A Continuation of GMAT Permutation Math
Posted on
18
Feb 2021

A Continuation of Permutation Math

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

Review of example from last post

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

_5_  _4_ _3_ _2_ _1_

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

More permutation math

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

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

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

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

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

_6_  _5_  _4_

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

_6_  _5_  _4_  _3_

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

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

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

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

= 6*5*4 ( 1 + 3)

= 6*5*4*4

= 30*16 OR 20*24

= 480

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

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

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

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Featured Video Play Icon
Posted on
17
Feb 2021

Data Sufficiency: Area of a Triangle Problem

Hey guys! Today we’re checking out a geometry Data Sufficiency problem asking for the area of a triangle, and while the ask might seem straightforward, it’s very easy to get caught up in the introduced information on this problem. And this is a great example of a way that the GMAT can really dictate your thought processes via suggestion if you’re not really really clear on what it is you’re looking for on DS. So here we’re looking for area but area specifically is a discrete measurement; that is we’re going to need some sort of number to anchor this down: whether it’s the length of sides, or the area of a smaller piece, we need some value!

Begin with Statement #2

Jumping into the introduced information, if we look at number 2, because it seems simpler, we have x = 45 degrees. Now you might be jumping in and saying, well, if x = 45 and we got the 90 degree then we have 45, STOP. Because if you’re doing that you missed what I just said. We need a discrete anchor point. The number of degrees is both relative in the sense that the triangle could be really huge or really small, and doesn’t give us what we need. So immediately we want to say: number 2 is insufficient. Rather than dive in deeply and try and figure out how we can use it, let’s begin just by recognizing its insufficiency. Know that we can go deeper if we need to but not get ourselves worked up and not invest the time until it’s appropriate, until number 1 isn’t sufficient and we need to look at them together.

Consider Statement #1

Number 1 gives us this product BD x AC = 20. Well here, we’re given a discrete value, which is a step in the right direction. Now, what do we need for area? You might say we need a base and a height but that’s not entirely accurate. Our equation, area is 1/2 x base x height, means that we don’t need to know the base and the height individually but rather their product. The key to this problem is noticing in number 1 that they give us this B x H product of 20, which means if we want to plug it into our equation, 1/2 x 20 is 10. Area is 10. Number 1 alone is sufficient. Answer choice A.

Don’t Get Caught Up With “X”

If we don’t recognize this then we get caught up with taking a look at x and what that means and trying to slice and dice this, which is complicated to say the least. And I want you to observe that if we get ourselves worked up about x, then immediately when we look at this BD x AC product, our minds are already in the framework of how to incorporate these two together. Whereas, if we dismiss the x is insufficient and look at this solo, the BD times AC, then we’re much more likely to strike upon that identity. Ideally though, of course, before we jump into the introduced information, we want to say, well, the area of a triangle is 1/2 x base x height. So, if I have not B and H individually, although that’ll be useful, B x H is enough. And then it’s a question of just saying, well, one’s got what we need – check. One is sufficient. Two doesn’t have what we need – isn’t sufficient, and we’re there. So,

I hope this helped. Look for links to other geometry and fun DS problems below and I’ll see you guys soon. Read this article about Data sufficiency problems and triangles next to get more familiar with this type of GMAT question.

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Combinatorics: Permutations and Combinations Intro
Posted on
11
Feb 2021

Combinatorics: Permutations and Combinations Intro

By: Rich Zwelling (Apex GMAT Instructor)
Date: 11 Feb 2021

GMAT Combinatorics. It’s a phrase that’s stricken fear in the hearts of many of my students. And it makes sense, because so few of us are taught anything about it growing up. But the good news is that, despite the scary title, what you need to know for GMAT combinatorics problems is actually not terribly complex.

To start, let’s look at one of the most commonly asked questions related to GMAT combinatorics, namely the difference between combinatorics and permutations

Does Order Matter?

It’s important to understand conceptually what makes permutations and combinations differ from one another. Quite simply, it’s whether we care about the order of the elements involved. Let’s look at these concrete examples to make things a little clearer:

Permutations example

Suppose we have five paintings to hang on a wall, and we want to know in how many different ways we can arrange the paintings. It’s the word “arrange” that often gives away that we care about the order in which the paintings appear. Let’s call the paintings A, B, C, D, and E:

ABCDE
ACDEB
BDCEA

Each of the above three is considered distinct in this problem, because the order, and thus the arrangement, changes. This is what defines this situation as a PERMUTATION problem. 

