GMAT Calculator & Mental Math - All You Need To Know
Posted on
27
Jul 2021

GMAT Calculator & Mental Math – All You Need To Know

Author: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Ilia Dobrev
Date: 27 July, 2021

Are you allowed to use a calculator on the GMAT? While this may seem as a pretty straightforward question to answer, it does deserve a separate blog post as it hides details that are vital for achieving a top GMAT score not only on the quantitative section, but on the exam as a whole.

Well, the answer is both Yes and No. This article aims to examine the different scenarios where you are allowed to use such a device and how you can make full use of its potential. But, if you are used to doing math with a calculator, do not worry as we have compiled a list of some mental math techniques that you can use to your advantage and even save much important time while still being spot-on with your answers.

Calculator on the GMAT | Explained

  • You are not allowed to bring your own calculator to the GMAT exam.
    According to the GMAC, no personal items are allowed in the exam room of any of the certified test centers.
  • You cannot use a calculator on the Quantitative section of the GMAT.
    Despite the fact that we are so used to using calculators to help us with arithmetic operations, you should not feel intimidated that you are not allowed to use any type of calculator on the GMAT Quantitative section. However, you will be provided with a blank canvas by the proctor of the exam where you will have plenty of space to practice to manually compute any calculations, if needed.

You should not worry as the GMAT exam is not designed to test you on complicated mathematical operations or complex calculations. Instead, the quant section draws from secondary-level math skills like basic algebra and geometry, which are mastered in high school, to test other kinds of abilities like critical thinking, logical reasoning, and problem-solving. In fact, the majority of the Quant questions can (and should) be answered without any calculations beyond estimation. A typical example of how you can use mental math to get to the right answer while saving precious time on the GMAT is the Movie Night combinatorics problem. Another type of common GMAT quant questions are data sufficiency problems, which are also more about reasoning than  calculations. You’ll only need to do basic calculations and can rely on estimation for anything more complicated. If you have to do the math, the GMAC usually keeps the numbers simple and avoids decimals. When you see large numbers or complex fractions, then it’s a good bet that there’s an easier solution path to embark on other than calculating.

  • You can use an on-screen calculator on the Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT.

Surprisingly or not, a calculator will be provided for use during the GMAT Integrated Reasoning section of the test. This GMAT calculator has the standard basic functions, CE (clear entry) button, C (clear) button, an sqrt function, a % (percentage) button, and a 1/x button that calculates the reciprocal of the entry currently on the screen. Also, there is a row with the standard memory functions

  • MS (memory store) stores the current entry in the calculator’s memory for subsequent use.
  • MR (memory recall) displays the latest number stored in the calculator’s memory so that it can be used for the next calculations.
  • M+ (memory addition) adds the current entry to the value that is currently stored in the calculator’s memory. This button is helpful when you need to add a long series of numbers and don’t want to retype each one.
  • MC (memory clear) erases whatever is in the current memory. You should click this button before every new calculation scenario.

Improve your Mental Math and reduce your Calculator Dependency

Survival Tips & Tricks

Do not overuse the IR calculator.

While you are provided with a basic GMAT calculator during the Integrated Reasoning section, you might not want to use it too often as you’ll waste more time than you’ll save. You can also apply the solution paths you are using in the Quant section to some problems in the Integrated Reasoning section.

Constantly practice Mental Math operations.

A huge morale boost is that mental math operations are easy to learn with some practice. You can add, multiply, subtract, and divide when you pay bills, check out at the grocery store, calculate a tip, etc. without using a calculator.

Make accurate estimations

The key to saving a considerable amount of time on the GMAT exam is efficiency in estimations. Transform numbers to less unwieldy figures like 0 or 5 for the purpose of calculations. You can then browse the answer choices to see which is closest to your preliminary estimate.

Do not use a calculator when you are prepping for the GMAT quant section.

This is a great way to practice mental math operations outside the daily life operations. The test setting and quant context will let you get used to this environment so that you know what to expect on test day.

Familiarize yourself with a basic GMAT calculator and do use its Memory functions.

As this will be your only technical aid during the GMAT Integrated Reasoning section, you’d better spend some time making the most out of it. Especially when you are pressed by time, memorizing calculated values for further operations in the calculator’s memory can be crucial for staying on track with a healthy exam pace.

Guide yourself by looking at the answer choices.

Looking at the answer choices can immediately permit you to eliminate a couple of options. Even if you are pushed by time, you can easily make a more educated decision depending on your reasoning that will boost the chances of picking the correct answer.

Do not freak out if you see large numbers.

Remember that the people who stand behind the GMAT are aware that they are designing questions that are supposed to be answered without using a calculator. This also keeps the arithmetic from being too difficult and gives you the opportunity to apply a more straightforward approach.

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GMAT Quant Syllabus 2021-2022
Posted on
22
Jul 2021

GMAT Quant Syllabus 2021-2022

Author: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Altea Sollulari
Date: 22 July, 2021

We know what you’re thinking: math is a scary subject and not everyone can excel at it. And now with the GMAT the stakes are much higher, especially because there is a whole section dedicated to math that you need to prepare for in order to guarantee a good score. There is good news though, the GMAT is not actually testing your math skills, but rather your creative problem solving skills through math questions. Furthermore, the GMAT only requires that you have sound knowledge of high school level mathematics. So, you just need to practice your fundamentals and learn how to use them to solve specific GMAT problems and find solution paths that work to your advantage. 

