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Posted on
30
Apr 2020

Why A 4.0 Does Not Equal GMAT Success

You’ve always been a high achiever, always excelled at school, at extracurriculars, and in your profession. 4.0 GPA, valedictorian, top of your department, and yet the GMAT put you on your ass. This is surprisingly much more common than you might think. The big secret is that no one talks about getting help.

1. Everyone Is Asking for Help

For many professionals, this is the first time in their academic or a professional career where they’ve needed to ask for help or engage a tutor. If you are at one of these top consulting finance banking firms you don’t want to ask around say: “Oh I need help with this.” That shows weakness. One of the big secrets is if you’re in a noteworthy profession everyone is asking for help, but no one is talking about it.

The GMAT is designed like many other psychometric exams. Unlike the SAT where everyone, including their brother and sister, is taking it, the GMAT is taken by a self-selected cohort. They tend to be strong achievers coming from the best schools and/or the best professional firms in banking and finance.

2. What is the GMAT Testing?

The GMAT needs a way to differentiate among a lot of very smart, very high achieving individuals. The way it does this is by testing your creative and your critical thinking skills. They want to see how flexible you are with the base knowledge that was instilled in you in elementary, middle, and high school. They are not testing whether or not you can multiply fractions or parse a sentence, but rather how well you can manipulate things on the fly.

To some extent, you can prepare and be familiar with the most common types of problems. Ultimately, as an adaptive exam, the GMAT will put you in a place where you’re uncomfortable. Where you’re not sure what’s going on with the problem. And it is this navigation that people who have done well at school tend to not do as well with. Let’s explore why.

  • Why a 4.0 does NOT Equal GMAT Success?

School (for better or worse) is a reactive environment. You’re given information and expected to spit it back or manipulate it a little bit and spit it back. But there are guardrails up there – kind of like bowling with those balloon tubes. It’s very hard to get too off-center because there’s always a teacher or element of feedback or grade, that redirects you towards what you are supposed to be doing. Consequently, you are rewarded for following directions and are also robbed of the experience of failing heavily or not doing what’s asked. As such, you don’t get the experience of solving problems when you are significantly lost. And this is what the GMAT is testing.

So, often high achievers in academic environments tend to struggle because their study skills tend to level off somewhere around mid-600s on the GMAT. Whereas those students, who maybe weren’t as strong, went their own way or tended to be more creative, more artsy, tend to react to the GMAT like a fish in water. All of a sudden, the things that didn’t allow them to succeed academically, now become tremendous assets.

  • What To Do About It

So, first things first, don’t worry. This is an opportunity to capture new skills and grow as an individual. At a deeper level what I would suggest you internalize is the idea that what you’ve been doing for success up until now no longer works. That is a scary prospect. Especially when the carrot has always been a few feet in front of your face and you’ve consistently caught the carrot.

So, this represents psychologically and emotionally, a major shift in how you need to deal with achievement. This is highly uncomfortable for a lot of people. It requires a lot of hard work. The opiates that you’ve been using in terms of solution paths that have always worked for you, all of the sudden are like an addiction that you need to break.

  • Unlearn Old Habits

The hardest part of our job as GMAT instructors isn’t so much showing you the new things that you need to do or teaching you new ways of doing things. Rather, in helping you dehabituate, unlearn those things that have become so embedded that they are natural. The upside of this is that when someone does so they become much more flexible intellectually. And are that much more prepared to really excel and take to heart the things they learn in business school and professionally and beyond.

If you have always been an achiever and have been stopped in your tracks by the GMAT, don’t worry, give us a call. Let us learn a bit about you and speak to exactly what it is that you might be doing that’s working against you and also what you might adjust in order to excel rapidly. That is really the silver lining here. If you are really good at achieving or working within frameworks, once you adopt a new framework, the acceleration of GMAT success often happens rapidly. To the extent that we can call this a profile, this profile is one of our favorites to work with because we tend to get really, really strong results. Most of the time, over 700.

Wishing you guys the best of luck. Give us a call. Hope you’ve enjoyed this article and we look forward to speaking with you soon.

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Posted on
17
Apr 2020

The Online GMAT Part 2: Updates & Testing Experience

Mike from Apex GMAT is here to give you part two on our update about the online GMAT test that’s being rolled out in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

1. The Online GMAT Test Overview

This exam is designed to be a standalone, separate exam that’s done in the test centers. While there are going to be many similarities there are also a few key differences that you should know about. If you haven’t done so already I’d encourage you to check out part one of our video. It has a lot of key details about the exam.

2. Test Scheduling

When it comes to scheduling the exam unfortunately it seems that you can’t take an appointment that you have for a live test center and convert it to an online appointment. I’m not entirely sure why this is but due to pricing differentials, scheduling differentials, your online exam has to be a separate enrollment. Your live exam can still be rescheduled for a time when a test center opens.

