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Memorize this and pick up 2 or 3 GMAT quant questions on the [#permalink]

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New post 29 May 2014, 12:00
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FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Memorize this and pick up 2 or 3 GMAT quant questions on the test!
Image
Memorize what? I’m not going to tell you yet. Try this problem from the GMATPrep® free practice tests first and see whether you can spot the most efficient solution.

Image

All right, have you got an answer? How satisfied are you with your solution? If you did get an answer but you don’t feel as though you found an elegant solution, take some time to review the problem yourself before you keep reading.

Step 1: Glance Read Jot

Take a quick glance; what have you got? PS. A given equation, xy = 1. A seriously ugly-looking equation. Some fairly “nice” numbers in the answers. Hmm, maybe you should work backwards from the answers?

Jot the given info on the scrap paper.

Step 2: Reflect Organize

Oh, wait. Working backwards isn’t going to work—the answers don’t stand for just a simple variable.

Okay, what’s plan B? Does anything else jump out from the question stem?

Hey, those ugly exponents…there is one way in which they’re kind of nice. They’re both one of the three common special products. In general, when you see a special product, try rewriting the problem usually the other form of the special product.

Step 3: Work

Here’s the original expression again:

Image

Let’s see.

Image

Interesting. I like that for two reasons. First of all, a couple of those terms incorporate xy and the question stem told me that xy = 1, so maybe I’m heading in the right direction. Here’s what I’ve got now:

Image

And that takes me to the second reason I like this: the two sets of exponents look awfully similar now, and they gave me a fraction to start. In general, we’re supposed to try to simplify fractions, and we do that by dividing stuff out.

Image

How else can I write this to try to divide the similar stuff out? Wait, I’ve got it:

The numerator: Image

The denominator: Image

They’re almost identical! Both of the Image
terms cancel out, as do the Image
terms, leaving me with:

Image

I like that a lot better than the crazy thing they started me with. Okay, how do I deal with this last step?

First, be really careful. Fractions + negative exponents = messy. In order to get rid of the negative exponent, take the reciprocal of the base:

Image

Next, dividing by 1/2 is the same as multiplying by 2:

Image

That multiplies to 16, so the correct answer is (D).

Key Takeaways: Special Products

(1) Your math skills have to be solid. If you don’t know how to manipulate exponents or how to simplify fractions, you’re going to get this problem wrong. If you struggle to remember any of the rules, start building and drilling flash cards. If you know the rules but make careless mistakes as you work, start writing down every step and pausing to think about where you’re going before you go there. Don’t just run through everything without thinking!

(2) You need to memorize the special products and you also need to know when and how to use them. The test writers LOVE to use special products to create a seemingly impossible question with a very elegant solution. Whenever you spot any form of a special product, write the problem down using both the original form and the other form. If you’re not sure which one will lead to the answer, try the other form first, the one they didn’t give you; this is more likely to lead to the correct answer (though not always).

(3) You may not see your way to the end after just the first step. That’s okay. Look for clues that indicate that you may be on the right track, such as xy being part of the other form. If you take a few steps and come up with something totally crazy or ridiculously hard, go back to the beginning and try the other path. Often, though, you’ll find the problem simplifying itself as you get several steps in.

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

 

 
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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The GMAT vs. the GRE for Business School [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jun 2014, 11:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: The GMAT vs. the GRE for Business School
Image
Many business schools now accept either the GRE or the GMAT, so students now have a decision to make: which test should you take? We’ve written on the topic before but this discussion deserves an update now that some changes to the GMAT are gaining more traction.

Both tests made some significant changes in the past couple of years. These changes were designed to make the test results more attractive to their customers—not you, but the business schools.

The conventional wisdom has been that the math is easier on the GRE. Though many schools do accept the GRE, rumors abound that students who take this test are at a bit of a disadvantage because they are expected to do better on the (easier) quant section. Anecdotally, we have heard some admissions officers admit that they do think about this (strictly off the record, of course). Other admissions officers, though, have said this doesn’t matter to them at all.

Recently, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that Bain & Co, a well-respected management consulting firm, is considering using Integrated Reasoning scores in its hiring process. Most banks and consulting firms already ask for the “regular” GMAT score when recruiting MBA candidates (and sometimes they even ask for your SAT scores!). If these companies begin to require IR, then someone who took the GRE could find themselves at a disadvantage during the hiring process—or even scrambling to take the GMAT during the second year of b-school while going through recruiting. Yikes!

So this question of whether to take the GMAT or the GRE has become a much more complicated calculus of a decision. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but here are some guidelines to consider as you figure out the right decision for you.

Your Performance
Do you actually exhibit a markedly different performance level on the two exams? Most people have pretty similar results.

To figure this out, you’re going to take two practice tests (one of each). Before you do that, learn about the different question formats on both exams.

GMAT

Quant: about half of the questions are your standard multiple choice. The other half are a weird type called Data Sufficiency. You’ll definitely want to learn how those work before you take a practice test (your next task).

Verbal: if you’ve ever taken a standardized test before, then you’ll be very familiar with Reading Comprehension questions. Critical Reasoning questions are similar, but much shorter, and the questions are more argument-based (how to strengthen or weaken a conclusion, for example). Sentence Correction questions require knowledge of grammar and meaning. You don’t need to study that yet, but you should just learn how the question type works.

In a nutshell, you’ll be given a sentence with a portion underlined. The first answer, (A), will repeat whatever was underlined. The other 4 answers will offer different variations for that underlined text. Only one is correct!

Essay: you don’t need to prep for this before your first practice test.

Integrated Reasoning: these questions combine math and verbal topics in four new question formats that you probably won’t have seen before. You’ll definitely want to investigate those a bit before your practice test, just to see how each one works. Here are some example problems:

Table

Two-Part

Multi-Source Reasoning

Graph

GRE

Quant: most of the questions are either standard “pick one” multiple choice or fill in the blank. Some questions ask you to “pick all that apply” (so multiple answers are possible. The GRE also has its own weird type called Quantitative Comparisons. You’ll definitely want to learn how those work before you take a practice test (your next task).

Verbal: the GRE also contains Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning-type questions (on the GRE, these are both called Reading Comp). The other questions, though, hinge on vocabulary rather than grammar. You’ll be asked to fill in blanks in sentences with the proper vocab words from multiple choice lists.

Essays: you don’t need to prep for these before your first practice test.

Take Two Tests

Next, set aside some time about a week apart (to give your brain time to recover) to take one practice test of each type. You can skip the essays as long as you do so on both tests—either do this section on both or skip on both.

If your percentile rankings are within 15 to 20 percentile points, then you don’t have a major advantage on one test versus the other. If your percentile rankings differ by more than that, then you might have a major advantage on one test.

You also need to take into account whether you had any major timing problems that might have significantly hurt your score. On any standardized test, timing is a major factor. If you run out of time on one section of one of the tests and don’t finish all of the questions, your score will drop (in some cases, quite a lot). This is really just due to messing up the timing, though—not to a fundamental disadvantage on that particular type of test. You have to master timing no matter which test you take.

If the timing was okay on both tests, though, and you see a very large (> 20 percentile point) difference in scores on the quant or verbal sections, then you may want to consider studying for the test on which you earned the higher score.

If this test is the GMAT, then the decision is a no-brainer. If this test is the GRE, then you will also have to think about what we discussed earlier. Might the business schools to which you plan to apply discount GRE quant scores? Might you eventually want to go into banking or consulting, in which case you may be asked to show GMAT and Integrated Reasoning scores?

Get Some Outside Advice
Those aren’t easy questions to answer. If you find yourself in the middle of this debate without a clear way to make a decision, I highly recommend talking to an admissions consultant. I’m a big fan of mbaMission, and there are plenty of other firms out there. Call them up and ask for help! (Note: many consulting firms will offer free advice online or a free phone consultation. Check their websites for details and sign up for any free offers!)

What was that about Banking and Consulting…?
Because so many students want these jobs, the consulting firms and banks can afford to be choosy. At the same time, they have to wade through a large number of resumes—what to do?

One possibility, evidently, is to let the GMAT do some of the sorting for them. As I mentioned, these types of firms typically already ask for GMAT scores. Keith Bevans, global head of recruiting at Bain, told Bloomberg Businessweek, “The IR scores are trying to test analytical abilities, which is important to us. We hope it’s a good match for determining if you’ll be successful at Bain.”

Bain hasn’t actually decided yet whether to use IR scores (or, if so, how). Mr. Bevans did make a point of saying that other important factors—such as “work experience, education, leadership experience, and one-on-one interactions with staff”—will still be just as important as ever.

If you don’t want to go into banking or consulting, but you do take the GMAT, then your only IR concern is what the business schools think. In 2012, the schools didn’t use IR, so most test prep companies and admissions consultants were counseling students to aim for 4 or higher (the high score on IR is 8).

