Which MBA Programs Are Right For Me?
Posted on
24
Aug 2021

Which MBA Programs Are Right For Me?

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Dana Coggio
Date: 24 August 2021

Having completed your bachelor’s degree and probably several years of work experience, you’ve decided that you’re ready to go back to school for your MBA. You now have another decision to make: How do you decide where to apply? Which MBA programs are the right ones for you? Which ones are likely to want to admit you?

This is probably one of the most important decisions you will have to make, and you want to be sure that you’re setting your sights on the best options for you. Before you can decide what you need from an MBA program, you have to do some self-assessment and take a realistic look at your profile. Taking the time now to look long and hard at your qualifications will save you time, money, and heartache in the long run. You will be able to see if your dream school is an achievable goal, or really just a pipedream. You will identify the schools that are looking for students with your qualifications, and you may even discover that your perfect MBA program is one that you never even considered.

 Here are the elements of your profile that you need to evaluate:

1- Employment history and work experience

This includes such factors as the industry you worked in as well as the company and position you held, how your accomplishments compared to your peers, how fast/far you have advanced, and how much of an impact you have had, whether in formal or informal leadership roles. You will also need to assess any gaps in your employment history, the reasons for them and how you filled them. Perhaps you took an unpaid internship for the experience or maybe used the time to volunteer, pick up new skills, or explore your extracurricular interests.

Evaluate your strengths as well as your weaknesses or challenges. Strengths can be fulfilling a unique role in your industry, extraordinary advancement, or exceptional leadership. Challenges could include working in a slow-growing company with increasing responsibility but little possibility for promotion, having to compete with and stand out among other ambitious colleagues who are also your teammates, or dealing with high-stress situations. The way you meet with and frame your challenges can often showcase your greatest strengths. 

2- Academic Stats

Included in this element are your undergrad and grad (if applicable) GPA and transcripts, and test scores. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses in each of these areas to find your total stats picture. But don’t just look at the numbers, look at the trends. Do you have a weak GPA and a strong, balanced GMAT? Did your GPA go up as you progressed through college and is your GMAT quant score over the eightieth percentile? This record will take you further than a GPA that started out as a 4.0 but trended down and is combined with a GMAT quant score around the sixtieth percentile. The same final results take on a new meaning when you look at the trends. If your GPA is on the lower side – and especially if there was a downward trend even with a strong GMAT – it’s a good idea to take additional classes, and ace them. The recent As will help allay any doubts concerning your academic record.

3- Post-MBA Goals

Think about the following when considering your goals after B-school:

  •   What is your current industry and function? Where do you see yourself after your MBA?
  •   Are you hoping to make a major career change or a smaller career move once you have your MBA?
  •   How does your present position connect to your post-MBA goals?
  •   If you want to make a major career change, what do you need to do, besides getting your MBA, to make your new career a reality?
  •   What elements in an MBA program will launch you on the trajectory toward achieving your post-MBA goals? 

    4- Extracurricular Activities

    How you spend your time outside of work/school can say a lot about you, and can make you stand out from other MBA applicants. Some programs put more emphasis on these activities than others, and how much weight they carry will depend on other factors in your application. Extracurriculars are great ways to get leadership experience or help fill in gaps you might have in your work experience. They also can demonstrate your commitment, add a personal dimension to your application, and show application readers how you will contribute to the school’s community.

5- Other issues to consider 

Military service, volunteer experience, and any awards or recognition you have received are worthy additions to your profile. But you may need to include parts of your past that you’re not so proud of, that are negatives. Perhaps you’ve been placed on academic probation, had an honor code infraction, or received a DUI. How such issues are viewed can vary across different programs. Remember that all your experiences make up who you are, and even negatives can be positive indicators of how you cope with adversity, motivate yourself after a setback, and propel yourself forward. They can show your resilience as well as your ability to learn and grow from mistakes. A frank appraisal of your ups and downs, including taking responsibility for missteps, can actually make you a more attractive candidate.

An honest self-assessment is a key component of a successful application. Our experienced professional MBA admissions consultants will work with you one-on-one to assess and hone your personal profile so that you apply not only to the programs you really want but also to the programs likely to want you. Then we guide you in presenting your qualifications and story compellingly. Let us help you get on the road to being ACCEPTED!

