The post MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Business School Stereotypes appeared first on GMAT.

]]>*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.*

**Many business school applicants believe that the MBA admissions committees have distilled their criteria for selecting candidates over the years and have in mind a specific “type” of individual they want. For example, within this world of business school stereotypes, applicants believe that Harvard Business School (HBS) is looking only for leaders, Kellogg is looking only for marketing students, Chicago Booth is looking only for finance students, and even that MIT Sloan is looking only for “eggheads.” Of course, these business school stereotypes—like most stereotypes—are inaccurate. Chicago Booth wants far more than one-dimensional finance students in its classes, and it provides far more than just finance to its MBA students (including, to the surprise of many, an excellent marketing program). HBS is not a school just for “generals”; among the approximately 950 students in each of its classes, HBS has a wide variety of personalities, including some excellent foot soldiers. So, at mbaMission, we constantly strive to educate MBA candidates about these misconceptions, which can sink applications if applicants pander to them.**

By way of example, imagine that you have worked in operations at a widget manufacturer. You have profound experience managing and motivating dozens of different types of people, at different levels, throughout your career, in both good economic times and bad. Even though your exposure to finance has been minimal, you erroneously determine that you need to be a “finance guy” to get into NYU Stern. So you tell your best, but nonetheless weak, finance stories, and now you are competing against elite finance candidates who have far more impressive stories in comparison. What if you had told your unique operations/management stories instead and stood out from the other applicants, rather than trying to compete in the school’s most overrepresented pool?

We think that attempting to defy business school stereotypes and truly being yourself—trying to stand out from all others and not be easily categorized—is only natural. Of course, for those of you who are still not convinced, allow us to share a quote from Stanford’s former director and assistant dean of MBA admissions, Derrick Bolton, who wrote on his admissions website, *“Because we want to discover who you are, resist the urge to ‘package’ yourself in order to come across in a way you think Stanford wants. Such attempts simply blur our understanding of who you are and what you can accomplish. We want to hear your genuine voice throughout the essays that you write, and this is the time to think carefully about your values, your passions, your hopes and dreams.”*

Makes sense, right?

*mbaMission** is the leader in MBA admissions consulting with a full-time and comprehensively trained staff of consultants**, all with profound communications and MBA experience. mbaMission has helped thousands of candidates fulfill their dream of attending prominent MBA programs around the world. Take your first step toward a more successful MBA application experience with a free 30-minute consultation with one of mbaMission’s senior consultants. Sign up today at* *www.mbamission.com/manhattangmat**.*

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]]>The post Know the GMAT Code: Interest Rate GMAT Problems appeared first on GMAT.

]]>*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**.*

I’m excited about the problem I have to share with you today in the latest installment of our Know the Code series. ☺ Interest rate GMAT problems can be extremely annoying—you might find yourself spending 4 minutes and still having to guess in the end. So your first decision is whether you even want to tackle these kinds of problems in the first place.

But there are some things you can learn that could make answering interest rate GMAT problems a lot less irritating. Try out this Integrated Reasoning (IR) Two-Part problem from the GMATPrep® free practice exams. (Note: This one is an IR question, but I could absolutely see them testing the same principle on a Quant problem.)

If you’re planning to guess on 3 questions in the IR section, then you can give yourself 3 minutes and 20 seconds to do this problem. If you’re planning to guess on 2 questions, then give yourself 3 minutes.

“*Loan X has a principal of $10,000*x* and a yearly simple interest rate of 4%. Loan Y has a principal of $10,000*y* and a yearly simple interest rate of 8%. Loans X and Y will be consolidated to form Loan Z with a principal of $(10,000*x* + 10,000*y*) and a yearly simple interest rate of *r*%, where. In the table, select a value for *x* and a value for *y* corresponding to a yearly simple interest rate of 5% for the consolidated loan. Make only two selections, one in each column.”

Ready?

*1-second Glance.* Two-Part. Wall of words! Story—will need to translate.

*Read *and* Jot*. This one’s so complex that I needed to read it twice, and I didn’t start writing anything till the second time. Sometimes you need to do that with story problems.

There are two loans with some details and then a third one that’s a combination of the first two. Interesting. Let’s start with the first two.

*Reflect*. I’m also going to do a loop on my first two steps. I’m going to reflect a bit here, then continue with the rest of my second read-through and jot down the rest.

Hmm. If both of these were exactly $10k in principle, then combining them would give me a combined interest rate of 6%—the exact, or “straight,” average of the two interest rates. But the principles have these extra variables, *x* and *y*, and they probably don’t represent the same value—that would be too easy.

I have noticed one important thing, though: this problem is really a weighted average problem in disguise, with the *x* and the *y* representing the relative weights of the two original loans. The combined loan will depend on how much each of the original loans is weighted.

*Read* and *Jot* some more.

The first part is okay, but what is up with that weird formula for *r*? (I don’t know what it means, so I haven’t jotted it down yet.) And then that last bit—they’re telling me to calculate based on a simple interest rate of 5%…*for the consolidated loan*.

Hey! That’s Loan Z. They actually just told us that *r*% = 5%. ☺ Nice!

And here’s the even nicer thing: go back to that weird formula. Plug in *r* = 5.

That’s ugly. So make it less ugly. Simplify!

That’s certainly a much nicer equation. But what’s the significance? What is that telling us?

The question asks us to find a value for *x* and a value for *y* that correspond with all of the given information. This equation gives a relationship between those two variables. Whatever *y* is, multiply it by 3 to get *x*.

Go take a look at the possible answer choices. If *y* were 21, what would *x* have to be?

