further support the view that Nightingale did actually have a significant, positive impact on the world. This one isn’t it either.

The correct answer is (D).

Key Takeaways for Reading Comprehension
(1) Map the passage. Make sure to delineate each paragraph and represent the main message (but not all of the details) in your map. Pay particular attention to any contrasts or changes of direction (sometimes called twists) in the passage.

(2) As you make your Map, articulate the Simple Story to yourself—and keep it very big picture. What will you tell your friend afterwards? You wouldn’t get into all of the specific details; you’d mostly just tell her the main ideas/simple story.

(3) Main Idea questions might sometimes ask you about just one paragraph instead of the entire passage. When this happens, make sure you focus in on just that one paragraph. Image

* GMATPrep® questions courtesy of the Graduate Management Admissions Council. Usage of this question does not imply endorsement by GMAC.

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Stacey Koprince is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Montreal, Canada and Los Angeles, California. Stacey has been teaching the GMAT, GRE, and LSAT  for more than 15 years and is one of the most well-known instructors in the industry. Stacey loves to teach and is absolutely fascinated by standardized tests. Check out Stacey’s upcoming GMAT courses here.

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mbaMission Releases INSEAD Insider’s Guide and Updated Interview Guide [#permalink]

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New post 23 Oct 2017, 08:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: mbaMission Releases INSEAD Insider’s Guide and Updated Interview Guides for 2017-2018
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We at mbaMission are proud to announce a new addition to our extensive trove of free Insider’s Guides: the INSEAD Insider’s Guide! Informed by firsthand insight from students, alumni, program representatives, and admissions officers, the INSEAD Insider’s Guide offers detailed descriptions of the following:

  • Defining characteristics of the school’s location, class size, curriculum, teaching methods, facilities, alumni base/involvement, and rankings
  • Courses, experiential opportunities, faculty, and clubs related to MBAs’ most common career areas (consulting, finance, entrepreneurship, etc.)
  • The admissions committee’s stance on GMAT/GRE/TOEFL scores, recommendations, the waitlist, layoffs/unemployment, and other application elements
  • Notable INSEAD professors and social/community events
  • Special year-over-year tables of rankings, class profile statistics, and top industries for each program
We created our school-specific Insider’s Guides to help inform today’s MBA hopefuls with a comprehensive picture of the resources, environments, activities, and communities at each school, so they can choose the program that is truly best for them. Download your free copy of each of our comprehensive Insider’s Guides today!

Drawing on our experience in preparing countless clients for their MBA interviews, we have also updated our series of Interview Primers, which now covers 17 individual top-ranked schools, for the 2017–2018 admissions season! The primers feature valuable information about the programs’ interview processes, notoriously difficult questions, and past applicants’ experiences.

To help you understand what to expect in an interview with your target school and prepare accordingly, each Interview Primer provides the following useful details:

  • Insight into what the school is evaluating and hoping to gain from the interview
  • An explanation of the school’s approach to interviewing (self-scheduled or invite only, blind versus comprehensive, etc.)
  • Lists of the school’s most common questions and themes
  • Past applicants’ firsthand accounts of their interview experiences
  • Tips on preparing for and responding to common question types
  • Help with formulating compelling questions of your own
  • Advice on managing the entire interview process, from scheduling to thank you notes
Download the primers free of charge to ensure you are ready to rock your interview! Image

ImagembaMission is the leader in MBA admissions consulting with a full-time and comprehensively trained staff of consultants, all with profound communications and MBA experience. mbaMission has helped thousands of candidates fulfill their dream of attending prominent MBA programs around the world. Take your first step toward a more successful MBA application experience with a free 30-minute consultation with one of mbaMission’s senior consultants. Sign up today at www.mbamission.com/manhattangmat.

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What Really Matters on GMAT Reading Comp [#permalink]

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New post 23 Oct 2017, 08:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: What Really Matters on GMAT Reading Comp
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Guess what? You can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free—we’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

How are you supposed to get better at GMAT Reading Comp? You’re already pretty good at reading, we must admit. After all, you’re doing it now. When you see a word, your brain recognizes it without you even trying. Seriously, try not to read this word: slurp. You can’t not read it.

…Slurp was a weird word, wasn’t it.

So how does the GMAT make questions that, at their most difficult, stump over half of test takers?