3. Take it 24/7

One of the benefits of the online exam is that you can schedule to take it 24/7. It’s going to operate around the globe so there’s no middle-of-the-night blackout time. You can do it at that time of the day when you feel most pumped for the GMAT. This is really great because many times we’re forced into a time slot either because of availability or just because you might be a night owl and the testing center closes at 5:00 pm. So this is a real advantage for people who feel on at all hours.

4. Setup & Proctoring

There are several key things that are going to take place in the setup and proctoring of the exam for security purposes that you should be aware of. First off, there’s going to be a live proctor watching you during the exam. They’ll be able to see you and listen to you during the entirety of the exam. If you have a problem, if you have questions you can both buzz them in a chat or raise your hand and they’ll come on camera live. If you’re having a connection issue or there’s some technical glitch, the GMAC is pledged to be fair and not take off time from your exam. However, if you’re raising your hand for the proctor for something that wasn’t an issue, your time, your clock doesn’t stop. So in that sense, it’s just like the live GMAT.

5. Technical Issues

If there’s a major technical issue, retakes are available but that’s really going to be something that’s subject to the judgment of the GMAC. We would expect that their system works very well and that the need for a true retake is going to be very rare. Coinciding with this you’re only going to be able to take the online GMAT one time. You won’t get your score immediately but rather sometime within about seven days. It’s a score that can’t be canceled because the online GMAT is designed to only be taken once.

So it’s really more of an emergency measure where people who need to take the GMAT to get an application out should be able to do so. But those same people shouldn’t be able to cancel their score because this is their ultimate attempt. That being said, there’s nothing stopping you from taking additional GMATs once the live appointments become available. Do be careful here, because it can lock you into a score that you might not want.

6. The Online GMAT Test Check-In

The check-in procedure for the exam is somewhat involved. It’s done live with a proctor and it takes 10 to 15 minutes. What they’re going to have you do is take a selfie, upload a photo or a snapshot of your photo ID. Then they’re actually going to have you walk around the room. Show them the corners, show them that your desk is clear without any papers on it. Show them the door to the room to ensure that there’s no one in the room. For the duration of the exam, including the breaks, you won’t be permitted to leave the room.

7. The Online GMAT Test Section Order

The online GMAT has a predetermined order of sections. So unlike the testing center version of the GMAT, you won’t be able to pick and choose which sections you do first, second, and so on. So after the check-in, you’ll be immediately directed to the quantitative section, then the verbal, a five-minute break, and then the integrated reasoning, and then you’re done.

8. Scratch Paper

With respect to the scratch paper that we normally get in an appointment GMAT – which is that dry erase sort of stuff – on the online GMAT you won’t be permitted to write as we understand it. You’ll have a whiteboard that should be some sort of adjustable screen window that you can scribble on and you should be able to move it around the screen for your convenience during the exam.

And this is something that we’re mildly concerned about and you know we have this saying here, “if you’re doing math you’re, doing something wrong.” That said having scratch paper and the comfort of physical pen and paper is something that a lot of people rely upon so keep this in mind as you get ready to take the online GMAT.

9. GMAT Online Calculator

Can you use a calculator on the GMAT online? This is a question that you definitely have on your mind if you’re going to take the online GMAT test. There will be an online calculator for the integrated reasoning section just like on the normal GMAT. Additionally, you’ll have a whiteboard that should be some sort of adjustable screen window that you can scribble on and move it around the screen for your convenience during the exam.

10. Extra Time On The Online GMAT Test

Finally, for those of you who have an accommodation of extra time from the exam, the online GMAT isn’t available now. However, they expect that functionality to roll out in mid-May both for time and a half and double time and that also includes an extended break instead of five minutes going to ten minutes in between the verbal and the integrated reasoning.

Check Pearson Vue’s video about the testing experience.

Thanks so much for watching, email us with any questions. We’re here to help during this time and stay safe and healthy out there.

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Posted on
16
Apr 2020

Online GMAT Exam

Hi guys. Mike here from Apex GMAT, bringing you the latest on the online GMAT exam. The GMAC just announced that they’re rolling out the online GMAT.

1. When can you take the Online GMAT Exam?

The earliest appointments that are available are April 20th and appointments extend all the way to June 15th. You should be able to log on right now to secure your appointment. All the links you need are below this video for understanding all the rules and everything else that are going to be governing the online exam. But I’m here to bring you what we know. I’ll be here again tomorrow after we have our call with the GMAC to give you additional details and context.

2. Key Information about the Exam

Most computers and most high-speed interconnect internet connections should be fine for taking the GMAT online. You will need either a PC or Mac and Windows 8.1 or 10 or Mac OS 10 point 13 or above. Windows 7 will not work and unfortunately for you hackers and private people of the world Linux and UNIX OS’s will not work.

There are some additional specifications that you need to be aware of. Number one is that you can’t connect over a VPN and a lot of firewalls might disrupt the connection. There will be a protocol for the GMAC to test your connection before you take the exam but if you’re connecting through a work computer you may run into some issues. Similarly, due to the security protocol, you won’t be able to have a second monitor hooked up and you’re going to need a webcam that’s operating at least 10 frames per second as well as an internet connection that is at least 1 Mbps.

