Thursday, 28 July 2011

GMAT Update: Week 4 - More MGMAT Sentence Correction

There’s been quite a gap between Week 3 and Week 4 of my studies. I’ve finally moved to Germany, and I must say it’s lovely here. I can totally see myself settling down here in the future, and the language is not too hard to learn either; I’ve already started ordering Pepsi and asking for directions in Deutsch! I can't wait to start visiting all the tourist places.

So with things getting quite hectic with the moving and travelling, I’ve barely had time to get those books out. All that changed this week though; I’ve unpacked, started work, and settled into my routine for the next two months.

I continued where I’d left off, with SC. I’m reaching the end of the book now – I’ve finished part one, the basic strategy bit of the book, and have now progressed to part two, which is the advanced portion of the book. To be very honest though, I’m not too thrilled about this book. Yes, it’s great; yes it contains everything you need to know to ace SC, but it just feels too much. I’m starting to lose patience with it, wondering when on earth I would get to the end. Now that I’ve started work, I’m not able to put in more than an hour of study per day on weekdays (I actually put in an hour and a half, but only an hour of that is useful). So weekends are going to be very important, I’m going to try and stay away from distractions as much as possible. Easier said than done I supposed, given that I’m in a new country.

With SC out of the way, I would’ve fully completed the verbal section of the GMAT, which is quite an accomplishment, I feel. Now I just have Quant, which is supposed to be what I’m good at.

I’m planning on taking a practice test this weekend, to see if there’s any improvement from my previous test score after studying verbal. Or maybe I should wait and do some problems from the Official Guides first, before tackling a practice test. Or maybe I’ll do both. Yep, I’m over-ambitious sometimes.

Monday, 11 July 2011

GMAT Update: Week 3 - MGMAT Sentence Correction

I started off my third week of prep by practicing the aspects of verbal that I’d already learnt. I did around 10-15 questions for RC and CR. But I found it really hard to try and use the strategies I’d read – not because the strategies weren’t good, but because once I saw a question, I just couldn’t remember what I’d learnt about approaching such problems, and went back to my old way of answering questions.

I got most of my RC questions correct, the ones from the Veritas book. In fact, I think I only made one mistake. But with CR, I made quite a few. That was a huge setback for me, and I realized I needed to go over my notes again and again to get those strategies fixed in my head. I will now start going through my notes for both RC and CR once a week (maybe more often, if I find once a week is not working either).

I then began MGMAT’s Sentence Correction Guide. At this point, I’ve gotta say, I randomly flipped through the book and had a slight panic attack when I saw just how much information was included in the book. I took a deep breath, and started reading. After going through just the first page, I realized that this was a fantastic book, a SC bible really. Not only that, but I also think it’s an excellent grammar book, teaching you all the rules of standard written English, with correct and incorrect examples included for better understanding of the grammar concepts.

At the end of the week, I’ve managed to go through about half of the book. I’m not a native English speaker, but living abroad has definitely helped me with my English, so I feel I’m at an advantage compared to a lot of non-native speakers. I didn’t find the book to be very difficult, but it did have a lot of information. I made notes as I went along, for all the little bits I didn’t know. I already have more slides for SC than I do for RC or CR, and I’m only halfway through!

I don’t know how much I’ll be able to do next week, given that I’m finally moving to Berlin, and I haven’t even started packing. It’s gonna be a busy week for sure.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

GMAT Update: Week 2 - Veritas Prep RC

My second week of prep started off quite slowly, I must admit. I think the thrill of completing quite a bit in my first week gave me the impression I can afford to slow it down, which caused me to take my prep a little more casually this week. However, I attribute it mostly to Wimbledon – if Djokovic hadn’t made it to the final I doubt I would have had such a lack of concentration!

Halfway through the week, I finished the CR Bible. I was thrilled about this; I’d go through all the worked problems as I read through the chapters, and I’d gotten around 95% of all problems correct. The flip side to this is that all those problems were quite easy, and were only included in the book in order to properly teach a certain concept/strategy.

I then took some time to create notes from the book; important points that I need to keep reminding me of. Such flashcards are available for download from the BTG website, but I felt I would benefit more if I actually wrote them myself. I used PowerPoint to make my notes, and color coded important words. I’m confident that this will make last minute revision a lot easier for me. Maybe it was a mistake to make notes at the end of the book, but I think this way I was able to identify what was important enough to be noted and what wasn’t. I probably would’ve written a lot more had I started my note making from the start.

The day I finished the book, I didn’t want to start RC, so I went to the BTG forum and answered around 8-10 problems in the CR section. I messed up the first couple of them, but got the rest correct, and took that as a good sign.

The next day I began Veritas Prep Reading Comprehension. My first impression was that the layout of the book was awful. The print was so tiny, and with me already having poor eyes, I was reading the book with my face literally just a hand span away.  The book however, does discuss strategies (even if for only around 55 pages), and contains tons of practice problems as well, so I do think it was a good buy. So far, at least. I was able to answer the first 8 questions all correctly, which is a big step for me considering how awful I am when it comes to RC.

I then managed to finish this book, in terms of reading their strategies. There's not much you can 'teach' on reading comprehension. I now have to tackle their remaining 86 questions, along with the ones in the OG Review and OG Verbal.

Next week’s target: to start sentence correction. 

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Being a Novak Djokovic fan is finally paying off.

As a rabid tennis fan, there’s no tournament more exclusive than Wimbledon. Maybe because it’s the oldest grand slam, maybe because it’s on grass, or maybe because traditionally all players wear white, Wimbledon just oozes class. Not only that, but the crowd are probably the most well behaved out of all tennis spectators. One can only compare them to the ones at Roland Garros, for example, with the unruly crowd, some half drunk, booing certain players for challenging a line call. *shudders*

Novak Djokovic Novak Djokovic of Serbia poses with the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on January 31, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia.

Being a Djokovic fan since he burst into the scene in 2007, I’ve been more inclined towards hard courts, perhaps because that’s his favorite surface. Plus, he never used to be very good on grass – he’s reached a couple of finals in smaller tournaments, but never had much success in Wimbledon. His style of play never suited the grass courts. Until this year, of course.

Six months into the season, and he’s lost just one match. Yes, he’s won a whopping 47 matches out of 48, his only loss of the year coming in the semifinals of Roland Garros by none other than Roger Federer. Eight tournaments entered, seven won. We all thought this incredible run would end when the grass season began, but that was far from the truth – he’s now in the finals of Wimbledon, and by doing so, has successfully snatched the World #1 ranking from Rafael Nadal. Does it get any better than this?

Yes it would – if he were to win on Sunday. He would then officially have his first major title as the World #1. A first ever Wimbledon title. Additionally, he would be one of only five or six people to have won their first grass court tournament in Wimbledon. But who stands in his way? Yep, you guessed it. Nadal hasn’t lost in Wimbledon since 2007. And one can’t help but feel that Djokovic has already reached an emotional high after just making the final.

Except for last year, Wimbledon finals since 2006 have all gone to five sets. But how do you pick between these two? I would say Nadal’s the favorite, but it’s too close to call. All I know is, no matter who wins, it’s going to be a thriller. No matter who wins, I’m not going to have any nails left. No matter who wins, this is a Wimbledon I’ll never forget.

Being a Djokovic fan is finally paying off.