does the gmat matter after graduation article
Posted on
15
Sep 2020

Does the GMAT Matter After Graduation?

High GMAT scores are a requirement for acceptance to thousands of different graduate programs, from top tier MBAS to EBMAs to PhD programs in business management. More than a quarter-million students take the exam every year. 

Admissions officers see GMAT scores as one of the most reliable predictors for future success. A high score signifies not only an applicant’s technical and quantitative proficiency, but also his or her ability to perform at a professional level. 

But do GMAT scores matter after graduation? The short answer is yes. Here’s why.

What exactly does the GMAT test for?

To understand why elite business schools and fortune 500 companies take GMAT scores so seriously, we need to ask another question first:

What exactly does the GMAT test for?

At first glance, the GMAT seems like a fairly standard exam; it tests for command over basic algebra, arithmetic, geometry, grammar, and multi-source data analysis. However, on a deeper level, the exam evaluates an applicant’s critical thinking skills and creativity–two essential traits in the modern, highly competitive business world. 

Why is a good GMAT score so important?

The GMAT isn’t about rote memorization. Every GMAT question has multiple paths to a solution. However, some paths are significantly shorter than others. The GMAT doesn’t test how much applicants know; rather, a successful applicant demonstrates what they can do with that knowledge in a narrow time frame. To do well on the GMAT, applicants must demonstrate a strong ability to analyze and contextualize information with speed and efficiency. 

GMAT performance has become one of the most decisive factors for business school admissions committees because the score isn’t just a score. It’s a representation of the candidate’s traits and abilities. A high score reflects focus, diligence, hard work, intellectual aptitude, and time management skills. A high score signifies not only a candidate’s technical and quantitative proficiency, but also his or her ability to perform at a professional level. 

Is taking the GMAT a must?

While every top tier business school requires GMAT scores, not every company does. A 2018 Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) survey showed that only 6% of surveyed companies use GMAT scores in their employee selection process. Of the remaining companies, 21% stated that while a high GMAT score can help a job candidate, the GMAT doesn’t typically play a significant role in the selection process. The remaining 72% said they don’t consider GMAT scores at all.

However, the 6% that do use GMAT scores to vet job candidates are the cream-of-the-crop in the business world. All major banking, investment, and consulting firms, including Accenture and Goldman Sachs, require high GMAT scores for all positions–even internships. 

Most of these firms specialize in quantitative-intensive labor. As a result, the quantitative section tends to carry more weight. For example, if a candidate has an overall score of 680, but a quantitative score of 51, he or she has a good chance of getting an interview at a major firm.

However, there are diminishing returns. Many recruiters believe that a candidate’s efficiency doesn’t increase proportionately to the score. Let’s say candidate A has a 3.2 GPA, candidate B has a 3.5 GPA, and candidate C has a 3.8 GPA. The difference between candidates A and B is the same as the difference between candidates B and C. However, the value candidate B adds to the company compared to candidate A is a lot greater than the value candidate C adds compared to candidate B. This applies to GMAT scores, too. 

How to get a high GMAT score

The advanced skills that business schools and employers look for aren’t solely the result of inborn traits. With a positive attitude, drive, and high quality tutoring, these skills can be learned. Effective GMAT prep trains test takers in the crucial areas that promote logical thinking and mental acuity, and the work habits, determination, and rigor acquired throughout the preparation process lasts for a lifetime. 

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Posted on
20
Aug 2020

Time Management on The GMAT

GMAT Time Management

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. 

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 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. 

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. 

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 taker’s 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. 

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

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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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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

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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. 

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 traveling to a client as a consultant, your study time is very limited and 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.

Small Increments of Study Time

Instead, try self-prepping in smaller units throughout the day. Particularly in those times when your 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 are working crazy jobs, balancing a social life, family obligations, and the GMAT can take over. Particularly if you’re spending 10, 20, 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. 

Quality Over Quantity

When you prepare and how you prepare is much more important than how much time you prepare. Be mindful of when you’re sharpest during the day and to 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. 

