Fortune 500 CEO’s with MBA’s
Posted on
29
Oct 2020

Fortune 500 CEO’s with MBA’s

Running a fortune 500 company seems like an out of reach dream for many, but some have climbed up the ranks of these companies to the ultimate position. Not all top CEO’s have obtained MBA’s at prestigious universities but it is clear that obtaining an MBA often leads to success in this role which is why so many CEO’s have an MBA. All the CEO’s on this list claim their continued success to their MBA studies coupled with determination and hard work.

Tim Cook

As the current Chief Executive Officer of Apple Inc., Tim Cook helped pull Apple out of its financial woes in the late 90’s with its founder Steve Jobs. Although he is most well-known for his position at Apple, Cook has had many influential positions including at IBM, Compaq and Intelligent Electronics. Like other successful people, Cook is known to work odd hours, sending his first emails of the day at 4:30am and holding Sunday strategy meetings. He graduated from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and this has undeniably helped shape him into the successful leader that he has become today. With a GMAT score range of 660 – 740, Duke’s MBA is a tough program to get accepted to but we expect that Cook’s creative and critical thinking skills allowed him to excel on the GMAT. Our guess: 750

Mary Barra

Mary Barra certainly earned her current position as the Chief Executive Officer of General Motors as she began working at the company at the age of 18. Over the years, she worked her way to the top, making her time at GM total over 30 years. She is the first female to hold the CEO position at the company and has been in it for 15 years. To ensure her continued upward growth in the company she attended Stanford Graduate Business School to obtain her MBA. Stanford has the highest average GMAT score of any of the top schools in the country at 737. Barra has not only successfully used her MBA to climb to the highest position in the company but has held many other leadership roles within the company on her journey to the top. We assume that she was determined to get a great score on the GMAT and achieved this as she attended the graduate school on a GM fellowship. Our guess: 740

Sundar Pichai

If you are not firstly familiar with him from being the CEO at Google, then you might recognize him from his congressional testimony in 2018. Sundar started off his career working at Mckinsey & Company and moved to Google in 2003 where he worked his way up the ladder through various positions until being offered the ultimate one, CEO. He was even considered for the CEO position at Microsoft but lost out to another member on our list: Satya Nadella. He obtained an MBA from Wharton School of Business where the GMAT average score is an impressive 732. We have no doubt that Sundar comfortably exceeds this range as his education history is crammed with awards and recognitions. Our guess: 770

Satya Nadella

Satya has enjoyed a very successful tenure as CEO of Microsoft having changed the direction of the company back to its roots successfully, tripling its stock price and transforming Microsoft’s corporate culture into a more collaborative and learning focused company. In 2018 he was named the best CEO of a US large firm and followed this by being named Person of the Year by the Financial Times. He has published a semi autobiography: Hit Refresh and has a passion for continued learning. He attended Booth School of Business which has an average GMAT score of 730. With all his success we are sure that Satya scored well above this. Our guess: 750

Indra Nooyi

Ranked as one of the most powerful women in the world for multiple years Indra Nooyi served as the CEO of Pepsi Co. for 12 years, from 2006 to 2018. Before her time at Pepsi she held high level positions at Johnson & Johnson, The Boston Consulting Group and Motorola. By 2014 she was making close to $17 million dollars a year and has received several awards and recognitions. She attended Yale School of Management and although she did not pursue an MBA, she would have still needed to take the GMAT to get into her Master’s in Private and Public Management program. Yale has a median GMAT score of 720 and Indra would attained a score that is close, if not exceeds this. Our Guess: 720

Jamie Dimon

Voted one of the most influential people by Time Magazine, Jamie Diamon is the CEO and Chairman of JPMorgan Chase. He started his career at American Express after turning down offers from Goldman Sachs, the Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley. Following this, he moved to JPMorgan Chase in 2000 and 5 years later was named CEO. He is one of the few bankers to become a billionaire during his time in banking. He attended Harvard School of Business which has a median GMAT score of 730. With countless achievements and successes in the banking industry we are sure that he excelled during his program at the Ivy league school. Our guess: 760

Check out our MBA Titans on the Forbes List article next. 

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awa section template
Posted on
23
Oct 2020

Master the GMAT AWA section with this comprehensive template

GMAT AWA Section Template For Success

By ApexGMAT

Contributor: Altea Sulollari

October 23rd, 2020

One of the easiest ways to succeed in the GMAT AWA section is by preparing beforehand for the essay that awaits. Having a ready-made template in mind can be extremely helpful, especially because you can use that same template for every single topic you’ll come across in the exam. Also, it will be easier and less time-consuming for you to simply fill in the missing information once you read the passage.

Check out our ready-made GMAT AWA section template that will make your life easier and will help you get the score you’re aiming for!

The first step

Before going in to write your essay, there is one major thing that you need to consider. This step will not be the most time-consuming one as the actual writing of the essay will take the greatest portion of your time, however, it is crucial to the final essay that you’ll be producing. Your very first step after reading the passage is a mental analysis of the construction of the argument presented to you in the passage. To do that, you’ll need to consider 3 main points:

  1. Understanding what the author of the text is inferring/ claiming
  2. Pointing out how the argument is flawed as it relies on premises that are based on assumptions rather than actual facts
  3. Deciding how the argument can be strengthened in order to make it more viable, or how it can be weakened if certain counterexamples are introduced.

