A Continuation of GMAT Permutation Math
Posted on
18
Feb 2021

A Continuation of Permutation Math

By: Rich Zwelling (Apex GMAT Instructor)
Date: 16 Feb 2021

Review of example from last post

Last time, when we started our discussion of GMAT Combinatorics, we gave a brief example of GMAT permutations in which we had five paintings and asked how many arrangements could be made on a wall with those paintings. As it turns out, no complicated combinatorics formula is necessary. You can create an easy graph with dashes and list five options for the first slot, leaving four for the second slot, and so on:

_5_  _4_ _3_ _2_ _1_

Then multiply 5*4*3*2*1 to get 120 arrangements of the five paintings. Remember you could see this notationally as 5!, or 5 factorial. (It’s helpful to memorize factorials up to 6!)

More permutation math

But there could be fewer slots then items. Take the following combinatorics practice problem:

At a cheese tasting, a chef is to present some of his best creations to the event’s head judge. Due to the event’s very bizarre restrictions, he must present exactly three or four cheeses. He has brought his best cheddar, brie, gouda, roquefort, gruyere, and camembert. How many potential orderings of cheeses can the chef create to present to the judge?

A) 120
B) 240
C) 360
D) 480
E) 600

First, as a review, how do we know this is a PERMUTATION and not a COMBINATION? Because order matters. In the previous problem, the word “arrangements” gave away that we care about the order in which items appear. In this problem, we’re told that we’re interested in the “orderings” of cheeses. Cheddar followed by gouda would be considered distinct from gouda followed by cheddar. (Look for signal words like “arrangements” or “orderings” to indicate a PERMUTATION problem.)

In this case, we must consider the options of three or four cheeses separately, as they are independent (i.e. they cannot both happen). But for each case, the process is actually no different from what we discussed last time. We can simply consider each case separately and create dashes (slots) for each option. In the first case (three cheeses), there are six options for the first slot, five for the second, and four for the third:

_6_  _5_  _4_

We multiply those together to give us 6*5*4 = 120 possible ways to present three cheeses. We do likewise for the four-cheese case:

_6_  _5_  _4_  _3_

We multiply those together to give us 6*5*4*3 = 360 possible ways to present four cheeses.

Since these two situations (three cheeses and four cheeses) are independent, we simply add them up to get a final answer of 120+360 = 480 possible orderings of cheeses, and the correct answer is D. 

You might have also noticed that there’s a sneaky arithmetic shortcut. You’ll notice that you have to add 6*5*4 + 6*5*4*3. Instead of multiplying each case separately, you can factor out 6*5*4 from the sum, as follows:

6*5*4 + 6*5*4*3

= 6*5*4 ( 1 + 3)

= 6*5*4*4

= 30*16 OR 20*24

= 480

Develop the habit of looking for quick, efficient ways of doing basic arithmetic to bank time. It will pay off when you have to do more difficult questions in the latter part of the test. 

Now that we have been through GMAT permutations, next time, I’ll give this problem a little twist and show you how to make it a COMBINATION problem. Until then…

Permutations and Combinations Intro
A Continuation of Permutation Math
An Intro To Combination Math
Permutations With Repeat Elements

Read more
3 month GMAT study plan
Posted on
04
Feb 2021

GMAT 3-Month Study Plan

by: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Uerda Muca
Date: 2 Feb 2021

When should you start GMAT preparation? 

One of the most crucial decisions to make before you start preparing for the GMAT test is to decide when is the latest and/or earliest time to start preparing in order to do well on the exam. Giving an answer to this question is not as straightforward and easy as it might sound. There are various factors that need to be taken into account, such as your current skill set in English and Math, your target GMAT score, the amount of time per week you are planning to allot to studying, etc. However, with a sensible preparation strategy, one should be able to reach their target score on the GMAT in a 3 month timeframe. 

University requirements

Most business schools consider the GMAT to be a crucial data point in the admissions process and your goal GMAT score depends on which universities you want to gain acceptance into. Every university has its own GMAT score requirement. So, begin your GMAT journey by researching the schools or programs that you are interested in applying to and note the average GMAT score for their recent admitted candidates. Following this, gather information regarding their application deadlines. This will give a better idea of when to schedule your exam and how to adjust your study plan accordingly. 

