Category Archives: Study Abroad

GMAT Adds New Thinking Cap

Originally published By D.D. GUTTENPLAN, Published: May 17, 2012 @  The New York Times

Starting next month, prospective business school applicants who sit down to take the Graduate Management Admissions Test, or GMAT, may notice something different: Instead of a three-part exam testing verbal and mathematical skills and analytic writing ability, there will be a four-part exam with a new section devoted to integrated reasoning.

The new section is designed to test the ability to evaluate and synthesize data from various sources presented in a number of different formats, and to predict plausible and probable outcomes. It is also partly there for security purposes, as reports of cheating have risen.

Admissions officers evaluating the latest crop of applicants can expect the continuation of a trend that began about five years ago: a sharply rising proportion of applicants from mainland China. In 2007, just over 7,600 Chinese citizens or residents, or roughly 3 percent of the total, took the exam. In 2009, the number jumped to over 16,000, and it is expected to reach 45,000 next year, accounting for about 16 percent of the 280,000 applicants expected to take the test. That is in addition to thousands of test-takers from Hong Kong and Taiwan.

According to Alex Chisholm, director of statistical analysis for the Graduate Management Admission Council, or GMAC, the nonprofit consortium of business schools that develops and administers the GMAT, the growth in the numbers of Chinese applicants is a phenomenon that goes well beyond business schools.

“Schools around the world are seeing this coming into their pipelines,” he said.

Nor has the impact of globalization on business school admissions been confined to China.

India had more than 13,000 applicants in 2007, but “a rapid depreciation in the value of the rupee in 2009” meant that numbers remained relatively flat, Mr. Chisholm said, explaining that he was referring to “test years,” which run from June to June. “However, in the first 10 months of the 2012 test year, applications from India are up 16 percent.”

Students from the Asia-Pacific region are expected to make up 61 percent of the international applicants for full-time M.B.A. programs in United States, Mr. Chisholm said. He added that the new integrated reasoning section was intended partly in order to help assess the new, more global, candidate pool.

Ashok Sarathy, GMAC’s vice president in charge of the testing program, said the exam had undergone “a continuous evolution” since it was introduced in February 1954 by a group of nine business schools in the United States.

They included those at Harvard, Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania and Northwestern.

“In 1961, we added a section on data sufficiency to the quantitative reasoning section, asking candidates to decide whether the sample of data presented was sufficient to answer certain questions,” Mr. Sarathy said. “In 1976, we dropped a section on antonyms and analogies from the verbal reasoning section, and added a section on reading comprehension. In 1994, we added a component testing analytical writing ability.”

Today, the GMAT, which costs $250 regardless of location, is offered in 110 countries and accepted by 5,400 programs, including business schools and graduate programs in accounting, business, finance and management. In the United States, its most prominent competitor is the Graduate Record Examination, or G.R.E., which costs $160 in the United States and $190 overseas.

But “we have competitors in all markets,” Mr. Sarathy said.

Unlike the G.R.E., which is offered in electronic and paper-based versions, the GMAT is a computer-adaptive test, meaning that questions answered correctly are followed by more difficult questions, while mistaken answers are followed by easier questions. Also, unlike the G.R.E. or other standardized tests like that SAT, the GMAT does not allow skipping questions or modifying previous answers.

The final score is given on a scale of 200 to 800 derived solely from the mathematical and verbal portions of the test. In 2010, the mean score was 544, while 720 was the median score for students admitted to Harvard and the Wharton School, which is part of the University of Pennsylvania. The new section, which will be graded on a scale of one to eight, joins the analytical writing section, graded on a scale of zero to six, as “a separate data point” outside the composite score.

In part, the new section on integrative reasoning was a response to demand from business schools “asking for a way to evaluate a new set of skills,” Mr. Sarathy said.

“We did a survey of more than 740 faculty from schools all over the world,” he said. “As a result, we developed a set of questions aimed at testing the ability to synthesize information from multiple sources in order to solve complex problems. They also wanted candidates to be able to indicate what information was relevant, and not relevant, and to be able to evaluate which among a set of possible outcomes were the most likely.”

