Posted on
13
Oct 2020

The Online GMAT Experience-from preparation to post MBA 

by Apex GMAT

Contributor: Ilia Dobrev

 

Advancements in technology, combined with constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, have prompted the GMAT world to adapt by shifting a large portion of the exam and preparation materials online. Both test takers and tutoring firms have seen positive outcomes from interactive learning aids, an abundance of resources, and easily accessible networks of people at different stages of the GMAT journey. However, the transition has also introduced some hazards concerning physical test endurance, focus, and anxiety. This article evaluates risks and challenges you may encounter taking the online exam and summarizes everything you need to know to be ready for your online GMAT experience.

The Online GMAT Exam

Since the onset of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, the General Management Admissions Council (GMAC) has introduced an innovative, completely online version of the physical GMAT test. This allows test takers to maintain social distance by sitting for the exam from the comfort of home.

As of late July, 2020, at the time of writing, anyone can schedule an online exam before December 31, 2020. In order to accommodate candidates’ availability, appointments are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 24 hours before an available time slot. Note that the online GMAT exam is not available in Mainland China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Sudan due to local data privacy regulations.

Differences from the regular GMAT exam

  • The GMAC has determined that the Quantitative, Verbal, and Integrated Reasoning sections are the most relevant for graduate business education. Therefore, the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) has been excluded from the online GMAT test.
  • The duration of the online test is shorter–2 hours and 45 minutes compared to 3 hours and 23 minutes. This time frame includes a 15 to 30 minutes tutorial to  familiarize candidates with the online proctored platform and all its functions.
  • Online, you will not be able to choose the order of the sections. The sequence is fixed as follows: Quantitative, Verbal, and Integrated Reasoning.
  • You can use a physical whiteboard, the built-in online whiteboard, or both for note taking. 

If you’re planning to use a physical white board, there are several requirements it must fulfil: it should be no larger than 12×20 inches (30×50 centimeters), use up to 2 dry erase markers and 1 dry erase whiteboard eraser. Items such as whiteboards with grids, background colors, or other markings, paper, pen, pencil, permanent marker, tissues (paper towels, napkins), whiteboard spray, chalkboards, writing tablets, and others are not permitted.

During the online exam, test takers will be able to access an online board from the icon. It contains an endless canvas to take notes on, which eliminates the need to erase your work as you progress through the sections.

  • In contrast to the two optional breaks in the regular exam, the online GMAT allows candidates to opt for only one 5-minute break before the Integrated Reasoning section.
  • Official GMAT scores are available on mba.com within 7 business days of completing the exam.
  • Another perk of the online GMAT experience is that it allows applicants to send scores to an unlimited number of institutions free of charge.
  • The online GMAT fee is $200, compared to the original $250 cost for the physical exam.
  • The online test cannot be retaken for any reason except a verified technical issue or authorized retakes.

Similarities with the regular GMAT exam

  • The online GMAT consists of the same Quantitative, Verbal, and Integrated Reasoning sections. Despite excluding the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), each of the other three sections contains the same number of questions as before–31, 36, and 12 respectively. In terms of timing, there are no alterations–the sections take 62, 65, and 30 minutes.

online GMAT breakdown

  • To ensure that GMAT scores are compatible and comparable across the online and test center-based versions, the online version adopts the same scoring algorithm. This means that both exams are equally replaceable with one another. 
  • Validity remains the same – 5 years.

Online GMAT Preparation, Tips & Tricks

As the online exam practically covers the same content, regular GMAT preparation remains relevant. If you are trying to figure out which prep method (self, group, or one-on-one) suits you best, you can check out the Four Ps of the best GMAT Prep. Apex’s GMAT tutors and custom-made curriculum are tailored to meet the needs for an online learning environment by providing private GMAT tutoring and nurturing constant feedback.

From a technical viewpoint, it is important to get used to the online whiteboard tool. It is available in all of GMAC’s Official Practice Exams, where anyone can practice all its functions in a simulated, timed environment. Keep in mind that you are not permitted to use touchscreens, graphics tablets, or stylus pens. And lastly, before starting the online GMAT exam, you can do a system test before to ensure your computer meets the operational requirements.

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gmat percentile rankings aticle
Posted on
06
Oct 2020

GMAT Percentile Rankings: Demystified

by Apex GMAT

Contributor: Ilia Dobrev

The GMAT exam is an important part of the admissions process for over 7,000 business programs worldwide. GMAT performance is widely regarded as one of the best predictors of not only high academic honors, but also long-term career success. Achieving an excellent GMAT score and ranking in the top percentile is the first stepping stone in anyone’s journey to a prestigious business career.

The competitive admissions environment surrounding top tier universities has resulted in a 10-20% acceptance rate. This corresponds with percentile rankings in specific sections: for example, the GMAT Quant. But what do percentile rankings really mean?

This article describes the relationship between GMAT scores and respective percentile ranking, both in terms of individual sections and as a whole.

How do GMAT scores translate into GMAT percentiles?

According to the GMAC, two-thirds of test takers from all over the world score between 400 and 600. GMAT scores also translate into a percentile ranking. A number indicating the percentage of test takers at or below a given score. Percentile rankings are determined by comparing scaled Quant and Verbal scores (which can range from 6 to 51) to your peers’ scores. For instance, if you scored in the 90th percentile, that means that just 10% of all examinees outscored you. It’s important to note that the percentiles are recalculated every summer. This means that the current percentile rankings are likely different from the previous year’s rankings. 

The GMAC considers a sample size of test takers tracked since January 2017 to calculate percentiles. Until the beginning of 2020, a total of 695,794 GMAT exams were taken and scored, with a standard deviation of slightly above 116. Consequently, the GMAC shares average percentiles rankings for each of the four sections:

 

  • Quantitative: 36%
  • Verbal Reasoning: 45%
  • Integrated Reasoning: 33%
  • Analytical Writing Assessment: 19%

 

While these numbers seem low, applicants need to score well above the average to earn a spot in the most competitive business schools.

GMAT Percentile Table

GMAT percentile rankings

How have percentile rankings changed by section?

Over the years, there is a trend towards increasing average GMAT scores and, consequently, percentiles have risen, too. In particular, the GMAT Quantitative percentiles have become considerably more competitive and increasingly important for MBA admissions. As more and more test takers master the GMAT quant section, it gets harder to score in a high percentile. 

