May 14, 2013
May 8, 2013
Time: 9:30pm-11:00pm ET/6:30pm-8:00pm PT
What: GMAT Bootcamp
Hosts: Kaplan GMAT Instructor Team — Justin Doff, Teresa Rupp, and Lucas Weingarten
Why: To learn the strategies you need to build the speed and accuracy to tackle the most advanced content on the test.
Listen up, people! You’ve got somewhere to be on Tuesday, May 14, 2013! One of Kaplan’s Elite GMAT instructors, Justin Lawrence Doff (shown here), will be on-camera and coming to you live from Los Angeles, CA dead-set on a singular agenda: arming you with what you need to conquer the most advanced attacks the GMAT has to throw at you. Learn how to set the pace on the climb to the top scoring tiers and, most importantly, how to maintain that level of performance to the end.
It’s bootcamp*. Expect to work hard and to make gains. No matter where you are in your GMAT prep cycle, Kaplan GMAT Bootcamp is designed for the GMAT warrior within us all.
We are saying ‘JUMP!’ and you are saying ‘HOW HIGH?’ See ya Tuesday.
*But don’t worry. We aren’t going to yell at you.
April 29, 2013
From The Free Dictionary:
a. Able to express oneself readily and effortlessly
b. Flowing effortlessly; polished
2. Flowing or moving smoothly; graceful
3. Flowing or capable of flowing; fluid
When I teach people how to beat the GMAT a common refrain of mine during class #1 goes something like this:
“It is not enough to study content. It’s not enough to study methods and strategies. It’s not enough to merely understand how to get the right answer to a GMAT question. If you truly want to dominate this test, which is entirely possible for you to do, then you must attain GMAT fluency. You must be fluent in all aspects of the GMAT: content, methodology, strategy, timing, what the GMAT is, what the GMAT is built to test, why you have to take it, what the scores communicate, the levels and types of stress it cultivates, etc., etc., etc. Fluency is the key.”
In Kaplan GMAT courses, we begin our conversation about the Quant and Verbal sections of the test by discussing what we call the GMAT’s four Core Competencies. These core skills are what the GMAT is designed to test and every single question you will face on test day will leverage each of these competencies in some way. A particular problem solving question, for example, may lean heavily on critical thinking and pattern recognition, and less so on paraphrasing and attention to the right detail. The next one, though, might be built almost entirely around one tucked away, camouflaged detail that most test takers brush right by on their way to getting the right answer to the wrong question—a common GMAT mistake. However, the other three central competencies will still lurk within this question and the test will reward those who exercise those skills.
The point of this conversation about what skills the GMAT cares most about, despite my best efforts to make it intriguing, is very often lost on many. I try my best to describe that the GMAT is a definable thing and it belongs in a particular box and that the walls of this box are created by these core competencies. I try my best… but, despite my effort, I watch so many who are new to the game inherit only the most superficial appreciation of these concepts. I move on because there is always so much to do in a Kaplan class, always so much to cover, and I must trust that at some point on their trip down Preparation Road each will, in turn, have their own “a-ha moment” and perhaps revisit the big ideas again. (Admittedly, I help ensure these revelations by consistently tracking the competencies throughout the course.)
Possibly, what makes it a difficult sell initially is that the GMAT will never test whether someone knows what the four core competencies are or what aspects of a particular question pertain to which. Similarly, it is hard for some to remember the names of the Critical Reasoning or Reading Comprehension question types. After all, that terminology will never actually be tested. Yet, the ability to spot and accurately identify these question types is monumentally crucial to test day success. How a question ought to be approached and answered is inextricably tied to its type. Nonetheless, it is a common occurrence in my line of work to engage a seasoned GMAT prep student in conversation over a troublesome question and during that discussion I inquire as to the type of question we are talking about. Promptly, I am then met with a coy smile followed by, “I dunno… assumption? Inference?”
It is not that the student can’t understand the difference between an assumption question vs. an inference question. It is not even that they can’t articulate that difference if really pressed. The problem is that understanding is not enough. This knowledge must be at the very front of your mind. It must flow out of you so effortlessly it is as if you aren’t really even thinking at all—you are just doing.
Fluency is the key. It is difficult to acquire, though entirely possible, and it must be continuously worked in order to maintain once achieved. We most often use and think of fluency in regard to language—of which all of us are fluent in at least one. So, to stick with this line of thinking, I ask you:
Can you speak GMAT? Can you speak it fluently?
