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Resources for GMAT Preparation and MBA Admissions

Austin GMAT Review offers the best GMAT prep course in Central Texas. Our goal for you, our student, is to not only achieve your best possible GMAT score, but also win admission into the business school of your choice.  Here we offer information and news for prospective GMAT test-takers and MBA candidates.

By Ajay Amar, Ph.D., May 14 2019 07:14PM

In 2015, most U.S. business schools (57%) had happily received more applications – primarily for full-time MBA programs – than the year before, a growth trend that they had enjoyed since 2011. Then came 2016, and the trend reversed. By 2018, 70% of U.S. business schools were reporting application declines, and applications nationwide were down 6.6%.


I wondered: Was the pool of quality applicants drying up? Would the slump in applications slow or reverse the relentless rise of GMAT averages?


By Ajay Amar, Ph.D., Apr 30 2019 09:51PM

When my student Lanette came to my GMAT course, she had been out of school for almost 20 years. Having extensive bookkeeping experience, Lanette hoped to be accepted to the top-ranked Masters in Public Accounting (MPA) program at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas - Austin. However, she hadn’t had a math class since college. Lanette hadn’t taken a practice GMAT exam (“out of fear,” she said), but she guessed that her score would be about 450. She had just two months to prepare for the GMAT in time for the school’s application deadline, so yes, she was serious.


Today, Lanette holds an MPA from McCombs, is a CPA, and is a successful tax accountant. How did she get the GMAT score that launched her on a major career transition?


By Ajay Amar, Ph.D., May 4 2018 03:00PM

GMAC, the maker of the GMAT, has made yet another change to the exam. The GMAT has been shortened by 30 minutes, reducing its total time from four hours to 3.5 hours.


The shorter GMAT seems a reversal from changes in years past, which often added new exam requirements. The original 1954 exam, given on paper, was less than three hours. From the unique Data Sufficiency questions (1961) to the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) essays (adding an hour in 1994), the computer adaptive format (1997), and the Integrated Reasoning (IR) section (substituting for one AWA essay in 2012), alterations to the GMAT have often increased its time and difficulty.


Shortening the GMAT would seem to be a step towards simplification – right? Well, yes and no. The shorter GMAT should improve your test-taking experience in one important aspect. However, I also believe that GMAC missed several potential opportunities for improvement.


By Ajay Amar, Ph.D., Jul 10 2017 01:00PM

If you took the GMAT on or before July 10, 2017, you took the exam in the following order: Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, and Verbal. Today, you have the choice to rearrange the exam sections more in an order to your preference. You may decide to start with the AWA section, or you may choose to begin with the Verbal or Quantitative sections. You will make the section order selection at the test center, just before you start the GMAT, so choose wisely.


The test requires four hours of intense concentration. Your ability to focus may peak anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes, and as fatigue, hunger, or stress sets in, that focus may waiver. This is why I believe that the order of your exam sections might be used as a strategic advantage, if you go in prepared.


Here's my opinion on some simple strategies to adopt (and check back with me in a year, after I get more feedback from my students).


By Ajay Amar, Ph.D., May 2 2017 01:00PM

The makers of the GMAT devote parts of The Official Guide for GMAT Review to clarifying common misconceptions. For example, many test-takers believe, erroneously, that the first 10 questions of the exam count the most toward your final total score. (In actuality, the score is calculated from the difficulty of all of the questions that you answer; the exam's algorithm adjusts the level of difficulty as you go along.) This bad piece of advice, among many others, continues to be passed around on Internet forums, and the more that it's repeated, the more it's believed.


Where do these myths come from? Mostly from people's desire to discover a magic key to unlocking the exam's secrets, while reassuring themselves that they can beat the GMAT. And once repeated or copied without scrutiny by enough people on the forums, the myths attain a certain level of permanence.


Time to bust some insidious myths (other than the ones GMAC has already clarified). In this article, I debunk three myths that keep popping up more persistently than the Easter Bunny.


By Ajay Amar, Ph.D., Jan 24 2017 02:00PM

Over the last couple years, the makers of the GMAT have instituted changes making it easier for you, the test-taker, to pick and choose your best GMAT score to send to business schools. Not only that, but you can make a low score disappear by canceling within 72 hours after taking the exam. Due in part to these test changes, the mean total GMAT score for U.S. test-takers rose 10 points in two years, from 532 in 2014 to 542 in 2016.


Last month, however, the GMAT introduced another change – you can now only take the exam eight times overall. If you were planning to take the GMAT for the first or second time, do not take your preparation lightly. Make every attempt count.


By Ajay Amar, Ph.D., Nov 11 2016 06:02PM

Happy Veterans Day! My military students sometimes joke that my GMAT course may be tough, but hey, it’s no Ranger School. Having taken on extremely challenging training and circumstances, it’s no surprise that military students and veterans bring dedication and resolve to the not-always-easy pursuit of a high GMAT score. As a teacher, I am proud to serve those who serve our country.


For this Veterans Day, we asked two of our former GMAT students from the U.S. Army – Nicole, a former current operations officer and project manager now studying at Yale School of Management, and Steve, a captain and former company commander who is currently pursuing his MBA at Emory University's Goizueta Business School – to share their advice on pursuing admission to top MBA programs while in the military. Whether you’re in the military or not, I think that their perspectives are of value to all of us.


By Ajay Amar, Ph.D., Aug 16 2016 09:00AM

People just starting their GMAT preparation often ask me what book I most recommend. With all the books on the market, and all the marketing hype, I understand why people are confused. I suspect that they hope there’s a confidential manual used by the Secret League of GMAT Gurus (SLOGG), and I’ll break the SLOGG Code of Silence. Well, there’s no need for secrecy: The Official Guide for GMAT Review is the best book for your GMAT preparation. I’ll even go a step further – if you value your time, don’t waste it on other books.


I use The Official Guide for GMAT Review 2016 (OG 2016) as the main reference book for Austin GMAT Review’s GMAT course. However, the book is not perfect. Read on for my overall assessment.