If *y* = 21, then *x* = (3)21 = 63. However, that value, 63, isn’t in the answers, so *y* doesn’t equal 21.

Try the next one. If *y* = 32, then *x* = (3)32 = 96. Bingo! That value is in the answers! The value for *y* is 32 and the value for *x* is 96. Done!

Now, wait a sec. What just happened here? How did that really work?

If you’re comfortable with the idea that the problem asked you for relative values of *x* and *y*, and all you really had to do was find that relative relationship and then find the two answers that fit that relationship, you’re good to go.

If, on the other hand, you want to understand the underlying principles here—and, by the way, if you’re interested in learning an even *faster* way to solve—then read on.

Remember, at the beginning, when I mentioned that this was a weighted average problem? We never followed up on that. Now we’re going to.

Loan X is 4% and Loan Y is 8%. And then they tell us the rate for the combined loan: it’s 5%. That’s really key!

If the combined loan rate is 5%, then we can figure out the relative proportion of Loan X to Loan Y using the teeter-totter method (we discuss this in the Weighted Averages chapter of our Word Problems Strategy Guide). And remember that Loan X = 10,000*x* and Loan Y = 10,000*y*. In other words, the relative values of *x* and* y* equal the relative weighting that each loan is given in the overall calculation.

Here’s how it works:

If the teeter totter were perfectly balanced, then the combined rate would be exactly halfway between Loan X and Loan Y, at 6%. It’s not perfectly balanced, though; it’s tilted over towards Loan X.

That leads to our first important conclusion: Loan X is more heavily represented, so the value of *x* is larger than the value of *y*. Keep that in mind if you get stuck and have to guess later.

Next, we can actually figure out the exact proportion of *x* to *y*. Here’s how:

There are two “sub-distances”: 5 − 4 = 1 and 8 − 5 = 3. The shorter one goes with the smaller loan, Y. The longer one goes with the larger loan, X. The values themselves represent the ratio of the two loans: *x* : *y* = 3 : 1. In other words, *x* is 3 times as large as Y.

That’s the same info that the earlier equation told us, and you can follow the same logic to get to the answer pairing 32 and 96. In other words, if you recognize that this is a weighted average, you can find the 3 : 1 ratio just by drawing a number line and doing some pretty basic subtraction. No algebra needed.

As I mentioned earlier, I can definitely see them using this same principle on a regular Quant question. The only major difference would be that IR questions do tend to provide more information than you need to answer a question, while Quant questions do not. So, in Quant-question form, the question stem would be streamlined: You’d be given only what you need in order to answer the question.

(1) Take long story problems in parts. You may need to read the whole thing first to understand the basic story, then read it a second time in order to jot down information and reflect on how to move forward.

(2) Don’t skip that *Reflect *step! In this case, there were two important keys to notice: first, that this is a weighted average problem in disguise, and second, that *r* = 5.

(3) Turn any knowledge you gain into Know the Code flash cards:

Happy studying!

**Can’t get enough of Stacey’s GMAT mastery? Attend the first session of one of her upcoming GMAT courses absolutely free, no strings attached. Seriously. **

**Stacey Koprince is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Montreal, Canada and Los Angeles, California.** Stacey has been teaching the GMAT, GRE, and LSAT for more than 15 years and is one of the most well-known instructors in the industry. Stacey loves to teach and is absolutely fascinated by standardized tests. Check out Stacey’s upcoming GMAT courses here.

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]]>The post GMAC Debuts Immigration Resource Page for International MBA Students appeared first on GMAT.

]]>With immigration being a current hot-button issue in the U.S., many international MBA students are understandably concerned and confused about studying there. For those who find themselves with questions on immigration and studying abroad, the people at GMAC (the makers of the GMAT exam) have dedicated a page on their website to providing resources on those topics.

These resources include:

- An immigration primer on types of visas needed to study in the U.S., how to obtain them, and how to comply with their rules and restrictions
- Contacts at certain business schools who can answer candidates’ questions about changes to United States visa and travel policies
- Tips for navigating international study
- A list of the ways studying abroad can benefit you personally and professionally
- A conversion guide for converting your grades to an American GPA
- Testimonials from students who studied abroad in the U.S.

The GMAC also urges students to contact them at customercare@mba.com or through their Contact Us page if they have any further questions or concerns.

*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.*

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]]>The post Help! I Can’t Handle GMAT Probability and Combinatorics (Part 3) appeared first on GMAT.

]]>*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**.*

**In the previous articles in this series, we developed a critical skill for GMAT probability and combinatorics problems: ***listing out cases*. Let’s start by taking another look at the practice problem from the end of the last article.

*Six coworkers (Anil, Boris, Charlie, Dana, Emmaline, and Frank) are having dinner at a restaurant. They’ll sit in chairs that are evenly spaced around a circular table. Boris, Charlie, and Dana refuse to sit directly across from Anil, because he chews with his mouth open. Frank and Emmaline won’t sit next to each other. Finally, Emmaline and Dana insist on sitting next to each other. How many different arrangements will work? (Ignore the arrangements that come from ‘rotating’ the whole table – only focus on the relative positions of the diners.)*

You know by now that you should solve problems like this by **finding an organized way to list the possibilities**. The key is to divide the problem into smaller, simpler problems, to make it easier to write that list.

In this problem, there are only two people who can sit across from Anil. Only Emmaline and Frank will put up with him! We’ll start by looking at** cases where Emmaline sits across from Anil**, and then we’ll look at** cases where Frank sits across from Anil**. Here’s what my scratch work looked like as I started this problem.

Next, I focused in on the table on the left. I know that **Frank won’t sit next to Emmaline.** So, Frank is either to the left of Anil, or to the right of Anil.