“In a globally competitive world, the ability to analyze data presented in different formats — for example, in tabular or graphical form, or in written summary — and to then identify where you might find a competitive advantage becomes increasingly important,” Mr. Sarathy added. He cited the recent movie “Moneyball” as an example of a spreading awareness of “the importance of Big Data — the ability to really understand the numbers, and to know what’s important and to discard what’s not important.”

Sample questions for the new section ask students to use a table of Brazilian agricultural exports to answer questions about world commodity production, select data from a Venn diagram on population data, and to answer a question about fuel economy based on a set of equations. All the questions require a reasonable degree of proficiency in reading English. Mr. Sarathy said, however, that “in this section, we’re not measuring English language skills.”

“Instead,” he said, “we’re using English as a medium to measure higher order reasoning and analytical skills.”

The new section, which will take 30 minutes to complete, replaces the essay writing component of the analytical writing portion. The total test time is unchanged at three and a half hours, or four hours including breaks.

“One factor that went into the design of the integrative reasoning questions was the need to enhance security,” Mr. Sarathy said.

The rise in applications to U.S. schools from overseas students has been accompanied by a reported rise in fraudulent credentials.

“We take very seriously our responsibility to design a test that is fair to all applicants which produces a score that is a true measure of their abilities,” Mr. Sarathy said.

All applicants are required to show proof of identity, but in some countries, passports are required.

“China isn’t the only country where there are security concerns,” Mr. Sarathy said. “But we do now send passport readers to some countries, including China, to verify the passports. We also require applicants to submit to a palm vein scan before the test scores are released in order to make sure candidates haven’t previously taken the test under a different name.”

In 2008, a Web site gained access to actual test questions on the GMAT and sold them. By providing the integrated reasoning data in a variety of formats, and using pull-down menus and tabs, “we can minimize the ability of candidates to memorize questions and reproduce them on Web sites,” Mr. Sarathy said.

Role of Teachers for International Student!

In today’s world students are going from one country to other country to get or learn better education. The student when approach to new place then the most important person for the student is teacher. The student works or starts study based on the guidance of his teacher. Role of teacher is important but  if suppose the teacher does not help to the student, can the consequences imagine. In this situation the role of the teacher becomes most important to the students to guide him in each situation and help him to do better. An international student goes to attend the college or university under the guidance of the perspective teacher or professor. It happens for more than 80% student, so for there is need to have proper guidance by the teacher.  Teacher can also help the student by taking a role of the cultural mediators to him. So all these statement indicates that the role of the teacher cannot be ignored towards the international student. It causes problem to number of students, so the questions is that does it necessary to help the teacher all time, no it might not be.  For example when an Asian student goes to USA for higher education considering as USA is the best place to study so he will learn more good things there. So for this the student depends on the teacher how will help him to learn more. The teacher role then becomes more important. If the behavior of teacher towards the international student is not kind of racism but instead of that the teacher behavior and attitude is quite good then the international student will not face the problem of cultural shock.

In most cases, when Asian students go to USA or UK then the feel that where he has come as the culture is totally different than in Asian countries. They find themselves not to fit in the new environment there but in these cases the teacher is the only person who works as a cultural mediator between the student and the present environment there. But why this happens, why not Asian country allow their students to involve in various culture so that the there will not be problem.  Cultural shock is a normal problem for the international student but it not much challenging issue for the international student. Some of the international student who is coming from Asian countries faces more direct problems but they can solve those entire problems by their own way but in some cases international student are unable to solve those direct and indirect problems of culture shock there. Then here the most helpful person is teacher and his behavior. Not all students are like Barbara Ehrenreichin ‘Cultural Baggage’ who belong to the multicultural environment and can adopt new things or environment easily so for those international students who are unable to deal with the cultural shocks need help of their teacher. The teacher then helps the student to learn the culture and not worry about the things happening there because of the culture change. He helps them by guiding how to incorporate in the different culture and how to communicate with other students. The teacher also asks other students to help the new international students so that he can learn easily and can adopt in the new culture.

