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7 Areas of Assessment for MBA Applicants [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jun 2015, 13:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: 7 Areas of Assessment for MBA Applicants
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So you want to go to business school? Unlike many other graduate level degrees business schools scrutinize applicants across a wide array of criteria. Scoring high on an exam or even applying with a high GPA will not guarantee an applicant admission. The assessment process can be very complicated and involved and often leaves applicants confused when trying to determine how best to position their candidacy for target programs. Admissions teams will assess candidates across seven areas using data from within these categories to create a holistic perspective of an applicant. The seven key assessment areas are listed below:

1) Education

This area is multi-layered factoring in your GPA, quality of undergrad institution, and major area of study. This is an area where it may be wise for an applicant to gauge where they compare against historical data.

2) Work Experience

This is an application for business school so it should come as no surprise that work experience is an important assessment area. This area includes your resume with a focus on the rigor of the role, company, and track record of achievement and growth.

3) Recommendations

A corollary of work experience, this area is often overlooked but is a crucial part of the process as it largely serves as the only “independent” assessment of the applicant. A poor assessment here can raise doubts on an otherwise strong application.

4) Extra-Curricular

One of the more under-utilized components of the MBA application, admissions teams often use this area to best get to know what candidates do in their free time and really care about. For many applicants this is a great way to show off interpersonal skills like leadership and teamwork that may not be obvious in other areas like the resume. Keep in mind this area spans from undergrad through the resume and should be considered proper essay fodder.

5) GMAT

The GMAT, everyone’s favorite part of the process, is an area that can be a major hurdle for many applicants. This area is one of the more analytical aspects of the application, thus making it easier for admissions to compare candidates to historical scores as well as those of other current applicants.

6) Essays

Each of the assessment areas is important, but essays are a really great way to stand out from the pack. Utilizing this area to write personal, unique and truly breakthrough essays can take an average application to the next level, so don’t miss this opportunity.

7) Interview

For most schools, getting to this point is a positive and a sign of a strong application. This is the closest assessment area to an actual decision and invokes many of the aforementioned other areas into it’s evaluation.

Business schools are honestly looking for well-rounded candidates that rank highly in all of the above categories. However, if a candidate is weak in one or two areas it is even more important that the candidate excels in the other areas.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more of his articles here.
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The Differences Between the GMAT and the GRE [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2015, 10:01
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: The Differences Between the GMAT and the GRE
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A student’s application to graduate school contains a lot of information about the individual, their grades, and their test scores. Most students who plan to pursue a graduate degree know about the Graduate Record Examination or the GRE. Students who want to pursue a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) are likely to know about the Graduate Management Admission Test, or the GMAT. Is it necessary for a student to take both tests? If not, should a student take the GMAT or GRE? Consider some information about both tests that can help students to make a decision regarding which one to take.

The Choice Between the GRE or GMAT for MBA Degree Programs

One important decision for students who want to apply to business school is whether to take the GRE or GMAT. For MBA candidates, it used to be a requirement to take the GMAT. Today, an increasing number of business schools accept GRE results from applicants. The best course of action for students interested in earning an MBA is to look at the specific requirements of the schools they are interested in attending. This is a simple way for students to decide whether to take the GMAT or GRE before applying to a business school. At Veritas Prep, we offer courses that help students study for the GMAT and the GRE. Students can benefit from working with skillful instructors who have experience with these tests. We offer both online and in-person classes that make preparing for the GMAT or GRE convenient for busy individuals.

The Content of the GMAT and the GRE

Learning about the content of each test can help students to achieve their highest possible scores. Both of these tests share similar content. For instance, both contain reading comprehension questions in the verbal section. Also, there is a quantitative section on the GMAT as well as on the GRE. The main difference between these two tests is that the GMAT has a section on integrated reasoning while the GRE does not. In addition, students taking the GMAT are required to write just one argument essay for the analytic writing section. The GRE requires students to write both an argument essay and an issue essay for the analytical writing section. Our Veritas Prep instructors are experts at providing students with practical strategies they can use to answer even the most challenging questions on these tests. We specialize in giving students tips that simplify test questions to make them more manageable for students.

The Duration and Cost of Both Tests

It takes a little over three hours to complete the GRE, whereas it takes about three and a half hours to complete the GMAT. The GMAT lasts a little bit longer due to its integrated reasoning section. Of course, the total amount of time a student spends at a test location also depends on the number of breaks students are given between sections. When it comes to the fee a student pays to take the test, there is a big difference between the GRE and the GMAT. Students pay $195.00 to take the GRE and they pay $250.00 to take the GMAT. The results of the GRE and the GMAT are valid for five years.

The Benefits of Studying with Veritas Prep

Along with being taught by the professional instructors at Veritas Prep, students also prepare for the GRE or the GMAT using quality study resources and materials. We provide students with individualized attention so they have their specific needs addressed. We help our students to pinpoint and strengthen their weaker skills so they can study with time-saving efficiency. Our students appreciate the encouragement and support they receive as they progress through our GRE and GMAT prep courses. We know that it can be a stressful time for students as they try to figure out which graduate schools to apply to. So, we work to instill our students with a sense of confidence about their performance on test day. Experienced instructors partner with students as they practice for these critical exams.

Whether you decide to take the GRE or the GMAT we can help you prepare to put forth your best performance on test day. Call or email us today and let our team of talented instructors guide you to success on the test!

We have an online GRE course starting in July! And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!
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4 Ways to Prepare for the Upcoming MBA Application Season [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2015, 16:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: 4 Ways to Prepare for the Upcoming MBA Application Season
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Application season begins in earnest after each year’s applications are processed, and admissions offers are made and filled.  While schools continue to tweak their student body starting in the fall, filling gaps and chasing yield, for the most part, by early summer, they are busy getting ready to launch the next season’s application information.  Generally, most schools release their applications in July, so until the new admissions essay questions are announced and any changes in application instructions are rolled out, applicants often find themselves playing the waiting game.

What should you be doing with your time?

1. School Visits

For one thing, you can visit target schools.  While classes are still in session, school will often allow you to come by and sit in, meet professors and students, and sample the wares.  Don’t wait until finals week, but up until the near-end of the school year is a great time to see schools and try them on for size.  If you miss this window, you will need to wait until fall, since schools are not as interesting to visit during the summer when all the students are off doing internships.

2. GMAT Score

Secondly, you could be studying for and improving your GMAT score, which has become increasingly important to gain the attention of top schools. Ideally, you would have your score secured before applications come out, so you can focus all your time on preparing them.  A good GMAT score can make up for a multitude of shortcomings in your academics, so buckle down and get busy studying, taking a prep course, and taking practice tests.

3. Miscellaneous Legwork

Additionally, you can be doing a lot of the legwork which can become overwhelming the closer you get to application season.  Obtaining transcripts, documenting extracurricular involvement and touching base with potential recommenders are all ways to wisely use the next several months to your advantage.

4. Introspection

Finally, taking some time for good, old-fashioned introspection is always recommended for candidates to clear their minds, think on their strengths and weaknesses, and recall stories from their past which illustrate leadership potential and teamwork ability.  If one of your weaknesses is academics or GMAT, you have the time now to take additional courses, an opportunity which could be gone if you wait until after you submit your application, at least if you want to be recognized for such an achievement by the admissions committee.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or click here to take our Free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter.

Bryant Michaels has over 25 years of professional post undergraduate experience in the entertainment industry as well as on Wall Street with Goldman Sachs. He served on the admissions committee at the Fuqua School of Business where he received his MBA and now works part time in retirement for a top tier business school. He has been consulting with Veritas Prep clients for the past six admissions seasons. See more of his articles here.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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GMAT Tip of the Week: No Calculator? No Problem. [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2015, 17:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: GMAT Tip of the Week: No Calculator? No Problem.
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For many GMAT examinees, the realization that they cannot use a calculator on the GMAT quantitative section is cause for despair. For most of your high school career, calculators were a featured part of the math curriculum (what TI are we up to now?); nowadays you almost always have Microsoft Excel a click away to perform those calculations for you.

But remember: it’s not that YOU don’t get to use a calculator on the GMAT quant section. It’s that NO ONE gets to use a calculator. And that creates the opportunity for a competitive advantage. If you know that the GMAT doesn’t include “calculator problems” – the testmakers know that you don’t get a calculator, too, so they create questions that savvy examinees can find efficient ways to solve by hand (or head) or estimate – then you can use that to your advantage, looking for “clean” numbers to calculate and saving calculations until they’re truly necessary. As an example, consider the problem:

A certain box contains 14 apples and 23 oranges. How many oranges must be removed from the box so that 70 percent of the pieces of fruit in the box will be apples?