Mathematically, how would we answer this question? Well, quite simply, we would consider the number of options we have for each “slot” on the wall. We have five options at the start for the first slot:

_5_  ___ ___ ___ ___

After that painting is in place, there are four remaining that are available for the next slot:

_5_  _4_ ___ ___ ___

From there, the pattern continues until all slots are filled:

_5_  _4_ _3_ _2_ _1_

The final step is to simply multiply these numbers to get 5*4*3*2*1 = 120 arrangements of the five paintings. The quantity 5*4*3*2*1 is also often represented by the exclamation point notation 5!, or 5 factorial. (It’s helpful to memorize factorials up to 6!)

Combinations example

So, what about COMBINATIONS? Obviously if we care about order for permutations, that implies we do NOT care about order for combinations. But what does such a situation look like?

Suppose there’s a local food competition, and I’m told that a group of judges will taste 50 dishes at the competition. A first, a second, and a third prize will be given to the top three dishes, which will then have the honor of competing at the state competition in a few months. I want to know how many possible groups of three dishes out of the original 50 could potentially be selected by the judges to move on to the state competition.

The math here is a little more complicated without a combinatorics formula, but we’re just going to focus on the conceptual element for the moment. How do we know this is a COMBINATION situation instead of a permutation question? 

It’s a little tricky, because at first glance, you might consider the first, second, and third prizes and believe that order matters. Suppose that Dish A wins first prize, Dish B wins second prize, and Dish C wins third prize. Call that ABC. Isn’t that a distinct situation from BAC? Or CAB? 

Well, that’s where you have to pay very close attention to exactly what the question asks. If we were asking about distinct arrangements of prize winnings, then yes, this would be a permutation question, and we would have to consider ABC apart from BAC apart from CAB, etc. 

However, what does the question ask about specifically? It asks about which dishes advance to the state competition? Also notice that the question specifically uses the word “group,” which is often a huge signal for combinations questions. This implies that the total is more important than the individual parts. If we take ABC and switch it to BAC or BCA or ACB, do we end up with a different group of three dishes that advances to the state competition? No. It’s the same COMBINATION of dishes. 

Quantitative connection

It’s interesting to note that there will always be fewer combinations than permutations, given a common set of elements. Why? Let’s use the above simple scenario of three elements as an illustration and write out all the possible permutations of ABC. It’s straightforward enough to brute-force this by including two each starting with A, two each starting with B, etc:

ABC
ACB
BAC
BCA
CAB
CBA

But you could also see that there are 3*2*1 = 3! = 6 permutations by using the same method we used for the painting example above. Now, how many combinations does this constitute? Notice they all consist of the same group of three letters, and thus this is actually just one combination. We had to divide the original 6 permutations by 3! to get the correct number of permutations.

Next time, we’ll continue our discussion of permutation math and begin a discussion of the mechanics of combination math. 

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

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Featured Video Play Icon
Posted on
21
Jan 2021

Rope Problem – Graphic Solution Path

Hi guys! Today we’re going to look at the rope problem. And this is a fairly straight forward problem with an excellent graphic solution path. But there are some obstacles in our way to that graphic solution path.

Obstacles To Avoid

The first thing to watch out for here is the phrasing of the problem. You’ll notice it is phrased in an awkward way: rather than telling us where the rope is cut, it tells us one length relative to the other. The other obstacle is that we immediately want to jump into the math. Either setting up an algebraic equation or, otherwise, not visualizing the rope.

And this is an error not because it’s that much more difficult to do it mathematically, but because it’ll take you a bit more time and it will be less clear. You won’t be as confident in your answer choice relative to actually being able to see it.

Visualize the Problem

So, what you want to do is visualize the actual rope. And we’ve got one right here. So, if this is 40 feet long, and one side is 18 feet longer than the other then we wanna take the 18 and make that the longer piece, and then the other two pieces are distributed among the short side and the rest of the long side. Once we have that we can say, well, if this long part here is 18, then these two pieces must be 22 they also must be equal. And this is much quicker and clearer than setting up an equation 2x+18 = 40

We’re doing the same thing but here it’s easy to say: okay, 11; 11+18 is 29, that gets us our 40. And we’re there, we’re confident, we move on.

This is a great example of a straightforward problem that can be done in 15 seconds and if you’re doing it in a minute you’re spending too much time. Hope this helps, and we’ll see you guys next time!

For other problem related to this, try out the Test Averages Problem.

