GMAT Grammar Time: The Complete Consort Dancing Together

Need more GMAT tips?

The good news: This is a “dance” you can learn!

The GMAT Verbal section overall tends to focus less on individual words and more on the meanings of whole sentences.  When comparing the GRE vs the GMAT, vocabulary is essential on the GRE, but students need worry considerably less about vocabulary on the GMAT.  If GRE Verbal tests words, GMAT Verbal tests sentences.

The GMAT Sentence Correction expects you to recognize well-constructed sentences.  What is a well-constructed sentence?  The title, a line from the fourth of the Four Quartets by TS Eliot, gives Eliot’s rather fanciful description of a well-constructed sentence.  Let’s be a little more practical.

Of course, good grammar is essential.  The GMAT will expect you to have subjects and verbs agree, to use correct tenses, and to recognize the difference of that vs. which.  Every nugget of grammar has to be correct, but that’s just the start.

By way of analogy, part of a city planner’s job is to make sure every traffic light in a city is working, but getting each individual light working is only part of the challenge.  An effective city planner has to think about “higher level” issues — timing of the lights, patterns of congestions, etc.  How does the whole picture of city traffic, the “complete consort,” fit together?

Similarly, the GMAT expects you to analyze sentences not just at the level of grammar but at the higher levels of syntax and meaning.  Parallelism is a perfect example.  It’s hard to define parallelism precisely because it higher level — we can put individual words in parallel (noun, verbs, adjectives, etc.) or, as is much more typical for the GMAT, we can put entire phrases and clauses in parallel.  If we have structure such as “not only [phrase #1] but also [phrase #2]“, it’s not enough that each individual phrase be free of grammar mistakes —- the two phrases must “match” (e.g. both participial phrases, or both infinitive phrases).  Parallelism is about whether different parts are “dancing together.”

A very different issue of words “dancing together” concerns idioms. How important are idioms for GMAT Sentence Correction?  Very!  Here, we mean idioms in the sense of which words “belong” with each other.  For example, we would say “an ability to do X”, not “an ability for doing X” or “an ability in doing X.”

Higher level issues extend to logical problems, such as misplaced modifiers or pronouns with unclear antecedent.  Finally, the sentence overall must be work rhetorically — it must be unambiguous yet succinct, overall making a direct and powerful statement.  That, indeed, is the “complete consort dancing together”!

Part of achieving a good score on the GMAT entails mastering this hierarchy of sentence-construction skills.  How you learn this stuff?  It’s important to find a tried and true GMAT study schedule, and to avail yourself of the best GMAT material.

It’s important to read high-brow material, such as the Economist magazine.  With good materials and practice, this is a “dance” you can learn!

MBA 5 Fatal Flaws

MagooshThis post was written by Mike McGarry, resident GMAT expert at Magoosh, a leader in GMAT prep. For more advice on taking the GMAT, check out Magoosh’s GMAT blog.

Related Resources:

• That GMAT Score: Implications for Your MBA Application, free webinar
• The GMAT Score Preview and Application Boxes
• GMAT vs. GRE: Harvard Business School Weighs In

Columbia Applicants – Have You Registered?

Register for our live webinar: Get Accepted to Columbia Business School!

Hey future Columbia students, have you signed up for our upcoming webinar, Get Accepted to Columbia Business School?

During the webinar, Linda Abraham, Accepted’s CEO & Founder, will explain the do’s and don’ts of applying to CBS.

This is important stuff folks – you don’t want to miss it!

It’s not too late (though it will be soon), so grab your seat by registering now!

Save Your Spot at Get Accepted to Columbia Business School

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

What Does “At The Very Center of Business” Mean for CBS Applicants?

Want to learn the secret to getting accepted to Columbia Business School?Episode 1 in our Big Brand Theory Series for MBA applicants: Columbia Business School’s motto.

Columbia Business School Essay 2 asks you to watch a short video entitled, “The Center” and then use it to answer the question, “How will you take advantage of being ‘at the very center of business’?” The video and the essay question are Columbia’s attempts to regain its brand and market share.

Over the years, Columbia strayed from its core strength: its geographic location and the access that the school offers its students. As a reaction to New York’s financial industry shrinkage and then, a drop in applications, they began pitching teams, clusters, and close-knit communities. I’m sorry, but those words do not even begin to describe Columbia.

CBS is just like New York: historical, large, gritty, and filled with surprises. It doesn’t coddle its students, and its students don’t expect to be coddled. They are smart, resourceful, and assertive.

So what does it mean to be at the very center of business? Well, you have the usual suspects: access to corporate world headquarters, brown bags with executives, subway rides to everything. But I ask you, where else can you have an accidental meeting at a cultural event with the Morgan Stanley’s CEO, James Gorman, or award winning entertainer and entrepreneur Dr. Dre?

