GMAT Prep Schedule
Posted on
21
Dec 2021

How To Create A GMAT Prep Schedule That Works For Your Busy Life

Goal-seeking, busy professionals, who want to apply to an MBA program for broadening their professional aspects, experience a hard time fitting GMAT preparation into their hectic schedules. It is a tough decision when deciding when to prepare for the GMAT between a busy 9-5 schedule. But remember, nothing is impossible so long as there is desire. 

The GMAT is a type of test that necessitates both accuracy and time management in order to achieve a high score. Hence, sometimes a tight working schedule actually helps with time management skills. In many cases, the more you manage your time, the more productive and efficient you can become. If you are a busy professional striving for a top MBA, but struggling to make a decision on whether to start preparing for the GMAT or not, this article will guide you through the decision making process. Even if you have already made the decision to proceed,  you will learn some tips and strategies that will guide you throughout the entire process while helping you to come up with the most perfect schedule.

1. Never say never

Self-hesitation is very common. Hearing about someone’s bad or good experience with the GMAT is helpful for guiding your own journey, but don’t let their experiences dictate your own. Just because you hear some opinion from the other person, doesn’t mean that the same principle can apply to you. Remain motivated and do not fall into the trap of self-deception. Humans have a strong tendency to stick to what is easier rather than looking for multiple solution paths to their problems. Concentrate on the idea that your problem is combining a helpful GMAT prep schedule with a busy life. 

Eliminate excuses completely. There are no excuses holding you back. No matter how busy life gets. We unconsciously tell ourselves that we are so busy and do not have time. By doing this, things get even harder to swallow and our brain is close to exploding. However, if you were to calculate the hours you put towards social media sites, you’d be shocked how much time is wasted! Taking a Brain Break can be helpful, but not at the expense of your studying. The first tip is never to reject opportunities for studying. You can always find a moment to study for the GMAT with a busy life and schedule. 

2. GMAT is temporary, but long-lasting success is not

Your life can always be busy. Maybe you work a lot or have kids, but it becomes busier with the idea of preparing for the GMAT. Important to remember is that this stress is ‘temporary’.

A working professional’s GMAT preparation can take anywhere from 2-4 months. If your day starts at 9 am, you can make yourself wake up at 7 am to do some studying in the morning. For some, their brain works best in the morning, while for others the afternoon or evening is best for studying. Whichever it is, be sure to start the day with some brain stretching, such as doing GMAT preparation tests or quizzes that will facilitate delving deeper into the topic. Do the main exercise in the morning, and whenever you have time during the day, such as during your lunch time, you can do GMAT reading or solve some quant problems in order to be involved in active learning. 

Bonus Tip! Avoid passive learning. Do not spend too much of your time preparing with GMAT videos

3. Have an established approach on do’s and don’ts

You know that you should make time for studying, but it might be the case that you don’t have a predetermined plan for the day. The most significant thing is to maintain consistency. Develop a regular plan which prioritizes studying, as even the busiest professionals can make themselves prioritize things that have a high probability of falling behind on the list. 

Do not underestimate the result of your GMAT cramming in five minutes spurts during the day. Even if you have 5 minutes, create quality study techniques by reviewing your work. The materials learned can fall into your short-term memory and be easily forgotten afterwards. Do a math exercise regularly and do not focus on too many things several days in a row. Try to split everything equally during the day so you do not get tired out by the same GMAT section. 

Finally, keep it fresh. Go back and forth between the sections but always remember that reviewing what you have done and even planning the review process beforehand is a must. 

4. Enjoy the GMAT process

Making things work for a busy life is intimidating especially if you do not like it, as including one more thing can actually ruin your entire mood and attitude towards the other things. It is true that concentrating on multiple tasks or things at once can break your mind and result in less productive outcomes. This is why time-management is a key strategy in your GMAT prep schedule. If you have a specific time for each one of your tasks, you are able to enjoy the process and focus on one thing at a time. 

Suppose you have developed a plan to study for half an hour during your break, it means real-time studying without noise and distractions. Make it a habit to study during your allocated time and fall into deep amnesia regarding the other things that are currently disturbing you. It is hardly the case that you will think “I am so happy the GMAT prep time has come! I need to study during my one-hour break that I was supposed to be resting.”

However, at least the inner aim of looking at the bigger picture of what will happen after the temporary challenge and time sacrifice will make you enjoy the GMAT journey. Sometimes it is better to look into the future rather than the present. The future goal is the satisfaction of future GMAT success. 