Some schools may begin to use IR this year, so we’ve been counseling people to go for a 5 or higher—possibly a 6, if you’re applying to a top 5 school. Several schools, though, have said that they want to see how well IR scores predict success in business school, so it will be a couple of years at least before they begin to place any serious emphasis on this section.

If you do want to go into one of these fields, then you have a choice to make. You can take more time to study now and focus on maximizing your IR score as well. To be competitive at the very best companies, you’ll need a 7 or 8.

Alternatively, you might decide to take the test again after starting business school, either before your first summer break (if you need the score to help secure an internship) or before the recruiting season begins in earnest in the winter or spring of your second year in school.

Realistically speaking, a lot of people will want to follow that second path. I just want to warn you: the last thing you’re going to want to do in a year or two is to re-take the GMAT just for the IR score. You’ll also have to study again for quant and verbal because you won’t want to risk a big score drop in those areas; the firms will see those scores as well.

If you are applying soon and just don’t have time to add thorough IR prep into the mix, then the decision is made for you. Quant and Verbal are more important now, so you might have to re-take the GMAT in the future to get that IR score.

If you have the luxury of time, though, then use it. Plan to add about 4 weeks to your overall study timeframe. Then start incorporating IR throughout your study (there are actually a lot of overlaps between IR, quant, and verbal).

If you’re one of our students, use our IR Interact interactive online lessons in conjunction with our IR Strategy Guide to learn all of the strategies for IR questions.

If not, then identify an IR book or program that you think will be effective for you and start studying.

 
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 Choose: GMAT Self-Study, Class or Tutor? (Part 1) [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jun 2014, 12:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: How to Choose: GMAT Self-Study, Class or Tutor? (Part 1)
Image
Summer is here again and more people are ramping up to study for the GMAT. I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about whether to study on one’s own, take a class, or work with a tutor and, if so, how to choose, so that’s what we’re going to talk about in this 2-part series. In the first part, below, we’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of the three primary study methods; in the second part, we will discuss how to choose the best instructor for you (if you decide to take a class or work with a tutor).

Choosing a Primary GMAT Study Method

There are three primary study methods: working on your own (possibly with friends, but without the help of a professional), taking a class, or working with a private tutor. There is no one method that is better for everyone. There are benefits and drawbacks to each situation, so deciding which one is best for you will depend upon your specific learning style, goals, needs, and preferences.

Regardless of study method, there are certain things that you will need to know, have, or do. You will need materials that teach you the content tested on the exam, as well as techniques and methodologies for answering the different kinds of questions on the exam. You will also need practice materials, both individual practice problems (which can also be grouped into practice sets) and full, adaptive practice tests. You will also need some kind of syllabus (an outline of what to study and when). If you work with a company, that company should provide a syllabus and materials for you. If you work on your own, you will have to determine your own syllabus and decide what materials to use.

Studying on your own is typically the least expensive option and allows you to work on your own schedule. You also have to develop your own study program, which some people view as a benefit and some view as a drawback. Developing your own plan can be a benefit if you have past experience with developing study plans, including diagnosing your strengths and weaknesses, understanding your own learning style, choosing the best books and online materials to address your particular issues, planning your time wisely, sticking to a schedule, and, most importantly, teaching yourself. You can also use this previous article, Developing a Study Plan, to help you with this task. (The rest of this 2-part series will focus on taking a class or working with a tutor, because the article linked in the last sentence already discusses how to work on your own.)

Taking a class is more expensive than studying on your own but less expensive than tutoring. A course will provide you with a comprehensive set of effective materials and a syllabus to follow. Using a class syllabus will be somewhat less flexible than developing your own (with or without the help of a tutor), but you can (and should!) customize the class syllabus to some extent, spending additional time in weaker areas and moving on more quickly to advanced material in stronger areas. A good instructor will also be able to address different learning styles in the classroom (though not for each person on every single problem). Finally, you will be learning directly from an expert and you will be able to ask the expert questions; your teacher will become familiar with your strengths and weaknesses over the length of the course and will be better able to assist you as a result.

Tutoring is the most expensive option, so expensive that cost is the primary drawback to tutoring. A tutor will provide you with or recommend a comprehensive set of effective materials and will customize a syllabus based upon your particular learning style, goals, strengths, and weaknesses. You will also have the flexibility to set your own schedule, as you can when studying on your own. Again, you will be learning directly from an expert; further, because the expert is working with you one-on-one, she or he will quickly learn what your needs are and customize the lessons accordingly. As a result, tutoring is typically the most efficient study method (though a cost-per-efficiency-unit measure might be rather high!).

In the second part of our two-part series, we’ll discuss how to choose a particular course instructor or tutor, one who matches your learning style, motivates you to attend class, and shows you how best to study and think about the GMAT.

Studying for the GMAT? Take a free GMAT practice exam or sign up for a free GMAT trial class, online or near you. Be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, LinkedIn, and follow us on Twitter!
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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Open House – Earn $100/hr Teaching with Manhattan Prep [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jun 2014, 13:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Open House – Earn $100/hr Teaching with Manhattan Prep


Thank you to everyone who joined us for our last open house on May 21st to learn about the rewarding teaching opportunities with Manhattan Prep. We’re gearing up again for another great event – and we would like to extend an invitation for you to join us for our next online open house on June 22nd. Here’s the scoop:

We are seeking expert teachers throughout the US who have proven their mastery of the GMAT, GRE or LSAT and who can engage students of all ability levels. Our instructors teach in classroom and one-on-one settings, both in-person and online. We provide extensive, paid training and a full suite of print and digital instructional materials. Moreover, we encourage the development and expression of unique teaching styles..

All Manhattan Prep instructors earn $100/hour for teaching and tutoring – up to four times the industry standard.  These are part-time positions with flexible hours. Many of our instructors maintain full-time positions, engage in entrepreneurial endeavors, or pursue advanced degrees concurrently while teaching for Manhattan Prep.  (To learn more about our exceptional instructors, read their bios or view this short video.

Learn about how to transform your passion for teaching into a lucrative and fulfilling part-time career by joining us for this Online Open House event!

To attend this free event, please select from one of the following online events and follow the on-screen instructions:

Sunday, 6/22 from 8 – 9pm ET

To teach the LSAT at Manhattan Prep:

http://www.manhattanlsat.com/EventShow.cfm?EID=3&eventID=1374

To teach the GMAT at Manhattan Prep:

http://www.manhattangmat.com/classes/details/13792

To teach the GRE at Manhattan Prep:

http://www.manhattanprep.com/gre/EventShow.cfm?EID=3&eventID=752

 

About Manhattan Prep

Manhattan Prep is a premier test-preparation company serving students and young professionals studying for the GMAT (business school), LSAT (law school), GRE (master’s and PhD programs), and SAT (undergraduate programs).  We are the leading provider of GMAT prep in the world.

Manhattan Prep conducts in-person classes and private instruction across the United States, Canada, and England.  Our online courses are available worldwide, and our acclaimed Strategy Guides are available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.  In addition, Manhattan Prep serves an impressive roster of corporate clients, including many Fortune 500 companies.  For more information, visit www.manhattanprep.com.
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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 [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jun 2014, 12:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog:
Image
Summer is here again and more people are ramping up to study for the GMAT. I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about whether to study on one’s own, take a class, or work with a tutor and, if so, how to choose, so that’s what we’re going to talk about in this 2-part series. In the first part, found here, we discussed the benefits and drawbacks of the three primary study methods: on your own, with a class, or with a tutor. In the second part, below, we will discuss how to choose the best instructor for you (if you decide to take a class or work with a tutor).

How to Choose a Particular Course Instructor or Tutor

If you do decide to take a course or study with a tutor, it is important to find the best teacher and program for you. You will be more excited to go to class and learn if you both like your teacher personally and trust that she knows exactly what she’s doing. In addition, you need to ensure that the teacher’s style is one that works well for you. Finally, you’ll still be spending the majority of your study time without the instructor, so you need to feel confident that the teacher is showing you how to learn and study well.

Take a practice test and try to diagnose your own strengths and weaknesses. Research some business school programs and determine what you think your goal score needs to be. Talk to friends who took a course or worked with a tutor and ask whether they would recommend that course or tutor and why. (The “and why” is critically important – it may be that your friend liked a particular class for some reason that doesn’t matter at all to you!) Develop a list of questions that you would like to ask of any teacher you consider.

Next, develop a “short list” of companies or tutors and then take advantage of whatever free offerings you can. Many companies will host free information sessions. Some will allow students to attend one class of a course for free. Most will allow students to take one free practice test. Take notes when you interact with office staff. Are they friendly and approachable? Do they listen to what you say and go out of their way to try to help? If you have any technical or other problems, how quickly and effectively are they resolved?