One reason may be that as the GMAT’s worldwide popularity increases, non-native English speakers coming from math-proficient countries such as China and India make up a large proportion of the GMAT test takers. On the other hand, the GMAT Verbal section remains rather challenging–a score of 40 out of 60 ranks in the 90th percentile. The increasing representation of non-native English speakers might also help explain why the verbal section remains challenging. 

In any case, balanced percentile refers to the combined result of your scores on the Verbal and Quant sections.

What about the AWA and IR?

The Analytical Writing Assessment and Integrated Reasoning sections are scored separately. They also have their own scoring scale, independent from the 200 to 800 scale used to evaluate Quant and Verbal. A strong performance on the Analytical Writing Assessment and Integrated Reasoning sections can boost your admissions chances. Nevertheless, we recommend that applicants prioritize ranking in the top percentiles in the Quant and Verbal sections.

What do GMAT Percentiles mean for admissions to B-schools?

While most business schools don’t have a straightforward cutoff for GMAT results, the majority of admissions committees consider both percentile rankings and total scores. 

Top-tier institutions like Wharton, Stanford, INSEAD, and MIT are known to perform more in-depth analyses of candidates’ total scores compared with percentile rankings. These programs value exceptional scores, but place additional weight on how competitive candidates are compared with their peers. During particularly competitive admissions cycles, the most selective business schools only consider candidates who scored above the 90th percentile. Admissions decisions entail a more holistic selection process in which committees consider work experience, former education, motivation letters, resumes, recommendations, and other factors that signal applicants’ potential for success in the business world.

If you want to get into the right business program, it’s a smart move to familiarize yourself with the yearly data reports that most business schools produce regarding their current students’ GMAT scores and percentiles. 

Boosting your GMAT score

Depending on your score goals, current level of preparation, and anticipated exam date, you can opt for one of three GMAT prep options that will best suit your needs, budget, and learning style. If you’re aiming for a 700+ score, a professional GMAT tutor might provide the guidance you need to leverage your strengths and weaknesses. This could ultimately put you on the path to degree and career success. 

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Posted on
25
Sep 2020

GMAT & MBA Updates – Sept 2020

Hi everybody!

Welcome back to the Apex GMAT channel. My name is Natalie and today I’m going to be speaking to you about the latest MBA admissions and GMAT updates.

Should You Submit A GMAT Score With Your MBA Application?

So today I want to start out by speaking about the fact that due to the coronavirus pandemic some MBA programs have waived their GMAT requirements from the application process, including some top schools such as the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. Now this may seem exciting and make the process a little less daunting but I wouldn’t pack away my GMAT prep materials just yet. Remember that the GMAT speaks to your critical reasoning and creative problem solving skills, which are vital to success in any MBA program so applying without this score means that you are limiting the amount of information that admissions officers see. And therefore not fully representing your skills in your application.

Not to mention the fact that other applicants will have their GMAT score in their applications having taken it from before the pandemic in test centers or during the recent months with the online version of the GMAT. Additionally, if you have a weaker part of your application such as a lower GPA then having a high GMAT score can help offset this and make you more competitive. So as you are thinking about your application and your GMAT scores place within that application it’s best to keep these points in mind.

Should You Take The Online GMAT Exam? – Online GMAT Updates

Now you might be thinking – the online GMAT exam?? Do I really want to take it? And when it first came out there were some concerns. Granted there still are but the GMAC has been working to improve and adapt the exam. Just recently announcing that candidates are able to take the test twice instead of just the previous one time. This will provide extra flexibility for candidates to improve their GMAT score in the second sitting if the first sitting was not representative. Additionally, some extra changes to the whiteboard options improves test taker experience.

So that’s all that I have for you today. I hope that it was really helpful. Please leave any questions or comments below and I’d be happy to respond to them. Also if you want to speak about your GMAT prep or MBA applications please feel free to reach out to us on our website and we’d be happy to give you some advice.

Have a great GMAT prep day.

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HOW TO OVERCOME GMAT TEST ANXIETY ARTICLE
Posted on
22
Sep 2020

How to Overcome GMAT Test Anxiety

by ApexGMAT

Contributor: Fatma Xhafa

Sept 22, 2020

Methodical test prep is a painstaking, yet necessary, process for anyone striving for a top score on the GMAT. Most elite MBA programs require a 700+ score for admission. Applicants face a lot of pressure leading up to test day. It’s normal to experience anxiety while studying. 

Apex Instructors have noted that GMAT test anxiety is the most common external factor that directly affects GMAT performance. Almost everyone experiences some anxiety, and about 60% of our clients experience anxiety severe enough to affect performance if left unaddressed. Test anxiety is distracting. It negatively affects a test taker’s concentration, leading to declining comprehension, especially on word problems and the verbal section. 

In extreme cases, test takers might experience a racing heart-beat, nausea, or headaches. Most importantly, anxiety draws attention away from the test. The consequences can be significant if it isn’t managed well.

Fortunately, there are many ways to overcome test anxiety.

What Causes Anxiety?

It’s normal to doubt ourselves and our abilities, but the way we channel doubt makes or breaks our performance. Knowing how to manage stress and trust our abilities is essential to navigating the treacherous waters of the GMAT. 

A strong GMAT preparation plan emphasizes mastering the required skills while maintaining composure in the face of outward distractions. That annoying guy clicking his pen on the other side of the room can be a major stressor. When test takers learn to manage anxiety and resist distraction, a high score takes care of itself.

When we address personal challenges, it’s important to understand the root of the problem. Identifying the exact causes and associated triggers of the anxiety is the first step to conquering it. To pinpoint exactly what is triggering anxiety, determine if the anxiety is situational (caused by taking an unfamiliar exam) or emotional (fear of failure, the pressure to perform well, etc).

For example, if a patient’s heart races during a routine checkup at a doctor’s office, even though the patient doesn’t expect to receive any bad news, their anxiety may be situational; the anxiety comes from the clinical setting itself. However, if a patient becomes anxious waiting for serious test results, the anxiety is likely emotional. The first patient’s anxiety simply comes from being in a doctor’s office. The second patient is anxious due to the potentially life-altering consequences of the test results, rather than a particularly upsetting setting or circumstance. 

