Veritas Prep raised my GMAT score by 120 points and helped me perfect my application! - Anna Luiza
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Today, we introduce a new guest contributor. Seckin Kara has been a GMAT instructor for Veritas Prep since 2006. He began teaching in Providence, RI when he was a student at Brown and upon graduating, he went on to teach for us in London, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt. After years of finance and banking, he left that career to pursue his passion of education forged largely from his interactions with Veritas Prep students, and can soon be found teaching GMAT classes in his homeland of Turkey.
Last month we created a bit of a splash when we launched the Veritas Prep GMAT Question Bank, an entirely source of hundreds of realistic GMAT questions that allows you to practice with any number of questions, review your accuracy vs. that of other students, and even track your pacing vs. worldwide averages. In less than a month, thousands of students have logged tens of thousands of responses in the Question Bank. We’re swimming in data!
When we launched, we said, “We will add Integrated Reasoning shortly,” and now we make good on that promise. On Friday we turned on the ability for students to select and answer dozens of Integrated Reasoning problems. Students can then review their results, see a detailed solution for each problem, and use the feedback to pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses.
This blog post is one in a series of lessons that come from the free Veritas Prep GMAT Question Bank and the statistics gathered from its user base. For each question, the data behind correct and incorrect answers tell a story, and many of these stories hold in them great value for you as you prepare to take the GMAT. In each of these posts, we’ll take a question from the GMAT Question Bank and show you what you can learn from the trend in correct/incorrect answers submitted by other students.
When Veritas Prep hosts its free seminars online — 1.5 hour sessions that introduce prospective students to the GMAT and to several strategies for succeeding on the test, as well as introducing them to the Veritas Prep program — one of the first items that the presenter covers is a Data Sufficiency question that highlights the GMAT “penalty” for making assumptions about numbers. Through that demonstration, students quickly realize their own propensity for thinking in terms of positive integers, and are taught to write down a quick checklist to ensure that they consider both negative numbers and nonintegers.
Part of delivering the world’s best GMAT prep course is offering the best tools and resources for our students. For the past ten years we have offered more GMAT practice tests than any other major GMAT preparation provider in the world (15 tests, to be exact). But practice tests are not a “set it and forget it” affair… The real GMAT constantly evolves, adds new questions, retires others, and (as as the case in June, with Integrated Reasoning) even introduces entirely new question formats. So no company can sit back and let its practice tests collect dust — if the tests aren’t changing, then they’re not the best in the business.
As part of our ongoing commitment to build, maintain, and refine the best computer-adaptive GMAT practice tests available anywhere, earlier this month we launched our new GMAT Question Bank. This new resource contains hundreds of realistic, completely free GMAT practice questions.
We are excited to announce that Veritas Prep and Poets & Quants have teamed up to bring you a free online seminar to help you learn what you need to know to excel on the new Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT. If you are just beginning to start your GMAT prep, this is the perfect time to understand the “lay of the land” and familiarize yourself with Integrated Reasoning before you are far along in your GMAT studies.
Despite what some applicants seem to think, there’s no reason to fear Integrated Reasoning. Study for it the right way, and you’ll be in great shape on test day. Even better, learning how to think through Integrated Reasoning problems will sharpen your overall analytical and critical reasoning abilities, helping you on the entire GMAT (you read that right) as well as in business school and beyond.
So here you are… It’s summer, you want to apply to business school this coming fall, and you still don’t have a great GMAT score under your belt. We have good news… Veritas Prep GMAT prep classes start around the world next week!
Now is the perfect time to start preparing for the GMAT. In fact, the summer is our busiest time of the year — many applicants are working on the GMAT right now, with the goal of being done with the GMAT by September. Starting your prep now puts you in position to take the GMAT more than once, if needed, and still be ready to apply to top MBA programs by the Round 1 deadlines.
Last week we wrote about three mistakes every GMAT rookie makes at some point in the GMAT prep process, along with some advice on how to avoid them. Today we’ll build on what we wrote last week and go a bit deeper into what you can do to avoid these and other common mistakes on the exam.
Simple awareness of the score-killers we discussed last week will provide you with additional points on the exam. With enough practice (specifically, the right kind of practice!), you can turn these common pitfalls into a competitive advantage. While the GMAT traps other students with high-600-level traps, you can think through these pitfalls and move into higher levels of GMAT ability.