Also, **Dana has to sit next to Emmaline**. Combining those two facts together, there are four possible ways to set everything up. Here they are:

Finally, Boris and Charlie can sit wherever they’d like. That doubles the number of possibilities, giving us a total of **8**.

Next, look at the scenarios where Frank sits across from Anil. Try it on your own: can you identify the **4 possible scenarios** that work? Combining those with the 8 scenarios we found already gives a total of **12 ways to arrange the diners**.

Now, that practice problem is more time-consuming than anything you’re likely to see on the GMAT. However, you can use the basic ideas from that problem on a wide range of GMAT probability and combinatorics problems!

On the GMAT, you may have heard about “order matters” and “order doesn’t matter” combinatorics problems—let’s talk a bit about those. Personally, I find the “order matters” terminology to be confusing, so I’m not going to use those words in this article. Instead, here’s a method that will use the skill of “splitting up the problem” that you’ve already been developing. Here’s an example problem.

*In how many ways can a committee of 5 members be chosen from a class of 10 people? *

(A) 40

(B) 126

(C) 252

(D) 6048

(E) 30240

Yikes—those numbers are too big to *just* list out the possibilities, like we have been. How do we start? Just like we have been, start by making the problem simpler. Don’t try to do the whole thing at once. Instead of asking yourself how to choose the committee, ask yourself: **in how many ways can I choose the first member of the committee?** Well, there are 10 people in the class, so there are 10 ways to do it.

Now, zoom in. If you’ve already chosen the first member, how many ways are there to choose the second member? There are 9 people left, so there are 9 ways to choose. For each of 10 first members, there are 9 second members. Keep doing this until you’ve chosen the entire committee: (10)(9)(8)(7)(6).

One of my high school math teachers loved to tell this joke:

*How many legs does a cow have?*

*Eight: two front legs, two back legs, two left legs, and two right legs. *

When we found the solution above, we made the exact same mistake. We counted each committee more than once, just like my math teacher counted each leg more than once. Let’s see how it happened.

We started by picking the first committee member. Let’s say that was Anil. Then, we picked a second committee member: that was Boris. Then, we picked Charlie, then Dana, then Emmaline. However, we *separately *counted the scenario where we started by picking Dana, then picked Anil, then Charlie, then Emmaline, then Boris. And we *also* separately counted the case where we picked Anil, then Charlie, then Boris, then Dana, then Emmaline. Those committees should *actually* all be the *same *committee, because they have the same people on them! We should have only counted it once. But we messed up—we counted it a bunch of different times, just like we counted each of the cow’s legs too many times.

However, you can fix this problem easily. You just have to **divide by the number of times you counted each committee.** (Notice that in my math teacher’s joke, we counted each leg twice—so, to get the right answer, you’d just have to divide by 2). How many times did we count the committee consisting of Anil, Boris, Charlie, Dana, and Emmaline? We counted it once for each possible order we could have picked them in. There are (5)(4)(3)(2)(1) different orders to put them in, which means we counted each committee 120 times. Our answer is 120 times too big.

Just divide by 120, and you have the right answer! Here’s what your scratch work would look like:

Okay, try it again, but more quickly:

*How many different poker hands of 5 cards can be drawn from a 52-card deck?*

There are 52 ways to draw the first card, 51 ways to draw the second card, and so on. That makes (52)(51)(50)(49)(48) different hands. **Did we overcount?** Yes! We counted each hand (5)(4)(3)(2)(1) = 120 times, just like we counted each committee 120 times. Divide by 120 to get your answer.

How about this one?

*A teacher asks 3 students from a class of 7 to stand in a straight line from left to right. In how many different ways can this be done? *

Okay, there are 7 ways to choose the student on the left, then 6 students who could be in the middle, then 5 students on the right. (7)(6)(5) possibilities. **Did we overcount? **Actually, we didn’t. We don’t have to divide. That’s because the line consisting of Anil, Boris, and Charlie *should* be counted separately from the line consisting of Charlie, Boris, and Anil. Those are two different lines, so you need to count them both individually. The right answer is (7)(6)(5) = 210—no division necessary.

Now you have a basic strategy for combinatorics problems with **bigger numbers**: count the possibilities as simply as possible. Then, **divide if necessary** to fix the “cow has eight legs” mistake. This strategy achieves the same thing as thinking about “order matters,” but it keeps you from having to worry about which type of problem you’re dealing with! Instead, you can just use math and common sense to figure it out.

*See that “SUBSCRIBE” button in the top right corner? Click on it to receive all our GMAT blog updates straight to your inbox!*

**Chelsey Cooley is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Seattle, Washington.** *Chelsey always followed her heart when it came to her education. Luckily, her heart led her straight to the perfect background for GMAT and GRE teaching: she has undergraduate degrees in mathematics and history, a master’s degree in linguistics, a 790 on the GMAT, and a perfect 170/170 on the GRE. **Check out Chelsey’s upcoming GRE prep offerings here.*

The post Help! I Can’t Handle GMAT Probability and Combinatorics (Part 3) appeared first on GMAT.

]]>The post Laying the Foundation for Your Business School Application appeared first on GMAT.

]]>*Each week, we are featuring a series of MBA admission tips from our exclusive admissions consulting partner, **mbaMission**.*

By being proactive and doing some advance planning, aspiring MBA candidates can remove a great deal of stress from the business school application process and substantially bolster their candidacy. We have several big picture recommendations for applicants to consider to help them be as competitive and prepared as possible when admissions season begins in earnest.