Some Anxiety Will Always Exist

When it comes to the GMAT, or any other stressful situation, keep in mind that some level of anxiety will always be present. The trick is to adjust to it. For most test takers, the problem isn’t the initial anxiety, but anxiety about the anxiety

Anyone can become anxious before getting a shot at the doctor’s office. However, most people don’t dwell on the anxiety for weeks or miss an appointment because of it. Someone who thinks about their fear of needles for a long period of time leading up to a doctor’s appointment will probably be more anxious when it’s time to get the shot. The same principle applies to the GMAT. Remind yourself, “this is going to suck, but I’ll get through it.”

Time Management

The clock is ticking and with each passing moment you become more and more worried that you won’t have enough time–an all too common experience for GMAT takers. This fear is understandable considering that the inability to allocate time can impact scores significantly. Fortunately, with proper time management training, anyone can learn to manage time and resources during the exam. When time management is addressed with strong methodologies and best practices, the decision process manages the time, not the test taker

Apex’s curriculum utilizes a proprietary methodology that manages time for test takers. Following this process removes the need to think about timing, takes the pressure off, alleviates anxiety, and allows applicants to focus on the problems at hand.

Computer Adaptive Test

The GMAT uses Computer Adaptive Testing to evaluate applicants’ readiness for business school. Simply put, answering a question correctly leads to more challenging questions, and getting a question wrong leads to less challenging ones.

This creates pressure to answer each question correctly or risk getting easier questions, which affects the overall score. CAT can heighten anxiety levels in general during the test, but especially when test takers focus on difficulty level. It may be tempting to keep track, but it’s ultimately a waste of valuable time and energy to focus on the scoring system rather than the test itself. 

If a question seems easy, it doesn’t mean it actually is. Many high scorers stress themselves out because they don’t internalize how skilled they are. 

In reality, it’s almost impossible to get every question right, even for strong test takers. Strong and weak test takers get about the same number of questions wrong. The difference in score comes from the level of the questions answered correctly. 

The GMAT tests for decision making and time allocation skills. Anxiety disrupts these; that’s why it’s so insidious. For most people, the challenge is combating the low-level anxiety from the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which can be annoying and distracting.

Here are some useful methods that alleviate score-related anxiety:

  • Forget about the score altogether. When studying and taking the test, shift your focus towards the most important thing: individual question performance. Shift away from thinking about the score. The only way to get a good score is to focus on individual questions. 
  • Become familiar with the CAT scoring system, especially for GMAT. Understanding the underlying mechanism for scoring can make test takers less nervous and more confident in their performance. Mike Diamond, the Head of Curriculum at ApexGMAT, has provided a detailed explanation HERE.

Past Poor Performance or Low Scores 

Some test takers lose confidence due to negative experiences with the GMAT, such as lower-than-expected results on previous tests or practice tests. This can cause anxiety, insecurity, and even panic.

It’s best to frame practice tests, or official tests that don’t go as planned, as tools to assess  timing calibration, strengths and weaknesses, and to develop efficient study plans. After all, falling short is the first step in any meaningful learning experience. When we excel right off the bat, it’s usually because we’re using skills we’ve already mastered in a new way. Otherwise, we should expect to fail at new things. Failure provides an opportunity to isolate challenges and accelerate improvement. Overcoming obstacles means we’ll know what to expect, and with hard work, we’ll be better prepared for the next test. 

Consider the following strategies:

  • Put yourself in scenarios that mimic test day (situational) stressors. Taking practice tests or timed tests will not only help you adjust to the scoring system, but will also help with time management. Try taking practice tests in a coffee shop, common study room, or library, where distractions are minimal, but beyond your control. This will provide a greater sense of what to expect, and as a result, help alleviate environmentally induced anxiety.
  • Go to the testing center for a dry run. This helps reduce anxiety because it familiarizes you with the testing environment and ensures that there will be no surprises when you take the exam. If the environmental stress is holding you back, the best way to address it is to get used to the environment. 

Pressure from Friends and Family

Parents, professors, and friends want to see us thrive, and while they can be a great source of support, they can also contribute to our stress. Some test takers feel like a weak performance is a betrayal of the people who have invested time, care, and even money, in their success. 

More likely, the pressure comes from an internal desire to live up to what we perceive as others’ expectations. It’s easy to misinterpret enthusiastic support for a personal, emotional investment in our goals. A score that doesn’t reach the goal can feel like a blow to the ego, especially if our initial expectations for success weren’t in line with the amount or type of preparation we performed.

It can help to simply avoid the topic of scores in conversation. Focus on updating loved ones on the process of preparation rather than scores. It’s highly important to prioritize yourself because ultimately, you’re what matters most!

How to Reduce the Anxiety and Enhance Performance

Everyone has their own way of preparing for an important exam, and there is no “right” way to go about it.

However, there are some best practices that can make the process smoother:

Practice, practice, practice! 

Everyone has heard the phrase: “practice makes perfect.” This is just as true of the GMAT. 

It’s very important to practice using sample GMAT questions. Knowing what to expect on the exam can alleviate a lot of anxiety. 

Get 8 Hours of Sleep Consistently

Getting a good night’s sleep not only helps us absorb new information during the studying process, but also prepares the brain to retain more detail in the future. When it comes to the learning process, sleep is essential. 

Experts say that on average, adults need about 8 hours of sleep a night to maintain a healthy sleep cycle. We all perform better when we prioritize our health and wellbeing. A healthy lifestyle, including a regular and consistent sleep schedule, is key when it comes to taking the GMAT and achieving our long-term goals. 

Have a cup o’ Joe

Drinking coffee during test prep and before taking the exam enhances mental acuity due to blood and oxygen flow to the brain. Coffee makes us alert, focused, and ready to crush the GMAT. 

But it’s important to keep in mind just how much coffee is too much coffee. Drinking too much will only make you more anxious and jittery, which is the last thing you want. It’s all about finding the perfect balance that works for you.   

How Can Private GMAT Tutoring Help with GMAT Test Anxiety?

At Apex, we focus not only on the fundamentals of the exam, but also on test anxiety, time management, alternative solution paths, and test reading to use the test’s structure to our clients’ advantage. 

We take pride in our GMAT Curriculum, which is unmatched in the industry. We take the time to cover the widest possible range of methods and develop strategies that work best for individual clients.

