Articles published in May 2017

What Your Math Teacher Didn’t Tell You About PEMDAS

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - What Your Math Teacher Didn't Tell You About PEMDAS by Chelsey Cooley

Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.


Here’s a phrase that might bring back some memories from middle school math class: Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally, or PEMDAS. (If you went to school outside of the U.S., you may have learned the acronym BEDMAS or BODMAS, instead.) You use this phrase to decide what order to do mathematical operations in: Parentheses first (from inside to outside), then Exponents, then Multiplication and Division (left to right), then Addition and Subtraction (also left to right).

PEMDAS isn’t terribly fancy stuff. It’s just a useful little tool that helps us communicate clearly—it’s what tells us, for instance, that “2x(3+4)” means something different from “2×3 + 4.” But if there’s one thing the GMAT loves, it’s making things look more complicated than they really are. Read more

MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: If I’m Not Accepted in Round 1, I’ll Just Apply in Round 2

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: If I'm Not Accepted in Round 1, I'll Just Apply in Round 2! by mbaMission

What have you been told about applying to business school? With the advent of chat rooms, blogs and forums, armchair “experts” often unintentionally propagate MBA admissions myths, which can linger and undermine an applicant’s confidence. Some applicants are led to believe that schools want a specific “type” of candidate and expect certain GMAT scores and GPAs, for example. Others are led to believe that they need to know alumni from their target schools and/or get a letter of reference from the CEO of their firm in order to get in. In this series, mbaMission debunks these and other myths and strives to take the anxiety out of the admissions process.


As you enter the upcoming application season, what kind of strategy do you have in mind? More than a few candidates, having likely read about the supposed advantages of applying in Round 1 on various websites and discussion boards, plan to submit all their applications in Round 1—with the idea that if no acceptances are forthcoming, they will just submit another set of applications in Round 2. If this is your plan, we would like to explain why it is probably not your best course of action. Read more

FAST Math for the GMAT (Part 5 of 5)

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - FAST Math for the GMAT (Part 5 of 5) by Stacey Koprince

Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.


Welcome to the fifth and final installment of our Fast Math series. (Miss any earlier ones? Start here.)

Make your life easier on the GMAT: do less Math. (Yes, with a capital-M. ) I use Math-with-a-capital-M to mean formal, textbook math.

Sure, you’re going to have to do some textbook math on the GMAT, but it’s really not a math test. Business schools don’t expect you to have to do paper math in b-school or the real world. Rather, they’re testing how you think about math. And thinking about math in the real world is a lot different than textbook, school-based math.

For one thing, the correct answer on the GMAT is never actually a number or a math term. The correct answer is just (A), (B), (C), (D), or (E). How you get to that correct letter doesn’t matter in the slightest.

Okay let’s dive into our 5th Principle for Fast Math! Read more

Un-Educated Guessing on the GMAT

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Un-Educated Guessing on the GMAT by James Brock

Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.


As any good GMAT student knows, you can’t possibly answer every question correctly. In fact, if you get the first couple questions right, you will rapidly get into territory where most people can hardly figure out what the questions mean. And if you take extra time to dig into those questions and try to figure them out, it bites you in a big way when you run out of time toward the end. So we quickly learn that if you can’t figure out a good plan to solve a problem, you need to go ahead and take an educated guess.

Sounds great, but it’s not actually that simple, is it? Read more

My GMAT Class Just Ended—Now What?

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - My GMAT Class Just Ended—Now What? by Elaine Loh

Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.


AKA – I don’t feel ready to take the GMAT, please help!

Let’s say you spent the last few months of your life enrolled in our GMAT class. You attended all the classes and you kept up with homework (mostly)—but you don’t feel ready to take the test yet. You’re starting to panic. What should you do? Read more

MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: They Will Not Notice My Weakness!

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: They Will Not Notice My Weakness! by mbaMission

What have you been told about applying to business school? With the advent of chat rooms, blogs and forums, armchair “experts” often unintentionally propagate MBA admissions myths, which can linger and undermine an applicant’s confidence. Some applicants are led to believe that schools want a specific “type” of candidate and expect certain GMAT scores and GPAs, for example. Others are led to believe that they need to know alumni from their target schools and/or get a letter of reference from the CEO of their firm in order to get in. In this series, mbaMission debunks these and other myths and strives to take the anxiety out of the admissions process.


Our clients frequently ask, “If I write the optional essay about my [low GMAT score, low GPA, bad semester in college, long stretch of unemployment, etc.], will it call attention to that weakness and overemphasize it?” In short, no. Writing the optional essay about a weakness will instead allow you to control the narrative and thereby better mitigate any negative effects of that weakness.

The admissions committee very likely will take note of a low GMAT score or a low GPA and will be left with unanswered questions about that weakness if you do not use the optional essay to address the issue. Rather than putting the committee in the position of having to guess at an explanation, take control of the situation and grab the opportunity to explain the details behind the weakness. Read more

FAST Math for the GMAT (Part 4 of 5)

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - FAST Math for the GMAT (Part 4 of 5) by Stacey Koprince

Guess what? You can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free—we’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.


We’re up to part 4 of our series on Fast Math for the GMAT. If you’re seeing this for the first time, start with part 1 and work your way back here.

Let’s dive right in.

Principle #4: Estimate…and not just when they tell you to.

Read more

Columbia Business School Essay Analysis, 2017-2018

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columbia-business-school-essay-analysis-2017-2018-mbamissionHow can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


For years, Columbia Business School (CBS) has been at the front of the pack of MBA programs that have been gradually shortening their application essays and requiring candidates to be direct and concise in their submissions. It was even the first school to incorporate a micro essay into its application. Last season, CBS gave applicants a bit more wiggle room with the essays, increasing the word count for each by a pretty significant margin (up to 100% in one case), but it has tightened the reins back down for this year’s applicants. Still, with a goal statement, three required essays, and an optional essay, you should have plenty of opportunities to convey a well-rounded impression of yourself for the admissions committee. Read on for our Columbia Business School essay analysis for the program’s 2017–2018 prompts… Read more

How Many GMAT Problems Do I Need to Solve?

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - How Many GMAT Problems Do I Need to Solve? by Chelsey Cooley

Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.


That’s a good question! Do you really need to solve all the GMAT problems in the Official Guide to the GMAT in order to score a 700? What about the other side of the issue: is it possible that there aren’t enough problems in the Official Guide? How many GMAT problems should you solve before taking the official GMAT?  

Before I share my answer, let’s get some facts on the table. Read more

Mission Admission: What Type of Candidate Are B-Schools Seeking?

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Mission Admission: What Type of Candidate Are B-Schools Seeking? by mbaMission

Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips from our exclusive admissions consulting partner, mbaMission.


One of the most common questions we hear from business school applicants is “What type of candidate does [Harvard/Stanford/Wharton/Chicago Booth/etc.] want?” Of course, the answer to that question is that schools do not want just one type of applicant. Instead, each MBA program is striving to assemble a remarkably diverse class and thus wants to be able to identify distinct qualities in each candidate. Read more