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## Top 5 Misconceptions About the GMAT: Myths We Bust Every Day in Class

Have you ever been to a GMAT information session?

They’re usually held on B-school campuses, and geared toward newbies who are challenging the exam for the first time.

What’s interesting about these info sessions, is that most people show up with a host of rather strange misconceptions about the GMAT.

These misguided beliefs run the gamut from format and content, to study strategy, test day procedures, and score cut-offs for top business schools.

We don’t know exactly how these ideas get planted in our students’ brains—but our mission is to correct them as quickly as possible, and shine a clear light on how the GMAT works, and how to earn a top score.

What GMAT myths do we hear most often during our info sessions?

Here are 5 of our favourite repeat offenders.

## GMAT Myth #1: You only need a 600 score for a top Canadian B-school

At the beginning of every GMAT info session, we usually ask students what the score cut-offs are for top Canadian business schools. Approximately what score will they need to compete for admission?

We often get “around 600” as an answer.

And this kind of makes sense, given that the mean GMAT score for all test-takers is 500—and 600 sounds well above that.

But it’s actually way off. The reality is, most top Canadian B-schools require a GMAT score of well over 600.

In fact, among the top 10 schools, not a single one accepts a score of 600 (although admittedly, some do come close). Take a look:

### Minimum GMAT Scores for Top 10 B-Schools in Canada

As you can see, the minimum requirements for top Canadian schools are mostly well above 600. And the higher you aim beyond these cut-offs, the stronger your application will be.

Want to attend business school in the US? You’re looking at a minimum GMAT score of 700-726 for schools in the top 10. Ouch!

## GMAT Myth #2: I’ll need about 50 hours of GMAT prep to nail the exam

Oh, if only this were true! Life would be so much easier, especially for test-takers who work full time, have kids, etc.

This is a bubble we hate to burst, but in the interest of helping students do their best, we have to reveal a few facts about truly effective GMAT prep.

More hours of well-informed prep = a higher score. This has been well proven, by our own students’ results over the years, and by a survey conducted by GMAC (the makers of the GMAT exam).

So, how many study hours are you looking at? Let’s break it down.

Total hours of GMAT prep: 200

Total number of GMAT practice questions: 2,000 – 3,000

Total number of GMAT practice exams: 10 – 12

A bit more than you thought? We’re not surprised. This really is the most important takeaway of every info session we run.

Almost every test-taker underestimates how challenging the exam will be, and the number of study hours it takes to earn a competitive score.

The bottom line? It’s much harder than you realize to nail the GMAT.

## GMAT Myth #3: If I don’t know an answer, it’s better to leave it blank

This is a topic that comes up in almost every GMAT info session we run. And it’s not surprising, given the anxiety students feel about coming face-to-face with really tough questions.

What do you do when you draw a blank?

Fearing deductions, most students think they should leave unknown answers blank, and just move on. We’d like to de-bunk that myth for good, right here and now.

In truth, the best thing you can do when you don’t know an answer is guess.  There are two good reasons for this tactic:

1. Let’s say there are 5 answer options per question. If you guess, you’ve got a 20 percent chance of getting it right. That’s a lot better than zero percent—which is what you’ll get if you skip the question altogether.

1. The GMAT algorithm is designed to penalize blank answers. Yes. The penalty for a skipped question is greater than if you take a guess and get it wrong.

Takeaway: Use a logical approach to eliminate obviously wrong answer options, and then go with your gut to make an educated guess.

## GMAT Myth #4: IR & AWA deserve as much study time as Quant and Verbal

Nope. They certainly do not. Now, we’re not saying that the Integrated Reasoning (IR) and Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) sections are totally unimportant.

However, since they don’t count toward your overall GMAT score, it simply makes sense to devote more of your GMAT study time to Quant and Verbal.

That’s right: AWA and IR count for zero of your total GMAT score. This is something most students we meet don’t realize. Here’s a look at how each section of the exam is weighed.

### GMAT Scoring

The AWA and IR sections of the exam are actually scored separately. These scores are submitted to B-schools along with your GMAT result, but they have far less impact on your application.

It’s not that they don’t matter at all—admission committees will indeed look at these sections—but you certainly don’t need to agonize over them during GMAT prep.

## GMAT Myth #5:  The GMAT is easy for high academic achievers

We need to stamp out this misconception for good.

Here’s the truth: It doesn’t matter if you finished your undergrad degree with a perfect GPA. Or if you’ve always done really well on tests.

The GMAT is a completely different beast. Here are a few reasons why…

Effective GMAT test prep means working through every single topic and question-type, and finding the absolute best process for each problem.

There are so many ways to lose time, fall into traps, and sabotage your score.

Using proven problem-solving procedures helps eliminate those issues—while ensuring you move through questions as efficiently as possible.

In short, you need to become a GMAT-taking machine. And that’s not something that comes naturally to anyone (hence the 200 hours of prep!)

## The Obvious Next Step in Your GMAT Journey…

At this point, it should go without saying that getting your GMAT facts straight is a must, before you jump into prep.

The obvious next step is to attend a quality GMAT information session. They’re free, so you’ve really got nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

Check out your local B-school for an upcoming session, or come out to one of our events. We’re happy to welcome you.

There’s no cost, and we run GMAT info sessions all the time. Click below to see a schedule, and reserve yourself a seat.

See a list of GMAT Information Sessions Near You

Remember: Nailing the GMAT is all about process, strategy—and working smarter, not harder. Anyone can do it with the right tools and guidance.

Need some support, or have questions about how to get started? Book a free phone call with a Quantum team member.

We’re always happy to talk GMAT, and help with MBA admissions, prep courses, tutoring, and much more. Click below to arrange a call now.

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## Don’t Overspend on Your GMAT Course! 4 Ways to Save Big on Quality GMAT Prep

Here’s the harsh reality: really good GMAT prep doesn’t come cheap.

If you’ve done a bit of research on GMAT courses and bootcamps, you already know you’re looking at \$1000+ for training.

But if you need a big score increase, and want to walk into the exam feeling totally confident and prepared, professional test prep really is your best bet.