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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

November 26, 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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MBA Admissions consulting
Posted on
05
Nov 2020

MBA Admissions Consulting: Which Exam is Right For You

by ApexGMAT

Contributors: Fatma Xhafa & Svetozara Saykova

November 5, 2020

 

Are you ready to get a Master’s degree and take the business world by a storm? The first thing to consider is which admissions exam to prepare for. There are a handful of tests that MBA programs use to assess applicants. The GMAT, GRE, EA, INSEAD, and  ieGAT are the most common. Generally, these exams are more alike than not, but each exam presents unique challenges. APEX consultants can help you decide which is right for you.

 

Table of contents

  • The GMAT
  • The GRE
  • The Executive Assessment
  • The INSEAD Assessment
  • The ieGAT Assessment

GMAT

The Graduate Management Admissions Test, commonly known as the GMAT, is an assessment administered by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC). It is used for admission to MBA programs around the globe. 

The GMAT consists of 4 sections—Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment, Verbal, and Quantitative. Each section examines a particular set of essential business skills. The GMAT tests a variety of skills due to its computer adaptive nature, which is also what makes it so challenging.  

 

GMAT Sections Types of Questions Duration
Analytical Writing Assessment
  • short essay
30 minutes
Integrated Reasoning
  • multi-source reasoning
  • table analysis
  • graphics interpretation
  • two-part analysis
30 minutes
Verbal
  • sentence correction
  • reading comprehension
  • critical reasoning
65 minutes 
Quantitative
  • problem solving
  • data sufficiency 
61 minutes

 

The total price for sitting the GMAT is $250 (as of October 2020 €230 , £203). This includes sending the official scores to five MBA programs of your choice. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the GMAT is also offered online until December 2020. 

A 700+ GMAT score can open doors to some of the world’s most elite MBA programs, so don’t hesitate! Apex’s dedicated tutors can help get you there; time zone differences, busy schedules, and distance are nonissues for our team. Schedule a call at your convenience to discuss prep options and jumpstart your journey to success. 

GRE 

The Graduate Record Examination, or the GRE for short, is facilitated by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Thousands of MBA, MS/MA and Ph.D programs accept the GRE.

There are two types of GRE—the General Exam and the Subject Test. The General Exam is designed to examine analytical writing, quantitative ability, and verbal reasoning skills, and the Subject Test evaluates the candidate’s knowledge in a particular field of study. The subject exams include Mathematics, English Literature, Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry, Physics and Psychology. The Subject Test is required for most specialized Master’s programs.

The General Exam consists of three sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning. The GRE has a pattern in terms of section order: the Analytical Writing section will always be the first, and can either be followed by the Verbal, Quantitative, or unscored sections in any order. 

You may be wondering what those unscored sections test for. Unscored sections only appear on the computer-based exam and vary in content. There is no set number or time allocation for unscored sections. 

Each other section, however, has a set number of problems and time limit.

GRE Sections  Computer-based GRE Paper-based GRE
Analytical Writing 1 section – 2 tasks

60 minutes

2 section – 2 tasks

60 minutes

Verbal Section  2 sections – 40 questions

60 minutes

2 section – 50 questions

70 minutes

Quantitative Section  2 sections – 40 questions 

70 minutes

2 section – 50 questions

80 minutes

Unscored varies N/A
Research  varies N/A

 

The fee for the GRE General test varies by country between $205-$255 (as of October 2020 €175-218, £159-197). The GRE Subject Test costs $150 (as of October 2020 €128, £116)

Apex’s team of experienced consultants provides personalized GRE preparation, following the most comprehensive and intensive curriculum available. Schedule a consultation to discuss your prep needs with one of our mentors. 

Executive Assessment

The Executive Assessment is designed to evaluate business school readiness based on a candidate’s experience. Many MBA programs accept this exam as an alternative to the GMAT. It’s also offered by the Graduate Management Admissions Council. 

Whereas the GMAT is a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT), the EA is a ‘multi-stage’ computer adaptive. This means that question sets are selected depending on answers to previous question sets.

The EA is designed for Executive MBA programs. As such, it’s designed for busy professionals and executives who might not have a lot of time to prepare. There are several advantages to taking the EA if you fit into this category. 

The exam consists of 3 sections: Integrated Reasoning, Verbal, and Quantitative. Each section has a 30-minute time limit, so the entire EA exam takes no more than 1.5 hours. Scores range from 100-200. All sections are weighted equally, which makes it easier to determine the total.

 

EA Sections  Questions Types of Questions
Integrated Reasoning 12
  • Multi-Source Reasoning
  • Graphics Interpretation
  • Two-Part Analysis
  • Table Analysis
Verbal  14
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Critical Reasoning
  • Sentence Correction
Quantitative  14
  • Data Sufficiency
  • Problem Solving

In addition to being only 90 minutes long, the EA is widely available in test centers. It’s possible to reschedule free of charge up to 48 hours before the appointment, and the results are available within 24 hours. Registration costs $350 (as of October 2020 €298, £268). Candidates can take the exam no more than twice.