(A) 3

(B) 6

(C) 14

(D) 17

(E) 20

If you’re well-versed in “non-calculator” math, you should recognize a couple things as you scan the problem:

1) The 23 oranges represent a prime number. That’s an ugly number to calculate with in a non-calculator problem.

2) 70% is a very clean number, which reduces to 7/10. Numbers that end in 0 don’t tend to play well with or come from double-digit prime numbers, so in this problem you’ll need to “clean up” that 23.

3) The 14 apples are pretty nicely related to the 70%. 14*5 = 70, and 14 = 7 * 2, where 70% is 7/10. So in sum, the 14 is a pretty “clean” number you’re working with to find a relationship that includes that also “clean” 70%. And the 23 is ugly.

So if you wanted to plug in numbers here to see how many oranges should be removed, keep in mind that your job is to get that 23 to look a lot cleaner. So while the Goldilocksian conventional methodology for backsolving is to “start with the middle number, then determine whether it’s correct, too big, or too small,” if you’re preparing for non-calculator math you should quickly see that with answer choice C of 14, that would give you 14 apples and 9 (which is 23-14) oranges), and you’re stuck at that ugly number of 23 as your total number of pieces of fruit. So your goal should be to find cleaner numbers to calculate.

You might try choice A, 3, which is very easy to calculate (23 oranges minus 3 = 20 oranges left), but a quick scan there would show that that’s way too many oranges (still more oranges than apples). So the other number that can clean up the 23 oranges is 17 (choice D), which would at least give you an even number (23 – 17 = 6). Because you’re now dealing with clean numbers (14, 6, and 70%) it’s worth doing the full calculation to see if choice D is really correct. And since 14 apples out of 20 total pieces of fruit is, indeed, 70%, you know that D is correct.

Now, if you follow these preceding paragraphs step-by-step, they should look just as long and unwieldy as the algebra or some traditional backsolving. But to an examinee seasoned in non-calculator math, finding “clean numbers worth testing” is more about the scan than the process. You should know that Odd + or – Odd = Even, but that Odd + or – Even is Odd. So with an even “fixed” number of 14 apples and an odd “changeable” number of 23 oranges, an astute GMAT test-taker looking to save time would probably eschew plugging in C first and realize that it’s just not going to be correct. Then another scan of numbers shows that only 3 and 17 are odd and prone to becoming “clean” when subtracted from the prime 23, so D should start looking tempting within seconds.

Note: this strategy isn’t for everyone or for every problem, but for those shooting for the 700s it can be extremely helpful to develop enough “number fluency” that you can save time not-testing numbers that you can see don’t have a real chance. On a non-calculator test that typically involves “clean” (even, divisible by 10, etc.) numbers, quickly recognizing which numbers will result in good, clean, non-calculator math is a very helpful skill.

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

By Brian Galvin
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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When Not to Use Parallelism on the GMAT [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2015, 11:01
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: When Not to Use Parallelism on the GMAT
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We know that we are often tested on parallelism on the GMAT. The logically parallel entities should be grammatically parallel. But today, we need to talk about circumstances where you might be tempted to employ parallelism but it would be incorrect to do so.

For example, look at this sentence:

A New York City ordinance of 1897 regulated the use of bicycles, mandated a maximum speed of eight miles an hour, required cyclists to keep feet on pedals and hands on handlebars at all times, and granted pedestrians right-of-way.

Is everything ok here? Well, it certainly seems so. We have four elements in parallel:

regulated …

mandated …

required …

granted …

But actually, there is a problem in this sentence:

‘regulated…’ will not be parallel to the rest of the three elements. The rest of the three elements will be in parallel.

Before we explain why, let’s take a simpler example:

The girl sitting next to me wears blue everyday, eats only waffles, and listens to music in office.

The sentence will not be ‘The girl sits next to me…’ because ‘sit’ is not parallel to other verbs. “sit” modifies the girl and is not used as a verb here. It is a present participle modifier modifying ‘girl’. It specifies the girl about whom we are talking.

Similarly, in the original sentence, ‘regulate’ is modifying ‘ordinance of 1897’. It is telling you which ordinance of 1897.

The other verbs ‘mandated’, ‘required’ and ‘granted’ are used as verbs and are parallel. They are assimilated under ‘regulate’. They tell you how the ordinance regulated.

How did it regulate?

mandated …

required …

granted …

Hence, you cannot use ‘regulated’ here. You must use ‘regulating’  – the present participle modifier to modify the ordinance. So you have to think logically – are the items in the given list actually parallel? Are they equal elements? If yes, then they need to be grammatically parallel too; else not.

Here is the complete official question:

Question: A New York City ordinance of 1897 regulated the use of bicycles, mandated a maximum speed of eight miles an hour, required of cyclists to keep feet on pedals and hands on handlebars at all times, and it granted pedestrians right-of-way.

(A) regulated the use of bicycles, mandated a maximum speed of eight miles an

hour, required of cyclists to keep feet on pedals and hands on handlebars at all

times, and it granted

(B) regulated the use of bicycles, mandated a maximum speed of eight miles an

hour, required cyclists to keep feet on pedals and hands on handlebars at all

times, granting

(C) regulating the use of bicycles mandated a maximum speed of eight miles an

hour, required cyclists that they keep feet on pedals and hands on handlebars

at all times, and it granted

(D) regulating the use of bicycles, mandating a maximum speed of eight miles an

hour, requiring of cyclists that they keep feet on pedals and hands on

handlebars at all times, and granted

(E) regulating the use of bicycles mandated a maximum speed of eight miles an

hour, required cyclists to keep feet on pedals and hands on handlebars at all

times, and granted

Solution:

From our above discussion, we know that we have choose one of (C), and (E).

(A), (B) and (D) put regulate parallel to the other verbs.

Still, let’s point out all the errors of these options:

(A) regulated the use of bicycles, mandated a maximum speed of eight miles an

hour, required of cyclists to keep feet on pedals and hands on handlebars at all

times, and it granted

Parallelism problem – regulated cannot be parallel to mandated and other verbs. Also, ‘mandated’ is not parallel to ‘it granted’. Besides, ‘required of X to do Y’ is unidiomatic.

(B) regulated the use of bicycles, mandated a maximum speed of eight miles an

hour, required cyclists to keep feet on pedals and hands on handlebars at all

times, granting

Parallelism problem – ‘regulated’ is parallel to ‘mandated’ though it should not be.

‘granting’ is not parallel to ‘mandated’ and ‘required’ though it needs to be parallel.

You also need an ‘and’ before the last element of the list ‘and granted …’

(D) regulating the use of bicycles, mandating a maximum speed of eight miles an

hour, requiring of cyclists that they keep feet on pedals and hands on

handlebars at all times, and granted

This is not a valid sentence because the main clause does not have a verb. ‘regulating…’, ‘mandating…’ and ‘requiring…’ are the present participle modifiers.

‘granted…’ is not parallel to the other elements. Besides, ‘requiring of X that they do Y’ is unidiomatic.

Now let’s look at the leftover options:

(C) regulating the use of bicycles mandated a maximum speed of eight miles an

hour, required cyclists that they keep feet on pedals and hands on handlebars

at all times, and it granted

‘it granted’ is not parallel to the other verbs. Besides, ‘required X that they do Y’ is unidiomatic.

(E) regulating the use of bicycles mandated a maximum speed of eight miles an

hour, required cyclists to keep feet on pedals and hands on handlebars at all

times, and granted

Perfect! All issues sorted out!

Answer (E)

Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!
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7 Tips on Planning a Successful College Visit [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2015, 12:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: 7 Tips on Planning a Successful College Visit
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Having coordinated numerous visits to many college campuses over the years, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to plan a college visit as well as how to make the most out of your visit.

1. Make a list of colleges you’d like to visit by region. If you’re planning a trip to Boston, for example, make a list of the colleges that you’d like to visit while you’re there.  Prioritize the list by “must visit,” “would like to visit,” and “nice to visit, but not necessary” so that you can realistically travel to all the campuses.

2. Visit the college’s admissions website and see what they offer to prospective students. Many colleges will provide either campus tours, admissions information sessions, class visits, student panels, meals in the dining hall with current students, or any combination of services.  They want you to get to know the college better and, depending on the time of year, can provide a variety of services.  You’ll want to go to the admissions website and select undergraduate admissions and/or prospective students.  Then, search for anything that says “visit us” or “campus tours.”  If the college’s website is difficult to navigate, open up a search engine and enter the name of the college followed by “campus tour.”