The thing is, not all GMAT courses are made equal. Far from it! There are wild disparities in pricing, thoroughness, instructor expertise, learning experience—and crucially, actual results.

So, if you’re going to bite the bullet, and dig into your savings for test prep, we’re assuming you want the best possible quality, at the lowest possible price.

There are several key ways to avoid overspending on your GMAT course, without compromising on value. Here are 4 solid strategies to save big, and get more.

## 1. Don’t fall for a shorter GMAT course just because it’s cheaper

There are a whole slew of short GMAT bootcamps out here, promising complete exam prep in 20-30 hours, at a great price.

The problem is, there’s no such thing as “complete” exam prep in such a short span of time.

In fact, there’s a very high probability that you’ll need to buy another course to fill in what you missed at the bootcamp.

In the end, you’ll pay twice, and still might not get full exam prep coverage.

It’s like buying a cheaper, imitation brand that looks amazing on the surface, but breaks the second time you use it. Short-term gain; long-term loss.

### A longer GMAT course offers far better value for your money

In terms of value, you’re better off purchasing a truly comprehensive, 50 -100 hour GMAT course.  This way, you’ll cover everything you need to know to nail the exam, the first time around.

It’s been well proven that more hours of prep equal a higher score. With a longer course, the bulk of your studying is done by the time you finish. And you’ve had an expert instructor holding your hand at every step.

Once you’re done, you’ll just need to keep practising the problem-solving techniques you learned in class, right up until the exam.

There are no question marks or uncertainties with a longer, more thorough course. That’s money well spent.

Browse the contents of a quality 100-hr GMAT course

## 2.  Choose a GMAT course with an extensive free repeat policy

This is really key to saving money on GMAT prep. Let’s say you agree with point number one, and you opt for a longer, 50 to 100 hour course.

You finish the course, but find you’re not 100% confident in certain verbal or quant topics (a very common scenario).

Will you be left to struggle on your own? Not if the course you chose has a robust free repeat policy.

We’re not talking about the option to repeat the GMAT course just once.

A solid policy should offer unlimited course repeats for a generous span of time (like 3-6 months after enrollment, for example).

This way, you can take the whole course, or just part of it, again and again until you feel totally and utterly confident in your skills.

Now think about the cost of that course, divided up among all those repeats. You’ll get tremendous dollar-per-hour value by the time you’re finished training.

Months of repeated, reinforced test prep will more than justify the upfront expense of a longer, more comprehensive GMAT course.

This is the ideal way to stretch your course dollars to the max, while increasing your chances of a really high score.

Bottom line? Never purchase a one-off GMAT course.  Save big by choosing a course with multiple free repeats.

## 3.  Capitalize on early-bird specials & other GMAT prep discounts

It pays to plan your GMAT prep in advance. Literally. It’s quite common to find discounts of up to 45% on GMAT course fees when you enrol well before the start date.

Often called “early-bird” specials, these deals offer immediate, very substantial savings.

Test prep companies want (and need) to fill up their courses well before they begin, in order to book the right size classroom, prepare materials,  and coordinate teaching staff.

Students can save big by simply scheduling their start date 1-2 months in advance.

And there’s another way to save on GMAT courses. Some companies offer a discount on fees when you bundle two or more courses together.

For example, you might put together an advanced math and comprehensive verbal course.

Or, maybe you’ll pair up an intermediate and advanced math combo (depending on your mock exam results, or if you’ve already self-studied for a bit, and only need help in a particular topic area).

Look for a test prep provider that offers discounts when you combine courses—these deals can literally save you hundreds of dollars on quality GMAT prep.

## 4. Verify proven results before you buy

Professional test prep is a growing business. More and more prospective B-school students enrol in GMAT courses to give them a competitive edge on exam day, and boost their chances of admission to a top graduate program.

So, it’s not unusual to see a lot of wild claims from test prep companies trying to catch your eye online.

You’ll see companies claiming their 20-hour course is all you need to get a 700+ score. Or ads “guaranteeing” wildly optimistic score increases.

To avoid wasting your precious tuition dollars, it’s crucial to verify claims like these before you enrol.

Dig up those Google reviews. Go out to a free information session and grill the test prep company with questions about:

• the documented, average GMAT score increase their graduates achieve

• repeat policies

• exactly how many authentic practice questions/tests/study guides are included in the course fees

• terms and conditions of advertised discounts

• what happens if you miss a class?

• how long their instructors have been teaching GMAT prep

Browse upcoming, free GMAT info sessions in Toronto and Montreal

Do your research, so when you do invest in a GMAT course, you know you’re spending your money wisely and can expect a very substantial return on investment.

In the long run, that’s the very best way to save big on test prep—and hit your score goal.

Still have questions? Need help navigating GMAT prep, MBA admissions, or want to know more about Quantum GMAT courses?

You’re more than welcome to book a free phone call with one of our expert instructors.

Just click below to request a call, and we’ll be in touch to offer any help we can.

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## GMAT Course vs Private Tutoring: What’s the Better Deal for You?

Can’t decide between a GMAT course and private tutoring? Wondering which route would be the most cost-effective, or give you biggest advantage on test day?

It’s not quite so black-and-white. Whether you’d be better off in a course, or with private sessions, really depends on your individual needs, current skill-level, and score goal.

Read on to dig deeper into which GMAT prep strategy makes the most sense for you, based on where you’re at right now.

## Who Benefits Most from Private GMAT Tutoring?

To be honest, we don’t normally recommend people opt for tutoring right out of the gate. Because it’s one-to-one, tutoring will always be more expensive than a group GMAT course.

For example, you’re looking at, on average, about \$30/hour for a course, versus \$200/hour for a 10-hour tutoring package.

However, there are some test-taskers for whom private sessions do make sense, and are well worth the added expense.

In our experience, these are the three groups of students who benefit most from private GMAT tutoring:

### 1. People who already took a GMAT course (and want more support)

There are a couple of common scenarios here. In some cases, we see people who have completed a less than stellar GMAT course, and found themselves without the right tools and techniques to hit their score goal.

These candidates don’t want to risk taking another sub-par bootcamp, and instead go straight for the precision and security of personalized tutoring.

