Tag Archives: student spotlight

Student Spotlight: Diptiman Banerji, Doctoral Candidate in Management with a 160 Point Score Increase

In our latest Student Spotlight, meet Diptiman Banerji, a Knewton GMAT student who increased his score from a 500 on his Knewton diagnostic to a 660 on the actual test!

Name:

Diptiman Banerji

Hometown:

Calcutta, India

Current job?

Senior Manager with Aircel, a leading Telecom services operator in India

Why did you want to take the GMAT?

I am already a BE (Bachelor of Engineering) & an MBA and have 16 years of work experience. I had targeted to go for a PhD program in Management from the most reputed Management institution of India – Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Calcutta, which I have got through.

What’s your dream job after school?

Teaching for GMAT prep courses, Research & Consultancy in Marketing Management and Teaching.

Can you tell us a bit about your experience prepping for the GMAT?

Well, I started researching online for the course available on teaching GMAT. I got to know about Knewton, Manhattan GMAT, Kaplan & Pearson. I actually enrolled as a trial student in each of them & found the Knewton course to be best. Also, I got a very exciting India-specific offer, which made it quite affordable for me. Finally, I decided to go for Knewton as my course guide. The only books I referred to are the two basic GMAC guides.

Lightning Round: Favorite song right now?

It’s a Bengali song – which is in my mother tongue!

Data Sufficiency or Sentence Correction?

Data Sufficiency

Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?

Steve Jobs

Harry Potter or Twilight?

Twilight

Student Spotlight — Afton Mielke: High School Junior in Love with Seattle and SAT Shortcuts (But Not Justin Bieber)

Name:

Afton Mielke

Hometown:

Conrad, Montana

Current grade:

Junior

What kind of college do you want to go?

I’m hoping to go to an urban area. I’m really, really crossing my fingers for a college near the Seattle area. I’ve only been there twice, but I fell in love!

Do you know what you want to major in? What would be your ideal job after college?

I’m hoping to major in both Biology and Psychology and maybe get a Ph.D. My ideal job would be in Cognitive Neuroscience, or Cognitive Psychology.

Can you tell us a little about your SAT prep experience?

My SAT prep experience was great! I would recommend it to anyone! My teacher was personal and very helpful. After a computer malfunction, he stayed an extra hour after with me, just to make sure I understood what we were going over. This happened on a couple of occasions, and he was so willing to help me! I took quite a bit of time out to study. If you want to include a five hour practice and two two-hour classes each week, I probably spent an average of thirteen hours a week practicing. It paid off so much, though! I felt super confident while taking the test, and I had a lot of fun taking the practice tests. Analyzing what I had learned in class was really fun for me! My favorite strategy was Plugging in Numbers in the math section. You don’t have to try every question, and it’s super satisfying when you figure out that an answer really works out with your work! Also, for some reason whatsoever, in the Reading Comp section, I love, love, love zoning. I love how easy it made answering the questions. I got a little peek at each question each time without stressing about it. I loved it. It made the reading seem like a little break between each “real” section. Their tips and tricks were really fun and awesome. I got excited to apply them to each five hour test I took on the weekends.

Have you taken the SAT yet?

I took the SAT May 7th, 2011, and I felt so confident while taking it. Using my Knewton skills was so much fun.

Any Knewton teacher shout-outs?

Arlo! You’re the best!

Lightning Round: Favorite song right now?

Right now? Umm… Arms by Christina Perri

Favorite TV show?

The Big Bang Theory. I also LOVE the Walking Dead when I can find a time that it’s on!

Justin Bieber: Love or hate?

…Let’s not even go there.

Harry Potter or Twilight?

…Ew.

Student Spotlight — Mohit Kant: 730 GMAT Scorer, Consultant, and Iron Man Fan

In this Student Spotlight, meet Mohit Kant — a super-high GMAT scorer who can’t decide what he loves more: Data Sufficiency or Sentence Correction.

Name:

Mohit Kant

Hometown:

Delhi, India

Current job?:

I work as a Consultant with a leading Big 4 firm.  I am also the founder of Consulting Network (http://consultingnetwork.co.in), a non-profit portal for aspiring consultants.

Why do you want to get an MBA?

I’ve reached a stage in my career where an MBA is paramount to reach the next level. To Lead complex organizations, a leader must have a solid grounding in three core areas — Management, Finance and Strategy. The MBA, for me, is a critical component that will help me gather the ammunition that a successful leader needs.

