SSAT and ISEE: What makes these tests so darn hard?!?

Admissions tests (while this post is focused on the SSAT and ISEE, it’s also applicable to the SAT and ACT) are notoriously difficult for students and confusing to parents, especially when otherwise high-performing students get “low” scores. While there are many possible reasons for a student to under-perform on a test, we’ll tackle some of the most common. Hopefully this will give you some insight into how to help your child succeed on a standardized admission tests. Here are a few reasons students struggle with admissions tests:

On the Record: Q&A with BC Alumnus Rhomaro Powell

Recently, we thought that many people out there battling through the business school application process might benefit from some thoughts and insights from others who went through the experience. To that end, we started On the Record: Q&A with BC Alums. Last time around we spoke with Radina Russell. This time around, we got insights from the funny and talented Rhomaro Powell.

BC Alumnus Rhomaro Powell

Rhomaro graduated from the S.C. Johnson School of Management at Cornell University, and currently works in the financial services sector.

Why did you go to business school?

Business School was the next logical step for my career progression.  My ultimate goal is to operate my own private equity firm; however I felt I was lacking some core skills, i.e. finance and accounting. Additionally, I felt I needed the proper brand and network that would provide me access to enter the private equity universe.  Johnson at Cornell University gave me the brand, network, and knowledge I needed.

How has business school impacted your career?

Business school as accelerated my career tremendously, mainly because it has helped me grow as an individual, expanded my network, and provided opportunities that I would not have had otherwise.  For example, I went into business school with the main goal of improving my technical skills, but learned that the softer skills were at least as important – and perhaps even more important – to my career.  I learned that knowledge only gets you so far, but being able to lead, influence, and build relationships with individuals will get you farther.  In regards to expanding my network and opportunities, I was able to do so through organizations such as Management Leadership for Tomorrow and The Robert Toigo Foundation.  These organizations have expanded my network from outside the business school I attended.  Additionally, I studied in Madrid, Spain for 5 months.  My network now spans all the top business schools and companies around the world.

The Sound(s) of GMAT: Inspiration

image courtesy of h.koppdelaney @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/h-k-d/

Anyone who has prepped – or is prepping now – for the GMAT knows that every little edge counts. We’d recently been boning up on our Mozart (knowledge, not performance) and came across a little gilt-edged nugget called The Mozart Effect. Popularized in the nineties, the Mozart Effect spoke to the increases in spatial-temporal reasoning ability witnessed in research subjects immediately after listening to a Mozart sonata* (guess which one? answer at bottom). More importantly, the Mozart Effect is the reason so many “sophisticated” and/or New Age parents find themselves playing classical music for children still trapped in the womb and therefore unable to voice their own musical preferences.

Overlooking the fact the 8-9 point increase on the spatial reasoning portion of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale was completely temporary (the boost lasted about 10-15 minutes), and also overlooking the fact that all subsequent attempts at replication of the experiment (except one done by the original researchers) failed to reproduce the reported increases of the original, we thought, “Well, everyone loves music. It’s inspiring, it’s motivational, it’s calming, so let’s publish playlists of GMAT tunes that could help students get excited, get ahead, and get their prep groove on.” Besides, the GMAT does require some spatial-temporal reasoning  beyond simply navigating your way through the pat-down and to your seat.

To get the most of this list, or ones you create for yourself, here are a few tips to use them most effectively:

Starting Prep Early: SAT Vocabulary Strategies

Earlier this year we joined SAT aficionados and college counselors on Twitter for the bi-weekly #CampusChat. The topic was SAT vocabulary and it sparked a zany hour of interesting words being used in fun context. By our estimation the prize for most interesting use of SAT vocab was taken by Suzanne Schaeffer (mostly because of her fun digs at Bell Curves founder @akilbello). If you’re interested you can see the full twitter transcript here.

This chat got the juices flowing over in BC central and sparked us to ask our teachers for recommendations for short-term (less than 6 months) and longer term vocab acquisition tools and tricks. In this blog we’ll address some of the long term vocabulary strategies that parents can use to help their children develop college-ready vocabularies.

Q&A: How Many GMAT Tests are Too Many?

We’re back to share some GMAT-related questions we’ve received (as well as our answers) in hopes that the information may be of benefit to others. Today’s question deals with how multiple GMAT scores may be interpreted by admissions officers.

 

Q: Does taking the GMAT multiple times look bad when applying to B-schools?

The Internets: Where Erroneous Lives

The internet is filled with interesting, informative, and helpful information. Lots of the time, that information is also factually accurate. Lots of times, it’s not. What makes the internet so fantastic a tool — its freedom of access and populist design — is also the thing that can often leave it riddled with factual potholes. The test preparation industry, like any other, struggles with this problem. Given all the companies, tutors, teachers, and individuals sharing information, anyone seeking info on the web should double check what they find.

Who Are You, Again? Oh Right, GRE Scores

Paging John Nash, paging John Nash...

This past week ETS finally got around to releasing the scores from the first three months of testing for the Revised GRE. For those of you who may remember, or may not, ETS released its new and improved version of the GRE on August 1st, 2011. A couple of us here at Bell Curves went in to take it to see just how “revised” the test was (naturally, we blogged about it, which you can read here and here). The objective was to find out anything about the test we could that was not in the press releases. We played with the algorithm in a few ways to give us better insight into the test scoring and other features. After a long grueling wait we finally got our scores back. Now we just have to figure out what they mean. As does just about everyone else…

Test Prep Tip: Loving the Wrong Answer

No matter what test you take (SSAT, ISEE, SHSAT, PSAT, PLAN, SAT, ACT, etc) when you are preparing, your best friend is the wrong answer, if you use it as an opportunity to learn. This is the first in a series of tips on using fallacious answers to help you in your studies and on test day.

To properly take advantage of the wrong answers, you have to first understand that there are different types of wrong answers. The Loving the Wrong Answer series will discuss the major types of wrong answers, and how to use them to help you become a better test-taker.

October 2011 SAT: You Be the (Essay) Judge

If you thought grading SAT essays was easy, in part 3 of our report on the October 1, 2011 SAT, (part 1 is here and part 2 here) we’re asking you to grade an actual essay submitted on the October 1, 2011 SAT. This essay was written by me and was mostly done to test a theory and have some fun..

I wrote this essay to test what happens if you got a few (ok every fact) facts wrong during the essay. So in case you were wondering I’ll post the score the essay actually got after we get some votes in! So leave a comment below!


Paying for College: No Loan Programs

Over the last few years the recession has increased the concerns of the affordability and value of college. With the growing concern over the impending changes to government aid programs (such as Pell Grants and subsidized student loans)

http://studentaid.ed.gov/about/announcements/recent-changes

 

 

 

 

 

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