GMAT Study Plan
Week 1: GMAT Basics

Become familiar with the GMAT format and content. Prepare yourself for what you are about to encounter during the next 3 months and on the day of your GMAT exam. All you need to know about the GMAT, its structure, sections, timing, scoring, and more can be found Here

Take a diagnostics test. You haven’t studied at all for the GMAT? That’s totally fine, you can still take the test. As the name itself suggests, the point of this test is to diagnose, based on your Quantitative, Verbal, and Integrated Reasoning scores, your strengths and weaknesses. Something to keep in mind; You should take the exam under the same exact conditions as the actual GMAT exam. This is an excellent representation of how the GMAT exam is conducted. To take the GMAT practice exam click Here

Analyze your results. As you are in the process of reviewing the results of your diagnostics test, it would be helpful to ask yourself some questions to better understand the difficulties you encountered. When analyzing the solutions of some questions you got wrong or maybe you weren’t totally confident about, take note of any patterns. What section/s did you find most challenging? Which types of questions within each section were you struggling most with? Also, don’t forget to ask yourself questions about the “bigger picture” like: Were you able to finish every section? Did you feel anxious? How did you feel at the end of the test?

Week 2: Quant Section

Familiarize yourself with the GMAT quant section. Read about which types of quantitative questions and content that you are most likely to come across during your 3 months of preparation, mock tests, and the GMAT test.

Review GMAT Math. Before diving deeper into preparing for this section, take some time to brush up on some of the formulas, definitions, and topics of the Maths section. 

Learn the underlying concepts related to each topic (percents, ratios, exponents, statistics, etc). In this section, you will come across some specific wording that can be fundamental to finding the solution to the problems. In order to not get stuck during the exam and waste your precious time, learning about the most frequently used concepts is helpful.

Week 3: Verbal Section 

Make yourself acquainted with the GMAT verbal section. A great way to start working with the verbal section is to become familiar with the overall structure of this section. To learn more about this section, how it is scored, and some insights about its subsections click Here.

Learn how to tackle each type of question. There are three types of questions in the verbal section and their purpose is to test certain skills. This means that for each of them you have to use particular strategies. 

Tip. It’s more effective to concentrate on one area at a time. So, while preparing for this section, choose one subsection and stick with it for a couple of days.

Week 4: Monthly Progress Check 

Take a mock test. As the saying goes “Practice makes perfect.” The more you get yourself exposed to GMAT practice exams, the more likely you are to achieve your desired score.

Review your results. While looking at the answer explanations, pay attention to the solutions of the questions you got incorrectly.  

Practice the type of questions you are having difficulties with. Identify the questions where you are spending more time than you should. Read some articles that recommend tips, strategies, and tactics that can assist in solving them faster. 

Week 5: Quant Review

Practice and enhance your knowledge of data sufficiency questions. Now that you are familiar with this term it’s a good time to start reading some strategies on how to tackle these types of questions. After doing that, practicing what you just learned by solving problems focused particularly on these types of questions is extremely beneficial to your progress. 

Practice and enhance your knowledge of problem solving questions. These are other types of questions that you will need to do some research and then solve some problem sets on. 

Week 6: Verbal Review 

Practice and enhance your knowledge of Critical Reasoning questions. You can find articles about tips specifically about these types of questions and while practicing you be sure to make use of them. Another practical thing to do is read about articles related to common mistakes and how to avoid them. 

Practice and enhance your knowledge of Sentence Correction questions. Additionally, as was mentioned above, these types of questions concentrate on reviewing a few basic grammar concepts and skills.

Practice and enhance your knowledge of Reading Comprehension questions. Besides reading articles related to tips and common mistakes, reading Reading Comprehension-like writing is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the style and content of Reading Comprehension passages.

Week 7: Integrated Reasoning Section

Become familiar with the GMAT Integrated Reasoning Section. Get informed about how long this section lasts, what is its total number of questions, and what types of questions you will encounter. Then you can move on to learn more about its purpose and what makes this section different from the others. 

Brush up on your graph reading skills. For the most part, this section depends on the same math, verbal, and critical reasoning skills that you need for the other sections of the GMAT. Keeping in mind that the inclusion of diverse graphs is what gives this section its uniqueness. You can spend some time getting comfortable with interpreting data from various sources.

Week 8: Monthly Progress Check 

Take mock tests. After studying for almost every section, taking some mock tests will assist in keeping track of your progress. 

