Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Quality and Quantity

Pushing ahead, I did go to visit the Leadership and Governance class at Simmons last night. And I'm very glad I did. There were so many things that stuck out, and here's my laundry list:

  • The professor in going over the instructions for an assignment stressed a focus on writing style and quality
  • Every woman in the room participated in the class discussion; no one skulked in the back
  • Everyone had done her homework and came to class prepared
  • Everyone looked "professional" in their appearance and bearing
  • The discussion was informed by some women speaking about experiences in their own careers
  • The women had amazing vocabularies
  • Everyone paid attention when someone was speaking and used each other's points to build on in analyzing the case.
In short, it was nothing like my previous graduate school experience. This class was a great example of what graduate school should be like: people are there to do the work, to accomplish something, and they show up ready to work. It was so interesting, at times I had to stop myself from raising my own hand and trying to add something to the discussion.

So while I take all of this into account, there is still the lurking specter of the GMAT. I haven't taken a standardized test in, oh, eight years, and I will admit I'm not the best at math without Excel. Happily, I'm not alone. I ran into this piece from Wired about a 38-year-old writer attempting to retake the SAT.

I'm sitting in a second-floor classroom at Denver East High School, hunched over a desk, exerting a death grip on a No. 2 pencil. My brain is overheating. I have two difficult problems.

This is the first: z = x - y + 4. z = y - w - 3. z = w - x + 5. Based on the system of equations above, what is the value of z? A) 2; B) 3; C) 4; D) 6; E) 12.

And here's the second: What object can I use to persuade the pimply 17-year-old sitting next to me to stop with the frickin' whistling?


I am a 38-year-old writer who uses Google to calculate percentages. Suddenly I was looking at algebra. Geometry. Functions. I stared at the booklet, trying mightily to recall Mr. Willis' fifth-period class. The SAT deducts a quarter point for wrong answers, so I left 10 of the 20 questions blank. Pimple Face finished early. That's when he started whistling...

We'll see how I do. When I figure out the schedule for the test. And after I study. Hard.

1 responses:

Carlita said...

Don't worry about the GMAT--all it takes is focus and persistence. I recommend the Official Guide, which has questions from actual exams. You can also download a couple of practice tests from the GMAT website. Take one before you start to study, and one right before you take the test, to see how much you have improved.

As much as possible, do practice tests on the computer to get used to the format. I found Kaplan's tests to be ridiculously hard, but their study guides weren't bad. I also liked Manhattan GMAT.

Lastly, some advice given to me by one of my mentors. Don't worry about trying to out-business the business people. Recognize that your strengths are what will help you stand out from the crowd.

(C) 2007 - 2009 Kate Hutchinson. All rights reserved.

All opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the author.