ICICI Bank to open branches in China, South Africa this financial year

ICICI Bank to open branches in China, South Africa this financial year

Private sector lender ICICI Bank is planning to open full-fledged branches in China and South Africa in the 2014-15 financial year. The Mumbai headquartered lender has representative offices in these two nations and recently it has got the required regulatory approvals to convert these representative offices into full fledged branches.

ICICI Bank to open branches in China, South Africa this financial year

ICICI Bank to open branches in China, South Africa this financial year

 

Critical Reasoning in GMAT and how to crack it!

Critical Reasoning (CR) questions are part of the GMAT’s verbal section. In a previous post, we told you all about the GMAT verbal section, its timing, and what all it asks of the test taker.

Critical Reasoning questions can often be the the most challenging part of the verbal section. Lets first give you an overview of a few critical reasoning question types! critical reasoning skills

Types of critical reasoning questions:

The first type of critical reasoning questions of the GMAT verbal section have an argument-statement based structure. You will have one argument given, and you have to analyze the argument. The answer will require making a choice of one among five. The question types can involve choosing that statement which most weakens the argument or most strengthens it.

Other type of critical reasoning questions also center around an argument. But here you will find two highlighted sentences (in the argument) and based on the context of the argument, you will have to decide about the relation between the two highlighted sentences. The questions could center around statement conclusion, or theory and an example of the theory, or statement and example that negates/undermines the statement.

Examples of GMAT Critical Reasoning questions

Type 1 question example:
Political Commentator: During the previous presidential administration, members of congress approved large tax cuts and yet the economy today stands in shambles. During the current economic crisis, those who espouse large tax cuts as an economic stimulus should consider the failure of tax cuts during the past eight years to prevent the current economic recession as conclusive evidence that tax cuts will not help the country escape from its current economic troubles.
Which of the following, if true, most weakens the argument above?

The correct answer is A.

Explanation:  The political commentator’s argument is: “tax cuts will not help the country escape from its current economic troubles.” The commentator’s evidence for this is the failure of the past administration’s tax cuts to prevent the economic recession. Now answer A is the only one that identifies that the argument illogically compares apples and oranges (i.e., it compares entirely different types of tax cuts). It is not reasonable to assume that capital gains tax cuts for the ultra-rich will have the same effect as cuts on salary taxes. None of the other answers match the logical proceedings of the argument. Therefore, the answer is A.

Type 2 Question example: Joanne the researcher: All other things being equal, the intensity of heat increases as the distance from the heat source decreases. Knowing this, most people conclude that the Earth’s seasons are caused by the Earth’s changing distance from the sun. In other words, winter occurs when the Earth is far from the sun, and summer occurs when the earth is close to the sun. However, we know that as North America experiences summer, South America experiences winter, even though the difference in the continents’ distance to the sun is negligible. Therefore, the earth’s changing distance from the sun does not cause the seasons. In the argument, the two portions in boldface play which of the following roles?

A) The first describes a belief to which the scientist subscribes; the second is evidence in support of this belief.
 B) The first describes a common belief that the scientist later deems to be ill conceived; the second is evidence against this belief.
 C) The first is a statement presented in support of the scientist’s final conclusion; the second is the scientist’s conclusion.
 D) The first describes a commonly held belief that is contrary to the scientist’s final conclusion; the second is evidence in support of this belief.
 E) The first describes a common belief that follows logically from the statement before it; the second is factual information that the scientist deems to be irrelevant to her argument.

The correct answer is B.

The researcher shows here a common belief that the Earth’s seasons are caused by its distance from the sun.  Then she presents an example to show that this does not hold true. So here, the first bold sentence highlights the belief held by the people, while the second highlights the example contradicting the belief. With this analysis in mind for critical reasoning, the answer turns out to be B.

