Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Three Great Tools for Success in the GMAT

Yesss.. I just witnessed India win Pakistan in the ICC World Cup Semi-Finals.. It is a moment of pride for India. My facebook has been overflowing with status updates, praising India and feeling proud about the victory. It is definitely a moment of great delight. Amazing team work, Team India! Hats off!

Looking forward to the Finals on April 2nd, where I expect India to win the finals J I pray it does! I (oh! Not just me.. the whole of India) would love it, if God Sachin would lift the cup in his last ever World Cup match.!

And one more thing that excited me today, is the brand new BeatTheGMAT website launched.! I have been in love with it completely. I have been watching Eric update on facebook, and I have been refreshing page by page, all the open articles on my desktop. Yes, it is better organized for the GMAT and MBA applications and beyond. Way to go BTG! And yes, the new logo is cutee.. I love it..!

Most of my day, I spent revising Chapter 1 from Manhattan’s Word Translation guide, and a part of Chapter 2. The cricket world cup semi-finals kept me busy. I read a few articles on the new BTG, and also watched the video, ‘Creating a Long Term MBA Plan’, and it was definitely a knowledge add. Being a newbie to GMAT and MBA, this video was extremely helpful.

I am now beginning the use of Error Logs. I feel it is a better way of keeping track of errors and avoiding them in future. Now all I need to do, be more disciplined so that I am regular and strong at my preps. I once used to get frustrated with the errors I get on my practice questions, until my friend told me, be happy you got an error. And yes, he was right. I am learning better from my error.

And another good practice is making flash cards. A good idea for beginners like me is to make use of existing flash cards (like those of BTG). As I start using it, I understand how to make one, and in the process remember a lot of new concepts and ideas.

Three great tools :
1.   Error Log
2. Flash Cards
3. GMAT progress chart ( To keep track of practice test scores)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 4 - CR Elimination Strategy and QA Rate problems

As I said, I have not been keeping well last week. My good friend visited me over the weekend, and we had a really good time, discussing everything under the sun.

I could hardly squeeze in time to sit to study. I was surrounded by people all day long. And yes, it felt good to meet friends after a long time.. This week I am gearing up for my roomie's wedding. She is a close friend more than a roomie.

Yes, I worked on a couple of CR questions, and a few Age and Rate related problems. This was just to make sure that I didnt lose touch with something that is of prime importance at the moment.

I happened to discuss a CR question with a friend, who got admitted to one of the best B-Schools in the world. And I learnt just elimination can solve half of the problem. And how we attach importance to every single word of the CR arguement is very important.

Though it was just one CR question that I discussed with him, I learnt a lot. It is good to share your knowledge with a friend who is preparing for GMAT. I have not been thoroughly active in forums, but I guess doing so, will do a lot of good.

Rate problems are sometimes my strength and sometimes not. I think Manhattan Word Translation guide can do a good deal in strengthening my base for these problems.

And yes, I have been reading 'The Tipping Point' by Malcolm Gladwell, for almost half a month now, in bits and pieces, and I should say, its a great book. It is something almost none of us have been investigating much about.

I will not be so active for another week now, though I will write a couple of posts as and when I study.

Material used:
Manhattan GMAT Word Translations - Chapter 2 (This site has good practice problems to utilize free hours in the workplace.. They are fun too.. )

Subscribe to Daily Verbal and Math question from BTG (Beat The GMAT). It really helps.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

If you believe..

Day 4, this is supposed to be.

I am not doing well healthwise, and I thought I'd rather take some rest today.
Anyway, I thought I will share my other blog address here, so you get an idea of my thoughts and ideas on different subjects.

Here you go: Kruthika's "If you Believe!"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 3 - CR Arguement Structure Strategy

Day 2 began with a lot of questioning to myself, about how long will I take to make myself stronger in the topics. I feel that the sections I need to concentrate on more was RC, CR and SC.

I thought it would be right to start with CR. I will continue practising Math every now and then, but Verbal will be of prime importance.

CR is something I dread after seeing the results of the diagnostic test. Thanks to MGMAT. I feel relieved as I seem to be gaining confidence. I am using MGMAT CR to get a feel of how to approach questions, but I have my own ideas as well. After all every individual has his own way of attacking questions.