In other cases, we’ve had students complete a quality prep program, but still struggle in certain topic areas.

They opt for tutoring in order to target those weak areas, with the undivided attention of a GMAT expert.

Our advice: Start with a reliable GMAT course, and then study on your own, to practice and strengthen the techniques you learned in class.

Follow the 1:1 ratio approach. If your course was 50 hours, be sure to put in 50 hours of your own study time before seeking out tutoring. Do a couple hundred practice questions and take another mock exam.

At this point, if you’re still not seeing improvement, you may want to consider one-to-one GMAT prep.

You can show your tutor your mock exam results, the questions you’re struggling with, and develop a highly targeted strategy to reach your score goal.

### 2. Students who need help with a specific question-type

Let’s say you’re performing reasonably well on mock exams, except for one or two question-types—say, data sufficiency, advanced exponents, or reading comprehension—which consistently trip you up.

You’ve tried researching and applying problem-solving techniques for these topics, but aren’t seeing much improvement. Your score has plateaued.

At this stage, you don’t really need a comprehensive, 100-hour GMAT course.

Private tutoring makes more sense because you can customize the process to your needs, and target only those problematic question-types.

### 3. When you need a really big score increase

Did you score much lower than expected on a mock GMAT exam?

We often see students sign up for private tutoring to address a very large gap between their baseline score, and the result they need to apply to business school.

On average, business schools require a GMAT score of at least 650, so in cases like this, the student can really benefit from intensive, highly personalized tutoring. This is the most reliable way to close a really large score gap.

Quantum offers a few different tutoring packages, ranging from 5 – 20 hours.

If you’d like to learn more, or want to discuss your GMAT needs and goals, we welcome you to reach out for a free consultation.

Click here to easily schedule a phone call with one of our GMAT instructors

## Advantages of Opting for a GMAT Course

So, if private tutoring doesn’t sound like the way to go for you, should you be looking at a GMAT course?

While you don’t necessarily need a course to do well on the exam, professional test prep offers some very clear advantages. In our experience, these are the most valuable takeaways for students:

1. Working with an expert GMAT instructor, who knows the exam inside and out—and can teach you exactly how to maximize your scoring potential.

1. Getting access to hundreds of authentic practice questions, mock exams, and the very best study guides. (It can take students ages to hunt these down on their own)

1. Learning the most reliable problem-solving techniques for every topic and question-type, along with strategies for avoiding GMAT traps, and managing your time well on the exam.

1. Having the chance to repeat the course for free, as many times as needed, to target weak areas. All of Quantum’s comprehensive GMAT courses come with a free 6-month repeat policy.

We’ve also heard from students that taking a course helps jump-start their prep, increase their confidence, and keep them focussed leading up to the exam.

The structure of attending class, meeting other test-takers, and connecting with the instructor helps motivate students to buckle down, and work harder than they would have on their own.

But we would be remiss if we didn’t also mention some potential drawbacks to taking a GMAT course—like the expense (good courses don’t come cheap), giving up some weekends or week nights, and possibly having to travel to attend class (if the course isn’t offered where you live).

Need more help making your decision? Check out: Should You Take a GMAT Course? The Pros & Cons of Professional Test Prep

## Finding the Right GMAT Test Prep Company

The very best way to find a reliable GMAT test prep company is by talking to previous customers, checking out online reviews, and if possible, seeing the instructors in action.

Many companies run free workshops, webinars, and trial classes for prospective students. You get to meet the team, experience their teaching approach, and get a feel for whether the training is right for you.

GMAT prep is such an important investment. We strongly recommend taking the time to attend a “preview” event, before committing to a course, or any kind of tutoring arrangement.

Want to see Quantum in action? Check out our schedule of upcoming, free GMAT events in Toronto and Montreal.

In the meantime, we’re happy to chat with you about all things GMAT: study strategy, courses, free resources, MBA admissions…just leave us a comment or book a phone consultation. We’re here to help.

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## Do You Have “Grit”? The Real Secret to Nailing the GMAT (& Every Other Life Challenge)

Have you ever wondered what makes successful people different? What special advantages propel them to perform better and achieve more than everyone else?

Most of us like to believe it’s natural talent, superior intelligence, the right connections, access to money—or sheer luck—that give some people an edge in life.

And while this may be true some of the time, there is a far greater force at work when it comes to beating the odds and achieving great things. And believe it or not, this force plays a key part in the quality of your GMAT prep, your performance on test day, and your success as a business leader.

Are you staring down the barrel of GMAT prep right now, wondering how you’ll find time to study, if you can score high enough, or whether you’re even up to the challenge of an MBA?

Do you feel certain that an MBA degree could completely transform your life—but at the same time, acutely aware of the many obstacles standing between you and that enhanced reality?

And the big question: Are you clever and talented enough to make it?

What if we told you that success on the GMAT, in business school, and in life in general, depends on something far more powerful than natural skill or intelligence.

We’re referring to the often-overlooked, yet immensely important quality, known as “grit.”

## What is Grit & How Will it Impact Your GMAT Performance?

Angela Duckworth (CEO, professor of psychology, faculty co-director of Wharton People Analytics, and 2013 MacArthur Fellow) pioneered the concept of grit with a groundbreaking study of 7th grade math students.

She looked at why some students succeeded at math, and why others failed. She documented success and failure patterns for so-called gifted students, those who really struggled with math, and every skill-level in between.

She collected overwhelming evidence that sheer persistence was the defining indicator of high grades—not intelligence or any special talent for math.

Students who simply stuck it out, and kept pushing to improve their skills, no matter how hard it was for them, consistently achieved the biggest bump in math grades—even higher than the kids who were naturally good at math!

She called this mindset of persistence “grit.” Here’s how Duckworth defines it:

” Grit is passion and perseverance for long-term goals. Grit isn’t talent. Grit isn’t luck. Instead, grit is about having…a goal you care about and holding steadfast to that goal. Even when you fall down. Even when you screw up. Even when progress toward that goal is halting or slow. “

Listen to Duckworth describe the nature and power of grit at a hugely popular TED talk she delivered on the key takeaways of her research.

