You are on page 1of 8

The Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT consists of two tests - SAT I and SAT II.

SAT I is a three-hour test, primarily multiple choice, that tests your verbal and mathematical reasoning abilities. SAT II is a one-hour, multiple choice tests in specific subjects. Many colleges require or recommend one or more subject tests for admission. While most colleges expect applicants to take the SAT, there are a few colleges where a SAT score is not mandatory. Most US Universities ask undergraduate applicants or high school students to appear only for the SAT I Exam. However, some universities may ask for the SAT II Subject Exams. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) measures the ability of nonnative speakers of English to use and understand North American English as it is used in college and university settings. Scores on the test are required by more than 4,300 two- and four-year colleges and universities, professional schools, and sponsoring institutions. The test is offered on computer throughout most regions of the world. In areas where access to computer-based testing is limited, a supplemental paper-and-pencil version of the test is administered. IELTS tests the complete range of English language skills which will commonly be encountered by students when studying or training in the medium of English. All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking Modules. There is an option of either Academic or General Training Reading and Writing Modules. Academic is suitable for candidates planning to undertake higher education study. General Training is suitable for candidates planning to undertake non academic training or work experience, or for immigration purposes. IELTS is accepted by most Australian, British, Canadian and New Zealand academic institutions. American academic institutions are increasingly accepting IELTS for admissions purposes. IELTS is accepted by many professional organisations including the New Zealand Immigration Service, the Australian Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, the Australian Medical Council, the UK General Medical Council and the UK Ministry of Defence.

1a. What Is the GMAT & What Does It Test?


The GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) consists of two multiple-choice sections (Quantitative and Verbal) and an essay section called the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA). Quantitative Section 37 questions 75 minutes Problem Solving Questions ~ 24 Questions Data Sufficiency Questions ~ 13 Questions Verbal Section 41 questions 75 minutes Reading Comprehension ~14 Questions Sentence Correction ~13 Questions Critical Reasoning ~14 Questions Essay Questions (Analytical Writing Assessment): The GMAT CAT begins with the two AWA questions. For each of these sections, you have thirty minutes to type an essay into the computer using a simple word-processing program. The essay sections are administered first, but the Quantitative and Verbal multiple-choice sections can appear in any order. We have a full-length prep-guide for the Analytical Writing Assessment.

What Skills Does the GMAT Test?


The GMAT primarily tests four skills: 1. Endurance and ability to focus 2. Basic knowledge of grammar/math/reasoning/argument formation 3. Test-taking skills: ability to guess, work at an appropriate pace, and make decisions under pressure

4. Problem-solving abilities
The 800score.com method is to focus on these skills that are necessary for the GMAT and for success in business school. As for endurance, the first skill, you'll have to stare at a screen intensely and focus for nearly four hours. Keep this in mind when taking practice tests. Get used to working for many hours on end. Learn how to relax. The physical and mental exhaustion is part of the test's challenge. That's why we offer 5 GMAT CAT practice tests. You should take as many practice CATs as possible to learn the test and to get used to the grueling experience. The second skill, a basic knowledge of grammar, math, reasoning, and argument formation, is covered in the later chapters of this online prep guide. No calculators are allowed on test day, so you need to practice doing basic math calculations. The third skill, test-taking skills, is covered in this chapter and throughout the online guide. Timing is a major part of test taking skill, particularly for the GMAT CAT. Our patent-pending GMAT Pacer system will teach you the pacing interactively. To improve your problem-solving abilities, the fourth skill, we have extensive information on reasoning techniques and math concepts throughout this online guide. When you get a question wrong, make sure to review our explanations so that you understand the conceptual error that you made in the question. You do not want to repeat the error again.

1b. GMAT Scores and Business Schools


You'll receive four scores for the GMAT CAT: o Quantitative scaled sub score, ranging from 0 to 60 o Verbal scaled sub score, ranging from 0 to 60 o Overall scaled score, ranging from 200 to 800. This is an overall score that is the combination of your 0 to 60 Math and Verbal scores (hence the name 800score.com, an 800 is a perfect score). The 200 to 800 cumulative score is what business schools primarily use. o Analytical Writing Assessment score, ranging from 0 to 6. This is a separate score that is less important than the 200 to 800 cumulative score. The test is graded on a preset curve so that your scaled score will correspond to a certain percentile. An overall score of 630, for example, corresponds to the 90th percentile, meaning that 90 percent of test takers scored at or below this level. Sample approximate percentiles within the score range of 200-800 99th percentile 90th percentile 75th percentile 50th percentile 720 630 570 500

Highly Competitive
Those six-figure starting salaries have had an impact on the MBA market... everyone wants one. In the early-'90's the average GMAT score of accepted students at New York University (Stern) Business School was 610. By 2000 it had jumped 76 points to 686. Getting a high score on the GMAT is crucial because the business schools are getting flooded with applicants. Applications to business schools will increase through 2003 and 2004 because many young technology workers want to escape the dotcom collapse and the impact of 9/11. Expect around a 690 average for the topten business schools in 2003-2004.