Conclusion

It might take time, but adopting these four tips into your preparation process can help you create an efficient GMAT prep schedule. Remember what you are working towards. Your GMAT journey is not only about the final result, but also about the skills learned in the process. We here at Apex are more than happy to support you on your journey. You can sign-up for a 30-minute complimentary consultation call with one of our instructors!

 

Contributor: Ruzanna Mirzoyan

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Best Practices That Can Lead To Successful GMAT Performance
Posted on
14
Dec 2021

Best Practices That Can Lead To Successful GMAT Performance And MBA Acceptance

As the GMAT exam is a key step in being accepted to top MBA programs, maintaining some practices and utilizing those can be pretty effective. Successful GMAT performance is a determining feature in your MBA career, therefore superb assurance is relevant for a smooth preparation path. 

Each section of the GMAT test has more tiny nuances than you know, so each requires preliminary research and a meticulous approach. Hence, to succeed on the GMAT, you must familiarize yourself with the types of questions and take practice tests. In this article, we aim to introduce you to some tips that are essential for your GMAT performance and MBA acceptance. 

1. Remember what you are taking the GMAT for

Preparing for and taking the GMAT is stressful and time consuming. But you are preparing for it in order to get accepted to your desired MBA program. Remember why you are taking the GMAT. The path that you are taking right now is a long journey, which will lead you into your brightest future. Being successful means that you will be granted ample opportunities and doors for your professional prosperity will open!

2. GMAT is a marathon and not a sprint

We get it. The GMAT is a long 3 hour and 30 minute test that makes you anxious. However, those hours are building blocks to your future career. You cannot just jump over the materials without diving into each one. Every GMAT section requires meticulous thought and preparation. GMAT mostly checks your endurance and psychological tolerance. You are not supposed to know everything. However, you are supposed to behave appropriately in connecting the dots of the exam and focusing on what you see on the exam. Be confident in your selected answers but make sure to double check your responses. Even reading the question very carefully is a time-consuming task, but at least you know what is being asked rather than skimming through the questions and getting the answers incorrect for the sake of finishing the exam early. 

3. Pick your MBA program before, or while, preparing for the GMAT

Find a school and program which fits your desires, goals, and aspirations! As we mentioned above, you should know why you are taking the GMAT. This includes knowing which school(s) you are hoping to apply to. For example, the dream of studying at Harvard can urge you to work harder and put in more effort. We recommend that you have a goal in mind of where you want to see yourself in the near future. 

4. The GMAT is intense. So is business school

We do understand that GMAT preparation can be stressful and at the same time intense. But your future goals might be more challenging. Business schools and top MBA programs require you to develop high endurance. You learn valuable skills during your study prep which will serve you well during your MBA and professional career. Remember that you create your own path to MBA acceptance. This means accepting every single difficulty with high confidence.

5. Have a clear definition of your GMAT goals

A good practice for successful GMAT performance can be to consider your long-term goals and vision. You can think of this as a mission statement for yourself to consider why your goals exist. In addition to all these long-term goals, remember that GMAT falls into this category as well. The GMAT journey is an arduous one, but you undertake it in order to succeed in your goals. 

6. Develop GMAT tricks and self-cheating

You need to have a list of tricks and cheating strategies for each section. For instance, for the GMAT Quant section, you may plug in the numbers to determine the correct answer. In this case, if you are not sure about the correct answer, make some strategic assumptions which will help you work through the problem. When it comes to the Data Sufficiency section try the trick of the elimination method. For the Integrated Reasoning section, keep track of the relevant information, there is no need to know everything. Eventually, the Analytical Writing Assessment will require you to come up with a plan or an outline and spend some time on digging deeper into the material. 

7. Retake the GMAT if needed

We do realize that it might sound intimidating to take the GMAT exam a second time or even more, but if you don’t have the score needed, it is worth going through the process. Retaking the GMAT will surely increase your self-awareness. To get into some prominent MBA programs, your score needs to be in a certain range. It may not come easy, but the GMAT is necessary in this case. Being able to demonstrate your knowledge based on a high GMAT score is vital in succeeding at any university. You will be working in a business environment, hence you should be true to yourself and look for the MBA opportunity that is the perfect fit for you. It is easy to substitute between schools, but you need to be specific about one or some few schools and strive for excellence for those ones especially. MBA programs are seeking candidates that are more than “great on paper”. Resilience, persistence, demonstrated collaboration, and job experience with promotions are all important signs of program success. You can satisfy the majority of those features with a perfect GMAT score. The final result is the most important one. It does not matter how many times you have taken the exam. 