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, increasing 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 enjoyed When To Study For The GMAT? Watch some of our other videos including: How to select a GMAT tutor.

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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.

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 because generally the GMAT is going to give you problems that are about average and build up or down from that average.

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.

Does The 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 versus data sufficiency 
    • reading comprehension versus critical reasoning versus 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. 

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

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Posted on
14
May 2020

The Effects of Coffee on GMAT Performance

Let’s talk about caffeine and the effect of coffee on GMAT performance. Caffeine is a neuro-stimulant. Drinking coffee or tea while you prep and particularly being appropriately caffeinated when your test is a decided advantage. Caffeine is a nootropic, which means it helps you be smarter. It also helps your cognitive abilities become enhanced due to increased blood flow and oxygen flow to the brain.

Find Your Right Amount

It’s important to understand how much caffeine helps, not just to wake you up in the morning. More than that, it’s about how much caffeine is needed to get you to that a really nice steady state of alert focus-ness (where you’re making up words like alert focus-ness) where you kind of feel on top of the world and you have that gentle energy.

You want to understand exactly how much caffeine your body can take because there’s nothing worse than being over caffeinated, jittery and anxiety ridden on the exam. But if you calibrate it properly caffeine is an important part of your GMAT diet.

If you enjoyed the Effects of coffee on GMAT Prep, watch: Why a 4.0 does not equal GMAT success. 

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Should You Retake the GMAT? All That You Need to Consider – Apex GMAT

There it is. A 690. Not what you wanted, but pretty damn good. Should you keep the score or cancel it? Do you take the exam again, after all the agony, or hope that it will be enough?

GMAT test takers face these questions each time they sit the exam, and there is no one size fits all answer. There are many factors to consider, from your personal situation, available time, career and MBA goals, and the draw of being done with the GMAT.

You Are Not Your GMAT Score

Let’s begin with a more general premise: YOU ARE NOT YOUR GMAT SCORE. As much as some might have you believe so, your GMAT score is not the be all end all of your life, self-worth or MBA candidacy. It’s important to keep this fact in mind, and what follows from it – while a strong GMAT score is necessary to demonstrate academic skill and preparedness for an MBA or other graduate program, a strong score is not enough, especially if you’re applying to a top ranked program.

Something that almost no one will tell you – nearly everyone struggles on the GMAT and spends months preparing. We often see clients from top consulting and banking firms who insist on not recommending us to others because they don’t want anyone they work with to know that they needed help!

How The Admissions Committees View Your Score

An admissions committee is looking at your entire profile – your resume, recommendations, accomplishments, and presentation in an interview setting. While they use the GMAT to determine how well they believe you’ll thrive in the academic parts of the MBA program, they’re really looking at the individual when making a decision.

Admissions committees want to see you at your best, so having a second score on your score report, or even speaking about your struggles on the GMAT and how you overcame them can work as a positive to your application. Many programs are also willing to “super score” – taking the best subsections and combining them into the best possible score, and, especially on the quantitative, want to make sure that you’ll be able to handle the rigors of the program. Having an inferior score on your score report is a lot like running a race slowly… no one cares about your worst time, they only care about your best. You might be tired, ill, have a nail in your shoe, or some other calamity, so only your best time represents your capability, and admissions committees know this. So when should you retake the GMAT? Well ask yourself the following question before you make that decision:

What Does This Increase Really Mean To You?

Another factor to consider is how much an incremental increase in your GMAT score will be compared with spending the time elsewhere – adding another activity to your resume, spending more time on crafting your essays, or even feeling better by going out and seeing friends more regularly so you don’t absolutely freaking lose it!

These are real considerations, and being well rounded in fact, not just on paper, will provide a notable enhancement to your ability to market yourself effectively and accomplish your goals – career, romantic, and otherwise. Are you really prepared to give so much up for a number on a piece of paper?

Why Should You Retake The GMAT ?

