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kurt cobain Offline
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What is GMAT?

The Graduate Management Admission Test is a Standardized test that measures verbal, mathematical and analytical writing skills. It is intended to help the graduate schools of business assess the potential of applicants for advanced study in business and management. Nearly 900 management institutes all over the world (almost all of them in the US) require GMAT scores from each applicant. The GMAT tests the fundamental skills - Reasoning and Comprehension included - and does not require any subject-specific theoretical study.

The test is designed in such a way that it would be unlike any other test you would have taken at school or college. First, the test has no question paper or answer sheets, nor does it have the same set of questions for all the examinees. Further, it does not give you the option of not answering a question (unless, of course, you run out of time at the end). All this because the GMAT is now an entirely Computer based test - the keyboard and mouse do the work of a pen or pencil. The test is scored out of 800 (in multiples of 10), and most scores fall in the range of 500-600. However, a score of even 800 is not unheard of!

The GMAT is only one of several parameters which the graduate schools look at to determine the selection of an applicant. A high score alone does not translate into an admission offer from a great school. But the test can be looked upon as the first major hurdle to be cleared in the process of getting admission into a B-school of your choice.

Who administers the GMAT?



The GMAT is developed and administered by the US-based "Educational Testing Service" (ETS) under the direction of the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), a non-profit organization of graduate business schools worldwide. This implies that ETS sets the questions, conducts the test, and sends each examinee the score report. For the conduct of the test, ETS has appointed Testing Agencies in various countries, which act as franchisee for ETS. In India, this agency is the "Sylvan Testing Services Pvt Ltd" which administers the test at 9 centres in the country: Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, New Delhi, and Trivendrum.

When is the GMAT held?



All-round-the-year. Unlike other exams, you can choose your own date and time for taking the GMAT! The test is administered in the above cities five-days-a-week (Monday through Friday), twice-a-day. September to December is the high season for GMAT, so in case you intend to take the test during this period, you need to register very early (say 90 days in advance) to get a date of your choice. Otherwise, registering at least 15 days in advance is mandatory. The test lasts roughly four hours, and most centres offer two slots : 9 A.M. and 2 P.M.

Eligibility and Fees


Anyone and everyone is eligible for taking the GMAT - there are no restrictions based on age or qualifications. The test scores are valid for five years, i.e., most universities accept scores up to five years old. But it is always better if your scores are recent (not older than 2 years).

Test fees for GMAT may vary according to the country in which you take the test. In India, this fee is US $225, payable at the time of registration. You can now pay in Indian Rupees. Payment in Indian Rupees must be made at the telegraphic transfer selling (TTS) exchange rate of the U.S. dollar equivalent. The draft should be made out in favour of "ETS - GMAT" payable in the U.S. and should be drawn on a Indian bank.

Alternately, the payment can also be made through a credit card which has global acceptance. The credit card need not necessarily be yours - you can get your father to sign for you!

THE GMAT-CAT



What is a Computer-Adaptive Test?

In a computer-adaptive test, the computer screen displays one question at a time, which is chosen from a very large pool of questions categorized by content and difficulty. The first question is always of a medium difficulty, and each subsequent question is determined by your responses to all the previous questions. In other words, the CAT adjusts itself to your ability level - youll get few questions that are either too easy or too difficult for you.

Each question in the GMAT CAT has five answer options, and you are required to select one of these five as the correct answer by clicking on it. A subsequent question is displayed on the screen only after you have answered the previous question, so you cannot skip a question. You cannot also go back to a previously answered question to change your answer. Thus, if you guess a correct answer or answer a question incorrectly by mistake, your answers to subsequent questions will lead you back to questions that are at the appropriate level of difficulty for you.

Content and Format of the GMAT



The test has three distinct sections : Analytical Writing Ability (AWA), Quantitative, and Verbal. The Quantitative section has two types of questions, Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency, mingled throughout the section. The Verbal Section has three types : Sentence Correction, Critical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension; here too, the questions of each type appear in no set sequence. There are a total of 78 questions, 37 in Quantitative and 41 in Verbal. These have to be done in 75 minutes each.

The following table gives out the format of the GMAT-CAT :




Questions


Timing

Computer Tutorial


NA


NA

Analysis of an Issue
Analysis of an Argument


1 Topic
1 Topic


30 min.
30 min.

Optional Rest Break


NA


5 min.

Quantitative (Problem Solving & Data Sufficiency)


37


75 min.

Optional Rest Break


NA


5 min.

Verbal (Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, & Sentence Correction)


41


75 min.




78+2 Essays>


4hrs.(approx.)

The tutorial is meant to make you feel comfortable with the infrastructure and the environment and does not have a prescribed time limit. You are expected to be through with it in 15 minutes or so : it makes sense to acclimatize yourself fully with the setting even after you think you have understood how the system works.

Analytical Writing Assessment



The analytical writing section requires you to write - or rather type - two short essays in thirty minutes each. The first is the Analysis of an Issue, in which you need to analyze the issue presented and explain your views on it. The second essay is Analysis of an Argument, in which a given argument has to be critically analyzed and evaluated.

For both the essays, the emphasis is on the "Analytical" part, and not on the "Writing" part. This implies that a concise essay with well-reasoned points written in simple English will be looked upon more favourably than an essay which falls short on the analytical aspects even though it is high on writing skills.

A five-minute break follows the two essays. The computer gives you the option to take this break, or to move directly to the subsequent section. Even if you finish the essays before the stipulated sixty minutes, the break will still be of five minutes. It is advisable to utilize this break by gearing yourself up for the tougher sections that follow.

Quantitative Section



The 37 questions in this section comprise two kinds of questions : Problem Solving (PS) and Data Sufficiency (DS). The two kinds do not have a definite break-up, usually there are around 20 PS and 17 DS questions. The section tests you on a level of Maths that is comparable to the level of Class 10 exams, with questions on Number Systems, Percentages, Fractions & Decimals, Algebra (including Quadratic Equations), Geometry (including Basic Coordinate Geometry), Ratio & Proportion, Area & Volume of 2-D and 3-D figures, and Probability. This list is not exhaustive; questions from beyond these topics may also be asked.

While the Problem Solving questions require you to solve a mathematical problem directly and choose the right answer, the Data Sufficiency is of a trickier variety. Each problem comprises a question followed by two statements, which may or may not lead to the answer to the given question. This is what you need to ascertain - whether the given statements can be used to answer the question or not, and if so, whether the statements can be used independently or in conjunction. Each of the five answer options present the five possibilities that arise in this case, and you have to apply the basic principles of mathematics with a strong dose of logic to get these right.

Verbal Section


The verbal section in GMAT requires the basic skills of correct English coupled with reasoning and analysis. The 41 questions, to be attempted in 75 minutes, consist of three types : Sentence Correction (SC), Critical Reasoning (CR), and Reading Comprehension (RC). The three types are intermingled, with no fixed number for each type. The break-up of questions among SC, CR, and RC could be 14-14-13 or 15-13-13, or any such combination.