1. Understanding the Author’s Claim

This is a crucial step to the whole process, as it leads the way for the analysis to follow. After reading the passage, you should be able to carefully consider the argument that the author is introducing, and you’ll also be able to evaluate the logical reasoning behind it. Try answering these questions: Is the conclusion reasonable and logical, or otherwise, can it be weakened or strengthened if other information is presented?

After you’ve answered those questions, you can identify the key points of the argument and you can rank them in order of importance. You will have to discuss every single one in detail in the body paragraphs when you write the essay.

2. Pointing out how the author’s argument is flawed

After pinpointing the premises of the argument, you can easily decide how they are flawed, and if they do not flow logically. The fact that you can identify things in the argument that do not make sense and are not logical, make the argument flawed and unconvincing, and that is basically your thesis statement that you’re going to discuss in detail in your body paragraphs.

3. Deciding how to strengthen/weaken the argument

As your final step in your initial analysis, you’ll have to come up with ways to either strengthen the author’s claim in order to make it more convincing and sound or to weaken the author’s argument by using certain counterexamples or other evidence that claims otherwise. You’ll have the opportunity to draw examples or point out information that is missing in the passage in order to further support your analysis.

The Final Step

Once you have taken the 3 above-mentioned steps and have analyzed the argument in detail, you’ll have a ready-made outline in mind that you can easily follow in order to write your final essay as all you’ll need to do is put everything down in a written form.

Introduction:

This section is essentially where you’ll be able to clearly state that the argument in the passage is flawed. You can state the different flaws that you were able to point out and then make sure to state your clear intention of discussing them, what evidence they are lacking and how they can be made more convincing. Here are a few expressions you can use:

  • The argument/ author claims that…
  • In this state, the argument seems flawed/unsound/unconvincing because…
  • The argument will not be deemed convincing until further evidence is presented to prove the assumption that…
  • As it is, the argument also fails to mention… and further discuss…

Body paragraphs:

In these body paragraphs, you’ll get the opportunity to discuss in detail every single flaw you were able to point out in the argument. Make sure to clearly state what is wrong with said flaw and discuss how it fails to be convincing and use counterexamples and other details to prove your point. Suggest ways the flaw can be improved in order to make the argument more plausible at the end of every paragraph. 

  • Initially/ Firstly/ To begin with…
  • Secondly/ To add more/ In addition…
  • Thirdly/ Finally…
  • That claim is unlikely/flawed/unconvincing because…
  • Something else that undermines the argument is the lack of supporting evidence like…
  • The argument can be strengthened by mentioning… (another possible scenario, another example, other supporting evidence)
  • The argument assumes that…
  • That is a weak claim as it assumes that…
  • To further illustrate, the claim does not clearly state that…
  • The lack of supportive evidence makes the claim…
  • If further evidence that… was provided, then…
  • In order to make the argument more convincing, the author should have mentioned… (suggestion, supporting example, etc.)
  • The author concludes that …
  • The lack of supporting evidence that…, is proof of the poor reasoning on the side of the author.
  • The insufficient evidence and the conflicting claims that… are also an indication that…
  • To further strengthen the argument, the author should provide evidence that…

Conclusion:

The last paragraph is your chance to recap the thesis statement and acknowledge once again that the argument is flawed because of what you mentioned in the body paragraphs. You can also briefly mention that even though in the current state the argument is unconvincing, it can be strengthened by providing supporting evidence and more specific information.

  • In conclusion/ To conclude/ In summary…
  • The argument that… is flawed because… (briefly mention Flaw 1, Flaw 2 and Flaw 3)
  • In order to make the argument fully convincing and sound, the author would have to provide further details and evidence that…
  • In the current state, the argument that the author makes remains weak and flawed because of the lack of evidence that…

For more GMAT AWA information read: 4 Tips for success of the AWA Section. 

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GMAT awa
Posted on
20
Oct 2020

4 Best Practices to Help You Master the GMAT AWA Section

Posted By: Apex GMAT

Contributor: Altea Sulollari

Date: 20 October 2020

When preparing for the GMAT most people neglect the GMAT AWA section, and even though this section is scored separately, it is important that you spend some time focusing on performing well on it.

The section is specifically designed to test your ability to impartially analyze an argument and to state your ideas with precision – skills that will be invaluable in your future career.

Another reason to pay attention to this section of the GMAT is the fact that the schools you apply to will get to see your essays, and impressing them with your writing skill can only help your application.

In the upcoming sections, we’ll go over all you need to know about:

  • The GMAT AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment)
  • How the AWA is scored
  • Five best practices to follow when preparing for the AWA section

The GMAT AWA Explained

When it comes to the AWA, keep in mind that this section is not as important as the others as it does not contribute to the all important 800 score. That being said, your essay is sent to the schools that you are applying to and the recruiters will get to see how you structure an argument. Even though the GMAT AWA section is not the most important, it still showcases your writing skills and that is a good enough reason to put some effort into it.

The section is a timed 30-minute essay writing task. You will be presented with a passage and your task will be to analyze the author’s argument to the best of your abilities. You will be expected to provide a thorough analysis of the strong points as well as to point out the weaknesses of the argument. Similar to the critical reasoning section, you will have to speak about an argument construction using abstract language and to show how it can potentially be weakened or strengthened. Your ability to successfully express your ideas in a precise manner will be crucial in this process. A good way to do this is to constantly ask yourself the question: “What if?”, to show you the methods that an argument can be strengthened and weakened. 

