Students are Turning to Graduate Study to Improve Skills

With the economy still being in a very precarious state, and foreclosures and unemployment still a common occurrence, many wonder where life will take them. Americans are predictably resilient, starting new businesses, changing careers and going back to school to make the new reality work for them. Many people wonder how many students are going to grad school now that jobs are scarce and millions are struggling to make ends meet.

Test preparation companies are seeing a surge of students young and old enrolling in test prep classes and preparing for graduate study. These students want to gain new skills and sharpen old ones, making themselves more attractive in the employment market. For students looking to go to business school, it may be helpful to enroll in a free GMAT course, or enroll in online GMAT prep. These courses will prepare you for the questions that will be asked in the actual exam and will give you a snapshot of the test at a glance.

The GMAT, or Graduate Management Admission Test is the comprehensive exam that most students will need to pass in order to apply for graduate study. Most colleges and universities require this exam, although many schools are relaxing their score requirements to allow for more students to gain entry. The GMAT is administered by independent testing sites and registered proctors and requires a fee to sit for the test. The test is comprised of several parts that evaluate the verbal, mathematical and written analytical skills of the applicant.

Many students are enrolling in business programs in order to strike out on their own and learn entrepreneurship skills that will help them manage their own small businesses. Some are going back to school to learn skills that will allow them to train for more responsibility in their existing jobs. Still others are career changers looking for a totally new field, breaking away from their previous career fields.

With the state of the economy, more students are turning to graduate study as a means to earn new skills, and brush up on old ones. Many are finding that the new reality means that they have to change the way they think about the world of work. When it comes to graduate study, students can be prepared for college admission by studying for standardized tests, taking an online GMAT prep. The possibilities are endless.

Navigating the GMAT Essays

Are you worried about setting yourself apart during the business school admissions process? One of your key opportunities is to deliver well-written GMAT essays. This guide will teach you the tricks to overshadowing your competitors with great essays.

The Analytical Writing Assessment section of the GMAT lasts for one hour and is divided into two essays: issue and argument. Consider the following top-tier advice:

  • Stay on topic. With only thirty minutes for each essay, you will not have time to go off onto tangents. Plan to make your points within 300 words or less.
  • Use supportive statements and cite facts whenever possible. Include your personal experience when appropriate but also rely on the evidence given by third parties.
  • Both a computer program and a human reader will review your essays. Make sure that your word choice, sentence construction, and overall flow appeal to both entities.

For the Analysis of an Issue essay, your job is not to prove that the issue is right or wrong; your job is to convince the reader to believe your position. The simplest format for the Analysis of an Issue section is the following:

  • Introduction with a background on the issue and reasons why you agree or disagree
  • Reason One with an explanation of the reason and an example
  • Reason Two with an explanation of the reason and an example
  • Acknowledgment of the opposing side’s arguments and ways to refute them
  • Conclusion re-emphasizing the issue and the arguments you have already presented

The easiest format for the Analysis of an Argument essay is below. For this section you must point out the flaws of the argument and convince the reader your conclusions are correct.

  • Introduction with a background on the argument and your stance on its validity
  • Point One with an emphasis on the argument’s positive aspects, using examples whenever possible
  • Point Two with an emphasis on the argument’s negative aspects (flaws), using examples whenever possible
  • Point Three listing ways in which the argument could be improved or strengthened
  • Conclusion reiterating the argument and its major advantages and disadvantages

Before your writing time is complete, review your essays. Make sure they are free of spelling errors, meet conventional grammar and formatting guidelines, respond well to the essay topic, and capture the reader’s attention.
Practice essay writing several times before you reach the testing center, so you will understand the pacing necessary to meet the time limits. GMAT test prep is available both online and in-person for essay assistance.
With advanced planning and GMAT test prep, you are on your way to furthering your education and propelling your job prospects well into the future.

Top 10 MBA Programs in the World

The Financial Times ranks the top MBA programs in the world each year. Many of these top schools are located in the United States, while others on the list are located in the United Kingdom, France, Singapore and China. For students looking for an international experience, there are many excellent options located all over the world.

1. The London Business School ranks as the world’s top MBA program. Tuition for the London Business School is 49,900 British pounds sterling or approximately $78,850 US dollars. This tuition is for the entire 15-21 month program and includes reading materials.