Reporting the Scores



ETS has the provision of reporting your GMAT scores to a maximum of five universities of your choice, the cost of which is built into the GMAT fee you pay. But the catch is : you have to select these five universities/business-schools which will receive copies of your score report BEFORE you begin to take the test. This implies that even before taking the GMAT, you need to do some homework on which universities youre finally going to apply, based on the score that you expect to attain. For reporting to each additional university, the ETS charges you $25, payable by an international credit card or a dollar denominated draft.

The Scoring Pattern in GMAT CAT



The GMAT results comprise four different scores : a total score (which is the combined verbal and quantitative scores), a separate Verbal score, a separate Quantitative score, and an Analytical Writing score. The total score is reported on a scale from 200 to 800. The Verbal and Quantitative Scores are reported on a scale of 0 to 60. For the AWA score, the scale is from 0 to 6. Note that your AWA performance is not reflected in your total GMAT score (on 800). You get to know your total, verbal, and quantitative score immediately after taking the test. Official GMAT score reports, which include the AWA scores, are mailed approximately two weeks after you take the test and take another ten days or so to reach your address.

In addition to these scores, the score report also contains percents (%) below. These "% below" indicate the percentage of examinees who scored below you based on the scores of the entire GMAT testing population for the most recent three-year period. These percentages are important in considering how an applicant for admission to a particular management school compares with everyone in the specified period, with all other applicants to the same school, and with students already enrolled at the school.

The following table indicates the percentage of examinees tested from June 1995 through May 1998 who scored below specified total scores :

Score


Percentage Below


Score


Percentage Below

770-800


Greater than 99


490


40

740-760


99


480


37

730


98


470


34

720


97


460


30

710


96


450


28

700


95


440


25

690


94


430


23

680


93


420


20

670


91


410


18

660


90


400


15

650


88


390


13

640


85


380


12

630


83


370


10

620


81


360


8

610


78


350


7

600


75


340


6

590


73


330


5

580


70


320


4

570


67


310


3

560


64


300


2

550


60


290


2

540


57


240-280


1

530


53


200-230


<1

520


50







510


47







500


43







No. of examinees : 602,037
Mean Score : 513

This table implies that if you end up with a score of 600 on the GMAT, 75% of the 602,037 examinees who took the GMAT between June 1995 and May 1998 got a score below yours.

Retaking the GMAT



Even though an "I could have done better" feeling is inevitable after any test, taking the GMAT again may not be helpful. Sometimes it is necessary to take the GMAT more than once, like when a management school asks you for more recent scores than what you have. However, unless your scores seem unusually low compared to your performance in the practice tests, or if you have not been able to perform well because of a sudden illness or similar exceptional circumstances, its advisable not to succumb to the temptation of repeating the test. This is because, given the nature of the test, it is unlikely that your scores can substantially improve.

If you repeat the test, your scores from the latest test date and the two most recent test administrations in the last five years will be reported to the institutions you designate as recipients. In any case, you cannot take the test more than once in the same calendar month, even if you have taken the test and cancelled your scores.

BOOKS 4 GMAT

# The Official Guide for GMAT Review - 10th Edition
Price: Rs. 1650
Published by: GMAC

Published by the people who administer the GMAT. It is probably the most authentic source of GMAT preparation. The questions in this book are actual GMAT questions. It is a must buy if you are serious about GMAT.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Arco's Master the GMAT CAT With CD
Price: Rs. 895
Published by: Arco

A comprehensive guide available for students preparing to take the GMAT. It comes with an interactive CD-ROM that creates exams just like the real GMAT CAT. Good value for money.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cracking the GMAT With CD
Price: Rs. 595
Published by: The Princeton Review

The book has techniques and strategies to score high on the GMAT. It comes with a CD that has five computer based tests like the actual GMAT. Good value for money.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GMAT-CAT Answers to The Real Essay Questions
Price: Rs. 495
Published by: Arco

The only book that has sample essays for almost all 230 GMAT AWA topics. It is the most exhaustive book available for GMAT AWA preparation. Excellent value for money.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Register for the GMAT:

You can register in four ways:

Online Registration: You can now check online for available slots and register online using a credit card. This is available for registration in the United States, U.S. Territories, Puerto Rico, Canada and major international cities. Use the links below for more details.

Registering by Phone: You may call up Prometric center until 12:00 noon to register. Make sure to call at least THREE BUSINESS DAYS before the test date. Use the links below for more details.

Registering by Fax: If registering by fax, you must ideally send your fax at lest SEVEN DAYS prior to your first choice of a test day. Use the links below for more details.

Registering by Mail/Courier: Fill in the form, get your check coupons (if you are not paying by credit card), and send these to GMAT or your Regional Registration Center. Use the links below for more details.

Punk is musical freedom. It's saying, doing and playing what you want. In Webster's terms, 'nirvana' means freedom from pain, suffering and the external world, and that's pretty close to my definition of Punk Rock

-KURT COBAIN
03-11-2006 07:59 PM
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Common Myths about the GMAT



Myth: I can apply to a top b-school only if I have a
700+ GMAT score.

Reality: Only 1% of all GMAT takers score 750 or
higher, 7% score 700 or higher, 15% score 650 or
higher and 30% score 600 and higher (Guide to the
use of GMAT scores effective Oct 1, 2003 -
percentages based on examinees tested from
January 2000 through Dec 2002 (including
repeaters)). A look at the sheer number of applicants
tells us that the range of those applying to top B-schools is from 650 onwards. But remember that the rest of your application needs to
be positioned in such a way as to complement your
score.



Myth: B-schools have cut-offs for GMAT scores.

Reality: Not really. However, In case your score is
much lower than their average score, you would
need to really sparkle in your Essays & Work Ex.
Even though most schools claim Not to have a cut
off, most of the top schools have an average GMAT
score of 700+.

Myth: Since it is a standardized test, it can be beaten.
Reality: Apparently, the GMAT is a standardized test.
True, but then there is a slight twist to it.

The GMAT tests basic concepts. However, most of
the winners have found that as they keep solving
questions correctly, they get similar questions to
those they have seen before.

This is because while the GMAT does test basic
concepts, HOW it does it can change.

Right from getting difficult probability questions, to
getting four long RC passages, to getting questions
with apparently do not have a right answer have
been observed in the actual GMAT.

The best strategy is to focus on the basics first, and
then you will be prepared to tackle any twist in the
exam.

E.g. for the chapter speed and distance, it is enough
to fully understand the following two formulae:

- Speed = Distance/Time
- Average Speed = Total distance/Total Time

As long as you can apply the above two formulae, any
twist on the questions will be easy for you.

However, without a strong grip on the basics it is
almost impossible to beat the GMAT using Short cuts
or other tricks.


Myth: I can take the GMAT after sending In my
application packet to the school after the deadline.

Reality: Doesnt really work. Your application will not
be considered without your scores, and your score
will normally take at least 2 weeks to be reported.

There are however changes afoot wherein the
Schools will be able to instantaneously view your
GMAT score on the Web.


Myth: I can decide the schools I want to apply to after
seeing my GMAT scores.

