Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog

All Aboard the GMAT Bus!


The organization that administers the GMAT, the GMAC, is always looking to make the test available to anyone who might be interested in graduate business education.  That’s why, once again, the GMAT bus is making the rounds, bringing the exam directly to students.

Originally launched in 2006, the bus will visit 32 schools in 14 states. Its 8-month cross-country tour begins in Stockton, California, at Humphreys College, on October 21 and will end with a visit to Bethune-Cookman University, in Daytona Beach, Florida, on May 7.  So if you’re far from a regular testing center, you should check out the tour schedule and see if it might be a fit.

The program aims to recruit more diverse business school applicants by bringing the exam to students who might have trouble getting to a testing location.  Kudos to GMAC for getting themselves out there.

Also, we’re just entertained that there’s actually a giant GMAT Bus!  Imagine seeing that on the highway . . .

The GMAT Bus

The GMAT Bus

GMAC Summit in New York (updated)


GMAC, the publishers and administrators of the GMAT, are hosting their bi-annual summit here in New York on Thursday.   The purpose of the summit is to let those in the GMAT ecosystem know about research, trends, and upcoming changes to the test (if any).  We’re very privileged to be invited again this year!  It’s always a fascinating day when you get to hear from and speak to the minds behind the GMAT.  We’ll post an update here after the summit regarding items of interest.

Update – Well, the GMAC Summit 2009 is now in the books.  In all frankness, there wasn’t much revealed to interest the average GMAT test-taker, aside from an affirmation of points made earlier (e.g. the early items are not worth expending extra time on).

Some of the items discussed include:

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MBA Interview Workshops Oct. 21 & 25


Our friends at mbaMission receive many questions about Business School Interviews.  What types of questions will they ask?  Is it better to interview with the Admissions Committee or an alumnus/alumna?  How much do these interviews matter?

In an interactive presentation, Jeremy Shinewald, founder of our Admissions Consultant partner firm, mbaMission, will offer advice on best practices to help you prepare and succeed in your business school interviews.  He will explore the different types of interviews, what each admissions committee is looking for, and tips for time management.  There will also be a Q&A session after the presentation.

Like a rockstar, Jeremy has scheduled two workshops to try and accommodate everyone’s busy schedules.  The first one will occur on Wednesday, October 21st, from 8:30 – 10:30 P.M. EST.  The second will  take place on Sunday, October 25th, from 3 – 5 p.m. EST.  Both events are free and take place in our interactive online classroom. Space is limited, so click on the appropriate link to sign-up today.

Manhattan GMAT in St. Louis


Emily Sledge, one of our veteran Instructors who also serves as an Instructor Developer, is moving from sunny California to St. Louis!

Emily first joined MGMAT back in 2005 and has helped literally hundreds of students achieve their GMAT score goals.  Before then she earned an engineering physics degree from Cornell, an MBA from UCLA, and a 790 on the GMAT.  Whew!

We know the students in Orange County will miss Emily terribly.  On the other hand, this is fantastic news for Missouri!  If you’re in the St. Louis area and would like to get on our mailing list for upcoming courses later this year, click here.

Best of luck with the move Emily!

Manhattan GMAT Study Hall


It’s a little bit of Digg, a little bit of ESPN, and it’s all GMAT-related. . . it’s the Manhattan GMAT Study Hall!

One of our ultra-talented and well-loved Instructors, Ron Purewal, will be appearing online to answer your questions on Tuesday, October 6th, from 9 – 10:30 EST.  Click here to sign up.  Yes, it’s free.   🙂

How the GMAT Finds Your Score


As you probably know by now, the GMAT is a Computer Adaptive Test (“CAT”). This means that the questions that you see on the exam are selected by the computer based on your performance on earlier questions. For example, if you answer a question correctly, your next question will be harder. If you answer a question incorrectly, your next question will be easier. The exam is trying to gauge your ability level by seeing how well you do with questions (known as “items” in testing parlance) of varying degrees of difficulty. Generally speaking, the harder the questions you answer correctly, the better your score will be.

There are other factors besides difficulty level that influence the selection of items on a particular exam (e.g., question type (data sufficiency vs. problem solving, for example), content (e.g., algebra, ratios, assumptions, etc.), and exposure (i.e., how many times has the question been seen by other test takers already that month?)). But difficulty level is arguably the most important.