If possible, attend a free gmat class taught by the person who would be your class teacher or tutor. Look for the teacher’s bio on the website or ask the office for a copy. Arrive early and, if the teacher is free, chat a bit to get a feel for his or her personality and approachability. Feel free to ask about his or her credentials, teaching style, and so forth. Give the teacher a short summary of your situation (current scoring level, goal, any deadlines). After class, ask more questions; offer information about your strengths and weaknesses and any particular concerns you have, and ask the instructor what she or he would recommend.

(Note: I recommend arriving early to ask some questions because lots of people will stick around to ask questions after class. You’re more likely to have the teacher to yourself before the session starts. Do be aware, however, that the teacher may still be getting everything in place to teach that class and may ask you to wait until after class; don’t be offended if this happens. J)

Then go home and take some notes. Was the instructor approachable? Did you feel comfortable asking questions and was the instructor happy to answer your questions? Did the instructor answer thoughtfully and even ask you some additional questions in order to clarify your situation? Did the instructor’s teaching style work for you? Do you feel you could learn well from this person for the duration of the course? Would you look forward to this teacher’s class?

Tutor-Specific Requirements

If you want to work with a tutor, you should definitely have access to a bio or other information that will let you know the tutor’s experience before you officially agree to the tutoring. In other words, you should be able to check the person out and decline to work with that tutor if you don’t want to for any reason. You should also be able to have a short email or phone conversation (perhaps 15 minutes) with the tutor before you officially meet for a paid tutoring session, and the tutor should ask you some questions about your strengths and weaknesses and / or give you some kind of work to do before the first meeting (for example, I ask my students to take an MGMAT test, if they haven’t already, so that I can review their results before the session).

Finally, either before the first session or at the first session, your potential tutor should ask you enough questions to know your situation to a certain extent: how long have you been studying? what have you done so far? what do you think your strengths and weaknesses are? what is your goal score? when do you want to take the test? do you have any deadlines you have to meet? That is, the tutor should be developing a strategy for your specific situation, not just applying a one-size-fits-all approach.

Take-aways

(1) There are benefits and drawbacks to any kind of study: self, course, or tutor. Know your own learning style, goals, needs, and preferences so that you can make the best choice for yourself.

(2) If you decide to take a course or work with a tutor, give yourself some time to make a good choice. Ask lots of questions and, if possible, observe the person teaching before you work with him or her. Pay attention to how you feel: do you think you can learn well from this person? Do you think this person will teach you how to study well, for all of those times when you’re studying without the teacher? Would you look forward to class or tutoring with this teacher?

Studying for the GMAT? Take our free GMAT practice exam or sign up for a free GMAT trial class running all the time near you, or online. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, LinkedIn, and follow us on Twitter!
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 Choose: GMAT Self-Study, Class or Tutor? (Part 2) [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jun 2014, 13:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: How to Choose: GMAT Self-Study, Class or Tutor? (Part 2)
Image
Summer is here again and more people are ramping up to study for the GMAT. I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about whether to study on one’s own, take a class, or work with a tutor and, if so, how to choose, so that’s what we’re going to talk about in this 2-part series. In the first part, found here, we discussed the benefits and drawbacks of the three primary study methods: on your own, with a class, or with a tutor. In the second part, below, we will discuss how to choose the best instructor for you (if you decide to take a class or work with a tutor).

How to Choose a Particular Course Instructor or Tutor

If you do decide to take a course or study with a tutor, it is important to find the best teacher and program for you. You will be more excited to go to class and learn if you both like your teacher personally and trust that she knows exactly what she’s doing. In addition, you need to ensure that the teacher’s style is one that works well for you. Finally, you’ll still be spending the majority of your study time without the instructor, so you need to feel confident that the teacher is showing you how to learn and study well.

Take a practice test and try to diagnose your own strengths and weaknesses. Research some business school programs and determine what you think your goal score needs to be. Talk to friends who took a course or worked with a tutor and ask whether they would recommend that course or tutor and why. (The “and why” is critically important – it may be that your friend liked a particular class for some reason that doesn’t matter at all to you!) Develop a list of questions that you would like to ask of any teacher you consider.

Next, develop a “short list” of companies or tutors and then take advantage of whatever free offerings you can. Many companies will host free information sessions. Some will allow students to attend one class of a course for free. Most will allow students to take one free practice test. Take notes when you interact with office staff. Are they friendly and approachable? Do they listen to what you say and go out of their way to try to help? If you have any technical or other problems, how quickly and effectively are they resolved?

If possible, attend a free gmat class taught by the person who would be your class teacher or tutor. Look for the teacher’s bio on the website or ask the office for a copy. Arrive early and, if the teacher is free, chat a bit to get a feel for his or her personality and approachability. Feel free to ask about his or her credentials, teaching style, and so forth. Give the teacher a short summary of your situation (current scoring level, goal, any deadlines). After class, ask more questions; offer information about your strengths and weaknesses and any particular concerns you have, and ask the instructor what she or he would recommend.

(Note: I recommend arriving early to ask some questions because lots of people will stick around to ask questions after class. You’re more likely to have the teacher to yourself before the session starts. Do be aware, however, that the teacher may still be getting everything in place to teach that class and may ask you to wait until after class; don’t be offended if this happens. J)

Then go home and take some notes. Was the instructor approachable? Did you feel comfortable asking questions and was the instructor happy to answer your questions? Did the instructor answer thoughtfully and even ask you some additional questions in order to clarify your situation? Did the instructor’s teaching style work for you? Do you feel you could learn well from this person for the duration of the course? Would you look forward to this teacher’s class?

Tutor-Specific Requirements

If you want to work with a tutor, you should definitely have access to a bio or other information that will let you know the tutor’s experience before you officially agree to the tutoring. In other words, you should be able to check the person out and decline to work with that tutor if you don’t want to for any reason. You should also be able to have a short email or phone conversation (perhaps 15 minutes) with the tutor before you officially meet for a paid tutoring session, and the tutor should ask you some questions about your strengths and weaknesses and / or give you some kind of work to do before the first meeting (for example, I ask my students to take an MGMAT test, if they haven’t already, so that I can review their results before the session).

Finally, either before the first session or at the first session, your potential tutor should ask you enough questions to know your situation to a certain extent: how long have you been studying? what have you done so far? what do you think your strengths and weaknesses are? what is your goal score? when do you want to take the test? do you have any deadlines you have to meet? That is, the tutor should be developing a strategy for your specific situation, not just applying a one-size-fits-all approach.

Take-aways

(1) There are benefits and drawbacks to any kind of study: self, course, or tutor. Know your own learning style, goals, needs, and preferences so that you can make the best choice for yourself.

(2) If you decide to take a course or work with a tutor, give yourself some time to make a good choice. Ask lots of questions and, if possible, observe the person teaching before you work with him or her. Pay attention to how you feel: do you think you can learn well from this person? Do you think this person will teach you how to study well, for all of those times when you’re studying without the teacher? Would you look forward to class or tutoring with this teacher?

Studying for the GMAT? Take our free GMAT practice exam or sign up for a free GMAT trial class running all the time near you, or online. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, LinkedIn, and follow us on Twitter!
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How to Study for the GMAT On Your Own [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jun 2014, 09:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: How to Study for the GMAT On Your Own
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You’ve been thinking for a while now about going back to business school. You’ll go sometime in the future…but you haven’t started to do much about it yet.

Well, break out your pencils* and get ready to take advantage of your new membership in the GMAT Exercise Club! We’re going to set up a custom program for you to get the score you need by summer’s end—and then you can decide whether to apply this fall or to wait a year or two.

*Okay, okay, you don’t use pencils for this test anymore, nor is there an actual GMAT Exercise Club, and I can’t really give each and every one of you a completely customized, individual study program. But I can tell you what to start doing today to get yourself ready to take the GMAT by the end of the summer, as long as you make the commitment to get your brain in gear, do a little bit every day, and conquer Mount Everest…er, the GMAT.

This article will assume that you plan to study on your own. If you are still deciding whether to study on your own, take a class, or work with a tutor, the following article discusses the pros and cons of each approach: How to Choose an Approach: Self-study, Class, or Tutor.

Here’s how to develop a study plan that’s appropriate for you.

Week 1: Take a CAT

Your first step is to take a practice CAT under official testing conditions (including all 4 sections: essay, IR, quant, verbal).

It’s best to use a test-prep company CAT for this, not GMATPrep (the official practice test from the makers of the GMAT), as the purpose for taking this practice CAT is to gain insight into your strengths and weaknesses. While GMATPrep is the closest thing to the real test, it provides no data with which to evaluate your performance. Save GMATPrep for later in your study.

