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Everything You Need to Know about GMAT Time Management, Part 1  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Sep 2019, 14:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Everything You Need to Know about GMAT Time Management, Part 1
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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.

First, a note: this three-part series is long; there’s a lot going on. You aren’t going to be able to incorporate all of this from day one. Rather, expect to return to this article as you get further into your studies. Make a note right now that you want to review this before every practice test (and probably after, too!).

In this first part, we’re going to get oriented on some overall principles for GMAT time management. Let’s dive in!

GMAT Time Management Tip 1) Why is Time Management So Important?
The GMAT is ultimately a test of your decision-making, AKA your executive reasoning skills. In school, when you got really good at something, the test felt easier and you were able to answer questions faster. On the GMAT, the test adapts to your level (for the Quant and Verbal sections). As a result, no matter how good you get, the test is going to feel hard and you’re going to feel pressed for time.

If you run out of time with a bunch of questions to go, then your score is going to nose-dive right at the end of the section. The GMAT is essentially a “where you end is what you get” test, so a score drop at the end is deadly. You have no time to recover and lift your score back up.

At the same time, it can be problematic to go really fast. Speed often translates into careless mistakes, and if you miss too many questions that you really did know how to do, your score is going to be lower than it could have been.

So, generally speaking, your goal is to be roughly on time throughout the section. You don’t have to stick super-rigidly to the exact timing. On certain questions, you will be somewhat faster or slower than the average.

So we’re going to use this rubric: if you’re within about 3 minutes of where you’re supposed to be, then everything is fine. Keep doing what you’re doing. If you’re more than 3 minutes fast or slow, take action.

That begs three questions:

  • How do I know where I’m supposed to be?
  • What action do I take if I’m too slow? Too fast?
  • How do I mostly stay on time throughout the test in the first place?
Read on to learn the answers.

GMAT Time Management Tip 2) Know (Generally) how the Scoring Works
The Quant and Verbal sections of the GMAT are weird. The scoring is totally different than what you were used to in school. If you try to take the GMAT the way you took school tests, you’re probably going to mess up the timing and that’s probably going to prevent you from maximizing your score.

You don’t have to really learn how the GMAT algorithm works, but there are certain things you need to know.

(A) Everyone gets a lot of questions wrong, no matter the scoring level. Pretend you’re playing tennis. You don’t expect to win every point, right? That’d be silly. You just want to win more points than your opponent! On the GMAT, most people answer about 60% of the questions correctly in each section, regardless of scoring level.

(B) Getting an easier question wrong hurts your score more than getting a harder question wrong. It’s important not to put yourself in the position of rushing and making tons of careless mistakes. (Note: it is still very possible to get the score you want even if you make mistakes on just a few of the easier questions.)

(C) Missing 4 or more questions in a row hurts your score more than getting 4 “spread-out” questions wrong. This, of course, is exactly what happens to someone who runs out of time towards the end of the section.

(D) If you don’t even answer the last 4, the score drop will be greater than if you answer the last 4 but get them all wrong. It’s okay if you don’t get to the very last question in the section; just one question can’t kill your score. However, your score will drop a lot if you don’t answer a bunch of questions at the end.

The overall message? It’s crucial to learn how to balance your time well on the GMAT.

GMAT Time Management Tip 3) When Solving Problems, Follow Two Principles
These two principles apply when you are solving Official Guide or other GMAT-format problems.

Principle 1: Practice the behavior you want to exhibit on the GMAT.

Do not let yourself spend 5 minutes on this question because you’re just practicing and you want to see whether you can figure it out. If you do this, you’re training yourself to spend 5 minutes on the real test, too. Make the decision: “Right now, on the real test, I would pick answer (D) and move on.” Write down answer (D). Then, go to the next principle.

Principle 2: After you’ve made your GMAT decision, spend all the time you like trying to figure stuff out.

After you’ve told yourself that you’d pick (D) right now, feel free to move into “figure it out” mode. If you want to spend half an hour working on that problem before you look at the answer, do so! Whatever you figure out on your own now, you’ll be much more likely to remember when you need that move again later.

If you follow these two principles, you’ll get the best of both worlds. You’ll be training yourself to make GMAT-appropriate decisions while also giving yourself the opportunity to figure out as much as you can on your own.

Mull over this information; re-read it as needed. If you’re in one of our classes, I’d recommend waiting another week until you read the second part of this series.

In part 2, we’ll dive deep into the details about how to train yourself to manage time on a per-question basis.

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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 Everything You Need to Know about GMAT Time Management, Part 1 appeared first on GMAT.
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2019–2020 MBA Essay Analysis: Berkeley Haas, Dartmouth Tuck, Stanford  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Sep 2019, 08:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: 2019–2020 MBA Essay Analysis: Berkeley Haas, Dartmouth Tuck, Stanford
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How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With these thorough essay analyses, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute so that your experiences truly stand out.

This week, we round up essay analyses for The Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley; the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College; and the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB).

BERKELEY HAAS ESSAY ANALYSIS 2019-2020
Applicants to the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley this season will be responding to two totally new required essay questions. We were a little sad to see that the school’s unique and challenging six-word story prompt had been removed, but we imagine many candidates are not. Instead, Berkeley Haas wants applicants to dig deep on a personal level and discuss something about which they are passionate.

For their second essay, candidates must explain the school’s role in their anticipated development as a leader. For its optional essays, the admissions committee has maintained its multipart questionnaire prompt (which is much less complicated than it may seem at first glance) and an open-ended prompt that gives applicants the opportunity to address any unclear or problem areas in their profile. These four essays together should allow you to present a well-rounded impression of yourself to the school, complementing the information presented in your resume, recommendations, and basic stats with insight into who you are as an individual and who you hope to be as a future business leader. Continue reading the full essay analysis for Berkeley Haas.

DARTMOUTH TUCK ESSAY ANALYSIS 2019-2020
Although the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College has made some tweaks to its MBA application essay questions this season, the information its candidates are expected to provide remains largely the same. Instead of four short-answer questions and two 500-word essays, applicants must provide three 300-word essays. The school’s first essay prompt broadly covers candidates’ need for an MBA, and specifically a Tuck MBA, though it no longer directly asks for defined career goals.

Essay 2 addresses applicants’ individuality, and for the third essay, candidates must discuss a time when they helped facilitate another’s success. Clearly, Tuck is interested in identifying individuals who will be ambitious, cooperative, and supportive members of its community. Click here for our more detailed essay analysis of Tuck’s prompts for 2019–2020.

WATCH: mbaMission’s Julie-Anne Heafey helps you tackle Darmouth Tuck’s 2019–2020 application essay questions…



[youtube2]p>
STAN[/youtube2]

DOWNLOAD: Before you apply, be sure to check out the following free resources from mbaMission…


Insider’s Guides:
For a thorough exploration of each business school’s academic program, unique offerings, social life, and other key characteristics and resources, we recommend downloading a complimentary copy of our school-specific Insider’s Guides. Informed by firsthand insight from students, alumni, program representatives, and admissions officers, our Insider’s Guides offer a detailed look at each business school’s most defining characteristics. According toPoets & Quants, “A more thorough analysis of a school will not be found elsewhere on the web.”

Interview Guides:
Take the next step towards mastering your business school interview by downloading mbaMission’s free Interview Guides.  Many MBA candidates find admissions interviews stressful and intimidating, but mastering this important element of the application process is definitely possible—the key is informed preparation. And, on your way to this high level of preparation, we offer ourfree Interview Primers to spur you along.


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 2019–2020 MBA Essay Analysis: Berkeley Haas, Dartmouth Tuck, Stanford 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 Tips: How Do We Learn?  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Sep 2019, 09:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMAT Study Tips: How Do We Learn?
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This post was written by Manhattan Prep GMAT, GRE, and LSAT instructor Chris Gentry.

As a standardized test teacher (I started teaching LSAT classes back in 2003, and now teach GMAT, GRE, and LSAT classes), I’ve come to realize that one of the most impressively unfortunate aspects of test preparation is the simple fact that many people don’t know how to study! This is especially true for those of us who have not entered a classroom environment for several years—also known as most of my students preparing for the GMAT.

Let’s start with learning itself: how does the brain learn?

The brain learns by forgetting. 
This is the first principle we need to embrace. The brain is a ruthless forgetting machine: it forgets really, really well! And when we begin studying, we will forget. A lot.

This is, ironically, one of the first steps to learning. To learn, we need to allow ourselves to forget. So we don’t try to learn a topic entirely in one study session. And we don’t try to learn a topic in sequential study sessions. We learn by spaced repetition: study an element of the test for a short period of time, then walk away.

And stay away. For at least a day.

Then, after you’ve started to forget, you return to that material.

On the GMAT, the most elementary way to implement this learning principle is to alternate study sessions between Quant and Verbal topics. Don’t study exponents on Wednesday, and then on Thursday come back to study exponents again. Study exponents on Wednesday, and then study parallelism on Thursday. Move things around! Embrace the forgetting! When we familiarize ourselves with material, we only think we’ve learned… but sadly, we have not. We need to forget, then re-familiarize, then forget, then re-familiarize; now we are starting to learn!

Look up the “Leitner box schedule” online. You’ll want something akin to this as you begin your studies.

The brain learns through association.
This second aspect is more about where we study than how we study. Don’t study in the same place, at the same time, drinking the same ice water with lemon, all the time. Mix it up! Give the brain some variety!  Study at a coffee shop, or a park, or at a library table that people walk by. Moderate levels of distraction are, oddly enough, contributions to your studies!

The brain learns through failure.
Or, as I put it to my classes, we learn best when we’re a little bit angry. Don’t start by reading a chapter. Start by attempting problems. Embrace that failure!

When we look at a curriculum, we should start with the problem sets. Attempt them, but don’t check the answers: not yet. Let our comfort, or lack thereof, dictate how carefully we read the content explanations. After we’ve read, we return to the problems we attempted, and we make any desired revisions to our work. Then we check our answers. But we don’t read explanations…not yet.

If we answered the problem correctly, can we write an explanation? And not just ‘Answer C is correct because of this equation’, but ‘Because the problem begins with exponents and addition, consider whether there is a common term manipulation available’. An explanation isn’t what answer is correct: an explanation is how we knew to apply the process that led to that correct answer. And especially what aspect of the problem we will expect to see again in a future problem!

If we did not answer the problem correctly, now that we know which answer is correct, what process elements will we implement to arrive at that correct answer? And again, what in the problem should suggest those process elements?

We try to craft our own explanations before we read someone else’s. An explanation written by someone else tells us how that other person would solve the problem…but it might not be how we would solve the problem! Even as a GMAT instructor for Manhattan Prep, I read some of our explanations and think ‘Huh. I can see why that works, but I would never have solved it that way.’ And that’s ok. That’s good. The ultimate goal is to build our own processes to arrive at correct answers.

Oh, and one other thing…without looking, do we remember what the last piece of advice was in the first bullet point? What was the name of that review schedule? Or have we forgotten it…

Good luck, and happy testing!

KEEP READING: 8 Essential GMAT Study Tips

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

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[b]Chris Gentry
is a Manhattan Prep LSAT, GMAT, and GRE instructor who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Chris received his Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Clemson and JD from Emory University School of Law before realizing that he genuinely enjoys the challenge of standardized tests, and his true passion is teaching. Chris’ dual-pronged approach to understanding each test question has helped countless of his students to achieve their goal scores.

[/b]

The post GMAT Study Tips: How Do We Learn? 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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Testing Accommodations on the GMAT, Part 2  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Sep 2019, 11:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Testing Accommodations on the GMAT, Part 2
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Do you qualify for testing accommodations on the GMAT? Or do you think you might? In the first half of this article, we talked about the general application process for testing accommodations. If you haven’t read it yet, go ahead and do so before joining us again here.

As I mentioned in the first part of the article, I spoke with two experts from GMAC: Teresa Elliott, Ph.D., Senior Manager of GMAT Exam Accommodations, and Kendra Johnson, Ed.D, Director of GMAT Exam Accommodations.

I also spoke with Tova Elberg Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in private practice in Israel and New York.

Please note that GMAC does not endorse or recommend the services of any specific evaluator in relation to any disability. The information provided by Dr. Elberg represents Dr. Elberg’s views and should not be interpreted as reflecting official GMAC policy.

As we discussed during the first part of this article, GMAC divides possible accommodations issues into 5 main categories (as well as an Other category).

All Conditions

All quotes in the sections discussing specific conditions are copyright GMAC and come from the organization’s testing accommodations materials posted on its website, unless otherwise cited.

Any condition has to be documented in the following ways:

    • A diagnosis by a licensed professional, including a complete description of the tests used to make the diagnosis
    • Documentation of the “severity of the functional impact” in both “academic / testing settings” and “other life realms.” All tests used to determine this information must be described in detail and the test results provided to GMAC
    • The specific accommodations recommended by the professional evaluating you, along with an explanation as to how the requested accommodations will address whatever issues you have
    • A list of current medications that you or your doctor believe may impact your performance on the GMAT, along with an explanation as to how you believe they impact your performance. (You do not need to disclose any medications that would not impact your GMAT performance)
    • Full identifying information of the professional conducting your evaluation; this person also needs to attest that s/he is not a family member of yours
In addition, the individual categories have certain requirements. Note that the following text about the 5 categories has some redundancies because I’m assuming that many people will read only the category that applies to them.

Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder
This category requires a DSM-IV or DSM-V diagnosis and the professional who diagnoses you must rule out alternative explanations for the symptoms that you are displaying.

GMAC also requests a history of your grades and prior testing issues in school, in addition to information about the impact your ADHD continues to have in adulthood and employment situations.

The following tests are listed in GMAC’s guidelines. Many other tests are acceptable as well.

– Self-report and Other-report: Connors, Brown

– Performance-based: TOVA, IVA, CPT

– Adult intelligence: WAIS-IV, Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults

In general, your evaluator should use “age-normed, performance-based measures of skills of clear relevance to the GMAT,” according to Dr. Elliott. She continues: “For example, if a person is asking for extended time due to concerns with reading speed, he would need to use well-validated, timed measures of speed and accuracy when reading lengthy, complex material. On the other hand, untimed measures, measures without solid age-based norms, measures that rely on subjective scoring, measures that emphasize oral reading, or measures that do not use lengthy, complex material would not tell us much about a person’s need for extended time on the GMAT.”

Learning and Cognitive Disabilities
This category includes conditions such as dyslexia and requires a DSM-IV or DSM-V diagnosis. The professional who diagnoses you must rule out alternative explanations for the symptoms that you are displaying.

GMAC also requests a history of your grades and prior testing issues in school, in addition to information about the impact your learning or cognitive disability continues to have in adulthood and employment situations.

The following tests are listed in GMAC’s guidelines. Many other tests are acceptable as well.

– Age-normed measures: Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults

– Adult intelligence: WAIS-IV

– Other age-normed performance-based measures (e.g., where appropriate, “measures of phonologic and symbolic processing are often helpful”)

In general, your evaluator should use “age-normed, performance-based measures of skills of clear relevance to the GMAT,” according to Dr. Elliott. She continues: “For example, if a person is asking for extended time due to concerns with reading speed, he would need to use well-validated, timed measures of speed and accuracy when reading lengthy, complex material. On the other hand, untimed measures, measures without solid age-based norms, measures that rely on subjective scoring, measures that emphasize oral reading, or measures that do not use lengthy, complex material would not tell us much about a person’s need for extended time on the GMAT.”

Physical and Systemic Disabilities
These issues include mobility impairments and diseases or medical conditions that affect physical functioning, such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, systemic lupus, and others. (A full list can be found in the PDF for this category, linked at the beginning of this article.)

