How to Get Into Stanford GSB

Last month, one of our Stanford admissions experts, Kevin Richardson hosted a webinar about How to Get Into Stanford Business School’s MBA Program. If you haven’t watched it, we strongly encourage you to do so. If you prefer to read the recap, below are some key takeaways.

There are the essays and everything else

Things like your GMAT score and undergraduate GPA show you can do the work, keep up with the class and handle the academics, however they won’t get you in. Numbers do matter, but they only paint a small part of the picture. You might think that when it comes to the GMAT, the higher the better. However, that is not always true. A former admissions director shared with us that if a candidate can’t get in with a 710, chances are that same candidate won’t get in with a 740.
You may be asking, What about my resume and activities? Those will show what have you done in the past, but what makes or breaks an application are the essays. That’s what gets you in.

Stanford GSB has one of the most challenging essay questions: “What matters most to you, and why?”

One bit of advice: Don’t force what you write for this essay to fit with your career goals. The “Why Stanford?” essay can focus more on your professional side. That being said, this essay could be about business or your life outside of work. Three tips for the what matters most essay.

  1. Get personal. Tell, better yet show, the admissions committee who you are and what you have to offer. Give them insight on what drives you. It’s often discussed that to get in to Stanford you need to have an X factor. We believe that the X factor is where authenticity–your truest self–meets uniqueness–how you stand out from everyone else. You can’t control unique. You don’t know who else is applying. The thing you do have control over is your own authenticity.
  2. Dig deep. They’re looking for maturity, which is usually uncovered by truly being introspective. Kevin says, “If you’re not at least a little bit uncomfortable with the level of depth you’re sharing, you’re probably not doing it right.”
  3. “What” is minor. “Why” is everything for Stanford. Arguably, no other program focuses as much on the why as Stanford does. Related to point #2, Words like “I feel”, “I remember”, “I felt”, are critically important. Share specific occasions and experiences and talk about how they impacted you.

Some students get in despite a weak essay, but this is the essay that takes the average candidate above the mark.

The “Why Stanford?” essay

It’s important to have a deep understanding of Stanford. Some of you may think Stanford is all about high tech entrepreneurs. That’s a little bit misleading. Stanford is so much more than high tech and it’s not just about entrepreneurship. Stanford’s really about being an incubator for world leaders. It’s lofty, but true!

Your answer to the why Stanford essay should focus on business. It’s how the admissions committee determines if they can help you make an impact; if they can help you achieve what you want to achieve. The three things you’ll want to address in this essay are:

  1. What are your goals?
  2. What’s the gap?
  3. How is the GSB going to fit in with that?

Our advice here:

  1. Dream big. Have big goals. Stanford wants to steward top talent to maximize the GSB impact. Clearly describe how you are going to change the world and how you are going to change lives.
  2. Tell the reader what you have already done that will help them believe you can achieve those goals and what you are missing.
  3. Again, be authentic. As Kevin puts it, Stanford says: “You should do you, we’re going to do us.”

It’s impossible to write the perfect essay for Stanford because there’s no such thing. But is is possible to craft a set of essays that make the Stanford GSB admissions team feel like they know the real you. If you can do that — and paint a picture that makes it easy for them to imagine you as a GSB student and alum — then there’s a good chance they’ll want to get to know you even more.

Do you dream of getting into Stanford? We offer a free consultation with one of our MBA admissions experts! You can also give us a call at 1-800-925-7737 to speak with an MBA admissions expert about your chances of getting into business school and what you can do to increase them!

Where Should You Go to Business School?

study aboard girlShould location factor into your decision on where should you go to business school? Absolutely yes! Location can play a pretty big part in your overall experience in business school and the perception of the value of your MBA afterwards.

Professional Considerations

When it comes to selecting a business school the school’s location can influence where you will end up post-MBA. This may be one of the more obvious factors, but it’s also one of the main considerations applicants overlook. The majority of schools have the highest career placement within their home state. So applicants should take care in identifying schools in areas where they would prefer to live. This will make life much easier when it comes to making decisions for internships and full-time job offers.

Location also factors strongly when it comes to campus recruiting. Many school reputations are based as much on school specific competencies as recruiting proximities. Regional specialties exist in every part of the country for MBA programs. For example Stanford’s connection to the Silicon Valley tech scene or Kellogg’s connection to the consumer packaged goods industry of the Midwest should be factors you consider when thinking about which schools to apply to.

Personal Considerations

Another important factor is how the location fits with your personal desires and needs. There is such diversity in business school locations that can range from small college towns like Darden’s Charlottesville location to Booth’s location in the metropolis of Chicago. For some, the small town vs. big city debate is not a big factor but instead cold vs. warm weather locales present a much bigger decision.

Not only is it important to figure out where you stand on these factors but also how they all rank out relatively. You may really want the sunny weather of a school like UCLA Anderson but can’t pass up the prestige and access of Wharton’s finance program. All of these decisions should be thought of holistically and with a long-term outlook on what truly makes the most sense for you and your career.

However location factors into your school selection and eventual decision process, make sure it gets the attention it deserves and you will set yourself up to be at the school that makes the most sense for you.

Want to craft a strong application? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. You can also receive a free MBA admissions consultation on the Veritas Prep website – just fill out a quick form, and an MBA admissions expert will get back to you within three business days with insight as to how your profile will stack up against those of other qualified applicants! 

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.

Announcing ORION!

Want the unrivaled expertise, personalized diagnosis, and schedule flexibility of a private tutor?  And would you also rather not have to pay tutoring prices for that kind of service to raise your GMAT score?
You’re in luck.  While “GMAT self-study” has traditionally meant grinding through prep books or watching recorded lesson videos, Veritas Prep is excited to announce a GMAT self-study program as adaptive as the GMAT itself.  ORION is like a tutor in your pocket (or on your desk), customizing lessons to you to maximize the value of your time as you prepare for the GMAT.  What is ORION?

 

1) ORION is adaptive.  Using Item Response Theory – the same scoring method used by the GMAT itself – ORION assesses your ability level across 45 thin-sliced GMAT skills, and then customizes curriculum to you to help you best address your weaknesses.

 

2) ORION is efficient.  ORION’s adaptive algorithm determines when you’ve reached proficiency (and seen a representative breadth of content) within a skill and then graduates you to a higher level of difficulty or moves you on to conquer new ground.  But until you demonstrate that you’re ready to move on from a skill, ORION will keep challenging you with content that addresses your weaknesses.  This way you spend time where it’s most needed.

 

3) ORION is flexible. With GMAT content sorted into bite-sized skills, you can make meaningful progress toward your dream score in even 20-30 minutes.

 

4) ORION is fun.  While you can make progress in 20 minutes, we bet you’ll stick around longer.  With gamification techniques to reward you for achievement and in-app hints and cheat sheets to give you a nudge you while you’re challenged, ORION makes GMAT preparation upbeat and habit-forming.

 

What are people saying about ORION?  Veteran GMAT instructors love the way that ORION organizes practice and prioritizes students’ time:

 

“This is the best way I’ve ever seen to do homework.  Quickly get familiar with all the angles of the stuff you’re good at, and spend the bulk of your time really working on the things that you’re not.  GMAT prep that’s as adaptive as the test itself…it’s kind of genius.”  -Chris Kane, GMAT instructor

 

Students of course love their score improvement, and cite the addictive nature of ORION:

 

“Once I started with my study plan, it took me a month to get my desired score, studying never felt as a burden, on the contrary, it always felt like a game -it is literally like playing an online video game. Sometimes I even felt excited to go back home and keep doing my lessons, and sometimes I would even keep studying for more than double the time than I had previously budgeted, I guess this is what helped me achieve my desired score. Since I started studying with ORION, I couldn’t keep myself away from computer, this is the main reason why I loved the software so much; it kept me engaged, it kept me inspired, and gave me the persistence I had lacked before. I finally got a 700… an enormous weight off of my shoulders!” -Diego Landa, successful student

 

Interested in seeing what ORION is all about?  You can try it for free at http://learnwithorion.com, but be forewarned – it’s addictive.

4 Essential Tips for Transitioning from High School to College

ReflectingIf you are headed off to college in the fall, you are probably balancing the excitement that high school is over and the excitement (and maybe apprehension) that college is about to begin! First things first, your emotions are common – most graduates are off living their best summer lives, while constantly remembering that big changes are on their way! The transition from high school to college is certainly a major milestone in life, and also one that is not to be overlooked!

Adjusting to college is not a walk in the park – life is about to become drastically different! We don’t want you to fall into a statistic of college drop outs, so take some time to read our advice on how to navigate the transition from high school to college.

1. Attend Orientation

If you have the opportunity to attend a freshman orientation, this experience will be hugely helpful in getting yourself acquainted with your new home and new peers. An orientation may also give you the opportunity to see where you will be living, so you can prepare appropriately for your new room. You may also choose your courses and begin to prepare for the rigors of college academics. You’ll also get a little taste of living independently in your new community! Take time to soak all of this in and use your summer months to prepare for these new changes.

2. Prioritize Organization

You’re going to be living on your own! Woo! While this newfound freedom is probably one of the things you’re most excited about, also remember that now you are completely responsible for organizing your life and your time. Explore new organization techniques to keep you on top of your responsibilities when school begins.

3. Identify Campus Resources

College campuses are stacked with resources for students. There are gyms, art studios, counseling offices, tutoring services, career counselors, resume editors… the list goes on and on! Your tuition dollars will likely cover your access to most of these things, so take advantage of them! These resources will help you make the most of your collegiate experience and will be immensely helpful as you make the transition from high school to college.

4. Get Ready for a Roommate!

Maybe you grew up sharing a room with a sibling, or maybe you’ve had a room all to yourself. Either way, things are about to change! Most students will end up living in close quarters with a stranger, and that is a very pivotal experience in your transition from high school to college.

When you receive information about your roommate, don’t hesitate to reach out and get to know them! The more you can communicate before starting school, the easier it will be to live together as roommates. Talk openly about respecting boundaries, set expectations for your shared space together and make a plan for tackling the first year!

How to Get Into Harvard Business School (Part 2)

Harvard Business School

In Part 1 of our “How to Get Into Harvard Business School” series, we talk about about what the admissions team at HBS is looking for. Now let’s talk about how to demonstrate what HBS is looking for in your application. Before you continue reading, take a look at “How to Get Into Harvard Business School (Part 1)”

Two things an applicant needs to do to get into HBS or any other top MBA program are:

1) Stand out from other applicants (especially those with similar profiles), and
2) Show how you fit with the school.

So, what does that mean for your application? We’ll break it down into two easy tips:

Do Some Soul Searching

In order to stand out from other applicants you need to convey to the admissions board what makes you uniquely you. The admissions team is deeply interested in getting to know you and wants to get a sense for what you will bring to the classroom and broader community. Ask yourself: “What is it that makes me a candidate they absolutely can’t live without?” You may want to share examples that show what drives you, the experiences that have led you to where you are today, the influences that have contributed to who you are. Try to focus on key takeaways or themes that you want the admissions board to remember about you.

Use Past Performance as an Indicator of Future Success

Harvard Business School is looking to build a class of 900+ students where every member will offer a different perspective to the classroom, contribute richly to the campus community, and make a distinct impact on the world as an alum, so give concrete examples of how you’ve done that in the past. Show that you have a track record of being all that they’re looking for.  

Veritas Prep consultant Kevin Richardson says, “ Perhaps more than any other school, HBS sees past performance as an indicator of future success. If you think about hitting the ‘checkboxes’ to apply to business school – good GPA, good GMAT, got a promotion, led a project/team, quantifiable success – it is SUPER important to have those for HBS.”

You may have heard this all before, but the truth bears repeating: be yourself and tell the truth. Don’t get caught up in trying to spin some story that doesn’t reflect your experience or where you see yourself going accurately. As long as you have your bases covered, if you do your research, invest in the HBS community, and demonstrate how you’ll be a phenomenal addition to the class, you’ll be in a good position for admission. You need to know “why you” out of thousands and be able to explain it. If you can’t answer that question, the admissions committee won’t be able to either.

For more helpful Harvard advice, watch the webinar we hosted, “How to Get Into Harvard Business School”, and check out the Veritas Prep Essential Guide to Harvard Business School. You can also give us a call at 1-800-925-7737 to speak with an MBA admissions expert about your chances of getting into business school and what you can do to increase them!

25 Questions You Need to Ask on a College Visit

campus tourAs you prepare to make college visits, it’s likely you’re curious about the “right” questions to ask. It’s great to go into each of your visits prepared with questions so you walk away with as much information as possible.

Before you step foot on campus, we encourage you to do some research online. Ideally, the questions you ask on your visit should be questions you couldn’t easily find answers to online (think school size and available majors). We also suggest bringing a notebook to keep track of everything you learn — you’ll quickly see that just a few hours on campus will leave you with tons of new information, and it’s wise to capture it all in one place before you go! Use our guide below to prepare questions for each of the colleges on your list!

Campus Life

  1. Where do most students live?
  2. What are the dorms like? Suite-style? Community-style?
  3. What resources are available to first-year students?
  4. Do most students have cars, or are there other ways to get to on-campus and off-campus amenities?
  5. What clubs and student organizations are most popular?
  6. How easy is it to start my own club or student organization?
  7. How prominent is greek life?

Academics

  1. What is the average class size?
  2. Are lectures taught by professors or teaching assistants?
  3. Are professors available outside of class hours? How beneficial are office hours?
  4. What academic departments have the strongest reputations?
  5. What percentage of students graduate within 4 years?
  6. What opportunities are there to study abroad?
  7. Are there research opportunities for students? When can a student get involved in research?
  8. How often do students meet with academic advisors?
  9. Is it hard to change majors?

Student Resources

  1. Where do students tend to study?
  2. Are computer labs available to all students?
  3. If I struggle in a course, are there tutoring resources available?
  4. What kinds of therapy services are available to students? How can they access them?
  5. Where is the nearest medical facility? Is it hard for students to make appointments with medical professionals?
  6. What resources are available to help students find internships and jobs after graduation?
  7. What percentage of students have a full-time job after graduation?
  8. Do employers recruit on campus? How frequently?
  9. How active is your alumni network in recruiting graduates?

Hopefully the answers to these questions that your school guide provides you with should give you a good sense of whether that school is a right fit for you and your unique needs.

