How-to GMAT: No Calculator? Use These Mental Math Tips Instead
Posted on
07
Sep 2021

How-to GMAT: No Calculator? Use These Mental Math Tips Instead

The GMAT is an exam largely focused on numbers and numerical data. And while doing math on the GMAT should be avoided sometimes it is inevitable. True, the test-taker is given a calculator for the duration of the Integrated Reasoning section but the same cannot be said for the Quantitative Reasoning Section. 

This article is going to provide some smart calculation shortcuts and mental math tips to help you go through some arithmetical questions without losing too much time and help you get a higher score on the GMAT Quant.

The Basics

Before explaining any methods for dividing and multiplying with ease, let’s make sure we have revised a few simple rules:

  • Numbers with an even last digit are divisible by 2 – 576 is and 943 is not;
  • Numbers with a sum of digits divisible by 3 are also divisible by 3 – 3,465 for example (3+4+6+5=18);
  • If the last 2 digits of a number a divisible by 4, the number itself is divisible by 4 – 5,624 for example (because 24/4=6);
  • Numbers with last digit 0 or 5 are divisible by 5;
  • Numbers that can be divided by both 2 and 3 can be divided by 6;
  • Similar to numbers divisible by 3, numbers divisible by 9 must have a sum of digits divisible by 9 – 6,453 for example;
  • If the last digit of a number is 0 it is divisible by 10;

With that out of the way, we can move onto some more advanced mental math techniques.

Avoid division at all costs

Don’t divide unless there is no other option. And that is especially true with long division. The reason why long division is so perilous is that it is very easy to make a careless mistake as there are usually several steps included in the calculation, it takes too much time, and to be honest, few people are comfortable doing it.

Fortunately, the GMAT doesn’t test the candidates’ human-calculator skills but rather their capacity to think outside the box and show creativity in their solution paths, especially when under pressure – exactly what business schools look for.

However, sometimes you cannot avoid division, and when that is the case remember: Factoring is your best friend. Always simplify fractions especially if you’ll need to turn them into decimals. For example, if you have 234/26 don’t start immediately trying to calculate the result. Instead, factor them little by little until you receive something like 18/2 which is a lot easier to calculate.

A tip for factoring is to always start with smaller numbers as they are easier to use (2 is easier to use compared to 4, 6, or 8) and also look for nearby round numbers. 

If you have to calculate 256/4 it would be far less tedious and time-consuming to represent 256 as 240+16 and calculate 240/4+16/4=60+4=64. Another example is 441/3. If we express it like 450-9 it is far easier to calculate 450/3-9/3=150-3=147.

Dividing and Multiplying by 5

Sometimes when you have to divide and multiply by 5 (you’ll have to do it a lot) it would be easier to substitute the number with 10/2. It might not always be suitable for your situation but more often than not it can be utilized in order to save some time.

Using 9s

With most problems, you could safely substitute 9 with 10-1. For example, if you have to calculate 46(9) you can express it as 46(10 – 1) which is a lot more straightforward to compute as 46(10) – 46(1) = 460 – 46 = 414

You can also use the same method for other numbers such as 11, 8, 15, 100, etc:

18(11) = 18(10 + 1) = 180 + 18 = 198

28(8) = 28(10 – 2) = 280 – 56 = 224

22(15) = 22(10 + 5) = 220 + 110 = 330

26(99) = 26(100 – 1) = 2600 – 26 = 2574

Dividing by 7

The easiest way to check if a number is divisible by 7 is to find the nearest number you know is divisible by 7. For instance, if you want to check if you can divide 98 by 7 you should look for the nearest multiple of 7. In this instance either 70, 77, or 84. Start adding 7 until you reach the number: 70 + 7 = 77 + 7 = 84 + 7 = 91 + 7 = 98. The answer is yes, 98 is divisible by 7 and it equals 14

Squaring

When you have to find the square of a double-digit number it might be easier to break the number into components. For example, 22^2 would be calculated like this:

22^2
= (20 + 2)(20 + 2)
= 400 + 40 + 40 + 4
= 484

Similarly, if you have to find the square of 39 instead of calculating (30 + 9)(30 +9) you could express it like this:

39^2
= (40 – 1)(40 – 1)
= 1600 – 40 – 40 + 1
= 1521

You can use the same approach when multiplying almost any double-digit numbers, not only squaring. For example 37 times 73:

(40 – 3)(70 + 3)
= 2800 + 120 – 210 – 9
= 2701

Conclusion

This ends the list of mental math tips and tricks you can utilize to make the Quant section a bit less laborious. Keep in mind that no strategy or shortcut would be able to compensate for the lack of proper prep so it all comes down not only to practicing but doing so the right way.

