Featured Video Play Icon
Posted on
20
Aug 2020

Time Management on The GMAT

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

1. If You Are Actively Managing Your Time, You Are Doing Something Wrong

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

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

2. Manage Your Process

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

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

3. Become More Sensitive to Time

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

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

4. Series Information

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

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

Read more
Featured Video Play Icon
Posted on
06
Aug 2020

Probability GMAT Problem

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

1. Introduction To The XYZ Probability Problem

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

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

2. Doing The Math May Seem Simple

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

3. Xavier Getting It Correct

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

4. Yvonne Getting It Correct

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

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

5. Zelda Getting It Incorrect

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

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

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

Read more
One on One GMAT Tutoring Your Way to GMAT Success
Posted on
04
Aug 2020

One on One GMAT Tutoring: Your Way to GMAT Success

When it comes to GMAT tutoring, we at Apex have learned that there are a set of core characteristics that all successful GMAT test takers embody; no matter their industry, degree, personal traits, or prior levels of knowledge. In this article, we’ll:

  • explore each of these eight core characteristics
  • deconstruct a few of the faulty assumptions that test takers bring to the process
  • distinguish one-on-one GMAT tutoring as an efficient way for most people to achieve a competitive GMAT score and build a solid foundation for an MBA program.

Many people preparing for the GMAT believe that it’s the instructor’s responsibility to implement their own expertise and style to improve one’s current skill level and address one’s weaknesses. The reality, however, is more of a two-way street, where the important element is the compatibility between a tutor’s teaching style and a student’s learning style. A qualified instructor is one that first examines the way a client processes new information and perceives problems, and the techniques he or she uses to address those problems. Only after a tutor has understood one’s learning style can he/she match professional guidance with the needs of the client.

8 Ways One-on-one GMAT Tutoring Gets You to a 700+ Score on the GMAT

1. Creating a Productive & Efficient Learning Structure

Oftentimes, test takers seek GMAT tutoring because they have stumbled upon enough types of challenging problems that they can’t tackle alone, or they’ve reached the peak of their self-preparation but still seek higher results. One-on-one tutoring differs from self-prep and group work with a tutor in terms of the learning environment and having the benefit of external perception of your performance. With private GMAT tutoring, communication dynamics are on a much more personal, and personalized, level – yielding stronger results much more quickly than alternative solutions.

The privacy and trust inherent in a one on one GMAT tutoring setup permit test takers to feel comfortable sharing their weaknesses in a safe environment and tackle those things that are challenging to them without worrying about how they will be interpreted by peers. The comfort afforded by this situation should not be underestimated. A private GMAT tutor not only helps with improving one’s technique and self-knowledge but also strives to create a healthy and secure learning environment that is vital for:

  • reducing test anxiety
  • building GMAT confidence
  • improving studying habits
  • avoiding distractions and disruptions of the learning process
  • encouraging freedom to ask questions
  • nurturing motivation

2. Constant Two-way Feedback

A fundamental rule of management states, “No feedback is bad feedback”. Another is “What gets measured gets managed.” When preparing alone or within a group, a future test taker will not have a clear indication about how effective they are performing until they take a practice exam, and even then the exam only focuses on specific metrics. A good private GMAT tutor will know what to look for, what to measure, and what feedback to give to provide rapid and lasting results. They will guide you through questions that are matched to your current level of skill, meaning that you will be consistently receiving feedback on your methodology, time allocation, implementation of knowledge, and solution paths as you progress through your GMAT preparation. This ongoing back and forth communication will allow you to identify your weak spots in self-prep as well, and revisit appropriate material to deepen your understanding of less comfortable concepts.

3. Learning at Your Own Pace, and Then Speeding It Up

Timing is the most crucial aspect of the GMAT that you need to master to achieve a great score. Naturally, everyone excels at tackling some problems and needs more time to solve others. Tutoring can hone your timing decisions and your tutor can create a customized plan for timing allocation across a range of problems depending upon your relative strengths and weaknesses.

Studying with a private GMAT tutor will also allow you to spend the right amount of time on each aspect of the exam according to your scoring needs. This lets you avoid inefficiencies and master only those techniques that will be most useful to you in order to fulfill your potential.