Few candidates realize that starting to visit campuses as early as late winter or early spring is a great way to learn about and establish interest in specific schools. Campus visits are not just opportunities for you to “register” with a program’s admissions committee but are also a time for you to gain a deeper, firsthand understanding of various academic methodologies and social environments. Such visits can also prepare you to write far more targeted and informed essays when the time comes. After all, you can only learn so much about a school from its website.

Another way to gain a deeper understanding of your target schools is by meeting with alumni or students, and you can begin doing this now as well. Students may be able to bring specific programs and classes to your attention that are not prominently featured on a school’s website or in its marketing materials but that may be quite appealing and/or relevant to you. Referring to such resources and offerings may also help you strengthen your case for attending that particular school. By meeting with students and alumni and by visiting classes, you will collect a variety of data points that will serve as a foundation for you to persuade the admissions committee that its school is ideally suited to you, in a way that few other candidates will be able to do.

Many candidates have trouble honestly and sincerely articulating their post-MBA aspirations, and virtually every business school requires that candidates write an essay that discusses their short- and/or long-term career goals. So if you hope to enter a competitive field, such as banking or consulting, now would be a good time to conduct informational interviews or even job shadow an individual for a day, if possible. The admissions committees frown on vague goal statements or generic claims that lack a profound personal connection to a position and are therefore less credible. By connecting with and learning from people in the position and/or industry you are targeting, you will gain insight that will imbue your stated career goals with sincerity and authenticity.

A rather overt measure you can take to bolster your candidacy is stepping into a leadership role in your community, if you have not already done so. The earlier you take this step, the more time you have in which to create a track record and show that you are a substantive individual outside of the office. If you instead wait to start volunteering until the fall, your contributions will seem far less sincere, and you will not have sufficient time or opportunity to have the kind of profound experiences that lend themselves well to business school application essays. When identifying a volunteer activity in which to involve yourself, first and foremost, select an organization about which you feel legitimately passionate. If you are genuinely excited about the cause or organization you have chosen, you will be more committed to it, enjoy a more meaningful experience, and have a more heartfelt story to tell about it.

Ideally, your community experiences will both complement and supplement your profile. They can reveal a true passion for your field (complementary) or shift the admissions committee’s perspective on you (supplementary) and help differentiate you from other applicants. For example, an accountant who volunteers with Junior Achievement shows a commitment to his professional path and his desire to give back in this area, thereby complementing his existing profile. The accountant who coaches soccer in his community offers a new window on his personality and abilities, thereby supplementing his profile.

Although a solid commitment to *any* cause or organization will be helpful to your candidacy, the more esoteric the organization, the more distinct and memorable your story. You should not volunteer for a completely obscure organization just to be different, of course, but if you are truly passionate about a less conventional cause or hobby—antiquities preservation, for example—you should consider volunteering in the field, thus increasing your opportunities to discuss this unusual interest. Regardless of the focus and nature of your volunteer/community activities, strive to make an impact and show true leadership in doing so. If you can accomplish this, you should be able to add a valuable new dimension to your business school application.

Your personal achievements can also differentiate you from others in the applicant pool by offering a far more diversified and remarkable picture of you. Start focusing now on accelerating the timeline of any endeavors or goals you have been actively pursuing. For example, if you have been intending to publish a certain article and are close to completing a final draft, do the work necessary to finish it sooner rather than later. If you have been working toward earning your CFA designation and have only Level III of the exam left to pass, be sure to take that final test this year. If you can run 20 miles and have been dreaming of completing a marathon, do it this year. We are not suggesting that if you have never run a mile in your life that you start training for a marathon now, but if you are close to achieving a goal and would likely do so naturally after your applications are due, accelerate your timeline so that you are able to reach it before the schools’ Round 1 deadlines.

Bolstering your academic profile through additional course work can be equally important. Many candidates fret about their poor undergrad performance and feel that they are powerless to change the admissions committee’s perspective on their academic aptitudes, but MBA programs are actually far more forgiving of previous educational issues than other graduate programs are. Most applicants’ academic experience is far in the past, and their GMAT/GRE score, references, and work experience are better indicators of their potential for success. This is not to suggest that poor grades do not matter, rather that poor grades can be mitigated.

If you do not feel confident about your past academic performance, consider enrolling in additional course work immediately. In particular, if you did poorly in math courses (even if your overall GPA is quite high), the admissions committee may have some concerns about your ability to manage a heavily quantitative workload, so you should look into taking a calculus or statistics class. To show an aptitude for management studies, you might take an accounting, economics, or corporate finance class. But simply taking the course(s) is not enough—to effectively show that you have an aptitude for the work and that you take your academics quite seriously, you will need to get an A grade in any class you undertake.

Even candidates who did quite well in undergrad might consider completing additional course work. Liberal Arts majors with 4.0s and no quantitative background can benefit from taking (and doing well in) a math class and a management class, which will allow them to confidently claim and support their competency to handle their coming studies.

*mbaMission** is the leader in MBA admissions consulting with a full-time and comprehensively trained staff of consultants**, all with profound communications and MBA experience. mbaMission has helped thousands of candidates fulfill their dream of attending prominent MBA programs around the world. Take your first step toward a more successful MBA application experience with a free 30-minute consultation with one of mbaMission’s senior consultants. Sign up today!*

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]]>The post GMAT Grammar: Using Nor Without Neither appeared first on GMAT.