The GMAT AWA Scoring System

Now that you know what this section is all about, let’s focus on the scoring system for this part of the GMAT.

Your analysis will be scored separately from the other sections of the GMAT and the score you get will not count towards your final combined score, which ranges from 200 to a maximum of 800. Rather the AWA score range is from 0 to 6 in half point increments, where 6 is the maximum score for a well-structured analysis.

The second thing you’ll need to keep in mind is that your essay will be checked twice: once by a human reader and once by a computer algorithm. The scores from both are taken into consideration and your final score will be the average of those two. However, if the scores from the human reader and the computer algorithm differ from one another significantly, another human reader has to check your argument analysis.

This information is important because although you do not have an idea about how the human reader will check your essay, the computer algorithm uses certain criteria to base its final decision on, and this criteria includes keywords related to the topic, grammar, punctuation, structure, etc. This is useful insight into what is asked of you and where you should focus when preparing for the section in order to succeed. 

What’s a good GMAT AWA score?

Consider the AWA to be pass/fail, where the task in question is whether you can construct a coherent argument, as compared to your peers. In this light, a passing grade would be a 4.5 or greater.  While it is always good to aim high, it’s important to keep in mind that once you’ve achieved a 4.5, there’s very little use of worrying about obtaining a higher score, and you’d do better focusing on the other parts of your application to distinguish yourself.

Pro tip: There is a simpler way to improve your GMAT AWA score without putting too much effort into preparing for this specific section: master the GMAT Verbal section! Both the Verbal section and the AWA section require you to have good critical reasoning skills and for you to be able to analyze arguments impartially. As both of these sections require the same set of skills, you won’t have to work harder, only smarter!

4 Best Practices to Help You Ace the GMAT AWA Section

Now that you’re familiar with the GMAT AWA section and its scoring system, here are some best practices to follow that will assure you master this section.

1. Remember that you are dealing with an analysis! 

Do what is asked of you and do not deviate from that. You’ll need to focus on analyzing the arguments that are presented to you in the passage. Concentrate on identifying the strong points as well as the weaknesses of the argument. This is not, however, an opportunity to express your own opinion on the matter or topic, so be careful not to cross that line and risk losing points. Also, try to stir away from personal views and irrelevant outside information that can potentially affect the way you structure and phrase your analysis. Instead, try to focus on the logic of the argument and stick to that.

2. Do NOT focus too much on the word count!

The number of words you use does not matter as much as the structure and quality of your work. However, there’s a catch! The computer algorithm that checks your essay is more likely to give you a higher score if you write a longer essay with more complex sentence structure. Ultimately, you’ll have to make sure that you have a clearly laid out argument in an easy-to-follow structure, and if you do so well, generally the length will be sufficient and you won’t have any problems regarding word count. Bottom line: if your essay is a bit short, there’s probably something you’ve missed, so go back and look for additional features of the argument to deconstruct. 

Pro tip: Mind your grammar and punctuation! Grammar and punctuation are just as important as structure. A well-written essay should not have grammatical mistakes or sentences that are out of place or do not make sense. Use your Sentence Correction skills! 

3. Practice is key!

Practice makes perfect. Writing a few practice essays is particularly important when it comes to acing the AWA section of the GMAT as it familiarizes you with the process of writing an analysis of argument under a time constraint. Reading many arguments in different formats and on varying subjects will certainly help you improve your overall skills and make you ready for any argument presented come test day.

That being said, do not overdo it. If you graduated from University in an English speaking country with a liberal arts or social sciences degree under your belt, this should be enough for you to make the 4.5 mark in the AWA without much further preparation.

Finally, make good use of ready-made templates to structure your essay. There are plenty of templates that you can download for free so make sure to take advantage of that.

4. Don’t stress it too much!

There is nothing worse than stressing out on exam day as it can affect your overall performance on the exam. Working on the GMAT AWA section can be especially stressful and overwhelming because you have to come up with your own explanations rather than rely on provided answers. Try to take it easy and remember that the AWA’s role on the GMAT is as much about grinding down your stamina as it is about writing. You’ve practiced a lot and are prepared to ace this section and the exam as a whole, so don’t worry about it.

Now that we went over everything, you’ve got an ace up your sleeve and you’ll be able to tackle the GMAT AWA with confidence.

Good luck with your exam! 

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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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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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Posted on
20
Aug 2020

Time Management on The GMAT

GMAT Time Management

Today let’s talk about time management on the GMAT. There are so many misconceptions and so many people looking at time management the wrong way and really running themselves in circles thinking about managing their time. 

If you are actively managing your Time, you are doing something wrong

Let’s start with the big secret here: If you’re actively managing your time on the GMAT you’re doing something wrong. If you’re looking up the clock every problem or every 6-8 problems you’re doing something wrong. 

The fact of the matter is that successful GMAT test takers don’t actively manage their time. They manage their process and the process then manages the time for them, so that they can maintain their entire focus on the problems in front of them and not have to switch their attention away. It’s this attention switching, that actually can drag down your performance on the GMAT. 

Manage your process

So let’s take a deeper look at what it means to manage your process. I’m going to start with a story. Most of you out there drive. Just about everyone here rides in a vehicle at least semi-regularly and during the course of driving around you will come to traffic lights and most of the time you sit at the traffic light.

