GMAT Prep “Better Than Kaplan GMAT” | $179 Investment Yields $50,000 MBA Scholarship For This Non-Native English Speaking Student
Legendary Story: Kang speaks out on how he discovered GMAT Pill on BusinessWeek and turned his $179 investment in the GMAT Pill Verbal course into a $50,000 MBA scholarship and a 760 Total GMAT score.
While no one should expect a payoff like this one, it’s true that an investment of $179 for this non-native English speaker helped him score a $50,000 scholarship to the MBA program where he was originally waitlisted.
Mr. Kang Cao is a proud GMAT Pill student who was waitlisted at his MBA program–most likely because of the imbalance of his verbal and quant score on his GMAT–despite a strong overall score of 690. He fits the typical profile of an engineer who wants to pursue the MBA degree because he wants to transition to the business side of things. He has a strong quant background, but as a non-native English speaker, his weakness is in the verbal area.
For those of you who have read this article on why Verbal matters more than Quant in the 680+ GMAT score range, you’ll know why Verbal is important. From an admissions officer viewpoint, the verbal score is even more important for quant-oriented engineers who want to show business schools they are not just good at numbers.The GMAT Pill works–even for non-native English speakers like Kang!
GMAT Pill (Zeke): Hello, everybody! Today at the gmatpill.com. We have Mr. Kang Cao. Who recently did very well on the GMAT exam as a result of retaking his GMAT? Not only got off the waitlist for his business school. But was awarded a half tuition scholarship. Hello, Kang are you there.
Student (Kang): Yeah! I am here.
GMAT Pill (Zeke): So Kang why don’t you introduce yourself a little bit? Tell us about a little bit about your background and how you got started with taking the GMAT.
Student (Kang): My name is Kang Cao. I grew up in China. I got my bachelor and master degree in china and five years ago, I came to United States to presume my PhD degree. I have been working for a manufacturing company here in Illinois for about two years. The reason why I just wanted to go for an MBA study because I wanted a career switch. For three years of engineering experience I wanted to learn something about the business side, how to run the business. So that’s the reason why I joined for the MBA study.
Student (Kang): My first GMAT attempt was in last November. I scored 690 on my first attempt. Actually I was pretty satisfied with my first attempt. I again plan to retake the GMAT. Recently I was waitlisted by a school. Then I begin to think about how to get off the waitlist. The first thing that came to my mind is to retake the GMAT. I thought about how do I study this time because the first time I didn’t spent too much time it.
Student (Kang): The only two things I use for my first GMAT was the official guide and GMAT prep course, with the GMAT prep software, official software. I went through the official guide and did a couple of practice exam and then took the real test. I didn’t do very well on the verbal section. I did quite well on the quant part. Where should I get maybe some quant for my GMAT second attempt? I looked at different options. I read few post on the business week. That’s where I came across the GMAT pill method?
GMAT Pill (Zeke): So you found about GMAT Pill through business week.
Student (Kang): Yeah!
GMAT Pill (Zeke): So you actually fit the profile of a typical candidate with an engineering background, very strong background actually…you score very well in the quant section. Somewhat expected with somebody with the strong quant background…A strong engineering background.
GMAT Pill (Zeke): And here nobody knows what the real reason is for your being wait-listed. But at first glance it would appear that being waitlisted is due to the fact that your verbal score is not exactly in balance with your quant score. Even though you had a very strong quant. In fact you probably only got one wrong or maybe just omitted one quant question. That’s probably what prompted you to retake the exam, when you were on the waitlist.Student (Kang): Yes I did very well on the quant section first time. But this verbal section 32 was not very good. I think that might be one of the factors that I have been waitlisted by the school. So the second time actually I try to think how to improve my verbal score. But I looked at different options including some major prep courses. But eventually I chose GMAT pill study because of two reasons.
Student (Kang): First I have a full time job. So I only like 2 to 3 hours every day give for my studies. So I want to study my GMAT within a relatively short amount of time. Unlike some other major prep courses. The GMAT pill study method really focuses on the fundamentals that one needed to know…That’s exactly what I was looking for…so that’s one of the most important reasons I chose GMAT pill study.
Student (Kang): Second I think that GMAT pill study method is very flexible in terms of the learning needs. I did very well in the quant section. I just don’t want to take many quant courses. I just wanted to focus on the verbal part. I can use it, just chose by either the verbal, quant or both section in the GMAT pill study method. I think that’s very flexible. It is more affordable to me compared to many other courses.
GMAT Pill (Zeke): Right! That’s great you actually mentioned a couple of good points in there. Accessibility, flexibility and affordability. Being in a full time job, having access to GMAT prep without making that long trip to the local Kaplan center, say, just to get some tutoring in. Definitely the online version helped you prepare more efficiently, given your limitation in time and also flexibility being able to purchase only the portion of the exam that you are interested in.