Reality: You can indeed do that but you will need to
pay extra for that. You get to send your score to any
five schools free of cost (The cost is included In your
Test fees), before you
take the exam. Any schools that you need to send to
after the exam will require extra payments to ETS.
A good strategy is to consider two schools for a high
score scenario and two schools for a lower score so
that you are covered in either case.


Myth: I can send the school a photocopy of my
unofficial/official score report.
Reality: Schools normally dont consider any report
other than the official report from ETS.
However with Pearson Vue taking over the test
administration, the schools will be instantaneously
able to retrieve your score.

Myth: I can retake the GMAT as many times till I get
my desired score.

Reality: You can, but the better option would be to
prepare well and take it only once or twice.
Apart from the fact that it costs $250 each time you
take it, your three most recent scores are reported
by ETS to the schools. So if your scores are very
different each time, you will
need to explain why.
The reason usually is inadequate preparation first
time, but this will show you In poor light before the admissions committee

Punk is musical freedom. It's saying, doing and playing what you want. In Webster's terms, 'nirvana' means freedom from pain, suffering and the external world, and that's pretty close to my definition of Punk Rock

-KURT COBAIN
03-11-2006 08:14 PM
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Hey nice post kurt........ Very Happy

Actually jus 2 days back whisky had suggested me to write a similar post on GMAT.......coz most pepl at edulix know only abt GRE.
Anyway gr8 dat u hv written it......i hv to say its really comprehensive maan......Nice work.

- Its nothing personal, Its just business.
03-11-2006 08:39 PM
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The GMAT in 2006: Changing Hands, Not Changing Faces

PART ONE:

"The king is dead; long live the king!" This pithy saying has long been used to describe the passing of musical legends, medieval monarchs and the like. So what does this have to do with the GMAT? On Jan 1, 2006, a 51-year reign comes to an end, as the GMAT exam will no longer be administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Instead it will be administered by Pearson, the nation's largest commercial processor of student assessment tests. Don't panic yet. The Graduate Management Admission Management (GMAC), the organization that owns the GMAT, is still the main player in terms of the development of the exam questions and the adaptive components. It seems that the GMAC has simply decided to outsource the administration of the exam to a new vendor.

Nonetheless, this changing of the guards has some key implications for anyone planning to take the exam in 2006. In this month's strategy series we will review the changes the GMAT will undergo and what effects these changes will likely have on the test-taker. We will include in our discussion an overview of the logistics of the changes, information on the new 11th edition Official Guides and GMAC's 2006 GMAT Prep software, some strategies for dealing with the new whiteboards, guidelines for planning the date of your GMAT exam along with any retakes, and lastly an overview of how new official score reports will work.

To kick off our discussion of the new 2006 GMAT, here is a list summarizing the major changes. Note that the list is organized in order of decreasing importance.

1) THERE ARE NO CONTENT/SCORING CHANGES TO THE EXAM. All the changes are related to the test-taking experience and the administration of the exam.

2) NO MORE SCRAP-PAPER! INSTEAD THE TEST-TAKER WILL RECEIVE ERASABLE WHITE BOARDS, though it appears that NO ERASER is provided to the test-taker. To quote from http://www.mba.com: "The test administrator will provide you with a booklet of five (5) noteboards. If you fill up your noteboards during the test, please raise your hand; the administrator will collect the noteboards you have and give you replacements. You may not remove the noteboards from the testing room during or after the test and you must return them to the administrator after the test."

3) YOU MUST NOW WAIT 31 DAYS BEFORE RETAKING THE EXAM. A test-taker can only take the exam ONCE in any 31 day period. Thus, if a test-taker takes the exam on Jan 5, 2006, she will not be able to take it again until Feb 5, 2006. This is a significant change as the rule used to be that one could take the exam once per calendar month. This allowed a test-taker to take the exam on Jan 31 and Feb 1. No more! Note that test-takers can still only take the exam 5 times within any 12 month period - this remains unchanged.

4) SCORE REPORTS WILL NOW CONTAIN ALL EXAMS TAKEN IN THE LAST 5 YEARS (including cancellations). Previously, score reports contained only your last 3 exams/cancellations. In addition, if a test-taker retakes the exam and wants to resend his/her scores to programs that previously received the score, the test-taker must RESELECT those schools at the time of the retest.

5) OFFICIAL SCORE REPORTS WILL NOW BE AVAILABLE ONLINE INSTEAD OF BEING MAILED TO THE TEST-TAKER. Official Score Reports will be available online to test-takers and the schools they've selected approximately 20 days after the test. Official Score Reports are now mailed to the student by request only.

6) DON'T SKIP THE AWA ESSAY SECTION! Official Score Reports will only be provided if the test-taker has responded to BOTH essay questions and completed the Quant & Verbal sections. This eliminates the possibility of "skipping" the essay section and just doing the Quant & Verbal.

7) IF YOU SCORE AN 800, YOU CAN'T RETAKE THE EXAM FOR 5 YEARS. (Not that anyone who gets an 800 would want to take the exam again!)

To read more about the changes, please click HERE

Join us next week as we take an in-depth look at the new 11th edition of the Official Guide and GMAC's 2006 GMAT Prep Software.

PART TWO:

In the summer of 2005, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) released a much awaited update to the Official Guide for GMAT Review, 10th edition. Perhaps the proper term, however, would be updates, as the replacement came in the form of 3 books: The Official Guide For GMAT Review, 11th edition and 2 supplemental books - The Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review and The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review. While the updates come after a five year stint for the 10th edition and many predicted that the new guide(s) would have all new retired GMAT questions, the results were somewhat surprising.

The most salient changes involve a rehashing of the explanations (NOTE: the following changes apply to all three books). On the quantitative side, problem solving questions are illustrated with more step-by-step solutions. While there seems to be little change as far as the approach taken (i.e. how to solve), the Guide now categorizes each problem by topic (e.g. properties of numbers, geometry area, etc), and the physical layout of each problem is much easier to read. In the data sufficiency section, the solutions are also more logically organized by statement. Statement (1) is addressed, deemed sufficient or insufficient and then statement (2) is dealt with similarly in a separate paragraph. This makes the process of solving data sufficiency much clearer.

On the verbal side, the explanations were overhauled to even greater extent. It seems that the authors have recognized the student's need to clearly understand why each wrong answer choice is wrong because the explanations are now organized by answer choice. This much welcomed change allows the student to practice the systematic elimination of wrong answer choices that is so vital to success on the verbal section of the GMAT.

Topic categories are also assigned to each question in all three verbal question types. To this end, reading comprehension questions are officially divided into six types: main idea, supporting ideas, inference, application (of information), logical structure and style/tone. Likewise critical reasoning questions are separated into one of three categories: argument construction, argument evaluation and evaluation of a plan. Perhaps even more noteworthy, are the situation and reasoning sections included in each critical reasoning explanation. The situation section recaps the argument in fewer words and the reasoning section highlights the logic involved in solving the question. Lastly, in sentence correction, there are eight grammatical issues by which the questions are identified (many are tagged with more than one issue). The explanation begins with an overview of all of the errors that occur, not only in answer choice A, but also in the other four answer choices. Then the answer choices are listed one-by-one with their respective errors. The new format offers greater readability and utility.

