Monday, May 26, 2008

GMAT Basic Training Part Two - Examination Preparations

Read Part One.

For the GMAT examination I am utilising two books for test preparations. The first is Princeton Review's Cracking the GMAT and the second is The Official Guide for GMAT Review - 11th Edition. A third book, Barron's GMAT, was sent to me by an aunt very recently and which I only briefly had time to explore as I found the first two quite adequate.

I chose Cracking the GMAT as it was one of's most recommended books for preparing for GMAT. I do not regret the choice. The book breaks down each section of the exam in a very structured manner, and introduces very powerful techniques such as Process of Elimination (POE) which are designed to help one increase one's GMAT score significantly. My only complaint about this book is that I felt that the included DVD should have offered more content than it did. The DVD felt more like a marketing tool for the student to feel trusting of the book's techniques rather than as a proper addendum to the content of the book itself. The book also has listings of top-ranked MBA programs which I used as the starting basis for my own research. One link in particular which I found very useful was to a website which assisted me with initiating the application process to multiple MBA programs from one page.

The Official Guide for GMAT Review, 11th Edition was recommended as an additional buy by the Princeton Review as it contains a base of real past GMAT questions on which to practice the very techniques shown by the Princeton Review in order for one to gain trust in their viability on the field.

While studying for the GMAT, my goodly aunt, who was unaware that I was already studying towards getting accepted into an MBA program, sent me a copy of Barron's Guide to the GMAT in the hope that it would spark my interest again in post-graduate work. Excellent timing Aunty! Definitely some good mind-reading going on there :)
The Barron's guide is in general a good book, covering all the theory necessary to prepare one for the examination. The technique it uses to assist students focuses more heavily on understanding the Mathematical and English language theories behind each area tested and gives very little for the student who may be stuck and looking to make an educated guess when memory fails them on the application of theory.

There were two other books I had wished to acquire, The Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review and The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review, both of which contained more past paper questions and which could have done no harm in having, had I the time to use them effectively before my examination date. As it currently stands I am finding it quite challenging to allocate time just to the number of questions contained in the Official Guide For GMAT Review 11th Edition.

As I continue with this regimen of full-time work and part-time study preparation for GMAT in just a few weeks, I continue to look for any tips and practice questions I can online. has been invaluable for providing these so far, as I often find myself challenged to overcome "common mistakes" when evaluating their questions for correct answers. I welcome anyone reading this to post their own sources for sample questions, or any hints they might have to better prepare for the GMAT examination.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

June 2nd is D-Day...

Work has been hectic the past several weeks. Both my study schedule for the GMAT examinations and research into potential universities have been hindered by demands at work as we fast approach a May 30th delivery date.

That being said, it would not have been an ideal time to ask for time off anytime recently. I finally saw the right timing to ask my manager for the day I needed to take time off from work to write the GMAT as things seem to be shaping up for an on-time delivery.
Since most of my preparations were already completed for a previous examination date which never happened, I am hoping the lack of study time in the last few weeks should not affect me too negatively. I estimate that I need about 3 days of intense review and mock testing in order to bring me up to examination readiness. Friday 30th May just happens to be a public holiday in Trinidad, so that allowed me to get those three days I needed without needing to take an additional day off from work.

Now all I need to do is go online and book the time on the following Monday that I think will best suit me. June 2nd is now D-Day for GMAT!

June 2nd slots were filled when I went online to register :(
Some luck! I'm looking at a tentative June 6th slot, but I want to wait until the actual June 2nd date I had in mind originally to confirm this since that date is also the launch date of our new product at work. Based on how well the new MessageCentral platform hits the wild (and how many undiscovered bugs get discovered) it would be the best time to decide if the 6th is a good choice.

--UPDATE 2--
It's confirmed - June 7th at 11am has been booked for my GMAT examination....The race to prepare is on!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

GMAT Basic Training Part One - Overview

At my previous organisation, a place a consistent reader will probably hear about repetitively because I learned so many lessons there, one is introduced to the organisation through a week-long focused training session that has come to be affectionately called "Boot-camp". It is based on an intense agenda of sessions and workshops designed to empower the participant with the tools needed to succeed in the high-paced atmosphere and culture of the organisation.

My efforts to study for the GMAT could do with me going through such a boot-camp session. Unfortunately I don't have a dedicated week to spare solely to GMAT studies. I balance my MBA efforts along with my normal daily job, my efforts to reboot a small business venture as well as my commitments to several local non-profit organisations. Thus I came up with the idea of GMAT Basic Training. It would in the end, contain all the items of an agenda for a GMAT BootCamp, but stretched over a period of time rather than compressed into a week.

For my period of time I chose two months. My target date to write the GMAT would be at earliest May 17th, with June 7th being my final deadline. These dates may seem odd until one realises they are actually Saturdays. I have to write the exam on a Saturday, as the location of the exam centre is in San Fernando, a city in south Trinidad, while my full time job is in Port-of-Spain in north Trinidad, several hours away even with the best of traffic on my side. Time off from my full-time day job is not an option.
I was also conflicted on whether I should discipline my efforts to a specific date, but I had to bear in mind that the dynamics of my full time job could leave me in a crunch period and in office on a particular weekend. Realistically, the flexibility had to exist somewhere for something to change if needed, and since GMAT is a flexible date exam, it is the obvious de facto candidate.

I broke my GMAT Basic Training into the following two tracks which I worked on (and continue to work on) in parallel, namely, preparing for the actual GMAT examination and selecting which schools would receive my results on the day I wrote the examinations. There was a bit of meat in each track, so I'll go into details on each in its own future posting.