]]>*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**.*

**This is the first in what I hope will be many student-question inspired posts. Allyson from Philadelphia was wondering whether “nor” had to be paired with “neither” or whether it could be used on its own. The answer was far more complex than expected, so here it is. If you have an idea for a GMAT grammar blog post, or just have a question that you want answered, email me at emadan@manhattanprep.com.**

To begin, you’ll need to understand the essentials of parallelism. You can get in-depth coverage of parallelism in our Sentence Correction Strategy Guide, but here are the basics. Two (or more) things in a list have to be both structural and logically parallel. Let’s start with the positive form: either/or.

*I will either clean the bathroom or walk the dog.*

Parallel Element 1: Clean the bathroom

Parallel Element 2: Walk the dog

Both are actions that I might do. The word “either,” generally speaking, is optional. If I remove it, the sentence still makes sense.

*I will clean the bathroom or walk the dog.*

Sometimes you’ll need to keep it around because otherwise it’s unclear what the two things being listed are, but that’s not what we’re getting into today. Instead, let’s see what happens when we use the negative form: neither/nor.

*I will neither clean the bathroom nor walk the dog.*

Parallel Element 1: Clean the bathroom

Parallel Element 2: Walk the dog

Same parallel elements, different meaning. It is clear that neither of these actions will occur if I have my way. That clarity disappears as soon as I remove the word “neither” from the sentence.

*I will clean the bathroom nor walk the dog.*

This meaning is ridiculous. There’s no way to know what I meant to say – it’s that bad. So in this case, “neither” is necessary, but why? The simple answer is that “neither” introduces a negative. Without it, I’m saying “I will…” when what I really mean is “I will not…” That’s why “either” is often optional while “neither” is often not.

But “neither” is not always needed. Sometimes you can clarify within the verb itself that we’re discussing negative actions. Let’s try to change our previous sentence to accommodate this. You would change the first parallel element to:

*I will not clean the bathroom…*

This is clearly negative, even without the neither. I just substituted the word “not.” But it’s not quite that easy. If I bring back the second parallel element, unaltered, look what results:

*I will not clean the bathroom nor walk the dog.*

This may or may not sound right to you – make sure you’re making note of what issues you’re able to catch by ear and what issues require you to rely on the rules – but I assure you, it is wrong. Let’s pinpoint why.

With only a hasty glance, you could break up the parallelism like so:

*I will not…*

1. clean the bathroom

2. walk the dog

The two items are parallel, both are things I will not do, but I’ve neglected the “nor.” Just as neither does, nor negates the clause it’s referring to. So a more accurate breakdown would be:

*I will not…*

1. clean the bathroom

2. not walk the dog

I’ve accidentally created a double negative. The meaning of this sentence is closest to “I will not clean the bathroom or I will walk the dog.” That’s not at all what I meant. In order to fix this sentence, we’ll have to be incredibly clear about what I will and won’t do. Try this form:

*I will not clean the bathroom, nor will I walk the dog.*

By repeating the verb “I will,” I allowed myself to clearly express the negative form “I will not” for both elements. It’s wordy, but correct. Try to combine these sentences both with and without “neither.”

- I do not like apples. I do not like pears.
- I cannot swim. I cannot fly.
- Magazines are not novels. Magazines are not stories.
- The drink is not soda. The drink is not tea.

Pausing to give you time before you look at my combinations…

Let’s combine!

- I do not like apples. I do not like pears.

I like neither apples nor pears.

I do not like apples, nor do I like pears.

- I cannot swim. I cannot fly.

I can neither swim nor fly.

I cannot swim, nor can I fly.

- Magazines are not novels. Magazines are not stories.

Magazines are neither novels nor stories.

Magazines are not novels, nor are they stories.

- The drink is not soda. The drink is not tea.

The drink is neither soda nor tea.

The drink is not soda nor is it tea.

In every case, you have to repeat the verb in both parallel elements in order to omit “neither.” You would be incorrect to simply pair nouns (*The drink is not soda nor tea*).

In sum, “neither” is not essential, but is entirely dependent on whether you are correctly negating each of the things on your list. The trap is an accidental double-negative.* It is not…nor X* should translate to *It is not not X*. Beware of this and brush up on parallelism.

Don’t forget to send any topics you’d like to see in a future grammar post to emadan@manhattanprep.com!

*See that “SUBSCRIBE” button in the top right corner? Click on it to receive all our GMAT blog updates straight to your inbox!*

**Emily Madan is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Philadelphia. ***Having scored in the 99th percentile of the GMAT (770) and LSAT (177), Emily is committed to helping others achieve their full potential. In the classroom, she loves bringing concepts to life and her greatest thrill is that moment when a complex topic suddenly becomes clear to her students. **Check out Emily’s upcoming GMAT courses here. Your first class is always free!*

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**Most overlapping sets on the GMAT have two distinct groups. Students take French and/or Spanish (or neither), pianists play either classical and/or jazz (or neither), people like either QDoba and/or Baja Fresh (definitely neither. Chipotle, please)—and for these situations, the familiar, double-set matrix approach works best.**

I am very loyal to Chipotle.

However, eventually the GMAT ratchets up the difficulty, and, instead of giving two groups overlapping, gives you three.

Now, for those of you who haven’t yet cracked 40 on the Quant, stop now. This is an advanced subject, and you shouldn’t worry about it until you’ve mastered the fundamentals of all the other question types. Fear not, this post will still be here. For those of you that have cracked 40, you’ve probably suffered through one of these nauseating problems before.

For three-group overlapping sets on the GMAT, our matrix-method has met its match. You could conceivably try a cube, if you wanted. But believe me, you don’t. Some nerd already tried it.

Okay, it was me.

This is when the Venn Diagram, that old thing people had kind of forgotten about, gets called back into the game and finds itself significant again. Like John McCain.