Right now, you might be protesting: but I haven’t studied anything yet! That’s okay. In fact, that’s the point! You need to determine what you do already know or understand and what you don’t so that you can set up an effective study plan for yourself. Don’t stress about your first score—use it as a study tool.

It is smart, though, to make sure that you learn a little bit about one particular question type before you take that test. Unless you’ve studied for the GMAT before, you probably haven’t seen anything like Data Sufficiency, so review that question type before your first CAT.

If you take an MGMAT CAT, use this two-part article to analyze your results: Evaluating Your Practice Tests. (The link given here is to the first part of the article; you can find the link to the second part at the end of the first part.)

Week 1: Choose Your Materials or Program

Next, you need a study plan. To start, figure out what materials you’ll use to study. At the least, you will need two things:

(1) Material that teaches you how to take the test

(2) Material that allows you to practice your skills

The first category includes test preparation materials—books, flash cards, interactive lessons—basically, materials that teach you strategies, facts, rules, and techniques for taking the GMAT.

The best source material for the second category includes official test questions that have been released by the test makers. There are three Official Guide (OG) books full of questions, the previously-mentioned GMATPrep software, GMAT Focus, and more. (You can find descriptions of all of these products at www.mba.com.)

I want to talk a little bit more about one item from category 1: interactive lessons. These kinds of lessons fall in between static books and live classes or tutoring (the price, the amount of material, the level of engagement, everything).

Many (if not most) companies are moving forward with pre-prepared lessons that are still customizable (to some extent) to an individual student. These types of lessons are typically more dynamic, incorporating video, audio, and interactive components, and they’re adaptive: as you work through a lesson, you may be offered something harder if you’re breezing through or something easier if you’re struggling with a concept.

These types of programs should offer some kind of structure: an order to the lessons, recommendations for what to do each week for some number of weeks, and so on. Do follow the structure in general—the lessons and recommendations were made that way for a reason—but customize to fit your particular strengths and weaknesses (as determined by your first CAT). More on this in the next section.

Weeks 2 through 10-ish: Study Smart

Now that you’re ready to start studying, we have to discuss the next critical component: how to study in a way that gets you the most out of your hard work. Studying a great quantity of stuff doesn’t necessarily accomplish that goal.

You will, of course, need to learn all of the facts and rules (quant and grammar) tested on the GMAT. You’ll also need to learn the major strategies necessary for the six different question types (Integrated Reasoning, Problem Solving, Data Sufficiency, Sentence Correction, Reading Comprehension, and Critical Reasoning). All of this constitutes the first level of your GMAT learning.

But wait! There is a second level. You’ll need to learn how the test writers put these (sometimes infuriating!) questions together and how you can translate GMAT-speak into normal language that you can tackle efficiently and effectively.

Luckily, I’ve already got an entire article for you on the 2nd Level of GMAT Learning. Read it (including the other articles linked in it—they’re very important!) and start practicing what it preaches.

Next, customize your plan. If you’re working from books, start with the most fundamental material that is giving you trouble (based on your CAT results) and work your way up from there.

If you’re using interactive lessons, adjust the standard plan according to your strengths and weaknesses. For example, my company’s interactive program (GMAT Interact™) starts out in week 1 with an overview of GMAT scoring, and lessons on Data Sufficiency (DS) and Sentence Correction (SC). If, on your first practice test, you bombed DS but SC went pretty well, then you’re going to adjust accordingly. Plan to take more time than the syllabus recommends for DS, and either take less time on SC or push yourself to work on some harder practice problems.

If you were pretty unfamiliar with DS, you might try just the first part of the interactive lesson (which explains the basics), then go practice those skills on some easy OG DS problems, and then come back and finish the main DS lesson.

Because the lessons are interactive, you can sometimes “unlock” harder material by doing well in the lesson. As a result, you might even return to the lesson in a few weeks to try it again—you might see some harder questions now that your skills have matured. (And, even if the lesson doesn’t have harder questions available, you’ll still solidify the strategies and get some solid review under your belt.)

Do the above for approximately the first 6 weeks and then take another practice CAT. Analyze it again—your skills will have changed!—and use those new priorities as you continue with your lessons.

Weeks 10-ish to 13+ish: Review

At some point, you will have worked your way through the main lessons of whatever program or books you’re using. Then, you’ll start your review.

There are two broad scenarios:

(1) Your practice CATs are in your desired score range

(2) Your practice CATs are not in your desired score range

If your CATs are where you want them to be, plan to take the test within a few weeks, after doing a comprehensive review across the main content areas, question types, and strategies.

If your CATs are not where you want them to be, you’re going to go back to your program material, but this time, don’t just start from the beginning. Use your most recent CAT to figure out your priorities and selectively return to those lessons that are the most important for you to learn. When you feel that you have made significant progress in whatever those areas are, take another CAT and repeat the process until your scores get into the range that you want.

(Note: your analysis of one CAT should provide you with at least two weeks’ worth of study material. If you’re tempted to take a CAT earlier than that, then you’re in danger of falling into the trap of taking CATs too frequently because you’re hoping your score has gone up. If you haven’t really put in the work, don’t expect much to change on your next CAT.)

If your scores aren’t getting into the range that you want, then you may have to revisit either your goal score or your decision to study on your own (that is, you may need outside help in the form of a teacher / tutor). Let’s hope that doesn’t apply in your case but, if it does, take a look at the How to Choose an Approach article linked at the beginning of this post.

On Your Mark, Get Set…

Take your first step today. Decide whether you’re going to study on your own, take a class, or work with a tutor. Start researching the materials, programs, or tutors available and make a decision one week from today (put an actual deadline on your calendar!). Sign up / order / do what you need to do in order to get started.

Next, mark off study times on your calendar. Plan to study 5 or 6 days a week for 30 minutes to 3 hours a day. You can break sessions up into smaller chunks (in fact, I wouldn’t recommend sitting down for more than about 1 to 1.5 hours at a stretch). If you’re going to use an interactive learning program that lets you set your own “class” schedule, block off regular class times at the same time every week (even though you’ll be the only student in attendance).

Go!

Studying for the GMAT? Take our free GMAT practice exam or sign up for a free GMAT trial class running all the time near you, or online. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, LinkedIn, and follow us on Twitter!
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GMAT Interact: Meet the Creators [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jun 2014, 13:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMAT Interact: Meet the Creators


Go behind-the-scenes and meet the creators of GMAT Interact to learn why so many are calling it “the best GMAT self-study method out right now.” We’re just 3 days away from launching the full version of GMAT Interact, but you can try a FREE Geometry Lesson from it right now, for a limited-time only: http://ow.ly/xNjBn.
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GMAT Interact Available Now! [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jun 2014, 14:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: GMAT Interact Available Now!
You’ve seen it. You’ve heard about it. And, today, we are excited to bring you what many are calling “the best self-study method out right now!”



Test Prep Reengineered

It took over 6,000 hours and countless instructors, developers, coders, and designers to bring you GMAT Interact. Designed around the student-teacher connection, a team of Manhattan Prep instructors will guide you through every topic tested on the GMAT, one section at a time. And, you won’t just sit back and hear them give some boring lecture about quant or verbal. GMAT Interact is designed to make you lean forward and engage.

So how is GMAT Interact different? Our on-screen instructors will actually ask you questions, respond to your answers, and tailor your GMAT lessons based on the your answers and the information you input. Like the adaptive nature of the actual GMAT, at times, if you get something right, we’ll take you to a tougher problem. Other times, when you get something wrong, we’ll take you through a detailed lesson. Finally, if you ‘bail’ too quickly from a question, we may push you back to try it again.

Experience The Difference

We’ve spent the past three years pushing education technology to bring you a cutting-edge platform, but what makes GMAT Interact special isn’t just the tech. It’s that we’ve translated what a student experiences in one of our classrooms into a sophisticated suite of digital lessons you actually engage with. Our interactive lessons play out as if you were receiving private tutoring – right from your computer or mobile device, anywhere, anytime. The instructors you’ll learn from are veteran Manhattan Prep instructors – not actors – who have 100+ combined years of teaching experience, so you can prep with confidence.

Kick off your studies with the full version of GMAT Interact now, or try it for free, at: www.manhattangmat.com/interact
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Manhattan Prep Celebrates the GMAT Interact Launch Party [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jun 2014, 07:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Manhattan Prep Celebrates the GMAT Interact Launch Party
Last Thursday, June 12th, Manhattan Prep celebrated the launch of GMAT Interact, the newest addition to Manhattan GMAT’s product line. After logging in over 6,000 hours to produce GMAT Interact, we were beyond excited to officially announce the launch to our 75+ party guests, who gathered at Manhattan Prep’s corporate headquarters in New York City. Upon entrance to the cocktail reception, guests were encouraged to strike their best red carpet-pose in front of the GMAT Interact step and repeat banner.