When it comes to private GMAT tutoring, personalized attention is the key to 700+ GMAT scores. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. We understand that the same strategy does not work for every client.

Private tutoring can be a gateway to the amazing scores that get applicants into their dream school. A good score on the GMAT is the first step towards career advancement. 

Eventually, it all comes down to vigorous prep and feeling confident in yourself and your abilities. 

At Apex, we focus on the learning process, not just the final score. With the right process, the score will take care of itself. 

Key Takeaways

Hopefully, these tips and strategies have brought you a step closer to identifying and confronting the source of your test anxiety. 

Some things to keep in mind:

 

  • Practice, practice, practice! Practice will do no harm. It familiarizes us with what to expect, and helps us perform better and feel more confident.

 

  • Try private tutoring Personalized instruction is one of the best ways to guarantee GMAT success. To schedule a complimentary phone call with one of our 770+ scoring instructors, click HERE.

 

 

Good luck!

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does the gmat matter after graduation article
Posted on
15
Sep 2020

Does the GMAT Matter After Graduation?

High GMAT scores are a requirement for acceptance to thousands of different graduate programs, from top tier MBAS to EBMAs to PhD programs in business management. More than a quarter-million students take the exam every year. 

Admissions officers see GMAT scores as one of the most reliable predictors for future success. A high score signifies not only an applicant’s technical and quantitative proficiency, but also his or her ability to perform at a professional level. 

But do GMAT scores matter after graduation? The short answer is yes. Here’s why.

What exactly does the GMAT test for?

To understand why elite business schools and fortune 500 companies take GMAT scores so seriously, we need to ask another question first:

What exactly does the GMAT test for?

At first glance, the GMAT seems like a fairly standard exam; it tests for command over basic algebra, arithmetic, geometry, grammar, and multi-source data analysis. However, on a deeper level, the exam evaluates an applicant’s critical thinking skills and creativity–two essential traits in the modern, highly competitive business world. 

Why is a good GMAT score so important?

The GMAT isn’t about rote memorization. Every GMAT question has multiple paths to a solution. However, some paths are significantly shorter than others. The GMAT doesn’t test how much applicants know; rather, a successful applicant demonstrates what they can do with that knowledge in a narrow time frame. To do well on the GMAT, applicants must demonstrate a strong ability to analyze and contextualize information with speed and efficiency. 

GMAT performance has become one of the most decisive factors for business school admissions committees because the score isn’t just a score. It’s a representation of the candidate’s traits and abilities. A high score reflects focus, diligence, hard work, intellectual aptitude, and time management skills. A high score signifies not only a candidate’s technical and quantitative proficiency, but also his or her ability to perform at a professional level. 

Is taking the GMAT a must?

While every top tier business school requires GMAT scores, not every company does. A 2018 Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) survey showed that only 6% of surveyed companies use GMAT scores in their employee selection process. Of the remaining companies, 21% stated that while a high GMAT score can help a job candidate, the GMAT doesn’t typically play a significant role in the selection process. The remaining 72% said they don’t consider GMAT scores at all.

However, the 6% that do use GMAT scores to vet job candidates are the cream-of-the-crop in the business world. All major banking, investment, and consulting firms, including Accenture and Goldman Sachs, require high GMAT scores for all positions–even internships. 

Most of these firms specialize in quantitative-intensive labor. As a result, the quantitative section tends to carry more weight. For example, if a candidate has an overall score of 680, but a quantitative score of 51, he or she has a good chance of getting an interview at a major firm.

However, there are diminishing returns. Many recruiters believe that a candidate’s efficiency doesn’t increase proportionately to the score. Let’s say candidate A has a 3.2 GPA, candidate B has a 3.5 GPA, and candidate C has a 3.8 GPA. The difference between candidates A and B is the same as the difference between candidates B and C. However, the value candidate B adds to the company compared to candidate A is a lot greater than the value candidate C adds compared to candidate B. This applies to GMAT scores, too. 

How to get a high GMAT score

The advanced skills that business schools and employers look for aren’t solely the result of inborn traits. With a positive attitude, drive, and high quality tutoring, these skills can be learned. Effective GMAT prep trains test takers in the crucial areas that promote logical thinking and mental acuity, and the work habits, determination, and rigor acquired throughout the preparation process lasts for a lifetime. 

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Posted on
10
Sep 2020

Taking The GMAT With A Learning Disability

Today I want to talk about what can be a rather sensitive topic and that is if you have a learning disability, diagnosed or undiagnosed, how that interacts with the GMAT and test preparation. At the outset let me say that this video doesn’t apply to most of you who are watching but if you are previously diagnosed or you think you may have something that’s gone undiagnosed this could be a useful video. I should also begin by saying that we are not mental health professionals here. We are not PhDs in psychiatry or psychology. Everything here is talking about our experiences working with people with learning disabilities and also how we refer people out.

1 in 50 Clients Have a Disability

Very infrequently, maybe 1 in 40, 1 in 50 clients that we see ends up having an undiagnosed learning disability. Typically, we see this somewhere early in the engagement. Where something just seems a little off and we’ll refer them out. We have psychiatrists that we work with in New York and London because we see a lot of clients there. In these cases we’ll often refer people out for an assessment and quite frequently it comes back where they’re 25, 30, 35, and are just discovering that they have some sort of different ability when it comes to learning. This can be surprising but also explain a lot of things for people. Overall, though, we have a lot of experience working with people with many of the major learning disabilities.

Especially those who come to us at the outset and say I was diagnosed at 14 with ADD, ADHD, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, dyslexia, some executive function issues, memory span is one that we see sometimes that comes up. We’re very familiar with helping people who are differently abled in the way they learn achieve great success. I think this brings us to an important point about what it means to be somewhat neuro-atypical. Which is that it’s not just like a light switch or even spectrum where it’s either on or off but intelligence and ability are tied in with many, many, tens, if not hundreds of different facets inside the brain and a lot of times when people encounter resistance, difficulty in learning, or difficulty with a particular subject or type of information, it’s one particular setting where all their other settings are normal or great.

What Having A Disability Actually Means

And yet that one setting not only can serve to really throw them off and throw off their ability to learn in traditional environments but also, unfortunately, can set the tone for underperformance and underachievement if it’s not caught early enough. There’s a big feedback effect if you didn’t get something in first grade. Or as clearly as your peers. Then second grade you’re a little further behind or a little further discouraged and so on and so forth.