When it’s red it turns green and you go. You don’t really think about it but every once in a while you’re sitting at a light, and sitting and sitting, and sitting, and eventually, this thought creeps into your head: “My god this is a really long traffic light. I’m waiting a little too much time” or “a little more than normal” and it’s that neural mechanism, that sense of time in the sense of something taking a little too long that is at the heart of what process time management’s about. 

Become more sensitive to time

As you’re preparing for the GMAT keep this process focus in mind. Remember that what you want to do is be sensitive to when something’s taking too long and ultimately you want to become sensitive to when something might take too long so that you can take appropriate action before you end up spending a bunch of time on a problem that’s not going to work for you. 

Skipping a problem here and there is part of many elite test taker’s GMAT strategies and you shouldn’t ever feel bad about it. Similarly, you shouldn’t feel bad about spending longer on one problem or less time on another. 

Series information

This is part of a series of videos we’ll be creating about time management so subscribe at *link* and keep checking in with us if you want to learn more about how to allocate your time on GMAT. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us anytime with questions.

 

If you enjoyed this time management video, make sure to watch 650 GMAT score profiles

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Efficient GMAT prep
Posted on
18
Aug 2020

How To GMAT: Efficient Learning

Author: Apex GMAT

Contributor: Ivan Minchev

Studying can be a daunting task for many, especially when there is a limited amount of time, and when the exam – like the GMAT – isn’t a standard standardized test. Lack of interest (it’s ok to admit it… not everyone is as excited as we are about the GMAT), stress, and exhaustion can be distractions that hinder one’s concentration and progress. There are a myriad studying techniques out there to tackle these obstacles, with some more effective than others. This is why this list of 8 studying tips is aimed to assist you in preparing for the GMAT in the most efficient manner possible.

1.Avoid Last-minute Cramming

Make sure you have enough prep time before the exam: our tutors recommend spending about 90-120 days on your GMAT preparation from start to finish. Shorter time frames can work too, but if you can, give yourself the privilege of not having to rush.

Last-minute cramming is the most inefficient way of preparing for an exam, and can be counterproductive for the GMAT, which tests your flexibility, not your knowledge. Cramming can result in added stress and anxiety, which can further detract from your performance. Moreover, the GMAT doesn’t lend itself to cramming, meaning that you’ll need to dedicate some time to get used to its format, the types of questions, and most importantly the skills required to tackle the test to achieve a successful outcome.

2. Designate A “Study Spot”

Find a place where you feel relaxed, but alert – cozy but serious, without the presence of any stress-inducing or distracting factors. Be sure to keep your spot clean and tidy, and only use it for studying or similar mental work. The more you become accustomed to studying in your spot the easier it will be to transition into ‘study’ mode and you’ll be able to get the optimal yield of your GMAT prep time.

3. Listen To Music (Optional)

Some people don’t fancy studying in silence, while others do. In fact, many people find it harder to concentrate due to the lack of background noise. The solution is simple – music. Play some calm background music to go with the study session. The genre depends solely on one’s musical tastes but typically jazz, lo-fi hip-hop, and classical music are go-to’s. Try to focus on instrumental music and avoid anything distracting.

Keep in mind that on the GMAT itself no music is permitted, so your use of music is only to get into a flow state for studying. This means that on the GMAT you’ll most certainly have to contend with annoying noises that you’d typically not notice. Especially when the testing room is silent and crowded, even the smallest of noises can become irritating. To counter this, also try studying in places that mimic the test environment in this negative sense. Total silence on test day is not a realistic expectation.

4. Don’t Forget To Rest

Taking a break is an essential component for progress. When somebody works out, they don’t train for 3 hours straight without any rest. Build a routine. Determine the best and most productive time of the day to study and take regular breaks to let your brain rest. For most people mid-morning and mid-evening are peak times for productivity in this regard. When preparing for the GMAT try to spend 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minute units.

A good night’s sleep is also crucial for a sharp mind, especially with mentally exhausting tasks such as the GMAT. However tempting it might be to stay up late at night, not getting enough sleep will lower a person’s ability to concentrate and will greatly hinder your brain’s functionality when the time to study comes around. In fact, sleep has been shown in many scientific studies to be essential for long term retention of information and new ways of doing things, meaning that a good night’s sleep can actually be more valuable than a few more hours of studying.

5. Maintain A Healthy Diet

Food has an enormous impact on energy levels and focus; two things essential for success on the GMAT. Keep your brain fueled by snacking on healthy and nutritious food.

Ideally, snacks should be slow energy release foods, such as nuts, some fruits like blueberries, green vegetables (avocados, broccoli, spinach, celery), yogurt, and even high protein foods like fish and eggs.

Avoid junk food, especially things that will cause fluctuations in your blood sugar. Also watch out for highly processed products (chocolate, cookies, doughnuts, and even fruit juice). Such food might give your body an energy surge for a while, but a crash will follow soon after.

6. Hydrate 

Just as eating the right way is of vital importance, staying hydrated is equally essential. Around 60% of the human body is water, with the brain being composed of almost 73% water. While this isn’t a scientific argument, numerous studies point out that in order to retain a higher level of focus and cognition, the brain, and the human connected to it, needs to be well hydrated. Make sure to drink enough water during study sessions and the exam day. On test day, be sure to be hydrated, but don’t get stuck having to “go” in the middle of the test. There is nothing as distracting and hindering performance as being under pressure.