What’s your dream job after b-school?

I have shortlisted a couple of possible paths that I could take. I’d like to keep the cards close to my chest for now.

Can you tell us a bit about your experience prepping for the GMAT?

Before I could decide on a particular prep company, I decided to take the free tests offered by various companies. I felt Knewton practice test really pushed me and closely replicated the actual test. I scored a decent 690 on the practice test and after some contemplation, I decided to “bite the Knewtonian Apple”.

I started my preparation in January 2011. I already had a decent grasp on many of the Quant and Verbal concepts. I went through the online lessons on weekends and worked through the homework exercises during weekdays.  Owing to my heavy work schedule, I was unable to attend the live classes but I was glad to have amazing videos on demand at my disposal.

Knewton taught me some of the errors I had been making in my Quant and Verbal sections. For example, in Quant I did not have a clear strategy for each question. Further, I realized that I needed to let go of my stubbornness to solve each question in Quant and pick my battles. The special quote by Jess Nepom — “Read the question part of the question” — really helped me cut down silly mistakes on Quant. Moreover, some of the “Tells” that Knewton taught me in Verbal really helped me fine tune my verbal performance.

I took my GMAT on 28th March 2011. The test went off smoothly with no real hiccups. As I reached the final screen, my heart skipped a beat. The score read 730 (Q 49 , v 41 AWA -5.5) with a overall 96 percentile.

Any Knewton teacher shout-outs?

Special thank you to my teachers — Jen Rugani and David Ingber for the amazing verbal lessons and Jess Nepom and Rich Zwelling for the amazing Quant lessons. I couldn’t have done it (it=scoring 730 on GMAT) without them (them= my Knewton teachers).

Lightning Round: Favorite song right now?

Edward Maya  — Stereo Love; surprisingly, I only recently discovered this song and its on repeat in my head.

Data Sufficiency or Sentence Correction?

Oh I love them both, please don’t ask me to me pick one. I love the traps in DS questions. Every time I used to fall into a trap of a DS or a SC question I could instantly picture the question writer having a slight smirk on his face.

Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?

I’d pick Bill Gates but I have clear instructions from iPhone to pick Steve Jobs. I love the way Apple relies on innovation and smart marketing to beat its competition.

This quote from the Apple’s “Think Different” Campaign comes to mind  — “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Harry Potter or Twilight?

Neither, can we add Iron Man as one of the options?

Student Spotlight — Victoria Markewitz: Aspiring Consultant with a 710 GMAT Score

In this Student Spotlight, meet Victoria Markewitz, an undergrad business major from Germany. Victoria managed to raise her GMAT score a whopping 120 points from her first to second try — and now she’s off to get her Masters of Science in Management.

Name:

Victoria Markewitz

Hometown:

Bendorf, Germany

Hometown in the US: Manahawkin, NJ (exchange 2005/06)

Current job:

Student in the Bachelors degree at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management.

During the course of my studies I’ve undertaken several internships with a financial service provider in Germany, Kühne+Nagel on Mauritius, T-Mobile in Germany and a consultancy in Germany.

Why do you want to get an MBA/MIM?

As I’m only 21 years old, I really want to continue studying, because I just love being a student. Additionally, I believe that many clients would not really treat a 21-year old female consultant with only an undergraduate degree seriously. This is why I decided to pursue a Master of Science in Management.

What’s your dream job after b-school?

Consultant

Can you tell us about your experience prepping for the GMAT? How long did you take, how did you structure your study, what did you find most challenging, etc? Feel free to go into as much detail as you’d like!

I started studying for the GMAT as early as September to take the exam in January. I made the great mistake of only practicing, practicing and practicing as many GMAT questions I could possibly find out there, without paying any interest to concepts, strategies, etc. This resulted in the extremely disappointing score of 590. At that point I realized that something needs to change!

Therefore I signed up for the Knewton class in order to change my learning habits. I scheduled my next exam 2.5 months later which would give me just enough time to go through the Knewton schedule and have some time off as a “buffer” in case I might have to postpone some sessions due to classwork, etc. and still have some time to go through the mba.com tests as final preparation. From that point onwards I followed the class syllabus. In the beginning, I was a little disappointed and frustrated on how little progress I was making, which was reflected not only by the homework, but also by the GMAT prep test scores. However, I knew that I could score higher than 590 and just have to focus on my studies.

