The Biggest Mistakes You Can Make in the GRE Verbal Section: Sentence Equivalence Questions

08fba0fLet’s talk some GRE Verbal. Now, if you’re studying for the GRE Verbal section, you’re thinking about Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence as two major question types that you need to be ready for. And as you’ll see, you can talk about them in terms of the word “vocabulary,” because the right answers tend to be an individual word or a short phrase that is some kind of “vocabulary” –  a word you need to know the meaning of and fit into the meaning of the sentence.

Here’s where students tend to study wrong, ineffectively, and inefficiently: they over-study their 500-word flash card decks (the most ridiculous and obscure words they can find). Yes, you do need to have a decent vocabulary to do well on these questions, but what these students don’t study enough as they’re chasing really strange words over and over again – which they may only see three or four of on test day – is knowing that, very often, these questions require you to work.

Continue reading or check out our video explanation of this concept below:

It’s not about knowing some memorized definition of a weird word – often, the test will use words you know, but you will need to work a little bit to figure out exactly what type of meaning you need in that sentence, and whether that word you’re looking at (a word you probably use in sentences every day, week, month, etc.) has the precise meaning you need in that particular space.

Now let’s take a look at this Sentence Equivalence example that will shed some light on what we’re talking about:

While the cost of migrating to more automated piloting and air traffic control systems is substantial, the eventual cost savings are large enough that the up-front expenditures are not as ______ as opponents claim.

Select the two choices that fit the meaning of the sentence and give the sentence the same meaning.

(A) fiscal
(B) imprudent
(C) reasonable
(D) excessive
(E) massive
(F) paltry

Now, if you look at what’s going on in this sentence, we have a contrast (and the word “while” sets this up). The sentence is saying that even though the cost is substantial – we’re agreeing this will cost a lot of money – what you’re going to save in the long run means that it’s not as *blank* (as big of a deal) as opponents claim.

What tends to happen with this problem is people look for synonyms. They say, “We think the cost is big, but maybe not as big as we once thought,” so they’ll look and see “excessive” and “massive” –two words that in some way mean “big”. Then they’ll pick those answer choices and get this question wrong. Why are these choices wrong? It’s about a little, subtle difference in meaning, and the Testmaker wants to reward those who pick up on it.

The word “massive” means “big,” while the word “excessive” means “too big.” If you look at what’s going on in the sentence, anytime there’s a comma (or two sentences in one prompt), the part that is not near the blank space really does matter. This is a classic “Think Like the Testmaker” moment – you should be thinking, “Why did they put that part there? To reward those who are thinking of the meaning of the whole sentence.”

Nobody is arguing that changing to automated piloting is not a big cost. Nobody is saying, “Hey, while it’s big, actually it’s not big.” What they really want to say is, “Hey, this is going to cost you a lot of money – it’s a big expenditure up front – but in the end, you’re going to save enough money that it’s not too big of an investment or an unwise decision.” So what you really want here is “too big”. We’re not debating whether the expense is big or not; we’re only debating whether it’s a wise investment, or too much to spend up front.

With this in mind, answer choice E, “massive” or “big,” is wrong, even though it’s really tempting. “Imprudent,” on the other hand, means “impractical” or “too big,” which is what we’re looking for. So the answers are B and D. Again, what this question really comes down to is that tiny, subtle difference between the meanings of words that you know. In this case, we want “too big,” so the test tries to hit you with a word that means “big.” That’s what we mean when we say you need to prepare to work on these questions. It’s about understanding the meaning of the sentence as a whole, finding those subtle differences, and holding up the words you’re putting in the blank and saying, “Is that really the exact word I need, or are they just overall related?”

As you study for the GRE Verbal section, you do want to have a good vocabulary, but don’t let that come at the expense of your willingness to really go to work on subtle differences in meaning with words that you know.

Want to jump-start your GRE preparation? Register to attend one of our upcoming free online GRE Strategy Sessions or check out our variety of GRE Course and Private Tutoring options. And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter!

By Brian Galvin.

Tackling the Management Leadership for Tomorrow MBA Prep Program Application

Stanford UniversityThinking about applying to the premier MBA prep program for underrepresented minorities? Then you have already made a great decision! Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) offers a comprehensive MBA prep program that has a track record of successfully landing minority applicants at some of the top MBA programs in the world. Before you read on, learn more about this program here.

Unlike other similar programs, MLT’s admissions process and criteria are almost as selective as the top MBA programs for which it serves as a feeder into. Let’s explore a few things to keep in mind as you begin to tackle your MLT MBA Prep application:

As far as eligibility goes, you will need to be a U.S. citizen and an underrepresented minority to qualify for this program – only African American, Latino, or Native American candidates can participate. Also, you will need to be a college graduate of a four-year university and have at least one year of post-graduate work experience.

GMAT Score:
As part of the application process, candidates will need to take an official or practice GMAT exam and score at least a 500. If admitted into the program, candidates will have to submit an official score by January 15th 2017.

Essays for an MBA prep program? Yes, you guessed it! Applying to the MLT MBA Prep program is serious business. MLT asks for its applicants to complete both traditional essays as well as video essays to be considered. Take the essay portion seriously – the more you can connect your career goals to some underlying passion and ability to give back to the community, the better off you will be. MLT loves mission-based MBA journeys, so if there is an underlying passion driving your MBA goals, make sure to communicate this in your application essays.

As I’m sure you can tell by now, there are many similarities between actual MBA applications and the MLT MBA Prep application. Your application will need to include a resume that captures your work experience and other relevant interpersonal skills, like leadership and teamwork. Another factor that is important in the evaluation process is your recommendations, so I would also make sure you have sound recommenders lined up.

Very few things in life, are free and something as valuable as the MLT MBA Prep program also comes at a cost. But hey, when considering admission into the school of your dreams is a potential outcome, then the costs seem may seem more negligible. The actual application fee is relatively minor – coming in at $95 – but if admitted, fellows are required to submit a $750 program fee. The silver lining here is that $250 of that program fee is refundable at completion of the program.

MLT’s MBA Prep program represents a fantastic opportunity and a great pre-MBA program for minorities. Although the application process may seem cumbersome, the opportunity to take advantage of all of MLT’s resource and achieve your MBA goals is something that cannot be passed up!

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter.

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more articles by him here.

Strategies for GRE Reading Comprehension

SATThe Graduate Record Examination, or the GRE, has three sections – one of them is the Verbal Reasoning section. Within this section, there are sentence equivalence, text completion, and reading comprehension questions. The reading comprehension questions test a student’s ability to understand the type of reading material they will deal with in graduate school courses. Look at the types of reading comprehension questions found on the GRE and learn how to effectively study for them:

What Skills Are Needed to Master Reading Comprehension Questions on the GRE?
Many of the reading comprehension questions on the GRE require students to summarize passages and draw conclusions about what they’ve read. Students need to be able to find the strengths and weaknesses in a position taken by the author of a passage. Recognizing vocabulary words used in sentences and understanding how they contribute to the overall meaning of a passage are other skills a student needs to know. Also, they have to be able to distinguish main ideas from minor details.

In order to find success with these types of questions and others, students must know how to read in an active way by asking questions and drawing conclusions as they go. These skills will prove invaluable in graduate school, as well.

The Types of Reading Comprehension Questions on the GRE
The types of questions on the test help to measure a student’s skills in reading comprehension. GRE questions are mostly multiple-choice. There are traditional multiple-choice questions where a student chooses one option out of several. Also, there are reading comprehension questions that ask students to choose more than one answer – there may even be three correct answers to one question.

Select-in-passage questions are also included on the GRE. To answer this type of question, a student must read a passage and click on or highlight a particular sentence that fulfills a given description. Select-in-passage questions are only found on the computer-based GRE. Individuals taking the paper-based version of the GRE will answer multiple-choice questions that measure the same skills as select-in-passage questions.

GRE Reading Comprehension Tips
Along with contacting Veritas Prep, students can do many things to prepare for the GRE. Reading comprehension practice questions are a necessity for any student who wants to fare well on the test. Students can go online to find GRE reading comprehension practice questions that can help them to determine what skills to work on.

Another thing to do when preparing for the test is to study vocabulary words found on the GRE. Becoming familiar with these words and their definitions can help students better understand the sentences and passages on the test.

In addition to learning vocabulary words, it’s a good idea for students to make it a point to read magazine and newspaper articles. A sample GRE reading list could include The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Popular Science, and The Economist. Seeing various vocabulary words in context is helpful when a student is trying to retain new definitions. One of the best GRE reading comprehension tips for students to follow is to establish the habit of becoming an engaged reader, whether you’re reading fiction or nonfiction. Asking questions and looking for the meaning within a piece of written work is something every reader has to learn and practice.

At Veritas Prep, we provide GRE tutoring services to students who would like some help preparing for the reading comprehension questions on the exam. Each of our instructors has achieved a high score on the GRE, so students who work with us are learning from individuals who have mastered the reading comprehension questions, along with all of the others, on the GRE! Reading comprehension strategies play an important part in our GRE prep classes. We show students how to simplify the process of arriving at the correct answer option.

Our professional instructors at Veritas Prep know how to prepare students for the GRE. We review reading comprehension questions with students to determine both their weaknesses and strengths. Consequently, we can make the most efficient use of a study period. And we are proud to offer both online and in-person GRE prep classes to meet the needs of our students. Contact Veritas Prep today to sign up for success on the GRE!

Want to jump-start your GRE preparation? Register to attend one of our upcoming free online GRE Strategy Sessions or check out our variety of GRE Course and Private Tutoring options. And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter!

Understanding and Exceeding Ivy League Admissions Requirements

Harvard Business SchoolThere are a variety of admissions requirements for Ivy League colleges. High standardized test scores, a stellar GPA throughout high school, and a gathering of outstanding extracurricular activities are a just a few of them.

Why are Ivy League admissions requirements so challenging to fulfill? The reason is that Ivy League schools such as Princeton and Harvard want to fill their freshman class with students who have the ability to excel in their academic studies. Plus, Ivy League schools want to attract ambitious students who will be a credit to the school while they are there, as well as after they graduate.

High school students who want to apply to these colleges must put in the work to meet, or even exceed, Ivy League school requirements. Consider these tips for students who want to exceed Ivy League admissions requirements:

Take Challenging Courses in High School
Admissions officers at Ivy League schools will certainly notice a high GPA on an applicant’s transcripts. But the transcript evaluation doesn’t stop there. Most admissions officers look at the specific courses taken by students throughout high school. Did the student take on challenges by signing up for increasingly difficult classes each year? Taking on challenging work reflects a student’s desire to learn new subjects and test their abilities in order to strengthen them.

A Highly Competitive SAT or ACT Score
One of the most well-known Ivy League requirements is a high SAT or ACT score. Most Ivy League schools like to see students who scored in the 99th percentile on these exams. At Veritas Prep, we prepare students for the new SAT as well as the ACT, and each of our SAT and ACT prep courses is taught by an instructor who scored in the 99th percentile on their respective test. Students who sign up with Veritas Prep have the opportunity to work with tutors who mastered the SAT and ACT, and they can choose from either online or in-person tutoring options.

Dedication to Extracurricular Activities
Meaningful extracurricular activities are also on the list of Ivy League requirements. Ivy League admissions officers take note of the kind of activities a student has participated in as well as the duration of the person’s participation. For example, a student who volunteers for an organization for several years, holds office in school government, and participates in two or three clubs all through high school is showing dedication to a few significant activities. This is preferable to participating in dozens of activities for a short period of time.

A Standout Application Essay
An application essay is another requirement of Ivy League schools. Admission requirements that officials look for include essays that are sincere and include specific details about a student’s life and experiences. An application essay gives officials the chance to look past the transcripts and test scores at the student who wants to earn a degree at the school. At Veritas Prep, our college admissions consultants have the skills and background to help students craft standout application essays. Our professional consultants are very familiar with Ivy League entrance requirements and what these schools are looking for in prospective students.

Glowing Letters of Recommendation
Great letters of recommendation are another admissions requirement for Ivy League colleges. Students must ask for letters of recommendation from teachers, mentors, and employers who know them very well. An ideal letter of recommendation is written by an adult who has known the student for several years and has unique insight into the person’s character, work ethic, and goals.

A Memorable Interview
A student who gets the opportunity to meet with officials at an Ivy League school for an interview should be confident and enthusiastic about the college. A student should focus on what they can contribute to the school. Also, it’s a good idea for a student to mention specific resources that they will take advantage of at the school, such as a special collection in the library or a science lab. School officials appreciate seeing a student who is excited about the prospect of studying at their institution.

At Veritas Prep, we can help students meet the challenging admissions requirements of Ivy League colleges. Whether it’s teaching students strategies to use on the SAT, ACT practice, or providing guidance on an application essay, we are here to assist ambitious students. Contact Veritas Prep today!

Do you need help with your college applications? Visit our College Admissions website and fill out our FREE Profile Evaluation for personalized feedback on your unique background! And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+, and Twitter!

Data Sufficiency Questions: How to Know When Both Statements Together Are Not Sufficient

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomToday we will discuss a problem we sometimes face while attempting to solve Data Sufficiency questions for which the answer is actually E (when both statements together are not sufficient to answer the question). Ideally, we would like to find two possible answers to the question asked so that we know that the data of both statements is not sufficient to give us a unique answer. But what happens when it is not very intuitive or easy to get these two distinct cases?

Let’s try to answer these questions in today’s post using using one of our own Data Sufficiency questions.

A certain car rental agency rented 25 vehicles yesterday, each of which was either a compact car or a luxury car. How many compact cars did the agency rent yesterday?

(1) The daily rental rate for a luxury car was $15 higher than the rate for a compact car.
(2) The total rental rates for luxury cars was $105 higher than the total rental rates for compact cars yesterday

We know from the question stem that the total number of cars rented is 25. Now we must find how many compact cars were rented.

There are four variables to consider here:

  1. Number of compact cars rented (this is what we need to find)
  2. Number of luxury cars rented
  3. Daily rental rate of compact cars
  4. Daily rental rate of luxury cars

Let’s examine the information given to us by the statements:

Statement 1: The daily rental rate for a luxury car was $15 higher than the rate for a compact car.

This statement gives us the difference in the daily rental rates of a luxury car vs. a compact car. Other than that, we still only know that a total of 25 cars were rented. We have no data points to calculate the number of compact cars rented, thus, this statement alone is not sufficient. Let’s look at Statement 2:

Statement 2: The total rental rates for luxury cars was $105 higher than the total rental rates for compact cars yesterday.