Duckworth has gone on to study the success stories of business leaders, military personnel, students of all ages and backgrounds, and dozens of world-famous high achievers.

She has advised the White House, the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs.

Duckworth’s work with Wharton People Analytics helps business leaders learn how to achieve their goals, develop their employees, and create organizations that perform at very high levels.

In short, this idea of grit has serious weight. It’s worth paying attention to.

Especially if you’re entering the field of business, want to become an effective leader…or at this stage, really need a high GMAT score, but aren’t naturally gifted in GMAT quant or verbal (who is?).

If natural ability isn’t the determining factor in your success, and neither is IQ, what’s really influencing your GMAT score?

## How Grit Predicts Your GMAT Score

It’s not a huge stretch to consider how perseverance will impact the quality of your GMAT prep, and ultimately, the score you achieve.

Anyone who has scored 700 or higher on the exam knows how much time and effort it took them to master all those quantitative and verbal topics, question-types, and GMAT traps.

Even people with high undergraduate GPAs—who’ve always done well on exams— have to work really hard to score high.

GMAC (the makers of the exam) actually did some research on this subject. Their survey of test-takers shows it takes a bare minimum of 120 hours of test prep to get a 700+ score.

How many people do you think actually put in that much time and effort?

Well, back in 2014, only 28% of test-takers even came close, clocking in at about 101 hours of GMAT prep.

Take another look at that graph. An astounding 44% actually did less than 50 hours of studying. No wonder the mean GMAT score for all test-takers is an underwhelming 500 points.

Students simply aren’t putting in the required time and effort. They’re giving up early. They’re underestimating the difficulty of the exam. They’re overestimating their own skills, and assuming natural academic talent will be enough to earn a high score.

Many students are not doing the recommended 2000-3000 GMAT practice questions. They’re not completing 10-12 mock exams to build endurance, time-management skills, and pinpoint weak areas.

In decades of coaching students for the GMAT, we’ve seen this lack of follow-through sabotage even the smartest people, time and time again.

## Harnessing Your Grit & Powering Through the GMAT

Nailing the GMAT really is a game of passion and perseverance—of sheer grit. How badly do you want that high score? How hard will you work to get it?

Over decades of coaching students, we’ve discovered it takes approximately  200 hours of prep to get a 700+ score. That’s a lot of study hours squeezed into evenings and weekends, between family obligations, and after long days at work. It takes serious commitment.

GMAT test prep is hard, there are setbacks, and the process can be exhausting. Such is life, right?

Your willingness to tackle the GMAT challenge head-on, and see it through to the very end, leaving no stone unturned, is what ultimately determines your success on this exam.

The grit you develop during GMAT prep will continue to bear fruit, as you face new, and probably even more difficult challenges at business school. Ultimately, grit is what will shape you as a leader.

The way you face the GMAT, and persevere to master those mind-bending quant and verbal problems, is a reflection of how you’ll tackle every other high-stakes challenge you’ll meet in life.

Remember: Duckworth has proven that grit is the great equalizer: it’s not about smarts, past academic performance, or even being the best at something—achieving your goals is all about pushing harder when the majority of other people simply give up.

That’s your edge. Use it to power through your GMAT prep, master the exam, and make your MBA dream a reality.

Have the motivation and commitment, but need practical help in a particular GMAT topic area? Browse the resources below for targeted support.

1. Study with an expert GMAT coach at Quantum: Browse our top-rated courses and private tutoring options

2. Access free GMAT Quant & Verbal workshops in Toronto & Montreal: See a list of upcoming free GMAT workshops

3. Talk directly with a Quantum GMAT expert about structuring your study strategy, how Quantum courses work, or the MBA admission process: Request a free phone call here

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## 4 Ways to Get Motivated for LSAT Prep, Even if You Work Full-time

So, what’s stopping you from getting down to LSAT prep?

Dealing with test anxiety, lack of time, or just have no idea how to get started?

Let’s be honest: studying for the LSAT is time-consuming, and for the most part, pretty boring. But you need a competitive score to reach the next major milestone in your life—admission to a great law school.

If you’re struggling with motivation, and can’t seem to get your prep off the ground, you need a way to flip the script…and quickly.

Follow these steps to re-focus your energy, make a smart LSAT plan, and do yourself proud on test day.

## 1. Research Application Deadlines, LSAT Scores for Your Target Law Schools

Application deadlines for law schools in Ontario are usually the first week of November, the year before you want to start studying. But schools outside of Ontario all have different deadlines.

You’ll need to take the LSAT in advance of the application deadlines—so start by figuring out what kind of timeline you’re working with.

Next, take a look at the LSAT score you’ll need to compete for admission at your target schools.

Most schools provide stats on this (and other key data, like the average GPA of accepted students), so applicants can see where the cut-offs are.

Here are a couple of examples from Queen’s University Law, and the University of Toronto Law School.

U of T Law School Standards for Admission 2015-2017

Knowing what LSAT score you’re aiming for, and your deadline for taking the test, should really light a fire under you to get started with prep.

Admittedly, part of that fire will probably be anxiety about achieving a 160+ score—but you can use that to power through your next step: a mock LSAT exam.

## Take a Mock LSAT Exam & See Where You Stand

If you’re procrastinating about LSAT prep, it’s probably because you have no idea where to start. Or even what’s on the exam.

Before you stress yourself out looking at random sample questions online, just dive right in and do a mock LSAT exam.

This is the best way to find out your natural strengths and weaknesses, get your baseline score, and jumpstart the study process.

You don’t have to prep before the mock—just sign up for a free exam, show up, and do your best.

Remember: This is just one of numerous practice tests you’ll be doing to build up your test-taking skills, and track your progress leading up to the exam.

Don’t heap tons of pressure on yourself before the mock; it’s just a warm up.

## Map out Your Personal LSAT Study Strategy

Once you’ve gotten the mock exam out of the way, you’ll be ready for the most important stage of LSAT prep: figuring out your own personal study strategy.