April 24, 2013
Summer is fast approaching, which means that now is the time to very seriously start preparing for the business school application process. Kaplan plans to do our part to help you get a taste of what is out there leading up to our Road to Business School event series in August by highlighting a new MBA program each week. This week’s school spotlight features The Foster School of Business at the University of Washington.
You’ll have the opportunity to meet with representatives from The Foster School at our upcoming Road to Business School fairs. Don’t miss your chance to meet one-on-one with admissions representatives from this highly respected program. Register today!
The Foster School of Business at the University of Washington
The Foster School of Business at the University of Washington exists to inspire and develop the next generation of management leadership. The MBA program knows that well-run organizations have the power to change the world and that is why they offer exceptional individuals an opportunity to first create change within themselves. They value strategic thinking, intelligent risk-taking and leading by example. Students work at Foster. Students play at Foster. Students engage the world at Foster. At the Foster School of Business they think differently and make a difference. It’s the Washington Way.
April 10, 2013
With spring in the air and summer fast approaching, it means that now is the time to very seriously start preparing for the business school application process by compiling your list of target b-schools. Kaplan plans to do our part to help you get a taste of what is out there. Leading up to our Road to Business School event series in August, we’ll introduce you to a new program each week. This week’s school spotlight features The Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine. By considering The Merage School, you can become a part of one of the quickest growing MBA programs to consistently rank among the top 5-10% of accredited business schools worldwide, have access to a world-class faculty, strong alumni network and close individual and corporate relationships.
You’ll have the opportunity to meet with representatives from The Paul Merage School at our upcoming Road to Business School fairs. Don’t miss your chance to meet one-on-one with admissions representatives from this highly respected program. Register today!
The Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California
The Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine is strategically located in the heart of Orange County, California. It is also at the center of Southern California’s Tech Coast, with Irvine being the primary breeding ground for on the- rise businesses and industries—especially biotech, medical devices, fashion, real estate, finance and auto design. The Merage School is committed to preparing you to become the kind of leader that companies demand.
The Merage School of Business at UC Irvine offers four dynamic MBA programs– that graduates business leaders with the exceptional ability to help grow their organizations through strategic innovation, analytical decision-making, information technology and collaborative execution. The program successfully combines the academic strengths and best traditions of the University of California with the cutting-edge, entrepreneurial spirit of Orange County in the heart of southern California’s Tech Coast.
During the past decade, the Merage School has earned Top Tier rankings both nationally and internationally for its Executive MBA program, faculty, curriculum components such as IT and marketing, recruitment services and overall value by such publications as the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and US News & World Report.
Choosing the schools that will hit your short list of b-school targets is a tough task. Kaplan plans to do our part to help you get a taste of what is out there. Leading up to our Road to Business School event series in August, we’ll introduce you to a new program each week. This week’s school spotlight features Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, located in the heart of Baltimore, MD. By considering JHCBS, not only will you get a world class education, but you’ll be able to satisfy your craving for amazing crab cakes in one of the East Coast’s largest cities.
You’ll have the opportunity to meet with representatives from Johns Hopkins at our upcoming Road to Business School fairs. Don’t miss your chance to meet one-on-one with admissions representatives from an incredibly innovative and highly regarded program. Register today!
Johns Hopkins Carey Business School
The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School is dedicated to producing innovative leaders with broad, interdisciplinary knowledge and continuing the Johns Hopkins tradition of bringing innovative business management programs to the ever-changing workplace. The program is committed to educating humanistic business leaders and entrepreneurs who can transform business and in the process help society thrive.
The Carey Business School’s offerings include a full-time Global MBA, Executive and Flexible MBAs and Masters Degrees in Enterprise Risk Management, Marketing, Financial Business, Real Estate and Infrastructure, and Health Care Management.
March 28, 2013
My last retrospective was when I hit fifty. Number one hundred was overshadowed by the test change so there was not an opportunity for much fanfare. However, Elite GMAT Instructor, Justin Doff, asked me what some of my favorite posts were just after I told him that #149 was up on the blogroll. “Geez, that’s a tough one… but it’s a great idea for #150!” I replied.
Nineteen months and one hundred fifty posts later… Here is a list of some of my favorites, or at least these are posts GMAT blog readers might find interesting.
|GMAT Prep- Clean as You Go
|About the GMAT- GMAT Validity|
| Taking the GMAT- Never Cancel Your GMAT Score
|Higher Education/Academia- Business Students are as Lax as the Education They are Supposedly Receiving
| MBA- The MBA and Woody Allen
| Miscellaneous- Sustainability?