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GMAT Probability Problems
Posted on
12
Aug 2021

GMAT Probability Problems – How to Tackle Them & What Mistakes to Avoid

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Ilia Dobrev
Date: August 12, 2021

The concept of probability questions is often pretty straightforward to understand, but when it comes to its application in the GMAT test it may trip even the strongest mathematicians.

Naturally, the place to find such types of problems is the Quantitative section of the exam, which is regarded as the best predictor of academic and career success by many of the most prestigious business schools out there – Stanford, Wharton, Harvard, Yale, INSEAD, Kellogg, and more. The simple concept of probability problems can be a rather challenging one because such questions appear more frequently as high-difficulty questions instead of low- or even medium-difficulty questions. This is why this article is designed to help test-takers who are pursuing a competitive GMAT score tackle the hazardous pitfalls that GMAT probability problems often create.

GMAT Probability – Fundamental Rules & Formulas

It is not a secret that the Quantitative section of the GMAT test requires you to know just the basic, high-school-level probability rules to carry out each operation of the practical solution path. The main prerequisite for success is mastering the Probability formula:
Probability = number of desired outcomes / total number of possible outcomes

Probability = number of desired outcomes
total number of possible outcomes

We can take one fair coin to demonstrate a simple example. Imagine you would like to find the probability of getting a tail. Flipping the coin can get you two possible comes – a tail or a head. However, you desire a specific result – getting only a tail – which can happen only one time. Therefore, the probability of getting a tail is the number of desired outcomes divided by the number of total possible outcomes, which is ½. Developing a good sense of the fundamental logic of how probability works is central to managing more events occurring in a more complex context.

Alternatively, as all probabilities add up to 1, the probability of an event not happening is 1 minus the probability of this event occurring. For example, 1 – ½ equals the chance of not flipping a tail.

Dependent  Events vs. Independent Events

On the GMAT exam, you will often be asked to find the probability of several events that happen either simultaneously or at different points in time. A distinction you must take under consideration is exactly what type of event you are exploring.

Dependent events or, in other words, disjoint events, are two or more events with a probability of simultaneous occurrence equalling zero. That is, it is absolutely impossible to have them both happen at the same time. The events of flipping either a tail or a head out of one single fair coin are disjoint.

If you are asked to find a common probability of two or more disjoint events, then you should consider the following formula:

Probability P of events A and B   =    (Probability of A) + (Probability of B)

Therefore, the probability of flipping one coin twice and getting two tails is ½ + ½.

If events A and B are not disjointed, meaning that the desired result can be in a combination between A and B, then we have to subtract the intersect part between the events in order to not count it twice:

Probability P of events A and B   =    P(A) + P(B) – Probability (A and B)

Independent events or discrete events are two or more events that do not have any effect on each other. In other words, knowing about the outcome of one event gives absolutely no information about how the other event will turn out. For example, if you roll not one but two coins, then the outcome of each event is independent of the other one. The formula, in this case, is the following:

Probability P of events A and B   =    (Probability of A) x (Probability of B)
How to approach GMAT probability problems

In the GMAT quantitative section, you will see probability incorporated into data sufficiency questions and even problems that do not have any numbers in their context. This can make it challenging for the test taker to determine what type of events he or she is presented with.
One trick you can use to approach such GMAT problems is to search for “buzzwords” that will signal out this valuable information.

  • OR | If the question uses the word “or” to distinguish between the probabilities of two events, then they are dependent – meaning that they cannot happen independently of one another. In this scenario, you will need to find the sum of the two (or more) probabilities.
  • AND | If the question uses the word “and” to distinguish between the probabilities of two events, then they are independent – meaning their occurrences have no influence on one another. In this case, you need to multiply the probabilities of the individual events to find the answer.

Additionally, you can draw visual representations of the events to help you determine if you should include or exclude the intersect. This is especially useful in GMAT questions asking about greatest probability and minimum probability.

If you experience difficulties while prepping, keep in mind that Apex’s GMAT instructors have not only mastered all probability and quantitative concepts, but also have vast experience tutoring clients from all over the world to 700+ scores on the exam. Private GMAT tutoring and tailored customized GMAT curriculum are ideal for gaining more test confidence and understanding the underlying purpose of each question, which might be the bridge between your future GMAT score and your desired business school admissions.

