Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dummys can tumble out of your GMAT test

GMAC will no doubt use the safety belts. Will not blame any mishap on ‘pilot’ error. Trial runs are round the corner before the debut. The 21011 GMAT test takers may have to don the duplicate’s garb. Iam referring to the new ‘ integrated reasoning’ section of the GMAT.

As a dummy or experimental section can we expect the new section in the GMAT in a few months time? We will have to wait and watch how the ‘pilot’ testing is done by GMAC. It is unlikely that the pilot testing is introduced immediately since the audio system that is part of the new test has to be implemented in all test centres, along with the infra facility. Already the GMAT is a long test. A dummy ‘integrated reasoning’ section would stretch the GMAT to a full four hours. To encourage test takers attempt the dummy section, GMAC may introduce a rewards.
Well enough of this speculation., let’s come back to our good old GMAT and prepare the current crop for the existing pattern which itself is no mean task.

Will the CAT makers make a beeline for the GMAT
The IIM CAT has gone through its ups and downs. Well Iam not referring to the 200 qn that the CAT began the decade with and ending with a 60 question test, jumping to the CBT format in short notice and the infallibility mask falling off.

The IIMs scare us with the ‘elimination’ threat. Not to forget the biggest threat of ‘unpredictable’ element – number of questions, question types, and the works to bring in the difficulty element. If no unpredictability elimination will take another route; school marks, academic consistency, extra curricular….
Now the GMAT is so predictable. But then with all the predisclosed knowledge, not many can score above 700. That is simply brilliant isn’t it?

If the CAT makers towed the lines of the GMAT, and made the CAT more reflective of the B school rigour, would the class composition differ?

Well, We will have to wait and watch for the next shocker from Indian B schools. Oh by the way, CAT is going the GMAT way, screamed the masthead of some newspapers last November. What happened? Well I have no clue, do you have?

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Does the new GMAT reflect B.School curriculum?

The totality of experiences that a student of business study is exposed to, can neither be completely reflected in nor be tested through a management admission test. However, GMAC has to be lauded for its earnest efforts to try in that direction. The result is the new ‘integrated reasoning’ section expected to appear in the new GMAT version to be launched in mid 2012.

Not to deny the fact that the previous attempt at modifying the GMAT was hugely successful. It brought to the admission director’s desk, a new set of skills of the aspirants through the analytical writing. Besides the test makers introduced the brilliant concept of adaptive testing, almost flawlessly administered worldwide( at least I haven’t heard of any leak or scam).

If a Bschool prepares the candidate for the increasingly complex world of business, and if the curriculum fairly successfully presents those complexities through academic work- assignments, projects, case analyses, the admission test is bound to follow as ‘microcosm’ of the entire world of business. This means that critical thinking and decision making at their various levels of complexities and relevance should be reflected in the test. The GMAT, by doing so, doesn’t degenerate into a test of ‘elimination’ of thousand of applicants, instead comes up trumps in adding appropriate features that reflect the changing world of business.
{Some trivia: Most Sunday mornings of the last decade of my life was spent in a GMAT class. Interesting isn’t it? The last Sunday too was no different. I was in a critical reasoning class imparting ‘logic lessons’ to GMAT aspirants. In my introductory lesson in CR I take the students though ‘critical thinking’- attributes of a critical thinker, what skills o CR test, how formal logic help build strategies for CR questions and so on. It was during the coffee break of this session that the ‘breaking news’ came that integrated ‘reasoning’ is going to be introduce in to the GMAT. }

As a trainer I always advised my students to see GMAT not only as a test to gain entry into reputed colleges but also as a means to build the type of critical thinking skills that are a prerequisite to assimilate and appreciate the B school curriculum. The GMAT, I thought, was designed for just that. Instead of doing a lot of tests and trying one’s ‘luck’ in many attempts, how rewarding it would for a B school aspirant to do thorough study of all that add value- quantitative problem solving, reading a lot of abstract texts, brainstorming on those contemporary essay prompts, building language competence and many such skill.

Feedback to this is welcome
Mail me vijaya@semanticslearning.com

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GMAT change…and for the better

The news about the replacement of one of the essays on the GMAT with an ‘integrated reasoning section’ is splashed all over the place.

The current scenario
The GMAT has been a reasonably good indicator of one’s aptitude given that it tests quantitative, reasoning and verbal areas involving a good range of component skills- reasoning in a quantitative setting, ability to interpret and conclude from verbal data, identify, analyse and evaluate arguments to list a few. The writing section also tests, to some extent, analytical and evaluation skills. The argument essay prompts test one’s ability to analyse and evaluate arguments similar to critical reasoning questions of the verbal section.

Now one step ahead
No doubt the new change is in the forward direction. The integrated reasoning section appears to incorporate more complexities that would better reflect the modern day Bschool rigour. If reports were to be believed, the new test design would integrate data in numbers, symbols and words. This involves skills similar to those necessary to critically analyse, assemble and evaluate data collected from various sources and of various forms( audio, tabular and textual) into meaningful new inferences and conclusions that form the case studies and project assignments that constitute B school work.