3. Schedule smart. Find out when the colleges are on school vacations prior to finalizing your itinerary.  We encourage students to visit colleges when school is in session so you can get a better feel for the college culture. This is also a great way to meet students who might be able to give you a candid evaluation of their college experience.  Also, because many campus tours are led by current students, they may not be around to give you a tour.  Many colleges will provide an estimate of how long each admissions activity may take.  Use that as a loose guide, but also allow yourself to spend time at the college without worrying about rushing to another campus.  We typically recommend that students do no more than 2 visits a day (one usually in the morning and one in the afternoon).

4. Map out the colleges. Open up a Google map and create your own map which includes all of the colleges that you’d like to visit.  That way, you can see where each campus is in relation to the other campuses.  This can help you to plan more efficiently which schools it makes sense to visit on the same day or how to budget your transportation time to get to the colleges.  Depending on the city, make sure to give yourself plenty of time for travel.

5. Note all of the date and times of all of the campus activities you’d like to participate in. You may have to do some coordinating because most schools only offer these services at certain times during the day and throughout the year.  Once you have an idea of when all of the sessions are available, you can start to finalize your itinerary.  Many colleges now allow you to sign up for visits directly on their website so that they know you’re coming.  Remember, this may be your first interaction with the college so make sure that your communications are professional and show up to your appointment on time.  Submit your requests and wait for an email confirmation.

6. Do your research. The college visit may be an opportunity to meet an admissions officer for the first time.  Do your research online and have a question or two that you can ask the admissions officer ready for your visit.  The best questions are ones that can’t be answered easily by online research.  Think specifically about what attracts you to the college and what information would be helpful to you as you decide where to apply.  If there is a particular class or professor you’d like to meet, ask if it would be possible to coordinate that meeting.  If you’re curious about student life, ask if you can eat in the dining halls with a current student.  Some schools even provide overnight experiences where you can stay with a student throughout their day and overnight. It is key to know what’s available to you, so be sure to research and ask the admissions office.

7. Take notes. As much as you think that you’ll remember everything from your college visit, chances are that they may all start to feel like the same college.  During each visit, take notes on what you like/do not like/etc. and take time after each visit to reflect on whether you could see yourself on campus or not.  Sound like busy work?  I promise you, it’s not.  Later on, you may find that you refer back to these notes so that you can write a more compelling supplemental essay that talks about the experience you had when visiting campus in detail, which in turn can show the admissions officer you’re quite serious about the college.

Veritas Prep is committed to helping students put together the best college applications possible.  All of our consultants have prior admissions experience at the top colleges in the world and have evaluated students just like you.  For more information, visit us at www.veritasprep.com/college.  Complete our FREE college profile evaluation and talk to one of our expert evaluators today!

By Jennifer Sohn Lim,Assistant Director of Admissions at Veritas Prep.
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 Perfect GRE Score [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2015, 16:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: The Perfect GRE Score
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Most students who sign up with Veritas Prep to study for the Graduate Record Examination, or the GRE, have a lot of questions. One typical question is, “What is the highest score on the GRE?” Many students want to know the top GRE score so they can set their own personal goals for this exam. Students are also curious about the individual sections on the test and the type of material they will encounter.

Check out some facts about the subject matter on the GRE and take a look at the highest GRE score a student can earn.

The Three Sections of the GRE

Before thinking about scores, a student should learn about the various sections of the GRE. There are three sections that test a student’s verbal reasoning, quantitative, and analytical writing skills. The verbal reasoning section contains questions that measure a student’s reading comprehension abilities. For the text completion questions, a student must choose the most suitable word based on the context of a passage. Students must have an expansive vocabulary in order to choose the appropriate word for both the text completion and sentence equivalence portions of the verbal reasoning section.

The quantitative or math section of the GRE gauges a student’s abilities in the areas of arithmetic, basic algebra, basic geometry, and data interpretation. The questions in both the verbal reasoning and quantitative sections are in multiple-choice form. The analytical writing section of the GRE asks students to write two essays. One is an issue essay, and the other is an argument essay. These essays reveal how well a student can express, defend, and organize their ideas.

What Is the Highest Score on the GRE?

The highest GRE score a student can earn on the verbal reasoning section is 170 points. A perfect GRE score on the quantitative section is 170 points as well. The scoring scale for the verbal reasoning and quantitative sections ranges from 130 to 170 possible points. These two sections are scored in one-point increments. The highest GRE score possible on the analytical writing section is six points. The scoring scale for this section ranges from one to six points and is scored in half-point increments.

Some students add their verbal reasoning and quantitative scores together to get a single total. However, most graduate school admissions officials look at each of the scores separately. This gives them a clearer picture of a student’s specific abilities. At Veritas Prep, our talented instructors help students to achieve their best on the GRE. We offer online GRE prep classes that are convenient for busy students who want to learn the practical strategies they need to earn a GRE top score.

Earning a Good Score on the GRE

A student doesn’t have to achieve a perfect GRE score to gain admission into a prominent graduate program. Not surprisingly, GRE score requirements vary from school to school. Speaking generally, a score of 163 to 167 is considered a good total on the verbal reasoning section of the test. Furthermore, 164 to 168 points is a good score for the quantitative section. As for the analytical writing section, a score of 5.0 is a good total. One of the most useful things students can do before taking the GRE is to visit the websites of colleges they are interested in. In most cases, a college or university’s website will post statistics in the admission section that include the average GRE scores of its students. This can give a potential applicant an idea of what they need to score on the GRE to impress the admissions committee.

Veritas Prep’s professional instructors take pride in helping students to perform at their best on the GRE. We use study resources that give students the tools they need to tackle any question on the GRE. Our tutors provide individualized instruction and practical tips to students so they can strengthen the skills they need to improve in preparation for the test.

Students who work with Veritas Prep enjoy an advantage over their peers on test day. Our knowledgeable team gives students first-rate instruction and practice that instills them with confidence in their test-taking abilities. Call or email us today to start prepping for the GRE.

We have an online GRE course starting in July! And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!
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Do Grades Really Matter in Business School? [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jun 2015, 10:01
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: Do Grades Really Matter in Business School?
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So you’ve finally made it on-campus and after all of those strenuous and nerve-wracking months applying to the MBA program of your dreams it’s time for you to kick up your feet and enjoy the two-year vacation that is business school. Since grades don’t matter you have nothing to worry about, right?

Except there is one small problem, for almost all MBA students this is not true. There has been a long held position that business school grades don’t matter, but any MBA alum will tell you this topic is a bit more complicated than it seems.

The basis of this discussion most likely stems from grade disclosure. Grade disclosure is the school specific policy in which students are “allowed” to share grades with recruiters. At some schools this policy is even voted on by the student body, which may surprise some who would assume most students would want the freedom of grade non-disclosure. Reasons some programs cite for disclosure include: maintaining academic commitment from students, distinguishing students in recruiting, and the perceived weakening of academic standards. These policies are not permanent at most schools, so make sure to stay updated on where your target school stands on the topic.

Now the term “allowed” should be taken with a grain of salt as the official policy and what actually happens can be quite different, especially when it comes to recruiters in specific industries. Some recruiters don’t always care to abide by official grade disclosure policies. In the recruiting process some of the biggest MBA feeder industries like consulting and finance are the most apt to request grades. This tends to be a more common request during the internship recruiting process, so for most students the 1st semester grades are the ones to pay the most attention to. Performance during this time can influence getting on a “closed list,” which is an invite only interview list for a particular recruiter. There are other factors like GMAT, work experience, and fit that influence the composition of this list, but for these competitive career tracks, your GPA will certainly factor in.

Another reason grades do matter is more personal in nature. Most MBA students are high achievers and tend to take personal stock in their own performance in the classroom. This nuance leads most students to realize that they will get out of the business school experience what they put into it.

For the few and far less altruistic, academic team assignments have become a big part of the MBA curriculum. In these situations, students work to collaborate on a class assignment, project, or deliverable and are often graded by their peers at the completion of the group work. This measure of accountability often keeps most students focused on not letting down their classmates and thus avoiding a negative reputation amongst their peers.

Attending business school is a transformative educational experience for most students. Whether your school has grade disclosure or not, or your recruiters demand it or not, make the most of your time in business school and take your academics seriously!

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more of his articles here.
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99th Percentile GMAT Score or Bust! Lesson 4: Think Like a Lawyer on C [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jun 2015, 15:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: 99th Percentile GMAT Score or Bust! Lesson 4: Think Like a Lawyer on Critical Reasoning
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Veritas Prep’s Ravi Sreerama is the #1-ranked GMAT instructor in the world (by GMATClub) and a fixture in the new Veritas Prep Live Online format as well as in Los Angeles-area classrooms.  He’s beloved by his students for the philosophy “99th percentile or bust!”, a signal that all students can score in the elusive 99th percentile with the proper techniques and preparation.   In this “9 for 99th” video series, Ravi shares some of his favorite strategies to efficiently conquer the GMAT and enter that 99th percentile.