The Quantitative Reasoning section on the GMAT contains a total of 31 questions, and you are given 62 minutes to complete all of them. This gives you just 2 minutes to solve each question, so in most cases, the regular way of solving math equations that you were taught in high school will not cut it. So finding the optimal problem solving process for each question type is going to be pivotal to your success in this section. This can seem a daunting start, so our expert Apex GMAT instructors recommend that you start your quant section prep with a review of the types of GMAT questions asked in the test and math fundamentals if you have not been using high school math in your day to day life. 

What types of questions will you find in the GMAT quant?

There are 2 main types of questions you should look out for when preparing to take the GMAT exam:

Data Sufficiency Questions

For this type of GMAT question, you don’t generally need to do calculations. However, you will have to determine whether the information that is provided to you is sufficient to answer the question. These questions aim to evaluate your critical thinking skills. 

They generally contain a question, 2 statements, and 5 answer choices that are the same in all GMAT data sufficiency questions.

Here’s an example of a number theory data sufficiency problem video, where Mike explains the best way to go about solving such a question.

Problem Solving Questions

This question type is pretty self-explanatory: you’ll have to solve the question and come up with a solution. However, you’ll be given 5 answer choices to choose from. Generally, the majority of questions in the quant section of the GMAT will be problem-solving questions as they clearly show your abilities to use mathematical concepts to solve problems.

Make sure to check out this video where Mike shows you how to solve a Probability question.

The main concepts you should focus on

The one thing that you need to keep in mind when starting your GMAT prep is the level of math you need to know before going in for the Quant section. All you’ll need to master is high-school level math. That being said, once you have revised and mastered these math fundamentals, your final step is learning how to apply this knowledge to actual GMAT problems and you should be good to go. This is the more challenging side of things but doing this helps you tackle all the other problem areas you may be facing such as time management, confidence levels, and test anxiety. 

Here are the 4 main groups of questions on the quant section of the GMAT and the concepts that you should focus on for each:

Algebra

  • Algebraic expressions
  • Equations
  • Functions
  • Polynomials
  • Permutations and combinations
  • Inequalities
  • Exponents

Geometry

  • Lines
  • Angles
  • Triangles
  • Circles
  • Polygons
  • Surface area
  • Volume
  • Coordinate geometry

Word problems

  • Profit
  • Sets
  • Rate
  • Interest
  • Percentage
  • Ratio
  • Mixtures

Check out this Profit and Loss question.

Arithmetic

  • Number theory
  • Percentages
  • Basic statistics
  • Power and root
  • Integer properties
  • Decimals
  • Fractions
  • Probability
  • Real numbers

Make sure to try your hand at this GMAT probability problem.

5 tips to improve your GMAT quant skills?

  1. Master the fundamentals! This is your first step towards acing this section of the GMAT. As this section only contains math that you have already studied thoroughly in high-school, you’ll only need to revise what you have already learned and you’ll be ready to start practicing some real GMAT problems. 
  2. Practice time management! This is a crucial step as every single question is timed and you won’t get more than 2 minutes to spend on each question. That is why you should start timing yourself early on in your GMAT prep, so you get used to the time pressure. 
  3. Know the question types! This is something that you will learn once you get enough practice with some actual GMAT questions. That way, you’ll be able to easily recognize different question types and you’ll be able to use your preferred solution path without losing time.
  4. Memorize the answer choices for the data sufficiency questions! These answers are always the same and their order never changes. Memorizing them will help you save precious time that you can spend elsewhere. To help you better memorize them, we are sharing an easier and less wordy way to think of them:
  5. Make use of your scrap paper! There is a reason why you’re provided with scrap paper, so make sure to take advantage of it. You will definitely need it to take notes and make calculations, especially for the problem-solving questions that you will come across in this GMAT question.
  • Only statement 1
  • Only statement 2
  • Both statements together
  • Either statement
  • Neither statement
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Posted on
21
Jul 2021

GMAT 3D Geometry Problem – GMAT Math – Quant Section

GMAT 3D Geometry Problem 

In this problem we’re going to take a look at 3D objects and in particular a special problem type on the GMAT that measures the longest distance within a three-dimensional object. Typically, they give you rectangular solids, but they can also give you cylinders and other such objects. The key thing to remember about problems like this one is that effectively we’re stacking Pythagorean theorems to solve it – we’re finding triangles and then triangles within triangles that define the longest distance.

This type of problem is testing your spatial skills and a graphic or visual aid is often helpful though strictly not necessary. Let’s take a look at how to solve this problem and because it’s testing these skills the approach is generally mathematical that is there is some processing because it’s secondary to what they’re actually testing.

gmat 3d geometry question

GMAT 3D Geometry Problem Introduction

So, we have this rectangular solid and it doesn’t matter which way we turn it – the longest distance is going to be between any two opposite corners and you can take that to the bank as a rule: On a rectangular solid the opposite corners will always be the longest distance. Here we don’t have any way to process this central distance so, what we need to do is make a triangle out of it.

