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Posted on
24
Mar 2020

Stupid Mistakes – How to Avoid Them on the GMAT

Stupid Mistakes On The GMAT

Hi guys. Welcome back to Apex GMAT’s channel. It’s Mike here and today I want to talk about stupid mistakes and let’s start how just with nomenclature. The idea of a stupid mistake is something that we really don’t like here. We don’t like the word dumb. We don’t like the word stupid because even if you’re saying it in a “haha” joking way and you’ve got high self-esteem and a lot of intellectual rigor you’re suddenly putting yourself down. You’re also drawing away attention from the core reasons for these errors.

Careless Mistakes

So we like to call them careless mistakes or careless errors and this allows them to be addressed to be solvable. If you’ve done a stupid mistake either you’re stupid, hopefully not, or you’ve done something foolish. What you’re doing is offloading the responsibility for that error to it being unavoidable. I was not functioning well so I did it rather than addressing the root cause. This is not that you made an error but that there’s a step before the error was made where you failed to catch the error. That step can be before or after the actual processing error was made. Most often it’s sourced from a lack of attentiveness. You’ve missed a detail because you haven’t read closely enough or you crossed your wires through what they call labeling error. Where you’ve called one thing by the wrong name and stored it incorrectly in your head.

Difficulty of Addressing Careless Mistakes

Careless errors are notoriously difficult to address, but the first step is recognizing what they are. They’re processing errors that require your attention and this is something very different than any intellectual failing. It doesn’t matter how smart you are, everybody makes careless errors. Frankly the more rapidly you think the more sort of cycles your brain goes through in a given second or minute the more likely you are to make a careless error. So what differentiates people who make many versus those who make few? Infact the people who make fewer careless errors make just as many as those who make more except they tend to catch them.

How to Work On Them

There are heuristics that we can work on both to preempt careless errors but also to recognize them. Numerically for example you often catch a careless error by noticing that the number doesn’t sound right. If I tell you that it is 150 degrees out. Fahrenheit or Celsius you know that that number doesn’t sound right because it’s anchored to a reality. A lot of times when we’re doing math on the GMAT or in life we don’t have a good anchor for those numbers so the idea of a reasonable or unreasonable number doesn’t get to go through that cognitive filter. So anchoring whether it’s to temperature or money or number of pumpkins in a field, gives us this added check in order to catch a careless error when we make it.

Pivot Questions

Similarly, when we’re reading a word problem or we’re looking at a verbal problem a lot of times using pivot questions to prioritize and understand and really call out what it is we’re trying to do allows us to be both sensitized when we do make the inevitable error but often get in front of many of the errors that we might otherwise make.

Once again, I want to emphasize that careless errors are not intellectual errors. It has nothing to do with being smart or knowing your stuff and so the moment you write off a dumb or stupid error as oh I need to study that again or I forgot that but I’ll remember it next time you’ve already missed your opportunity to improve. So thanks for watching this video guys check out more below. Remember careless errors are both inevitable and solvable. So looking forward to catching you next time and continue prepping.

If you enjoyed this video you can watch: GMAT Scoring Plateaus

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Posted on
14
Mar 2020

Remainder Number Theory Problem

Remainder Number Theory Problem

Hi guys. It’s Mike here with Apex’s problem of the day. Today we’re going to be looking at this problem and our big question is that originally we’re given this unknown number N and we know we just have a remainder 3. So the problem is presenting us information in a way that we’re not used to seeing it and what we need to do is work backwards from this to drive the core insights.

Sorting Through the Information

So if we have a remainder of 3 on 23 this means that the chunk that isn’t remainder is 20 so what can our end be in those cases that will allow us to divide out by 20 and leave this remainder 3. Well first we know that n has to be greater than 3 because in order to have a remainder the amount we’re dividing by has to be something greater. The moment the remainder equalizes the thing we’re dividing by of course we get one more tick in the dividing by box and the remainder goes back down to zero.

Solving

So with 23 and a remainder of 3 our key number to look at is 20. Our factors of 20, that is the things that divide evenly into 20, are 1, 2, 4, 5, 10 and 20. Of course 1 and 2 are below 3 and so they’re not contenders. So we end up with n being 4, 5, 10 or 20.

Check Against the Statements

So for number 1: Is N even? If N can be 4 but can also be 5 then we’re not assured that it’s even. Notice the data sufficiency problem type embedded here. So N is not necessarily even. Is N a multiple of 5? Once again N is not because N could be 4 or 5. Finally, is in a factor of 20? And in this case it is because 4, 5, 10 and 20 as we just said are all factors of that 20 that we’re looking for. So our answer here is 3 alone, answer choice A.