That 690 figure is deceptive because that average includes many students who were accepted for favorable traits (diversity, unusual accomplishment or success... etc.) that allow them to gain acceptance with a lower score. If you have none of these types of traits, you probably need to break 720 (that's over the 99th percentile) to have a good chance at a top ten school. Average GMAT scores of major MBA programs* Stanford University Cornell Univeristy Georgetown University University of Pittsburgh 730 670 655 620

B-School Refugees
In times of great uncertainty, such as war or recessions, applications to graduate schools tend to increase as students seek security and wait out a weak job market. This is one factor contributing to the highly-competitive b-school environment. Many students prefer to ride out the economic cycle while in school rather than in a weak job market.

1c. How the New GMAT CAT Works


The GMAT is now only available as a computerized test. Instead of having a pre-determined mixture of easy, medium, and hard questions, the computer will select questions for you based on how well you are doing. The first question will be of medium difficulty; if you get it right, the second question will be selected from a large group of questions that are a little harder. If you get the first question wrong, the second will be a little easier. The result is that the test automatically adjusts to your skill level.

Fig. 1.1-This graph shows how the test keeps a running score of your performance as you take the test. The student's running score goes up when he gets the first three questions right (blue) and the score goes down when the test-taker gets questions wrong (red) (questions 4 & 5 on lower axis). As the test progresses, the swings caused by getting a question right or wrong progressively decrease.

Harder Questions Count More


A result of the CAT format is that the harder problems count more than easier ones. If one student does twenty easy questions, half of which he gets right and half of which he gets wrong, and then another student does twenty very difficult questions, half of which he gets right and half of which he gets wrong, the second student will get a higher score. The student who answered ten out of twenty very difficult questions incorrectly would still get a very high score on the GMAT CAT because the harder questions are more heavily weighted. Simpler questions might be easier to answer, but they count much less. Your goal should be to get as many hard questions right because that will get you your highest possible score.

Start Off Strong


The CAT puts much more value on the earlier questions than the later questions. The computer has to make large jumps in the estimation of your score for each of the first few questions. The later questions are used to fine-tune your score. To get the best possible score, focus more time on the earlier questions than the later questions.

Fig 1.2-Get those first questions right! The blue graph shows a student who got the first eight questions right and the remainder wrong and the red graph show a student who got the first eight questions wrong and the remainder right. The blue student scores much higher, despite answering fewer questions correctly.

.
A skilled GMAT test-taker focuses his efforts on getting the early, hard questions correct. Therefore, as we'll see in the next section, the optimal strategy for the CAT is to go extremely slowly and carefully at the beginning of the test.

1d. GMAT Pacing Strategies for the CAT


One Mean CAT
To quote ETS, the makers of the GMAT, "Time management is key." Your timing skills could add or subtract 100 points from your score. Timing skills are important because the CAT has unusual pacing constraints: o DOUBLE PENALTY- for any unfinished questions at the end of each section when time expires. The penalty for unfinished questions is severe (worse than getting a question wrong). You should pace yourself to make sure that you finish all the questions in the allotted time. . o NO DOUBLE CHECKING- All answers are final. If you finish a section early, you cannot go back to double check your earlier answers. For example, if you hurry and finish your section with 20 minutes left, you are stuck at the end of the test with 20 extra minutes. . o NO SKIPPING- When you hit a tough question or get a mental block, you cannot skip the question without entering an answer. Instead, you have to trudge through it, guess, and hope you don't waste too much time. . o GO FASTER AND FASTER- The value of each question decreases as the section progresses. The first few questions will determine most of your score, so you have to start slowly and carefully and then accelerate as the test progresses.

Tame that CAT


... The proper pacing to the GMAT is difficult to learn. You have to accelerate as the test progresses, you have to finish the test on time, and you can't get bogged down on questions. The CAT is engineered so that the early questions count much more than the later questions (we can't emphasize this enough). The result is that you should start off slowly to get the early questions right and then speed through the less important later questions. The problem is that the natural human reaction is to go quickly at the beginning (when you are nervous) and miss the most valuable questions. Question # 1-8 # 9-20 # 21-end Go slowly because the Speeds up here to a Move rapidly and Pace
questions are valuable. Double-check yourself before answering. . normal pace. Be careful, guess more frequently but not as cautious as and make sure to finish earlier in the test. all of the questions. .