Review your results. This time try to identify the topics you are still not comfortable with. Solely taking mock tests without analyzing the explanations to questions is not going to be much help. 

Practice the type of questions you are struggling with. After analyzing these practice tests and understanding the patterns of your weaknesses, working more on the questions you find challenging leads to score improvements.

Week 9: Integrated Reasoning Review

Practice and enhance your knowledge of all four types of questions. As you might have noticed a pattern already, reading about tips, tricks, common mistakes, strategies, tactics, etc. for each type of question and putting them into practice is what you can do when reviewing every section of the GMAT exam. 

Week 10: AWA Section 

Make yourself acquainted with the GMAT AWA section. This is the step that, as you have seen so far, applies to every section. You can’t anticipate doing well on a task without knowing what is expected from you. An introductory article regarding the AWA section can be read  Here

Review sample AWA templates. This is something that might come in handy when you need to format your essays. With some modifications, these templates can be used on test day. 

Practice. Practice. Practice. Writing a couple of essays in a day will help you master your timing and get used to the structure you may use on your GMAT essay.

Week 11: Time and Stress Management 

Some other significant factors to consider while working on preparing for the GMAT test are time and stress management. A good start is reading a handful of blogs and articles that suggest many tips and strategies that can help you improve your time and stress management skills. If you want to learn more about how to master stress, how a private GMAT Tutoring can assist you with that, and more click Here.

Week 12: Review and Relax. 

During the last week don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself. Instead, try to take care of your mind and body as much as you can. One last brief review focused primarily on the sections or type of questions you struggled most with is going to be enough.  Finally, the most important tip, don’t forget to enjoy your GMAT preparation journey.

We at the Apex team hope that you find this GMAT study plan helpful. If you want to discuss your progress and possibly having some one on one preparation sessions with us, we would be happy to help, set up a complimentary consultation call with a GMAT instructor here

Read more
similar triangles on the gmat
Posted on
02
Feb 2021

Similar Triangles – GMAT Geometry

By: Rich Zwelling (Apex GMAT Instructor)
Date: 2 Feb 2021

One of the most important things to highlight here is that “similar” does not necessarily mean “identical.” Two triangles can be similar without being the same size. For example, take the following:

similar triangles on the GMAT 1

Even though the triangles are of different size, notice that the angles remain the same. This is what really defines the triangles as similar.

Now, what makes this interesting is that the measurements associated with the triangle increase proportionally. For example, if we were to present a triangle with lengths 3, 5, and 7, and we were to then tell you that a similar triangle existed that was twice as large, the corresponding side lengths of that similar triangle would have to be 6, 10, and 14. (This should be no surprise considering our lesson on multiples of Pythagorean triples, such as 3-4-5 leading to 6-8-10, 9-12-15, etc.)

You can also extend this to Perimeter, as perimeter is another one-dimensional measurement. So, if for example we ask:

similar triangles on the GMAT 2

A triangle has line segments XY = 6, YZ = 7, and XZ = 9. If Triangle PQR is similar to Triangle XYZ, and PQ = 18, as shown, then what is the perimeter of Triangle PQR?

Answer: Perimeter is a one-dimensional measurement, just as line segments are. As such, since PQ is three times the length of XY, that means the perimeter of Triangle PQR will be three times the perimeter of Triangle XYZ as well. The perimeter of Triangle XYZ is 6+7+9 = 22. We simply multiply that by 3 to get the perimeter of Triangle PQR, which is 66.

Things can get a little more difficult with area, however, as area is a two-dimensional measurement. If I double the length of each side of a triangle, for example, how does this affect the area? Think about it before reading on…

SCENARIO

Suppose we had a triangle that had a base of 20 and a height of 10:

similar triangles on the GMAT 3

The area would be 20*10 / 2 = 100.

Now, if we double each side of the triangle, what effect does that have on the height? Well, the height is still a one-dimensional measurement (i.e. a line segment), so it also doubles. So the new triangle would have a base of 40 and a height of 20. That would make the area 40*20 / 2 = 400.

Notice that since the original area was 100 and the new area is 400, the area actually quadrupled, even though each side doubled. If the base and height are each multiplied by 2, the area is multiplied by 22. (There’s a connection here to units, since units of area are in square measurements, such as square inches, square meters, or square feet.)