Have other questions about college or the college application process? We’d love to answer them for you! Give us a call at 800.925.7737 to speak with a friendly college admissions expert today.

Expert Essay Advice for the 2018-2019 Columbia Business School MBA Application

Columbia UniversityWe are excited to share with you our advice on Columbia’s 2018-2019 MBA admissions essay prompts. Read on for a taste of the advice you can find in the Veritas Prep Essential Guide to Top Business Schools. You can also skip straight to the full version of our advice, if you’d like a more in-depth analysis of this year’s essay prompts from Columbia. 

This year, applicants to Columbia Business School must complete one short answer question and three essays. 

Short Answer Question:

What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)

50 characters is not a lot, so get to the point! What do you want to do after your graduate business school, in a nutshell? A straightforward question deserves a very straightforward answer, so don’t beat around the bush in answering this.

Essay 1:

Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next 3-5 years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job? (500 words)

Here’s your chance to expand on the answer you provided to the short answer question. Two very important things to keep in mind with this essay: 1) Make sure your goals are researched, realistic and real, and 2) show that you have the vision and ambition to really make a positive impact.

We go into depth about how to ensure that your goals are researched, realistic, and real in the full essay advice section of our Essential Guide. For example, in researching your goals, ask yourself have you done “human research”? Have you actually talked to someone who has your target position and do you truly know what it entails? Will an MBA from Columbia help you achieve that goal? These are questions you should be asking yourself as you tackle this essay prompt.

Essay 2:

How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business”? Click photo. (250 words)

Be sure to actually watch the video that launches when you click on the photo. In your essay response, show how you’ll take advantage of the unique opportunities Columbia offers. What specifically does Columbia offer you that is perhaps not available at the other top business schools (especially other schools in New York) that you might be interested in? Go beyond just the obvious professional opportunities, and consider also writing about the social benefits of immersing yourself in the Columbia culture and going to business school in New York City.

Essay 3:

Please provide an example of a team failure of which you have been a part. If given a second chance, what would you do differently? (250 words)

Note that they specifically ask you to write about a team failure here. An important part of teamwork is being accountable, and an important part of a strong answer to this question is showing what you learned and how you grew (became a better leader, teammate or team member) because of this experience.

Those are just a few quick thoughts on the 2018-2019 application essays from Columbia. For more free expert advice on getting into top MBA programs like the one at Columbia, check out the Veritas Prep Essential Guide to Top Business Schools. You can also  give us a call at 1-800-925-7737 to speak with an MBA expert about how you can best increase your odds of admission to business school! 

Expert Essay Advice for the 2018-2019 Wharton MBA Application

Wharton AdmissionsWe are excited to share with you our advice on Wharton’s 2018-2019 MBA admissions essays! Read on for a taste of the advice you can find in the Veritas Prep Essential Guide to Top Business Schools. To skip straight to the full version of our advice, click here

Wharton requires only two essays this year…

Essay 1:

What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)

A strong essay will describe your career goals and then make a clear connection between your goals and what the Wharton MBA program offers. It’s important that your goals are researched, realistic, and real.  You also want to make sure you demonstrate a strong understanding of the wide array of professional opportunities available to you through Wharton and back up your story with concrete examples. Finally, Wharton wants to know why you’re a fit for their specific program, and vice versa. So do your homework and ask yourself: “What is it about a Wharton MBA in particular that will help me achieve my career aspirations?”

Essay 2:

Describe an impactful experience or accomplishment that is not reflected elsewhere in your application. How will you use what you learned through that experience to contribute to the Wharton community? (400 words)

We strongly recommend using the SAR (Situation–Action–Result) essay framework. This will help you avoid the pitfall of spending too much time describing the situation.  You want to make sure to include what you learned and dedicate significant time to connecting your experience and what you learned with how you specifically plan to contribute at Wharton. What’s going to make the difference between a good essay and a great essay is your ability to give the reader a glimpse into who you are and how you will contribute. Again, be sure to use concrete examples.

Those are just a few quick thoughts on the essays for Wharton. For more free expert advice, read the Veritas Prep Essential Guide to Top Business Schools or call us at 1-800-925-7737! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

How to Get Into Harvard Business School (Part 1)

We recently did a webinar on How to Get Into Harvard Business School. If you have time, we encourage you to watch it here before you continue to read this article:

Here’s what you need to know: 

Over 10,000 people applied to Harvard Business School last year. 11% of applicants, or approximately 1,100 people, were admitted. HBS admissions officers concede that as much as 80% of applicants are fully qualified to attend and successfully complete an MBA program, however, there are only so many seats in any given class.

So, what can you do to earn one of those coveted offers of acceptance at HBS? Continue reading to find out!

What is HBS looking for?

Let’s start by breaking down what Harvard Business School is looking for.

There’s no big secret about what HBS seeks in candidates. HBS posts its criteria right on its website, and you should take their word for it. Without clearly demonstrating all three criteria — a habit of leadership, analytical aptitude and appetite, and engaged community citizenship — you’ll be climbing up a very steep hill to be admitted.

You may be thinking, “Yeah, I’ve got this!” One thing to consider is your perception of how well you demonstrate the qualities HBS seeks may differ from the admissions board’s perception. The admissions board is reviewing thousands of applications, and if you know someone who got into Harvard Business School or you’ve read essays written by those admitted, you know that they’re pretty impressive individuals and the bar is set very high. You will be facing some stiff competition.

How do you know if your accomplishments in these areas are good enough to be admitted to HBS? We can actually give you some idea through a free MBA consultation. If you aren’t quite up to par in one or more of the areas, don’t lose heart. There are definitely things you can do to improve or strengthen the weaker aspects of your candidacy.

It’s also worth noting that there are some applicants who think they’re really impressive in these areas, but in the eyes of the admissions board are just okay. There’s another group of applicants who don’t think they have anything or struggle to come up with good examples or stories, but they’re actually quite impressive. For some, the challenge is discovering and pulling out the aspects of your background that would make you a strong candidate.

For example, Veritas Prep MBA admissions consultant Taniel Chan says, “Don’t view ‘leadership’ with the narrow frame of formal roles. There is much that can be said, if not more, about informal leadership opportunities. Don’t boast about just the things you’ve done with a proper title. It’s appropriate and can sometimes be viewed favorably when you share an anecdote of you acting even when nothing was expected of you.”

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this article  — we’ll talk about how to demonstrate what HBS is looking for in the limited space provided in the application!

College App Guide: 5 Essential Steps to Starting Your College Applications

writing essaySummer is here, and the excitement of a new application season is palpable… at least it is in the Veritas Prep office! Summer is a time to unwind, participate in a fun summer program, and (you guessed it) start working on your college applications. Sometimes it is hard to know exactly where to begin, so use this guide to help you get started on the right foot.

1) Finalize Your School List

This cannot be overstated. The absolute first thing you should do is finalize your school list, as everything else to come is based off of your finalized school list. Have meaningful conversations with family, friends, and an admissions consultant to finalize a school list that is balanced with Reach, Match & Safety schools that you’re excited to attend!

2) Create Application Accounts

Now that you have finalized your school list, it’s time to create application accounts for the schools on your list. Make sure to add the schools on your list to each application system so you can start to review their application requirements. You’ll want to make special note of application deadlines, written requirements and recommendation requirements.

3) Line Up Your Letters of Recommendation

Since your school list is finalized and you have read through the special requirements for each school on your list, you’ll know exactly which teachers to ask for a Letter of Recommendation. Ask these teachers as early as possible to ensure they have the bandwidth to write a stellar letter on your behalf, and even give them your resume and/or overview of involvement so they have something to reference as they write!

4) Create a Strategy to Overcome Perceived Weaknesses

Do a little self-reflection and evaluate your candidacy. Are there any parts of your candidacy that admissions committees may see as a potential weakness? Create a strategy to address it! For instance, have you made a meaningful impact in your local or global community through community service? Admissions committees want to see measurable impact when learning about your community involvement. If your involvement was sporadic or doesn’t lend itself to measurable impact, perhaps your strategy should be to find an opportunity to give back in a meaningful way! A free consultation with Veritas Prep can help identify these areas and set a strategy as well

5) Plan Your Application Narratives

If you’re applying to a balanced school list, it’s possible you’ll be writing at least 10+ essays. You will likely write a Personal Statement, plus school-specific supplemental essays for each of the schools on your list. Each of those essays need to be perfectly tailored to each school, and your demonstrated fit for the school as well. Take a step back and look at all of the prompts you’ll need to respond to, and strategize what you will explore in each narrative. The goal of multiple essays is for you to unveil new aspects of your candidacy as the admissions reader reads through your complete application, so plan accordingly!

Harvard Business School Eliminates Round 3 MBA Application Period

Harvard Business SchoolThis week Harvard Business School announced that, unlike most other business schools, it would not have a Round 3 application deadline this year. The world’s most desirable MBA program just announced that they dropped an admissions deadline… must be a huge deal, right? “Not really,” is our answer. Read on…

Here are the main takeaways:

1) In the past, the former Director of Admissions had said that they always see enough interesting Round 3 applicants to want to do it again. We think the move to eliminate Round 3 indicates that HBS has so many great applicants in Rounds 1 and 2, it’s not necessary to review applicants in Round 3 in order to fill their class with outstanding individuals. Instead of admitting 90% of the class in Rounds 1 and 2, they’ll now admit 100%.

2) The announcement says that Harvard has decided to focus their spring Round on 2+2 applications. This seems to signal an elevated level of importance for the program for college seniors seeking deferred admission. Clearly, the program is going well enough that they were ready to really focus on it in the spring admissions round this year.

The impact on you:

As an MBA applicant, this announcement means that if you want to apply to Harvard Business School, you really need to plan ahead. In the past, if circumstances had prevented you from applying in Round 1 or Round 2, you still had a chance to submit your application in Round 3. That chance is no longer available to you at HBS. You either need to decide earlier if you are going to apply (the Round 2 deadline is January 4 for the Class of 2021) or you’re going to have to wait and apply the following fall.

However, a big reason we say this announcement isn’t that big of a deal is that we rarely ever encourage business school applicants to pursue Round 3. We didn’t always think it was radioactive — indeed, it has helped applicants in certain situations, such as coming back from a military deployment or losing a job — but most applicants apply in one of the first two rounds, anyway. And, that’s almost always what they should do.

Also, note that applicants to HBS will now most likely know their fate when Round 2 decisions are released. (The Round 2 decision date was March 21 this past season.) The announcement mentions getting admitted students their decisions earlier, giving them additional time to do everything they need to do before classes start. This will allow a lot of small logistical things to fall into place a little more neatly, for both the school and for admitted applicants.

Another thing we’re wondering with this announcement from Harvard: we’re curious to see what other business schools do. Will more of them eliminate their final round? Will they be happy to keep Round 3 and probably see more applications from folks who were dinged by HBS in Round 2? Only time will tell. In the meantime, start working on your applications now, if you haven’t already. If you have questions, contact us.


Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or sign up for a free consultation. As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTube, and Twitter.

Expert Advice for Young MBA Applicants

Make Studying FunFirst of all, who is considered a younger applicant?

Now there is not a universal cutoff that determines what an older or younger applicant is, but rather there is more of a guideline. Generally you want to base this determination off of the average age of the student body. The average age for most of the top full time MBA programs is typically about 27 or 28 years old, but as we learned from our GMAT prep, averages don’t tell us a lot. Even looking at the middle 80% age range of full-time MBA programs, most students are between 25 and 31 years old.  So, if you have fewer than 3 years of work experience, at the time of application, you will be at the lower end of the range. There is no cut off, though.

Every year, full time programs admit applicants younger than 25, however these people are outliers. Just as a candidate with a GMAT score that falls outside of the middle 80% of a school’s range must justify how they will succeed academically, an applicant that falls outside the middle 80% of the age range must justify why they want an MBA, why now, and how they’ll fit with the program both culturally and professionally.

If you are a younger applicant, what can you do to maximize your chances of admission?  

Demonstrate maturity.

It’s imperative to convince the admissions committee that you have the quality and depth of work experience they’re looking for in members of the class.  Help the admissions committee understand how what you’ve done in your fewer than average years of work experience is better than or equal to what other applicants have achieved in more.  Strong letters of recommendation could play a key role in this.

Make it clear why you want an MBA now.

Admissions officers are going to see your age, your college graduation date and the years of work experience you bring, so there’s no sense in trying to hide or downplay this aspect of your profile.  Instead, make sure you have a clear and coherent response for why you want to get your MBA now, how it fits into your professional path, and how receiving a full-time MBA is the best possible path to achieve your goals.  Know that the admissions committee will be looking at this portion of your application with extra scrutiny. I guarantee that every 23 year old who was admitted to a top-tier, full-time program had a very clear and compelling argument for why they should be there. Nobody stumbles into a top-tier program with 1 or 2 years of work experience who simply said, “I’m looking to expand my career opportunities and improve my management skills” without providing significantly more detail.  

Demonstrate fit.  

Also, don’t forget to do thorough research on each program to which you are applying.  Talk with current students and recent alums who were a little younger in their class and pick their brains on school culture, the ways they got involved, and their overall experience. Get on your target schools’ websites to find out what clubs interest you most and include these in your application essays to show the admissions committee that you’re serious about getting involved!  At Veritas Prep, we have expert consultants for younger candidates and can help you refine your professional goals, why you need an MBA now, and how you will contribute to your class.

If you need help with any of the advice above contact us, we’d be happy to help.


Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or sign up for a free consultation. As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTube, and Twitter.

BREAKING NEWS: The GMAT is Getting Shorter!

stopwatch-620GMAC has announced that, beginning April 16, 2018, the GMAT exam will be 30 minutes shorter via the removal of 6 Quantitative questions and 5 Verbal questions and some streamlining to tutorials and other non-exam screens at the test center. So, just how much should this affect your test prep strategy? Well there are a few things to keep in mind before you take the official exam. 

To prepare for the changes, know the following:

  • Your allotted pace per question is essentially the same (within ~2 seconds per question).
  • According to GMAC, the removal of questions all comes from the unscored, experimental questions (those that GMAC is vetting for quality and difficulty, but that do not count toward your score).
  • There are no changes to scoring or to the AWA and Integrated Reasoning sections.
  • There will now be 31 Quantitative questions (in 62 minutes) and 36 Verbal questions (in 65 minutes).