In one sense, the answer is obvious. There are simple sentences like this one. However, there are also sentences of a markedly increased complexity, generally ones that involve several different clauses or phrases, often using many reference points a reader must use in order to fully understand the intended meaning therein, and of which it could be said the author has intentionally obfuscated his or her point in the desire to appear intelligent (confession: I don’t know if that sentence is even remotely grammatically correct). The good news is that the more exposure you have to this sort of writing, the better (and faster) you will understand it.

Yet another difficulty comes with the subject matter. The GMAT passages will discuss difficult and obscure topics, and very often ones that are unusually unbusinessy for a business school test. Why, dear Hera, do you need to understand a passage about complicated chemistry when you’re not trying to be a chemist? The answer is, of course, that the chemistry is not really the important part of the passage.

Generally, there are five big things to look out for in GMAT Reading Comp:

  • Who thinks what (any beliefs/theories/ideas/opinions) and why (the premises for said beliefs/theories/ideas/opinions)
  • Comparisons (any time the similarities/differences of two or more different things are discussed)
  • Changes (any time some thing becomes another thing)
  • Cause and Effect (any time some thing makes some other thing happen)
  • Disagreements (any time people or groups think differently)
Notice that this list is totally devoid of context. The GMAT doesn’t care if you’re comparing the business strategies of Google and Yahoo, possible explanations for an increased rate of oxidation, or opinions about which Harry Potter book is best (the fourth, obviously), so long as you note that there is a comparison. Notice also that these structures will often overlap. A change usually compares the circumstances before and after, and often comes with whatever caused that change to occur. A disagreement is merely a comparison of beliefs.

Whatever the GMAT Reading Comp passage is ‘about’ doesn’t really matter. What matters is what the author says about whatever the passage is about. You don’t really need to understand the passage in order to understand the relationships within it. To really drive this point home, I demonstrate to you the Gibberish Passage.

The Gibberish Passage is written in GMAT Reading Comp style but makes not a lick of sense. Reading with the hope of fully understanding the material will be as disappointing as my first kiss (I’m still sorry, Julie). The passages are a mess of hot garbage. Below are two gibberish paragraphs, one of my own creation, another directly adapted from the first paragraph of an actual OG passage but with all context stripped. As you read, try to make notes as you would for an RC passage map.

Gibberish Passage 1: The Krumpling Brinnovich

After evidence was obtained in 1066 that implied that the brinnovich were krumpling, it became a common question to ask: will they always krumple, or do they have enough gastrointestinality to cause the krumpling to billabong? It was known that the volume of gastrointestines that could stop the krumpling of the brinnovich was 1.21 Gigawatts. But the volume of the Redrum brinnovich—enormous derwins in the shape of pollywogs—came to only 1% of this. If the krumpling of the brinnovich were to stop, there must be enough minuscule derwins among the brinnovich to outweigh the enormous derwins by 50 trillion British tonnes.

One student of mine asked after reading that, “Were you high when you wrote this?” which, fair. But I said no, I was not, and told her: find the things that matter.

  • Will the brinnovich always krumple, or could that change?
  • What could cause the change? (A certain volume of gastrointestines)
  • Brinnovich are apparently made up of Redrum brinnovich (enormous derwins) and Non-Redrum brinnovich (minuscule derwins); (a comparison of two types of things)
  • If the brinnovich are to stop krumpling, need a lot more miniscule derwins (cause/effect, a theory)
What are brinnovich? What is ‘to krumple?’ Why did I describe a volume in Gigawatts? Who cares? It does not matter. This is reading at the ‘second order.’ Second order thinking is pervasive in many aspects of the GMAT. Here, you’re not thinking about what the words are, but how the words are arranged—what goal they are achieving.

Try another:

Gibberish Passage 2: What Are Gadzoinks?

After years of study, Lionel Humpherdickle thought gadzoinks were actually a form of a nectopherosis. He spent the later years of his life experimenting, and while he got close, he was never able to prove his theories true. His flagellator was able to show with near certainty that gadzoinks were yakakakakas, a zipperpopper known to be very similar to nectopherosis. This only cemented his beliefs, and for decades, his ideas were taken as truisms, as no one could provide any evidence to the contrary until Dante Photosynthesis, when he was studying underbelly-stellmans, discovered by complete accident that gadzoinks were not nectopherosis, or even, indeed, yakakakakas: they were billabong beach sandals. The reason Humpherdickle had mistaken them for gadzoinks was because yakakakakas and billabong beach sandals have virtually identical polarities, and the flagellator Humpherdickle had used was not tuned enough to notice such a subtle distinction.