We see this certainly with people on the mathematical side, where they have a disability but also with people who just for whatever reason didn’t excel. They weren’t getting a lot of sleep. Their parents were going through a divorce when they were in third grade and they missed a couple of critical weeks on multiplication. And all of a sudden that snowballed to: “I’m really bad at math.” “I’m really just not that good at this.”

And this can apply to any section of the exam. It can also apply to things well outside psychometric exams. But you should be sensitive to this in yourself and understand that a lot of times when you say “I’m just not good at that” what it might mean is that you got set on a bad course or there’s something impeding your progress. These things are almost always solvable.

Mentorship Is Vital To Progression & Success

And to bring us back to the GMAT in particular and psychometric testing with respect to learning disabilities. To be sure extra time is something that comes up a lot. And if you qualify, extra time can be very useful for certain particular diagnoses. Also there are a lot of skills one can build to compensate for other relative shortcomings or places where you’re not processing as well as those around you. This is where having the assistance from someone outside, of course, a good psychiatrist who specializes in differently-abled people at a neurological level, but also for mentorship through any learning process.

So this really isn’t just about GMAT or test preparation but any learning process can benefit from having someone who’s familiar with your diagnosis, familiar more generally with working with people under a whole range of learning styles and having that cognitive empathy to not talk down but explore with you and having someone most of all who can see the things that you’re not seeing because you’re so tied up either in the task at hand or just as often in the emotions and anxiety surrounding the task at hand because diagnosed or undiagnosed or just insecure.

Put Yourself In The Right Head Space

You’re often working against the emotions of feeling that it’s just not coming, rather than the shortcomings themselves. And this is a key point for anyone who’s learning anything. A lot of it is an emotional and a head space issue. If you put yourself in the right head space a lot of these obstacles don’t exactly fall away but they become surmountable. So if you guys have any questions and particularly if you have a diagnosed disability or think you do and need a referral to a great learning psychologist or psychiatrist or want to discuss your prep give us a ring at the website or the number below. We’re very happy to speak with you and send you in the right direction. I hope this is helpful for you guys out there post your questions below and I’ll look forward to seeing you next time.

 

If you enjoyed this learning disability video, get familiar with the GMAT exam next.

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Posted on
03
Sep 2020

Data Sufficiency Problem

 

I’m here with a number theory data sufficiency problem. Like many of the other problems, we’re going to look at this problem over here, structurally, as well as mathematically. Taking a look at the stem the first thing we are struck by is the idea that we need to figure out this evenness and oddness.

What Do We Need?

When we ask ourselves what do we need: a few things should draw our attention: First, that one of these elements is squared. So if B is squared then no matter what it is its square will have the same identity: even squared is even, odd squared is odd. But also because we’re adding these two things together, for something to be odd one of them has to be odd, the other has to be even. But it could go either way so there’s a lot of moving pieces. The easiest thing to do is to say: “I need to know if each of them is even or odd.” But, of course, we know that the GMAT is not going to give us this information.

Start With Statement 1

Let’s take a look then at statement one and statement two. And because statement one is very straightforward we should begin there. So here we’re told very quickly succinctly: one is even one is odd. We can run a scenario and plug in some numbers, a two and a three for example, or deal with it at the identity level Either way, that gives us a straight answer that is sufficient. If that’s not visible to you I would suggest that you review your number properties. In general, this is enough and we say: “Okay, well, one’s sufficient.”

Statement Number 2

Then we get into number two and we have this “B plus C” is odd and immediately we might end up dismissing this and this would be a mistake. The reason we end up dismissing it is because one was so straightforward in addressing what we needed that two feels like because B and C aren’t extricated from each other that it’s almost too complex. So the GMAT may have lulled us into a sense of security with statement number one, which I think is one of the really neat structural features of this problem. If statement one were more complex we would actually spend more time looking at statement two.

Diving into statement two a little more deeply we can see that because B plus C is odd rather than even one must be even the other must be odd. And because it doesn’t matter which, something that we ascertained when we were looking at the question stem which is why that proactive thinking is really important, we can say well as long as one is each then that’s going to be sufficient as well. And so here the answer is D.

Further Information

I want to put up a third piece of information. And this is a really useful thing to do when you’re self-prepping is to look at data sufficiency and then postulate what other piece of information might have some subtlety, might the GMAT give us to induce us to an incorrect answer by modulating the complexity not in the question stem but in the introduced information. So here we have C equals B over 2. What this means is B must be even. Take a minute to think about that. We can’t know anything about C but B must be even because they’re integers and because you can slice B into two B is the even one. It’s tempting to move that 2 over and say 2C equals B and say: “Wait, C is even.”

But if you think about that a little more deeply it doesn’t add up because what we’re doing is multiplying C. An odd or an even number times 2 is going to result in an even. So this is a really great problem form because the same pattern of even/odd identities with different embedded equations and different ways of hiding whether B or C or M, N, or X and Y, or P and Q are odd or even is a very common trope especially as you get to the more challenging levels of the GMAT where you have these abstract DS questions, abstract inequalities that are really the bread and butter of 700 plus.

Examine This Problem Form Deeply

So as a more general problem form this is one to examine deeply and play around with in a whole bunch of different ways. You can introduce exponents, absolute value, inequalities as I mentioned, quadratic identities are a big one where, for example, you have a difference of two squares and then you’ve got one piece or the other, the X plus Y or X minus Y and they give you information on that. And so as you’re doing this, one of the most important pivot questions to look at is: “How do I convert this piece of information into the information they’re asking me about in the question stem?” or vice versa: “How do I relate this information in the question stem to this piece of information?” because almost certainly they’re going to be related and it’s in that relationship that you determine whether or not it’s sufficient.

And typically as the subtleties increase that relationship is what defines the entire problem. I realize that’s a little meta but these questions are a little meta. So I hope this helps! Wishing you guys a great day and like and subscribe below and we’ll see you real soon!

If you found this data sufficiency problem video helpful, try your hand at this percentage problem or this probability problem.

