Applying to MBA programs takes time and money – and it may seem like getting a result of “waitlisted” is just about as bad as receiving a death sentence. That’s not always the case, and knowing the right strategy to undertake in this case may tremendously improve your chances of getting off the waitlist and into your dream school.
Tom Kania, one of our top admissions consultants and a former admissions board member for the Wharton Business School, points out some key tactics to improve your chances of successfully getting off the waitlist and accepted into your school of choice:
- Have an experienced second opinion to help advise and refine your application materials. This will greatly increase your chances of acceptance, and make the most of the additional time spent on your application.
- Maintain communication with your school of choice and make it immediately clear, following the notification of your waitlist assignment, that you are serious about your attendance in the program if accepted. IMPORTANT: You may be asked to make a deposit to hold your place in the program that is nonrefundable if you are accepted and decide not to attend. Therefore, be sure that you will absolutely ready to attend should you get accepted off the waitlist. Also, be aware, that because you are in a holding position, if another previously accepted student declines admission, even only 1 day before commencement and you are selected off the waitlist to fill that slot, you must attend or forfeit the deposit.
- Decide what supporting materials you will submit to the board in hopes of getting them to select you. Tom warns that, “Applicants should be careful to censor what materials they send to their desired school. Flooding them with additional letters and notifications of small achievements can ultimately work against you, as the admissions board is already attempting to sift through application materials from thousands of students”.
- Make sure that you are prepared for the additional time and emotional energy that will go into the uncertainty of acceptance for the next few months. Are you willing to put yourself through this? Or, might it be better to move on and make a decision amongst the schools you were accepted to. This is a highly personal decision, but the stress and uncertainty of choosing to pursue a waitlist assignation are not to be undertaken lightly.
For more information, please read our MBA Waitlist Strategy
Harvard Business School has been implementing many new changes that all focus on collaboration. Every admitted student is given a face-to-face interview with the admission committee to get a better idea who they are as people, and how they work with others. Collaboration is ultimately the tool to making a difference in the world.
HBS MBA classes are always diverse. There is no ideal HBS student. The admissions committee is looking for students from a variety of backgrounds to present a host of perspectives and get students thinking creatively. Sure they will share common traits such as strong analytical skills,and good leadership qualities. But the important thing is that the students can work well with each other and bring their own unique perspective to the table, ultimately creating a more comprehensive and beneficial program.
New Initiatives at HBS
Harvard is encouraging undergraduate seniors to apply to HBS throughout the year instead of the usual just during the summer now that Harvard 2+2 Program is up and running. In keeping with these new changes, Harvard has added new course requirements for first year students emphasizing small group collaboration and hands-on application of the material. The new course series, called The Field Immersion Experience for Leadership Development (FIELD) is detailed in the 3 Modules below.
1) Leadership Module
The Leadership Module emphasizes small group work and close collaboration with the faculty to provide insight into the best leadership qualities.
2) Module 2
Module 2 will place new student in 14 different cities in 11 emerging economy countries to receive hands on experience in product development exercises. THe 11 countries will include China, South Africa, and Vietnam, among others.
3) Integrative Exercise in Entrepreneurship
In this module, the student start their own companies, focusing on marketing and customer service.
HBS Financial Aid Information
Harvard Business School encourages all undergraduate students to apply no matter their financial standing. Financial Aid is not applied for until after the acceptance of the student. Further, the Harvard Alumni have been very receptive to supporting new HArvard students and their education.
Some Quick HBS Admissions Facts
- Harvard looks at their prospective student holistically, never using a point system or structured formula to judge the quality of the student
- Harvard Business School class is about 39 percent women
- About one-third of the class members are non-U.S. citizens
For more details, please also read our Harvard Business School Admissions Tips.
Obtaining an Masters of Business Administration can provide you with a world of possibilities in you career. As Dave Wilson, president and chief executive officeer of the Graduate Mangement Admissions Council and a 1965 MBA grad from University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, says, ”An MBA opens the door,” ”When you get in there, it gives you a sense of perspective, a balance, a world view that is often different from what you would have had before you took the degree.”
Most student will give credit to the success they have had in the working world, to the material and lesson they learned in business school. Further, business school gives students the opportunity to really find themselves and learn what they are truly passionate about, ultimately translating this passion into a career. Under this pretense, Bloomberg Businessweek has tracked the growth of the top MBA grad of 1991 and examined what an MBA and 20 years of work has done for them. We have copied the five examples that they include below. Their stories show what an MBA can really give and what doors this degree can open.