Because this category includes permanent disabilities, some impairments can be demonstrated via documentation that is more than three years old. While examples are not given in the documentation provided by GMAC, we might imagine that someone who is paralyzed and not expected to recover any function may not be required to supply supporting documentation dated within the past three years. If the particular condition is or could be variable, however, then more recent documentation will likely be required.

Psychological Disabilities
This category requires a DSM-IV or DSM-V diagnosis and the professional who diagnoses you must rule out alternative explanations for the symptoms that you are displaying.

GMAC strongly recommends relatively recent information (typically within 3 years) because psychological issues can change over time. If you underwent a complete evaluation more than 3 years ago, GMAC may accept that report in addition to a more modest “update” evaluation performed recently (typically within the past year). In other words, you don’t necessarily have to undergo another complete (and expensive!) evaluation.

Sensory Disabilities (Vision and Hearing)
This category primarily encompasses any issues dealing with vision or hearing, but can include anything in the “sensory domain.”

Because this category includes permanent disabilities, some impairments can be demonstrated via documentation that is more than three years old. While examples are not given in the documentation provided by GMAC, we might imagine that someone who has been completely and irreversibly blind for many years may not be required to supply supporting documentation dated within the past three years. If the particular condition is or could be variable, however, then more recent documentation will likely be required.

For hearing issues, an audiogram must be provided. For vision issues, “current visual acuity data” must be provided.

What really happens from an “outside” perspective?

So far, we’ve been discussing all of the formal steps, requirements, and rules for the application process. It’s a bit overwhelming. Let’s step out of the “official” role now and talk about what happens from the outsider-looking-in perspective, aka you! Dr. Tova Elberg was kind enough to help me think this through from the student perspective. (All quotes in this section are from Dr. Elberg.)

Dr. Elberg deals only with certain kinds of issues and so she speaks from that point of view. She is not, for instance, a medical doctor and so does not deal with the kinds of tests that would demonstrate issues with seeing or hearing, limited motion, and so on.  Not everyone will need the specific types of evaluations that she performs. You’ll need to research what might be appropriate given your particular situation.

I’m not sure whether I would qualify
There are many nuances to this discussion, so there is no way to say for sure, “Oh, this person will definitely qualify but that other person won’t.” You really do have to go through the process.

As you might expect, it isn’t easy to qualify for test accommodations (nor should it be!). GMAC needs to ensure that the integrity of the GMAT is maintained while also accommodating those who legitimately qualify. All of the rest of us—whether we qualify or not—want this, too, because we don’t want to think that someone with money could just “buy” their way into extra time on the test.

As I mentioned earlier, accommodations aren’t meant to make the test easier for anyone. Rather, they are meant to level the playing field for people who would be at an objective disadvantage if they were to take the test under standard conditions.

Dr. Elberg shared with me that the most common “non-qualifying” statement she’ll hear is along the lines of “I get anxious on tests but I’m not otherwise anxious” or “I don’t do well on these kinds of tests” but  otherwise this person doesn’t exhibit any impairment in real life.

In other words, the student is not discussing a functional impairment that affects her life, employment, and education in general; rather, she’s discussing an issue that appears to affect her only in testing situations. Because the issue doesn’t rise to the level of a functional problem in daily life, this may not qualify as a disability. Dr. Elberg adds, “To be fair, it could be a harbinger of something more serious. I can only know after I perform an evaluation.”

I had heard anecdotally that someone who was not previously diagnosed during high school or college doesn’t have much chance of gaining accommodations for the GMAT. Dr. Elberg set me straight:

“It’s not true that a person who was not previously diagnosed has a slim-to-none chance of gaining accommodations. A person’s circumstances change and there are individuals who have struggled with a disability from early on that, for whatever reason, went undiagnosed and untreated.

“Each case has to be judged on its merits but one criterion must be fulfilled: A person must have a diagnosable disability, judged by both the DSM manual and the Americans for Disabilities Act.

“When someone comes to an evaluation seeking accommodations and she’s never been evaluated before, it does raise a red flag (for GMAC and for me) but it’s not a dead end. People’s circumstances change. Sometimes learning disabilities come to the fore in later life. One can suffer even a minor head injury in later life and develop what’s called acquired ADHD.”

Finally, Dr. Elberg points out that non-native English speakers will not be able to request dictionaries or other accommodations that are designed to address language skills. If such issues are impairing the student’s ability to perform well on the GMAT, that student will have to take the time to improve his language skills.

Getting Started: Find an Evaluator
First, if you don’t already have a licensed professional with whom you have worked on these issues, you’ll need to find one. Look for someone who is already familiar with the topic of testing accommodations and ideally has already worked with other GMAT or computer-based standardized-test students in the past.

Dr. Elberg provided all kinds of advice about what happens next if you do need a psychologist. (Again, quotes are from here. Also, note that I’m going to use the word “psychologist” from now on to refer to the licensed professional with whom you work, but this does not mean that everyone needs to work with a psychologist!)

Show all prior evaluations to your psychologist, including any diagnoses and test results as well as any documentation of testing accommodations received during your school years or for other tests. Also bring medical records, if applicable, including medications that you take or have taken.

If applicable, include any “school transcripts showing grades before and after accommodations” or “statements from employers attesting to accommodations received at work,” including how such accommodations have improved your work performance. If you don’t have this kind of documentation, that’s okay—but if you do, include it.

If you haven’t worked with this person before, then expect to begin the process with an interview. The psychologist will likely ask questions about your family, school, social, work, and medical history as it relates to educational or work functioning. During this phase, Dr. Elberg says, she is developing hypotheses about the issues faced by this student and posing additional questions to help her confirm or refute various hypotheses. Because she knows that she will need to make a differential diagnosis (as discussed in the first half of this article), she is actively seeking alternative explanations. For example: “A reading difficulty may be tied to ADHD, a vision-focusing issue, or another matter, and I must check each one.”

Dr. Elberg typically holds 3 meetings of several hours each; obviously this can vary by case and different evaluators may have different procedures. For these kinds of intensive psychological evaluations, she has heard that (in New York) “prices start at $1,500 for work done by interns under supervision at hospital-affiliated clinics and can run $2000 to $4000 for independent providers.”

Again, this will vary significantly based on the kind of evaluation you need and will likely also vary by geographical region (New York is expensive!). You may not need to spend anywhere near that kind of money. Someone who already has a well-documented case may only need a minor update or possibly nothing new at all.

(This next bit of advice is mine, from the perspective of a “smart shopper.”) Be sure to ask your psychologist what will happen if GMAC requests additional information. What kind of help is already included in the initial fee and for what kinds of things might you have to pay more? Imagine that you’re shopping for an accountant to do your taxes. What would you expect to be included in the initial quote and what would be extra?

For instance, perhaps something was unclear in the initial report. Will the psychologist clarify the material without charging you more? If it were me, I would think of this as a general service included with the original price. In the same way, if there were an error or communication problem with my tax returns, then I would expect my accountant to fix the problem without charging me extra (assuming the error or lack of clarity wasn’t my fault). I would discuss this at my first meeting with the psychologist, in the same way that I would with a new accountant.

Perhaps, though, another test has to be performed to provide additional information requested by GMAC. Perhaps a second opinion must be sought from another professional, such as a neurologist or psychiatrist. In those cases, I would feel that it’s reasonable to pay for the additional work that needs to be done at that stage.

Last Tips from Dr. Elberg
I asked Dr. Elberg whether there was anything else I should have discussed with her and she told me that she wanted to make two points.

First, “by undergoing an evaluation, the student is not purchasing accommodations. The decision to grant or deny accommodations rests entirely with GMAC. The student, together with the evaluator, must make the case. “

Second, “to students, a huge piece of advice: Don’t fake anything. You know that you’re faking, I’ll know that you’re faking, and GMAC will know as well!”

Finally, this is my favorite piece of advice from Dr. Elberg:

“In the section in which the student is asked to indicate why he can’t take the GMAT in standard format, my advice is to write from the heart and indicate what gets in his way. Don’t repeat psychology jargon. Don’t repeat your entire personal history. Rather, explain in simplest terms how your problems prevent you from taking the test the way everyone else does and why you need each of the accommodations you are seeking.”

Next Steps

(1) Read through the materials linked on the main accommodations page on the mba.com site, including the portion that applies to your particular category. You will no doubt have lots of questions as you do so; you can find a list of frequently asked questions here.

(2) Do you need to work with a licensed professional?

First, use the published guidelines to review whatever documentation you already have, including previous assessments or tests you’ve undergone, information from schools or employers, and so on. If your existing documentation meets the requirements listed in GMAC’s materials, then you may not need to work with a clinical evaluator.

If your documentation does not fulfill all of GMAC’s requirements and recommendations, then you may need to find a licensed professional to conduct a formal evaluation, determine the issues that you face and the appropriate accommodations for your situation, and help you to provide the needed documentation to GMAC. If so, be sure to share all of the official documentation with this individual.

(3) Gather your documents and, if needed, schedule your first appointment with your evaluator. Either way, complete and submit your application as soon as is practical. If GMAC does need additional documentation or more recent documentation, they will be more than happy to tell you, but they can’t do this until after you have submitted your initial application.

Don’t put this off! The sooner you get started, the better. Good luck—let us know how it goes!



The post Testing Accommodations on the GMAT, Part 2 appeared first on GMAT.
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Testing Accommodations on the GMAT, Part 1  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Sep 2019, 11:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Testing Accommodations on the GMAT, Part 1
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Do you qualify for testing accommodations on the GMAT? Or do you think you might?

Broadly speaking, the term accommodations refers to altering the testing conditions for a particular student in order to “level the playing field” for that student. Someone who is blind, for example, may need some kind of altered test format in order to read the test questions. These accommodations do not make the test easier for the student; rather, they make the test possible at the same level as for a regular student.

Other potential issues are less obvious but no less valid. Someone with a severe reading disorder might qualify for extended time while someone with a mild form might not, because a severe reading disorder might slow someone’s reading speed to the point that it is no longer reasonable to expect this person to get through the test in the standard length of time.

Where is that line drawn, though? What is the process for applying for testing accommodations and how are the decisions made?

That’s what we’re going to talk about today. I’ve spoken with representatives from GMAC (the organization that owns the GMAT) as well as a psychologist who works with students to determine whether they qualify for test accommodations. I’ve also reviewed all of the application materials and in general kept an ear open to hear what students and teachers are saying about this process. Consider this your unofficial GMAT Testing Accommodations Encyclopedia!

Note: This page on the mba.com site explains the overall process. Later in this article, we will discuss the five specific categories of conditions listed on the mba.com page.

I spoke with two people at GMAC who are experts in this field. Teresa Elliott, Ph.D., Senior Manager of GMAT Exam Accommodations, was kind enough to talk me through the process, start to finish, and patiently answer interminable questions about hypothetical scenarios and how things work. In addition, Kendra Johnson, Ed.D., Director of GMAT Exam Accommodations, took time out of her extremely busy schedule to clarify the trickiest aspects and to advise me as to the best way to convey these details.

I also spoke with Tova Elberg Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in private practice in Israel and New York. I first became acquainted with Dr. Elberg more than 5 years ago when we were both answering questions on the Beat the GMAT forums. She was also kind enough to answer my interminable questions and help me break the intricacies of the process down into more manageable steps.

Please note that GMAC does not endorse or recommend the services of any specific evaluator in relation to any disability. The information provided by Dr. Elberg represents Dr. Elberg’s views and should not be interpreted as reflecting official GMAC  policy

What categories of conditions are covered?
GMAC lists five main categories (in alphabetical order) on its website. Go to the main accommodations page on the mba.com site to pull up a PDF describing each category.

It is also possible to submit something in the category of “Other” if you feel your particular issue does not fit into one of the five categories listed above.

The general application process is the same for all categories, but the material required to document your condition can vary. We’ll cover each of the categories in greater detail during the second half of this article.

What does qualify… and what doesn’t?
There isn’t an easy answer to this question. Even people with the “same” issues may receive differing accommodations depending upon the particular issue and the severity of that issue. The applications really are handled on a case-by-case basis.

The overarching issue, according to both Dr. Elliott of GMAC and psychologist Dr. Elberg, is a condition that results in some kind of impaired functioning in daily life that meets the criteria of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and the DSM-IV or DSM-V. For some categories of disability, that impaired functioning is more straightforward: if you’re blind, then you may not be able to read the screen in “standard form” and may need some kind of appropriate accommodations to take the test.

What about someone who has a less obvious issue? If the only criterion is working more slowly than the average person during a test situation, that may not be enough to qualify, nor would the ability to get a significantly better score if you have more time. Most of us wish we could have extra time on any standardized test, but as I mentioned earlier, the goal here is not to make the test easier for us to take. Rather, the goal is to level the playing field for people with pervasive conditions that significantly impact life and work situations in general, not just testing situations.

A diagnosis by itself is not enough, though. The condition must be shown to impact current functioning and this impact must be documented carefully.

Finally, Dr. Elliott of GMAC stressed that a differential diagnosis is key. Many conditions have similar symptoms, so it is important to show, where applicable, that the diagnosing clinician performed tests to rule out other, related conditions (or to show that you have multiple conditions).

Everyone was very clear that a diagnosis does not necessarily mean that someone qualifies for testing accommodations. Dr. Johnson offered an example of a paraplegic who has full use of the upper body and no cognitive issues. This person will clearly be diagnosed as a paraplegic. Such an individual may need a wheelchair-accessible facility and might need longer breaks in order to, say, go to the bathroom. This person may not, however, need accommodations during the test itself, if the specific disability does not impact the way in which the person takes a computer-based, standardized test.

On the other hand, it might. Perhaps the injury that led to the paraplegia also caused some kind of cognitive issue. This is precisely why it is so important to be able to explain how a particular issue or disability affects your current functioning across work and academic settings.

What is the basic application process?
You will need to fill out the GMAT Test Accommodation Request Form, which you can download from the main accommodations page on the mba.com site. You will also need to fill out a form that explains the particular condition(s) you have, as well as what accommodations you are requesting, and you will need to attach supporting documentation from a licensed professional (more on this later).

You will fax or mail all of this in with payment for the test itself (250 USD); that is, you will pay for the test at the time that you submit your application. If you are ultimately accepted, you will receive instructions for how to register for the test. If your application is ultimately rejected, you will be able to take the test under regular conditions or you can request a refund of the testing fee if you decide not to take the GMAT after all.

How long does the process take
GMAC aims to have a response to students within 30 calendar days of submission of the application (and, in fact, many students receive a response with 7 to 10 business days, on average).

If the initial application contains all of the necessary documentation to make a determination, then students typically receive a response by or before the 30-calendar-day mark. If GMAC has to request additional documentation, then the clock “resets,” with a goal of a response within 30 days after the additional documentation is received.

Note that there is no “expedited” review—you can’t pay an extra fee to have your application jump to the top of the list. In other words, plan ahead! If you know or suspect that you will need accommodations, get your application started before you even start preparing for the test.

This is especially true because, at times, it can be harder to schedule your test date. For instance, if you have to take the test over a 2-day period during the busiest time of year, then your testing center may take longer than typical to find a test date that fits your schedule. Every student is having trouble scheduling right now—autumn is the busiest time of year! Even in this kind of scenario, though, you likely won’t wait any longer than other students who are registering for regular tests.

What happens if my application is approved?
If your application is approved, then you will receive written notification as well as instructions for how to schedule your test date.