March 21, 2013
Integrated Reasoning (IR) hit the GMAT in June 2012. Here we are, nearing the end of March 2013. Schools have been receiving IR scores from applicants for the last nine months. I have been teaching the section for that long, as well. Amazingly, Kaplan’s first blog post about Integrated Reasoning was nearly three years ago on June 25, 2010, and my first of many posts involving IR was published on Halloween 2011 (although I first mentioned it in September of that same year). All this to acknowledge the notable history the IR section has already accrued and to tee us up for a little “where are they now” segment.
In September 2012, I wrote a blog post titled “Does my Integrated Reasoning score matter?” At the time, IR had been actively battling GMAT test takers for three months. On the minds of nearly all test-takers-in-training was the potential influence over an admissions decision that this new and difficult section would hold. Unsurprisingly, this concern remains quite potent. So, let’s talk it out.
A colleague of mine, Jenny Lynch, recently referred to a Bloomberg Businessweek article to discuss the evolution of how university admissions offices are utilizing IR scores—or, more accurately, learning how to utilize IR scores. These offices are focused on obtaining data, both university derived as well as data coming from GMAC. The goal is to establish IR as a valid predictor of academic performance in business school. Once this is done, schools can appropriately weight and consider IR scores within the totality of a student’s application package.
While the Bloomberg article maintains a tone suggesting imminent impact, a sober read tracks right along with the expectations we‘ve previously laid out and confirmed through research. In short, admissions committee members remain undecided on the future importance of IR scores. However, what these folks have decided is that, at present, IR scores are not important.
No doubt, Integrated Reasoning is here to stay and no doubt the score it generates will slowly gain traction at admissions offices. However, there is still over four years of valid GMAT score reports that will not contain an IR record. Additionally, the GRE is and will continue to be an accepted admissions exam in lieu of the GMAT at business schools. The GRE has both a Quant and Verbal section as well as an essay portion just as the GMAT does. However, there is nothing like IR on the GRE.
Inarguably, the GMAT is the preeminent business school admissions exam. It communicates a level of focus and dedication to securing a graduate management degree that the GRE will never be able to replicate. Integrated Reasoning strengthens the GMAT’s already powerful position. Students must take IR seriously and prepare diligently. A strong IR score can only help. A weak one could very well damage an application, especially as time marches forward.
It is vital, though, to not artificially inflate or otherwise place this new section above its deserved position. The result will lead to increased stress levels and, therefore, a correlated decrease in overall performance. While IR has the potential to communicate valuable information, it is very unlikely it will become the make-or-break message some might passively suggest. Further, one thing is absolutely certain: no matter how institutions decide to weight IR scores, the 200-800 point total score will always be the most crucial aspect of a GMAT score report.
Last summer, the GMAT made the most major change to its format in 15 years by replacing one of the essays with the Integrated Reasoning (IR) section. Since then, GMAT test-takers have been wondering how IR impacts their b-school applications. As it turns out, business schools are wondering exactly the same thing.
In the IR section of the GMAT, test-takers evaluate data in graphs, spreadsheets, and charts, similar to the materials they will eventually see in business school. In theory, IR can better assess students’ ability to perform the tasks expected of them in business school and the work world. Nearly a year after the inclusion of IR, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), who administers the GMAT, and business schools nationwide are taking the first steps to determine what role IR should play in the admissions process.
Bloomberg Businessweek recently reported that business schools across the country are actively assessing the significance of IR performance on students’ eventual success in business school. While IR isn’t currently being given much weight in the admissions process, largely because many applicants took the GMAT before the test change and therefore do not have IR scores, business schools are analyzing IR data to get a better understanding of the role it will eventually play in admissions. Dan Poston, of the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, states, “We want to see how it [IR] plays out…We want to see how predictive it is of student’s success at school.”
GMAC has released some key data on the IR section, based upon results of the more than 123,000 test-takers who have taken the GMAT since IR was added to the test. GMAC reports that the distribution of scores is normal and without bias against any subgroup of test-takers. In short, these results suggest that IR has the potential to be a valid predictor of student success in b-school.
In addition to analyzing data from GMAC, some schools are directly studying the connection between IR and student performance. For instance, at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management, a group of 60 second-year students will complete the IR portion of the GMAT. Their IR scores will then be compared to their success in core courses in order to determine whether IR performance positively correlates with b-school performance.
The obvious question for GMAT test-takers is how they should approach IR in order to put together the best application package possible. While IR may not play a major role in the admissions process for the next few years, a solid IR score can only help applicants. As Dawna Clarke of Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business notes, “IR will help prospective students more than it will hurt them…If you are not ‘quant strong,’ but you have strong IR skills, then this test will help you shine.”