Obvious chaos. But what matters?

  • Lionel thought gadzoinks were nectopherosis (who thinks what) because (and why) he showed gadzoinks were yakakakakas, which are similar to nectopherosis (a comparison)
  • This belief changed with Dante’s experiment
  • Gadzoinks are actually billabong beach sandals (new belief)
  • Lionel’s mistake was caused by his tool that couldn’t detect the difference in the near identical polarities (comparison) of yakakakakas and billabong beach sandals.
These are the structures that really tell us the point of the passage. That is, what the author is saying about ‘what the passage is about.’ This is what you read for.

You can try to make gibberish passages yourself. After you’ve got some experience with GMAT Reading Comp under your belt, take a passage from the OG and turn it into gibberish. What parts will you keep? What parts can you change without really messing with the ‘point?’ You’ll find that this will deepen your understanding of how they construct the passage—and what information they will ask about. Image

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Reed ArnoldImage
 is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in New York, NY.
 He has a B.A. in economics, philosophy, and mathematics and an M.S. in commerce, both from the University of Virginia. He enjoys writing, acting, Chipotle burritos, and teaching the GMAT. Check out Reed’s upcoming GMAT courses here.

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When to Stop Studying for the GMAT [#permalink]

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New post 24 Oct 2017, 11:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: When to Stop Studying for the GMAT
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Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

Studying for the GMAT is likely one of the hardest things that you’ll ever do. Many of my former students tell me that studying for the GMAT was way harder than business school classes!

So what happens when you’ve spent months of your time studying, invested money in a class or books, put your heart and soul into trying to increase your score… but you still haven’t hit your goal? Here’s the uncomfortable truth:

You Might Not Hit Your Goal Score
As an educator, I’m deeply invested in doing whatever I can to help all my students succeed, but I also don’t believe in sugar-coating or building false hope. I know that even with months or years of hard work, not everyone is going to get above a 700.

Personally, I know that if I worked with the best personal trainer in the world for months, I could become significantly stronger and more agile. But no amount of hard work would turn me into an Olympic gymnast. I’m just not built for exceptional (or even above-average) athleticism. At a certain point—despite all the effort I could muster—there would be vanishing returns on the athletic skills I could achieve.

The same is true when studying for the GMAT: after a certain point, everyone hits a threshold of vanishing returns, after which all the studying in the world won’t yield a score increase. (For me, it’s 780-790. I make too many careless mistakes to ever get a perfect score!)

You might be thinking, “Wow, this is really discouraging.” (You might also be thinking, “What is she thinking? Shouldn’t she be telling me that I’ll succeed if I just buy more books or resources or tutoring hours?” Absolutely not! My mission is always to do what’s in the best interest of my students, and I would never want anyone to spend time or money on anything that wasn’t going to bring results. Every one of my colleagues would agree.)

But don’t despair yet: here are several reasons why it’s ok to stop studying for the GMAT before you hit your goal score.

1. The GMAT is not the most important part of your application.
This surprises some people, but it’s true. Business schools care about the whole applicant: work history, undergraduate record, hobbies and interests, etc. They want someone who is going to be an all-around asset to their class.

If you have a 770 GMAT score but a low GPA and resume that shows no initiative or leadership… you’re not going to get into a top school. The GMAT score alone won’t get you in. On the other hand, if you have a very impressive resume but a lower GMAT score, you might be able to get into a top school. Schools can overlook the GMAT if they have enough other data points to believe that you’d be an asset.

2. Your time might be better spent improving other parts of your application.
Let’s say that you’ve been studying for the GMAT for 4 months, you’ve learned all the content, and your practice exam scores have gone from 530 to 610 to 640 to 660… to 670… to 670… but they’re not budging from there. You’ve taken the real test twice and got a 660, then a 680. Your goal is to get a 700-720.

Option 1: You could spend another 2-4 months grinding away, spending every spare hour studying, in the hopes of bringing your score up a few more points.

Option 2: You could spend that time doing more volunteering, perhaps taking on a leadership position in an organization. You could take an online or extended-learning class in finance or accounting to demonstrate interest and academic prowess. You could help your friend build an app for her new startup. You could write an article and get it published, etc., etc.