How many of the questions in the 3 new Official Guides are the same as those in their predecessor, The Official Guide to GMAT Review, 10th edition? On the math side, the 10th edition included 441 problem solving and 274 data sufficiency. Of those, 328 of the problem solving and 215 of the data sufficiency show up in either the 11th edition or the Quantitative Review. In addition, the 11th edition offers 121 unique problem solving and 82 unique data sufficiency questions. This amounts to a net gain of 8 problem solving and 23 data sufficiency in the new editions. It is worth noting that The Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review contains no new questions; it is completely redundant to the 10th edition. All of the unique questions in the new guides appear in The Official Guide For GMAT Review, 11th edition.

On the verbal side, 201 of the 10th edition's 268 sentence correction questions appear in the new guides, along with 67 new questions in the 11th edition. In critical reasoning, 160 of the 205 questions in the 10th edition appear in the new guides, along with 63 new questions in the 11th edition. This amounts to a net gain of 18 critical reasoning questions. Lastly in reading comprehension, 33 of the 48 passages from the 10th edition are represented in the new guides, along with 11 new passages. This represents a net loss of 4 passages in the new guides.

In terms of the difficulty level of the new questions the 11th edition, it seems that the 11th editions are comparable to the 10th. While a few of the hardest questions from the 10th edition have disappeared, they seem to have been replaced by a fair number of difficult questions at the end of the 11th edition's data sufficiency and problem solving sections, as well as in the new 100-question diagnostic section at the beginning of the book. A significant added benefit to the 11th edition and the two supplemental books is the GMAC's claim that the questions in each section are arranged by increasing level of difficulty. The cautious student should keep in mind, however, that this is only an assertion made by GMAC.

As a final note on the new materials available from GMAC to prepare for the GMAT in 2006, the GMAC has made available new software to emulate the test-taking experience. The software includes five 15-question practice sections and 2 adaptive practice exams. There appears to be no overlap between the questions for the two exams and the questions contained in three new Official Guides. The software also matches the format of the new exam, administered by Pearson Vue testing centers, in terms of font, color scheme, and screen layout.

The GMATPrepTM software is available for free download at http://www.mba.com.

Join us next week as we take a look at the new scratch paper policy for the 2006 GMAT.

PART THREE:

This week we continue our discussion of the GMAT's 2006 switchover to Pearson with a look at the new scratch paper policy. Weeks before the switchover, the GMAC advertised this change in policy on their website, "The test administrator will provide you with two erasable noteboards. If you fill up your noteboards during the test, please raise your hand; the administrator will collect the noteboards you have and give you replacements. You may not remove the noteboards from the testing room during or after the test and you must return them to the administrator after the test."

This talk about erasable noteboards created quite the stir among both veteran and future GMAT test-takers: How awkward would it be to right on a whiteboard? How thick would the pens be? How would the erasing process work? Well a couple of weeks into the new year, with the transfer of powers complete, it seems that the concerns were mostly for not. The scratch paper change is not such a big deal after all.

The "erasable noteboards" are nothing more than a spiral bound packet of 5 legal size sheets of yellow laminated paper. The pages are numbered from 1 to 10 (front and back). The cover page (page 1) contains a disclaimer and information about how to adjust the test center chair. Pages 2 through 10 are blank sheets of laminated graph paper. Each of the pages has a 1 inch blank margin at both the top and bottom of the page. The graph paper has 33 rectangular boxes across the page horizontally by 71 rectangular boxes down the page vertically.

The writing implement is a special black pen with a tip that is finer than a Sharpie. The ink is erasable, but the test center does not provide a wiper or an eraser. This isn't a major issue since if you have filled up your notebook, you may raise your hand and a proctor will provide you with a new 10-page booklet. Based on our own experience and those of our students, the pens typically don't run out of ink but the head does seem to flatten a bit by the end of the quant section. The proctors, however, are more than willing to provide the student with a new pen upon request.

So what effect will the new "scratch paper" have on the GMAT test taking experience? The short answer is not much. Nonetheless, students preparing for the GMAT would likely benefit from practice with graph paper. Graph paper has some obvious advantages on the quant section - for creating tables, for geometry figures, and for organization in general. On the verbal side, the columns can be used to set-up A,B,C,D,E options for eliminating incorrect answer choices on each question. The laminated paper and special pen take a bit of getting used to so, if possible, using similar materials during practice can also help.

Overall the new materials feel more like the old scratch paper then some newfangled whiteboard as was initially described on the GMAC website. You can rest easily knowing that not too much has changed in this department.

Join us next week as we discuss the new 31 day rule and how to plan your test timeline accordingly.

PART FOUR:

One of the most significant changes to the administration of the GMAT in 2006 is the new "31 day rule." Prior to the changing of the guards, the rule of the land was one attempt per calendar month. This meant that a student could take the test January 31st and then again on February 1st. Unfortunately, the days of "date-stacking" are gone. Test takers are now allowed to take the test only once every 31 days. Thus, if a student takes the exam on March 3rd, he will have to wait until April 3rd to take the test again.

What ramifications does this have for the average test-taker? To best answer this question, let's consider the wise applicant's GMAT planning process. The obvious starting point is the application deadline for the school(s) to which he is applying. Let's assume, for example, an application deadline of May 15th. The savvy student will make sure that he is ready to take the GMAT a full 31+ days prior to the deadline, in this case around April 12th. This allows the student enough time to take the exam twice before his deadline.

Why twice? In our experience, students often score better on the GMAT the second-time-around. The idea is that a lot of the peripheral factors that tend to affect the student on the first attempt (i.e. timing issues, psychological issues, scratch paper management) are usually much better controlled on the second attempt. And of course if there are any holes in one's preparation, this gives an extra period of time to fill those holes. Thus the smart student will leave himself enough time to be able to take the exam twice.

No matter how many times one takes the exam, we strongly advise students NOT to cancel their scores in most cases. Upon completing the final section of the exam but prior to viewing one's scores, the test-taker is given the option to "Report Scores" or "Cancel Scores." Selecting "Report Scores" means that the computer calculates the test-taker's quantitative, verbal, and overall scores and displays these results on the screen to the test-taker. This score becomes part of the test-taker's official score report which contains all "reported scores" for the past 5 years and is made available to any business school which the test-taker has selected. Selecting "Cancel Scores" means that the computer will NOT calculate anything and will erase the test data from the system. The test-taker's official score report will say the word "Cancelled" (which business schools will see) for this attempt.

We strongly advise students to select "Report Scores" for two primary reasons:

1. The Quantitative and Verbal subscores and percentiles provide the student with valuable data as to where he may need to improve prior to the next attempt.

2. The vast majority of business schools (including top 10 b-schools) are interested only in an applicant's best score and do not penalize students for taking the exam more than once.

The only cases in which it may be wise to cancel your scores is if something goes drastically wrong. For example, if the test-taker fails to finish half of an entire section, it makes sense to cancel the score.