Notice that the distance that we’re looking for along with the height of 5 and the hypotenuse of the 10 by 10 base will give us a right triangle. We can apply Pythagoras here if we have the hypotenuse of the base. We’re working backwards from what we need to what we can make rather than building up. Once you’re comfortable with this you can do it in either direction.

Solving the Problem

In this case we’ve got a 10 by 10 base. It’s a 45-45-90 because any square cut in half is a 45-45-90 which means we can immediately engage the identity of times root two. So, 10, 10, 10 root 2. 10 root 2 and 5 makes the two sides. We apply Pythagoras again. Here it’s a little more complicated mathematically and because you’re going in and out of taking square roots and adding and multiplying, you want to be very careful not to make a processing error here.

Careless errors abound particularly when we’re distracted from the math and yet we need to do some processing. So, this is a point where you just want to say “Okay, I’ve got all the pieces, let me make sure I do this right.” 10 root 2 squared is 200 (10 times 10 is 100, root 2 times root 2 is 2, 2 times 100 is 200). 5 squared is 25. Add them together 225. And then take the square root and that’s going to give us our answer. The square root of 225 is one of those numbers we should know. It’s 15, answer choice A.

Okay guys for another 3D and Geometry problem check out GMAT 680 Level Geometry Problem – No Math Needed! We will see you next time.

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GMAT or GRE? Which Should You Take For An MBA Application?
Posted on
20
Jul 2021

GMAT or GRE? Which Test Should You Take If You Seek An MBA And Why

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Elizabeth Valcheva
Date: 20 July, 2021

If you are planning to advance your career with an MBA and have already started your research, you have probably encountered one of your first dilemmas: GMAT or GRE. While all business schools accept the GMAT, to encourage diversity and give aspiring MBAs more flexibility, more than 1200 business schools worldwide nowadays accept the GRE as well. The key to the dilemma then rests on two important considerations: admissions committee exam preference and personal thinking style.  

Talk to the admissions office

The most important factor to consider is which exam is accepted and preferred by your schools of choice. Once you have identified the business schools you plan to apply to, contact them to find out whether they accept both exams and if so, which one their admissions committees assign more value to. According to a 2016 survey among 224 business schools, 26% of admissions officers report giving advantage to applicants who have submitted a GMAT score, 2% consider GRE applicants with priority, while the vast majority assign equal weight to the two exams. If your school of choice does not express a clear preference, choose the test you are more likely to get a better score at.

Play to your strengths

Is math your forte? Do you impress everyone with your English vocabulary? Each exam uses specific question types to test different cognitive skills, so it is best to identify which question types are naturally easier for you and can therefore help you get a higher score. With its 62-min quantitative section focusing on Data Sufficiency, the GMAT is traditionally considered better suited for math lovers, while the GRE – whose two 35-min quantitative sections feature Quantitative Comparison questions and allow the use of a calculator – is preferred by more versatile thinkers. Meanwhile, the two exams’ respective verbal reasoning sections seem to divide applicants into two other categories: grammar police and vocabulary wizards. The GMAT focuses on Sentence Correction, while the GRE’s Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion questions require the skilled command of highly sophisticated vocabulary, which may be particularly challenging to non-native English speakers. 

If you are not sure which exam is better aligned with your brain’s wiring, it is worth giving each one a try with a practice test or two. Importantly, when comparing the results, have in mind that MBA admissions committees pay special attention to the quantitative section scores as they are generally considered a key predictor of academic success, given the quantitative focus of the program.

Preparation is key

While determining your brain’s natural predilection for one of the two exams is crucial to your success, it does not in itself guarantee a high score. Whether you choose the GMAT or GRE, being among the top scoring applicants requires rigorous test preparation. To make the best use of your prep time, develop a plan that builds on your strengths to help you achieve even better scores at the sections you are already good at, while also dedicating enough resources to improve your performance at the question types you find more challenging. 

If the solution to your test dilemma is the GMAT, we are here to help you prep for a 700+ score and get into your dream MBA program. Schedule your free consultation call and speak to an instructor today.

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10 things to consider before you begin your GMAT prep
Posted on
15
Jul 2021

10 things to consider before you begin your GMAT prep

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Simona Mkhitaryan
Date: July 16, 2021

Get Comfortable With The GMAT Structure

Before doing anything else, you need to familiarise yourself with the GMAT structure.