A GMAT score increase might seem more immediately necessary, because that’s what will be measured directly against other candidates. But I assure you, some version of Option 2 is the much better option: that’s what will make you unique and stand out among the competition! Think about the things you could put on an application that no one else could, then think of ways to accentuate those things.

If you’re looking for advice on how to make yourself stand out, I recommend doing a free consultation with our partners at mbamission.com.

So How Do I Know When I Should Stop?
Here’s a flowchart of questions to help you decide:

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It can be disappointing to let go of a goal before you’ve fully reached it. But if you’ve put real, significant effort into your studies and gotten as far as you reasonably can, it’s the prudent decision to ignore the sunk costs and invest your time elsewhere.

Making prudent, rational decisions about what to invest time, energy, and money into—isn’t that what business school is all about? Image

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Céilidh Erickson is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Boston, MA. When she tells people that her name is pronounced “kay-lee,” she often gets puzzled looks. Céilidh is a graduate of Princeton University and a master’s candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Tutoring was always the job that brought her the greatest joy and challenge, so she decided to make it her full-time job. Check out Céilidh’s upcoming GMAT courses (she scored a 760, so you’re in great hands).

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Mission Admission: Why a Personalized MBA Recommendation Matters, but  [#permalink]

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FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Mission Admission: Why a Personalized MBA Recommendation Matters, but Details Sometimes Do Not
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Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips from our exclusive admissions consulting partner, mbaMission.

If your supervisor is writing your MBA recommendation and you are having trouble ensuring that he/she is putting the proper thought and effort into your letter, you are not alone. Because of this asymmetry of power, a junior employee can only do so much to compel his/her supervisor to commit the necessary time and write thoughtfully. So, before you designate your supervisor as a recommender, you must first perceive how committed this person really is to helping you with your business school candidacy. In particular, your recommender needs to understand that using a single template to create identical letters for multiple business schools is not okay. Each letter must be personalized, and each MBA program’s questions must be answered using specific examples.

If your recommender intends to simply write a single letter and force it to “fit” the school’s questions or to attach a standard letter to the end of the school’s recommendation form (for example, including it in the question “Is there anything else that you think the committee should know about the candidate?”), then he/she could be doing you a disservice. By neglecting to put the proper time and effort into your letter, your recommender is sending a very clear message to the admissions committee: “I don’t really care about this candidate.”

If you cannot convince your recommender to write a personalized MBA recommendation or to respond to your target school’s individual questions using specific examples, look elsewhere. A well-written, personalized MBA recommendation from an interested party is always far better than a poorly-written letter from your supervisor.

In addition, although details are important in recommendation letters, remember that sometimes small points are really just that—small points. We often get asked, “Should this be a comma or a semicolon?” and want to respond, “Please trust us that the admissions committee will not say, ‘Oh, I would have accepted this applicant if she had used a comma here, but she chose a semicolon, so DING!’” That said, we are certainly not telling you to ignore the small things. Details matter—the overall impression your application makes will depend in part on your attention to typos, font consistency, and grammar, for example—but we encourage you to make smart and reasonable decisions and move on. You can be confident that your judgment on such topics will likely be sufficient. Image

ImagembaMission is the leader in MBA admissions consulting with a full-time and comprehensively trained staff of consultants, all with profound communications and MBA experience. mbaMission has helped thousands of candidates fulfill their dream of attending prominent MBA programs around the world. Take your first step toward a more successful MBA application experience with a free 30-minute consultation with one of mbaMission’s senior consultants. Sign up today at www.mbamission.com/manhattangmat.

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Why Isn’t My GMAT Score Going Up? [#permalink]

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FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Why Isn’t My GMAT Score Going Up?
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Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

So, you took your first practice GMAT a couple of months ago, and you immediately knew that you could do better. You spent the last month or two studying—maybe you even enrolled in our 9-week complete GMAT course. You’re feeling much more comfortable with the test, and you know you’ve learned a lot. But when you took your second practice test, you got a nasty surprise: your GMAT score hadn’t improved at all. What’s going on?

You’re not alone. Far from it. In fact, I’d be more surprised if your GMAT score had gone up a lot between your first and second practice tests. What happened to you happens to so many people that it even has a name: the “second practice test effect.” Let’s dive in to some GMAT theory and learning science and see why it happens.

The first part of the answer has to do with guessing and timing. If you want to succeed on the GMAT, you have to guess. You also have to finish the whole test without running out of time. If you don’t guess, or if you run out of time or have to rush, your GMAT score won’t be as high as it could be. The surprising thing is, it’s much harder to handle your timing on your second practice test than it was on the first one!

