3 Common Mistakes MBA Applicants Make Choosing Essay Topics

Law School Applicant SurveyOne of the most undervalued steps in the business school essay-writing process is to make sure it the essay ties in with each component of the MBA application – the essays, CV, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and GMAT scores. In the process and stress of making the major life decision of attending business school, many applicants often anchor their essays by one of the common factors below, and thus, lose out on presenting a stronger overall profile.

Let’s examine these mistakes one by one:

Professional Domain
A candidate’s pre-MBA industry, company, and job function are all important, so it is understandable that these may become top of mind when brainstorming for examples and highlights to include in your essay. When it comes to the MBA essay, however, it is always best to consider mixing in different elements of your life experiences – ones that would help complement your resume and not just elaborate on what the reader will already glean from it.

Extracurricular activities, especially those that are not related to your profession, help show a multidimensional personality, so it would be wise to discuss the ones you are involved with in your essays. For instance, an accomplished banker with excellent academics may be better off sharing leadership experiences with his mountain hiking group rather than detailing how he was able to do well in the CFA exams. In this case, valuable space in the essays can be better used to show additional dimensions to the applicant’s profile.

Most Performed Activity
Another common error, especially when creating your resume and even preparing for your interview, is to focus on the activities you perform most frequently. As critical as operational and maintenance tasks are, it would be better to play up more attention-grabbing tasks. For example, it would be better to showcase how you led the financial review for your company’s new distribution model or new product lines than to describe the regular payroll disbursements you assist with.

In short, when asked to describe what you do, it is not always best to prioritize your activities by the number of hours you spend on them. Instead, choose the ones that would be the most exciting to discuss, and the ones that will highlight more of your strengths.

Technical Accomplishments
Applicants from technical fields typically want to share their most technically challenging work. Sharing complexity does demonstrate deep expertise, and that your company trusts you to take on tremendous responsibilities, however you must also consider if there are better examples that would better showcase your experiences with collaboration and leadership.

Remember, the MBA is geared towards developing your ability to work with people, whether it is through motivating teams of people, mentoring individuals, or managing challenging relationships. Thus, details on your technical accomplishments should be shared in a way that is understandable to non-industry readers. Details on these more technical achievements should be descriptive enough to show impact and expertise, but concise enough that you still have room to display the key transferable skills you learned from this accomplishment, such as leadership and teamwork.

Following the tips above should help you decide how to use the limited space in your MBA application package and present a complete picture of your unique personality.

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

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

How to Answer GMAT Sentence Correction Questions with Inverted Structures

EssayOne of the challenges test-takers encounter on Sentence Correction questions is the tendency of the GMAT question writers to structure sentences in a way that departs from the way we typically write or speak. Take a simple example: “My books are on the table,” could also be written as, “On the table are my books.” If you’re like me, you cringe a little bit with the second option – it sounds starchy and pretentious, but it’s a perfectly legitimate sentence, and an example of what’s called “inverted structure.”

In a standard structure, the subject will precede the verb. In an inverted structure, the subject comes after the verb. The tip-off for such a construction is typically a prepositional phrase, in this case, “on the table,” followed by a verb. It is important to recognize that the object of the prepositional phrase, “table” cannot be the subject of the verb, “are,” so we know that the subject will come after the verb.

Let’s look at an example from an official GMAT question:

The Achaemenid empire of Persia reached the Indus Valley in the fifth century B.C., bringing the Aramaic script with it, from which was derived both northern and southern Indian alphabets.

(A) the Aramaic script with it, from which was derived both northern and
(B) the Aramaic script with it, and from which deriving both the northern and the
(C) with it the Aramaic script, from which derive both the northern and the
(D) with it the Aramaic script, from which derives both northern and
(E) with it the Aramaic script, and deriving from it both the northern and 

The first thing you might notice with this question is the use of the relative pronoun “which.” We’d like for “which” to be as close as possible to its referent. What do we think the alphabets were derived from? From the Aramaic script.

Notice that in options A and B, the closes referent to “which” is “it.” There are two problems here. For starters, it would be confusing for one pronoun “which” to have another pronoun “it” as its antecedent. Moreover, “it” seems to refer to the Achaemenid Empire here. Do we think that the alphabets derived from the empire? Nope. Eliminate A and B.

Although E eliminates the “which,” this option also seems to indicate that the alphabets derived from the empire, so E is out as well.

Now we’re down to C and D. Notice that our first decision point is to choose between “from which derive” and “from which derives.” This is an instance of inverted sentence structure. We have the prepositional phrase “from which,” followed immediately by a verb, either “derive or “derives.” Thus, we know that the subject for this verb is going to come later in the sentence, in this case, the northern and southern alphabets.  If we were to rearrange the sentences so that they had a more conventional structure, our choice would be between the following options:

C) Both the northern and the southern Indian alphabets derive from [the empire.]

D) Both northern and southern Indian alphabets derives from [the empire.] 

Because “alphabets” is plural, we want to pair this subject with the plural verb, “derive.” Therefore, the correct answer is C.

Takeaway: Anytime we see the construction “prepositional phrase + verb,” we are very likely looking at a sentence with an inverted sentence structure. In these cases, make sure to look for the subject of the sentence after the verb, rather than before.

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

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

3 Formats for GMAT Inequalities Questions You Need to Know

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomAs if solving inequalities wasn’t already hard enough, sometimes the way a GMAT question is framed will make us wonder which answer option to choose, even after we have already solved solved the problem.

Let’s look at three different question formats today to understand the difference between them:

  1. Must Be True
  2. Could Be True
  3. Complete Range

Case 1: Must Be True
If |-x/3 + 1| < 2, which of the following must be true?
(A) x > 0
(B) x < 8
(C) x > -4
(D) 0 < x < 3
(E) None of the above

We have two linked inequalities here. One is |-x/3 + 1| < 2 and the other is the correct answer choice. We need to think about how the two are related.

We are given that |-x/3 + 1| < 2. So we know that x satisfies this inequality. That will give us the universe which is relevant to us. x will take one of those values only. So let’s solve this inequality. (We will not focus on how to solve the inequality in this post – it has already been discussed here. We will just quickly show the steps.)

|x/3 – 1| < 2
(1/3) * |x – 3| < 2
|x – 3| < 6

The distance of x from 3 is less than 6, so -3 < x < 9. Now we know that every value that x can take will lie within this range.

The question now becomes: what must be true for each of these values of x? Let’s assess each of our answer options with this question:

(A) x > 0
Will each of the values of x be positive? No – x could be a negative number greater than -3, such as -2.

(B) x < 8
Will each of the values of x be less than 8? No – x could be a number between 8 and 9, such as 8.5

(C) x > -4
Will each of the values of x be more than -4? Yes! x will take values ranging from -3 to 9, and each of the values within that range will be greater than -4. So this must be true.

(D) 0 < x < 3
Will each of these values be between 0 and 3. No – since x can take any of the values between -3 and 9, not all of these will be just between 0 and 3.

Therefore, the answer is C (we don’t even need to evaluate answer choice E since C is true).

Case 2: Could Be True
If −1 < x < 5, which is the following could be true?
(A) 2x > 10
(B) x > 17/3
(C) x^2 > 27
(D) 3x + x^2 < −2
(E) 2x – x^2 < 0

Again, we have two linked inequalities, but here the relation between them will be a bit different. One of the inequalities is  −1 < x < 5 and the other will be the correct answer choice.

We are given that -1 < x < 5, so x lies between -1 and 5. We need an answer choice that “could be true”. This means only some of the values between -1 and 5 should satisfy the condition set by the correct answer choice – all of the values need not satisfy. Let’s evaluate our answer options:

(A) 2x > 10
x > 5
No values between -1 and 5 will be greater than 5, so this cannot be true.

(B) x > 17/3
x > 5.67
No values between -1 and 5 will be greater than 5.67, so this cannot be true.

(C) x^2 > 27
x^2 – 27 > 0
x > 3*√(3) or x < -3*√(3)
√(3) is about 1.73 so 3*1.73 = 5.19. No value of x will be greater than 5.19. Also, -3*1.73 will be -5.19 and no value of x will be less than that. So this cannot be true.

(Details on how to solve such inequalities are discussed here.)

(D) 3x + x^2 < −2
x^2 + 3x + 2 < 0
(x + 1)(x + 2) < 0
-2 < x < -1
No values of x will lie between -2 and -1, so this also cannot be true.

(E) 2x – x^2 < 0
x * (x – 2) > 0
x > 2 or x < 0
If -1 < x < 5, then x could lie between -1 and 0 (x < 0 is possible) or between 2 and 5 (x > 2 is possible). Therefore, the correct answer is E.

Case 3: Complete Range
Which of the following represents the complete range of x over which x^3 – 4x^5 < 0?
(A) 0 < |x| < ½
(B) |x| > ½
(C) -½ < x < 0 or ½ < x
(D) x < -½ or 0 < x < ½
(E) x < -½ or x > 0

We have two linked inequalities, but the relation between them will be a bit different again. One of the inequalities is  x^3 – 4x^5 < 0 and the other will be the correct answer choice.

We are given that x^3 – 4x^5 < 0. This inequality can be solved to:

x^3 ( 1 – 4x^2) < 0
x^3*(2x + 1)*(2x – 1) > 0
> 1/2 or -1/2 < x < 0

This is our universe of the values of x. It is given that all values of x lie in this range.

Here, the question asks us the complete range of x. So we need to look for exactly this range. This is given in answer choice C, and therefore C is our answer.

We hope these practice problems will help you become able to distinguish between the three cases now.

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

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

Investing in Success: The Best In-Person or Online GMAT Tutors Can Make a Difference

ProfessorMaking sure that you’re ready to take the GMAT requires study, time, and effort. Earning a high score on the GMAT can help to impress admissions officials at preferred business schools. One way to make the studying process easier is to work with a private GMAT tutor. A tutor can help you prep for the test in a variety of ways. Naturally, you want to find the tutor who can be the most help to you. Discover some of the qualities to look for when there’s a GMAT tutor needed to complete your study plan.

Knowledge of All Aspects of the GMAT
The best private GMAT tutor has more than just general advice regarding the GMAT. The person has thorough knowledge of the exam and its contents. There are several parts to the GMAT, including the Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, and Analytical Writing sections. A qualified tutor will have plenty of tips to share that can help you to navigate all of the sections on the GMAT.
Plus, an experienced tutor will be able to evaluate the results of your practice GMAT to determine where you need to focus most of your study efforts. This puts the element of efficiency into your test prep.

The GMAT instructors at Veritas Prep achieved scores on the exam that placed them in the 99th percentile, so if you work with a Veritas Prep tutor, you know you’re studying with someone who has practical experience with the exam. Our tutors are experts at describing the subtle points of the GMAT to their students.

Access to Quality Study Resources
If you want to thoroughly prepare for the GMAT, you must use quality study materials. At Veritas Prep, we have a GMAT curriculum that guides you through each section of the test. Your instructor will show you the types of questions on the test and reveal proven strategies you can use to answer them correctly. Of course, our curriculum teaches you the facts you need to know for the test. But just as importantly, we show you how to apply those facts to the questions on the exam. We do this in an effort to help you think like a business executive as you complete the GMAT. Private tutoring services from Veritas Prep give you the tools you need to perform your best on the exam.

Selecting Your Method of Learning
The best GMAT tutors can offer you several options when it comes to preparing for the exam. Perhaps you work full-time as a business professional. You want to prepare for the GMAT but don’t have the time to attend traditional courses. In that case, you should search for an online GMAT tutor. As a result, you can prep for the GMAT without disrupting your busy work schedule. At Veritas Prep, we provide you with the option of online tutoring as well as in-person classes. We recognize that flexibility is important when it comes to preparing for the GMAT, and we want you to get the instruction you need to earn a high score on this important test.

An Encouraging Instructor
Naturally, when you take advantage of GMAT private tutoring services, you will learn information you need to know for the test. But a tutor should also take the time to encourage you as you progress in your studies. It’s likely that you’ll face some stumbling blocks as you prepare for the different sections of the GMAT. A good instructor must be ready with encouraging words when you’re trying to master difficult skills.

Encouraging words from a tutor can give you the push you need to conquer especially puzzling questions on the test. The understanding tutors at Veritas Prep have been through preparation for the GMAT as well as the actual test, so we understand the tremendous effort it takes to master all of its sections.

If you want to partner with the best GMAT tutor as you prep for the test, we have you covered at Veritas Prep! When you sign up to study for the GMAT with Veritas Prep, you are investing in your own success. Give us a call or write us an email today to let us know when you want to start gearing up for excellence on the GMAT!

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

3 Things to Avoid When Crafting a Thank You Note

writing essayKnowing how to write a great thank you note will really come in handy during your business school journey – you’ll send them to recommenders to thank them for writing your letters of recommendation, to school representatives you encounter during campus visits, and to company representatives you meet during corporate presentations while at school. There are definitely some things you should avoid doing, however, when crafting these notes.

(Before diving into what not to do, be sure to take a look at Part 1 of this lesson: 3 Ways to Write a Successful Thank You Note.)

Do not copy and paste thank you emails and send them to multiple people. This should be a given, but unfortunately, I don’t think it is. When you copy and paste, the format of your email sometimes gets messed up, but you won’t realize it. Only the reader will notice, and it just looks tacky if the only thing you changed is the recipient’s name. This also goes back to authenticity – it’s hard to create an authentic email if you end up sending the same message to multiple people.

Do not add people on LinkedIn. This is especially true for admissions officers (and corporate recruiters once you start interviewing for internships and jobs). Admissions officers do not want to be connected to thousands of prospective students who they may or may not remember, and who may or may not end up at their school. If you have a really great conversation with an alumnus or a current student, feel free to ask them in person if it is alright to add them on LinkedIn. Chances are they will say yes, but they will appreciate the gesture before you just go home, find them on the internet, and add them into your network because you think they have something to offer you.

Do not freak out if they don’t respond to you. The people you are meeting are incredibly busy. Put yourself in their shoes – if you met them on the road, it is very likely that they have other events and cities that they are traveling to before going home to get back to their work and catch up on everything that happened since they left.

Next time you go to a recruiting event, keep in mind the conversations you are having and make sure to follow these tips as you write those thank you emails. Good luck in the admissions process!

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

Colleen Hill is a Veritas Prep consultant for the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. You can read more articles by her here

GMAT Integrated Reasoning Practice: Sample Questions and Prep Tips

QuestioningOn one section of the GMAT, you’ll encounter Integrated Reasoning questions. These questions test your ability to solve problems using several forms of data. Though you’ve found plenty of advice on studying for the GMAT, you may feel a little concerned about these particular questions. Consider some information about the nature of these questions, then learn how to prep for them with our help.

