How To Keep Your Sanity While Preparing For The GMAT
Posted on
03
Aug 2021

How To Keep Your Sanity While Preparing For The GMAT

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Nemrout Safarian
Date: 3rd August, 2021

The Hows:
– Taking a GMAT Preparation Course
– Creating an Effective Study Schedule
– Controlling Your Emotions
– Maintaining Connection to Your Support Team
– Resting and Getting Good Sleep
– Celebrating Your Big and Little Achievements

 

Experiencing too much anxiety over the GMAT Exam might cause a negative impact on your mental health and make it difficult for you to keep your sanity. Moreover, it might even make it more challenging to concentrate when studying and disrupt your sleep schedule. However, with the correct test stress and anxiety busting tactics, as well as an effective studying schedule, your GMAT exam preparation can become much less stressful.

Here are 6 tips that we recommend to make your GMAT exam preparation stress-free and effective.

  • Take a GMAT Preparation Course

Everyone’s GMAT story is different. Some people can get a 700 score based on everything they already know, without opening a GMAT book. But, for most students, a preparation course or one on one prep time with a personal GMAT  tutor is necessary for two reasons. First: it puts you in the right direction in terms of exam content, strategies, solution paths, and tactics to tackle problems, by helping you structure a concrete and designated studying plan.

Secondly: it makes you feel much more confident and emotionally calm, as you work with a trustworthy and an experienced professional who knows the ins and outs of the exam and preparation insights. Furthermore, a GMAT tutor can assist you with anything necessary throughout the preparation and testing process. Apex GMAT, for example, offers a complimentary consultation call for interested individuals, looking for structured personalized GMAT preparation. 

 

  • Create an Effective Study Schedule

Don’t wait for the perfect time to take the GMAT. This moment may never reveal itself! Life will always throw you curveballs and can end up curtailing your plans. Situations may arise which may interfere with your GMAT preparation as well. During your GMAT prep, you should take the extra effort to harmonize any unexpected situations with your study schedule.

One effective method you could try is to divide your studying schedule into multiple time frames throughout the day so that you can concentrate on preparing in smaller doses rather than studying for 5-7 hours straight and losing your ever so vital focus.

Study the materials during the weekdays and devote some time to practice tests where necessary. Practice test will help you to assess your progress and to understand your main strengths and weaknesses. Beware: don’t overuse practice tests. 

  • Control Your Emotions

At some point, the GMAT will stress you out, making you feel disappointed and frustrated. This is natural! Whether it is an unsatisfactory score on a practice test or the feeling of giving up, the GMAT can make it easy to have an emotional breakdown. However, it is important to be able to take control of your emotions, and have a “never a failure, always a lesson” attitude.

Every time you make a mistake, try to dive deep into that specific concept and figure out why you made that particular mistake. And learn from it. This is exactly how you make progress! Whenever you feel like you can’t go on anymore, remember your goals and aspirations, and that this test is a key to the completion of those. Also keep in mind that taking a break is a good thing, practicing in short timeframes will allow you to improve your skills without feeling overwhelmed.  With the proper frame of mind, you will find yourself studying again in no time.

  • Maintain a Connection to Your Support Team

The people you communicate with during your GMAT preparation process are very important and can hugely affect your frame of mind. Try not to isolate yourself too much from them. Spending your whole time in your room focusing on all that GMAT content can lead to burnouts.

Instead, spend time with the people whose presence is pleasing to you, who support and believe in you. This can be your family, your best friends, or the new acquaintance that has no idea what the GMAT even is. Constant communication with the people that you love will positively affect your overall mentality and help you stay engaged and happy when preparing for the test.

  • Get Some Rest and Good Sleep

Another essential thing to remember is paying attention to your sleep schedule. Add an extra half an hour to your sleep schedule so that you can give your brain time to wind down for the night. This extra half-hour is crucial, as we frequently overlook the time it takes to get ready for bed, set the alarm clock, and so on. Getting 8 hours of sleep a night while preparing for the GMAT is vital. 

Additionally, be cautious about what you are eating or drinking as an unhealthy diet can negatively affect your sleep schedule. Although the effects of caffeine may differ from person to person, try to avoid all sources of caffeine after 3 p.m. and modify accordingly. Aside from coffee, caffeine is found in a variety of foods and drinks, including tea, chocolate, and carbonated beverages. However, there are GMAT test prep benefits to caffeine products when consumed thoughtfully. 

  • Celebrate Your Big and Little Achievements

Your GMAT preparation process aims to help you reach your goals! Reward yourself a little – take a moment and celebrate little achievements. Whether it is progress in practice test scores or a complicated Math concept that you have finally mastered. It will help you feel more positive and confident about your overall knowledge and skills.