8. Make yourself the conqueror

Your inner beliefs and thoughts are more important than anything else. There is an old saying “fake it, till you make it”, and the same can apply for the GMAT exam and MBA programs. It might be super hard to pull yourself out of your comfort zone to uncover every single thing about the GMAT, but convince yourself that everything is under control. The more you panic-  either about studying or managing your time – the worse it turns out to be for your mental health. If you give yourself credit, even for the tiniest thing, you will see that things fall in place. You’ll be in a position that you once might have thought impossible to achieve. 

9. GMAT is not a hindrance, it’s a ladder!

The majority of the students tend to consider the GMAT as a bog that pulls them down to drown with stress and irritated nerves, however that is not always the case. The GMAT is the thing that determines your MBA acceptance, which therefore provides you with ubiquitous pride and chances to thrive as a person. Instead of avoiding that, immerse yourself in that whole process. The more you sink the harder you need to work to get out. A good GMAT score can bolster your place in any school. With proper preparation comes the ability to absorb more as a test taker and student. You must strike a balance in your approach and skills to succeed on the GMAT. Like climbing a ladder, it takes effort to reach the top. The GMAT is there to help you, not to hinder you. Seek it, then make it. 

10. Make the uncertain certain

The road to business school can be long and winding, and it can also be fraught with uncertainty. When you first start crafting your application piece by piece, you never know what will happen in the future. You are taking small steps towards your major goal. What if you actually could make it a reality? It is not that hard, the only thing is introducing yourself as a go-getter with gaining experiences that will undoubtedly lure the admissions officer. 

First of all, as we mentioned earlier, know the “reason”. This is where an MBA application differs from most other graduate programs. You must not only demonstrate that you are academically and professionally prepared, but you must also clearly express your long-term career goals and how an MBA will assist you in achieving them. In order to make everything certain, you need to create yourself, sometimes from scratch. Develop the “how” strategy. Design yourself, create and then become.  

 

Final Thoughts

We are sure you are already familiar with the GMAT exam and maybe you are now preparing. However, it is always necessary to come up with some best practices that can lead to successful GMAT performance which then results in quiet and peaceful MBA acceptance without any hurdles. In this article, we tried to gather some practices and tricks that you can make use of for your overall preparation process and success. One day you will become the achiever of your dreams and acquire the best in this world. The significant and essential thing is believing in yourself and walking into every situation proudly and positively.

 

Contributor: Ruzanna Mirzoyan

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

Which MBA Programs Are Right For Me?

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Linda Abraham 
Date: 24 August 2021

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

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

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

1- Employment history and work experience

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

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

2- Academic Stats

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

3- Post-MBA Goals

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

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

    4- Extracurricular Activities

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

5- Other issues to consider 

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

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

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7 Daily Practices For GMAT Success - GMAT Guide
Posted on
08
Jul 2021

7 Daily Practices For GMAT Success

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Ruzanna Mirzoyan
Date: 8th July 2021

7 Things You Need To Do Daily When Preparing For The GMAT (GMAT Guide)

  1. Visualize success and the value you will get in the end
  2. Review a the GMAT sections
  3. Set a time limit for each day
  4. Do not forget to reward yourself
  5. Forget about the target score only focus on improvement
  6. Give yourself a pep talk 
  7. Evaluate Yourself Honestly

     Achieving a great score on the GMAT exam is not an easy task. The overall preparation process is daunting for a majority of test takers, especially for non-native English speakers. It requires diligent work and a daily checklist that you need to follow. So how do you come up with a plan that works? This article covers seven tips for successful GMAT prep which will guide you throughout the entire process. Even though every individual taking the exam has different expectations, experiences and may be approaching the test in a different way, sticking to a daily routine is an integral part of test success; the most difficult thing is adhering to it, avoiding procrastination and maintaining motivation. Therefore, after learning all the exam basics, such as the timing, the sections, and the preparation materials, it is worth creating a checklist to help keep you on track.

Visualize success and the value you will get in the end

The thought of success can create happiness! Once we attain something that seemed difficult initially, the suspense wears off, and the excitement rapidly grows. By taking time every day to imagine achieving your goal you can stay motivated and on the right path. When we experience happiness our brain releases serotonin, the hormone responsible for happiness. By keeping the picture of accomplishment in our mind, this happiness never fades. Hence, if every day contains even a tiny bit of happiness, even the most complex struggles seem simpler to overcome. Whether the GMAT exam is a struggle or not, happiness and motivation are something that one undoubtedly always lacks. Do your best to look at the bigger picture and think of the steps that will expedite reaching the top.