• an analysis of your mock exam
• which specific weak areas you need to address
• which study materials you’ll be using
• a realistic target score
• how many hours it will take you to reach that score
• a doable daily/weekly study schedule

Sounds like just another really hard task you’d rather not do? Have no idea how you’ll “analyze” your mock exam and figure out all these data points?

Well, you don’t have to. You can get an LSAT coach to do it for you, for free.

Quite a few LSAT test prep companies offer this service, at no charge, and with no strings attached. You don’t even have to sign up for a course. As long as you’ve taken the mock exam, you will qualify for a free strategy session.

Check out Quantum’s LSAT Personal Assessment & Strategy Service

Once you have your customized plan in place, you’ll know exactly what step to take next, where you’re heading, and how to get there.

Remember: Uncertainty is the enemy of motivation. Wipe out the uncertainty factor, and there’ll be nothing standing between you and your LSAT prep.

Unless of course, you’re dealing with…

## LSAT Study Fatigue: The 9-5er Problem

Working a 9-5 job while prepping for the LSAT? Not loving the prospect of coming home after a long, hard day to hours of studying?

You’re not alone. Many, many LSAT challengers are dealing with the 9-5er problem, and are struggling to find motivation for daily prep. You’ll see entire discussion threads devoted to this topic on law school/LSAT forums.

There’s no easy solution here; preparing for the LSAT while putting in full time work hours takes some serious grit. However, there are a few techniques you can use to pump yourself up, and stick to your study plan:

1. Set achievable daily study goals

Be realistic. Don’t promise yourself you’ll study for 3-4 hours every single night after work. That’s probably not going to happen. And then you’ll feel bad about it, and your motivation will drop even further.

Aim for something more achievable, like 1.5 to 2 hours of LSAT prep in the evening.

1. Create your own “rewards” program

It worked for you back in elementary school, and it’ll work again now.  Dangle a little treat or reward in front of yourself to motivate your evening LSAT prep—something you’ll get after you finish studying.

Maybe it’s a slice of cheesecake…maybe it’s something cold and bubbly…maybe it’s an episode of Stranger Things. Maybe it’s a night off to go out with your friends and forget the LSAT even exists—whatever it takes to push yourself just a little harder.

1. Recharge with a workout

Hate the idea of starting LSAT prep right after you finish work? Get super sluggish after dinner, and can’t “re-boot” when it’s time to study?

Try getting some exercise before you hit the books at night. This is a fairly reliable way to re-charge yourself, and re-set your brain.

1. Remember what’s at stake

Every time you feel like slacking off, and bailing on your evening LSAT prep routine, give yourself a little reality check.

Remember what your end-goal is; what you’re working for.

Think about the thousands of people you’ll be competing against for admission into a good law school. You better believe plenty of them are powering through, and hitting the books right now.

The bottom line: You can’t afford to slack.  Every night you avoid prep, you’re giving your competition a better edge. (That should scare you into a few more study hours!)

Need more help sorting out your LSAT study plan, or considering a professional LSAT course for extra support?

Leave us your questions in the comment section, or give us a call. We’ll get you back on track.

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## How to Study for the GMAT When You’re Still Learning English

There’s no point in sugar-coating it. Preparing for the GMAT as a non-native English speaker presents a whole new level of difficulty.

Not only will you face tough math and verbal challenges, you’ll also have to deal with the tricky way GMAT questions are phrased.

That’s right: the GMAT actually uses language to mislead test-takers. Many of the questions are designed to confuse you, and require very careful reading to interpret correctly.

On the bright side, the GMAT’s traps are fairly predictable—and with the right techniques and plenty of practice, you can learn how to outsmart them.

What else should non-native English speakers know about successfully challenging the GMAT?

Here are 6 steps, tips, and resources that will help you beat this exam, even if you’re still learning English.

## 1. Test your English skills before you start GMAT prep

Before you invest time and money in GMAT prep, first make sure that your English skills are advanced enough to challenge the exam.

The best way to do this is by taking the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Chances are, you will have to submit a TOEFL score along with your graduate school application, so it makes sense to do this step first.

The TOEFL exam tests your reading, listening, writing, and grammar skills, with a total possible score of 120 points. If you score at least a 90, you should be ready to tackle the GMAT.

ETS (the makers of the TOEFL exam) offer some helpful prep resources on their website, including a free online course and practice quizzes. Take a look below.

## 2. Review the content & structure of the GMAT exam

Before you jump into studying, make sure you know exactly what topics are tested on the GMAT—and what kinds of language challenges you’ll be up against.

Attend a free GMAT information session to get an overview of the Verbal, Quant, Integrated Reasoning, and Analytical Writing sections. You’ll learn how each section is scored, work through some sample GMAT questions, and get some valuable study advice.

Many test prep companies run free GMAT info sessions year round. They’re usually held on university campuses. Click below to see upcoming events in Toronto and Montreal.

See a schedule of free GMAT Information Sessions near you

## 3. Take a GMAT mock exam to discover your strengths & weaknesses

Once you have tested your English skills, and attended an information session, your next step should be a GMAT mock exam.

Don’t make assumptions about which parts of the test will be easiest for you, or where you should focus your study (a common mistake).

The mock exam will reveal the topics and question-types that are most difficult for you, and from there you can build a personal study plan.

Whatever you do, don’t start prepping for the exam until you’ve taken a mock, figured out your baseline score, and mapped out a prep strategy.

See a schedule of free GMAT mock exams near you

## 4. Improve your English skills through targeted daily practice

If you want to quickly improve your reading comprehension, vocabulary, and speed, you’ll need to do daily reading practice. Use tough, academic-style articles, like the ones you’ll see on the GMAT.

Get started with these:

Scientific American

The New Yorker

The Economist

Work on summarizing what you’ve read, identifying arguments, and formulating your own opinions.

Test yourself by discussing each article with a friend—briefly explain what it was about, where you stand on the issue, and see if you can answer any questions that come up.

Come across words you don’t know? Take the time to look them up, and learn their meanings.

Work on your writing skills at the same time by noting down your article summaries, vocabulary definitions, and follow-up questions.

The goal here is to practice analyzing and thinking critically about what you’re reading. It’s not enough to just understand the words—you need to grasp the context and deeper meaning of these articles, and be able to explain it to someone else.