  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA section): this section concentrates on critical analysis and idea communication. You will be presented with an argument where a strong analysis of the reasoning behind the given argument should be provided. (30 minutes, 1 question)
  • Integrated Reasoning (IR section) – the second part of the exam evaluates the ability to assess information and interpret data displayed in different formats. (30 minutes, 12 questions) 
  • Next is the Quantitative Reasoning (Quant section), which measures the ability to solve mathematical and quantitative problems as well as the ability to interpret data. There are two types of questions in the Quantitative Section – Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency. Both types of questions require some knowledge of arithmetic, elementary algebra, and commonly known geometry concepts. Since there are 31 questions in Quantitative Reasoning, about 15 of them will be data sufficiency questions which are quite confusing and unique. (62 minutes, 31 questions)
  • Verbal Reasoning (Verbal section) – this is the final section, which evaluates reading comprehension skills, editing abilities, and whether you can make sense of written arguments. (65 minutes, 36 questions)

 GMAT Scores are Valid for Five Years

You will receive your official GMAT score within 20 days of taking the exam. Your GMAT test score is valid for five years. Before taking or preparing for the GMAT, it is essential to know when to take the exam. If you already have a particular school or program in mind then you have to schedule your test based on the deadlines the school has specified. Nevertheless, it is good to keep in mind how long GMAT scores are valid for if you are uncertain about when you will apply to schools.

 Two Sections of the GMAT are Computer-Adaptive

The GMAT is a Computer Adaptive exam. Two sections of GMAT, the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections are Computer-adaptive. So, what does it mean? If you answered a hard level question correctly the next question will be more complex. If you answered a question wrong then the other question will be easier. In these sections, the difficulty of the questions take into consideration the number of questions that you previously answered correctly or incorrectly.  

Take a Practice Test Before Starting Preparation for the GMAT Exam.

Before starting the preparation for the GMAT exam, take a GMAT practice test to find out your baseline, how well prepared you are, and how far off you are from your target score. In this way, you will get familiar with the question types and style and understand the time frame. Via this method, you can compare your starting point versus the ending when you take the actual GMAT exam.  

Familiarize Yourself with the Style and Format of the Exam

The GMAT exam is different from other exams such as SAT, TOEFL, ACT. You need to become familiar with the format of the questions so that during the exam, you won’t allocate too much time to understanding the questions. Some GMAT sections have unique question types that might confuse the test-takers, such as the quantitative (data sufficiency) and integrated reasoning sections where some questions will require more than one response. You will save time and feel comfortable with the questions if you know them beforehand—especially the data sufficiency questions from the quantitative section. 

Practice Without a Calculator

The GMAT exam doesn’t allow calculators on the quant section. This may sound tough, but in actuality, it is for the best since you need to train your mind and mental math to solve the problems. It may also indicate that the problems aren’t that complex and that you can solve them without using a calculator. However, working without a calculator is challenging since you need to carefully check your calculations after every step to ensure you don’t have errors. Therefore, to prepare yourself for this challenge, try practicing from the beginning without a calculator to become familiar with what it feels like and gain experience using the math problems by hand. Also, familiarizing yourself with the tips and tricks you can use while solving the GMAT questions. You  can find more information about the GMAT Calculator and mental math here.

10 gmat tipsDefine your Strengths and Weaknesses

This analysis will help you know what you are good at and what you need to improve. First of all, plan your strategy about how you are going to analyse your weaknesses and strengths. It can be by taking the GMAT practice exam once and then figuring out which areas you felt particularly weak or strong in. Another option is to maintain a notebook for a week and markdown the weaknesses and strengths you encounter during your initial studying. Via this analysis, you might get a sense of whether you are good at time management, what your speed is, and much more. During the analysis, try to identify which question types are the most challenging for you in each section. Figure out what soft skills you have that might help you during the exam and pinpoint the ones that need improvement. After that, conclude and start working on developing new skills and overcoming weaknesses. Always keep in mind having an achievable goal for the final target as a score. Scoring a 700 or higher on the GMAT isn’t always easy! 

Design a Study Plan

After acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses, design a personalized study plan to guide you throughout your preparation, decide what sources and courses you need, whether you are going to prepare only with tests, or go step by step through topics and sections. Schedule your learning format and decide which strategy fits the best with your prep level. You might also consider taking courses with a GMAT private tutor, with which you will get a lot of help and guidance in your GMAT preparation creed.

Keep Track of Time

When preparing for the GMAT exam try to keep track of your time to allocate it equally to each section. However, do this step after you have identified what concepts are complicated for you in order to allocate more time on those topics and train yourself to solve those problems. Practice pacing because GMAT time management is critical in order to complete the exam. The worst scenario in the GMAT exam is that sometimes the test takers run out of time towards the end. This is because some of the test takers do not stick with the time and fall behind. Thus, set and stick to certain time milestones to finish the exam on time.

Keep Going, Do Not Get Stuck on a Question

It is also essential to remember that you don’t need to answer every question correctly and that completing the exam is most important. This is because your score will decrease if you do not complete the sections of the GMAT. 2 minutes is more than enough for each question. So, if you are stuck, make an educated guess and move on to another question. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, before preparing for the GMAT exam, first, know about the GMAT exam structure and familiarize yourself with the format and style, then take a practice test to find out your score as well as your weaknesses and strengths. After that, design your study plan and hit the green light! Of course, while practicing for the GMAT exam, try not to use a calculator, keep track of time and concentrate on learning rather than answering all the questions correctly. 

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Posted on
14
Jul 2021

GMAT 680 Level Geometry Problem – No Math Needed!