7. Try To Explain New Concepts Out Loud And In A Clear Way

As soon as a new strategy, concept, or technique is learned you should try to explain it out loud as if trying to teach it to someone else. Better yet, find someone to teach! And this doesn’t only apply to GMAT prep but to efficient learning in general. This is a great way to make sure that it is thoroughly understood and can be successfully implemented. It also forces you to develop a vocabulary so that you can speak to yourself about a challenging problem in a productive way. Try doing this multiple times until you are able to explain it so effortlessly that another person can grasp it without much trouble. This is easier said than done, but will accelerate your preparation immensely, even if imperfectly implemented.

8. Learn From Your Mistakes

Go over past GMAT practice tests and redo them to see if there are still problematic sections that need extra focus. Keep track of past and current scores to measure progress more comfortably, and maintain an error log to track the types of problems that challenge you most frequently, as well as those that you understand but tend to sink a lot of time into due to inefficient solution paths.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it: 8 great techniques to enhance your study time. This isn’t a comprehensive list, though. Always actively try out new tactics to find what works best for you. At the end of the day, everybody has a unique way of learning, and your strategies should reflect your unique approach. If you have difficulty figuring out what works best for you and are in need of some guidance on your GMAT prep journey you can give us a call at +1 (267) 575 7737. Visit our GMAT Curriculum page to find out what topics to cover in your exam prep.

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Posted on
06
Aug 2020

Probability GMAT Problem

Probability GMAT Problems can be super complex if you don’t frame it correctly. One of the keys to looking at probability problems, particularly conditional probability and independent probability problems, is breaking each part up into its own entity, and a lot of times this clarifies the problem.

Introduction To The XYZ Probability Problem

Let’s take a look at this ‘XYZ’ probability problem. Xavier, Yvonne, and Zelda are solving problems. We’re given the 3 probabilities for correct answers and we’re being asked what’s the probability of X being right and solving it, Y solving it, and Z not solving it.

The first thing we can look at is, say: “Well what’s the probability of Zelda not solving it?” And it’s just going to be the flip, the other side of 5/8 to bring us up to 1. If she solves it 5 out of 8 times, she’s not going to solve it the other 3 out of 8 times. So, we’re dealing with 1/4, 1/2, and 3/8.

Doing The Math May Seem Simple

The math here is straightforward, multiply them together. But that might not be readily apparent, or at the very least, just plugging it into that formula can get you into trouble. So, here’s where owning it conceptually and mapping it out with a visualization helps you take command of this problem. 

Xavier Getting It Correct

Since each probability is independent of the others we can look at them independently. What’s the probability of Xavier getting this correct? 1 out of 4 times. So, we can say in general, for every four attempts, he gets it correct once or 25%. If, and only if Xavier gets it correct can we move on to the next part – Yvonne.

Yvonne Getting It Correct

Xavier gets a correct 1 out 4 times then what are the chances that Yvonne gets a correct? 1 out of 2. So to have Xavier get it correct and then Yvonne get it correct it’s going to be 1 out of 8 times – 1/4 times 1/2.

It’s not that we can’t look at a Yvonne when Xavier gets it incorrect, it’s that it doesn’t matter. From a framing perspective, this is all about only looking at the probability for the outcome that we want and ignoring the rest.

Zelda Getting It Incorrect

Xavier: 1 out of 4, Yvonne: 1 out of 2, gets us to 1 out of 8. Then and only then, what are the chances that Zelda gets it incorrect? 1 out of 8 trials brings us to X and Y are correct, then we multiply it by the 3/8 that Zelda gets it incorrect. That gets us to 3/64. 3 out of every 64 attempts will end in ‘correct’, ‘correct’, ‘incorrect’.

This is one of those problems that may have to go through a few times but once you attach the explanation to it, you can’t mess up the math.

If you enjoyed this GMAT probability problem, try your hand at these other types of challenging problems: Combinatorics & Algebra

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Posted on
30
Jul 2020

Should you include your GMAT score on your resume?

A lot of our clients ask if having a good GMAT score can help you on a job search. The truth is that for some jobs it can be immensely useful. However, other jobs might not even take a look at it. Ultimately, it’s up to the HR departments of your potential employer. Still, there are some rules of thumb to follow. 

A Really Strong Score

Let me first begin by saying that the only time you should list the GMAT on your resume is if it’s a really strong score. We’re talking 700 or above. There’s no sense talking about a middling or even middling-good GMAT score if you run the risk of having someone ask: “Well why didn’t you score higher?” Really, the bar is about 700. 

There are a lot of industries that really value the GMAT and those are going to largely parallel those that value the MBA. Finance, banking, and consulting firms will generally respond favorably to a GMAT score and one of the things to understand about why this is is to understand what the GMAT is and how it factors into a hiring decision. 

GMAT As a Signal

The GMAT’s what’s called a psychometric exam and much like other standardized tests, whether it’s the SAT, the ACT, GRE, LSAT, these test not just what you know but to varying degrees how you think and many of the top consulting shops have HR departments that have their own in-house tests. So the GMAT serves as a good proxy for those and signals that you will likely thrive and do well in the testing environment that, let’s say, McKinsey might place you in. 

Understand that a strong GMAT score immediately says to the the recruiter, that you can handle a certain amount of intellectual rigor and then you have a certain amount of pliability to the way you think. That’s the value of a GMAT score on a resume, aside from the fact, of course, that it compares you to your peers favorably. 

