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GMAT Exam any tips?

  1. #1

    GMAT Exam any tips?


    anyone here took this? any advice/tips?

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  2. #2
    Lifer Imbeek's Avatar
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    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    I scored 99th percentile on that test, I shit you not (then, I applied to both/only Harvard and Wharton Business schools and they both told me to fuck off anyway LOL).

    The only preparation I did for the GMAT was a solid hour of practice questions per night for a couple weeks before the exam, using one of those study guides from Barnes and Noble. I forget the name of the book. It probably was a Kaplan guide but I’m sure there are others. Make sure you simulate the test conditions exactly; time it, use the answer key and pencils like you will be using (if they still do it that way?!), concentrate/find a distraction-free place to practice, and keep track of your scores night after night. Your scores will improve as you practice, guaranteed, as long as you are taking the time to learn why you answered questions incorrectly. Get used to pacing yourself so you barely answer all the questions in the time allotted. If applicable, keep track as you go; in other words, if half your time is gone, you better have at least half the questions answered, or you need to speed up, and vice versa. I would break it down even more that that, to keep pace of where I was at for time.

    This next part is important for any timed, stressful test: every time you encounter a question that is starting to fuck with your mind and bog down your confidence, skip it, mark it, and come back to it at the end of the section. In each section, rip thru the questions you are confident with, and try not to let doubt or confusion creep in. If you feel it creeping in, skip it for the moment! After that first cherry picking pass thru, loop back and spend some time with the medium hard ones, then use up whatever time is left on a few questions that were really busting your balls in each section. That way, you make educated guesses on a few questions that you are FORCED to guess on, due to the difficulty, rather than guessing on ones near the end that you could’ve nailed with confidence if you hadn’t wasted all your time on the brain twister that happened to be one of the first questions asked.

    They cannot create new test methods from scratch every year, and there is only so much material that they test you on, so the practice guides have questions that are very, very close to what is asked on the exam. You need to virtually memorize all the tricks they use. A LARGE part of success in these types of exams is time management and brain/confidence management. A good, rehearsed plan and familiarity with the tricky questions (from getting them wrong on the practice tests and reviewing the answer explanations in the practice book) goes a long way towards preventing choking on the exam, which is what a lot of them seemed designed to provoke.

    I do well on those kind of tests in general, but the principle is valid, I think. Don’t waste time trying to learn the topics that will be tested, behond learning the techniques and minimal textual study (if you can) to correct your incorrect answers on the practice exams. Correcting your mistakes is exactly what this study method focuses on. You are trying to learn to kill that test, period; you aren’t trying to learn business.

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    Last edited by Imbeek; 12-21-17 at 10:42 PM.

  3. #3

    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    thank you for the advice. You scored obviously high, but why just go to stupidly expensive colleges? Isnt Harvard's MBA like 125k?

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  4. #4
    Lifer Imbeek's Avatar
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    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    I had an interview for a very good job on Wall Street, where I was told I would be hired if I came back with an MBA from a top three business school. Duke was number 8 at the time and would’ve given me money to go there based on my scores, but that wouldn’t have gotten me the job...

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  5. #5

    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    Imbeek is spot on...

    I bombed pretty much most of the standardized exams I ever took but the suggestions he outlined me help me to get from terrible to some level of confidence to borderline competence

    The question about whether or not to go to a big-name school or even grad school all together is subjective... The good news is the interest from student loans is no longer a tax write-off, hooray!

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    Last edited by breakdirt916; 12-22-17 at 12:46 AM.
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  6. #6
    xxaarraa
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    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    Imbeek must be a genius. At least an atypical candidate when it comes to GMAT or GRE. Most people (including me) benefit from taking a prep course - Kaplan is a common one.

    GMAT, similar to other standardized courses, is about routine, it's about training the mind to think a certain way in a certain time frame. There's tricks and formulas you can learn. And the prep courses drill those into you.

    It depends on where you want to go after the GMAT. If you want to go to a top tier school (which you should, but more on that later), make sure you ace the GMAT. Like effing ace it, like imbeek did. Because the rest of the applicant pool sure would have, so treat it as an elimination criteria instead of a qualification criteria.

    Not what you asked, but MBA is a business. It makes zero sense to evaluate a school based on how expensive tuition is. The system is highly rigged. The more money you put in, the more you will get out of it. And you want to be on the right side of the tracks when you get out for the whole thing to be worthwhile. Whatever debt you need to go into to afford it, do it. You will pay it back. Quickly. Fuck thinking about interest on student loans. Go to the best school you can get into however much it costs you. Period.