If applicable, you will also receive a special code that will allow you to use the same accommodations on your GMATPrep test software. For example, if you are approved for 50% extra time, then you will receive a code that will then let you take GMATPrep tests with 50% extra time as well. (This code will also work with the two new Exam Pack tests.)

Finally, when you do take the test, the schools will not know that you received accommodations. Your score report will look just like everyone else’s report. If, later, you want to disclose this information to the school (perhaps, when you’re admitted, you want to ask for accommodations during school), GMAC can release information with written approval from you.

What happens if my application is rejected?
First of all, Dr. Elliott of GMAC emphasized that it is rare for an application to be rejected outright. If someone’s application falls short, GMAC will almost certainly request that the student submit additional documentation and the organization will help the student to know precisely the kinds of material that GMAC requires in order to make a decision. GMAC does not want to reject someone just because his or her application is incomplete.

Try to stick as closely as possible to the rules when first filling out your application in order to reduce the chances that you’ll be asked for additional documentation. Don’t fear, though, that if you make a little mistake or forget to include something, then you will be rejected outright. The most likely outcome is that you will be asked to provide additional documentation—lengthening the process, but not killing your chances of being approved.

If your application is ultimately rejected, you will receive written notification and  instructions about how to appeal the decision, if you wish to do so. You can also register for a regular test administration or request a refund of your test fee.

What accommodations am I qualified to receive?
We hear this question all the time. GMAC can’t tell you what you “should” apply for (nor can we!); rather, you need to decide (in conjunction with your licensed clinical advisor, medical doctor, or other professional) what accommodations are appropriate for your particular situation. An experienced professional will be able to advise you as to the appropriate accommodations for your diagnosis and you will then request those in your application. You may be approved for some, all, or none.

I can assure you that Dr. Elliott and the professionals at GMAC know how nerve-wracking this process can be, but they do need to see your full application in order to decide what might be appropriate for you. There is not a one-size-fits-all answer for everyone, not even for everyone diagnosed with the same condition, so it is impossible for her team to discuss such questions over the phone and without any case history available.

So here’s your short answer: you will need to work with a licensed professional who will be able to diagnose and document your particular disability. This person will help you to decide what you should request. Any back-and-forth with GMAC on this topic will occur only after you have submitted your application.

What kinds of accommodations are available?
The GMAC Handbook lists certain accommodations but also indicates that you can request any accommodations that you think are appropriate for your situation (with no guarantee that you will be approved, of course).

The following are already on the “official list” (quoted directly from the GMAC Handbook; anything in parentheses is my own explanation):

– Enlarged font

– Additional Time: 50% more or 100% more

– Additional rest break (more than 2)

– Extended rest breaks (more than 8 minutes each)

– Two-day appointment (vs. 1 day)

– Wheelchair accessibility

– Reader who can read the test items to the candidate

– Recorder to enter responses

– Sign language interpreter for spoken directions and candidate instructions only

– Trackball mouse

– Allowance of a medical device into the testing room

Certain minor accommodations do not require advanced notice or application for accommodations. The examples listed in the Handbook are:

– Eyeglasses and hearing aids

– Pillow for supporting neck, back, or injured limb

– Neck brace or collars

– Insulin pump, if attached to your body

– Ear plugs or headphones to block noise (these are provided by the testing center)

– Switching the mouse from right-hand to left-hand operation

How do I find a “licensed professional”?
You will want to work with someone who has significant experience in the world of standardized test accommodations, particularly for high-stakes tests such as the GMAT, the GRE, the SAT, and so on. Because the GMAT is given on a computer, you may want to make sure that you’re working with someone who has experience with computer-based tests.

The professional should be experienced in making differential diagnoses (as we discussed earlier) and should also be very familiar with performance-based measures that are used to document those diagnoses.

If you qualified for testing or other accommodations at university, you may also want to contact the Disability Support Services office and ask for their help. (You can also try calling them even if you didn’t qualify then, but they are more likely to be helpful if they already have a case file on you and are familiar with your history.)



In the second part of this article, we’ll talk about the kinds of information GMAC requests with an application. We’ll also take a look at the application process from the point of view of a professional helping a student to document the disabilities.

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How to Review a Data Sufficiency Question  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Sep 2019, 11:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: How to Review a Data Sufficiency Question
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You’ve heard it here before: reviewing practice problems is even more valuable than doing them. Here’s a step-by-step guide to reviewing your GMAT Data Sufficiency problems.

Which Data Sufficiency questions should I review?
If you had infinite time, you’d want to review every Data Sufficiency problem you do. But, let’s be realistic! You have my permission to not review these types of problems:

  • Easy problems that you got right with no stress
  • Problems with content that you haven’t started studying
  • The very hardest problems (well above your goal score level)
One note on that first bullet point: reviewing easy problems is still worthwhile, and if you have time, you should dive into the easy problems. But, if you’re pressed for time, focus on reviewing these problems:

  • Problems that are moderate to “moderately hard” in difficulty
  • Problems you got right, but spent too much time solving or didn’t feel confident about
  • Problems you got wrong despite having already studied the material 
  • Any problem that surprised you or taught you a lesson about the GMAT
Don’t ever spend a whole study session reviewing one or two super-tough problems. I know it’s infuriating to walk away from a problem without understanding it. But, walking away from a low-value problem is a victory, not a defeat. Spend your review time on problems that will teach you practical lessons you can use right now. If you need the material from that 800-level problem in the future, you can always go back and review it then.

Okay, so you have a list of problems to review. What does reviewing a problem actually look like?

Reviewing a Data Sufficiency problem
The first step is to redo the problem. However, you’re going to do the problem differently this time. When you redo while reviewing, don’t use a timer. Feel free to use any outside resources you’d like, such as a calculator or the All the Quant Guide. That’s right — you’re allowed to “cheat” as much as you want! The only thing you can’t use is the explanation. I’ll say that again, because it really matters:

DO NOT READ THE EXPLANATION (YET)!

When you read the explanation too soon, you’re robbing yourself of a chance to solve the problem. And you’ll learn more from solving the problem—even if it’s a struggle and even if you need to cheat!—than you will from watching someone else solve it.

If you get stuck, check the explanation, but stop reading as soon as it gives you a good clue. Then, go back to your own paper and try to finish the work yourself. If you absolutely can’t get anywhere, even with multiple clues from the explanation, the problem might be too hard right now. Save it for later — and if this happens repeatedly with the same type of problem, that’s a sign that you should review that topic!

Once you’re satisfied with your own redo of the problem, feel free to read the rest of the explanation. Take note of anything that the explanation did that you didn’t do, or vice versa. Sometimes, the explanation can point you in the direction of a faster or simpler solution.

Learning from a Data Sufficiency problem 
Now, it’s time to take some notes. But you aren’t just going to write down how to solve the problem. That would help you remember how to solve this exact problem, but that’s not the point. Here’s what your goals really are at this stage:

  • Learn (at least) one thing about the GMAT.
  • Learn (at least) one thing about yourself. 
Before we keep going, let’s do an actual Data Sufficiency problem, so we’re all on the same page. Here’s one from mba.com’s GMATPrep:

A bookstore that sells used books sells each of its paperback books for a certain price and each of its hardcover books for a certain price. If Joe, Maria, and Paul bought books in this store, how much did Maria pay for 1 paperback book and 1 hardcover book?

(1) Joe bought 2 paperback books and 3 hardcover books for $12.50.

(2) Paul bought 4 paperback books and 6 hardcover books for $25.00.

Do the problem now! Next, we’ll walk through which notes you should take in your problem log.

A Data Sufficiency problem has two different things you need to analyze while solving: the question stem, and the statements. Take some notes on each.

First, write down anything that stands out about the question stem, and what you think you should do when you see those things in a Data Sufficiency question. Your exact notes will vary depending on your strengths and weaknesses, how you solved the problem, and why you’re reviewing it. Here are some examples.

Student 1 spent too long on this problem because she dove into the statements without understanding the problem. She didn’t realize, until too late in the process, that solving with equations would have been much simpler. Here are her notes on the question stem:

Word problem = turn into variables BEFORE dealing w/ statements!

Student 2 read the question stem and assumed she’d need to solve for the price of each book individually, instead of solving for the sum of two prices. Here are her notes:

Look for “combos” where the ? asks for a sum: hardcover AND paperback price = H + P

Could still solve even without H or P separately

Write down the exact question, don’t assume!

Student 3 got this one right, but still thought it was an interesting problem! Here are her notes:

Q is “what is H + P” : look out for tricky statements that tell you the sum, like “2H + 2P = 10”!

Next, go through the statements one at a time. Here’s where things really get interesting. If you missed the problem, then you either thought an insufficient statement was actually sufficient, or thought a sufficient statement was actually insufficient. Figure out where things went wrong first: which statement(s) did you analyze incorrectly? (For a very deep dive into these two types of mistakes, check out our articles on type 1 errors and type 2 errors.)

If you thought a statement was sufficient and you were wrong, figure out why you thought it was sufficient. Then, in your notes, prove that it was insufficient. That will probably involve writing down specific cases, even if you wouldn’t take the time to do that on test day. When you’re reviewing, take all the time you need!

If you thought a statement was insufficient and you were wrong, figure out why you thought it was insufficient. Then, prove that it was sufficient. That means demonstrating to yourself, in your notes, exactly how the statement helps you answer the question, and what answer it leads to.

Student 1 got the problem right eventually, but realized when reviewing that she didn’t need to test cases. Here are her notes on the statements:

DS word problem: turn into math equations and see if the algebra is easy BEFORE you think about cases…cases work but take a long time!

Student 2 made the first type of mistake when she put the statements together. She thought the statements were sufficient together, but they actually weren’t. Let’s see her notes:

Statements were insufficient together! I thought they were sufficient b/c there were two equations and two variables in the question.

Proof: statements simplify to the same thing, 2p + 3h = 12.5. If the statements are the same, C CAN’T be the right answer. The answer must be either D or E. Word problem to algebra = check to make sure the statements aren’t identical, don’t assume C if it seems easy!

Student 3 got this one right, but she’s still taking notes so she remembers any tricks this problem tried to play! Here are her notes.

DS linear equations: simplify statements to double check that the statements aren’t = to each other. If 2 statements are different, you can solve for two variables. But if they’re the same, you can’t solve at all (unless the statement is the same as the question.)

By the way, the answer to the question was (E). I didn’t tell you until now because of exactly what I wrote earlier — the more you play around with a problem on your own before letting somebody else tell you what to do, the more you’ll remember about it later.

What do I do with all of these notes? 
From each problem you’ve reviewed, you’ve learned something about the GMAT—and you’ve hopefully learned something about how you tend to approach problems and the mistakes you make most often. What do you do with all of this information?

GMAT instructor Elaine Loh suggests a method in this article that everybody should try out. For each problem you learned something from, set a date about two weeks in the future to redo it again. For instance, you could have a study session once per week where you redo all of the old problems from a couple of weeks ago. Write down these dates in your problem log, and build a habit of checking it regularly and actually redoing the problems you’ve listed. Also, she recommends that when you have a few minutes of spare time, you simply read over the notes you’ve taken in your problem log. No need to do anything fancy — just quickly reread your takeaways once or twice a week, to jog your memory of the interesting DS problems you’ve reviewed so far.

If Data Sufficiency is a strong area for you, it’s okay to keep your problem logging low-key. Just jot down a couple of notes on problems you missed (unless they’re way too hard!). But if you want to improve your DS performance, be more aggressive in reviewing DS problems for a couple of weeks, and you may notice a change in how you think about these problems.

[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 170Q/170V on the GRE. Check out Chelsey’s upcoming GRE prep offerings here.

The post How to Review a Data Sufficiency Question appeared first on GMAT.
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How To Read A Reading Comp Passage  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Oct 2019, 08:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: How To Read A Reading Comp Passage
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How can we efficiently tackle Reading Comp Passages on the GMAT? What are we supposed to do and look for during the initial few minutes before we start to answer the first question?

Note: this article doesn’t address how to answer reading comprehension questions; it focuses on the initial read-through and note-taking. If you do that well, though, then that should help you answer any kind of question.

Goals for Reading Comp Problems
Whenever we start a specific type of problem, we should have certain goals in mind (depending, of course, on what that problem type is). Reading Comprehension (RC) is no exception.

First, we have some timing goals. I aim to complete an initial read-through of an RC passage in 2 (shorter) to 3 (longer) minutes. I try to answer general questions (e.g., main idea) in about 1 minute and specific questions in about 1.5 to 2 minutes.

I also take some short notes while I read through the passage; these notes will be based upon the goals discussed in the next several paragraphs. My notes will be heavily abbreviated; see the Taking Notes section below for more on this topic.

Next, we have some goals for the initial read-through of the passage. Every passage has a topic and what I call The Point. The topic is what you would probably expect: the basic topic under discussion in the passage. The Point is the main reason the author is writing this specific passage (you can also think of The Point as the thesis statement). For instance, a passage topic might be the curious decline of bees in recent years (entire hives have been dying, losing the ability to find their way back to the hive, and so on). The Point might be that, out of three possible causes (all mentioned in the passage), a certain pesticide is the most likely cause (according to the author). Back to our Goal: when I read the passage, I need to make sure I understand The Point, not just the topic.

Further, I also need to make sure I understand the purpose of each paragraph. These passages follow the same rules we’re supposed to use when we write an essay: each paragraph should have one distinct purpose or message (and, often, that message is delivered via a topic sentence, usually the first or second sentence of the paragraph).

Finally, I also need to make sure that I do NOT fully understand or remember all of the detail in each paragraph. That was not a typo. I’m trying to read this passage in 2 to 3 minutes maximum; I don’t have time to try to fully understand, let alone remember, all of the detail. My goal is to know in which paragraph the different kinds of detail reside–that’s all.

Wait, How Can I Get Away With NOT Understanding the Detail?
This is where we can take advantage of the fact that the GMAT is a standardized test. An individual test-taker is given only about half of the questions that were written for that passage. That little piece of knowledge has major implications for how we conduct the initial read-through.

I know that I’m going to have to understand The Point, because that permeates the entire passage and even, to some extent, every question that I answer. I also know that I will not get asked about every detail on the screen because I’m never going to see half of the questions. So why learn all of that annoying detail unless I know that I’m going to get a question about it? (And I won’t know that until the question pops up on the screen.)

Instead, as we discussed above, my goal for the detail is to know in which paragraph it resides. That way, if I do get a question about the chemical mechanism by which the pesticide affects a bee’s nervous system, I’ll immediately know that I can find that detail in paragraph 2. I won’t have any idea how to answer the question yet; I’ll have to read that detail now to see whether I can figure it out.

Note: did you hit a word you don’t know? Skip it. Is some sentence really convoluted? If it’s the first sentence of a paragraph, use your SC knowledge to find the subject and verb, just to get a basic understanding of what it says. If it’s a detail sentence, skip it.

Reading Comprehension: The Initial Read-through
Most of the time, The Point can be found in one discrete sentence somewhere in the passage (though sometimes we have to combine two sentences to get the full Point). Most often, The Point can be found in the first few or last few sentences of the entire passage, but it is possible for The Point to show up anywhere.

So, a new passage pops up on the screen and we, naturally, start reading. Read the first sentence, then stop. Rephrase it in your mind (put it into words that you can understand very easily), and jot down a note or two. Then do the same with the second sentence. Once you think you understand the purpose of that one paragraph, you can start skimming the rest of the paragraph. While you skim, you’re trying to make this distinction: is this information just detail that goes along with whatever I decided was the purpose of this paragraph? Or is this information something new: does it represent a new idea or a change of direction? If it’s just detail, jot down the basic kind of detail it is (e.g., “bees dying”) and move on. If it represents a new idea or change of direction, then pay a little more attention and take some short notes.