Include Your GMAT Score Where Necessary

So, as you’re hunting for jobs, whether it’s post-MBA or whether you just took the GMAT and decided not to go to business school or got an alternative degree, think about listing your GMAT and think about it as a talking point for how you overcame an obstacle or in a way that might be complementary to the profile or the narrative that you’re trying to present to a particular hiring manager. I hope this helps and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us!

If you enjoyed this video, you can find more useful GMAT content such as: Everything you need to know about the GMAT and GMAT Prep Tips

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What to expect on the GMAT test
Posted on
28
Jul 2020

GMAT 101: What to Expect on the GMAT Test

by ApexGMAT

Contributor: Svetozara Saykova

July 28th, 2020

The GMAT is a challenging exam, and in this article we’ll provide both a broad overview of how it works as well as a deep dive into its nuances to put you on a surer footing for preparing, and ultimately conquering, the exam. There’s a good chance that you’ve already decided to apply to several MBA programs, and that they all require a GMAT score, so let’s get started!

What is the GMAT?

   The GMAT (short for Graduate Management Admissions Test) is an advanced examination that is a requirement for admission to most MBA (Masters of Business Administration) programs. The GMAT consists of four sections – Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning and the Analytical Writing Assessment. Each part examines a particular set of skills vital in the business world. A candidate’s performance on the exam helps admission officers assess their suitability for the rigorous curriculum and challenges of an MBA program. 

The GMAT requires knowledge of high school level math as well as English language and grammar. The catch is this: they’re not testing your knowledge, but rather your creative application of that knowledge. In that sense, success on the GMAT boils down to two things – your critical assessment of information and your ability to reason

How does a single exam measure whether or not a candidate has the skills to excel in a top MBA program and, by extension, thrive in the business world? The thing is that the GMAT is not a standard standardized test, but it is a CAT.

What the heck is a CAT?

CAT stands for computer-adaptive test, which means that the test adapts to your skill level. It does this by modifying the questions according to your performance. The first question will typically have a moderate level of difficulty, then the difficulties of the second and subsequent questions are based upon your performance on previous questions. The algorithm selects which problems to deliver depending upon your collective performance so far. If you continue to answer correctly, the difficulty of the questions will rise and vice versa.

   On the GMAT three of the sections are computer-adaptive – the Quantitative, the Verbal and the Integrated Reasoning. 

   No two people have ever taken the same exact GMAT test. What’s more, the test is challenging for everyone, even top 700+ performers. Why? First, each candidate gets a unique mix of questions as the test adapts to your performance in real time. This pushes each candidate to the edge of their capabilities, making the GMAT feel like it’s more difficult than it is, and making you feel that you’re not doing as well as you are. The test can continue to toss increasingly challenging questions at you until it reaches your limit. 

The CAT model has another interesting feature. The test taker is presented with one question at a time and cannot go back and forth within the exam. Once an answer is provided and the test taker proceeds to the next question, they cannot return. This is understandably quite  nerve-racking and can contribute to stress-based under performance. Overcoming anxiety surrounding the GMAT can be a daunting task, but it is vital for excellent performance. That is why having effective strategies on how to manage the GMAT related stress is a must in order to enhance your performance.

GMAT Results

Immediately After Taking  the GMAT Test

Right after you sit the GMAT you will see four out of your five scores: The Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning and your aggregate score out of 800. Those will be your unofficial scores and you will have two minutes to accept or cancel your results. If you do not decide, your score will be automatically cancelled. The AWA/Writing section is graded by an actual human and so that score comes in with your Official Score Report. 

The Unofficial Score Report 

When given your scores, you will have two minutes to decide whether you want to keep them. If the time expires before you make a decision the score will be automatically cancelled. Rest assured, if you cancel them they can be reinstated within 4 years and 11 month from your exam date. You can also cancel them within 72 hours for a fee  if you change your mind later on. If you decide to accept your results, an Unofficial score report will be issued. You will receive it prior to leaving the test center. The report will contain your Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning and Total scores, as well as some personal information. The unofficial score report can help you determine whether you are a competitive applicant for your desired program and whether you need to retake the GMAT, though you should have a sense of what score you are seeking before entering the testing center, so that you can make a good decision about cancelling/keeping scores. 

Although the unofficial report can be very helpful to you, it cannot be used for your MBA applications. Only the Official score report that comes in the mail a few weeks later and is send separately to Business Schools can be used for your application and admissions.

   Within Three Weeks After the Exam

   You will be sent a notice that your Official score report is ready. Besides the scores from your unofficial report, it will contain your Analytical Writing Assessment score, your GMAT percentile rankings – it shows where your score is on the scale compared to your peers, the personal data you provided at registration, and scores from other GMAT tests you have taken within the past five years. 

   Your official score is valid for five years, which gives you the flexibility to send it out to universities when you are ready, or to defer application to another year.

   In addition to the official report, an applicant can request an Enhanced score report for a fee of $30. It contains a comprehensive performance analysis by section and question type, and can provide the candidate with an understanding of their strengths and weaknesses as well as how they rank among their peers. 

