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Friday, 19 August 2011

GMAT Update: Week 7: Very Unproductive!


So Novak Djokovic created history and became the only player to win five Masters Tournaments in a single season by winning in Montreal. I have absolutely no expectations from him now for this week’s tournament at Cincinnati. Hope he saves himself for the US Open that starts in a fortnight.

Liverpool drew with Sunderland. I am bummed – and that’s putting it mildly. The first half was so brilliant, and the second half so awful. It’s only been one game though, 37 more to go!

As far as the GMAT is concerned, i haven’t been able to do much this week. My mind has unfortunately been occupied by other stressful issues, and I’m sorry to say that I’ve therefore neglected the GMAT. I’ve finished part 1 of the book, which contains general strategies as well as an introduction to Data Sufficiency problems, and I’ve begun part 2, the advanced portion of the book. I’m finding it harder and harder as I progress, which makes sense as I’m now in the advanced bit. There are just so many numbers being thrown about that I find myself taking a deep breath, going back and reading the explanations again.

I should be done with this by the end of next week at the very latest; I’m spending a three-day weekend in Cologne with one of my high school friends. I’m so looking forward to it. But that obviously means I won’t have time to work on the GMAT. I’m considering packing the book though; perhaps I could read through at the airport?  

Rather short update this week unfortunately!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

GMAT Update: Week 6 - MGMAT Number Properties

First of all, omigawd, I’m in week 6?! I opened my blog to see what week I was on, so that I would be able to title this post accordingly, and had a mini heart attack when I realized I was on week 6. Six weeks have passed since I began studying the GMAT. To put it another way, it took me six weeks to finish revising verbal strategies.

I immediately opened the calendar tool on my computer (and waited for an agonizingly long minute before it finally popped up, I seriously need a new laptop) and counted the number of weeks remaining until 14th October – my big day. (No, I didn’t use my head to calculate the number of weeks; I physically counted them using the calendar. That’s what panic does to you.) I then breathed a sigh of relief; I still had nine weeks.  All was well again.

So anyway, to recap my sixth week of prep, I’m officially halfway through Manhattan GMAT’s Number Properties.  As an engineer (or should I say, as an engineering student), I have done math way more complicated that what is asked on the GMAT, and at this point I haven’t been seriously tested by any information. My PowerPoint on quant contains just three slides so far. And that’s including the title page.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the quant section is going to be a walkover for me. In fact, it’ll be hard for me to get above 45. Not because I don’t know math, but because what is tested is so basic that I don’t know it and don’t bother learning it. (Does that make sense or am I coming off as a douche?) What I’m trying to say is that, the math in the GMAT doesn’t test your ability to work out complicated equations; it tests your ability to analyze the problem and find a solution without too many calculations. There’s a reason why a calculator is not provided – it’s because you’re not meant to need one.

One thing I feel this book is lacking is a page of all important formulae; for example, a formula to find the area of a triangle that has three unequal sides. I studied this in eighth grade, but just can’t recall anything about such problems (and I don’t particularly want to buy a book on geometry to find out either). So if anyone knows of a website where such important must-know pieces of math knowledge can be found, please do share!

Plans for the weekend? Plenty of sporting action for me, with Novak Djokovic cruising in Montreal and the start of the EPL. But I’ll do my best to squeeze some work in, perhaps more practice problems. Really got to work on that reading comprehension. 

Sunday, 7 August 2011

GMAT Update: Week 5 - Practice Problems

Finishing the verbal section was definitely the best thing about this week. I was getting so sick of the MGMAT SC book, and I’m glad that it’s finally done and dusted. The GMAT is far from over though; I started Number Properties, Manhattan GMAT’s first quant guide. It feels so good to finally be getting to the quant section!

I spent Saturday evening doing 20 problems each for SC and CR, and 15 problems of RC.

(Yes, this is how my weekends have become; no social life whatsoever. I’m hoping it’ll be worth it in two and a half months’ time. However, I’m totally taking a break and going out tomorrow to see some of Berlin’s lovely sights.)

On average, one is expected to spend roughly 1 min 45 seconds per question in the verbal section, in order to finish the test on time. My average time per question was as follows:

CR: 1 min 27 seconds
RC: 1 min 57 seconds
SC: 50 seconds!

Clearly I was finding RC a bit of a problem – and I knew this while tackling the problems. My mind would just drift, focusing on other aspects of my life, and it would take a lot of effort (and hence time) to bring the focus back. It doesn’t help that the passages are just so incredibly boring. It’ll definitely be something I will have to work on.

And as for the answers, I got three wrong for both CR and RC, but my SC was perfectly accurate!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Essay Nightmare

I decided to take a little break from my GMAT today and work on my applications. I will be graduating next year and thought I should get a start on the essays required for both job applications as well as admission into top business schools. The great thing about job applications is that no essays are necessary. Academic records, test records, previous experience, and your CV – these are the documents that do the convincing. And because of this, job applications take a lot less time and energy than a school application.

I worked on my CV and cover letter in the morning, and after dinner, I sat down to face an school application essay; the first out of seven essays that I must write and complete by beginning of January. And after staring at the blank page for more than 20 minutes without a single idea forming in my head, I realized that January is just not too far away anymore.  

What do I write?!?!? These schools are kind to you, in the sense that they give you the topic as well as a word count, but that’s as far as they are willing to go. There’s just no more information regarding what they’re expecting to see. We want to know the real you – that’s what their website states. Eh?

The topics themselves aren’t very difficult, which makes my task somewhat harder in a way, as the easier the task, the harder it is for you to stand out. For you to show you’re better than anyone else applying, and for you to convince the admissions committee that you’re worth accepting. You want to impress them. You want to intrigue them. But how do you do that?

Well I need to figure it out. And fast. Time’s running out.