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Journey to my MBA

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

GMAT Study Update

I can't tell you how much this blog has been helping me gather my thoughts, process what I'm experiencing and to keep me focused. If you come across this blog and haven't started one yourself, I highly suggest you start one. Keep it private or share it, either way, it helps.

If my blog has been helpful to you, drop me an e-mail. I wonder if anything I write about sometimes has helped others or if it's mainly for my own benefit.

I had lunch with one of the guys who used to work for me today. It was really good to see him. He is starting his MBA program in September at University of San Francisco. You're going to laugh, but would you believe that they didn't require him to take a GMAT for admittance? They said that more than 6 years of work experience took the place of the GMAT. WOW! There was another school he was looking at as well. University of Santa Clara I think that didn't require a GMAT. These schools of course are in the bay area in California. Apparently he'll be meeting two nights a week for school. Tuesday is class time and Thursday is team time. As much as I'm happy for him, it doesn't sound like anything I'd do because the opportunity cost of it doesn't seem to have much of a payoff.

I know I said it before, but I'll say it again.. deltacourse math material is hecka helpful. It put formulas in my math that didn't exist before and cut my problem solving time WAY down.

I'm looking forward to my other books to come. I'm expecting them in two days. I ordered, "Business School Confidential", "GMAT Math Workout (Princeton Review)", "How to Get Into the Top MBA Programs", "GMAT 800, 2004-2005 Kaplan Edition", "88 Great MBA Application Tips". I'll provide a review of these books as I go through them.

So far I've gone through
Princeton Review 2004- I had the 2003 from a friend. I found that the only difference between the years was that Princeton added about 12-15 questions per sample GMAT test in each section. I did a pretty thorough spot check and the study guide sections of the books are EXACTLY the same. So I studied from 2003 and my wife borrowed the 2004 version from the library for the other questions. Really good book. The tips are amazing. Although, there is a bit too much emphasis on plugging in to solve. It doesn't always show you the concept behind the question to know why your plugging in vs really solving it. Weak on probability, combination, permutations, counting methods and factorial's. Essay prep guide is really good. The CD is really good. Although it's buggy and can freeze. Apparently, the problem has been ongoing for both the 2003 and 2004 version from what I've been reading on GMAT forums. Because I'm in IT, I figured out how to configure the application to run off of my hard drive as opposed to always expecting the CD when I run it and that helped the stability of the product a lot. Otherwise... really good book and CD. A must.

Kaplan 2004- Good. I liked the summary area of formulas they put together for you to see all the kinds of math problems you'll get. Problems are hard yeah, but I did see similar questions between Princeton and Kaplan. Hard to say which was harder. Everyone says Kaplan. ????

Barron 2003- SUCKS. From the get-go it had problems with it. For example, Question 4 in math had a major typo. Question had certain numbers, but the explanation showed you that the question had other numbers entirely. Quality Assurance sucks.... I dropped the book after a couple more sections of tests. I lost trust in the book.

Deltacourse-Math only. A must. No if ands or but's, you should get this. I hear Manhattan GMAT study guides may have similar info. I wouldn't doubt it.

GMAT Secrets-Found this ad for this 50 page Adobe Acrobat downloadable study guide. It was pretty much a repeat of the great tips from Princeton. There was one gold nugget I got out of it. It was that before you circle an answer, ask yourself, "Am I willing to bet $5.00 that this is the right answer?" Imagine the hurt of losing the $5 if you really do not get it right and it makes you double check your work.

My tracking of all questions and noting why I got them wrong has been an incredible help. It's completely changed me into an active studier rather than a passive one. See my other post about study tips and you'll learn what I mean. I'm so dumbfounded about the kind of progress I've been making and the growing confidence I have on certain types of questions. Still have problems with Data Sufficiency multiple variable problems where < or > is involved. I even find myself saying what kind of the problem is after having read the question. For example, I'll read a question like "A bag has 7 marbles with 3 red and 4 blue, what is the possibility that two randomly picked marbles are blue?" I'm automatically saying... COMBINATION problem and know the formula to use.

One more thing... I went to the Chiropractor today. The pressure and posture of my studying has gotten to me a bit. My neck was so tight that I had this nagging pain in my neck and occasional tingle in my left shoulder. Experienced this about a year ago, when I started this contract job I had and found the job to be the most stressful and politically enraged places I'd ever worked. I woke up one morning and had a neck pain. It went away after about 2 months. I feel like a wimp. I thought I was handling the pressure well. But I guess with the leaning over the table all day and the GMAT always on my mind thing... my neck went weird on me. I feel much better after the adjustment, but now I have to go get adjusted twice a week until I leave.

I guess I'm sharing this neck story with you to make it clear that I'm studying, but I'm also struggling which is a healthy posture to be in I think. It's been said that, "A goal that has been achieved is far more sweeter when the journey wasn't always easy."

Ok, I'm going to study a few more hours and then hit the sack.



2 Comments:

Blogger mba07 said...

Hey Dave,
From the looks of it you're making a lot of progress!! Keep it up!...Ok now for the IT part..can you share your pearls of wisdom on how you got that CD to work off the hard drive? cause I'm having the same problems here...
Hey you seem to have been doing a lot of research...that's nice..your links are very meaningful...Have you gotten down to taking a princeton diagnostic test or a mock test? how have you found the experience? How do you rate the test against Kaplan?
Keep posting!

cheers,
mba07

12:19 PM  
Blogger Dave for MBA said...

About the CD info, here is the explanation.

How to move the Princeton CD config to your computer in such a way that it becomes more stable.

1) Go to your Princeton CD and open up the folder called casts.
2) Copy all the contents to the following folder, C:\Program Files\The Princeton Review\GMAT Diagnostic
3) In the C:\Program Files\The Princeton Review\GMAT Diagnostic folder, look for the file called irunin.ini.
4) Find the line in the irunin.ini file called SrcDir=
5) Change this line to read C:\Program Files\The Princeton Review\GMAT Diagnostic


So you’ll still need the CD, but the program runs everything from the Hard drive. I’ve tried several methods to get the application to no longer required the CD, but was only able to do it by imaging the CD and then mounting the CD via a CD image application.

To do this, you’d create an image of the CD using a program like CD Creator. Save the name of the image, the same name as “GMAT Diagnostic.iso” (Don’t include the quotes)

Launch the CD mounting application, mount the CD and then run the installation from the CD and then use the application from then on like this. The mounted image will have a drive letter like Z: and that irunin.ini file will then have the cdsrc line showing something like Z:

I’m using a trial software called quasi disk, but you can find just about any CD mounting application on the internet by doing a key phrase search on “CD Mounting software”


About my GMAT practice exam results. I'm getting 680's to low 700's.

1:30 PM  

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