Do the same with the other paragraphs, though you can be a bit more aggressive about skimming. If, for example, you think you understand the purpose of the second paragraph after reading only the first sentence, that’s fine. Start skimming (but take note of anything that represents a new direction).

When you’re done, take a moment to articulate The Point to yourself. Is that already in your notes? Put a star next to it. If it isn’t in your notes, jot it down.

Taking Notes
Your notes should be heavily abbreviated–much more aggressively abbreviated than notes you would typically take at work or school. In fact, if I look at my notes for a passage a few days later, I should have a lot of trouble figuring out what they say (without using the passage as a reference).

How can we get away with abbreviating this heavily? Again, we’re taking advantage of the nature of this test. You’re going to spend perhaps 6 to 8 minutes with this passage and then you can forget about it forever. You don’t need to commit anything to long-term memory, nor do you need to take notes from which you can study in a week. (Of course, if you’re just practicing, you are going to review your work later, but you should still practice as though it’s the real thing.)

Analyzing Your Work
Everyone already knows that it’s important to review your work on the problems you do, but did you know that it’s also important to review how you read and take your notes? When you’re done with a passage and the associated questions, start your review with the passage itself. When you were done reading (but before you answered questions), what did you think The Point was? What did you think the purpose of each paragraph was? Did that knowledge or understanding change as you worked your way through the questions? If you misunderstood something after the first read-through, why do you think you misunderstood it? Did you read too quickly and overlook something? Did you not take the time to rephrase what you read? How could you do this better next time?

Next, match your initial notes to your current knowledge of what information is contained in the passage. Were you able to find the right paragraph easily when answering a specific question? If not, why not? What should you have jotted down on the initial read-through to make that easier? Conversely, did you have too much information jotted down? Maybe you were able to answer a specific question just from your notes, or maybe you had a lot of detail written down that you never had to use. If so, you wrote down too much information and you spent too much time on the initial read-through.

Could you have abbreviated even more? Write down what that might have looked like, from the beginning. (In general, if you feel your notes were fairly far from your ideal for any reason, then re-write the notes the way you should have written them the first time.)

Take-aways
(1) You do NOT want to learn or comprehend every single thing that the passage says

(2) Know your goals:

(a) Find The Point

(b) Find the purpose of each paragraph

(c) Know where (in which paragraph) to find different kinds of detail

(3) Practice sticking to your timing and practice abbreviating heavily

(4) When you review your work, also review how you read and took notes on the passage

RELATED: What NOT to Read on Reading Comprehension Passages

Don’t forget 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.

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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 How To Read A Reading Comp Passage appeared first on GMAT.
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How to Review a Sentence Correction Question  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Oct 2019, 09:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: How to Review a Sentence Correction Question
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I’ve often heard that studying GMAT Verbal feels less straightforward than studying Quant. Even though Quant is tough, it does have a lot of clear rules and techniques to memorize. Verbal, on the other hand, feels much fuzzier. But is that really the case?

Start by reading this article, which investigates whether GMAT Verbal questions are “fair.” Once you’re thinking methodically about the rules of GMAT Verbal, come back to this article to learn how to deep dive a Sentence Correction problem.

Which Sentence Correction questions should I review? 
Ideally, you’d review every problem you do. But you don’t have to go through the whole process in this article every single time. The most important Sentence Correction problems to review are ones that fall into these categories:

  • Problems that were just a bit above your level. For instance, problems that you spent too much time on, but got right in the end, or problems that you missed, but at least partially understood. 
  • Problems that you missed, spent too much time on, or weren’t confident about. 
  • Problems that test concepts you’ve already studied, but missed. 
That means it’s not as important to review these problems:

  • Anything you got right quickly and with confidence. (Review them anyways if you have time!)
  • The very hardest problems: the ones you didn’t get at all. Hold on to these until they’re closer to your level. 
  • Concepts you haven’t started studying yet. 
It’s great to (briefly!) review these things if you have time, but they aren’t as valuable as the ones listed above.

Reviewing Sentence Correction Problems
Once you’ve decided to review a Sentence Correction question, commit to reviewing it at least twice. When you review for the first time, do it shortly after originally doing the problem — for instance, on the following day.

As with any type of problem, the first step is to redo the problem. Take it easy this time! Don’t use a timer. Your goal right now is to dig into the problem and reflect. You can even look up the grammar rules in the All the Verbal guide while you’re trying to figure it out.

If you got the problem wrong the first time, you have a specific task to do at this point. Look at what the right answer was, but don’t look at the explanation at all just yet. Instead, try to figure out on your own why the right answer was right. It’s fine if you have to guess why it was right. If you think about it on your own before reading the explanation, you’re far more likely to remember the explanation long-term.

If you really get stuck, glance at the explanation, but try not to passively read the whole thing. For instance, you might glance at the explanation for just one of the answer choices at a time.

Learning from a Sentence Correction problem
The next step is where the most valuable learning happens. It’s time to reflect on the problem in a methodical, organized way, and take notes that will help you later on.

Before we go further into the process, let’s do a Sentence Correction problem from GMATPrep as an example:

Displays of the aurora borealis, or “northern lights,” can heat the atmosphere over the arctic enough to affect the trajectories of ballistic missiles, induce electric currents that can cause blackouts in some areas and corrosion in north-south pipelines.

  • (A) to affect the trajectories of ballistic missiles, induce
  • (B) that the trajectories of ballistic missiles are affected, induce
  • (C) that it affects the trajectories of ballistic missiles, induces
  • (D) that the trajectories of ballistic missiles are affected and induces
  • (E) to affect the trajectories of ballistic missiles and induce
Try this problem on your own before you keep reading. For the correct answer and a detailed solution of this problem, check out Stacey Koprince’s article here. I’m not going to explain the right answer in depth, since she already did a fantastic job of that — instead, I’ll show you how to take useful notes after you understand the answer.

The Big Picture
Start by looking at the whole problem again, after redoing it. What major lessons are worth remembering? If you missed it, was there something about the problem you should have noticed? Here are some examples.

Student A spent a long time solving this problem, because they spent 90 seconds going back and forth between the answer choices starting with “to” and the ones starting with “that.” In the end, they weren’t able to make a confident decision. Here are their brief big-picture notes:

  • First split isn’t always the best, it’s okay to move on!
Student B missed this problem because they initially read the sentence as a list of three items: affect the trajectories, induce electric currents, and corrosion in north-south pipelines. (This mistake is described in more detail in the article linked above.) Here are their big-picture notes:

  • A sentence can have lists within lists (I ate pasta and bread and drank juice = okay) 
  • Make sure the meaning makes sense, don’t just assume everything on a list goes together because it says “and” 
When you take these notes, emphasize anything new you learned from the problem, whether it was a new grammar rule, a misconception you had, or a mistake in your process. It’s fine to skip writing something down if it’s obvious to you! Focus on the things you may need to use later on.

Focusing on the splits
Next, zoom in on the differences among the answer choices. When you actually solve a Sentence Correction problem, you’ll do so one split at a time. For each split in the problem, make sure you can explain the following:

  • What the split is testing
  • How you can know whether that issue is being tested in a problem 
  • Anything you learned about that issue from solving this problem
For example, this problem is definitely testing Parallelism. Here are Student A’s notes. They spent too much time on this problem because they didn’t even notice the parallelism issue at first. However, once they noticed it, the right answer seemed pretty clear to them.

Student A
  • Issue: Parallelism
  • How do you know? 
    • ANY time the sentence includes “and” !!
    • Commas are also a hint
    • Meaning: sentence describes more than one thing that the subject does
  • Notes:
    • Two things that the subject does = make them match and put an “and” in between, not just a comma.
    • The aurora borealis is enough to AFFECT and INDUCE
Student B
Student B focused on the Parallelism issue right away, but they struggled to pick the right answer because they misunderstood the sentence structure. That’s what their notes focus on:

  • Issue: Parallelism
  • How do you know? 
    • A list in the sentence
  • Notes:
    • Don’t assume there can only be one “and”! You can have one list inside of another one.
    • Example: a normal list is X, Y, and Z. But a list can also look like “X and (Y and Z),” which has two ands.
    • Don’t eliminate an answer choice just for saying “and” twice until you check whether it actually has a list within a list.
Both of these students did a great job of focusing on simple, actionable, general lessons they could actually use on future problems. The next time Student A sees “and” in a Sentence Correction problem, they’ll start by looking for Parallelism, not by getting hung up on an issue they’re less sure about. And the next time Student B sees a problem like this one, they won’t immediately eliminate any answer that has two ands. Instead, they’ll check whether the sentence could make sense with a “list within a list” structure. (For more on the grammar of this sentence, check out the article mentioned earlier.)

Next-level Sentence Correction review
Depending on your own strengths and weaknesses, you may or may not stop there. It’s great if you can just get one or two clear, actionable lessons out of each Sentence Correction problem you review. However, if Sentence Correction is a weakness for you, you may want to add more steps to your review process. For example, if you have a hard time finding the subject and verb of a complex sentence, you could try breaking the sentence down to its core every time you review a problem. If you’re struggling to remember the modifier rules, you could jot down each different type of modifier that appears in the sentence.

It can also be helpful to jot down what caused you to miss a problem. This will help you notice patterns you may otherwise miss. Did you miss a problem because you skimmed over a small but critical word late in the sentence? Or because you picked the answer that “sounded okay” rather than the one that followed all of the grammar rules? Write it down! You could be making the same mistake more often than you realize.

Once you’ve taken some notes on the problem, set it aside for a week or two. If you’re using a GMAT study calendar, build in a review session once per week, and just redo old problems you’ve already tried. During this review session, go back to the Sentence Correction problems you’ve reviewed that week, and try them with a timer one more time. If you get them right this time and you’ve learned everything there is to learn from the problem, you can set them aside for now! If you miss a problem when you redo it in a week or two, though, you may have a weak area that needs some extra time and attention.

Don’t forget 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.

[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 170Q/170V on the GRE. Check out Chelsey’s upcoming GRE prep offerings here.

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2019–2020 MBA Essay Analysis: INSEAD, UCLA Anderson, UVA Darden  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Oct 2019, 10:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: 2019–2020 MBA Essay Analysis: INSEAD, UCLA Anderson, UVA Darden
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How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With these thorough essay analyses, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.

This week, we round up essay analyses for INSEAD, the UCLA Anderson School of Management, and the University of Virginia’s Darden School.

INSEAD ESSAY ANALYSIS
2019-2020
We noted no adjustments in INSEAD’s MBA application essay prompts this year. This season’s candidates must respond to four short career-focused queries and provide three motivation essays that together total 1,200 words. Applicants are also tasked with completing a video component for which they answer four questions as four separate video recordings. Given the sheer number of prompts, tasks, and questions involved, some candidates may find INSEAD’s essay gauntlet a bit intimidating, if not outright punishing. Read on for our full analysis of the school’s prompts, which we hope will make the process a little easier to manage.

UCLA ANDERSON ESSAY ANALYSIS
2019-2020
The UCLA Anderson School of Management appears to be embracing a kind of “less is more” approach with its application essay prompts this year, having cut its total word count for its essays from 800—which we already considered rather sparse—to just 550. What was previously its first required essay (500 words) about applicants’ short- and long-term professional aspirations and why Anderson is the right school for them has been broken down into two mini-essays (150 words each) that cover essentially the same information but now in a more succinct and direct way. Meanwhile, its 300-word “short answer” question from last year about candidates’ passions has been replaced with a 250-word submission on a characteristic applicants share with Anderson’s student community. Even the school’s reapplicants must contend with a stricter limit on what they can share with the admissions committee, now that that essay has been cut from 750 words to 500. All this minimization might tempt more candidates to consider taking advantage of the school’s optional essay, but Anderson specifies that this submission is for “extenuating circumstances” only, so applicants need to be prudent about doing so. Read on for our full analysis of the school’s essay questions for 2019–2020.

UVA DARDEN ESSAY ANALYSIS
2019-2020
After completely reworking its MBA application essay questions last season, the admissions committee at the University of Virginia’s Darden School has done just a little fine-tuning this year. Candidates must still respond to five prompts and do so within a 700-word limit, but a new query has been added, while two previous ones have been combined into a single question. As a whole, the prompts again cover applicants’ personal, educational, and career objectives while touching on aspects of Darden’s particular character and ethos—notably, its learning teams, vast international reach, and (now) diversity. In this analysis, we offer our best essay advice for all of the school’s 2019–2020 questions.

Download: Before you apply, be sure to check out the following free resources from mbaMission…

Insider’s Guides:
For a thorough exploration of each business school’s academic program, unique offerings, social life, and other key characteristics and resources, we recommend downloading a complimentary copy of our school-specific Insider’s Guides. Informed by firsthand insight from students, alumni, program representatives, and admissions officers, our Insider’s Guides offer a detailed look at each business school’s most defining characteristics. According to Poets & Quants, “A more thorough analysis of a school will not be found elsewhere on the web.”

Interview Guides:
Take the next step towards mastering your business school interview by downloading mbaMission’s free Interview Guides.  Many MBA candidates find admissions interviews stressful and intimidating, but mastering this important element of the application process is definitely possible—the key is informed preparation. And, on your way to this high level of preparation, we offer ourfree Interview Primers to spur you along.


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.

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2019–2020 MBA Essay Analysis: Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Emory  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Oct 2019, 12:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: 2019–2020 MBA Essay Analysis: Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Emory
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How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With these thorough essay analyses, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.

This week, we round up essay analyses for Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, and Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.

CARNEGIE MELLON TEPPER ESSAY ANALYSIS
2019-2020 
After switching up its application essay approach last year and offering candidates three prompts from which to choose, Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business has reverted back this season to posing just a single essay question that all its applicants must respond to. Candidates have up to 500 words with which to answer the school’s query, up from just 350 before, and must explain what they will bring to the Tepper community that will allow them to make an impact on it. Applicants who feel that this somewhat brief essay is not sufficient to fully convey their candidacy to the admissions committee can take advantage of the optional essay, which is sufficiently broad to accommodate discussions about more than just problem areas in one’s profile (if executed effectively). Here’s our full analysis of Tepper’s essay prompts for 2019–2020.

CORNELL JOHNSON ESSAY ANALYSIS
2019-2020
This MBA application season, the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University is tightening up the parameters within which its candidates can share their story with the admissions committee. Although the school has expanded the word limit for its goal statement mini-essay from 250 to 350, it has cut back the allowances for all its other submissions. Each of the written essays (including the optional/reapplicant essay) has been shortened from 500 words to 350, and the video option truncated from five minutes to three. Also, the admissions committee is now requesting just one representative story for its “back of the resume” essay, rather than allowing applicants the leeway to include as many as they wish (or could reasonably fit) in that piece. Clearly, Johnson has little interest in lengthy, highly detailed discussions of its applicants’ candidacies and wants to get right to the heart of the issues it considers most valuable in its evaluations. So if you are ready to deliver the information Johnson is seeking, read on for our full essay analysis of the program’s latest prompts.

Download: Before you apply to Cornell Johnson, be sure to check out the following free resources from mbaMission…

For a thorough exploration of Johnson’s academic offerings, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, community/environment, and other key facets of the program, please download your free copy of the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to Samuel Curtis Johnson School of Management.