2. The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School ranked second on the Financial Times list of top MBA programs. The MBA program costs $46,600 per year.

3. Harvard Business School at Harvard University in Massachusetts costs $46,150 per year.

4. Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business in California also ranks as one of the best MBA programs in the world and costs $51,321 per year.

5. Instead, sometimes called The Business School of the World, has one campus in Fontainebleau, France, and another campus in Singapore. The MBA program costs 52,000 euros, approximately 68,800 US dollars.

6. Columbia University’s Columbia Business School in New York costs $49,728 per year.

7. IE Business School in Spain costs 53 200 euros, approximately 70,380 US dollars.

8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Sloan School of Management costs $48,650 per year.

9. The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business costs $49,020 per year.

10. Hong Kong UST Business School in China ranks as the tenth best MBA program in the world and costs $53,900.

To prepare for applying to graduate programs, check out a popular, online GMAT course.

GMAT Analytical Writing Section

The Analytical Writing Assessment is one of the three parts of the GMAT exam. It is designed to test critical thinking skills and to measure the test taker’s ability to communicate information effectively. GMAT test prep is important to get test takers prepared to handle each of the Analytical Writing Assessment sections. Online test prep is often a particularly good option as it allows individuals to make their own schedule and complete GMAT test prep whenever they have free time.
The Analytical Writing Assessment is divided into two 30-minute essays. The first is the Analysis of an Issue and the second an Analysis of an Argument. Each essay is deigned to gauge the test taker’s ability to write analytically and present cohesive ideas. While the essay topics generally cover topics related to business, they should not require any prior knowledge of the subject. Taking GMAT practice tests is a great way to become familiar with the type of essay prompt that will appear on the exam.

The Analysis of an Issue section requires test takers to analyze an issue and form a point of view. There is no correct answer to this section and it is important to consider perspectives. The essay should express an articulate, thought-out position on the given issue. Test takers should draw from their own experiences, reading, and prior knowledge base t back up their opinion.

The Analysis of an Argument section tests the ability to read and critique an argument that is given in the prompt. Test takers should not bring their own views into this essay, but simply analyze the opinion that is given in the argument. The essay should consider what assumptions have been made in the argument and cite any information that could weaken the argument.

It is important to manage time effectively throughout the exam to be sure that you have time to complete each essay to the best of your ability. Preparing for the Analytical Writing Assessment can be challenging, but with the right GMAT test prep plan, you can enter the exam feeling ready to handle any essay prompt with ease.

Designing a GMAT Test Prep Schedule

Designing a solid GMAT test prep schedule is essential to success on the exam. Most test takers plan to spend three to six months studying for the GMAT, but this is dependent on your personal study habits. All test prep schedules should consist of individual study time, GMAT courses, and taking online practice exams. The GMAT tests verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills, similar skill sets to the ones you studied when you were preparing for the SAT in high school. Yet this time around, the material will likely be more challenging and the test format will be significantly different.
One critical factor in deciding how long to study for the GMAT is how long you can devote to studying each day. For people who have full time jobs or are in school full time, it is best to set aside specific hours each day to fit study time into a busy schedule. In these cases, a six month GMAT test prep schedule is likely to be best. For people who can devote larger amounts of time to study, three to four months may be enough. Enrolling in a GMAT course is often a good way to stay motivated and be sure that you stay on track during your test prep.

The quantitative and verbal sections of the GMAT are given in a computer adaptive format. This means that you will be provided one question at a time on a computer. After answering the first question, the computer will generate another. The difficultly level will depend on how well you score on previous questions. This format is likely different from anything test takers have faced before. For this reason, starting practice tests early in your test prep, or at least two months before the exam, will help you become familiar with the format. There are 37 quantitative questions and 41 verbal questions on the GMAT. Practice exams will also help you learn to pace yourself as you work through each section of the exam.

The analytical writing section of the GMAT contains two parts: an analysis of an issue essay and an analysis of an argument essay. Test takers are permitted 30 minutes to complete each essay. Reading sample essay prompts and practicing writing a solid essay within the time constraint will help you prepare for test day. There is no single correct answer to either writing sections. Piecing together a coherent analysis is more important than having prior knowledge of the topic.

