Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog

Insight from GMAC

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Last month, GMAC hosted a seminar to brief us on facts, data, and trends from the test-takers out there. Here (somewhat belatedly), are some of the key points that they presented:

1.  Scores are creeping upwards – the average in 2007 was 537, 12 points higher than in 2005.

2.  The Number of Hours spent studying correlates to Higher GMAT Scores – people that achieved a score of 700 or higher reported studying an average of 114 hours for the test. In contrast, people that scored between 500 – 540 reported studying for 84 hours.

3. The Number of Weeks spent studying correlates to Higher GMAT Scores – 50+% of the people that studied for 7 weeks or more received a 600 or higher. This number dropped to 43% for those who studied between 4 and 6 weeks, and 37% for those who studied between 1 and 3 weeks.

4. Taking the Test more than once Tends to Result in a Higher Score – the mean score increase for someone who takes the test a 2nd time is 31 points. It should be noted though that this tends to be inflated by a couple of self-selection factors (i.e. the numbers tend to reflect people who underachieved on the 1st test relative to their college ranking, didn’t finish the quantitative section, etc.). 30% of re-testers saw no increase (or even a decrease). 40% of test-takers had their score increase 50 points or more, and 10% had results increase 100 points or more. I think ManhattanGMAT is responsible for some of that 10%. 🙂

From the above, it’s clear that even the administrators of the GMAT realize that this a test that you can prepare for in order to improve your performance. So your scores are certainly not fixed!

GMAC also reaffirmed once again that spending extra time on the first 10 questions does not help your score, and tends to hurt your score by ruining your time management throughout the section. There is enough variability in the algorithm such that some early mistakes are not necessarily critical to your score – you can quickly push yourself up to higher levels by getting later questions right.

These were the main points. They’re working on a new diagnostic test that can be downloaded, and the next edition of the Official Guide is targeted for late ’08. Still, this would not affect the average student substantially.

Last, they also indicated that most people rely upon word-of-mouth for choosing a test prep firm. That was possibly the best news of the event for us here at ManhattanGMAT!

GMAC Briefing

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Last Friday, GMAC (the publishers of the GMAT) invited a few of the senior people from ManhattanGMAT to a presentation in a hotel in New York to let us know what GMAC has in development.

The event was very interesting, to say the least.  Much of it consisted of applicant profile data (i.e. how many people are taking the GMAT, average scores, average score increases if someone takes the test more than once, etc.).  But there was  the odd announcement concerning some of the newer resources GMAC is working on for 2008.

We’re going to be posting a more detailed write-up later this week.  However, if you’re studying for the GMAT right now, the important takeaway is likely that there are NO changes forthcoming in terms of the format or nature of questions tested.  So no major changes on the horizon, through mid-2008.

More to come!

Sweeping the GMAT Clouds Away, ManhattanGMAT Allows Sunnyvale to Shine

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Sun in Sunnyvale Continuing to expand beyond any rational boundaries (just like one of those sponge toys that grow to gigantic proportions), ManhattanGMAT is opening a new center in beautiful Sunnyvale, CA! Residents of San Jose have to worry no longer, as they can now access ManhattanGMAT’s unparalleled curriculum taught by our overachieving instructors in one convenient location!

Conveniently, we are hosting an in-person preview tomorrow, October 18th, for anyone in the area interested in taking a GMAT prep course, checking out the new center, or meeting our charismatic GMAT instructor, Ron Purewal. Of course, if preview sessions aren’t your thing and you want to see how a real class in the new Sunnyvale center is going to operate, you can always attend a trial session or if you really want to get down to business, sign up for the course, set to begin on October 22nd.

This message was brought to you by the letter “C” and the number “800”.

MGMAT’s Chris Ryan, Master of Levity, Builds ‘Foundations’ with BusinessWeek

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We at ManhattanGMAT are pleased to announce that our very own Chris Ryan, Director of Product and Instructor Development, was recently featured in a BusinessWeek article about – you guessed it – the GMAT (more specifically, the quant section). From the article:

TAKE A COURSE: If you need a little nudging and a place to ask math questions you haven’t asked since eighth grade, opt for a day-long course like Manhattan GMAT’s new Foundations of Math. “We realized that a portion of our students were having some trouble and missing the basic skills you need for the GMAT,” says Chris Ryan, director of product and instructor development at Manhattan GMAT about creating the course. “You have to suck up and say: ‘This is what the GMAT requires of me, and the last time I saw this stuff I had a locker.'”