Take a Timed Practice Test
One way you can get GMAT Integrated Reasoning practice is to take a timed practice test. When you take the entire test or a set of GMAT Integrated Reasoning practice questions, you get an idea of what to expect on test day. More importantly, your results will reveal which skills need improvement.

Timing yourself is an important factor when taking a practice test. You get just 30 minutes to complete the 12 Integrated Reasoning questions on the GMAT. Establishing a reasonable testing pace can lower your stress level and help you to finish all of the questions in the allotted time. At Veritas Prep, we have a free GMAT test that you can take advantage of for this purpose.

Get Into the Mindset of a Business Executive
Taking the GMAT is one of the steps necessary on your path to business school, so it makes perfect sense that the GMAT gauges your skills in business. One of the best prep tips you can follow is to complete all GMAT Integrated Reasoning sample questions with the mindset of a business executive. Think of the questions as real-life scenarios that you will encounter in your business career. Taking this approach allows you to best highlight your skills to GMAT scorers.

Become Familiar With the Question Formats
As you tackle a set of GMAT Integrated Reasoning sample questions, you’ll see that there are a few different question formats – Graphics Interpretation, Two-Part Analysis, Multi-Source Reasoning, and Table Analysis are the different types of questions on the GMAT.

The Graphics Interpretation questions feature a chart, graph, or diagram. For instance, you may see a question that features a bar chart that asks you to answer two questions based on the data in the chart. Other graphics you may see include scatterplots, pie charts, bubble charts, and line charts.

Two-Part Analysis problems involve a chart with three columns of data and accompanying questions. One tip to remember about these questions is that you have to answer the first question presented before you tackle the second one because the answers will work together in some way. Multi-Source Reasoning questions contain a lot of data. These questions test your ability to combine the data contained in different graphs, formulas, and diagrams to arrive at the correct answer choice. Table Analysis questions ask you to look at a table that may contain four or more columns of data. You have to examine this data closely to answer the questions.

Practice Working With Different Types of Graphs and Diagrams
Effective GMAT Integrated Reasoning practice involves learning the details about the different types of graphs, charts, and diagrams featured on the test. Financial magazines and newspapers are great resources for different graphics that you may see on the GMAT. Take some time to make sure you understand the purpose behind various graphs and charts so you feel at ease with them on test day.

Work With a Capable Tutor
When studying for the section on Integrated Reasoning, GMAT practice questions can be very useful. Another way to boost your preparation for this section is to partner with an experienced tutor. The instructors at Veritas Prep follow a thorough GMAT curriculum as they prep you for Integrated Reasoning questions as well as the other questions on the exam. We provide you with proven test-taking strategies and show you how to showcase what you know on the GMAT. With our guidance, you can move through each section of the test with confidence.

The professional tutors at Veritas Prep have the skills and knowledge to prepare you for the section on Integrated Reasoning. GMAT questions in all of the sections are easier to navigate after working through our unique GMAT curriculum. We offer both online and in-person courses, so you can choose the option that best suits your schedule. Contact our offices today and get first-rate prep for the GMAT!

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

3 Ways to Write a Successful Thank You Note

HandshakeThe University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business recently hosted hundreds of prospective students through their Up Close Diversity Weekend and Women in Leadership Conference events. I spoke with a handful of excited prospective students and most of them remembered my name and found ways to email me thank you notes, which was great – definitely write thank you emails! But there are ways to write and not to write these important emails, so listen up.

Whenever you meet a school representative at an event – whether that be an admissions officer, alumni, or a current student – you should always send them a note to say thank you. It is a good idea to get in the habit of doing this now because once you get to business school, you will also need to send thank you notes after conferences, corporate presentations, coffee chats, etc., and if you can get the hang of crafting these quickly now, it will only save you time later.

Here are a few tips to writing a successful thank you note:

Do write meaningful thank you notes. The people you meet are likely meeting dozens of other prospective students too, so be sincere and authentic in your communications. Don’t say thank you because you have to, but make the content of your email somewhat substantial. Make sure to ask good questions and get to know the people you’re chatting with so you can have something to write about in your follow up email.

Do include the details of how you met. Because they are meeting so many others, include how and where you met, and a little bit about what you talked about. You can do this by saying something along the lines of, “It was so great to meet you during dinner at the Up Close Weekend and hear more about your project work with the Business Impact Group.” It is helpful to include this so that they remember who you are and can match the name from your email to the face they spoke with at the event.

Do ask a follow up question, but only if your conversation prompted one. If not, don’t feel compelled to ask anything. Sometimes it is best to end the email with saying you’ll be in touch, rather than ending on a question.

If you had a conversation about a certain club on campus that sounded interesting to you but you don’t remember the name, however, feel free to ask and see if you can get in touch with someone from that club. For example, a question such as, “You mentioned the new club on campus that works on consultant teams with social enterprises. I’d love to learn more about that. Can you please remind me of the name, and possibly put me in touch with someone involved with that club?” would be appropriate to ask in your thank you email and show that you were truly interested in the conversation you had with that person.

Follow these tips and you’ll be able to quickly write a successful thank you email that may make a big impact on the way you are viewed by a school.

Stay tuned for our next article, 3 Things to Avoid When Crafting a Thank You Note.

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

Colleen Hill is a Veritas Prep consultant for the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. You can read more articles by her here

The Online GRE Math Study Guide: Help and Practice Tips for the GRE Math Section

books_stackedThe Graduate Record Exam (GRE) contains three parts; the Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing sections. The Quantitative section of the GRE tests students on a variety of math skills. Many students contact our staff at Veritas Prep when they want a little help preparing for this section of the test. Our knowledgeable instructors use first-rate study resources to guide students through the process of preparing for the Quantitative, as well as the other sections on the test.

Check out this GRE math study guide for tips that can simplify questions in the Quantitative or math section:

Take Practice Exams
When it comes to GRE math practice, online exams can prove very useful to students. Taking a practice test lets a student know what types of problems to expect on the actual test, and the results of a practice test reveal what a student needs to work on. Students who have this information are better able to make efficient use of their study time. Our instructors review practice tests with students and suggest specific ways that they can improve on various skills. Our Veritas Prep instructors partner with their students to provide the best GRE math prep available!

Plugging in the Numbers
One of the easiest strategies that students can use when tackling the Quantitative section of the GRE is to approach a problem starting with the answer options. For instance, an algebra question may come in the form of an equation that asks a student to find the value of X. A student can plug each of the answer options into the equation in place of X. The number that completes the equation is the correct answer option. This strategy proves especially helpful when a student works a problem in the traditional way and finds that his or her answer is not one of the answer options.

Eliminating Answer Options
Students looking for GRE math help should endeavor to simplify each problem as much as possible. For example, after looking at a question and considering all of the multiple choice answer options, a student may notice that one or two of the answer options are obviously incorrect. The student can cross out or eliminate these answer options. This leaves the student with fewer options to consider and makes the problem more manageable. This test-taking technique can also be used on multiple choice questions in the Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE.

Getting Into the Habit of Using Scrap Paper
Students should get into the habit of writing out all of the steps of a math problem on a sheet of scrap paper. This is one of those GRE math tips that many students are aware of, but decide not to put into practice; however, this tip can save a student a lot of time if there is a mistake somewhere in a problem. If a student’s answer is not displayed in the list of answer options, he or she can refer to the scrap paper and review the various steps of the problem. In addition, students should use scrap paper for drawing shapes referred to in a math question. Seeing a shape can sometimes prompt a student to figure out an answer more quickly than trying to visualize the shape.

Reviewing High School Math Problems
For students who want more GRE math practice, online exercises for high school students are an option. Many of the geometry and algebra skills tested in the Quantitative section are skills students learned in high school.

In addition to going online to complete practice math questions, a student can look in traditional math textbooks designed for high school students. This sort of prep helps students become familiar with working the steps of an algebra equation or successfully completing a geometry problem. Our professional instructors offer guidance and encouragement to students as they work their way through practice problems. We provide students with individualized help, so they can see great improvement as test day approaches.

Finally, students interested in learning the details about our services can look at our FAQ page to find helpful answers. We offer online courses that are convenient for individuals with busy school or work schedules. Veritas Prep has the best GRE math prep courses for students who want to enjoy success on the GRE!

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

How Many Letters of Recommendation Should You Submit with Your MBA Applications?

RecommenderThere are many facets of the typical business school application. Application components like one’s GMAT score, resume, and essays always garner a strong amount of attention from applicants year in and year out. These components tend to have a pretty straightforward submission process. When it comes to procuring letters of  recommendation, however, both the formal and informal submission processes may be less clear.

The formal recommendation process is a bit more straightforward than the informal process, so let us start there. Letters of recommendation require you to identify recommenders whom you feel can accurately speak to your work and contributions in an organization. Their recommendations are then formally submitted through the school’s application tool, and the Admissions Committee reviews them as part of your overall application assessment.

Now here is where things get tricky – most schools strongly discourage additional recommendations. I would guess the reason is because most admissions departments are already overwhelmed with the amount of paperwork and communication they receive from applicants, and anything additional might be tough for them to maintain, track, and evaluate. Also, more practically, allowing for additional recommendations would create an uneven playing field for MBA candidates – some applicants would submit additional letters of recommendation while others would not be able to (for a variety of reasons).

Now, not all schools have this policy and some even welcome additional recommendations, so read the fine print and identify whether there is an opportunity for you to send in additional letters of recommendation or not. If this option is available to you, using your discretion will be key. This should not be seen as an opportunity to just submit more of the same types of recommendations. If you are going to submit an additional letter of recommendation, it should really be a “letter of support”.

These additional recommendations should only be submitted if they are coming from highly visible, impactful, or unique people. The best examples of this are alumni or high-profile individuals who can speak to your business potential. Alumni tend to be a group that the Admissions Committee likes to hear from – alumni letters of recommendation should generally be submitted directly by the alumnus and be short and to the point.

As for letters of recommendation from high-profile people, these are far less well-received, especially if the person doesn’t have much of a relationship with the applicant. In most cases, if the relationship was actually strong, the person probably would have already been the applicant’s main recommender.

However, if the relationship is legit and if the person has considerable sway with the university, the program, or in the general business community, this type of recommendation can be really positive. The business school admissions process is very holistic, so schools will take information like this into consideration.

Now, if you are just not a qualified applicant, even the best of recommendations will not save your candidacy. For those fringe candidates, however, a great letter of recommendation can make or break an application.

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

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

How to Study Abroad in College

study aboard girlHigh school seniors who are researching colleges are smart to look at all that a school has to offer. Most students look at the specific study programs offered by a college, as well as its campus activities and various academic resources. Also, many students like to find out if a college offers opportunities to study abroad. College students can learn a lot by spending a semester or more living and studying in another country.

Consider some helpful information for students who want to know how to study abroad in college:

Conduct a Search for Colleges That Offer Students the Chance to Study Abroad
Fortunately, there are many opportunities for today’s college students who want to study abroad. High school seniors who are thinking about studying abroad, but are still unsure, should go ahead and apply to colleges that offer the option. That way, if they do decide to study abroad, they’re at a school that can make that happen.

Often, colleges that offer this study opportunity provide information on their website. Some schools create short videos that give students a quick look at their international programs. Student testimonials can also help prospective students decide whether to participate in the program.

Our professional consultants at Veritas Prep help students to apply to colleges that offer invaluable opportunities, including the chance to study abroad. We have inside knowledge regarding what college officials are looking for as they evaluate students’ applications, letters of recommendation, essays, and other materials.

Tips for Deciding on a Location
England, Ireland, Australia, China, Africa, and Italy are just a sampling of the places that college students go to study for a semester or more. With all of the possibilities, it can be difficult for a student to decide where they want to go. One tip is to think about whether they want to study in a country with English as its native language. Of course, this is a moot issue if a student is traveling to a country to learn and practice a foreign language. But if a student is not studying a foreign language, they may feel more at ease in an English-speaking country.

Living arrangements are another consideration. Some study programs require students to live with host families, while others require them to live in dormitories. Students should consider whether they would be comfortable with the specified living arrangements during their stay.

Another thing to consider is how far a student wants to travel away from home. Some students want to be able to travel home fairly quickly, while others want to go to more remote locations. Many of the answers to these questions depend on a student’s personal preferences.

Benefits of Studying Abroad in College
Taking courses while living in a foreign country allows students to experience different cultures. Many students sign up for college study abroad programs because they want to learn about the arts, cuisine, and customs of people living in a particular country.

Another benefit of studying abroad is the opportunity to explore various interests that may lead to a future career. For example, a student who spends a semester studying in Kenya may feel inspired by seeing the various forms of wildlife there. As a result, the student might decide to pursue a career as a wildlife conservationist. And on a practical note, one of the biggest benefits of studying abroad is earning credits that count toward graduation.

When to Study Abroad in College
Some students who participate in study abroad travel to a foreign country during the regular school year, while others go during the summertime. The timing depends upon the study programs offered by a college. A student has to consider their own individual situation to determine the best time to study abroad. College students who participate in these programs are often willing to forgo their summer vacation or miss school activities during a semester so they can take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

No matter where you choose to study, our team at Veritas Prep can help you get there. We provide students with assistance throughout the process of applying to college. We also have services for students who want to prep for the SAT. Our online SAT tutors teach students using first-rate study resources and test-taking strategies. Contact our Veritas Prep offices today and let us help you achieve your goal of attending college and earning a degree.

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

Using Special Formats on GMAT Variable Problems

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomIn today’s post, we will discuss some special formats when we assume variables on the GMAT. These will allow us to minimize the amount of manipulations and calculations that are required to solve certain Quant problems.

Here are some examples:

An even number: 2a
Logic: It must be a multiple of 2.

An odd number: (2a + 1) or (2a – 1)
Logic: It will not be a multiple of 2. Instead, it will be 1 more (or we can say 1 less) than a multiple of 2.

Two consecutive integers: 2a, (2a + 1) or (2a – 1), 2a
Logic: One number will be even and the other will be the next odd number (or the other way around).

Four consecutive odd numbers: (2a – 3), (2a – 1), (2a + 1), (2a + 3)
In this case, the sum of the numbers comes out to be a clean 8a. This can be very useful in many cases.

Five consecutive even numbers: (2a – 4), (2a – 2), 2a, (2a + 2), (2a + 4)
In this case, the sum of the numbers comes out to be a clean 10a. This can also be very useful in many cases.