More Practice

Now here’s a more challenging problem at the same forum see if you can do it and we’re going to come back and in the next video talk about the solution and give you another problem. So if 67 is divided by some integer N the remainder is 7. Our three things to look at are whether: N is even? If N is a multiple of 10? Or N is a factor of 120? So give this one a try and see if you can use the principles from the easier problem on this more challenging one to make sure that you actually understand what’s going on. If not, re-watch this video and see if a review might allow you to answer this question.

That’s it for today we’ll see you tomorrow.

If you enjoyed using this video for practice, try this one next: Wedding Guest Problem.

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Posted on
13
Mar 2020

What Are GMAT Scoring Plateaus and How To Overcome Them

Scoring Plateaus

Hey guys. Mike here with Apex GMAT. Today I’m 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 we want to see you succeed. I’m Mike for Apex GMAT and I’ll see you again real soon.

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

Conditional Offers

Conditional Offers: What That Means And What to Do?

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

So 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

So if you get a conditional acceptance don’t worry, don’t panic, give us call. 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. Thanks so much guys. I’ll talk to you again soon.

If you liked this video watch: Overcoming Scoring Plateaus.

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Apex GMAT Must Have GMAT Study Tips

GMAT Tips

  1. If you’re doing math, you’re doing something wrong
  2. Sleep at least 8 hours a day
  3. Consistency is more important than intensity when prepping for the GMAT
  4. Memorize Data Sufficiency choices
  5. Practice your mental math
  6. Prep without the time constraint until you understand to topic/section, then add time constraints
  7. Don’t prep for the GMAT using practice tests only
  8. Study at least 10 hours a week
  9. Take a break from studying the day before the test and just relax
  10. Visit the testing center prior to your exam to alleviate the stress associated with being there on test day
  11. Understand your mistakes
  12. Feed your brain for success. Consistency read publications such as the Economist, Financial Times, Time Magazine etc.

To watch our instructors go in to detail about the most important GMAT tips watch: 6 Things GMAT Preppers Get Wrong

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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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Posted on
23
Jul 2019

Why Is GMAT Prep Expensive?

Cost of the GMAT Prep

I’m Mike Diamond, head of instruction. I’m Jaymes Kine, one of the lead instructors here. And we are here to talk to you about some of the questions that we have gotten on our fancy social media platforms. Why in God’s name is preparing for the GMAT soo expensive? Can’t I just you know muscle through this with sheer will, determination and self-prep, free resources? And for some small portion of the population you totally can, but, by in large learning to absolutely master the GMAT is like starting from scratch and building a car. You need to at the very least have other people help you make parts, give you schematics, all that, even if you are putting it together yourself. This is not something most people want to do or more importantly have time to do. So why is the cost of GMAT prep soo high?

The GMAT Is An Investment

And I think also the thing to think about is it’s an investment. You need to take the GMAT so that you can go to business school. You want to go to business school so you can become an executive of some sort, somewhere, right? I mean, most of the people, and listen there are those of you out there that are going to B-school to make the world a better place and that’s absolutely awesome and for anyone whether you are going for profit or for the love of humanity, if you have got a need, we have a scholarship program.

So somewhere below here you can find a link to our scholarship application. Let’s be clear, the scholarship we are discussing is an Apex scholarship!

10 Points on the GMAT is worth $80 000!

So, when it comes down to it, the GMAT is an investment and doing well on the GMAT has a significant measurable impact on the amount of money that you are going to make throughout your life. And it might be more than you think. We have actually done some analysis internally and when you compare the salaries coming out of schools, from top schools to very good schools and you adjust for everything else, and just looks at admissions chances and financial aid and GMAT, every 10 points on the GMAT is worth, and I know you actually haven’t seen this document.

Yeah. Guess! Every 10-point increment on the GMAT, how much is it worth?In annual income? In net present value. Lifetime! 10 points? 10K? Keep Going! 30K? 50? About 50 thousand Pounds, 80 thousand US Dollars in lifetime earnings. And that sounds sort of ridiculous until you think about …. Wait, that’s every 10 points? Every 10 points? Well think about it, if you get a 720 and get into Stanford versus a 620, do a great school like, Fox, your lifetime earnings for those 100 points, the difference is going to be more than 800 000 dollars. That’s a lot of dollars!