Do this kind of targeted practice each day, and you’ll see big improvements in reading speed and comprehension.

## 5. Don’t ignore GMAT Quant!

Many ESL students make the mistake of focussing all of their GMAT test prep on verbal topics. The truth is, the quant section of the exam presents its own unique challenges to non-native English speakers.

First of all, the way questions are phrased can be difficult to understand. You will need to learn specific GMAT math “vocabulary” to avoid losing easy points.

Secondly, GMAT quant is full of traps, just waiting to lead you astray. You’ll only have a few seconds to decode the question, spot the trap, and figure out which steps to take next. It will take serious practice to master these skills in a new language.

Ignoring quant, and focussing mainly on verbal, will definitely threaten your chances of a high score.

## 6. Consider a GMAT course or private tutor

Not sure you’ll be able to prepare for the GMAT, and improve your English skills, all by yourself? Worried you won’t be ready in time for the exam—or end up with a disappointing score?

You might want to consider a GMAT course or private tutor.

Your GMAT instructor will provide you with the best study materials and preparation strategies—plus help you master language challenges to improve your speed, accuracy, confidence, and overall score.

If a GMAT course or private tutoring is simply too expensive, your next best bet is free GMAT study help.

There are plenty of free quant and verbal workshops out there. Click below to see events happening near you, and save yourself a seat.

See upcoming free GMAT classes in Toronto & Montreal

Looking for more advice? Need help combining English study with GMAT prep? Give us a call, or leave us a comment. We’ll help you make a plan that works.

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## How do You Choose a Business School? 6 Key Factors Every Student Should Consider

Enrolling in an MBA marks a key turning point in your life. Not only is business school a huge investment of time, money, and effort—it’s a tremendous opportunity to carve out a brand new professional identity.

Whether you’re seeking advancement, want to branch out into a new field, or just getting started in your career, an MBA can be a very powerful kick-starter.

But where you do your training is just as important as the degree itself.

Each business school comes with its own set of pros and cons, leaving students with the challenging task of researching, sorting, and comparing the many options out there.

How do you find your ideal MBA? Which school features and characteristics matter most?

The truth is, it depends on your particular needs, preferences, and career goals. This is a highly personal decision.

Start by considering these 6 key factors when evaluating prospective B-schools and MBA programs.

## 1. Location: Will you travel for your MBA?

There are literally thousands of MBA programs worldwide. One way to quickly narrow down your search field is to consider your willingness to travel to attend business school.

If you have a family, a job you want to keep, or a lifestyle you’d rather not relinquish, you might quickly rule out travelling for your MBA. This will probably leave you with just a handful of options to choose from in your immediate area.

Keen to study abroad? Consider which destinations best suit your area of study/industry, which foreign languages you’d like to immerse yourself in, and where you’d build the most advantageous professional connections.

## 2. Program Flexibility: How much time do you have for study?

Flexibility is a top issue for many MBA students, specifically those with busy careers and/or kids at home.

If this is you, you’re probably prioritizing innovative part-time programs that offer weekend and evening classes, so attending school won’t compromise your work performance or family responsibilities.

On the other hand, you might be looking to fast-track the process with an accelerated, one-year MBA program.

When evaluating B-schools, consider your time constraints and scheduling needs, and see which institutions offer the best solutions for those requirements.

## 3. Industry connections: Need work experience with your MBA?

If you’re trying to climb the corporate ladder, break into a new field, or launch a business career from scratch, you’ll probably want to prioritize MBA programs that offer real work experience.

This might take the form of an MBA with co-op, or an “applied learning” curriculum that offers domestic and international field work, live client projects, and other ways to enhance your CV while studying.

This way, you’ll graduate with experience in your field, industry connections—and may even attract job offers before you finish your program.

## 4. Specialization: Looking for a niche MBA?

Many of the world’s top business schools are known for a particular area of speciality. Stanford for IT, Wharton for finance, Kellogg for marketing, etc.

Consider your career goals. Are you looking for a general MBA, or a program that focuses on a particular niche, such as health care, international management, or entrepreneurship?

Niche MBA programs are increasingly popular, with an ever-expanding array of options to choose from, including MBAs in real estate, art and design, and sports management. Take a look at this list of 7 highly specialized MBAs for more examples.

If you’re looking for a niche MBA, you’ll want to prioritize schools known for their expertise and industry partnerships in that particular area.

## 5. Reputation: How are alumni doing?

When you’re evaluating factors like reputation and prestige, it’s important to look beyond rankings. While you certainty want your business school (and program) to be well-respected and internationally accredited, you’ll find added value by considering the success of alumni.

Look at reviews, online forums, alumni networks, and if possible, connect with recent graduates (LinkedIn is a good tool for this).

Specifically, investigate alumni outcomes for the MBA program you are considering (part-time/accelerated/niche/co-op, etc.)

Contact admissions for statistics on alumni starting salaries and positions. Look carefully at the companies and organizations who have partnered with the B-schools you’re considering.

This information will be important as you evaluate the cost of each MBA and calculate your projected ROI.

## 6. Learning environment: What kind of school culture will motivate you?

Every business school has its own unique culture. Some are known for competitiveness, others for teamwork and community.

Some MBA programs attract students and professors from across the globe, while others are more local.

Never forget that your B-school experience is as much about classroom learning as it is about building your network. Plus, you’ll need to consider your own learning style when comparing campus environments.

Some students thrive in small, close-knit environments that feel personal and supportive. Others want a fast-paced, highly-charged campus where they’ll be driven by an atmosphere of competition.

One is not superior to the other; it all depends on how you learn best, and what you’re hoping to get out of the B-school experience.

Book a tour, enroll in a trial class, or sign up for an admissions appointment to get a feel for life on campus.

What’s next?

Now that you’ve considered some key criteria for choosing a B-school and MBA program, it’s time to rank these factors according to your own, very personal goals and needs. What is most important to you?

List your priorities and match them with the programs you’re eligible for, and you’ll be much closer to finding your ideal business school.