A prime number: (6a+1) / (6a – 1)
Every prime number greater than 3 is of the form (6a + 1) or (6a – 1). Note, however, that every number of this form is not prime.

Three consecutive numbers:
If we know one number is even and the other two are odd, we will have: (2a – 1), 2a, (2a + 1).
Logic: They add up to give 6a.
In a more generic case, we will have: 3a, (3a+1), (3a+2).
This gives us some important information. It tells us that one of the numbers will definitely be a multiple of 3 and the other two numbers will not be. Note that the numbers can be in a different order such as (3a + 1), (3a + 2) and (3a + 3). (3a + 3) can be written as 3b, so the three numbers will still have the same properties.

Basically, try to pick numbers in a way that will make it easy for you to manage them. Remember, three numbers do not need to be a, b and c – there could be, and in fact often are, several other hints which will give you the relations among the numbers.

Now, let’s see how picking the right format of these numbers can be helpful using a 700-level GMAT question:

The sum of four consecutive odd numbers is equal to the sum of 3 consecutive even numbers. Given that the middle term of the even numbers is greater than 101 and lesser than 200, how many such sequences can be formed?

(A) 12
(B) 17
(C) 25
(D) 33
(E) 50

Let’s have the four consecutive odd numbers be the following, where “a” is any integer: (2a – 3), (2a – 1), (2a + 1), (2a + 3)

The sum of these numbers is: (2a – 3) + (2a – 1) + (2a + 1) + (2a + 3) = 8a

Now let’s have the three consecutive even numbers be the following, where “b” is any integer: (2b – 2), 2b, (2b + 2)

The sum of these numbers is: (2b – 2) + 2b + (2b + 2) = 6b

Note here that instead of 2a, we used 2b. There is no reason that the even numbers would be right next to the odd numbers, hence we used different variables so that we don’t establish relations that don’t exist between these seven numbers.

We are given that the sum 8a is equal to the sum 6b.

8a = 6b, or a/b = 3/4, where a and b can be any integers. So “a” has to be a multiple of 3 and “b” has to be a multiple of 4.

With this in mind, possible solutions for a and b are:

a = 3, b = 4;
a = 6, b = 8;
a = 9, b = 12
etc.

We are also given that the middle term of the even numbers is greater than 101 and less than 200.

So 101 < 2b < 200, i.e. 50.5 < b < 100.

B must be an integer, hence, 51 ≤ b ≤ 99.

Also, b has to be a multiple of 4, so the values that b can take are 52, 56, 60, 64 … 96

The number of values b can take = (Last term – First term)/Common Difference + 1 = (96 – 52)/4 + 1 = 12

For each of these 12 values of b, there will be a corresponding value of a and, hence, we will get 12 such sequences. Therefore, the answer to our question is A.

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

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

What’s Next After Submitting Your Business School Application?

SAT/ACTAfter all those months of hard work, you have finally submitted your application to the business school of your dreams. 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.

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

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

Happy Thanksgiving from the Veritas Prep Team!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all that is good in your life, reflect on the past year… and become truly stressed out. Between attempting to cook the perfect Thanksgiving meal, devising your plan of attack for Black Friday shopping, setting out your holiday decorations (Didn’t we just finish Halloween?), and mentally preparing yourself to face family members you may or may not be excited to see, add to that the stress of planning for your educational future.

At Veritas Prep, we’d like to make your holidays a bit less stressful by offering you our largest discounts of the year for Black Friday: beginning November 25, for an entire week, you can save up to $1,000 on test prep and admissions consulting services from Veritas Prep! This sale ends Friday, December 2 so check out our discounts here and take advantage of the savings before it’s too late!

From everyone at Veritas Prep, we’d like to take this time to express how thankful we are for our fantastic students, instructors, admissions consultants, and staff that we are lucky to be able to work with every day. We hope that wherever you are in the world, you have a wonderful holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

10 Tips to Creating an Effective GRE Study Plan

help - wordsCreating a GRE study plan is one way a student can thoroughly prepare for this exam. A study plan helps a student to stay organized and absorb all of the necessary material.

Take a look at ten tips for creating a GRE study plan that can contribute to a student’s confidence level on test day.

1. Take a Practice Test
It’s important for students to take a practice GRE before creating a study plan. The results of this test reveal the subject areas (PDF) in need of the most improvement. Consequently, students can build a study plan that focuses on those subjects. At Veritas Prep, our GRE tutoring services include reviewing practice test results with students. Our online tutors provide students with strategies that help them to master questions in every section of the GRE.

2. Set a Target Score
Students should set a target score for the GRE. This gives them a concrete idea of what they are working to achieve. Of course, students who reach their target score on a practice test should continue preparing just as vigorously for the GRE. A student’s goal is to achieve and surpass his or her target score!

3. Create Study Tasks for Each Day of the Week
The best GRE study plans are the ones that include specific details. Students should plan to study at least ten hours per week. Many students prefer to study for two hours every weekday, leaving their weekends free. On Monday from 3:00 to 4:00 a student may work on completing ten sample geometry questions and ten algebra questions. From 4:00 to 5:00, the student memorizes twenty vocabulary words and their definitions. A detailed study plan allows a student to get down to work right away without having to decide what to do for the hour.

4. Choose an Optimal Study Time
Deciding when to study is part of making a study plan for GRE. Some students study best in the early morning, while others are more receptive in the evening. Students who take this self- knowledge into account are giving themselves an extra advantage as they prep for the GRE.

5. Get an Expert to Evaluate the Study Plan
Our instructors at Veritas Prep can evaluate a student’s study plan to see if any improvements can be made. All of our professional GRE tutors achieved high scores on the exam. This means that they have unique insight on the most effective ways to prep. In short, students have access to invaluable tips that make their study plan all the more effective.

6. Create Rewards for Meeting Small Goals
Most GRE study plans cover a period of months; that’s why it’s an excellent idea for students to reward themselves when they reach short term goals. For instance, a student may create a reward of going to a movie with a friend once he or she finishes memorizing fifty vocabulary words. These little incentives can refresh a student’s motivation.

7. Determine an Appropriate Place to Study
The right environment contributes to the effectiveness of study time. A student should choose an environment with very few people and no televisions, radios or other distractions. Some suggestions include a private study room at a library, a quiet room at home or an unoccupied picnic bench at a local park.

8. Factor Exceptions into a Study Plan
An effective study plan for GRE has the element of flexibility. Inevitably, things arise that will disrupt a student’s study time. If a student has to skip a weekday study session, he or she should reschedule those hours for the weekend. It’s best to makeup missed days whenever possible.

9. Set Aside Time for Quick Review
A week or two prior to test day, students should incorporate short review sessions into the plan. For instance, students may take thirty minutes out of a two hour study session to review with vocabulary flashcards. Or, they may use twenty minutes of study time to take a quick geometry quiz on basic concepts. These quick reviews can help them retain more material.

10. Don’t Forget the Night Before the Test
A study plan should include a student’s activities the night before the test. A student may want to make a note of items to put aside for the following morning, when to eat dinner and when to go to bed. A student’s activities the night before the test can set a positive tone for test day.

Our talented GRE instructors at Veritas Prep specialize in helping students prepare for this important exam. Our study resources and materials add to the quality of our courses. Contact our offices today and get the advantage on the GRE with Veritas Prep.

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

Assumption vs. Strengthen Critical Reasoning Questions: What’s the Difference?

GMATI had a discussion with a tutoring student the other day about the distinction between Assumption and Strengthen questions in the Critical Reasoning section. The two categories feel similar, after all. They are different, however, and the difference, as with most Critical Reasoning questions, lies mainly in the texture of the language that would be most appropriate for a correct answer in either category.

To illustrate, let’s take a simple argument: Dave opens a coffee shop in Veritasville called Dave’s Blends. According to surveys, Dave’s Blends has the best tasting coffee in the city. Therefore, Dave’s Blends will garner at least 50% the local market.

First, imagine that this is a simple Strengthen question. In order to strengthen this somewhat fanciful conclusion, we’re going to want strong language. For example: Virtually all coffee drinkers in Veritasville buy coffee daily from Dave’s. That’s a pretty good strengthener. The statement increases the likelihood that Dave’s Blends will dominate the local market. But an answer choice such as, “Some people buy coffee at Dave’s,” would be a lousy choice, as the fact that Dave’s has at least one customer is hardly a compelling reason to conclude that it will get to at least a 50% market share.

Now imagine that we take the same argument and make it an Assumption question. The first aforementioned answer choice is now much less appealing. Can we really assume that virtually everyone in town will get their coffee at Dave’s? Not really. If Dave’s has 51% of the market share, it doesn’t mean that virtually everyone gets their coffee there. But now consider the second answer choice – if we’re concluding that Dave’s will get at least half of the local market, we are assuming that some people will purchase coffee there, so now this would be a good answer.

The difference is that in a Strengthen question, we’re looking for new information that will make the conclusion more likely. In an Assumption question, we’re looking for what is true based on the conclusion.  Put another way, strong language (“virtually everyone”) is often desirable in a Strengthen question, whereas softer language (“some people”) is usually more desirable in an Assumption question.

Let’s see this in action with a GMAT practice question:

For most people, the left half of the brain controls linguistic capabilities, but some people have their language centers in the right half. When a language center of the brain is damaged, for example by a stroke, linguistic capabilities are impaired in some way. Therefore, people who have suffered a serious stroke on the left side of the brain without suffering any such impairment must have their language centers in the right half. 

Which of the following is an assumption on which the reasoning in the argument above depends?

(A) No part of a person’s brain that is damaged by a stroke ever recovers.
(B) Impairment of linguistic capabilities does not occur in people who have not suffered any damage to any language center of the brain.
(C) Strokes tend to impair linguistic capabilities more severely than does any other cause of damage to language centers in the brain.
(D) If there are language centers on the left side of the brain, any serious stroke affecting that side of the brain damages at least one of them.
(E) It is impossible to determine which side of the brain contains a person’s language centers if the person has not suffered damage to either side of the brain.

First, let’s break this argument down:

Conclusion: People who suffer a stroke on the left side of the brain and don’t’ suffer language impairment have language centers in the right half of the brain.

Premises: Most people have language centers on the left side of the brain, while some have them on the right. Damage impairs linguistic capabilities.

This is an Assumption question, so we’re looking for what is be true based on the way the premises lead to the conclusion. Put another way, softer language might be preferable here. Now let’s examine each of the answer choices:

(A) Notice the extreme language, “No part…ever recovers“. Can we really assume that? Of course not – some portion might recover. No good.

(B) We don’t know this. Imagine someone has a part of his or her brain removed and this part of the brain doesn’t contain a language center. Surely we can’t assume that this person will have no language impairment at all. No good.

(C) Again, notice the extreme language, “…more severely than other cause. Can we assume that a stroke is worse than every other kind of brain trauma? Of course not. No good.

(D) Now we’re talking. Here, we are given more generous language: damages at least one of them. “At least one” is a pretty low bar. Remember that the conclusion is that someone who suffers a left-brain stroke and doesn’t have language impairment must have language centers on the right side. Well, that only makes sense if there’s some damage somewhere on the left. This answer choice looks good.

(E) Notice again the extreme language, “…it is impossible“. There may be some other way to assess where the language centers are. No good.

Therefore, our answer is D.

Takeaway: Strengthen questions and Assumption questions are not identical. In a Strengthen question, we want a strong answer choice that will make a conclusion more likely. In an Assumption question we want a soft answer that is indisputable based on how the premises lead to the conclusion. Attention to details in the language (some vs. most vs. all) is the key.

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

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

Quarter Wit, Quarter Wisdom: Beware of Sneaky Answer Choices on the GMAT!

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomTest-takers often ask for tips and short cuts to cut down the amount of work necessary to solve a GMAT problem. As such, the Testmaker might want to award the test-taker who pays attention to detail and puts in the required effort.

Today, we will look at an example of this concept – if it seems to be too easy, it is a trap!

QWQW_11_21

 

 

 

 

 

In the figure given above, the area of the equilateral triangle is 48. If the other three figures are squares, what is the perimeter, approximately, of the nine-sided shape they form?

(A) 8√(2)
(B) 24√(3)
(C) 72√(2)
(D) 144√(2)
(E) 384

The first thing I notice about this question is that we have an equilateral triangle. So I am thinking, the area = s^2 * √(3)/4 and/or the altitude = s*√(3)/2.

The irrational number in play is √(3). There is only one answer choice with √(3) in it, so will this be the answer?

Now, it actually makes me uncomfortable that  there is only one option with √(3). At first glance, it seems that the answer has been served to us on a silver plate. But the question format doesn’t seem very easy – it links two geometrical figures together. So I doubt very much that the correct answer would be that obvious.

The next step will be to think a bit harder:

The area of the triangle has √(3) in it, so the side would be a further square root of √(3). This means the actual irrational number would be the fourth root of 3, but we don’t have any answer choice that has the fourth root of 3 in it.

Let’s go deeper now and actually solve the question.

The area of the equilateral triangle = Side^2 * (√(3)/4) = 48

Side^2 = 48*4/√(3)
Side^2 = 4*4*4*3/√(3)
Side = 8*FourthRoot(3)

Now note that the side of the equilateral triangle is the same length as the sides of the squares, too. Hence, all sides of the three squares will be of length 8*FourthRoot(3).

All nine sides of the figure are the sides of squares. Hence:

The perimeter of the nine sided figure = 9*8*FourthRoot(3)
The perimeter of the nine sided figure =72*FourthRoot(3)

Now look at the answer choices. We have an option that is 72√(2). The other answer choices are either much smaller or much greater than that.

Think about it – the fourth root of 3 = √(√(3)) = √(1.732), which is actually very similar to √(2). Number properties will help you figure this out. Squares of smaller numbers (that are still greater than 1) are only a bit larger than the numbers themselves. For example:

(1.1)^2 = 1.21
(1.2)^2 = 1.44
(1.3)^2 = 1.69
(1.414)^2 = 2

Since 1.732 is close to 1.69, the √(1.732) will be close to the √(1.69), i.e. 1.3. Also, √(2) = 1.414. The two values are quite close, therefore, the perimeter is approximately 72√(2). This is the reason the question specifically requests the “approximate” perimeter.

We hope you see how the Testmaker could sneak in a tempting answer choice – beware the “easiest” option!

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

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

Online GMAT Verbal Practice: Samples and Questions to Guide Your Test Prep

writing essayThe Verbal section of the GMAT measures your ability to comprehend what you read, evaluate arguments, and change elements of sentences to make them correct. One way to prep for this section is to complete sample GMAT Verbal questions. Sample questions give you an idea of what you can expect when you sit down to take the exam. Learning the different types of problems you might encounter will help you to study for Verbal GMAT questions.