When you took your first practice test, there were a lot of topics you just didn’t know or didn’t remember. It might have been ten or fifteen years since you last studied math or grammar. When you saw a question that you didn’t understand at all, what did you do? You took a guess and moved on. You knew that you weren’t going to get it, so there was no reason to waste time.

Now that you’ve been studying for a while, and you’ve seen most of the topics on the GMAT, it’s going to be much harder to tell when you’re supposed to guess. You no longer have that “I’m totally clueless about this problem” feeling to guide you. On your second practice test, this may have caused you to commit your time and energy to problems that you shouldn’t have attempted. You understood the problem, but you couldn’t quite follow through—but you didn’t realize that until it was too late! Weak timing and strategy can really hold back your GMAT score.

Check out this series of articles for more info about how and when to guess, and keep practicing. Remember that you don’t have to be totally clueless about a problem in order to guess on it. Sometimes, guessing is the right choice even on a problem that you know you could solve. It’s all about spending your limited time and energy on the right problems, to maximize your overall GMAT score.

Here’s the other part of the “second practice test effect”: content mastery. The GMAT doesn’t test very many different topics. Your understanding of each of those topics exists on a spectrum, from ‘completely clueless’ to ‘100% mastery.’ As you study, you’ll go through a number of different stages:

  • You might know what the topic looks like but not really understand the rules.
  • You might understand the rules when someone explains them to you, but not be able to do most problems on your own.
  • You might be able to do problems with a bit of help or guidance (for instance, from your GMAT instructor or from a written explanation), but not be able to do them completely blind.
  • You might be able to do problems totally on your own when you’re practicing, but not when you’re stressed out and under pressure on test day.
The problem is, the test doesn’t know how well you understand fractions or verb tense; it only knows whether you got a problem right or wrong. When it comes to your GMAT score, there’s no difference between “getting a problem wrong because you have no idea what to do,” and “getting a problem wrong because you almost got it right, but missed one tiny thing.” But in the greater scheme of things, there’s a huge difference! You’re probably much better at math and English now than you were a few months ago. But it won’t necessarily be reflected in your score until you’ve really spent time reviewing topics you’ve already looked at, and practicing the basic skills until they become automatic. Don’t settle for simply understanding a topic. Keep practicing the topics you already understand until you can do them in your sleep.

If your second practice test score wasn’t higher than your first one, you might be wondering what you’re doing wrong. Well, you might not be doing anything wrong at all. When you study for the GMAT, you’re not just memorizing a bunch of facts so you can repeat them back on test day. You’re actually trying to become smarter, more creative, and better at executive reasoning. That’s more possible than you might think. But it does take time and patience. Hang in there! Review the work you’ve done so far, keep practicing, and take another practice test in a few weeks—the next one will probably go better. Image

Want more guidance from our GMAT gurus? You can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free! We’re not kidding. Check out our upcoming courses here.

[b]Chelsey CooleyImage
 is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Seattle, Washington.
 [/b]Chelsey always followed her heart when it came to her education. Luckily, her heart led her straight to the perfect background for GMAT and GRE teaching: she has undergraduate degrees in mathematics and history, a master’s degree in linguistics, a 790 on the GMAT, and a perfect 170/170 on the GRE. Check out Chelsey’s upcoming GRE prep offerings here.

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GMATPrep Reading Comprehension: Tackling a History Passage (Part 2) [#permalink]

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FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMATPrep Reading Comprehension: Tackling a History Passage (Part 2)
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In the first installment of this series, we deconstructed a Reading Comprehension history passage from the GMATPrep® free question set. I gave you the full history passage plus one problem. Today, I have the second problem for you.

Here is the history passage again, plus the problem. (Note: if you haven’t read part 1 yet, I recommend going back there first. If you’d like to do both problems in a row, feel free.)

“Two recent publications offer different assessments of the career of the famous British nurse Florence Nightingale. A book by Anne Summers seeks to debunk the idealizations and present a reality at odds with Nightingale’s heroic reputation. According to Summers, Nightingale’s importance during the Crimean War has been exaggerated: not until near the war’s end did she become supervisor of the female nurses. Additionally, Summers writes that the contribution of the nurses to the relief of the wounded was at best marginal. The prevailing problems of military medicine were caused by army organizational practices, and the addition of a few nurses to the medical staff could be no more than symbolic. Nightingale’s place in the national pantheon, Summers asserts, is largely due to the propagandistic efforts of contemporary newspaper reporters.