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The GMAT Interact Production Team

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Noah Teitelbaum with Helene Dudley, Technical Product Manager at Articulate Global, Inc

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Prospective students gather in front of the step and repeat banner!

In addition to Manhattan Prep’s expert instructors, designers, coders, developers, and corporate staff, guests included current and prospective students, media, education and tech bloggers, and software developers. Attendees enjoyed our open bar and full spread delicious food–from crab cakes to strawberry cheese cakes and everything in between. Guests were also given the opportunity to walk around and explore wall displays that featured photos and facts about the GMAT Interact production process. This gave everyone a tangible sense of the development process and the many hours that went into making the cutting-edge learning tool that is GMAT Interact. Noah Teitelbaum, Manhattan Prep’s Vice President of Instruction and GMAT Interact Instructor, welcomed the NYC crowd and delivered the Product Reveal. Noah proudly presented the hard work, dedication, and curriculum development process that the team executed to produce the 35+ dynamic, fun, and interactive lessons.

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 After the Product Reveal, the laptop and iPad demo stations opened for guest to try out the complete product!   Image
Finally, what would a party be without a SelfieBooth!? The GMAT Interact Launch party had a designated space just for selfies, complete with a green screen background and the actual props that were used in the filming and production of GMAT Interact.

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We’re thrilled to announce that GMAT Interact is complete and is now available for purchase! You can click here to view the product page and sign up for the free trial. We’d also like to send a huge thank you to everyone who helped make this launch party a success and to everyone who came out to celebrate with us! If you have photos, feel free to upload them to twitter, Facebook, or Instagram with the hash tag #GMATInteract, we’d love to see them!
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Manhattan Prep’s Social Venture Scholars Program Deadline: J [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jun 2014, 11:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Manhattan Prep’s Social Venture Scholars Program Deadline: June 27
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Do you work for a non-profit? How about promote positive social change? Manhattan Prep is honored to offer special full tuition scholarships for up to 16 individuals per year (4 per quarter) who will be selected as part of Manhattan Prep’s Social Venture Scholars program. The SVS program provides selected scholars with free admission into one of Manhattan GMAT’s live online Complete Courses (a $1290 value).

These competitive scholarships are offered to individuals who (1) currently work full-time in an organization that promotes positive social change, (2) plan to use their MBA to work in a public, not-for-profit, or other venture with a social-change oriented mission, and (3) demonstrate clear financial need. The Social Venture Scholars will all enroll in a special online preparation course taught by two of Manhattan GMAT’s expert instructors within one year of winning the scholarship.

The deadline is fast approaching: June 27, 2014! 

Learn more about the SVS program and apply to be one of our Social Venture Scholars here.

Studying for the GMAT? Take our free GMAT practice exam or sign up for a free GMAT trial class running all the time near you, or online. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+LinkedIn, and follow us on Twitter!
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mbaMission: New York University (Stern) Essay Analysis, 2014 [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jun 2014, 08:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: mbaMission: New York University (Stern) Essay Analysis, 2014–2015
We’ve invited mbaMission to share their Business School Essays Analyses as they’re released for the 2013-2015 application season. Here is their analysis for New York University (Stern).

New York University’s (NYU’s) Stern School of Business must be happy with the essay responses they received from applicants last admissions season, because the school has made no changes to its essay questions for this year. Stern maintains its standard career essay prompt and again gives candidates two completely different options for the second essay, one that is professional in nature and another that is personal. Many applicants will likely be daunted by the “personal expression” option, because the significant latitude it offers can lead to uncertainty—as in, “Am I doing this right?” We suggest that rather than worrying about which format to choose, you first consider what you want to say as an applicant. Who are you? What do you want the Stern admissions committee to know about you? Once you can answer those questions, determine which option better allows you to showcase your message and your strengths.

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Essay 1:  Professional Aspirations 
(750 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

  • Why pursue an MBA (or dual degree) at this point in your life?
  • What actions have you taken to determine that Stern is the best fit for your MBA experience?
  • What do you see yourself doing professionally upon graduation?
The three points that make up Stern’s Essay 1 question basically constitute a Personal Statement, and because Personal Statements are similar from one application to the next, we have produced the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which helps applicants write this style of essay for any school. We offer this guide to candidates free of charge. Please feel free todownload your copy today.

And for a thorough exploration of NYU Stern’s academic program/merits, defining characteristics, important statistics, social life, academic environment and more, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

Essay 2: Choose Option A or Option B

Option A: Your Two Paths (500 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)

The mission of the Stern School of Business is to develop people and ideas that transform the challenges of the 21st century into opportunities to create value for business and society. Given today’s ever-changing global landscape, Stern seeks and develops leaders who thrive in ambiguity, embrace a broad perspective and think creatively about the range of ways they can have impact.

  • Describe two different and distinct paths you could see your career taking long term. How do you see your two paths unfolding?
  • What factors will most determine which path you will take?
  • How do your paths tie to the mission of NYU Stern?
Given that the school is asking about two possible paths for your long-term career, you may be wondering whether you have room to be vague or uncertain about your goals in this essay. Quite simply, “No.” In fact, you will instead need to present two feasible career options and relate your skills and experiences to both of them very clearly to create an effective, coherent statement and to show not only that you are versatile but also that you know yourself well.

The key here is demonstrating that you have a full understanding of the career paths you propose for yourself and truly grasp how and why each one would be a good fit for you. If you write that you could see yourself as either a marketing manager or a hedge fund manager, for example, you will reveal that you actually do not know much about these positions, because the personalities and skills necessary to succeed in the roles are quite different. Although identifying and showing a connection between these options is not impossible (both can require a very intense focus on data mining, for example), your essay will really only be successful if you can effectively show that you know yourself and the two diverse paths well. A more plausible—and likely convincing—option is to choose two positions that are more relatable to each other, such as entrepreneur and politician. There is no “right” combination for this essay, but whatever you propose has to be credible. Basically, Stern is saying that it wants to know that you are able to make the most of opportunities, even if life (or the economy!) throws you a curveball. By thoughtfully discussing two feasible alternatives, you will prove that you are multitalented and prepared to knock any curveball out of the park.

To best answer the question that relates to Stern’s mission, you must first understand—you guessed it!—the school’s mission, which Stern conveniently provides as the intro to its Option A questions. The school’s mission is clearly quite broad. You need not address every aspect of it in your essay, but make sure that you connect your proposed paths to at least one element of Stern’s statement. Further, you should definitely not trot out clichés about “doing good,” just because Stern has the word “society” in its mission. In short, avoid approaching this part of the essay with a “What do they want to hear?” perspective and truly consider how your stated career trajectories relate to the school’s objectives—think deeply about who you are, where you want to be and how your ambitions and values connect with Stern’s own mission.

 

Option B: Personal Expression

Please describe yourself to your MBA classmates. You may use almost any method to convey your message (e.g. words, illustrations). Feel free to be creative. (See Stern’s essay write-up in more depth via this link.)

In NYU Stern’s famed “personal expression” essay, you have a phenomenal opportunity to differentiate yourself from the rest of the applicant pool in two distinct ways. The first is the vehicle through which you choose to reveal your persona. By using a creative and captivating format, you can grab the admissions committee’s interest and compel your “reader” to pay close attention to your content. However, be sure to consider the possible limitations of certain clever options, not just their uniqueness. For example, although a baseball card may be aesthetically pleasing, this format severely limits the amount of information you can convey because of its size and anticipated style. Instead, if you were to submit a eulogy theoretically written by your best friend (and you CAN submit something that is written, but do not use this idea; it is now public), the format would be sufficiently broad to allow you to touch on all that is unique about you. The second way this essay question allows you to differentiate yourself is through your content. Ideally, you will use this opportunity to showcase a diversity of professional, personal, academic and community accomplishments that you were not able to share in essay one. The personal expression allows you to reveal your true personality and “likeability” beyond your professional/academic competencies.

One important note: NYU Stern is accepting multimedia presentations, but do not feel compelled to use this option if this is not something with which you are comfortable, and if you do choose this method, do not worry about the level of your Web design or video production skills relative to others’. For this essay, content trumps style. In fact, at an mbaMission event, we interviewed various admissions officers, students and alumni from NYU Stern who spoke of some incredibly simple “personal expression” submissions that had captivated the admissions committee—and many of these were straightforward essays!

Essay 3. Additional Information (optional)

Please provide any additional information that you would like to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee. This may include current or past gaps in employment, further explanation of your undergraduate record or self-reported academic transcript(s), plans to retake the GMAT, GRE and/or TOEFL or any other relevant information.

If you are unable to submit a recommendation from your current supervisor, you must explain your reason, even if you are a re-applicant.