GMAT Scoring

   When you receive your Score Report you will see scores for each section ranging as follows:

  • the Quantitative score
  • range: from 0 to 51 points  in 1.0 increments
  • average: 40.2 (for the period 2015 – 2018)
  •  the Verbal score
  • range: from 0 to 51 points in 1.0 increments
  • average: 27.08 (for the period 2015-2018)
  •  the Total GMAT score
  • range: from 200 to 800 points in 1.0 increments 
  • average: 563.43 (for the period 2015-2018)

 

  • the Integrated reasoning score 
  • range: from 1 to 8 points in 1.0 increments 
  • average: 4.41 (for the period 2015 – 2018)
  •  the AWA score 
  • range:  0 to 6 points in 0.5 increments
  • average: 4.49 (for the period 2015-2018)

Source: GMAC.com   

   The major difference between non-adaptive tests and the GMAT is that the GMAT score is derived not by how many problems you answer correctly, but by the relative difficulty of the problems that you answer correctly

   In standard assessments, like the SAT or the TOEFL for instance, each problem has a firm percentage that contributes to the final grade. These tests demand a certain approach that we are all familiar with from high school:  dedicate time to each question and try to get everything right. This approach is ineffective, however, when it comes to computer adaptive tests like the GMAT. In fact, due to the adaptive nature of the exam, regardless of how well they perform, most test takers only answer correctly between 40-60% of the questions. The critical point is that your score depends on the most challenging questions that you can answer correctly on a consistent basis. In essence, the higher the overall difficulty level at which you get 60% of the questions right, the higher you will score.

The best way to perform well on the GMAT is to be properly prepared. This means not only knowing the material on which you are being tested, but being able to effectively allocate scarce resources like time, attention, and focus. Since you are unable to jump backwards or forwards and because each question depends on your answer to the previous one, you need to be able to accurately assess how much of these resources each question deserves in the context of the greater exam. You should be able to balance spending more time on hard questions while not running out of time on any particular section. It is imperative to note that there are harsh penalties for incomplete sections, so be sure to answer each question before time runs out, even if you must guess at random.

What are the GMAT sections?

   The GMAT test is comprised of four distinct sections. Each section assesses a particular area of subject matter expertise and each has its own unique problem types; however, critical thinking and analytical reasoning are the core skills that will get you through each section and through the whole exam. 

The GMAT can be broken down to:

  • Verbal
  • Quantitative
  • Integrated Reasoning
  • Analytical Writing Assessment

  The student sitting the exam has the opportunity to choose with which part to start. There are three variations:

  • AWA & Integrated Reasoning (break) Quantitative (break) Verbal;
  • Quantitative (break) Verbal (break) Integrated Reasoning & AWA;
  • Verbal (break) Quantitative (break) Integrated Reasoning & AWA;

You will be able to choose the order following the computer tutorial you will be given at the test center just before you start your exam. 

Pro tip: Choose the order of the exam based upon your comfort levels. Most people like to put their most challenging section first so that they can optimize their performance by tackling the difficult section while one’s brain is still crisp. Others may opt to start off with a stronger section, or the less important AWA/IR to get into a “flow” state before tackling the sections that they find most challenging or important. Ultimately, the best advice is to experiment, and go with what makes you most comfortable, because a strong performance can only come with comfort.

Verbal

Verbal section of the GMAT

   The Verbal section permits test-takers to present their reasoning skills, critical thinking, and command of English grammar. It measures the test taker’s ability to read and comprehend written materials, reason and evaluate subtle arguments, and correct written sentences to match standard written English.

There are three types of questions in the Verbal section:

Reading comprehension

   These questions test your ability to read critically. More specifically, you should be able to:

  • summarize the text and derive the key idea;
  • distinguish between ideas stated directly in the text and ideas implied by the author;
  • come up with conclusions based on the information in a given passage;
  • analyze the logical structure of the argument;
  • deduce the author’s attitude towards the topic. 
Critical reasoning 

   You will be presented with a short argument and asked to select a statement which either represents the conclusion, strengthens or weakens the argument, or analyzes how the argument is constructed. In order to excel in Critical reasoning one should be familiar with logical reasoning, common fallacies and assumption, and structural connections between evidence and conclusion. We all use reasoning daily but more often than not our thought process is not logically precise or rigorous and that is what the GMAT test writers count upon. Examining your own thought process and understanding where you are susceptible to imprecise thinking can be a good start for prepping.

Sentence correction

These questions test your knowledge of English grammar and accurate expression. On sentence correction you’ll be shown a somewhat complex sentence, part of which or the whole of which is underlined. You will be asked to select the best version of the underlined portion, whether the original or one of four alternatives presented.

After getting familiar with the specifics of the Verbal section, you might wonder whether native speakers have an unfair advantage. That is a fair contention, however the answer is nuanced. The GMAT does not test particularly one’s command of English, as opposed to some other language, but their understanding of language construction. If one has a strong eye and ear for grammar in another language, they will likely perform well on Sentence Correction. Bottom line: there can be advantages and disadvantages for both native and non-native English speakers. The key is to learn to use them to your advantage.

Quantitative

Quantitative Section of the GMAT   The Quant section on the GMAT is designed to evaluate the candidate’s analytical knowledge and depth of understanding of basic mathematical concepts like algebra, geometry, number properties and arithmetic. More to the point, the expectation is that you know the math typical for any high school student, but the GMAT is using that as a base of knowledge to test your creativity.

  There are two types of problems in the Quantitative section: 

Data sufficiency 

   These problems consist of a single question and two statements of truth. The task is to determine if each of the statements (or both together) contain enough data to answer the question definitively. DS questions test your ability to promptly identify what information is crucial to answer a particular question and how well you ignore or eliminate unnecessary or insufficient data. It is important to note that you are not being asked to solve the problems, and often it is preferable to not solve the problem. Pro Tip: Insufficient data will often lead you to multiple possible answers – Be Careful!