Approximate time you should spend on questions, depending on your skill level.

GMAT Question # High Scorer 85+ percentile Medium 51-84+ percentile Low 1-50+ percentile

1-8

9 - 20

21+ 1 min 55s

2 min 10s 2 min

2 min 20s 1 min 55s 1 min 45s 2 min 40 1 min 45s 1 min 40s

Lower scorers should spend more time on the important early questions to get at least a few of them right. Higher scorers should balance their time to get as many questions right as possible. Try to adjust yourself to spend slightly less time on the Sentence Corrections and Quantitative Comparison questions and more time on the Reading Comprehension questions.

How to take control of your pacing


The problem with the above strategies (which are the standard approaches taught by GMAT prep companies) is that they are very hard to apply. For example, if you are on question 10 with 47 minutes left, are you on pace to finish the test? GMAT students complained that they had trouble learning the right pacing and that they wasted their practice tests trying to master the GMAT CAT's complicated pacing strategies. Faced with these complaints, we developed the Test Pacer patent-pending pace-training system and built it into our 5 GMAT CAT practice tests (see graphic to the right). The Test Pacer tells you what question you should be on so that you finish the test on time. This way you can tell if you are going to quickly or too slowly at any time during the test. Moreover, you can measure if you are spending too much time on a given question. If you start a question and the pacer says 5.0 and you look at it again and the pacer says 7.0, you know you have spent double the amount of time normally required for a question. Like a training wheel, the more you practice with the Pacer, the stronger your sense of timing will become. You can try out the pacer on our sample test and it is also available as a watch.

1e. More Strategies for the CAT


The Art of Guessing

Guessing, like pacing, is more important on the CAT than on any other test you have ever taken. You'll have to guess often on the CAT because: 1. You can't skip questions. If you hit a mental block, you have to guess at the question in front of you. You can't pass over a question and go back to it later. Since all answers are final, you have to make sure your guess is a good one. Most students waste more than 1/3 of their time bogged down on a handful of tough questions. You have to learn how to guess, move on, and cut your losses after spending more than a few minutes on a question. 2. At the end of the test, when time is about to expire, you have to hurry to make sure to get to every question or else face the severe penalty for not finishing all the test's questions. Many students have to do this last minute sprint and are often left guessing on the last few questions.

P.O.E
The key guessing strategy is P.O.E (process of elimination). A big asset going into test day is knowing that one of the five possible answers must be right. If you can eliminate two of the choices, you can increase your chances of getting the right answer by 65% (from 20%- 1 in 5 to 33% -1 in 3). Here's how to do it... 1. Eliminate answer choices you know are wrong. Even if you don't know the right answer, you can often tell that some of the answer choices are wrong. For example, on the Data Sufficiency questions you can eliminate at least two of the answer choices by determining if one of the statements is true. 2. Avoid answer choices that look suspicious. For example, on Sentence Correction questions, beware of any answer choices that look completely different from all of the other choices. In the Quantitative

section, you can usually eliminate any answers that are negative when all the other answers are positive. 3. Once you have narrowed down the list of answer choices, pick one of the remainder. It is a myth that some answer choices, like A or C, are more often correct than other choices.

Draw a Grid
If crossing off answer choices on paper tests helps to clarify your thinking (using the P.O.E), you might want to consider making a grid on your scratch paper. By drawing a simple grid and labeling the rows A through E, you can keep track of which answers you have eliminated by putting an X in that box.

The Importance of Scratch Paper


Another big asset you have going into test day is virtually unlimited scratch paper. Use it and make sure you have lots of it on test day (Note: calculators are not allowed). You'll need scratch paper because you are taking a test off of a computer screen, and you can't write on the screen. The result is that you'll often have to carefully copy much of the question down onto paper without miscopying the information. This is awkward and difficult. It takes valuable time to recopy information and it increases the chance of a hurried error, so you have to be careful about what you copy and what you don't copy. Try to use scratch paper extensively on your practice tests to get a feel for this.

Experiments on CATs
About 1/3 of the questions on the CAT are experimental and will be randomly mixed in with your normal questions. In these questions you are being used as a guinea pig for experimentation to assess the difficulty of the question. In the future, that question may be positioned at a difficulty level depending on how students performed on it when it was an experimental question. The consequence of the experimental questions is that you can't rely on all the questions being at your difficulty level. In other words, if you are a high scorer you can't expect all the questions past question five to be difficult (at your level). Try to avoid obsessing over how hard your questions are as a measure of your performance.