GMAT Geometry Problem

Hey guys, top level geometry problems are characterized typically by stringing a whole bunch of different rules together and understanding how one thing relates to the next thing, to the next thing. Until you get from the piece of information you started with to the conclusion. We’re going to start out by taking a look at this problem using the z equals 50° and seeing how that information goes down the line.

top level geometry problem

But afterwards we’re going to see a super simple logical pathway utilizing a graphic scenario that makes the z equals 50° irrelevant. To begin with we’re being asked for the sum of x and y and this will come into play on the logical side. We need the sum not the individual amounts but let’s begin with the y. We have a quadrilateral and it has parallel sides which means the two angles z and y must equal 180°. That’s one of our geometric rules. If z is 50° that means y is 130° and we’re halfway there.

Next we need to figure out how x relates and there are several pathways to this. One way we can do it is drop. By visualizing or dropping a third parallel line down, intersecting x, so on the one hand we’ll have 90 degrees. We’ll have that right angle and on the other we’ll have that piece. Notice that the parallel line we dropped and the parallel line next to z are both being intersected by the diagonal line going through which means that that part of x equals z. So we have 50° plus 90° is 140°. 130° from the y, 140° from the x, gives us 270°.

Another way we can do this is by taking a look at the right triangle that’s already built in z is 50° so y is 1 30°. now the top angle in the triangle must then be 180° minus the 130° that is 50°. it must match the z again we have the parallel lines with the diagonal coming through then the other angle the one opposite x is the 180° degrees that are in the triangle minus the 90° from the right triangle brings us to 90° minus the 50° from the angle we just figured out means that it’s 40° which means angle x is 180° flat line supplementary angles minus the 40° gives us 140° plus the 130° we have from y again we get to 270°.

Graphic Solution Path

Now here’s where it gets really fun and really interesting. We can run a graphic scenario here by noticing that as long as we keep all the lines oriented in the same way we can actually shift the angle x up. We can take the line that extends from this big triangle and just shift it right up the line until it matches with the y. What’s going to happen there, is we’re going to see that we have 270° degrees in that combination of x and y and that it leaves a right triangle of 90°, that we can take away from 360° again to reach the 270°.

Here the 50° is irrelevant and watch these two graphic scenarios to understand why no matter how steep or how flat this picture becomes we can always move that x right up and get to the 270°. That is the x and y change in conjunction with one another as z changes. You can’t change one without the other while maintaining all these parallel lines and right angles. Seeing this is challenging to say the least, it requires a very deep understanding of the rules and this is one of those circumstances that really points to weaknesses in understanding most of what we learn in math class in middle school, in high school. Even when we’re prepping only scratches the surface of some of the more subtle things that we’re either allowed to do or the subtle characteristics of rules and how they work with one another and so a true understanding yields this very rapid graphic solution path.

Logical Solution Path

The logical solution path where immediately we say x and y has to be 270° no matter what z is and as you progress into the 80th, 90th percentile into the 700 level on the quant side this is what you want to look for during your self prep. You want to notice when there’s a clever solution path that you’ll overlook because of the rules. Understand why it works and then backtrack to understand how that new mechanism that you discovered fits into the framework of the rules that we all know and love. Maybe? I don’t know if we love them! But they’re there, we know them, we’re familiar with them, we want to become intimate. So get intimate with your geometry guys put on some al green light some candles and I’ll see you next time.

If you enjoyed this problem, try other geometry problems here: GMAT Geometry.

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The Advantages of Being a Non-native Speaker on the GMAT
Posted on
13
Jul 2021

The Advantages of Being a Non-native Speaker on the GMAT

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Svetozara Saykova
Date: 13th July 2020

GMAT Non Native Speaker Advantages:

The GMAT is a challenging exam to all, but it can be particularly difficult for non-native speakers. Since it is administered in English only, which is an additional obstacle one needs to consider when preparing for the GMAT exam. If you aren’t secure in your English language skills don’t hurry to get frustrated. Being aware that this is your weak spot is the first step towards improving and we advise you to not stop here. Be sure to research small habits that can immensely improve your English language skills. Watching tv series and movies in English with subtitles, reading English or American literature or listening to a podcast are all leisurely activities that can help you polish your English. If your English is already excellent, that is a win. This article will provide you with tips and insights on how to utilize your bilingual (or multilingual) background to excel in your GMAT preparation. 

Grammar is Your Best Friend 

The GMAT is specifically designed to test native English speakers. A majority of native speakers have not spent years memorizing grammar rules and enriching their vocabularies by writing down or repeating words and phrases. They have learned English through hearing people around them speak, just like you have learned your native language. Due to this lack of thorough grammatical knowledge, native speakers can get confused by the pitfalls intentionally placed throughout the GMAT exam, especially in the Verbal section. For them the hidden traps remain unnoticed but for non native speakers they can often be easily spotted since non-native speakers know the grammar rules. By contrast, most non-native speakers have learned English through repetition and mastering grammar rules. Such familiarity with English grammar prior to any GMAT preparation is an invaluable asset. It might cut short your prep time and allow you to concentrate and work on areas that are more difficult for you. 