Then: MIT Sloan School of Management Class of 1991, Seley Scholar, the most distinguished of Sloan’s achievement awards honoring outstanding leadership, professional promise, high academic achievement, and contributions to the school
Now: CEO, Education Dynamics
Tom Anderson graduated from Dartmouth in 1984 with a math degree and a plan to go into medicine. But after speaking to some doctors who expressed regret with their career choices due to the HMO mess that characterized the 1980s, Anderson changed his mind. He took a job teaching high school math for a few years and then joined Paine Webber as a stockbroker. He spent three years at the firm, and in that time he found himself drawn to asset management. But to make the job switch, he was going to need an MBA.
Anderson went out on a limb and applied to only one school: Sloan. “Fortunately I got in,” he says. “I went there expecting to go into asset management, but one of the great things about the top business schools is that you get incredible exposure to a bunch of different companies and different fields in different professions.”
After earning his MBA, Anderson signed on at McKinsey & Co. He worked there for the next decade, moving up the corporate ladder and eventually becoming a partner. He left McKinsey and joined Capital One, where he successfully ran, then sold, one of its medical lending businesses. Then, after taking on a similar role at three other businesses, Anderson gained a reputation as a star CEO in the private equity world.
Anderson now fuels a passion for education as the CEO of Education Dynamics, which aims to help adult learners find the right schools and the right degree. “Sloan was a life-changing experience for me on many dimensions,” he says. “If I could have figured out how to get paid and do that my whole life, I would have been a permanent student.”
Then: University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School Class of 1991, Valedictorian
Now: Co-founder, Real Change Strategies
Martha Blue’s career began in fixed income sales and trading at Goldman Sachs after she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in December 1986 with an accounting degree from the Wharton School. She stayed at Goldman for two years before deciding it wasn’t for her.
Blue took a six-month break in Florence, Italy, then returned stateside with a plan to earn her MBA. After spending a weekend in Chapel Hill, N.C., she knew that UNC’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business was her MBA destination. “The school had so much energy and so many people dedicated to making it a world-class program,” Blue says. “It was the most realistic preparation for a work environment you could get at a business school.”
Upon graduating from Kenan-Flagler, Blue spent four years at McKinsey & Co., while trying to decide which industry she could bear spending the next 20 years of her life in. She ultimately settled on the nonprofit sector. After working for a conservation group for a year, she founded Blue Consulting in 1996, which served a mix of for-profit and nonprofit clients. Then, in 2007, she co-founded Real Change Strategies, which only serves nonprofit organizations.
Two decades later, Blue says her MBA was “crucial” to her career development. “It gave me a broad view that I would not otherwise have gotten,” she says.
Then: Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business Class of 1991, Valedictorian
Now: Founder, Bellwood Capital
South African by birth, Peter Ebell earned an engineering degree in 1986 from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He served in the navy for two years after graduation and then found a job at Johannesburg Consolidated Investments, focused on the gold and platinum mining industry.
After a year and a half, Ebell began to wonder what it would take to move up the corporate ladder into a “top job.” It was quickly evident he needed a strong background in finance to get those kinds of positions, so he decided to enroll in a one-year full-time MBA program at Southern Methodist. While there, he became especially impressed with the finance program, specifically the training in derivatives.
Once he obtained his MBA, Ebell returned to South Africa and became an equity analyst, eventually convincing the higher-ups at his firm that derivatives were something important to get involved in. Four years ago he moved back to the U.S. and is now in the process of seeding his own hedge fund, Bellwood Capital, in Massachusetts. “I’m very happy with my career path as it’s turned out,” Ebell says. “I wouldn’t say I learned a lot at Cox. It indicated to me where my interests lay, effectively, and because of that I was able to develop those interests.”
Then: UCLA Anderson School of Management Class of 1991, Edward W. Carter Fellow, awarded to the top 2 percent of each full-time graduating class at Anderson
Now: CEO, Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals
Andrew Grengos graduated from MIT in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering only to find that he didn’t think it would make for an interesting career. He worked for Morgan Stanley for two years before deciding he needed to be more well-rounded, having never taken a business or economics class in his undergraduate studies.
The Australia native looked at graduate schools on the West Coast and settled on Anderson after hearing about its strong finance program. “I truly had these big functional expertise blank spots,” Grengos says. “Knowing those blank spots and filling them, I absolutely think it was very helpful to me.”