EMORY GOIZUETA ESSAY ANALYSIS
2019-2020
Although the content covered in the essay questions for Emory University’s Goizueta Business School has not changed much this season, the school has switched things up a bit by making one of its required submissions a video essay. Thankfully for its applicants, Goizueta not only provides the question(s) for the video in advance but also gives candidates three options from which to select. In their written essays, applicants must discuss their short-term career goals and a past leadership experience, and in the video, they are expected to address either a personal passion, some valuable counsel they once received, or a value they have in common with the school. Candidates may use the Additional Information option to provide clarification or explanation about elements of their candidacy, if necessary, but must do so very succinctly, given the 100-word limitation. On the whole, Goizueta’s essay prompts focus more heavily on applicants’ professional sides, though perhaps the combination of a personal question and the video component is enough to sufficiently round out each candidate’s profile for the admissions committee. Click here for our complete analysis of the program’s 2019–2020 essay questions.

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


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Analyzing Your GMAT Enhanced Score Report (Part 1)  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Oct 2019, 09:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Analyzing Your GMAT Enhanced Score Report (Part 1)
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After you take your official GMAT, you can order an Enhanced Score Report (ESR) that provides more detailed data about your test performance. If you’re planning to retake the GMAT, the ESR can provide you with a good sense of what you need to improve in order to earn a higher score next time. And you can order the ESR even if you cancel your score—a really helpful feature.

First, have you already bought an ESR? If so, go grab it right now. If it has been a while since you downloaded it, go and download a new version from the official website. GMAC periodically releases new features and they’re retroactive—when you download the report again, you’ll get the new features, even if they weren’t available when you first bought the report.

If you aren’t sure yet whether you want to buy your Enhanced Score Report, GMAC offers a sample of a full report so that you can see what’s included. (Note: If you are planning to take the exam again and are at all unsure about what you need to improve, I would consider investing in the ESR. It won’t tell you everything you need to improve, but it will provide important information. As of this writing, it costs $30.)

What does the GMAT Enhanced Score Report contain?
This series will show you how to analyze every data point contained in the report. Let’s start with a quick summary. There are 5 sections in the report; I’ve split the data in each section into two groups: really useful and less useful. (Note: If certain data is repeated—for example, a score—I only mention it the first time the data point appears in the report.)

Grab your ESR or GMAC’s sample ESR and scan the report as you look through the below. (Note: The links will take you to the specific section of this three-part article that covers that area in detail.)

1) Overall GMAT Exam Performance
Really Useful: 

  • All of your scores: Total, Quant, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, and Essay
Less Useful:

  • Your average time spent per problem for the three multiple-choice sections.
  • The percentile rankings of your scores.
2) Integrated Reasoning
Really Useful: 

  • Average time spent on correct vs. incorrect problems
Less Useful:

  • Percentage of questions answered correctly
  • Average time spent on all problems in section
3) Verbal
Really Useful: 

  • Percentile rankings for each of the three verbal question types
  • Average time spent on each of the three verbal question types
  • The “quadrant” information—percent correct, average difficulty, and average time by quadrant or quarter of the test 
Less Useful:

  • Performance by fundamental skills
4) Quant
Really Useful: 

  • Percentile rankings by question type (PS, DS) and broad content area
  • Average time spent by question type (PS, DS) and broad content area
  • Performance by fundamental skills
  • The “quadrant” information—percent correct, average difficulty, and average time by quadrant or quarter of the test 
Less Useful:

  • All of the quant stuff is pretty useful 
5) Essay
Really Useful: 

  • If your score is below 4, all of it
Less Useful:

  • If your score is 4+, none of it
Part 1 of the series (aka the part you’re reading right now) will cover the Overall section as well as Integrated Reasoning and Essay. Part 2 will cover Verbal and part 3 will cover Quant.

GMAT Enhanced Score Report: Overall GMAT Exam Performance
The very first data point is your Total score—the score everyone means when they say “What did you get on the GMAT?” The Total score is a 3-digit score on the scale 200 to 800. You’ll also see a percentile number—that’s the number that has a th right after it. For instance, if you see 90th, then you scored in the 90th percentile. A percentile is a ranking; if you scored in the 90th percentile, then you scored better than 90% of the people who have taken the exam over the past 3 years.

After your Total score, you’ll see your section scores and percentile rankings for each of the four sections (IR, Verbal, Quant, and Essay). Your Quant and Verbal scores combine to give you your Total score; the IR and Essay scores are completely independent of everything else.

Here’s the scoring info from an exam I took in 2015:

Image

Aside: Yes, I “only” scored a 710 even though my top score is 780! We are often testing out various hypotheses when taking the official exam. On this one, I took IR normally. On Verbal, I wanted to see whether I could gauge the kinds of questions that someone capable of scoring a 40 would likely get right or wrong—and, yay, I succeeded in scoring a 40 (I didn’t the first time I tried this). On Quant, I wanted to see what would happen if I bailed immediately every single time I saw a topic I hated (no limits in terms of the number of times I did this). I guessed (B) immediately on 8 questions (this was back when there were 36 questions in the Quant section).

Back to our analysis. Most schools care most about your Total score, then Quant and Verbal, then IR, and finally Essay. Here’s how to interpret your scores:

  • As a general rule, top-10 schools are looking for Total scores in the 700+ range, which roughly corresponds to the 90th percentile or higher.
  • The highest Quant score you can earn is a 51; top-10 schools usually consider a 48+ a strong Quant score, though 45+ is typically good enough.
  • The highest Verbal score you can technically earn is a 51, but a score of 45 is the 99th percentile; it’s quite rare to score higher than 45 on Verbal, so I consider a 45 the practical upper limit. A 40+ is generally considered strong even for top-10 schools, though a 35+ is usually good enough.
  • The highest IR score is an 8; most schools consider a 5 or higher good enough.
  • Finally, the highest Essay score is a 6; this one uses half-point increments (that is, you can score 6.0, 5.5, 5.0, …). Schools generally consider 4.5+ fine and even a 4.0 is usually good enough. Interestingly, a score of 4.0 is around the 20th percentile—so the vast majority of test takers (approximately 80%) receive a “good enough” score of 4.0 or higher.
  • If you’re curious, here is GMAC’s full listing of scores and percentiles for all sections of the exam.
Note: Q45 and V35 will get you to a Total score of about 650. If you want a 700+, you’ll have to do significantly better than good enough on at least one of Q and V.)

This first page of the report also contains a graphic showing average time spent per problem for each of the three multiple-choice sections (IR, V, Q). I find this data too broad to be very useful, but the timing data later in the report is very valuable.

GMAT Enhanced Score Report: Integrated Reasoning Performance
Of the data given in this section, I find the timing data the most useful. The percentage correct isn’t all that useful because your score already tells you whether you did well enough or whether you want to do better—and the IR section isn’t adaptive, so doing better on IR really does mean answering more questions correctly next time.

One thing to add on scoring: If you want to go into management consulting or banking for “name” firms, aim for a higher IR score. These companies all ask for your test scores when recruiting for internships or post-school jobs. A Bain spokesperson went on record a few years back, saying that they were checking IR scores as well, since that section of the GMAT best mimics the kinds of skills they want their consultants to have. They didn’t say what kind of score they want to see, but I would consider 6 the minimum and I’d be trying to get a 7 or 8.

Take a look at this:

Image

Notice anything in that timing data?

Wow, did I spend way longer getting stuff wrong than right. Of course, I’m more likely to spend more time on hard problems and I’m also more likely to get hard problems wrong. But I apparently didn’t do a very good job of deciding when to bail on this section. I should have had at least a couple of bail-fast / not-worth-my-time problems helping to bring down my average incorrect time.

So that’s a lesson learned for next time. (Yes, I still scored an 8 on this section and the percentage correct data indicates that I probably got just one question wrong. But I see this pattern a lot for people who are scoring 4 or 5 and want to pick up a point or two. One of the easiest ways is to stop spending precious time and brain energy on stuff you’re getting wrong anyway. Let it go!)

Unfortunately, that’s all we get for IR—there are too few problems given in the section for the report to show any statistically significant data in terms of problem type or content area.

GMAT Enhanced Score Report: AWA Section Performance
AWA stands for Analytical Writing Assessment—the Essay. As I mentioned earlier, approximately 80% of all test-takers earn a good-enough score on the essay; you only need to worry about this section if you score lower than a 4.

If that does occur, then take a look at the sub-section rankings (Analyze, Relevancy, Organization, and Communication). If one or two categories are a lot lower than the others, then you know you need to work on that area. Below the graph, the report gives you a short description of your performance in each category.

If you have the main Official Guide book, grab that to gain more insight. Flip to the AWA chapter and find the Scoring Guide. It describes the qualities associated with essays scored 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and 0. Find the score you received and read the description. (If you received a half-point score, such as 3.5, then read the descriptions for the scores on either side—3 and 4, in this example.)

As you read the OG description, pay special attention to anything that sounds like the areas that were ranked lower in your ESR. For example, let’s say that I scored a 3 on the essay and my Relevancy category was the lowest in the ESR. In the report, Relevancy is discussed in terms of how well you supported the main points of your critique. In the OG, one of the bullets for a score of 3 has this to say: “offers support of little relevance and value for points of the critique.” So either I didn’t provide enough support at all or the support I did provide was not relevant or appropriate for whatever point I was trying to make.

That’s part 1 of our series! Join us next time, when we’ll dive into the Verbal part of the report.

Don’t forget 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.

Image

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 Analyzing Your GMAT Enhanced Score Report (Part 1) appeared first on GMAT.
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Analyzing Your GMAT Enhanced Score Report (Part 2)  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Oct 2019, 09:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Analyzing Your GMAT Enhanced Score Report (Part 2)
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Last time, we talked about how to analyze the overall exam data of your Enhanced Score Report, as well as the data for the IR and Essay sections. Now, it’s time to dive into the Verbal section data.

First, the report will tell you your Sub-Section Rankings—your percentile rankings by question type (Critical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, Sentence Correction). This is extremely useful because you can tell whether you are significantly stronger in certain areas.

If the rankings are within about 10-15 percentile points, I’d consider that statistical “noise.” For example, if CR is 60th percentile and RC is 50th percentile, I don’t think there’s a hugely significant difference in your performance on those two question types. Why? There are too many other variables that go into this data. Standardized tests are not perfectly precise; they have standard deviations for a reason.

For example, the test is adapting to you as you go, so you may happen to get harder RCs than CRs, on average. If so, you’re likely to get more RCs wrong—and that may pull down your percentile ranking (depending on how the rankings are calculated for this report). Alternatively, you may happen to get a higher proportion of questions in your areas of weakness for one question type; that would also pull down your percentile ranking for that type.

Here’s the beginning of the Verbal data for my 710 exam:

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The Score text in blue is something that I added to the image—I looked these up on the mba.com page that shows all the GMAT percentile rankings for scores.

I need to marry that data with my timing data in order to interpret this. In the report, just after the above rankings chart, another chart shows that I averaged 1:25 on CR, 1:14 on RC, and 1:39 on SC.

How do you think I should interpret the percentile and timing information together?

No really, think about it before you keep reading.

La la la. Don’t look below yet.

Okay, here’s what I think. I spent extra time on SC (we’re supposed to average about 1:20), so that matches up with me doing so well on those. And I was going faster than average on CR, as well (1:25 vs. the standard average of 2:00). So this reinforces the idea that I’m probably about equal in SC and CR.

But I was going really fast on RC. That 1:14 includes my reading time! It looks like I was rushing RC, and rushing usually leads to careless mistakes—so maybe my RC isn’t as bad as it looks from the percentile ranking. I might do better if I stop rushing things.

If both CR and SC had been longer than average, or if one had been much longer than average, then I’d need to figure out what trade-offs are worth my time. It may be the case that I want to do exactly what I did and I’m willing to sacrifice RC—maybe I already know that RC is the worst question type for me.

But if I’m doing this unconsciously, then there’s a good chance that I’m sacrificing something that would be easier to get right. (On quant, in particular, I see this pattern all the time: People spend more time on Problem Solving and sacrifice Data Sufficiency as a result—when they could actually do better on DS than PS if they spent normal time on DS.)

GMAT Enhanced Score Report: Verbal Performance by Fundamental Skills
This section shows your percentage correct for each question type across two sub-categories for that type:

  • CR: Analysis / Critique and Construction / Plan
  • RC: Identify Inferred Idea and Identify Stated Idea
  • SC: Grammar and Communication
I don’t find this section super useful on verbal. The two buckets are so broad that I don’t quite know what to do with them unless someone scores 100% in one and 0% in the other. (And, even there, I’m only sure what to do on RC and somewhat in SC.)

The ESR has a FAQ section explaining each category (click on the FAQ tab at that link). For RC, the distinction seems pretty clear: inference vs. stuff that was explicitly stated in the passage.

For SC, I’m pretty sure that the two categories are, broadly speaking, grammar and meaning. That’s a good split—but it’s also true that sometimes the line is fuzzy (you can call the same thing a grammar issue or meaning issue). Since I don’t know exactly where they draw the line, I’m not 100% sure how to act on this data.

For CR, the descriptions are a little too general—I feel like I’m doing what they describe on every CR problem. So I just ignore that one entirely and move to the next set of (very useful!) data points.

GMAT Enhanced Score Report: Performance Progression
Before I tell you what I think, examine the data below and figure out what you think. There are three charts: Percent Correct, Average Difficulty, and Time Management, each by quadrant (or quarter) of the section.

Image

Thoughts?

(You might have noticed that this isn’t from my test. My data wasn’t very useful for this particular analysis because I wasn’t taking the test normally.)

First, I have to give a caveat: Each chart shows four data points, representing approximately one quarter of the test, but the exam is question-adaptive (that is, it adapts after every question you answer), so it’s a challenge to interpret this data. I understand why GMAC doesn’t give us more granular data (it would give away too much information about how the algorithm works)—but we do have to be careful with how we analyze this.

Second, both for that reason and because this is an adaptive test, it’s crucial to analyze this data all together. Any one chart in isolation doesn’t tell you that much.

Finally, let’s call this test-taker Zee.

The test starts you somewhere in the medium range. Since Zee scored a 37 on Verbal, the test started at a lower level than Zee’s level—so for the first quadrant of the test, Zee’s score went up. You can see that by combining the first two charts—Zee had a good percentage correct and the average difficulty increased from quadrant 1 to 2. Zee even accomplished this while staying just under the average time. Most of the time, my student’s ESRs will show extra time spent during one or more of the earlier quadrants (remember that for later).

The percent correct for the second quadrant was still on the higher side, but the average difficulty dipped in the third quadrant. So it’s likely that somewhere in the second quadrant (probably later in the quadrant), Zee started struggling more (as everyone does on this test, since it’s adaptive). This is where the limitation of having only 4 data points comes in…we have to guess when stuff happened.

And then Zee hit a wall in the third quadrant. And look at the time management pie for the third quadrant—on average Zee was spending a lot more time on the incorrect problems. So basically, Zee started getting really hard problems and tossing a lot of time at them. Not surprisingly, Zee got these really hard problems wrong anyway—and then had to rush on others to get back on time. (If Zee were my student, I’d be recommending our Yellow Pad time management technique right about now.)

Sometimes Zee got some of those really-fast problems right, but there may have been some careless mistakes in there as well contributing to that 57% incorrect in quadrant 3. It looks like Zee might have dropped down even further than Zee is really capable of scoring, because that fourth quadrant was really good—almost everything right and the difficulty increased again. I wonder whether Zee could have lifted even further but just ran out of problems / room to improve (because the section ended).

So there’s an opportunity here for Zee to learn how to identify really hard problems and let them go faster. Zee can then use that time on other problems that Zee has a better chance to answer correctly. If so, then Zee’s score won’t drop as much in the third quadrant, and Zee will be able to lift the score even further by the end of the section.