On the other hand, perhaps you had an off day, or perhaps it is really important to you to crack that 700 because your brother/partner/boss got there and you want to be in that same rarefied air. There’s nothing wrong with that, and that drive can be a healthy one. Retaking the exam, especially after significant preparation, represents an extra $250 GMAT retake fee and an afternoon. Additional retakes are “free” relative to the time and commitment you’ve spent to get to the first exam, so to the extent it’s not damaging to your mental health, relationships, and lifestyle, there’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t take the exam one or more additional times. Admissions committees can’t see that you’ve cancelled your scores, so don’t worry about looking try-hard. Besides, like everything in life, you’re doing it for you, right?

GMAT Retake Strategy

In the end, there is no right or wrong answer, just the answer that is right or wrong for you. Consult with your family, partner, friends and colleagues. If you’re working with a professional tutor, they should be able to provide you perspective as well, especially since they’ve seen this many times before, and maybe have gone through it personally. If you would like to talk about your GMAT prep or retaking the GMAT with an Apex instructor leave us your details.

If you enjoyed “Should You Retake the GMAT?”, watch why a 4.0 GPA does not always equal a high GMAT Score.

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Posted on
13
Mar 2020

What Are GMAT Scoring Plateaus and How To Overcome Them

Mike from Apex GMAT, here to talk about scoring plateaus on the GMAT. You might be surprised to learn that I don’t really want to talk about specific scores. Plateaus exist and as tutors we kind of know where they are but the important takeaway is not to focus on the score but rather the skills that you have or don’t have that cause you to plateau at a certain level.

Scoring Plateaus Explained

Everyone goes through one or two, sometimes three plateau levels during their prep. This is very normal, but it can be disconcerting especially if it’s the first time that you’re encountering this. Or if you’re used to being excellent in school or with a particular subject matter. These scoring plateaus have everything to do with the way you approach a problem and what we call the level of abstraction that you understand the problem at. Whether we’re talking about quantitative problems or verbal problems. At different levels on the GMAT, it requires us to look at them from an increasingly abstract wide angle lens to understand what’s going on and what’s being asked of us.

The First Scoring Plateau (mid 500s)

At the most basic level, certainly through the first 40, 50th percentile on all the sections. So up to the mid-500s let’s say, most of what you’re being asked is skills oriented. That is if you understand the mechanisms of action the formulas the basic English construction behind problems you should be able to get to an answer. That’s not to say that your correct answer will have been done in a timely manner. That is that you’ve used the correct solution path or rather a time efficient, optimal solution path but you should be able to get there. But then the GMAT has to differentiate among all the people who have the base level skills and they really expect you to have these skills.

Implementing Your Knowledge

It’s not that they’re testing you on whether you know how to compute the volume of a cube. They want you to know that. They want to see what you can do with that when you’re presented with a more complicated problem. And so the first level skill set is to see a problem not as a, identify the problem, plug in a formula, analyze an argument, get to an answer, but rather be aware of the construction of a problem and understand what an optimal solution path looks like. Recognize shortcuts, recognize signals in the problem that permit you to have a greater understanding and a quicker decision process.

The Second Scoring Plateau

As we progress further, the next scoring plateau comes in where the GMAT that presents something in such a new way that you are not unprepared for it. Where you have to utilize and bring to bear some of your creative thinking skills to a problem because it’s presented in a way that’s less familiar or less practiced. The GMAT can do this at any level. But this means that your focus needs to go from understanding what’s in the problem to understanding what the problem is asking for and the common mechanisms of action that the GMAT will use to enhance the complexity of a problem. Once you’re aware of how they complicate a problem you can more readily address it. And directly utilize your knowledge of the underlying subject matter to come up with a creative on the spot solution.

Final Plateau

At the highest levels, this is in overdrive. Where you’re given a problem that’s highly complex and usually requires inductive rather than deductive thinking. Deductive thinking is starting with some premises and breaking them down further. Inductive thinking is taking your premises and what they break down to but adding something at the level above that. This causes us to be able to see something in this pyramid further down the line. This is a type of thinking that’s taught much less at schools. It is one of the core characteristics that allows for success at the highest levels of the GMAT. Where you need to think beyond what you’re given and create a new nest a new home for this problem that gives it additional definition.

