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EMPOWERgmat Blog

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Many Test Takers give themselves several months to study for the GMAT, since that Test score is such a vital part of the application process.  The GMAT score is also one of the few elements of the application that you can significantly improve over a relatively short period of time (in contrast to, say, your Work Experience and Grade Point Average, which are likely ‘locked’ in place and cannot be radically improved). While several months of study (when done consistently and in an organized fashion) can lead to great […]
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The GMAT is a predictable, standardized Test, so Test Takers have the potential to properly learn the content that will appear on the Exam. Over the Course of their studies, many GMATers improve their scores to a high-enough level that they feel comfortable scheduling their Official GMAT appointments. Without fail though, a certain percentage of those same Test Takers score at a significantly lower level on Test Day (relative to how they were scoring on their practice CATs). Their shock at earning a lower score almost always ends in the […]
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Any time a looming application deadline approaches, you’re more likely to see a group of Test Takers scrambling to jam as much extra study time into their schedules as possible. While putting in that extra study might seem like a logical idea (especially as far as earning that Official GMAT Score before the deadline is concerned) the reality is that quantity of study is not the same as quality of study (and/or efficiency of study). If you’ve been studying a certain way for some time and you haven’t achieved your […]
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We are currently right in the middle of “GMAT Season” – that busy time of year (after most of the Round 1 deadlines have passed) when many GMATers are still studying for their Tests while working on their applications for Round 2 AND juggling their lives, career, family, holidays, etc. Finding the proper time for all of those areas can be challenging, so staying organized is essential. To that end, planning ahead is a big part of successfully achieving all of your goals during this time of year. By extension, […]
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Studying for the GMAT can be a challenging endeavor for many Test Takers. Arguably, one of the most common score goals for Test Takers (if not THE most common score goal) is 700+, but only about 10% of those same people can actually achieve that goal. One of the interesting aspects of scoring at that level though is that while you don’t have to be a ‘genius’, you do have to be able to figure out WHY you’re not getting questions correct... and then do specific work to fix those […]
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The following article refers to the Problem Solving question #229 in the OG13, GMAT2015 and GMAT2016 books. You can view the question in its entirety here: http://gmatclub.com/forum/how-many-of-the-integers-that-satisfy-the-inequality-x-2-x-134194.html One of the interesting aspects of most GMAT questions is that they can be solved using more than one approach. In that way, you don’t have to be a brilliant mathematician to get to the correct answer - strong critical thinkers, pattern-matchers and ‘workers’ can still get to the correct answer in a reasonable amount of time. From a pacing […]
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Recently, someone who is currently studying for the GMAT asked for my insights into why so many GMATers seem to experience a big drop in their Verbal Scaled Scores between their practice CATs and Test Day. The discussion was detailed and included some insightful follow-up questions. Below is the relevant content of that discussion. Test Taker X: I wanted to ask you about the recent trend of very low verbal scores on the real exam. I have seen an increased number of topics on this - in which test […]
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Much like the article from October 9 th , 2015, the following article is meant as a critical thinking ‘test’ – the following Test Taker made at least 6 different ‘mistakes’ with his/her studies before taking the actual GMAT. Can you define what those mistakes were and why they are mistakes? ****  The Story: My GMAT studies started off in February with the view of taking the exam in September. I hired private tutors for both the quant and the verbal. I was always better off with […]
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The process of putting together a strong overall application involves a number of different ‘steps.’ However, many prospective MBA candidates come into the application process with an unrealistic sense of how long it actually takes to put together a ‘winning’ application, so they inevitably miss the Round 1 application deadlines. Some part of the application just isn’t strong enough (for many, it’s the GMAT Score, but sometimes it’s some other feature) and those same applicants are often really ‘upset’ about missing Round 1. However, there are some significant advantages to […]
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The following article is meant as a critical thinking ‘test’ – the following Test Taker made at least 6 different ‘mistakes’ with his/her studies before taking the actual GMAT and has some questionable ideas about how to approach the next round of studies. Can you define what those ideas are and why they are mistakes? *** I took the GMAT last week and got a 660 (Q 51/V 28). I am extremely disappointed with my verbal score. I plan to take the GMAT again in 2 months. […]
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Test Day is an almost universal ‘event’ for most Test Takers. While you might hear the occasional ‘horror story’ about how something went wrong at the Testing Center, the reality is that most administrations of the GMAT follow an established routine. As such, beyond preparing to face the Exam, you can also prepare to face the very Day itself. Regardless of whether you’ve given yourself just a month to prepare or if your studies are more thorough, you can plan ahead and avoid the following silly mistakes that other Test […]
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One of the great aspects of most of the GMAT Quant questions that you’ll face on Test Day is that they can be approached in more than one way. You can always take a technical approach, but often there is a faster strategic option (one that might require that you get away from the long-winded ‘math’, use the answer choices to your advantage, estimate a solution or even just think logically about the situation). The goal on any Quant question on Test Day is always two-fold: 1 - Get […]