Speaking of the end of the section: The GMAT is a Where You End Is What You Get test—so if you tank the fourth quadrant because you’re running out of time (or for any reason!), your score is going to drop and then…that’s it. That’s your score.

Remember when I said that I’ll usually see a similar trajectory to Zee’s at the start, but with a higher average time for the first quadrant or two? When that happens, the test-taker has to make up that time somewhere else—and that somewhere else is usually the fourth quadrant. The ESR will show a really fast average time and a really low percent correct for quadrant 4—basically, your score is tanking in the fourth quadrant because you’re running out of time. And Where You End Is What You Get.

If you analyze these three charts together, you can get a sense of your scoring trajectory through the section—and this is super valuable for your retake. If you haven’t (yet!) gotten the score you wanted, then it’s almost certainly the case that you need to get better at how you take the test. That includes decisions that you make about when and how to spend your time and mental energy in order to put yourself in the best position to finish the section strongly.

One more thing: When people hear that the GMAT is a Where You End Is What You Get test, they ask whether they should purposely just guess really quickly for the first third of the exam and then spend all of their time on the final two-thirds. You don’t want to do that either—that’s the equivalent of having the test start you at 0 instead of halfway up the difficulty axis, so now you have a lot further to lift (and you only have two-thirds of the questions left to help you lift).

What you really want is a steady trajectory across the whole section. If you’re doing well, you will earn really hard questions—ones that are too hard for you. You want that to happen! And then you want to recognize that they’re too hard and let go—that is, you want to maximize your ROI on this exam.

Join us next time, when we’ll talk about how to analyze the Quant data from your ESR.

Don’t forget 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.

Image

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 Analyzing Your GMAT Enhanced Score Report (Part 2) 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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2019–2020 MBA Essay Analysis: Georgetown, London Business School, Oxfo  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Oct 2019, 11:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: 2019–2020 MBA Essay Analysis: Georgetown, London Business School, Oxford
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How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With these thorough essay analyses, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.

This week, we round up essay analyses for Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, London Business School, and the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford.

GEORGETOWN MCDONOUGH ESSAY ANALYSIS  2019-2020
Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business has made some substantial changes to its application essay questions this year, broadening candidates’ opportunity to present their strongest qualities to the admissions committee for evaluation. Applicants must still provide one 500-word written essay but now get to choose from three question options. Rather than being strictly required to discuss a single defining moment, they can write about leading outside of their comfort zone, a failure-as-learning-opportunity situation, or their personal connection with the brand of someone they admire. The school’s video essay remains unchanged and allows candidates to creatively showcase their individuality and personality. Finally, although the school offers only one optional essay this season, rather than two, the prompt gives candidates the leeway to discuss anything they feel is necessary, so it should be sufficient to meet everyone’s needs.

Our full essay analysis offers ideas and advice for addressing all the school’s prompts.

LONDON BUSINESS SCHOOL ESSAY ANALYSIS  2019-2020 
Once again, London Business School (LBS) appears to be satisfied with the scope and presentation of its application essay questions, having made no modifications to them this season. Although the program strictly requires only one essay—one that largely constitutes a traditional personal statement—some applicants may want to seriously consider submitting the optional essay as well if they feel that doing so will facilitate a fairer or more thorough evaluation of their candidacy.

In our analysis, we offer our advice on crafting your approach, whether you ultimately write just one essay for LBS or two.

Download: Before you apply to London Business School, be sure to check out the following free resources from mbaMission…

For a thorough exploration of London Business School’s academic offerings, defining characteristics, and other key facets of the program, please download your free copy of the mbaMission London Business School Program Guide.

Take the next step towards mastering your London Business School interview by downloading mbaMission’s free London Business School Interview Guide. Many MBA candidates find admissions interviews stressful and intimidating, but mastering this important element of the application process is definitely possible—the key is informed preparation.

And, on your way to this high level of preparation, we offer our free Interview Primers to spur you along.

OXFORD SAÏD ANALYSIS  2019-2020 
Over the years, we have seen the top business schools slowly scaling back the length—and in some cases, the scope—of their required application essays, but the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford may be setting a new record of sorts with its minimalist approach this season. The program is now requiring applicants to provide just a single essay with their application materials rather than two, as it did last year, and one of only 250 words, at that. On the plus side, perhaps, the prompt gives candidates the leeway to share whatever additional information they believe the admissions committee should have in evaluating them, so they are not restricted by a specific topic.

Click here for our guidance on approaching Oxford Saïd’s single essay question for 2019–2020, as well as its essays for 1+1 MBA candidates and reapplicants.

Download: Before you apply to Oxford Saïd, be sure to check out the following free resource from mbaMission…

For a thorough exploration of Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford’s academic offerings, defining characteristics, and other key facets of the program, please download your free copy of the mbaMission Saïd Business School Program Guide.



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.



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Analyzing Your GMAT Enhanced Score Report (Part 3)  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Oct 2019, 11:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Analyzing Your GMAT Enhanced Score Report (Part 3)
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Welcome to part 3! In the first installment, we talked about the overall Enhanced Score Report, how to interpret your scores, and how to analyze the data from the IR and Essay sections. In the second installment, we talked about how to analyze your Verbal data. Now, it’s time for Quant!

Here’s the first page of the Quant section of a GMAT Enhanced Score Report (as with Verbal, not my own report because my data was atypical):

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What jumps out at you as worth analyzing?

This test-taker did much better at Data Sufficiency than at Problem Solving, even though the average time for DS was lower than for PS. What does that mean?

First, it means that the test-taker should be quicker to bail on some PS problems. They’re costing more time but not actually providing a better return—it’s wiser to spend extra time on DS, not PS, given the data.

Second, the fact that the test-taker is better at DS than PS tells me that she understands math rules and concepts pretty well but is struggling more with actual calculations and solving to the end (which is what we have to do on PS but not DS). So she needs to practice more “math on paper” but she also probably needs to practice alternative strategies that let her avoid that kind of computation, such as estimation and logicking it out. (We have an entire chapter called Logic It Out in our All the Quant guide. If you told me I couldn’t logic stuff out or estimate any longer on the GMAT, I’d refuse to take it again! )

The student was much better at Algebra / Geometry than at Arithmetic. Likewise, the student will want to be faster to bail on pure Arithmetic questions that she finds too complicated—she might as well reallocate that time to Alg / Geo, since she’s better at those areas.

Speaking of “those areas,” wouldn’t it be nice if they gave us more detail on our content strengths and weaknesses?

GMAT Enhanced Score Report: Quant Performance by Fundamental Skills
They do! Take a look:

Image

Geometry is awesome! But ouch, Counting / Sets / Series is…not. The FAQ section of the ESR tells you what falls in each of these areas. Here’s what it says about Counting, Sets, and Series (indented material copyright GMAC):

Counting (Combinatorics)
Problems whose primary focus involves basic combinatorial ideas, such as permutations, combinations, counting paths in a grid, etc.

Estimation
Problems whose primary focus involves one or more numerical estimations.

Series And Sequences
Problems whose primary focus involves a numerical sequence (a finite or infinite list of numbers) or a numerical series (the sum of a numerical series), such as arithmetic sequences, geometric sequences, sequences defined by recursion, etc.

Sets
Problems whose primary focus involves the understanding of, and application of basic ideas about sets, such as their union and their intersection. Problems that appear to be best solved by the use of a venn diagram are considered sets problems.”

Okay, we have some good material to work with here. Check it out! Estimation is on this list. That confirms our earlier hypothesis that the student needs to work on this. (I promise I hadn’t already seen this when I made that hypothesis! I’ve literally been writing all of this as I examine the score reports.)

Next, the other three areas are pretty annoying quant areas. There are ways for the test writers to ask easier questions in these areas, and so we do want to know how to handle those. But these can also get quite hard. Since this test-taker now knows these areas are weaker, she can just put “harder combinatorics, series / sequences, and sets” on her “bail fast” list. (How do you know which problems are officially rated harder while taking the exam? You don’t. “Harder” means “harder for me.” If it looks annoying and it’s your area of weakness, bail.)

It looks like this test taker also needs some work on Value / Order / Factors (and that goes along with the data that she’s struggling more with Arithmetic, by the way). So she would also read the description for these areas and now she’s got a good idea of what she can do to try to improve her score for next time. (Of course, you’ll want to review all topics, even your strengths, before you take the test again.)

GMAT Enhanced Score Report: Performance By Quadrant
Next up, we’ve got the quadrant data. What do you spot here?

Image

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As with the Verbal report, analyze all of this data collectively. The quadrant 4 percent correct stat is an immediately obvious one—0% right. Before that, this student was doing really well. What happened?

Take a look at the timing data. Yes, the student did very well in the first three quadrants, but she had to burn through a lot of extra time to maintain that performance. Then she had to rush a lot in the fourth quadrant, so it’s no surprise that her performance dropped so much.

The great news? She still scored a 45 in this section despite dropping so much in the last quadrant. The GMAT is a Where You End Is What You Get test: Your scoring level at the end of the section is your final score. So if she can make some better decisions earlier in the section—which will definitely involve using our Yellow Pad time management technique and choosing a small number of problems on which to bail fast—then she won’t miss a bunch of questions and have her score drop at the end. And that means she’s got a really good chance to score in the high 40s (if not higher!) on her next official test.

Remember our earlier takeaway about finding other quicker, dirtier ways to do math, including estimation? Getting better at that will also help her to manage her time on the test. All in all, this student has quite a bit of opportunity to lift her score.

One last thing. It’s sometimes the case that certain data points don’t seem to be as useful (for example, if your percent correct was about the same for all content areas) but even “low-contrast” data points tell you something (for example, that you have a solid foundation across all content areas—a good thing to know!). If you’re planning to take the test again and you don’t think that you already know what you need to improve, then the ESR can be a valuable tool, even with its $30 price tag.

That’s it! We’ve analyzed the entire Enhanced Score Report. Happy studying!

Don’t forget 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.

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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 Analyzing Your GMAT Enhanced Score Report (Part 3) 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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How to Get a (Nearly) Perfect Score on the GMAT  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Oct 2019, 07:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: How to Get a (Nearly) Perfect Score on the GMAT
Reports vary about how many perfect 800’s are achieved each year, but out of 200,000 people taking the GMAT each year, we think there are somewhere between zero and 30 perfect scores. You have a better chance of being hit by lightning as you’re winning a Powerball lottery!  (That’s not true, but calculating the probability of getting hit by lightning as you’re winning the Powerball does sound like an 800-level GMAT probability problem). There were ZERO scores of 800 in last year’s crop of students admitted to Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, etc.

Keep reading for why it’s (nearly) impossible to get a perfect score on the GMAT and for strategies for getting a score in the 99th percentile.

What is a perfect score on the GMAT?
800. Two other scores come with a GMAT, besides the 200-800 score: Essay (0 – 6) and Integrated Reasoning (1 – 8).

So if you’re looking for full-on “I pitched a perfect game / I summited Everest without oxygen tanks”, it would look like 800, 6 on Essay, 8 on Integrated Reasoning. I’m not sure if anyone has actually achieved this clean sheet, but anyone who has the capacity to get an 800 should be able to bang out a top Essay and IR score, as getting 6’s and 8’s, respectively, is very common.

How do you get a perfect score on the GMAT?
GMAT scores are on a scale from 200 to 800. This score is derived by combining a Quant and a Verbal subscore, each on a scale from 6-51. The Quant and Verbal sections each involve a little over 30 questions in a little over 60 minutes. To get an 800, you would need a perfect 51 on Quant and Verbal. The specific math by which your Quant and Verbal subscores are translated into your overall 200-800 GMAT score is a proprietary GMAC secret, kept in a secure bunker deep in the Earth’s mantle, along with the formula for Coca-Cola Classic and Colonel Sanders’ secret blend of herbs and spices for KFC chicken.

How much do business schools care about whether you get a perfect score on the GMAT?
Not at all. No b-school admissions office is expecting to see any perfect scores slide across their desks. As mentioned earlier, there were no scores of 800 in last year’s crop of students admitted to top schools. It is also suspected that the vast majority of people who do get 800’s are just sad, overly familiar “students” like me, who teach GMAT.

Can GMAT teachers easily get a perfect score on the GMAT?
Not at all. In fact, our company pays teachers way more than other companies do for the sole purpose of attracting the best and brightest talent. Despite all that, I know of only one teacher in our company history who had an 800. He also had a brain-altering injury as an adolescent that gave him some cool savant mental powers. (That is true).

The 99th percentile, our minimum cutoff for teachers, starts at 760. The difference between 760, 770, 780, 790, and 800 is basically splitting hairs. It would represent one or two guesses on really tricky Verbal questions landing the right or wrong way. We are pretty capable of getting 51’s on Quant, but getting 51’s on Verbal is almost unheard of.

I first took the GMAT ten years ago; I barely studied for it, because I was already teaching SAT and LSAT, and got a 780. Last year, I took the GMAT again. In my arrogant heart of hearts, I thought I was probably contending for one of those mythical 800’s. After all, I’ve been teaching GMAT for a decade now. I have an encyclopedia of problems in my head. This test lives in my gut like a tapeworm.

How did I do?  (Drumroll, please:  …………………!)  770.

What the heck?  Ten years of becoming a master of GMAT’s content had made me 10 points worse? Of course not. It’s just very volatile as you approach the extremes of the scoring range. As I said before, a couple unlucky vs. lucky guesses can affect your score by 20-40 points.

How come (almost) nobody gets a perfect score on the GMAT?
The GMAT is not a test that requires or even really allows for perfection. It is an adaptive test, deciding on our next question based on a calculation of our performance up to that point on the test. So, when we get a question correct, the next question is usually harder. When we get a question incorrect, the next question is usually easier. This essentially guarantees that no one can ace the GMAT. Since the adaptive algorithm can continually increase the difficulty level, it can always outpace what we are able to figure out and correctly solve within our allotted average of two mins per question.

The reason for making a test of this sort is because what GMAC really wants to measure is not our proficiency at 6th – 10th grade math concepts. It wants to measure our ability to manage ourselves, to make decisions based on priorities, and to invest our scarce resources wisely. We call this “Executive Reasoning”.

If we had enough time to fully think through all the problems on a GMAT, then it would only be a test of whether we know the content on the test. Since they really want to test the intangibles, they need a test that guarantees people do not have enough time to think fully through each problem. This forces us into the mindset of an investor. Investors don’t have infinite resources; they can’t fully invest in every opportunity. On the GMAT, since you don’t have enough time to do all the problems in a section (and you can never go back to revisit a problem), then you have to make best guesses in real-time about what is a worthwhile high percentage investment of time versus what would be too much of a longshot. This also forces us to be coldly judicious about bailing from a problem when our initial investment of time isn’t panning out. GMAC wants to punish stubbornness, to enact some penalty for foolishly throwing “good money after bad”. They want to reward humility, realism, and an investing disposition that thinks, “Welp – can’t win ‘em all. That one seemed like a good idea at the time, but I should cut my losses and move on to greener pastures.”

We have to stay budget-conscious, so we follow pacing plans as we take Quant and Verbal sections. The test assesses bigger penalties for missing easier questions than for harder questions. And there is a huge penalty for failing to finish all the questions in a section. Most people’s initial trials at a GMAT test involve overspending time on early questions and therefore missing a bunch of doable questions on the backend of the section because they’ve run out of time.