For business programs that accept the EA, visit our featured list of EMBA programs.

Since the Executive Assessment is designed to be less time consuming than the GMAT, preparing for it also is less time consuming. Apex provides the most comprehensive EA prep on the market. Candidates can earn top scores through private tutoring, or in our EA class, which offers 10 hours of EA prep over the course of one weekend and 2 additional hours of one-on-one instruction. Find out more by scheduling a complimentary call with one of our instructors. 

INSEAD Assessment

INSEAD (Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires) is an Executive MBA program. This program exclusively uses the INSEAD Assessment to evaluate candidates. 

The INSEAD’s structure is slightly different from the GMAT’s and as a result, the preparation is, too. It does not require an excessive amount of preparation time for math, geometry, or verbal questions. However, candidates must prepare for the exam’s format, in addition to refreshing verbal and quantitative skills.

INSEAD Sections  Number of Questions/ Time per section
Data Analysis 15 questions

30 minutes

Data Interpretation 15 questions

30 minutes

Communication Analysis 15 questions

30 minutes

Critical Thinking 15 questions

30 minutes

Case Presentation 30 minutes preparation,

15 minutes presentation

 

The exam can be taken once a month at any INSEAD campus in France, Singapore, or Abu Dhabi. Application must be submitted at least 2 weeks in advance of the exam date. Once applicants pass the pre-screening stage, they can confirm the test location and payment method. The exam costs 185 (as of October of 2020 $218, £167).

At Apex, we offer expert tutoring for the INSEAD Assessment. Our experienced instructors have extensive knowledge in everything from data analysis and interpretation to communication, critical thinking and case studies. We offer clients the flexibility to learn the ins and outs of the INSEAD in a relaxed environment.

ieGAT – IE Global Admissions Test

The ieGAT  is exclusive to the IE International University, which includes the IE business school in Spain. The ieGAT differs from the exams above in a number of ways. For starters, applicants can only take it once, so it’s highly important to be well prepared–you won’t get another shot.

In order to sit for the ieGAT, at least 25% of a candidate’s MBA application must be completed. The exam takes 80 minutes and includes 60 questions. Questions are tailored to the program that the applicant is interested in. The ieGAT is a pass/fail exam, and it’s the only test necessary for admission to IE University. 

The IE administers the Global Admissions Test in English and Spanish. The test’s language must match the language in which an applicant’s MBA program will be taught. 

ieGAT Sections 
Numerical and Verbal Reasoning
Logical – Abstract Reasoning

 

At Apex, we offer one-on-one ieGAT instruction. We provide our clients with personalized attention, flexibility, and an overall productive and enjoyable experience to ensure results. Our experts guide candidates through a multitude of solution paths in the Numerical and Verbal section, as well as the Abstract Reasoning section.

Determining which exam will help you achieve your goals might not be as simple as it seems, but talking to an experienced MBA consultant will get you started on the right path. Schedule a call with one of our consultants to discuss your aspirations, needs, and preparation options. 

Admissions Consulting 

Apex GMAT offers one-on-one tutoring for each of the exams described above. Next, it’s important to start thinking about applying to MBA programs. If you’re taking an exclusive exam, such as the ieGAT or INSEAD, you already know where you’ll be applying. Otherwise, Apex’s elite team can help you develop the skills you’ll need to land a spot in your dream program. Take the first step towards your future by scheduling a call with one of our top MBA admissions consulting experts today. 

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fortune 500 ceos with mbas
Posted on
29
Oct 2020

Fortune 500 CEO’s with MBA’s

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

Tim Cook

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

Mary Barra

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

Sundar Pichai

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

Satya Nadella

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

Indra Nooyi

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

Jamie Dimon

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

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

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master the gmat awa section
Posted on
23
Oct 2020

Master the GMAT AWA section with this comprehensive template

GMAT AWA Section Template For Success

By ApexGMAT

Contributor: Altea Sulollari

October 23rd, 2020

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

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

The first step

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

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

1. Understanding the Author’s Claim

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

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

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

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

3. Deciding how to strengthen/weaken the argument

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

The Final Step

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

Introduction:

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

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

Body paragraphs:

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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

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

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4 practices to master the gmat awa section
Posted on
20
Oct 2020

4 Best Practices to Help You Master the GMAT AWA Section

Posted By: Apex GMAT

Contributor: Altea Sulollari

Date: 20 October 2020

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

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

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

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

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

The GMAT AWA Explained

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

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

The GMAT AWA Scoring System

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

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

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

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

What’s a good GMAT AWA score?