By sticking to a test prep schedule, GMAT test takers can ensure that they are prepared for the test and familiar with the format. By this point in their academic career, they will benefit from a strong knowledge base and a high degree of self-awareness about their skills and study habits.

GMAT To Include Integrated Reasoning Section Starting June 2012

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) recently announced changes to the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) that are set to take effect June 4, 2012. The test, called Next Generation GMAT, will include an integrated reasoning section. The goal of this new section is to provide insight into how the test taker will perform in today’s information-filled business environment.

The integrated reasoning section will evaluate the test taker’s ability to evaluate and synthesize information from multiple sources. These sources may include graphs, charts, and spreadsheets. Test takers will also be asked to evaluate trade-offs, interpret visual data representations, and determine probability and statistics. While question types are still in testing, the GMAC predicts that some questions will have multiple parts and more than one correct answer. They have not yet decided whether partial credit will be an option on these questions.

For the past four years, the GMAC has conducted surveys of business school faculties in order to evaluate the current test and pinpoint improvements that could be made to the test for the future. The integrated reasoning section is the primary result of these surveys. Faculties expressed the need for incoming students to be able to integrate data, work through complex problems, and make statistical inferences. Next Generation GMAT seeks to make the test more applicable to business schools by asking test takers to complete problems that are similar to the work they will face once in graduate school.

The GMAT will still take three and a half hours to complete. The 30 minutes integrated reasoning section will replace one of the two essays in the analytical writing section.

Currently, the GMAT analytical writing section contains one Analysis of an Issue essay and one Analysis of an Argument essay. The Next Generation GMAT will only include one essay, but students could be assigned either an Analysis of an Issue prompt or an Analysis of an Argument prompt. Therefore, test takers will still need to prepare for both types of essay during their GMAT test preparation. Business school admissions officers have stated that the two current essay test scores are highly correlated. For this reason, they anticipate that one essay will continue to provide a fair and accurate measure of test takers’ abilities.

Scoring on the Next Generation GMAT will change only slightly. The verbal and quantitative sections of the GMAT will remain the same and will continue to be scored on a scale of 200-800. There will be a separate score for the single essay in the analytical writing section and a second separate score for the integrated reasoning section.

The GMAC assures future test takers that more information about specific question types and sample tests for Next Generation GMAT will be available closer to the time of the test’s release. A GMAT course will help people planning to take the GMAT after June 2012 to prepare for the test, including the new section. Developing a comprehensive study plan is the best way to ensure success on the GMAT. Making time for GMAT test preparation and taking Next Generation GMAT practice tests are generally the best way to enter the exam confident and prepared.

GMAT Reading Comprehension Section Broken Down

The GMAT reading comprehension section of the test is comprised of around twelve to fourteen questions that are within the verbal section of the test. The time available for the verbal section of the test is seventy five minutes. There are four passages to read with three to four questions following each passage. This section of the GMAT measures the skill to precisely and thoroughly read a passage, and then be able to correctly answer questions regarding it. The ability to draw conclusions from the material while paying attention to what the actual question is asking important. Certain parts of the text might be there just to confuse the test-taker. Attention to detail is essential for scoring well on the GMAT.

There are usually three areas that the reading comprehension section focuses on. They are Science (biology, etc.), Social Sciences (history, politics), and Business. The Science section usually has the factual questions, while the Social Sciences and Business sections usually contain the more difficult inference-type questions. A student may be asked to infer an author’s mood from reading a 200-400 word passage. These passages can often be filled with obscure words to further confound the test-taker.

Some useful tips for getting the optimum score on the GMAT include preparing as much as possible for the test. A student that uses multiple study methods such as flashcards, workbooks and an online test preparation course will be much better prepared than a student who does not utilize those methods. Studying over the course of three months is definitely favorable to studying for only three weeks. During the test, the test-taker should pace them self accordingly. Jot down notes in order grasp a certain concept. If a particular question is presenting a problem, then moving on to the next question and returning back to the more difficult question later is a viable option. Spending too much time on any one question can interfere with the ability to finish the test, therefore lowering the test score considerably.


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