What does this mean for you?

  • In general your pacing strategy doesn’t need to change. You’re still allotted just about exactly the same amount of time per question (exactly 2 minutes per Quant question and 1:48 per Verbal question).
  • However, the “penalty” for guessing just got a bit more severe. With all of the reduction in questions coming from the unscored questions you lose (most of) the 25% probability that a question you guess on won’t count toward your score.
  • What you give up in “probability that a guess won’t hurt you” you likely make up for in mental stamina. A shorter test allows you to perform at your peak for a greater percentage of it, so that works to your advantage.
  • Most importantly, recognize this: everyone takes the same test, so these little nuances in stamina and number of experimentals will affect everyone. The psychometricians at GMAC take data integrity seriously and won’t sign off on changes that could alter the consistency of scores, so any perceived advantages or disadvantages are likely a much bigger deal in your head than they are in practice.

The best news?

Unlike with Section Select – another new, user-friendly GMAT feature – you (probably) don’t have to make any decisions.  If you’re signed up for the “old” format test (an appointment between now and April 16) GMAC will allow you to transfer your appointment to a later date with the shorter format free of charge.  But unless you have a test currently scheduled for the next 12 days you’ll just take the shorter test and be able to celebrate a half-hour earlier.

Whether you’re just beginning your GMAT prep or you’re just looking to hone a few particular skills (such as time management), Veritas Prep has a service to ensure you succeed on test day! Check out our variety of GMAT prep services online, or give us a call to speak with a friendly Course Advisor about your options. 

Admissions 101: Your Future is Not Defined by a College Rejection Letter

Oberlin CollegeIt is admissions decision time, and many institutions are reporting an increase in applicants for the Class of 2022, and a decrease in admissions rates. For the first time, Harvard admitted less than 5% of applicants! So, for the 95% of you who applied to Harvard and received a rejection letter, or for any other students who feel like their dreams have been crushed, this post is for you.

First and foremost, it’s important to allow yourself to feel how you want to feel – disappointed, angry, frustrated or even sad. You worked tirelessly in high school to be a stellar student, spent hours outside of schools participating in extracurricular activities, pulled all-nighters to complete homework assignments and stayed up late rewriting your application essays over and over again. You may have even lost some sleep in the last week in anticipation of the decision. It’s perfectly reasonable to feel a sinking disappointment. However, your rejection letter should not take anything away from your herculean efforts over the past four years. You are still an outstanding, accomplished student. Repeat that to yourself a few times.

Your future is not defined by today. We won’t try to get too motivational on you, but it is important to remember that tomorrow is a new day, life will continue on, and your future will not defined by the admissions decisions you received.

If you’re wondering what to do next, here are three suggestions to help you get excited about the next phase of your life:

Ask for an explanation

If you find yourself asking “what happened?” or “what could I have done differently?” you might get some peace of mind by connecting with an admissions officer. Many institutions are willing to give you feedback on why you weren’t admitted. If this is something that would help you feel closure, we suggest reaching out to the admissions office and getting this information!

Get excited about your plan B

Once you are ready to stop mourning what could have been, it’s time to start getting excited about what will be! If you’re able, go on a campus visit to your Plan B school to start envisioning yourself as a student there. If you happen to find yourself with no offers of admission, take this time to research schools who are still accepting applications, or seek a Community College option that might be a good fit for you for the upcoming year. You may even choose to work with a college admissions consultant to help guide you through the process.

Celebrate your successes

We get it, you didn’t crack the selective admissions rates at the top colleges in the country, but if you strategized your school list wisely, it’s likely you were admitted somewhere, and that’s worth celebrating! Go out to dinner, hang that admissions letter on the fridge and remind yourself that you’re awesome and your future is bright.

In the end, your future is what you make of it. No matter where you enroll, your future will be fantastic because you make it that way. Take advantage of the opportunities around you and the people in your corner cheering you on. The best is yet to come!

Dinged By All Of Your Schools?  Here Is What To Do.

AdmissionsIt is hard not to feel the sting of rejection coming from MBA programs you failed to get into, especially when you just devoted a portion of your life going through such an arduous application process. But we are here to let you know that it is key to your long term success not to let fear of future rejection keep you from reapplying yourself. There are steps you can take to improve your chances of admission and earn the acceptance letter you deserve!

What should you do?  

 

Be honest with yourself.  

This is probably the most important and most difficult step an applicant can take to kick-start the post-ding process. You will need to look back at your application and honestly assess the strengths and weaknesses of your profile. Look at where you stand on paper (GMAT, GPA, etc.) as well as how you fare in some of the softer areas like the essay – scrutinize your whole profile. The data side is easy; you can compare average and median scores to determine your competitiveness in these areas. The “softer” areas are a bit more complicated, but assessing whether or not you answered all questions as they were posed, and to the best of your abilities, is a good place to start. The information gleaned from this self-assessment should fuel your next steps as a potential re-applicant. Evaluating yourself is quite a challenge, and sometimes it helps to have an outside perspective to address your “blind-spots.”

Ask for feedback.  

Anyone who gets rejected will inevitably ask, “What did I do wrong? What’s the one thing that kept me out?”  There are some programs that give rejected applicants specific feedback on why they didn’t get in. This can be helpful because if it’s something you can improve, then you know exactly what you need to do, if you decide to re-apply.  The old advice applies, “It doesn’t hurt to ask.”

If the programs you applied to are unable to provide you with feedback on your application, you can get a “ding analysis” from an admissions consultant.  They’ll review your application and give you their opinion on what held you back. Considering many admissions consultants are former admissions committee members this can be invaluable.  

Prepare for the Future.

Here is where you will decide whether or not you would like to apply to business school again. Creating a winning application is not easy, so making the necessary changes to a rejected application may not be seen as worth the effort for some. In the event you do decide to apply again, it is important to create an action plan. Having a plan to address the aspects of your profile that held you back this year is key.  You may need to expand the universe of schools you apply to. You may need to improve your essays. You may need to raise your GMAT score.

Allow me to share the following review posted by a client we worked with.  I hope it will give you hope.

“I had applied on my own to a couple of top MBA programs last year and was rejected without interviews. Even through I sunk many hours into my applications, within just one session, Dave was able to highlight different areas in which I could strengthen my essays, resume, and letters of recommendation. I started with Dave in April for a four-school package, and every step of the way, he was an incredible mentor and guide. Dave took the time go get to know my life story, future goals, and general life; I never felt like just another client. Dave was great about really cutting to the core of my stories and the reasons I made decisions while still focusing on the impact of those experiences. The final results blew away my best expectations – 100K scholarship from Kellogg, 60K scholarship from Booth, and full rides from both Tuck and Darden. Thank you so much to both Veritas and Dave for a fantastic experience and amazing results, and I highly, highly recommend Dave. Can’t wait to start school in Fall 2018!”

A ding is not the end of the world! Take the steps above to bounce back and earn the letter of acceptance you deserve.

Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or sign up for a free consultation to discuss whether or not you should re-apply and how we can help you get accepted to the school of your dreams.  As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Waitlisted? Here are 3 Things You Should Do Next.

RoadThis time of year is full of so many highs and lows for college applicants. Many students will be jumping for joy when they learn that they’ve been admitted to the school of their dreams. Others may learn that they have been denied admission placed on the waitlist, and can’t help but feel defeated. If you happen to find yourself in the camp of waitlisted students, here are some strategies to help you figure out next steps.

Reach out to the school immediately.

If you’re still dreaming about attending the school that waitlisted you, open communication as soon as possible. Write a letter or send an email detailing that if they were to admit you, you would accept the spot in their incoming freshman class without question. Reiterate the reasons why this school is your dream institution and update them on any new developments in your candidacy.

Get excited about your Plan B.

Obviously your dream school is still your goal, but you’re likely going to head somewhere in the fall, so it’s time to psyche yourself up for Plan B! Since it is uncertain whether or not you will be lifted from the waitlist at your dream school, put down a deposit at a school that admitted you. The last thing you want is to be stuck after May 1st with nowhere to go, so set yourself up for success by paying an enrollment deposit at another school. Buy a t-shirt or hat for that school, too. You might end up being a student there, so it’s time to get into the school spirit!

Keep your eye on the prize.

If you’ve been waitlisted, you might consider just walking away altogether to take a Gap Year. For some students, this might be a good option, because you can spend your Gap Year doing things to boost your candidacy in anticipation of applying again. However, it is important to note that it is easier to try and transfer to your dream institution from another college than taking a stab at the first-time admissions odds again. In most cases, you are better off enrolling in your Plan B, kicking butt in challenging courses and ultimately positioning yourself to be a compelling transfer applicant in a few years. Who knows, you might fall in love with your Plan B and realize that’s where you were meant to be all along!

Being placed on a waitlist definitely isn’t ideal, but there are actions you can take to position yourself well for the future! Veritas Prep college admissions consultants are ready to help you with strategies to get off the waitlist at your top-choice school.

We are happy to review your waitlist school letter or assist you as you decide on which college is right for you. 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 FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter!

Insights from the 2019 US News Ranking of Top Business Schools: Booth Climbs to #1

US News College RankingsWe don’t like to overemphasize the importance of rankings, but we know that applicants are extremely interested in them.  As such, let’s take a look at the US News and World Report Best Business Schools rankings for 2019 (ranked in 2018) today.

What’s new?  

 

Booth went from #3 last year to #1 this year, tied with Harvard.  

This is the first time Booth has been ranked #1 by US News and World Report.  Comparing Harvard and Booth, the acceptance rate jumps out at you.  Booth accepted 23.5% of applicants and Harvard 9.9%. The percentage of graduates employed at the time of graduation also stands out.  Booth has one of the highest at 88%. The only school in the top 25 with a higher percentage is Ross-more on them later-with 89.7%.  Side note: We don’t want to get too deep into employment statistics, but if having a job at the time of graduation, or getting one shortly thereafter is really important to you, check out the numbers reported for graduates employed 3 months after graduation.  The highest percentage you’ll see in the top 25 is Foster at 98.1%-pretty impressive. For those of you who’d been solely focused on applying to and getting in to H/S/W, we hope this helps you open your mind to the value of applying to and the possibility of attending a school other than those 3.  

Ross went from #11 last year to #7 tied this year, tied with Berkeley Haas.  

Ross achieved a noteworthy rise in the rankings, cracking the coveted Top 10.  Similar to my comment above, for those of you hyper focused on attending a school in the top 10, we hope this 1) helps you realize that the top 10 varies from year to year and 2) opens your mind to applying to schools outside of the top 10.     

The difference between a school being ranked in the top 10 and not is pretty small.  One year they may be in the top 10, the next year they may be out. Did the school change that much in 1 year?  Probably not. Is the school still a great school? Most likely yes. There can be so much focus on a school being ranked in the top 10, but there are a number of excellent schools which hover right around the top 10 and even crack the top 10 (as they say) some years that as an applicant, you should make sure you don’t overlook them.  So, while Fuqua, Yale, Stern and Darden aren’t in the top 10 this year, as you consider which schools to apply to, take a look at these schools as they are perennially near the top 10 and sometimes included, if that’s important to you.

What do you need to know?  

One thing we noticed when we looked at the rankings was the average GMAT score.  Scanning the rankings, it wasn’t until you got to #17 Tepper that the average GMAT score dipped below 700.  Yikes! The average GMAT score at 5 of the top 6 schools (including the top 4 schools) was 730+. Wowza! Similar to rankings, we don’t want to place too much emphasis on the average GMAT score, but it’s worth noting that the average scores remain high and are continuing to go up for schools in the top 25.  You’re probably wondering, what you can do about it? Check out these articles on the Veritas Prep blog or contact us so we can give you some free advice.  

It’s pretty common knowledge that the top 7 schools are pretty consistent–thus the term M7.  And everyone wants to go to Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton – thus the term H/S/W – even though Booth, Kellogg, or Sloan may be tied or ranked higher any given year.  Outside of the top 7, though, call it 8 through 12, there can be movement and as such, one school may be in the top 10 one year and out the next.
We constantly remind applicants, rankings are only one factor to consider when selecting which schools to apply to.  Regardless of which schools you decide are right for you, you’ll want to make sure you submit the strongest application you’re capable of.  Contact us today to discuss your chances of admission to your target programs, to get answers to your questions, and to find out how we can help you get accepted to the school of your dreams.

MBA Application Advice for Older Applicants

SAT/ACTFirst of all, who is considered an older applicant?

Now there is not a universal cutoff that determines what an older or younger applicant is, but rather there is more of a guideline. Generally you want to base this determination off of the average age of the student body. The average age for most of the top full time MBA programs is typically about 27 or 28 years old, but as we learned from our GMAT prep, averages don’t tell us a lot. Even looking at the middle 80% age range of full-time MBA programs, most students are between 25 and 31 years old.  

So, if you have more than 7 years of work experience, at the time of application, you will be at the upper end of the range.  In other words, if you’ll be 30 or older at the start of the program, you’ll be above average. There is no cut off, though.

Every year, full time programs admit applicants in their mid 30s, however these people are outliers, Just as a candidate with a GMAT score that falls outside of the middle 80% of a school’s range must justify how they will succeed academically, an applicant that falls outside the middle 80% in age range must justify why they want an MBA, why now, and how they’ll fit with the program both culturally and professionally.

If you are an older applicant, what can you do to maximize your chances of admission?  

 

Make it clear why you want an MBA now.

Admissions officers are going to see your age, your college graduation date and the years of work experience you bring, so there’s no sense in trying to hide or downplay this aspect of your profile.  Instead, make sure you have a clear and coherent response for why you want to get your MBA now, how it fits into your professional path, and how receiving a full-time MBA is the best possible path to achieve your goals.  Know that the admissions committee will be looking at this portion of your application with extra scrutiny. I guarantee that every 32 year old who was admitted to a top-tier, full-time program had a very clear and compelling argument for why they should be there. Nobody stumbles into a top-tier program with 10 years of work experience who simply said, “I’m looking to expand my career opportunities and improve my management skills” without providing significantly more detail.  

Demonstrate fit.  