 

Lesson Four:

Think Like a Lawyer.  Your natural inclination is to just click “I agree” to the iTunes Terms & Conditions, but to lawyers each word in that agreement is carefully chosen to build a case.  Thankfully, on the GMAT the Critical Reasoning problems you see will be 99% shorter than those Terms & Conditions, but you’ll need to train yourself to think like a lawyer and notice how carefully chosen those words in the prompt are.  In this video, Ravi will demonstrate how his law degree has helped him become a master of GMAT Critical Reasoning, and how you can summon your inner Elle Woods (or Johnnie Cochran) to conquer CR, too.



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

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

By Brian Galvin
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SAT Tip of the Week: Breaking Down the New SAT [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jun 2015, 09:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: SAT Tip of the Week: Breaking Down the New SAT
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We’ve all heard it before, the only constant in life is change. Sometimes change can be a good thing? One could argue the Sammy Hagar Van Halen (this might be before your time, but they were a California rock band formed in the ‘70s) was far superior to the David Lee Roth Van Halen. Or for a slightly more timely example, one could argue we’ve yet to see the best of One Direction in the post-Zain Malik era. Regardless, change is a constant, and that applies to standardized testing as well.

Any time a testing agency decides to make significant changes to an assessment, there’s going to be considerable uncertainty amongst not only test takers and schools, but also within the testing agency itself. Contrary to what most students would like to believe, testing agencies don’t just dream up new ways to torture students for the fun of it. The reality is that changes are driven by end users and the market. In the two most recent mainstream examples of standardized test changes:

  • When ETS decided to revise the GRE, many of those changes were driven by a need to position the exam to compete with the GMAT exam in the graduate management space.
  • When GMAC decided to update the GMAT and add integrated reasoning, that change was driven by business schools who were looking for an assessment that would test skills not currently being evaluated.
So why is the SAT changing when it just changed in 2005? One might argue that the rising popularity of the ACT (more U.S. students take the ACT than the SAT in spite of both exams seeing growth) fueled this change. Others might point to 2005 addition of the writing section that was not and has not been readily embraced by schools. Regardless, the College Board is responding to a growing and dynamic market and a need to continually evolve in order to stay relevant.

Some initial information has been released around the skills that each assessment will evaluate, as well as timing and length and some initial practice tests. However, it’s important to note that College Board issues the caveat that “these draft test specifications, sample questions and other materials are just that — drafts — and will systematically evolve over time.”   Many updates are designed to “test the waters” to see how schools (and even test prep companies) will react. Technically no content is final or set in stone until the first exam is delivered, but as College Board releases additional material, we’ll learn more.

So what’s a student (and parent) to do? 

First, it’s important to think about your timeline. What year are you currently finishing? Which exam are you planning to take next? PSAT 8/9, PSAT 10,  PSAT/NMSQT and SAT will all be a part of the SAT Suite of Assessments.  While there are some companies that have begun to develop materials based on the initial samples questions, Veritas Prep is waiting until more concrete test specifications are released before developing new curriculum. However, that doesn’t mean you’re completely out of luck. There is core content that the SAT tests such as algebra and reading passages, and Veritas Prep has plenty of expertise with those skills. How you’re asked to respond e.g. multiple choice, student-produced response, etc is irrelevant, especially knowing that even some response channels / mechanisms are up for debate.

So in the mean time, there are a few things you can do

  • READ! College Board is touting less vocabulary and more “words in context” questions. Students who are taking the SAT during / after March 2016 should spend time learning the building blocks of words such as Greek and Latin roots, English prefixes and suffixes and then reading as much as possible to see how words are used in various contexts. The Economist and The Wall Street Journal are two great examples. And remember reading doesn’t have to be limited to paragraphs. Find articles that include graphs that might appear on the math section and practice interpreting the data.

[*]Focus on mathematical building blocks. Regardless of question formats or proportional content mixes, College Board has committed to testing algebra, geometry and basic fundamentals. Spend time now re-enforcing those fundamentals. Know and understand triangles, especially those “special ones.” (I’ll give you 30, 60, or 90 reasons why those will be important!)   Balance equations, memorize some of those trickier square roots. Clean up the basics so you’ll be ready to tackle the more advanced stuff when it’s time.[/list]

[*]Brush up on those grammar skills. Remember, you shouldn’t write like you speak. And you probably don’t speak like you write. Spend some time refreshing those grammar skills, diagram a few sentences, and work on identifying errors and inconsistencies.[/list]
So in short, while we know a little bit, there’s still a lot we don’t know. But, take a deep breath because NO ONE knows a lot, and anyone claiming to know a lot is preying on the fact that the SAT is known to cause anxiety. For now, Veritas Prep is sticking to what we do best: finding the best talent to teach content and skills, not tricks. As soon as we know more, we’ll be hard at work developing curriculum that is in line with what the Veritas Prep has long been associated with: quality and effectiveness.

In the meantime, we do offer tutoring for those of you who can’t wait to get started on the new SAT. But as mentioned above, we’ll be tutoring those core skills from our other materials, not test-specific question types and strategies for the new SAT. For anyone already thinking that far ahead this is good news – we won’t waste your time teaching to a test that isn’t set just yet, but instead we’ll arm you with the necessary foundation so that when the new test is set you’ll have a much easier time mastering those nuances that the College Board is still busy creating.

Still planning to take the SAT 2400 scale? We can help! We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Joanna Graham is the Director of Academics at Veritas Prep and  former Director of Field Marketing at the Graduate Management Admission Council.  Her belief that education is a true gamechanger and should be accessible to all has led to her to spent more than 15 years in the standardized testing and admissions consulting industries.

 
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How to Select the Best Business School for You [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jun 2015, 14:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: How to Select the Best Business School for You
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Selecting the right schools for you can appear to be a simple and straightforward task.  Pick among the top ranked schools and choose 4, 5 or 6.  Add some online research, maybe attend an information session and you think you might have enough material to convincingly explain why school X is a great fit for your career goals.

I am not saying this approach cannot be successful for a select few, but there are a number of reasons why you would want to be more thorough in your school selection approach.  After all, you will spend 2 years of your life on campus, invest a significant amount of money, forgo salary and be part of the school’s brand and alumni network for life.  More importantly, without more thorough research you will not gain the necessary understanding of how a particular MBA program will help your career.  Hence, your essays will suffer and that is something you cannot afford.

The ranking lists are indeed a good starting point. They do act as a proxy for brand and network, among other things.  Rankings should, however, not serve as the tiebreaker for any of your MBA admissions decisions, whether putting together the initial school list, or selecting between schools once you have been admitted.

Applying a geographical filter is helpful in the early stages.  Do you want to be on the west coast? East coast?  Somewhere in between?  International campus? Urban or rural campus?

At this initial stage, you should aim to produce a list of 8-10 schools.  The eventual goal is to get the list down to 4-6 schools.  Be careful not to exclude schools at this point based on preconceived notions, e.g. you don’t think you would like Chicago as a city, but have never visited and hence don’t see yourself applying to either Booth or Kellogg.

Next you need to determine a few key things. First, you need to understand how well each school’s resources fit your career gap, i.e. how well do the curriculum, individual classes, extracurriculars, practical learning resources and alumni network prepare you for your short-term and long-term career goals?  Keep in mind that your career goals could change over time so you want to understand the flexibility offered in switching paths as well as the support available after graduation.  Ultimately, the strength of the alumni network is extremely important.  If you see yourself working globally, or returning to your home country, you want to understand the strength of the alumni network in that part of the world.

Second, you need to understand the culture of the schools. What are the students like?  What is the spirit of the school like? Collaborative, cut-throat, proactive, supportive, other?  This is harder to pinpoint and will rely on your interactions with current students, alumni, campus visits and interactions with admissions office.  It is the kind of thing where you will get a sense for where you fit in the best.

Using a spreadsheet or other ranking system to track the career gap analysis and cultural fit is a good idea.

For both the career gap analysis and cultural fit you should attempt to have at least one meaningful interaction with the following: current student, alumnus/a, professor or administrator outside of admissions office, admissions committee member, and a club officer of a club you are considering.

First time applicants can afford to be more selective, and might not include any real safety schools (where chances of admissions are very high).  Reapplicants should typically include one safety school.  Obviously, we know from working with our clients that there are many other professional and personal factors that could be considered, but these initial thoughts should get you moving in the right direction.

Want to craft a strong application? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. Click here to take our Free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

By Marcus D.  Read more articles by him here, and find the expert who’s right for you here!  Visit our Team page today.
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7 Ways To Ease the Transition to College [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jun 2015, 09:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: 7 Ways To Ease the Transition to College
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Congratulations to you, new high school graduate!  Welcome to college!