For more information regarding the GMAT Calculator, GMAT Calculator & Mental Math – All You Need To Know, is a very insightful article to read.

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At-Home GMAT Prep: A Handy Guide
Posted on
02
Sep 2021

At-Home GMAT Prep: A Handy Guide

Ready to take the next step in your academic career and select an MBA program that will open new doors for you? Well first, you need to take one of the most important exams of your life – the GMAT. This is not something you can take easily as it can potentially score you some scholarships that will help fund your education and it’s one of those things that employers will want to take a look at. That’s why people spend months preparing for the GMAT. That being said, Apex tutors suggest a prep time period of 90 to 120 days.

So, to make the process easier for you, we came up with a guide full of the best tips and tricks that will help you prepare for the GMAT at home, along with some common mistakes to avoid when prepping.

The 2 Main Benefits of At-Home GMAT Prep

It essentially comes down to you to work hard and follow some best practices. Here’s how at-home self-prep will help you succeed:

  • You’ll be able to study in a familiar place. That will make you more comfortable and having a designated GMAT prep space will keep you more focused on your progress.
  • This is a good opportunity for you to study at your own pace and at a schedule that best suits you and your needs. This is definitely a much more convenient alternative than any GMAT prep class that you can take to help you prep.

Top 5 Tips To Follow for a Successful At-Home GMAT Prep

Here are the top 5 best practices to follow when preparing for the GMAT at home:

Find a Good Location

What you want to do is have a designated space where you sit down every day and work on the GMAT. You’d want to pick a place where there are no distractions and where you’ll be able to get work done without being bothered. One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to get too comfortable as you actually want to get some work done and not just end up laying down and napping every time you decide to study for the GMAT.

Give Yourself Enough Time

Make sure to start early with your GMAT preparation as the more time you have to work on improving, the higher your chances of succeeding and getting a higher score. That’s why you’d want to give yourself a minimum of 3 months to prepare depending on your prior knowledge and the level of preparation that you’ll need to succeed.

Follow a Structured Schedule

As soon as you decide to start preparing for the GMAT, you’re going to have to come up with a personalized schedule that you have to follow until the exam day. Following a schedule where you have to practice a bit every day instead of cramming everything on the last week, will keep you more focused. It will also not overwork you and you’ll have just enough time to go through every section in detail and also some extra time to take some mock tests to practice your knowledge.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

You know what they say: practice makes perfect. Well, they’re not wrong! The more practice you get before taking the actual exam, the better, especially because mock tests help you point out the areas that you need to work harder on. Mock exams also help you get used to the exam’s format and scoring system so you won’t have trouble navigating the exam in the future.

To make things easier, here are a few alternatives where you can get practice tests and official materials to practice on:

Learn to Manage Your Time!

The test-takers’ #1 pitfall is not focusing on the time when preparing for the GMAT, being well-aware that GMAT is a timed exam. We suggest practicing without a time constraint at first, just so you can get used to the format and the concepts. After you get a better understanding of what to expect, you can start timing yourself. You’d want to practice with a timer in order to actually see how well you’d perform in the real GMAT exam. Time pressure is a real thing, and what you don’t want to do is show up and not be able to finish your test on time.

Top 3 Mistakes To Avoid When Preparing for the GMAT

Now that we went over some of the best tips, let’s talk about some common mistakes that students make that you definitely need to avoid:

Procrastinating

Deciding that you need to start prepping for the GMAT in advance is one thing, but what most people end up doing is doing a little bit in the beginning and then procrastinating until it’s too late to go back. You don’t want to cram everything in the last 2 weeks: that’s not time-efficient and it won’t help you master the exam. Instead, you’ll just get more stressed and overwhelmed. In other words, try to keep the same pace throughout the whole 3-4 month period of your at-home GMAT prep in order to get the score you’re aiming for.

Stressing Way Too Much On Exam Day

It’s normal to worry about your scores as this exam can very well determine your future. However, worrying way too much can affect your performance on exam day. Instead, take your time to prepare and do your best when the time comes for you to take the GMAT, and you’ll be just fine. One extra step that you can take to help you manage the stress is visiting the test center before the exam. That way, you’ll get used to the journey and the place and you’ll also feel more relaxed if you know what to expect.  