The teacher behavior and his attitude towards the students help him to gain the cultural knowledge and the student can discuss his problems with the teacher easily if the behavior and attitude is good towards the students. This leads the student to encourage developing the multicultural in him. In ‘scholarship boy’ the boy thinks when he reaches to other place for study ‘How could he and still pursue such a contrary life? He permits himself embarrassment at their lack of education’. This means the scholarship boy is now in the cultural shock problem as he is unable to deal or solve the problems as he finds other students better than him. He finds the different culture there and asks himself that how he can pursue in different environment. At this situation Hoggart’s help to guide the scholarship boy to learn the grammar encouraged him to enjoy the environment and after some time the scholarship boy thanks to his parents to ask him to learn English. The scholarship boy states ‘I intended to hurt my mother and father, I was still angry at them for having encouraged me towards classroom English.

But gradually this anger was exhausted.’ So here also can say the teacher’s behavior and help encouraged him to reduce cultural shock. Bell Hooks mentions in her article ‘From Teaching to Transgress: Education as the practice of the freedom’ that ‘Teachers worked with end for us to ensure that we would fulfill our intellectual destiny and by so doing uplift the race. To fulfill this teacher made sure me that they knew us, they knew our economic status, they knew our parents, and they knew our feelings.’ So this means the if the teacher behavior is good towards the students who is there to learn new things, the international student will definitely learn the things easily and will not have the problem of the cultural shock as in this article the teacher behaved her like teacher knew her for a long time and she now belongs to their family. These kinds of nature is definitely an important thing for the international student to come out of the bad dream of the cultural shock and the student will feel more energetic and will see around all things as their own culture and family environment.

Obviously, when some student comes to an unfamiliar place they will be in problem of cultural shock as it will not be easy for them  to adopt the culture and environment present here easily. For some students it will take less time to adopt but for some it will take more time to adopt. But if the teacher will help these students to grasp the things easily and will encourage them to adopt the culture easily, then it will be very helpful for the international students to be in the different environment and learn better. But not all the teachers are enough good some of the teachers create more pressure on the Asian International student and don’t co-operate with them to get rid of this cultural shock phobia. If in this regard if the teacher fully supports to the student to develop his cultural activities and to adopt the environment present there, it will help a student to involve in the USA or UK cultural environment.

If the Asian international student can go for lunch or dinner with the teacher or teacher can ask to the native students to take the fellow with them while going for lunch or dinner then this will help the student to come out of fear and earn more about the culture there.  It should be all international students, because it gives them courage to move ahead, if it will not be the students will be in under pressure, so there must be some activities there for the student only then these students will learn how to involve there. Interaction with the native students of the Asian International student will help him to gain the culture, their living life and behavior towards them, as a friend he will not feel lonely to him and will always be in touch of the culture. Thus, the phobia of cultural shock will be out of the student mind and slowly – slowly the student will adopt the culture. In this case the role of teacher is also most important as if he goes out with the students and talks with him out of academics then the confidence level of the student increases and he stimulates to learn more about the things early, easily and eagerly. This not only helps them to learn about the culture but also helps them in encouragement in study and discussion with the other students. Therefore, all cultural activities, going in a group, going with the teacher, discussion with the teacher and help from the teacher will definitely guide the international student to not to worry for the cultural shocks and adoption easily of the culture.

Carroll, Jude in ‘Teaching International Students’ states that for Asian students the multicultural communication skills are not much so they feel problem when goes to a unfamiliar place and find the multicultural communication. Asian culture is mainly concerned on the pride and honor of the students,  through by their teachers but in western culture it is different, the teachers there don’t concerned for pride and honor but they usually mention as right or wrong, justification or non-justification so this kind of culture creates the problem for the Asian International student. The westerns teacher needs to encourage through honor to the Asian international student when in the class the given answer by the Asian international student is wrong.