 

 

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Should you take the gmat or the gre - article
Posted on
01
Sep 2020

GMAT vs GRE

GMAT vs GRE – the most competitive jobs on the market

by Apex GMAT

July 30, 2020

If you’re on the verge of pursuing a professional career in business administration, finance, marketing, marketing management, accounting, or law, etc. then taking the GMAT or GRE will be a detour along the way to the top. The type of exam you choose matters. There’s a positive correlation between test scores and future earnings; with higher test scores, you may qualify for a more competitive program, and ultimately, a more lucrative career. This article describes applications of the GMAT and the GRE in today’s labor market, as well as their similarities and differences, to help you determine which test is right for you. 

GMAT vs GRE | admissions differences

By far the most important factor to consider is which exam your desired institution accepts and prefers. 

Traditionally, the GMAT is the more common option when it comes to pursuing an MBA or a similar program at a business school. The test is specifically designed to evaluate skills that help MBA admission committees determine not only industry knowledge but also critical traits like risk and time management, problem solving under pressure, and adaptability, all of which are essential for a successful business career.

The GRE’s most distinguishing feature is its suitability for a wider variety of graduate school programs in fields such as business, education, engineering, humanities and arts, life sciences, physical sciences, and social sciences. If you’re targeting a non-MBA graduate discipline, pursuing a dual-degree, or you’re still unsure, then taking the GRE may allow you to kill two birds with one stone. It’s also worth noting that about 90% of MBA programs also accept GRE scores. 

To determine which exam will make you the most competitive, ask the institution’s admissions counselors if they prefer the GMAT over the GRE. Despite many business schools’ claims that they don’t have a preference, around 90% of applicants decide to apply with a GMAT score. This discrepancy might be the result of test takers’ desire to show admissions committees that they have a clear understanding of their graduate program goals and career aspirations. If you aren’t sure which type of graduate program you’re interested in, then the GRE might be the better option. However, if you want to make sure you will be as competitive as possible for an MBA program, then pick the GMAT. In both cases, ranking among the top performers requires rigorous test preparation.

GMAT vs GRE | structure, timing, scoring, costs

 

gmat vs gre

GMAT vs GRE | job prospects

Also consider each exam’s structure to determine which you’re more likely to perform well on.  GMAT prep will involve more focus on the quantitative section, which is more challenging than the GRE’s. MBA committees agree that an applicant’s performance on the quantitative section is one of the strongest indicators for a successful career. Conversely, the GRE’s sentence equivalence and text completion sections require a skilled command of highly sophisticated vocabulary, which may be particularly challenging to non-native English speakers.

The choice between the GMAT and the GRE may affect long term career earnings beginning at the graduate level. Applicants with strong GMAT scores are more likely to receive MBA scholarships, which are usually not available for GRE applicants. Some companies even finance GMAT tutoring and exam fees for their employees or interns as an investment that will yield long term results. When it comes down to actual labour market opportunities, however, the GMAT has an even stronger influence. Many firms, especially in consulting and finance, explicitly require a high GMAT score upon recruitment. 

Lifetime Earnings Difference

Moreover, there is a high correlation between GMAT score and post-MBA salary. Over the course of 12 years working with applicants to the top 10 MBA programs, we at Apex have been able to track their progress from pre-GMAT to their post MBA careers. With data gathered from admission consultants who work with elite programs, as well as financial data from clients who have completed their MBAs, we conducted an internal analysis of the relationship between the exam score and post MBA financial gains. After correcting for other factors, our study suggested that each ten point increment in one’s GMAT score equates to $80,000 – $90,000 (NPV) of extra lifetime earnings.

An investment in GMAT preparation can result in a successful high-paying professional career in the most competitive fields that draw MBA graduates:

  • Finance – Financial Analysts, Financial Advisors, Investment Bankers, Investment Fund Executives
  • Management – Marketing Managers, Business Operation Managers, IS Managers
  • Business Consulting – Management Analysts, Marketing Managers, Business Operations Consultants, Information Technology Directors, Operation Research Analysts and all C-level positions

GMAT vs GRE | working as a GMAT consultant

If you excel at test-taking and exam preparation, your GMAT journey can also lead you to securing a job as a GMAT instructor. The concept of private, one-on-one GMAT prep that Apex’s GMAT tutors offer is built around a customized GMAT curriculum. The goal of this approach is to work with both native and non-native English speakers to build cognitive skills that can be applied in and adapted to diverse working environments, resulting in career success.

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Posted on
28
Aug 2020

How Does GMAT Scoring Work?

By: Apex GMAT

How You Should Think of Your GMAT Score

If you’re just starting out on the GMAT you probably have a lot of questions about how the GMAT is scored? How the scoring algorithm works? How this plays into your chances of admission all other things being equal, at various institutions. This is why we’re going to talk about GMAT scoring and break it down on a section by section basis. 

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how the GMAT is scored I want to start out talking a little bit about the score. How you should think about it. The short answer is, you really shouldn’t think about it. It’s about as useful as reflecting on how quickly you’re running when you’re running as quickly as you can. 

Thinking about the score, thinking about your time, is only going to distract you from your performance. And we see this so often where GMAT test-takers get psyched out about score. They worry about it in advance and on the exam and it not only distracts them from their performance. It can also lead to over-and-under confidence. 

The Effects of Practice Test Scores

People take a practice test and if they do really well they feel great and they tend to lighten up. People take a practice test and if they do poorly they start beating themselves up. It undermines all the confidence that they’ve built up with real skills. 

Practice tests are for calibrating timing decisions and for identifying problem areas. And while they are a useful benchmark to track progress, it’s a mistake to put too much weight into them. So try not to take them too much to heart. Not because they’re inaccurate but because if you’re fully focused on the process the outcome will take care of itself. 

How is Each Section of The GMAT Scored?

Let’s begin by talking about the four sections on the GMAT and how they’re scored individually. Thereafter we will get to the big ‘out-of-800’ score, which is an aggregate of the quantitative and verbal sections. 

Analytical Writing Assessment

First off, the AWA writing section is scored out of six points in half-point increments. And generally, anything above a four or four and a half is considered acceptable. These are very wide gaps, where they have large groups of people all scoring the same thing. Usually about 15 percentile points for each half point increment. Therefore we can assume that the admissions committees are looking at it more as a referendum. To see how well you can put together an argument and how well you can write in general. 

Remember that they are going to have your writing samples from your essays. In all likelihood, they’re going to interview you. So this is more of a box to check off and shouldn’t take up too much of your time or energy in preparation once you’re at an acceptable level. 