Studying Instead Of Practicing

Another mistake students make is studying study guides instead of practicing extensively. Study guides can help you so much, but practicing on real exams is what will essentially put all that textbook knowledge into practice. So make sure to spend most of your time on actual practice, rather than focusing on learning concepts by heart.

Pro tip: Another way to help you accelerate learning is by working with a one-on-one GMAT instructor. The help of an expert can be beneficial, especially when you find that you are not making any progress with your prep or if you find yourself falling victim to any of the at-home prep mistakes listed above. These instructors know their way around the exam and will bring some structure to your at-home GMAT prep as they work around your schedule and will keep you focused on what’s important.

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Posted on
01
Sep 2021

Additional Voters – GMAT Quant Problem

Additional Voters – GMAT Quant Problem

Hey guys, today we’re going to look at a particularly challenging GMAT Quant problem that just about everyone resorts to an algebraic solution path on, but there’s a very elegant part solution path. When we take a look at this problem we observe immediately that the difficulty is that we have no baseline for the number of voters that we start with. That’s the confusing part here and this is one of the ways that the GMAT modulates difficulty; when they give us a problem without fixed numbers, and where we’re not free to run a scenario because there are add-on numbers that change the relative values.

Additional Voters Problem Introduction

GMAT Quant Problem

Here they’re adding the 500 and the 600 which means there exist fixed values at the beginning, but we don’t know what they are. What we want to do here is remove ourselves a bit from the problem and let the ratios that they give us guide our way.

We start out with three parts Republicans, five parts Democrats. These eight parts constitute everything, but we don’t know how many voters are in each part – it could be one voter in each, or a hundred, or a thousand, and we can’t speculate yet. So, what we need to do is not worry about it, and this is where a lot of people get really uncomfortable. Let it go for a second, and notice that, after we add all the new voters, we end up with an extra part on the Republican side and the same number of parts on the Democrat side.

What does this mean? Well, the parts are obviously getting bigger from the before to the after. But because we have an overall equivalence between the number of parts we can actually reverse engineer the solution out of this.

Reverse Engineering the Solution

We’re adding 500 Democrats and we’re maintaining five parts from the before to the after. This means that each part is getting an extra 100 voters for the total of plus 500. On the Republican side, we’re adding 600 voters. We already know, from the Democratic side, that each part needs to increase by 100 to keep pace with all the other parts. So, 300 voters are used in the three republican parts, leaving 300 extra voters to constitute the entirety of the fourth part.

Now we know that each part after we add the voters equals 300 and therefore each part before we added the voters was 200. From there we get our answer choice. I forget what they were asking us at this point, and this is actually a really great moment because it’s very common on these complex problems to get so caught up, even if you’re doing it mentally, with a more conducive solution path, to forget what’s being asked. When you’re doing math on paper, which is something we really don’t recommend, it’s even easier to do so because you get so involved processing the numbers in front of you that you lose conceptual track of what the problem is about.

So, they’re asking for the difference between the Democratic and Republican voters after the voters are added. Now we know there’s one part difference and we know that after voters are added a part equals 300 voters so the answer choice is B, 300.

Something to Keep in Mind

This one is not easy to get your head around, but it’s easier than dealing with the mess of algebra that you’d otherwise have to do.
Review this one again. This is a GMAT Quant problem you may have to review several days in a row. It’s one where you might attain an understanding, and then when you revisit it four hours later or the next day, you lose it and you have to fight for it again. It’s in this process of dense contact and fighting that same fight over and over again that you will slowly internalize this way of looking at it, which is one that is unpracticed. The challenge in this problem isn’t that it’s so difficult. It’s that it utilizes solution pads and way of thinking that we weren’t taught in school and that is entirely unpracticed. So, much of what you see as less difficult on the GMAT is less difficult only because you’ve been practicing it in one form or another since you were eight years old. So, don’t worry if you have to review this again and I hope this was helpful.

Check out this link for another super challenging GMAT Quant problem.

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Posted on
18
Aug 2021

GMAT Prime Factors Problem – GMAT Quant

Hey guys, check out this problem. This is an example of a problem that requires daisy-chaining together or linking together several key algebraic insights in order to answer it.

GMAT Prime Factors Problem - GMAT Quant

GMAT Prime Factors Problem – Applied Math Solution Path

Notice there’s an applied math solution path. We want prime factors of 3⁸ - 2⁸, and it’s just reasonable enough that we can do the math here. And the GMAT will do this a lot, they’ll give us math that’s time-consuming, but not unreasonably time-consuming in order to just draw us into an applied math solution path. We’ll take a look at this really quickly.