Now that we have established how to plan test dates, we turn our attention to the study calendar. How long before the first test date should a student begin his preparation for the GMAT? A preparation course at Manhattan GMAT typically lasts 9 weeks. At the end of the course, a student may or may not be ready to take the exam. The determining factor is the amount of time a student has put into preparation during the 9 weeks. To be ready to take the exam the day after the course finishes, the typical student would need to put in between 10 and 15 hours of study/homework outside of class each week . With busy work schedules and numerous other time commitments, many of our students decide to wait 1-3 months after the end of their course to take the GMAT. They use this time to complete homework assignments from the course and to finalize their preparation.

When the process is all over and your GMAT scores decorate the screen in front of you at the test center, how will you know if you are finished? How will you know if the score you achieved will be enough to get you into the school(s) of your choice? When selecting your pool of prospective schools, it is important to research the median GMAT scores for those schools. That median score (or scores) should be the target upon which you set your sights. It is certainly possible to get accepted into a school with a score below that school's GMAT median (after all, half the candidates at a given school have GMAT scores below the median!), but to do so usually requires some compensating element in some other aspect of your application that allows you to stand out from the required.

Join us next week as we conclude our discussion of the changes to the GMAT in 2006 with a look at how the new official score reports work and how the schools actually get these reports.

PART FIVE:


We conclude our discussion of changes to the 2006 GMAT� with a look at changes to the Official Score Report. The first difference seems to be a final purge of all remnants of the 20th century: Official Score Reports sent to test-takers by way of postal mail are a thing of the past, unless specifically requested by the test-taker. Instead, the Official Score Report will be available online, approximately 20 days following the exam date. According to GMAC, the test-taker will receive a notification e-mail when the report is ready. The implications of this logistical change seem to be few. In fact, in the world of computer adaptive tests, we would expect nothing less.

The more significant change seems to be on the content side of the Official Score Reports. GMAC has asserted that the new Official Score Reports will list all valid scores. GMAT scores are valid for five years, so this means that the new Official Score Reports will contain all GMAT attempts in the last 5 years. More importantly, schools that a candidate applies to will be able to view all of these scores as well. (NOTE: This information is based on what GMAC has disclosed; their assertions have not yet been verified).

What effect should this have on a student's GMAT preparation process? Should a student be more cautious about multiple GMAT attempts, since schools will now be able to view all attempts in the last 5 years, not just the last three attempts? Our take is that this change is not a reason for alarm.

Most business school applications ask the applicant to report his/her highest score on the application. The high score that you report on your application is taken to be true as far as the admissions officers are concerned. Verification of the reported score is typically done by a member of the administrative staff who compares what you put on the application with what is contained on your Official Score Report. This staff member's job is to verify that one of the scores on the Official Score Report matches the self-reported high score on your application. So in reality, the Official Score Report is usually not directly seen by the Admissions officer(s) assigned to read your applications.

Some applications do include a question about the number of times one has attempted the GMAT. While there is a possibility that some schools may frown upon what they perceive to be an excessive number of attempts (e.g., 5), it is more than typical for prospective applicants to take the exam 2 or 3 times. If anything, this demonstrates a candidate's dedication to achieving a desired result. Keep in mind that after your 3rd attempt, it is unlikely that additional attempts will do much to improve your score (unless you ramp up your studies in a major way).

As was the practice before the switchover to Pearson, prior to starting your official exam, the computer will allow you to report your GMAT scores to up to 5 five business. Take advantage of these free score reports! You may order additional schools after the exam, a fee of $28 per school. If you don't use the five freebees the day of the test, you lose them.

courtesy: admissionsource yahoo grp !

Punk is musical freedom. It's saying, doing and playing what you want. In Webster's terms, 'nirvana' means freedom from pain, suffering and the external world, and that's pretty close to my definition of Punk Rock

-KURT COBAIN
(This post was last modified: 03-11-2006 09:02 PM by kurt cobain.)
03-11-2006 08:55 PM
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This discussion will center on how business schools evaluate the GMAT /GRE as part of your application package.

(You can replace GMAT with GRE if it applies to you)

Why do business schools require applicants to take the GMAT?

For a variety of reasons. First, they see it as a measure of certain specific math and verbal skills. Second, they see it as a measure of your ability to think under pressure - the exam is timed. Third, it allows them to compare the academic preparation of people from very different backgrounds. A high GPA from one college, for example, may not represent the same level of achievement as a high GPA from another. But the GMAT allows business schools to level the field, so to speak. Finally, it is important to remember that business schools are evaluated in several areas for the purposes of published MBA rankings, and that the average GMAT score of the incoming class is one of those areas. As such, the schools do have an additional incentive to require candidates to take the test (and to ideally accept students who perform well on the exam

Does one's GMAT score correlate with one's eventual performance in business school?

Studies have shown that one's GMAT score is a pretty good predictor of one's academic success during the first year of business school.

Do business schools use GMAT "cutoffs" in evaluating applications?

Not in any systematic way. Generally, top schools like to see a performance at or above the 80th percentile on both sections of the exam, but this isn't a hard and fast rule. It also depends what part of the applicant pool you're in. For example, if you're a male engineer from India, you're competing against a lot of people with similar backgrounds and your GMAT score will therefore be that much more important in distinguishing you as an applicant. The same is true for undergraduate business majors who go on to consulting or banking work. If, however, you're part of an underrepresented group - such as people working in the non-profit sector, or from a more obscure country, or even women, who make up only 30% of the student body at most business schools - there may be more leeway in terms of your GMAT score because other factors make you unusual and attractive.

What kind of score do you need to be competitive at a top 5 school? At a top 10? Top 20?

This is somewhat dependent on the candidate's overall profile, but generally, if you're at least in the mid-600's, you're going to be in the game at every school. Of course, if you're looking at a top 5 school, 680 and above is probably more realistic. If you're looking at schools lower in the top 20, 640 and above should be sufficient to have your application taken seriously.

How does the GMAT compare with GPA for the admissions committee?

The two work in tandem. These are the two main pieces of information schools have to evaluate your academic achievement and potential. Ideally, both numbers will be high. Schools can also tell something about your GPA from your GMAT score. For example, if you have a high GPA, say a 3.6, coupled with a 620 GMAT score, it may make your GPA seem less impressive because one might expect a higher GMAT score from someone with such good grades. It may lead a committee to devalue your GPA a bit. That said, it's easier to use a high GPA to offset a lower GMAT score than the reverse. A high GMAT score coupled with a low GPA sometimes sends a message to a committee that an applicant didn't work very hard in college.
But one should keep in mind that these numbers are only part of the process, albeit an important one. Things like work experience, recommendations, essays, the interview, all contribute to the picture a committee has of an applicant. Often, the GMAT is just the first impression. A fuller picture develops when the committee looks at the rest of the packet.
Next week, we will continue our conversation with Graham Richmond, discussing how business schools interpret your GMAT scores and score history.


Do schools care if you take the GMAT more than once?


In a nutshell, no. To elaborate, though, it depends on the context. If your first score is significantly below a school's reported average, it doesn't make sense to take the exam only once. It sends a message to the school that you're not realistic and you don't have the drive to succeed. If you have to take the exam two or three times to get the score you need to be competitive, that's ok. If you take it more than that, schools may begin to look askance. Also, be careful of cancellations. One cancellation is understandable. Perhaps you were sick or had other problems in your life. Multiple cancellations, however, look bad in the eyes of an admissions committee.