Similarly, when it comes to taking the GMAT you don’t want to burn a lot of mental energy here. It’s the first section, it’s half an hour, but you’ve got a long race to run. This is something that you want to give a short shrift to, relative to the rest of the exam. Allocate your time where it’s going to be most meaningful, which is going to be later on in the Quantitative and Verbal sections. 

Integrated Reasoning

The next section up is the Integrated Reasoning section. Like the AWA, it’s half-hour long, and also like the AWA, they divide us into fairly wide tranches. The integrated reasoning section is scored out of eight points in single-point increments. It’s a relatively new section on the GMAT, about five years old at this point. 

What the Integrated Reasoning section tests is your ability to sort through massive amounts of data and it utilizes skills both from the Quantitative side and the Critical Reasoning on the Verbal side in one section. 

This section is increasingly important, especially as a differentiator among those who already have high scores because it tests a different type of skill. 

Verbal & Quant

This brings us to the big sections: the Verbal and Quantitative. Both seventy-five minutes long, these sections combine to give us our score out of 800. This is the score that everybody talks about. But let’s take a look at them individually at first because each section is scored on its own. 

The Verbal goes up to the mid-40s. A score above 44-45 is entirely elite. And there are a bunch of numbers up to the theoretical 60 max that really aren’t scored. Similarly, in the Quantitative, the score maxes out at 51 and the GMAC leaves these higher raw scores open in the case that they make the exam more challenging in the future. 

It’s important to remember that your raw scores from Quantitative and Verbal aren’t on the same scale, so a 42 in verbal and a 42 in quantitative do not indicate similar achievement. In fact, a 42 on quantitative is sort of so-so, and 42 on verbal is quite strong. 

So, each of these raw scores is used by an admissions committee to understand how you work or how strong you are in a particular section. Typically they’re looking at the quantitative score because most MBA programs focus or at least have a certain minimum amount of quantitative classes, work, etc. 

Overall Score

This brings us to the big score, the score ‘out-of-800’ – the entire GMAT. This score is just sourced from your raw Quantitative and Verbal scores. The precise algorithm that the GMAC uses is confidential but broadly the better you score in each, the better your score is overall. 

To drill down a little further, in general, having roughly equal scores in both, maximizes your overall score. Another thing that we know is that a raw point on the Verbal section is worth marginally more than a raw point on the Quantitative section. While in general, this doesn’t inform how we prep or what we do on the exam, it’s something useful to think about if you’re looking only for 20 or 30 more points and it’s something that we look at when we’re mapping out study plans. 

Another interesting thing to keep in mind is that you don’t need to score incredibly well in either the Quant or the Verbal section to have a totally stellar score. So for example, you can have a 90th percentile verbal, 90th percentile quant and these will come together to give you on the order of a 760 which is 99th percentile. The reason is that many people who are strong at Quant are not so strong at verbal and vice-versa. So, the score out of 800 looks at your aggregate performance and gives admissions committees a better sense of how you score overall. 

Do Not Focus To Much on Your Score

I hope this was a useful tour of how the GMAT scores. The big takeaway here, though, is that focusing too much on your score or really, anything more than surface-level looking at it to understand it, takes away from your ability to perform and can wrap you up in knots emotionally and psychologically. 

So, know it, think about it when you’re crafting your study plan but also don’t dwell on it. As long as you’re doing your best, as long as you’re progressing and becoming better at leveraging the skills that you’re learning through self-prep or with a tutor and you’re seeing those results when you’re self-prepping, when you’re in an exam, that’s all that matters. The score will take care of itself. 

For more introductory information to the GMAT you can read this article: 5 minutes with the GMAT or the GMAT – a comprehensive review. To speak to an Apex GMAT instructor about your prep you can schedule a call HERE.

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5 takeaways from a successful gmat journey
Posted on
25
Aug 2020

5 Takeaways from a Successful GMAT Journey

Author: Apex GMAT

Contributor: Svetozara Saykova

5 Takeaways from a Successful GMAT Journey

Each client that contacts us is in a different stage of their GMAT prep, but a universal constant is that each is striving for a great 700+ GMAT score. The threshold difficulty standing in their way is the lack of a proper mindset, which in turn can lead to a poor performance, whether due attitude, inefficient solving mechanisms, misplaced focus, or myriad other issues. No matter what, mindset leads the way to performance.

To adjust one’s way of perceiving problems requires much more intricate work than cramming a bunch of material, facts, and figures. Taking the time to understand this and elevate your approach to the test is challenging but ultimately rewarding come test day. Here are five takeaways that anyone scoring 700 or better on the GMAT comes to realize along their GMAT journey. These insights that help test takers thrive help top performers continue to excel in their MBA/grad school programs and in their post-MBA careers, long after the GMAT is a distant memory. 

 

It is not what you know… it’s what you do with it.

 

The GMAT is a psychometric exam. It expects you to be knowledgeable in a core group of secondary school concepts. It’s not a knowledge test, but it uses this universe of information as a baseline that everyone reasonably has been exposed to long before they thought about the GMAT. The exam tests not so much your knowledge but your creative application of that knowledge.

In the process of preparing for your GMAT it is vital to maximize your performance, which necessitates deep understanding of seemingly straightforward concepts so that you can be flexible in how you navigate them. For instance, in the Integrated Reasoning section there is a high chance that you will come across an unfamiliar graph you need to use. In such a case the ability to draw conclusions from known graphs and apply them to the new situation is much more valuable than having seen the specific graph before.

This holds true well beyond the exam. The amount of information you will be exposed to within the 2 years of a top tier MBA program is staggering. In order to thrive in this demanding environment you must be selective, actively deciding what information you take on to master, and use universal thinking tools (heuristics and mental models) to be adaptable as new concepts and information come your way.

For the GMAT, the core concepts are indeed essential. But it is also important to notice what concepts and information you can derive from fundamental knowledge and how to do so, hence not needing to memorize it. Knowing how to successfully apply your knowledge will result in efficiency which will afford you the ability and time to excel in the GMAT, explore what your MBA has to offer, and be a thought leader in your chosen career. 

