Good Weekend

July 24, 2006
Finally, The first productive weekend in quite a long time... I should have studied more, but I really needed to rest, so I went to a trip and I also slept a lot.

I finished chapters 7,8 and 9 of my algebra book, I only have 3 more to go, and I really hope that by Wednesday I can be done with this book.

This weekend was very productive not only because I did some advance, but also because it helped me realize something.... there is no way you can study more than 5 hours on a weekend day, no matter how important the test might be, it’s also very important to rest and get your mind going.

Other nice thing that I did this last days, is that I attended a talk at Colfuturo, which is a part private – part government institution which gives loans and also students aids for graduate studies outside Colombia, and I also worked on some other application stuff, which is my ultimate goal.
posted by Catalina at 7/24/2006, | 3 comments


July 19, 2006
Checking the answers that I’ve been receiving to my last post, I received a very nice thing from Aashim, I thought that it would be nice to place it here...

While we are on the topic of Maths vs. Verbal.It's true that verbal directly impacts your score much more than quant but that's only after you get a certain minimum in quant.Here's why(Scaled score vs. percentile):Verbal Quant Percentile39 49 90Because people score so much higher in Quant anything less than a scaled score of 49 can really take your score down badly. On the flip side anything above 50 in Quant will not get you much in the way of a higher overall score.Verbal is where the GMAT can be cracked.

As you see with a 39 scaled score you can reach 90 percentile. Considering the verbal maximum scaled score of 51, means that there are still 13 scaled score pts to go to reach a perfect 51- there surely is room for improvement. In fact anything higher than 44 in verbal is the 99th percentile!!
Q-50 V-38: 720 or 730
Q-48 V-38: 690 or 700
Q-51 V-38: 730!!
Q-47 V-38: 670
Q-46 V-38: 640!
You can see the score fluctuation with a constant verbal and how a low quant pulls the score down.

My strategy/recommendation is to ratchet up the quant to 50 or at least 49(Coz then you have at least 720 in the bag, unless you screw up verbal badly). And then work totally on verbal. (Then with a quant score of 49/50 in the bag, improvements in verbal can max out your score beyond the 750 levels). It's not so easy to score above 40 in verbal and anyone who scores less than 49 in quant has surely made some very stupid mistakes. And obviously GMAC thinks that someone who scores less than 49 in Quant does not deserve to have a high score.

Thinking about this message, I remembered what I read the other day at the site, where they have a section called ask Manhattan Gmat, and here I am attaching two extracts from some considerations about obtaining 700+ and a 750+ score:

Your overall score out of 800 results from your performances in quant and verbal, each of which is first scored independently on a scale of 0-60. These subscores are then combined to yield your overall score according to formulae to which only Pearson (the organization that administers the GMAT) is privy. Each subscore (verbal and quant) receives a percentile ranking as well. This indicates the percentage of test-takers who scored below your level over the past few years. So, for example, if you receive a verbal subscore of 40, you are in the 90th percentile, which means that 90% of all test-takers did not perform as well as you in verbal. Some recent scores of 750 broke down as follows: 41V/51Q, 46V/47Q, 44V/49Q, 45V/48Q, 47V/47Q. Notice that both sections are strong. Some recent scores of 760 broke down as follows: 51V/46Q, 42V/50Q, 46V/48Q, 44V/50Q. Again, these test-takers posted excellent subscores. To break 750, you more or less need to reach at least the 84th percentile in quant (subscore 46) and the 90th in verbal (subscore 40). While a significant number of test-takers can reach one or the other of these goals, very few can reach both on the same exam. Hence the reward of 99th percentile status to those who can.

Let's take a look at what happens at the highest levels of the exam: 700+. A recent test-taker received a scaled score of 45 in verbal (98th percentile) and 40 in quant (66th percentile) and an overall score of 700 (93rd percentile). Notice how much closer the overall percentile is to the excellent verbal percentile. If the overall percentile were simply an average of the individual percentiles, this person would have received about 640. But because the combination of an outstanding verbal performance with a fair quant performance is so rare, the overall percentile and score will be much higher than the lower quant percentile. Another person, who scored 49 in verbal (99th percentile) and 37 in quant (56th percentile), received 710 (95th percentile), even though the quant performance here was a full 10 percentile points lower than that in the previous example. Again, an outstanding performance in verbal significantly offset a middling performance in quant. Does this work in reverse? That is, will an outstanding performance in quant so dramatically offset a middling performance in verbal? No. This combination is much more common, given the increasing number of international test-takers, who often have excellent math skills but relatively weak command of English. Even among native speakers of English, it is more common to see relatively high quant scores coupled with fair to middling verbal scores. Because these combinations are less rare, they are not rewarded as highly. For example, a test-taker recently received a 50 in quant (97th percentile) and a 37 in verbal (82nd percentile), but "only" a 670 overall (89th percentile). So the truly excellent quant performance was not enough to pull the overall score above 700. While an excellent verbal performance can indeed take up some of the slack from a weaker quant score, keep in mind that most business schools want to see strong skills in both sections. In fact, some of the top 20 schools apply the "80/80 rule", which requires that successful applicants reach at least the 80th percentile in both sections. So do not put all your eggs in one basket: make sure you prepare well for both sections.