Let's say one applicant scores a 700 on her first official GMAT exam. Another applicant fails to hit 700 on her first official exam but achieves this score on her second attempt. Does the admissions committee look at these two applicants differently?
From an admissions perspective, no.


What if your score is actually lower on the second attempt?


It's a little difficult to assess a situation like that out of context. But an admissions committee would probably view the higher score as the more accurate gauge, even though the lower score is more recent. There are many reasons that someone could do less well on a subsequent attempt: personal or physical problems, for example. And even if the second attempt produces a lower score, the mere fact that the applicant took the exam again can show the committee that the applicant is driven and determined.

If an applicant takes the exam more than once, will schools take the better quant subscore and better verbal subscore if they're from different exams? For example, if on the first try someone gets 45Q and 35V and the second time 42Q and 40V, will a school take the 45Q and the 40V?
The only school I'm aware of that will split up scores like that is the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. All other schools I know will take the higher overall score, even if there's a similar pattern to what you described.

What is the point of the Analytical Writing Assessment (the essay section) of the GMAT?

The Analytical Writing Assessment was added to the GMAT to give business schools a way to test applicants' "natural" writing abilities. The essays they receive with your applications have probably been reviewed by friends, colleagues, perhaps even an admissions consultant. But the essays you write during the GMAT are ostensibly a better indication of how well you write on your own, since you can't receive any help with them. Keep in mind, however, that they are not the biggest factor in a committee's evaluation of your application. Schools will want to see scores of 4 and higher on the essays, but this is a minor variable in your overall package. Most schools don't even read the essays; they simply look at the score.


How do admission committees verify one's GMAT score?


During the main evaluation of an application, we at Wharton relied on the self-reported scores listed in the application itself. After we made a favorable decision on an applicant, an intern would check the self-reported score against the official score report to make sure they matched. Also, if you take the GMAT again after your submit your application, it's your responsibility to inform the schools that they should take the new scores into account, since they will have only the older score report to work with at that point. You can also use your application to explain to a committee that you're willing to take the exam again if your score is deemed too low.

What are some recent trends in business school applications?


After record numbers of applications from 1999 to 2001, we saw a drop-off in 2003 and 2004. But GMAC reported this year that the number of test-takers has increased in 2005, so that will probably translate into more applications, which means there will probably be tougher competition for seats in business schools. We've also seen a pretty steady increase in the average GMAT scores of top schools. From 1997 to 2005, we've seen a jump from an average score of about 680 to an average score of 716 at Wharton and 712 at Harvard. It's hard to say why scores have gone up since the CAT format was introduced in the late 1990's. It may be that people are now spending more time preparing and studying for the exam.

Does the round in which one applies make a difference to one's chances of admission?

Yes. It gets harder to pass muster as the rounds go on. Especially in the third round. Basically, each round is considered a separate applicant pool, but by the third round, many of the places have been filled and you really have to stand out in order to get yourself noticed. It's much better to submit your application in an earlier round. Stanford, for example, admitted only 4 applicants in its third round recently. Sometimes schools waitlist applicants in earlier rounds to see how the class is shaping up before making a final decision on them, so in the third round you're competing not only against new applicants, but also against waitlisted ones.
We'll continue our conversation with Graham Richmond next week, when he will discuss the types of MBA programs that are right for different candidates.

How do international students fare these days in the application process?

We're seeing more and more international students applying to American business school. Currently, international students represent about 40% of the applicant pool at American business schools. The GMAT is more important for international students because admissions officers aren't likely to be familiar with foreign universities and so foreign transcripts are harder to evaluate. The GMAT, though, is a more reliable way to compare international students to one another and to American applicants.

Do international business schools require the GMAT?


Some international schools use their own entrance exams, but many now require the GMAT. First, it offers them the same kind of reliable measure that it offers American schools. Second, it allows them to compete against those schools for applicants because it gives them a quantifiable way to compare the quality of their student bodies that is understandable by applicants from various countries. GMAT preparation is a thriving business overseas because of all the international applicants these days.

What are the best international MBA programs?

A few international schools have earned reputations that stack up against American programs, such as the London Business School, Insead (France), and IMD (Switzerland). These schools draw talented students from all over. England, for example, has a number of excellent programs that keep growing in stature: Cranfield, Manchester, Oxford, and Cambridge, to name a few.


Are more Americans going abroad for their MBA's?


Actually, yes. Increasing numbers of Americans are going to European business schools, for a number of reasons. First, it can be a great way to gain international experience and give yourself an advantage if you're thinking of working overseas. European business schools also tend to have a more diverse and cosmopolitan student body. Second, many international MBA programs take only one year and are thus attractive to people who want to finish quickly. International MBA's can also be significantly less expensive than their American equivalents. However, many international programs require that their students be proficient in two or three languages, which can often put Americans at a disadvantage, since Americans typically don't have the broad language skills that Europeans have, for example. Americans should keep in mind, though, that international degrees don't carry the same weight back in the U.S. If you're thinking of going abroad to study but want to work in the U.S., an international MBA might not be the best route. Where you go to school can have a significant impact on where you can get work once you graduate.

If an applicant has a low quantitative GMAT score, would it help to take a college math class and get an A?

Absolutely. In fact, this sort of thing is a fairly common practice among applicants to the top MBA programs. If an applicant is below the 80th percentile in the quantitative section of the GMAT, it often raises a 'red flag.' The admissions office may have concerns about the candidate's ability to handle the rigor of MBA courses such as finance, accounting, economics, operations, and statistics. In these cases, the admissions officer will closely inspect the candidate's undergraduate transcripts for evidence of math skills (e.g., grades from calculus, statistics, and/or other quant subjects). This can be of particular concern for non-traditional applicants (e.g., English majors, etc.). If the applicant doesn't have a strong quantitative track record (low grades on their undergrad transcripts, low GMAT quant score), then it usually makes sense to build a "supplemental transcript". This involves taking college-level courses in calculus, statistics, micro or macro economics, and accounting - and earning A's. In most cases, we recommend at least one course (though perhaps two or three in some cases). We find that these courses not only increase the applicant's chances of admission, but also help to prepare the applicant for business school.

If your GMAT score is weak, even after multiple tries, what is the best way to minimize the impact in your application - how can one do 'damage control'?

The best remedy for a low GMAT score is a high undergraduate GPA, ideally from a top school and in challenging courses. A high GPA from a master's program, if you've already pursued an advanced degree, is also a good way to counterbalance a low GMAT score. Of course, at some of the top b-schools, high undergraduate/graduate GPAs may not be enough. In such cases, we typically advise candidates with low GMAT scores to pursue supplemental coursework - as I mentioned earlier - since this gives the schools recent data on your ability in the classroom. It is crucial, though, to present a GPA of 4.0 for all supplemental coursework. Finally, in most cases, we encourage applicants with low scores to draft supplemental essays that explain why their GMAT scores are not the best measure of their ability.