You Know What Dedication Means

Learning a language is a demanding and long undertaking. Countless hours of studying words and collocations, memorizing grammar rules, reading, listening, writing, and doing practice exams are all more or less part of the journey to mastering any language. Your English proficiency did not appear overnight, but once you know your learning style, the journey accelerates. Learning a new skill is a process, which requires personalization and an approach that suits your character and studying style. Similarly, the GMAT requires one to develop techniques, approaches to problems, and most importantly a proper mindset over a period of time in order to achieve a great score. You might already be aware of what works for you and what definitely doesn’t in terms of learning and this will provide you with a vantage position for successfully kick starting your GMAT prep. 

You Have a Bilingual Brain 

Back in the days bilingualism was considered to be a drawback, which slowed down one’s cognitive development. Those beliefs were disproved long ago and to the contrary, it has been confirmed that being bilingual/multilingual is beneficial to one’s brain and to their cognitive abilities. For instance, the effort and attention needed to switch between languages triggers more activity in the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex. This part of the brain plays a main role in executive function, problem solving and focusing while filtering out irrelevant information. Those are some of the essential skills that the GMAT is testing: 

  • the ability to make decisions about time allocation on problems,
  • learning and adopting new solution paths, especially for the Quant section
  • Successfully sifting through data in the Integrated Reasoning and, 
  • recognizing words in sentences that are just there to distract you in Sentence correction questions;

are some of the GMAT challenges that you should have an easier time tackling as a bilingual individual. 

These are some of the advantages a non-native English speaker could have when it comes to the GMAT. Being aware of your strengths and weaknesses is a vital component to achieving a remarkable score on the GMAT. Here at Apex GMAT we have a team of dedicated and knowledgeable professionals eager to provide excellent guidance to non native speakers. We take great pride in our personalized approach and this can be the exact strategy that will help you turn your background and previous experience into an invaluable advantage.

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7 Daily Practices For GMAT Success - GMAT Guide
Posted on
08
Jul 2021

7 Daily Practices For GMAT Success

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Ruzanna Mirzoyan
Date: 8th July 2021

7 Things You Need To Do Daily When Preparing For The GMAT (GMAT Guide)

  1. Visualize success and the value you will get in the end
  2. Review a the GMAT sections
  3. Set a time limit for each day
  4. Do not forget to reward yourself
  5. Forget about the target score only focus on improvement
  6. Give yourself a pep talk 
  7. Evaluate Yourself Honestly

     Achieving a great score on the GMAT exam is not an easy task. The overall preparation process is daunting for a majority of test takers, especially for non-native English speakers. It requires diligent work and a daily checklist that you need to follow. So how do you come up with a plan that works? This article covers seven tips for successful GMAT prep which will guide you throughout the entire process. Even though every individual taking the exam has different expectations, experiences and may be approaching the test in a different way, sticking to a daily routine is an integral part of test success; the most difficult thing is adhering to it, avoiding procrastination and maintaining motivation. Therefore, after learning all the exam basics, such as the timing, the sections, and the preparation materials, it is worth creating a checklist to help keep you on track.

Visualize success and the value you will get in the end

The thought of success can create happiness! Once we attain something that seemed difficult initially, the suspense wears off, and the excitement rapidly grows. By taking time every day to imagine achieving your goal you can stay motivated and on the right path. When we experience happiness our brain releases serotonin, the hormone responsible for happiness. By keeping the picture of accomplishment in our mind, this happiness never fades. Hence, if every day contains even a tiny bit of happiness, even the most complex struggles seem simpler to overcome. Whether the GMAT exam is a struggle or not, happiness and motivation are something that one undoubtedly always lacks. Do your best to look at the bigger picture and think of the steps that will expedite reaching the top.

Review the GMAT exam sections

Whether you have a private GMAT tutor or are studying on your own, be sure to review difficult parts of the overall format of the exam every day before going through your study materials, for example the data sufficiency answer choices. You may do a short quiz on quantitative, verbal, or integrated reasoning to keep pace with timing and question types. You can consider this form of revision as stretching your brain muscles before the main exercise. Doing a simple GMAT quiz each time will make you more cautious about time management and remind you about the type of questions that you may have already mastered in previous study sessions.

Set a study time limit for each day

As it is said, time is the only non-redeemable commodity, so proper allocation is a fundamental key to success. We recommend you have a specific time allocation for GMAT prep each day. That can be some time for weekday preparation and extension on the weekends. Ensure the limit you set for yourself is reasonable because procrastinating one day and doubling the hours the next day does not work out. It does not matter how many months you have on your hands; the significant thing is precise allocation. If you want to get a decent score, you must spend approximately 100-120 hours reviewing the materials and practicing. However, top scorers usually  spend 120+ hours studying. Whether you belong to the former or the latter category, remember that time is the most expensive investment you are making. At the same time keep in mind that your study-life balance should be of utmost importance. 