Also, don’t forget to do thorough research on each program to which you are applying.  Talk with current students and recent alums who were a little older in their class and pick their brains on school culture, the ways they got involved, and their overall experience. Get on your target schools’ websites to find out what clubs interest you most and include these in your application essays to show the admissions committee that you’re serious about getting involved!  At Veritas Prep, we have expert consultants for older candidates and can help you refine your professional goals, why you need an MBA now, and how you will contribute to your class.

Consider applying to a part time or EMBA program.  

Many business schools, including Stanford and Wharton, offer other programs such as EMBA, part-time and executive education tracks that may be better suited to candidates who will not likely take advantage of the immersive experience of a full-time MBA.  If you have 7 or 8 or more years of work experience, be sure you are considering all of your options. Leaving your full-time job for two years is not always the wisest option for people later in their careers and will not provide the same ROI as for younger candidates.  Think through which program makes the most sense for where you are at in your life and career and what you desire out of your MBA experience. Generally the part-time and EMBA programs attract an older applicant pool given the structure and set-up of the programs. With whatever program makes the most sense for you make a strong case for how the offerings best align with your development needs.

If you need help with any of the advice above contact us, we’d be happy to help.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or sign up for a free consultation. As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Can Amazing Extracurriculars Outweigh Average Academics?

Extracurricular-ActivitiesYear after year, this is one of the questions we receive most from eager high school students gearing up for the college application process. We thought we’d take the time to break down how admissions decisions are made. Don’t want to read all the way to the end? Here’s our #spoileralert: amazing extracurriculars don’t outweigh average academics. Let us tell you why!

When admissions committees at top schools make admissions decisions, they’re evaluating you across a few elements:

Academic Preparedness

Here, admissions committees are looking to evaluate whether or not you are equipped to succeed in their college courses. This comes down to more than your GPA and test scores, though those are factors in this evaluation Other areas of your academic evaluation will include AP test scores, SAT Subject Test Scores, Letters of Recommendation and your academic involvement outside the classroom.

Habit of Leadership/Depth of Commitment

(This is where your amazing extracurriculars will be evaluated!)

It’s not enough to just participate in volunteer work or play a sport. Admissions committees at top universities are looking for students who have thoroughly enveloped themselves in activities that they are truly passionate about! Their job as an admissions committee is to admit a well-rounded, diverse freshman class. They’re looking for “pointy” students – students who have clearly demonstrated interests and passions and have taken the initiative to excel in those areas both inside and outside the classroom.

Fit for Institution

In the end, admissions committees will never admit a student that they don’t believe will actually enroll, so it’s important to clearly articulate your fit and sincere interest for each individual school on your list! This is typically done through school-specific supplemental essays, and will also be an imperative part of your application process.

Essentially, excelling in extracurriculars does not outweigh average or less-than-average performance in academics. Why? Because first, admissions committees need to determine if you will be able to keep up academically with your peers in college level courses. That’s the most important criteria. Unfortunately, your extracurricular activities do not necessarily demonstrate to admissions committees that you are prepared to excel academically on their campus. If you don’t have sufficient evidence on your application that you’ll be able to handle academic rigor, it is unlikely you will be admitted to selective college or university.

Do you have questions about how your unique extracurricular experiences will be evaluated by admissions committees? Take advantage of Veritas Prep’s free college consultation — you’ll receive personalized feedback from one of our college admission experts on your chances of admission to your dream schools, as well as tangible next steps for what you can do to ensure your applications are successful!

Top 5 Waitlist Strategies for College Applicants

Waiting in LineNo one wants to be waitlisted by the school of their dreams. Being waitlisted could be one of the best things that can happen to you in your college admissions journey. Why? You’re one step closer to the finish line.

A decision of “maybe” from your top-choice school might be confusing at first, but it gives you a chance to think about what you really want to do next. However, you must weigh your options quickly. If your heart’s still set on going to that college, there are some things you can do right now to boost your chances of acceptance.  

Here’s some expert advice from our Veritas Prep college admissions team on what to do next if you find yourself on the waitlist:

1. Reflect on why you applied. Is this school still your first choice? How does the curriculum align with your goals? What are the chances that you will receive a scholarship or grants should you be admitted after all early and regular decision acceptance offers have been made? Answering these questions can help you decide whether you want to pursue admission as you consider or await other college decisions.

2. Read the fine print. Many schools give clear direction to their waitlisted applicants about what to do next. Some schools require students to respond to the waitlist offer by a certain deadline. Others instruct students not to send any additional information to the admissions committee. It’s important that you follow the instructions provided to you in your letter — even if this means that you may just have to wait.

3. Write the “admissions love letter.” If your decision letter does not discourage submitting additional information to the admissions office, you can still show your dream school how committed you are to becoming a member of their next incoming class. Due to the time sensitivity of the process, this letter should be sent by e-mail directly to the contact information provided to you by the university’s admissions office. The letter should not exceed one page (1-3 paragraphs) and include the following:

a. New insights into why you are a good fit for the school (i.e. new discoveries from the admissions interview, campus tour or meetings with professors and/or alumni). Do not repeat information you have already stated in your application.

b. Highlights of how you have strengthened weaker areas in your application profile over the past few months.  This includes things like mid-year grade improvements, research projects, accomplishments and awards.

c. Reiterate that the school is genuinely your top choice and you will attend if admitted. This is the number one question admissions committees have about the status of their waitlisted applicants.

Time is of the essence: Don’t forget to send your “love letter” in a timely manner. Usually your letter will provide you with key dates and deadlines. If not, respond as soon as possible.

4. Create a backup plan. You can request to remain on the waitlist of your top-choice school whilst securing your spot at another institution. Pay close attention to the deadlines to pay your security deposit, in case things don’t work out with your first-choice school.  

5. Stay positive. Take a deep breath and feel confident that you put your best foot forward. No matter the outcome, you should be proud of your accomplishments to make it this far in the process. A waitlist decision is not an outright “no,” and it’s very likely that your application was favored over a pool of thousands of applicants from all over the world.

Veritas Prep college admissions consultants are ready to help you with strategies to get off the waitlist at your top-choice school. We are happy to review your waitlist love letter or assist you as you decide on which college is right for you. For help creating a top-notch college application, contact us today at 800.925.7737.

3 Reasons to Apply in Round 3

InterviewRound 1 and 2 deadlines have come and gone, but you had it in your head that you were applying to business school this year. So what do you do? Should you really consider applying in round 3?

Every year many applicants are faced with a similar dilemma. Round 3 has long been a cautiously avoided application round for most applicants. It is in fact the round where the least spots are typically available so the apprehension has merit. However, there are reasons why an applicant should consider applying in Round 3.

1. Many schools have strong Round 3 acceptance rates.

Think you have no chance getting in if you apply Round 3? Think again!  Admissions officers at Harvard (HBS), Stanford GSB, Wharton and across the top-tier MBA programs have openly stated that they would simply eliminate Round 3 if they did not consistently admit candidates from the final round. Harvard Business School’s former Director of Admissions, Dee Leopold, offers this: “We always conclude that we like Round 3 enough to keep it as an option. Although we have admitted about 90% of the class by this time, we always – ALWAYS – see enough interesting Round 3 applicants to want to do it again.”  

Schools with relatively higher acceptance rates of Round 3 applicants include Cornell Johnson, UNC Kenan-Flagler, Carnegie Mellon Tepper, Emory Goizueta and Georgetown McDonough, according to data provided by MBA Data Guru. If you apply to schools outside of the top 15 MBA programs you are more likely to be accepted in Round 3. 

2. There were extenuating circumstances which prevented you from applying in an earlier round.

Some applicants have extenuating circumstances that prevented them from applying in an earlier round. Admissions Officers will certainly keep this in mind while reviewing your Round 3 application, so feel free to include legitimate circumstances in your optional essay. This might include an overseas military deployment, atypical professional obligations such as working on a political campaign, or other circumstances where it is easy for the admissions officer to see that submitting an earlier application would have been nearly impossible. Do not feel an obligation to list an excuse for applying in Round 3, but if you have extenuating circumstances you may include them. Our Veritas Prep consultants can help you determine whether to mention a possible extenuating circumstance in your application or leave it off.

3. You’re a stellar applicant with a stellar application.

Round 3 partly gets a bad reputation from those applicants who throw together their applications at the last minute (rather than having to wait eight months before applying in next year’s admissions cycle) and end up getting rejected. “See,” they say, “I knew I wouldn’t get in. Round 3 is impossible.” But Round 3 wasn’t the problem… their applications were what held them back.

An impressive set of qualifications can make round 3 and frankly any round attractive to candidates with impressive profiles. Candidates with strong GPAs, GMAT scores, and blue chip resumes can often still be competitive even with the limited spots left in round 3. If the candidate’s application measurables align with or exceed target school class profile numbers then round 3 becomes a realistic option.

We wanted to find a way to take out the risk in applying in Round 3 to top MBA programs, so whether you decide to apply in Round 3 or postpone to Round 1 in the fall, Veritas Prep’s Round 3 Guarantee  has you covered every step of the way!


Want to craft a strong application? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Top 5 Reasons You Should Start Your MBA Applications Early

Six WeeksAcross the board, MBA admissions officers recommend that you apply in the earliest round you can – as long as you’re submitting your best possible application. Particularly for candidates from overrepresented industries such as finance and consulting, later round applicants can be at a significant disadvantage. This means that you should begin working on your applications now, in time to submit the best application possible, as early as possible. Here are the top 5 reasons to start your MBA applications early and apply in Round 1:

1. Significant MBA school research is imperative to your success.

Schools are looking for candidates who’ve approached business school with a mature and thorough decision making process. In order to write impactful essays that also demonstrate fit, you will need to do more than check rankings and click through their website. Effective research often includes conversations with current students and recent alums, visiting campus and attending info sessions, or at least diving into comprehensive resources like the Veritas Prep Essential Guide to Top Business Schools. Lack of research leads to generic essays, which are not compelling to admissions officers.

2. Demonstrating “fit” is a more arduous process than you think. It takes time. You can recycle surprisingly little among different schools’ essay questions.

Every year, we see clients who expect that they can write essays for one application and simply strip out the name of one school and insert the name of another. This is especially tempting with the current trend in open ended questions. Rachel, a member of our Ultimate Admissions Committee and Head Consultant from Wharton, says “it’s more important than ever to consider the culture and environment of the school.” Admissions officers see thousands of essays every year, and they can spot a repurposed essay from a mile away. Applying to multiple schools takes time!

3. You won’t just identify and explain your weaknesses – you will work to improve them.

One of the first steps in working on your applications is evaluating every element of your profile. Are there any weak areas? Red flags? Leadership? Low GMAT score? Low undergraduate GPA? If you identify any areas which may be less than solid, when you start early, you can take steps to improve your weaknesses, rather than finding yourself in the unenviable position of trying to explain them in an optional essay. This might include tackling a new project with your volunteer organization, taking a calculus course from your local community college, or retaking the GMAT with the proper strategy to raise your score. There are numerous strategies to improve your application profile, and if you start on your applications now, you have time to implement them!

4. You will increase your chances of receiving financial aid awards and scholarships.

It is well known that schools operate with a limited budget – this means that there is more money to go around for financial aid, scholarships and awards, towards the beginning of the admissions season than there is towards the end. Why not allow yourself the highest possibility of receiving a financial reward?

5. It will allow you to avoid late application pitfalls.

In an exclusive Veritas Prep survey, we asked the top 30 MBA admissions officers to name the most common mistakes they see in MBA applications. Their #1 response: careless errors. Admissions officers view your application as a reflection of your commitment, so careless errors can doom your chances for admissions. However, let’s face it, most of us love to procrastinate! About 80% of MBA applications are submitted within three days of each deadline, most within 24 hours. These rushed, last-minute applications are often rife with careless errors – a missing comma here, an incorrect spelling of “they’re” there. By starting the process early, you and your Veritas Prep Head Consultant can craft your Personalized MBA Game Plan™, providing structure to the application process and ensuring there is plenty of time to catch careless mistakes and add the perfect polish before you hit “Submit.”

What you should be doing now?

Even before the schools release their updated essay prompts, you can work to significantly improve your applications by working with an expert MBA consultant to:

  • Identify the ideal programs for your personal and professional goals, even some you may not be currently considering.
  • Thoroughly research your target schools beyond rankings and school websites.
  • Discuss how to maximize the value of your campus visits, information sessions, and conversations with students and alumni.
  • Prepare your recommenders to write stellar letters on your behalf.
  • Craft your resume to emphasize accomplishments that will resonate with the admissions committee.

Secure your ideal MBA consultant now.

With the lowest client-to consultant ratio in the industry, Veritas Prep ensures your consultant is solely focused on your success. However, this also means that many of our consultants can get booked up early. We will ensure you work with a consultant who best fits with your personal and professional background, career goals, target schools, and working style so they can clearly understand your story and know how to best portray it to the admissions committee. As a First Mover, you’ll work with the ideal consultant for your needs so that your applications truly shine.

If you need help with any of the advice above contact us, we’d be happy to help.


Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or sign up for a free consultation. As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTube, and Twitter.

How Does Scoring Differ Between the GMAT and the GRE?

SAT/ACT

It’s a new year, and thus a good time to undertake a new intellectual challenge. For me, this challenge will take the form of teaching new classes on GRE preparation. Because the test has changed so much over the years, I thought it might be interesting to delineate my impressions of the newer incarnation, both in terms of how the GRE differs from the GMAT and in terms of how the GRE has evolved over time.

Observation 1: The formats are different.

 The GRE has two Quantitative sections and two Verbal sections of 30 minutes each, while the GMAT has a single Quantitative section and a single Verbal section of 75 minutes each. Moreover, while the GMAT is adaptive by the question, the GRE is adaptive by section.  Do well on the first GRE Quantitative section and the entire next section will escalate in difficulty. (My impression: while the GRE does adjust from section to section, it does so in a way that feels significantly subtler than the GMAT exam.)

Observation 2: The two Quantitative sections on the GRE are much easier than the one Quantitative section on the GMAT.

This is typically the most conspicuous difference test-takers notice. In our GMAT courses, we have a skill-builder section that allows students to re-master the basics before delving into a discussion about the types of higher-order thinking the GMAT will require. In other words, it’s not enough to simply recall the various rules, axioms, and equations we’ve forgotten from high school – those foundational elements will need to be applied in creative ways. While the GRE does require some higher-order thinking, on many quantitative questions simply having the foundational skills is enough to arrive at the correct answer. The strategic element is more about how to arrive at these answers in a timely manner and how to avoid panicking on the few hairier questions that will likely come your way.