Now, let’s take a look at the following original problem:

Triangle ABC and Triangle DEF are two triangular pens enclosing two separate terrariums. Triangle ABC has side lengths 7 inches, 8 inches, and 10 inches. A beetle is placed along the outer edge of the other terrarium at point D and traverses the entire perimeter once without retracing its path. When finished, it was discovered that the beetle took three times as long as it did traversing the first terrarium traveling at the same average speed in the same manner. What is the total distance, in inches, that the beetle covered between the two terrariums?

A) 25
B) 50
C) 75
D) 100
E) 125

Explanation

This one has a few traps in store. Hopefully you figured out the significance of the beetle taking three times as long to traverse the second terrarium at the same average speed: it’s confirmation that the second terrarium has three times the perimeter of the first. At that point, you can deduce that, since the first terrarium has perimeter 7+8+10 = 25, the second one must have perimeter 25*3 = 75. However, it can be tempting to then choose C, if you don’t read the question closely. Notice the question effectively asks for the perimeters of BOTH terrariums. The correct answer is D.

GMAT Triangle Series Articles:

A Short Meditation on Triangles
The 30-60-90 Right Triangle
The 45-45-90 Right Triangle
The Area of an Equilateral Triangle
Triangles with Other Shapes
Isosceles Triangles and Data Sufficiency
Similar Triangles
3-4-5 Right Triangle
5-12-13 and 7-24-25 Right Triangles

Read more
Intro to GMAT Data Sufficiency- All you’ll need to know
Posted on
29
Jan 2021

GMAT Data Sufficiency Introduction

by Apex GMAT
Contributor: Altea Sulollari
Date: 28 January 2021

 

As a GMAT test-taker, you are probably familiar with data sufficiency problems. These are one of the two question types that you will come across in the GMAT quant section, and you will find up to 10 of them on the exam. The rest of the 31 questions will be problem-solving questions.

The one thing that all GMAT data-sufficiency questions have in common is their structure. That is what essentially sets them apart from the problem-solving questions. 

Keep on reading to find out more about these questions’ particular structures and the topics that they cover:

The question structure:

The GMAT data sufficiency problems have a very particular structure that they follow and that never changes. You are presented with a question and 2 different statements. You will also be given 5 answer choices that remain the same across all data sufficiency problems on the GMAT exam. These answer questions are the following:

A) Statement (1) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (2) alone is not sufficient.
B) Statement (2) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (1) alone is not sufficient.
C) BOTH statements TOGETHER are sufficient, but NEITHER statement ALONE is sufficient.
D) EACH statement ALONE is sufficient.
E) Statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are NOT sufficient.

Your job would be to determine whether the 2 statements that you are provided with are sufficient to answer the question.

What topics are covered?

Some of the math topics that you will see in this type of question are concepts from high school arithmetic, geometry, and algebra.

Below, you’ll find a list of all concepts you need to know for each math topic:

Geometry

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

Algebra

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

Arithmetic

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

Word problems

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

Common mistakes people make when dealing with this question type

Actually solving the question

This is the #1 mistake most test-takers make with these problems. These problems are not meant to be solved. Instead, you will only need to set up the problem and not execute it. That is also more time-efficient for you and will give you some extra minutes that you can use to solve other questions. 

Over-calculating

This relates to the first point we made. This question type requires you to determine whether the data you have is sufficient to solve the problem. In that case, calculating won’t help you determine that. On the contrary, over-calculating will eat up your precious minutes.

Rushing

This is yet another common mistake that almost everyone is guilty of. You will have to spend just enough time reading through the question in order to come up with a solution. Rushing through it won’t help you do that, and you will probably miss out on essential details that would otherwise make your life easier. 

Not understanding the facts

What most test-takers fail to consider is that the fact lies in the 2 statements that are included in the questions. Those are the only facts that you have to consider as true and use in your question-solving process. 

3+ tips to master this question type:

Review the fundamentals

That is the first step you need to go through before going in for actual practice tests. Knowing that you will encounter these high school math fundamentals in every single quant problem, is enough to convince anyone to review and revise everything beforehand.

Memorize the answer choices

This might sound a bit intimidating at first as most answer choices are very long sentences that tend to be similar to each other in content. However, there is a way to make this easier for you. What you need to do is synthesize the answer choices into simpler and more manageable options. That way, they will be easier to remember. This is what we suggest:

  1. Only statement 1
  2. Only statement 2
  3. Both statements together
  4. Either statement
  5. Neither statement

Examine each statement separately

That is definitely the way to go with this GMAT question. You will need to determine whether one of the statements, both, either, or neither is sufficient, and you cannot do that unless you look at each of them separately first.