This is of course much easier said than done. The scope of this video is to outline this thematically. If you look at our other videos, you’ll start to see hints of this framework as we talk about different problems, the way to approach them and of course what the GMAT exam tests. So check out some of our videos below and give us a call if you need some help. We’re here to help and we want to see you succeed.

If you liked this video, check out: GMAT: Not a Standard Standardized Test. For more videos visit: Apex GMAT Vlog

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Posted on
12
Mar 2020

MBA Conditional Offers

Today we’re going to talk about getting conditional offers from MBA programs. A lot of times we get calls from prospective clients in a bit of a panic saying oh my god this institution Harvard, LBS, whoever, gave me a few weeks and they said I can get into the program but I need this score.

How often does this happen?

This is much more common than you might think, especially if you haven’t been through the application process before. Schools are incredibly defensive when it comes to maintaining their GMAT average, their GPA average and their face to the world.

But a piece of feedback like this is actually a huge positive. When a school tells you that, what they’re telling you is that you’re a really prime candidate. They like you, they want you and either they need the higher score in order to maintain their sort of credentials. Which seems a little silly but that’s how things work. Or because they’re not confident that you’re going to have the skills to succeed in their program.

The Admissions Secret

A key sort of secret of admissions is that when you get into the program, that’s the hardest part. Programs are designed for you to succeed from, they don’t want attrition. Whether we’re talking MBA program or medical school or college. When they let you in, they let you in with the idea that you’re going to thrive and graduate and represent them well in your future endeavors.

Yeah, he’s a Harvard man! That sort of attitude is what is driving the admissions process. So, once you’re in, it’s as if you’ve graduated. This is a huge, huge incentive to bring this score up and should make you feel really good about everything that you’ve presented. So whether or not the school is worried about your abilities, what they want is validation of their choice.

Typically they say this only when you’re within shouting distance as they say for this score. If they want you to get a 700 they’re going to tell you that if you have a 680 or 670. If you have a 550 they’re not going to have been bothered saying so and typically these schools or these programs especially want to cement your quantitative skills.

The Profile of Conditionally Accepted Applicant

A lot of times the profile of someone who receives a conditional admission is that they have a pretty good GMAT score. Except it’s weighted on one side or the other. Typically strong verbal and the quant somewhere in the 40th, 50th, 60th percentile. They want to be assured that the quant heavy subject matter, finance, accounting, statistics isn’t going to leave you in the dust as soon as you land at the program.

What can you do?

So what can be done in this case? The good news is that many times these scoring changes need to be incremental. But also that if your profile warrants a conditional admission it means that there’s a lot of room to grow. This is an opportunity not just to grow your ability to perform on the GMAT but to grow a whole set of skills that will allow you to thrive in the MBA program and thrive in your career beyond. Especially if you’re really type-A, this represents a great opportunity to pre-load a skill set that’s going to give you a lot of positives on the back end.

It’s Like Adding a New Skill

You should look at it as needing to learn how to kayak or fly a plane or something else in addition to everything else you bring to the table. You’re adding this skill that until now you probably haven’t had. You’ve probably been sort of limping along and getting the score you’ve gotten through some hard work. But also through relying on tried-and-true methods that you’ve received coming through academia, middle school, elementary school, college but mostly when you were younger.

We’re instilled with these ideas about how to parse a sentence or how multiply fractions. And we use them until they break down. On the GMAT, because it’s an adaptive exam they will push us to the point where our skills no longer serve us well. This is usually somewhere in the 50th, 60th percentile.

So the goal here when you’ve got a conditional acceptance isn’t simply to push it ten more points and work what you know a little harder. Instead, really tear down a lot of what you know and get a more contextual more holistic understanding of the math or of the English language. This will allow you to be much more critical and much more creative when you visit these new concepts in your MBA program.