First, let’s specify what it is that makes this question type challenging, because seeing what’s difficult might help clarify what you need to do to work through it.

What makes these problems difficult is figuring out *how much overlap there is. *Visually, that’s the same as figuring out *how many times we’ve counted each section of the Venn Diagram*.

This becomes the fundamental skill in working through these problems: specifying how many times each section has been counted, and adjusting our equation by adding or subtracting sections until each part has only been counted once.

This is best demonstrated with an example. Let’s say there are 300 people at a film festival. 210 people watch Comedies, 115 watch Horror films, and 70 watch anything starring Kevin James. If 45 people watch both Comedies and Kevin James, 40 watch Horror and Kevin James, and 35 watch Comedy and Horror, and everyone watches at least one of these genres of film, how many people watch all three types of films?

This is a pretty standard 3-group question. Let’s build our diagram while making our equation.

First, we know that 210 watch Comedies, so let’s put that in our equation and acknowledge we’ve counted the Comedy circle once by shading it in.

Then bring in the ‘Horror’ section, add 115 in our equation, and shade the Horror section.

But notice what happened. We’ve counted the intersection of H and C twice now (for visualization, it’s a shade darker). At some point, I have to get rid of that duplication in the equation I’m building.

Once I add the 70 for the ‘Kevin’ circle:

I see that I’ve counted three overlaps twice and the very middle section *three times*. So now I need to find a way to get rid of these overlaps. I know the overlap of Comedy and Kevin is 45, so I can subtract that out of my equation. But, an important question, what sections does this apply to on the Venn Diagram? Is it the whole slice? Or just the image labeled ‘A’?

This is another reason why these problems are tough (and why Venn Diagrams are imperfect of labeling). In this case, 45 represents the* whole slice*. If it just represented A, the problem would have said ’45 people watch *only* Comedy and Kevin James films.’ Look out for the word ‘only’ or ‘exactly’ in these problems. They are very important.

(Aside: in labeling the Venn Diagram, you can create a system for yourself. If the number given for an overlap *includes* the center section, I write the numbers *close* to the center section. If the number I’m given specifies it’s ‘only A and B,’ I write it farther from the center section).

So I subtract the 45, which takes out the whole slice. This means the intersection between *only* Kevin and Comedy has been counted once, as desired, *and* that I’ve also taken out one of the three overlaps in the very center. It’s now only been counted *twice*.

I then subtract the 40 for the overlap between Horror and Kevin. Now the overlap between *only* Horror and Kevin has been counted once, *and* the intersection of all three has been counted once.

I have to get rid of the last duplicated set, though, so I subtract the 35 who watch Horror and Comedy. Now, though, notice, I’ve counted each of my ‘only two groups’ once, as desired, but I’ve *entirely removed* the triple overlap:

So, I need to add that back in. I don’t know the value. But that’s okay—when you don’t know a value, assign a variable (especially when it’s the value the question is asking about).

So I add back x. And since it was specified that in this situation there are no people in the ‘other’ category (because the problem specifies everyone watches at least one of these genres), I know my equation adds up to 300.

So I have the equation: 210 + 115 + 70 – 45 – 40 – 35 + x = 300. Solve for x and you’re done.

Unfortunately, you can’t just memorize every step we just did and apply them to every 3-group problem, as the GMAT can give the information in different ways, and you won’t be able to actually shade in and un-shade the circles as we have here. But the skill always boils down to the same thing: figure out how many times you’ve counted each section of the Venn diagram, and set up an equation so that every part of it is only counted once. Some students like to draw little hash marks in the sections of the Venn diagram to show how many times its been counted, and then cross off them off as they subtract overlaps to get their answer.

For practice, here are two other ways the GMAT might give the information:

At a 300 person film festival, there are 210 people who watch Comedies, 115 who watch Horror, and 70 who watch Kevin James films. If 20 watch only Comedies and Kevin James, 10 watch only Comedies and Horror, and 40 watch only Horror and Kevin James, and every viewer watches at least one of these genres of movie, how many people watch all three?

(These are the same numbers, but the presentation is different and the equation you build will be different. Go through each section and count how many times you’ve put it in/taken it out of your equation to solve).

One thing you can do to improve at this question type is build your own sets. Once you understand how to come up with a three-group overlapping set, you’ll be able to deconstruct the numbers better on the actual GMAT.

Happy studying. I’m going to pick up Chipotle and watch* Paul Blart 2*.

*Want some more GMAT tips from Reed? Attend the first session of one of his **upcoming GMAT courses **absolutely free, no strings attached. Seriously.*

**Reed Arnold is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in New York, NY.** He has a B.A. in economics, philosophy, and mathematics and an M.S. in commerce, both from the University of Virginia. He enjoys writing, acting, Chipotle burritos, and teaching the GMAT. Check out Reed’s upcoming GMAT courses here.

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]]>The post MBA Application Tasks to Consider Completing Early appeared first on GMAT.

]]>The MBA application process is really more of a marathon than a sprint, but many candidates make things harder on themselves than necessary by ignoring certain tasks until late in the game. Here we will cover some pragmatic and practical steps you can take to avoid feeling rushed and to ensure that all the parts of your MBA application are as strong as you can make them before you submit. With some foresight and planning, when the schools start releasing their essay questions in June and July, you will be able to focus solely on them, without the distraction and demands of some of the other parts of your MBA application.

The first step is to prepare your resume now so that come October, during the latest stages of the MBA application process, you will need to make only small modifications and updates regarding your most recent position, if necessary. By working on your resume now, you can give it your full attention, without the distraction of essay writing. Further, because the activity naturally requires you to reflect on your skills and accomplishments, it will remind you of certain meaningful experiences and achievements. In this way, preparing your resume can be an invaluable stage of the brainstorming process for your essays, so that when the time comes to start writing drafts, you already have some clear ideas for strong narratives you can use.