3⁸ is the same as 9⁴.
3⁸ = 3²*⁴= (3²)= 9
9 = (9 * 9)² = 81²
81 * 81 = 6,561

9 * 9 is 81² – about 6,400 or if we want to get exact, which we do need to do here because we’re dealing with factors, 81 * 81 is 6,561. Don’t expect you to know that, it can be done in 20 seconds on a piece of paper or mentally. And then 2⁸, that one you should know, is 256. And then, 6,561 – 256 = 6,305.

So now we need to break down 6,305 into prime factors. You know how to do that using a factor tree, so I’m going to zoom us right into a better solution path because I don’t want to give away the answer.

GMAT Prime Factors Problem – Another Solution Path

Notice that 3⁸  and 2⁸ are both perfect squares so we have the opportunity to factor this into (3– 2) * (3 + 2). Once again, the first term is a difference of two squares, the second term we can’t do anything with. So we break down that term, and lo and behold, (3² – 2²) * (3² + 2²) * (3 + 2), and once again we can factor that first term out into (3 + 2), (3 – 2), and so on. We work these out mathematically, and they’re much easier and more accessible mathematically, and we get 3 – 2 = 1 which obviously is a factor of everything. 3 + 2 = 5, 3² + 2² = 9 + 4 = 13, and then 3 + 2⁴ = 81 + 16 = 97.

So now we’ve eliminated everything, except B and C, 65 and 35. This is where the other piece of knowledge comes in. Since we have factors of 5 and 13. 65 must also be a factor because it’s comprised of a 5 and a 13. 35 requires a 7. We don’t have a 7 anywhere, so the correct answer choice is C, 35. 

GMAT Prime Factors Problem – Takeaways

So the big takeaways here are, that, when provided with some sort of algebraic expression like this, look for a factoring pattern. And, when it comes to prime factorization, remember, that if you break it down into the basic prime factor building blocks, anything that is a product of those building blocks also exists as a factor.

Hope this helped and good luck!

Found it helpful? Try your hand at this GMAT problem, GMAT Prime Factorization (Anatomy of a Problem).

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

How To Keep Your Sanity While Preparing For The GMAT

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

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

 

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

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

  • Take a GMAT Preparation Course

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

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

 

  • Create an Effective Study Schedule

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

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

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

  • Control Your Emotions

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

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

  • Maintain a Connection to Your Support Team

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

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

  • Get Some Rest and Good Sleep

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

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

  • Celebrate Your Big and Little Achievements

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

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

Good luck studying and remember to believe in yourself! 

 

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

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

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

GMAT Non Native Speaker Advantages:

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

Grammar is Your Best Friend 

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

You Know What Dedication Means

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

You Have a Bilingual Brain 

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

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

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

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

7 Daily Practices For GMAT Success

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

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

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

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

Visualize success and the value you will get in the end

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

Review the GMAT exam sections

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

Set a study time limit for each day

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

Do not forget to reward yourself

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

Forget about the target score, only focus on improvement

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

Give yourself a pep talk 

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

Evaluate Yourself Honestly

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

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

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

The best GMAT non-native speaker prep strategies

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

GMAT non-native speaker test tips:

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

 

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

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

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

 

  • Practice your English daily.

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

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

 

  • Expand your vocabulary.

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

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

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

 

  • Work on your grammar.

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

 

  • Learn to understand the context.

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

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

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

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

Should You Hire An Expensive GMAT Tutor?

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

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

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

Why Choose The Most Expensive GMAT Tutor

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

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

Common reasons GMAT Tutors Are Needed

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

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

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

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

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GMAT Prep & Test Approaches to Score in the 650 - 700 range
Posted on
01
Jun 2021

GMAT Prep & Test Approaches to Score in the 650 to 700 Range

By: Andrej Ivanovski
Date: 1st June 2021

Getting a good GMAT score is no walk in the park. A lot of test takers struggle with hitting the minimum score to get into their desired graduate program, and they find themselves taking the GMAT multiple times before achieving their score goal. But, what is a good GMAT score? The answer is, as you might have guessed, it depends. Different business schools have different expectations. What might be considered an excellent score at one school, could be viewed as acceptable but not stellar at another.

Therefore, it is safe to say that a good GMAT score is one that gets you into the graduate program of your choice. However, one thing to keep in mind is that sometimes achieving the minimum scoring requirement may not be enough. Generally speaking, it is better to aim for the average class GMAT score, or higher. A score in the 650 to 700 range is very likely to secure you a spot at some great business schools (given that you satisfy the other admission requirements), but at the end of the day, it all depends on the specific program that you are applying to. In this article, we are going to look at some of the most important GMAT prep and test approaches which can help you score in the 650 to 700 range.