4. Developing Specific Skill Sets to Tackle Each Section of the GMAT

The GMAT test is a complex exam designed not to test high school knowledge, but rather core character traits like adaptability, time management, critical thinking, logical reasoning, and multitasking. You cannot achieve a high GMAT score if there is a significant difference between your performance in each section of the exam. A private GMAT tutor can give you the best insights on how to build, manage, and combine the different skills needed to get a great end result and achieve parity between your verbal and quantitative scores.

5. Realizing Better Use of Your Time

Flexibility and accessibility of learning are key to maximizing your potential. One-on-one GMAT tutoring is:

  • Usually offered online. This means that you can schedule sessions at the most convenient time depending only on your flexibility. You can have lessons in your breaks from work, gaps between classes, during daily commutes, during holidays, in the park, etc.
  • Available at any time. This is not the case with group GMAT tutoring as classes are scheduled depending on the instructor. Apex works globally and has tutoring available in every time zone around the globe. Private GMAT tutoring should be designed to meet your lifestyle requirements and you should aim to schedule sessions when you are most productive. A technique that the best GMAT instructors adopt is to schedule sessions at a time of the day when you are supposed to sit your actual exam. This can help you simulate conditions similar to those on test day and give you important insights on how to maximize your productivity at that specific time frame.
  • Offered with different options depending on duration and material covered in the program. Whether you are a beginner or someone who already has a strong understanding of the GMAT, you can choose a specifically designed GMAT curriculum depending on what you strive to achieve. This is reflected in the amount of hours you are going to spend with an instructor and in the price of the service. At Apex we offer a complimentary first call to help you determine what course of action will be the most suitable for you depending on your current level of preparation and your GMAT aspirations.

6. Understanding Where You Excel and What You Struggle with Most

If you are aiming for an elite GMAT score, you’ll need to leverage your strengths and recognize your weaknesses. Understanding the meaning behind each question, its structure and underlying testing purpose, and the methodologies the test writers use to construct the problems are essential for success. The best one-on-one GMAT tutors are aware of the subtleties of the exam and can not only guide you around them but teach you how to leverage these subtleties for high level insights into the hardest 750+ problems. This will predispose you to uncover features of the test that most preppers have never even considered.

7. Utilizing Learning Aids

Finding and gaining access to challenging GMAT problems, authentic and reliable practice tests / mock exams, and appropriate study tools can take ages to hunt down (and cost a fortune). One-on-one GMAT tutoring allows you to refocus your valuable time as experienced instructors will already have compiled a solid database of resources and questions and show you the ones that are most relevant to your success at your current level. That way, your instructor, and not you, will spend the time filtering them according to your needs and present the ones that will have the greatest positive impact on your GMAT preparation.

8. The Expertise and Professional Mentorship of a Private GMAT Tutor

Working with an expert GMAT tutor who has scored well into the top 1%, and who knows the exam inside and out will help you accelerate your learning and move the needle of your progress in ways you only read about on GMAT blogs. Experienced instructors are trained to teach you how to overcome the different GMAT scoring plateaus and meet your personal target. The goal of great tutors is not only to show you how to answer a question correctly, but also to help you extract a methodology that can be continuously applied to other questions across the GMAT, and to problems beyond.

Apex’s tutors focus on teaching the higher order strategies that are necessary for the achievement of a 700+ score and bringing out your optimal performance. Enlisting the help of a one-on-one GMAT instructor is recommended for those who are short on time or those who already have a solid understanding of the exam and are scoring well (low to mid-600’s), but are looking to gain those extra points that will make them get into their dream MBA program and lay the groundwork for a challenging, engaging, and lucrative career.

 

Contributor: Ilia Dobrev

Read more
Featured Video Play Icon
Posted on
16
Jul 2020

When To Study For The GMAT?

If you are reading this at any time other than the morning, you’re probably not getting your optimal yield out of your self-prep time. Let’s talk about how the time that you spend preparing and the relative yield you get from that time can change. 

