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Posts Tagged ‘GMAT’

My Knewton, pt 1: Online Class

Confused about which GMAT prep service to sign up with? I just signed up for another new service (no, I’m not exactly thrilled about it) with Knewton.  I just had my first class today and explore the entire site.  Post some comments if you have any specific questions about Knewton and I’ll answer them.

When it comes to GMAT prep, there are tons of resources and companies out there.  And with the correlation of $3,000 increase in post-MBA annual salary for every 10 pts higher you scored no wonder ppl don’t mind shelling out a little cash to try to get into a better score.  Here’s just a brief list of companies you could easily enlist, along w/ your big boys Princeton Review, Kaplan:

I have studied on my own, signed up for a couple of sessions of private tutoring, and my best score so far is still only 670 (that’s high or low depending on which side of the fence you are on).

Knewton is new.  I didn’t sign up with them first because it does seem like they don’t have a proven track record just yet.  There’s a lot of unknowns.  Their courses are unconventional.  Everything is online. But now after god knows how long I’ve been prepping for the GMAT, what do I have to lose?  Nothing, b/c there is a money back guarantee if you don’t improve your scores by 50-pts.

Of course, you can go through the tour on the site yourself, but here are some features and notes I’ll share with you:

Online class
It’s kind of like a conference call you might have experienced from work.  3 hours long.  One half Verbal, one half Quant.  You have one window w/ the instructor on camera, one window for the student responses, one window for the actual slide info w/ John Madden features on it, and then another slide for polls to input your answer on the practice questions.

Although not recommended, I’m jumping around sections.  I figure it was ok since I’ve already done a lot of prep work on my own and if I was missing something it will show up when I do the practice problems and review later.  I’m on a more aggressive schedule to re-take the GMAT sooner instead of month and a half or two months (no class around Thanksgiving, which I was actually hoping to study around this extra free time).  So I’m getting in as many live sessions as I can and the ones I can’t I’ll rely on the On Demand videos.

Pros:
Convenient – My class was at 10am on a Saturday, I literally woke up about half an hour before the class and was literally brushing my teeth as the class was happening.  You don’t have to fight traffic and drive anywhere.  You can do it from the comfort of your own home.

Schedule – You can easily find a schedule that works for you.  They’re mostly Mon-Wed, Tue-Thur, or weekends pair.  If you miss a class they have “On-Demand” videos taped from previous sessions.  If you struggle w/ a particular concept you can watch these over and over again, unless traditional class, unless you recorded it, once it’s done, it’s done.

Cons:
Distraction – It’s essentially like having a laptop open in a lecture.  You can easily be distracted if you have other windows open.  I have two monitors and I had to closed the second one and shut down all other applications.  No facebook, no twitter, no email.

Response lag – The instructor will ask questions or illicit response from the students and the only way to input is through a chat window (that is moderated by a TA I think).  When it’s online it is a little passive, sometimes you forget to respond.  If you have a question it’s possible that the instructor has already moved on by the time you’re finished typing, esp if the question is long winded or complicated.  I also find it a little more difficult to respond when it’s on a Quant section and you have to type square root or exponents.  I think they do taken this into account though and it takes a little initial adjustment but that’s it.

stay tuned for other aspects of Knewton’s GMAT course as I progress like how the office hour and adaptive learning work.

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My 1st Official Score

Finally took my first official GMAT exam yesterday.  It’s not bad, just a little shy of my goal: 670.  I’m an open guy on just about anything so I have no qualms about broadcasting my GMAT scores on the WWW.  If you want I’ll even tell you my SAT scores.

I’m looking to sign up for an official prep course, maybe even use a tutor method instead of class.  I really don’t need to spend any more time on the math except to refresh and some of the most difficult probability and combination/permutation questions.  Knewton really fascinate me, except their format is different and haven’t been quite tested yet.  They are a new company, all the instructions are online but they do offer a 50-pt guarantee so that means at least they have confident in themselves right?  It is also a little cheaper than the other companies, maybe I’ll take the saving and pay for a few tutor sessions to really buff up my weakness?

There was a reason I scheduled it the day after Mother’s Day.  My mother is psycho.  People use that word so much it has lot its meaning.  I mean my mother literally has psychological problems, which may or may not have passed down to me.  Mother’s Day ever year at our house is absolutely mad.  I thought if my exam was the very next day I could skip out on all the drama.  In fact, I was very right.  My day started out w/ my mother hovering over my bed wanting to talk to me.  I listened briefly and then told her I have to study.  Instead she spent the day chewing out my poor sister on the phone.

The night before, simple, easy, good dinner, even some mediation and then went to bed listening to the XX.  Chill.  Groove.  In the zone.

My dad woke me up 10 minutes before my alarm… seriously, wtf.  I went out in my Job-like black tee, only to get to the test center and have them tell me that I need my passport b/c of my permanent resident status I’d need my passport.  Called up my dad, had him pick up my office, flip it upside town and shake it all about until he finally found it in my camera bag.  It’s roughly 30 minutes from my house to the test center but the morning commute traffic was building.  I was pretty convince he wasn’t going to make it.  I had to have it here by 8:15am and I was a few minutes late.  The person checking me in I thought was gonna be a complete bitch but she still let me take the exam.