This statement gives us the difference in the total rental rates of luxury cars vs. compact cars (we do not know the daily rental rates). Again, we have no data points to calculate the number of compact cars rented, thus, this statement alone is also not sufficient.

Now, let’s try to tackle both statements together:

The daily rate for luxury cars is $15 higher than it is for compact cars, and the total rental rates for luxury cars is $105 higher than it is for compact cars. What constitutes this $105? It is the higher rental cost of each luxury car (the extra $15) plus adjustments for the rent of extra/fewer luxury cars hired. That is, if n compact cars were rented and n luxury cars were rented, the extra total rental will be 15n. But if more  luxury cars were rented, 105 would account for the $15 higher rent of each luxury car and also for the rent of the extra luxury cars.

Event with this information, we still should not be able to find the number of compact cars rented. Let’s find 2 cases to ensure that answer to this question is indeed E – the first one is quite easy.

We start with what we know:

The total extra money collected by renting luxury cars is $105.

105/15 = 7

Say out of 25 cars, 7 are luxury cars and 18 are compact cars. If the rent of compact cars is $0 (theoretically), the rent of luxury cars is $15 and the extra rent charged will be $105 (7*15 = 105) – this is a valid case.

Now how do we get the second case? Think about it before you read on – it will help you realize why the second case is more of a challenge.

Let’s make a slight change to our current numbers to see if they still fit:

Say out of 25 cars, 8 are luxury cars and 17 are compact cars. If the rent of compact cars is $0 and the rent of luxury cars is $15, the extra rent charged should be $15*8 = $120, but notice, 9 morecompact cars were rented than luxury cars. In reality, the extra total rent collected is $105 – the $15 reduction is because of the 9 additional compact cars. Hence, the daily rental rate of each compact car would be $15/9 = $5/3.

This would mean that the daily rental rate of each luxury car is $5/3 + $15 = $50/3

The total rental cost of luxury cars in this case would be 8 * $50/3 = $400/3

The total rental cost of compact cars in this case would be 17 * $5/3 = $85/3

The difference between the two total rental costs is $400/3 – $85/3 = 315/3 = $105

Everything checks out, so we know that there is no unique answer to this question – for any number of compact cars you use, you will come up with the same answer. Thus, Statements 1 and 2 together are not sufficient.

The strategy we used to find this second case to test is that we tweaked the numbers we were given a little and then looked for a solution. Another strategy is to try plugging in some easy numbers. For example:

Instead of using such difficult numbers, we could have tried an easier split of the cars. Say out of 25 cars, 10 are luxury and 15 are compact. If the rent of compact cars is $0 and the rent of luxury cars is $15, the extra rent charged should be 10*$15 = $150 extra, but it is actually only $105 extra, a difference of $45, due to the 5 additional compact cars. The daily rental rent of 5 extra compact cars would be $45/5 = $9. Using these numbers in the calculations above, you will see that the difference between the rental costs is, again, $105. This is a valid case, too.

Hence, there are two strategies we saw in action today:

  • Tweak the numbers slightly to see if you will get the same results
  • Go for the easy split when choosing numbers to plug in

Getting ready to take the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter!

Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!

What GPA Should You Report in Your MBA Applications?

08fba0fThe question of what GPA an MBA applicant should report is, at first glance, one of the simpler questions one would expect to receive during the business school application process. However, year in and year out, many applicants struggle to sort this question out.

For those who have received only one degree from the one university, this aspect of the application process tends to be pretty straightforward – your GPA is the number listed on your transcript and that is the number that should be used.

For those who tend to have confusion over what GPA to report, the challenge usually stems from having multiple transcripts from multiple schools. This is primarily the result of one or more of the following four situations:

Did you transfer from another college? Having two transcripts from two different schools can be the source off a lot of confusion. Generally, the degree-granting institution takes priority here, but if you transferred from a similarly-structured university, your GPA from your first school can also be factored in. The key here is that only courses that gave you credit toward your first bachelor’s degree count.

Study Abroad:
Did you study abroad? Most study abroad courses tend to be pass or fail and usually do not influence your GPA too much, given there cannot be a grade point associated with this result. Generally, your study abroad transcript is not necessary to include in your application package, but if you plan to discuss your study abroad classes elsewhere in your application, it may make sense to include your study abroad GPA as well.

Non-Degree Coursework:
Have you taken coursework in the past that did not relate to your degree? Many MBA candidates take classes online or at a community college after they graduate from undergrad to bolster their application profile. If you have taken such non-degree classes, you should include the transcripts from them in your application, but don’t worry about incorporating this performance into your reported GPA.

Graduate Degree:
If you have secured a graduate degree prior to applying to business school, your GPA cannot be included in your MBA application as part of your reported GPA. Typically, there will be a separate area in your application to report your graduate GPA, but don’t look to combine this score with your undergraduate GPA. Remember, the only courses that count here are the ones that gave you credit towards your first bachelor’s degree.

All of the elements above can be positively associated with your academic aptitude, so just because they don’t feed directly into your reported GPA does not mean they are irrelevant. MBA programs will take a holistic look at your performance across these various touchpoints, as well as at the type of coursework and trends within your reported GPA.

The key with any of the situations above is to follow the guidelines of the school that you are applying to – many schools caution against calculating your GPA on your own, while others encourage it. You generally want to avoid converting your college’s scale to a different GPA scale, as that can open up even more confusion. Assume that the Admissions Committee is experienced with school-specific grade scales from all over the world, so defer to their expertise in this matter. Make sure you are clear on the GPA reporting protocol for the schools you are applying to, and don’t be afraid to use the optional or additional information section to address any potentially confusing aspects.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter.

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more articles by him here.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Taking The GMAT Like It’s Nintendo Switch

GMAT Tip of the WeekThe non-election trending story of the day is the announcement of the forthcoming Nintendo Switch gaming system, a system that promises to help you take the utmost advantage of your leisure time…but that may help you maximize the value of your GMAT experience, too.


The main feature of the Switch (and the driving factor behind its name) is its flexibility. It can be an in-home gaming system attached to a fixed TV set, but then immediately Switch to a hand-held portable system that allows you to continue your game on the go. Nintendo’s business plan is primarily based on offering flexibility…and on the GMAT, your plan should be to prove to business schools that you can offer the same.

The GMAT, of course, tests algebra skills and critical thinking skills and grammar skills, but beneath the surface it also has a preference for testing flexibility. Many problems will punish those with pure tunnel vision, but reward those who can identify that their first course of action isn’t working and who can then Switch to another plan. This often manifests itself in:

  • Math problems that seem to require algebra…but halfway through beg to be back-solved using answer choices.
  • Sentence Correction problems that seem to ask you to make a decision about one major difference…but for which the natural choices leave you with clearer-cut errors elsewhere.
  • Critical Reasoning answer choices that seem out of scope at first, but reward those who read farther and then see their relevance.
  • Data Sufficiency problems for which you’ve made a clear, confident decision on one statement…but then the other statement shows you something you hadn’t considered before and forces you to reconsider.
  • The overall concept that if you’re a one-trick pony – you’re a master of plugging in answer choices, for example – you’ll find questions that just won’t reward that strategy and will force you to do something else.

Flexibility matters on the GMAT! As an example, consider the following Data Sufficiency question:

Is x/y > 3? 

1) 3x > 9y
2) y > 3y

If you’re like many, you’ll confidently address the algebra in Statement 1, divide both sides by 3 to get x > 3y, and then see that if you divide both sides by y, you can make it look exactly like the question stem: x/y > 3. And you may very well say, “Statement 1 is sufficient!” and confidently move on to Statement 2.

But when you look at Statement 2 – either conceptually or algebraically – something should stand out. For one, there’s no way that it’s sufficient because it doesn’t help you determine anything about x. And secondly, it brings up the point that “y is negative” (algebraically you’d subtract y from both sides to get 0 > 2y, then divide by 2 to get 0 > y). And here’s where, if it hasn’t already, your mind should Switch to “positive/negative number properties” mode. If you weren’t thinking about positive vs. negative properties when you considered Statement 1, this one gives you a chance to Switch your thinking and reconsider – what if y were negative? Algebraically, you’d then have to flip the sign when you divide both sides by y:

3x > 9y : Divide both sides by 3

x > 3y : Now divide both sides by y, but remember that if y is positive you keep the sign (x/y > 3), and if y is negative you flip the sign (x/y < 3).

With this in mind, Statement 1 doesn’t really tell you anything. x/y can be greater than 3 or less than 3, so all Statement 1 does is eliminate that x/y could be exactly 3. Now you have the evidence to Switch your answer. If you initially thought Statement 1 was sufficient, Statement 2 has given you a chance to reassess (thereby demonstrating flexibility in thinking) and realize that it’s not, until you know whether y is negative or positive.

Statement 2 supplies that missing piece, and the answer is thus C. But more important is the lesson – because the GMAT so values mental flexibility, it will often provide you with clues that can help you change your mind if you’re paying attention. So on the GMAT, take a lesson from Nintendo Switch: flexibility is an incredibly marketable skill, so look for clues and opportunities to Switch your line of thinking and save yourself from trap answers.

Getting ready to take the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter!

By Brian Galvin.

All About the New INSEAD Video Essay Requirement

 INSEADA new component of INSEAD’s admissions process for its MBA program is the video essay. INSEAD is the first non-American business school to include a video essay component in its admissions process. The video essay does not replace the face-to-face interview with an INSEAD alumnus – it does, however, reduce the number of written essays you applicants are required to submit, replacing a prompt about cultural sensitivity from last years’ application set.

How It Works:
After submitting the general INSEAD application, each candidate receives a link to complete four video questions. For each question, you will have 45 seconds to prepare and 60 seconds to answer the prompt. The questions are picked randomly from a bank of 70 questions. Because the questions are randomized, this component of the application will allow you to show your personality and ability to think on your feet.

Your ability to genuinely present yourself, as well as your English fluency and communication skills, will be extremely important to these video essays. As with the rest of the application package, your responses will want to show the international outlook and cross-cultural awareness that fits the INSEAD mindset. These include showing respect and open-mindedness with diverse cultures. Although you do not want your answers to sound too rehearsed, you may want to prepare some brief examples of previous experiences that highlight your cultural sensitivity, motivation, entrepreneurial spirit, and empathy before your answer each question.

The video essay questions need to be completed between the time you receive your registration confirmation and one week after the application deadline of the round you are applying to.

What You Need:
To complete the video essay questions, you will need to have a good Internet connection, a webcam, and a microphone. Ideally, you should also make available a clean (at least for the space within the camera range) and quiet room for 20-30 minutes of time to film your essay responses in — the last thing you need is for the Admissions Committee to be distracted by a cluttered room or a noisy roommate as they watch your video. Dressing up professionally would also be the safe way to go.

Overall, enjoy the process (as cliché as that sounds) as it will help you present your best self as someone INSEAD would want to be part of its community.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! And as always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Written by Edison Cu, a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for INSEAD. You can read more articles by him here

Understanding the Management Leadership for Tomorrow MBA Prep Program

duke-universityEven with recent strides, top MBA programs have a long way to go when it comes to ethnic diversity. The chasm is even wider when it comes to underrepresented minorities, which include African American, Latino, and Native American students.

Thirty percent of the U.S. falls into one of the three categories above, but only three percent of U.S. senior leadership is African American, Latino, or Native American. As the business world continues to diversify, most top MBA programs struggle to reflect the realities of the changing face of business and consumer audiences.

Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) has been working to improve these numbers since 2012. This non-profit organization and their flagship MBA Prep Program offers a rigorous and comprehensive guided roadmap to securing admission into top business schools.

MLT does this by leveraging a staff of experienced admissions professionals who have spent time at some of the best MBA programs in the world. MBA Prep fellows receive on-on-one and group support from these experienced professional as they navigate their MBA journey. Included in this journey is pre-application access to representatives from the top 25 MBA programs. This opportunity to interact directly with MBA programs provides fellows the opportunity to foster positive relationships with schools and create more tailored applications.

MLT’s MBA Prep also provides fellows with the opportunity to attend symposiums, which facilitates networking, skill development, and overall application prep. During these symposiums, fellows also have the chance to meet with potential blue chip employers like General Mills and Deloitte, as well as top MBA programs like Kellogg and HBS. These stakeholders see the value MLT offers to their organizations and consistently offer both financial and non-financial support for the non-profit.

The support does not stop once a fellow receives admission into an MBA program – MLT offers lifelong access to the program’s offerings and inclusion into their 5,000+ strong community of diverse professionals. For many candidates, without this program, the dream of matriculating to a top business school would be just that, a dream. MLT has stood out from the pack as a leading pipeline for diverse candidates into top MBA programs and blue chip companies all over the world. If you fit MLT’s admissions criteria, make sure you identify if MLT’S MBA Prep is a fit for you.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter.

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more articles by him here.

4 Reasons Why Business School is Awesome

MBA_GradsAre you on the fence about whether to apply to business school? If you are, you aren’t alone. Although the decision to pursue your MBA should not be taken lightly, if you can afford to take 2-3 years off from the working world, it’s my opinion that you should do it. Here are 4 reasons not to miss out on what will probably be one of the best experiences of your life:

1) Diversity
MBA programs are diverse both in geography and industry. At no other point in your life will you be in a classroom with 60-80 people who come from 20 different countries. The perspectives of your classmates are such an incredible resource for learning about how business works in other countries, and for gaining new perspectives on different industries.

Business school also gives you access to people who have worked in almost every industry. There may be people who are architects, engineers, teachers, and tech gurus all in the same class. In my class at Ross this year, 24% of the students are minorities, 40% are women, 4% hold military backgrounds, and 33 countries are represented.

2) Networking
This occurs both with companies and classmates. If you’re one of the many people who hears the word “networking” and immediately thinks, “That’s definitely not something I want to be doing right now,” just think of it as a conversation instead. You get to talk to people from industries you’re really interested in and learn what it is they love most about their careers, and why they do what they do.

Once you start asking people about interesting projects they’ve worked on, you really get a sense for their company culture, and how their company is structured. There might not be a better way to find out if you want to work for a company or not. Websites are great, but they can only tell you so much. At Ross, for instance, we have company-sponsored tailgates on football Saturdays – you can have some food with company representatives, and chat over a beer. These events can really help you get a feel for the company in a way that pure research can’t.