The CAT does not “bucket” items into “easy”, “medium”, and “hard” categories. Instead, each item can be considered easy, medium, or hard depending on the person to whom it is given. Each item is tested out for a period as an unscored “experimental” during the actual exams of people taking the GMAT. After a sufficient sampling of test-takers has answered the items, ETS compares the overall scores of the test-takers with their performance on the experimental items.

If, say, fifty percent of all test-takers scoring in the 600-620 range got a particular experimental item right, that item would be considered of medium difficulty for that ability level. If ninety percent of those scoring in the 700-720 range got the item right, it would be considered easy for that ability level. When the item is then presented as a real scored question on subsequent exams, the computer uses the experimental data to determine whether the item is appropriately difficult for someone performing at a given level thus far in the exam. The computer tries to give you questions that you have a 50/50 shot at, based on your performance up to that point. The better you do, the harder your 50/50 items will be.

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mbaMission Insider’s Guides to Top Business Schools


Our friends at mbaMission have put together an impressive set of Insider’s Guides to Top Business Schools.  These guides can be very useful in distinguishing one school’s program from another and helping students tailor their essays accordingly.

We are VERY happy to report that current Manhattan GMAT Course Students will receive one of these guides (a $25 value) for FREE.  If you’re a current student, go to your student center and click on the right menu on the top call-out.  Or click on this link and log-in.  Thank you mbaMission for making this benefit available to our students!

What is the GMAT?


The GMAT is the Graduate Management Admission Test, a standardized test required by the vast majority of business schools because it provides a measure of an applicant’s academic ability. The GMAT test does not include any questions that gauge your business knowledge. The GMAT test is computerized and administered six days each week, 52 weeks per year. While the exam can be taken at virtually any time, it can only be taken once per 31 days and 5 times per year.

What is a Computer Adaptive Test?

The GMAT test is computer adaptive, meaning that instead of determining your score using a fixed set of questions, the exam provides you with questions of variable difficulty based on your answers to previous questions. GMAT test questions are not pre-set in advance. The GMAT begins with a question of average difficulty and if you answer it correctly, you will receive a slightly harder second question. If you answer it wrong, you will receive a slightly easier second question. Your third question, in turn, is based on your response to the second question, and so on. In this way, the GMAT test zeroes in on your ability level and assigns you a corresponding score. Because your real-time performance on the exam is essential to a final computation of your score, the way you take the GMAT test will differ greatly from your experience with other exams. Specifically:

  • You will see only one question on the screen at a time. You cannot move onto another question until you answer the current one. Once you answer a question, you cannot return to it or review any questions that you have already answered.
  • Correct responses to difficult questions are worth more than correct responses to easy questions. The raw number of correct questions answered is not indicative of your final score.

Despite these variables, the GMAT test will always present you with a fair mix of questions with regards to content areas for a given section. For instance, any test-taker will receive the same rough mix of arithmetic, algebra, and geometry questions on the quant portion of the test.

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Manhattan GMAT Flash Cards now available online


Manhattan GMAT’s award-winning flash cards (okay, they don’t give out awards, but if they did . . . ) are now available online.  They’ve actually been downloadable for print for quite some time, but we went ahead and made them web-friendly as well.  With the new interface, you can ‘flip’ the cards onscreen, flag the cards that were tricky to you, and save your progress to return for another session.

You can, of course, still download and print them for a more corporeal experience.  To choose either flavor, click here.  However you choose to make use of them, we hope you find them handy!

Business School Admissions Panels in Chicago, New York


Manhattan GMAT is very proud to announce its first business school admissions officer panels of the season.  We often partner with top business programs to give our students the inside track on what’s on the minds of school administrators even as many students are starting to work on their application essays.

In our Chicago center, on Thursday evening, September 24th, we will be joined by admissions officers from Kellogg, Chicago Booth, and Columbia Business School.  The moderator will be our own Chris Brusznicki, himself a Kellogg alum (though he promises to be impartial).  The admissions officers will present and then take questions from attendees. Click here to sign-up – attendance is free but space is limited.

The following week we will have an additional panel here at our New York center on Thursday evening, October 1st.  Admissions officers from Columbia, NYU Stern, and Kellogg will each be in attendance to convey their thoughts and take questions.  Click here to sign-up in order to attend.  Chris Ryan will be moderating the New York panel

If you can’t make it to either of these panels, we will be hosting other seminars later in the season, including online events with admissions consultants and others. You can also sign up for our free events mailing list to stay informed of future events.

If you’re in Chicago or New York, we’ll see you soon!