A second step to take now is to start identifying your recommenders (even if you do not approach them about the task for several more months) and gathering intelligence on each of the individuals you are considering. We find that one of the most frustrating parts of the application process for candidates is connecting with and motivating recommenders, so the more time you give yourself for this task and the earlier you begin, the better. Strive to find out whether your recommender has written letters for anyone else and whether he/she tends to generously dedicate time to employee feedback and review sessions. One of the best windows into your possible recommendation process with an individual will be the previous experiences of others who also called on that person for assistance, so you may want to speak with these earlier applicants to learn about what their experience was like. By identifying recommenders who will be helpful and supportive, you will potentially alleviate the stress of missed deadlines and unpredictable letters.

Similarly, take time to reconnect with previous supervisors who could be strong potential recommenders, but with whom you may have fallen out of touch. You do not want to be in a position where you are calling a former supervisor for the first time in a year and asking him/her for a large chunk of time on a tight timeline. If you identify someone whose time you expect to need, make contact now and keep the relationship alive over the next few months. By doing so, you will be in a much better position when the time comes for your recommenders to begin letter writing.

If you plan to remain with or return to your current firm after you graduate from business school, do some research now to learn whether your company will sponsor all or part of your MBA. Firm sponsorship obviously confers financial benefits, but it also offers some additional power with respect to admissions. The schools know that company-sponsored candidates will be employed upon graduation and that their post-MBA goals are thereby “guaranteed,” which improves their attractiveness as applicants. However, securing firm sponsorship can be a timely process. We have worked with clients who have needed to apply for such scholarships 1.5 years before their proposed programs would begin, and you obviously do not want to be applying at the last moment if this is the case at your firm. Similarly, we have worked with clients whose companies did not originally have sponsorship programs but created them when the candidates brought forth the idea—a process that can take months of bureaucratic haggling. So, this is certainly a task you should undertake now.

Finally, another step that can free up some time later is preparing your responses now to the short-answer sections of your target school’s application—the portions of the forms that pertain to your work history, community accomplishments, scholarships, and other such criteria. These sections do not tend to change much from year to year, and many candidates choose to postpone addressing these “details” until the last moment. By doing so early, however, you can avoid an enormous headache later. Furthermore, as with updating your resume now, you may discover stories in the process of completing these sections that will prove quite useful when you are later writing your essays.

In this article, we have outlined several tasks you can complete (or at least begin) right away that will help you be better prepared for the MBA application process when it begins in earnest and will likely spare you some valuable time. Even if you take only a few of these steps, you should be well ahead of your competition and poised for a well thought out, lower stress experience, which should in turn maximize your chances for success.

*mbaMission** is the leader in MBA admissions consulting with a full-time and comprehensively trained staff of consultants**, all with profound communications and MBA experience. mbaMission has helped thousands of candidates fulfill their dream of attending prominent MBA programs around the world. Take your first step toward a more successful MBA application experience with a free 30-minute consultation with one of mbaMission’s senior consultants. Sign up today at* *www.mbamission.com/manhattangmat**.*

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]]>The post Why College Is a Great Time to Prep for the GMAT appeared first on GMAT.

]]>*Undergrads get our best prices on classes, up to $400 off. **Click here to find out how!*

If you’re in college, business school might sound like a faraway, almost ominous concept. Do you have a dream business school that you want to attend one day? Do you know what it takes to get into a top b-school? Have you heard about the GMAT, or Graduate Management Admissions Test?

It can definitely be an overwhelming experience, but it doesn’t have to be. If you give yourself enough time to prep the right way, the test starts feeling less scary and easier to understand. You’ll stop breaking into a sweat at the sight of an exponent or a sentence with five commas, and you’ll feel your confidence building.

How do you get to that point, though? If you’re a college student, the answer is easy: start prepping now. Why? Because the best time to study is while you’re still an undergraduate; in the future, you have less and less time to prep.

**1. You’ll never have more free time.**

We’re sure you’re busy enough now as it is—classes, clubs and organizations, work, and friends take up a lot of time. But despite how busy you might feel, you’ll likely never have more free time in your life. College gives you the opportunity to explore, figure out who you want to be, and plan for your future; if you get test prep out of the way now, you won’t have to worry about it when your responsibilities and expenses increase after graduation (which they will; we don’t like it any more than you do).

**2. Your brain is “in shape” for studying.**

As you get older, your “study skills” usually go down since you haven’t had to use them in a while. While you’re in school, your brain is in academic mode. You’re studying, focusing, and taking tests all the time, so tackling the GMAT will be second nature to you. After graduation, you’ll probably be working a full-time job, you’ll have new concerns, and you may have less free time overall. It’s hard to prioritize test prep when you feel like you’ve lost all your free time/motivation.

**3. Eliminate stress from your b-school application process.**

Taking the GMAT during college can also give you peace of mind when you decide to apply to b-school. The application is going to be time-consuming and stressful, so you can avoid some of that stress by already having your GMAT score! Your score is an important part of the application, and since this score lasts 5 years, getting it over with earlier means you’ll have more time to focus on your application when you’re ready to apply. Balancing your studies for the GMAT, getting everything you need for your application (essays, recommendations), your full-time job, and family/friends is a really daunting process. Applying will seem less impossible if you’ve already gotten the GMAT out of the way.