When I finished the last class, my progress bars weren’t that convincing. However, all of a sudden my test scores went up from 550 (diagnostic test) up to 700 (last CAT) which was extremely relieving, that finally all the work will pay off for once. I didn’t really feel that the courseload was too much – just the right amount of time you should spend on your preparation. I actually preferred the on-demand videos over the live sessions, as the on-demand videos gave me the opportunity to listen to the videos at any time, rather than from 8pm-11pm (German time).

Overall – I found that Jess was the best instructor you could possibly have to teach presumably boring math skills – my 11 points raw score increase can be accounted to great parts to her great teaching abilities! At the actual test I felt really confident, as I could apply many of the concepts I’ve learned at Knewton. Especially, when I had to guess on some questions – I just loved the “guessing” lecture! In the end, Knewton built up my strength (verbal), but extremely improved my math skills, which were better than my verbal skills at the end – something I’ve never even considered being possible!

Any Knewton teacher shout-outs?

Jess!

Lightning Round: Favorite song right now?

Hello! – Martin Solveig feat. Dragonette

Data Sufficiency or Sentence Correction?

Really interesting: in the beginning of my studies it would have been SC, because I always got so confused by DS. However, due to Knewton’s teaching skills I really learned how to tackle these problems. Now with my scores I would answer the question DS>SC.

Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?

Steve Jobs

Harry Potter or Twilight?

Twilight

Student Spotlight — Josh Kohn: Accountant, Lord of the Rings Fan, and Aspiring Small Business Consultant

Name:

Josh Kohn

Hometown:

New Castle, PA

Current job?

Accountant / Assistant Purchasing Manager at Fleming Steel

Why do you want to get an MBA?

I want to pursue an MBA for a couple different reasons.  First, I want to change the industry and career that I work in.  I currently work with a small business that fabricates steel hangar doors and even though working at Fleming Steel since I was 16 has been great, I believe it is time for something new.  More importantly however, I’d like to do something other than accounting and explore other interests.  Second, I have a great passion for start ups and I’d like to get further training on creating and operating a small business.  I believe that an MBA is necessary and paramount in my current position.

What’s your dream job after b-school?

Being my own boss is a dream of mine.  Recently, I’ve been consulting for a small business owner around where I live to help develop his client retention, increase profits, and redefine his company’s mission and vision statement.  As a result of this experience, I’m interested in becoming a consultant for small businesses and new start ups.  Ever since I created my first business plan in college, I have had a deep passion for entrepreneurship and launching new ventures.  I’d like to focus on guiding new and existing business owners to create a sustainable and profitable business with a focus on growth.  Personally, I feel that being your own boss is a dream that many people have and I’d like to make that dream a reality.

Can you tell us a bit about your experience prepping for the GMAT?

The most challenging thing was finding a program that fit me.  I studied with another prep course before Knewton and unfortunately it was not what I expected it to be.  I’ve never been a great standardized test taker, so sitting down and being able to recall all the information was a bit tough but Knewton had some great that strategies proved very useful.

In addition to taking classes with Knewton, I supplemented the books from Manhattan GMAT as well as signing up on BeatTheGMAT.com.  I can’t stress how much being part of a large community helped.

Any Knewton teacher shout-outs?

Jen Rugani, Alison Rich, Brigidette Crowe, and Adam Sticklor.  Great teachers.  Thanks for the help guys!  Let me know if you’re ever in the Pittsburgh area.

Lightning Round: Favorite song right now?

That’s an easy question, Meet Me in the City by The Black Keys (originally created by Junior Kimbrough).

Data Sufficiency or Sentence Correction?

Sentence Correction.  I’d rather do logic games than do data sufficiency.

Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?

That’s a tough one, I’m an Apple user so I’d have to say Steve Jobs, but I do respect Bill Gates for his charity work.

Harry Potter or Twilight?

Neither. Lord of the Rings.

Student Spotlight — Matt Flores: CMU-Tepper Student Nostalgic for his GMAT Prep Days (Really!)

In this Student Spotlight, meet Matt Flores, a first-year b-school student at CMU-Tepper! Matt recently came to NYC  and visited the Knewton office to reminisce about the good ol’ days of Sentence Correction drills.

Name:

Matthew Flores

Hometown:

San Francisco/Minneapolis

Current job?

1st Year MBA at Carnegie Mellon School of Business, Tepper

What do you think of b-school?