I read through the first chapter in MGMAT CR “Argument Structure Strategy”. It is definitely a good chapter to start off with, because it talks about how a CR passage is usually structured. It gives a clean picture of how a CR can be broken down to the format


I felt there could have been more questions to practice, but that is never a problem as plenty of CR questions are available on the world wide web.
Though one area of this was a little tricky to understand, it was a good one overall.

Material covered:
MGMAT CR : Pages 1-25

Practice what is learnt everyday, during work when you want to take a break.

I feel more positive today. I will get back with something new tomorrow. J

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 2 -Verbal Diagnostic Test

It was a pleasant break on a Sunday, hanging out with a good friend of mine, who came here for the weekend.

Today was a tiring day at work, so it was just 1.5 hours I could devote that too with not a lot of energy. I tried solving the diagnostic test on Verbal ability from OG12.

The questions were of good quality, and yes, I realized the need for a very fresh mind to solve those questions. I found it very difficult to concentrate on the passages. Overall, I felt it tough as I simply guessed answers to most of the questions. I am yet to make a review of the OG questions. Probably that should be done in the morning hours of the day with a fresh mind. 

When I read the RC passages today, I could hardly assimilate them to answer to the questions. And CR is no easy deal. It was absolutely demanding the reader's concentration, and I lost it today owing to the tiredness I have today.

Material covered:
OG12 : Pages 27-45

Study for verbal section when the mind if fresh to accept more data.
To concentrate better on RC, read books and news article covering everything under the sun.
Reading a book everyday for atleast an hour nonstop is a must to develop concentration abilities and speed.

Overall, this is not a positive sign. All I can say today is that, I have a long road ahead, and nothing can be taken light with an exam like GMAT. This is totally unlike CAT(Common Aptitude Test for Indian Management Insitutes) where skipping a topic also will not matter in some cases.

Plenty of learning is ahead, and the journey is definitely compelling with learning something new each day. 

With quant, what I need is practice, and with verbal, what I need is methodology to eliminate and choose. Hoooo… That was bad for a start; but failure is the stepping stone to success. 

1:41 am, March 15, 2011: Feeling quite disappointed with my RC results, I went on to look at one of the RC practice videos from gmatpill, and 'wow' was the feeling I got. When you know how to split the passage into teeny tiny bits that can be easily captured, RC will no more be a pain. But yes, even this is a herculean task. Needs plenty of practice, without which any person will tend to follow his normal methods.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day 1 - Arithmetic diagnostic test

Here I come, submitting my day one before you, dear reader.!
A gap of 2 months before I last studied has truly played spoilsport today. I found it pretty difficult to get into the flow.

I started with solving the Diagnostic test on Quant from OG12. According to their rating, I stood at the highest possible rating they provided. Infact, that made convinced enough to give a gently push today. I started off with basic Age problems today. Ahem! I should say something here. You might be wondering why did she straight hit on Age problems, skipping everything before it. Yes.! Numbers are something I hate to work with. I tend to push them for a while till I get used to the study plan.

Coming back to Age problems, all you need to understand is really ‘Word Translation’, as MGMAT calls it. You should be good enough to convert English language to the mathematical data they represent.

For eg., ‘Joseph got twice as many apples as bananas..’ you should be good enough to convert this as ‘number of apples = 2 * number of bananas.

These kind of details are concentrated on MGMAT Word Translation guide. Further, some more methods to work on Age problems in an easier way have been discussed. I am generally good at these problems, but the strategy that is followed by MGMAT might actually reduce time with practice, than our usual methods would.

I solved all the practice questions on Age topic from MGMAT.

Material covered:
·      MGMAT Word Translation – Pages 1- 30.
·      OG 12 – Pages 1 -26.

·      Don’t miss a single line marking it as unnecessary. Every line has its value.
·      Concentrate for atleast 2 hours per day.
·      Read a book for atleast an hour everyday; don’t just read. Comprehend. Break the complex data into simpler ideas in your mind. Jot them down till you know you can remember them.
·      Browse, about latest news and their dig them.

What is realized today is, practice is the most important when it comes to GMAT. We do nothing more than high school math, and what is required is using our tricks to get to the solution quicker. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

GMAT Preparation Material

Starting with GMAT preparation requires atleast a week’s analysis into where you stand, and what you need to do to succeed in getting a great GMAT score.

I have been analyzing my skills here and there, and I feel all I need is more confidence and practice and regularity. Of course, certain areas in GMAT are relatively deeper than certain other Indian entrance exams. I am planning to take my GMAT only after I completely have the confidence to crack it, probably around the month of July or August, 2011.