Moreover, in lieu of the GMAT’s dreaded Data Sufficiency questions, the GRE has Quantitative Comparison questions, in which a test-taker is asked to compare the relative magnitude of two quantities – it’s possible that one quantity is larger than the other, that the two quantities are equal, or that it’s not possible to determine which quantity is larger. After grappling with knotty Data Sufficiency questions, a test-taker is likely to find Quantitative Comparison to be blessedly straightforward. Better yet, the GRE will allow you to return to questions once you’ve answered them, granting test-takers more opportunities to weed out careless mistakes. If that weren’t enough, on the GRE, you’ll have access to an on-screen calculator. So there are perks.

Observation 3: The GRE’s scoring algorithm is much less forgiving than the GMAT’s.

Of course, there’s a rub. The GRE’s Quantitative section might be easier in terms of the difficulty level of the questions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s easier to score well. If you’re able to ascend to the more difficult question levels on the GMAT, you can miss many of them and still do well. Not so on the GRE, where you need to be pretty close to perfect to achieve an elite score.

Observation 4:  The Verbal on the GRE can be trickier.

Like the GMAT, the GRE has a Reading Comprehension component. But unlike the GMAT, the GRE questions will often ask you to select “all that apply,” meaning that you may need to select as many as three correct assertions in order to receive credit for a question. Select two of the three? You get the question wrong. No partial credit. And while the GRE doesn’t have any Sentence Correction questions, it does have Sentence Completion questions, and these questions often come down to either recognizing somewhat obscure vocabulary words or utilizing more familiar words in less familiar ways.

Ultimately, in my experience, most test-takers will score at comparable percentile levels if they were to take both exams. Choosing which test is better for you might be a question of fit or comfort more than anything else. And while there’s a fair amount of overlap between the two exams, they feel different enough that you wouldn’t want to prepare for one and simply assume that you’re ready for the other. Each test has its own strategic texture and its own idiosyncrasies, so you want to be sure that you’ve worked through a curriculum specifically designed for the test in question before you sit for the exam.

Regardless of whether you take the GMAT or GRE, Veritas Prep is committed to helping you prepare to do your best on test day! Jump start your prep by taking advantage of Veritas Prep’s various free GMAT resources and free GRE resources to determine which test is right for you.


This article was written by Veritas Prep instructor David Goldstein. Be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter for more helpful articles like these!

How to Spend Your Summer Months in High School

Study on the BeachIt may not seem like it now, especially if you’re looking outside at a pile of snow… but summer is right around the corner! Year after year, there is an increased focus from admissions committees at top schools on how students spend their summer months. While it is called summer “break,” we know that you need to spend your “break” being productive, too! We’ve compiled our list of the best ways to spend your summer months to maximize both preparedness and relaxation!

1) Strengthen your Candidacy

This one is general, but probably the most important. Summer months are your break from school, so you have opportunities to strengthen parts of your candidacy outside of your classroom performance. Here are some ideas for how to spend that valuable time:

Participate in a competitive academic program

Now is the time to apply to competitive academic summer programs. Admissions committees will evaluate how you have explored academic interests outside of your high school curriculum, and participating in an academic summer program is an excellent way to demonstrate your pursuit of academic interests outside of school. Any program that allows you to take additional coursework, study on a college campus or participate in research with a working professional is a great choice!

Participate in a meaningful volunteer opportunity

Admissions committees also care deeply about how you have supported your community and developed an interest in community involvement. If you reflect on your extracurricular activities and find that you have not been too involved in bettering your community, summer months are a great time to find a worthy organization and get your hands dirty!

Focus on test prep

If you’ve already taken the ACT or SAT and don’t have your desired score, you should spend summer months preparing to take the exam again. It’s easier to focus on test prep when you’re not knee deep in your AP Physics and Honors Literature class, so utilize the summer months to focus on test prep and increase your score before you begin the college applications!

2) Explore colleges – virtually or in person

Use your summer months to explore colleges in-person or virtually. While it’s not an ideal time to visit college campuses because the student population is much smaller than during the school year, it’s typically the best time for families to travel together. Make the most of your visits by meeting with an admissions representative personally, talking with current students and professors. If physically visiting campuses is not possible, take advantage of the World Wide Web and the fabulous resources available at your fingertips! Most colleges will offer virtual tours on their website and admissions representatives make themselves available for calls from prospective students!

3) Finalize your school list

One of the biggest mistakes we see students make is beginning their senior year without a finalized school list. By the time you step foot at your school as a mighty and all-knowing senior, you should have your school list finalized – a balance between reach, match and safety schools.

4) Enjoy yourself

Finally, it’s your break. Take a breather and enjoy yourself. Spend time with your friends and family, sleep in and soak up the sun. While it’s important to focus on college readiness, we also know that balance is key. Enjoy!


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 FacebookYouTube, Google+, and Twitter!

Starting the Common Application: Your 2018-2019 Personal Statement Prompts

The Common Application has made a major announcement! It’s only January, and they’ve announced that they will not be making any changes to the 2018-2019 Personal Statement prompts from the 2017-2018 season.

This means that if you are in the Class of 2019, your Personal Statement prompts are available to you, and you can officially begin your college application process! Your personal statement prompts are as follows:

1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

4. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.

5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

If you’re having trouble getting started with your Common Application essays, Veritas Prep has you covered. Our college admissions experts have broken down each Common App prompt to tell you what college admissions committees are really looking for in your answers to each question, and to offer actionable tips for how to start the writing process for your own essays. You can read our thoughts here:


Do you need more help navigating the college admissions process? 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 FacebookYouTube, Google+, and Twitter!

Complexities of Parallelism – Part I

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomParallelism is one of the most common errors tested on GMAT, and debatably, one of the most tricky too! At times, due to the complexity of the sentence, we may not realise that elements should be in parallel; at others we may not realise that they should NOT be in parallel! (discussed in a previous post)

We see parallelism in many cases in GMAT. Some of them are:

  • A list of elements
  • Co-ordinating and correlative conjunctions such as “and”, “but”, “both … and…”, “either … or…” etc
  • Stating a comparison such as “compared to A, B”
  • Idioms involving elements in parallel such as “consider A B”

On the face of it, it seems quite simple and straight forward – all acting verbs or all nouns etc, but if a GMAT question focusses on it, it is bound to be more complicated than that. Parallelism depends on both, the form and the function of the words. Also, it is important to decipher the logic of the sentence – should the elements be in parallel in the first place? If yes, then which elements should be in parallel?

We also need to worry about when to repeat a particular word in all parallel elements and when not to. We know the thumb rule – either repeat in all or use only once in the beginning. But when is it a good idea to repeat the word in all elements?

Yes, it isn’t that simple after all!

But let’s answer all these questions using a couple of examples.

Question 1: It is no surprise that Riyadh, the Saudi capital where people revere birds of prey and ride camels regularly, is home to the world’s largest hospital for falcons, a place where falcons from all over the world are treated in operating rooms, an ophthalmology department, and a pox area, and to the largest veterinary clinic for desert mammals, a place where camels and other desert species are expertly cared for. 

(A) an ophthalmology department, and a pox area, and to the largest veterinary clinic for desert mammals, a place where camels and other desert species are expertly cared for. 

(B) an ophthalmology department, a pox area, and the largest veterinary clinic for desert mammals, where camels and other desert species are expertly cared for. 

(C) an ophthalmology department, to a pox area, and to the largest veterinary clinic for desert mammals, a place where camels and other desert species are expertly cared for. 

(D) to an ophthalmology department, and to a pox area and the largest veterinary clinic for desert mammals, a place where camels and other desert species are expertly cared for. 

(E) an ophthalmology department and a pox area, and the largest veterinary clinic for desert mammals, a place where camels and other desert species are expertly cared for.

Solution: There are lots of commas and lots of different elements in the sentence.

Logically, we see that Riyadh is home to the largest hospital for falcons and to the veterinary clinic for desert mammals. It can’t be home to operating rooms, an ophthalmology department, and a pox area! These are places inside a hospital!

So then, here is the structure of the sentence:

It is no surprise that Riyadh, …, is home to A and to B.

A and B should be in parallel.

Within A, we have a list of elements too.

A – the world’s largest hospital for falcons, a place where falcons from all over the world are treated in X, Y and Z

X – operating rooms

Y – an ophthalmology department

Z – a pox area

B – the largest veterinary clinic for desert mammals, a place where camels and other desert species are expertly cared for

Therefore, to show parallelism between A and B, we have used “to” with both to show the beginning of the parallel elements. This separates them from the other set of parallel elements – X, Y and Z.

Note that only option (A) satisfies these conditions and hence is the correct answer here.

Takeaways

  • The first thing to do is to figure out the logic of the sentence to see which elements should be in parallel and which shouldn’t.
  • After that, put those that need to be in parallel. We might need to repeat certain words to signal the start of parallel elements when we have other intertwined lists too.

We will leave you with a question now. We will discuss it in detail in our next post.

Question 2: Geologists believe that the warning signs for a major earthquake may include sudden fluctuations in local seismic activity, tilting and other deformations of the Earth’s crust, changing the measured strain across a fault zone, and varying the electrical properties of underground rocks.

(A) changing the measured strain across a fault zone, and varying

(B) changing measurements of the strain across a fault zone, and varying

(C) changing the strain as measured across a fault zone, and variations of

(D) changes in the measured strain across a fault zone, and variations in

(E) changes in measurements of the strain across a fault zone, and variations among

Getting ready to take the GMAT? Check out one of our many free GMAT resources to get a jump start on your GMAT prep. And as always, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter for more helpful tips like this one!

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!

Why We Need to Redraw GMAT Geometry Figures

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomMany test takers, though good at Math find Data Sufficiency difficult. They are much more used to the straight forward Problem Solving pattern. The very principles behind the two question types are very different.

In Problem Solving questions, our target is to find just one solution. For example, when we have questions involving percentages, we assume some values and get the answer. No matter what values we assume, we will always get the same answer as long as the integrity of the data is maintained.

In Data Sufficiency questions, our target is to find multiple possible solutions  after using all the given data and arrive at answer (E). If we are unable to find more than 1 solution using either statement (1) and/or statement (2), we arrive at answers (A), (B), (C) or (D).

The aim is diametrically opposite in the two cases. Therefore, our strategies in the two cases would also be different and they are. Consider Geometry questions with figures in them. In Problem Solving questions, we try to make the figures as symmetrical as possible under the given constraints. With symmetrical figures, it is easier to get an answer. One answer is all we need.

In Data Sufficiency questions, we try to make the figures as extreme as possible. Only the given data should hold in such a figure and no symmetry should exist in the other dimensions. Only then will we be able to really figure out whether the given information is enough to arrive at a unique answer.

Let’s explain this using two examples:

Problem Solving Question

 

PSvsDSQuesPS1.jpg ********************************

 

In the figure above, the area of square PQRS is 64. What is the area of triangle QRT?

(A) 48
(B) 32
(C) 24
(D) 16
(E) 8

This is a Problem Solving question.

All we are given is that PQRS is a square. Note that the location of point T is not defined. It is just any point on side PS. We can place it anywhere we like as long as it is on PS. At what point will it be easy for us to calculate the area of triangle QRT? Of course, T could be the middle point of PS (bringing in symmetry) and we could calculate the area of the triangle or we could make it coincide with S so that QRT is a right triangle half of square PQRS. Then, the area of triangle QRT will simply be half of 64, i.e. 32.

Note that we don’t necessarily need to do this. We can assume T to be a random point, drop an altitude from T to QR, find that the length of the altitude will be same as the side of the square, find that side of the square will be √(64) = 8 and area of triangle QRT will be (1/2)*8*8 = 32

We will arrive at the same answer of course! But, assuming a better position for point T (but only because it is not defined) will cut the calculations and help us arrive directly at 32 from 64.

Data Sufficiency Question

 

PSvsDSQuesDS1.jpg ********************************

 

If AD is 6 and ADC is a right angle, what is the area of triangular region ABC?

Statement 1: Angle ABD = 60°
Statement 2: AC = 12

Looking at the figure, many test takers are tempted to think that the altitude AD will bisect BC. Note that that may not be the case.

According to the data given in the question stem alone, the figure could very well look something like this:

 

PSvsDSQuesDS2.jpg ********************************

 

All we know is that ADC is a right angle and the length of the altitude is 6. We don’t know whether any of the sides are equal, etc. Hence, it is a good idea to redraw the figure with extreme proportions – one side much greater than the other.

Now we can use the given statements to re-adjust the proportions.

Area of triangle ABC = (1/2)*AD*BC

We know that AD is 6. But we don’t know BC. Let’s examine each of the statements separately.

Statement 1: Angle ABD = 60°

This statement tells us that triangle ABD is a 30-60-90 triangle. Knowing the length of AD will give us the length of the other two sides too. But here is the problem – to know BC, we need to know length of CD too. That we cannot find from this statement alone. This statement alone is not sufficient to answer the question.

Statement 2: AC = 12

We know that ADC is a right angled triangle. Knowing AC and AD, we can find the length of CD using Pythagorean Theorem. But we cannot find BD using this statement and that is needed to get the length of BC. This statement alone is also not sufficient to answer the question.

Using both statements, we can find the lengths of both BD and CD, and hence, can find the length of BC. This will give us the area of the triangle. Therefore, our answer is C.

Note here that if we mistakenly assume that D is the mid point of BC, we might come to the conclusion that each statement alone is sufficient and might mark the answer as D, instead of C. Hence, it is a good idea to redraw the given figure in a Data Sufficiency question to ensure that it has as little symmetry as possible.

Getting ready to take the GMAT? Check out one of our many free GMAT resources to get a jump start on your GMAT prep. And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter for more helpful tips like this one!

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!

 

Breaking Down the Scale Method for Weighted Averages

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomBefore you dive into this post, make sure you are are familiar with the Scale Method for weighted averages, which we have discussed in previous posts. 

We know that the scale formula of weighted averages is the following:

w1/w2 = (A2 – Aavg)/(Aavg – A1)

One point of confusion for many test takers regarding this formula is figuring out what A1, A2, w1 and w2 actually are.