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GMAT score use in employment
Posted on
05
Aug 2021

Why is your GMAT Score Important for Prospective Jobs?

By: Apex GMAT
Date: 5th August 2021

Taking the GMAT and getting a 700+ score is not only going to help you pursue your MBA career, it will also facilitate additional professional benefits. Indeed, the GMAT requires far more skills than just the math or verbal skills that are tested, and success can be evidence of an array of capabilities. Read on to find out what GMAT score use in employment is and why more employers are taking candidates’ GMAT scores into account in hiring decisions.

Of course, a high GMAT score primarily makes one stand out from other job applicants. Moreover, it is also a clear and objective indicator of your integrated reasoning abilities, as well as your analytical, verbal, and quantitative reasoning skills. Particularly for those interested in applying for finance, investment, or business-related employment, an excellent GMAT score can be proof of expertise in the aforementioned categories. 

At the surface level, a high score in the quant section demonstrates that a candidate can solve and interpret numerical problems. More significantly, it also implies that the applicant can be trusted with complex calculations, extensive financial reports, and other major related tasks. Furthermore, a candidate’s integrated reasoning skills will be seen to be of great professional value, especially when working with a large amount of data from multiple sources. Extrapolating the right takeaways and decision-making points from this wide array of data is a skill highly sought after by employers.  

The GMAT’s testing of analytical writing and verbal reasoning skills have implications for a candidate’s professional capabilities. Scores in these sections speak to the applicant’s capacity for critical thinking as well as how clearly and precisely they can express their ideas in written form.

Ultimately, the GMAT score helps employers select their hires based on information gleaned from standardized testing, and not just personal characteristics or experience. This allows for a selection process that is much more comprehensive. 

Since the GMAT is a requirement for MBA admission, a high score also indicates that the candidate has been admitted to a prestigious and academically rigorous university. Potential employers perceive such individuals as having a high-quality education from top-notch professors. Many of whom have worked in their industry. 

Finally, a candidate with a high GMAT score is also better placed to perform well during a job interview than someone who has never prepared for such a test. By putting his/her critical thinking and verbal reasoning skills into practice, a job candidate with a 700+ score is more likely to excel at answering questions that require the application of analytical and logical skills. Moreover, having taken the GMAT, prospective hires enjoy minimal interview anxiety or stress, because they were trained to manage such issues while preparing for the test. Additionally, they may be exempt from taking company interview tasks due to their performance on the GMAT. 

For all these reasons, employers will always value individuals with high GMAT scores, giving them preference over the job seekers with low or no GMAT scores. For more information regarding the GMAT Scoring, GMAT Scoring Demystified is a very insightful article to read.  

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GMAT Calculator & Mental Math - All You Need To Know
Posted on
27
Jul 2021

GMAT Calculator & Mental Math – All You Need To Know

Author: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Ilia Dobrev
Date: 27 July, 2021

Are you allowed to use a calculator on the GMAT? While this may seem as a pretty straightforward question to answer, it does deserve a separate blog post as it hides details that are vital for achieving a top GMAT score not only on the quantitative section, but on the exam as a whole.

Well, the answer is both Yes and No. This article aims to examine the different scenarios where you are allowed to use such a device and how you can make full use of its potential. But, if you are used to doing math with a calculator, do not worry as we have compiled a list of some mental math techniques that you can use to your advantage and even save much important time while still being spot-on with your answers.

Calculator on the GMAT | Explained

  • You are not allowed to bring your own calculator to the GMAT exam.
    According to the GMAC, no personal items are allowed in the exam room of any of the certified test centers.
  • You cannot use a calculator on the Quantitative section of the GMAT.
    Despite the fact that we are so used to using calculators to help us with arithmetic operations, you should not feel intimidated that you are not allowed to use any type of calculator on the GMAT Quantitative section. However, you will be provided with a blank canvas by the proctor of the exam where you will have plenty of space to practice to manually compute any calculations, if needed.