Don't Panic
If you have a bad day, you have the option of canceling. When you finish the test, the computer will offer the option of canceling the test or accepting it. If you cancel the test neither you nor any school will see your score. If you accept the test, the computer will display your score and it will be available to all schools (official scores will be mailed about two weeks later). Relax and make sure to schedule the test far in advance of when it is due. Make sure you have adequate time to cancel and reschedule the test if necessary. You have just completed chapter 1 of the GMAT CAT Online Guide. Chapters 2 through 7 are available by purchasing the GMAT CAT Online Guide.

2. Reading Comprehension
How to actively read texts How to analyze essay structure 7 Principles of Reading Comprehension The major question types A. Recall questions B. Synthesis C. Comprehension How to identify trick questions Additional practice questions .

5. Mathematics
Comprehensive Math review of all subjects on the GMAT Basic Math Number Rules Algebra Geometry Probability (NEW!) Probability questions are becoming increasingly common on the GMAT. Most test guides are obsolete and do not address these questions. Additional practice questions .

6. Math Word Problems 3. Critical Reasoning


How to analyze arguments Types of arguments Putting it into your own words Principles of Critical Reasoning Critical Reasoning question types How to identify trick question types 3-Step technique to Critical Reasoning Typical Critical Reasoning Question Types A. Must Be True Questions B. Assumption Questions C. Strengthen and Weaken Questions D. Main Point Questions E. Paradox Questions Additional practice questions . How to read math questions A. Percentages B. Interest, Discount, and Markups C. Progressions D. Uniform Motion E. Ratio and Proportion F. Ratio and Proportion G. Grouping and Counting H. Data Interpretation I. Symbols J. Progressions 4-Step technique to Word Problems Math review Additional practice questions .

4. Sentence Correction
Review of grammatical rules 150 idioms frequently used in the GMAT Eight Types of Sentence Correction Errors Typical Sentence Correction questions How to identify trick Sentence Correction questions 3-Step technique to Sentence Correction questions Additional practice questions .

7. Data Sufficiency
Data Sufficiency strategies The main Data Sufficiency trick question types 4-Step technique to Data Sufficiency questions Additional practice questions

..

The GMAT is a computerized test that adapts to your performance. This format is called a CAT (computeradaptive test). As you take the test, the computer will select questions based on your performance. If you get a question correct, the test will select a more difficult one next. If you get a question wrong, the computer will select an easier one next. Thus, the test adapts to your performance. This format offers many benefits. 1. The test can focus on your score range and create a more accurate score. 2. You have the option of canceling the score immediately after the test (before you see your score). If you accept, you will have immediate access to your math and verbal scores. 3. You take the test in a private cubicle instead of a classroom. 4. You can schedule the test at your convenience instead of taking it on set days.

The most significant negative factors of the CAT revolve around the added difficulty of the format. The CAT is much more difficult than the paper test. Here is why: 1. You have to stare at a screen for several hours. 2. Your timing will have to be much more precise and is more difficult. 3. You can't skip questions. 4. You can't write directly on the test booklet and have to re-copy questions onto scrap paper.

The Quantitative section of the Graduate Management Admission

Test (GMAT) measures basic mathematical skills and understanding of elementary concepts, and the ability to reason quantitatively, solve quantitative problems, and interpret graphic data. Two types of multiple-choice questions are used in the quantitative section of the GMATProblem Solving and Data Sufficiency. Problem-Solving and Data-Sufficiency questions are intermingled throughout the section. Both types of questions require knowledge of: arithmetic elementary algebra commonly known concepts of geometry

Problem Solving Questions


Problem solving questions are designed to test: basic mathematical skills understanding of elementary mathematical concepts the ability to reason quantitatively and solve quantitative problems

Data Sufficiency Questions


Data Sufficiency questions are designed to measure your ability to: analyze a quantitative problem recognize which information is relevant determine at what point there is sufficient information to solve a problem Data-Sufficiency questions are accompanied by some initial information and two statements, labeled (1) and (2). You must decide whether the statements given offer enough data to enable you to answer the question. You may answer that: Statement (1) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (2) is not sufficient. Statement (2) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (1) is not sufficient. BOTH statements TOGETHER are sufficient, but NEITHER statement ALONE is sufficient. EACH statement ALONE is sufficient. Statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are NOT sufficient.