The Reading Comprehension Section
GMAT Verbal practice questions in the Reading Comprehension section require you to read a passage that’s followed by several multiple-choice questions. These questions may ask you to draw an inference or make a conclusion about what you read. Also, there are questions that gauge how well you understood statements made within the passage. A question on a GMAT Verbal practice test might start with, “The primary purpose of the passage is to …” or, “The author is critical of X for the following reasons … .” It’s important to carefully read and evaluate the passage before delving into the questions so you have the information you need to make the right choice.

Taking a GMAT Verbal practice test online is an excellent way to become familiar with the format as well as the content of these questions. Plus, tackling practice questions helps you to get into the habit of reading with the purpose of finding out just what the author is trying to say.

The Critical Reasoning Section
The Critical Reasoning section on the GMAT measures your ability to analyze and evaluate an argument. Practice questions on this topic may include a short argument or one that is several sentences long. There are several multiple-choice options for each question that follows the argument. One example of a typical question might start with, “This argument assumes that … .” Another example of a question you’ll likely encounter starts with, “This argument conveys the following … .” You’ll have to look closely at the points of an argument to determine what the author is trying to convey.

The Sentence Correction Section
To do well on GMAT Verbal practice test questions that deal with Sentence Correction, you must have a grasp of proper grammar and sentence structure. You must also recognize a sentence that conveys meaning in an effective way. Each question starts with a passage that includes an underlined portion. Your job is to consider each of the five options and choose the one that best completes the sentence. This requires you to look at various elements throughout the passage, such as verb tenses and noun usage as well as the use of “like” or “as.” The answer option you select must agree with the elements in the rest of the passage.

Preparing for the Verbal Section With a Professional Tutor
Completing lots of GMAT Verbal practice questions is one way to prepare for this portion of the test. Another way is to study with a tutor who scored in the 99th percentile on the exam. That’s exactly what we offer at Veritas Prep. Our talented instructors prep you for the test using our thorough GMAT curriculum. We teach you how to apply the facts and information you’ve learned so you arrive at the correct answer for each question. We also provide you with strategies, tips, and lessons that strengthen your higher-order thinking skills. These are skills you will need well after you conquer the GMAT. We move way beyond memorization of facts – we teach you to think like a business executive!

Wondering where to begin? You can take one of our GMAT practice tests for free. The results can highlight the skills you’ll need to work on before you sit down to take the actual computer-based test. Our GMAT prep courses are ideal if you want to interact with other students who are as determined as you are to master the exam. Or, if you prefer, you can take advantage of our private online tutoring services. We know you have a busy work schedule as well as family obligations, so we make it easy to study with an expert on the Verbal section as well as all of the other sections on the GMAT. Get in touch with us to begin preparing for the GMAT the right way!

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

GMAT Preparation That Works for You: Find Your Best Way to Prepare for the GMAT

GMATSo you’ve thought it over and have decided to take the GMAT. That’s great! The next step is to prep for the test.

Of course, not everyone prepares for a test in the same way. The goal is to find what works for you. One way to do that is to look at the different options available to you when it comes to preparing for GMAT questions.

In-Person Prep Courses
You could go with the traditional option and take a GMAT prep course in a classroom with an instructor as well as other students. This is an excellent choice if you enjoy participating in class discussions with other students who are as eager to learn as you. Also, if you benefit from hearing the questions and comments of others, then you may consider this the best way to prepare for the GMAT.

At Veritas Prep, we offer in-person courses taught by instructors who provide you with many GMAT preparation tips. All of our instructors earned a score on the GMAT that landed them in the 99th percentile. So when you learn from a Veritas Prep instructor, you’re learning from one of the best!

Preparing Online with a Tutor
Perhaps you’d prefer to go online to prepare for the GMAT. Test preparation can be completed one-on-one with a Veritas Prep tutor on the Internet. Some people find that they are able to focus better when studying online with a tutor. You’re bound to appreciate the option of choosing your own learning environment when you choose online tutoring. If this is the choice for you, the experienced online tutors at Veritas Prep stand ready to help you prepare for the GMAT.

Choosing the Best Environment for Online Learning
If you think that participating in tutoring sessions online is the best way to prepare for the GMAT, then you should decide on your optimal learning environment. Of course, whatever location you select must have Internet access. You may consider choosing a room in your home where you’ll have very few interruptions. However, if you live in a home that’s always overflowing with activity, you may want to reserve a room at a public library or ask to use a quiet room at your workplace instead. To get the most out of your tutoring sessions, you should choose to study in a place where you’ll be able to focus all of your attention on your online tutor and study resources.

Studying with a Friend or Going it Alone
The question of whether to study alone or with a friend may come up as you begin preparing for the GMAT. Well, having someone else around can end up helping or hurting you. For instance, perhaps you have a coworker who is also planning to take the GMAT and asks to study with you. If the two of you are good friends, you may find that you end up chatting about current events, family and work instead of preparing for GMAT questions. This is a perfect example of how studying with another person can hinder your progress.

Alternatively, studying GMAT vocabulary words can be more effective when done with another person. You can quiz one another on the definitions of words, or you can make up a vocabulary game that puts the element of competition into your study sessions. Along with your tutor, a study partner can give you encouragement as you absorb unfamiliar words and their meanings. You are the best judge of whether it would benefit you to study with a partner or study alone outside of your instructional sessions with Veritas Prep.

Along with online or in-person instruction, Veritas Prep has a variety of other resources available to you as prepare for the GMAT. One of the best places to start your GMAT prep is our free practice test. Your score will help reveal what you need to work on when it comes to mastering skills for the GMAT. We also have a free trial class that gives you a good idea of what to expect from our GMAT study program. Go ahead and check out all of the details regarding our professional GMAT tutoring services and give us a call today!

How to Send SAT Scores to Colleges

In a HurryStudents spend a lot of time preparing for the SAT before the big day finally arrives. After test day has come and gone, the next step is sending SAT scores to colleges. Students want to make sure that colleges receive their scores along with the rest of their application information. Though testing officials are responsible for sending out SAT scores, students do have some say in the process. Discover how to send SAT scores to colleges here, and get some tips on how to prep for the exam!

How to Send SAT Scores to Colleges
When it comes to sending scores to colleges, there are a couple of options for students to think about. The first option allows students to specify their requests during SAT registration – each student gets four registration score reports for free.

The second option for sending SAT scores to colleges happens after registration. This option is perfect for students who aren’t sure where they want to attend school. Students go online to their SAT account on the College Board’s website to add names of colleges. They are allowed to add colleges to their list for nine days after their test date. There is an additional fee to send score reports if they are submitted ten days after a student’s test date.

Can Students Decide Which SAT Scores They Send to Colleges?
Students can sign up for a program on the College Board’s website that allows them to choose the SAT scores they send out to colleges. A student is able to choose a score by SAT test date or even select a specific SAT subject test. Naturally, most students want to emphasize their highest test scores to colleges. Some students enjoy having this type of control over the SAT score-sending process. But all students must keep in mind that most college officials make it a point to focus on each student’s best SAT scores.

Can Students Have Their SAT Scores Rush-Delivered to Schools?
It is possible for students to have their SAT scores sent to a college by rush delivery service. Sometimes students make a last-minute decision about applying to a college and need to get their test scores to the school as soon as possible. In some cases, this can be an ideal way to deliver SAT scores. Send the scores via this method and the school will receive the information within two business days of order completion.

How Can Students View Their Own SAT Score Report?
Students have access to their SAT scores approximately three weeks after they take the test. They will receive notification that the scores are in. To look at the scores, students must sign into their SAT account on the College Board’s website. They’ll also have access to a full score report. This report provides a detailed breakdown of a student’s scores and provides a comparison with others who took the SAT. If a student registers for the SAT by mail, they will be sent a paper copy of a score report.

Preparing for the SAT
Students who want to turn in their best possible performance on the SAT should start preparing several months before their test date. At Veritas Prep, we hire capable instructors who scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT. Our instructors are able to convey helpful strategies and tips to students based on their practical knowledge of the exam. We provide students with the support and encouragement they need to do well on test day. We have in-person and online courses so students can choose the option that fits into their busy schedule. We give students the tools they need to navigate this important exam.

Our professional instructors use effective study materials and resources to help students prepare for every section of the test. In addition, we review practice tests with students to make each study period as efficient as possible. We are proud to play a part in a student’s success on the SAT. Contact the Veritas Prep team to see how we can help you succeed today!

Still need to take the SAT? Check out our variety of free SAT resources to help you study successfully. And be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter!

Is Cornell’s Tech MBA Right for You?

Cornell UniversityIn 2012, the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA was born. This program offered Cornell Johnson an entry into New York City, thus extending the brand from the more rural town of Ithaca into the business hub of Manhattan. If you’re looking to enter the tech industry post-MBA, let’s discuss some things you should evaluate when deciding whether or not Cornell’s Tech MBA is right for you:

Location
Can you handle the Big Apple? Going to school in New York City is not for everyone, so make sure that “the city that never sleeps” is an environment that would be conducive to reaching your development goals as an MBA student. New York also offers considerable career and lifestyle opportunities that can be advantageous to many students – the remote location of Cornell’s traditional two-year MBA program can be a negative for some, so with access to the bustling metropolis of New York City, the Tech MBA program offers a combination of Cornell’s great academics with a vibrant environment.

Timeline
Cornell’s Tech MBA offers an accelerated program that gets students back into the job force quickly, while still offering the Johnson School’s world-renowned core business curriculum. With a quick, one-year completion timeline, this program represents an ideal format for those looking to get back into the workforce as soon as possible. Also, for those already deep in their career and who cannot afford too much time away from their companies, this focused curriculum and accelerated timeline makes a ton of sense.

Career Focus
The most important aspect of deciding whether Cornell’s Tech MBA is right for you is whether you have a passion for entrepreneurship and technology. This program is looking for people who have existing experience in digital, tech, and engineering – given the tech focus of this MBA, this should come as no surprise. The program is primarily focused on helping students secure roles in project management, product management, product marketing, and entrepreneurship in the tech industry, so if these subjects interest you, then the Tech MBA may be a good choice for you.

Network
This program offers students the opportunity to immerse themselves in a tech-focused business program with other industry leaders. Although still a relatively new program, the alumni and potential connections that come from this space will offer an impressive network for both current students and other alumni. Given the entrepreneurial focus of the program, opportunities for collaboration are one of the tantamount benefits of the Tech MBA. In fact, this entrepreneurial mindset is baked into the curriculum of the program through the “Startup Studio”, in which a team of students work together to develop a new business idea from concept to launch.

Pursuing a technology-focused MBA degree may not be for everyone, so use the above factors to determine if Cornell’s Tech MBA is right for you.

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

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

Get the Extra Help You Need with AP Calculus AB and BC Tutoring

tutoringAre you taking an AP calculus course or preparing for an AP calculus test? If you’re an ambitious high school student who is studying calculus, you may be looking into getting an AP calculus tutor. A talented tutor can help you in a variety of ways as you progress through an AP calculus course or prep for the AP exam. There are distinct advantages to signing up for AP calculus tutoring services to help you through this difficult material.

Practice With an Expert in Calculus
Calculus tutors are especially helpful when it comes to practice exercises. Whether you’re taking a practice exam as you prepare for the official test or you’re practicing for an upcoming quiz in your calculus class, you must know how to tackle different types of problems.

A tutor who is an expert in calculus can look at the steps of your completed practice exercises and tell you how you can improve. For example, your tutor may point out important steps that you skipped in some of your incorrect problems. This observation from your tutor can help you get into the habit of looking over all of your steps before putting down your final answer to each problem.

The experienced calculus tutors at Veritas Prep have worked with many high school students enrolled in AP calculus. We are familiar with the challenging aspects of this subject and are ready to provide you with the guidance you need to feel confident regarding your calculus skills. You will work with an instructor who mastered calculus and is more than prepared to help you excel in the subject.

Learn Lessons with Efficiency
When it comes to studying calculus, math tutor lessons should be delivered in your own learning style. If you’re a visual learner, for example, your tutor should use graphs, drawings, and even animated examples to enhance a lesson. At Veritas Prep, we provide calculus tutoring services tailored to the needs of each student. We are dedicated to helping you learn this challenging subject in the most effective way possible.

Get Tips on the AP Calculus Test
Students who are taking an official AP calculus test will take either the AB or BC version. The difference between these two tests is the type of material each one covers. The AP Calculus AB test covers the definite integral, the fundamental theorem of calculus, and techniques and applications of the derivative. The AP Calculus BC test covers those topics as well as polar, vector, and parametric functions.

Another way to look at it is that the material on the AB test is the same as what a student learns in one semester of college calculus. Alternatively, the material on the BC test is equal to one year spent in a college calculus course. An AP Calculus AB tutor or an AP Calculus BC tutor at Veritas Prep can prepare you for all of the problems you’ll encounter on the test you take. Furthermore, our tutors have practical experience with these tests. This means we can provide you with unique insights on the subtleties of both AP calculus exams.

Learn New Study Strategies
As you work on calculus problems either in class or during study time, you may notice that it’s taking you a long time to complete certain types of problems. A skillful tutor can provide you with strategies on how to reduce the amount of time it takes you to finish those problems. This is especially important if you are studying for the AP Calculus AB or BC test.

Regardless of which test you take, you’re given a total of three hours and 15 minutes to complete it. This makes timing an important factor if you want to perform at your best on the test. If you’re encountering challenges memorizing particular formulas or theorems, your tutor can step in and offer some tips on how you can commit those facts to memory. A qualified tutor will have a strategy to help you get past any stumbling block you encounter in AP calculus.

If you’re striving to master AP Calculus, we have experienced tutors who can help you achieve that goal. We have a few tutoring options available so you can select one that fits with your busy schedule. Contact us today and get ready to tackle the exam!

The GRE and the Ivy League

Princeton UniversityThe Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, is a test taken by students who plan to apply to graduate school. Not surprisingly, students must achieve high scores on this test if they want to be accepted into a school in the Ivy League. GRE scores earned by students in Ivy League schools differ depending on the study program, but in most study programs at Ivy League schools, students have GRE scores that rank in the 95th percentile or above.

In short, students who want to attend graduate school in the Ivy League must have a high GRE score to be considered. Discover more about the GRE and what students can do to achieve high scores that can help them get into a graduate program at an Ivy League school.