**4. Boost your resume.**

Taking the test now allows you to add a great score to your resume before the postgrad job hunting starts. To employers, that score will portray a serious interest in your education and future, a desire to invest in yourself, and an impressive intellectual aptitude.

**5. Study now, save big.**

We offer undergraduates our biggest discounts to take our classes. While you’re in school, take up to $400 off our public in-person, online classes, or self-study programs. You can find more information here.

We also offer exclusive, on-campus prep courses at a number of universities across the country, where you can conveniently go from class to prep to bed all without leaving the comfort of the campus wifi network. If that’s not enough of an incentive, our on-campus college classes are up to $600 off, the biggest discount we offer. Use that money for something else.

Want to find out whether there’s a class going on at your campus? Want to bring a class to your campus? Email gmat@manhattanprep.com for more information.

Whether you want to apply to b-school straight after graduation or sometime in the near future, prepping for the GMAT in college will save you a ton of stress, time, and money. We’ll see you in class!

*Ready to register, undergrads? Get our best prices on classes, up to $400 off. **Click here to find out how!*

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]]>The post Practicing Sets of GMAT Problems: Mimic the Real Test (Part 3 of 3) appeared first on GMAT.

]]>*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.*

Welcome to part 3 of our series! If you haven’t seen the earlier installments yet, please start with part 1 and work your way back to me here.

We’ve talked about how to create sets of GMAT problems and how to set your time limit. We haven’t yet discussed what you need to learn from one of these sets before you try another one.

Most of your learning doesn’t actually occur *while* you’re doing a practice problem. Your real learning comes afterwards, when you review your work and the decisions that you made to learn how to get better next time.

You’ll need to do two levels of review.

(1) First, look at the set as a whole:

—Did you make appropriate decisions about how to spend your (limited) time and mental energy?

—If you could have made better decisions, where and what and why and how?

For example: If, in hindsight, you realize that you really should have cut problem 3 off a lot faster and guessed, then figure out the moment at which the scale should have tipped. What were the clues that should have made you say, “This isn’t happening. I’m out.”

If you weren’t able to get to some of the later problems because you ran out of time, first tell yourself that, on the real test, your score just tanked. You don’t want do that next time! Second, feel free to try those problems now—but you still have to time yourself. If you didn’t get to 2 Quant problems, give yourself 4 minutes to try those problems now.

You might be wondering how you know that you spent too much time on a certain problem. Here’s an additional angle you can add to your sets of GMAT problems: have *two* timers available. One will count down the time you’re allowed for the entire set. The other will allow you to track your time per question—you just need a timer that has a “lap” button. (Most timers on smart phones have this feature built in.) Every time you finish a problem, hit that lap button. (This mimics the real test, too! You have to hit “Next” and “Confirm” buttons on the real test in order to advance to the next problem.)

(2) Then, dive into the individual problems:

—Did you actually understand what the problem was asking and telling you?

—Were you able to come up with a good plan or approach to tackle the problem?

—Did you have the necessary skills and knowledge to execute on your plan?

Take a look at this article about the 2nd Level of Learning on the GMAT to help you analyze your work; it contains a general framework for extracting takeaways from problems and links to a series of questions you can ask yourself to really dig in and figure out how to get better.

At times, you’ll run across a problem that you feel you should know how to do—but maybe you made a careless mistake or forgot something and need to go look it up. Feel free to look up anything you want and use any resources you have, then try this problem again; you don’t even need to time yourself this time around. If, in the end, you get stuck, go ahead to the solution to see what you can learn.

Personally, I think that kind of approach is great for almost any problem. If I can figure anything out on my own, versus just passively reading or watching an explanation, then I’m going to learn and remember more.

Yes! As long as you promise me that you really did thoroughly review and learn from the previous set. ☺ A lot of students will just plow through a million sets of GMAT problems without really learning from them. Obviously, I don’t want you to do problems but not learn from them.

Earlier, I told you to do larger sets in multiples of 4 for Quant—and I’m finally going to tell you why. (By the way, I suggest multiples of 8 for Verbal.)

We’ve got some pretty cool strategies for you to use to track your overall timing across all of the questions in the IR, Quant, and Verbal sections. If you have access to our Interact lessons, check out the Prepare to Face the GMAT lesson in session 6 of the course. I do have a blog-post version of this (though it doesn’t have all of the info that’s in Interact—so if you do have access, do the Interact lesson).

These strategies involve organizing your Quant work in groups of 4 and Verbal in groups of 8—so if you hold to these groupings in your problem sets, too, then you’ll truly be mimicking full test conditions.

Yes! As I mentioned in an earlier installment, the Official Guide* books do come with online access to the same questions that are in the books. That online access allows you to set up random question sets.

In addition, the official GMAT Prep software comes with 90 free practice problems that can also be made into random question sets. You can also buy an add-on pack of about 400 questions for additional, random practice. You can choose certain parameters (number of questions, question type, and difficulty bucket).

I know I said this once already, but it’s so important that I’m going to repeat it: the vast majority of your learning comes AFTER you have finished the problem set, when you analyze both the problem itself and your own work. Don’t just do problem set after problem set!

Good luck with your study. Do you have any other tips to help your fellow students create effective problem sets? Tell us in the comments section below!

**Can’t get enough of Stacey’s GMAT mastery? Attend the first session of one of her upcoming GMAT courses absolutely free, no strings attached. Seriously. **

**Stacey Koprince is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Montreal, Canada and Los Angeles, California.** Stacey has been teaching the GMAT, GRE, and LSAT for more than 15 years and is one of the most well-known instructors in the industry. Stacey loves to teach and is absolutely fascinated by standardized tests. Check out Stacey’s upcoming GMAT courses here.

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