Columbia wants its students to embrace New York and at the same time not allow the abundance of everything to intimidate them.  Years ago, I watched a Columbia Business School PowerPoint presentation. The closing slide displayed a world map. The Columbia campus was superimposed on a big red apple that spread over half the Atlantic Ocean and an arrow pointing to the apple as the “Center of the World.” I keep that image in my mind as I offer my Accepted.com clients my best rendition of the song, New York, New York, “if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere” (High kicks and all. Fortunately they can’t see me when I do it)

As a former admissions dean and director, I would expect to see an answer to that essay that would enable me to identify (and admit) people who thrive in the hustle bustle of New York.  I would want my applicants to capture the energy of the city that never sleeps. At the same time, I would filter out students who would be intimidated by New York. I would want my students to love their NYC experience: rats, roaches and all.

And now I need an Accepted.com consultant to help me edit this blog down to 250 words or less.

(Look for next week’s episode of the Big Brand Theory: Kellogg – Are you Growth Minded?)

Discover the Secret to Acceptance at Columbia Business School! Click here to register for the free webinar!

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein By , who when she’s not listening to old Frank Sinatra songs about New York, consults with Accepted.com clients and reminisces about her Admission Director days.

 

Related Resources:

• Columbia Business School 2015 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines
How to Get Accepted to Columbia Business School
• Columbia Business School Hosts AIGAC!

2 Reasons Why You Love Columbia that You SHOULDN’T Share in Your App (and 2 that You SHOULD)

Register for our live webinar: Get Accepted to Columbia Business School!

Let’s face it, even if Columbia weren’t smack in the middle of NYC, it would still be an amazing business school, so you need to make sure that when you explain why CBS is the school of you, you don’t focus exclusively on the city, but include attractive aspects of the school itself.

2 Reasons You Should Keep to Yourself:

1. You love the underground world of tunnels and subways.

2. Sony Theater has the world’s longest free-standing escalator, and it’s only 11 minutes from CBS.

2 Reasons You Could Share:

1. You’re excited about the access and opportunities Columbia provides because it is at the center of an international business hub. And you can give specific examples of how you intend to take advantage of that accessibility.

2. You love the cultural richness that Columbia pulls from its central location in NYC – from Nobel Prize winning professors to unique consulting projects to clubs relating to the arts.

Listen, the fact that Columbia is in NYC is a perk – a huge perk – but remember, you’re applying to the school, not to the city!

Want more tips about how to apply successfully to Columbia Business School? Register for our upcoming webinar, Get Accepted to Columbia Business School, which will air live on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 10:00 AM PST/1:00 PM EST. Spaces are limited – grab yours now!

Save Your Spot at Get Accepted to Columbia Business School

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

2015 University of Michigan Ross Executive MBA Admissions Tips

Click here for more school-specific EMBA application essay tips!Ross Executive MBA students have, on average, about ten years of “progressive work experience” that include about five years as a hands-on manager. Such students are people who know where they’re going and why. So this year the EMBA essays give you the benefit of the doubt in that regard – no goals essays. Rather, the essay questions enable the adcom to get to know you and to assess your fit with the program. In writing the essays, keep on your radar their stated desire for students “whose notion of leadership includes a willingness to be part of something larger than themselves, who are receptive to new ways of thinking, and who bring varied experiences to bear on how they tackle a challenge.”

Essays:

1. What are you most proud of professionally and why? What did you learn from that experience? (400 words)

This essay presents an opportunity to “zoom in” on you tackling challenging issues, having an impact, and succeeding in the workplace. Ideally select a story that is relatively recent, that directly or indirectly reflects at least one of the values quoted above, and that can be told fairly succinctly without a lot of backstory (given the word limit). Also select a story that has an external, concrete impact, to show that you are a doer, who makes things happen. With the short word count, keep the structure simple: tell the story and add a short, thoughtful statement at the end about what you learned.

The essay can also work with a slightly older story, if you have something particularly strong, but in that case add a sentence summarizing how you have actually acted on, and employed what you learned.

2.What are you most proud of personally and why? How does it shape who you are today? (400 words)

In selecting this essay topic, coordinate it with the first essay – ensure that it reflects a fresh point about you. Also select the topic with an eye to where application strategy and your heart converge. The “heart” element gives your essay immediacy and authenticity – things the adcoms are sensitive to. Again, I recommend a simple structure: tell the story, and then reflect on how the experience shaped you, with concrete evidence of the latter.

Deadlines:

Early deadline: February 1, 2015

Regular deadline: April 1, 2015

Final deadline: May 15, 2015

Download your free special report, 'Ace the EMBA.'

Cindy Tokumitsu By , co-author of The EMBA Edge, and author of the free special report, Ace the EMBA. Cindy has helped MBA applicants get accepted to top EMBA programs around the world. She is delighted to help you too!