The Sections of the GRE
The GRE has three parts, including the Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Analytical Writing sections. The Verbal Reasoning section asks students to evaluate written material. This section tests students’ reading comprehension skills as well as their ability to identify words and concepts. The Quantitative Reasoning section tests students’ problem-solving skills – basic arithmetic, algebra, ratios, number properties, geometry, and data analysis problems are all included in this section of the GRE. A student’s critical thinking skills are put to the test in the Analytical Writing section. Students must create an organized written piece with plenty of evidence to support their ideas.

Scoring on the GRE
Students taking the GRE should know that there is a score assigned to each of the three sections of the test. For the Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal sections, the score range goes from 130 to 170. The score range is 0 to 6 for the Analytical Writing section of the test. Points for the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections are awarded in one-point increments. The Analytical Writing section, on the other hand, is scored in half-point increments.

Study Tips for the GRE
Learning vocabulary words is an important part of the GRE prep process. Of course, it’s a good idea to practice with flashcards. Flashcards are excellent for memorizing words and their definitions. But it also helps for students to see vocabulary words used in context. This can be accomplished by reading magazines and newspapers. Also, the Internet is one of the best resources for books and articles. Seeing an unfamiliar word in context is an effective way for a student to absorb the word’s definition.

Another tip is to take several practice tests. This is an excellent way for a student to determine which skills need the most improvement. Plus, a student can gain confidence as they see progress with each set of practice test results.

In addition, students should make a point of starting to prepare as soon as possible for the GRE. Studying material for the GRE should be done in a gradual way over a period of months – it’s a good idea for a student to study daily for the GRE. Some students think of studying for the GRE as a part-time job. This helps them to incorporate GRE study time into their daily lives. Students who feel rushed or try to cram on information just days before the test are not likely to perform at their best on the GRE.

Studying With the Experts
At Veritas Prep, we offer courses that can help students prepare for the GRE. Our talented instructors have all achieved great success on the GRE, so students who study with Veritas Prep are learning test-taking strategies from individuals with hands-on experience! We provide students with both in-person and online tutoring options, making it easy for students to find the option that best fits into their busy schedule. Our instructors also offer students the encouragement they need to boost their confidence in the days before the test.

In addition to our GRE prep courses, we provide students with guidance on MBA admissions. Our professional consultants have experience working in the admissions offices at Ivy League schools, so we have inside information on what it takes to get into the Ivy League. GRE scores can improve with the help of our proven program and skillful tutors. From GRE prep to college admissions guidance, Veritas Prep can help you on the road to achieving your academic goals.

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

The Holistic Approach to Absolute Values – Part V

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomWe will continue our holistic approach to absolute values and add more complications to these types of questions. This article should set you up for any question of this kind. Note that this is a 750+ level concept, so if you are targeting a lower score, it may not be necessary for you to know.

(Before you continue reading, be sure to check out Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV of this lesson.)

Let’s look at the following GMAT question:

For how many integer values of x, is |x – 6| > |3x + 6|?

(A) 1
(B) 3
(C) 5
(D) 7
(E) Infinite

In this question, we are given the inequality |x – 6| > 3*|x + 2|

Using the same logic as we did in the previous two posts, we will word the inequality like this: the distance from 6 should be more than three times the distance from -2.
QWQW image 2

 

At x = -2, the distance from 6 is 8 and the distance from -2 is 0. This means the distance from 6 is more than three times the distance from -2.

At x = -1, the distance from 6 is 7 and the distance from -2 is 1. Three times the distance from -2 is 3. This means the distance from 6 is more than three times the distance from -2.

At some point on the right of -1, the distance from 6 will be equal to three times the distance from -2. The distance between -2 and 6 is 8. If we split this 8 into 4 equal parts to get to x = 0, the distance from 6 will be equal to three times the distance from -2.

Now for every point to the right of 0, the distance from 6 will be less than three times the distance from -2.

Let’s try to go to the left of -2 instead. Will there be a point to the left of -2 where the distance from 6 will be equal to three times the distance from -2? Say that point is “a” units away from -2. -2 must then be 2a units away from 6 to ensure that 6 is a total of 3a units away from that point.

The distance between -2 and 6 is 8 – this 8 needs to be equal to 2a, so “a” must be 4 units.

The point where the distance from 6 will be equal to three times the distance from -2 will be 4 units to the left of -2, i.e. at -6. So at points to the right of -6 (but left of 0), the distance from 6 will be more than three times the distance from -2.

Note that for all values to the left of -6, the distance from 6 will be less than three times the distance from -2.

Hence, our x will lie in the range from -6 to 0.

-6 < x < 0

With these parameters, we will have 5 integer solutions: -5, -4, -3, -2 and -1. Hence, our answer is C.

Let’s look at a second question:

For how many integer values of x, is |x – 8| + |5 – x| > |x + 7|?

(A) 1
(B) 3
(C) 5
(D) 7
(E) Infinite

Now the true value of this method is visible, as we have three or more terms. The arduous algebra involved in this given inequality makes our logical approach much more attractive.

First note that we have the term |5 – x|. This is the same as |x – 5| because |x| = |-x|.

We will word the inequality like this: the distance from 5 + the distance from 8 should be greater than the distance from -7.

QWQW image 1

 

Let’s find the point where the sum of the distance from 5 and the distance from 8 is equal to distance from -7. Say that point is “a” units to the left of 5.

a + a + 3 = 12 – a
a = 3

So the point is 3 units to the left of 5, which means it is at 2. For all points to the left of 2, the sum of the distance from 5 and the distance from 8 will be greater than the distance from -7.

How about the points that are to the right of 8? Say there is a point “b” units away from 8 where the sum of the distance from 5 and the distance from 8 is equal to the distance from -7.

3 + b + b = 15 + b
b = 12

So if we go 12 units to the right of 8, i.e. at x = 20, the sum of the distance from 5 and the distance from 8 is equal to the distance from -7.

For all points to the right of 20, the sum of the distance from 5 and the distance from 8 is greater than the distance from -7, so there will be infinite points for which the sum of the distance from 5 and the distance from 8 is greater than the distance from -7. Therefore, our answer is E.

Using this concept, try to answer the following question on your own: For how many integer values of x, is |x – 6| – |3x + 6| > 0?

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

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

3 Crucial Lessons for Women in Business

Women MBAAt a recent women’s leadership conference at Ross, dozens of women spoke about their experiences in business, the influential advice they have received, and the lessons they have learned over the years. Most of this advice is universal, but some is specific to women, as we often tend to face different challenges in the business world. Here are three important lessons I learned from this conference:

1. You have to let your manager know when you want to get promoted.
Of course, this will depend slightly on the company and its structure, but if your supervisor doesn’t know that you have the desire to move up in your company, someone else could get promoted ahead of you. Show interest in growing with the company by taking on more projects and vocalizing that you are eventually interested in moving up to Director, Partner, etc. If you have a good relationship with your supervisor, talk about the steps you should take early in your career to get closer to those positions when the time comes.

2. There’s no certainty about the future, so take what’s in front of you right now.
If you think you might want to start a family in the next year, don’t stop yourself from applying for a new position because you might have to go on leave after a few months. Take advantage of the opportunities you have because you never know what the future has in store. Perhaps your planned move to a different city doesn’t happen, or you and your partner decide you want to wait another few years before having a child. If you don’t take advantage of what comes your way, you might not have another opportunity for a while.

3. If everyone at work likes you, you’re not doing something right.
You need to approach your work with a business mindset and make the best decisions for the company. Sometimes those decisions won’t please everyone, and that is okay because you know that you are doing the best job you can to help your organization succeed. If everyone at work likes you, it probably means you aren’t pushing thought boundaries the way you should, so try walking the fine line of being friendly and tough as a woman in the workplace.

Sometimes it can be difficult to be a well-respected woman in business, and while this mindset may be changing, it isn’t changing as quickly as some of us would like it to. With this in mind, take charge of your professional life – let your boss know that you’re here for the long run and that you want to work your way up the ladder. Take advantage of the opportunities that you have, and stand by your decisions, even if they don’t please everyone in the office.

First though, you need to get into the business world, and what better way to do that than talk to a Veritas Prep admissions consultant? We can help you decide which MBA program is the best fit for you!

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

Colleen Hill is a Veritas Prep consultant for the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. You can read more articles by her here

Beyond the Numbers: How to Stand Out From Other Qualified MBA Applicants

MBA Applicant VolumeIt is getting harder and harder to stand out from the pack when applying to business school, especially when it comes to the quantitative side of the equation. The average GMAT scores of top schools are higher than ever and only continue to rise, with programs like Kellogg and Wharton reflecting higher and higher average scores on a yearly basis. You have a top GPA? Join the club! You won’t be the only applicant who got good grades in undergrad.

Admissions into business school are as competitive as ever so it is really important to find non-quantitative ways to stand out. Let’s explore some strategies you can take to stand out in a more qualitative fashion:

Passion:
Business schools love applicants who love them, so the more you can show your passion and excitement for the program you are applying to, the better off you will be. Passion can come across in a few different ways, the most accessible of which is via the essays. A well-written essay that oozes enthusiasm is not only a good read, but also really makes the candidate memorable and thus, stand out to the Admissions Committee. In addition, in-person interactions like class visits, information sessions and interviews can go a long way in differentiating a passionate candidate and allow the application to really jump off the page.

Fit:
It’s not just about whether you seem qualified on paper to attend a school – it’s also about whether you are a good fit for the school you are applying to based on the strengths and characteristics of the program as well as your unique development needs. Expressing a strong fit with the program will make you to stand out because so few candidates can effectively address this and make a real case for why they should be admitted.

Personalization:
One thing most applications seek to do is unearth YOUR unique reasons for being interested in a program, and how the program is the ideal next step for you both personally and professionally. It is not enough to simply answer application-related questions. It’s also critical to personalize your responses so your application is a unique package that personifies your fit with the program in a memorable way.

School Knowledge:
School knowledge plays more of a role in allowing a candidate to stand out than most ever truly comprehend. This knowledge will be obvious to the Admissions Committee during each stage of the evaluation process, and doing your research can really pay dividends come decision day.

Numbers don’t lie, but they rarely tell the full story – to truly stand out in today’s highly competitive application climate, applicants must go beyond the numbers and implore the tactics above to guarantee their success.

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

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

What Impact Will You Have on Your Dream School?

YaleThe business school application process is all about IMPACT – the impact you have made on the people and organizations you have worked with in the past, the impact you’ve made at the company you’re currently an employee of, and (most  often overlooked) the impact you will make on the student community at your target business school.

The Admissions Committee wants to know what you will take away from the MBA experience, and one thing that will help you stand out from the sea of other applicants is offering up your thoughts on what you will give to the student community. If you can vividly paint a picture of what campus life would be like with you as a student – in a positive and personalized fashion – it can add a very unique component to your application package. Let’s explore some ways to highlight the impact you will have on the MBA student community:

Personal Contributions
Business schools are looking to admit people – real people! So don’t be afraid to lean on how your unique qualities will manifest themselves on campus. Will you start a Basketball Club because you love the sport? Will you organize bake sales because it combines two of your passions: cooking and charity? Find your own personal secret sauce and figure out what value you can bring to the school. Keep in mind, your impact doesn’t have to be super lofty. If you are a natural motivator, there will be a place for you on campus when it comes to coursework, recruiting, and other aspects that will relate to improving the lives of others.

Cultural Contributions
Business schools embrace diversity in a big way. The changing makeup of campuses all over the world are a testament to this. As such, don’t hide from your culture or the diversity that you will bring to campus. Whether it is by helping others better understand your culture or bringing disparate groups of people together, think through what impact you will have on campus through culture. Involvement in global and affinity groups and other extra-curricular activities are another clear way to be engaged on campus.

Professional Contributions
Do you plan to bring your knowledge or network to support others on campus? Professional contributions are often the easiest to bring to bear, but also get consistently overlooked. Someone you might consider to be just a friend or coworker could be the integral piece to helping a classmate break into a difficult industry. Using your application package to show that you will offer access and opportunities to other students will showcase you as a selfless person and highlight the fact you truly get what a high-functioning MBA community is all about.

Control the narrative in your business school applications – don’t make the Admissions Committee guess what you would contribute as a student. Use the above tips and various application touch points to show how you will make a unique impact on campus at their school.

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

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

Tips for College Students Interested in Transferring Colleges

scottbloomdecisionsIs it easy to transfer colleges? This is a question asked by many college students who are thinking about moving on to another school. The answer to this question depends on how long a student has been at one school and the transfer policies of the new school, along with many other factors. Check out some helpful advice for students who are thinking about transferring to another college:

Check on Transferable Credits
One thing for a student to research before transferring to another college is whether a new school will accept the person’s college credits. Some colleges have transfer advisers who can check a student’s transcripts to determine whether the person’s credits will be accepted by the school. Also, a student can learn a lot about transfer credits from a college’s website. A transfer student’s graduation date can be delayed if many of their credits are not accepted by a new school, so it’s a good idea for a student to research this issue before starting the transfer process.

Visit the Campus
Another useful tip for students who are thinking about transferring colleges is to visit the campus of the new school. Furthermore, the student should sit in on a few courses just to get a better picture of the quality of instruction offered at the college. A student can only learn so much about a college by going online to look at its website – visiting a campus, talking to other transfer students, and sitting down with a transfer adviser are all ways to help determine whether the school is a good fit.

Get Letters of Recommendation
One of the best tips for college transfer students is to start gathering letters of recommendation from professors as soon as possible. These letters help the admissions officers at a new school to learn about the character of a transfer student. It’s best for students to choose professors who know them very well. A person who is familiar with the student can craft an effective letter of recommendation. At Veritas Prep, our experienced college admissions consultants can advise transfer students on who to ask for letters of recommendation. We also give students guidance on transcripts, extracurricular activities, test scores, and more.

Research Financial Aid Options
College transfers can sometimes bring up financial aid issues for students. A student must check into the financial aid resources that are available before sending in an application to another college. A student may also want to check into any scholarships that are available to transfer students. A transfer adviser at the new school will likely be able to direct the student on how to find out information on financial aid. Veritas Prep college admissions consultants can offer students tips on transferring colleges, advice about financial aid, and things to do to make the entire process go as smoothly as possible.

Check on Housing Availability
Students who want to transfer to another college and live on campus should look into the availability of housing. Depending on when a student transfers, there may be very few on-campus housing options available. However, the availability of on-campus housing can change throughout an academic year as students transfer out or leave school for other reasons. Students who want to live off-campus must dedicate some time to looking at the availability of housing that is close to campus.