Business school is great. I love the challenge and how ambitious everyone is. Despite all the negativity you see on the front pages, business and entrepreneurship can actually be a very noble cause that empowers the disadvantaged and provides incremental improvements in the lives of everyday people. Sometimes it takes stepping out of the workforce to realize that, which is a very humbling feeling to have and has definitely inspired me to do good and strive for change.

What’s your dream job after b-school?

Working at a West Coast technology firm in a finance or strategy capacity…. or Autobot

Can you tell us a bit about your experience prepping for the GMAT?

Preparing for the GMAT was BRUTAL. I actually have severe anxiety problems when it comes to putting the moves on beautiful women and taking timed standardized tests. I got really nervous when I had attempted to take the GMAT before and could never fall asleep so my dad, who’s a neurosurgeon, actually had to give me medical grade sleeping pills for me to get to bed the night before the test. Additionally, I really needed to over prepare for the test, because otherwise I would probably get really anxious and let that distract me. Knewton made the preparation process so enjoyable. It’s been over a year and a half, but I honestly miss waking up at 8:30AM on a Saturday to do SC problems. I really looked forward to seeing Brad & Dave’s faces every week [and Joanna’s chats]. They really made the material fun and I obviously learned a lot too.

Any Knewton teacher shout-outs?

YES!!!!!!! I love Joanna and Effie. I actually was super skeptical of Knewton BEFORE I signed up. I talked to Effie like 4 times and she so smoothly convinced me to sign up. Effie is also eternally optimistic, which got me through a lot of study sessions. Joanna Bersin is literally my hero. Like, legit, if I don’t adopt, I owe her my first born. She suggested that I have a more formulaic approach to my SC, which saved me TONS of time during the actual GMAT. Given how long it took me to do the rest of the problems, I would have easily run out of time w/o the help of Joanna. Dave Ingber also deserves a shout out bc he gave me most of my “A-ha” moments. I feel like Brad M. is worthy of a shout-out, but get the sense that everyone at Knewton likes to make fun of Brad, so I’m just going to abstain.

Lightning Round: Data Sufficiency or Sentence Correction?

Sentence correction stand up!

Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?

Bill Gates. He didn’t even go to CMU, but he bought us a really sweet building that always has free food that I mooch off of. Plus, I love X-box 360. Prior to enrolling in B-school, I was a 40 rank in Halo. That said, I only buy Apple computer/phone products.

Harry Potter or Twilight?

In a street fight, I’d rather be on Harry Potter’s side. In terms of getting babes, I’d rather roll w/ the vampires. Chicks dig immortality.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’m glad you asked!! I recommended Knewton to 2 friends, both of whom have gotten into good business schools. They’re still interviewing so I can’t say which ones.

Student Spotlight — Claire Juozitis: Aspiring Rockstar, Creative Writer, and Folk Music Fan!

In this week’s Student Spotlight, meet Claire Juozitis, our first featured SAT student!

Name:

Claire Juozitis

Hometown:

Pittsburgh, PA

Current grade:

11th

What kind of college do you want to go to? Do you have a dream school?

I would love to attend a school in a big city. I love the feeling of urban life and I think it would be awesome to be able to meet so many different people. Also, I have to make sure I got to college somewhere where there is lots of great music! There certainly needs to be some good concert venues in the area. Right now, my dream school is The University of Pitt!

Do you know what you want to major in? What would be your ideal job after college?

I’m not sure exactly what I want to major in yet. I do love to write, though! Some sort of creative writing job would be awesome if my plans of being a rock star don’t work out.

Can you tell us a little about your SAT prep experience?

Before I started the Knewton courses, I was doing sections of practice tests on my own. That gave me a basis for what I needed to work on: I knew which type of questions were most difficult for me. Then I started up on the Knewton classes! I tried my hardest to attend every class on the weekends, which worked to my advantage I think. I only ever had to make up one lesson On Demand, and I found that I paid attention to and preferred the live classes much better. I also completed my homework right after the lesson while all the things I’d learned in class were still fresh in my head. Doing the homework right after class helped to ingrain all of those helpful strategies into my brain! Some of the most helpful strategies I learned were PIN and PIA. I’m not the best at math, and these were easy, obvious approaches to problems that I hadn’t been using as often as I should have.

Have you taken the SAT yet? If not, when are you planning on taking it?

I took it once without any real preparation, but I am planning to take it for real in March! Just a few weeks from now!

Any Knewton teacher shout-outs?

JC AND MARCUS! You guys truly are the best! I actually had FUN while preparing for the SAT’s, and I owe that all to you guys. I can’t thank you enough. JC, good luck with your music! And Marcus, good luck with whatever adventures you take on.