The Apex Instructor Difference

And so it’s an investment, but from the other side, for us, for what we do. We love what we do! And we are not really in it for the money. I think everyone that’s worked here… Well I mean I am, you have to pay me! Yes! But I do love teaching! We have all started… I think every instructor here started out helping friends, helping family, helping friends of friends, and at some point sort of rolled in and said, well this is something that I enjoy. This is really fun! And it can help me have a fulfilling career.

Why is GMAT Prep soo expensive?

But there is opportunity cost, for you Economics majors out there. Ooh, talking to you! Why is GMAT preparation soo expensive?

Well if you go to a test prep factory and they hire someone who scored a 680 or a 700, just got out of school, doesn’t have teaching experience, they are not paying them very much, they’re actually probably paying them less than they are worth because that’s how big corporations work. Not to get too political. But, you know, they are getting paid $20/hour.

That’s why earlier on in my career I didn’t know this existed. Being a real tutor. It’s also why many of them don’t do it full time. I mean you can see when you go on any of those other websites, and you look for courses available by this specific teacher, they’ve got like 1 or 2 nights a week maybe. Because they are moonlight, doing something else to pay the bills. Still, a lot of excellent teachers, hey you got to make ends meet. But, we don’t want them, because they’re doing something else and it’s just a financial thing for them.

That’s actually one of the things that I’ve been happiest with is going from just teaching on the side and moonlighting and doing that to let’s do this fulltime because I didn’t like my other job and I always liked the few hours a week I was teaching and now I like all the hours that I am teaching. Yeah, when Jaymes joined us he became full time, all our instructors do this full time, just the GMAT!

Apex instructors have score 770+ on the GMAT

And for a GMAT score of, well we all have 770’s and above, we can go to top business schools and work at, I used to be at a hedge fund. Oh, we fancy! We can go do all sorts of stuff. We totally fancy!

So hiring a GMAT tutor is like hiring a professional whether it is an attorney, an accountant, a psychiatrist. Looking for that budget doctor? Yeah, exactly! You wouldn’t get your knee operated on by someone who was like I can do it a little cheaper but I went to a worse medical school.  Right, Zoology is medicine, in a way! I’ve done plenty giraffe knee replacements! That’s actually a pretty big deal!

If you enjoyed this video about the cost of GMAT prep, watch our GMAT Confidence video.

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Posted on
08
Jul 2019

GMAT Confidence

GMAT Confidence

I’m Mike Diamond Head of instruction. I’m Jaymes Kine one of the lead instructors here. And we’re here to talk to you about some of the questions that we’ve gotten on our fancy social media platforms. Yeah, so first of all thank you guys. We asked for you guys to give us some questions you have asked the questions and I guess kind of talked ourselves into a corner because now we have to answer them. Do you have the answers? I have the answer guide! You know, that’s pretty much, just so you know, that’s always the GMAT instructors trick, is we have the answer guide that’s the only difference. It’s actually totally not the trick, the trick, this is actually a great place to start. Okay!

Prep Materials

What materials to use. But I want to talk especially about the quality materials out there. There’s a wide variety of materials out there. There are a lot of materials, you’ve got a wide variety of quality I think is what you’re saying. Wide variety of quality but even the good materials in terms of the problems often do a great disservice to our clients by saying this is how you do it. Right, you look in the back and you see this especially, it’s more apparent with the quantitative. Yeah. Here’s all the algebra you need to do, right, and so many times it’s not about the answer it’s about thinking about other solution paths and getting around the answer. Yeah, and this is actually something that happens a lot I think, it’s mainly one of the major pitfalls for self-prep.

Is when you’re studying on your own we read through the official guide or whatever books you may have. By the way we recommend always getting the official guide, other books to supplement are great, but at least the official guide. We have our own materials that we would we would recommend obviously, but let’s go to the official guide on the answers there. When people are self-prepping they will go through the official guide then they’ll be reading the official answers which as Mike just said, they start with here’s the algebra problem and work you all the way through every algebraic step.

GMAT Confidence

I don’t know if you guys can tell we haven’t rehearsed and this is actually a GMAT moment. Yeah, we maybe should have rehearsed, you know failing to plan is planning to fail I think is what we say. Yes and no though, but we have all the answers. We don’t need to go over the answers in advance we don’t need a script because we live and breathe the GMAT this is all we do. And in that way this is a strong parallel for the GMAT. When you’re sitting the exam you don’t need to know the answers in advance ABCD whatever. If you have the tools and the knowledge, the experience, the expertise, then the answers are going to flow. And all that I think adds up to GMAT confidence to know you can go into that test and you can take it right.