When you’re learning about the backgrounds of your classmates, it’s likely you’ll find one (or more!) who has experience doing exactly what you want to do. For example, I’m interested in going into international development consulting in Africa post-MBA, and one of my classmates did exactly that for 7 years prior to business school. This is also a great way to find out why some of your classmates are exiting the industry you want to go into – you can learn about potential drawbacks and decide if you want to go a different direction with your career. And, you get to have friends all over the world who you can stay with when you travel!

3) Success
Depending on the size of the program you attend, you’ll be building a community of 400-2,000 really close friends. During business school and beyond, these peers are going to make sure you succeed. You’ll be in small groups where everyone brings different expertise – where you lack in knowledge, they’ll help teach you and make sure you understand the concepts. It will be such an inspiring group of people to be around every day, and they will push you to be your best self. They’ll also make sure you’re successful after you graduate – if you’re looking for a job, they’re going to connect you with people in your target industry and make sure you aren’t looking for long. It truly is a lifelong support system.

4) Fun
Business school is REALLY fun. Even if you don’t go to a program that has big sporting events, there will still be a lot of events going on around campus and in the surrounding neighborhood: theatrical productions, local music shows, and more. Ann Arbor is unique because it is such a strong college town, but no matter where you end up, there will be campus events, and probably a fair amount of sponsored and unsponsored happy hours as well.

I’ll be honest, I’ve always liked school. It’s almost like a break from reality – you don’t really have to have a job, you can take naps in the afternoon, and you basically just get to hang out while learning awesome material. I know school isn’t for everyone, but business school is more than just school. You’re learning real-life skills with hands-on application, and creating a network of people who will forever be there to support you. At the very least, apply. You can always decide later if it’s not for you.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Colleen Hill studied Middle Eastern and North African Studies at UCLA before heading to Michigan’s Ross School of Business to pursue international development consulting in Africa. She’s very happy she took accounting and statistics in the year before she moved to Ann Arbor.

How to Manage a Challenging MBA Recommender

RecommenderObtaining a great letter of recommendation is one of the most important aspects of the business school application process. This is one of the only external reference points the Admissions Committee can use to evaluate your performance and future potential for success, so it goes without saying that your recommendations are really, really important!

For most applicants, the request and submission process for their recommenders is pretty straightforward – at top firms and large companies, many recommenders already have some experience writing recommendations and fully support the applicant’s pursuit of an MBA. For others, however, this process can be far more difficult. Let’s discuss a few ways a recommender can prove challenging during the MBA application process, and what you can do to counter such issues:

Missing Deadlines:
This is probably the worst of the recommender offenses, because if a recommendation is not submitted on time, then your application is not considered complete by the Admissions Committee. Therefore, you must be confident that your recommender will adhere to all formal and informal deadlines you impose on them to write your letter of recommendation. There are many things an applicant will stress about during the application process – whether a recommender submits their evaluation or not should not be one of them. I recommend setting up faux deadlines a week in advance of the actual ones to ensure you have a few buffer days just in case your recommender slips up.

Not Supportive:
Not all recommenders are supportive of applicants leaving their company. Whether it is because they do not think the applicant is ready, do not want to replace them, or are just plain jealous of the opportunity, the decision to apply to business school is not always met with a positive response. Ideally, you will have some feel for this potential problem in advance of selecting your recommender, but if you can’t get around it, make your rationale for applying to business school clear and be openly thankful of the training and inspiration provided by the firm and by the recommender. Charm and holding a polite, thankful disposition can go a long way here.

A Poor Writer:
Is your recommender a bad writer? This can be a problem if the clarity of their evaluation is impacted by their lack of writing skills. Keep in mind, you will not be penalized for the writing of your recommender, but the better the writing, the more effective and better-received the recommendation will be by the Admissions Committee, so don’t be afraid to lean on your recommender to give it their best!

The lazy recommender is, unfortunately, more common than we’d like to see. Whether it is a case of being too busy or just putting the minimal effort into writing the recommendation, laziness can have a very negative impact on your application.  If a recommender can’t commit to writing as thorough of an evaluation as possible, then that person is probably not your best option. The more you can support this type of recommender with information about your candidacy, the program you are applying to, and the application process, the better their evaluation will be. Be active in providing the necessary coaching and support to your recommender when it comes to this aspect of the application.

Be aware of these challenging profiles when reaching out to a potential recommender, and use the above tips to make the most of your MBA letters of recommendation.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter.

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more articles by him here.

How to Solve “Unsolvable” Equations on the GMAT

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomThe moment we see an equation involving the variable x, we have a habit of jumping right into attempting to solve it. But what happens when we are not able to solve it? Let’s say, for example, we have an equation such as x^2 + 1 = 0. How would we solve for x here? We can’t because x has no real value. Note that x^2 is non-negative – it would be either 0 or positive. 1, we know, is positive. So together, a positive number and a non-negative number cannot add up to 0.

In this example, it relatively easy to see that the equation has no real solution. In others, it may not be so obvious, so we will need to use other strategies.

We know how to solve third degree equations. The first solution is found by trial and error – we try simple values such as -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, etc. and are usually able to find the first solution. Then the equation of third degree is split into two factors, including a quadratic. We know how to solve a quadratic, and that is how we get all three solutions, if it has any.

But what if we are unable to find the first solution to a third degree equation by trial and error? Then we should force ourselves to wonder if we even need to solve the equation at all. Let’s take a look at a sample question to better understand this idea:

Is x < 0?
(1) x^3 + x^2 + x + 2 = 0
(2) x^2 – x – 2 < 0

In this problem, x can be any real number – we have no constraints on it. Now, is x negative?

Statement 1: x^3 + x^2 + x + 2 = 0

If we try to solve this equation as we are used to doing, look at what happens:

If you plug in x = 2, you get 16 = 0
If you plug in x = 1, you get 5 = 0
If you plug in x = 0, you get 2 = 0
If you plug in x = -1, you get 1 = 0
If you plug in x = -2, you get -4 = 0

We did not find any root for the equation. What should we do now? Note that when x goes from -1 to -2, the value on the left hand side changes from 1 to -4, i.e. from a positive to a negative. So, in between -1 and -2 there will be some value of x for which the left hand side will become 0. That value of x will not be an integer, but some decimal value such as -1.3 or -1.4, etc.

Even after we find the first root, making the quadratic will be very tricky and then solving it will be another uphill task. So we should ask ourselves whether we even need to solve this equation.

Think about it – can x be positive? If x is indeed positive, x^3, x^2 and x all will be positive. Then, if we add four positive numbers (x^3, x^2, x and 2) we will get a positive sum – we cannot get 0. Obviously x cannot be 0 since that will give us 2 = 0.

This means the value of x must be negative, but what it is exactly doesn’t matter. We know that x has to be negative, and that is sufficient to answer the question.

Statement 2: x^2 – x – 2 < 0

This, we can easily solve:

x^2 – 2x + x – 2 < 0
(x – 2)*(x + 1) < 0

We know how to solve this inequality using the method discussed here.

This this will give us -1 < x < 2.

Since x can be a non-integer value too, x can be negative, 0, or positive. This statement alone is not sufficient,and therefore, the answer is A.

To evaluate Statement 1, we didn’t need to solve the equation at all. We figured out everything we wanted to know by simply using some logic.

Getting ready to take the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter!

Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!

Learning from Yao Ming: How to Be Unique While Still Fitting In

Yao MingYao Ming, arguably China’s most popular athlete, was recently inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Ming was able to turn his massive size and refined skills into an outstanding career. Even more importantly, however, was that his cultural awareness and personality enabled him to be a global ambassador connecting the East and the West.

An icon transcending his sport, Ming became a bridge of understanding across cultures – treading the balance between sharing his culture with others, while also fitting into a different culture almost seamlessly. As you start brainstorming essay topics for your target business schools, you will surely come across two important tips:

  1. Show what makes you unique
  2. Demonstrate fit

At first glance, these points may seem contradictory to each other, but Yao Ming’s example demonstrates a perfect balance between the two:

Represent Yourself
You want to represent yourself proudly in your admissions essays, demonstrating pride in your culture and in your work. As such, do not use “weak words” or play down where you came from or what you do – you want to show the Admissions Committee that you will bring something fascinating to their school that you can share with your classmates. This doesn’t imply feeling superior to your peers, but rather, having a comfortable sense of self and knowing that you are at par even if you are different.

Adjusting to a new culture and to a new team as a young man in his early 20’s, Yao showed admirable composure and diplomacy to be respectful of both the more communal Chinese culture and the more individual-oriented American culture. This allowed him to represent himself well, while still being able to adjust to his new environment.

Collaborate With Others
Demonstrating an open-mindedness and ability to engage across cultures will show your ability to collaborate with others towards group goals, as well as the ability to share your experiences and knowledge. Thus, highlighting how you have worked with diverse teams towards meaningful goals – or at the very least, how you have held an open-minded attitude – can assure the Admissions Committee that you will be able to contribute to your classes in business school. Showing that you are aware that diversity is an opportunity for you to learn from others and further develop yourself will also be helpful in being convincing the Admissions Committee that you will be able to benefit from your MBA experience.

Learning these lessons from the talented giant, Yao Ming, may not necessarily lead to a huge endorsement deal with Apple, but it could help you get into your dream MBA program, and make the most of of your time there once you are admitted.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! And as always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Written by Edison Cu, a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for INSEAD. You can read more articles by him here

Tips for Mastering the GRE’s Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion Sections

EssayThe Verbal Reasoning section is just one of three parts on the Graduate Record Examination, also known as the GRE. In this section, students must answer both sentence equivalence and text completion questions.

Take a closer look at what these types of questions entail, and learn some strategies for arriving at the correct answers:

What Are Sentence Equivalence Questions?
For each sentence equivalence question, a student is given a sentence with a blank space. Instead of choosing just one answer option to put into the blank space, a student must choose two – when put into the blank space, each answer option should create a logical sentence. Furthermore, both complete sentences should have the same meaning. There are a total of six answer options for each sentence equivalence question.

Strategies for Mastering Sentence Equivalence Questions
There are many things students can do to improve their performance on this part of the GRE. Sentence equivalence practice should start with reading the entire sentence and scanning all of the answer choice options. One of the most effective GRE sentence completion tips for students to keep in mind is to look for words and phrases that reveal the meaning or tone of a sentence. It’s easier for a student to choose the most appropriate answer options when they grasp the overall meaning of a sentence.

For example, the words “however” and “although” can be clues that the second part of a sentence conflicts with the first part. Take a look at this sentence: “The trial attorney was known for his grandiloquent speeches in the courtroom; however, his demeanor was ____ while spending time at home with his family.” The word “however” in the sentence should signal a student to look for an answer option that means the opposite of “grandiloquent.” Alternatively, a student who sees the words “moreover” or “similarly” in a sentence should bear in mind that these words indicate agreement.

Students looking for other useful GRE sentence completion tips may want to try coming up with a few words that would fit logically into a sentence. After thinking of a short list of words, students can peruse the answer options to find two words that are similar in meaning. Another technique to try as a student participates in GRE sentence equivalence practice is to cross out answer options that would definitely not fit in the sentence.

What Are Text Completion Questions?
GRE text completion questions measure how well students evaluate and interpret reading material. Each GRE text completion question features a short passage. There are one to three blank spaces within the passage, requiring a student to choose the best answer option for each one.

For instance, if there are three blanks in a passage, then a student will have three answer options per blank. Alternatively, if the passage consists of just a single sentence with one blank space, then the student will receive five answer options to choose from. In the end, a student should end up with a passage made up of logical sentences.

How to Master Text Completion Questions
The first step in a student’s approach to a text completion question should be to read the entire passage. This gives a student an idea of the tone and structure of the passage. The next step is to look for words in the passage that can help a student select the answer option that leads to logical sentence completion. GRE questions in this section challenge a student’s ability to consistently create coherent sentences. Some words to look for include “moreover,” “although,” and “however.”

When working on a text completion question, it’s not necessary for students to start with the first blank and finish by finding an answer option that fits the third blank. Sometimes, filling in the blanks out of order can simplify the process of determining the correct answers for each one.

Our staff at Veritas Prep stands ready to help students who want to put forth their best performance on the GRE. At Veritas Prep, we teach our students practical strategies that prepare them for the GRE. Furthermore, students who take advantage of our prep courses learn from instructors who’ve mastered the exam.

We provide expert guidance on all of the questions on this challenging test, including the ones that involve text and sentence completion. GRE courses are available to suit the busy schedules of our students. We give our students the tools they need to excel – contact Veritas Prep today and let us help you master the GRE!

Want to jump-start your GRE preparation? Register to attend one of our upcoming free online GRE Strategy Sessions or check out our variety of GRE Course and Private Tutoring options. And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter!

New Considerations When Applying to Kellogg

Kellogg MBA Admissions GuideThe Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University has recently released its “Facts and Figures” statistics for the new Class of 2018, and boy is it impressive! With record numbers across the board, it is important for prospective MBA candidates to understand what some of these key facts and figures are, as well as what strategic insights about the school can be uncovered from the new numbers.

Record GMAT Score
The first and most prominent metric that jumps out in Kellogg’s “Facts and Figures” is the school’s impressive GMAT average, which has climbed to 728! To put this in context, Kellogg’s 2012 “Facts and Figures” listed their average GMAT score as 708 – 20 points lower than it is today, less than five years later.

Kellogg’s average GMAT score has been rapidly rising every year. In fact, its current number is 2 points higher than Harvard’s last reported average GMAT score, representing a significant change in the school’s approach to admissions as more “numbers driven”. Historically, Kellogg has used a much more holistic approach to admissions, often admitting candidates who may have been “soft” in their GPA or GMAT numbers. While Kellogg remains holistic, it is clear that key quantitative data points, like GMAT scores, have increased in importance.

Record Gender Diversity
Kellogg has always placed an emphasis on gender diversity, both in admissions and within the student community, consistently boasting one of the most active Women’s Business Association and strongest female alumni networks. So Kellogg’s record percentage of women in their program represents a strong actualization of the school’s mission. I suspect Kellogg will continue to take a leadership role in this category and aim to grow their 43% women closer to a 50/50 ratio.

Shrinking the Two-Year Class
Since taking over the helm at Kellogg, Dean Sally Blount has sought to re-balance the school’s two-year and one-year programs – the goal with this approach is to shrink the two-year class and increase the one-year class. This plan is not only a strategic one to attract specific audiences (those for whom the two-year program may not be the best fit) but also, potentially, a functional one that will allow the school to improve the statistics of its two-year program, which is reflected most notably in the advertised class profile.