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## Are You Truly Ready for an MBA? 4 Things to Consider before Starting GMAT Prep

We speak to a lot of prospective MBA students who want to apply to business school, and are checking out their GMAT prep options.

For the most part, they’re looking for practical information, like what kinds of GMAT courses we offer, how much we can help boost their scores, scheduling options, special discounts, etc.

But every once in a while, we get calls from people who seem far less certain about their next move.

For example, when we ask which business schools they’re planning to apply to, they say they haven’t really investigated their options.

And when we ask about when they’re thinking of applying to MBA programs, it turns out they haven’t thought about a start date either.

The MBA is still a hazy, far-off dream—something they feel they should be aiming for, but haven’t fully committed to pursuing.

At this point, the conversation takes a different turn. We usually suggest putting off GMAT prep for now, until the business school plan becomes more focussed.

Studying for the GMAT, and successfully challenging the exam, is no small feat. It takes dedication, perseverance, time, and money. If you’re ambivalent about an MBA, is this something you should be investing in, right now?

In this post, we break down 4 clear signs that you’re truly serious about, and ready to pursue an MBA. Take a moment to consider whether you’re thinking along these same lines.

## 1.  You want more respect, responsibility & advancement options at work

Feeling “stuck” in your current professional position? Aren’t eligible for promotion without an advanced degree? Want to switch fields, but don’t have the training it takes to make a new start?

These are some of the most common reasons people reach for an MBA. They’re looking to bolster their resume and professional persona with cutting-edge skills, greater confidence, and globally recognized credentials.

A master in business administration is the first step toward more respect, authority, and opportunities at work.

If you want this badly enough, you’ll have the fuel it takes to power through GMAT prep, the admission process, and of course, the rigors of an MBA.

Always envisioned yourself becoming a business leader? Dream of starting your own company? Feel most at home when you’re connecting with like-minded, ambitious professionals?

Successful business people come from all walks of life, and every corner of the planet.

Some are creative visionaries; others are analytical problem-solvers. Some come from quant backgrounds; others were humanities majors.

But what all serious MBA applicants have in common is their passion for the unpredictable, dynamic, opportunity-rich world of business.

Even if you’re not certain what specific field you’re aiming for—marketing, finance, sales, accounting, entrepreneurship, not-for-profit—a strong affinity for business management makes you a good candidate for an MBA.

## 3.  You understand the commitment required to earn an MBA

Earning an MBA is a serious undertaking. Perhaps you’ll be studying while you work, and fitting courses in on evenings and weekends.

Or, maybe you’ll go full tilt with an accelerated MBA, and earn your degree in just one year.

Whether it takes you 12 months or 5 years, this journey requires total commitment, and very hard work.

On the plus side, you’ll get tremendous energy from the people you meet, the projects you tackle, the professors you admire, and the new confidence you feel.

Not to mention, the career opportunities and job offers that materialize for some MBA students before they’ve even graduated!

But rest assured, earning an MBA will involve making some sacrifices, which will impact your social life, partner, kids, family, etc.

Have you talked things over with those closest to you, and thought about how you’ll manage the increased workload?

## 4. You’re investigating prospective MBA programs & admissions requirements

Serious MBA applicants already have a target school in mind, or are busy narrowing down their options, by investigating prospective schools.

They’re attending information sessions, setting up advising appointments, and determining their eligibility for different MBA programs.

They have a timeline sketched out for completing the degree, and are looking into upcoming start dates for their top schools.

In short, there is a working plan in place, and the application checklist is taking shape.

Is this about where you’re at? Let’s do a quick re-cap. You’re ready for the next step if you:

• have identified a clear need for an MBA
• feel passionate about pursuing the degree
• understand the required commitment
• are actively formulating an admissions action plan

OK! Now you’re ready for GMAT prep.

At this point, it definitely makes sense to look into a GMAT course, or start organizing your self-study plan.

A competitive GMAT score is a key component of your MBA application package—so it’s worth putting in the time, and aiming high.

Looking for your next step? We strongly recommend attending a free GMAT information session, or taking a mock exam to gauge your baseline quant and verbal score.

Click below to find links to these, and several other, free GMAT classes. Or, just give us a call, and we’ll find a GMAT prep program that fits your needs. We’re here to help!

SEE A SCHEDULE OF FREE UPCOMING GMAT EVENTS

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## What Should You Expect From A Quality GRE Course? 4 Key “Takeaways”

If you’re seriously considering graduate school, you’re probably getting geared up to take the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE).

There are three prep options for GRE candidates:

1) Devise your own study plan and prepare by yourself

2) Enroll in a GRE course

3) Purchase private GRE tutoring sessions

Obviously, these three paths come with significantly different price points! And make no mistake, you can’t necessarily “buy” your way to a better GRE score.

However, not all students are cut out for self-study. It takes serious discipline, and considerably more time, to plot out your own GRE study plan.

You’ve got to hunt down the most reliable materials, identify (and learn) the most effective problem-solving strategies, and figure out how to accurately track your progress toward your score goal.

There are plenty of free resources online to help you along the way, but again, it will take additional time to sort through all the blog posts and GRE forums to find the answers you need.

Over the years, we’ve found that busy, working candidates—and certainly those with families—usually opt for a GRE course to expedite the whole study process.

But there are tons of test prep companies out there, and many, many GRE courses to choose from. What should you be looking to gain from a quality program?

These are the 4 key skills and competitive advantages you’ll walk away with after comprehensive, professional GRE prep.

## 1. Proven Problem-solving Steps for Every Topic & Question-type

A really good GRE course leaves no stone unturned. You will study each of the three main content areas on the exam (Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing), and every single topic/question-type presented in those sections.

You will learn proven, step-by-step techniques for solving every type of problem—standardized approaches the instructor has tested and vetted, and knows will work every single time.

By the end of the course, you will have seen and worked through every kind of problem the GRE can throw at you.

Once you’ve learned the theory and problem-solving strategies for each GRE topic, you’ll need to practice applying those steps, over and over again, right up to the exam.

This means you’ll need authentic GRE sample questions and practice tests to refine your skills and track your progress.