I have the following copies with me:
1.   Official Guide for GMAT Review, 12th Edition
2.   Kaplan 800
3.   Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction Strategy Guide, 4th Edition
4.   Manhattan GMAT Critical Reasoning Strategy Guide, 4th Edition
5.   Manhattan GMAT Word Translations Strategy Guide, 4th Edition

I frequently refer to the following websites. ( I ll refer this as GC) (Referred as BTG)

As I read from the forums on GC and BTG, I have the following review/idea about books.

OG 12th edition – Should be kept for the final practice after one is clear with all the concepts involved in GMAT.
Kaplan 800 – Contains higher level GMAT questions for those targeting 700+ in GMAT. This is to be done, if additional practice of tougher questions is required.
Manhattan GMAT Strategy Guides - By far the best comprehensive guide for anything and everything you need to learn for GMAT. I have only a few of these guides, which I considered essential for my level. For example, I am not so good at Probability and Combinatorics, so I have the Word Translations guide from MGMAT to guide me through. Same holds true for SC and CR guides as well.

People discuss that is there no best RC guide, but MGMAT RC is definitely good for people who are poor in RC. Reading books will lessen half the burden, and yes reading books should happen over a long period.

Reading books and newspapers is very important going forward.
Some of the books I consider reading during the course of my preparation, and of course it is a suggestion for you as well.
1.   Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
2.   The Fountain Head by Ayn Rand
3.   Future Shock by Alvin Toffler
4.   Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
5.   To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
6.   The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
7.   Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

These are books that hit my mind as I write this. I will add more to this post, as and when I come across better and compelling ones.

I have been a constant observer of forums for quite a while now, and I feel participating in the forums and sharing your ideas and clarifying your doubts/ others’ doubts will itself make a great deal of improvement. For people like me, who work, during office hours, whenever we get a small break, it will be beneficial to go through these forums, and interact.

The one area which I am really not sure of till date is Analytical Writing Assessment section. I am yet to research on it. When I am done with one, I will come back with a quick brief on AWA section. And yes, as the majority suggest, this section is as important as the other sections and deserves attention and practice.

Using an error log, probably an excel sheet, will be a good aid to our preparation if we update it regularly. I have been suggested this idea, right from school for Math area. It is definitely a good tool, because I have seen it work. All you need is the patience to fill it up and maintain the record, and also review it.

That’s it for now. Will keep the post updated as and when I gather data.

Let me introduce...

Dear Reader,

A warm welcome to my blogpage!

Let me introduce myself first. I am an Engineering graduate from one of the top 5 engineering institutes in India. I work for an IT services organization, for almost 3 years now. I started my higher studies journey with basic word lists, with which I was never successful. Engineering remained my passion for a long time, when I suddenly saw a shift in myself, saying, MBA is what I want. Though I still feel attracted to the world of technology and its depths, I feel passionate about MBA.

Being in India, I attempted CAT and other management entrance exams. I will not say I gave my 100%, but for what I gave, I got the result. Time doesn’t stop for anyone, and this holds true for me. I feel its high time, I started thinking about doing an MBA with international exposure, and yes, GMAT is the first step towards my goal.

As Wiki puts it, “The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT, pronounced /ˈdʒiːmæt/ JEE-mat) is a computer-adaptive standardized test in mathematics and the English language for measuring aptitude to succeed academically in graduate business studies. Business schools commonly use the test as one of many selection criteria for admission into graduate business administration programs (e.g. MBA, Master of Accountancy, etc.) principally in the United States, but also in other English-speaking countries.”

I have been discussing with quite a few friends about how to prepare for GMAT, and how much time does a person effectively need for GMAT etc. These discussions happening for quite a while now, I feel the need to get started.

Having prepared for around 3 months for Indian Management Entrance Tests, I feel I have decent quantitative skills that is required for GMAT. And considering that I am not so accurate at spotting errors in verbal area, and critical reasoning, I feel the need to concentrate more on these areas. So my primary focus is on tuning my math skills, in addition to speed and accuracy; and tuning my verbal ability.

Having said this, I am planning to give my daily updates on how I go about preparing for GMAT. Working during the day, gives me around 2 hours in the evening to prepare. So my schedule for the day would be 2 hours. And I will post whatever I learn, with relevant references and clarifications on this blog.