Interested candidates should use these trends to identify the best program type for their unique profile. Candidates with “softer” data points and a strong business background may want to consider the one-year program as a potential option, given the increasing competitiveness of Kellogg’s two-year program.

Kellogg’s “Facts and Figures” are always a great representation of trends at the school. Use the factors above to develop the optimal strategy for your own application to Kellogg. And for more information on Kellogg, check out Veritas Prep’s Essential Guide to Top Business Schools.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter.

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more articles by him here.

How to Articulate Why You Need an MBA

SAT/ACTPast accomplishments, roles, and career goals tend to dominate the essays of the typical MBA applicant. These factors, alone, tend to take most essays over the word count, and as such, many applicants never actually share the reasons behind the paths they have taken or why they want to pursue an MBA in the first place (unless the essay prompt specifically asks).

Sharing your personal motivations, and the factors that have led to the decision to attend business school, is just as important as identifying your goals. It will help you convincingly show that aside from having the tools to succeed in business school, you also have the motivation to accomplish your post-MBA goals.

Articulating one’s personal motivations is not as easy as it sounds, however. In many cases, applicants feel like attending business school is just where life “took them”. What then are some specific steps to help you articulate why you need an MBA?

Memorable Events
Try recalling the highs and lows of your life, starting from childhood – these can include exciting personal triumphs, heartbreaking failures, and embarrassing mistakes. Such memorable events can  provide the Admissions Committee with great context as to why you want to pursue an MBA.

Turning points for your family – such as experiencing the sudden growth or collapse of the family business – can also be underlying incentives for wanting to attend business school. Highlighting the lessons that were learned from any of these experiences, and sharing how these particular events have helped guide your decisions and career, will help you take the Admissions Committee through your thinking and motivations.

Not only does this exercise help you express what drives you, but it also allows you to paint vivid pictures and present relatable details in your essays. All of these will help bring your application to life and make your overall profile more interesting to your readers.

Significant Feedback 
Another easy way to articulate your reasons for wanting an MBA is to remember the feedback you have received from past mentors, supervisors, or peers at work. Recalling this could help you explain why you got promoted or what allowed you to accomplish certain tasks at work, and can even help you identify areas for personal development than an MBA would help you achieve.

Articulating the feedback you have received from others will show the Admissions Committee that you are self-aware, receptive to constructive feedback, and able to plan your next steps clearly (including the step to achieve an MBA).

Epiphanies Experienced
Finally, recollect the experiences that opened your eyes to opportunities that you eventually took on during your career. These could include world travels, extracurricular activities, or work you did in a new or challenging environment that have led you down the MBA path.

For instance, I once worked with a Canadian applicant who shared how travelling to Latin America made him realize the continent’s promising potential for his business venture. Sharing this epiphany allowed the Admissions Committee to understand why he wanted to pursue a global MBA, and also displayed his open-mindedness, reinforcing the credibility of his claim that he would greatly benefit from the multi-cultural environment of business school.

The above steps are all good starting points, but to probe deeper, it would be beneficial to have someone who can help you ask yourself the right questions (perhaps a Veritas Prep Consultant?).

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! And as always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Written by Edison Cu, a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for INSEAD. You can read more articles by him here

Getting Your GRE Scores

Letter of RecommendationMost students who plan to take the GRE have a number of questions about the exam. One of the most common questions is, “When will I receive my test scores?” Also, students want to know how to get GRE scores sent to the schools they are applying to. Other students want to find out about the sections and the scoring system on the GRE. Let’s look at the answers to these questions, along with others related to this important exam.

Test Sections and Scoring on the GRE
Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing are the three sections on the GRE. Questions in the Verbal Reasoning section measure a student’s skills in understanding and evaluating written material. The Quantitative Reasoning section contains geometry, algebra, arithmetic, and other basic math problems. The Analytical Writing section requires students to write an issue essay as well as an argument essay. These essays reveal a student’s critical thinking skills and ability to write in a clear, organized way.

Students can score from 130 to 170 points on the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections. Scores for both of these sections are in one-point increments. Alternatively, students can earn from zero to six points on the Analytical Writing section of the GRE. This section is scored in half-point increments.

Getting GRE Scores
Before leaving the testing location, students who take the computer-delivered GRE have the opportunity to see their unofficial scores for the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections. However, Analytical Writing scores are not available on test day – 10 to 15 days after test day, students can find out their official scores via the account they opened to register for the GRE. Alternatively, those who take the paper-delivered version of the GRE must wait six weeks before having access to their official test scores.

Students who prepare for the GRE with Veritas Prep are very likely to be happy with their test scores. Our students receive instruction from professional tutors who have taken the GRE with great success! Our instructors can offer students inside tips to help them conquer every test question. We also review practice test results with students so they can study in an efficient, logical way. At Veritas Prep, we combine first-rate instruction with excellent study resources to give our students the tools they need to get GRE scores they can be proud of.

Sending GRE Scores to Schools
Students headed to graduate school know the importance of getting GRE scores to the schools they want to apply to. A student who takes the computer-delivered version of the GRE will have their scores sent out to schools approximately 10 to 15 days after the testing date. Students who take the traditional paper version of the GRE will have their test scores sent to schools about six weeks after taking the test. All students receive a notification when their test scores have been sent out to the schools on their list.

How to Get GRE Scores Sent to Additional Schools
Students who register to take the exam can get GRE scores sent to as many as four schools – this is included in the test fee. But what if a student wants to send scores to more than four schools? Students can go online to order additional score reports or arrange for them via fax or mail. There is a fee for each additional score report.

Information Displayed on a Score Report
There are several pieces of information on a student’s score report. A student’s name and other basic contact information are on the report, as well as when the person took the GRE. A student’s GRE score and percentile rank are also on their score report. Score reports sent to schools feature a student’s contact information, test date, intended focus of study, GRE scores, and percentile rank.

At Veritas Prep, we offer a variety of tutoring options for the GRE so you can be satisfied with your score. We have both online and in-person courses available so students can choose the best study option for them. Our students receive the instruction and encouragement they need to earn their best possible score on the GRE!

Want to jump-start your GRE preparation? Register to attend one of our upcoming free online GRE Strategy Sessions or check out our variety of GRE Course and Private Tutoring options. And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter!

How to Create a Breakthrough Business School Application Resume

InterviewProspective MBA students spend a lot of time on a variety of things to prepare their application packages. Some application prep – like studying for the GMAT or drafting responses for essay questions – takes up a disproportionate amount of time for the typical candidate. However, the application component most admissions committee reps look at first is, in fact, the professional resume.

Wait, so the GMAT score you have spent hours studying to achieve and your meticulously crafted essays that are now on draft #89 from revisions aren’t looked at right away, but that resume that has gone unedited since you last interviewed for your most recent job is?

Your professional resume represents one of the most important aspects of your candidacy, and is your first opportunity to make a positive impression on the Admissions Committee. Let’s explore a few ways you can create a breakthrough resume for your business school application:

Stick to a Clear Structure:
Having a clean and consistent structure is probably the first thing a reviewer will notice after opening your resume, so make sure whatever format you use is consistent and readable. Avoid over-packing your resume and leaving no white space. Also, do not treat your resume like a book report – this document should not exceed one page, so exercise the skill of brevity and keep it concise, including only the most relevant bullets.

Share Accomplishments, Not Tasks:
Your resume is not your job description! The Admissions Committee is looking to learn what you have accomplished in your career, so avoid simply highlighting your day-to-day tasks. MBA programs want to create classes of accomplished students who can leverage their programs to take the next step in their career trajectory. If you only communicate the tasks that were outlined when you first took on your role, then this makes your case for admission to these classes much less compelling.

Again, do not feel like you need to include everything you have ever done over the course of your career in your resume. Focus on the accomplishments that resonate the most and that you have most directly been a part of, keeping in mind to highlight important interpersonal skills like leadership and teamwork in your descriptions.

Show Your Impact:
The MBA application is all about impact, and your resume is one of the best opportunities you have to show this. You should aim to make sure each bullet in your resume holds some form of significance.

Of course, the more quantifiable the results of your impact, the better, but do not feel you have to limit your resume to only numbers. Qualitative influence is also important to mention, and will be well received by the Admissions Committee if framed properly. For some, quantifying the specifics of their resume can be challenging – if you fall into this bucket, then using reasonable estimates of your impact can also work, and will provide the Admissions Committee with greater context of your experiences than simply avoiding this all together.

Don’t treat your business school application resume as an afterthought; make sure you include the elements above to maximize your chances for admissions success.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter.

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more articles by him here.

Quarter Wit, Quarter Wisdom: A GMAT Quant Question That Troubles Many!

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomWhat determines whether or not a question can be considered a GMAT question? We know that GMAT questions that are based on seemingly basic concepts can be camouflaged such that they may “appear” to be very hard. Is it true that a question requiring a lot of intricate calculations will not be tested in GMAT? Yes, however it is certainly possible that a question may “appear” to involve a lot of calculations, but can actually be solved without any!

In the same way, it is possible that a question may appear to be testing very obscure concepts, while it is really solvable by using only basic ones.

This happens with one of our own practice questions – we have often heard students exclaim that this problem isn’t relevant to the GMAT since it “tests an obscure number property”. It is a question that troubles many people, so we decided to tackle it in today’s post.

We can easily solve this problem with just some algebraic manipulation, without needing to know any obscure properties! Let’s take a look:

† and ¥ represent non-zero digits, and (†¥)² – (¥†)² is a perfect square. What is that perfect square?

(A) 121
(B) 361
(C) 576
(D) 961
(E) 1,089

The symbols † and ¥ are confusing to work with, so the first thing we will do is replace them with the variables A and B.

The question then becomes: A and B represent non-zero digits, and (AB)² – (BA)² is a perfect square. What is that perfect square?

As I mentioned before, we have heard students complain that this question isn’t relevant to the GMAT because it “uses an obscure number property”.  Now here’s the thing – most advanced number property questions CAN be solved in a jiffy using some obscure number property such as, “If you multiply a positive integer by its 22nd multiple, the product will be divisible by …” etc. However, those questions are not actually about recalling these so-called “properties” – they are about figuring out the properties using some generic technique, such as pattern recognition.

For this question, the complaint is often that is that the question tests the property, “(x + y)*(x – y) (where x and y are two digit mirror image positive integers) is a multiple of 11 and 9.” It doesn’t! Here is how we should solve this problem, instead:

Given the term (AB)^2, where A and B are digits, how will you square this while keeping the variables A and B?

Let’s convert (AB)^2 to (10A + B)^2, because A is simply the placeholder for the tens digit of the number. If you are not sure about this, consider the following:

58 = 50 + 8 = 10*5 + 8
27 = 20 + 7 = 10*2 + 7

Along those same lines:

AB = 10A + B
BA = 10B + A

Going back to our original question:

(AB)^2 – (BA)^2
= (10A + B)^2 – (10B + A)^2
= (10A)^2 + B^2 + 2*10A*B – (10B)^2 – A^2 – 2*10B*A
= 99A^2 – 99B^2
= 9*11*(A^2 – B^2)

We know now that the expression is a multiple of 9 and 11. We would not have known this beforehand. Now we’ll just use the answer choices to figure out the solution. Only 1,089 is a multiple of both 9 and 11, so the answer must be E.

We hope you see that this question is not as hard as it seems. Don’t get bogged down by unknown symbols – just focus on the next logical step at each stage of the problem.

Getting ready to take the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter!

Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!

GMAT Tip of the Week: As You Debate Over Answer Choices… Just Answer The Freaking Question!

GMAT Tip of the WeekIf you’re like many – to the dismay of the NFL and the advertising industry – you’re planning to watch another presidential debate this coming Sunday. And just like Trump-Clinton I and Pence-Kaine earlier this week, this debate will provide plenty of opportunities to be annoyed, frustrated, and disappointed…but it will also provide an ever-important lesson about the GMAT.

It’s no surprise that candidate approval ratings are low for the same reason that far too many GMAT scores are lower than candidates would hope. Why?

People don’t directly answer the question.

This is incredibly common in the debates, where the poor moderators are helpless against the talking points and stump speeches of the candidates. The public then suffers because people cannot get direct answers to the questions that matter. This is also very common on the GMAT, where students will invest the time in critical thought and calculation, and then levy an answer that just doesn’t hit the mark. Consider the example:

Donald has $520,000 in campaign money available to spend on advertising for the month of October, and his advisers are telling him that he should spend a minimum of $360,000 in the battleground states of Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina. If he plans to spend the minimum amount in battleground states to appease his advisers, plus impress his friends by a big ad spend specific to New York City (and then he will skip advertising in the rest of the country), how much money will he have remaining if he wants 20% of his ad spend to take place in New York City?

(A) $45,000
(B) $52,000
(C) $70,000
(D) $90,000
(E) $104,000

As people begin to calculate, it’s common to try to determine all of the facets of Donald’s ad spend. If he’s spending only the $360,000 in battleground states plus the 20% he’ll spend in New York City, then $360,000 will represent 80% of his total ad spend. If $360,000 = 0.8(Total), then the total will be $450,000. That means that he’ll spend $90,000 in New York City. Which is answer choice D…but that’s not the question!

The question asked for how much of his campaign money would be left over, so the calculation you need to focus on is the $520,000 he started with minus the $450,000 he spent for a total of $70,000, answer choice C. And in a larger context, you can learn a major lesson from Wharton’s most famous alumnus: it’s not enough for your answer to be related to the question. On the GMAT, you must answer the question directly! So make sure that you:

  1. Double check which portion of a word problem the question asked for. Don’t be relieved when your algebra spits out “a” number. Make sure it’s “the” number.
  2. Be careful with Strengthen/Weaken Critical Reasoning problems. A well-written Strengthen problem will likely have a good Weaken answer choice, and vice-versa.
  3. In algebra problems, make sure to identify the proper variable (or combination of variables if they ask, for example “What is 6x – y?”).
  4. With Data Sufficiency problems, pay attention to the exact values being asked for. One of the most common mistakes that people make is saying that a statement is insufficient because they’re looking to fill in all variables, when actually it is sufficient to answer the exact combination that the test asked for.

As you watch the debate this weekend, notice (How could you not?) how absurd it is that the candidates just about never directly answer the question…and then vow to not make the same mistake on your GMAT exam.

Getting ready to take the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter!

By Brian Galvin.

How to Omit Unnecessary Words in Your MBA Application Essays

writing essayThe book Elements of Style, by Strunk and White, has long been known as an excellent source of information about elements of the English language and an overall guide to writing style.

