In order to safely administer the GMAT and the GRE in the age of social distancing, their creators have now have rolled out interim online exams. The material on the tests is almost identical to their in person counterparts however there are some particularities to the test taking procedures.
For the GMAT the sections are the following
You are not able to compute problems using a notebook and will need to use the provided digital whiteboard. We highly recommend you become familiar with the whiteboard before taking the test. You can more information of how to use this resource here.
The exam is proctored virtually. To save time and avoid stress during the setup and approval from your proctor, watch this video that explains the process.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is affecting our lives in countless ways. It may be confusing to sort out how this affects your path to applying to graduate school. Are all GRE and GMAT tests canceled? Are business and graduate programs waiving the need for these test scores for their applications? Can you even study effectively in this stage of social distancing and sheltering in place? In this time of flux and uncertainty it can all be a little overwhelming.
We’ll do our best to help you sort it all out here.
If you’re already signed up to take an exam, you can get up to date information about your specific test date and location here for the GMAT exam and here for the GRE exam. Both the GMAT and the GRE will soon be able to be accessed as online tests from home. The GRE is already available as of March 27, 2020 and the GMAT will be available mid April. These tests are practically identical to their originals (although the GMAT will not include the AWA section) and are proctored remotely by trained individuals.
While some schools are waving the need for the GRE or GMAT, most schools are postponing application deadlines or adding additional application rounds to allow those who haven’t taken the exams to access their remote online formats. If a school you are thinking of attending is temporarily waving the need to take the GRE or the GMAT, this does not mean they have lowered their standards for candidates. You will still need to brush up of the topics covered in these exams to be prepared for the first semester of graduate school. Its a good idea to brush up on arithmetic, geometry, algebra, data analysis, writing skills, vocabulary and critical reasoning skills as preparation for graduate study.
The stress and uncertainty of the state of flux we are all in now can make studying for the GMAT or GRE feel like just too much. On the other hand, most people currently have much more time than prior to the outbreak of coronavirus since they are not commuting to work and are unable to attend usual social gatherings. In periods of transition and uncertainty, routine and purpose are important to solidify. Continuing or creating a consistent study routine is one small way to achieve this. Having a set goal with concrete steps you can take to improve can provide great satisfaction. Use your study plan as a way to stay grounded and keep you on track to meet your professional goals!
If you need a little more structure, accountability and support to stay motivated in your studying, many test prep companies (PrepCorps included) are offering online study programs. There are options of online individual tutoring where you can customize a study plan to suit your unique needs with a highly qualified tutor. For those missing group activities, there are also options of fully interactive online courses for GRE prep or GMAT prep that can be accessed from the comfort and safety of your home.
Don’t let this pandemic get in the way of getting into your dream school! We’re here on the other side of the computer screen to support you in this crazy time.
A group of students participating in our one day math bootcamp program while at the same time social distancing :)
Our amazing instructors!!!! and in particular our instructors of the year!
We wanted to take a minute to thank each and every instructor for their phenomenal work this past year. This past year our instructors worked with 100+ PrepCorps students, helping them gain the confidence and skills needed to apply to their dream post graduate programs.
It has been said, “The mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates, and the great teacher inspires.” It is clear to us all of our instructors have impacted and inspired their students to go out and chase their dreams. But don't just take it from us.... here are some of the PrepCorps students’ testimonials regarding their instructors:
[My instructor] was amazing! Obviously very smart and well-versed in the GRE study materials, but also very patient and able to explain the concepts in creative ways so that every student could understand. [s/he] clearly cared about us, and shared examples from what [s/he] was reading and what [s/he] had experienced in ways that encouraged everyone else to open up, too. [My instructor’s] approach made the class a wonderful experience that also prepared me well for the GRE.
I will forever recommend any one who needs assistance for examination prep to go through PrepCorps due to the incredible tutors I had for my GMAT prep.
[My instructor] saved my life with math. I’m SO shy about how hard simple math can be and she seriously was so amazing and my score and confidence skyrocketed! <3
[my instructor] helped so much in 1:1 tutoring - I built a lot of confidence because of [my instructor]
We wanted to give an extra loud shout out to our two instructors of the year for 2019:
Eshan Dabak - GRE and Karan Bokil - GMAT
Eshan has over 3 years of experience tutoring students and has now taught 2 PrepCorps courses. He has received stellar reviews. Students consistently remark about his dedication to supporting them in reaching their goals. Karan is an engineer at Microsoft, and he still has made time be one of our most booked instructors. His students have repeatedly sung his praise especially regarding how he has helped them find multiple approaches to problem solving.
