Articles published in 2009

Just in Time for the Holidays: TEP Charter Receives Manhattan GMAT Donation


In August, Manhattan GMAT declared that it would donate 10% of its revenue to TEP, a charter school in Washington Heights (a neighborhood in NYC) started by Manhattan GMAT Chairman Zeke Vanderhoek. Manhattan GMAT has finally made good on its pledge and donated over $100,000 to the school.

Manhattan GMAT believes the teaching profession should attract the most talented candidates to the field, and we are proud to support the students at teachers at TEP as they pursue this goal.

If you would like to learn more about TEP, please visit them at

Tougher to defer nowadays


Businessweek reported last week that it’s getting harder and harder to get many business schools to defer your offer of admission for a year.  Some business schools are even trying to curtail the practice altogether.  So don’t plan on applying a year early and hope they’ll keep a seat warm for you.  If you find yourself in this position, the comforting thought is if they let you in once already, they ought to  just let you in again.

On the bright side, your GMAT score will still be good!

Free mbaMission Online Event about Applying Next Year


Our good friends at mbaMission, one of the top Admissions Consulting firms anywhere, are generously hosting a free online event on Thursday night, December 10th, at 8:30 EST.  Jeremy Shinewald, the Founder and President of mbaMission, will discuss what you can do to help yourself if you’re applying for Business School next year.  After all, you have 10 months or so.  What should you prioritize?  What should you do first? For answers to these questions and others, go ahead and register.

Thanks to Jeremy for hosting the event!

Techniques for Managing GMAT Stress


Stress and anxiety, for many people, are integral components of their daily lives. In fact, anxiety is a necessary human response. In manageable doses, anxiety protects you from life’s dangers. You naturally feel anxious standing on a cliff and looking over the edge. In essence, your body is heightening your awareness of this potential threat and emphasizing that some action might be necessary to protect your well-being. The same is true with performance or test anxiety. When you are asked to perform, the tension produced from normal anxiety heightens your awareness of the situation and helps you to focus on the danger (i.e. task as hand). With this additional focus, you are more easily able to successfully complete your goal, whatever it may be.

For many people, however, this natural, beneficial anxiety response is superseded by an uncontrollable feeling of dread. When asked to prepare for and then take a test, individuals manufacture feelings of such importance about the test that they become overwhelmed by the anxiety associated with it. Symptoms of test anxiety affect both the body and the mind. Hearts race, hands become clammy, breathing grows labored, minds go blank. Worse still, test anxiety is a vicious cycle: worrying about the test causes increased anxiety, which causes increased worry about the test. As GMAT instructors, we have seen or heard of this response all-too-frequently with our students. Recently, a student who was consistently scoring between 35 and 40 on the quantitative section of her practice examinations score a 6 on her actual test. That’s right, she dropped from a score of approximately the 60th percentile to the 1st percentile. When asked what happened, she simply said, I panicked. She explained she just couldn’t understand the first problem, and from there her mind just went blank. For the remainder of the section, she was unable to organize her thoughts or regain her focus. Although this case is extreme, many students have allowed test anxiety to undermine their test taking abilities, resulting in scores that are well below their true abilities. This strategy series will focus on methods to control your test anxiety as you ready yourself for the test.

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You are not alone


Each year around this time, GMAC releases its annual report on GMAT test-takers.  The report this year counted a record 265,613 GMAT test-takers in 2009, up 7.55% from last year’s record 246,957.  So your imagination is not running wild – it is indeed a year during which many people are taking the GMAT and trying to gear up for business school.

Other facts from the report:

The fastest-rising age group of GMAT test-takers is under 24, rising 23.6 percent annualized over the last five years.  It seems young people are keeping their options open in this economy.

For the first time, non-U.S. citizens (135,105) outnumbered U.S. test-takers (130,508).  This is likely because of the increasing adoption of the GMAT by international business schools, which are themselves increasing in number.  If historical trends continue, this may continue to skew the GMAT’s math curve up (a subset of international applicants tends to be very good at math)  and the verbal curve down (a subset of international applicants tends to be poor at verbal).