Don’t these also reflect as well as test an aspirant’s ability to assimilate complex data drawn from various sources, processed and used in the world of business decision making?

Which essay topic can be dropped?
If I can be allowed to speculate, I would say the argument essay may be dropped.
I present two cases for this guess
A. Critical reasoning of the verbal section tests the same skills as those in argument essay.( in fact one can see a lot of overlaps between the two, except the skill of verbalizing one’s reasoning.
B. The proposed ‘integrated reasoning’ section can test more complex reasoning skills that the current argument essay task tests.

Visit www.semanticslearning.com to read two more analyses on the GMAT integrated reasoning.
• Does the GMAT reflect B.school curriculum
• Dummys can tumble out of your GMAT test

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

GMAT: a note for the beginners

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a standardized,three-part exam designed to help admissions officers evaluate how suitable individual applicants are for their graduate business and management programs.It measures verbal,mathematical,and writing skills the outcome of 16 years of education and experience.
Since graduates from all subjects of undergraduate study and from all work backgrounds are eligible for business education at graduate level, the GMAT exam will assess your general aptitude in language, reasoning and numerical skills giving admissions officers a statistically reliable measure of how well you are likely to perform academically in the core curriculum of a graduate business program.This is not to deny that there are many other qualifications that can help people succeed in business education and careers- such as work experience,leadership ability, motivation,and interpersonal skills.Since the GMAT does not gauge these qualities, other criteria are also considered for admission- performance in undergad study, essays,and letters of recommendation.
GMAT scores are one criterion for admission to close to 2000 graduate business and management studies across the US, Canada, Europe, Dubai, Singapore, India, Australia, Newzealand. Because the GMAT test gauges skills that are important to successful study of business and management at the graduate level,your scores will give you a good indication of how well prepared you are to succeed academically in a graduate management program;how well you do on the test may also help you choose the business schools to which you apply.Furthermore, the percentile table you receive with your scores will tell you how your performance on the test compares to the performance of other test takers, giving you one way to gauge your competition for admission to business schoo1. Use the college websites, journals and other publication to gather intake criteria relevant to the school you apply to.
GMAT structure
The GMAT exam consists of four separately timed sections.You start the test with two 30-minute Analytical Writing Assessment(AWA)questions that require you to type your responses using the computer keyboard.The writing section is followed by two 75-minute,multiple-choice sections:the Quantitative and Verbal sections of the test.
The GMAT CAT, in the multiple-choice format, constantly gauges how well you are doing on the test and presents you with questions that are appropriate to your ability level.These questions are drawn from a huge pool of possible test questions.So each test taker is presented with different test editions.( the skills tested remain the same, the total number of questions in each section remains the same, the time allotted remain the same, the are of questions remain the same.) As you respond to the questions presented, the computer will narrow your score to the number that best characterizes your ability. When you compute each section,the computer will have an accurate assessment of your ability.
Because each question is presented on the basis of your answers to all previous questions,you must answer each question as it appears. Random guessing can significantly lower your scores.If you do not know the answer to a question,you should try to eliminate as many choices as possible,then select the answer you think is best. If you answer a question incorrectly by mistake-or correctly by lucky guess-your answers to subsequent questions will lead you back to questions that are at the appropriate level of difficulty for you.
Some interesting facts
• Only one question is presented at a time.
- The answer choices for the multiple-choice questions are not lettered or numbered but circled.
• Different question types appear in random order in the multiple-choice sections.
• You must click on the confirm button for the next questions to be presented.
• • You cannot go back and change answers; you cant skip a question
GMAT test content
The test provides one method of measuring overall ability.
The GMAT Quantitative section measures your ability to reason quantitatively, solve quantitative problems,and interpret graphic data.
Two types of multiple-Choice questions are Quantitative section:
• Problem solving
• Data sufficiency
Problem solving and data sufficiency questions are intermingled throughout the Quantitative section. Both types of questions require basic knowledge of:
• Arithmetic
• Elementary algebra
• concepts of geometry

The Verbal Section
The GMAT verbal section measures your ability to read and comprehend written material,to reason and evaluate arguments,and to correct written material to conform to standard written English. Because the verbal section includes reading sections from several different content areas, you may be generally familiar with some of the material; however, neither the reading passages nor the questions assume detailed knowledge of the topics discussed.

Three types of multiple-choice questions are used in the verbal section:
• Reading comprehension
• Critical reasoning
• Sentence correction
These question types are intermingled throughout the Verbal section.
How is the scoring done?
Your GMAT scores are determined by:
• the number of questions you answered
• whether you answered correctly or incorrectly
• the level of difficulty and statistical weightage of each question answered.
Analytical Writing Assessment Scores
The Analytical Writing Assessment consists of two writing tasks:Analysis of an Issue and
Analysis of an Argument.The responses to each of these tasks are scored on a 6-pomt scale, with
6 being the highest score and 1, the lowest.
Prepare, extraprepare
Be thorough with
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry concepts
Rules of sentence construction
Basics of formal logic
Read extensively, to build comprehension skills and language competence. Study a lot of sentences and observe structure, word order, idiom use, clarity, effectiveness and word use.
Take tests – paper based/ computer based
In the initial stages of preparation, you may work with paper based material – for concept building, and for solving multiple choice questions.
It is advisable to read a lot of passages on the computer screen.
Taking model tests
Practice on full exams- ie, AWA, math, Verbal all included, at least 5 tests
See how you manage your time; use your time wisely.Being too slow or overly fast in the beginning can affect your overall performance.