Some of the most practical tips that are discussed in this book will also be useful in writing your MBA application essays:

Respect Space and Attention
Not only are the spaces you are given to write your business school essays constrained by the given word count, but the attention span of the Admissions Committee (who will be reviewing your applications) is also rather short. Using unnecessary words dilutes the impact of the most powerful parts of your essays, the same way adding water to a perfectly blended coffee would dilute the drink.

Being respectful of word limits and the valuable time of the reader should help provide you with some discipline, allowing you to cut down on unrelated tangents and lengthy deliveries as you edit your writing.

Write for a Broad Audience
Taking into account that your reader may be someone who does not hold an MBA himself – and even more likely, holds a background outside your specific field – avoid using industry jargon and company-specific references while writing. These details are needless words that will only bore, and potentially even alienate, your readers. Instead, write with a broader audience in mind, focusing your essays on your impact on people, your company as a whole and events, rather than on finite, technical details of your work and accomplishments.

Focusing on only the style of your writing, especially by showing off an overly-immense vocabulary, can also distract from your message, just like the 2013 movie, The Counselor. (Chances are you haven’t even seen this movie, and that just makes my point!)

With a top-caliber cast and crew, this film disappointed critics and the box-office alike – with names like Brad Pitt, Cormac McCarthy, Ridley Scott, Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, and Cameron Diaz associated with the film, it was a wonder that a movie could fail so badly. However, word-of-mouth from most moviegoers and critics was often unnecessarily long-winded and boring. Thus, the film’s vast talents and materials at its disposal were wasted.

Just as a successful box-office hit will keep a wider audience engaged while still delivering its message powerfully and subtly, your essays should present your personal story well to all readers, and make the Admissions Committee root for your triumph.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! And as always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Written by Edison Cu, a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for INSEAD. You can read more articles by him here

How to Effectively Prepare for the Analytical Writing Portion of the GRE

Keep Calm Write FastThe analytical writing section is one of the three parts of the GRE. Students are asked to write two different types of essays for this section. These essays reveal a student’s ability to understand what an author is conveying, organize ideas in a logical way, use specific examples to support their ideas, and write in a clear, concise manner. Let’s examine how to prepare for analytical writing, GRE essay tips, and more:

The Analytical Writing Section on the GRE
Students are required to write an issue essay and an argument essay for the GRE. For the issue essay, students must read a statement about a familiar topic. Then, they write an essay explaining whether they agree or disagree with the statement. Students should use specific examples to support their position.

For the argument essay, students must read and analyze an argument put forth by an author. Then, they write an essay proving that the argument is either logical or illogical based on specific examples from the text – the argument essay does not ask the student to agree or disagree with the author’s statement. It’s important for students to read the specific instructions that accompany both the issue and argument essays on the GRE.

Writing Practice Essays
There are several things students can do to prep for this section of the GRE. Analytical writing practice is very helpful for students who want to become more adept at creating both types of essays. It’s a good idea to start the process by making an outline that highlights the important points that a student wants to include in an essay. Then, a student can refer to the outline to stay on track while writing.

Students are given 30 minutes to write each of the essays for the GRE. Analytical writing practice should include using a timer to make sure that a student can finish writing an essay in the allotted amount of time. Of course, a student must factor in the time it takes to read the author’s statement, create an outline, and complete the essay itself. Getting the timing right can take some of the stress out of writing the essays on test day.

Examine Successful GRE Essays
Along with writing practice essays for the GRE, analytical writing preparation should include reading essays that received high scores on the exam. Students can look at the various components of these essays as well as how they are organized to get an idea of what test graders are looking for.

Some students may find it beneficial to use a high-scoring essay as a guide as they practice writing their own issue and argument essays. For many students, it’s useful to see the arrangement of ideas in these high-scoring essays. Often, students who write these successful essays follow a very simple outline that any student can use.

Learning New Vocabulary Words
Another important part of GRE analytical writing preparation is learning how to use appropriate words to get a point across in an essay. Students can expand their vocabulary by reading newspaper and magazine articles to become familiar with commonly used words and their definitions. Some students make flashcards to help them learn these new vocabulary words. In addition, a student has the opportunity to read well-crafted sentences in these types of publications.

Students can also benefit from looking at the vocabulary words used in essays that received high scores on the GRE. Even if students don’t use all of these newly-learned words in their GRE essays, they may use them in future assignments and papers written for graduate school courses. In short, it’s always beneficial for a student to add to their supply of vocabulary words.

At Veritas Prep, we teach our students how to prepare for analytical writing. GRE test-takers who study with us get the tools and confidence they need to write high-scoring essays. Each of our online GRE tutors earned an impressive score on the exam – this means we have the inside track on the analytical writing section, as well as every other section of the test! We teach students practical strategies that allow them to show off their essay-writing skills on the GRE. Contact our offices to sign up for one of our effective GRE prep classes today!

Want to jump-start your GRE preparation? Register to attend one of our upcoming free online GRE Strategy Sessions or check out our variety of GRE Course and Private Tutoring options. And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter!

4 Factors to Discuss With Your Partner Before Applying to Business School

scottbloomdecisionsFor many, applying to business school is not just about attending the best school or landing the fanciest, highest-paying job. Other considerations should factor into the decision of which schools to apply to. For those with significant others, discussions about these considerations are important to surviving not only the business school application process, but also the two-year journey after you are admitted. Let’s discuss a few of the topics that should be considered with your significant other before applying:

1) Moving
One of the hardest decisions for many applicants to make is whether or not to move away from their partner when they go to business school. People are often very rooted in their current location for a variety of reasons, which may include proximity to family and friends, employment opportunities, or just general preference.

The decision to move is an important one, as business school can be an amazing shared experience for a couple to have, but will also a very hectic time for the student. Between attending classes and other school functions, spending time with their classmates and networking with recruiters, MBA students often have little time to spend with their significant others, even if their partners are local.

2) Finances
How are you paying for your MBA? Can your family or relationship last the financial pressures of one person being enrolled as a full-time student? These are just a few of the questions that should be discussed prior to making the leap to business school. Finances have always played a huge role in the vitality of relationships, and the additional stress a misalignment of income may cause during an already stressful period could have even worse implications.

3) Career Trajectory
Are you and your partner both aligned on the applicant’s post-MBA career path. This may seem like an innocuous issue, but all career paths are not created equal. Considering the historic reputations of certain career paths as being time intensive (such as investment banking and management consulting), make sure your partner is truly on board with your MBA journey. It is important for both parties to understand how things will change post-graduation and to make the proper decision based on this information.

4) Location
Spending two years in Cambridge, Massachusetts and spending two years in Palo Alto, California will lead to fairly different geographic experiences. From the weather to the culture to the food to distance from family, where you and your partner spend your two years during business school is an important consideration. Hash out your preferences early on to best set up your application strategy.

Applying to business school is a family decision and should be treated as such. So make sure you consider the above factors as you vet your decision to pursue an MBA.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter.

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more articles by him here.

AP Biology Tutoring for High School Students

i-have-no-idea-what-im-doing-science-dog1In many high schools, students can take advanced placement courses in several different subjects. One of those subjects is biology. Taking an AP biology course in high school may allow you to earn college credit. This is especially appealing if you want to get a head start on completing all of your required courses.

If you decide to take an AP biology course, you may want to consider getting a tutor. An AP biology tutor can help to boost your performance. Study for AP biology with a tutor to improve the odds of a high score!

Enjoy a Different Perspective
A tutor can offer you different ways to look at a challenging topic. For instance, if you’re having trouble understanding a particular concept in genetics, your tutor may be able to suggest different ways of approaching it. Sometimes looking at a topic in an unfamiliar way can lead to better understanding. There’s a good chance that your tutor will be able to offer some strategies that contribute to your understanding of a puzzling concept.

Our AP tutors at Veritas Prep are both experienced and knowledgeable. When you work with one of our professional AP biology tutors, you’re studying with someone who has mastered the subject. We believe it’s best to learn from the experts!

When you have an AP biology tutor, you’re likely to feel a stronger sense of accountability. A sense of accountability helps you to keep up with all of your coursework and take excellent notes during class. Plus, you want to get the most out of each session with your tutor.

After signing up with Veritas Prep, you’ll meet with an experienced tutor to discuss your goals. As you achieve each goal, you’ll gain more confidence in your ability to master the material in your AP biology course. Furthermore, you’ll feel prepared to take the AP test and move a step closer to starting college on the right foot.

A More Efficient Way of Learning
By definition, students taking an AP biology course are completing more challenging work than students taking a typical biology course. The material is covered at a faster rate to give you a taste of what you’ll experience in college courses. Working with an AP biology tutor gives you an extra advantage when navigating this course. A tutor can convey lessons and tips in a way that flows with your learning style. This adds a tremendous amount of efficiency to the process of learning and reviewing any type of class material.

Focused, Individual Attention
A big benefit of working with a tutor for AP biology is that you will receive individual attention. For instance, perhaps you’ve written down several questions to ask your AP biology teacher at school, but when the class period ends, the teacher doesn’t have time to sit down with you to address them.

With our AP biology tutors, you won’t have to worry about that. Your tutor can help you get answers to all of your questions so you can continue to perform well in class. Also, a tutor can review the lessons with you to ensure your understanding of them.

Tutors at Veritas Prep understand the amount of work that is expected of students in an AP biology class, and we know that a tutor who provides individual attention can sometimes be the difference between a student’s partial and full understanding of a biology lesson.

Encouragement and Support
Of course, the responsibility of your tutor is to instruct you in biology and provide you with guided practice that helps you to fully understand the topics. In addition, your AP biology tutor can supply you with the encouragement and support you need, especially as you tackle extraordinarily challenging material. At Veritas Prep, we are proud to have AP biology tutors who serve as supportive study partners to students like you.

We provide you with first-rate study resources and tutoring so you can conquer even the most difficult lessons in your AP biology course. Also, our talented instructors are more than ready to prep you for the AP exam for biology. We put the element of convenience into our services so you can choose a tutoring option that fits your schedule. Contact our offices today to start working toward straight A’s in AP biology.

How to Use the Pythagorean Theorem With a Circle

Pie ChartIt does not surprise anyone when they learn that the properties of circles are tested on the GMAT. Most test-takers will nod and rattle off the relevant equations by rote: Area = Π*radius ^2; Circumference  = 2Π* radius; etc. However, many of my students are caught off guard to learn that the equation for a circle on the coordinate plane is our good friend the Pythagorean theorem. Why on earth would an equation for a right triangle describe a circle?

Take a look at the following diagram in which a circle is centered on the origin (0,0) in the coordinate plane:

DG Circle 1








Designate a random point on the circle (x,y.) If we draw a line from the center of the circle to x,y, that line is a radius of the circle. Call it r. If we drop a line down from (x,y) to the x-axis, we’ll have a right triangle:

DG Blog 2









Note that the base of the triangle is x, and the height of the triangle is y. So now we have our Pythagorean theorem: x^2 + y^2 = r^2. This is also the equation for a circle centered on the origin on the coordinate plane. [The more general equation for a circle with a center (a,b) is (x-a)^2 + (y-b)^2 = r^2. When a circle is centered on the origin, (a,b) is simply (0,0.)]

This ends up being an immensely useful tool to use on the GMAT. Take the following question, for example:

A certain circle in the xy-plane has its center at the origin. If P is a point on the circle, what is the sum of the squares of the coordinates of P?

(1) The radius of the circle is 4
(2) The sum of the coordinates of P is 0

So let’s draw this, designating P as (x,y):

DG Blog 3







Now we draw our trust right triangle by dropping a line down from P to the x-axis, which will give us this:

DG Blog 4







We’re looking for x^2 + y^2. Hopefully, at this point, you notice what the question is going for – because we have a right triangle, x^2 + y^2 = r^2, meaning that all we need is the radius!

Statement 1 is pretty straightforward – if r = 4, we can insert this into our equation of x^2 + y^2 = r^2 to get x^2 + y^2 = 4^2. So x^2 + y^2 = 16. Clearly, this is sufficient.

Now look at Statement 2. If the sum of x and y is 0, we can say x = 1 and y = -1 or x = 2 and y = -2 or x = 100 and y = -100, etc. Each of these will yield a different value for x^2 + y^2, so this statement alone is clearly not sufficient. Our answer is A.

Takeaway: any shape can appear on the coordinate plane. If the shape in question is a circle, remember to use the Pythagorean theorem as your equation for the circle, and what would have been a challenging question becomes a tasty piece of baklava. (We are talking about principles elucidated by the ancient Greeks, after all.)

Plan on taking the GMAT soon? We have GMAT prep courses starting all the time. And be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter!

By David Goldstein, a Veritas Prep GMAT instructor based in Boston. You can find more articles written by him here.

Applying to Business School: Tips for Older MBA Applicants

MBA EssaysWhile researching potential MBA programs, many applicants find themselves older than the typical student at their target school. Thus, they ask themselves whether they should still bother to apply, and how they should distinguish themselves from younger business school applicants

As with any MBA candidate, statistics such as GPA and GMAT score do matter, however the emphasis on these quantitative aspects of the application is somewhat shifted for older candidates to the factors discussed below. Although these are important factors for candidates of any age to keep in mind, they are more critical for older ones to use to their advantage:

Display Greater Focus
If you are an older MBA applicant, the Admissions Committee will expect you to be more mature. As such, you should show greater self-awareness and display more specific direction than younger applicants do. Clearly identify why you need an MBA, what you want to pursue post-MBA, and how the specific program you are applying to will help you achieve those goals. These goals could include personal development, knowledge gaps that you need to fill, and courses you are looking forward to take.

Discussing your future goals in a focused way is especially important if you are applying to one-year programs, as you will not have as much time during these programs to feel your way around or explore. You will want to present to the Admissions Committee that you know what you need, and that you know how you will use what their program offers.

Leverage Wealth of Interesting Experiences
As an older candidate, you will likely have gone through more experiences at work, in life, and in the community. Interesting experiences could range from exciting strategic shifts to crisis management. Using the knowledge you have gained from these episodes and their aftermath as fodder for your essays not only allows you to highlight your personal qualities and how you have developed, but also to show what you can contribute to classroom discussions.

MBA programs consider the diversity of experiences, perspectives, and networks their students bring to campus to be assets. With more professional and life experiences under your belt, use these to differentiate and strengthen yourself from other, less-experienced candidates.

Play Up Leadership Abilities & Expertise
At this point, it will also help to showcase how you have been able to lead teams, accomplish goals, or mentor others. Even if your official job responsibilities do not directly involved leadership over others, you can still highlight leadership experiences at work, and at your extracurricular activities, in other ways.