Be Aware of Application Deadlines
Transfer students must be aware of the various deadlines related to their application. Missing a deadline can mean that the student has to wait an additional semester to enroll in the new school. Starting the process early is one way to avoid missing a deadline. Most colleges dedicate a section on their admissions page to the deadlines for various applications. Our team at Veritas Prep knows what admissions officers are looking for and can assist students with crafting a memorable transfer application.

Our professional admissions consultants at Veritas Prep can guide students through college transfers. In addition, we offer many other valuable services, including teaching students strategies to help them prepare for the SAT or the ACT. Call Veritas Prep today and let us know how we can assist you in accomplishing your academic goals!

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

GMAT Writing Tips: Analytical Writing for the GMAT

writing essayYou probably know that the GMAT gauges your skills in reading and math. But did you know that there is also a section called the Analytical Writing Assessment? GMAT creators want to see how well you can analyze an argument, so in this section, you are given an argument and expected to critique it. Is it a valid argument, or is it full of flaws? Discover a few GMAT writing tips that can help you to create a critique that earns you a high score on this portion of the test.

Take a Few Minutes to Plan Your Essay
When it comes to the GMAT writing section, you may think this first tip is a no-brainer. Unfortunately, some students become nervous or anxious about this part of the exam and forget to plan out their essay before diving into the task. This can result in a poorly organized essay or one that is missing important points.

Take the time to carefully read the directions and the argument. Then, create a rough outline of what points you want to include in the essay as well as where you want to include them. If you lose your train of thought while you’re writing, simply look at your outline to regain your focus.

Determine the Flaws in the Argument
Your essay’s plan should include the flaws in the author’s argument. Faulty comparisons and mistaken assumptions as well as vague words are all things to point out when critiquing the argument. Writing a quick note about each flaw you find can be helpful when it comes time to elaborate on them in your essay. Plus, making note of them helps you to remember to include all of them in the final piece.

Use Specific Examples in Your Essay
The use of specific examples is a key element for Analytical Writing. GMAT graders will be looking for specific examples as they score your essay. It’s not enough to state that a piece of the given argument is inaccurate – you have to use the information within the argument to prove your point. Also, using specific examples helps you to demonstrate that you understand the argument.

Read and Evaluate High-Scoring Analytical Essays
When preparing for the GMAT Analytical Writing section, it’s a good idea to read and evaluate essays that received high scores. This can help you see what needs to be adjusted in your own writing to create an essay that earns a high score. In fact, you can break each essay down and highlight the individual elements that earned it a high score.

Study the Scoring System for the GMAT Analytical Writing Section
Studying the scoring rubric for the analytical essay is very helpful in your quest to craft a high-scoring piece. After writing a practice essay, you can compare its contents to the criteria on the rubric. If your essay is missing an element, you can go back and do a rewrite. This sort of practice takes a bit of time, but will prove beneficial on test day.

Study with a GMAT Tutor
A professional tutor can assist you in preparing for the section on Analytical Writing. GMAT tutors at Veritas Prep have taken the exam and earned a score in the 99th percentile. This means that when you prep for the Analytical Writing section with one of our tutors, you’re learning from a teacher with practical experience! Your tutor can help you boost your writing skills by reviewing the outline of your practice essay and giving you tips on how to improve it. Also, your tutor can provide strategies for what you can do to make your analytical essay more convincing.

We have a variety of tutoring options for those who want help preparing for the analytical essay section on the GMAT. At Veritas Prep, we know that you have a busy schedule, and we want to make it convenient to prep for this test. We also offer resources such as the opportunity for you to take a free GMAT test. This is an excellent way to find out how your skills measure up on each section of the exam. Call or contact us online today and let us give you a hand with your essay-writing skills!

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

The Holistic Approach to Absolute Values – Part IV

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomLast week, we looked at some absolute value questions involving inequalities. Today, we’ll continue this discussion by adding some more complications to our questions. Consider the question: What is the minimum value of the expression |x – 3| + |x + 1| + |x|? Technically, |x – 3| + |x + 1| + |x| is the sum of “the distance of x from 3,” “the distance of x from -1” and “the distance of x from 0.” To make solving such questions simpler, we’ll often use a parallel situation:

Imagine that there are 3 friends with houses at points -1, 0 and 3 in a straight line. They decide to meet at the point x.

  • |x – 3| will be the distance covered by the friend at 3 to reach x.
  • |x + 1| will be the distance covered by the friend at -1 to reach x.
  • |x| will be the distance covered by the friend at 0 to reach x.

So, the total distance the friends will cover to meet at x will be |x – 3| + |x + 1| + |x|.

Now we can choose to minimize this total distance, bring it to some particular value or make it more or less than some particular value.

If we want to minimize the total distance, we just make the friends meet at the second guy’s house, i.e. at the point 0. The friend at 3 and the friend at -1 need to travel 4 units total to meet anyway, so there’s no point in making the guy at 0 travel any distance at all. So the minimum total distance would be 4, which would then be the minimum value of |x – 3| + |x + 1| + |x|. This minimum value is given by the expression at x = 0.

With this in mind, when we move to the right or to the left of x = 0, the total distance will increase and, hence, the value of the expression |x – 3| + |x + 1| + |x| will also increase.

Thereafter, it is easy to solve for |x – 3| + |x + 1| + |x| = 10 or |x – 3| + |x + 1| + |x| < 10, etc., as seen in our previous post.

Today, let’s look at how to solve a more advanced GMAT question using the same logic:

For how many integer values of x, is |x – 5| + |x + 1| + |x|  + |x – 7| < 15?

(A) 0
(B) 2
(C) 4
(D) 6
(E) Infinite

In our parallel situation of friends and houses, we now have 4 friends with houses at points -1, 0, 5 and 7.

The friends at -1 and 7 are 8 units apart, so they will need to cover at least this total distance together to meet. It doesn’t matter where they meet between -1 and 7 (inclusive), they will need to cover exactly 8 units.

The friends at 0 and 5 will need to travel a minimum distance of 5 to meet. They can meet anywhere between 0 and 5 (inclusive) and the distance they will cover will still be 5.

So, all four friends can meet anywhere between 0 and 5 (inclusive) and the total distance covered will be 8 + 5 = 13. This would be the minimum total distance, and hence, the minimum value of the expression |x – 5| + |x + 1| + |x|  + |x – 7|.

When we move to the left of 0 or to the right of 5, the total distance covered will be more than 13. At any point between -1 and 7, the total distance covered by the friends at -1 and 7 will be only 8. When we move 1 unit to the left of 0 and reach -1, the total distance covered by the friends at 0 and 5 will be 1 + 6 = 7. So to meet at -1, the total distance traveled by all friends together will be 8 + 7 = 15.

Similarly, when we move 1 unit to the right of 5 and reach 6, the total distance covered by the four friends will be again 8 + 7 = 15. So at points x = -1 and x = 6, the value of the expression will be 15. Between these two points (excluding the points themselves), the value of the expression will be less than 15.

So now we know -1 < x < 6. With these parameters, x can take 6 integer values: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Therefore, the answer is D.

Note that when we had 3 points on the number line, the minimum total distance was found at the second point. Now when we have 4 points on the number line, the minimum total distance has been found to be in the range between second and third points.

Let’s look at another question:

For how many integer values of x, is |2x – 5| + |x + 1| + |x| < 10?

(A) 1
(B) 2
(C) 4
(D) 5
(E) Infinite

|2x – 5| + |x + 1| + |x| < 10

2*|x – 5/2| + |x + 1| + |x| < 10

In this sum, now the distance from 5/2 is added twice.

In our parallel situation, this is equivalent to two friends living at 5/2, one living at 0 and one living at -1. Now note that the expression may not take the minimum value of x = 0 because there are 2 people who will need to travel from 5/2.

We have four friends in all, so we can expect to get a range in which we will get the minimum value of the expression. The second and third people are at 0 and 5/2, respectively.

The total distance at x = 0 will be 1 + 2*(5/2) = 6. The total distance at x = 5/2 will be 7/2 + 5/2 = 6.

So if we move to the left of 0 or to the right of 5/2, the total distance will increase. If we move 1 unit to the right of 5/2 and reach 7/2, the total distance covered by the four friends will be 9/2 + 7/2 + 2 = 10. If we move 1 unit to the left of 0 and reach -1, the total distance covered by the four friends will be 0 + 1 + 2*(7/2) = 8. Now all four friends are at -1. To cover a distance of another 2, they should move another 0.5 units to the left of -1 to reach -1.5.

Now the total distance covered by the four friends will be 0.5 + 1.5 + 2*4 = 10, so the total distance when x lies between the points -1.5 and 3.5 (excluding the points themselves) will be less than 10.

Now we know -1.5 < x < 3.5. With these parameters, x can take 5 integer values: -1, 0, 1, 2 and 3. Therefore, the answer is D.

Now use these concepts to solve the following question: For how many integer values of x, is |3x – 3| + |2x + 8| < 15?

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

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

MBA Interviews: How to Answer the “Where Else Are You Applying?” Question

MBA AdmissionsUndertaking the interview process for business school applications can be a nerve-wracking experience for many MBA candidates. Along with the excitement of having the opportunity to make your case to the representative of a school in person, comes the anxiety of potentially saying the wrong thing.

For the most part, as an interviewee, you will know what is coming during the interview – most interviewers will ask you about your career progression, life experiences, career goals, and interest in pursuing an MBA at their school – but one specific oddball question often sneaks in for many programs every year. What other schools are you applying to?

This questions presents a confusing challenge to interviewees, and figuring out how to approach this seemingly benign question tends to cause more anxiety than comfort. Let’s explore a few tips on how to best address the question of where else you are applying:

1) Answer the Question
This is not the time to be philosophical about your opposition to sharing this information with the Admissions Committee or the moral conundrum this question may put you in. The more of an issue you seem to have with this question, the more trouble you will be in with your interviewer. Answer the question directly and prepare to move on to the next one.

2) Answer Strategically
Do not feel like you have to list out every school you plan to apply to when this question is posed. Be strategic here, and only share the schools that align with the applicant narrative you are pushing. Out of the schools you are applying to, I would say pick the schools that relate most to the one you are interviewing with, and avoid bringing up any unrelated schools you may also be applying to. The Admissions Committee will be assessing the consistency of the narrative you are spinning and your thought process. If you are telling them you want a small school experience at Tuck, then don’t tell them you plan to apply to HBS, otherwise everything else you have said will ring hollow. So just make sure you are being consistent and that your overall story makes sense.

3) Answer Concisely:
There is nothing worse than a candidate rambling through a long-winded response during an interview, and this gets even worse when a tough question is involved.  Avoid the potential for the perception of a disingenuous response by keeping it tight. Being concise is your friend here, and limits the opportunity for any potentially misplaced words.

Ultimately, this question is not a major source of information for the interviewer and only really trips up the anxious, nervous and unprepared. So make sure you are none of those three descriptors and use the above tips to knock this simple question out of the park!

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

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

Is Online English Tutoring Right for You?

writing essayAre you thinking of getting an English tutor? Online tutoring is an option chosen by many students who need a little bit of help in the subject of English. But how do you know if online English tutoring is the right choice for you? One way to get an answer to this question is to look at some of the unique features of online tutoring to determine whether it would enhance your learning experience.

A Nontraditional Learning Environment
When you work with an online English tutor, you can learn lessons in a nontraditional environment. For example, you may decide to reserve a study room at the local library for your online tutoring sessions. Alternatively, you may complete your sessions in a quiet café or in a room at home. If you’re comfortable receiving instruction outside of a traditional classroom, then working with an English tutor online may be the right choice for you.

If you want to practice for the Reading and Writing sections on the SAT, prep for the SAT subject test in Literature, or improve your grades in an AP English class, Veritas Prep has you covered! We can even prepare you for an AP English test. Our highly qualified instructors are experts in the subjects they teach, so we can pair you with an online English tutor who can help you achieve your goals in the subject of English.

One-on-One Instruction
Online English tutors are helpful to students who have trouble absorbing lessons due to the distractions found in a traditional classroom. In today’s high school classrooms, it’s not uncommon to see students checking their email, texting, and otherwise being distracted during a class period. If you’re a student who learns better one-on-one in an environment with few distractions, then you would likely find success studying online with an English tutor.

Choosing Your Own Instruction Schedule
Flexibility is one of the most unique features of online learning. Chances are good that you’re a busy high school student who participates in many clubs and organizations. You also have to dedicate time to completing school projects and homework assignments. Consequently, you may not be able to commit to meeting an English tutor in a particular place at a specific time each week. At Veritas Prep, we make it easy for you to get high-quality English tutoring at a time that’s convenient for you. If you’re a student who loves the idea of having control over your tutoring schedule, online learning may be just what you’re looking for.

Using Technology During Each Session
Of course, if you study online with an English tutor, you’re already making great use of technology. An experienced online tutor uses several technological resources to enhance your English lessons. For instance, if you prepare for the Reading section of the SAT with an instructor at Veritas Prep, you get access to an interactive course syllabus and practice tests. In addition, if you have any questions outside of your tutoring session, you can use email to contact our English tutors. Online accessibility is one of the many things that make Veritas Prep the go-to choice of ambitious students in need of academic assistance. If you learn better with the help of technology, working with an online English instructor may be the most appropriate step for you.

An Additional Source of Support
While an online instructor is providing you with assistance with your English lessons, they are also giving you encouragement and support. This support can be invaluable, especially if you encounter a particularly difficult topic in your English studies. Often, a tutor can supply you with the push you need to persist with your studies until you fully understand a topic or lesson. The tutors at Veritas Prep provide you with strategies that can help you to learn more vocabulary words, easily identify main ideas, spot significant details, and master other skills necessary in the study of English.

If you’re ready to get the boost that comes from working with an experienced online English instructor, we can pair you with the right person at Veritas Prep. Our experienced instructors are capable of guiding you through the toughest English courses at your high school. Contact us to set up your first online tutoring session today!

The Patterns to Solve GMAT Questions with Reversed-Digit Numbers – Part II

SAT/ACTIn an earlier post, I wrote about the GMAT’s tendency to ask questions regarding the number properties of two two-digit numbers whose tens and units digits have been reversed.

The biggest takeaways from that post were:

  1. Anytime we add two two-digit numbers whose tens and units digits have been reversed, we will get a multiple of 11.
  2. Anytime we take the difference of two two-digit numbers whose tens and units digits have been reversed, we will get a multiple of 9.

For the hardest GMAT questions, we’re typically mixing and matching different types of number properties and strategies, so it can be instructive to see how the above axioms might be incorporated into such problems.

Take this challenging Data Sufficiency question, for instance:

When the digits of two-digit, positive integer M are reversed, the result is the two-digit, positive integer N. If M > N, what is the value of M?