The GMAT is not an easy test. It’s not meant to be a diabolical one, but it is designed to get to your true ability level, whatever that may be. Sounds fair enough, but what if you true ability level is in the low- or mid-600 range (on the GMAT’s 800-point scale), when you’re aiming for a score above 700? What can you do to move yourself up the scoring scale?
One way to get immediate results is to recognize the mistakes you’re likely going to make along the way. The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) needs some way to separate good GMAT takers from great ones, and one way of doing this is to allow students to trick themselves and walk right into easy traps. If you know that you’re prone to making these three mistakes, you can train yourself to be on the lookout for them as you prepare for the GMAT:
There has been a lot of chatter about the new GMAT coming in June, especially the Integrated Reasoning section that will replace one of the Analytical Writing Assessment essays. Much has been made about the change, with some self-styled gurus reporting that you may see a difference of as much as 30 points between the old test and the Next Generation GMAT, given the same amount of studying. Take the test now, they say, or risk being in a world of hurt starting in June.
The arguments about how the new Integrated Reasoning section will negatively impact one’s 800-scale GMAT score cover a range of reasons, the most common one being that the new section will be much more taxing for test takers than Analysis of an Issue essay was. Even with a lot of preparation, the argument goes, someone will just be more fatigued on test day, such that by the time they get to their last dozen or so Verbal questions, their eyes will be bloodshot and they’ll be nodding off at their testing terminals. Workers at the test centers will have to hand out Red Bull and Visine to help test takers get home safely from the big test!
As if there weren’t enough good reasons to live in Southern California this time of year, we can officially add “the world’s best GMAT instructors” (at least for 2011) to that list. The 2011 Veritas Prep Worldwide Instructor of the Year winners both teach and reside in the greater Los Angeles area, a treat for those of us at Veritas Prep headquarters but certainly not a reason to infer regional bias in the selection process!
Both Mia Groves and Travis Morgan stand a cut above on their own merits, having posted outlandishly-high student evaluation scores and, more importantly, having delighted dozens of students who have raved about both their experiences and their scores. Without further ado, we present the 2011 Veritas Prep Worldwide Instructors of the Year, Mia and Travis!
This is a big week here at Veritas Prep! We’ve just announced the availability of our new GMAT on Demand app for the iPad, the first full GMAT course from an established GMAT prep company that can be completed on any iOS device! There is no shortage of flashcard apps and games for people who want to study for standardized tests on their mobile devices, but this is the first real, complete GMAT course for the iPad.
Veritas Prep has been a pioneer in the mobile prep space. We launched our free GMAT Practice Quiz app in early 2009, and to this day it remains the most widely download GMAT prep app of its kind. That app is great for practice — as are many other apps on the market — but it doesn’t provide real instruction, which is where our new GMAT on Demand app comes in. Our new app covers the same exact content that we cover in our 42-hour Veritas Prep on DemandTM self-paced online GMAT course. This is the real deal.
Much has been made of the recent “revelation” from this month’s GMAT Summit, in which the Graduate Management Admission Council provided some updates on the recent evolution of Sentence Correction problems on the GMAT. What was stated as (we’ll loosely paraphrase here) “years ago we starting moving away from questions that unduly put emphasis on idioms, especially those that give native English speakers an unfair advantage,” was misinterpreted by some to mean, “Effective now, we’re no longer testing idioms on the GMAT! Ready, set, GO!”
The GMAT prep world is a small, incestuous one. It was only a matter of hours before chatter picked up on various message boards and in other online channels. And boy, did it ever. We did our part to spread the word, but today GMAC’s Dr. Lawrence Rudner posted an official statement on its blog to clarify any misconceptions that are still out there.
We have good news and bad news for you: The Next Generation GMAT’s new Integrated Reasoning Section (debuting in June, 2012) will feature an onscreen calculator, marking the first time the GMAT will allow students to use a calculator on the exam. The good news is that, when you might need it, the calculator will be there to help you do some quick math, and you don’t need to waste valuable time “carrying the 1″ and that sort of thing.