Do not forget to reward yourself

It is not a secret that the GMAT is burdensome and overwhelming, and preparing for it can be stressful and oftentimes disheartening. Not having small rewards to look forward to can lead to demotivation. Rewards are things that rejuvenate your broken concentration. Try something like the Pomodoro Technique. This technique helps break down time into intervals with short breaks. Instead of breaks, you can think of something ‘non-GMAT related’ that will make you regain focus. For example, by grabbing a quick snack, meditating, or walking around the house or even watching a short YouTube video. Whichever works best for you, make use of it; even brief respites retain your stamina. Finally, never forget about the bigger reward; your final score. 

Forget about the target score, only focus on improvement

GMAT preparation practices do generate plight both in physical and mental states. It is crucial to remind oneself of the improvement phases. We agree that everything you are going through is for the final score. But focusing on the final score too much can frustrate you if you are not making big leaps towards it, which in turn can be counter productive. All successful practices dictate that you should focus on one thing at a time, which improves every day until the exam day. When the exam day comes, you will utilize all the knowledge and effort to get the highest GMAT score possible. Keeping daily track of your improvements relieves some of the burden on your shoulders. Even the tiniest advantage acquired can be a game changer. For instance, finishing each section a minute earlier than before will eventually contribute to achieving more significant results on the exam day, or perfecting a solution path which has you approaching a host of GMAT problems in a more efficient manner. These small wins can be the fuel to keep you going. 

Give yourself a pep talk 

I am sure you receive a lot of support from the people surrounding you. However, self-encouragement is of the utmost importance. Look around, see what others are doing at your age and inspire yourself. Choose wisely between the tradeoffs. Such as choosing to study instead of partying. Giving yourself a daily pep talk will make you more enthusiastic about reaching your objectives. A recent scientific study has shown that talking to yourself dwindles anxiety and stress while boosting performance. This is no less true for GMAT test preparation. Give yourself motivational and instructional pep talks. This method promotes positivity as motivational talks cheer you up and keep up the eagerness to study and strive for more, while a self-instructional talk directs detail-orientation and accentuates what exactly you need to do for that particular day. For example, start every day by loudly stating what should be done for the day. It helps with thinking about the mechanisms of every individual task and visualizing methods to complete them correspondingly. 

Evaluate Yourself Honestly

Of course, you need all the encouragement and self-support to reach your goals, but especially during GMAT exam preparation, you need to be hard on yourself if required. If you need a 650+ GMAT score, you should be aware that it will not be a piece of cake. Give yourself credit for what you are doing right, but also consider aspects of the GMAT problems that you need to elaborate on and master additional skills. The dominant thing is separating the action from the person because you are evaluating your actions and not you as a person; you should not upset yourself but rather detect the triggers of low performance and challenges and make yourself accountable for such actions with a plan to move forward from them successfully. Ultimately, the ability to discern your flaws and work on personal evolution is an inherent quality for capacitating your abilities and aptitudes and pulling it off in life. 

We hope that adding these practical and mindful aspects to your daily preparation will be helpful as when you are preparing for an exam like the GMAT, being in the right mind frame can be as important as doing the quant or verbal practice. Whether you have a GMAT private tutor or not, it is on you to maintain motivation during the entire process. We suggest you develop a GMAT test strategy along with these seven tips to attain greater productivity and manifest superb performance. Make studying for the GMAT a daily habit and success will follow. 

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The best GMAT prep strategies for non-native speakers
Posted on
06
Jul 2021

The best GMAT non-native speaker prep strategies

by: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Ilia Dobrev
Date: 6th July, 2021

GMAT non-native speaker test tips:

  1. Practice your English daily.
  2. Expand your vocabulary.
  3. Work on your grammar.
  4. Learn to understand the context.

 

The GMAT is a multiple-choice, computer adaptive test (CAT) that is offered in over 110 countries worldwide. If you are a non-native speaker that wants to sit the test to gain admissions to a prestigious business school then you will be required to not only work through the questions but to also build a solid understanding of the English language in terms of vocabulary, grammar, and semiotics. Although the GMAC has taken some measures towards reducing the semantic complexity of the exam (like reducing idioms), it remains rather challenging for people with limited fluency in English. Section wise, even good mathematicians find the English on the quantitative section more challenging than the actual problems.

However, being a non-native speaker is not necessarily a disadvantage. Since the exam is actually created specifically for native English speakers, a lot of the test itself is meant to trick native English speakers. What’s really important here is that native speakers and non-native speakers pick up language differently and, more often than not, looking at the test from a non-native speaking background can actually help you skip over all of the little traps that are set up for native speakers. The key is to adopt a bit of a different approach to GMAT preparation in order to overcome and even capitalize on your language fluency. The way you have learned English or any other foreign language gives you access to secondary grammar that improves your semantic skills and allows you to effortlessly navigate in different types of contexts, which is vital for the verbal section. Some languages (French, Latin, etc.) have similarities to English in terms of roots and word formation, and even grammar, which you can use to your own advantage.

With more than a decade of coaching GMAT test takers to elite performance, we have compiled a succinct list of strategies that will help non-native speakers improve their grasp of the language requirements necessary to achieve a 700+ GMAT score.

 

  • Practice your English daily.