After paying for his MBA completely out of pocket, Grengos spent more than six years working for McKinsey & Co., before moving into the biotech industry. He served as the chief business officer and head of corporate strategy for companies such as Chiron, Dynavax Technologies (DVAX), and Amgen (AMGN), before he decided he was ready to try his hand at running a company. He chose Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals based on its work in the neurodegenerative disease space, an area of interest to him because of his father’s bout with Alzheimer’s. “I thought there’d be some good karma spending a chunk of my career working in a place that was trying to help people like my father,” he says.
Then: Georgia Institute of Technology MBA Class of 1991, Student of the Year
Scott Moyer graduated from University of California, Riverside in 1987 with a degree in administrative studies, a “fairly generic degree,” he says, that lacked specificity.
After working for an engineer for a short while, Moyer followed his fiancée to Atlanta and enrolled in Georgia Tech’s full-time MBA program in 1989. He tested out of three of his core MBA courses and was able to take electives with the second-year MBAs. “Many of the (second-year students) were seriously trying to get into a full-time job,” Moyer says. “I figured out early on that if I could get straight A’s my first quarter, that would get me an internship.” And he did, with former Big Five accounting firm Arthur Andersen.
Moyer graduated with his MBA and CPA in 1991 and was hired full-time at Arthur Andersen. He worked there for four years before deciding he wanted to do more consulting work. He later worked with Coca-Cola (KO) and Siemens One (SI), where he became chief financial officer in 2001.
A recovering serial CFO, Moyer now works as a director at PricewaterhouseCoopers overseeing consulting projects. “I wouldn’t be anywhere if I hadn’t gone back to get an MBA,” Moyer says. “I was drifting in the wind trying to figure out what I wanted to do, and going to Tech made it very easy for me to focus on an area of expertise.”
“Standing Out” in a Business School Application
The desire to “stand out” (while inherent in all applicants), is not what the admissions committee wants you to be thinking about during your application process. The most important aspect is to answer the questions clearly, making sure you are doing the best job you can to tell YOUR story; instead of constantly trying to put yourself in a context outside of where you think the other applicants are.
I have heard admissions committee members say numerous times that over-thinking and over-crafting your application can ultimately hurt your overall chances of acceptance. Often times, students attempt to say exactly what they think the admission committee wants to hear, when what the admission committee REALLY wants to hear is the student’s story told truthfully and thoughtfully.
The Role the GMAT in your MBA application
The GMAT Exam is a chance for the student to prepare for an exam and take on a challenge. Of course, no student walks into an exam without preparing first. Use your GMAT efforts and scores to highlight the areas that you think may be missing from you undergraduate and work experience. If you do not have much quantitative experience, focus on that area of the GMAT to portray to admissions committee that you can do great work in that area as well. Remember it is still just one piece of the mosaic that is your application.
Many students get very anxious about the essay portion of an MBA application because they believe that this is the section that they have the most control over (unlike the recommendations, undergraduate records, and your job). However, it is important to remember that the essay is just another portion of the holistic presentation of your application. It is not a writing contest, but more so, another tool to present YOU as a prospective business school student. So personalize it. Focus on the areas of your life that you are most proud and passionate about. These items will ultimately be your strongest point in conveying your growth over time and your ability to succeed.
Try to pick a person to recommend you that you have known for a long time. Admissions Committees look for recommendations that are personalized and give somewhat of an inside look into how the student works and presents themselves.
Diversity on an Application
Diversity is an important factor to consider when applying to business school. However, it must be done so in the right way. Many times, students think they must emphasize the diversity that they have been exposed to in the workplace or at school. However, there are many different types of diversity to consider and a very important one is the way in which you lead. From the student leader who wants to be president of the United States, to the entrepreneur who likes to work in small teams and getting a new business up and running, business schools look for Diversity of Character and want to find student who can lead in effective and creative ways.
Hope these tips help! For more tips, please visit our MBA Admissions Advice.
- It is made up of Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing sections.
- It will take you about four hours in total from start to finish.
- For the Speaking section, you speak into a microphone and your responses are digitally recorded and sent to the ETS Online Scoring Network.
- For the Writing section, you will type your responses, which are sent to the ETS Online Scoring Network.
- Human raters, trained and certified by ETS, rate the Speaking and Writing responses.
- The test is not is not computer adaptive.
- You can take notes throughout the whole test.
- There is no stand-alone Grammar section.
- Grammar is tested wholly within the four skill areas.
- In comparison to previous versions of the TOEFL, the addition of a speaking section and expansion of the writing section requires students to communicate in original English.
- New integrated-skills questions test ability to learn, to integrate information across multiple tests.