1. Time of Day

Most of us have good times and bad times of the day, and that’s tied in very deeply to our biology and our circadian rhythm. Most people are at their sharpest mid-morning. However, if you’re constantly sleep-deprived this might change. In fact, it might never be optimal. 

In order to get the best out of your self-prep time, you need to be capitalizing on the best times of the day to study. This also means to not overdo it. Don’t force yourself into studying when you’re not up for it. If you’ve worked a 10-hour day, whether on a desk, on the street, or doing big projects and travelling to a client as a consultant, your study time is very limited. Studying when you’re exhausted is not only going to be low-yield but it’s also going to take a lot out of you so that you’re not able to capture those high-yield times. 

2. Small Increments of Study Time

Instead, try self-prepping in smaller units throughout the day. Particularly in those times when you are sharpest. If you can grab 15 minutes at 10 o’clock in the morning, even if it’s a bathroom break or 20 minutes on your commute, do so. Those are really good times to prep. Doing little increments throughout the day increases your contact density but also decreases the burden from your daily schedule. 

Many of you out there are working crazy jobs, balancing a social life, and family obligations, and the GMAT can take over. Particularly, if you’re spending 10, 20, or 30 hours a week self-prepping. If you are, you’re spending too much time. You’re better off getting stronger results out of smaller increments of high-yield time rather than killing yourself and studying 3-6 hours at a time on the weekends or in the evenings. 

3. Quality Over Quantity

When you study for the GMAT and how you prepare for it are much more important than how much time you prepare. Be mindful of when you’re sharpest during the day and take at least a portion of that time and devote it to your GMAT prep, because what you’re ultimately doing is personal development. 

As much as you might be devoted to a job, it’s not going to be there forever. Your personal growth, a high GMAT score, and also getting into the next step of your career or the next step of your education. That should be your priority and you need to make sure you balance that with your other obligations. 

4. When To Study For The GMAT?

So remember: incremental short study breaks, or in other words, breaks from everything else you’re doing to study, can increase your contact density. If you’re tired, and this is probably the biggest takeaway, don’t force yourself to study because you’re just spinning your wheels. You are not going to get a good yield out of it. You’re better off putting on Netflix, taking a nap, spending time with loved ones, going out with friends, and getting yourself on an even keel. So that the 60 to 90 minutes a day that you can devote to GMAT is the best 60 and 90 minutes you can give it. Try to get some rest cause I know 90% of you are reading this while tired. Best of luck on your GMAT Prep Journey! 

Did you enjoy When To Study For The GMAT? Watch some of our other videos including: How to select a GMAT tutor.

Read more
Private Tutoring
Posted on
14
Jul 2020

How Can Private Tutoring Help You Score 700+ on the GMAT?

Achieving a 700+ score on the GMAT is not a simple task. It requires significant preparation, excellent organization, and continuous motivation to learn. Studying for an exam can be overwhelming, especially when there is no one by your side to keep you motivated. Perhaps you’re struggling with quant problems or you’re not sure how to apply the strategies that you have learned. Well, don’t worry… This is where private GMAT tutoring comes into play.

Here are the top 5 reasons you should start working with a tutor in order to ace the GMAT.

       Index:

1. Individualized Learning Experience

Although the GMAT is a standardized exam, there is no one size fits all approach to success. While some students favor graphical solution paths, others are more analytical or methodical in their approach to answering GMAT questions. Some struggle with geometry, others with algebra, and others with critical reasoning. There are students who have excellent writing skills, while others, particularly ESL students, require practice to achieve a good score on the analytical writing assessment. The existence of these differences indicates that there is not only a singular path to studying for such a nuanced exam and that preparation should be customized to maximize one’s strengths and abilities.

Unlike classroom teaching where the teacher rarely deviates from the prescribed syllabus, a private GMAT tutor will tailor your learning plan based on the knowledge and skills you currently possess and their expertise. By identifying your learning style and framing your entire prep program around it, a skilled GMAT tutor will ensure that you are not only progressing through your prep but enjoying it as well.