You may share the realizations you have gained through your leadership experiences and how they have impacted your leadership style, as well as the motivations behind them. Relate how an MBA will further develop these and help you make an impact on the world around you. You may also identify specific valuable expertise that you can contribute and that your peers can leverage in the classroom, especially if these are in a rare field.

Doing all of the above will present you as someone who will use his or her vast experiences to enrich the experiences of their peers, and of the school community, as a whole.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! And as always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Written by Edison Cu, a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for INSEAD. 

Prove That You’re Ready for College by Taking AP Classes

AP CoursesYou know when parents say things like, “If Riley and Maya jumped off a cliff, would you?” Of course you wouldn’t – you just want to be allowed to (take public transportation alone, go to a concert, etc.) like Riley and Maya. Well, AP classes are definitely something you want to be doing if Riley and Maya are doing them – and this time, your parents will agree. If you are applying to competitive colleges, you can’t afford to be the only applicant without AP classes on your transcript.

What are AP classes?
AP classes are essentially “high school classes on steroids”. By taking AP classes, you’re showing college admissions officers that you can perform at a higher level than the average student at your school, and that you are ready for the big show – college.

For example, you can take a standard high school US History class and become really annoyed with concepts like tariffs and accept that the British are pretty lame. Or, you can challenge yourself by taking AP European History. The subject matter will be more in-depth and you will become an avid tea drinker in order to fully immerse yourself in the European way (plus, you may need the tea to stay up late studying).

AP classes come with a specially trained teacher, increased critical thinking, and more work. If you perform well, it also means a higher-than-4.0 GPA and a more impressive college application.

What are AP exams?
Because AP classes are designed to be on par with college classes, you can take official AP exams offered by The College Board that will prove you should earn real college credit for your studies. If you’re taking AP classes, these exams are imperative because they can allow you to possibly bypass general education courses in college.

Essentially, AP classes will save you money and free up time to volunteer for worthy causes  – at least this is what you will say on your application. In reality, you will probably use your free time to nap.

AP exams are scored on a one to five scale. Aim to score at least a four if you are planning to apply to competitive colleges. Fun fact: you are able to take AP exams without having been enrolled in their respective AP classes, so even if your school does not offer AP courses, you can still study up on a particular subject to take its AP exam.

Will all colleges accept my AP work as college credit?
Some will and some won’t. It is important to research each college you are applying to and find out exactly how AP classes and exams translate to that particular school.

Harvard, for example, does not offer college credit for AP classes on a one-to-one basis. However, Harvard does use AP exam results for course placement, as well as to give students the opportunity to apply for Advance Standing – meaning you can graduate in three years instead of the traditional four.

The University of California (UC) system, on the other hand, does count AP classes as elective college credits as long as you score a three or higher on the official exam (to be a competitive applicant, you should still aim to score a four or five). Additionally, UC schools will allow you to use AP classes to bypass introductory college courses.

What if my high school doesn’t offer AP classes?
Some high schools offer only a few AP classes while others may offer none. College admissions officers review your transcript while also evaluating what academic opportunities you had at your high school, so they will know whether you were actually able to take AP courses or not.

Even if your high school doesn’t offer AP classes, you can still show admissions officers that you’re ready for college-level work by enrolling in courses at your local community college. And if transportation is an issue, many community colleges offer courses online.

What about IB courses?
The International Baccalaureate (IB) program is offered at schools worldwide, though it is not nearly as popular in the United States as it is in other countries. Like AP classes, the IB coursework is more rigorous than standard high school classwork, and by scoring well on an IB exam, you can earn college credit and/or advanced placement. You can learn more about IB courses here.

So I need to prepare for AP exams and the SAT/ACT?
Basically, yes. Aside from studying for these exams, however, you also need to do well in your other schoolwork and still have time for extracurricular activities, sports and prom. Fortunately, Veritas Prep is here to help you prepare for your exams and consult you on your time management.

Veritas Prep college consultants and tutors can work with you to create an in-depth timeline and help you plan class schedules so that you are taking all the right steps during your high school career. Riley and Maya have already signed up!

Do you need help with your college applications? Visit our College Admissions website and fill out our FREE Profile Evaluation for personalized feedback on your unique background! And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+, and Twitter!

Quarter Wit, Quarter Wisdom: Try to Answer This GMAT Challenge Question!

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomToday, we will give you a GMAT challenge question. The challenge of reviewing this question is not that the question is hard to understand – it is that you will need to solve this official question within a minute using minimum calculations.

Let’s take a look at the question stem:

Date of Transaction

Type of Transaction

June 11

Withdrawal of $350

June 16

Withdrawal of $500

June 21

Deposit of x dollars

For a certain savings account, the table shows the three transactions for the month of June. The daily balance for the account was recorded at the end of each of the 30 days in June. If the daily balance was $1,000 on June 1 and if the average (arithmetic mean) of the daily balances for June was $1,000, what was the amount of the deposit on June 21?

(A) $1,000
(B) $1,150
(C) $1,200
(D) $1,450
(E) $1,600

Think about how you might answer this question:

The average of daily balances = (Balance at the end of June 1 + Balance at the end of June 2 + … + Balance at the end of June 30) / 30 = 1000

Now we have been given the only three transactions that took place:

  • A withdrawal of $350 on June 11 – so on June 11, the account balance goes down to $650.
  • A withdrawal of $500 on June 16 – so on June 16, the account balance goes down to $150.
  • A deposit of $x on June 21 – So on June 21, the account balance goes up to 150 + x.

Now we can plug in these numbers to say the average of daily balances = [1000 + 1000 + …(for 10 days, from June 1 to June 10) + 650 + 650 + … (for 5 days, from June 11 to June 15) +  150 + … (for 5 days, from June 16 to June 20) + (150 + x) + (150 + x) + … (for 10 days, from June 21 to June 30)] / 30 = 1000

One might then end up doing this calculation to find the value of x:

[(1000 * 10) + (650 * 5) + (150 * 5) + ((150 + x) * 10)] / 30 = 1000
x = $1,450
The answer is D.

But this calculation is rather tedious and time consuming. Can’t we use the deviation method we discussed for averages and weighted averages, instead? After all, we are dealing with large values here! How?

Note that we are talking about the average of certain data values. Also, we know the deviations from those data values:

  • The amount from June 11 to June 30 is 350 less.
  • The amount from June 16 to June 30 is another 500 less.
  • The amount from June 21 to June 30 is x in excess.

Through the deviation method, we can see the shortfall = the excess:

350 * 20 + 500 * 15 = x * 10
x = 1,450 (D)

This simplifies our calculation dramatically! Though saving only one minute on a question like this may not seem like a very big deal, saving a minute on every question by using a more efficient method could be the difference between a good Quant score and a great Quant score!

Getting ready to take the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter!

Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!

How to Prepare for the GMAT at Home: Online GMAT Prep

GMATWhen you think about preparing for the GMAT, you may picture yourself sitting in a classroom with others who plan to take the exam. This is one way to go about it, but there are other effective ways to prep for this challenging test, too.

For those who are pressed for time or are worried that the GMAT will be a tough exam to prepare for, GMAT online courses may be the answer. This is an especially convenient option if you work full-time and cannot commit to attending a traditional prep class at a specific time each week. With a bit of planning, it’s entirely possible, or even preferable, to successfully complete your GMAT preparation online.

Set Up an Effective Study Environment
When you decide on online preparation for the GMAT, you must set up an environment that enables you to focus on your studies and get into a serious mindset. This means turning off the television, radio, and CD player in your study room. Also, look for other distractions around the room. Do you have a large window where you can see people and cars on the street? You may want to close the curtains during study time to avoid the temptation of people-watching.

In addition, let others in your household know when you plan to study and ask them to avoid knocking on your door during that time. Clear space on your desk so you have enough room for your computer and all of the other study materials you need. Then, you can try going it alone, or you can work your way through the thorough program of online GMAT preparation at Veritas Prep. In our online courses, we show you how to think like the test-maker! Setting up a quiet, organized study area before you start can help you to get the most out of your instruction and private study time.

Complete a Practice Exam
Completing a practice exam is a critical part of getting ready for the GMAT. Online preparation is more effective when you are aware of both your strongest and weakest subjects. At Veritas Prep, we provide you with the opportunity to take a free exam to gauge your skill level in all four sections of the test. Furthermore, we supply you with a score report and performance analysis so you have a detailed picture of the specific topics to work on. When you prepare for the GMAT with a Veritas Prep tutor, they will review your practice test results with you. We’ll help you approach each subject with practical strategies that can improve your performance on test day.

Craft a Study Schedule Based on Practice Test Results
Making an organized, logical study schedule is another key element of successful GMAT preparation online. You must decide how many hours you’re going to dedicate to GMAT study each day. For example, you may put aside four hours a day, five days a week for study. Another person may study for two hours per day, seven days a week. The study schedule you create depends on your other daily obligations.

When drafting a schedule, it’s helpful to vary the subjects you study each day. For instance, if your practice test results reveal that you need to focus your attention on Reading Comprehension as well as Algebra questions, you could assign one of those topics to Tuesdays and Thursdays and the other to Mondays and Wednesdays. This can help you to maintain interest in your GMAT studies.

Make Note of Any Puzzling Questions
It’s not uncommon for questions to come up as you are studying for the different sections of the GMAT. Online preparation with Veritas Prep means you can access one of our instructors to ask questions on any day of the week; you don’t have to wait for your next online tutoring session to get your pressing questions answered. Sometimes a simple answer to one question can provide the understanding you need to master a concept on the GMAT.

If you’d like to study online for the GMAT, we can make it happen at Veritas Prep! Each of our capable GMAT instructors achieved a score on the exam that landed them into the 99th percentile of test-takers. Simply put, we believe that our students should learn from the best! Our team of instructors at Veritas Prep is ready to help you master your online courses and ace the GMAT. Contact our offices and sign up to start studying today!

Plan on taking the GMAT soon? We have GMAT prep courses starting all the time. And be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter!

Extracurricular Activity Suggestions for MBA Students

ExtracurricularsMost people who decide to pursue an MBA understand that business schools are looking for well-qualified candidates. Admissions officials want to know about a candidate’s academic accomplishments, professional life, and career goals. Extracurricular activities also play an important part of a business school application. Some activities for MBA students can highlight skills and talents a person can use in business school.

Consider some extracurricular activities that can help an individual stand out in a crowd of business school applicants:

Organizing a Fundraising Activity at Work
Fundraising is one of the most rewarding extracurricular activities for MBA candidates. For example, a person can enlist the help of colleagues to organize an auction to raise money for a local homeless shelter, or a person may want to organize an employee challenge that brings some fun into the workplace and raises money for a local organization at the same time. Organizing any kind of fundraising activity at work highlights a person’s management and leadership skills. Plus, this sort of activity can raise a lot of money for a worthy cause in the community.

Mentoring a Teenager
Mentoring a young person is one of the most popular extracurricular activities for MBA applicants. A candidate dedicates a certain amount of hours each week to taking a preteen or teenager on outings in the community. Not surprisingly, a mentor can help build the confidence level of a young person. Also, a mentor is a constant source of encouragement and support in a child’s life – a mentor can help with school work or even influence some big decisions made by the teen. Furthermore, a mentor can guide a teenager as they decide on a career path. Business school admissions officials recognize the time, dedication, and leadership it takes to mentor a young person.

Studying a Musical Instrument
An impressive list of MBA activities can also include playing a musical instrument. For example, a person may note that they have studied the clarinet for five years. This shows dedication to perfecting their skills on the clarinet. They may also note that they give free clarinet lessons to three high school students once a week. This reveals their ability to teach others and willingness to share their talents. This is an especially impressive extracurricular when a person has studied a musical instrument for several years.

Coaching a Sports Team
Many effective activities for MBA students are related to sports. For example, a person may coach a local baseball team made up of eight- and nine-year-olds, or a person may coach a track team made up of children with special needs. Participating in these types of extracurricular activities requires strong leadership and management skills. Once again, business school admissions officials will be all the more impressed if the candidate has coached a team for several years.

Teaching a Class
Many management activities for MBA students involve teaching a class. Teaching a GED class to adults is one way for an MBA candidate to show off their leadership skills. Other ideas include teaching a citizenship class, giving swimming lessons, or providing instruction to students who want to learn about business etiquette. Sharing a skill by teaching a class makes for a desirable quality in a business school applicant.

Volunteer Work
A candidate for business school may want to volunteer at a hospital, church, or community center. It’s best for a person to choose a volunteering opportunity that they are really passionate about. Someone who dedicates a few hours or more to volunteer work every week is showing a sense of maturity, responsibility, and concern about the community they live in.

At Veritas Prep, our MBA admissions consultants are experts at providing tips and advice regarding management activities for MBA students. Our professional consultants have a wealth of practical experience with the business school admissions process. We know what the top business schools are looking for in potential students!

Go online to fill out a free profile evaluation and get feedback on your pre-MBA activities as well as all of the other elements of your business school application. We use our knowledge and resources to help individuals craft an application that is sure to get the attention of business school admissions officials. Contact Veritas Prep today.

The Benefits of Thinking With a Growth-Mindset Mentality

GMAT ReasoningDuring a little summer beach vacation, I had the chance to read Carol Dweck’s Mindset. (Yes, this is my beach reading. Don’t judge.) If you’re not familiar with Dweck’s work, she’s the psychologist who pioneered the concepts of the fixed-mindset and the growth-mindset.

In a classic study, students at a middle school were interviewed and asked whether they believed that intelligence was an inherent characteristic (fixed-mindset) or that intelligence was something you can cultivate and improve through hard work (growth-mindset). It will come as no surprise that the growth-mindset group improved their grades over the course of the year by significantly more than the fixed-mindset group did. These effects became more pronounced through high school and college.

Dweck’s book is full of interesting tidbits about the history of testing. For example, Alfred Binet, one of the pioneers of IQ testing, didn’t believe that his tests measured intelligence. Rather, he saw them as a way to identify which students hadn’t properly benefited from their public school education, so that a different, more effective approach might be employed.

Put another way, the test not only wasn’t supposed to measure intelligence, it was designed on the premise that there was no such thing as fixed intelligence, – that anyone could improve and thrive if they had access to the proper tools and strategies.

I’ve written a bit about Dweck in the past, but I’m beginning to see that the implications of her research are even broader than I’d initially suspected. It should go without saying that here at Veritas Prep, we’re advocates of growth-mindset – in fact, the whole notion of test prep is rooted in a growth-mindset mentality! Moreover, I’ve noticed that this fixed vs. growth notion isn’t just applicable to performance on GMAT in general, but has implications for how test-takers attack individual questions.