Be brave enough to challenge yourself with tougher concepts after. As you progress down your GMAT journey, be sure to celebrate  your short- and long-term accomplishments. These moments of celebration will undoubtedly assist you in keeping yourself at the top of your game and stress free.

Good luck studying and remember to believe in yourself! 

 

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taking the gmat prep journey. On our own or with peers?
Posted on
22
Apr 2021

Taking the GMAT Prep Journey: On your own or with peers?

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Arin Agich
Date: 22nd April 2021

 If you aim to apply for your dream MBA program or you want to reach the next level in your career, attending business school is a step that you should be considering. If so, you will need to take the GMAT exam. Before starting to prepare for your GMAT journey you have to decide which learning style suits you best. This depends on the amount of available time you have, your score goal, and your budget. In this article we are going to look at the two most common methods to prepare for the GMAT: One on one GMAT prep and Group prep.

What are the differences between one-on-one and group-based GMAT preparation?

Before deciding which one of these methods will work best for you it is important to review the main differences between them.

 Do you study best alone or with peers?

One of the biggest differences between these two learning styles is the presence or absence of others. Being surrounded with others going through the same journey might be encouraging, knowing that the others are sharing similar challenges on their GMAT journey will help you see that you are not alone.  Whereas, being on your own can lead to higher success rates since you can move forward with your own pace without waiting for your peers.

Time Management

A bulk of your GMAT preparation will include a vast majority of practice problems so you will need to manage your time successfully and make sure that you are using this time productively to avoid preparing for the test for extended periods of time. Apex tutors suggest spending between 3-4 months studying for the exam. Managing your preparation schedule and discipline is all up to you if you decide to prepare for the exam on your own. On the other hand, being under a one-on-one prep program will give you plenty of flexibility, but make sure that you keep up to your self-built schedule!

Individual Workload vs Group Projects/Home-works

Irrespective of any type of GMAT preparation method you will need to spend numerous hours doing homework or self prep at home to get comfortable using the skills that you have learnt. If you are part of a group-based prep program you will be able to ask for help and advice from your classmates and even work in groups. For some this sounds time-consuming, whereas for others it is a great socializing opportunity during GMAT prep time. However, as an individual student, your home works can be personalized and built according to your needs. This will help you to focus more on your weaknesses and move forward faster with the topics that you have already developed. 

 Efficiency

Regardless of which method you decide to go for, in the end it comes to efficiency. Keeping in mind that you have a limited period of time until the big GMAT test day, being efficient throughout your preparatory period is the key. To be able to answer this it is important to know the benefits of each method. In the following section we wrote down some of the benefits both for one on one and group based GMAT prep.

Benefits of One-on-one GMAT Preparation

 Personalized Sessions: Curriculum Flexibility

One of the biggest benefits of one-on-one GMAT preparation is that the sessions are personalized according to your needs. After your first session with your tutor, where you can openly talk about your challenges that you want to work on and strengths you want to build on, you will be given a personalized curriculum that will help you tackle all your problems.

 Student-Tutor Bond

Preparing for your GMAT test can be overwhelming. This is where the student-tutor bond comes into play. Knowing that you have your tutor’s full attention and support will help you get over your anxiety and reduce your stress. Getting support during such long journeys is crucial. This will help you to refocus when required, rest when needed, and move forward faster when you are ready.

Alex who scored 730 on his GMAT test after working with Apex said this about his one on one GMAT prep experience:

“I felt like Apex was in my camp and in my corner, really making sure that I was putting my best foot forward and that I was going to get the best possible score that I could. The support system that was in place was great and the experience was seamless”.

 Two-way Feedback

For anyone going through GMAT preparation, having feedback on your work is highly important. This helps you to check in with how far you have come. However, it is also important to give feedback to your tutor, too. This will help her/him to understand your needs better. If you are part of a one-on-one tutoring program the feedback can go both ways, at any given time. Feedback can take different forms, some of the examples are: test taking strategies and advice, specific questions type strategies, habits for success, stress reducing advice, etc. 

 Progress at your own pace

Preparing with one-on-one tutoring for your GMAT means that you will have a personalized curriculum by your tutor. This means that, following this curriculum, you can also progress at your own pace. Working more on questions that you have a hard time with or going forward much faster with the ones that you have mastered, without having to wait for your peers. 

Benefits of group-based GMAT Preparation

 Sharing the Same GMAT Journey

Being part of a group-based GMAT prep program will give you the sense of belonging with fellow future GMAT takers. This will help you to share your struggles and anxieties, and also celebrate your success with your peers. Having a social group throughout GMAT’s many hours of practice questions and tests is supportive. Being surrounded with like minded people with similar goals will keep you motivated. 