Reach Out for Assistance

In conclusion, if you get a conditional acceptance don’t worry, don’t panic, give us acall. We’ll talk to you about your options and normally this is a very treatable thing. That is the academic programs know when they give you a conditional acceptance that it’s a very surmountable obstacle and we can help you on your way there.

If you liked this video watch: Overcoming Scoring Plateaus.

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Posted on
25
Nov 2019

The GMAT Is Not A Standard Standardized Test

The GMAT Is Not A Standard Standardized Test

A question that we get here a lot, especially from our international clients, is about standardized testing in general. As Americans ourselves and any Americans that might be watching you’re pretty familiar with them in fact in some countries they even call them American tests. They’re so heavily associated with us. For everyone else they’re saying what the hell is this? It’s something that I’ve never seen before, let me freak out about it. There’s really no need to freak out, there’s some commonalities among standardized tests but I think if anything the important thing for you to get about this is that the GMAT is not a standard standardized test. That was clever. Thank you, I do what I can.

Not having an experience with standardized tests is not at all a disadvantage for the GMAT and in fact, it could be an advantage, the case that having too much experience of standardized tests is going to lead you down the wrong path for what you should be doing for the GMAT itself. If you’re an American, the way you prepped for the SAT or ACT or similar test is really going to do your great disservice when you try and approach the GMAT because there are loads of vocabulary lists to memorize, there’s no formulas and everything else, and the GMAT is a lot harder.

 

Computer Adaptive Test

Also, it might technically be a standardized test, but it’s a much more apt name to call it what it is which is: a computer adaptive test. That actually has a much, much greater effect on how you prepare. Computer Adaptive Test, James, what does that mean? Let’s talk about that. Computer adaptive test, I’d say first the biggest difference between a standard standardized tests and the GMAT is in some standard tests you typically can go in whatever order you’d like, within a section, right, within one section you can start with question 1 or with question 10. You can skip through it and you should when doing those other tests. Those are very important strategies but that’s not the case on the GMAT.

Tell them about the GMAT, Mike, lay it on them. Okay, computer adaptive test is a lot what it sounds like, computer: it’s on the computer. Adaptive: it changes according to your response, more on that in a moment, and Test: because it’s testing. It is a test, that’s right, in case you didn’t know. It is a test, but you’re testing my patience. I am? Well thank you. The main difference I think from this is that you have to go one question at a time, you do not get the skip, you do not get the chance to go back and look at them, and the reason for this is because the computer adaptive test basis what it’s going to give you on how you have performed on previous questions.

 

How It Works

By in large the rule is, you got the last question right, they’re going to give you one that’s a bit more difficult. A little higher. You get a question wrong, one that’s a little less difficult, and eventually they bounce around until they get to where you’re at and they’re actually pretty good at it. They’re very good at and just so you know if you’re sitting there thinking like how evil is this that this test is going to adapt itself to become my worst nightmare. Well it’s this evil, it’s going to make it so that you’re always going to feel off your footing. When you come out of a great exam, that is a great performance on the exam, you’re going to be like what the heck did I just look at I didn’t feel comfortable at all through that entire thing.

 

Shooters Amnesia

Which brings up a point that I like to reiterate in my classes. You’re going to be surprised by this but it’s a sports metaphor, and that is from question to question you need to have shooters amnesia. Now just briefly indulge me because I love Kobe, doesn’t matter what your opinion is on him. The basketball player not the massaged Japanese beef. We’re vegetarians here at Apex, we believe all lives are valuable. We’re vegetarians… is news to me. The best thing for a basketball player to do is to shoot the ball and it doesn’t matter if he missed the last shot or made the last shot that has no bearing on whether or not he will make or miss the next shot, so they just forget it completely. If you are constantly thinking about all the shots that you’ve missed it’s going to affect your performance.

 

Be Process Orientated, Outcome Agnostic

Sure and if you do it right and this is this is really a deep thing even though it’s not may become seem so deep, if you’re doing it right you shoot the ball, you shoot the puck, you do whatever it is you can do, you throw the dart, and you don’t need to look at the result because once your action is over, whatever the result was is what it’s going to be either you shot it well or not. Yeah. Be Process Oriented, Outcome Agnostic. First of all, excellent, excellent phrase! That was: Process Oriented, Outcome Agnostic, for those of you who missed it the first time.