Here’s a question I tackled with a tutoring student the other day:

How many positive three-digit integers are divisible by both 3 and 4? 

A) 75
B) 128
C) 150
D) 225
E) 300 

My student began by recognizing that if a number is divisible by both 3 and 4, it’s divisible by 12 as well, so the question was really asking how many three-digit numbers were multiples of 12. Then he looked up and told me that he didn’t know what to do.

Now, there is, of course, a way to solve this problem formally. You can find the number of elements in an evenly spaced set by using the following formula: [(High – Low)/Interval] + 1. The smallest three-digit multiple of 12 is 108 (clearly, 120 is a multiple of 12, so you can quickly see that the previous multiple of 12 is 120-12 = 108). The largest three-digit multiple of 12 is 996. (It’s divisible by 3 because 9 + 9 + 6 = 24, which is a multiple of 3. And it’s divisible by 4 because the number formed by the last two digits, 96, is divisible by 4.) So, one way to tackle this problem is to plug these numbers into the aforementioned formula to get [(996-108)/12] + 1 = (888/12) + 1 = 74 + 1 = 75.

But if you don’t know the formula, and you see this question on test day, this approach can’t help you. So rather than offer this equation, I pushed my student to think about the problem with a growth-mindset mentality. I reminded him that you don’t have to solve things formally on this test, and that he could definitely figure out a way to arrive at the correct answer based on logic and intuition. Once he stopped dwelling on the fact that he didn’t know how to do the problem formally, he used the following logic:

Between 1 and 1,000 there are 100 multiples of 10 (1,000/10 = 100). Clearly, between 100 and 999 there are fewer than 100 multiples of 12, as 12 is bigger than 10. If the correct answer is less than 100, it has to be 75, as this is the only answer choice under 100. He was able to solve a question he thought he couldn’t do in about 5 seconds. Thus, the power of the growth-mindset mentality.

Takeaway: Read Carol Dweck’s book. Work on internalizing the main ideas. Switching from a fixed-mindset mentality to a growth-mindset mentality can have a profound impact, not only on how well you perform on the GMAT, but on how ably you tackle problems in every domain of life.

Plan on taking the GMAT soon? We have GMAT prep courses starting all the time. And be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter!

By David Goldstein, a Veritas Prep GMAT instructor based in Boston. You can find more articles written by him here.

Should You Retake the GMAT?

SAT/ACTPerhaps the most often-asked question during the entire MBA application process is,“Should I retake the GMAT?” The answer to this question will differ from case to case depending on an applicant’s score, their target schools, and their overall profile. If you are considering retaking the GMAT, doing a short cost-benefit analysis, similar to a business endeavor, can aid your decision-making:

1) Recognize the Investments Needed
Apart from the test-taking fee that you will incur for a retake, think about the hours you will need to put in to re-prepare for the GMAT, and whether this will affect the timeliness of your MBA applications. Make sure you consider whether or not you have the availability and the energy to put into this endeavor.

Often ignored, but just as important, factor in the opportunity cost of the hours you will need to spend preparing for your retake. Could you spend those efforts somewhere else to strengthen your profile? Maybe you could get involved in productive activities at work, volunteer in the community, or polish your essays.

If your application is already strong in these areas, then a GMAT retake could be a better use of your time. As such, engaging a test prep service may be the right way to go – taking a GMAT prep course or spending time with a private tutor will optimize the hours that you put into studying, and will be an investment that pays for itself in the long run.

2) Evaluate the Probability of Success
The next step would be to evaluate how likely you are to achieve your desired results. The most straightforward consideration (that requires a truly honest self-assessment) is how you have already performed on the GMAT relative to your potential:

  • Did you prepare well enough?
  • Did you get enough sleep the nights leading up to your exam?
  • Were the test day conditions conducive?

If you believe there’s a reasonable chance that you could have done better than you did, you should seriously think about a retake.

3) Weigh the Potential Benefits
Researching the class profile of your target program, and how you compare to the school’s average GMAT score, should give you an indication as to where you stand. The standardized nature of the GMAT allows for the most straightforward and objective comparison between applicants, so ideally, you will want to score higher on the GMAT than the school’s average.

All things equal, a higher score should improve your chance of admission, and even your opportunities for scholarships. Thus, the expected value of increasing your GMAT score could be high and really worth investing in.

Knowing that you didn’t leave too many potential GMAT points on the table can also simply help you be at peace. This is an important benefit, as it will allow you to focus on the next steps in the application process, and know that you have given the GMAT your best shot.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! And as always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Written by Edison Cu, a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for INSEAD. 

GRE Data Interpretation Prep Tips

books_stackedOne of the three parts of the GRE is the Quantitative Reasoning section. This section includes questions that involve geometry, algebra, and basic arithmetic. It also challenges students with questions on data interpretation. GRE test-takers must examine a collection of data in order to answer these questions. Find out more about the data interpretation questions on the GRE here and learn some helpful tips on how to arrive at the correct answers. With our help, you can do your best on the test!

Data Interpretation Questions on the GRE
On the GRE, data interpretation problems feature many types of graphs, charts, diagrams, and tables. There are several questions that accompany each visual expression of data. The questions then delve into the different types of data revealed in the illustration. These math problems measure a student’s ability to understand and interpret the information shown on a graph or chart. Not surprisingly, students who are familiar with many types of graphs and charts are likely to perform well on these questions.

Tips for Answering GRE Data Interpretation Questions
One helpful tip to use when solving data interpretation problems is to take 30 seconds or so to review the information in the graph, chart, table, or diagram. Be on the lookout for measurements, amounts, units, or other labels that can help in the process of interpreting the data. Also, look at what is being calculated – one graph may use percentages to convey data, while another uses dollar figures. This brief review of the details on a graph or chart can help guide a student as they begin to consider the questions that follow.

Another tip is to estimate the numbers found in a chart or diagram in order to arrive at the correct answer. In some cases, amounts and other statistics may not be conveyed in round numbers – coming up with an estimate can lead a student to the correct answer. Eliminating answer options that are obviously wrong is another useful tip for students. This can be done after a student mentally predicts the answer. Narrowing down the number of possible answers can make GRE interpretation questions seem more manageable.

After choosing an answer, it’s a good idea for a student to think about whether the answer fits logically with the data that has been presented. If not, a student may want to mark the question and return to it later on in the test. Spending too much time on one puzzling question can prevent students from finishing the Quantitative Reasoning section in the allotted amount of time. Plus, it can help to take a few minutes to think about a question before approaching it for the second time.

Studying for the Data Interpretation Questions on the GRE
Completing a set of practice math problems is the best way to prep for the data interpretation questions in the Quantitative Reasoning section. A practice test gives students the opportunity to sample the types of data interpretation questions that they will encounter on the actual test. Also, the results of a practice test allow students to see where they need to improve.

Becoming familiar with different types of graphs, diagrams, and charts is another way to prepare for data interpretation questions on the GRE. GRE interpretation questions may contain bar graphs, line graphs, box plots, scatter plots, and circle graphs along with others. Having knowledge of these figures will give a student the tools they need to interpret any set of data, regardless of how it’s presented.

At Veritas Prep, we provide expert tutoring to students who are preparing for the GRE. Our professional instructors have all earned high scores on the exam, which means they are uniquely qualified to help students prepare for the test. We offer online and in-person courses with which students can get the tools they need to ace data interpretation questions. Our instructors are there to answer students’ questions and give them some encouragement along the way.

We are proud to guide students toward their best scores on questions that involve data interpretation. GRE test-takers can rely on our tutoring services to assist them in preparing for these questions, along with all of the others on the exam. At Veritas Prep, we combine superb tutoring with excellent study resources to provide students with top-quality GRE preparation. Contact our offices today!

Want to jump-start your GRE preparation? Register to attend one of our upcoming free online GRE Strategy Sessions or check out our variety of GRE Course and Private Tutoring options. And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter!

Selecting the Right Time to Apply to Columbia Before the Regular Decision Deadline

Columbia UniversityColumbia Business School is one of the few top MBA programs that offers a unique rolling admissions format for submitting your application. The standard concept behind rolling admissions is that the school offers a window for applicants to apply to the program (as opposed to the traditional 3-round admissions schedule). What makes this format unique is that instead of waiting for all applications to be received after the deadline to review, the school reviews the applications as they arrive.

This format provides lots of flexibility to candidates but can also present some unique challenges when deciding the best time to apply. Typically for more traditional application deadlines, as long as a candidate submits their application prior to the deadline, there is no advantage to the timing. However, with rolling admissions schools like Columbia, the timing of your submission can be advantageous (or problematic) for your candidacy.

Columbia’s Regular Decision deadline is historically in April, with the following year’s applications being released shortly afterwards – typically in May or June. With such a long application cycle and no clear round-by-round distinction, some candidates may cheer at all the time they have to apply to Columbia. But not so fast – there are some clear advantages to applying early. Let’s discuss the advantages of applying to Columbia Regular Decision early:

Business school can be very pricey, and with its Ivy League stature, Columbia is no different. Columbia sets a January submission deadline every year for those interested in being considered for merit fellowships. By applying months in advance of the deadline, early applicants can ensure they have a chance at additional funding for their Columbia education.

Although Columbia’s application goes live every year early in the summer, even as a rolling admissions school, the Admissions Committee does not start reviewing applications until early December. The earlier candidates can submit their application, the more space there will be in the potential class, the smaller the current pool of other applicants there will be, and the higher visibility their application will have.

Applying early is a strong sign of interest to Columbia. A school like Columbia that regularly competes with other top programs (such Wharton, HBS, and Kellogg) for top talent, wants to know that their application is a priority to you. The fact that the school has an Early Decision option signals the value it places on interest in attending Columbia. So, submitting an application right after January for the April deadline is not the best indicator of your interest, or of your preparation for pursuing an MBA at Columbia.

These are just a few tips to help make sure you are submitting your Regular Decision application to Columbia at the right time. For more thoughts on Columbia, check out our Essential Guide to Top Business Schools for free, here.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter.

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more articles by him here.

Quarter Wit, Quarter Wisdom: Evaluating Nasty GMAT Answer Choices

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomIn some Quant questions, we are given big nasty numbers in the answer choices and little else in the question stem. Often in such cases, the starting point is difficult for the test-taker to find, so today, we will discuss how to handle such questions.

The first and only rule with these types of problems is that familiarity helps. Evaluate the answer choices that make sense to you first.

Let’s look at a few questions to understand how to do that:

Which of the following is NOT prime?

(A) 1,556,551
(B) 2,442,113
(C) 3,893,257
(D) 3,999,991
(E) 9,999,991

The first thing that comes to mind when we consider how to find prime numbers should be to “check the number N for divisibility by all prime factors until we get to the √N.” But note that here, we have four numbers that are prime and one number that is not. Also, the numbers are absolutely enormous and, hence, will be very difficult to work with. So, let’s slide down to a number that seems a bit more sane: 3,999,991 (it is very close to a number with lots of 0’s).

3,999,991 = 4,000,000 – 9
= (2000)^2 – 3^2

This is something we recognise! It’s a difference of squares, which can be written as:

= (2000 + 3) * (2000 – 3)
= 2003 * 1997

Hence, we see that 3,999,991 is a product of two factors other than 1 and itself, so it is not a prime number. We have our answer! The answer is D.

Let’s try another problem:

Which of the following is a perfect square?

 (A) 649
 (B) 961
 (C) 1,664
 (D) 2,509
 (E) 100,000

Here, start by looking at the answer choices. The first one that should stand out is option E, 100,000, since multiples of 10 are always easy to handle. However, we have an odd number of zeroes here, so we know this cannot be a perfect square.

Next, we look at the answer choices that are close to the perfect squares that we intuitively know, such as 30^2 = 900, 40^2 = 1600, 50^2 = 2500. The only possible number whose perfect square could be 961 is 31 – 31^2 will end with a 1 and will be a bit greater than 900 (32^2 will end with a 4, so that cannot be the square root of 961, and the perfect squares of other greater numbers will be much greater than 900).

31^2 = (30 + 1)^2 = 900 + 1 + 2*30*1 = 961

So, we found that 961 is a perfect square and is, hence, the answer!

In case 961 were not a perfect square, we would have tried 1,664 since it is just 64 greater than 1,600. It could be the perfect square of 42, as the perfect square of 42 will end in a 4.

If 1,664 were also not a perfect square (it is not), we would have looked at 2,509. We would have known immediately that 2,509 cannot be a perfect square because it is too close to 2,500. 2,509 ends in a 9, so we may have considered 53 to be its square root, but the difference between consecutive perfect squares increases as we get to greater numbers.

(4^2 is 16 while 5^2 is 25 – the difference between them is 9. The difference between 5^2 and 6^2 will be greater than 9, and so will the difference between the perfect squares of any pair of consecutive integers greater than 6. Hence, the difference between the squares of 50 and 53 certainly cannot be 9.)

Therefore, our answer is B. Let’s try one more question:

When a certain perfect square is increased by 148, the result is another perfect square. What is the value of the original perfect square?

(A) 1,296
(B) 1,369
(C) 1,681
(D) 1,764
(E) 2,500

This question is, again, on perfect squares. We can use the same concepts here, too.

30^2 = 900
31^2 = 961 (=(30+1)^2 = 900 + 1 + 2*30)

40^2= 1,600
41^2 = 1,681 (=(40+1)^2 = 1,600 + 1 + 2*40)

50^2 = 2,500
51^2 = 2,601 (=(50+1)^2 = 2,500 + 1 + 2*50)

We know that the difference between consecutive squares increases as we go to greater numbers: going from 30^2 to 31^2 is a difference of 61, while jumping from 40^2 to 41^2 is a difference of 81.

All the answer choices lie in the range from 900 to 2500. In this range, the difference between consecutive squares is between 60 and 100. So, when you add 148 to a perfect square to get another perfect square in this range, we can say that the numbers must be 2 apart, such as 33 and 35 or 42 and 44, etc. Also, the numbers must lie between 30 and 40 because twice 61 is 122 and twice 81 is 162 – 148 lies somewhere in between 122 and 162.

A and B are the only two possible options.

Consider option A – it ends in a 6, so the square root must end in a 6, too. If you add 148, then it will end with a 4 (the perfect square of a number ending in 8 will end in 4). So this answer choice works.

