My vacation and study marathon has been cut a day short to allow for work-related travel. I hit the road at 4:00 a.m. tomorrow to catch a 6:20 departure (with connections) to Boston. I arrive in the glorious land of baked beans at 5:30 p.m. ET. The early rise and all-day travel is NOT ideal, but I'll certainly have some free time to study.
It's been one hell of a haul over the last 13 days and nights of intense studying. Coupled with my off-and-on June/July studying (primarily ETS Official Guide math problems), I've done five-fold the preparation than that of last year. Overall, I'm pleased with my progress and confident that I can beat my previous score.
For now I'll hold any GMAT prep advice. Should I achieve my target score (700 or close to it), I'll post a full GMAT prep and test-day de-brief here. Should I not achieve it -- well, you'll find me at the nearest bar drowning my sorrows in whiskey. Hell, I suppose I'll have a few whiskey shots either way.
I am dreading my departure from Oregon. I haven't been back home for more than 7 days since the summer of 1997. Memories of that summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college are not fond -- I worked graveyard shifts (7:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.) at a local lumber mill. I pulled eight-foot green chain all night (for those with knowledge of the timber industry) and slept in until 3 p.m. every day, ending a multi-year streak of award-winning summer tans.
However, I am so NOT- excited for my Wednesday return to the San Francisco that I would trade it right now to have the summer of 97 back. I don't pine for the crowded, smelly rush-hour City subway rides or the stress-filled work environment... and certainly not the inane recycling truck schedule that jolts me out of my slumber every Monday and Thursday at 5:00 a.m. If it wasn't for the City's mild winters and gorgeous scenery, my friends, my brother and my girlfriend, all of whom are local... I don't think I'd return at all.
Also, I need that paycheck. Ahem.
On that note, it's nearly time to tuck in for the night. More notes to come on the GMAT prep front. Test day is Tuesday, September 6... 9 days!
Although the study marathon has taken a toll on my daily energy levels, I'm excited to report that this evening's GMAT PowerPrep Test score was above my target range.
Although I've never felt better after finishing a GMAT math section, there is a lot of work ahead in the next 10 days. My primary initiative is to re-work dozens of problem solving and data suffiiency questions from the ETS Official Guide to the GMAT. I recently learned (from www.beatthegmat.com
) that the last 100 questions from each section not only have a higher rate of 'hard' questions, but are ETS' most recently 'retired' GMAT questions.
I have almost completed the ETS math section. Although there are 714 math problems, I don’t feel completely prepared for the math section of the exam. My primary weaknesses remain questions in the following areas:Proportions
Combinations and Permutations
To to strengthen these, today I purchased Kaplan's GMAT Q Bank for $199. The Q Bank has 1000 questions (math/verbal) and allows you to create custom timed or un-timed quizzes of any length. You can also focus on specific elements, say 'hard' proportion problems in data sufficiency format, or 'easy' algebra problems in problem solving format. Although I wasn't thrilled to spend the cash, I feel more confident with this resource at hand over the next 13 days.
I also plan to practice 10-30 problems each from Critical Reading, Reading Comprehension and Sentence Correction daily. I’ll supplement all of this with daily review of my notes and flash cards.
I’ll take another practice CAT at the end of this week, saving the remaining two practice CATs for next week.
I remain confident that constant, focused practice of 'attention to detail' and speed will bolster my score on test day.
-- this photo of the Initech gang has nothing to do this post.Lessons from my 'Study Marathon!':
** Study & test prep focus are only learned through continual practice.
** I’ve worked harder and longer in the last seven days than at any point during my undergraduate studies.
** It's important to cease all studying at least two hours before bedtime or I’ll lay awake pestered by thoughts of unlearned GMAT material.
** Seclusion works. There are no major distractions in this small town. Non-study activities today consisted of a trip to the grocery store for Doritos and fresh study materials (scratch paper, etc.).
** Morning jogs can keep one’s sanity intact.
** Caffeine is my friend – perhaps even my best friend.Test Countdown: 15 Days (Sept. 6)
A few choice words about the Kaplan online course CATs: f*#(! this s*($!
I love the Kaplan online study material but the timed, full-length practice CATs are brutal -- in particular, the math sections. I'm desperately trying place little emphasis on my Kaplan CAT scores, as the problems are much harder than what I'll see on test day.
The frustrating part is how long it takes to complete several of the early and mid-test problems, which takes time away from the remaining problems, which ensures I'll be guessing from questions 30-37.
Seriously, Kaplan CAT-makers... do you really think I'll see 10 complex geometry problems on test day?
Today marks day five of my self-imposed 14-day GMAT study marathon. I’m writing from my parent’s house in Oregon… boy, is it quiet out here! Relocating my studies from smoggy, foggy, noisy, hectic, San Francisco to lush, green, peaceful, quiet rural Oregon is the best test prep decision I’ve made to date.
My parents live on the outskirts of an old logging town. Because I attended high school in the logging town and completed college only an hour away, I have many memories associated with this area. The town’s old lumber mill, positioned smack dab in the middle of main street, burned down about a month ago – ignited by an overheated wood dryer. It was eerie to drive past the remains. Talk about a knife in the heart of the local economy. Yikes. I suppose I could elaborate on the shortage of timber industry jobs and the economic impact on small Oregon towns – but that wouldn’t cheer anyone up.
I’ll also spare you from the mundane details of my study itinerary. You’re welcome! Please do know that I’ve made solid progress on the math front. I still make a few silly computational mistakes and oversights, but my grasp & memorization of GMAT math concepts far exceeds that of last time around. My verbal skills are rusty, but a few more days of practice ought to polish them.
Separately, I’m pleased to see my site meter has registered some hits! I take quiet pride in the fact that someone, somewhere, has the patience to skim through my MBA and GMAT thoughts. Also, thanks to everyone that left the encouraging comments in the last few weeks!
I’ve got to get back to the grindstone for now. I’ll leave you with a few Oregon factoids:
Portland, Oregon: Not the state’s capital, but its largest city. Portland was once called Stumptown by locals. Trees were felled so quickly for late 19th century development that city builders were unable to pull the left-behind stumps for months. Also the setting for Beverly Cleary’s “Ramona” series of children’s fiction.
University of Oregon, Eugene: Famous for track & field, hippies & protests. Eugene-area is a national hotbed of anarchist organizations (oxymoron)? The university was the on-site location for the filming of National Lampoon’s Animal House in the late 70’s.