Accuracy is more important than speed
Once you start the test, an onscreen clock will continuously count the time you have 1eft.
Answer practice questions ahead of time.
Read all test directions carefully: and read each question closely. A few errors occur because of your ignoring the requirement of the question.
The directions explain exactly what is required to answer each question type.
Do not spend too much time on any one question.
If you do not know the correct answer, or if the Question is too time-consuming, try to eliminate choices you know are wrong, select the best of the remaining answer choices, and move on to the next question. Try not to worry about the impact on your score –guessing may lower your score, but not finishing the section will lower your score more.
Make preliminary notes before you begin to write your essay
Take care to organize your ideas and develop them fully; your response should be relevant, clear, logically organized, formal, complete.
For crisp strategies,log on to www.semanticslearning.com; follow us at letsgmat.blogspot.com
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GMAT preparation: blueprint and study chapters

Here is a complete list of chapters relevant to GMAT
First phase: Reading comprehension
Extensive reading of various topical articles-
Science, economics, literary reviews, philosophy, and topics of contemporary debate.( double the reading of topics that you have not been in the habit of reading)
Second phase
How to actively read texts for tone and bias
How to read quickly and efficiently
How to analyze organization and structure
How to draw inferences from a reading text
The major question types and how to approach them
Practice with all types of passages and questions
Analyse extensively – questions, solutions, wrong answers, right answers.
critical reasoning
Phase 1
Lessons in formal logic, types of arguments, components of arguments, weak and strong arguments, inductive and deductive arguments, types of logic, common fallacies in argument, criteria of strong arguments
Phase 2
How to analyze arguments
How to spot weaknesses in arguments
15 Critical Reasoning question types and transferable strategies
Practice with quality questions.
Sentence correction
Phase 1
Parts of speech, grammar rules, diction, common idioms, grammar drills
Common errors in writing – agreement between parts of sentence.
Effective expressions: avoiding redundancy, wordy structures, awkwardness, ambiguity, unnecessary separation of elements, inappropriate diction, inconsistency
Phase 2
Typical sentence correction questions
How to identify trick sentence correction questions
Observe how options are constructed
Elimination method
Practicing with a wide variety of sentence correction questions
Problem solving
Phase 1
review of fundamentals of math
In arithmetic - Percentage, Interest, discount, Progressions, Uniform motion, Ratio and proportion, Grouping and counting, Data Interpretation, symbols, Progressions,
In algebra - study quadratic equations, linear/ bi-linear equations, trigonometry.
In Geometry - lines, quadrilateral, circles, polygons, trapezium and mensuration.
Phase 2
Learn how to interpret data graphs, pie charts, bar graphs and caselets and how to apply statistics concepts such as mode, mean, standard deviation and median.
Solve word problems, data sufficiency problems and reasoning in a quantitative setting. Work with a wide variety of problems –concept application, formula based, puzzles.
Analyse extensively
Work with higher order problems –caselets, data analysis, develop creative problem solving strategies- hypothesizing and verifying, working backward using option indicators, devising spot strategies
Build speed, work with timed tests

brain storm and write at least 10 issue and 10 argument sample practice essays on original topics.
Brainstorm on a lot of topics from the real topics.
Have your essay evaluated by tutors or qualified friends

Mock exams and remedial work
5- 10 mock exams – do all sections at one sitting( you have to build stamina for a nearly 4 hr exam, no kid’s play) adjust time management . revise chapters, work on weak areas
Recommended concept resource: e-books www. semanticslearning.com
Recommended test practice: official guide
Recommended mock exams: powerprep test
With all these mastered, you will know exactly what to expect in the test.

Open your skills. Succeed.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

ENTER thinkin class

concepts tests, concept tests,concepts tests, concept tests,concepts tests, concept tests,concepts tests, concept tests.......

Hold On

GMAT has moved on....

Learn differently with thinkin class.
look at the link on your right.

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New feature in letsgmat

In lieu of the recent trends in GMAT.
"GMAT questions have become tougher".

I have decided to add study notes for those who are studying by themselves for GMAT.
On your left you will see a regular feature where i will post math,critical reasoning, sentence correction, data sufficiency questions with analysis and solutions.

Study these problems. The way the questions are analysed will be useful for you.
Generally in other sites you would have found questions, correct answer and and explanation.

Here I have gone one step further and I also have
  • broken down each problem into its bare necessities
  • written the logic behind each and every problem
  • further variations(if any) which can be added to the problem to make it more complex
and more insights into the problem. So go ahead and lap it up.  Questions will be updated every week. so keep visiting....

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