So what’s the bad news? It’s the fact that the calculator’s very presence will likely tempt many test takers into using it when they don’t need to. While using a calculator is usually a quick exercise, it still represents time spent doing calculations that may be unnecessary. In today’s video, Brian Galvin explains how this may prove to be yet another trap for less savvy test takers:
Last week I wrote about the day I scored 780 on the GMAT. That post was purely about my experiences on test day — from what I ate in the morning to how I kept my mind sharp during short breaks in the exam. Today I’ll dig into some of the specific strategies I used to ace the GMAT.
Note that many of these strategies overlap heavily with Veritas Prep’s own GMAT prep philosophy — I do work for Veritas Prep, after all — so regular readers will probably see some overlap between this post and the advice they read on this blog on a regular basis. Here I describe how the “rubber met the road” for me as I put these strategies to work.
So I’ve been working for Veritas Prep at headquarters for over 4 years now and I’d been reluctant to actually take the GMAT. One, I felt pressured to score in the 99th percentile like all our instructors have, and two, because I hadn’t found the time to really get down and study in earnest. In addition to that, most of the practice tests that I had taken had me scoring between 680 and 720 — still quite a bit of work left to get past that 99th percentile threshold. I’m happy to report however, that over this past weekend, I took the test and scored a 780!
Continuing our GMAT prep video series, today we break down a common type of ratio problem that you will often see in Data Sufficiency problems. As Brian says, many people are not comfortable working with ratios. Add in unknown variables, and intuition often goes out the window. But, if you look closely, often the problem does indeed give you enough information to solve the problem.
Fortunately, being grounded in basic Data Sufficiency strategy can help. Remember that there will be many instances in which you’ll be tempted to select answer choice E (insufficient information), but upon further inspection, you may realize that you do in fact have what you need. Watch the video to learn more:
Every week we receive multiple inquiries from business school applicants in India, and they all want to know the same thing: Are Veritas Prep GMAT courses available in India? While we have offered GMAT courses in select cities in India in the past, a long time ago we decided that we couldn’t keep up our high teaching standards in that market with our partner at the time. So, we exited India, and promised ourselves that we would only return once we found a partner who believed in the Veritas Prep mission.
We’re happy to announce that we have found that partner. Effectively immediately Veritas Prep India, a new partnership between Veritas Prep and New Delhi-based White Glow Consulting, offers GMAT courses in New Delhi. Bangalore, Chennai, and Mumbai locations will open early next month!
Continuing our new GMAT prep video series, today we look at how statistics can easily mislead you in Critical Reasoning problems. As Brian says, people tend to make bad decisions when dealing with statistics. It is far too easy — either deliberately or not — to mislead others (or yourself) with statistics-based arguments. Any time statistics enter the picture, you want to be especially critical when evaluating an argument.
Today’s video analyzes a debate between two people, and tests whether or not you can find the identify the link in logic that would most weaken the argument presented. Pay attention to the arguments and any gaps that might be hiding in the logic!
Still need to land a great GMAT score before you start working on your business school applications? Good news… We have GMAT prep classes starting around the world next week!
If you’re applying to business school this coming year, now is the perfect time to start preparing for the GMAT. In fact, the summer is our busiest time of the year — many applicants are working on the GMAT right now. Starting your prep now puts you in position to take the GMAT and still be ready to apply to top MBA programs by the Round 1 deadlines.
Continuing our new GMAT prep video series, today we take a look at some common traps that the GMAT sets in Sentence Correction problems. As Brian states at the start of the video, simple content knowledge is virtually everywhere these days. What separates great managers from good ones is not the ability to call up facts, but rather the ability to interpret information and make good decisions.
Today’s video takes a look at a Sentence Correction problem that preys on many test takers’ dogmatic search for idioms, leading many of them to make the wrong choice. This is a good example of the type of logic that can keep you from earning those last critical 50 points on the GMAT!
If you plan on enrolling in a Veritas Prep GMAT course or MBA admissions consulting service, there are only a couple of days left to lock in our old prices! This Friday (July 1), prices will go up on most GMAT prep classes and on all admissions consulting packages.
Summer is always the most popular time of year for our GMAT prep and admissions consulting services. Starting now puts you in a great position to apply in the fall. Now, as if you didn’t need more reason to get started now, enrolling in June will save you some money!