These aforementioned questions are the two most common types of questions for the critical reasoning section of the GMAT.

critical reasoning pyramid

Analysis of Critical Reasoning questions on the GMAT

The GMAT’s critical reasoning questions are meant to test your analytical ability of situations, arguments, etc. Out of the 41 questions on the verbal section, roughly 14-20 will be critical reasoning questions. When you start taking the mock tests for your preparation, you will realize that there are few 300-500 level CR questions. The critical reasoning questions generally begin at the 600-level. So if the first question on your mock is a critical reasoning-based question, then your questions would have begun from the 600-level. You need to be careful in answering these questions, primarily because of the computer adaptive nature of the test.

The GMAT verbal section can be aced once you master critical reasoning questions. Some more critical reasoning tips can be found here. The best way to get conversant with critical reasoning questions is by taking a mock test first and then analyzing where you stand.

As I always say, gain a clear understanding of the type of questions asked, and then head for the practice tests to do well! All the best!

Sentence correction in GMAT Verbal- tricks to ace the SC questions!

Are you worried about the GMAT verbal section because grammar is not your strong suit? Does the thought of 75 minutes of grueling grammar scare you? Well, you will be surprised to know that the sentence correction questions can be the easiest part of GMAT Verbal Reasoning! What does mastering the sentence correction part of verbal reasoning entail? Read below for tips on acing the sentence correction section!

Analysis of GMAT Sentence Correction

The sentence correction part, as you are well aware of, aims to test your knowledge of English grammar.  To note, the GMAT tests you on American English, so those of you who have studied the British language need to be a little careful on the exam.  For example, the Americans spell “flavour” with only an “o”, i.e. “flavor”.  Similarly the word “colour”, which they spell as “color”.  So you need to make sure you are conversant with American spellings.  But these will not make a very big difference when it comes to sentence correction.  The SC checks your grammar, and not particularly your spelling, although new spellings in the questions might trip you!

As with other chapters on the exam, sentence correction questions’ difficulty can vary from 200-level to 700-level.  A 600+ level question in sentence correction typically requires changing the whole sentence. The whole sentence would be underlined for you to make the necessary corrections.

A Sentence Correction question has 5 options from which the correct answer is to be chosen.  The first option, is a reproduction of the question itself! If you feel the given sentence has nothing wrong with it, choose the first option.

sentence correction types

Types of sentence correction questions.

As mentioned earlier, questions of all score levels are present in the sentence correction section.  You may get only 2 to 3 words underlined to be corrected, or say a part separated by punctuation, and only the underlined part (and not the entire sentence) is to be corrected.

For example, “although the dog tried his best to catch up with the train; he could not do it.”  Here you can see that only a portion of the sentence is underlined, so only that needs to be corrected.  Now you can keep the first part fixed in your mind, and try to make the entire sentence grammatically correct by changing the underlined portion.  You can see here that the the change will come from the punctuation.  The correct answer would be “train, yet he could not do it.”

Another example of a tougher question would be “TA Edison was awarded the noble prize as he was the man who invented the light bulb and his works as a scientist make him what he was.

Now this is a tougher question, and requires the complete sentence to be corrected.  You can see that the tenses are not right, and there are too many conjunctions in the sentence used at the wrong places.  The correct answer would be “TA Edison was awarded the nobel prize for inventing the light bulb (or, as he was the man who invented the light bulb); his works made him what he was.”

Another trick to crack GMAT Sentence Correction

To make the right choice, read the entire sentence first at a quick go without paying attention to the underlined part.  Try to figure out what it is that strikes you as being grammatically incorrect.  Once you’ve figured out the correction areas, go back to the sentence and read it again, this time looking at the underlined portion.

Now catch the wrong part, be it punctuation or conjunction or tenses, and check the choices given.  Select the one that you feel is correct.

sentence correction tricks

Remember that roughly 10 to 14 questions in the GMAT Verbal section will be for sentence correction.  The other questions are distributed over the critical reasoning and the reading comprehension sections.

                                                                                   

Like our tips? You can try out full-fledged exercises on GMAT sentence correction on our website or on our mobile apps on Android Play Store and iOS App Store! We have over 500 pages of Study Material for all sections of the GMAT (including Sentence Correction), multiple full-length Adaptive mock tests, and practice questions for all chapter specific areas. You can try us out for FREE, with our 7-day trial!