A quality course will include hundreds of genuine GRE questions, numerous practice tests, and all the other materials you’ll need to keep on prepping after training has ended.

You shouldn’t have to invest more of your own time hunting down study guides or practice questions. Everything should be included in the cost of your course.

## 3.  How to Cope with Questions You Don’t Know at the Exam

Most students suffer from some degree of exam anxiety. With the stress of test day, it’s normal to “blank out” and forget a problem-solving step you learned in class. But it’s crucial to have a plan in place for dealing with questions you can’t solve, and those inevitable moments of panic.

A good GRE course will teach you how to deal with unknowns on test day. You’ll learn how to guess strategically, when to flag a question for later, and when it makes sense to just move on.

These tips will be invaluable for remaining calm, and managing your time well during the exam.

## 4. Additional academic support, even after the GRE course is over

One of the biggest advantages a good GRE course will offer you is the option to take the class again, as many times as you need, before the exam.

Look for a test prep company with a robust course repeat policy. At Quantum, we give GRE students 6 months to repeat their entire course—or any individual module—after their date of enrollment.

This is a real game-changer for students who require additional academic support in weak topic areas. Access to the instructor doesn’t just end once the weekend course or bootcamp is over; you can keep coming back for assistance until your practice scores improve.

The option to keep repeating the class also grants you access to a GRE community—fellow test-takers you can connect with during the study process. This is a major confidence booster for many GRE candidates.

Are you planning to take the GRE in Toronto this year, and need more information about local training programs and GRE test prep resources?

Your best first step is to explore free GRE workshops happening in the GTA. Click below for a schedule of events.

Browse free GRE math and verbal workshops in Toronto

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## Is all the Prep Worth it? Do You Really Need to Take the GMAT?

We know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering if there’s some way you can possibly avoid taking the GMAT exam, and still get into a great business school.

You’re contemplating those long, dark hours of GMAT prep, hundreds of practice questions, and the insane marathon of the actual test, and thinking, surely there’s another way!

Exam-anxiety aside, this is a completely rational question to ponder. After all, you’re a busy person. You’ve got a job, possibly kids, and most certainly a personal life.

Getting an MBA will be hard enough—should you subject yourself to the GMAT as well?

Let’s unpack this question a little, shall we?

Here’s what to consider if you’re considering not taking the GMAT.

## Do You Need a GMAT Score to Apply to Business School?

The quick answer is no, not every MBA program requires applicants to  include a GMAT score in their admissions package.

Some MBA programs offer GMAT waivers to students with exceptional academic credentials and/or professional experience.

Certain Executive MBAs require applicants to take a much shorter test, called the Executive Assessment, in lieu the GMAT. Columbia Business School, CEIBS (China), and INSEAD (France) all follow this model.

Another example is the Rotman School of Management (University of Toronto). They’ll waive the GMAT for applicants who have successfully passed the CFA level III examination.

But…despite these exceptions, there’s no denying that if you don’t take the GMAT, you’ll almost certainly be limiting yourself to a smaller pool of MBA choices.

Dream of attending one of the world’s top MBA programs? Simply want to diversify your B-school options? It’s time to embrace GMAT prep.

Yes, you’re looking at months of arduous study, and the resurrection of dreaded high school math and verbal concepts—but you’ll need to face these challenges at business school, anyway, right?

So, think of GMAT prep as a warm-up…pre-season training for your brain, so you can jump into your MBA at full mental power.

Let’s say you’re a “reluctant” GMAT-taker (who isn’t, right?), and you’re wondering just how important a high score is during the admission process.

Do you really need to go hard at GMAT prep for hundreds of hours, or can you slip by admissions with a less-than-stellar result? How do B-schools weigh your score against other admission criteria?

There’s no simple answer to this one. Every B-school is different.

Officially, most schools say that they evaluate the whole student.

In others words, they follow a “holistic” model of assessment that includes looking at your undergraduate GPA, personal and professional profile, and overall “fit” with the program.

Other B-schools place a heavier emphasis on GMAT scores.

In a recent survey, 65% of MBA admission consultants said they believe B-schools are weighing GMAT scores more heavily than ever—with personal essays, interviews, and undergrad marks coming in second during the decision-making process.

Generally speaking, it’s safe to assume that a competitive GMAT score is your “foot in the door”. It won’t guarantee you acceptance, but it provides a benchmark that many B-schools use during their initial screening process.

Our advice: Research the average GMAT scores at the B-schools you want to attend. Take a mock GMAT exam, and see how far you are from those scores.

This will help you map out a realistic GMAT study plan, and achieve the result you need to be a competitive applicant at your target schools.

Learn about getting a free GMAT personal assessment with a Quantum expert

## Does a High GMAT Score Mean You’ll be Successful in Business?

Nope. But more than 6,000 business and management programs worldwide agree that a high GMAT score means you’ll be very successful as an MBA student.

This is why most top programs require a GMAT score for admissions. They want to ensure applicants have the critical reasoning, quant, and verbal skills needed to survive the rigours of an MBA.

## I want to Avoid GMAT Prep! Can I Take the GRE Instead?

Does buckling down to months of GMAT prep fill you with fear and loathing? Think you’d fare better with the GRE?

More than 1,200 MBA programs now accept scores from the GMAT or GRE for admissions—and that number is growing daily. But don’t forget, that’s a far cry from the 6,000 institutions that accept the GMAT.

If you’re considering swapping the GMAT for the GRE, the first thing you must do is check with your target schools to ensure they accept the GRE.

It’s also important to note that even if your dream school accepts the GRE, it may still favour applicants with GMAT scores.

A recent US News report reveals that 26% of B-school admissions officers give priority to applicants who took the GMAT, versus the GRE.

Plus, while the content and structure of the GRE is in some ways different from the GMAT, both exams test your quant, verbal, and writing skills.

So, don’t just run blindly from GMAT test prep—you may seriously limit your MBA options down the road.

Still uncertain about whether you should take the GMAT? Need help assessing your options, or mapping out a GMAT prep plan?

Don’t stress. Come out to a free GMAT information session to get some expert support and guidance.

See a list of upcoming GMAT Info Sessions near you