Zing! But seriously folks, if your basic math skills are a bit rusty and you need a refresher, look into Foundations of Math.

As a special deal, we’re offering $50 off the class to anyone who uses the discount code FDR2MGD when they sign up.

ManhattanGMAT Conquers YouTube, Documentary Filmmaking

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ManhattanGMAT has produced an excellent short video with testimonials from real students discussing our superior teachers, curriculum, and support staff. Help us bump up the view count and rating on YouTube by viewing the video, located below!

Of course, leaving high ratings for us on YouTube is always better…

Admissions Consultant Panel Discussion: The Audio Recordings

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A couple weeks ago, we promised an audio recording of our Admissions Consultant Panel. Today, we’re releasing it to the public! To download the audio, simply right click on the link and select “Save Link As…”. After clicking “OK” on the next prompt, your download will begin. The panel discussion has been split up into various subsections for your convenience.

Table of Contents


1. Panel Introduction
2. MBA Mission Introduction
3. MBA Mission Case Study
4. Expartus Introduction
5. Expartus Case Study
6. Clear Admit Introduction
7. Clear Admit Case Study
8. Stacey Blackman Introduction
9. Stacey Blackman Case Study

  • Entire Program Note: This is a very large file. We highly recommend not downloading this file unless you have a very fast internet connection.
  • Revised Claims on Veritas’ Website

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    A few weeks ago, a student called in to ask us why Veritas asserts that they work directly with the GMAC, the makers of the GMAT, to update their materials four times each year. Knowing that any such practice between the administrators of a standardized test and a company that teaches that very same exam would be a gross misuse of power, I initially didn’t believe the student’s claims. But when I visited this page, I saw the following:

    Veritas' False GMAC Claim

    However, if you visit the site today, you’ll notice that Veritas has removed the language that implies they work with the GMAC to update their curriculum.

    I’m assuming the reason that they took the language down is because it wasn’t true. However, if anyone else has any idea why such language once existed on their website in the first place, I’d definitely like to know.

    Free GMAT Practice Exam is the CAT’s Meow

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    ManhattanGMAT is now offering a FREE GMAT Computer Adaptive Test to absolutely anyone and everyone who wants to take one. This FREE test is one of the 6 CAT exams that we offer to students enrolled in our 9-session classes and draws from the same pool of questions. This is a great FREE opportunity to take a ManhattanGMAT practice exam and see for yourself how our Assessment Reports, continually updated and re-calibrated Question Pool, and detailed solutions to every single question can help you master the GMAT. As if you needed another reason, did we mention that it’s FREE? Just click on any of the above links and follow the on-screen instructions to sign up!

    80 B-School Applicants, 4 Admissions Consultants, 1 Panel to Unite Them All

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    Last night, we hosted our first Admissions Consultant Panel Discussion at our center in New York City! We invited our friends from Clear Admit, MBA Mission, Expartus, and Stacy Blackman Consulting to engage in four separate conversations with our Director of Instructor Development, Chris Ryan, who roleplayed as four prospective students applying to business school. Afterwards, the attendees and consultants engaged in a question and answer session.

    The event exceeded even our own expectations. The energy level was astounding, the consultants’ reactions to the case studies were extremely insightful, students networked, and many even stayed long after the end of the event to ask more detailed questions to the consultants. A special thanks definitely goes out to all of the consultants, who stayed until they answered every student question.

    For those of you who couldn’t make the event, we’ll be posting audio from the discussion in the next week, so check back if you want to receive free advice from the best consulting agencies out there!

    Reading Comp acting funny?

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    Most folks regard Reading Comprehension on the GMAT as fairly predictable and boring, particularly in terms of the format. Generally students see 4 passages, 3 short and 1 long, with 3 questions for each short passage and 4 questions for the long passage, for a total of 13 questions.

    However, there have been reports of some funny business on the format of Reading Comprehension recently. One student reported having seen 5 passages, which would be unprecedented in our experience (though one of them was doubtless experimental). Also, another student reported a short passage that consisted of only one paragraph, which would also be something new.

    The moral of the story is, do NOT take for granted the number of passages and the number of Reading Comprehension passages anymore, as there seem to be some tinkering and experimentation going on with the format. More info to come if/as we get consistent confirmation of format changes.