Besides sharing your GMAT process during your preparation period, the weekly meetings during mutual classes will give you the opportunity to engage with your peers. Sharing tips, advice, and notes or simply: making new friends!

Study Dates 

Next to your individual tasks and homework, within your GMAT group you can also find study buddies and work on your questions together. This will help you to partner up with one of your peers who might have similar challenges and try to tackle the questions together or this person will be able to help you with the topics you have trouble going forward with. 

 Structured Schedule 

Group-based GMAT preparation courses are highly structured programs. If you are a person who functions easier and is more productive under a ready made structured schedule, working in a group is for you. It will have a routine that you can always count on. 

Developing additional skills

Next to developing your GMAT skills, being part of a group will help you develop additional skills, such as: social and communication skills which are highly acquired skills in MBA programs. Next to developing your personal and social skills, being part of a group will also give you the chance to be part of a team work. This will help you develop your leadership skills and the importance of cooperation with the others. 

Which GMAT prep strategy is the best for you?

Finding the most efficient way for reaching a high score on your GMAT test is important. After reviewing the benefits and differences of the two learning methods you can prioritize your needs, consult with previous GMAT takers and tutors and decide which method would work best for you!

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gmat vrs gre competitive jobs on the market
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

Do Business Schools prefer GMAT over GRE?

The answer to this question is not concrete and can vary, based on various aspects. 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. Hence, one of the advantages of taking the GMAT can be the opportunity to show your strong quantitative skills and make your application more competitive. 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. So, your job opportunities after the GMAT can be affected by how well you perform on the test.

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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5 minutes with the gmat test: everything that you need to know
Posted on
03
Jul 2020

5 Minutes with the GMAT: Everything You Need to Know

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Ilia Dobrev
Date: 3rd July, 2020

5 Minutes with the GMAT: Everything You Need to Know (and nothing you don’t)

Scoring, Timing, Sections, Purpose, Costs, & more

If you are reading this, you are probably well on the way to pursuing a high-quality master’s program from a prestigious business school. First things first: you will need to take the GMAT to fulfill your application requirements. Furthermore, you will have to perform well on it, especially if your grades from college/university aren’t strong.

ABOUT THE GMAT EXAM

The General Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is considered the most trusted, proven, and well-understood predictor of academic success for MBA programs. The exam is crafted and administered by the General Management Admissions Council (GMAC) to measure a candidate’s verbal, mathematical, integrated reasoning, and analytical writing skills. You can also register for the GMAT through their official portal or browse through some practice questions here.

The GMAT test is a multiple-choice, computer adaptive test (CAT) – this means that an algorithm selects each following question based on the test taker’s ability level and performance on previous questions. If you are new to this concept, the most important feature to understand is that when you answer a question correctly, the following question will be even more challenging. Conversely, if you answer a question incorrectly, it will give you an easier one next.

WHAT IS THE GMAT USED FOR?

The GMAT test is primarily used for admissions to more than 2,100 institutions, universities, and MBA programs worldwide that offer business and management disciplines. Keep in mind that many business schools screen applicants based on a range of criteria, but GMAT scores are among the most important screening metrics used. Others include undergraduate GPA, work and other relevant experience, application essays, recommendation letters, and personal interviews. Strong GMAT results are necessary, but certainly not sufficient to gain admission to the best MBA and business oriented grad school programs like Masters of Finance (MFin), Masters of Accounting (MAcct), Masters of Business Administration (MBA), Juris Doctor & Masters of Business Administration (JD-MBA) and PhDs in all these disciplines. Remember also that, while the GMAT is important, it’s certainly not a measure of who you are as a person and is one part of a many faceted application. 

An investment of time and resources into the right GMAT preparation program or plan will result in a higher score on the test, which has a direct correlation with your admissions success, and will have a positive impact on your business school experience and future professional career.