    Oh, top tier MBA schools (HBS, Wharton, Kellog, Stanford and the like...) look for two things primarily, and GMAT is not one of them (but you better ace it because it's an eliminator):

    a) Was your father president, or Bill Gates, or similar.
    b) Have you demonstrated life long leadership and are an interesting person in general. Have you started a business? Have you taken a gap year and worked for the Red Cross in Africa? Did you quit a high paying job to go do something completely off the wall? Have you applied for a grant from the NSF at age 14? Are you uniquely gifted at something? Are you a prodigy? You get the idea.

    If you have the story, when it gets time to putting your app together, I recommend paying a professional application consultant to help you. These guys are usually ex-admin committee members or faculty that will stitch everything together including tell you what type of recommendation letters you need. Those go a long way.

    Bottom line: It's big business. Know the rules, and treat it like a business. Leave any prejudices around rigged system or it's not worth it etc. at home before you enter the field.

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    Last edited by xxaarraa; 12-22-17 at 08:04 AM.

  7. #7
    Lifer Imbeek's Avatar
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    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    Yeah I actually had founded and run a successful business when I applied, plus had a recommendation letter from an uncle who went to hahvad business school, but he probably hadn’t donated much since graduation. I only had a 3.01 in engineering from Clarkson (not bad but far from a 4.0 out of MIT) and the final nail in the coffin: the white skin, penis, and US citizenship didn’t help any. I sat in on a class at HBS and out of 50 or so students I don’t think there were more than 5 white American males. In fact, I doubt there were more than 5 white American females, either. It was like the UN in there, and they were all brilliant. So yeah, it’s an uphill climb. Even if you get in the top 1% of the scores on the GMAT, that’s probably still thousands of people and many will apply to the same schools. In hindsight, I probably wasn’t even close to getting in. Furthermore, if I had gotten in, I’d definitely have a lot more money now but don’t know if I’d be any happier.

    Anyway, I’m getting off track. Sav, use your study time wisely, get a bunch of practice exams and be a hard taskmaster to yourself on strengthening your weakest areas. I’m not a fan of the review classes because too much time is spent driving there, flirting at the water cooler, and listening to the teacher explain things to people slower than you. If you put every one of those minutes into testing yourself and then correcting your mistakes, I think it’s the most efficient way. Of course, no harm doing both, and no harm with doing two hours of practice tests for four weeks straight before the exam, if you can find that much time and that many unique test questions with answer explanations. You need to create the stress you will feel during the test in your practice sessions...after a while it becomes fun, in a strange way, and if you do it right, by the time you open the real test book, you will be foaming at the mouth with the full honest self belief that you are going to kick the living shit out of that test, while all the people who didn’t practice, who’ve done shitty before, and who don’t have a good plan, will be spending more time chewing their fingernails and dreading their inevitable failure than answering the questions.

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  8. #8
    Bizarro Zoolander Petorius's Avatar
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    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    Basically everything xxaarraa said. Gary is the exception (and, no offense, probably did this a while ago) and you should not take his comment as evidence that this will require anything less than 110% commitment for a very long time before the test. You need to study a SHIT TON, with a very structured approach, and get all the outside help you can afford. Prep courses are required, at a minimum do one of the self-guided/online ones. Most of my friends that got into good schools used Manhattan. Really depends what you can afford and how you feel you will learn best. You need to make it your life outside of work for 2-3 months minimum.

    See below. You should be shooting for 700 minimum if you have other good shit on your resume, 750+ if you want an "impressive" score.

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    Last edited by Petorius; 12-22-17 at 08:44 AM.

  9. #9
    xxaarraa
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    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by Imbeek View Post
    .. the final nail in the coffin: the white skin, penis, and US citizenship didn’t help any. I sat in on a class at HBS and out of 50 or so students I don’t think there were more than 5 white American males. In fact, I doubt there were more than 5 white American females, either....
    It's very common for aggrieved candidates to site race as the reason they didn't make the cut. Indian students do it all the time. Students from India dominate the university pool in America across most disciplines, and when you didn't make it somewhere you wanted, it's common to hear "yeah, but they are trying to limit more of us and make the class more even"

    The race theory has never been proven or disproven, because the Ivys do not publish admissions criteria, I believe.

    Personally, just me, I don't think it's a factor. You may have started a business and your uncle may have gone there, but chances are, everyone else that applied did something more interesting or impressive. When you pool all of humanity together, there's some very impressive shit that people have done, and standards go WAY up.