Follow out Blog for more tips, tricks, and updates on the GMAT, MBA, and Business Schools.

Signup to our blog and study with confidence and persistence.  Remember, there are no short cuts to success! 🙂

GMAT App on iPhone and iPad launched for GMAT Prep on the go!

Studycopter today announced the launch of its much-awaited GMAT App on iPhones for GMAT Prep on the go.

App on Apple iPhones

The Studycopter GMAT App works seamlessly with the Studycopter website and the Studycopter Android app over the cloud and is a smarter way for students to get their best possible score in the GMAT exam.

Adi Jain, Studycopter’s CEO says, “Today marks a very important step in our journey to embower students to get their best possible score on the GMAT exam. With the iOS-based GMAT App, students can study whenever they want, wherever they want and make use of free time that they normally wouldn’t use to study.”

The Studycopter iOS GMAT App is the first app to be launched globally that uses an adaptive learning system on a mobile device and lets you practice questions, review study material, take notes, and bookmark your favorite topics on all your Apple iOS devices. The best part is that your progress-scores, notes, bookmarks etc.-always stay synced across any number of Apple or Android devices that you may own. So you could start your prep on your laptop at the breakfast table-continue studying on your phone on ride to work-and analyze your performance during lunch break (or a boring meeting!) at your office tablet

The iPhone app is available for free for all existing Studycopter subscribers with their GMAT prep courses. For new users, the app (and the website) are free to use and try for 7 days!

The Apple iOS app contains the familiar adaptive learning engine that is favorite of Studycopter’s Android app and website-users. Its powerful recommendation engine continually analyzes user performance and provides feedback to users to turbocharge their GMAT prep.

The GMAT app contains over 40 practice exercises, 1500+ questions, and hundreds of pages of Study Material.

You can download the GMAT app from Apple iOS App Store. If you have comments to share, please email us at info@studycopter.com or call us at +1.347.994.0099.

GMAT Tutor-Studycopter for GMAT questions, concepts, doubts, queries

My GMAT Tutor

Stuck on a question? Puzzled by a tricky concept? Wish there was someone to help clear your GMAT doubts on the fly? Worry not. Now get 24×7 Expert Help from your own GMAT Tutor.

Studycopter on Android Mobile Phones-GMAT Tutor

Works on both Android phones and Apple iPhones

Studycopter on Android Phones-My Tutor Feature-GMAT Tutor

Getting ready for the test was never this easy.

 

Has algebra or coordinate geometry been troubling you since high-school? Feel shy to ask a friend for help? Now you don’t have to worry about your peers judging you while asking a question.

We are pleased to announce the launch of Studycopter’s My Tutor, the most innovative way to ask questions, clear doubts, and send questions to your very own, 24×7 GMAT Tutor.

My Tutor on the Studycopter website-GMAT Tutor

Asking questions and clearing doubts was never this easy

The Virtual GMAT Tutor is free for all Studycopter users.  It is very simple to use and once you post a query, our experts get back to you within 1 business day.  Moreover, if you have any follow-up questions to our response, our experts will answer them in no time as well.

Studycopter's My-Tutor-GMAT Tutor

You can ask unlimited Follow up questions to your query

Adi Jain, Studycopter’s CEO says, “Today marks yet another step in our journey to embower students to get their best possible score on the GMAT exam.  We are here to answer all your questions, howsoever trivial they may seem.”

All Studycopter customers get credits to post 10 questions to our Tutors. Have more doubts and need more credits? Worry not. For a nominal charge, you can purchase credits to ask more questions.

My Tutor works on your Studycopter Mobile App on Android and iOS devices and on the Studycopter website!

Have questions? Write to us and we’d be happy to help.

GMAT preparation – avoiding the common prep mistakes !

When beginning the GMAT preparation, we usually start with a lot of hustle bustle, and the prep is also carried on by most test takers with a lot of enthusiasm. However, what we usually tend to overlook is the area of common mistakes while preparing for the GMAT!