Consider option B – it ends in a 9, so the square root must end in a 3 or a 7. When you add 148, it ends in 7. No perfect square ends in 7, so this option is out. Our answer is, therefore, A.

We hope you see how a close evaluation of the answer choices can help you solve questions of this type. Go get ’em!

Getting ready to take the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter!

Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!

Which Type of Business Degree is Right for You?

scottbloomdecisionsSome students who apply to business school know exactly what type of degree they want to earn. Others know they want to pursue a career in business but may not be sure about a specific degree. Fortunately, there are many types of business degrees that may appeal to students who are still undecided. Consider the following descriptions of different types of business degrees that can help students learn a little about the options available to them:

A degree in Accounting involves courses that teach students fundamental accounting principles, and how to interpret financial documents and keep them organized. Students also learn how to find discrepancies in financial documents and determine the reasons for them. Successful professionals in this field are logical thinkers, detail-oriented, consistent, and organized. Some examples of jobs for individuals with Accounting degrees include public accountant, financial reporting manager, compliance professional, and tax accountant.

At Veritas Prep, we provide a variety of services to students who are considering a degree in Accounting, or any of the other different graduate business degrees. For instance, our online instructors prep students for the GMAT, the GRE, or both. We use practice tests and other top-quality study resources to boost a student’s confidence for test day. In short, we have years of experience helping students who are on the path to earning different business degrees.

Business Administration
There are many types of business degrees that teach students how to take on a leadership role within a company – a degree in Business Administration is an ideal example. While earning this degree, students gain knowledge of how to assign tasks to the members of a team to ensure that a project is completed on time. Also, students learn how to communicate effectively with team members, clients, and other project leaders.

A professional working in the field of Business Administration has to know how to effectively manage a project and improve a company’s bottom line. Office administrator, general manager, and administrative services manager are just a few of the job options for students with a degree in business administration.

Business Technology
Students researching different types of business degrees that relate to technology should take a closer look at this area of study. A student earning a Business Technology degree learns about the latest business software used by companies and corporations. Also, students garner knowledge about web marketing, managing an office with today’s technology, and using electronic communication tools in a business setting. Some examples of jobs held by individuals with a Business Technology degree include business software specialist, web marketing specialist, and database user specialist.

Finance is one of the more well-known types of business degree programs. Students earning this degree learn about portfolio management, financial analysis, and interpreting statistics. Individuals with a degree in finance have many career paths available to them. For example, a person who wants to integrate sales into a career plan may want to look into becoming a financial services sales agent. The position of personal financial adviser is an example of a career where a person uses their financial education to help people plan for retirement or balance their investments. Some other potential job titles include financial analyst, financial manager, and investment banker.

Many students who are pursuing a business degree want to get into the field of Marketing. This is a degree for someone interested in learning about consumer research, marketing strategies, and product research. Today’s companies need professionals who know how to introduce a new product based on solid market research. Plus, companies want to know how to attract new customers while retaining loyal ones. Advertising managers, sales managers, commercial directors, and market research specialists are all examples of jobs available for individuals with a Marketing degree.

Students looking at the different types of business degree programs can count on Veritas Prep for tips and guidance. Our knowledgeable team members teach students strategies to use on business school exams and assist in preparing admissions paperwork. We can add an element of organization to the complicated process of applying to schools. Contact our team today and ask about our valuable services.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Kickstart Your GMAT Prep: How to Start Preparing for the GMAT

GMAT PracticeAnyone who has ever applied to business school knows that there are several requirements to fulfill. One of those requirements is to submit a GMAT score. Naturally, you want to do your best on the GMAT to increase your chances of getting into a preferred business school, but where should you begin? Consider some tips on how to start preparing for GMAT questions:

Increase the Amount of Reading You Do
You may wonder how to start preparation for GMAT questions in the Verbal section. As someone who wants to pursue an MBA, you probably read finance-related materials such as newspapers and magazines – you may even be part of an online organization that gives you the latest financial news. Increasing the amount of reading you do can help you prep for Reading Comprehension questions on the exam.

By reading a variety of finance-related materials, you expose yourself to vocabulary words that may appear on the test. Also, reading financial articles and books can get you thinking like a business executive, which is the mindset you should have as you sit down to take the exam. Absorbing the information contained in finance-related materials can contribute to your performance on the GMAT, as well as serve you in your future career.

Complete Practice Questions for the GMAT
When thinking about how to start preparing for GMAT questions, you should certainly put a practice test on your to-do list. A practice GMAT serves you in several ways – for one, you’ll become familiar with the types of questions you’ll encounter on test day. Secondly, you’ll get an idea of how quickly you have to work in order to finish each section of the test before your time is up. In addition, you can use the results of your practice test to create a study schedule that allows you to dedicate the largest amount of time to your weakest subjects.

A free GMAT practice exam is available to you from Veritas Prep. We provide you with a performance analysis as well as a score report so you know what you have mastered and what needs a little work. Once you dive into your studies, it’s a good idea to take follow-up practice tests to gauge your progress.

Create and Follow a Study Schedule
Anyone who is wondering how to start their GMAT preparation must recognize the importance of a study schedule. As with most other exams, gradual study is the best path to success on the GMAT. You may want to study for two or three hours, five or even seven days per week.

The appearance of your study schedule is going to reflect the results of your practice tests. For example, say you need to sharpen your geometry and algebra skills. You may create a schedule that dedicates an hour to geometry on Tuesdays and Thursdays and an hour to algebra on Mondays and Wednesdays. If you find that you need to improve your Reading Comprehension skills, then you may carve out time on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to work on that. Creating a varied study schedule is an effective way to stay organized and keep up with your study goals.

Learn Strategies to Master the Exam
As you learn how to start your GMAT preparation, it may surprise you to discover that memorizing facts and word definitions is not the key to mastering this exam. You have to take the right approach to the GMAT by thinking like the people who created the test. You have to know how to apply the knowledge that you possess.

Our curriculum shows you what you need to do to successfully navigate your way through the questions on the GMAT. Our instructors teach you how to avoid jumping to the seemingly obvious answer and falling into traps set by the creators of the test. We have several instructional options that allow you to choose the most convenient way to start preparing for GMAT questions. We hire instructors who have teaching experience and practical experience with the GMAT. You’ll be learning from professional instructors whose scores on the GMAT put them in the 99th percentile.

If you’ve been wondering how to start preparation for GMAT questions, Veritas Prep can help. Get in touch with our offices today and begin your journey to success on the GMAT!

Getting ready to take the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter!

GRE Physics Prep Solutions and Study Guide

GoalsThe GRE physics subject test is for students who plan to study this subject in graduate school. The results of this test can help graduate school officials determine a student’s course of study in the area of physics. GRE prep is necessary when students want to showcase their full range of knowledge on this subject. Look at the material on the GRE physics test and find out how to prep for it.

What Is On the GRE Physics Test?
The GRE physics subject test has 100 questions. Each of those questions has five answer options to choose from. Students encounter many different topics on the exam. Questions on classical mechanics make up 20 percent of the test – dynamics of systems of particles, three-dimensional particle dynamics, Newton’s laws, and kinematics are just a few of the topics that relate to classical mechanics.

Other topics on the physics test include electromagnetism, optics and wave phenomena, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, atomic physics, special relativity, and laboratory methods. Nine percent of the test is devoted to specialized topics such as nuclear and particle physics, condensed matter, astrophysics, and computer applications.

Math on the GRE Physics Test
As a student studies for the test in physics, GRE prep should include a review of mathematical methods used in physics. Some of the questions on the test require students to know how to apply these methods. Coordinate systems, partial differential equations, boundary value problems, and multivariate calculus are a few examples of math topics that students should be familiar with for the test.

The Scoring System for the Physics Test
Before starting to follow any physics GRE study guide, students must be familiar with the scoring system for the test, as it is different from the system for the general GRE. Students can score between 200 and 990 points on the GRE physics test – the test is scored in ten-point increments. A score report displays a student’s test score as well as the person’s percentile ranking. Students’ scores are valid for five years from the year they take the test.

GRE Physics Preparation Tips
For students taking the GRE, physics preparation should begin with a practice test. The results of the practice test will give students an indication of what skills they need to work on. Plus, taking a timed practice test allows students to set a reasonable pace that allows them to finish the entire test in the allotted 170 minutes.

It’s also a good idea for students to review the material they learned in physics courses in undergraduate school. This includes textbooks, course notes, and assignments. As students move through a physics GRE study guide, they should remember that test questions are based on material learned in undergraduate physics classes. Students who set aside several months for GRE physics preparation are giving themselves an advantage – they are able to study in a way that allows them to fully absorb the necessary material.

Achieving Success on the GRE Physics Test
Students gain an advantage on the GRE physics test when they tackle the easiest questions first. This helps to build their confidence as they go back to work on the more puzzling test questions. Plus, this tactic prevents students from wasting a lot of valuable time on a single challenging problem.

Eliminating answers that are obviously wrong is another simple thing students can do as they work through the test. Narrowing the number of answer choices makes the process of finding the correct option a little bit easier. Working out problems on a piece of scratch paper can also be helpful to students as they move through the physics test. Sometimes, the correct answer seems more apparent when a student sees all of the work in front of them.

At Veritas Prep, we provide effective GRE tutoring services. Students have the opportunity to work with tutors who have achieved great success on the GRE. Consequently, students can get the inside track on what they need to know about the test. We help students who are looking for physics GRE solutions! We are also experts at preparing students for the GRE via our online and in-person courses, and we teach students strategies that they can use on every test question. For students who are studying physics, GRE solutions are readily available at Veritas Prep!

Want to jump-start your GRE preparation? Register to attend one of our upcoming free online GRE Strategy Sessions or check out our variety of GRE Course and Private Tutoring options. And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter!

Success by Numbers: Statistics Tutoring

QuestioningWhether you’re studying for the AP statistics exam or taking an AP course in statistics, a statistics tutor can be very helpful. A good tutor can make this challenging subject more accessible to you. Naturally, when you sign up to work with a tutor, you want to benefit from each and every session. When you come prepared and pick a qualified tutor, it’s much easier to make the most of your time spent with a tutor for statistics.

Bring a List of Questions
As you study for an Advanced Placement course or prepare to take the AP statistics test, you’re likely to encounter questions about the reading material. One of the best things about having a tutor in statistics is you can ask a lot of questions and get satisfactory answers, so bring a list of questions to each tutoring session to get the answers you need to progress in your studies. Sometimes asking a pointed question about a lesson or a chapter in a statistics textbook can open the doors to a new understanding of a topic.

Complete Practice Problems Each Session
You can memorize facts about statistics, but you need to know how to apply that information on a test or a homework assignment. During a statistics tutoring session, you can get all of the practice you need under the guidance of an expert instructor. As you complete statistics problems and exercises, you can get tips from your tutor on how to solve these problems more efficiently. This individual attention can prepare you for tackling many forms of statistics problems.

Get Note-Taking Tips
If you are getting tutoring to help you perform better in a course, you may want to garner some note-taking tips from your instructor. An experienced tutor can show you how to take class notes while paying close attention to the lecturer. Also, your tutor can help you to filter out incidental information and take down facts that may appear on a test. Your tutor may even be able to offer some shortcuts that can reduce the amount of time you spend reading textbook chapters. In short, your tutor can offer you tips that will prove helpful to you later on when it’s time to review.

Learn Test-Taking Strategies
Learning test-taking strategies from your tutor can help you to perform better in a statistics class or on the AP statistics test. At Veritas Prep, our statistics tutors can provide you with valuable strategies that you can use on a test. For example, a tutor can guide you on how to spot answer options on a multiple-choice test that are obviously incorrect. Crossing these answer options out can make any problem appear more manageable. Also, your tutor can show you how to pinpoint the most important parts of a statistics question. This can be especially helpful if the question includes lots of details. Often, the strategies you learn during a tutoring session can help you to feel more confident in your test-taking abilities.

Ask for Practical Tips
Tutors for statistics who have taken the AP statistics test or completed an AP statistics course can offer tips that they learned along the way. For instance, an experienced tutor may advise you to look over all of the questions on a statistics test before starting work on the ones that you feel most comfortable with. This can give you confidence as you move on to more challenging questions.

Another example of a practical tip provided by a tutor is to write out all of the steps leading to your answer. This allows you to look back at your work to see where you went wrong if the answer you arrived at is not included in the options given. It’s no coincidence that our skillful tutors are experts in the subjects they teach. This means that when you receive tutoring for statistics from us, you’re learning from someone who thoroughly understands this discipline.

You’re sure to benefit in a big way when you sign up for statistics tutoring sessions with a Veritas Prep instructor. We make getting help easy by offering you a variety of tutoring options, including online instruction. Call us or send an email to learn how to partner with a professional statistics tutor today!

Why It’s Hard to Be a Poet in Business School

Make Studying FunOnce MBA classes start, they move very quickly, and although you’ll want to spend a lot of time outside of class trying to understand the new concepts you are learning, you won’t have much time. For someone who doesn’t have a strong quantitative background, taking statistics, accounting, and economics at the same time can be quite challenging. If you’ve never seen a financial statement or learned how to do derivatives, you might want to consider doing some work before you get to campus.

Take a look at what classes you’ll need to take over the course of your MBA program. These will likely be similar across programs, so you can figure out which classes will be most helpful for you to take at your local community college, extension program, or online before school begins. If you’ve never taken economics, pick up a book about demand curves and learn how businesses determine how much of a product to sell. If you haven’t taken a math class since your freshman year of college, take at least one before you get to campus.

With a basic understanding of statistics, accounting, and economics, you’ll be much more successful during your first year of school, and you’ll also be a great resource to your classmates who might be struggling a bit more than you. Recommended classes to take are business statistics, financial accounting, and microeconomics, but if you only find “accounting” or “statistics” courses, those will still be quite helpful.

Taking on extra quant-based coursework might seem like a daunting task while you’re working full time, studying for the GMAT, and writing essays for your business school applications, but it is definitely worthwhile – just think, you’ll be this busy if not busier in business school, so you might as well start now and learn how to manage your time. Those quant classes will also help you prep for the GMAT, so it’s really a win-win.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed during your first few weeks of school, just remember that you’re not alone. There will be a lot of people in your class who come from a humanities background, and you will still have a lot to offer your classmates, even if it is not through your accounting or statistics expertise.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Colleen Hill studied Middle Eastern and North African Studies at UCLA before heading to Michigan’s Ross School of Business to pursue international development consulting in Africa. She’s very happy she took accounting and statistics in the year before she moved to Ann Arbor.