Review the GMAT exam sections

Whether you have a private GMAT tutor or are studying on your own, be sure to review difficult parts of the overall format of the exam every day before going through your study materials, for example the data sufficiency answer choices. You may do a short quiz on quantitative, verbal, or integrated reasoning to keep pace with timing and question types. You can consider this form of revision as stretching your brain muscles before the main exercise. Doing a simple GMAT quiz each time will make you more cautious about time management and remind you about the type of questions that you may have already mastered in previous study sessions.

Set a study time limit for each day

As it is said, time is the only non-redeemable commodity, so proper allocation is a fundamental key to success. We recommend you have a specific time allocation for GMAT prep each day. That can be some time for weekday preparation and extension on the weekends. Ensure the limit you set for yourself is reasonable because procrastinating one day and doubling the hours the next day does not work out. It does not matter how many months you have on your hands; the significant thing is precise allocation. If you want to get a decent score, you must spend approximately 100-120 hours reviewing the materials and practicing. However, top scorers usually  spend 120+ hours studying. Whether you belong to the former or the latter category, remember that time is the most expensive investment you are making. At the same time keep in mind that your study-life balance should be of utmost importance. 

Do not forget to reward yourself

It is not a secret that the GMAT is burdensome and overwhelming, and preparing for it can be stressful and oftentimes disheartening. Not having small rewards to look forward to can lead to demotivation. Rewards are things that rejuvenate your broken concentration. Try something like the Pomodoro Technique. This technique helps break down time into intervals with short breaks. Instead of breaks, you can think of something ‘non-GMAT related’ that will make you regain focus. For example, by grabbing a quick snack, meditating, or walking around the house or even watching a short YouTube video. Whichever works best for you, make use of it; even brief respites retain your stamina. Finally, never forget about the bigger reward; your final score. 

Forget about the target score, only focus on improvement

GMAT preparation practices do generate plight both in physical and mental states. It is crucial to remind oneself of the improvement phases. We agree that everything you are going through is for the final score. But focusing on the final score too much can frustrate you if you are not making big leaps towards it, which in turn can be counter productive. All successful practices dictate that you should focus on one thing at a time, which improves every day until the exam day. When the exam day comes, you will utilize all the knowledge and effort to get the highest GMAT score possible. Keeping daily track of your improvements relieves some of the burden on your shoulders. Even the tiniest advantage acquired can be a game changer. For instance, finishing each section a minute earlier than before will eventually contribute to achieving more significant results on the exam day, or perfecting a solution path which has you approaching a host of GMAT problems in a more efficient manner. These small wins can be the fuel to keep you going. 

Give yourself a pep talk 

I am sure you receive a lot of support from the people surrounding you. However, self-encouragement is of the utmost importance. Look around, see what others are doing at your age and inspire yourself. Choose wisely between the tradeoffs. Such as choosing to study instead of partying. Giving yourself a daily pep talk will make you more enthusiastic about reaching your objectives. A recent scientific study has shown that talking to yourself dwindles anxiety and stress while boosting performance. This is no less true for GMAT test preparation. Give yourself motivational and instructional pep talks. This method promotes positivity as motivational talks cheer you up and keep up the eagerness to study and strive for more, while a self-instructional talk directs detail-orientation and accentuates what exactly you need to do for that particular day. For example, start every day by loudly stating what should be done for the day. It helps with thinking about the mechanisms of every individual task and visualizing methods to complete them correspondingly. 

Evaluate Yourself Honestly

Of course, you need all the encouragement and self-support to reach your goals, but especially during GMAT exam preparation, you need to be hard on yourself if required. If you need a 650+ GMAT score, you should be aware that it will not be a piece of cake. Give yourself credit for what you are doing right, but also consider aspects of the GMAT problems that you need to elaborate on and master additional skills. The dominant thing is separating the action from the person because you are evaluating your actions and not you as a person; you should not upset yourself but rather detect the triggers of low performance and challenges and make yourself accountable for such actions with a plan to move forward from them successfully. Ultimately, the ability to discern your flaws and work on personal evolution is an inherent quality for capacitating your abilities and aptitudes and pulling it off in life. 

We hope that adding these practical and mindful aspects to your daily preparation will be helpful as when you are preparing for an exam like the GMAT, being in the right mind frame can be as important as doing the quant or verbal practice. Whether you have a GMAT private tutor or not, it is on you to maintain motivation during the entire process. We suggest you develop a GMAT test strategy along with these seven tips to attain greater productivity and manifest superb performance. Make studying for the GMAT a daily habit and success will follow. 

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