The best way to improve your English is to immerse yourself in it daily. Employing practices that were familiar to you when you started learning the language like watching movies, TV series, or YouTube videos with English audio and subtitles, reading books, listening to music etc., help you develop a sense of the structural flow of speech. The rise of podcasting and the abundance of blogs on different topics also allows you to find the resource you are searching for in your desired form. Even changing the interface of your personal devices like smartphones or laptops helps you keep up with practice.

Useful online publications to read are The Economist, Financial Times, The Daily Mail, New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, etc.

 

  • Expand your vocabulary.

You need a broad vocabulary for the quantitative section at least as much as for the verbal one. It lays the groundwork of any skill related to tackling problems on the GMAT test.

You can enrich your vocabulary by creating two types of dictionaries:

  • One can include all unknown words you encounter while you are solving GMAT practice tests, reading through guides, studying whiteboards, or even watching GMAT videos. Of course, you should be mindful that this does not guarantee that you will encounter every possible word use, or even any of those worlds on your GMAT test, but it will considerably help you to navigate within context.
  • The other dictionary should include words that you are familiar with but you would like to use more often in your verbal and written speech. Such words might be expressions that you often find in problems or readings that you want to gain a stronger understanding about. You can revisit these words during your final GMAT preparation days. 

  • Work on your grammar.

While you are expanding your vocabulary you must make sure that your grammar knowledge is solid enough to allow you to apply new words and identify any structural mistakes, especially in the verbal section. Non-native speakers become well versed in grammar through practicing grammar rules rather than learning English by ear, during childhood. This makes them more disciplined upon evaluating alternatives in Sentence Correction problems. Reading scientific content, doing practice tests, exploring proven media outlets and blogs can all give you examples of strong grammar usage and teach your eye to catch fallacious sentence structures.

  • Learn to understand the context.

Finally, focusing on the context of a paragraph, answer choice, question, etc. is the last piece of the jigsaw and should be central to your GMAT preparation. Being able to filter out pillar keywords and context is more crucial than knowing every single word. 

Parts of this article emphasized on vocabulary and grammar because they play a crucial role in understanding a bigger portion of the gist of the text, which lowers the chances of missing out on important pieces of information. Focusing on the scope and extracting the underlying knowledge that each problem is built around is the main solution path for deriving the right answer. In fact, if you are good at this in your own language it will be easier for you to get the logic behind the question as the GMAC is aiming to test one’s language skills irrespective of English specifically.

If you would like to speak to a GMAT instructor about how you can accelerate your GMAT preparation as a non native speaker, schedule a call here: Book a Call.

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Should You Hire An Expensive GMAT Tutor?
Posted on
01
Jul 2021

Should You Hire An Expensive GMAT Tutor?

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Ivan Minchev
Date: 1 July, 2021

The GMAT is a relatively different exam from what most people would expect. It requires a more involved approach when it comes to preparation. There’s a whole array of ways one can prepare for the GMAT, such as self-prep, in a group or class. However, nothing comes close in terms of personalization and efficiency to hiring a private GMAT tutor.

Indeed, spending $200-$300 per hour on a private tutor might seem expensive at first, but ultimately, GMAT preparation should be looked at as a long-term investment because the exam plays an important role in a students’ further education and career. Selecting what kind of tutor to hire is another obstacle, and it is important that if you are going to make such a large investment on your one on one GMAT prep, that you find the right tutor fit. 

Why Choose The Most Expensive GMAT Tutor

When considering the most expensive tutor on the market, think about this cost as you do any other professional service cost. Hiring a specific lawyer, or going to a specialized doctor is probably a no-brainer if you are having specific issues. The same goes for a GMAT tutor, if you find yourself facing specific challenges on the GMAT, you want to streamline your prep time frame or work with someone who will hold you accountable throughout the process, working with an experienced GMAT instructor can make all the difference.

Usually, starting your search with the most expensive GMAT tutors is advised as this will quickly show you the differences between the service levels of these top instructors as opposed to those who are not primarily focused on your success. If you are currently on the fence as to whether hiring an expensive private instructor is the right investment for you, this article is going to help you decide.

Common reasons GMAT Tutors Are Needed

The most common reason private tutors are hired is because they provide a custom-tailored studying program. They have a personalized approach specifically designed to fit a student’s strengths and needs allowing for a more rapid progress with less effort and time.

Quite often students turn to private GMAT coaching as a result of previous unsatisfactory experiences with GMAT preparation whether they were at it alone or using another service. They might have taken it once, or even 2-3 times, and are still not happy with their results. Most of the time they have tried studying on their own, have enrolled in a prep class, or even both but with middling results. That’s when they decide to turn to a private tutor to help them overcome this ‘plateau’. 

Another very common reason for hiring a GMAT tutor is when somebody needs help with only a specific section of the exam. A course would cover the entire exam and would probably touch only briefly on the specific section the student requires help with, while an instructor would dedicate a chunk of the tutoring time to this specific section and would identify the exact concepts the student struggles with, devising a plan to overcome the issue.

Whether a person needs help with a specific section, has reached a ‘plateau’, doesn’t know why their scores are lower than expected, or simply wants to have a more personalized and custom-tailored experience, a private GMAT instructor is going to help them. 

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