Ever seen a pinball machine? It's a game you play in which a little silver ball bounces around inside and you hit it off things to get points. About one-quarter of our students are applying to university or business school as a result of what we call "pinball goals." Like a pinball in a machine, they have been bounced around by life and are now pursuing additional education because they were disappointed by something else. A common example is someone who didn't get a promotion at work and has decided to quit his job and get an MBA. Sometimes students feel that their entire lives will change just by becoming a Canadian or Australian passport holder.
Getting an MBA because you were not promoted or seeking citizenship when you don't want to live in a country are examples of pinball goals for several reasons. These goals are a result of something that happened to you and not necessarily a genuine desire for the goal. This course of action seems like a better option than the one you have now, even though you would have not chosen it if you had gotten what you wanted. Just like a pinball, you are letting life bounce you around rather than choosing for yourself and going after your real goals.
Pinball goals are not necessarily what you want to pursue in life. Getting an MBA, for example, takes a lot of hard work. During the application process, you have to study for and take the GMAT, ask your bosses for references, and search inside yourself to prepare complicated application essays. Once admitted, you have to find money to attend (sometimes tens of thousands of dollars) and then do the work to finish the program. All of this takes lots of time and money. If you aren't serious about the goal in the first place, you may not work as hard as you need to or may stop half way. We have worked with students that register for our Comprehensive Packages and prepare for and take the GMAT (which can be like having a part-time job for a couple of months) only to decide they don't really want to get an MBA.
Don't waste your time, energy, and money pursuing pinball goals. Decide what you really want in life and then go after it. If you're truly committed, applying for university or business school will just seem like one step in a process rather than a scary task.
Need help? Schedule your FREE consultation with APPLY ME. We make applying to universities easy. With APPLY ME, university admissions...khallas!
February, March, and April are crucial months for business school applicants. Round 3 is the last chance to wow the admissions committee. So how can you improve your chances of getting into a top business school with less than a 700 on the GMAT? Here are my recommendations:
Option 1: Retake the GMAT.
You can retake the GMAT once every 31 calendar days. If you took the GMAT on February 15th and weren't satisfied with your score, you can retake it on March 16th. That's just enough time to submit it to a few schools in Round 2 or start preparing Round 3 applications.
According to the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), you are statistically unlikely to increase your GMAT score simply by retaking the test. The secret to increasing your score? You must study differently. Refer to our post for How to Use Practice Tests (the Correct Way) for more help. If you didn't work with a tutor before you took the GMAT, email APPLY ME to discuss how we can improve your preparation and increase your score.
Option 2: Strengthen the other parts of your application.
Admissions committees evaluate business school candidates based on a number of factors, only one of which is the GMAT. "Telling your story" well in your application essays and making sure you are a good "fit" for the school (your goals are compatible with the school's offerings) are just as important as scoring over a 700 on the GMAT. This recent discussion on BusinessWeek says it better than I ever could.
Option 3: Take the GRE.
This is only the second year that many business schools are accepting GRE scores instead of GMAT scores.
Pros: Since this is the second year, little historical data from business schools is available. So, business schools have not really decided how GRE scores match or should be considered in relation to GMAT scores. In addition, the GRE CBT is often a shorter test with math and verbal questions that are not as complicated as GMAT questions. For example, rather than using the really confusing GMAT data sufficiency questions, the GRE uses data analysis questions that require you to decide which of the two quantities is greater or if they are equal.
Cons: GRE verbal is heavily vocabulary based. The analogy, antonym, and sentence completion questions all test vocabulary, which is difficult to build quickly. Moreover, after weeks preparing for the GMAT, you will have to switch modes and prepare for the GRE. Fortunately, APPLY ME has a program designed specifically to build on GMAT skills and apply them to the GRE, rather than starting your study over. Several students have taken the GRE route and found it to be less frustrating that GMAT preparation.
No matter what option you choose, APPLY ME can help you prepare for business school and achieve your educational goals!
The January Round 2 deadline to apply to business schools probably came and went while you were still ringing in the new year. Or, if you have just decided you want to go to business school, Round 3 is the time to apply to get your MBA.
So what's with the rounds? Rounds are business school application periods. Most schools have 3 rounds, while other schools have 4 or accepted students on a rolling basis (until the class is filled). Round 1, in October, is always the best round to apply. It isn't very competitive since this deadline slips many students minds. Round 2 tends to be competitive because more people apply in this round than any other. While Round 3 is less competitive than Round 2, Round 3 acceptance is still difficult because much of the class has been filled already. So while you have fewer students, you have fewer spots.
If you are applying Round 3, your best weapon and reason you should be accepted is your GMAT score. Don't "enter the ring" not ready to fight. You have to train for the GMAT and business school like any top athlete. Preparing alone is not the best way to go about it: get a trainer, get a training plan, and get a sparring buddy. APPLY ME can help you with all 3 of these.
Already have less than a great GMAT score but still need to improve your application? Check out our Essay Editing services! Our American, Native English speaking editors can help you submit your best essays. With APPLY ME, university admissions...khallas.
The January SAT is coming up and many students, ours included, are anxious about their "performance." Obviously, being prepared for the test is the best way to reduce test taking anxiety. Here are some last minute tips that also may help you perform your best on test day.
1. Go to bed early the night before, eat breakfast if you normally do, and arrive at the testing center early. Waking up late or arriving late will significantly increase your stress levels before the test. You want go to the test center as calmly as possible.
2. Be confident in your skills. If you have worked with APPLY ME or prepared appropriately, be confident in that preparation. You know how to get the answer, it's just about putting the pieces of the puzzle together correctly.
3. Visualize a successful test day the night before. Take 5 to 10 minutes and simply imagine the next day. Think about everything you will do and see yourself doing well on the test before you take it. Great athletes visualize big games and so should you.
4. Practice deep breathing. Breath in deeply for 5 seconds and then exhale for 5 seconds at least 3 times. Deep breathing has been shown in medical studies to increase blood flow to the brain and lower your blood pressure. Basically, deep breathing can help make you smarter and calmer.
5. Take a timeout during the test if you need one. Put your pencil down and completely relax for a few short minutes if you get stuck or frustrated on the test. "Reboot" yourself and then attack the test.
6. Use the long breaks and short stretch breaks wisely. Leave the room and walk for a few minutes during the long breaks. Actually stretch during the stretch break (you may look like a nerd stretching but this can really help).
7. Always remember that you can take the SAT again. Taking the SAT up to 3 times is okay to many schools and don't forget that they take the BEST scores from all your attempts.
8. Forget about the SAT. Despite the importance we place on the SAT, other parts of your application also matter. Your overall grade point average, grades during your last two years of school, and extracurricular activities weigh heavily. Don't worry about whether you think the SAT is important; remember that you can to university despite a low SAT score.
If you don't do as well as you would like on the SAT, email APPLY ME and let's talk about how we can improve the rest of your application so you can get into a university that fits you. With APPLY ME, university admissions...khallas!
At APPLY ME, we realize that most students aren't really using practice tests to their benefit. Yes, it's a 4 hour test and you want to get the beach soon. Yes, you have lots of homework, office work...Yes, insert weak excuse here. You have other things to do, this is exactly why you should be motivated to get the most out of every practice test you take. Here's how:
On a Friday, sit down and take a full-length timed practice test. Do the test in one sitting with, at most, two 10 minute breaks. After you finish, put the test aside and do not do any other studying that day.
The next day, correct your test. While correcting your test sounds simple, this should take you about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the number of questions you get wrong. Here are the steps you should take:
Happy test taking!!