What’s more, a perceptive private GMAT tutor will also focus your attention on the areas where you experience difficulties or need improvement, especially those areas that you can’t see for yourself. Due to this guidance and direction, you will be able to spend more time on improving, and less time repeating the same mistakes or going over content that you’ve already mastered. You’ll develop new skills that were previously lacking and adopt more favorable methods to solve difficult problems. Additionally, you will learn how to organize your time more effectively which is essential for you on the exam.

2. Personalized Attention

Although classroom teaching can prove beneficial for mastering the fundamental knowledge needed for higher level approaches, one disadvantage of learning with others is the lack of personalized attention and focus on the lowest common denominator type construal of the concepts being taught. Teachers in any classroom cannot pay attention to all of their students’ needs, especially those who struggle differently than most, or who have higher goals than their classmates. While one student might be struggling with the clustering principle that defines standard deviation as it applies to comparing different sets, another might require a refresh on calculating variance and how the underlying concept operates. Whatever your specific case may be, the help of a private tutor can address it.

By working with a top-notch tutor outside of the classroom, you’ll be able to rapidly progress and draw on personalized mental models to confidently approach GMAT problems of the highest complexity. A skilled GMAT tutor will not only help you acquire new knowledge but s/he is also going to teach you valuable meta-strategies that can be useful for you when you study for the exam. At Apex we focus on solution paths, problem forming, and many other innovative techniques that make for high-yield self preparation, and top level scores.

Moreover, a highly qualified private tutor will have a team behind him/her and copious amounts of materials and drills, while drawing upon a flexible curriculum so that your preparation can be as personalized and efficient as possible and result in the score you are striving to achieve. You shouldn’t be afraid to speak openly with your GMAT tutor about any concerns you have regarding your preparation, and your tutor should always be open to your feedback and input, rather than trying to “run the show”. Recall that the purpose of engaging a tutor is not only the acquisition of knowledge but also the attention and support you will be given.

3. Improved Confidence

Working with a proficient private tutor will definitely boost your confidence, and confidence is essential to exemplary GMAT performance. After a few sessions, you should expect to see how much your tutor has helped you learn and adopt fresh skills and additional perspective – about the GMAT and about yourself as a test taker  – and address the problems you thought impossible just a few short weeks prior. Almost imperceptibly you will become more proficient in your execution and more sensitive to the different ways the GMAT modulates complexity and delivers hints about the most viable and efficient solution paths (here at Apex we call these Test Reads). Thorough preparation will marginalize your fear of failure and help you combat latent (or not so latent) test anxiety so that you can manifest the high expectations that you’ve likely set at the outset of this process.

In addition, a capable private tutor will ensure that you address your anxiety about the exam in a healthy way. Aside from designing a study plan customized to your learning style, your GMAT tutor will focus on other salient, but less popular factors that affect GMAT performance; the amount of sleep you get, and overstudying, to name just two. While you might not have considered these factors, or believe them to be unimportant, they drastically influence productivity and affect test day performance. That is why an experienced GMAT tutor will do everything s/he can to make you ready, and make you feel ready, for your exam.

4. Greater Motivation

Constant preparation can be exhausting and without the proper support and encouragement, it’s normal to lose your motivation along the way. A tutor, however, can provide that motivation and understanding of what you’re going through – something well meaning friends and family cannot – so that your goals become reality.

Apart from ensuring your efficient preparation for the GMAT, a personal GMAT tutor will also be your greatest mentor, motivator, and cheerleader. S/he will be the person who will check in, see how you’re doing midweek, and encourage you the most because he/she will be personally invested in you and will have a professional stake in the outcome of your preparation. The best tutors take their clients’ successes personally, and this informs their attentiveness and personal pride. The faith that your tutor has in you should inspire you so that you can achieve your dream score and satisfy your collective expectations. Thus, you will be even more motivated than before and you will perceive the exam as an opportunity to demonstrate all the novel skills you have developed and trained throughout your preparation.