The Veritas Prep blog just added another weapon to its GMAT arsenal! This summer Veritas Prep will roll out a new series of video tips on this blog and on YouTube. We plan to explore all aspects of GMAT prep in the same witty, easy-to-understand way that we normally do on our blog. These video tips will provide a great way for you to get a quick explanation on something or to brush up on a key skill needed for GMAT success.
Our first video tip is actually a two-for-one affair: Brian Galvin, Veritas Prep’s Director of Academic Programs, shows you key relationships to remember when working with squares inscribed inside circles, and when tackling circles inscribed inside squares.
While there’s no shortage of GMAT prep apps available for the iPhone and iPad (including our own free iPhone GMAT app), until now test takers haven’t had access to a course of official GMAT questions that they can use on their mobile devices. That changed this week as the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) announced that its “Official GMAT” app is now available on iOS devices. This of it as a portable, more interactive version of the Official Guide for GMAT Review.
The basic app costs $4.99, and gives users access to 50 questions. From there, users can pay $9.99 each for additional sets of 250 verbal or quant questions (or pay $9.99 for one blended set of 250 questions).
Want to secure a great GMAT score before you start working on your business school applications in the fall? Good news… We have GMAT prep classes starting around the world today!
If you’re applying to business school this coming year, now is the perfect time to start preparing for the GMAT. Doing so puts you on track to take the exam by late July. We always recommend planning for success, but you should also be smart and build in enough time just in case you don’ get the GMAT score you want. Missed 700? No problem… You’ll still have plenty of time to take the GMAT again before you start devote your full attention to your Round 1 applications.
At Veritas Prep, we’re always on the lookout for new ways to connect with applicants and help them succeed. Evisors can connect you with savvy former employees and interviewers at top firms who will help you land your dream job. If you are still planning on applying to graduate school, you can also find Veritas Prep admissions consultants on Evisors who will help you gain acceptance to the world’s top graduate programs.
Evisors was created to provide a menu of the best career and admissions consultants out there (they’re called “evisors”) and let the customer pick and choose who they want to talk to. Veritas Prep and Evisors have teamed up to make some of our best GMAT and MBA admissions experts available through the Evisors website. These experts can easily be identified by the “Veritas Prep Certified” seal next to their profiles.
In the new U.S. News graduate school rankings issue, which hits newsstands this coming week, we’re quoted on the upcoming changes to the GMAT, coming in June, 2012. (You can read the online version here.) The article outlines the big change coming to the GMAT — replacing one of the AWA questions with a new section called Integrated Reasoning — and the Graduate Management Admission Council’s reasons for the change.
The new Integrated Reasoning section will go beyond the traditional “pick one of these five answer choices” format. It will ask test takers to assess information in a variety of formats, synthesize the information given, and draw conclusions from the information given. (We wrote about the new format a great deal last year.) Sounds scary, right?
Looking to get ahead of the game and pocket a great GMAT score before the summer? Good news… We have GMAT prep classes starting around the world next week!
If you’re applying to business school this coming year, now is the perfect time to start preparing for the GMAT. Doing so puts you on track to take the exam in early summer. You should always plan for success, but you should also be smart and build in enough time just in case you don’ get the GMAT score you want. Missed 700? No problem… You’ll still have a couple of months to take the GMAT again before you start working on your Round 1 business school applications in earnest.
It may well be fair to say that GMAT students, on average, dislike studying for Sentence Correction questions than for any other question type. Grammar in itself is less than enjoyable, and to many the correct answers seem awkward and the incorrect answers seem to fit the “yeah, but I still understood what they were saying” protest.
Where Sentence Correction can become a bit more relevant and enjoyable is in the fact that, more than any other area of grammatical relevance, the GMAT tests logic. When it comes to Modifiers, Pronouns, Subject-Verb Agreement, Verb Tense, etc., the correct answer is just as likely to be found by asking “does this even make sense?” than by consulting Strunk & White’s Elements of Style (you know… that book of which you received multiple copies for your high school graduation). And if you embrace the logical absurdity of incorrect answers, studying Sentence Correction can be fun (or at least less un-fun). As you notice these grammatically-induced absurdities, you can bring extra enjoyment to day-to-day reading and radio-listening. For example, consider this segment from today’s Morning Edition on NPR.