(1) The integer (M –N) has 12 unique factors.

(2) The integer (M –N) is a multiple of 9.

The average test-taker looks at Statement 1, sees that it will be very difficult to simply pick numbers that satisfy this condition, and concludes that this can’t possibly be enough information. Well, the average test-taker also scores in the mid-500’s, so that’s not how we want to think.

First, let’s concede that Statement 1 is a challenging one to evaluate and look at Statement 2 first. Notice that Statement 2 tells us something we already know – as we saw above, anytime you have two two-digit numbers whose tens and units digits are reversed, the difference will be a multiple of 9. If Statement 2 is useless, we can immediately prune our decision tree of possible correct answers. Either Statement 1 alone is sufficient, or the statements together are not sufficient, as Statement 2 will contribute nothing. So right off the bat, the only possible correct answers are A and E.

If we had to guess, and we recognize that the average test-taker would likely conclude that Statement 1 couldn’t be sufficient, we’d want to go in the opposite direction – this question is significantly more difficult (and interesting) if it turns out that Statement 1 gives us considerably more information than it initially seems.

In order to evaluate Statement 1, it’s helpful to understand the following shortcut for how to determine the total number of factors for a given number. Say, for example, that we wished to determine how many factors 1000 has. We could, if we were sufficiently masochistic, simply list them out (1 and 1000, 2 and 500, etc.). But you can see that this process would be very difficult and time-consuming.

Alternatively, we could do the following. First, take the prime factorization of 1000. 1000 = 10^3, so the prime factorization is 2^3 * 5^3. Next, we take the exponent of each prime base and add one to it. Last, we multiply the results. (3+1)*(3+1) = 16, so 1000 has 16 total factors. More abstractly, if your number is x^a * y^b, where x and y are prime numbers, you can find the total number of factors by multiplying (a+1)(b+1).

Now let’s apply this process to Statement 1. Imagine that the difference of M and N comes out to some two-digit number that can be expressed as x^a * y^b. If we have a total of 12 factors, then we know that (a+1)(b+1) = 12. So, for example, it would work if a = 3 and b = 2, as a + 1 = 4 and b + 1 = 3, and 4*3 =12. But it would also work if, say, a = 5 and b = 1, as a + 1 = 6 and b + 1 = 2, and 6*2 = 12. So, let’s list out some numbers that have 12 factors:

  1. 2^3 * 3^2 (3+1)(2+1) = 12
  2. 2^5 * 3^1 (5+1)(1+1) = 12
  3. 2^2 * 3^3 (2+1)(3+1) = 12

Now remember that M – N, by definition, is a multiple of 9, which will have at least 3^2 in its prime factorization. So the second option is no longer a candidate, as its prime factorization contains only one 3. Also recall that we’re talking about the difference of two two-digit numbers. 2^2 * 3^3 is 4*27 or 108. But the difference between two positive two-digit numbers can’t possibly be a three-digit number! So the third option is also out.

The only possibility is the first option. If we know that the difference of the two numbers is 2^3 * 3^2, or 8*9 = 72, then only 91 and 19 will work. So Statement 1 alone is sufficient to answer this question, and the answer is A.

Algebraically, if M = 10x + y, then N = 10y + x.

M – N = (10x + y) – (10y + x) = 9x – 9y = 9(x – y).

If 9(x – y) = 72, then x – y = 8. If the difference between the tens and units digits is 8, the numbers must be 91 and 19.

Takeaway: the hardest GMAT questions will require a balance of strategy and knowledge. In this case, we want to remember the following:

  • Anytime we take the difference of two two-digit numbers whose tens and units digits have been reversed, we will get a multiple of 9.
  • If one statement is easier to evaluate than the other, tackle the easier one first. If it’s the case that one statement gives you absolutely nothing, and the other is complex, there is a general tendency for the complex statement alone to be sufficient.
  • For the number x^a * y^b, where x and y are prime numbers, you can find the total number of factors by multiplying (a+1)(b+1).

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

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

GMAT Hacks, Tricks, and Tips to Make Studying and Preparing for the GMAT Simpler

GoalsThe GMAT measures four general types of knowledge: Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. The entire test takes about three hours and 30 minutes to complete.

Preparing for this important exam may seem like a daunting task, but you can simplify the process with the help of some GMAT tips and tricks.

Use Mnemonics to Learn Vocabulary Words
Making a GMAT cheat sheet complete with mnemonics simplifies the process of learning vocabulary words for the Verbal section. Word pictures can help you to retain the words you’re learning. For instance, suppose you’re trying to learn the word “extricate.” “Extricate” means to free something or someone from a constraint or problem. You may pair the word with a mental picture of a group of people being freed from a stuck elevator by a technician. Creating mnemonics that relate to your life, family, or job can make them all the more memorable.

Look for Vocabulary Words in Context
Studying a GMAT cheat sheet full of words and mnemonics shouldn’t be the end of your vocabulary studies. It’s just as important to be able to recognize those words in context. If you’ve signed up to take the GMAT, there’s a good chance that you already read several business publications, so keep an eye out for the words used within those resources. Reading financial newspapers, magazines, and online articles that contain GMAT vocabulary words helps you become more familiar with them. After a while, you’ll know what the words mean without having to think about them.

Learn the Test Instructions Before Test Day
When you read the instructions for each section before test day arrives, you’ll know what to expect on the actual day. This can make you feel more relaxed about tackling each section. Also, you won’t have to use your test time reading instructions because you will already know what you’re doing.

Always Keep Some Study Materials Close By
When it comes to GMAT tips and strategies, the easiest ones can sometimes be the most effective. Even busy working professionals have free moments throughout the day. It’s a smart idea to use those moments for study and review. For instance, you can work on some practice math problems during a lunch or coffee break. If you have a dentist or doctor’s appointment, you can use virtual flashcards to quiz yourself on GMAT vocabulary words while you’re sitting in the waiting room. Taking a few minutes each day to review can add up to a lot of productive study time by the end of a week.

Set a Timer for Practice Tests
If you’re concerned about completing each section of the GMAT within the allotted number of minutes, one of our favorite GMAT hacks is to try setting a timer as you begin each section of a practice test. If the timer goes off before you’re finished with the section, you may be spending too much time on puzzling problems. Or perhaps you’re taking too much time to read the directions for each section rather than familiarizing yourself with them ahead of time.

Timing your practice tests helps you establish a rhythm that allows you to get through each section with a few minutes to spare for review. At Veritas Prep, we provide you with the opportunity to take a free exam. Taking this practice exam allows you to get a clear picture of what you’ll encounter on test day.

Get Into the Habit of Eliminating Wrong Answer Options
Another very effective GMAT strategy is to eliminate answer options that are clearly incorrect. With the exception of the analytical essay, this can be done on every portion of the test. Taking practice tests gives you the chance to establish this habit. By eliminating obviously incorrect answer options, you are making the most efficient use of your test time. Also, you are making the questions more manageable by giving yourself fewer answers to consider.

Here at Veritas Prep, our GMAT instructors follow a unique curriculum that shows you how to approach every problem on the test. We teach you how to strengthen your higher-order thinking skills so you’ll know how to use them to your advantage on the test. Contact our offices today to take advantage of our in-person prep courses or our private tutoring services. Learn GMAT hacks from professional instructors who’ve mastered the test!

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

How Are GRE Scores Sent to Institutions?

Columbia - LowNaturally, students who are planning to take the GRE want to learn as much as possible about the test. For instance, many students are curious about the scoring system for the GRE. Also, they want to know how to send GRE scores to graduate schools. Learn the details about the scoring system on the GRE. In addition, discover how to send GRE scores to four or more graduate schools.

The Scoring System for the GRE
Before thinking about sending GRE scores to schools, students must learn the basics of the scoring system for the test. The GRE has three parts, including the Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing sections. Students can score from 130 to 170 points on both the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative sections of the exam. These two sections of the test are scored in one-point increments. The scoring range is zero to six for the Analytical Writing portion of the GRE. This section of the test is scored in half-point increments.

What Is On a Student’s Score Report?
The typical GRE score report displays a student’s basic information, including the person’s name, address, phone number, email address, and birth date. It also notes a student’s intended major as well as their test date. The report features the scores a student received on the three sections of the GRE. The officials who offer the GRE send scores to graduate schools about ten to 15 days after a student takes the computer-delivered test. Alternatively, students who take the paper-delivered GRE have their scores sent out to schools six weeks after the test date.

How to Send GRE Scores to Graduate Schools
Students are not responsible for physically sending GRE scores to universities. When students register to take the GRE, they can arrange to have their scores sent to up to four schools of their choice – this arrangement is covered by a student’s test fee. A student’s GRE scores are valid for five years. This is convenient for students if they want to take the GRE but aren’t settled on a definite starting date for graduate school.

The Process of Designating Score Report Recipients
Some students know exactly where they want to send their GRE scores, while others need some time to think about it. The process of designating score report recipients is different depending on how a student takes the GRE. Students who take the computer-delivered GRE must take their list of four schools with them to the test center, but students who opt for the paper-delivered GRE have to specify four graduate schools when they register for the test.

Sending Test Scores to Additional Schools
Some students who take the GRE send scores to more than four graduate schools. Of course, there is a fee for sending out additional score reports. Students can order these reports online or arrange for them by mail or fax. Additional score reports that are requested online are sent out five days after the order is received. Additional reports that are ordered via mail or fax are sent out to schools ten days after the request is made. The ability to send additional score reports is perfect for students who are interested in the programs of several different graduate schools.

Studying for the GRE
Students who take practice tests and then take action to improve in weaker subject areas are likely to perform well on the GRE. Students can also get an advantage on the GRE by allowing themselves several months to prepare. For instance, students who want to learn new vocabulary words for the Verbal Reasoning section have an easier time absorbing unfamiliar words and their definitions in a gradual way.

For the best results, take advantage of the effective GRE prep courses at Veritas Prep. All of our professional instructors achieved high scores on the GRE, so students who study with us are learning tips and strategies from tutors who have practical experience with this challenging exam.

Our instructors at Veritas Prep stand ready to help students who want to excel on the GRE. Our classes are available both online and in person to meet the needs of ambitious students. We give students the confidence they need to showcase their skills on the test. Contact Veritas Prep today and partner with the experts for the GRE!

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

How to Be a Superhero in Your MBA Applications

Veritas Prep Customer ExperienceWith their extraordinary genes, powers, and privileges, you may wonder what lessons you can learn from popular superhero characters, such as Batman or Spiderman, to help with your MBA applications. Apart from having superhuman abilities, these characters effectively use their more human qualities to connect with their audiences, both in comic books and in movies. Just like them, your aim is to win over your audience – the Admissions Committee and interviewers at your target MBA programs.

Let’s look at the basic formula superhero movies have used to win the approval of audiences worldwide and how you can use it to your advantage in crafting your MBA applications:

Create Interest with Extraordinary Powers
Draw the Admissions Committee in by presenting them with your unique strengths and accomplishments. The first things that come to mind when we think of superheroes is their amazing powers or feats. Thus, these heroes become associated with their unique abilities. For example, Superman is marketed as someone who is “faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.”

Not only are these powers described in an attention-grabbing manner, but they are also written about in a very visual and easy-to-imagine way. This strategy should be helpful in writing about the impact you have made with your own accomplishments and responsibilities.

Show Your Vulnerable Side 
From viewing Superman’s weakness to Kryptonite to seeing Spiderman’s difficulty juggling his responsibilities as Peter Parker, we as the audience are shown that our heroes are less than perfect – they each have great struggles to overcome. Rather than diminishing them, these weaknesses make them more relatable, prompting us to root for them even more.

As you write your admissions essays, don’t stress that you are not perfect – even superheroes aren’t! Instead, demonstrate your self-awareness by identifying how you can grow further, or acknowledging failures that you have learned from. This will allow you to present yourself as a mature candidate who will benefit from an MBA experience. Just as importantly, it will also present an authentic profile that your audience, the Admissions Committee, will appreciate.

Share Personal Stories
Another important way to fully engage an audience is to share personal stories. Superhero movies and comics do a great job with this by allowing us to know the reasons for each character’s decisions, which helps us understand them on a more human level. For example, Bruce Wayne (Batman) seems to have it all – riches, power, looks, and all the coolest gadgets. However, his characterization doesn’t stop there; we are also clearly shown his motivations for taking the actions that he does.

Sharing why you have chosen your current path will help show the rationale for your post-MBA goals. Even if the path you have taken is not very straightforward, you still want to show that a logical thought process has guided you, and how this logic fits with your desire to attend your target MBA program. Core values and turning points in your personal life are related to your career decisions, thus, sharing these personal stories will help you connect with the Admissions Committee on a deeper level, and allow you to submit an overall memorable application.

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

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

Find the Best Math Tutoring Program for You

student reseachWhen you want to sharpen your math skills, getting a math tutor can set you on the path to achieving that goal. Perhaps you’re encountering some challenges in your AP math course at school and want a tutor to help you address those issues. Or maybe you’re studying for the math section on the SAT or preparing to take the AP math test and could use some extra guidance. Whatever your reasons, hiring a math tutor can make all the difference in your performance.

Take a look at some of the qualities shared by the best math tutoring programs available today and you’ll see why it’s a good idea to work with a tutor yourself:

Experienced Instructors
If you want to improve your skills in math, you have to learn from an instructor with both expertise and experience. Your instructor must be familiar with whatever type of math you are focusing on, and they should also know plenty of strategies that will provide you with ways to overcome the challenges you’re having in math.

For instance, an experienced instructor can look at the way you solve an algebra problem and then give you suggestions on how to make the problem more manageable. You may find that making one small change in the way you solve an algebra problem can have a big effect on your level of accuracy.

The best math tutors use their experience to benefit you. Our instructors have over-the-top qualifications when it comes to helping students. For example, our SAT instructors scored in the 99th percentile on the exam. We only hire tutors who are genuine experts in the subject they are teaching.

Helpful Study Resources
Another quality possessed by effective tutoring programs is a supply of helpful study materials and resources. Your tutor should have teaching aids and practice exercises that contribute to your understanding of a topic or skill. In addition, the study materials should suit your learning style. For instance, if you are a visual learner, then your tutor should include graphics, colorful charts, and diagrams in the session. If you don’t know your learning style, your tutor can help you to determine what it is. Tutors in the best math tutoring programs know how to conduct sessions that make the most efficient use of your time and effort.