How do admissions committees view the range of schools a candidate applies to? For example, if someone applies only to schools such as Harvard, Wharton, and Stanford? Or if someone applies to only one top school but also to a bunch of low-tier programs?

In most cases, the schools that ask for this information are using it for statistical purposes (i.e., to understand who their main competitors are in the b-school marketplace). That said, there are some admissions officers who enjoy analyzing school selection, since it can often be a window into the candidate's goals - and a tool to judge how much thought they've given the admissions process. So it makes sense to be consistent in your school selection. But there are many ways to do so. For example, a candidate who loves the case method may apply to Harvard and Darden (University of Virginia), whereas an applicant who wants a small student body might focus on Tuck (Dartmouth) and Haas (UC Berkeley). Similarly, there might be applicants who crave an urban environment and a strong finance program but who want to stay on the East Coast. These applicants might choose to apply to a set of schools including Wharton, NYU, Columbia, and MIT. As long as there is some logical consistency behind your list, you should be in good shape. It's the students who apply blindly to the top 10 that can raise an eyebrow, given the important differences that exist across these schools. It can make a school think the applicant hasn't done any research into the school and is just applying based on rankings.

When is the proper time to apply to business school, in the context of one's overall career?

The beauty of business school is that there really isn't a set time when one needs to apply. The typical MBA program will feature students that range in age from 22 to 40+. That said, most MBA applicants have at least a couple of years of work experience under their belts and the average age at top schools tends to hover between 25 and 29. The reason for this is that students tend to get more out of business studies if they've already been in the workplace (they typically also have more to contribute to the classroom). In addition, as young workers move up the ladder, they have an increasing need for management skills and a more sophisticated understanding of various business disciplines - the sort of things an MBA program can provide. In the end, the decision to apply is a personal one - closely intertwined with one's career path and educational needs. Good luck to everyone reading this!

Conversations with Graham Richmond, a former admissions officer at Wharton and now an admissions consultant with Clear Admit

courtesy: admissionsource yahoo group

Punk is musical freedom. It's saying, doing and playing what you want. In Webster's terms, 'nirvana' means freedom from pain, suffering and the external world, and that's pretty close to my definition of Punk Rock

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03-11-2006 09:01 PM
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This is a real treasure!! Thanx Kurt!!

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03-11-2006 10:16 PM
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Tips for the GMAT

The Art of Guessing

Guessing, like pacing, is more important on the CAT than on any other test you have ever taken. You'll have to guess often on the CAT because:

1. You can't skip questions. If you hit a mental block, you have to guess at the question in front of you. You can't pass over a question and go back to it later. Since all answers are final, you have to make sure your guess is a good one. Most students waste more than 1/3 of their time bogged down on a handful of tough questions. You have to learn how to guess, move on, and cut your losses after spending more than a few minutes on a question.

2. At the end of the test, when time is about to expire, you have to hurry to make sure to review every question or else face the severe penalty for not finishing all the test's questions. Many students have to do this last-minute sprint and are often left guessing on the last few questions.


P.O.E.

The key guessing strategy is P.O.E (process of elimination). A big asset going into test day is knowing that one of the five possible answers must be right. If you can eliminate two of the choices, you can increase your chances of getting the right answer by 65% (from 20% or 1 in 5 to 33% or 1 in 3). Here's how to do it:

Eliminate answer choices you know are wrong. Even if you don't know the right answer, you can often tell that some of the answer choices are wrong. For example, on the Data Sufficiency questions, you can eliminate at least two of the answer choices by determining if one of the statements is true.

Avoid answer choices that look suspicious. For example, on Sentence Correction questions, beware of any answer choices that look completely different from all of the other choices. In the Quantitative section, you can usually eliminate any answers that are negative when all the other answers are positive.

Once you have narrowed down the list of answer choices, pick one of the remainders. It is a myth that some answer choices, like A or C, are more often correct than other choices.


Draw a Grid

If crossing off answer choices on paper tests helps to clarify your thinking (using the P.O.E), you might want to consider making a grid on your scratch paper. By drawing a simple grid and labeling the rows A through E, you can keep track of which answers you have eliminated by putting an X in that box.


The Importance of Scrap Paper

Another big asset you have going into test day is virtually unlimited scratch paper. Use it and make sure you have lots of it on test day.

You'll need scratch paper because you are taking a test off of a computer screen, and you can't write on the screen. The result is that you'll often have to carefully copy much of the question down onto paper without miscopying the information. This is awkward and difficult. It takes valuable time to recopy information and it increases the chance of a hurried error, so you have to be careful about what you copy and what you don't copy. Try to use scratch paper extensively on your practice tests to get a feel for this.


GMAT Experiments on CATs

About 1/3 of the questions on the CAT are experimental and will be randomly mixed in with your normal questions. In these questions you are being used as a guinea pig for experimentation to assess the difficulty of the question. In the future, that question may be positioned at a difficulty level depending on how students performed on it when it was an experimental question.

The consequence of the experimental questions is that you can't rely on all the questions being at your difficulty level. In other words, if you are a high scorer you can't expect all the questions past question five to be difficult (at your level). Try to avoid obsessing over how hard your questions are as a measure of your performance.


Don't Panic

If you have a bad day, you have the option of canceling. When you finish the test, the computer will offer the option of canceling the test or accepting it. If you cancel the test, neither you nor any school will see your score. If you accept the test, the computer will display your score and it will be available to all schools (official scores will be mailed about two weeks later). Relax and make sure to schedule the test far in advance of when it is due. Make sure you have adequate time to cancel and reschedule the test if necessary.

COURTESY: 800SCORE.COM

Punk is musical freedom. It's saying, doing and playing what you want. In Webster's terms, 'nirvana' means freedom from pain, suffering and the external world, and that's pretty close to my definition of Punk Rock

-KURT COBAIN
03-11-2006 10:46 PM
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GMAT Test Preparation Tips

You Can Easily Increase Your GMAT CAT Score by 50 to 100 Points

Despite the official statements of ETS (Educational Testing Service), you can improve your GMAT score dramatically simply by taking the time to become "streetwise" about the GMAT CAT. Quite simply, this is the easiest step in your test preparation, and should not be ignored under any circumstances.

Keep in mind that the GMAT is a game. Just as in chess, baseball, tennis, or any other sport, those who know how the game is played have a huge advantage over those who are ignorant of the game's idiosyncratic rules.

As a test taker, you should understand:

* The computer-adaptive structure of the GMAT
* The types of exam questions asked and their common fallacies
* How to manage your time wisely

The computer-adaptive structure of the GMAT

The computer-adaptive test (CAT) version of the GMAT is designed to get a more accurate assessment of your skills while asking you fewer questions than its paper-based predecessor did. Here is how it works: the first question you see in any given section will be of average difficulty. If you get the answer right, your next question will be slightly more difficult. If you get the answer wrong, your next question will be slightly easier. The software will also ask you different types of questions in a rather unpredictable order, as determined by its algorithm, rather than clustering question types as the written GMAT did.