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

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

4 Best Practices to Help You Ace the GMAT AWA Section

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

1. Remember that you are dealing with an analysis! 

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

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

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

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

3. Practice is key!

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

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

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

4. Don’t stress it too much!

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

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

Good luck with your exam! 

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the online gmat
Posted on
13
Oct 2020

The Online GMAT Experience-from preparation to post MBA 

by Apex GMAT

Contributor: Ilia Dobrev

 

Advancements in technology, combined with constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, have prompted the GMAT world to adapt by shifting a large portion of the exam and preparation materials online. Both test takers and tutoring firms have seen positive outcomes from interactive learning aids, an abundance of resources, and easily accessible networks of people at different stages of the GMAT journey. However, the transition has also introduced some hazards concerning physical test endurance, focus, and anxiety. This article evaluates risks and challenges you may encounter taking the online exam and summarizes everything you need to know to be ready for your online GMAT experience.

The Online GMAT Exam

Since the onset of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, the General Management Admissions Council (GMAC) has introduced an innovative, completely online version of the physical GMAT test. This allows test takers to maintain social distance by sitting for the exam from the comfort of home.

As of late July, 2020, at the time of writing, anyone can schedule an online exam before December 31, 2020. In order to accommodate candidates’ availability, appointments are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 24 hours before an available time slot. Note that the online GMAT exam is not available in Mainland China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Sudan due to local data privacy regulations.

Differences from the regular GMAT exam

  • The GMAC has determined that the Quantitative, Verbal, and Integrated Reasoning sections are the most relevant for graduate business education. Therefore, the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) has been excluded from the online GMAT test.
  • The duration of the online test is shorter–2 hours and 45 minutes compared to 3 hours and 23 minutes. This time frame includes a 15 to 30 minutes tutorial to  familiarize candidates with the online proctored platform and all its functions.
  • Online, you will not be able to choose the order of the sections. The sequence is fixed as follows: Quantitative, Verbal, and Integrated Reasoning.
  • You can use a physical whiteboard, the built-in online whiteboard, or both for note taking. 

If you’re planning to use a physical white board, there are several requirements it must fulfil: it should be no larger than 12×20 inches (30×50 centimeters), use up to 2 dry erase markers and 1 dry erase whiteboard eraser. Items such as whiteboards with grids, background colors, or other markings, paper, pen, pencil, permanent marker, tissues (paper towels, napkins), whiteboard spray, chalkboards, writing tablets, and others are not permitted.

During the online exam, test takers will be able to access an online board from the icon. It contains an endless canvas to take notes on, which eliminates the need to erase your work as you progress through the sections.

  • In contrast to the two optional breaks in the regular exam, the online GMAT allows candidates to opt for only one 5-minute break before the Integrated Reasoning section.
  • Official GMAT scores are available on mba.com within 7 business days of completing the exam.
  • Another perk of the online GMAT experience is that it allows applicants to send scores to an unlimited number of institutions free of charge.
  • The online GMAT fee is $200, compared to the original $250 cost for the physical exam.
  • The online test cannot be retaken for any reason except a verified technical issue or authorized retakes.

Similarities with the regular GMAT exam

  • The online GMAT consists of the same Quantitative, Verbal, and Integrated Reasoning sections. Despite excluding the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), each of the other three sections contains the same number of questions as before–31, 36, and 12 respectively. In terms of timing, there are no alterations–the sections take 62, 65, and 30 minutes.

online GMAT breakdown

  • To ensure that GMAT scores are compatible and comparable across the online and test center-based versions, the online version adopts the same scoring algorithm. This means that both exams are equally replaceable with one another. 
  • Validity remains the same – 5 years.

Online GMAT Preparation, Tips & Tricks

As the online exam practically covers the same content, regular GMAT preparation remains relevant. If you are trying to figure out which prep method (self, group, or one-on-one) suits you best, you can check out the Four Ps of the best GMAT Prep. Apex’s GMAT tutors and custom-made curriculum are tailored to meet the needs for an online learning environment by providing private GMAT tutoring and nurturing constant feedback.

From a technical viewpoint, it is important to get used to the online whiteboard tool. It is available in all of GMAC’s Official Practice Exams, where anyone can practice all its functions in a simulated, timed environment. Keep in mind that you are not permitted to use touchscreens, graphics tablets, or stylus pens. And lastly, before starting the online GMAT exam, you can do a system test before to ensure your computer meets the operational requirements.

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