If you are a re-applicant from last year, please explain how your candidacy has improved since your last application.

However tempted you might be, this is not the place to paste in a strong essay from another school or to offer a few anecdotes that you were unable to use in any of your other essays. Instead, this is your opportunity, if needed, to address any lingering questions that an admissions officer may have about your candidacy, such as a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT score, a gap in your work experience, etc. In our mbaMission Optional Statement Guide, we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay, with multiple examples, to help you mitigate any problem areas in your profile.

Whether you have improved your academic record, received a promotion, begun a new and exciting project, increased your community involvement or taken on some sort of personal challenge since you last applied, the key to success with this essay is conveying a very deliberate path of achievement. Stern wants to know that you have been actively striving to improve yourself and your profile, and that you have seized opportunities during the previous year to do so, because an NYU Stern MBA is vital to you. The responses to this essay question will vary greatly from one candidate to the next, because each person’s needs and experiences differ. We are more than happy to provide one-on-one assistance with this highly personal essay to ensure that your efforts over the past year are presented in the best light possible.

 
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mbaMission: University of Michigan (Ross) Essay Analysis, 20 [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jun 2014, 09:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: mbaMission: University of Michigan (Ross) Essay Analysis, 2014–2015
We’ve invited mbaMission to share their Business School Essays Analyses as they’re released for the 2014-2015 application season. Here is their analysis for University of Michigan (Ross).

The Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan has refashioned its essay questions, going “smaller” with its requirements, as have several other schools this application season. Ross’s broadly worded essay prompts give you ample breadth—if not an overabundance of words—in which to tell your story. As always, think carefully about what you want to say and the impression you want to make before you start writing, because more opportunity lurks here than you might realize at first.

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Essay 1: What are you most proud of professionally and why? What did you learn from that experience? (400 words)


Many applicants who read this essay prompt will conclude that they have an opportunity here to share just one anecdote. However, you actually have another option. You could, of course, take a “task-oriented” approach, showing how you did one thing remarkably well, or you might consider taking a thematic approach, presenting instead a consistent record of achievement in one area. For example, you could discuss how you tamed your firm’s most feared client as a single clear accomplishment, or you could integrate this incident as one example supporting a theme of how you have developed your skills as a diplomat.

Any reader of our essay analyses or attendee of our essay writing seminars knows that we have an avowed preference for narrative-style writing. We strongly advocate getting right to the important details and describing your actions and results. Starting your essay with a bland declaration like “I am most proud of how I tamed our most difficult client and learned that I am a diplomat…” would be an essay killer!

As you are writing, be careful not to get carried away and forget to explain what you learned—the essay question very clearly asks, “What did you learn from the experience?” This information may be largely implied in your narrative, but your reflection on what you learned should not just repeat your key theme: “Clearly, I learned to be a diplomat in taming our toughest client, and I look forward to greater challenges going forward!” Just to be 100% clear, let us stress again that such a statement simply will not work. Contemplate your growth and development through the experience or series of experiences and use the theme of your essay as a starting point, but take the reflective piece further and reveal the self-awareness or skills that developed therein.

Essay 2: What are you most proud of personally and why? How does it shape who you are today?  (400 words)

Clearly, this essay is a fraternal twin of Essay 1. So again, you can focus on a single accomplishment (task) or a series of accomplishments that reveal a trait (theme). And revealing your chosen task or theme through a narrative will allow your actions and their impact to shine through.

Applicants are often flustered by the word “personal,” puzzling over why an admissions committee would want to learn anything about their personal life. Well, the reason is that the admissions committee want to get to know the entire you, and you are not just a series of professional accomplishments. We would define personal as “anything outside of work,” so your community service activities should be fair game here. But if you are so inclined, do not be afraid to discuss an aspect of your life that is truly personal, such as making a significant impact on a family member, pushing yourself to try something that is a radical personal departure, teaching yourself a new skill or committing to learning something interesting. The list of personal topics is vast, because you are living, changing and growing every day.

One thing you do not need to worry about is “scale”—no one expects you to be changing the world in your spare time. Admissions officers want to experience the intensity of your passion and commitment, but they also recognize that you are mortal, so you are not likely scaling the world’s ten highest peaks or curing a disease outside of work. You just need to show that you are doing your thing in a way that is spirited and determined.

As with Essay 1, do not neglect to reflect on the impact of your chosen task or theme: the admissions committee wants to hear how your personal accomplishment “shapes” the you you are today. The same rules apply—do not just offer a summary statement. Truly explore your development and elucidate what affects you today and how.

Essay 3: Optional question:  Is there anything not addressed elsewhere in the application that you  would like the Admissions Committee to know about you to evaluate your candidacy? (300 words)

The phrasing of this optional essay question is broader than most in that Ross does not specifically limit you to discussing problem areas in your candidacy. That said, in most cases, this is still your opportunity to address any lingering questions that an admissions officer may have about your profile—if you need to—such as a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT score, a gap in your work experience, etc. In our mbaMission Optional Statement Guide, we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay, with multiple examples, to help you mitigate any problem areas in your application.

However, because the question can be interpreted rather broadly, it does open the door for you to discuss a strength or attribute that has not yet been highlighted elsewhere in your application and that you think may be pivotal or particularly compelling. We caution you about simply trying to fill this space because you fear that not doing so would somehow count against you. You must have a crucial aspect of your background/experience/profile that you would be bringing to light—remember, by submitting an additional essay, you are asking the admissions committee to do extra work on your behalf, so you need to make sure that time is warranted. If you are using the essay to emphasize something that if omitted would render your application incomplete, take this opportunity to write a very brief narrative that reveals this key new side of your profile.

 
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mbaMission: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) Es [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jun 2014, 09:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: mbaMission: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) Essay Analysis, 2014–2015
We’ve invited mbaMission to share their Business School Essays Analyses as they’re released for the 2014-2015 application season. Here is their analysis for Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan).

he MIT Sloan School of Management bucks conventionality this admissions season and has added to the word count for its application essays—moving from a maximum of 1,000 words to 1,250. The school’s first essay question remains the same as last year’s, but its second essay prompt presents an interesting challenge in that the admissions committee asks you to do exactly what it does not want you to do in reality: write your own recommendation letter. At least in this case, the school is allowing you to do so in the light of day. Thankfully, perhaps, Sloan has dropped its befuddling optional essay, which had invited applicants to share any additional information in any format. Candidates will be content to see clearer directives in the program’s essay questions. As always, our analysis follows…

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Essay 1:  The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice. Discuss how you will contribute toward advancing the mission based on examples from your past work and activities. (500 words or fewer)


You may read this essay question and think, “Can I really provide examples that will lead someone to conclude that I ‘improve the world’ or ‘generate ideas that advance management practice’?” That indeed sounds like a tall order, but this essay prompt is not as daunting as it may seem, because the focus is on the future. Sloan’s MBA admissions committee is asking you to draw on past experience to show that you are prepared to support the school’s mission going forward. Rather than fretting about the latter part of the question, focus on the first part, and provide examples of how you have displayed principled or innovative leadership.

The phrasing of the question is broad enough that your examples can come from the professional, community or personal sphere. All these areas are equally valid. What is important is that you offer a clear narrative, so that your reader is able to truly visualize your actions and motivations. The admissions committee wants to learn about you through your stories, not hear platitudes about management. You might share two different anecdotes and then connect them both to the school’s mission at the end of your essay. Or you could present two dissimilar anecdotes that each mesh with the mission in their own way. Whatever your approach, remember to clearly link your stories to the school’s goal statement. Before your hands even touch the keyboard, really contemplate how your experiences relate to that mission.

Essay 2:  Write a professional letter of recommendation on behalf of yourself.  Answer the following questions as if you were your most recent supervisor recommending yourself for admission to the MIT Sloan MBA Program: (750 words or fewer)

  • How long and in what capacity have you known the applicant?
  • How does the applicant stand out from others in a similar capacity?
  • Please give an example of the applicant’s impact on a person, group, or organization.
  • Please give a representative example of how the applicant interacts with other people.
  • Which of the applicant’s personal or professional characteristics would you change?
  • Please tell us anything else you think we should know about this applicant.
Sloan presents an interesting challenge in this essay… err… letter of recommendation.  In 750 words, you must answer all the questions presented but do so in a way that is not so systematic that you are unable to create your own structure and stand out as an individual. Note that you do not have to answer these questions in any particular order or give equal emphasis to each query. In general, we recommend that you avoid clichés by not starting or finishing your essay with a statement like “I emphatically endorse this candidate for a place in the Sloan MBA class.”

