Linda Abraham,
 6 Tips for Getting Started on Your Application Essays


In an earlier post, we covered the arduous process of gaining admission to a coveted graduate program. The admissions essay a.k.a. statement of purpose or admission statement is an opportunity for you to impress the admissions committee with additional information and why you are a strong candidate for the program.

The following is a guest post by Linda Abraham, president and founder of, the premier admissions consultancy and essay editing company that has helped applicants around the world gain admissions to over 450+ top schools since 1994. Linda is also the co-author of MBA Admission for Smarties. This article was originally published on the Accepted Admissions Blog.

Sometimes the hardest part of writing a personal statement or application essay for college or grad school is finding the discipline to sit down and focus. Often, once you accomplish that, the ideas begin to form and the words begin to flow. The following 6 tips will help motivate you to start writing, and then to continue writing until you’ve got some solid material for a compelling essay.

  1. Words beget more words. Here’s an important concept to think about when it comes to getting started – one word leads to another. Once you BEGIN writing, your brain will begin to generate ideas that will inspire you to CONTINUE writing. So even if you don’t think you have anything to say, just sit down and write whatever comes to mind. Set a timer for 10 minutes and don’t stop writing until the timer dings. I guarantee that when the buzzer goes off, SOME idea will have surfaced.
  2. Write now, edit later. Do NOT get bogged down in the editorial details of your essay during the early writing stages. Now is the time to simply get your ideas out on paper (or computer screen). Write as you think – in fragments, in run-on sentences, or in vivid descriptions of images as they pass before your mind’s eye. Work on making them sound good later on.
  3. Use details. During the brainstorming phase of your writing, as well as later on when you’re clarifying your work, you’re going to want to include details that will engage your reader. Think about what attracts someone to a good book – is it boring summaries and abstractions, or a few descriptions of people and places or specific dialog?
  4. Include meaning. Description is key, but if you don’t internalize (and then show that you’ve internalized) the MEANING of the scene you’ve described, then the adcoms won’t care much about it. What do your experiences say about YOU?
  5. Prove impact. Now that you’ve expressed what your experiences say about your qualifications or characteristics, it’s time to explain how those traits and strengths will contribute to your class. You’ve proven that you are a leader; how do you plan on using those skills?
  6. Have faith. Maybe you’ve hit a wall and feel like you’ll never spin your ideas into a coherent essay. Have faith – the writing process takes time. Take a break and then return to your computer with a clear mind and a positive attitude to begin the brainstorming process from scratch.

Now, sit down, think, and start writing! Good luck!


 Holiday season special price: Begin your GRE Prep in 2012


It makes us sad to hear from our fans who missed out on a recent
deal…Barron’s GRE course at a launch price of $69. So we have brought back our launch special price for this holiday season and carefully gift-wrapped them up just for you. Be sure to take advantage of this price, because this it won’t be around for much longer!

Here is a little note to remind you what you will get when you sign up:

  1. 60 hours of video instructions from GRE Gurus
  2. 4 Full length test and 1 diagnostic test
  3. More than 3000 practice questions
  4. 1000 questions with step-by-step video solutions
  5. Personalized course based on adaptive learning and skill reports

For the price of $69, you also get iPad app. That makes it one less
reason to procrastinate you GRE prep in 2012.

 Work related rate problems


Earlier I blogged about rate problems involving distance. This post is about rate problems involving work! I find that one of the reasons that work-related rate problems are so difficult is because rate problems not only tend to be a bit unrealistic, they also conjure up some incredibly boring and strange tasks! Some common work-related problems are how long it takes to mow an area of lawn, to paint a number of houses, etc.

Let’s look at an example that will hopefully be slightly more exciting (as exciting as rate problems are going to get) than houses getting painted and lawns being mowed. As someone studying and preparing for the GRE, let’s do a hypothetical example on how many cups of coffee a student drinks per day in the final week before test day:


Question of the day #2

Jenny can bake 1 pizza in 45 minutes. How many hours will she take to bake 4 pizzas?

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This problem is slightly different than most rate problems, since we’re given the total work done (how many cups have been consumed) and the rate (the time per cup of coffee consumed) and we’re asked to find the amount of time studying.

Another word of caution for this problem is that the rate is in minutes and the final
answer asks for hours. There’s two options: to convert the rate to cups/hour or to find a
final answer in minutes and then convert to hours, either is acceptable.

My biggest piece of advice for rate problems (distance, work, or other) is to use units. So our problem gives two bits of information:

  1. The rate of coffee drinking 1 cup/45 minutes or we can also invert it to get 45 minutes/1 cup of coffee.
  2. Our mysterious academic master has had a total of 4 cups of coffee.

In the solution to this problem, we converted cups/min into cups/hour since it’s a great example of rate conversion!

 GRE iPad App is now available on the App Store


Some good news out of the infinite loop at Cupertino! The iTunes gods finally gave the green light to our iPad app. The Barron’s GRE iPad app is now available on the iTunes store.

If you are already using Barron’s GRE on the web to prepare for the GRE, you now have even more choice and flexibility to prepare for the GRE. From now, you have one less excuse to procrastinate your GRE Prep :)


So, what can you do with this app? Well, just about anything that you can do on the web. Consider this:

  1. Take diagnostic test: You can use the iPad app to take the diagnostic test and get scaled GRE scores.
  2. Personalized study plan: You get a personalized plan for instantly after taking the diagnostic test.
  3. Personalized practice: Practice away to perfection! The iPad app uses the same smart adaptive learning engine that powers our web app. That means the practice quizzes are adapted to your level of expertise in every area of GRE Verbal and GRE Quant.
  4. Video lessons: You have access to Barron’s GRE gurus wherever you take the iPad. Watch lessons on the beach or in the park if you choose to.
  5. Video solutions: You can watch video solutions including step-by-step solutions to the problems.

Here is a little known secret: if you are a subscriber to the web GRE app, you can use the iPad app for free. Similarly if you are an iPad app subscriber, you can prep on the web for free. Simply create a user profile on your iPad.

Finally here is the download link to the iTunes store. Enjoy!

Barron's GRE App on the iTunes store