At this point, you’ve probably already been inundated with tasks from the college to complete– signing up for orientation, submitting your housing paperwork, registering for classes, sending your final transcripts, and more!  Now that you’re entering summer, you’re probably thinking that this is going to be the best summer of your life.  And it will be…BUT there are some things you can do to help prepare for the transition to college.

1. Create a budget for yourself.

Whether you plan to work in college or not, it’s wise to set a budget for yourself so that you can track your spending and not run into any emergencies.  If you have an idea of your income (money that you earn, allowance, etc.), you can start to track your fixed expenses (things that you HAVE to pay) as well as you variable expenses (things that are optional).  Balancing your budget can help ensure that you’ll have enough money to cover your expenses each month and starting to save can help ensure that you have a back-up plan for those unforeseen expenses (i.e. your car breaks down, your hard drive crashes, etc.).  The Federal Student Aid Office has a great guide for how to create a budget.

2. Schedule your time.

Once you set your class schedule, create a weekly schedule for yourself.  Start by scheduling in your non-negotiables (class, work) and then schedule in everything else around those items.  It may feel funny, but schedule time for sleep, exercise, and fun.  Many college students report feeling completely overwhelmed their first year of college just because they’re not getting enough sleep!  If you know that you function best with at least 8 hours of sleep, make sure that your schedule allows for all of those hours! Also, it may feel silly to schedule fun things, but devoting a dedicated time for fun activities can help you to switch gears and unwind or release stress in a productive manner that works for you.

3. Get involved on campus.

It may seem counter intuitive to get involved in school activities when you’re just trying hard to maintain your grades, but getting involved may actually help more than you think.  Joining a club or organization may help you to feel more connected to your campus and may help you to meet new people with whom you have a common interest.  Through these networks, you may be able to find upperclassmen who can advise you on courses to take, professors to avoid, academic resources, and other tips and trick to be a successful and happy student.

4. Start collecting reminders of home that you can take with you to college.

It’s more than likely that you won’t be able to take your whole bedroom with you when you go to college (and it may not make a ton of sense to do so).  However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t bring things with you that remind you of home.  Start thinking about items you can fit in your suitcase or bag that will remind you of home and help you feel less homesick.  Consider going through some photos and printing out ones that you want to take with you. Determining which of your 25 track medals you want to bring with you (or even that stuffed animal you’ve had since you were six years old).

5. Say goodbye.

You may not actually be leaving home to attend college or you may not be going far enough to think that saying goodbye is necessary.  However, you are entering a new stage of your life and sometimes allowing yourself a level of closure on your pre-college years can actually give you permission to fully enjoy your college experience.  Meet up with your friends from high school, spend some extra time with your family, re-visit your favorite high school hangouts, make lots of memories, and then start the new chapter in your educational journey.

6. Keep an open mind.

College may be everything you imagined, but it could also be nothing like you imagined.  Keep an open mind about what you’re experiencing and try not to let your expectations get the better of you.  No one knows what you were like in high school so challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and try some new experiences.

7. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

That first year of college might be tough.  You may find that it’s a lot to make new friends, get involved, AND do well in your classes.  That is completely normal.  Give yourself some time to adjust to being in college.  Don’t overload on the toughest classes your first term (even if you were the valedictorian !) so that you can focus on finding balance.  If you find that you didn’t quite meet your own goals or expectations, brush it off and adjust for the next term.  Many students struggle with the transition to college so don’t worry; you’re not alone!

Veritas Prep is committed to helping students put together the best college applications possible.  All of our consultants have prior admissions experience at the top colleges in the world and have evaluated students just like you.  For more information, visit us at www.veritasprep.com/college.  Complete our FREE college profile evaluation and talk to one of our expert evaluators today!

By Jennifer Sohn Lim,Assistant Director of Admissions at Veritas Prep.

 
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The Importance of Sorting Answer Choices on the GMAT [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jun 2015, 15:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: The Importance of Sorting Answer Choices on the GMAT
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On the GMAT, as in life, you have multiple choices you can make at every juncture you face. On the standardized test, your choices are limited to only five, which is more manageable than the plethora of choices you encounter every day. However, even five answer choices can cause a lot of frustration for people who have difficulty differentiating among them.

The good news is, the exam is mandated to have five different answer choices on every question, but some of these answer choices are redundant. While you won’t actually see the same answer choice twice on the test (unless you’re seeing double), many answer choices don’t differ from another answer choice in a meaningful way.

As an example, if you’re looking for the product of two even integers, such as 4 and 6, you know the product can never be odd. So while one answer choice may be 25 and another may be 33, they can both be eliminated for the same reason, greatly streamlining your task if you’re eliminating possible answer choices based on sound reasoning. Sometimes, a question may have two or three answer choices you can eliminate without having to do any math, as long as you can sort multiple answers into the same bucket (think Gryffindor).

Let’s look at such a question and how we can consider eliminating answer choices without actually calculating them longhand:

If x^4 > x^5 > x^3, which one could be the value of x?

A) -3

B) -2

C) -2/3

D) 2/3

E) 3

This question seems complicated because it is very abstract. We’re dealing with some unknown variable x raised to various uncomfortable powers. A great strategy here would be to try and make it easier to understand by using actual numbers. This will allow us to better visualize what is actually happening in the problem.

Let’s begin with the base case. Say we set x to be a simple positive integer, such as 2. If we square 2, we get 4. If we multiply by 2 again, we get 8. This is 2^3. We can continue by multiplying by 2 again and getting 16 for 2^4, and one final time to get 32 for 2^5. It should come as no surprise that the variable gets bigger as the powers increase.

However, this situation does not satisfy our original premise of x^4 > x^5 > x^3 because x^5 is the biggest value. Beyond eliminating the number 2 from contention, we can eliminate 3, 4, and every other positive integer bigger than 1. This is because all positive integers greater than one will increase in amplitude as the powers increase. Knowing this, we can eliminate answer choice E, which follows the same mould.

The remaining answer choices seem to either be negative, fractional or both. We might also recognize that numbers smaller than 1 will follow a different pattern, because successive increases in power will make the number smaller and smaller. Furthermore, negative numbers can break the pattern as well, as they will oscillate between positive results for even powers and negative results for odd powers. In fact, these two axes will be the only determining factors in identifying the correct result. The answer will be only one of the following structures: positive and less than 1, negative and less than 1, positive and more than 1, or negative and more than 1. Our job is to sort these out (like the sorting hat at Hogwarts).

We have already observed that positive and greater than 1 doesn’t satisfy the given inequality, so let’s look at positive and less than 1. We can take ½ as an example and extrapolate that to any result 0 > x > 1. If we square ½, we get ¼. If we continue to multiply by ½, we get 1/8, 1/16 and 1/32 respectively. Unsurprisingly, these are the reciprocals of the values found for x = 2. This batch doesn’t satisfy the inequality either, as x^3 is actually the biggest number here. This eliminates answer choice D. If it’s not obvious, the relative sizes of the exponents are easier to see if we use the number line:

___________________________________________________________________

0     1/32           1/16                      1/8                                                                                                             1

x^5            x^4                      x^3

Now that we’ve eliminated two possibilities (Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw), let’s look at the remaining choices: -3, -2 and -2/3. At this point, it should make sense that all negative numbers with absolute value greater than 1 will behave the exact same way in this inequality. This means that the answer cannot be either -3 or -2, as they are indistinguishable inputs on this question (also both Slytherin). Thus, if -2 worked, so would -3, and vice versa. Since only one answer choice can be correct, neither of these will be correct, and the answer must be -2/3. Let’s go through the calculation to confirm, but we already know it must be correct.

When we square a negative number, we are multiplying a negative by a negative and yielding a positive. When we multiply that number by a negative again, we revert to negative numbers. Thus, every odd numbered power will be negative and every even numbered power will be positive. Knowing this, we can easily calculate that x = -2/3, then x^2 = 2^2/3^2. Multiplying by -2/3 again, we get -2^3/3^3 for x^3. The next values will be 2^4/3^4 for x^4 and -2^5/3^5 for x^5. If it’s easier to see, you can calculate each of these values and get:

x^2 = 4/9

x^3 = -8/27

x^4 = 16/81

x^5 = -32/243

Using the number line again as a visual aid (roughly to scale):

________________________________________________________________________

-1                                           -8/27                    -32/243        0                   16/81                                                      1

x^3                       x^5                                      x^4

This confirms that x^4 is the biggest (most to the right) value while x^3 is the smallest and x^5 is the middle value. This also highlights the issue that -2 and -3 would have, as the amplitude increases, x^5 would be much smaller than x^3. Of the choices given, the only value that works is answer choice C: -2/3.