Problem solving 

PS problems are somewhat generic, and very much what you may be used to from your school days. Each presents a candidate with a problem that they need to solve, and the answer is multiple choice. The knowledge required is high school level maths up to algebra and geometry, with a smattering of statistics and combinatorics, but nothing terribly high level. Once again, in this part as in the GMAT test as a whole, the main skill that is evaluated is your ability to critically assess information. In fact, it is particularly important to avoid doing the actual math but rather pick apart the problem and reduce it to a much simpler question. 

Integrated reasoning

Integrated reasoning   The Integrated reasoning section was added to the GMAT exam in 2012 and is increasingly becoming a more important part of the exam. 

The IR contains both verbal and quantitative topics, weaved together into a challenging problem landscape. This section assesses the ability of a candidate to comb through a significant quantity of data, often delivered in a complicated fashion, and identify a particular piece of information or derive a specific insight. 

   There are four types of questions in the Integrated reasoning section: 

Multi-source reasoning

This problem type offers a combination of text, tables and graphs, and then asks you to identify discrepancies among different sources of data or ask you to draw conclusions or derive inferences by taking tidbits from various sources and combining them together. The key skill  here is adaptability to structurally different content and being able to draw associations between the various content types. Keep in mind that most of the data is not relevant – with multiple sources comes plenty of unnecessary information, so being deliberate with the information you choose to analyze more deeply is essential. 

Graphic interpretation 

Graphic interpretation is exactly what it sounds like. You may be presented with a more traditional graph like a pie or bar chart, but you might also be provided an unusual diagram. The test-taker should be able to accurately interpret the information, recognize relationships among the data and draw conclusions from the graphics provided. It’s crucial to remember that you shouldn’t get carried away trying to understand or interpret all of the information but that the core task is to focus on what you are being asked and finding that needle in the haystack of data provided. 

Two-part analysis 

These types of questions measure one’s ability to solve complex problems – quantitative, verbal or a combination of both. Each question has two sub-questions which can be dependent upon one another. Irrespective of whether they’re related, like other Integrated Reasoning questions, you’ll need to answer both parts correctly to get credit for the question. The format of the problems in this section is intentionally diverse in order to cover a wide range of content and test your ability to synthesize knowledge from different fields.

Table analysis

This question type presents a table of data, but that’s just the beginning. The challenging part of these problems is determining what’s being asked for, and then using the provided tables in an efficient manner.

Table analysis requires not just reading information from the tables provided, but requires one to understand the question, and organize the data in such a way so that it can be efficiently sorted. The candidate is tasked to determine what from the given information is relevant or meets certain criteria. 

Analytical Writing Assessment

Analytical Writing section of the GMAT   The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) or the “essay” section provides admission officers 

with an idea of your writing skill. The AWA section is scored separately and does not count towards the Combined (200 to 800 points) score. The essay is checked twice – once by a human reader and once by a computer algorithm. The final grade is an average from both scores. If the scores differ greatly, then the writing sample is reviewed by another human reader and after that the final grade is decided.

For this task you will be presented with a passage similar to those from Critical reasoning in the Verbal section of the GMAT. You will be asked to provide a well-supported critique of the author’s argument, to analyze their strong points and identify the weaknesses in their line of reasoning. What’s more, the AWA section measures the candidate’s ability to express themselves and their ideas clearly and with precision in written form. 

Now that you have a thorough understanding of what to expect on the GMAT you might be concerned with the practical side of things like how, when and where

How?

The GMAT test is administered by the global testing network Pearson VUE. They have 600+ centers all around the world where you can sit the exam. The GMAT is facilitated through a computer system available at the designated Pearson VUE centers, which means that you can take the exam only at those centers.  

As of the COVID-19 pandemic the GMAT centers closed so the GMAC provided an online version GMAT. In case there is still an option to take the GMAT online when you are reading this and you are interested in doing so, check out our videos on how it is administered and what you need to know prior to sitting the online GMAT. 

When and where?

    First of all, you should make sure you know your chosen MBA programs’ application deadlines and from there coordinate accordingly. Consider how much time you will need for preparation. You should also plan to take the exam more than once; even with a strong score, there’s always room for continued improvement, and you might as well take it a second time after putting all that effort into preparing. So plan to factor in a re-take or two, just in case – also good if you do well… you can always do better! This is important because the GMAC has rules regarding re-takes: they must be at least 16 days apart, there cannot be more than 5 within a year and there’s a lifetime limit of 8 total attempts at the exam. You can take the GMAT at any time of the year, and appointments are generally availab;e if you plan a few months ahead, so you can launch your plan without worrying about the precise exam date and then midway through make an appointment based on your progress and practice exam results. 

And last but not least how much does it cost?

   The total price of the GMAT is $250 – as of July 2020 230 Euro/203 GBP. This amount includes sending your official score to up to five universities or MBA programs of your choice. You can of course request your results to be sent to additional programs; each one will cost you an additional $35

This all might seem a little overwhelming, which is reasonable given how important the exam is, and all the idiosyncrasies of the GMAT. Growing familiar with the exam is a challenge in itself. With determination and the proper guidance, you can unleash your full potential and obtain admission to your dream MBA programs. Set yourself up for success by learning how to select the right tutor to begin your GMAT journey. 

 

We are excited to announce that the Apex GMAT Blog is rated as one of the top 10 GMAT blogs in 2020 by Feedspot.

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