    I had drinks with a 29 year old last night in Cambridge that just finished her masters from BU, after 11 years as a health worker in various parts of Africa. No matter what I did in my life, I can't compare to something like that. That's an often repeated story when it comes to Ivy admissions.

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    Last edited by xxaarraa; 12-22-17 at 08:59 AM.

  10. #10

    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    Thanks guys. As much as I’d love to go and learn at a school like HBS it won’t happen. For me, personally, the value just isn’t there. I have a very specific plan in my mind. The MBA will most likely be another check mark on my resume.
    I did some more research on this after I posted the thread. I may still be taking the exam but it appears a lot (maybe all) the schools I am interested in would waive the GMAT requirement based on experience (6+ years management experience, several leadership and development courses completed, and some of the best hands on Training in the business world by big corporations).
    For what it’s worth I am thinking Nichols, Worcester State, Umass Amherst, or Umass Lowell Online MBA. Assumption MBA seems easy to get in too but the cost is a bit too high.

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  11. #11
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    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    Are you trying to get into a notable/top tier business school or just get a MBA?

    Edit: just saw your most recent post. Also, you have to apply and check what financial aid you might qualify for. While some of the top schools are very expensive their large endowments allow them to offer a lot of aid for those that may require it or to talent they want to attract.

    Quote Originally Posted by Imbeek View Post
    the white skin, penis, and US citizenship didnít help any.
    Same thing screwed me with trying to get financial aid at Michigan. Although it was shortly before when the quota scandal for federal funding come to light.

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    Last edited by db79; 12-22-17 at 09:04 AM.

  12. #12
    Backwoods lobster boy number9's Avatar
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    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    I'll go against the grain a little bit. What do you want to do, where do you want to do it, and why do you think the MBA is going to tick the box? Answers to those will help figure out what's worthwhile and what's not.

    If you want to get an idea of what real students look like, read here: Poets&Quants - Covering all that matters in the business school world, with in-depth analysis of B-schools rankings and full-time MBA programs and you'll get a good idea of lots of backgrounds. Yeah, there are lots of Indian students, but there's lots of white kids too, even at HBS and the like.

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  13. #13
    Lifer Imbeek's Avatar
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    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    Everyone is different. I don’t mean to suggest a couple weeks at an hour a night is enough for everyone, and I don’t disagree with the study class recommendations, as long as they don’t come at the expense of a LOT of time busting your own balls with the practice tests and focused correction of YOUR weak areas. You can’t bring the instructor in to the exam with you, and it does no good to learn stuff you already know. Find your weaknesses, and fix as many of them in the time you have to prep. The more time you can prepare, the better.

    Sav, perhaps to help reduce your stress about the GMAT and temper your expectations: xxaarraa is right about all those other qualities business schools are looking for. If I’m an admissions officer, I’m going to be a lot more interested in your IOM pursuit and your professional success than your score on a test that isn’t offered in your native language (I don’t think?), especially when the GMAT really, really tests fine points of English language reading comprehension (and IQ) more than it tests for future success in business. Don’t even think about understating those other things on the applications. That thing about pro application consultants is probably a good idea... I probably should’ve used one. I didn’t even know they existed.

    I have a cousin...she’s actually daughter of the uncle who went to HBS. She got a full academic ride to Yale for her undergraduate degree, back in the 80’s. I asked her what she wrote about on her application essay, and she said she basically railed on the application committee about the topic they asked her to write about...LOL about how it was a poor choice of question, if their goal was to use it as a selection criteria. In other words exactly like xxaarraa said: they don’t want a robot with perfect syntax (there are too many of them to fit into the schools); they want an outside the box thinking, brilliant person, who also has the balls to tell the application committee that they asked a stupid question, on one of the most important essays they will ever write.

    I thought it was fascinating. Of course, I heard this after being rejected, and after I had submitted the conformist robot essay. My point is, I think you are very well positioned as an interesting candidate with high potential no matter how you score, so do your best in preparing and taking the test, but make damn sure they know ALL about the other stuff when you apply.

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    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    If the schools you prefer allow for business experience in lieu of GMAT then its all bit of a mute point.

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  15. #15
    Backwoods lobster boy number9's Avatar
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    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by db79 View Post
    If the schools you prefer allow for business experience in lieu of GMAT then its all bit of a mute point.
    *moot, deduct one point.


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    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    DAMN YOU WHITE PENIS!!!! WHY MUST YOU HINDER MY SUCCESS SO??!!??