“By contrast, the editors of the new volume of Nightingale’s letters view Nightingale as a person who significantly influenced not only her own age but also subsequent generations. They highlight her ongoing efforts to reform sanitary conditions after the war. For example, when she learned that peacetime living conditions in British barracks were so horrible that the death rate of enlisted men far exceeded that of neighboring civilian populations, she succeeded in persuading the government to establish a Royal Commission on the Health of the Army. She used sums raised through public contributions to found a nurse’s training hospital in London. Even in administrative matters, the editors assert, her practical intelligence was formidable: as recently as 1947 the British Army’s medical services were still using the cost-accounting system she devised in the 1860s.

“I believe that the evidence of her letters supports continued respect for Nightingale’s brilliance and creativity. When counseling a village schoolmaster to encourage children to use their faculties of observation, she sounds like a modern educator. Her insistence on classifying the problems of the needy in order to devise appropriate treatments is similar to the approach of modern social workers. In sum, although Nightingale may not have achieved all of her goals during the Crimean War, her breadth of vision and ability to realize ambitious projects have earned her an eminent place among the ranks of social pioneers.”

“The passage suggests which of the following about Nightingale’s relationship with the British public of her day?

“(A) She was highly respected, her projects receiving popular and governmental support.

“(B) She encountered resistance both from the army establishment and the general public.

“(C) She was supported by the working classes and opposed by the wealthier classes.

“(D) She was supported by the military establishment but had to fight the governmental bureaucracy.

“(E) After initially being received with enthusiasm, she was quickly forgotten.”

Here’s my Map again:

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And here’s my little mental summary of the story:

Summers thinks FN wasn’t so great and provides reasons why. The “editors” (whoever they are) disagree—they think FN had a great impact both in her time and in future times. And the author agrees with the second opinion: FN had a big impact both in her own time and later (though, the author acknowledges, Summers may have a small point and maybe some of FN’s achievements were exaggerated).

Okay, let’s answer this thing!

Step 1: Identify the Question
The word suggests in the question stem indicates that this is an Inference question. Remind yourself briefly what that means.

On Inference questions, we have to find something that we can definitely deduce from some information in the passage. This inference must be true (according to info from the passage).

Step 2: Find the Proof

Step 3: Predict the Answer

Nightingale is all over the passage, so we need to focus in on the other keywords: the British public of her day. Where does the passage talk about how Nightingale’s contemporaries felt about her?

It does this in multiple places. The first paragraph says that Nightingale has a heroic reputation. (Note: even though Summers argues that she doesn’t deserve that reputation, it’s still what people think —and thought in the past.) Summers also thinks Nightingale’s importance … has been exaggerated—so people thought she was really important.

The second paragraph says Nightingale significantly influenced … her own age. The other examples here talk about her persuading the government to do something and raising sums, so the government listened to her and people donated money for her to do things.

Despite the fact that Summers doesn’t think Nightingale deserves all this acclaim, it’s still the case that most people think—and thought, back then—that she did great things. So the correct answer should basically say that people thought Nightingale was great.

Step 4: Eliminate and Find a Match
“(A) She was highly respected, her projects receiving popular and governmental support.”

These are all good things; they match what we said above. Leave this one in.

“(B) She encountered resistance both from the army establishment and the general public.”

No, she didn’t. Summers doesn’t think Nightingale fully deserves her reputation, but the examples in the passage don’t indicate that anyone back then resisted what she wanted to do. Eliminate.

“(C) She was supported by the working classes and opposed by the wealthier classes.”

The passage doesn’t say that she was opposed by anyone, nor does it make any distinction between working classes and wealthier classes. Eliminate.

“(D) She was supported by the military establishment but had to fight the governmental bureaucracy.”

It does sound like the military supported her—but the government did, too (she succeeded in persuading the government…). Eliminate.

“(E) After initially being received with enthusiasm, she was quickly forgotten.”

She wasn’t forgotten at all! In fact, that’s Summers’ point: Summers thinks that Nightingale is too highly praised or remembered. Summers probably thinks that Nightingale should have been more forgotten. Eliminate.

The correct answer is (A).

Key Takeaways for Tackling a History Passage on GMAT Reading Comprehension
(1) Map the passage and articulate the Simple Story to yourself.

