Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog

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.

One more word of advice for test day

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We received a report of a student having her score canceled because she went to her locker during a break on test day and checked her cellphone for messages  (FYI, you put all of your belongings in a locker at the testing center).  Apparently, an official at the testing center flagged her for suspicious activity and canceled her test administration on the spot.

The moral of the story is, stay away from your electronic device during the breaks!  Keep it in the back of the locker and don’t pick it up again until you have your score report in hand (hopefully you’ll want to call your friends and share some good news!).   You CAN have a snack in your locker to scarf during the breaks, but keep it in the front of your locker and don’t rummage too much in there.  Apparently some of the testing proctors are very action-oriented.

Official Guide for GMAT Review Verbal 2nd Edition

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As promised, we now have a detailed write-up of the Official Guide for GMAT Review Verbal 2nd Edition.  The skinny is that there are 81 new problems (27%) that were not present in the 1st Edition.  None of the new problems is particularly groundbreaking, and some of them appeared in past released GMAC resources.  For a detailed problem list by topic, visit our write-up and select a topic to see precisely where the new problems lie.

The bottom line is that if you own the 1st Edition, spending an additional $17.95 for 81 problems would be helpful, but not vital.

The Quant Guide will be reviewed next week.  Also, in case you missed it, we did the same for the 12th Edition a little while back.

Manhattan Prep and Score Guarantees

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Manhattan Prep and Score GuaranteesDid 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.


We occasionally get questions about why we don’t offer a score improvement guarantee.

There are a few little reasons, and one big reason. In our experience, a test prep score guarantee has a number of attendant issues: Read more

5 Tips for 1st year MBA Students

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We get a lot of good news here at Manhattan GMAT from students who have been accepted into the MBA program they had their sights set on.  Now, as many of them are packing their bags to get settled into their new environment, here are some words of wisdom compiled from some of our Instructors who have been through it themselves.

Top 5 Tips for Entering Business School Students

So you’re about to start business school “ congratulations!As you hit your first orientation events and get to know your companions for the next couple of years, here are a few things to keep in mind to make the most of the experience:

1. Networking: Depth as well as Breadth.  The message about networking is ubiquitous in business school, and for good reason.  Chances are you’ve already witnessed how important it is to build relationships and make connections in the world of business.  A good portion of your classmates will be movers and shakers in their respective industries, so it’s a wise investment to network with them at every opportunity.  But one thing to keep in mind is that effective networking is not about collecting a stack of business cards during orientation weekend and accruing hundreds of connections on LinkedIn.  It’s okay to have a fair number of “weak ties” in your network, but also strive to cultivate strong, meaningful relationships along the way.  Ask yourself, Could I really call this person a couple of years from now and have them lend me a hand? These types of relationships take time to develop, so start early and make it a priority.

2. Make use of Clubs and Groups. Maybe you weren’t a big club person in college, and you made friends in other ways. Well, business school groups ought to be a different story. This is especially true if you’re interested in switching careers and/or industries. Clubs can often be a crossroads for cutting-edge ideas, speaker events with industry leaders, and job opportunities. Listing significant involvement in one or two clubs on your resume can make all the difference in your job search.  And participating in groups is a great way to build networks outside of your graduating class.

3. Stay Current.  The case method employed by most b-schools is about looking into the past to discuss key dilemmas and decisions that managers have faced.  But that does not allow you to lose sight of the present business landscape.  Consider your daily business newspaper/periodical/website reading a critical part of your coursework.  Not only will it contextualize and enhance your coursework, but it’ll help you understand the environment when you’re looking for a job.

4. Mix It Up.  You probably crafted an articulate and convincing argument about your short- and long-term career goals in your application essays.  But rest assured that no one will hold you accountable to anything you wrote or said during the admissions process.  Don’t be afraid to deviate from the path you envisioned for yourself. Take some electives outside your comfort zone and try new things, even consider registering for a course in one of the non-business schools of the university (e.g. law, public policy, etc.).  And while you’re mixing up your course plan, also avoid grouping up with the same three or four people project after project.  It would be a shame to miss out on the different talents and backgrounds of your classmates, and you could make a new friend or two.

5. Explore your idea.  There are not that many times when you’ll be free of the demands of a full-time job and surrounded by smart people with a natural interest in helping you flesh out that business idea you’ve had rattling around your head. Business school is a fantastic opportunity to give an idea a try in a supportive, relatively risk-free environment. Enlist support from classmates. Ask a professor what he or she thinks. Build or join a team. Think of it as yet another part of your education. At a minimum, it’ll make a great story for your job interviews down the road. 🙂