Well it’s been a while since I declared GMAT Conquered. Seeing that it was more than 7 months ago, one would assume that I have been hard at work researching colleges and completing applications. I did actually manage to do some research but I have come to realise that I have barely scratched the surface. With the world wide web of resources to guide the process, it just makes infinite sense to utilize it and prepare the strongest application one possibly can. Needless to say I do not currently have the strongest application I can possibly have. I pulled out a lot of my hair just putting together an updated resume after three and a half years of letting it get dusty. Thankfully both the GMAT and TOEFL are out of the way so I can safely check them off the proverbial checklist. I have also been trying out an interesting concept which was inspired by a video I saw on the INSEAD Business School website. A student there suggested that in order for the essays to truly reflect who you are, you need to keep writing down in bits and pieces whatever comes to mind when you think about the questions you need to answer. It resonated very strongly with my belief that our life experiences really shape the person we are today but unless we reflect upon them, we won’t be able to see the patterns. So I set about the task of doing just that and I’m glad to report: Mission Accomplished.
So here is what I did. I first selected from my 25 years of existence, the 15 most significant “life events”. The process to decide these events was simple, I just went with the ones that had left the strongest impressions on me. If you think that it sounds too arbitrary, let me remind you that ultimately we are what we believe of ourselves. So however subjective they may be, our experiences are what define us. Once I had the events in place, I made myself answer three questions about each one:
What it meant to me?
What I learnt from it?
How has it affected the person I am today?
I started out by writing them out on paper where they ended up being more narrative and less bullet points. But that was good, because it didn’t restrict my thinking and I came up with a lot of things that actually surprised me because I had never really given them too much thought before. Afterwards however, I translated the key points into an excel where I can now glance through them all with ease and which I usually do once a week. Its strange to know that even though you know yourself best, you still need to remind yourself of some parts of you so as not to forget them. But I digress. This entire task however should not have taken as long as it did, so I definitely need to be more disciplined with my time.
The next part of the job which was to use all this insight to actually begin drafting essays didn’t quite materialise. Sure I have an outline in place, but it has a lot of blanks to be filled. So now begins the real journey where I give myself completely to the process and see what emerges.
Well it’s been a good week with a mock test score of 730 but somehow I can feel myself a little low on energy and a little high on laziness. I would like to blame it on the extremely hot weather or on the lack of exercise but even I know those are convenient excuses. So I dug up all the motivational literature I have ever stored and they made for a good read. Now I just have to get to implementing them 🙂
My favourite one is this piece here. It basically debunks the myth of passion and motivation and tells you that you have to be able to put up with the boredom of regular practice. That is all it takes: just keep doing what you’re supposed to be doing every single day no matter how boring it gets. It’s something to think about, and it’s something I’ll apply this week. With less than 2 weeks to go for the test, I’ll need every bit of practice I can get.
Until next time, Cheers!
PS # I had some trouble finding the article I was looking for and now I’m inspired to re-organize all my archives and various storage modes 🙂
It has been an interesting week.. took some time off to research colleges and I must say there is a lot to find out about! Took only a cursory glance at 5 colleges but took a while nevertheless. It actually got me excited thinking about where all this is leading. So far, just the challenge of the exam has been keeping me going but now that I’m quite used to that, it helps to look at the larger picture. Helps to keep me focussed. I also made a conscious decision to keep myself more updated about the affairs of the world. Currently it is way too sporadic to be of much use. And while I was out there compiling a reading list of newspapers, journals et al, I found this video on TED.com which I found absolutely amazing, which also led to me to read up a little bit more about the speaker, nobel prize winner, Daniel Kahneman. Let’s just say that now I know what the term behavioural economics means.
Until next time, Cheers!
PS # I am now officially a fan of the sitcom Modern Family, keeps me company during meals 🙂
So far I have been following the guidelines that say that you should conduct all preparations under ‘test conditions’, which means no music, no cellphone, just focus on the task at hand. While that has worked out pretty well, there is something to be said about a bit of music playing in the background while studying. So I gave in to temptation and played myself some classic John Denver music while reviewing math concepts.
In other news, ‘How I Met Your Mother’ came to an end! It was really sad but it did get us all some much needed closure. I didn’t start watching it when it first started but have been a solid fan since 2010 and absolutely love the show. I guess life needs a little laughter from time to time.
I didn’t exactly get around to making mind maps but I did brighten up my notes with lots and lots of colour! Some of my favourite ones are here!
In an interesting interlude, I took this personality test. Now I’ve explored my fair share of personality tests and each one has it’s own merits but this one was something quite different. Very refreshing, you should try it too!
Took another GMAT mock test and scored a 690 :). Getting closer and closer to success!
Needless to say, I don’t think I’ll have a lot to say everyday so might as well make this a weekly thing. Well after that shocker of a test last Sunday, I took another full length test on Tuesday and heaven be praised, I managed a 710. It was quite reassuring and it prompted me to schedule my test for May 10, 2014!
As of today, I have finally finished reviewing all concepts required for the test, from now on it shall only be a lot of practice. I also intend to make flashcards of each topic for quick reviews. I thought I’d make them interesting so bought myself a sketchbook and lots of coloured pens, let’s hope they help!
In other news this week, I bought one of those erasable note boards so that I could get used to them before the actual test. It looks pretty good but I am yet to make use of it, will give it a shot tomorrow when I take a full test.
Necessity is the mother of invention they say, I say it’s food :P. Whipped up a very delicious omelette yesterday when I was hungry in the evening 🙂
I took my second full length test today and while was there was a slight improvement in score from last week (640 to 650), it was not phenomenal. While closer inspection did reveal that the level of difficulty of about 60% of the questions was quite high, but nevertheless need to buck up and get those scores improved. I managed better at Math than Verbal, which was quite a surprise!
Once I was done analysing errors, I decided to take a walk down memory lane, listening to some of my favourite music. ABBA once sang:
And I’ve often wondered, how did it all start? Who found out that nothing can capture a heart Like a melody can? Well, whoever it was, I’m a fan
Today I timed myself to complete a full section of Math (75 minutes) and Verbal (75 minutes). The first thought that went through my head was ‘phew!’, at least I finished in time this time. In the diagnostic test, I ran out of time. The second thought was that the accuracy had some improvement. This was essentially to gear up for the second full test that I shall take this weekend, here’s hoping for the best!
I’m also reading a book called ‘The Mind Map Book’ by Tony Buzan and I quite like the concept that he talks about. The brain can store infinite amounts of information, it’s just that we humans, choose to store our information very inefficiently and therefore are unable to effectively utilize the full power of the brain. The book might just be able to live up to it’s claim that it will: ‘Unlock your creativity, boost your memory, change your life’.
Once I’m done with the book, I shall attempt to create mind maps of my study material, should help liven things up 🙂