I am dropping Mandarin. It's. Just. So. Hard! If I had more time to study, that'd be fine, but I just don't have the time to give it. I can't do both it and German and I really want to continue with German, so Mandarin's going by the wayside. Still, I gave it the college try! So a few fun nights with my friend Lottie, £90 donated to continuing education - not so bad in the long run.
Had drinks with some old classmates tonight as well as some of the new class. I am sure every class likes to think they are special, but I see how they all interact with each other and how we all did and do - it's not the same. Perhaps they just need more drinks. And Poland - that did us all well.
My trainer at work leaves back to New York tomorrow morning so I am officially independent now - look for a falling MS stock price soon!
How to... handle the GMAT
It will come as no surprise that the Boy Scouts' motto provides the answer to doing well on the GMAT: be prepared
Top business schools consider a number of factors when assessing MBA candidates, including references, work experience and undergraduate results. Many also want to know how applicants score in the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). Here's how to approach it:
1. Understand it. The GMAT has three parts: analytical; quantitative; and qualitative. The first is two essay-style questions while the others are multiple choice. They are also computer adaptive, so if you're doing well the questions get harder and if you're struggling they get easier.
2. Do it while university is fresh in your mind. If you are recent graduate who plans to do an MBA soon, it's worth sitting the GMAT now, says Judy Phair, a vice-president of the Graduate Management Admission Council, which runs the GMAT. The score is valid for five years and you'll have the advantage of doing it while your brain is in test-taking mode.
3. Practice. "Every time I took a practice test my score got a little higher," says Shaun Coley, a recent graduate of Cass's MBA course, who scored 700. "And it allows you to get familiar with the exam," says Ben Baron, the head of graduate preparation programmes at Kaplan. "There shouldn't be any surprises on test day."
4. Structure your learning. Use practice tests to assess your strengths and weaknesses and tailor your preparation accordingly, Phair says. "It has to be intelligent practice," Baron says. "You have to understand all the components and you have to study the right things." Don't get so hung up on the maths part that you find yourself studying advanced algebra texts – the quantitative questions are about logic, analysis and problem-solving, so the underlying maths needed is quite basic.
5. Different strokes. Don't be put off if the first preparation book or course you look at doesn't suit your learning style. "I started preparing with one big company's approach and it didn't work for me," Coley says. "When I swapped to another one I found that it worked and I got better scores in the practice tests."
6. Take advantage of free things. The starting point is www.mba.com, says Matt Tillett, the MBA guide editor for Hobsons. It offers free GMATPrep software, which includes two practice tests, for download.
7. Consider paying for help. "The advantage of taking a course is that it will give you structure and make sure that you put all the hours in," Tillett says. "But make sure that it is a legitimate test-preparation company," Phair says. "If a company tells you that it has real, current GMAT questions it's either lying or breaking the law."
8. Get your timing right. Monitor how long you take on each question in the test. "You need to pace yourself because you can't go back to questions," Phair says. "And people who finish the exam tend to do better."
9. Be canny. If you don't know an answer, eliminate the clearly wrong answers then chose from what's left, Tillett says. Baron suggests that if it's a maths problem bothering you, try plugging in real numbers rather than jumping straight into algebra; alternatively, you can "backsolve" – where you work backwards from the answer choices available.
10. It's not the end of the world. If you're not happy with your results, you can resit the test – you can take it up to five times a year. Your three most recent valid scores are given on your report.
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