Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog

Manhattan GMAT in St. Louis

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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

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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

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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

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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?

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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

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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

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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!

London calling

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Some big news – Robert Wilburn, one of our veteran Instructors, is moving to London!  That means that Manhattan GMAT will shortly be offering in-person classes on the other side of the Pond!  This is Robert’s second jaunt in the U.K.; he was a Sloan Fellow at London Business School a while back.  Robert has taught for MGMAT for several years, including classes at Bank of America and Duke University.

If you’re in London, this is what you’ve been waiting for!  If you’d like to get on the waiting list for our first set of courses, click here.

Have a great time over there Robert!  Send us back some fish and chips (though I guess they wouldn’t travel very well).  🙂

MGMAT in San Diego, Phoenix, Denver, Ann Arbor

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We receive many requests from students asking, “When are you coming to [City X]?”  Here at Manhattan GMAT, we take on a new location only when we’ve found an experienced teacher with a 99th percentile score who’s up to our standards in the relevant market.

It took us the better part of a year to identify, enlist, and train Instructors in each area, but we’re very happy to announce our first classes in San Diego, Phoenix, Denver, and Ann Arbor!  If you’d like to meet the Instructor(s) in your area, just click on the link and sign up for a free trial class or open house.  We think you’ll agree that he/she was worth the wait.


Official Guide for GMAT Review Quant 2nd Edition

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We have completed our analysis of the GMAT Official Guide Quant Review 2nd Edition.  Of the 300 questions, 74 (25%) are new to the 2nd edition.

These 74 problems did not break dramatic new ground in terms of tested material.  The bottom line is that the 2nd Edition is a nice add-on, but you should still feel fine about studying from the original Quant Review Guide if that’s what you’ve got handy.  For a complete list of the new problems and a detailed breakdown by topic, click here.