A Selection of Tutoring Options
The best tutoring program for you is one that fits neatly into your weekly schedule. At Veritas Prep, we tutor students online and in person. Some students like to sit down face to face in the same room with their tutor, while others prefer to choose their own environment and work with a tutor via the Internet. The choice is up to you. We know that students like you are busy with classes, family activities, clubs, and other obligations. That’s why we make it easy for you to get the help you need in math while maintaining your typical schedule.

Flexible Tutoring Sessions
Undoubtedly, flexibility is one of the main qualities of the best math tutoring programs. You may sit down for one tutoring session with a list of questions about a lecture given by your math teacher at school. Your tutor can clarity some of the terms and concepts outlined by your teacher so you better understand the material. By the time the session is complete, you should have satisfactory answers to all of your questions.

During your next session, you might show your tutor a homework assignment and ask for help on some of the most puzzling problems. Your tutor can partner with you to figure out how to approach each of the problems in an effective way. Flexible tutoring allows you to get the specific assistance you need at the time you need it.

If you want to find the best math tutor, then look no further than Veritas Prep. We have a team of experienced instructors and a proven program that gives you the help you need with any type of mathematics. We invite you to look at our FAQ page to find quick answers regarding our services. You’ll see even more information on how we find and hire the best math tutors in the business! Contact Veritas Prep today and get started with our first-rate math tutoring program.

The Holistic Approach to Absolute Values – Part III

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomA while back, we discussed some holistic approaches to answering absolute value questions. Today, we will enhance our understanding of absolute values with some variations that you might see on the GMAT.

Instead of looking at how to solve equations, like we did in our previous post, we will look at how to solve inequalities using the same concept.

A quick review:

  • |x| = The distance of x from 0 on the number line. For example, if |x| = 4, x is 4 away from 0. So x can be 4 or -4.
  • |x – 1| = The distance of x from 1 on the number line. For example, if |x – 1| = 4, x is 4 away from 1. so x can be 5 or  -3.
  • |x| + |x – 1| = The sum of distance of x from 0 and distance of x from 1 on the number line. for example, if x = 5, the distance of x from 0 is 5 and the distance of x from 1 is 4. The sum of the distances is 5 + 4 = 9. So |x| + |x – 1| = 5 + 4 = 9.

Let’s move ahead now and see how we can use these concepts to solve inequalities:

For how many integer values of x, is |x – 3| + |x + 1| + |x| < 10?

(A) 0
(B) 2
(C) 4
(D) 6
(E) Infinite

In the previous post, we saw the a similar question, except it involved an equation rather than an inequality. For that problem, we found that the two points where the total distance is equal to 10 are -2.667 and 4:

QWQW

 

 

 

What will be the total distance at any value of x between these two points?

Say, x = 0
|x – 3| + |x + 1| + |x|
= 3 + 1 + 0
= 4

Say, x = 3
|x – 3| + |x + 1| + |x|
0 + 4 + 3
= 7

In both cases, we see that the total distance covered is less than 10. Note that the minimum distance covered will be 4 at x = 0 (discussed in the previous post) so by moving to the right of 0 or to the left of 0 on the number line, we get to the points where the distance increases to 10. So for every point in between, the total distance will be less than 10 (the entire red region).

Hence, at integer points x = -2, -1, 0, 1, 2 and 3 (which are all between -2.667 and 4), the total distance will be less than 10. The total distance will be less than 10 for all non-integer points lying between -2.667 and 4 too, but the question only asks for the integer values, so that is all we need to focus on. (Of course, there are infinite non-integer points between any two distinct points on the number line.) Hence, the answer will be 6 points, or D.

Along the same lines, consider a slight variation of this question:

For how many integer values of x, is |x – 3| + |x + 1| + |x| > 10?

(A) 0
(B) 2
(C) 4
(D) 6
(E) Infinite

What will the answer be here? We hope you immediately jumped to answer choice E – for every integer value of x to the right of 4 or to the left of -2.667, the total distance will be more than 10 (the blue regions). So there will be infinite such integer points (all integers greater than 4 or less than -2.667). Thus, the answer is E.

We hope this logic is clear. We will look at some other variations of this concept next week!

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

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

Is Taking the GRE Without Studying Really an Option?

StudentStudents who want to go to graduate school and earn an advanced degree have a lot of things to accomplish before they start that journey. Taking the Graduate Record Examination, or the GRE, is just one of the things on the to-do list of a future graduate student.

Some students wonder if it’s necessary to study for the GRE. Can they save themselves some time by taking the GRE without studying for it? If you’re considering this tactic, learn the risks of taking this exam without preparing for it. Also, discover what students can do to earn an impressive score on the GRE.

The Disadvantages of Taking the GRE Without Studying
A student who sits down to take the GRE without studying is likely to be familiar with a lot of the topics on the test. But it’s also likely that the person’s score won’t reflect what they are really capable of.

For example, a student who doesn’t study may feel confident about most of the arithmetic, geometry, and data analysis questions on the Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE, but the student might be confused by some of the algebra problems. They might vaguely remember some of the concepts but be unsure how to put them into practice. As a result, the student would receive a low score on the Quantitative Reasoning section. This is something that the student could’ve avoided with a few weeks of algebra review and practice.

Another disadvantage of taking the test without preparing is that a student won’t be familiar with the content or the structure of the GRE. Being familiar with the test ahead of time can give a student an extra dose of confidence on test day.

How Long Does it Take to Prepare for the GRE?
Once a student makes the decision to prepare for the GRE, they will want to know how much time to devote to the process. Students should take a practice test to determine the amount of time needed to prepare. A student who does well in every subject but one may only need one month of study, while another student must study for six months to ensure success on every section of the test. GRE preparation time depends upon the individual and their need for review.

How to Prep for the GRE
Along with taking a practice test, one of the best tips for students who are planning to take the GRE is to create a study schedule. It’s best if they incorporate study hours into their daily routine. Some students may set up a schedule that allows them two hours of GRE study per day. For instance, on Monday, a student might work on memorizing ten new vocabulary words and their definitions and tackle two pages of algebra problems. Tuesdays could be for studying geometry problems and working on reading comprehension skills, such as drawing conclusions and finding main ideas. Creating a study schedule allows a student to absorb the necessary study material in a gradual way.

At Veritas Prep, we offer courses that help students prepare to conquer the GRE. Our professional instructors teach strategies to students that they can use on every section of the exam. Furthermore, we hire instructors who have excelled on the test. In short, our students get valuable GRE advice from instructors who have been there and done that!

Tips for Success on the Exam
When it comes to the GRE, one of the most effective study techniques is to create flashcards for unfamiliar vocabulary words. A student can use the flashcards during regular study time or review them while waiting in a line at a store or sitting in the dentist’s office. They are a convenient study tool. Another useful piece of GRE advice for students is to check off each skill as they master it. This provides encouragement for students and helps them see solid progress as test day approaches.

Students who want to know more about how to prepare for GRE test questions can also benefit from working with the expert instructors at Veritas Prep. We do more than teach students how to pass the GRE: We teach them how to excel on the test! Contact our dedicated staff at Veritas Prep today.

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

The Biggest Mistakes You Can Make in the GRE Verbal Section: Text Completion Questions

GRE VERBALIf you’re studying for the GRE Verbal section, you’re probably thinking a lot in terms of vocabulary. Both the Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence question types involve selecting a word that fills in a blank – a classic vocabulary-type setup.

While you do need a healthy vocabulary to be able to succeed on the Verbal section, people that overemphasize vocabulary (who are memorizing as many obscure words and definitions as possible) tend to feel a bit underprepared when they get to the test for the amount of critical thinking and work you need to put into some of these questions.

Before you continue, check out Part 1 of this lesson here, then keep reading or check out our video explanation of this concept below:

One thing to think about with GRE Verbal questions is how much work and critical thought you’ll need. It’s not just a quick response of, “Oh! I know that meaning; I know that word!” As you’ll see with the example below, a lot of times you need to be flexible in your thinking, willing to split hairs on the meanings of words that you already know, and have that willingness to start over and take a fresh look at the problem.

Now let’s take a look at what we mean by this concept with an example question:

Because of the author’s (i)______, many readers consider his latest work (ii)______ but, in reality, as many knowledgeable critics point out, the piece (iii)______.

Blank (i)
A) eloquence
B) prejudice
C) verbosity

Blank (ii)
D) inaccessible
E) poignant
F) polarizing

Blank (iii)
G) lack coherence and lucidity
H) has no discernible conclusion
I) is the most succinct on the subject

This is a classic Text Completion problem where you have three blanks and three answer choices for each. Now let’s talk about how people tend to approach this question:

Test-takers tend to find that the first two blanks agree with each other. “Because of one thing, someone will think another thing that is related.” As such, they start to see relationships between some of the answer choices. They might say, “Because someone is so ‘eloquent’ we think that their point is ‘poignant.'” Or, they might say, “Because someone is so ‘prejudiced’ people find their work is ‘polarizing.'” Or you may even say, “Due to the ‘verbosity’ – because someone uses so many words – their work is ‘inaccessible’ and difficult to get into.”

Now, the trick (or trap) with this kind of a setup is that test-takers tend to fall in love with their favorite pairings of the first two answer choices (A/E and  B/F). Maybe this is because people tend to start with answer choice A (eloquence) and then find a nice match for it (poignant). Then they just want to wedge in one of the last answer choices. A lot of times, test-takers will answer this question with “eloquence,” “poignant,” and “no discernible conclusion” or “lacks coherence.”

Here’s where you need to think critically about this question, and where the work really comes into play. Is it the really the case that the opposite of “poignant” is “doesn’t have a discernible conclusion” – that this is the counterpoint that comes with the transition word “but” in the middle of the sentence?  What if there isn’t really a conclusion because the author’s work is open-ended? It’s up for interpretation, but it could still be poignant. This is at least a possibility you might want to think about.

This also gets into one other thing that people tend to be underprepared for: making sure that every word in the prompt matters. In writing this test, the question writers aren’t getting paid by the word. If they put in something about “knowledgeable critics,” you should be asking yourself, “Why would these critics be the ones to point this out?” If you’re at this point still thinking about the first two answer choices maybe you’re right, but you should also see this as an invitation – you have to know, particularly if there’s a third blank space, with 5-7 words in some of the answer choices, that the Testmakers put that there, not because of a vocabulary word, but because of the meaning of the sentence. You’re really looking for one combination that has a very clear, very logical meaning.

So if we focus on these knowledgeable critics, again, you should ask yourself, “Why would they need to be the ones to point something out?” What you’ll find is that the correct logic for this question is that because of the author’s “verbosity” people find the work “inaccessible” and hard to get into, but, as the “knowledgeable critics” will point out, “We know this topic inside and out. This is actually the most succinct work you’re going to find on this dense topic. It’s not the author’s fault for being verbose.” So the correct answers are options C, D, and I.

The overall lesson of this question is important: when you have multiple blanks, a lot of times this means you need to go to work. You can’t fall in love with a strategy like, “Oh, great! I went from left to right, I found an answer for Blank 1 that I like that fits with an answer from Blank 2 that I like. Now I’ll just try to take a square peg and put it in a round hole with Blank 3 so I can be done…” One of the great virtues with multiple blank text completion is that you need to have the patience to say, “This is an okay triplet or pair, but I may be able to do better,” and then to start over and really go to work.

So as you approach GRE Verbal, make sure you have a robust vocabulary to go into it, but don’t let that come at the expense of your willingness to roll up your sleeves, really think of the meaning of the entire sentence, and maybe start over and look for different combinations. Because in a lot of ways, GRE Verbal is about your willingness to work.

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

By Brian Galvin.

How to Successfully Prioritize in Business School

ChecklistOnce you get to business school, you’re going to hit the ground sprinting. It’s like a tornado picked you up and is whirling you through school, almost literally. The best way to not get stuck in this tornado is to have strict priorities, and actually stick to them. It’s fine to not know exactly what you want to do when you graduate yet, but you should at least have a general idea. And if you can figure out specifically what your goals are before you get to campus, you’ll certainly benefit.

So, here’s how you can prioritize both before and during your time at business school:

1) Get really comfortable talking to people on the phone. The more phone calls you can have with current students and alumni, the better. These will be helpful in initially determining where you want to go to school, and eventually in determining what you should get involved with once you get to campus.

2) Set a list of 3 priorities for yourself. What do you really want to get out of your time at business school? These can include finding a post-MBA career, gaining Quant skills, making new friends, having a lot of fun, etc. Determine why you want to go to business school and make sure you’re sticking to your priorities while you’re there. These priorities could change from month to month. In August, maybe your priority is meeting as many of your classmates as possible. In November, maybe your priority is learning how to case for consulting interviews. Just continue to check in with yourself throughout the year and make sure you’re on track with your goals.

3) Do your research. Every MBA program will have a huge selection of clubs for you to choose from. Looking to get into real estate? There’s a club for that. Want to do business in Africa? There’s a club for that too. Once you know what your goals are, you can then find clubs that align with your interests. But remember, don’t get too distracted by the allure of the Ice Hockey Club (or any other club that doesn’t really relate to your goals) if it’s going to pull you away from your main priorities.

4) Figure out what time commitments you want to add to your class schedule, because class already requires a lot of effort, especially if you don’t come from a quantitative background. In addition to general club membership, you’ll have the opportunity to take on leadership positions in your first year of school. Do you want to be your section’s president? How about the VP of Career Development for your target club? Holding a leadership position like these will take up more of your time than general club membership will, so factor these potential time commitments in when you’re deciding which clubs to join.

5) Know what you don’t want to do. If you don’t want to go into consulting, don’t waste your time on it. It’s really easy to get caught up in a sea of corporate presentations when all of your classmates are talking about really interesting companies, but if you know that you want to go into marketing, you probably don’t need to spend two hours at that BCG presentation with your consulting-focused classmates.

6) Determine a scheduling system that works for you. If you don’t use iCal or Google Calendar, etc., you might want to start. During your time at business school, there will be a lot of meetings, company presentations, study sessions, and social events that you’ll want to keep track of on the go. Make sure you have a way to remember everything so you don’t miss out on what’s important.

Before business school, I was very paper-oriented and I had a schedule written out almost daily. Now I almost exclusively use my iCal and sync it to my phone since I sometimes only have 5 minutes to get from one event to another, and it’s much easier to have my phone automatically tell me where to go than to have to pull out my paper planner.

Business school is only 2-3 years of your life. Make sure you’re prepared to take advantage of all of the resources that will be available to you, and be sure to make the most of it. Having priorities before you get to school will help you stay focused and on track for success. If you’re not sure what you want to go into yet, talk to the people at Veritas Prep – we’re here to help!

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

Colleen Hill is a Veritas Prep consultant for the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. You can read more articles by her here