Now we may be over confident here but it’s something we’re working on right. But being confident when you get to the test is definitely key. And it’s often a characteristic of really high achieving test takers, to be sure our instructors none of them went to the test saying, ” Oh, I’m nervous I’m not going to do well,” and when we take follow-up tests from time to time that’s that’s not a question. And that’s characteristic of just about everyone I’ve met, clients, instructors, whatever that have scored above that 720/730 mark. Yeah, I think irrational confidence is probably my best my best characteristic as a test taker really. That’s your best characteristic overall! Oh, thanks man!

If you enjoyed this video, see: Quant Versus Verbal.

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Posted on
06
Jul 2019

Quant Versus Verbal

Quant Versus Verbal

It’s time for quant versus verbal. The final showdown. Yeah, oh wait, we have to…

We have to talk about quant and verbal. Right! So quant versus verbal, one of the most common questions we get. Where should I start?

Should I focus more on the quant or the verbal? What do you think Mike?

Quant

It won’t surprise our lovely viewers that it all depends on the person but let’s talk in some generalizations. One thing you might be surprised by, maybe not so surprised to learn, is that a distinct majority of the people we work with come to us for quantitative help versus verbal help.

At least that’s what they state upfront. Many of them end up only getting quant anyhow but a lot of people state that they only need quant and then they end up needing verbal help as well. Once your quant outstrips your verbal you want to bring them up to parity because that’s highly rewarded by the scoring algorithm.

Right! But that said, we talk in fact we talk a lot of shit every day. Yeah mostly. We talk, we read, we write, we live, we’re immersed in a world of language, a verbal world. Where even math professors only math a few hours a day. Okay yeah there is a verb – to math! This is not a GMAT word but it’s an Apex word because we math frequently. Yes!

Fluency

So the issue there is fluency. If you’re already fluent in English, all the lessons you need to learn are much more easily attainable. Whereas with quantitative concepts even ones you think you know, often there’s more context. So you need a longer time period and more contact density with them in order to absorb all the stuff you need to then be flexible with them the same way you’re likely already flexible with the English language.

Verbal

Right! I think a big part of that is that the verbal section is the verbal section but the math section is math in English. They’re not just equations. They’re not just giving you specific mathematics problems per se. They are giving you math problems wrapped up in words.

Too true, and that goes both ways, there are quantitative problems particularly on the critical reasoning and a lot of times these aren’t: here are some numbers figure it out. Rather, the cost-of-living index is growing more quickly than inflation, more than pensions or something like that. Where you have some sort of abstract inequality buried in a property – they require mathematical reasoning.

And just for all of our other viewers who might not be from Philadelphia. He meant buried in the problem that’s what that was. Buried not buried? Yeah okay. Although, if you are from Philadelphia don’t spit out your water, it’s okay to say buried, but that’s how it goes.

That’s how it goes, so anyway there’s a lot of overlap on the GMAT but especially on the quantitative side, a lot of the difficulty is puzzling out what you need to answer, not doing the equation but you’re saying what that hell is this asking me for?

Non-Native English Speakers

You know and this is something else that we feel like a lot of the other the other outfits, the other test prep factories don’t really do enough, they don’t do a good enough job in my opinion. Emphasizing what many of you may be thinking right now which is verbal help and mathematical help with verbal for non-native English speakers. There are plenty of students who come Apex who are actually very good mathematicians as it were and it’s the English that they need a little bit of help with. Not as it pertains to the verbal section but actually it’s the English on the quant section that’s difficult.

Absolutely, there’s vocabulary, there’s context, but what’s really important here is that native speakers and non-native speakers pick up language differently. Even the way you learned English if you’re a non-native speaker affects how we approach working with you on the verbal. So if you’re a non-English speaker don’t be too concerned that that’s a disadvantage. You know something I’d like to point out to my students quite often is that the GMAT is actually created specifically for native English speakers and a lot of the test itself is meant to trick native English speakers. So coming at it actually from a non-native speaking background can actually help you kind of skip over all of the little traps that are set up for native speakers. So don’t despair, it’s not that you’re at a distinct disadvantage, you just some different work to do to prepare.

Yeah, different advantages, having access to secondary grammars whether it’s your native language or whether you took say, Spanish in high school.

I’m fluent in emoji actually I can tell that from your text messages it’s frankly disturbing.

If you enjoyed this video, watch GMAT Confidence

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