4 Tips to Score in the 650 – 760 Range

Practice your pacing

Wouldn’t the GMAT be a whole lot easier if you did not have to think about timing? Timing is a huge issue and often curtails test takers from attaining their desired score. If you distribute the given time equally, you only have around two minutes per question. Planning your time accordingly is integral to success, spending less time on easier questions allows you to spend more time on more challenging ones. Different questions have different difficulty levels, so it is normal that some questions might take longer than others. Our advice is to forget about the timing aspect of your GMAT prep altogether, and instead focus on mastering the skills you need to answer the questions correctly. In this way you will find that timing issues take care of themselves. If you want to learn more pacing techniques, make sure to check out our video on time management.

Learn how to skim

This one might seem obvious – and you might even say: “Of course I know how to skim”. But do you really? A lot of people think that they are skimming a passage, when in fact they are skipping it. The difference between skimming and skipping is that skimming includes paying attention to the author’s tone and point of view, but without actually reading the passage word for word. When you find yourself being able to take away the important pieces of information from the passage, and understand what the author is trying to say, then it is safe to say that you have learned how to skim. Mastering the art of skimming can help you do well on the Verbal section, which can ultimately lead you to a 650 – 700 GMAT score.

Pay attention to transition words

We definitely do not mean to sound like your middle school English teacher, but paying attention to transition words could save you a whole lot of time on the GMAT. Transition words are used to show the relationship between sentences (or parts of sentences). For instance, if the author is using transition words such as “however”, “nevertheless”, “in spite of”, “on one hand” or “on the contrary”, then you would know that the author is trying to express a contrasting point. Even though you can understand that by reading the whole passage, paying attention to transition words can save you a lot of time.

Use an appropriate strategy to solve quant problems

No matter how well prepared you are, there are always going to be questions whose answers you are not entirely sure of. Of course, it should be your goal to reduce the chances of that happening, but the GMAT is not designed to be that easy. When you find yourself struggling to answer a question, at first it might seem like all of the answers make sense. For that reason, it is good to have multiple strategies to tackle all types of GMAT problem types.

  • Elimination: write down ABCDE on the scratch board, and work on eliminating the answers that do not make much sense. When you are left with 2 or 3 answers to pick from, the chances of getting the right one are much higher (you do the math).
  • Guessing: leaving questions unanswered on the GMAT is not a good practice, as it is not favored by the grading algorithm. That is why it is important that you answer all of the questions from a given section, even if that means guessing the answer to some questions that you are not sure about.
  • Graphical solution path: sometimes it is easier to solve a problem graphically, rather than taking the standard, mathematical approach. Our instructor, and director of curriculum development, Mike Diamond, talks about the graphical solution path in his videos. If you want to find out more about this approach, see how he solves the Snack Shop problem and the Rope problem using a graphical solution path.
  • Story telling: some problems on the GMAT might require you to put yourself in the story and retell it from your perspective. This is especially useful when you are given information about two or more entities relative to each other. For instance, For some questions like, John was three years older than Tim was 5 years ago. Tim will be 23 two years from now. How old is John now? Here putting yourself in the story and retelling it can help you make the information easy to follow

Which schools can a 650 – 700 GMAT score get you into?

A GMAT score in the 650 – 700 can definitely get you into some of the highest ranked MBA programs in the world, and our clients are proof of that.

Kyle

kyle scored a 650 after working with Apex and got accepted to Georgetown university
Kyle scored 650 on the GMAT and he was able to get into the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. In his words:  I wouldn’t be in business school if I hadn’t gone through this process with an Apex tutor, not only from a scoring standpoint but also from a mental preparation standpoint.

Amy

amy scored a 690 on her GMAT and went to dukeAmy got into the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University with a GMAT score of 690. She says: After working with Apex I could look at a problem and know exactly what they were testing me on and the steps that I needed to take to get to the desired solution. They were always there to help and offered multiple solution paths in case the first one did not resonate.

Lohe

lohe scored a 690on her gmat and got into columbiaA GMAT score of 680 was able to help Lohe get into Columbia University. She says: When I started working with Apex we mostly focused on improving my stress and anxiety. So we worked on different kinds of breathing exercises and on different problem solving techniques that were not the usual math solutions. Once I was able to get comfortable with these techniques my speed and score increased a lot. It was a good mix of stress management and thinking out of the box.

 

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