You can not skip a question or go back to an earlier question. Unlike the paper version, once you click the 'answer confirm' box, your answer can not be changed.

The types of exam questions asked and their common fallacies

Examples and explanations of these can be found in the pages describing the individual component sections of the GMAT posted on this website. We strongly encourage our clients to spend time learning these question types before brushing up on their verbal and math skills.

How to manage your time wisely

Practice

The main way to develop GMAT time management skills is to practice taking the test. You will repeatedly see us return to the theme of practice throughout this website. It is very hard to overstate its importance. Therefore you are strongly encouraged to take at least a few mock GMAT exams, in the computer-adaptive format and to try to simulate the actual testing environment. (That means refraining from taking food breaks, engaging in telephone conversations, etc. until you have completed a section.)

Spend adequate time on the first 5 questions

Earlier, we discussed how the GMAT CAT's underlying algorithm determines the difficulty of questions you are asked, based on your performance in answering previous questions. Difficult questions are weighted more heavily in scoring than easier questions. The first couple questions in any GMAT CAT section are used to determine the range of questions that the program 'thinks' you are able to handle. After you have answered these first few questions, the testing software will give you questions to fine tune your score within that rather narrowly predetermined range. Thus, your answers to the first 5 questions will make a HUGE difference in your final section score.

It is imperative that you answer these pivotal questions with extra care. Always double check your answers to these questions. Verify that the answer choices that you judged to be incorrect are indeed incorrect. If you are unsure of the answer to one of these first questions, at the very least, take a very good educated guess using process of elimination.

Prepare yourself to finish the test at all costs!

There is a huge scoring penalty for failing to finish any section of the GMAT. For example, say you're in line to get a score that will put you in the 70 percentile of test takers, based on your test performance so far but then run out of time and fail to answer the last five questions in the section. That failure will lower your score to about the 55 percentile. The lesson to take away from this is to prepare yourself to finish the test at all costs. Answering a question incorrectly will hurt you, but not as much as leaving the question unanswered will. Train yourself to work your best within the time limits of the exam. But train yourself, too, to be able to recognize when only a minute or so remains on the clock, and at that point to just answer C (or whatever your lucky letter is) for any remaining questions. As the GMAT's Chief Psychometrician put it to us, random guessing is like shooting yourself in the foot but leaving answers blank is like shooting yourself in both feet.

Don't waste time

This advice probably sounds self evident. However, we mention it because we've had clients tell us how they inadvertently wasted test time by revisiting the help screen or requesting extra scrap paper after they began their test. These activities, if undertaken once the section has begun, will take time away from working on the questions.
Read the Questions Carefully

As silly as this advice may seem, it's worth remembering. An undisciplined test taker will feel the stress of the clock during the timed sections and will try to cut corners to save time, wherever and whenever possible. As a result, he or she often misinterprets questions. GMAT test writers are well aware of this dynamic, and happy to capitalize on it. We guarantee that you will encounter questions on the GMAT that include incorrect answer choices that were deliberately designed to exploit likely misinterpretations of what the question is really asking.
Avoid Random Guessing

The GMAT CAT does not allow you to skip questions and come back to them later, as you can on a written test. You must answer each question on the GMAT CAT before it will allow you to move on to the next question. Consequently, even if you don't know the answer to a particular question, you have to answer it. It is always in your best interest to take an educated guess rather than resorting to random guessing even if you are running out of time on the section. Usually you will be able to identify at least one answer choice that is clearly wrong. Eliminating even one incorrect choice will improve your odds of answering the question correctly.

Eliminate the Deliberately Deceptive Wrong Choices

With practice, you will begin to learn how to recognize answer choices that are deliberately deceptive and wrong. There are a few common patterns here that will become apparent as you proceed with your test preparation.

One recognizable pattern is commonly found in the Problem Solving section. It involves an erroneous answer choice giving a value that would result from following a common computational error. You can avoid these deceptive choices by using scrap paper, checking your answers and using estimation to at least judge the general range of the correct choice.
Practice, Practice, Practice

As we stated at the top of this page, there are a number of tips and techniques to taking the GMAT that will significantly raise your overall score. This is a test that you can prepare for, despite anything the test-makers state. We strongly encourage you to use actual questions from previous exams as you practice, as we have noticed a material difference in the nature and quality of test questions prepared by ETS versus those written by GMAT prep companies. We also strongly encourage you to practice taking the exam in its computer-adaptive format.

Finally, we encourage you to spend most of your preparation time studying and practicing questions in your weakest subject area. While we believe every test taker benefits by reviewing each GMAT exam section, focusing on your weakest areas will make the most efficient use of your test-prep time.


Don't Wait Too Long to Take the GMAT


Don't count on taking the GMAT at the last minute. Should you need to retake the exam, you will need time both to register for the test again and to have the new scores submitted to schools in time for the application deadlines. Scheduling the GMAT well into the admissions season is also bound to cause most test takers undue stress. With proper planning and insight, you can spare yourself these negative energies and instead focus on maximizing your GMAT score.

Punk is musical freedom. It's saying, doing and playing what you want. In Webster's terms, 'nirvana' means freedom from pain, suffering and the external world, and that's pretty close to my definition of Punk Rock

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03-11-2006 10:48 PM
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Dude Kurt......u r on FIRE

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03-12-2006 08:50 AM
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Hey pepl......i think this hsld be made a GMAT FAQ sticky......like the GRE FAQ that we hv.......

This is excellent work done by Kurt...Lottsa efforts....and lottsa info...
i know very few on edulix hv given the GMAT so might not understand hw useful this info really is.....i hv given the GMAT and according to me this is comprehensive info abt the GMAT.....

So i suggest this shld be made a GMAT FAQ sticky.....

- Its nothing personal, Its just business.
04-26-2006 07:41 PM
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I have no idea what this thread is doing away from the Stickies!

Moderators... Hear up... This aint no 'needs-to-be-dug-up' thread...

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Fightin' Texas Aggie! | Texas A&M Univ - Mays Biz - MIS | Graduated Dec '08

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09-04-2006 10:06 PM
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Baasha Bai Wrote:I have no idea what this thread is doing away from the Stickies!

Moderators... Hear up... This aint no 'needs-to-be-dug-up' thread...

I completely agree with Baasha.

But i guess there is a general apathy towards GMAT on this forum....Maybe this forum should be called just GRE/TOEFL/TSE forum.. Evil or Very Mad

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09-11-2006 02:45 AM
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THE APPRENTICE Wrote:i guess there is a general apathy towards GMAT on this forum....Maybe this forum should be called just GRE/TOEFL/TSE forum.. Evil or Very Mad

True...

Maybe there shoud be a seperate GMAT forum! I see so many people in the MS-IS forum who ve taken GMAT and who stick to the MS-IS forum for their GMAT queries as well...

...and So said the King!

Fightin' Texas Aggie! | Texas A&M Univ - Mays Biz - MIS | Graduated Dec '08

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09-11-2006 09:49 PM
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Excellent Material, pretty comprehensive, should be made a sticky

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03-26-2007 08:51 PM
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Up it goes!

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04-02-2007 10:54 PM
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