GMAT Pill (Zeke): I think with lot of the other programs. You purchase one section. You actually wouldn’t be allow to purchase one section. You would have to purchase the entire program for $1000. Whereas with GMAT pill you get only one section. Obviously the last factor affordability. You spent a total of…how much?
Student (Kang): $175 for the verbal.
GMAT Pill (Zeke): Very little compared to what you probably be paying for other courses, that may or may not have gone to where you are right now…
Student (Kang): I looked at several courses like Manhattan GMAT and Knewton. I found out legal queries like two months of study. I think it’s too long for me. I just wanted to improve my chance off getting off the waitlist. I can’t wait like for two months of studying. By the time they’ll have the decision already. So I chose GMAT pill study because it focuses on the part of nothing, just very very essential things that one needs to know in order to raise the GMAT score.
Student (Kang): I found it’s a very efficient way of studying GMAT. You really focus on the essential and fundamental thing, especially for the verbal part. So I would like to share some of the experience in my verbal study using the GMAT.
GMAT Pill (Zeke): Let’s go into the detail. Let’s dive deep into the details. What exactly did you experience? How was your experience? How long did you take to go through the material?
Student (Kang): I start up my GMAT pill study with the 10 core frameworks with the sentence correction. I found this 10 core framework extremely useful because it helped me understand what exactly test point is in a sentence correction question. So for example is the testing apple to apple comparison is the testing the agreement. As long as I can identify what the question is testing, I can quickly get rid of testing incorrect choices as possible.
Student (Kang): So this is very important because in the real test. The time is very limit for each question. So you want to get rid of the incorrect choices of possible. So I found this skill is very important and help me a lot during my second GMAT attempt. So another very useful skill I learned from the 10 core framework, is how to tackle a long and complex sentence. This is called cutting the fluff.
Student (Kang): So it helps me, enable me to grasp the structure of a sentence. So it helps me increase my reading speed during the real test. So I think this are the most important thing. I think it helped me, boost my verbal score.
GMAT Pill (Zeke): So these are your strategies that you were not previously using. And GMAT Pill kind of opened this up…
Student (Kang): It helped me a lot. During my first GMAT attempt. So especially the sentence correction part. I think I didn’t do very well on the sentence correction part. The first time because I was not sure about even just one single question, during my first test. I don’t know which one is correct, which one is wrong.
GMAT Pill (Zeke): Especially being international student, non English native speaker.
Student (Kang): Especially for some long complex sentence. A lot of things that’s maybe unrelated to the test points. I spent a lot of time upon reading those parts. After learning the 10 core frames that works I know how to just get rid of those things in focus on the structure of the sentence? That has been really helpful. This is just one pick for my study experience. I created and excel spread sheet, with each the 10 core frame listing and the column.
Student (Kang): Then I tried to just went through the official guide the sentence correction question. Tried to analyze those questions using the 10 core frame. And then just categorize those questions according to these rules. I found this is very useful. Then I tried to add those questions to different categories according to these 10 rules. When I just do more and more… I will stop process. I become more sensitive when I see this question. So it has been very helpful.
GMAT Pill (Zeke): That’s a very good strategy. To analyze the official guide question. Sub-segment them into these core frameworks. Obviously the official guide already does that…They label them differently…they use like rhetorical construction and whatnot. How would you compare, what you did versus, what the official guide does as default option.
Student (Kang): I think for me for the GMAT, the 10 core frameworks is more efficient. Basically you can just get rid of some of the unrelated or wrong answers. Maybe within like you are demonstrating in a video. Maybe within 10 seconds, 20 seconds. You have 1 or 2, maybe 2 left and really want to focus on those two and try to identify some other things, using the other rules. I think it’s much more efficient. Especially as you get more familiarized with the thought process.
GMAT Pill (Zeke): So how long would you say it took you to learn this new thought process?
Student (Kang): First I went through your video, the 10 videos of the core framework. I watched the 600-700 level practice questions. These videos further helped me in consolidating the core concepts. Showed me how to use these rules to solve the real sentence correction question. Basically I think after watching all those 600-700 level practice question, one should be very confident and very familiar with these core frameworks.
Student (Kang): That’s the reason I say that this method is very efficient. So I think maybe within a week. You can actually get a very good feeling about how to solve the sentence correction question.
GMAT Pill (Zeke): Okay, good so for you it took you one week to basically really understand it and internalize it. Then do well on actual questions.
Student (Kang): Right. That’s the sentence correction part and another thing I found is really useful is that critical reasoning part. I think your method is very kind of innovative. Previously I do this kind of question just reading the paragraph. Just trying to think how this underlying logic works. It’s not very efficient. I sometimes got confused by the long paragraph. Your method I can draw a simple logic diagram based on a given argument and this approach actually helps me visualize the underlying logic as I read through the question.