Before you begin writing, consider actually meeting with your supervisor to discuss your accomplishments—in fact, you should already be doing this in preparation for the recommendation(s) he/she is going to write. You will benefit from this individual’s objective thoughts about your performance, and that objective voice will be crucial. The one thing you do not want to do is brag for 750 words. Instead, strike a humble tone and let your accomplishments speak for you. Here we offer two examples, one bad and one good:

Bad: “Jeremy is an excellent analyst, and we have given him more and more responsibility since he joined our firm. We promoted him early, because he is sharp analytically and determined to win—he will do anything within the law and ethical principles to get an informational edge. We know that he will never say ‘die’ and will push himself until our investment committee is satisfied. This is a rare quality, and one we admire in him.”

Although this statement initially seems glowing, in fact, it is devoid of meaning or effectiveness, because absolutely no evidence is presented of any accomplishments—there is no context for what “Jeremy” has done and how it separates him from others. Basically, this (terrible) writer has bragged and not backed up his claims. Instead, consider a more modest approach, where the accomplishments do the talking and the reader can easily surmise that he is reading about someone special…

Good: “Before we purchased shares in Lululemon, Jeremy volunteered to visit as many locations as we would permit. He ultimately traveled to 47 locations, reporting on everything from inventory levels to the size of signage. We incorporated his firsthand experiential data into our report and made a purchase with greater confidence. Jeremy’s determination was noted in his review and led to a promotion ahead of schedule.”

As you write your letter, consistently provide examples of your actions that illustrate your assertions. This is the key to maintaining the humility necessary in writing an effective essay.

Many candidates will likely be confused by the question about which characteristics they would “change.” Simply think honestly about your weaknesses and write about them forthrightly and with candor. Applicants typically make one of two mistakes when discussing weaknesses, and both involve going to extremes—they either completely refuse to acknowledge any weaknesses at all or are almost insanely critical of themselves in an effort to convey (brutal) honesty. Instead, identify an attribute you feel could use improvement, briefly discuss how the problem area has manifest and then explain how “the employee” has worked to change this trait. Writing this portion should actually be a little painful or uncomfortable. If you are too easy on yourself, the admissions committee will conclude that you do not have the personal strength to evaluate areas for change and growth. And who wants a manager who is incapable of growing?

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Score Preview Added to Graduate Management Admission Test [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jun 2014, 14:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Score Preview Added to Graduate Management Admission Test
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Beginning Friday, June 27th, 2014, prospective business students taking the Graduate Management Admission Test® will now be able to preview their unofficial scores before deciding whether to report or cancel them, the Graduate Management Admission Council® states. The score reporting feature will be available at all 600 test centers around the world that administer the GMAT exam.

“We are pleased to offer this feature as part of our efforts to make preparing for and taking the GMAT exam easier,” said Ashok Sarathy, GMAC vice president, product management. “The new score reporting feature gives test takers more certainty and control in the testing process and in how their scores are reported to schools.”

GMAT takers will be given the option of reporting or canceling their scores immediately after taking the test before leaving the test center.

We’ll have more details and insights about the new feature for you tomorrow.
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To Keep or To Cancel Your GMAT Score—That Is the Question [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jun 2014, 12:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: To Keep or To Cancel Your GMAT Score—That Is the Question
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Have you heard? GMAC® just announced that, as of 27 June, we’ll be allowed to decide whether to keep or cancel our scores after we find out how we did. Exciting news!

What just changed?

I’ll summarize the details, but you can also read the full press release yourself here: Score Preview Added to GMAT.

Here’s what will happen when you get in there. You’ll take the test and, when you’re done, you’ll be shown your scores for everything but the essay. You will then have 2 minutes to decide whether to accept your scores.

You must actively accept them; if you do nothing, the scores will be canceled.

If you do cancel, you will then have 60 days to decide whether to reinstate the scores—for a fee of USD100. (Also, if you cancel, the schools will still see that you sat for the exam, as always.)

Okay, so what is the significance of this new feature?

Technically, this new feature shouldn’t really change anything because business schools really do use only your highest score. It’s hard, though, to remember that while the clock is ticking. The single biggest value here is peace of mind.

Of course you don’t want to become ill or have a panic attack or mess up your timing so badly that you don’t finish a section of the test. If any of those things happen, though, then you can cancel your score. (Just as you could before, actually—though you wouldn’t have known your score when making the decision.)

The overall message is the same as always: if you don’t hit your goal score, you can always take the test again, so just do your best and see what happens.

Know what you’re going to do before you get in there

2 minutes to decide? That just ADDS stress!

It could, yes, but you will already have decided what you’re going to do if faced with various scenarios.

Scenario #1: Goal score 720. Actual score 670.

Do NOT cancel this score. Sure, it’s below your goal, but it’s still a good score—and you don’t know for sure that you’ll hit 720 next time. In fact, some students score lower on their second test. Do not lose this score.

Scenario #2: Goal score 650. Actual score 450.

Cancel this score, of course.

Where does the line flip? How far below your goal score do you need to be in order to consider canceling?

I’ve been polling my colleagues since the news was announced yesterday afternoon and, while opinions vary, we all agree that anyone within 100 points of their goal score should definitely keep that score.

I’d go a little further. I think you should keep (or consider keeping) the score if you’re within 150 points of your goal. If you score 600+, keep the score even if your goal is 750.

Scenario #3: First official test Q 61st percentile, V 93rd percentile. Second official test, Q 76th percentile, V 84th percentile.

Even though the Verbal score went down on the second test, the Quant score went from a not-very-competitive score to one that is acceptable to all schools, so keep that score! This is true even if your overall score went down.

I canceled but now I’m thinking I should reinstate the score…

Come and talk to us on the forums. We can help you plan what to do before you get in there and we can also advise you after the fact. Post in the General Strategy folder in the Ask An Instructor section of the forums.

In sum

Definitely keep the score if you are within 100 points of your goal. Strongly consider keeping the score if you are within 150 points. (Pick a specific cut-off point for yourself before test day.) If you are more than 150 points below a reasonable* goal, then go ahead and cancel the score.

*Anything above 750 is not a reasonable goal, unless your real goal is not business school but teaching for us. Image
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Manhattan Prep Celebrates GMAT Interact with a Caption Photo [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jul 2014, 15:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Manhattan Prep Celebrates GMAT Interact with a Caption Photo Contest.
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So you’re smart, clever, and creative? … Then you’re going to love this photo caption contest! Once a week for the next four weeks we’re going to post a photo of a scene from GMAT Interact for you to caption for your chance to win GMAT Interact™ ($899 value)!

GMAT Interact is a comprehensive, self-paced program that features 35+ lessons that are interactive, fun, and completely driven by you. Designed around the student-teacher connection, expert Manhattan Prep instructors guide students through every topic tested on the GMAT, one section at a time, asking them questions and prompting them to think about the content presented. What’s more: every response a student gives helps personalize the lesson. It’s what many are calling “the best self-study method out there right now.”

Here’s how the contest works works:

Every Monday for the next four weeks, we will be posting a photo of a scene from GMAT Interact on our Facebook Caption Contest App for you to caption. Our weekly winner will be announced each Monday when we post the new pic to quote! Judging is based on creativity and votes accumulated on captions — so be sure to share your caption with your friends, and encourage them to vote for you.

So what are you waiting for? Head on over to our Manhattan GMAT Facebook Caption Contest now to see this week’s photo and be sure to check back next week for the winner!

 
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Win GMAT Interact! Photo Caption Contest Begins Today. [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jul 2014, 16:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Win GMAT Interact! Photo Caption Contest Begins Today.
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So you’re smart, clever, and creative? … Then you’re going to love this photo caption contest! Once a week for the next four weeks we’re going to post a photo of a scene from GMAT Interact on our Facebook Photo Caption Contest page for you to caption for your chance to win GMAT Interact™ (a $899 value)!

GMAT Interact is a comprehensive, self-paced program that features 35+ lessons that are interactive, fun, and completely driven by you. Designed around the student-teacher connection, expert Manhattan Prep instructors guide students through every topic tested on the GMAT, one section at a time, asking them questions and prompting them to think about the content presented. What’s more: every response a student gives helps personalize the lesson. It’s what many are calling “the best self-study method out there right now.”

Here’s how the contest works:

Every Monday for the next four weeks, we will be posting a photo of a scene from GMAT Interact on our Facebook Photo Caption Contest App for you to caption. Our weekly winner will be announced each Monday when we post the new pic to quote! Judging is based on creativity and votes accumulated on captions — so be sure to share your caption with your friends, and encourage them to vote for you.

So what are you waiting for? Head on over to our Facebook Photo Caption Contest now to see this week’s photo and be sure to check back next week for the winner!

 
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Official Guide, 2015 Edition: What do you need to know? [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jul 2014, 14:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Official Guide, 2015 Edition: What do you need to know?
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GMAC just released new 2015 editions of its three The Official Guide for GMAT® Review books. Here’s what you need to know as you decide whether to buy these books and how to use them.