Lets get to the common mistakes of GMAT preparation, and how to avoid them!

GMAT preparation tips

1. Don’t try and study or solve every problem under the sky! True, there is ample study material available for you to be able to solve hundreds of questions, but the trick lies in mastering those few problems which you actually devote time to studying. Pick up a few problems you feel are difficult for your standard, and study them in detail. Variety is important to know the kind of problems that are tested, but do not be flooded with them. Spend apt time studying those few problems, trying to figure out alternative approaches of solving them and more efficient techniques for the same questions.

2. Space your GMAT preparation over a comfortable span of time, say 3 to 4 months. Usually, the kind of semester mode study we do, getting used to cramming whole subjects in 2 to 3 nights is the need of the hour and is sometimes also able to get us through exams; but in GMAT prep this does not work!
Studying 2 to 3 hours a day for 3 to 4 months is worth much more than 10 hours in 2 weeks. For an effective schedule, try mixing up your study hours with different sections of the GMAT, say 1 hour of verbal with 1 hour of quant. Again, I’ll lay stress on the trick of spending more time reviewing the solved problems than solving more and more of them. Remember, longer work sessions lead to diminishing returns 😉

You may also want to have a look at our tips to a killer GMAT score! They may help you to plan a good GMAT preparation!

3. Do not be misguided into taking too many mock tests. It is a wrong notion that taking practice tests makes you more well-equipped for the exam, than studying the actual material. Practice tests help you build stamina, and make you more set to the time constraints, but they cannot be a replacement for the actual study material.
Use practice tests that give you diagnostic information. We at Studycopter lay special emphasis on providing you step by step diagnostics of your performance.

GMAT preparation - do not take too many mock tests!

4. Do not forget about your timing. Most students will focus on getting the problems right, and not getting them right in the right time! A personal advice is to use a wrist watch with an alarm, doing every question timed by the pattern of GMAT. A friend of mine adopted the same trick, and scored a 96 on 100 in his accounts exam! 😉

5. Pay attention to your weaker sections and do not drool over the sections you’re acing. Its good to ace the section you feel confident about, but you must get going on the sections you are not so confident about. If you are weak in one section and weak in another, then the GMAT’s adaptive nature will put a ceiling on your strengths because of your weaknesses.
For example, if you are data sufficient but weak at solving logical reasoning, the IR section will not show you a 700-level data sufficiency question with a 500-level logical reasoning score. Keep that in mind for your GMAT preparation.

While practicing, do not get clouded by the myth that the first 10 questions are the most important ones. Each question has its importance. Remember, GMAT is a computer adaptive test, so the questions you receive will be determined b the questions you have already answered. Practice is the key to acing the exam; pacing yourself will enable you to answer all questions.

You would do well to learn how to read and then act to the questions. The GMAT’s strategy is to present the subject matter in a twisted and turned way, so as to trick the test takers! While reading a question, you must first try to figure out your role rather than reading the prompts before. Smart Learning teaches you to find your role first and then search for the relevant details to help you perform the role.

Understand that the GMAT aims to trick you by throwing questions other than those it thinks you would have assumed as expected! So be very careful and practice questions for your GMAT preparation. A simple geometry question on isosceles triangles may be asking you to find the base angles, but the trick may be to find the vertex angle; you are likely to miss the last if you are not well-versed with these little tricks.

Happy studying! 😉

Our Approach towards Smart Learning

At Studycopter, we truly believe that a smart learning approach versus rote learning is the key to a more efficient learning and eventually a better exam performance. It is very important for us that our students give their best performance to truly reach the pinnacle of their skill. That is why we don’t claim we  strive to get the best score for all, which is practically not possible but instead the best score you can achieve by providing you with the right tools including study notes, practice exercises and mock-tests to give you complete preparation. We have our approach rooted on two pillars – chapter recommendation and true skill assessment. ‘Chapter Recommendation’ provides an action plan for the student, depending on how the student is performing, his past scoring pattern, identifying the areas he/she is weak at etc. This plan is in no way binding and thus if a student feels he needs to follow a different path, he can take the route most comfortable to him. Once we have given him the tools, our duty next is to ensure we assess the student’s skill to the best possible accuracy so that both of us where a students stands and thus plan corrective measures accordingly. For this our ‘True Skill Assessment’ algorithm has been developed.