In addition to helping our students here stateside reach their goals, together we raised over $18,000 for Superkids!!! At Superkids they are kicking of 2020 prepping a whole new crop of student tutors who will be helping their peers at 3 low income elementary schools gain literacy skills. In 2019 Super Kids was able to provide literacy tutoring to 120 kids and in 2020 we are shooting to reach 200 children!!!!!
Thanks again to each and every one of our instructors!! And cheers to a successful 2020!!
Ryna Frankel, Tutor
Keep a Mistake Log!
Reserve a section of your study notebook for keeping track of your mistakes. Write down the questions you missed and work through the correct way to solve them, really digging into where you went wrong.
Paying close attention to your mistakes as you practice will reveal your patterns and help you avoid those pitfalls on test day. Plus, this in-depth review will get you into the test-makers’ mindset, and you’ll be better able to identify the traps they’re setting for test takers. Make sure to keep track of near misses too! Like that question you got right, but really it was a lucky guess between two choices.
Mistake logs help you understand WHY the answer is wrong and WHY the right answer is the correct one.
A huge thank you to our Instructors of the Year 2018!! They have taught hours upon hours for PrepCorps, consistently building great relationships with students and supporting our educational mission both in the U.S. and abroad!
Here is real student feedback about the three:
Ryna Frankel, a recent MFA grad from the University of Washington, has the patience and persistence to root cause the source of a student's testing obstacles: "These scores get me within the range of some of my middle tier & safety schools and validate the work I've put into preparing for this. More importantly - thank you for all the support. This is a very lonely process but you guys make it so much less lonely and overall easier to deal with."
Gina Johnson, a second-year MBA at UW Foster, has the inside-knowledge of Foster to not just help with the GMAT, but the whole going-to-get-an-MBA process. "They aren't just GMAT tutors, they are helpers and care about your future ambitions. They have been in our seat before and know what its like to be in the situation that we are in. They take the time to make sure you understand and concept and teach it in a way that you understand to tackle problems of all difficulties. Great tutors, comfortable environment and awesome techniques!"
David Clancy, a math PhD at the University of Washington, has the superpower of breaking down difficult concepts into easy-to-understand steps: "Our math tutor, David, was especially knowledgeable about the material and able to break down questions when we were confused."
Meagan Terry, Operations Manager
Figure out your guessing strategy!
Estee's favorite tip for test takers is to figure out a good strategy for guessing on problems you might not get correct. If you are going to get a question wrong, it's better to get it wrong quickly than slowly! Spend that extra time you might spend on a problem that you will likely miss, on problems you know for sure you will get right.
How to develop your guessing plan:
1. Notice which types of problems you are getting wrong on your practice exams or homework.
2 Figure out how many questions before the exam you want to guess on.
3. Use that extra time to get as many other questions right as possible :-)
4. Crush the exam on test day!
Example: A student identified her weakest area as probability, and knew this ahead of time. Instead of spending four minutes trying to figure out a probability question that she would likely get wrong on the exam, she guessed and kept moving. This gave her four minutes towards questions she will get right, and doesn't have to guess on or rush through and make a mistake.
Guessing doesn't mean that you do not try and get better on weak areas, but it helps you identify your weakest spots and not waste time on them on test day.
Estee Katcoff, Professional GMAT-Crusher
Companies charge an arm and a leg for tutoring. When I was teaching at one national test prep company, the company charged $250 (and paid their tutors $60). But even Craigslisters charge upwards of $100/hour! So what is it about tutoring that makes it as expensive as a minor surgery?
Well, tutoring (like everything else) abides by the laws of supply and demand. There is a lot of demand for test prep, but qualified tutors are in short supply. There are several reasons why.
1. Limited hiring pool
By definition, only 1% of test-takers score in the 99th percentile. That means that of the 6,000 people who took the GRE in the state of Washington last year, only about 60 of them scored in the 99th percentile (assuming equal distribution nationally). It's difficult for companies to hire from such a narrow pool -- and thus they must offer compelling salaries.
2. Cost of training
Just because you did well on a test doesn't mean you know how to teach. PrepCorps actually turns away more than 50% of applicants -- because even though each applicant knows how to ace the test, he/she doesn't necessarily have the teaching skills or social prowess to adapt their explanations ON THE SPOT to their students' (sometimes subtle) reactions. Teaching is hard, man. And it's a skill that 99th percentile tutors don't always have.
3. Low capacity per tutor
Think about it. Tutoring services are in-demand mostly at night (read 5:30-10pm) and on weekends. Most tutors are only willing to give up 1-2 evenings per week, meaning that the capacity per tutor is only 2-3 students at a time.