What changed?
The three books in question are The Official Guide for GMAT Review 2015 (formerly known as the 13th edition of the Official Guide, or OG), The Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review 2015 (formerly known as the 2nd edition of the Quant Review), and The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review 2015 (formerly known as the 2nd edition of the Verbal Review). I’ll refer to these throughout this article as OG2015, QR2015, and VR2015, respectively.

The questions (and explanations) contained in all three 2015 versions are the same as the questions (and explanations) in the previous versions. There are no new questions.

The new editions do come with special codes to access an online software program that contains the problems from the books. Now, when you want to do a set of random OG problems, you don’t have to create the sets for yourself—you can have the online software do it for you. (OG2015 also still provides online access to the 50 Integrated Reasoning questions that come with the 13th edition of the book.)

The online software also has some short videos (one for each book) starring the incomparable Dr. Lawrence Rudner, Chief Psychometrician for GMAC, answering frequently asked questions from students.

How does the software work?

The software for all three books gives you the ability to choose Practice mode or Exam mode. In addition, OG2015 offers a Diagnostic test mode that contains the questions from chapter 3 of the printed book.

Certain features are offered in all three modes:

- Question Type, Number, and Difficulty. You can choose from among the different question types (PS, DS, SC, CR, RC), as well as by difficulty bucket (easy, medium, hard, or all). You can also decide how many questions you want to be in the set.

- Timing. The software will keep track of how much time you spend per question, as well as your overall time for that set of questions. (It does not, though, give you a time limit, so you will have to set one for yourself.)

- Bookmarks. You can bookmark problems that you want to remember for some reason—maybe your guesses or the ones that you want to try again before checking the answer or explanation.

- Calculator. Yes, the software offers a calculator, even though you’re not allowed to use a calculator on the quant section of the real test. My recommendation: pretend this button doesn’t exist.

- Pause. You can pause the question set. This is useful if someone suddenly rings your doorbell, but do not pause the software while continuing to work on the problem. Otherwise, your data will be skewed and you won’t really be able to tell what your strengths and weaknesses are.

In the Diagnostic and Exam modes, you can only move forward in the question set (as on the real exam), but in Practice mode, you can move back and forth. If you come back to a problem for the second time, the software will actually remember how much time you spent before and will start counting your time where you left off! I was really impressed with this feature.

I do have to warn you about three other somewhat-faulty features (maybe these will be changed in future). First, when you click to go to the next question, the software does not ask you to confirm. That’s fine in Practice mode, where you’re allowed to go backwards, but in Diagnostic and Exam modes, if you accidentally click “next question,” you will be moved to the next problem even if you have not yet entered an answer—and there is no way to go back.

Second, in any of the three modes, you’ll be able to go to a results screen when done with a question set. For both Exam and Practice modes, these question sets will be saved and you’ll be able to review them at any time in the future. In Diagnostic mode, however, you can only see the results screen right after you have finished the problem set. Once you close out of that area (or out of the software entirely), that data will disappear, so make sure you take screen shots of the results screen before you leave that area of the program. (In fact, I recommend taking the screen shots immediately after finishing a Diagnostic set. I accidentally clicked something that took me out of that part of the program and lost all of my data before I could review it.)

Third, in both Practice and Exam modes, the RC questions are offered one at a time, not in sets of 3 or 4 (as on the real test). For this reason, I recommend doing RC questions out of the physical book. Reading an entire passage only to answer a single question is not a good use of study time.

I was also excited to see that the Practice mode offered a “notes” feature, where you can actually type notes to yourself while working on the problem. I was disappointed that those notes seemed to disappear afterwards. When I was reviewing the results screen and the problem explanations, I couldn’t find any way to access my notes again.

How do I get the most out of these new books?

If you already have the previous incarnations of these books (OG13, VR2, and QR2), then I don’t actually recommend buying the new editions unless money is not a concern for you. The most important thing is to have access to the questions themselves. While the new software does make it much easier to set up problem sets, many people probably aren’t going to pay $46 just for that.

If you don’t yet have these books, though, then of course you’ll want to get the 2015 editions. In that case, here’s how I would use the new features:

1. In the first week or two of your study, take the Diagnostic mode tests. I would do these in 5 separate sittings, one for each question type. You don’t need to set yourself a hard overall time limit, but do pay attention to that clock and be honest with yourself when a problem just isn’t happening. Guess and move on. (Note: if you’re taking our class, then you can dispense with this step and save the problems for review later in your studies.)

2. As you work through whatever material you’re using to learn all about the math, grammar, and question types tested on the GMAT, you will initially try just a couple of OG problems that directly test whatever you recently studied. In this case, you won’t be using the OG software because the software doesn’t let you select by topic.

After you get at least halfway through your study material though (e.g., about 3 of our 5 quant books, or halfway through the chapters in the SC book), you can start to set up random sets of questions for yourself using the software’s Practice mode. When you’re offered a question on a topic you haven’t studied yet, just do your best; this will help you to have an idea of your strengths and weaknesses so that you know how much time to spend when you do get to that topic.

Whether you want to do random sets of problems or choose specific topics, here are some guidelines for creating your own OG problem sets.

3. Save Exam mode for a bit later in your studies, after you’ve been through all of your main study material once. Both Practice and Exam modes are pulling from the same pool of questions, but Exam mode imposes some additional restrictions that make your practice closer to the real test (for example, you can’t go back to questions that you’ve already completed).

In sum

Everyone should be studying with the Official Guide materials—nothing is better than the real thing! If you already have the 13th edition or 2nd edition books, don’t feel that you must buy the 2015 editions, but if you don’t, then certainly get the latest versions and take advantage of the new online problem set program.

Happy studying!
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Earn $100/hr Teaching at Manhattan Prep — Sign-Up for an Upc [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jul 2014, 11:00
FROM Manhattan GMAT Blog: Earn $100/hr Teaching at Manhattan Prep — Sign-Up for an Upcoming Online Open House!


Learn about the rewarding teaching opportunities with Manhattan Prep at our upcoming online open houses on July 28, August 21, or September 28th. Here’s the scoop:

We are seeking expert teachers across the US, who have proven their mastery of the GMAT, GRE or LSAT — and who can engage students of all ability levels. Our instructors teach in classrooms and in one-on-one settings, both in-person and online. We provide extensive, paid training and a full suite of print and digital instructional materials. Moreover, we encourage the development and expression of unique teaching styles that allow you to flourish in this excellent opportunity.

All Manhattan Prep instructors earn $100/hour for teaching and tutoring – up to four times the industry standard. These are part-time positions with flexible hours, allowing you to pursue other career interest. Many of our instructors maintain full-time positions, engage in entrepreneurial endeavors, or pursue advanced degrees concurrently while teaching for Manhattan Prep. (To learn more about our exceptional instructors, read their bios or view this short video).

Learn about how to transform your passion for teaching into a lucrative and fulfilling part-time career by joining us for one of the following Online Open House events!

To attend one of these free events, please select from one of the following open houses, and follow the on-screen instructions:

Open houses on July 28th:

To Teach the GMAT:

http://www.manhattangmat.com/classes/details/14130

To Teach the GRE

http://www.manhattanprep.com/gre/EventShow.cfm?EID=3&eventID=830

To Teach the LSAT

http://www.manhattanlsat.com/EventShow.cfm?EID=3&eventID=1432

Open Houses on August 21st:

To teach the GMAT:

http://www.manhattangmat.com/classes/details/14131

To Teach the GRE:

http://www.manhattanprep.com/gre/EventShow.cfm?EID=3&eventID=831

To Teach the LSAAT

http://www.manhattanlsat.com/EventShow.cfm?EID=3&eventID=1433

Open Houses on September 28th:

To teach the GMAT:

http://www.manhattangmat.com/classes/details/14132

To Teach the GRE:

http://www.manhattanprep.com/gre/EventShow.cfm?EID=3&eventID=832

To Teach the LSAT

http://www.manhattanlsat.com/EventShow.cfm?EID=3&eventID=1434

About Manhattan Prep

Manhattan Prep is a premier test-preparation company serving students and young professionals studying for the GMAT (business school), LSAT (law school), GRE (master’s and PhD programs), and SAT (undergraduate programs).  We are the leading provider of GMAT prep in the world.

Manhattan Prep conducts in-person classes and private instruction across the United States, Canada, and England.  Our online courses are available worldwide, and our acclaimed Strategy Guides are available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.  In addition, Manhattan Prep serves an impressive roster of corporate clients, including many Fortune 500 companies.  For more information, visit www.manhattanprep.com.

 
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http://manhattangmat.com

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Earn $100/hr Teaching at Manhattan Prep — Sign-Up for an Upc   [#permalink] 21 Jul 2014, 11:00

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