Quant was a lot easier than I was anticipating based on my practice exams.  Verbal was hard but I didn’t necessarily found it harder.  I end up score higher than I thought on Quant and a little lower on Verbal at a score just around my typical average.

I can’t say the whole passport thing affected me or not, b/c it really didn’t (maybe it did but I’m in denial).  I have been through so many nerve racking experiences I don’t think anything like this really fazes me.  Also another post-Dale Carnegie Training benefits I’m sure.  I remember thinking that if my dad somehow does get here in time I need to be collected and ready to rock; if he doesn’t then I need to do a little sweet talking.  Worst case scenario is that I lost the $250 registration fee, which will just be a $250 lesson.  It might be a different story if I wasn’t in a position to lose $250 and still be comfortable.  Don’t get me wrong, losing any kind of money sucks.  If a vending machine ate my quarter I’m probably actually more upset about that, but in the end there are things I just can’t control.

700 is not out of the question.  I know I can do it.  GMAT, I’ll see you for round 2 in 31 days.  You better be ready.

Cheers,

mloylo

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My Infinitive

Blah… I hate studying.  I cracked open my Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction study guide and I’m maybe half way through it already.  Every time I come across the term “infinitive” in the book I start thinking the word infinity or how I feel I’ll never finish reading everything I need to get ready for the GMAT.  I love the Manhattan GMAT book so far.  If I do need to take a class later I’ll probably give them a few bonus points over Kaplan or Princeton Review.  It’s very thorough and explains everything.  It’s not like the Kaplan book I had that just gives you the few major categories and few sentence examples but then perhaps just expect you to be a native speaker and rely on your ears.

However, maybe it’s too thorough b/c it is boring as hell… I mean, c’mon, this grammar stuff is really putting me to asleep sometimes.  I think if I ever have trouble sleeping in the future I’ll just pick up a copy of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style.

I bought a Stanford pennant the middle of last week as a motivational tool.  I’m going to put it on my wall in front of my desk so that every time my mind start to wonder I’ll re-focus after seeing the pennant.  Even if I don’t get into Stanford, I think it’ll still land me somewhere pretty good.

Not quite sure what the deal is but Stanford has a 8% acceptance rate if I remember correctly.  Berkeley has a pretty low acceptance rate as well I think.  They’re pretty close geographically.  Is there something about California or maybe there’s just a lot of offices concentrated in the Bay area and San Jose that lots of people are applying for schools there?  Not quite sure what the story is…

Speaking of story… I need to get mine straighten out… eventually.  I know it’s gonna come up during the essays and interviews.  Should the trading and finance aspect take the spotlight or the family business w/ supply chain and logistics?  There’s gonna be some serious self-reflection coming.

Let’s do work, son!

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My Head Scratcher

I ran into something quite unexpected in my studying… a math section that I have trouble with.  Boy, this Data Sufficiency section on the math has me racking my brain.  I thought I was really good at math and just cruise through this part until I saw this.  I really need to concentrate on this section of the math and sentence correction of the verbal.

First of all, I am just not used to the format.  It takes me a little bit longer to think about which answer choices I can already eliminate as I’m attacking the problems.  For those of you not familiar with the GMAT, Data Sufficiency questions give you two statements after a given question and you’re suppose to answer either statement #1 gives you enough info to solve the question, or state #2, both considered together but not by itself, each by itself is enough, or neither #1, #2 and together is enough.  I also get the Yes/No type questions mixed up with Value type and you answer them differently so I missed a few on the practice b/c of that.  There’s also been a few times where I ruled out statement #1 and #2 but I didn’t consider if together they would give me enough info, which is quite silly.

I’m done w/ reading about how to attack each section now except for the Analytical Writing.  After that I can spend some time memorizing some formulas and time savers like primers, squared numbers, and decimal to fraction equivalents plus a few more things on the verbal section as well.  Then it’s just practice practice and practice.  I’m planning to take it some time early September.

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My Test Prep

Studying has been going at a pretty satisfactory pace.  I’ve been forcing myself to study at least 2 hours a day for the GMAT since the beginning of August and surprisingly enough I’m already more than halfway through this thick ass Kaplan test prep book that I bought.  I did skipped a few verbal quiz sections though, but shh….  My verbal isn’t as weak as I thought but I still need to put in significant amount of time.  Math is pretty good so far.  I’m struggling w/ some combination and permutation questions and then the rest is just up to me reading the questions clearly and not fall the test makers’ traps.

For now, the plan of attack is to go through this book as fast as I can.  Do lots of quizzes, tests, etc.  I’m hoping to be ready to take the exam in September.  If I’m not happy w/ my scores at that point I’d probably sign up for a class w/ Kaplan or Princeton Review.  I did a class when I was in high school for the SAT.  If I get a good score I might shoot for the October deadlines most schools have.  If not I’d probably have to wait the 2nd round deadline.

I still have a lot to think about as far as what I want to study, where I want to go to school and when to apply.  It might be in my best interest to wait a year since every time the economy is bad people tend to go back to school more.  I believe this was the trend back in 2001 after Sept 11 and applicant numbers finally topped out in 2003 and steadily declined from there on.

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