After rising by 15 points over the preceding 3 years, the mean GMAT score dropped by 1 point, to 539.  This is a bit of a surprise, as we’d imagined scores to continue rising, though perhaps increasing the number of test-takers would logically result in stable average scores (so we should have thought differently).

39.5% of test-takers were women, the same proportion as last year.

If there are more interesting insights from GMAC’s report, we’ll look to post them here.

Manhattan GMAT in Forbes


Manhattan GMAT was featured prominently in a Forbes story on growing companies this past week.  The article focuses on how picky we are about Instructors, which is certainly true!  The article did, however, mistakenly confer credit to Andrew for founding the Company, which we all know properly goes to Zeke Vanderhoek.  It also mistakes a ‘700’ for a ‘760’ as our score requirement, which is a pretty big gap/typo.  All in all though, it’s great to get some recognition!  🙂

Interpreting Manhattan GMAT Assessment Reports


Looking for advice on evaluating your practice exams? Be sure to check out this article too.

First Steps

If you are just beginning to look into the GMAT, we recommend reading through The GMAT Uncovered before continuing. The same information can be obtained by attending our in-person or Live Online GMAT Open House Sessions. You can read more about these programs here.

If you feel like you have a good understanding of the exam, then it’s time to take a practice test! Until you’ve taken a full practice GMAT, there’s no way of knowing exactly how much you need to prepare for the exam. Fortunately, ManahttanGMAT makes this easy by offering a free computer adaptive exam that will serve as a useful diagnostic tool. Before you continue to structure your prep program, it is important to take a full exam. Additionally, in the scope of your business school application, it’s important to know the average GMAT score of the schools you are applying to. Here is a list of the top business school programs and their associated GMAT scores to get you started.

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Foundations of GMAT Math


Our 8 Strategy Guides, organized by topic, have been around for several years.  However, we were seeing some students who hadn’t looked at math in a LONG time and wanted a refresher.

So, after months of development, we are very happy and proud to announce the publication of our brand new Strategy Supplement, the Foundations of GMAT Math!  This book starts from the basics to give students those “Oh yeah, NOW I remember how to FOIL” moments.  We start with Order of Operations/PEMDAS and algebra, and go from there to fractions, geometry, exponents, divisibility and other flashback-inducing topics.  If you’re confident in your math skills, you may not need this book at all.  But otherwise, you may like it a great deal.  You know who you are . . .

All Manhattan GMAT Course Students will receive this book for free as part of their course materials.  If you’ve already started your course and want this book, contact and they’ll hook you up (you may have to pay shipping depending on your location, but the book will be free).

Kudos to our curriculum wizards for their latest contribution to the best in GMAT Prep!

Chat with Columbia Admissions Officer


We generally stick to the GMAT over here and leave admissions stuff to the experts, but this transcript of a chat with a Columbia Admissions Officer on seemed like it would be of interest to many of our students.  And we’re flexible and aim to please here at MGMAT!  🙂

Can the first questions on the GMAT be experimental?


Many people have heard that the early questions on the GMAT are crucially important because of the test’s adaptive nature; they have the (incorrect) sense that how you answer the first questions will determine the sort of questions you get for the rest of your test.

This belief is exaggerated and mistaken, as we have heard straight from GMAC.  But here’s another wrinkle – could the very first questions on the GMAT be experimental, and thus not count at all toward your score?

We recently heard second-hand from GMAC that every experimental item has been tested ‘in every position’ on the test.  That is, an experimental question will have appeared as Item #1, Item #2, . . . all the way up to Item #37 (on the math, or #41 on the verbal) before being added to the active item pool.  From this, it seems almost certain that yes, the very first questions you see may very well be experimental and not count toward your score.

What’s the concrete takeaway from this?  Among other things, it’s one more reason NOT to obsess too much about the early questions and maintain the correct pace throughout.  You don’t want to be spending extra time on a question that doesn’t count, and this applies as much to the first question as it does to one in the middle!  It also suggests the difficulty of trying to ‘read’ how you’re doing, as experimental items can appear at any time randomly, making it near impossible to gauge your own performance (though if you feel like you’re struggling with accuracy while keeping the right pace, it’s a good sign!).