On the GMAT, one of the five answer choices must always be correct, but the other four can give you insight into what you should consider to solve the question. Oftentimes, you can figure out what the key issues are by perusing the choices provided. And more often than not, you can eliminate swaths of answer choices based on a logical understanding of the question. On test day, you don’t want to waste time considering answer choices that are obviously incorrect. If you can sort through the various answer choices quickly, you’ll end up in the house of your choice (I’d opt for Gryffindor).

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

Ron Awad is a GMAT instructor for Veritas Prep based in Montreal, bringing you weekly advice for success on your exam.  After graduating from McGill and receiving his MBA from Concordia, Ron started teaching GMAT prep and his Veritas Prep students have given him rave reviews ever since.
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6 Things You Need to Know About Taking the GRE [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jun 2015, 09:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: 6 Things You Need to Know About Taking the GRE
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Students who are planning to apply to graduate school have a long list of things to do. One item on that list is to take the Graduate Record Examination, also known as the GRE. Many graduate schools require students to include these test results with their application. Look at some information on how to sign up for the GRE. Also, learn how our professional instructors at Veritas Prep help students prepare to excel on this critical exam.

1. Creating an Account

The first stop for a student who wants to sign up for this exam is the website of the Educational Testing Service or the ETS. A student must create an account on this site in order to sign up for the GRE. Also, students are able to look at their test scores via this account. It’s important that a student uses his or her full name when creating an account. This same name should be used when a student signs up for the test. Any discrepancy such as the use of an abbreviated name may cause a delay in the registration process. Also, if the name on a student’s registration form is different than the one on his or her identification, the student may not be allowed to take the GRE on test day.

2. Choose a Testing Location and a Test Date

Once a student creates an account on the ETS website, it’s a wise idea to check the various deadlines for test registration. A student must register by the deadline in order to avoid paying a fee. After noting the test deadlines, it’s time to find a testing location. A student should begin the search by clicking on his or her country, state and city. After entering the appropriate information, there may be several test locations to choose from. After clicking on a nearby testing location, a student is able to choose a test date and see if there are any seats available at that location. The GRE sign-up process is simple if students follow all of the steps involved in choosing a date and location.

3. Paying the Test Fee

The fee to take the GRE is $195.00. This fee is paid during the GRE sign-up process. Students should keep in mind that there are additional fees for services such as changing to another test center or another test day. There is the option of getting a fee reduction certificate if a student meets all of the eligibility requirements. Our experienced team at Veritas Prep understands the financial investment that a student makes in the GRE. That’s why we offer online GRE prep courses that give students the tools they need to master this exam. Students learn simple test-taking strategies and put them into practice under the guidance of an instructor. We instill our students with the confidence they need to achieve their best scores on the GRE.

4. Learn What to Bring and What Not to Bring on Test Day

Students should bring valid identification on test day. The name on the ID should match the name the student used to register for the test. Also, students should have their test admission ticket. The admission ticket bears the testing location, the test date, and the colleges that will receive test results. There are no electronic devices or phones allowed in the testing area.

5. Dressing for the Test

Students taking the GRE will be at the testing location for a little over three hours. The total testing time may be longer if students are allowed to take breaks that last more than a few minutes. One valuable tip is to wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing to the testing location. Students may want to bring a sweater in case the room is cold. Not surprisingly, a student’s level of comfort during the test does have an effect on their performance.

6. Sending Test Results to Colleges

The test fee includes the option of sending GRE score results to up to four colleges. Those who want to arrange to send additional score reports to other colleges must pay a fee. Students can also look at their test scores via their account on the ETS website. A student’s scores on the GRE are valid for five years.

Our expert instructors use effective resources to help you ace the GRE! Contact our staff at Veritas Prep and start prepping for the GRE today.

We have an online GRE course starting in July! And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!
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GMAT Tip of the Week: Making the Most of Your Mental Stamina [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jun 2015, 12:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: GMAT Tip of the Week: Making the Most of Your Mental Stamina
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One of the most fascinating storylines during the current 2015 NBA Finals is that of LeBron James’ workload and stamina. Responsible for such a huge percentage of Cleveland’s offense and a key component of the team’s necessarily suffocating defense, James needs to parcel out his energy usage much like an endurance athlete does in the Tour de France or Ironman World Championships. And it’s fascinating to watch as he slowly walks the ball up the court (killing time to shorten the game and also buying valuable seconds of rest before initiating the offense) and nervously watches his teammates lose ground while he takes his ~2 minute beginning-of-the-4th rest on the bench. At the final buzzer of each game he looks exhausted but thus far has been exhaustedly-triumphant twice. And watching how he handles his energy can teach you valuable lessons about how to manage the GMAT.

At the end of your GMAT exam you will be exhausted. But will you be exhaustedly triumphant? Here are 5 things you can do to help you tiredly walk out of the test center with a championship smile:

1) Practice The Way You’ll Play

The GMAT is a long test. You’ll be at the test center for about 4 hours by the time you’re done, and even during those 8-minute section breaks you’ll be hustling the whole time. Think of it this way: with a 30-minute essay, a 30-minute Integrated Reasoning section, a 75-minute Quant section and a 75-minute Verbal section, you’ll be actively answering questions for 3 hours and 30 minutes – a reasonable time for someone your age to complete a marathon (and well more than an hour off the world record). If you were training for a marathon, you wouldn’t stop your workouts after an hour or 90 minutes each time; at the very least you’d work up to where you’re training for over two hours at least once a week. And the same is true of the GMAT. To have that mental stamina to stay focused on a dense Reading Comprehension passage over 3 hours after you arrived at the test center, you need to have trained your mind to focus for 3+ hours at a time. To do so:

-Take full-length practice tests, including the AWA and IR sections.

-Practice verbal when you’re tired, after a long day of work or after you’ve done an hour or more of quant practice

-Make at least one 2-3 hour study session a part of your weekly routine and stick to it. Work can get tough, so whether it’s a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon, pick a time that you know you can commit to and go somewhere (library, coffee shop) where you know you’ll be able to focus and get to work.

2) Be Ready For The 8-Minute Breaks

Like LeBron James, you’ll have precious few opportunity to rest during your “MBA Finals” date with the GMAT. You have an 8-minute break between the IR section and the Quant section and another 8-minute break between the Quant section and the Verbal section…and that’s it. And those breaks go quickly, as in that 8 minutes you need to check out with the exam proctor to leave the room and check back in to re-enter. A minute or more of your break will have elapsed by the time you reach your locker or the restroom…time flies when you’re on your short rest period! So be ready:

-Have a plan for your break, knowing exactly what you want to accomplish: restroom, water, snack. You shouldn’t have to make many energy-draining decisions during that time; your mind needs a break while you refresh your body, so do all of your decision-making before you even arrive at the test center.

-Practice taking 8-minute breaks when you study and take practice tests. Know how long 8 minutes will take and what you can reasonably accomplish in that time.

3) Use Energy Wisely

If you’re watching LeBron James during the Finals you’ll see him take certain situations (if not entire plays) off, conserving energy for when he has the opportunity to sprint downcourt on a fast break or when he absolutely has to get out on a ready-to-shoot Steph Curry. For you on the GMAT, this means knowing when to stress over calculations on quant or details on reading comprehension. Most students simply can’t give 100% effort for the full test, so you may need to consider:

-On this Data Sufficiency problem, do you need to finish the calculations or can you stop early knowing that the calculations will lead to a sufficient answer?

-As you read this Reading Comp passage, do you need to sweat the scientific details or should you get the gist of it and deal with details later if a question specifically asks for them?

-With this Geometry problem, is it worth doing all the quadratic math or can you estimate using the answer choices? If you do do the math, are you sure that it will get you to an answer in a reasonable amount of time?

Sometimes the answer is “yes” – if it’s a problem that you know you can get right, but only if you grind through some ugly math, that’s a good place to invest that energy. And other times the answer is “no” – you could do the work, but you’re not so sure you even set it up right and the numbers are starting to look ugly and you usually get these problems wrong, anyway. Practice is the key, and diagnosing how those efforts have gone on your practice tests. You might not have enough mental energy to give all the focus you’d like all day, so have a few triggers in there that will help you figure out which battles you can lose in an effort to win the war.

4) Master The “Give Your Mind A Break” Problems

Some GMAT problems are extremely abstract and require a lot of focus and ingenuity. Others are very process-driven if you know the process – among those are the common word problems (weighted averages, rate problems, Venn diagram problems, etc.) and straightforward “solve for this variable” algebra problem solving problems. If you’ve put in the work to master those content-driven problems, they can be a great opportunity to turn your brain off for a few minutes while you just grind out the necessary steps, turning your mind back on at the last second to double check for common mistakes.