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September is the time of year when many people decide that an MBA is a degree that they would like to have. Unfortunately, they often rush head-first into the overall process of applying for that coveted MBA (including rushing into their GMAT studies) without properly researching, and planning out, the overall process. With impending application deadlines, those future applicants don’t quite realize the amount of work that will be required to score at a high level on the GMAT. That lack of forethought often keeps those Test Takers from achieving […]
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Over the years, I’ve seen many GMATers define their Business School plans in the following (overly-simplified) way: “I plan to apply to Top15 Schools...” Unfortunately, that is a remarkably VAGUE plan. While it’s understandable that a Program’s reputation and ‘ranking’ are important, it’s possible (and even likely) that there are OTHER more-important factors to consider when applying to Business School. 1) Is there a particular company that you want to work for or industry that you want to work in? Certain degrees (and even certain specific Programs) are ‘feeders’ […]
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GMATers vary in their perspectives on the amount of money that they ‘think’ they should spend on the GMAT. If we ignore the broader costs (time, energy, the money spent on crafting and sending out applications, ultimately attending Business School etc.), then we can focus on the immediate issue – how much should you plan to spend on YOUR individual GMAT training and Test-taking? The Cost to Take Assuming that you do end up taking the Official GMAT, then that’s going to be $250 right there. In theory, […]
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Many GMAT Test Takers view the percentiles (that are associated with the Quant and Verbal sections of the Test) with some confusion. Seeing that a Q40 is about the 50 th percentile in the Quant section while a V40 is about the 90 th percentile in the Verbal section will lead most readers to question why those results are what they are. The answer is relatively simple though – the broader pool of Test Takers is stronger at Quant than they are at Verbal. However, when you put all […]
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To begin this article, I have to give you some bad news – you’re probably NOT going to get an 800 on the GMAT. Shocking news, I know – but if we pull together, you should be able to survive the horror of that realization. Now, it’s important that you read those prior two sentences as the ‘joke’ that it’s intended to be. Your goal should NOT be to get an 800 (to be fair, very few people hit that mark each year – only about 1 in every 10,000 […]
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Co-ordinate Geometry (often referred to as ‘graphing’) is a rare subject in the Quant section of the GMAT. On Test Day, you’ll likely see just 1 or 2 graphing questions in total, so that subject is not a big contributor to your overall score. While certain graphing questions can be remarkably easy to solve, others can be rather ‘layered’ and will require some time and effort on your part. Thankfully, graphing questions always revolve around the same handful of ‘math rules’; if you know your graphing rules, then you […]
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Anxiety is a big factor in how many Test Takers deal with the Official GMAT. It’s natural to be a bit ‘on edge’ while taking the GMAT, but it’s far better to think of it as being ‘excited’ – when used correctly, all of that adrenaline and energy can be funneled into your work. When you learn to ‘see’ the GMAT in a different way, you can very easily improve your performance. With that end goal in mind, here are 7 aspects to the GMAT that actually work in […]
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In the realm of financial investing, it pays to invest early on. By doing so, the accumulated return over time can be staggering. There are plenty of online articles that can explain the concept in greater detail, but the simple idea is that making some small, consistent investments now (instead of spending that money on other things) will lead to a much greater financial payout later. A similar concept exists when considering your own GMAT prep and what you’re willing to do to raise your GMAT scores. Everything about […]
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Almost without fail, the first questions that most Test Takers will look at after taking a CAT are the questions that were answered incorrectly. Reviewing questions that were answered CORRECTLY is almost an afterthought (and oftentimes avoided) – THAT ‘missing’ review is a HUGE opportunity. Sometimes the biggest overall improvements can be made in areas in which you are ALREADY knowledgeable.  First, there’s a distinct possibility that you answered some questions correctly by taking a lucky guess (either because you were stuck or low on time) – so reviewing […]
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Nearing the middle of July, many Test Takers are starting their GMAT prep (or are in the midst of it already) in anticipation of applying to Business School before the Round 1 deadlines occur in September/October. Many of those same Test Takers will face varying challenges during their studies and they won’t know how to go about overcoming those challenges. Worse still, many will be so unable, or unwilling, to do the necessary self-analysis that they will utter the least useful phrase imaginable – “I have no idea why_____.” As […]
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When it comes to studying for the GMAT, there are a variety of ways to approach the process.  Regardless of how you might formulate your study plan, CATs are essential to your improvement as a Test Taker and to help you prepare for what you will eventually face on the Official GMAT. Unfortunately, many Test Takers mis-use their CATs and end up not properly prepared on Test Day. Using your CATs in a rather specific way will help you to maximize your performance on the GMAT. First off, it’s […]
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GMAT Test Takers often face similar difficulties during their studies, so there are certain questions that tend to come up about how to improve those studies. One of the most frequent questions I’m asked about is pacing-related: “how do I fix my pacing problem?” To start, you have to acknowledge that a pacing problem does NOT exist on its own – it’s the result of OTHER problems in how you are approaching the process of answering GMAT questions. It really is often this simple Arguably the most common […]
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**Note: I will NOT be discussing any individual questions from this new book. Doing so would cheat YOU, the reader, out of experiencing those questions “fresh.” On Test Day, you have to be prepared to deal with any GMAT concept at any time in each section, so knowing anything beyond the obvious (it’s Geometry because I can see a picture of a circle; it’s an Assumption question because the prompt asks for the ‘assumption’) would diminish the process that you have to go through to answer the question.** You […]
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