Now that you have read the article and are well-aware of the best ways to solve data sufficiency problems on the GMAT, try your hand at this practice question.

 

Read more
45-45-90 triangles on the gmat
Posted on
06
Jan 2021

45-45-90 Right Triangle – GMAT Geometry Guide

By: Rich Zwelling (Apex GMAT Instructor)
Date: Jan 6 2021

45-45-90 Right Triangle

Another of the commonly tested triangles on the GMAT is the 45-45-90, also known as the isosceles right triangle. Know that term, as it could appear by name in a question.

As shown in the above diagram, the side lengths of this triangle always fit the same ratio (1 : 1 : √2) , where the legs are the same length and the hypotenuse length is √2 times the leg length. For example, if the leg lengths were 3 instead of 1, then the hypotenuse would be 3√2 instead of simply √2.

But likewise, don’t forget that you can go backwards and divide the hypotenuse length by √2 to get to the leg length. It may seem obvious, but it presents an important point: what’s more important than simply memorizing the ratio is understanding the mathematical relationship between the side lengths. This will help you avoid trouble if the GMAT happens to give you a problem that doesn’t conform to expectations.

For example, the following problem fits expectations quite nicely:

A yard in the shape of an isosceles right triangle has a hypotenuse of length 10√2. What is the area of this yard?

From this information, it’s easy enough to deduce that the leg length is 10, and we can draw a diagram that looks roughly like this:


From there, we can easily calculate the area, which is base*height / 2, or in this case 10*10/2 = 50.

But what happens if we give the problem a little twist:

A yard in the shape of an isosceles right triangle has a hypotenuse of length 10. What is the area of this yard?

Did you catch the twist? We’re used to the hypotenuse including a √2. This is what the GMAT will do. They’ll throw you off-center, and you’ll have to adjust. But this is also why we said earlier that what matters more than memorizing the ratio of sides is understanding the relationships between the sides of an isosceles right triangle…

Remember we said that, just as we multiply the leg length by √2 to get to the hypotenuse length, so we must divide the hypotenuse length by √2 to get to the leg length. That must mean each leg has length 10/√2. 

You can then take 10/√2 and multiply it by √2/√2 to de-radicalize the denominator and get (10√2) / 2, or a leg length of 5√2:

Notice again that we have a more unfamiliar form, with the √2 terms in the legs and an integer in the hypotenuse. We can’t count on the GMAT to give us what we’re used to. 

Now we can calculate the area:

Area = (base*height)/2 = (5√2)(5√2)/2 = (5*5)(√2*√2)/2 = (25)*(2) / 2 = 25

 

Problem #1

Now, to try this on your own, take a look at this Official Guide problem:

If a square mirror has a 20-inch diagonal, what is the approximate perimeter of the mirror, in inches?

(A)   40
(B)   60
(C)   80
(D)   100
(E)   120

Explanation:

This is a nice change-up, because it involves another shape. Did you notice that splitting a square along its diagonal creates two isosceles right triangles

Once you realize this, you can divide 20 by √2 to get 20/√2, then multiply top and bottom by √2 to get x=10√2.

Since the question asks for perimeter, we can multiply this by four to get 40√2. 

The final step is to realize that √2 is approximately 1.4. If we multiply 40 by 1.4, the only answer choice that possibly makes sense is 60, and thus the correct answer is B

 

After reviewing the 45-45-90 triangle identity, these further articles in the triangle geometry series will take you through more identities, each of the specific triangles and how the GMAT uses them to test your critical and creative solving skills:
A Short Meditation on Triangles
The 30-60-90 Right Triangle
The 45-45-90 Right Triangle
The Area of an Equilateral Triangle
Triangles with Other Shapes
Isosceles Triangles and Data Sufficiency
Similar Triangles
3-4-5 Right Triangle
5-12-13 and 7-24-25 Right Triangles

Read more
fortune 500 ceos with mbas
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. 

Read more
master the gmat awa section
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. 

Read more
4 practices to master the gmat awa section
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! 

Read more
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

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.

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

5 Takeaways from a Successful GMAT Journey

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Svetozara Saykova
Date: 25 August 2020

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.

Read more