This comes down to practice. If you recognize the common types of “just set it up and do the work” problems, you’ll know them when you see them and can relax to an extent as you perform the same steps you have dozens of times. If you recognize the testmaker’s intent on certain problems – in an “either/or” SC structure, for example, you know that they’re testing parallelism and can quickly eliminate answers that don’t have it; if a DS problem includes >0 or <0, you can quickly look for positive/negative number properties with the “usual suspects” that indicate those things – you can again perform rote steps that don’t require much mental heavy lifting. The test is challenging, but if you put in the work in practice you’ll find where you can take some mental breaks without getting punished.

5) Minimize What You Read

The verbal section comes last, and that’s where focus can be the hardest as you face a barrage of problems on a variety of topics – astronomy, an election in a fake country, a discovery about Druid ruins, comparative GDP between various countries, etc. A verbal section will include thousands of words, but only a couple hundred are really operative words upon which correct answers hinge. So be proactive as you read verbal problems. That means:

-Scan the answer choices for obvious decision points in SC problems. If you know they’re testing verb tense, for example, then you’re looking at the original sentence for timeline and you don’t have to immediately focus on any other details. On many questions you can get an idea of what you’re reading for before you even start reading.

-Let details go on RC passages. Your job is to know the general author’s point, and to have a good idea of where to find any details that they might ask about. But in an RC passage that includes a dozen or more details, they may only ask you about one or two. Worry about those details when you’re asked for them, saving mental energy by never really stressing the ones that end up not mattering at all.

-Read the question stem first on CR problems. Before you read the prompt, know your job so that you know what to look for. If you need to weaken it, then look for the flaw in the argument and focus specifically on the key words in the conclusion. If you need to draw a conclusion, your energy needs to be highest on process-of-elimination at the answers, and you don’t have to stress the initial read of the prompt nearly as much.

Know that the GMAT is a long, exhausting day, and you won’t likely get out of the test center without feeling completely wiped out. But if you manage your energy efficiently, you can use whatever energy you have left to triumphantly raise that winning score report over your head as you walk out.

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

By Brian Galvin
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Important Caveat on Joint Variation GMAT Questions [#permalink]

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New post 15 Jun 2015, 11:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: Important Caveat on Joint Variation GMAT Questions
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Before we start today’s discussion, recall a previous post on joint variation. A question arose some days back on the applicability of this concept. This official question was the case in point:

Question: In a certain business, production index p is directly proportional to efficiency index e, which is in turn directly proportional to investment i. What is p if i = 70?

Statement I: e = 0.5 whenever i = 60

Statement II: p = 2.0 whenever i = 50

This was the issue that was raised:

If one were to follow the method given in the post on joint variation, one would arrive at this solution:

p/e = k (a constant)

e/i = m (another constant)

Hence, p*i/e = n is the joint variation expression

(where k, m and n are constants)

So we get that p is inversely proportional to i, that is, p*i = Constant

Statement II gives us the values of p and i which can help us get the value of the Constant.

2*50 = Constant

The question asks us the value of p given the value of i = 70. If Constant = 100,

p = 100/70.

But actually, this is wrong and the value that you get for p in this question is different.

The question is “why is it wrong?”

Valid question, right? It certainly seems like a joint variation scenario – relation between three variables. Then why does’t it work in this case?

The takeaway from this question is very important and before you proceed, we would like you to think about it on your own for a while and then proceed to the the rest of the discussion.

Here is how this question is actually done:

Taking one statement at a time:

“production index p is directly proportional to efficiency index e,”

implies p = ke (k is the constant of proportionality)

“e is in turn directly proportional to investment i”

implies e = mi (m is the constant of proportionality. Note here that we haven’t taken the constant of proportionality as k since the constant above and this constant could be different)

Then, p = kmi (km is the constant of proportionality here. It doesn’t matter that we depict it using two variables. It is still just a number)

Here, p seems to be directly proportional to i!

So if you have i and need p, you either need this constant directly (as you can find from statement II) or you need both k and m (statement I only gives you m).

So the issue now is that is p inversely proportional to i or is it directly proportional to i?

Review the joint variation post – In it we discussed that joint variation gives you the relation between 2 quantities keeping the third (or more) constant.

p will vary inversely with i if and only if e is kept constant.

Think of it this way: if p increases, e increases. But we need to keep e constant, we will have to decrease i to decrease e back to original value. So an increase in p leads to a decrease in i to keep e constant.

But if we don’t have to keep e constant, an increase in p will lead to an increase in e which will increase i.

It is all about the sequence of increases/decreases

Here, we are not given that e needs to be kept constant. So we will not use the joint variation approach.

Note how the independent question is framed in the joint variation post:

The rate of a certain chemical reaction is directly proportional to the square of the concentration of chemical M present and inversely proportional to the concentration of chemical N present. If the concentration of chemical N is increased by 100 percent, which of the following is closest to the percent change in the concentration of chemical M required to keep the reaction rate unchanged?

You need relation between N and M when reaction rate is constant.

You are given no such constraint here. So an increase in p leads to an increase in e which in turn, increases i.

So let’s complete the solution to our original question:

p = ke

e = mi

p = kmi

Statement I: e = 0.5 whenever i = 60

0.5 = m * 60

m = 0.5/60

We do not know k so we cannot find p given i and m.

This statement alone is not sufficient.

Statement II: p = 2.0 whenever i = 50

2 = km * 50

km = 1/25

If i = 70, p = (1/25)*70 = 14/5

This statement alone is sufficient.

Answer (B)

Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!
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Mapping Out Your Summer Before Applying to Business School [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jun 2015, 12:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: Mapping Out Your Summer Before Applying to Business School
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As with most things in life, preparation is key. The more time you have to prepare for something the better the result tends to be. Applying to business school is no different. The majority of candidates will wait to the last month before the deadlines to begin preparing to complete their applications.

Don’t make this mistake! Take advantage of the summer months preceding application season and set yourself up for success.

Leveraging the summer months to start planning your application is not only one of the best things to increase your chances of success but also one of the most difficult to do. For starters, who wants to spend the summer cooped inside thinking about school? Getting started on your application during one of the most social times of the year can be very challenging for the typical outgoing, enterprising, future MBA.

Now there is no one size fits all approach to making the most of these summer months but see below for some things to consider as you start mapping out your game plan:

June

June is the ideal month to kick off your application season. This month should be used to set the baseline for the underlying strategy behind your applications. Consider using June to conduct research on target MBA programs and eventually identify which schools will be on your application list. Conducting research now will save you time later in the process during those critical fall months during application season.

Another key area to begin if not already addressed is the GMAT. Many applicants prep for the GMAT while writing their essays, which can equate to a very stressful and intense period during the fall. Utilize this time to provide a buffer if subsequent tests are needed. The GMAT tends to be the number one hang-up for most students so take advantage of some additional time to secure the score you need!

July

July is a great month to start thinking about your essays. As an integral part of the application process, this is one of the areas that additional prep can make a major difference. Utilize personal mini-stories which are select stories that you choose to reflect the 4 dimensions of Leadership, Innovation, Teamwork and Maturity emphasized by many MBA programs that you can later apply to the specific essay questions asked from each school.

August

August is a critical month to make progress on your application and at this point most MBA programs will have released their essay topics and applications. Leverage your work in July with the mini-stories to create some truly compelling essays. Also, now that school is back in session, this is a good time to consider completing your school research. Class visits are integral to understanding the MBA experience at your target programs and can add some nuanced context to your application package.

Use this high-level timeline to make the most of your summer and set yourself up for a successful application season.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more of his articles here.
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Dos and Don’ts of Breaks, Snacks, and Everything In Between [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jun 2015, 12:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: Dos and Don’ts of Breaks, Snacks, and Everything In Between
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I love snacks and breaks as much as every other student does, but (like every other student!) I’ve let snacking and frequent breaks get in the way of my studying plenty of times.

I was a serial procrastinator in high school. However, in college, I had such a heavy workload I was finally forced to improve my study habits.

Here are a few of the things I learned that, hopefully, you will adopt!