O.K. What is the point of all these considerations and stuff? First of all, that you need good scores in both areas in order to get accepted. In my case where math is problem, I think that I really need to work on verbal, to compensate, but maybe with the gmat it will happen the same way as in other test, that I get better scores on my weak areas and not so good on my strong ones, that is why, I decided, that after I finish the Algebra book, I’m gonna stop focusing so much in math, and work a little more with verbal... Anyway, the final key is tons of practice on every section ;)

I would really like to hear people opinion on this subject, which I think is very important on test prep.
posted by Catalina at 7/19/2006, | 3 comments

Date changed

July 17, 2006
It’s been a while without posting, but my computer at home had a little attack and I couldn’t write a thing until today.

Well, as can be inferred from this post title I changed my test date. Why? Because the original test day was supposed to be this Friday, and I am soooo not ready for it... My new test date is September 22nd.

How are things going on? Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about a strategy change. I set up a new schedule, that I will post as soon as is finished. The only thing that is going to change, is that I am not going to be so focused in the math part, because a lot of people are really good at math, but not that many at verbal, so a good verbal score would really help my score.

Also, good news from the office... From next Monday on, a new person will come to work with me and help me with the amount of work that I have, this of course will help me in several aspects: stamina, stress and mental energies. I am really happy about this change.

The other reason why I couldn’t write too much this last days, is because a friend got married, and in Colombia, when you are invited to a marriage, you have a good amount of events and parties and dinners to attend... the good thing is that the party (this last Saturday) was great, but it really killed any chance to study...

So far, so good... What’s next? Well, I finished chapter 6, which was a big-terrible pain in the ass, because of all the little things that I studied, but, according to my algebra book, the worst just passed. According to my schedule, I will finish the whole book by Sunday, I know that I am only half way over, but I am studying on a better rhythm now, and I have Thursday off (national holiday) and I also asked for Friday, so I have a good amount of free time to study.

About the being-tired stuff, I’ve been feeling way tons better =) My doctor told me to wait some time to see the effect of the pills, and I started to see it, the vitamins have been great also, and the exercise part too... Everything is going really nice, and I am very optimistic about the future... I think that things are getting definitely better.
posted by Catalina at 7/17/2006, | 5 comments

Working out

July 06, 2006
O.K. so far I am really happy about how this fatigue thing is going on. Here is my fighting plan:

Yesterday, I went around my house and check for a gym or something like that for exercise, as my doctor asked me.

The gym I found it very stressful, I don’t know why, but this is not the kind of environment for me... I like things more laid back, I think that if I am going for a gym to take all the stress away, I want it to be nice, but everything was really confined, everything was so close, I didn’t really liked it...

Later, I went to the yoga-pilates center... I really liked, more my kind of thing, so I decided that from next week I will enter the yoga center, I like very much because is a very dynamic kind of yoga (ashtanga) and I can also combine it with pilates, the environment is very cool, so I am happy with it.

I’ve also been using the elliptical machine that I have at home, I will just use more and more frequent. And also will go to the park to jog on weekends. On week days I am quite not sure, because in Bogotá sun goes out very late and I would get to work late and at night is not safe to work out on the park, and there are a lot of contamination on the streets.

To complement all this exercise part, I’ve been taking a multivitamin and sulbutiamine. Today I just got b-complex, and I am going to increase the amount of proteins that I eat (I read it in a medicine site, but I didn’t pay attention to it until today, when I read a comment about it)

The most important thing is Mental Positive Attitude, which is the key, for everything in life.

Checking the messages that I got from everybody I found a lot of nice and very cheering-kind words... I would like to say thanks to all of you guys for being so cool and caring. And Aashim thanks a lot for your good ideas and advice.
posted by Catalina at 7/06/2006, | 4 comments

Doctor´s Diagnose

July 04, 2006
Two weeks ago I went to Barranquilla to visit my family. I was really happy to see them and the time with them all off their love and care helped me feel better and renewed but the most important thing was my visit to my doctor... After asking him why I was so damn tired the whole day and why even if I had slept well and after telling him all the symptoms and stuff, he told me that I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Of course after that I started to make some research about the subject and I found that I have a lot of the symptoms, but I think that I don’t have the disease in such a terrible way.

O.k. Let me explain a little bit more about the subject (or at least what I found so far) this is a disease that is becoming more and more common between young people between 20 and 50 years old. The reason why it happens is still unknown, there are several theories: 1. Excess of work and stress 2.Virus. In my case it was the first cause. There a lot of symptoms but the ones that I present are:
1. Extreme fatigue that has lasted at least six months; is not the result of ongoing effort; is not substantially relieved by rest; and causes a substantial reduction in daily activities.
2. Unrefreshing sleep.
3. Substantial impairment in memory/concentration.

I am not totally sure that I suffer a 100% of this disease because there some other symptoms that I don’t present, but what is clear is two things: 1. That I’ve been too tired for quite a long time. 2. I am not the same energetic person that I have always been.

The good news is that now I know that I have a disease, is not like that I don’t want to study... Is just that I am not a 100% well, and knowing what you have help you relax. The bad news... Easy! That I have this *&$% thing...

Treatment? Well there isn’t just one thing to do, there is not like a standard thing to do... so in my case: exercise, diet, taking vitamins and supplements, and a pill that will help me get more focused, taking things easy and not worrying too much about little things, relaxation, and resting better. My doctor also recommended me not to take vacations, but rather building a better daily routine.
posted by Catalina at 7/04/2006, | 8 comments