I think an another great aspect of this is that when you start to think about whether or not you’ve got the question right or wrong you are wasting energy. Yeah, really distracting your attention to something that you can’t change and we all do this we all do this. I wish Jaymes wasn’t my coworker but I can’t reflect on that I just have to move forward …  There’s nothing you can do about it… and deal with the train wreck yeah that’s sitting next to me. Day by day. Day by day.

 

Unused Test Strategies in the GMAT

Just for those of you who are familiar with standardized tests something else to keep in mind, a strategy that you can use not very often on some of the like the SAT of ACT, but a strategy that you might have adopted during your education for standardized tests is using answer choices from one question to help you answer other questions. Can’t do that. That will never apply on the GMAT, ever, so there’s absolutely no reason to carry any of your thought process, any information from one question to the next on the regular quantum verbal sections. Oh the last two answers have been C’s, the third one must be a C or must not be a C. They call that a gambler’s fallacy, look it up, Wikipedia’s got a great thing on it.

Every question is like the first question. Wow, you make it sound so sweet. Well then your entire test and your entire obligation to the test is one question, it’s not this huge three-hour test. The math section the quant section is thirty-one single question tests anything that happened before and after, doesn’t matter.

 

How Is The GMAT Different From Other Standardized Tests?

Just to change your frame of mind about this evil test. The fact that it is adapting itself to be difficult for you, this is actually what allows the GMAT to have so few questions. Traditional standardized tests have to have scores of questions, hundreds of questions sometimes. That’s because they have to give weaker students the chance to show that they’re capable, and they have to provide difficult questions for stronger students to show that they’re capable, and they have to give both the weak students and the strong students the same questions.

 

The GMAT: A Customized Test

The GMAT can skip a lot of that process and streamline it and customize the test for you. The test itself is going to be customized for you which is again supporting our strategy. The preparation that you choose needs to be customized for you.

The adaptive test is vital for the GMAT’s very challenging job of differentiating among high performers. Make no mistake other tests you’ve taken whether standardized tests in the States, other exams in just about any country’s academic system has you up against your entire cohort for your age or your school. The GMAT is self-selecting. Meaning that the pool of people that you’re competing against and the percentile within that cohort is much more challenging. All the success you’ve had for better or for worse is a function of what you’ve done.

If the tasks before you, and this happens a lot in school, good school, bad school, doesn’t matter. If the task before you is, do as we’ve shown you, then the moment you’re in a place like the GMAT puts you on. Right, something new, something unexpected. Yes, something that’s not really new, right, but it’s in a new packaging, it’s wrapped up in a different way, and it’s a puzzle. New presentation, what we call perspective shift. The moment you’re off your footing then all of a sudden you’re very unpracticed. Yeah, you’re prepared for a specific path and not for being able to choose the right path. Unless you’re preparing with Apex of course. Of Course! You’re prepared for that. And preparing to prepare is very good preparation. It’s also similar to other standardized tests the GMAT doesn’t really test how good of a student you are.

 

Are You An Excellent Student, Test Taker or Both?

Absolutely. I can tell you this because well, I’m an excellent test taker, I’m not an excellent student. My sister, my younger sister she’s an excellent student, terrible test taker. So I’m not trying to say this to stress you out about something. I’m saying that just because you are a good student doesn’t necessarily mean that you will succeed unless you prepare adequately. Yeah and there are very different skills, that’s not to say that we don’t have plenty of 4.0 s that just wreck the GMAT. Wreck! Wreck in a good way. Wreck, yeah, like just yeah destroy, render it innocuous. Destroy in a good way. Yeah these are good things! Did I go to vocab-y there? No, I think it might be just to American centric.

If you enjoyed: The GMAT Is Not A Standard Standardized test, watch our Cost of GMAT Prep.

 

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