You should not worry as the GMAT exam is not designed to test you on complicated mathematical operations or complex calculations. Instead, the quant section draws from secondary-level math skills like basic algebra and geometry, which are mastered in high school, to test other kinds of abilities like critical thinking, logical reasoning, and problem-solving. In fact, the majority of the Quant questions can (and should) be answered without any calculations beyond estimation. A typical example of how you can use mental math to get to the right answer while saving precious time on the GMAT is the Movie Night combinatorics problem. Another type of common GMAT quant questions are data sufficiency problems, which are also more about reasoning than  calculations. You’ll only need to do basic calculations and can rely on estimation for anything more complicated. If you have to do the math, the GMAC usually keeps the numbers simple and avoids decimals. When you see large numbers or complex fractions, then it’s a good bet that there’s an easier solution path to embark on other than calculating.

Surprisingly or not, a calculator will be provided for use during the GMAT Integrated Reasoning section of the test. This GMAT calculator has the standard basic functions, CE (clear entry) button, C (clear) button, an sqrt function, a % (percentage) button, and a 1/x button that calculates the reciprocal of the entry currently on the screen. Also, there is a row with the standard memory functions

  • MS (memory store) stores the current entry in the calculator’s memory for subsequent use.
  • MR (memory recall) displays the latest number stored in the calculator’s memory so that it can be used for the next calculations.
  • M+ (memory addition) adds the current entry to the value that is currently stored in the calculator’s memory. This button is helpful when you need to add a long series of numbers and don’t want to retype each one.
  • MC (memory clear) erases whatever is in the current memory. You should click this button before every new calculation scenario.

Improve your Mental Math and reduce your Calculator Dependency

Survival Tips & Tricks

Do not overuse the IR calculator.

While you are provided with a basic GMAT calculator during the Integrated Reasoning section, you might not want to use it too often as you’ll waste more time than you’ll save. You can also apply the solution paths you are using in the Quant section to some problems in the Integrated Reasoning section.

Constantly practice Mental Math operations.

A huge morale boost is that mental math operations are easy to learn with some practice. You can add, multiply, subtract, and divide when you pay bills, check out at the grocery store, calculate a tip, etc. without using a calculator.

Make accurate estimations

The key to saving a considerable amount of time on the GMAT exam is efficiency in estimations. Transform numbers to less unwieldy figures like 0 or 5 for the purpose of calculations. You can then browse the answer choices to see which is closest to your preliminary estimate.

Do not use a calculator when you are prepping for the GMAT quant section.

This is a great way to practice mental math operations outside the daily life operations. The test setting and quant context will let you get used to this environment so that you know what to expect on test day.

Familiarize yourself with a basic GMAT calculator and do use its Memory functions.

As this will be your only technical aid during the GMAT Integrated Reasoning section, you’d better spend some time making the most out of it. Especially when you are pressed by time, memorizing calculated values for further operations in the calculator’s memory can be crucial for staying on track with a healthy exam pace.

Guide yourself by looking at the answer choices.

Looking at the answer choices can immediately permit you to eliminate a couple of options. Even if you are pushed by time, you can easily make a more educated decision depending on your reasoning that will boost the chances of picking the correct answer.

Do not freak out if you see large numbers.

Remember that the people who stand behind the GMAT are aware that they are designing questions that are supposed to be answered without using a calculator. This also keeps the arithmetic from being too difficult and gives you the opportunity to apply a more straightforward approach.

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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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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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GMAT 3 Month Study Plan
Posted on
04
Feb 2021

GMAT 3-Month Study Plan

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Uerda Muca
Date: 4th February, 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

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GMAT calculator and mental math
Posted on
26
Nov 2020

GMAT Calculator & Mental Math – All You Need To Know

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Ilia Dobrev
Date: 26th November, 2020

Are calculators allowed on the GMAT? It seems like a pretty straightforward question, but the details are a bit more complicated. 

The short answer is: yes and no. In fact, the calculator question holds the key for a strong performance on the exam as a whole. This article explains when calculator use is permitted and, more importantly, when using a calculator isn’t the best approach to solving a given problem.  

So if you’re used to using a calculator on math tests, don’t worry! We’ve provided a list of some handy mental math techniques and time saving strategies that will enhance your performance on the Quant section and beyond. 

Calculators on the GMAT | Explained

  • You are not allowed to bring your own calculator to the GMAT exam.

According to the GMAC, no personal items are allowed in the exam room at any certified test center.