Here is the simple answer: they can be anything. You can choose to set up the solution as you want. The only thing is that it must be consistent across. A1 and w1 could be the parameters of either solution; A2 and w2 will be the parameters of the other solution. We could also work with the concentration of either ingredient of the solution. We will illustrate this point with an example GMAT question:

A container holds 4 quarts of alcohol and 4 quarts of water. How many quarts of water must be added to the container to create a mixture that is 3 parts alcohol to 5 parts water by volume?

(A) 4/3
(B) 5/3
(C) 7/3
(D) 8/3
(E) 10/3

Now, we have been given two solutions that we have to mix:

  1. A container holding 4 quarts of alcohol and 4 quarts of water
  2. Water (which means it has no alcohol in it)

When these solutions are mixed together, they give us a mixture that is 3 parts alcohol to 5 parts water by volume.

So, what are A1, w1, A2, w2 and Aavg? We can work with the concentration of either alcohol or water. Let’s first see how we can work with the concentration of water:

Method 1:
A1 is the concentration of water in the solution of 4 quarts of alcohol and 4 quarts of water. So A1 = 4/8.
w1 is the volume of this solution.
A2 is the concentration of water in the solution of water only. So A2 = 8/8 (we want to write this in the same format that we write A1 in.)
w2 is the volume of this solution.
Aavg is the concentration of water in the final solution i.e. 5/8

w1/w2 = (A2 – Aavg)/(Aavg – A1)
w1/w2 = (8/8 – 5/8)/(5/8 – 4/8)
w1/w2 = 3/1

So 3 parts of the solution with alcohol and water should be mixed with 1 part of pure water.

Method 2:
A1 is the concentration of water in pure water. So A1 is 8/8
w1 is the volume of this solution.
A2 is the concentration of water in the solution of 4 quarts alcohol and 4 quarts water. So A2 is 4/8
w2 is the volume of this solution.
Aavg is the concentration of water in the final solution i.e. 5/8

w1/w2 = (A2 – Aavg)/(Aavg – A1)
w1/w2 = (4/8 – 5/8)/(5/8 – 8/8)
w1/w2 = 1/3

So 1 part of water should be mixed with 3 parts of the solution with alcohol and water (same result as above).

Now we will see how to work with the concentration of alcohol. Of course the result will be the same.

Method 3:
A1 is the concentration of alcohol in the solution of 4 quarts alcohol and 4 quarts water. So A1 is 4/8.
w1 is the volume of this solution.
A2 is the concentration of alcohol in the solution of water only. So A2 is 0/8 (to write in the same way as above)
w2 is the volume of this solution.
Aavg is the concentration of alcohol in the final solution i.e. 3/8

w1/w2 = (A2 – Aavg)/(Aavg – A1)
w1/w2 = (0/8 – 3/8)/(3/8 – 4/8)
w1/w2 = 3/1

So 3 parts of the solution with alcohol and water should be mixed with 1 part of pure water (same as above).

Method 4:
A1 is the concentration of alcohol in pure water. So A1 is 0/8
w1 is the volume of this solution.
A2 is the concentration of alcohol in the solution of 4 quarts alcohol and 4 quarts water. So A2 is 4/8.
w2 is the volume of this solution.
Aavg is the concentration of alcohol in the final solution i.e. 3/8

w1/w2 = (A2 – Aavg)/(Aavg – A1)
w1/w2 = (4/8 – 3/8)/(3/8 – 0/8)
w1/w2 = 1/3

So 1 part of pure water should be mixed with 3 parts of the solution with alcohol and water (same result as above).

Hope there will be no confusion about this in future.

Getting ready to take the GMAT? Check out one of our many free GMAT resources to get a jump start on your GMAT prep. And as always, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter for more helpful tips like this one!

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 Write a Strong Common App Essay

SAT WorryOver 700 American Colleges and Universities utilize the Common Application system to streamline the application process. Among the many elements of the application itself, you will have to choose ONE of seven Personal Statement prompts to respond to, and you’ll have 250-650 words for your narrative.

When you’re staring at the seven Common App essay prompts, the choices can seem overwhelming, and the stakes are high.  Depending on the prompt that you select, you’ll need to write something that is informative and emotionally compelling, but not a cliché. You need to be unique and demonstrate character, while also proving you’ll add insight and experiences to the incoming freshman class. You need to talk about your leadership and accomplishments, but stay humble.  You need to be yourself while also keeping your voice professional.  It’s a lot to convey your authentic self in 650 words or less, but Veritas Prep has you covered with our Personal Statement Guide.

Our College Admissions Consultants all have formal admissions decision-making experience, and they have reviewed each of the seven Personal Statement prompts to provide guidance on how to respond to each of the options.  Best of luck!

Prompt #1: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. Read advice>

Prompt #2: The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? Read advice>

Prompt #3: Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? Read advice>

Prompt #4: Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. Read advice>

Prompt #5: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. Read advice>

Prompt #6: Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? Read advice>

Prompt #7: Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. Read advice>

Admissions deadlines are approaching! Do you need more help navigating the college admissions process? Fill out our FREE Profile Evaluation for personalized feedback on your unique background! And as always, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTube, Google+, and Twitter!

Quarter Wit, Quarter Wisdom: To Learn To-Infinitives

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomIn our previous posts, we have discussed two types of Verbals (a verb that acts as a different part of speech) – Gerunds and Participles. Today we will take a look at the third type – to-Infinitives

Note that the infinitive is the base form of a verb. The infinitive has two forms:

• the to-infinitive = to + base

• the zero infinitive = base

We will discuss the to-infinitive form, a verbal. It can work as a noun, an adjective, or an adverb

The to-infinitive form is used in many sentence constructions, often expressing the purpose of something or someone’s opinion about something. The to-infinitive is used following a large collection of different verbs as well such as afford, offer, refuse, prepare, undertake, proceed, propose, promise etc

The function of a to-infinitive in a sentence could be any of the following:

I. To show the purpose of an action: In this case “to” has the same meaning as “in order to” or “so as to”. It follows a verb in this case.

For Example: She has gone to complete her homework.

II. To indicate what something can or will be used for: It follows a noun or a pronoun in this case.

For Example: I don’t have anything to wear. This is the right thing to do.

III. After adjectives

For Example: I am happy to be here.

IV. The subject of the sentence

For Example: To visit Paris is my lifelong dream.

V. With adverbs: It is used with the adverbs too and enough to express the reasoning behind our satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The pattern is that too and enough are placed before or after the adjective, adverb, or noun that they modify in the same way they would be without the to-infinitive. We then follow them by the to-infinitive to explain the reason why the quantity is excessive, sufficient, or insufficient.

For Example: He has too many books to carry on his own.

VI. With question words: The verbs ask, decide, explain, forget, know, show, tell, & understand can be followed by a question word such as where, how, what, who, & when + the to-infinitive.

For Example: I am not sure how to use the new washing machine.

We are likely to see infinitive phrases in GMAT sentence correction questions. An infinitive phrase is made up of the infinitive verb with its object and modifiers.

Let’s take a look at how we could see an infinitive in a GMAT question.

Question: Twenty-two feet long and 10 feet in diameter, the AM-1 is one of the many new satellites that is a part of 15 years effort of subjecting the interactions of Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and land surfaces to detailed scrutiny from space.

(A) satellites that is a part of 15 years effort of subjecting the interactions of Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and land surfaces

(B) satellites, which is a part of a 15-year effort to subject how Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and land surfaces interact

(C) satellites, part of 15 years effort of subjecting how Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and land surfaces are interacting

(D) satellites that are part of an effort for 15 years that has subjected the interactions of Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and land surfaces

(E) satellites that are part of a 15-year effort to subject the interactions of Earth’s atmosphere, ocean, and land surfaces

Solution:

First let’s try to understand the basic structure of the sentence.

… AM-1 is one of the many new satellites “that/which clause”

“that/which clause” modifies the noun “satellites” in four of the given five options. Note that “satellites” is plural so we need to use the verb “are”. So options (A) and (B) are out.

(C) is also incorrect. It looks like “part of 15 years … from space” is a bad attempt at writing an absolute phrase. Absolute phrases modify the entire clause but here we need to modify “satellites” only. Satellites are a part of a 15 year effort to subject A to detailed scrutiny and hence we should use a that/which clause.

(D) is incorrect too. It uses another “that clause” – that has subjected the interactions …

This “that clause” modifies the noun “effort”, not “15 years”. The effort has subjected A to detailed scrutiny.

There is a better way of writing this sentence such that the “that clause” comes immediately after “effort”

(E) is correct. Note how it uses the infinitive form immediately after the noun “effort” to indicate how the effort is being used. It is being used to subject A to detailed scrutiny.

Hope now you will be able to recognise the different verbals and use them correctly.

Getting ready to take the GMAT? Check out one of our many free GMAT resources to get a jump start on your GMAT prep. And as always, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter for more helpful tips like this one!

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 Write a Yale Supplemental Essay

Yale JDMBAFor the 2017-2018 application season, Yale has asked all applicants to answer to several Yale-specific short answer questions in addition to the Personal Statement. To see a list of all Yale-specific essay prompts, click here.

Additionally, Veritas Prep had one of our college admissions expert review one of Yale’s supplemental essay prompts. Take a look at our tips for writing a winning Yale-specific essays here.

Responses to school-specific essays help admissions committee understand why you are a good fit for the school, and why the school is a good fit for your personal goals! It’s imperative to think strategically about your responses to each school-specific essay, as they play a crucial role in admissions decisions. If you’d like expert guidance on how to write strong essays for all of the schools on your list, check out our admissions consulting services here.

Do you need more help navigating the college admissions process? Fill out our FREE Profile Evaluation for personalized feedback on your unique background! And as always, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTube, Google+, and Twitter!

Planning for the “Plan” Questions on the GMAT Critical Reasoning Section

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomAt Veritas Prep, we are often asked to discuss how to handle the “plan” Critical Reasoning questions test takers are asked on the GMAT. Here is how these questions are different from your regular strengthen/weaken questions – instead of a conclusion, we are given situations and plans to remedy a particular problem. We are then asked to evaluate the success of the plan or identify a weakness in the plan or an assumption of the plan.

Note that a plan question is very similar to a strengthen/weaken/assumption question. The main difference between them is that instead of being given a conclusion, you are asked to strengthen/weaken the possibility of a plan working out or an assumption made in the plan (looking at a few example questions will make this clearer). Let’s look at some examples of each of the three types of “plan” questions you are likely to come across on the GMAT exam:

Example 1 (the most common one): Which of the following will help us in evaluating the success of the plan?

In the country of Bedenia, officials have recently implemented a new healthcare initiative to reduce dangerous wait times at emergency rooms in the country’s hospitals. This initiative increases the number of available emergency nurses and doctors in urban settings: scholarships and no-interest loans are being offered to prospective students in these fields if they work in major city hospitals, relocation packages to urban centers are being offered for current emergency practitioners, and immigration rules are being changed to enable foreign emergency doctors and nurses to more easily move to Bedenia’s major cities.

Which of the following would be most important to determine in assessing whether the initiative will be successful?

(A) What percentage of current nurses and doctors work in emergency medicine.
(B) Which hospitals in Bedenia have dangerous wait times in their emergency rooms.
(C) Whether a career in emergency medicine pays substantially less than other types of medicine.
(D) Whether wait times could be reduced by means other than increasing the number of available nurses and doctors.
(E) Whether many foreign doctors and nurses are currently not allowed to enter Bedenia.

Plan: Reduce the dangerous wait time by increasing the availability of emergency nurses and doctors in urban settings by providing scholarships, offering relocation packages and changing immigration rules.

We need to find out whether this given plan will actually reduce wait time. Note that we are not worried about what else could reduce the dangerous wait time or what else this plan could do. The only point of concern for us is whether this plan will reduce the wait time.

This plan intends to increase the availability of emergency nurses and doctors in urban settings, so ask yourself this question: is this actually what is required? Do the urban hospitals have dangerous wait times? What if only rural hospitals have wait times and that is where the impetus is required? Answer choice B addresses exactly this question and, hence, will allow us to determine whether or not the initiative will be successful. Therefore, the answer is B.

Now look at our second example:

Example 2: Which of the following provides an argument against the plan?

In the last two years alone, nearly a dozen of Central University’s most prominent professors have been lured away by the higher salaries offered by competing academic institutions. In order to protect the school’s ranking, Central University’s president has proposed increasing tuition by 10% and using the extra money to offer more attractive compensation packages to the most talented and well-known members of its faculty.

Which of the following provides the most persuasive argument against the university president’s proposed course of action?

(A) It is inevitable that at least some members of the faculty will ultimately take jobs at other universities, regardless of how much Central University offers to pay them.
(B) Other universities are also looking for ways to provide higher salaries to prominent members of the faculty.
(C) Central University slipped in the last year’s ranking of regional schools.
(D) The single most important factor in ranking a university is its racial and socioeconomic diversity.
(E) The president of Central University has only been in office for 18 months and has never managed such a large enterprise.

Plan: Protect the school’s ranking by retaining its most prominent members by increasing their compensation.

We need to find a persuasive argument against the given plan – something that leads us to believe the plan should not be implemented. Here, test takers often become confused between options B and D. Let’s break down each answer choice in detail to determine which one is correct:

(B) Other universities are also looking for ways to provide higher salaries to prominent members of the faculty.

This option supports the given plan. It is a reason to actually implement the plan since if more disparity gets created, more prominent professors will leave. Remember, we are looking for an option that is against the plan, so B cannot be our answer.

(D) The single most important factor in ranking a university is its racial and socioeconomic diversity.

This is an argument against the plan. It states that the single most important factor in ranking is “racial and socioeconomic diversity,” so trying to retain prominent professors is not likely to retain ranking. Hence, the correct answer would be D.

Now let’s look at our final example:

Example 3: Which of the following is an assumption of the plan?

The general availability of high-quality electronic scanners and color printers for computers has made the counterfeiting of checks much easier. In order to deter such counterfeiting, several banks plan to issue to their corporate customers checks that contain dots too small to be accurately duplicated by any electronic scanner currently available; when such checks are scanned and printed, the dots seem to blend together in such a way that the word “VOID” appears on the check.