4. Marketing costs MOOLAH!
When you pay a tutor, you're paying for his/her time -- but also for all the time spent on logistical tasks such as developing the curriculum, updating the website, reminding you to post a yelp review, etc. And all that stuff adds up! Especially the marketing. Google Ads for 'GMAT tutoring' are about $6 per click! And that comes out of your tutor's pocket.
So.. is there a way to cut costs?
PrepCorps is experimenting with different systems to see what happens. Many companies revert to online resources or pre-made videos to eliminate the short supply problem, but we know that there is still high demand for in-person tutoring.
Here are some questions that we'd like to ask:
1) Can an 85th percentile scorer be a more effective teacher than a 99th percentile scorer?
2) Can a test prep company hire one tutors who did well on math, but not verbal -- and pair him with a tutor who did well on verbal, but not math?
3) Is there a market for tutor-pools? ex. splitting costs by tutoring in groups of 2-3
4) Is there a way to recruit new students exclusively by word-of-mouth? Or is spending hundreds on Google ads the only answer?
So you've just finished your first GMAT diagnostic. Good for you! The next step that I recommend is to develop a target score based on the following percentile chart.
Let's say that you got a 620 on your practice exam -- a 90th percentile in Verbal and a 33rd percentile in Quant. Eek!
You might think that you need to focus on quant, and you'd be right. However, you'd be making a mistake if you focused on quant exclusively.
Let me explain.
You want to get a 700. Look for the 700 on the chart. You can get a 700 by exclusively working on quant, but you'd have to achieve a 66th percentile in order to do that. Depending on your ability to study hard, this may be feasible for you -- but there might be an easier way to get to that 700.
Following the chart to the right, you can see that there are other paths to a 700:
- you can get a 58th percentile in quant and 96th in verbal
- you can get a 43rd percentile in quant and a high-99th percentile in verbal
For many American test-takers who find verbal easier, this may be an easier way to reach that 700. Will your 99th percentile Verbal/ 43rd math look good to MBA programs? Short answer -- most schools value the final GMAT score above all else (because that's what affects their rankings). That being said, you should prepare an answer for your interview in case the school asks if you'll be able to handle heavy quantitative analysis in MBA classes. But your answer can touch on other quant experience that you've had at work -- it doesn't necessarily need to be based on your GMAT score.
Click here to see a more extended chart on how math/verbal combines.
Feel free to develop your own personal target score.
The short answer: a lot.
Students come to me all the time because they took the GMAT and didn't get the score that they wanted. And in 9 times out of 10, the problem is that the student hadn't studied enough.
I studied for about 80 hours and got a 770. However, data says that people who get above a 700 study 120+ hours ON AVERAGE. This means that many students study a great deal more than 120 hours to get their dream score.
One of our tutors told me that she studied for four hours per day for five months! All said and done, she studied for about 500 hours to receive a 50+ score on the math section.
Many people claim that aptitude tests like the GMAT don't test intelligence, but there's one thing that's for sure. The GMAT definitely tests your persistence and time management skills as you struggle to put in 120+ hours on top of a full-time job and whatever else you're doing. As you're studying, remember that the GMAT is simply testing your ability to achieve results, no matter what your starting point. As a manager, you'll be asked to do things that you've never done before. You'll need to learn skills outside of work to make sure that the job not only gets done, but gets done well. Would you be able to manage your time to ensure that the project achieves its desired results?
If so, you're going to kick ass on the GMAT!
For a free hour of tutoring, message us at email@example.com
This is a common question with a complicated answer: your score is important, but it’s also not important. That’s because your GRE score is only one factor of your application. If you score in the 97th percentile in Verbal Reasoning, but write an incoherent personal statement, your application is unlikely to be considered. And if the rest of your application is truly stellar but your GRE scores are only mediocre, you still have a really good shot at being accepted into a Master’s or PhD program.
This is all to say that the GRE shouldn’t be overlooked as you work on your applications. But how much time and effort (and money) should you invest?
Your chances of being accepted into a top program and of being given scholarships, teaching assistantships, or other awards are much higher with a higher score. Therefore, it’s important to consider your goals for graduate school as you develop a study plan for the GRE. Are you pursuing a Master’s or PhD solely to acquire new knowledge? If so, perhaps attending a top school is less crucial. But if you are also hoping for networking and career opportunities, a great score could be the key to achieving those goals. It’s a good idea to do your research first. Find out the average GRE scores of the programs you’re applying to. Read up on if the schools look at highest scores or focus on the first test you took. Learn if your target schools use GRE scores to choose teaching assistants. Once you have your own goals set and have a good understanding of the practices of each school when it comes to the GRE, you can focus your study plan to your particular goals. Let’s get you where you want to go!