So, what should I be shooting for, if it’s not possible for me to get a perfect score on the GMAT?
If you’re targeting top 15 schools, you would love to have at least a 720. Being lower than that does not disqualify you, but it puts more of a burden on your work experience and life history to carry your app through. Luckily for us, business school admissions are relatively holistic. Having a less than sparkly GMAT score can be offset by having other attractive features.

Sparkly GMAT scores are often needed to compensate for a lack somewhere else in your application. For example, if you are applying to a rigorous finance program, but your undergrad was in Political Science and you’ve been working in marketing ever since, then you need to be able to convince the admissions board that you handle top shelf math. A great GMAT score, with a good 45+ quant subscore, will do just that.

How long do I need to study in order to (nearly) get a perfect score on the GMAT?

This answer would vary a lot, depending on the person, but I find it hard to believe anyone could score in the 99th percentile without at least 2 months of studying (unless you already teach SAT and LSAT). I think it’s much more realistic that you would need closer to 6 months of studying.  Let’s break down some of the challenges:

  • Automaticity when it comes to the basic rules, principles, and mechanics of 6th – 10th grade math: fractions, decimals, percents, ratios, exponents, radicals, linear algebra, quadratic algebra (don’t need quadratic formula), rates, overlapping sets, sequences, functions, factors, multiples, divisibility, remainder, median, average, triangles, circles, cylinders, quadrilaterals, coordinate plane, probability, combinatorics, and a few other things. It’s not enough to just know how to deal with these things correctly. We need to get to a point where the mechanics, formulas, and vocabulary involved are completely second nature. The brain doesn’t have a ton of working memory available, and we need as much of those resources as possible for the higher-level thinking of logic traps / confusing question wording / overall pacing. So there is a good bit of repetition needed in order to get the basic math content to feel as natural as reciting your phone number.
  • When it comes to Verbal, we’ll need to develop automaticity when it comes to citing and applying a dozen or so grammar rules, and when it comes to Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension, we’ll need to be automatic at identifying the type of question and whatever associated strategies/tendencies that type of question has.
  • Comfort with Alternative Strategies / Guessing Heuristics – as I said before, I got my 780 before I actually knew the ins and outs of GMAT. I was just super adept at hacky ways of doing problems, such as backsolving, making up numbers, estimating, and just avoiding un-savvy answer choices. Many students will be starting more from the ground up with these skills, and they are often initially distrustful of these techniques since high school and college did not teach us to improve at these skills. However, these techniques can often be our saving grace on harder problems, allowing us to “steal” a few per section.
  • Experience with avoiding pacing problems or working our way out of pacing problems – it’s wise to try to take at least four practice exams before you take a real GMAT (many people probably take 6-8 of them). There’s a sweet spot to pacing:  if we go too quickly we make careless mistakes or we too-aggressively give up on problems just because we didn’t understand what they were saying on a first read. However, if we get one minute in, do some ‘exploratory drilling’, and still feel pretty foggy, we need the discipline to cut ourselves off and bail. By taking multiple timed practice tests, you’ll invariably make some regrettable pacing decisions, which are a crucial way of learning what not to do next time.
  • Exposure to a vast number of GMAT problems – re-learning the basic facts of math and grammar only gets you to around the 550 level. For Quant, in particular, there are so many special logic traps, funky moves, or obscure properties that show up on the GMAT that we have never seen before. We need to expose ourselves to lots of GMAT problems (at a minimum, try all 900 problems in the Official Guide you have) so that we can become aware of some of these “games”. But be warned – you can’t really learn a problem by doing it and reviewing it once. You must implement a system of spiraling back to problems a 2nd and 3rd time. If we auditioned all 900 problems in the Official Guide to find which ones gave us at least some struggle, we would probably find that about 1/3 of them were so easy that we don’t need to learn anything else. For the remaining 2/3 (ignoring the hardest 20-40 questions in the book which aren’t worth worrying about), we need to try them a 2nd time, at least five days after the first time. For around half of those, we’ll need a 3rd time as well. That means that you’d have to do about 1800 problems (900 once, 600 a second time, 300 a third time).

    If you did 10 problems a day, that would take 180 days, or 6 months. If you do 15 a day, it’s 120 days, or 4 months.
And with that sobering prescription, I’ll wrap things up. A perfect score on the GMAT is an impossible windmill to chase. A fantastic score on the GMAT is doable, but there are no shortcuts there. You will need a lot of persistence and disposable time to develop mastery within GMAC’s broad but finite universe. The good news is that these problems feel a little bit like tiny puzzles, so if you approach them with a spirit of curiosity and appreciation, the journey and the work can be rewarding.

Don’t forget 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.

ImagePatrick Tyrrell is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Los Angeles, California. He has a B.A. in philosophy, a 780 on the GMAT, and relentless enthusiasm for his work. In addition to teaching test prep since 2006, he’s also an avid songwriter/musician. Check out Patrick’s upcoming GMAT courses here!



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How to Review a GMAT Critical Reasoning Problem  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Oct 2019, 08:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: How to Review a GMAT Critical Reasoning Problem
Image

Are you keeping an error log for your GMAT Verbal practice? If your goal is to get a certain overall score on the GMAT (say, a 700), don’t underestimate the value of Verbal. That’s true even if you’re scoring at a higher percentile in Verbal than you are in Quant.

At first, you may find that tough Verbal problems—especially Critical Reasoning and Reading Compseem arbitrary and subjective. But, they’re less subjective than they seem. GMAT Verbal problems all go through an experimental stage, where they aren’t counted towards your score. A problem is only used on the real GMAT if, during that experimental stage, high scorers consistently get it right and low scorers consistently get it wrong.

That tells us that there’s a method to the madness. High scorers are people who have figured out what makes a right answer right. And the way you get there is by reviewing Verbal just as carefully as you review Quant.

Reviewing Critical Reasoning
You should review most of the Critical Reasoning problems you do, even if you get them right. That’s because Critical Reasoning arguments use the same structures over and over, even though the content changes. The wrong answers also use the same traps repeatedly. If you get a problem right, analyze the wrong answers anyways. You might see very similar ones in a harder problem on test day.

The only problems you shouldn’t review (yet) are the ones that were unrealistically hard. Feel free to set those aside for later in your studies. Your time is best spent on the problems that will pay off most quickly.

Redoing a Critical Reasoning Problem
The first step of reviewing a CR problem is redoing it. Do this shortly after finishing a problem set, or during your next study session.

When you redo a CR problem, you don’t need to use a timer. You’re also welcome to look back at the notes you took (if any) when you first did the problem. When you try the problem a second time, with a clear head, three things can happen:

  • You convince yourself that your original answer was right.
  • You convince yourself that your original answer was wrong.
  • You’re still not sure. 
In the first two scenarios, go ahead and check out the explanation and then start taking notes on the problem. But, if you get stuck, don’t read the explanation immediately.

Instead, just check what the right answer was. Try to come up with your own theories for why that answer was right, and for why the other answers were wrong. Then, you can read the explanation—to prove or disprove your own theories, or to add to them.

If you can’t get anywhere at all with a CR problem unless you read the explanation, the problem might just be too hard to do at the moment. Or, you might need to review how to approach that type of CR problem (for instance, by using GMAT Interact) before doing more practice questions.

Breaking down a Critical Reasoning problem
Let’s assume that you’ve tried the problem twice, and you now know what the right answer is and why it was right. You’re ready to learn.

Before you keep reading, do this CR problem from GMATPrep. Use a 2-minute timer. Then, take a break for a couple of minutes, and try it again.

Correctly measuring the productivity of service workers is complex. Consider, for example, postal workers: they are often said to be more productive if more letters are delivered per postal worker. But is this really true? What if more letters are lost or delayed per worker at the same time that more are delivered?

The objection implied above to the productivity measure described is based on doubts about the truth of which of the following statements?

  • (A) Postal workers are representative of service workers in general.
  • (B) The delivery of letters is the primary activity of the postal service.
  • (C) Productivity should be ascribed to categories of workers, not to individuals.
  • (D) The quality of services rendered can appropriately be ignored in computing productivity.
  • (E) The number of letters delivered is relevant to measuring the productivity of postal workers.
Then, check out this article by Stacey Koprince for the explanation. (But, try to figure out as much as you can about the problem on your own before you read the article! The right answer is (D)—if that’s not what you picked, return to the problem and come up with a theory for why (D) was right.)

Here’s what your review process will look like for a CR problem. There are four pieces of a CR problem, and you can take notes on any of them, depending on what was interesting about the problem.

  • The question
  • The argument
  • The right answer
  • The four wrong answers
The problem above had a really unusual question, so you might choose to jot down some notes about it. Ideally, look for a big takeaway or two: lessons that could apply not just to this problem, but to the whole problem type, to all CR problems, or even to the GMAT in general. Here are some examples of students’ notes:

Student A: based on = assumption

Student B: if the question is complicated, focus on one piece at a time. “The objection to the measure” = letters might be delayed, so more letters doesn’t = more productivity. “Based on” = assumption required for this to be true. “Doubt about…” = the right answer will be negative, something that the person objecting DOESN’T believe.

Your notes might look like either example, or, if nothing about the question confused or surprised you, you might take no notes at all.

If you struggled to understand the argument, or if you picked the wrong answer because you misunderstood the argument, spend some time breaking it down carefully in your notes. You can also think about what answers you could have predicted, based on the argument itself. If you notice any patterns in the argument—for example, if the argument looked like a “tell me why” argument—you could note that as well.

The most important part of reviewing a CR problem, however, is understanding the answer choices.

Reviewing Critical Reasoning answer choices
A lot of the time, two or three of the answer choices in a CR problem will be easier to eliminate than the others. If your CR problem is like this, take a moment to make sure you do understand why those answer choices were wrong.

The ones to really dive into, though, are the answer choices that weren’t obvious. If you got the CR question right, make sure you can answer these questions:

  • What made the right answer right?
  • If any of the wrong answers were difficult, confusing, or tempting, what ultimately made them wrong? 
If you got the question wrong, answer these questions instead:

  • What made the right answer right?
  • What made the answer I picked wrong? 
  • Why did I eliminate (or not choose) the right answer?
  • Why did I choose the answer I picked? 
The point of this exercise isn’t to beat yourself up for missing the problem! The point is to gather data about your own problem-solving process, and identify patterns or areas to review.

Here are some examples of notes from students who missed the problem we worked on earlier:

Student A picked (E):

  • eliminated (D) because I thought “quality of services rendered” was different from letters being delayed. But, that was a trick! It’s okay if the answer choice uses different exact wording in some cases. 
  • picked (E) because it matched my own thoughts when I was reading the argument
  • But, (E) was wrong because it’s too strong: the person doesn’t think that number of letters delivered isn’t relevant, they just think there are other issues that may also be relevant. 
Student B picked (C):

  • Picked (C), guessed randomly 
  • Didn’t pick (D) because I didn’t actually read it fully, got confused by “can appropriately be ignored” and decided not to waste time figuring out what that meant
Student C picked (A)

  • When I read the argument, I thought that you couldn’t go from “service workers” to talking about just postal workers.
  • The “objection” is actually just about postal workers specifically, so that’s okay
  • Focus on what the conclusion says specifically, not on random background statements in the argument!
  • Missed (D) because I didn’t really read the answer choices past (A) Image
    Read all of the answer choices unless you’re in a huge hurry!
Your notes don’t need to be this detailed, but it’s great if they are. That’s not just because you’ll review them later. It’s also because writing down your thoughts on a problem forces you to slow down and articulate them in a way that makes sense. (And if you’re doing GMAT tutoring, it gives you information to share with your tutor!)

If there are other things you want to remember about a CR problem, edit your error log to include them! For instance, some of my students have used an extra column in their error log to write down how much time they spent on a problem, so they could go back and only redo the problems that took them too much time. Or you may want to take a note whenever you fall for a trap answer, so you avoid falling for the same ones over and over. A “general takeaways” column can also be useful!

Finishing up
Now that you’ve redone the problem, understood the solution, and reflected on your own process, put the problem aside for a week or two. On your GMAT study calendar, schedule a couple of hours every other week to do nothing but redo old problems from your log. It doesn’t even matter whether you remember the right answer when you redo: all you’re doing is reminding your brain of the problem and the lessons you learned from it.

You should also quickly read over your problem log at least once a week, maybe when you have a few minutes of spare time but not enough time for a full study session. There’s no need to redo any problems or take any more notes unless you want to! Just glance at your takeaways to keep them fresh in your mind.

The secret to mastering Critical Reasoning is to get methodical. Understand the rules behind each problem type, and what they look like when they’re used in problems. Doing a lot of practice problems will expose you to these rules, but review is the way to truly understand them.

Don’t forget 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.

[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 170Q/170V on the GRE. Check out Chelsey’s upcoming GRE prep offerings here.

The post How to Review a GMAT Critical Reasoning Problem appeared first on GMAT.
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How to Review a GMAT Reading Comprehension Question  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Oct 2019, 08:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: How to Review a GMAT Reading Comprehension Question
Reviewing a GMAT Reading Comprehension question is similar to reviewing a Critical Reasoning problem. Just as with Critical Reasoning, not all RC problems are equally important to review. The most important problems to add to your ‘review later’ list are the ones that were just a bit too hard. Feel free to set aside the 800-level problems for now, but spend some extra time on the ones you almost got right. That’s where you’ll learn the most right now.

Whenever you finish a set of GMAT Reading Comp practice questions, set them aside for a few minutes (or a day), then look over them again. Ideally, do this before you’ve even checked your answers: not knowing the right answer immediately will force you to deeply consider all of the answer choices.

Start your review by just doing the problem again. Take as much or as little time as you want. If you’re reviewing a tough Detail question, you can also go back and highlight or underline details in the passage. You might end up changing your mind about the answer, or you might end up convincing yourself that your original answer was right. You may also end up unsure about the right answer, even once you spend more time with the problem. In that case, check the right answer first, before you read the explanation. See if you can come up with a theory, before you read the explanation, for why that answer was right.

Once you’ve looked over the question a second time, it’s time to decide what you want to remember. You won’t see that exact problem on the test, but the GMAT uses the same types of passages, questions, right answers, and wrong answers across many problems. Here’s how to take notes in a way that will help you approach similar problems on test day.

Taking Review Notes on a GMAT Reading Comp Question
The majority of GMAT Reading Comp questions can be described as either general or specific. General questions might ask you about the main idea or the purpose of an entire passage, or perhaps about a paragraph or two within the passage. Getting these right relies on doing a few things successfully:

  • Figuring out which parts of the passage are major points, and which parts are supporting details (and how they fit together to make a single broad point)
  • Confidently eliminating wrong answers that somehow don’t match the overall passage
When you review a general question, take another look at the passage or paragraph first. You may want to jot down how long you spent reading the passage; if you read the passage slowly, spend some time thinking about which parts of the passage you could have safely ignored, and why.

The right answer to a general question is right because, according to the GMAT, it correctly summarizes the main points. Once you know the right answer to a question you’re reviewing, locate those main points in the passage, and note how the details in the passage support those points.

Each time you do this, you may learn something new about how to spot the main idea while reading a passage. If anything stands out to you on reviewing the passage, take some quick notes. Here are some examples of what your notes could look like, depending on the passage and the specific problem:

  • The main idea is basically stated verbatim at the end of the first paragraph!
  • First paragraph introduces a surprise, then the other paragraphs each explain in different ways why it isn’t so surprising after all. So, the main idea will hit those two points: there’s an apparent surprise, but it isn’t really a surprise.
  • If something isn’t mentioned until the last paragraph, then it probably isn’t the main idea, even if it feels like a “conclusion.” 
Then, look at the answers. Make sure you can fully explain why each wrong answer is wrong. Some of them may be obvious to you; focus your note-taking on the wrong answers that aren’t obvious, especially if you picked one of them!

