Sunday, December 20, 2009


Study in Silence.

I have two kids and an insatiable desire to score the best I possibly can on the GMAT.

At the start, and after about 13 years aways from anything academic, I basically just jumped into the first few 'study for the GMAT' books I deemed acceptable. I made a lot of progress in a short period of time too, and I did this amidst the noise and mayhem inherent with a 4 and 5-year old owning my home.

This progress I will attribute to two things: 1. I dedicated my self to a two week binge into all things GMAT, and 2. Over a decade away from the classroom meant alot of stuff I simply forgot about came flooding back into my head. I equate the second facet to an intellectual dusting.

Anyway, I'm getting at this.

Now that all the things I knew are solidly planted back in my active mind, I am now jostling with the topics I am going to have to learn to score where I need to on the GMAT. Though I was able to easily recall what I already knew amidst the aforementioned noise and confusion of children, the same wil not prove true in the coming month as I forge ahead.

My advice is this. Do not even bother trying to study unless you have a suitable place to do so.

Child abuse is illegal, and the frustration I often feel as I struggle to absorb something important is not fair to them or myself. I'm not in this to create childhood memories for my kids where they remember daddy sitting in the easy chair, bitching and screaming about inconsequential behavior. I'm better than that, so I stopped it.

I did this by creating space for my efforts to improve my GMAT score. Make the time to study in silence.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Kaplan practice test

Foolish me.

I went to a Kaplan center for a practice test yesterday.

I envisioned a simulation of the actual GMAT test, maybe without the essays since those are not graded on site and hence could be considered a waste of time.

Once there, it quickly became apparant that my expectations were not in line with what they had scheduled.

This is not a complaint, just relaying the message to anyone who is interested.

Kaplan offered a paper test much like the SAT's, you know the kind....fill in the oval with a #2 pencil.

This presented a big problem in terms of actually simulating the real GMAT. There is nothing computer-adaptive about this method. Not sure why I expected a simulation, but I did.

In terms of the test, I need to work on my timing. I ran out of time on the quant. section and had to rush guesses on my final 10 questions. This obviously needs to be addressed before I pay for the real thing. Verbal, as expected, was much easier, despite the fact I had a brain fart and didn't turn the last page. I answered only 37of the verbal questions. Again, I need to address that before the real thing.

Looking back on the evening I think Kaplan's test is good for showing you what it's like to sit there for 2.5 hours taking the test. Their diagnostic printout sales sheet at the end was good, it gave me some info as to what I tested well on (and what I need to work on), along with my percentiles and overall score. They didn't sell as hard as I expected, which was nice. I bit my tongue on the $100 rebate offer they brought up as a benefit of showing can easily get $200 off for the same by simply signing up on their website and waiting for email promos.

Other than going through the motions, though, there's not much I can see as adding to my preparation. That said, going through the motions is a big part of this process, so I'm glad I went.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I've noticed that osmosis is one of my most effective study strategies, if not most reliable. Just as when I ran a residential painting crew during, and then after, my time as an undergrad, I've noticed that by simply running through the motions of what you think you are supposed to be doing can pay dividends. I remember telling guys on my crew during frustrating days when not a lot seemed to be being accomplished that when all else failed, if they were applying paint to the surface that was a good thing. What that meant was that even if they didn't have the best technique or work ethic, if the paint was simply being applied, the job was, in fact, moving toward completioon.
I am seeing this principle in my studies for the gmat, if I simply read over the problems, even on days I'm off a bit and not absorbing enough, by simple osmosis I have to be learning something. Simply by reading the text I learn, even if my brain isn't up to par. Long story short, keep your head in the book and eyes on the page. At the very least you're forming a good habit and it will pay off when accumulated over time.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


It's funny how some days things either click or don't. One day, I'm striking out on everyother Bin 1 math question, two days later I'm getting every other Bin 3 math correct.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Practice test

I've scheduled a free practice test through KAplan at one of their facilities. (Cherry Hill)

Kind of worried I won't be prepared, but have to keep in mind that that is the exact reason I scheduled it. I want an idea where I stand, what areas will need work, etc.

I'm doing this also just so I can go through the motions of taking a 3.5 hr. test. It's been a while since I sat down, buckled in and went to town on something academic. Should actually be rewarding in many regards.

Little worried too since Iheard KAplan low-balls the practice scores to drum up business for their tutoring/online services. Don't know if this is true but since the world works that way, I'm going to take it for granted and just block it out. There is no way to tell.

Anyway, I'm just reviewing, reviewing and then reviewing the Princeton Review Cracking the GMAT, along with their 1000 sample question book.

When I startimplementing a strategy toward study this post may serve some worth.

I'll be back.