Student (Kang): So for example basically just try to draw a diagram, logic diagram. Based on the argument and then try to read the question. Sometimes you want to just build the bridge across different elements or sometimes just break the elements according to the question. That really helps me understand the underlying logic. At first it sounds that we draw diagram, according to the paragraphs, maybe a little bit time consuming. But as long as I get familiar with this entire process. It actually saves me time. It actually help you solve the questions correctly.
GMAT Pill (Zeke): How long would you say “it took you to fully grasp that concepts”?
Student (Kang): I watched the 600 level questions. I think that was the first week. Then I just watch the 700 level questions at just the week before my actual test. I didn’t spend as much time in the sentence correction on this part. But it looks very well. It also was very efficient, this process.
GMAT Pill (Zeke): So it sounds like all in all…you had your score. You are schedule to retake the exam. You are on the wait list. Then you decided to enroll with GMAT pill and then you started watching the videos roughly around two to three weeks.
Student (Kang): Within 4 weeks actually.
GMAT Pill (Zeke): Within 4 wks? Okay so basically following the GMAT one month study plan. It’s really solidifies your understanding…I would even bet that if you were to take the exam even a little bit earlier, you probably could have still done well.
Student (Kang): I found this GMAT study is really efficient compared to many other prep courses. I think I will definitely recommend this program to my friends. I know some of my friends are planning to take the GMAT. So probably I would recommend to them.
GMAT Pill (Zeke): Very good and congratulations on your half tuition scholarship. How does it feel to have such a huge financial strain taken away? One day you are on the waitlist. The next day you literally got a phone call from the admissions office. Is that right the day after…?
Student (Kang): I was very excited from 690 to 760. This 70 point increase means like 50K dollars.
GMAT Pill (Zeke): $50,000. That’s very good.
Student (Kang): I am really excited. This school they really emphasize, put a lot of emphasis, on the GMAT score, especially you got to have a balance between the verbal and the quant. They don’t want people with a very high quant but there verbal. So that’s the reason why I try to take the GMAT. I did very well, got off the wait list. Almost immediately the second day, didn’t know…I did very well on the GMAT and they just gave me a call and said join in. I am very excited.
GMAT Pill (Zeke): Well, I am very happy for you and I wish you the best for your future success. Very glad we are able to help you get there. Congratulations again! So everyone, that is Mr. Kang Cao. He will be pursuing his MBA, with a half tuition scholarship, after taking his exam from 690 to 760. Congratulations again and we will talk soon.
Student (Kang): Thank you!
wow..$50 grand? geez
okay this is good, explains in depth what makes this study method fast and efficient. Really, nobody else has this, very interesting and like kang said, innovative
He started off with a good score, 690, without much studying (Official Guides only). This is a score a lot of students dream off. Maybe this guy is just genius, right? maybe? no?
In any case, Congrats Kang!
Indeed, 690 is a good score! Keep in mind he is an engineer and is good with the quant–pretty much aced the Quant the first time.
But if you look deeper into the breakdown of the 690, you'll see the imbalance between verbal and quant–which is a red flag for admissions committee.
To say a non-native English speaker is a "genius" when it comes to scoring well on verbal would be inaccurate. He simply mastered the concepts and methods from the GMAT Pill and learned how to apply them on the exam.
I hope all well at your side. Sir I am intended to take admission in MBA in Canada. But almost every university ask for GMAT. Sir I am international student and I have done my bachelors degree in business management from UK with 2:1 grade in last year 2010. Sir I am a full time worker and inspite of that I wanted to write GMAT TEST, and I ordered GMAT OFFICIAL GUIDE 12TH EDITION books including maths, verbal and AWA package. Sir I tried to study math for 2 weeks. The examples given in the books are very easy but when it comes to the actual previous papers it was so difficult, and after 2 weeks of study I just gave up GMAT. But now my friends are encouraging me that I can do it but I know without good examples and good methods its quite difficult to pass the test. I have not even looked into Verbal and AWA sections, i was just stucked in MATHS SECTION (fractions, decimals, percentages). Sir please help me and give me the write advice what should i do to pass the test. Where I am intending to apply in canada, some universities requires 580-620 marks. Sir please please help me how i should clear the GMAT EXAM, I will cut down my working days from 6 days to 4 days, then i have 3 days off. And I wanted to write my GMAT exam before december or in mid of december, so i can again start full time work in christmas time. Please please sir help me and guide me, I just leave everything on you, whatever you decide for me i will ready to do that. But I want to make my future bright by doing MBA. I know I have to pass the GMAT first to get admission in MBA. Which package should I buy? .I will be waiting for your reply. Many Thanks
Try going through a batch of questions and mark down the ones you get wrong. Ask yourself why you get them wrong? What could you have done differently to not make the same mistake next time? Is there a thought process that brought you down the wrong path? What is the best way to think about the question?
Oftentimes, it is difficult to see the big picture by yourself. Seeing other people go through test questions and comparing your own way of thinking to theirs can often help change the way you approach GMAT questions.
We are here to help! Members get to see in real-time how we think through difficult GMAT exam questions.
Study smart, not hard.