- They are more difficult and more reflective of actual academic English.
Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing
- The Reading section consists of about 3–5 passages (About 700 words each), with 12–14 questions each section.
- There are about fifty questions in the whole section, and it will take you about 60-100 minutes to complete.
- The Listening section consists of 4–6 lectures with about 6 questions per lecture, as well as 2–3 conversations with 5 questions per conversation.
- The Speaking section sees you doing two independent tasks and four integrated tasks, two of which are reading/listening/speaking while the other two are just listening/speaking.
- The Writing section requires you to do one integrated writing task and one independent writing task.
- TOEFL iBT provides five scores: four sections scores for Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking and a total score.
- Each section is on a 0-30 scale.
- The total score is the sum of the four section scores.
- The range of total scores could be anywhere from 0-120.
- It is valid for two years.
- You may take the TOEFL iBT test only once in any seven-day period, even if you took the test and canceled your scores.
- The normal fee to take the TOEFL test is US$110. However, it varies based on country.
- To register for your test, please visit www.ets.org/toefl.
If in-person or online TOEFL tutoring through Manhattan Review is not a possibility for you, study guides for this exam are critical. Many students often are confused as to what medium to pursue in regards to a TOEFL study guide: textbook, audio CDs, Internet practice program or computer-based practice tests and quizzes.
It’s highly recommended that you get some practice with this exam on a computer, since most of you will be taking the iBt version, which is solely computer-based. After all, reading an academic article on a monitor is a very different experience from reading on regular paper. Often times, it’s easier to get lost in our reading when we read on the computer, in addition we tend to slower. Even if you are just reading encyclopedia articles online, it will be useful practice for you in the long run.
In regards to TOEFL study books, here are some options for you with comprehensive breakdowns to help you find your way in the bookstore!
Manhattan Review’s Integrated Study Guide: Turbocharge Your TOEFL
By Joern Meissner & Tracy C. Yun
This study book, published through Manhattan Review, not only breaks down TOEFL question types and the test itself, but also focuses on common American idioms, useful vocabulary, grammar review, accent reduction, in addition to special sections on the use of articles and prepositions.
Longman Preparation Course for the TOEFL Test
By Deborah Phillips
This book is a unique two-for-one deal, as the 2nd edition (preferred) comes with a CD-Rom, so you are able to get your practice both on the page and on the screen. This book is broken down in our test sections (reading, listening, speaking & writing), first with a broad overview with general suggestions, and then complete breakdowns and subsequent exercises with skills. Also included are two complete, full-length TOEFL tests, in addition to three appendixes: Cohesion, Sentence Structure and Error Correction. In the very back of the book, in addition to a very clear answer key, is a final section about diagnosis, assessment and scoring. Please note, the audio CD for this textbook is sold separately, so keep that in mind when purchasing this book.
Delta’s Key to the Next Generation TOEFL Test: Six Practice Tests for the iBt
By Nancy Gallagher
While this is a practice test-only book, Delta publishes some great material about the TOEFL that is used all over the world. In particular, many students claim the Delta TOEFL exercises are somewhat harder than the actual TOEFL exam, so in many ways it sets the bar high prior to test day. (Please note, Delta publishes an “Advanced Skills” book, as well, for advanced students.) CDs for the listening, speaking and writing sections must be purchased separately, but are well worth it, as the lectures make great additions to your mp3 or i-pods to buff up your listening skills.
What’s the ultimate advice when it comes to practicing for the TOEFL at home? Practicing every day is certainly important, but keep in mind that you don’t want to burn yourself out. Students can sometimes grow overwhelmed very quickly with the academic listening and reading material this tests contains, so too much of this work all at once can have an adverse affect. Also, focus on a skill-by-skill basis, devoting so many hours a day to reading, writing, speaking or listening. (However, feel free to add some variety by warming up your study session with independent speaking questions or outlining independent essays.)
- The LSAT is the standardized achievement examination for law school admissions in the United States and is produced by LSAC, Inc.
- It was first administered in 1948 and has remained one of the most consistent and standardized of all entrance exams.
- The LSAT has historically consisted of 3 multiple-choice types and an essay; the multiple choice section types are Reading Comprehension, Logical Reasoning, and Logic Games.
- The LSAT is required for admission to LSAC-member law schools, most Canadian law schools, and many non–ABA–approved law schools.
- It is a 3.5 to 4 hour test and can be taken at any one of many test centers in the United States and around the world 4 times a year.
- The LSAT composite score ranges from 120 to 180 and is drawn from the four scored multiple choice sections.