A questionable assumption of the plan is that

(A) in the territory served by the banks the proportion of counterfeit checks that are made using electronic scanners has remained approximately constant over the past few years.
(B) most counterfeiters who use electronic scanners counterfeit checks only for relatively large amounts of money.
(C) the smallest dots on the proposed checks cannot be distinguished visually except under strong magnification.
(D) most corporations served by these banks will not have to pay more for the new checks than for traditional checks.
(E) the size of the smallest dots that generally available electronic scanners are able to reproduce accurately will not decrease significantly in the near future.

Plan: To deter counterfeiting, issue checks that contain dots too small to be accurately duplicated (which will form the word VOID) by any electronic scanner currently available.

We need to find an assumption that this given plan makes. Note that the plan is based on the capabilities of the currently available scanners and assumes that their capabilities will not improve in the near future. Hence, E is an assumption.

Some test takers get confused with  answer choice C:

(C) the smallest dots on the proposed checks cannot be distinguished visually except under strong magnification

This option is actually not an assumption. Even if the dots can be distinguished visually, they don’t form the word VOID. Only when current scanners scan the checks and then we print them do the dots merge to form the word. Thus, our answer is E.

We hope you have understood how to handle various “plan” questions on the GMAT. The most important aspect of such questions to remember is to first identify the plan and what one hopes to achieve through it.

Getting ready to take the GMAT? Check out one of our many free GMAT resources to get a jump start on your GMAT prep. And as always, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter for more helpful tips like this one!

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!

McKinsey’s Chief Learning Officer Encourages You to Develop These 10 Critical Job Skills

If you’re getting ready to attend college or graduate school, then you’re probably very interested in building a career or accelerating your current one. A lot of the value that comes from earning a degree is in the prestige of the program and the network that you build, but of course much of the value comes from the actual hard job skills that an education helps you develop. The jobs landscape is changing quickly these days, probably more rapidly than ever. Some skills that virtually guaranteed you a job just two decades ago may now be close to irrelevant. What the heck are you supposed to do to ensure that you can survive — and maybe even thrive — in this environment?

In a recent talk at Darden, Nick van Dam, global chief learning officer at McKinsey & Co., listed out what he thinks are the 10 most critical job skills of the future. Without further ado, they are:

  • Complex problem-solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • People management
  • Coordinating with others
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Judgment and decision-making
  • Service orientation
  • Negotiation
  • Cognitive flexibility

Notice that no specific skills such as “writing code” or “great writing skills” are on the list. Those are undoubtedly the kinds of abilities that will help keep you employed for a long time, but Van Dam’s focused on more general, descriptive skills here. Problem-solving, creativity, cognitive flexibility… If you have these abilities, then there probably isn’t a lot that you can’t do. And, if you can’t do something, then odds are that you’re probably able to learn it pretty quickly. If you can learn and adapt quickly like this, then lifelong learning — something that Van Dam stresses is important — should come relatively easily for you.

We sometimes use the phrase “mental agility” around here at Veritas Prep to describe the same sort of skills. Taking it back to test prep for a moment (we couldn’t help ourselves), that’s why we always urge our students to understand the bigger picture when we teach them how to solve a question. It’s one thing to “learn the trick,” but on test day, when the test presents you with a question that’s sort of similar, but not quite, will you freeze? Or will you have the mental agility to adapt in the moment, recognize the pattern, and solve the problem?

Also, note that there are many others on the list that one would call “soft skills,” such as people management, emotional intelligence, and negotiation. The more that repetitive, measurable tasks are replaced by automation, the more that these soft skills — the kind that a robot can’t do, at least not any time soon! — will matter as you try to move up in the workforce. Either you learn how to write the code, or you learn how to effectively manage the person doing the writing. And, when “write the code” gets replaced by another skill in 20 years, you’ll have the mental agility to learn that skill… or manage that new person with the new skill!

By Scott Shrum.

You Just Submitted Your MBA Applications… Now What?

SAT/ACTAfter all those months of hard work, you have finally submitted all of your business school applications! Congratulations!

With that burden off of your back, what else should you be doing after you submit your application. Let’s explore a few action items to tick off your to-do list post-submission:

Finish Other Applications
Most MBA applicants don’t apply to only one school, so don’t bask too long in your finished application – there are probably plenty more where that came from. Keep the momentum going, buckle down and get moving on the rest of your applications. Make sure you leverage what you have learned from your previously-submitted application to make each version even better than the last.

Thank Your Recommenders
Recommenders play a huge role in the success of your application. Make sure you acknowledge their hard work, especially if they are providing recommendations for multiple schools. Also, don’t be afraid to send your thanks after each submitted application, or take them out for lunch to show your appreciation of their contribution to your success.

Interview Prep
The best time to prepare for an interview is when all of the information relating your application is still relevant. Some schools can have upwards of 2-3 months in between the application deadline and when they eventually begin interviewing candidates, so try to begin your prep for a potential interview early. Business school application interviews can have a major impact on your candidacy, so getting an early start on your preparation is never a bad thing.

Apply for Scholarships
Business school is not cheap and with very few full scholarships available, it is important to consider all alternatives to paying for your education. External merit-based scholarships are a great way to pay for all or a portion of your MBA. Many of the deadlines for these scholarship opportunities are much earlier in the application cycle than you would expect, so don’t wait until you are admitted to figure out how you will pay for school. There is a lot of money out there, so use your post-submission time to give yourself the best chance at securing some funding.

Relax
Relax! Applying to business school is stressful so it is very important to find pockets of time to relax. For those who still have additional applications to churn out relaxing may be difficult, but if you have submitted all your applications, enjoy the brief break and rest up for the next phase of the process.

Want to craft a strong application? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or sign up for a free admissions consultation. Let’s get started!

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.

How to Prepare for Your Business School Interview

For many applicants the notification of an interview invite from your dream school is an exciting next step after an arduous application process. All of your hard work has finally boiled down to some initial success. However, typically the excitement soon turns to anxiety as candidates begin to realize they have no idea how to prepare for an admissions interview for business school. “Is it just like a regular job interview?” “What type of questions do they ask?” are just some of the common initial questions that can arise once an interview invitation is received.

The business school interview should not be viewed as anything new to you. It is more similar to the traditional job interview than you might expect. Just like a regular interview you are aiming to impress and the majority of the interview will be focused on YOU! The key difference with this interview is really just the goal, which in this case is admission to the MBA program of your dreams.

I would recommend preparing for your MBA interview the same way you prepare for any job interview, it starts with knowing your own personal background inside and out along with your motivations for that target business school. Then it’s researching your target school and identifying the aspects that make the school uniquely attractive to you. A nice way to do this is to pair up school-specific offerings of interest with an adjoining explanation for why that offering is uniquely attractive to you. This includes academic offerings, extracurricular activities/professional clubs, career support/recruiting strengths, etc.

Next I would identify common MBA questions like…

  • What Are Your Career Goals?
  • Why an MBA?
  • Why School X?
  • Walk Me Through Your Resume

As well as other common situational business school questions that address interpersonal skills like leadership, teamwork, and maturity. For the most part, these interviews have very few surprises, and you will know what’s coming, which makes the prep all the more important. Preparing conversational responses in a script format to each of the common interview questions can be a method for those that prefer a more structured approach to their interview prep. But make sure to incorporate elements of your personality into your script to avoid coming off as too rehearsed.

Also, breakthrough candidates will make sure to incorporate the “I” of what they accomplished into their script. Make sure to connect the dots with regards to the steps you’ve taken in your career, and remain structured in your responses. Utilizing the S.T.A.R format (Situation-Task-Action-Result) and talking in buckets – “There are 3 Reasons Why I Want to Go to Fuqua” are other tactics one can sneak into their preparation for the interview.

Finally, take particular note of how the interview style of certain schools can affect your responses. Some schools like Kellogg have “blind” interviews so the interviewer will not have seen your application, so they will not have access to important information like GPA, GMAT, essays etc. Other styles can be influenced by the type of interviewer (Alum vs. Student vs. Admissions) or the location (On Campus vs. Off Campus) which can dictate the type of information you are prepared to share as well as list on your resume for the interview.

Don’t let the interview be the end of your business school journey, prepare accordingly and come decision day you will be all smiles!

Want to craft a strong application? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or sign up for a free admissions consultation. Let’s get started!

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.

All About “That” on the GMAT

The word “that” is often found in the daymares of many a GMAT student! The reason for that is that “that” could play various different roles in a sentence:

  1. Demonstrative Determiner
  2. Demonstrative Pronoun
  3. Relative Pronoun

Demonstrative Determiner – In this role, “that” specifies the specific person/thing about which we are talking. It is followed by a noun.

Can I have some of that cake, please?

I have never been to that part of Italy.

When we are talking about a plural noun, “that” becomes “those”.

Demonstrative Pronoun – In this role, “that” replaces a noun.

That is beautiful.

Look at that!

When we replace a plural noun, “that” becomes “those”.

Relative Pronoun – “that” introduces a defining/restrictive clause. This clause is essential to the sentence.

Loki is on the team that lost.

The produce that is sourced locally is environment-friendly.

There is no “that”/“those” distinction in this case. The clause is always introduced by “that”.

Hope these simple examples clarified the various roles “that” can play in a sentence. Not understanding this distinction could lead to a lot of confusion. The words around “that” will help you understand exactly what role it is playing in each case.

Let’s take a look at one of our own questions in which knowing this distinction comes in handy.

Question: In nests across North America, the host mother tries to identify their own eggs and weed out the fakes, but the brown-headed cowbird – a brood parasite that sneaks its eggs into other birds’ nests – produces eggs that look very similar to those of the host, making that task surprisingly difficult.

(A) the host mother tries to identify their own eggs and weed out the fakes, but the brown-headed cowbird – a brood parasite that sneaks its eggs into other birds’ nests – produces eggs that look very similar to those of the host, making that task surprisingly difficult

B) the host mother tries to identify its own eggs and weed out the fakes, but the brown-headed cowbird – a brood parasite that sneaks its eggs into other birds’ nests – produces eggs that look very similar to that of the host, making it surprisingly difficult

C) host mothers try to identify their own eggs and weed out the fakes, but the brown-headed cowbird – a brood parasite that sneaks its eggs into other birds’ nests – produces eggs that look very similar to the host’s, making that task surprisingly difficult

D) host mothers try to identify their own eggs and weed out the fakes, but the brown-headed cowbird – a brood parasite that sneaks its eggs into other birds’ nests – produces eggs that look very similar to that of the host’s, making it surprisingly difficult

E) host mothers try to identify its own eggs and weed out the fakes, but the brown-headed cowbird – a brood parasite that sneaks its eggs into other birds’ nests – produces eggs that look very similar to those of the host’s, making that task surprisingly difficult

Solution:

This is a complicated sentence and unfortunately, almost the entire sentence is underlined. That just makes it harder and more time consuming.

  1. … the host mother tries to identify their own eggs…

In the beginning itself, we see that the subject is “host mother” which is singular and the pronoun that refers back to it – “those” – is plural. Hence this sentence is incorrect. We just move on.

(B) … produces eggs that look very similar to that of the host …

We have two instances of the use of “that” here. The first “that” is used as a relative pronoun to introduce the clause “that look very similar to ….”

The second “that” is  used as a placeholder for “eggs” hence we need to use “those” – the plural form – here.

(C) All correct

(D) … produces eggs that look very similar to that of the host’s…

The explanation is the same as that of (B). The second “that” is  used as a placeholder for “eggs” hence we need to use “those” – the plural form – here.

Also, the correct comparison is:

either

“A’s eggs look very similar to those of B” (where “those” stands for eggs)

or

“A’s eggs look very similar to B’s” (where eggs is implied at the end).

But “A’s eggs look very similar to those of B’s” is incorrect since it implies

“A’s eggs look very similar to eggs of B’s eggs”

(E) … host mothers try to identify its own eggs…

The subject is “host mothers”, which is plural, but the pronoun is “its”, which is singular.

Hope this clarifies the various ways in which “that” can be used.

Getting ready to take the GMAT? Check out one of our many free GMAT resources to get a jump start on your GMAT prep. And as always, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter for more helpful tips like this one!

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!

The Third Type of GMAT Quant Question

We all know that GMAT Quant questions are of two types: Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency.

But, if we look carefully, we will see a third type of question – combination of the two. There are a few statements given in them (like in Data Sufficiency questions) and five options to choose from (like in Problem Solving questions). But since we know how to solve both these question types, we shouldn’t really have a problem in solving this third type, or so one would think!

In any GMAT question, it is very important to know two things:

  1. What is given
  2. What is asked

Now, one might think that it is a very obvious distinction and why are we even trying to discuss it in a post. In this third question type, this exact distinction is far harder to explain because here the statements do NOT represent the data given. Here the statements actually ask “Is this true?” and many test-takers find it hard to make that switch. To clarify, let’s discuss the structure of the three question types.

Problem Solving Question:

Question: A and B are given, what is X?

(A) X is …

(B) X is …

(C) X is …

(D) X is …

(E) X is …

Data Sufficiency Question:

Question: A and B are given, what is X?

I. We are given that X and Y are related.

II. We are given that X and Z are related.

“Which of the following must be true?” Question:

Question: A and B are given, which of the following must be true about X?

I. Is this true about X?

II. Is this true about X?

III. Is this true about X?

(A) I is true

(B) I and II are true

and so on…

We hope you see that the statements in a Data Sufficiency question are different from the statements in this third type of question.

We will elaborate with the help of an example now:

Question: If |x| > 3, which of the following must be true?

I. x > 3

II. x^2 > 9

III. |x – 1| > 2

(A) I only

(B) II only

(C) I and II only

(D) II and III only

(E) I, II, and III

Solution:

We are given that |x| > 3

This implies that x is a point at a distance of more than 3 from 0. So x could be greater than 3 or less than -3. Before we go any further, let’s think about the values x can take: 3.00001, 3.5, 4.2, 5.7, 67, 1000, -3.45, -4, -8, -100 etc. The only values it cannot take are -3 <= x <= 3

Which of the following must be true?

I. x > 3

This is a question even though it looks like a statement.

Is it necessary that x > 3?

For every value that x can take, must x be greater than 3? No. As discussed above, x could take values such as 3.00001, 3.5, 4.2, 5.7, 67, 1000 but it could also take values such as  -3.45, -4, -8, -100.

So this is not necessarily true.

II. x^2 > 9

Again, this is a question even though it looks like a statement.