STRUCTURE, SECTIONS, TIMING, & SCORING

The GMAT test consists of four sections with categorized problems aiming to assess a different skill set. Each part differs in terms of score range and the number and types of problems:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) 1 task | 30 minutes | scored from 0 to 6 (0.5-point increments)
  • Integrated Reasoning (IR) 12 questions | 30 minutes | scored from 1 to 8 (1-point increments)
  • Quantitative 31 questions | 62 minutes | scored from 0 to 60 (1-point increments)
  • Verbal 36 questions | 65 minutes | scored from 0 to 60 (1-point increments)

There are several other factors worth mentioning:

    • The total score of the GMAT ranges from 200 to 800 in increments of 10.
    • Despite the official scoring guides, the maximum you can score on the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections is 51.
    • The test taker can opt for two breaks totaling 16 minutes (8 minutes each).
    • The total time to take the GMAT test is 3 hours and 23 minutes including the two breaks.
    • GMAT test takers can choose the order of sections when taking the exam:
  • AWA » IR » first break » Quantitative » second break » Verbal
  • Verbal » first break » Quantitative » second break » IR » AWA
  • Quantitative » first break » Verbal » second break » IR » AWA

GMAT SCORING & VALIDITY

While you’ll get your unofficial score when you complete your exam (for all sections besides the AWA Writing), you and your designated schools will receive your official GMAT score within 20 calendar days of the exam, and it will be valid for the following five years. In order to determine what score will be good for you, you should consider both the average (mean) score and the range of scores of applicants admitted to your desired university.

HOW, WHEN, & WHERE CAN I TAKE THE GMAT?

How & Where?

You can take the GMAT in one of the 600+ physical test centers worldwide (official list available here). The test is administered on a computer, via a platform used worldwide: Pearson VUE. The GMAT is available only at designated Pearson VUE test centers, thus assuring each candidate the exact same experience as all other test takers around the world.

When?

You can take the GMAT test almost anytime that you want, depending on the availability of dates into the test center(s) you have chosen. However, there are some requirements regarding re-taking the exam. You can do so once every 16 days, up to five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period (365 days), and up to eight total times.

Online GMAT Test in the face of COVID-19

As of mid-June 2020, at this article’s writing, you should know that the GMAC is offering an online version of the GMAT test in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Some of its key point of differences compared to the original version are:

  • It excludes the AWA section.
  • The exam’s duration is 2h and 45minutes, excluding one single 5-minute break.
  • You can use a physical or an online whiteboard.
  • You can send your score report for free to an unlimited number of schools.
  • Can be scheduled anytime, 24 hours a day.
  • The online GMAT costs $200 and has reschedule and cancellation fees waived.

You can learn more about the online GMAT test here.

HOW MUCH DOES THE GMAT TEST COST?

The cost to sit the GMAT exam is $250. This includes sending your results to up to five schools of your choice. All additional score reports past the first five schools require a $35 fee per institution.

Rescheduling & Cancellation of your GMAT appointment

In the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic, at this article’s writing, the GMAC has temporarily waived all exam cancellation, reschedule & score reinstatement fees for GMAT test-center based appointments

Regular Rescheduling fees:

  • $50 if requested more than 60 days prior to appointment
  • $100 if requested 15 to 60 days prior to appointment
  • $150 if requested 1 to 14 days prior to appointment

Regular Cancellation fees:

  • $150 with a $100 refund if requested more than 60 days prior to appointment
  • $175 with a $75 refund if requested 15 to 60 days prior to appointment
  • $200 with a $50 refund if requested 1 to 14 days prior to appointment

ADDITIONAL COSTS WORTH CONSIDERING

Apart from the test fee, there are other costs that you may want to consider. GMAC advises people preparing for the exam to utilize the GMAT Official Guide (as do we) alongside other learning aids as additional materials. Please note that the Official Guide is a great resource for problems, but the explanations leave something to be desired, so using only the Official Guide is not recommended.

A large percentage of test takers who wish to score in the 90th percentile or higher (700+) on the GMAT invest in private GMAT preparation as a personalized means to achieving long-term career success. Our firm, Apex GMAT, specializes in offering private, customized GMAT preparation and admissions consulting. We focus on individual learning and a holistic coaching environment where we tackle not only the fundamentals, but the underlying structure and complexity of the GMAT. We do this not just to get you a good score, but to prepare you for your Masters/MBA program and career beyond by focusing on universal critical thinking skills, cognitive heuristics, emotional and behavioral aspects of learning and high stakes performance, and other learning techniques that can be applied widely over the course of a lifetime. We take pride in exactly this personalized approach as a means for every candidate to utilize their strengths better, focus on their weaknesses, and overcome test anxiety through an exclusively designed GMAT curriculum.

A lot of people try to save money on the GMAT preparation process. When you consider that a top MBA can lead to millions of dollars of extra earnings over the course of a lifetime, it makes sense to invest in GMAT preparation. Learn more about this subject with our instructors Mike and Jaymes, here: Why is GMAT Prep so Expensive?

That’s it! Thanks for sticking with us to the end of this GMAT test crash course! If you are looking for a more comprehensive version diving deeper into what the GMAT has in store for you, feel free to check out our GMAT 101 guide.

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