However, the proctor will provide a blank canvas with plenty of space to perform any necessary calculations by hand.

  • You cannot use a calculator on the Quantitative section.

There’s no reason to be intimidated by the restriction on calculators. Although most of us are used to using calculators for arithmetic, the GMAT is not designed to test your ability to perform complex mathematical operations. The Quant section draws from secondary-level math and basic algebra and geometry to test other skill sets, such as critical thinking, logical reasoning, and problem solving. 

In fact, the majority of the Quant questions can and should be answered without any calculations beyond estimation. 

For example, data sufficiency problems, which are more geared towards reasoning than math skills, typically only call for basic calculations and estimation. If you do need to do math, keep in mind that the GMAC designers usually keep numbers simple and avoid decimals. If you see large numbers or complex fractions, it’s a good bet that there’s an easier solution path. 

For another example of how mental math can save you time, see our explanation of the movie night combinatorics problem

  • You can use an on-screen calculator on the Integrated Reasoning section.

Surprisingly or not, a calculator will be provided for the Integrated Reasoning section. This GMAT calculator has the standard basic functions, CE (clear entry) button, C (clear) button, an sqrt function, a % (percentage) button, and a 1/x button that calculates the reciprocal of the entry currently on the screen. There is also a row with the standard memory functions

    • MS (memory store) stores the current entry in the calculator’s memory.
    • MR (memory recall) displays the last number stored in the calculator’s memory.
    • M+ (memory addition) adds the current entry to the value stored in the calculator’s memory. This button is helpful when you need to add a long series of numbers, but don’t have time to retype each one.
    • MC (memory clear) erases whatever is in the current memory. Use it before every new calculation set.

Improve your Mental Math and Reduce Calculator Dependence

Survival Tips & Tricks

  • Do not overuse the IR calculator.

Although the GMAT provides a basic calculator for the Integrated Reasoning section, don’t use it too often. You’ll waste more time than you save. However, you can apply some of the same solution paths used in the Quant section to problems in Integrated Reasoning.

  • Practice mental math operations regularly.

Mental math operations are easy to learn with some practice, and mastering mental math can provide a significant morale boost leading up to your test date. You can add, multiply, subtract, and divide when you pay bills, check out at the grocery store, calculate a tip, etc. without using a calculator.

Try putting away the calculator and practicing mental math in your daily life to save time and, ultimately, enhance your GMAT score.

  • Make accurate estimations

Learning to estimate efficiently is the key to saving considerable amounts of time on the GMAT. Convert unwieldy numbers to more manageable figures, like 0 or 5, for the quicker calculations. Then, you can browse the answer choices and select the answer that’s closest to your preliminary estimate.

  • Don’t use a calculator when prepping for the Quant section.

Preparing without a calculator is a great way to practice mental math operations outside of your daily life. The test setting and Quant context will help accustom you to the environment. You’ll feel more prepared if you know exactly what to expect on test day. 

  • Familiarize yourself with a basic GMAT calculator and practice using its memory functions.

Since the on-screen calculator will be your only technical aid during the Integrated Reasoning section, it’s smart to spend some time getting used to it. When you’re pressed for time, the calculator’s memory function can be a crucial tool for staying on track with a healthy exam pace. 

  • Look to the answer choices to guide your strategy.

Sometimes, you can eliminate a couple of answer choices immediately. 

Even when time is in short supply, you can make educated guesses and use your reasoning skills to boost your chance of arriving at the correct answer.

  • Don’t panic if you see big numbers.

Keep in mind that the people behind the GMAT are aware that they’re designing questions to be answered without calculators. This limits the difficulty of the arithmetic and encourages test-takers to look for the more straightforward approach.

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fortune 500 ceos with mbas
Posted on
29
Oct 2020

Fortune 500 CEO’s with MBA’s

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Natalie Mathews
Date: 29th October 2020

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 CEOs 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 CEOs have an MBA. All the CEOs on this list claim their continued success in 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 ’90s 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 4:30 am 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 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 730. We have no doubt that Sundar comfortably exceeds this range as his education history is crammed with awards and recognitions. Our guess on Sundar Pichai’s GMAT score: 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 have attained a score that is close, if not exceeds this. Our Guess: 720

Jamie Dimon

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

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

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