On the ‘Chapter Recommendation’ front, we have focused on building the best capability in recommending and suggesting which chapters/exercises to read next based on their difficulty level as well as their weightage in the GMAT exam. We have further classified each section into various chapters and then further into specific practice exercises to learn from. The chapters which are more difficult but have lesser weightage overall (Type C) are not worth spending time on towards the end of your preparation, whereas on the other hand, if the chapters are easy and also weigh more on the GMAT (Type A), it makes more sense to finish them earlier so as to maximise the score you’re getting in your practice mock tests.

Consider the following chart:

We make a chart for each and every student which is customized as per his performance in the diagnostic tests and practice exercises he has taken on our website. Due to its real-time nature, this chart is constantly changing as you proceed with your preparation and you get better and better at solving GMAT-style questions.

Easy to understand stats and breakdown analysis gives you all you need to know about your performance so you have full visibility into where you stand at all times.  We believe that the more you know about your strong areas and areas for improvement, the more targeted your prep approach will be. That is why we track a lot of metrics including time taken per question, difficulty level of each question, priority index of the chapter involved, past performance in similar exercises, subject id of the question and how others have performed in that question.

The other part of our approach is giving the student true assessment of his skill. Some test prep companies that exam preparation ends with the right recommendation and that if the student is performing well in those chapters, he would likely score higher on the GMAT exam as well. The same belief leads to many surprises for quite a lot of students on the final day. Nothing could be further from the truth. Although, it is LIKELY that if you’re performing well, you will score higher on the GMAT exam, but it is something which may not happen always. This is majorly because of the scoring algorithm used by GMAC to score their GMAT exams. They use a scoring system know to the world as Item-Response Theory or IRT. IRT was developed around the 1950s and 1960s by Educational Testing Service psychometrician Frederic M. Lord, the Danish mathematician Georg Rasch, and Austrian sociologist Paul Lazarsfeld, primarily to deal with lack of accuracy in the classical test theory. The main problems encountered in the classical test theory was that it did not account for the question difficulty as the question deemed difficult by the testing body may or may not be difficult with the test takers, also the variance in the difficulty versus the question worth in marks was not well established. Other big problem with this theory was that it had no way to disregard the flaw in scoring due to someone guessing the answer rather than knowing it. With IRT as well, we can’t know for sure if the answer has been guessed but the algorithm certainly takes care of it statistically.

IRT essentially introduces 3 parameters for every question. Its failure rate, its ability to differentiate between top scorers and average or low scorers and thirdly its ability to give less weightage to questions where a test taker might have a higher chance of getting an answer right as a result of guesswork, represented by b, a and c respectively. These three parameters are never assumed but calculated based on the response of all the test takers who attempt a question. And as more and more test takers attempt a particular question, the three parameters become more and more accurate leading us to the true score of a test taker.

The IRT equation looks something like this but it has a lot more to it than just this one equation:

where p is the probability of getting the question right by a person with a skill level theta.

Studycopter employs the same approach to score its practice, diagnostic and mock tests. Currently we’re in the process to collect data for our question bank from our beta users. As more and more data is collected, we would be in a position to introduce quite accurate scoring, the one which will be a very realistic assessment of your true skill thus giving you the correct reflection of your preparedness.

Here is another research papers to help you dive deeper into our approach.

Overall we ensure:

  • Where you are coming from
  • Where you are going
  • Keeping track of your progress
  • Providing motivation to study by egging you on to study and making it more fun
  • Making self study reflective. As our users are strapped  for time, it becomes critical to maximize time utility and not waste time on efforts that have minimal probability of inducing a score bump
Try us out by signing up here and experience smart learning today!