- There is no penalty for incorrect answers on the LSAT.
- The writing section does not get factored into the composite score.
- A 35-minute writing sample is administered at the end of the test. LSAC does not score the writing sample, but copies of the writing sample are sent to all law schools to which you apply.
- The writing sample is the cover sheet for your application when it is submitted by LSAC and is seriously evaluated.
Standards and Norms to Know
- It can be taken as many times as desired, but law schools prefer applicants to have tested fewer than three times.
- Applicants with multiple scores are assessed by law schools by varying standards, with some schools taking an average, others taking highest score, and others taking newest score.
- The average and most popular LSAT score for nearly all administrations is 151.
- Only individuals with serious intention of applying for law school admission may take the LSAT.
- The test measures a student’s aptitude in those disciplines required in the legal profession: understanding and creating solid arguments, logical thinking, and document analysis.
- It costs $127 to register for a single LSAT administration. An additional fee of $12.00 per law school is charged for score reports. The LSAT is held only 4 times a year (June, September/October, December, and February)
- It costs $127 to register for a single LSAT administration.
- An additional fee of $12.00 per law school is charged for score reports.
- The LSAT is held only 4 times a year (June, September/October, December, and February)
While the speaking section appears to cause a lot of worry in many students looking to take the TOEFL, it’s best understood when able to tackle the section on a question-by-question basis. This article is going to explore TOEFL Speaking Question #5. Here’s what we know about this question:
- it involves a conversation between a male and female
- it does not have a reading component
- you have 20 seconds to prepare; 60 seconds to respond
- your opinion is required at the end of the response
Here are some tips to help you get the high score of a 4 on Question #5, in particular.
Tip 1: Note-taking. Divide your page in two sections: MALE and FEMALE. In one column, write down whatever you are able to in regards to what the male speaker is saying. In the second column; write whatever you are able to that the female speaker is saying. This way, by dividing the speaker’s contributions you are clear what each is saying and are able to connect the thoughts right in front of you during the speaking section. Also, keep in mind you must take notes in the order the information is presented to you – disorganized notes can and will create chaos on the TOEFL!
Tip 2: Question #5 is an integrated speaking task; however, unlike Question #3 & #4, there is no 45-second reading passage that appears before the conversation. This means you do not need to acknowledge the reading in any sense because there isn’t any information to incorporate! (This is a good thing – trust me.)
Tip 3: Your preparation time is 20 seconds and your speaking time is 60 seconds. You are given 10 seconds less to prepare than on Question #3 & #4 because of the absence of a reading component, so you will need to prepare a bit faster than the previous two questions. During this 20-second preparation time, you should organize your notes in the manner you plan on presenting them. Sometimes numbering notes in the order you intend on delivering them is useful for students, while others prefer to spend time scanning over all the information as it’s written.
Tip 4: The opinion portion of Question #5 often throws students off, as they assume all giving of opinions is over after Question #1 & #2, the independent prompts. Most of the time, the opinion part of Question #5 will read: What do you think the male (or female) student should do, and why? This will involve you choosing an option offered in the conversation from one student to the other and stating your reasoning for choosing that option.
An example of a high-scoring response to Question #5 reads, as follows:
“The conversation is in regards to the changing of the library hours at a university campus. The female student is distressed about the change in library hours because she often likes to study at night. She goes on to say some days during the week, the only time she actually has to go to the library is late due to her part-time job. The male student offers several suggestions to her in regards to her problem. He recommends she speak with the library staff about the reasoning behind the change in hours, and if that doesn’t work, he thinks she should talk to the college dean about this change. I think the woman should go directly to the college dean because the dean will be able to attend to the issue in a direct way, which will ultimately and hopefully get the results the woman needs.”
In the above response, I have italicized the opinion portion, making it clear that the opinion can also serve as your conclusion.
Remember: Question #5 will always be a conversation about a university-related problem, so keep in mind university lingo (library, dean, dorm room, etc.) will be inevitable.
- It’s about three-hours long and you can take it at any one of many test centers in the United States at any time, or even around the world up to five or six times a year– but you can only take it once a month, and up to five times per twelve-month period.
- If you take it multiple times, all your scores will be evaluated by the admissions officers for your chosen programs.
- Some programs will put greater weight on the higher score and be more impressed by a significant increase in score than two similar scores.
- Other programs will choose to judge applicants by the highest scores in each section.
- Averaging scores is uncommon.
Scoring and Registration
- The test is computer-adaptive, and leaving questions blank is very detrimental to your score.