(2) Use the Map and Story to figure out where to look in the passage for specific detail questions. Most of the time, the question will point you to one specific area of the passage. Sometimes, as on this problem, you’ll need to gather information from multiple parts of the passage.

(3) Inference questions ask you to deduce something that must be true from information given in the passage. Watch out for traps that try to get you to infer something that might plausibly be true but don’t have to be true according to the given information. Also look for traps that try to mix up the information in the passage. In this case, Summers doesn’t think Nightingale deserves her reputation—but the question asks about the opinion of the British public of Nightingale’s day, not Summers’ opinion. Image

* GMATPrep® questions courtesy of the Graduate Management Admissions Council. Usage of this question does not imply endorsement by GMAC.

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Stacey Koprince is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Montreal, Canada and Los Angeles, California. Stacey has been teaching the GMAT, GRE, and LSAT  for more than 15 years and is one of the most well-known instructors in the industry. Stacey loves to teach and is absolutely fascinated by standardized tests. Check out Stacey’s upcoming GMAT courses here.

The post GMATPrep Reading Comprehension: Tackling a History Passage (Part 2) appeared first on GMAT.
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Dartmouth Tuck Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 [#permalink]

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FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Dartmouth Tuck Essay Analysis, 2017-2018
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How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Dartmouth Tuck essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.

The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College has remained largely constant with its first essay question this year, making just a slight change in wording that does not appear to affect the content requested—the candidate’s career goals, why an MBA is needed to achieve them, and his or her reasons for targeting Tuck. The school’s second required essay prompt has changed notably, however. Applicants are now asked to share the story of a difficult time and to explain how they responded and how the incident altered their understanding of themselves. An optional essay is also available to allow those who truly need to to address any weaknesses in their candidacy. Although none of the essays should exceed 500 words (approximately three times the length of this introductory paragraph), we feel that together, they give candidates sufficient opportunity to provide the admissions committee with a multifaceted impression of themselves for evaluation. In our Dartmouth Tuck essay analysis, we offer our advice for approaching each of Tuck’s prompts for this season…

Essay 1: What are your short- and long-term goals? Why is an MBA a critical next step toward achieving those goals? Why are you interested in Tuck specifically? (500 words)
If this essay prompt seems rather simplistic and straightforward, that is because it is. Tuck is requesting very fundamental—yet incredibly important—information and really just wants you to provide it so the school can understand your motivation for pursuing a Tuck MBA and where you expect to go in your career afterward. Be as specific as possible in your description of where you see yourself after graduation and several years down the line, from the industry and role to any additional details about which you currently feel confident (perhaps specific companies or responsibilities that appeal to you in particular). Explain what has brought you to this point in your professional life, not only your career progression to date but also what has inspired you to earn an advanced degree as a vital tool in moving forward. And absolutely do not gloss over the third part of the school’s question, which requests that you note which of the program’s resources you believe will be most helpful to you in your pursuits. This last portion needs to be more than a passing mention, so do your research on the school and draw a clear picture for your admissions reader as to how and why the particular offerings you have identified relate directly to your needs and how you intend to apply them.

This essay includes many of the most elemental components of a traditional personal statement essay. We therefore encourage you to download your free copy of the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, in which we provide much more in-depth guidance on how to consider and respond to these sorts of questions, along with numerous illustrative examples. Please feel free to download your complimentary copy today.

And for a thorough exploration of Dartmouth Tuck’s academic program, unique resources, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, standout professors, and other key features, consider downloading a copy of the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the Tuck School of Business, which is also available for free.

Essay 2: Tuck’s mission is to educate wise leaders to better the world of business. Wisdom encompasses the essential aptitudes of confident humility, about what one does and does not know; empathy, towards the diverse ideas and experiences of others; and judgment, about when and how to take risks for the better.
With Tuck’s mission in mind, and with a focus on confident humility, tell us about a time you:
  • received tough feedback,
  • experienced failure, or
  • disappointed yourself or others.
How did you respond, and what did you learn about yourself as a result? (500 words)
To start, let us point out that the school does not specify from which realm of your life—professional, personal, or community-related—the story you choose to share here must come. This means you can plumb the entirety of your experiences for the one you believe best fulfills what the school wants to see—“personal accountability and action,” as it states in a Tuck 360 blog post about this season’s essays—and about which you feel most strongly. Likewise, whether you choose the feedback, failure, or disappointment option is not what is important here (no one of these is “right” while any other is “wrong”). The admissions committee wants to know that the incident you are showcasing was truly significant for you and had a meaningful impact, so let that be your guide.