 

Prioritization is crucial 

 

On the GMAT there are harsh penalties for unanswered questions, so it is vital to complete each section in the time allotted. Therefore, proper time and process management is critical when sitting the exam. Essentially, each problem represents a decision where you must weigh the likelihood of obtaining a correct answer, your time commitment to that problem, ancillary considerations like stress and focus management, and how this problem fits into your larger strategy for the section and the exam. Ultimately, you must decide how much time it is worth expending on each problem as part of your core process.

This mental cost benefit analysis must be deeply embedded in your thought process to achieve an elite GMAT score. With the proper calibration, this sense will certainly be useful in business school and beyond. In the professional world, there will always be time constraints – be it stringent deadlines or time zone differences. Being able to prioritize focus and make decisions quickly and accurately while navigating uncertainty and incomplete information is a huge strength. Similarly, actively choosing to abandon a low value or less important task so that you can fully devote to solving an issue of importance is not a sign of weakness or incapability, but rather an asset in a world that will always ask more of you than you can give. Time is scarce in the workplace, and just like on the GMAT, you should prioritize what adds the most value to your bottom line. 

 

Every problem has multiple solution paths

 

A common theme in our client’s feedback is their fascination with a core principle that we teach; that every GMAT problem has multiple solution paths and that sensitivity to how you solve the problem is more important than simply arriving at the correct answer. Let’s take a means and averages problem from the Quant section as an example. Many would be tempted to solve this mathematically straightaway, but this problem can be solved more efficiently using a scenario or a graph rather than processing equations, delivering greater clarity and freeing up valuable time for other, more challenging problems.

Wresting yourself away from the paradigm that a problem has a single “correct” solution path is essential to conquering the GMAT but is also valuable in life. Very few things are clear cut and unambiguous, and training yourself to recognize multiple ways to get to the same destination is important, especially if you can recognize them before committing to any specific path. Seeking answers beyond the ordinary and obvious will provide you with innovative ways of overcoming obstacles and drive progress, and make you a thought leader among your peers and in your graduate program and organization.

Focusing on the structure of the GMAT helps you compare solution paths and choose the best for the current challenge, resulting in not only a correct answer, but a timely one. Moreover, thinking of a problem from multiple perspectives means that you take into consideration unlikely or unnoticed features of a problem, and when applied to a business setting, this added vision can drive great insight into stakeholders interests and uncover innovative solutions to intractable problems.

 

In order to succeed first know yourself

 

The GMAT is not an exam where you can get 100% of the problems correct. In fact, your score will not depend on the number of questions that you get correct, but rather by the difficulty level of the ones that you do get correct. Since the GMAT is computer adaptive, it increases in difficulty until it matches a candidate’s capabilities, and the aim as a test taker is to get to the most difficult problems that you can handle, and then get most of those correct. In this way, the GMAT drives you to perform at your best rather than spending a lot of time testing fundamentals.

Ultimately, this means that you must decide how to allocate your time and energy to produce the best performance. This means understanding your strengths and weaknesses, evaluating each problem in light of those, and then deciding which problems make sense to handle, which make sense to invest extra time in, and which (few) problems you might want to walk away from right off the bat in order to preserve your valuable time for higher value problems. Don’t simply put your head down and try to get everything right – at least not at first.

During your GMAT preparation you should be conscious of how you perform and how you have progressed from where you began. If you struggle to finish a practice exam in a timely manner, this is a sign that your time management skills require polishing, and that you’re not making timing decisions well. If you perform well on Sentence Correction but not on the Reading Comprehension, then that means that you can spend less time on SC questions and reallocate that time towards Reading Comp, thereby increasing your score and building confidence in your GMAT allocation decisions along the way.

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and the workload you handle best will help you excel in your career. Furthermore, knowing your capabilities can aid you when setting work boundaries and defining your professional skill set on the other side of business school. Successful professionals know how to focus on what they do best, and remove those tasks that impinge upon their productivity and value.

In this way, they don’t find themselves taking on too much, and are able to have work life balance, all while placing them in a position to continue to achieve because of that balance. Overworking is counterproductive because it drives burnout and reduces focus and efficiency. In much the same way that athletes require proper rest for peak performance, those working in intellectually rigorous fields requiring creativity need mental breaks for better focus, clarity and job performance. In this sense, being aware of your own limitations will guide you towards a healthy work-life balance and in turn increase productivity. 

 

5% talent and 95% hard work

 

Being naturally intuitive with numbers or extremely well-read can provide a great footing for your GMAT preparation. Without further development, however, natural talent can only take you so far. The GMAT begins testing you the moment you can no longer trust your intuition and talent, and then need to rely upon knowing what you don’t know, and navigating towards deeper insights. The GMAT tests a range of skills such as critical assessment of data, ability to reason and analytical thinking. This means that being knowledgeable and skillful with fundamentals, or being a strong student only lays the foundation for success. It’s persistence, determination, and having a comprehensive study plan and clear understanding of GMAT architecture that defines those who score 700 or better.

The good news is that the skills necessary to get a 700+ GMAT score can be cultivated and enhanced with hard work, perseverance and determination. Moreover, these same skills can help you get the most out of your MBA program and career and enhance your skill set. For example, in business school you may come across an exceptional mathematician pursuing a concentration in Marketing because she has identified a weak point, and wants to focus on how to conduct research, to write and communicate clearly and effectively and to understand and implement data in the decision making process. Similarly, someone with average mathematical Mathematical ability might excel in Finance courses because of the skills he has developed – analytical thinking, problem solving, and constructing mental models.

Conclusion

The most important thing is to put in the hard work (effortful learning, not just a lot of prep time) to grow those top-level skills, regardless of how naturally gifted you are in a given subject. Marketing isn’t all creativity nor is finance all math, and in this way professional challenges are similar to the GMAT itself, which is neither about Math nor English grammar. Compensating your weaknesses and enhancing your strengths in your chosen concentration will be a vital part of your MBA experience, and it should start with your GMAT preparation.

Your GMAT journey can be pleasant and enriching rather than an arduous, distasteful experience that you dread having to go through. With the proper mindset, guidance and support you can grow through your GMAT experience to acquire valuable skills that will help you for years to come.

Schedule a call with one of our experienced GMAT consultants at +41 41 534 98 78, +44 (0) 79 4361 2406 or +1 (917) 819-5945  and get a head start on the road to achieving your goal.

If you enjoyed this GMAT journey article, watch 650 scoring GMAT profiles next.

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