- You will score anywhere between 400 and 1600.
- The national mean GRE score is about 462 in Verbal, 584 in Quantitative and 4 for the writing assessment.
- GRE registration occurs on a first-come, first-served basis at ETS.org.
- Do expect to register at least a week in advance of your test date.
- The GRE registration fee in the US is $160 as of January 1, 2010, and ETS will reduce this fee in special circumstances.
- The fee is higher in China, Hong Kong, India and other non-US test locations.
- It has typically gone up $10 in price every year.
Bg Changes to the GRE
- On August 1, 2011 drastic changes in scoring, design, and test content were implemented.
- Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning will shift from a 200-800 score scale measured in 10-point increments, to a 130-170 score scale in 1-point increments.
- Why? Scores will be more accurate to the abilities of the test taker and no longer overstate small differences between examinees.
- Recent technology changes which have an affect on the design of the test.
- New response formats such as increased data entry
- A tag for review option which allows you to skip a difficult question and return to it later without affecting your score,
- A preview and review capacity that enables you to scan ahead in the section you are working on, edit features so that you may change an answer after submitting it while working on the same section, and an on-screen calculator for the math portion of the test.
- Here is some information into how the content of the three major sections of the GRE has changed.
- The Verbal section will eliminate all questions on antonyms and analogies
- The Quantitative section will place greater emphasis on computation and analysis of data that is likely to relate to real-life scenarios
- The Analytical Writing will still have two parts, including a question for logical analysis and personal opinion, the questions themselves will be more focused, ultimately allowing the raters to know the answer wasn’t memorized, but was actually written in response to the question.
- You must reschedule or cancel your test no later than three full days before your appointment (not including the day of your test or the day of your request) or your test fee will be forfeited.
- If you cancel your test no later than three full days prior to your test date, you will receive a refund equivalent to half of the original test fee. Otherwise, you will receive no refund.
- If you wish to change your test center, contact the GRE® Program by the registration deadline.
- The fee for changing your test center is $50.
- Center changes cannot be guaranteed but will be made as space permits.
- You cannot reschedule between sites served by different Regional Registration Centers.
- Requested score reports are sent to schools within 10-15 days after the exam
- All non-cancelled GRE testing administrations will be listed (and usable) in your ETS record for 5 years
- You cannot cancel reporting a score to ETS after viewing it. At the end of your GRE administration, you will report your scores to ETS, and you can choose to submit your scores directly to up to four institutions without additional cost
- For any additional score reports, the cost is $23 per report.
- You cannot send your multiple choice scores without the writing scores. You scores are valid for five years.
As with all tips for the TOEFL writing section, it’s important to keep in mind that while minor errors are acceptable, the frequency of minor errors, particularly combined with larger grammatical problems will undoubtedly detract from your overall score.
In particular, ESL students generally have problems with count and noncount nouns, primarily because such nouns vary from one language to the next. A primary way of getting this grammar down is memorizing most common noncount nouns. Here is a quick 101 on count and noncount nouns to refresh your memory for test day
Basically count nouns are nouns you can count, meaning they can be singular or plural. “A” or “an” can often come before count nouns. Count nouns can be multiplied by simply adding an “s.”
Noncount nouns are things you can’t count separately, meaning we usually do not use “a” or “an” before them. These nouns also have no plural form and the words “some” or “the” often precede them. Here are some common noncount nouns:
· advice, air, accounting, behavior, coffee, heat, salt, copper, civics, calcium, clothing, film, equipment, bread, helium, singing, peace, pollution, violence, gasoline, water, responsibility, time
Sometimes, to make a noncount non-countable we use a phrase that gives them a countable form. Here are some examples of such phrases:
· a piece of meat
· a game of tennis
· a cup of water
· a clap of thunder
Keep in mind: When we use “some” before a noncount noun, it often is referring to nouns that don’t have specific boundaries. (Example: I drank some orange juice.) Also, the word “people” often confuses ESL learners. Typically, “people” is plural and does not have s singular form. (Example: North American people value education.) However, sometimes the word “people” can mean a specific group of human beings, meaning it can have both a plural and singular form.
The Chinese are a people of Asia.
Various peoples have settled in Vancouver.
Remember: Knowing the proper usage of noncount nouns is not only valuable on the writing section, but also the speaking section, too. Keep a list handy of the most common noncount nouns by category so you won’t forget them.
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- The Profile of the 2011 GMAT Test Taker Demonstrates Growing Diversity.
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- Business School Reapplication: To do, or not to do?