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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  17. #17
    xxaarraa
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    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by loudbeard View Post
    DAMN YOU WHITE PENIS!!!! WHY MUST YOU HINDER MY SUCCESS SO??!!??


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Imbeek is just making up a fake cover story about his white penis to explain why he didn't get into Harvard. The real reason is the admissions committee found out about his gun mania and how he spent 8 hours a day shooting off bullets in his backyard. The liberal Cambridge academic villains denied him.

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    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by number9 View Post
    *moot, deduct one point.

    Still working on my morning caffeine intake

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  19. #19

    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by loudbeard View Post
    DAMN YOU WHITE PENIS!!!! WHY MUST YOU HINDER MY SUCCESS SO??!!??


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    So you saying if I just change the penis I may be good?

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  20. #20
    Lifer Imbeek's Avatar
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    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    If I were smarter, I would’ve claimed some Native American heritage or something! I do actually have wide cheekbones and papa muttered something about it one time.

    Like I said, the race and gender was only another nail in the coffin. My undergraduate grades weren’t good enough, my work experience wasn’t unique or impressive enough, my essay probably sucked, and I probably wasn’t even close to getting in. But who cares, this threads about Sav’s GMAT

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  21. #21
    xxaarraa
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    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by Imbeek View Post
    My undergraduate grades weren’t good enough, my work experience wasn’t unique or impressive enough, my essay probably sucked, and I probably wasn’t even close to getting in.
    So your undergrad grades weren't great, your work experience wasn't unique, your essay was so-so and yet somehow between all of that, you blame your race card?

    lol.

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    Last edited by xxaarraa; 12-22-17 at 09:51 AM.

  22. #22
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by tsorfas View Post
    So you saying if I just change the penis I may be good?
    Yes buddy, just a quick penis swap!

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  23. #23
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by xxaarraa View Post
    So your undergrad grades weren't great, your work experience wasn't unique, your essay was so-so and yet somehow between all of that, you blame your race card?

    lol.
    I can appreciate his struggle, I lost the girl of my dreams due to my damn stubborn dick fat. Just couldn’t seem to lose it and she left me.

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  24. #24

    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by loudbeard View Post
    Yes buddy, just a quick penis swap!
    Will I have to buy one of those big expensive trucks too?
    Damn MBA is becoming expensive af

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  25. #25
    Lifer Imbeek's Avatar
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    Re: GMAT Exam any tips?

    I don’t think I would’ve gotten in no matter what race I was.

    I don’t believe...by any stretch of the imagination...that Harvard is blind to race or nationality when putting together their classes, though, so race is a factor just like every other factor. I’m not saying it’s wrong, either; they hold the keys to the castle for future business success when they tap someone’s head with that magic wand and let them in, but the classes themselves are better for all the students (especially in the style of learning I observed, very much on the spot give and take with participation from almost every member of the class) when there is a world-representative class makeup. Also, a large part of the value of a Harvard MBA is the contact list you will have upon graduation, and that contact list needs to be worldwide for everyone holding it to get maximum benefit.

    Bottom line, the classes wouldn’t be as good, if they were all white dudes, or all women from India, or any other relatively homogeneous group, and there are plenty of brilliant people from every nationality to more than adequately populate their classes. It was riveting to watch, when I visited...I sat through one whole class, all the the students had a nameplate with their home country in front of them, and I didn’t see one person when cold called fail to respond immediately with a concise, creative, intelligent answer that hadn’t been mentioned before. I left thinking I probably wasn’t good enough.

    Since I believe it is true that Harvard pays attention to the world mix of their classes, I also believe I’d have had a better chance if I weren’t like a lot of other people applying, in terms of race or citizenship, just like I’d have had a better chance if my uncle had donated millions, or if I had founded Facebook, or if I wrote a great essay, or if I had a 4.0 out of MIT. It probably would have taken a bunch of those qualities to get in, though, which is why I said I probably wasn’t even close.

    But if you guys wanna troll me about that one sentence and insist that HBS would be fine with populating homogeneous classes if everyone who applied who “won” every one of those other categories just happened to be females from India, or males from Japan, or whatever, then we will have to disagree I guess. And if we are parsing individual words here, given current university gender ratios, the penis was probably an advantage, not a disadvantage.

    If Harvard is deemed 100% impartial on this issue, then the discussion about Elizabeth Warren claiming Native American heritage to teach at their law school becomes MOOT too. I can’t let that happen.

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