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11 GMAT Secrets I Learned at the GMAT Test Prep Summit

Posted in Test Prep on September 16, 2011 by

This week, I attended the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) GMAT Test Prep Summit, an event for representatives of the test preparation industry. Here is what I learned:

1)      The Graduate Management Admission Council’s Vice President of Research and Development, Dr. Lawrence Rudner, is an awesome guy. He spoke for hours about the math behind the GMAT’s adaptive test format, and was able make this rather dry topic accessible and entertaining. He was funny, avuncular in all the right ways, and he let me borrow his I-Phone charger.

2)      Over half of those who take the GMAT are not United States citizens, so the GMAT is careful about eliminating cultural references that might confuse international students. For example, you will never see a question about “skimmed milk” on the GMAT, because in India, milk with no or little fat is usually called “toned milk.”  This concern is also why one will never see a question that references the Kardashians, Nickelback, or Dancing With the Stars. Sometimes I wish life was more like the GMAT.

3)      A 13th Edition of the Official Guide will be available by April 2012, and this guide will allow students to access questions from the new Integrated Reasoning section which will appear on the GMAT in June 2012.

4)      The Integrated Reasoning section will replace the Analysis of an Issue Essay (which is great, because I always hated that thing!). The new section will contain 12 prompts and as yet undetermined number of questions based on each prompt. Some of the prompts will consist of spreadsheets, tables, and graphs, and an on-screen calculator will be available.

5)      The on-screen calculator will NOT be available for the Quant section. Sorry!

6)      GMAC has yet to determine the scoring system for the Integrated Reasoning section.

7)      The Quant and Verbal sections, as well as the Analysis of an Argument essay, will remain unchanged.

8)      There are “retired” paper GMATs available for purchase. You can get them as downloadable PDFs here.

9)      Conference attendees ask fewer questions when they realize that there is an open-bar  awaiting them.

10)   There is another Sean Murphy who teaches GMAT for another New York-based test preparation company.

11)   In the New York City test preparation community, Knewton instructor Adam Sticklor is legendary.