Tuck also wants evidence that you are capable of reflecting, learning, and growing. If you are not able to do this, the school might assume that you simply do not have the necessary qualities to be a strong, contributing member of its next incoming class, let alone a standout manager later in your life. Strive to describe a kind of “before and after” situation in which the input you received, the setback you encountered, or the chagrin you experienced served as an inflection point that triggered a dramatic change in you. One way to approach this is by crafting a narrative that involves momentum in one direction that is suddenly derailed when you hit the stumbling block in question and are ultimately changed.

Given that you have just 500 words with which to set the scene and discuss the three components the school requests—a description of your selected experience, your response to it, and what you ultimately discovered about yourself—we suggest that you forego any kind of general introduction and launch directly into your story, immediately placing your reader in the middle of the action. Similarly, avoid mentioning several different experiences (perhaps for fear of offering the “wrong” one) and focus just on one that you describe in detail. Let the narrative unfold naturally, making sure that the basics of the feedback, failure, or disappointment are clearly presented. Then, explicitly address the feelings and thoughts you had as a result and any subsequent actions you took.

The other crucial element of this essay is demonstrating that you learned from the experience—do not gloss over this part or offer a trite or clichéd statement as a kind of afterthought. And specifically, you must share that you learned something about yourself. So, claiming that you gained a new skill, for example, would not constitute an appropriate response. You will need to delve more deeply into how your understanding of yourself differed after the situation and clearly explain what the experience brought out in you that you had not known about yourself before. Your unique thoughts on this point can differentiate you from other applicants, and showing that you recognize how the incident changed you demonstrates your self-awareness and capacity for growth. The school does not want to know only that you have faced and overcome a challenge but also how it has contributed to the person you are today.

Optional Essay: Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere and may be helpful in reviewing your application (e.g., unusual choice of evaluators, weaknesses in academic performance, unexplained job gaps or changes, etc.). Complete this question only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.
You may be tempted to take advantage of this optional essay as an opportunity to share an additional compelling story or to highlight a part of your profile that you fear might be overlooked or undervalued, but we strongly encourage you to resist this temptation. Submit an optional essay here only if your candidacy truly needs it. Consider what the school says about this essay from the aforementioned Tuck 360 blog post: “If you give us an extra five paragraphs to read and it’s not necessary, we will question your judgment or your ability to express yourself succinctly elsewhere.” You really cannot get much clearer than that! So again, only if your profile has a noticeable gap of some kind or an issue that would might raise a red flag or elicit questions on the part of an admissions officer—such as a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT/GRE score, a gap in your work experience, an arrest, etc.—should you take this opportunity to provide additional information. Download a free copy of our mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, in which we offer detailed advice on deciding whether to take advantage of the optional essay as well as on how to do so effectively (with multiple sample essays) to help you mitigate any problem areas in your profile.

Reapplicant Essay: (To be completed by all reapplicants) How have you strengthened your candidacy since you last applied? Please reflect on how you have grown personally and professionally.
Whether you have improved your academic record, received a promotion, begun a new and exciting project, increased your community involvement, or taken on some sort of personal challenge, the key to success with this essay is conveying a very deliberate path of achievement. Tuck wants to know that you have been actively striving to improve yourself and your profile, and that you have seized opportunities during the previous year to do so, because a Tuck MBA is vital to you. The responses to this essay question will vary greatly from one candidate to the next, because each person’s needs and experiences differ. We are more than happy to provide one-on-one assistance with this highly personal essay to ensure that your efforts over the past year are presented in the best light possible. Image

ImagembaMission is the leader in MBA admissions consulting with a full-time and comprehensively trained staff of consultants, all with profound communications and MBA experience. mbaMission has helped thousands of candidates fulfill their dream of attending prominent MBA programs around the world. Take your first step toward a more successful MBA application experience with a free 30-minute consultation with one of mbaMission’s senior consultants. Sign up today at www.mbamission.com/manhattangmat.

The post Dartmouth Tuck Essay Analysis, 2017-2018 appeared first on GMAT.
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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Dartmouth Tuck Essay Analysis, 2017-2018   [#permalink] 02 Nov 2017, 09:01

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