Each time you make yourself think (and take notes) about why a wrong answer is wrong, you’re learning to recognize and avoid that type of wrong answer. Even if you didn’t fall for it this time, you’ll still be better prepared on test day.

Here are some common reasons to eliminate an answer while doing a general Reading Comp problem:

  • Too specific: only part of the passage discusses this issue
  • Too general: the passage only discusses one aspect or example of this issue, not the general issue
  • Too judgy: the wrong answer uses a word like argues, disagrees, contrasts, proves, etc., while the passage itself is more neutral. 
Taking Notes on a Specific Detail or Inference Questions
Detail questions on the GMAT all have something in common, whether they ask you to identify something that the passage says, or something that the passage only implies. Either way, the right answer must be a statement you can prove by only using information from the passage. 

In the case of a Detail question, the right answer should be more or less written in the passage somewhere. When reviewing, your first job is to hunt down the “proof” for the right answer. If there’s anything surprising about the proof or how it relates to the right answer, write that in your notes! Did you miss it or misinterpret it? If so, how and why? Knowing what caused you to eliminate a correct answer erroneously will help you refine your own process.

Then, look at the wrong answers. Be able to explain why each one is wrong. If any of them were remarkable or surprising to you, especially if you picked one of those, take some notes. Many Reading Comp questions have wrong answers that are wrong for predictable, consistent reasons. (For instance, it’s very common for there to be a wrong answer that uses language similar to that used in the passage, but that has the opposite meaning from the passage itself.) Jot down anything you learned about why an answer might be wrong.

If you got the question wrong, figure out two things: what drew you to that particular wrong answer, and what kept you from picking the right answer. This might be something as simple as a misreading (or even not reading that answer choice at all!). But, it could also teach you something about the types of mistakes you tend to make. Anything you learn, write it down for later review.

Long-term Reading Comp Review
Now you’ve completed a set of Reading Comp questions and you’ve achieved a full understanding of how to read each passage and answer each question. You have some notes written down about what made the right answers right, what made the wrong answers wrong, and how to avoid mistakes next time. Here’s the next step.

A couple of times per week, simply glance over your whole problem log, containing all of your notes on RC problems you’ve done in the past. Do this when you have a few minutes of spare time. There’s no need to redo the problems when you do this. All you’re doing is re-exposing yourself to the notes you’ve taken and taking note of any patterns that stand out, and maybe thinking about which problems you’d most like to redo next.

Once a week (if you’re focusing heavily on RC), or just occasionally (if RC is less of a priority), go back into your problem log and actually redo the problems you’ve reviewed. Use a timer, and avoid looking at the answer immediately. Did you get them right the second time? That’s strong evidence that you’ve internalized the lessons from those problems. Did you miss them again? That’s data as well: you now know that you should do some more problems of that same type, or revisit the corresponding chapter(s) in the All the Verbal guide.

Want some more GMAT review tips? Check out these posts.
Don’t forget 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.

[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 170Q/170V on the GRE. Check out Chelsey’s upcoming GRE prep offerings here.

The post How to Review a GMAT Reading Comprehension Question appeared first on GMAT.
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2019–2020 MBA Essay Analysis: Texas McCombs, Fisher College, UNC Kenan  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Nov 2019, 08:01
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: 2019–2020 MBA Essay Analysis: Texas McCombs, Fisher College, UNC Kenan-Flagler
How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With these thorough essay analyses, our friends atmbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute so that your experiences truly stand out.

This week, we round up essay analyses for the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

TEXAS MCCOMBS  ESSAY ANALYSIS 2019-2020
Once again, the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin has made only slight modifications to its MBA application essay prompts, simply refining the queries without changing the fundamental information on which they focus. The school’s required self-introduction essay (or video, for those who prefer that option) has been in play since at least 2013, and its second essay, for which applicants are asked to imagine themselves at graduation and to reflect on their time at McCombs, now specifies that candidates frame their response within the context of their goals, rather than the broader “post-MBA world.” Anyone with a potential problem area or unclear element in their profile can also submit an optional essay to address the issue(s). As a whole, the Texas McCombs essays give applicants ample opportunity to provide meaningful insight into their characters and strengths. Click here our entire analysis of the program’s essay prompts for 2019–2020.

FISHER COLLEGE ESSAY ANALYSIS 2019-2020
The Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University has expanded its application essay questions this year, giving candidates more of an opportunity to discuss their profiles beyond the statistics and other basic data conveyed in the rest of their application. The school’s first required essay is a rather traditional career goals statement for which the maximum word count has been cut back from 750 to 500. Perhaps this reduction was to allow for the addition of a second required essay without adding too much to the amount applicants need to write. For that new second essay, candidates must share a significant achievement from their past and explain how the experience has equipped them to be an additive member of the Fisher MBA community. If needed, a 250-word supplemental essay is also available for candidates with unusual or unclear elements in their profiles. All aspiring Fisher MBAs must complete a video interview soon after submitting their application, and although this is not technically an essay, we offer some tips for addressing it as well in our complete essay analysis.

UNC KENAN FLAGLER ANALYSIS 2019-2020
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School is offering a mix of old and new essay prompts this season, having maintained its rather traditional career-focused first essay while replacing its second required essay question with a trio of new options. Rather than having to discuss a core value they share with the school, applicants can choose the prompt they feel gives them the best opportunity to convey the nonprofessional side of their candidacy. And although the word count has been slashed in half (from 300 to 150), the school’s optional essay still provides candidates with an outlet for explaining a problematic element of their profile or augmenting their application with potentially key information. Our more in-depth analysis of Kenan-Flagler’s 2019–2020 essay questions is available here.

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.



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Is Earning a JD/MBA Degree Right for Me?  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Nov 2019, 07:36
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Is Earning a JD/MBA Degree Right for Me?
[img]https://cdn2.manhattanprep.com/gmat/wp-content/uploads/sites/18/2019/11/mprep-blogimages-wave1-26-e1574348483657.png[/img]

Now that you have begun taking steps toward earning your MBA, you may be wondering whether a joint JD/MBA degree could be a good option for you. Or perhaps you have been considering a JD/MBA all along. After two decades of consulting MBA, JD, and joint JD/MBA aspirants, we have learned a few things about this joint degree option, so let us offer some insight into both its utility and some additional factors you may want to consider.

A JD/MBA degree can benefit your long-term career by giving you valuable skills and insight that could make you more versatile and effective in your professional role.

[list]
[*][b]If your ultimate goal is to become a corporate lawyer at a leading firm[/b], your primary commitment during your studies needs to be on the law. Law firms generally tend to be rigid and hierarchical, so you cannot expect to simply switch from a traditional business role to become an associate at a notable firm—this kind of shift is exceedingly rare. Nevertheless, also having an MBA offers certain advantages. For example, if you find yourself working on complicated deal structures, your MBA might enable you to better understand the complexities of certain business issues, such as equity and debt issuances. And in the long term, the extensive leadership skills you would gain from the MBA experience will likely make you a more adept manager of employees and clients, and this in turn could facilitate your rise to partner. [/*]

[*][b]If your post-graduate goal is to become a traditional business professional[/b], knowing the law could give you a comparative advantage over your peers and colleagues who do not. For example, if you become a banker or private equity associate and are working on a complex deal, understanding basic employment law or grasping the liabilities that a new entity will take on (or not take on) could help you craft more effective approaches and solutions. Likewise, having a profound legal education could help you add nuance in advising clients.[/*]
[/list]
However, double the degree means that some of the pros and cons of the graduate school experience are likewise doubled. Here are a few primary ones to consider.

[list]
[*][b]A larger and more expansive network[/b]: You are probably already very aware that earning an advanced degree automatically makes you part of a broad network of classmates and alumni from your chosen institution. So, imagine that you are accepted to Harvard Business School, immediately joining a network of your approximately 925 classmates, plus all the graduates who have gone before you. Now imagine you also get into Harvard Law School, which connects you with roughly 580 more classmates as well as that school’s alumni. You will no doubt graduate with plenty of accomplished friends who will go on to become successful professionals in organizations around the world. Networks can be extremely valuable at all stages of your career, and having access to literally thousands of additional individuals who will generally be inclined to respond to a call or email from you is even more advantageous. [/*]

[*][b]A more substantial financial investment[/b]: Taking the time to pursue an advanced degree involves two primary expenditures—the cost of the program (mainly tuition, but also living and other associated expenses) and the [url=https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/is-the-mba-worth-it-go-beyond-roi/]income “lost” during your years out of the workforce[/url] (salary, bonuses, retirement contributions, etc.). By choosing a four-year JD/MBA program over a two-year MBA program, you are essentially doubling the cost of your degree. For example, at the University of Virginia’s (UVA) Darden School of Business, you would need to pay approximately $70K tuition for the first year of your MBA. Then you must pay the UVA Law School tuition of approximately $66K per year for two years. And for your fourth year, you pay one semester of tuition for each school (roughly $68K combined). The additional years needed for the joint degree represent a significant financial investment, not only in tuition ($270K versus $140K) but also in those two extra years without income. However, if you are fully committed to pursuing a joint degree, an accelerated three-year program—such as the one offered by Yale—could offer a “break” of sorts because you could return to the workforce one year sooner. We, of course, advise you to examine the student budgets at each program as you decide which path to take. [/*]

[*][b]Double the admissions efforts[/b]: At most institutions with JD/MBA programs, you must apply to—and be accepted by—both the business school and the law school separately. This is the case, for example, at Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, the University of Michigan, Duke University, UVA, and New York University. Fortunately, some other top institutions, including Northwestern University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Chicago, require only one application. Although such an important educational decision should not be determined by how cumbersome the application process is, applying to graduate school can unquestionably be grueling. Studying for and taking the required entrance exam, writing essays, securing recommendations, interviewing, scheduling class visits—doubling all these efforts may be a necessary evil but will certainly not be a lot of fun. That said, some schools will allow you to apply to their JD/MBA program after your first year of MBA studies, which does not exactly eliminate the additional work required but does minimize it slightly, as well as offering a break between processes. [/*]
[/list]
The decision to pursue any advanced degree is a hefty one, requiring you to consider the potential effect on your long-term career, the entire financial impact, the stress and challenge of the admissions process, and the rigor required to complete the studies. And committing to a JD/MBA program entails additional demands and concerns in all these areas. If you are truly interested in applying to a JD/MBA program, we suggest that you inform yourself thoroughly about this path by speaking to individuals enrolled in such programs as well as the schools’ alumni about every stage of the experience. And of course, if you need any further advice, contact us anytime for a [url=http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php]free consultation[/url].

[url=http://www.mbamission.com/][b]mbaMission[/b][/url][b] is the leader in MBA admissions consulting with a full-time and comprehensively trained staff of consultants[/b], 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.



The post [url=https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/is-earning-a-jd-mba-degree-right-for-me/]Is Earning a JD/MBA Degree Right for Me?[/url] appeared first on [url=https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat]GMAT[/url].
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What the Executive Assessment Really Tests  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Nov 2019, 07:36
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: What the Executive Assessment Really Tests
[url=https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/about-executive-assessment/][img]https://cdn2.manhattanprep.com/gmat/wp-content/uploads/sites/18/2019/11/mprep-blogimages-wave1-25-1-e1574349505628.png[/img][/url]

[url=https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/about-executive-assessment/]The Executive Assessment (EA)[/url] is not a math test. Nor is it a grammar test. Sure, you have to know something (well, a lot of things!) about these topics in order to get a good score. But the Executive Assessment is really testing your executive reasoning skills.

The term might be unfamiliar, but you already have—and use—these skills every day. Here are some examples:

You are faced with a list of 20 unread emails (or, if your inbox is more like mine, about 80). Which ones do you read first? The oldest ones? The ones from your boss? The ones marked urgent? Are there some that you won’t even click on right now because you know, from the sender’s name or from the subject line, that those emails aren’t very important? (And how did that one spam message get through the filter?)

You have a choice between working on Product X or Project Y. Project Y will result in about 5% more revenue to the company, but Project Y will also take 50% longer. Which do you do?

These decisions aren’t easy ones (and would likely require more information than I gave). This complex decision making is exactly what a good executive needs to be able to do well—and this is what the test writers and business schools actually care about.

The math and grammar are primarily used as tools to allow the exam writers to test you on your decision-making ability.

[b]How does that help me take the Executive Assessment?[/b]
They don’t expect you to get everything right, any more than a CEO expects to clear everything in his or her inbox today. You have to prioritize.

A great decision-maker has both expertise and experience: She’s thought about how to make various kinds of decisions, and she’s actually practiced and refined these decision-making processes. While the clock is ticking, she doesn’t hesitate to make a decision and move forward, knowing that she’s going to be leaving some opportunities behind.

In order to do that successfully in the business world, you need to know the company’s goals and objectives, and you have to have a good idea of the kind of impact that various tasks or activities will have on the company. You also have to have a lot of practice in making these decisions and observing the outcomes.

The same is true for the EA: If you know how it works, and you know what kinds of trade-offs to think about when deciding how to spend your time, then you can learn how to make the best decisions to maximize your score.

Your goal, then, is to develop a business mindset for this test. You’re not going “back to school” when you study for the EA. Rather, approach the exam as an extension of your current work—this is a test of your business ability and decision-making skills.

The test does include some school subjects in the details of the questions, so you will have to re-learn some actual facts and formulas, but the focus will be on your decision-making skills above all else.

[b]How do I develop a business mindset?[/b]
At every step of the way, remind yourself that the EA is primarily a decision-making test. Use this knowledge to help you make appropriate business decisions along the way, during both your studies and the test itself.

For example, don’t try to learn everything that could possibly be tested. Rather, prepare yourself to get a good-enough score. Learn the material that is most likely to be tested, with some extra emphasis on your strengths and your “medium weaknesses”—i.e., the ones that you have a better chance to turn around. On the flip side, de-prioritize your biggest weaknesses—literally get those kinds of problems wrong faster and spend your precious study and test time elsewhere.

Happy studying!

[b]For information about our Executive Assessment Complete Course [/b][url=https://www.manhattanprep.com/executive-assessment/][b]click here[/b][/url][b].[/b]

[url=https://www.manhattanprep.com/instructors/stacey-koprince/?utm_source=manhattanprep.com%2Fgmat%2Fblog&utm_medium=blog&utm_content=KoprinceBioLinkGMATBlog&utm_campaign=GMAT%20Blog][img]https://cdn2.manhattanprep.com/gmat/wp-content/uploads/sites/18/2015/06/stacey-koprince-150x150.png[/img][/url]



[b][url=https://www.manhattanprep.com/instructors/stacey-koprince/?utm_source=manhattanprep.com%2Fgmat%2Fblog&utm_medium=blog&utm_content=KoprinceBioLinkGMATBlog&utm_campaign=GMAT%20Blog]Stacey Koprince[/url] is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Montreal, Canada and Los Angeles, California.[/b] 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. [url=https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/classes/?utm_source=manhattanprep.com%2Fgmat%2Fblog&utm_medium=blog&utm_content=KoprinceCoursesLinkGMATBlog&utm_campaign=GMAT%20Blog#instructor/86]Check out Stacey’s upcoming GMAT courses here[/url].



The post [url=https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/what-the-executive-assessment-really-tests/]What the Executive Assessment Really Tests[/url] appeared first on [url=https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat]GMAT[/url].
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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What the Executive Assessment Really Tests   [#permalink] 22 Nov 2019, 07:36

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