Taking square root on both sides since they are positive, we get

Sqrt(x^2) > Sqrt(9)

|x| > 3

This is what we are given, hence it certainly is true.

III. |x-1|>2

Yet again, we are asked: Is |x – 1| > 2?

What does |x – 1|> 2 imply?

The distance of x from 1 must be greater than 2. So x is either greater than 3 or less than -1. Now, recall all the values that x can take.

So this is the question now: Is every value that x can take greater than 3 or less than -1?

Recall the values that x can take (discussed above)

3.00001 : x is greater than 3

3.5 : x is greater than 3

4.2 : x is greater than 3

5.7 : x is greater than 3

67 : x is greater than 3

1000 : x is greater than 3

-3.45 : x is less than -1

-4 : x is less than -1

-8 : x is less than -1

-100 : x is less than -1

For every value that x can take, x will be either greater than 3 or less than -1. Note that we are not saying that every value less than -1 must be valid for x. We are saying that every value that is valid for x (found by using |x| > 3) will be either greater than 3 or less than -1 since any value less than -3 is obviously less than -1 too. Hence |x-1|>2 must be true for every value that x can take.

Answer (D)

We hope you are quite clear about how to handle this third question type now!

Getting ready to take the GMAT? Check out one of our many free GMAT resources to get a jump start on your GMAT prep. And as always, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter for more helpful tips like this one!

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!

The Importance of Context in Verb Tenses

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomIn our last post, we looked at verb tenses and noted that there is no restriction on how many tenses we can use and mix within a sentence, as long as they are appropriate for the context of the sentence. The problem is that sometimes the context can be a bit complicated to crack. We may think that a tense shift is required when it is actually not.

Let’s take a look at an official GMAT question to better understand this concept:

A recent study has found that within the past few years, many doctors had elected early retirement rather than face the threats of lawsuits and the rising costs of malpractice insurance.

(A) had elected early retirement rather than face
(B) had elected early retirement instead of facing
(C) have elected retiring early instead of facing
(D) have elected to retire early rather than facing
(E) have elected to retire early rather than face

So the first decision point is “have” vs. “had”. What is correct here? We know that we use past perfect tense when there are two actions in the past. So do we have two actions in the past here – “finding” and “electing” – of which, it may seem, “electing” would have happened before “finding?” Sure, we have two actions but here is the catch – we use past perfect only when the previous action takes place completely before the recent past action. Here, we know that “within the past few years” implies the recent years. The study shows that most probably, doctors are still electing early retirement. So the use of past perfect is incorrect here. In this context, we will use present perfect only.

The other error that helps us to arrive at the right answer is lack of parallelism. “retire” and “face” need to be parallel while rising should not be parallel to them because it is a sub-list under “face”.

They elected to retire … rather than face A and B.

A – the threats
B – the rising costs

“[R]ising” is a present participle that is modifying the noun “costs” in the non underlined part. So our verbs “retire” and “face” should not be in the -ing form. Answer choice E satisfies all these criteria and hence is the right answer.

Note that the correct answer uses present perfect for both verbs since the context requires us to.

Let’s look at a rewrite of this question:

A recent article in The Economic Times reported that many recent MBA graduates had decided on taking a job rather than face the uncertainty of entrepreneurship.

(A) had decided on taking a job rather than face
(B) had decided on taking a job instead of facing
(C) have decided to take a job instead of facing
(D) had decided to take a job rather than facing
(E) have decided to take a job rather than face

How does the solution change now? Again we have two verbs “report” and “decide”. The reporting has already happened so the simple past “reported” has been used in the non-underlined part. Which tense will we use with “decide”? Again, the concept is still the same. We are talking about recent MBA graduates and it shows a trend. It is something that is not completely over, hence the use of past perfect is not justified. We should use the present perfect tense only though it may seem a bit counterintuitive since “report” is in the past tense.

“take” and “face” should be parallel to each other so out of (C) and (E), (E) fits. This is the reason making sweeping statements in grammar is dangerous – a lot depends on the context.

Getting ready to take the GMAT? Check out one of our many free GMAT resources to get a jump start on your GMAT prep. And as always, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter for more helpful tips like this one!

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!

The GRE Exam for Law School?

Law School Images

Update: On August 7, 2017, Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law and Georgetown Law also announced that they will begin accepting the GRE or the LSAT for admissions. With this news, it seems all the more inevitable that the GRE will soon be universally accepted among top law schools. Read on…”

Harvard Law is the oldest continually-operating law school in the United States. It is consistently ranked as one of the top law schools in the world, and is also the largest law school in the U.S., with about as many students as Yale, Stanford and Chicago combined. So when Harvard Law makes news other law schools are likely to follow.

And Harvard Law recently announced some big news: starting next fall the GRE exam will be accepted as an alternative to the LSAT exam. Surveys suggest that nearly half of all law schools were not opposed to accepting GRE exam scores even before Harvard made its announcement, so this is probably just the beginning of a trend.

The upshot of all of this is that beginning next fall those prospective law students applying to Harvard Law can submit a GRE score instead of, or in addition to, an LSAT score. The University of Arizona Law School has already begun accepting the GRE score from applicants, and if the results from those law schools are as positive as expected, then additional law schools will likely join them in the very near future.

LSAT vs. GRE

I have taught the LSAT and currently teach the GRE and (as well as the GMAT), and have earned a perfect 170/170 on the GRE and a near-perfect 176 on the LSAT. Here are my thoughts on the LSAT versus the GRE:

The LSAT has long been the dreaded gatekeeper to law school admissions and the exam definitely rewards a certain type of test taker with a certain background. So, should you consider taking the GRE instead of the LSAT? Maybe you should!

First, who does not benefit from this development? Those who plan on applying exclusively to law school in the next couple of years should stick with the LSAT to have the most flexibility in the application process. As Harvard and Arizona are currently the only law schools that accept GRE scores from applicants, you’ll want to have a good LSAT score under your belt in case you decide to apply to any other JD programs.

Everyone else should at least consider the GRE. The Dean of Harvard Law School, Martha Minow, listed a few of the groups of students who might benefit from being able to use the GRE instead of the LSAT: “international students, multidisciplinary scholars, and joint-degree students…” I would add to that list students who have strong math skills, who have different possible career paths, or who have less time to devote to the process of preparing for an exam.

Advantages of Taking the GRE

Flexibility: The GRE is accepted for admission to nearly all graduate and business schools in addition to Harvard Law School and Arizona Law School (and hopefully a growing list of law schools). For anyone considering a variety of career options, the GRE is the best exam to take as it gives the test-taker the most flexibility. Even a great GMAT score is not accepted by law schools or graduate schools, and a perfect LSAT score will not get you into business or grad school. The GRE is the universal key that can open many doors – this is the number one reason to make the GRE your first choice.

Time Commitment: For many students, the LSAT is the exam that requires the most hours of preparation. The sheer variety of critical reasoning questions and “logic games” requires a student to master a huge range of information. On the other hand, the GRE tests skills that a student is more likely to possess already or can learn more readily through a preparation course or self-study. This is not to say that the GRE is not a challenge, it just may be a more reasonable challenge than the LSAT.

Credit for Your Strengths: Maybe you are strong in Quantitative areas… This can give you an important head start on the GRE, as math is not tested on the LSAT.

Convenience: The GRE is offered in convenient locations around the world on a continuous basis, with times generally available in the morning, afternoon and evening, making it easy to fit the GRE into your schedule. By comparison, the LSAT exam is only offered 4 times per year, usually at 8:00am. With the LSAT, you have to arrange your life around the exam, which can be difficult for test-takers with busy schedules.

Reasonable Retakes: If for any reason you do not earn the LSAT score that you hoped for, then you have to wait anywhere from two to four months before you can retake the exam. On the other hand, you can retake the GRE after just 21 days and you can take the exam 5 times in a year.

Advantages of Taking the LSAT

No Math Required: The LSAT exclusively tests skills that fall on the “Verbal” side of the GRE, meaning that you won’t have to memorize the Pythagorean Theorem, practice working with algebra, or brush up on your multiplication tables before you take it.  If you’re a student who hasn’t studied math in a while, the LSAT allows you to engage your logical thinking (philosophy, political science, literature) brain without having to dig back into high school math skills.

Applicable to All Law School Applications: While what Harvard says typically filters down to nearly all schools eventually, right now the GRE is only accepted at a few law schools.  If you plan to take the GRE to apply to Harvard and a few other elite JD programs, you’ll end up having to take the LSAT for those other applications, anyway.

Availability of Official Practice Problems: The LSAT has been administering essentially the same exam for decades, and has to retire its questions after each administration. The result? It has thousands of official exam questions to sell you for practice.  By comparison the GRE underwent an overhaul in 2011 and has some official test questions for sale, but the LSAT provides several times as much authentic practice material.

Is the GRE Easier Than the LSAT?

It is not easy to get into Harvard or any of the other top law schools. The average LSAT score for the most recent class at Harvard Law is above the 99th percentile, so an applicant’s GRE score would need to be near-perfect to be competitive.

Please understand that if you do plan to take the GRE for admission to law school, business school, or a competitive graduate school program, you will need to earn the best score that you are capable of achieving. Taking the GRE is not a short cut or an “easy way” to get into a top law school (or business school). But it is another option and – for some people – a better option.

My advice is this: Unless you are committed to applying to law school in the next couple of years, consider taking the GRE. The GRE gives you the most options (graduate school, business school, law school) and its scores are reportable for 5 years. This means that if you take the GRE this year your scores will still be good for applications submitted in 2022.

Considering taking the GRE? Register to attend one of our upcoming free online GRE Strategy Sessions to jump start your GRE prep, 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!

David Newland has scored in the 99th percentile on both the LSAT and the GMAT, and holds a perfect 170/170 score on the GRE.  He taught the LSAT for nearly ten years for a leading firm, and has taught the GRE and GMAT for Veritas Prep since 2006.  In 2008 he was named Veritas Prep’s Worldwide Instructor of the Year, and he has been a senior contributor to the Veritas Prep GRE and GMAT lesson materials. David holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Michigan Law School and teaches live online classes from a film studio in northern Vermont.

Is It Incorrect to Use Multiple Verb Tenses in a Sentence?

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomSome GMAT test-takers wonder whether it is grammatically correct to use multiple tenses in a single sentence. Today we will discuss the cases in which this is acceptable and those in which this is not. The bottom line is this: there is no restriction on what tenses we can use and mix within a sentence, as long as they are appropriate for the context.

Take a look at this example sentence:

I have heard that Mona left Manchester this morning, and has already arrived in London, where she will be for the next three weeks.

Here, we have present perfect tense, simple past tense and simple future tense all in the same sentence, but they all make sense together to create a logical sequence of events.

The confusion over using multiple verb tenses in one sentence probably arises because we have heard that we need to maintain verb tense consistency. These two things are different.

Tense Consistency – We do not switch one tense to another unless the timing of the action demands that we do. We do not switch tenses when there is no time change for the actions.

Let’s take a look at some examples to understand this:

Example 1: During the match, my dad stood up and waved at me.

These two actions (“stood” and “waved”) happen at the same time and hence, need to have the same tense. This sentence could take place in the present or future tense too, but both verbs will still need to take on the same tense. For example:

Example 2: During my matches, my dad stands up and waves at me.
Example 3: During the match tomorrow, my dad will stand up and wave at me.

On the other hand, a sentence such as…

Example 4: During the match, my dad stood up and waves at me.

This sentence is grammatically incorrect. Since both actions (“stood” and “waves”) happen at the same time, we need them to be in the same tense, as shown in the variations of this sentence above. Consider this case, however:

Example 5: My dad reached for the sandwich after he had already eaten a whole pizza.

Here, the two actions (“reached” and “eaten”) happen at different times in the past, so we use both the simple past and past perfect tenses. The shift in tense is correct in this context.

Takeaway: The tenses of verbs in a sentence must be consistent when the actions happen at the same time. When dealing with actions that occur at different points in time, however, we can use multiple tenses in the same sentence.

Let’s look at an official GMAT question now to see how multiple tenses can be a part of the same sentence:

For the farmer who takes care to keep them cool, providing them with high-energy feed, and milking them regularly, Holstein cows are producing an average of 2,275 gallons of milk each per year.

(A) providing them with high-energy feed, and milking them regularly, Holstein cows are producing
(B) providing them with high-energy feed, and milked regularly, the Holstein cow produces
(C) provided with high-energy feed, and milking them regularly, Holstein cows are producing
(D) provided with high-energy feed, and milked regularly, the Holstein cow produces
(E) provided with high-energy feed, and milked regularly, Holstein cows will produce

This is a very tricky question. Let’s first shortlist our options based on the obvious errors.

The non-underlined part of the sentence uses the pronoun “them” to refer to the cows, so using “the Holstein cow” (singular) as the antecedent will be incorrect. The antecedent must be “Holstein cows” (plural) – this means answer choices B and D are out.

Also, we know for sure that “provide” and “milk” are parallel elements in the sentence, so they should take the same verb tense. Hence, answer choice C is also out.

Let’s look at A now. If we assume this option is correct, “providing” and “milking” act as modifiers to “keep them cool”. That certainly does not make sense since “providing with high energy feed” and “milking regularly” are not ways of keeping cows cool.

This means the correct answer is E, but we need to see how.

For the farmer who takes care to keep them cool, provided with high-energy feed, and milked regularly, Holstein cows will produce an average of 2,275 gallons of milk each per year.

Let’s break down the sentence:

For the farmer who takes care to keep them…

  • cool,
  • provided with high-energy feed,
  • milked regularly,

…Holstein cows will produce an average of 2,275 gallons of milk each per year.

Note that we use two different tenses here: “For the farmer who takes care…” and “cows will produce…”. The word “takes” is the present tense while “will produce” is the future, but that does not make this sentence incorrect. The context of the author could very well justify the use of the future tense. Perhaps the farmers have obtained Holstein cows recently, and hence, will see the produce of 2,275 gallons in the future, only.

A shift in the tense certainly doesn’t make the sentence incorrect. When you’re presented with multiple verbs in various tenses in a problem, check to determine whether the verbs convey a logical sequence of events.

Getting ready to take the GMAT? Check out one of our many free GMAT resources to get a jump start on your GMAT prep. And as always, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter for more helpful tips like this one!

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!