5. Higher GMAT Score

Last, but certainly not least, preparation with the help of a private tutor will result in a higher score on test day when compared to classroom learning or self-preparation alone or in combination. As we have already mentioned, lessons from a devoted private tutor will provide you with an individualized learning experience and more personalized attention which will lead to an increase in your confidence and motivation for the exam. Finally, you will learn more than just GMAT strategies from your tutor. You will learn critical and creative thinking skills, heuristics, mental models, and other thinking tools that will help you make the most of all future learning opportunities. The best tutors, like the ones here at Apex, teach you how to better learn, and become mentors and trusted advisors as you progress through your MBA and further career.

Final Notes 

To sum things up: private GMAT tutoring can be expensive but the value it will deliver will be more than worth the money. The best tutoring stays with you and will add color and perspective to your future learning, whether in your MBA, on the job, or as you progress through your career. If you want to embark on your GMAT journey with a private tutor, make sure you:

Thanks for reading this article and good luck with your GMAT preparation!

 

Contributor: Irena Georgieva

Read more
Featured Video Play Icon
Posted on
19
May 2020

GMAT Scoring – Demystified

One of the most common questions asked by those who are new to the GMAT is how exactly does the computer adaptive test or CAT work? The long and short of it is that if you get a problem correct, they give you a harder one, if you get a problem incorrect, they give you an easier one. By doing this the GMAT is able to bounce up and down and calibrate to your skill level.

1. Should You Spend more time on the first 10 questions?

A few things come out of this including questions about how to spend your time. Whether certain questions are weighted more than others, whether your timing, that is the amount of time you spend on a problem, factors into the score.

To start, there’s a common misconception that you should spend more time on the first 10 questions because they tend to adjust your level for the computer adaptive test at a greater rate. While that’s true in the sense that the computer-adapted model on the GMAT does influence it more at the outset, whether you should spend more time is actually a more complex question. That’s because generally, the GMAT is going to give you problems that are about average and build up or down from that average.

2. Planning To Score An Elite GMAT Score

If you’re planning on performing at a top level, at an elite level, if your goal is 700 or even 600, you need to assume that those early problems – that are average level problems – you’re going to do well and in a timely manner anyway.

That is spending extra time to ensure you get them correct is a grandiose version of spending extra time to make sure that you’re getting two plus two correct. You wouldn’t check that because you’re confident enough in your skills and if you’re in the GMAT and you’re getting ready to shoot for a 700 you should already be confident enough in your skills not to have to spend extra time on average level problems. To take these problems on a problem-by-problem basis rather than with blanket statements.

3. Does The GMAT Test keep Track of Other Information?

A common question is whether or not the test keeps track of the type of problems you do. This can refer to:

    • subject matter
    • problem solving vs data sufficiency 
    • reading comprehension vs critical reasoning vs sentence correction

However, we can still go about it with the core rule: if you get it right you’re going to see something more challenging, get it wrong, less challenging. We tend to believe that they don’t keep a great track of that but really rely upon the bouncing up and down to calibrate you to your average performance level. You don’t want to sweat any single problem or worry about any single problem type in regards to the Computer Adaptive Test.

Certainly,  sometimes you’ll know that certain types of problems require more or less attention from you or that you make common errors on those problems. However, that’s not a CAT thing, that’s just a general GMAT thing. 

4. You are penalized for spending too much time on a problem but not in the way you think.

The other big question we hear a lot is whether or not the amount of time you take on a problem factors into the score. The answer here is subtle, it’s yes and no. No in the sense that the GMAT scoring algorithm does not track the amount of time that you spend on a problem. But, yes in the sense that the more time you spend on problems the less time you have for other problems. In particular, if you’re scoring above average, you’re on this ascendant curve so that the difficult problems at the end require more time than the less challenging problems at the beginning.

Therefore, if the GMAT kept track of your time and penalized you for spending longer on problems they would actually be penalizing you twice and this gets us into our timing decisions and the trade-off between time and score.

4. Time and Score Trade-off

When you’re armed with confidence and knowledge about how something works you don’t have to worry about how it works or how what you’re doing affects how it works and you can focus on the task at hand. 

The more that you can offload the burden of worrying about the scoring and the mechanisms by which the GMAT measures you, the more success you will find. As always, I hope this helps, and keep prepping!

If you enjoyed GMAT Scoring Demystified, watch The Effects Of Coffee On GMAT Performance.

Read more