In addition to this, there will probably be some additional protocols where you need to check in because they’re using online proctors to actively monitor your taking of the exam. This means, unfortunately, that a few countries, because of data and privacy laws, will not be able to take advantage of the online GMAT. These countries include China, North Korea, Sudan, Iran, Cuba, and Slovenia. So if you’re in one of those countries unfortunately you can’t take the online GMAT exam.

The cost for the online GMAT is two hundred dollars ($200) and you should also be able to use an existing registration to make a new appointment for the online GMAT exam.

3. Format of the Online GMAT Exam

Format wise it’s going to be almost exactly the same with the exception of the writing section – there won’t be one. So for those of you who have stamina issues on the GMAT, the good news is that the exam will be a half-hour shorter. For those of you who have experienced GMAT anxiety, which I talked about in several other videos, one of the nicest things about the online exam is that you’ll be able to take it in the comfort of your own home or your own space. Doing so is going to offer some significant benefits but also a few liabilities because you’re much more prone to be distracted when you’re in your own space.

So one of the things I would certainly recommend is preparing to sit the exam like you were going to sit at a testing center – that means, sitting up straight. Ensuring that you have as much quiet as possible, earplugs should be available to you and you should have clothes on (you know, no pajama pants). Dress as if you were taking the exam, wear shoes because these things will put you in a good headspace to be attentive in taking the exam seriously.

4. Taking the Exam with a Disability

For those of you with disabilities, the accommodations for disabilities are not yet installed in the online GMAT exam so they expect those to be available by mid-May.

5. Scoring

In terms of getting your score, right now GMAC expects that the score should be available within a week of taking the exam. I don’t know if that means that they’re going to be recalibrating the exam for any bumps or dips they see in the different format or because the exam is shorter or if they’re going to offer something much more immediately like on the real GMAT, but give it an extra level of supervision before they make it official. That’s something that we should have more information for you on tomorrow.

6. Additional Information and Help

All the pertinent information you guys need about the online exam is in the links below including the ability to register for the GMAT’s online webinar and Friday the 17th where you can have additional questions answered. Thanks so much for watching, stay safe and healthy and I wish you all the best in your online GMAT exam. Of course, if you need us for anything you can email questions to us at this address [email protected]

 

Update: Get more information about the online GMAT in this follow-up video: Online GMAT Update.

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Posted on
26
Mar 2020

How COVID-19 Is Affecting The GMAT And Its Test Takers

Mike here with a special update video about how COVID-19 is impacting the GMAT testing world. I wanted to share some big news with you guys from the GMAC, the makers of the GMAT, about a substitute exam that they will be using and that you should be able to take from home starting in the middle of April 2020.

1. General Inquiries

So, first off, a lot of people are finding themselves in uncertainty about their application process and about their GMAT preparation. To be sure, we have been getting a lot of calls about people wanting to make the best use of their time while they are furloughed from work, or while they are working from home and have a bit more flexibility and to be sure it’s an opportune time to bite off this task which for most people is really hard to fit into their existing professional and personal lives.

Additionally, we have a lot of inquiries about what’s going to happen with admissions. We can’t speak for any particular schools, however, we expect that the window of the virus crisis is such that it won’t meaningfully impact applications for Fall of 2021. That is that by the time your first round comes around in September or October, you are going to be able to get in, take the GMAT as normal and be able to apply and go to other events.

That of course is the hope and this is an emerging phenomenon and emerging circumstance on the world stage without much precedence. So of course things are bound to change and we promise to keep you updated through the entirety of this crisis.

2. The New Exam

The new exam that the GMAC is rolling out will be taken from home and they are planning on rolling it out sometime in the middle of April. It will have three of the four GMAT sections, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative and Verbal. So you will be able to get your score out of 800 with Quant and Verbal as well as your score for the Integrated Reasoning. The only section that will be missing is the writing section which I say is the least important of the entire GMAT from an admissions standpoint. The exam will be priced at a lower price point; they have not announced what that price point is but certainly at some discount to the normal $250 that’s charged.

3. Test Considerations

There are also some strategic considerations that come with this exam and some things we don’t yet know. For example, it is unclear as to whether you will get to choose the order of the sections when you take the exam or if it will be predetermined. Additionally, because the GMAC is likely using a different problem bank than they use for the actual GMAT, this makes some subtle time allocation and strategic guessing decisions change compared to the normal GMAT and I will be talking about that in another video.

If You Need Any Help Give Us A Call

I know that this is a stressful time for everyone who has business school and GMAT plans that have been disrupted. So if you need any help or need any advice, please feel free to visit our website. You can contact us directly through there by chat, phone, or email.

From our entire family, we wish you health and safety in this difficult time and we’ll look forward to keeping you updated as soon as we have new information. Thanks so much and stay safe.

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