  • Know how easy it is to overeat while studying. When you’re focused on studying, it’s easy to accidentally consume the entire jar of M&M’s when you only meant to have a couple handfuls. Odds are, you won’t even have properly enjoyed those M&M’s, since you were thinking about misplaced modifiers and acute angles—you’ll only really feel the extra calories and the food coma. Portion your snacks wisely, and keep anything you don’t plan on eating far out of arm’s reach.
  • Set your break schedule before you sit down to work. Unless you plan ahead, it’s easy to accidentally take too many breaks since there’s nothing to hold you accountable. Remember: It’s a slippery slide from short I-feel-like-I-need-it-right-now breaks to full-on procrastination.
  • Take breaks regularly, but not too regularly. Too few breaks can result in poorer productivity during work time, but too many breaks can leave you with too little time to get everything done. I’ve heard countless break schedule recommendations, from 10 minutes for every 90 worked to 30 minutes for every 30 worked. Optimal break schedules vary from person to person, and from situation to situation. During summertime, for instance, I usually work best with 20 minutes of break for every hour and a half worked, but during the school year I’m able to focus for two or three full hours before needing some time off. Use trial and error to get a feel for the schedule that your body and brain like best, and stick to it.
  • Snacks as a reward. Instead of snacking or taking breaks whenever you feel like it, consider using snacks and breaks as rewards for productive study. Take a 10-minute break for every hour of productive study, or eat a grape each time you finish 3 practice problems. You’ll have something to look forward to, and you’ll appreciate your snacks and breaks more.
  • Choose healthy, easy-to-eat snacks. Fatty, sugary, and carb-heavy foods can worsen your focus and reduce your study endurance, and it’s hard to pay attention to an SAT passage while hand-rolling a do-it-yourself sushi platter or avoiding spilling spaghetti sauce on your white shirt.
Have you been putting off your college application? We can help! Visit our College Admissions website and fill out our FREE College profile evaluation!

Courtney Tran is a student at UC Berkeley, studying Political Economy and Rhetoric. In high school, she was named a National Merit Finalist and National AP Scholar, and she represented her district two years in a row in Public Forum Debate at the National Forensics League National Tournament.
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Are Brain Training Exercises Helpful When Studying for Standardized Te [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jun 2015, 16:00
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: Are Brain Training Exercises Helpful When Studying for Standardized Tests?
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In the last two classes I’ve taught, I’ve had students come up to me after a session to ask about the value of brain-training exercises. The brain-training industry has been getting more attention recently as neuroscience sheds new light on how the brain works, baby-boomers worry about cognitive decline, and companies offering brain-improvement software expand. It’s impossible to listen to NPR without hearing an advertisement for Lumosity, a brain-training website that now boasts 70 million subscribers.  The site claims that the benefits of a regular practice range from adolescents improving their academic performance to the elderly staving off dementia.

The truth is, I never know quite what to tell these students. The research in this field, so far as I can tell is in its infancy. For years, the conventional wisdom regarding claims about brain-improvement exercises had been somewhat paradoxical. No one really believed that there was any magic regimen that would improve intelligence, and yet, most people accepted that there were tangible benefits to pursuing advanced degrees, learning another language, and generally trying to keep our brains active. In other words, we accepted that there were things we could do to improve our minds, but that such endeavors would never be a quick fix. The explanation for this disconnect is that there are two different kinds of intelligence. There is crystalized intelligence, the store of knowledge that we accumulate over a lifetime. And then there is fluid intelligence, our ability to quickly process novel stimuli. The assumption had been that crystallized intelligence could be improved, but fluid intelligence was a genetic endowment.

Things changed in 2008 with the release of a paper written by the researchers Susanne Jaeggi, martin Buschkuehl, John Jonides, and Walter Perrig. In this paper, the researches claimed to have shown that when subjects regularly played a memory game called Dual N-Back, which involved having to internalize two streams of data simultaneously, their fluid intelligence improved. This was ground-breaking.

This research has played an integral in role in facilitating the growth of the brain-training industry. Some estimates put industry revenue at over a billion dollars. There have been articles about the brain-training revolution in publications as wide-ranging as The New York Times and Wired. This cultural saturation has made it inevitable that those studying for standardized tests occasionally wonder if they’re shortchanging themselves by not doing these exercises.

Unfortunately, not much research has been performed to assess the value of these brain-training exercises on standardized tests. (A few smaller studies suggest promise, but the challenge of creating a true control group makes such studies extraordinarily difficult to evaluate). Moreover, there’s still debate about whether these brain-training exercises confer any benefit at all beyond helping the person training to improve his particular facility with the game he’s using to train.  Put another way, some say that games like Dual N-Back will improve your fluid intelligence, and this improvement translates into improvements in other domains. Others say that training with Dual N-Back will do little aside from making you unusually proficient at Dual N-Back.

It’s hard to arrive at any conclusion aside from this: the debate is seriously muddled. There are claims that the research has been poorly done. There are claims that the research is so persuasive that the question has been definitively answered. Obviously, both cannot be true. My suspicion is that the better-researched exercises, such as Dual N-Back, confer some modest benefit, but that this benefit is likely to be most conspicuous in populations that are starting from an unusually low baseline.

This brings us to the relevant question: is it worth it to incorporate these brain-exercise programs into a GMAT preparation regime? The answer is a qualified ‘maybe.’ If you’re very busy, there is no scenario in which it is worthwhile to sacrifice GMAT study time to play brain-training games that may or may not benefit you. Secondly, the research regarding the cognitive benefits of aerobic exercise, mindfulness meditation, and social interaction is far more persuasive than anything I’ve seen about brain-training games.

However, if you’re already studying hard, working out regularly, and finding time for family and friends, and you think can sneak in another 20 minutes a day for brain-training without negatively impacting the other more important facets of your life, it can’t hurt. Just know that, as with most challenging things in life, the shortcuts and hacks should always be subordinated to good, old-fashioned hard work and patience.

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

By David Goldstein, a Veritas Prep GMAT instructor based in Boston. You can find more articles by him here.
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SAT Tip of the Week: How to Stay Sharp Over the Summer [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jun 2015, 08:01
FROM Veritas Prep Blog: SAT Tip of the Week: How to Stay Sharp Over the Summer
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One of the biggest barriers to success on the SAT is summertime. For most students entering their senior year, the summer represents the first time during their SAT prep experience that they will have a prolonged break from school. After months of prep, you probably took the test in either January, March, or May, but still didn’t get that exact score they were hoping for.

Some students fall into a false sense of security during the summer months and don’t stay sharp. The October date represents the next available time to take the test, and while that seems like a far off time in June, it’s actually just around the corner.

Staying sharp and actively preparing throughout the summer is an absolute necessity for students seeking a top score. In reality, it would be even better if students were able to take advantage of the summer months to advance their skills and take their score to the next level. However, sometimes, the allure of a break and “leisure” time after an academically rigorous semester makes students want to kick back and rest. Don’t be like the others, understand that if you want to get into your top school, you need a top score.

Understanding this reality, here are a few tips that can keep you sharp during the summer without truly overextending your mind and feeling too stressed out.

  • Read Leisurely. Keeping your mind sharp and reading actively will work wonders for your SAT score. In general, students who enjoy reading for fun and have done it since childhood do better on the reading comprehension section. Even if it isn’t your favorite thing to do, picking up your favorite series or diving into a new fiction book is very helpful for the test. It helps build vocabulary, keeps your mind active, improves your reading stamina, and also forces you to critically think. All of these skills are very helpful, and will pay off at the end of the summer. Aim for one book a week. While this may seem like a lot, try it and after the first week you will see it’s no more than thirty to forty five minutes a day of straight reading. Make it easy on yourself by picking a book or genre you like to keep your interest up, and allow you to stay continually motivated.

[*]Study Vocabulary. Studying vocabulary is something you can do every day, no matter where you are. As this is the only part of the test that requires memorization, your performance on vocabulary is highly correlated to effort. If you put in the time, and make vocabulary a challenge, the summer is the perfect time to use this to stay sharp. It will keep your mind active for ten to fifteen minutes a day, and add consistency to your routine. Building this habit will allow you to snap right back into the heavier test prep once you resume that.[/list]

[*]Take a prep course or online class. Taking an academic enrichment course is another way to keep your mind active and it allows you to pursue an interest you like, or get a leg up on the SAT or ACT. These courses are less of a commitment than school, and you don’t have the added pressure of performing well for a grade. Instead, you can take this at your own pace, and the results are indicative of the effort you put in. It’s another great way to stay in a routine, to make sure your mind is sharp when the SAT ramps up again.[/list]
All of these tips follow a similar model; keep your brain active and engaged and make sure that you don’t lose all the progress you have made up to this point when it comes to getting ready for the test. Happy studying this summer!

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Jake Davidson is a Mork Family Scholar at USC and enjoys writing for the school paper as well as participating in various clubs. He has been tutoring privately since the age of 15 and is incredibly excited to help students succeed on the SAT.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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SAT Tip of the Week: How to Stay Sharp Over the Summer   [#permalink] 17 Jun 2015, 08:01

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