Chris Kane is a longtime Veritas Prep instructor and recipient of the worldwide Instructor of the Year Award. Having taught thousands of students in New York City and the tri-state area, he contributes frequently to the Veritas Prep lesson materials and is the primary instructor for the popular Accelerated Course format in Midtown Manhattan, where he will begin another such course this week. In his first of many contributions to the Veritas Prep blog, he shares the wisdom of his experience with the one-week, 42-hour Accelerated Course format.
While no Veritas Prep class is more popular than the Full Course, the Accelerated Course has a lot to offer. It undoubtedly makes for a long week: We cover all the material presented in the 42 hour Full Course in one week, meeting every day from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM with a one hour lunch break. When I teach the Accelerated Course, students in my evening Full Course often remark that the format is, well, insane: “How could you learn all this in one week?” Information overload! I could never do that… It’s crazy!”
Here at Veritas Prep, we have the honor at the end of each year of looking back at the thousands of students and hundreds of classes we’ve taught. It has become tradition each December to name winners of the Worldwide Instructor of the Year award, and the process has grown in enjoyment level each year as we’ve been treated to mountains of positive student evaluation scores and comments. With a company average of approximately 4.4 on a 5-point scale (4 is “agree” and 5 is “strongly agree”) to the prompt “I would recommend my instructor to others”, it’s clear that to become an Instructor of the Year one must truly be a star among stars, and it’s a privilege for our headquarters staff to sift through the data and reflect on the countless lives that our instructors have changed for the better.
Happy Holidays, everyone! We hope you’re able to get some rest and enjoy time with your friends and family during the holidays. And, especially if you’re in the Northeastern United States, we hope you’re staying dry and safe in the middle of some serious snow!
As for us, we’re taking advantage of the holidays here at Veritas Prep to get caught up on things and get ready for our next big wave of GMAT courses, which start worldwide in two weeks. If you’re planning on preparing for and taking the GMAT in 2011, here are three ways you can start your preparation at no cost:
Last week GMAC’s own Dr. Lawrence Rudner, the ultimate “guy behind the GMAT” if there ever was one, wrote an article on Bloomberg Businessweek letting GMAT students know that the punishment is severe for anyone caught trying to cheat the exam. And, perhaps even more importantly, he has real-world data to prove that the advantage someone gains by cheating is slight, if they exist at all.
The Essentials Course came up as a challenge based on what’s happening in the marketplace; there are a lot of options for the GMAT student these days, and many of them advertise shorter classes, more convenient schedules, and lower prices, and we wanted to compete in that market. Our Full Course’s strengths have a lot to do with was how comprehensive it is –- it’s 42 hours (normally over 7 weeks) and covers everything from fundamental skills to higher-order strategies. We still know that it’s the best way for most people to study for the GMAT, but we also know that one size doesn’t fit all (as we told BusinessWeek last year).
The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) has announced that those who take the GMAT between November 19 and November 24 will be among the first to see examples of the GMAT’s new Integrated Reasoning questions in a live test setting. This will strictly be for the purpose of evaluating the questions, and will have no bearing on students’ official GMAT scores. Anyone who completes the sample questions and fill outs a short online survey the next day will receive a $25 credit for their time.
Last week the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the people behind the GMAT, announced the release of the Official Guide for GMAT Review series of digital talking books, making the popular GMAT prep material more accessible for the visually impaired. The new books provide the exact same GMAT preparation material found in the printed GMAT study guides.
Attention Round 2 and Round 3 applicants! If you still need to take the GMAT, of if you’re not happy with your current score, we have GMAT prep classes starting around the world next week!
If you’re applying to business school this year, hopefully by now you have already beaten the GMAT and are able to focus on the rest of your applications. If not, there’s still time to properly prepare for the exam, get a competitive score, and complete your business school applications this year. But, time is running out, so you’d better start your test preparation now.
While Veritas Prep is obviously in the business of getting paid to provide GMAT preparation services, we know that a lot of our fans have chosen the self-study path for their GMAT prep. In fact, most of us here at Veritas Prep HQ chose the self-study route when we took the GMAT (and the rest have taken a Veritas Prep course!).
For the past eight years we have helped tens of thousands of students prepare for the GMAT. Not only have we helped students by knowing the GMAT better than anyone, but also by constantly staying innovative with our GMAT prep curriculum. That innovative spirit is behind our newest course format, The Essentials Course.