Lightning Round: Favorite song right now?

“Roll Away Your Stone” -Mumford and Sons (I love folk music)

Favorite TV show?

So You Think You Can Dance

Justin Bieber: Love or hate?

How about strong dislike? I don’t believe in hate!

Harry Potter or Twilight?

HARRY POTTER! I even have an autographed copy of The Goblet of Fire Smile :)

Student Spotlight — Justin Bohn: A Rock Climber Who Rocked the GMAT

In this installment of our Student Spotlight series, meet student Justin Bohn, who lives in Germany and managed to raise his GMAT score by a whopping 130 points (from 570 to 700!). Plus, he already got into b-school… in Barcelona! Read on for more.

Name:

Justin Bohn

Hometown:

Cologne, Germany

Current job?

Mergers & Acquisitions advisory

Why do you want to get an MBA?

Upon graduating from Maastricht with a Bachelor in Economics I intended to pursue internships over the course of a year in order to subsequently return to academics for a master, when I knew on which area I would want to focus. A confirmed interest in my field of choice and a desire to master the M&A profession along with a collegial and challenging work environment, however, led me to stay with WestLB. I decided to pursue the CFA accreditation as a substitute for a specialized master with the goal of gaining an MBA degree in the future. In 2008, my employer, aware of my future ambitions and in the context of my professional development plan, instead of paying a bonus, offered me to sponsor an MBA conditional upon my passing CFA Levels 2 and 3 in consecutive years. Fortunately, I managed the CFA challenge, which allowed me to embark on the GMAT fun in 2010.

I view an MBA degree as a milestone to advance my career ambitions. After what will be more than five years in M&A advisory, I desire to evolve and eventually cross borders to the “non-advisory side” of the economy. My aspiration is to build on my M&A experience, ideally in corporate development and strategy. I want to move from advising to implementing transactions and strategic advice, to creating value and shaping a business and its future. I strive to assume entrepreneurial responsibility and form part of a management team responsible for a business and its stakeholders. I see no better alternative to achieve these ambitions – including at some point in the future potentially setting up my own business – than earning an MBA now. I can, however, just as easily picture myself working for some non-profit and doing “something good”… we’ll see where it takes me… I hope that the MBA will open doors into various directions…

And hey, a year off work, in Barcelona (I got into Esade there), with as much rock climbing and fun as possible…who wouldn’t wanna do that?

What’s your dream job after b-school?

Kind of already answered this above…my dream job? Setting up my own rock climbing gym and then going into venture capital…

Can you tell us a bit about your experience prepping for the GMAT?

I found all the quant stuff most challenging, especially data sufficiency. Honestly, I hated the GMAT experience – thanks to Knewton, however, it turned out a lot less gruesome…I followed a six week course and then took another month to prepare (mostly for quant though). In the end I didn’t do as well as I wanted in the quant section…but overall Knewton and all the prep bumped up my score from 570 to 700 – so that was great.

Any Knewton teacher shout-outs?

All the classes were fun…and I always checked out Dave’s recorded quant sessions cause he is awesome. Had they been actual physical classes I think I would have fallen in love with Jess ;)

Lightning Round: Favorite song right now?

The xx – Basic Space

Data Sufficiency or Sentence Correction?

Sentence Correction

Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?

Bill Gates / his foundation

Harry Potter or Twilight?

Harry Potter

Student Spotlight — Jaspal Saini: Engineer, Steve Jobs Fan, and 770 GMAT Scorer

In this week’s Student Spotlight, meet Jaspal Saini, another one of our rockstar GMAT students.

Name:

Jaspal Singh Saini

Hometown:

Native of New Delhi, currently living in Maryland

Current job:

Engineering Professional

Why do you want to get an MBA?

My career till now has been focused primarily on being a technical expert in the core engineering discipline; this experience has had its ups and downs as can be expected. However, one thing that has become clear to me is that keep doing what I have been will never lead me to a position where I will understand and possibly contribute to the global business aspects of the industry. My motivation behind pursuing an MBA is to develop a deeper understanding of the general management and leadership aspects of businesses so that I can apply the same in the energy sector. I believe my background in the engineering aspects of power and energy sector in conjunction with the MBA degree, which will inculcate leadership skills, will help me contribute towards alleviating the global energy crises – every little step is a step in the right direction.

What’s your dream job after b-school?

A dream job would most definitely be being in the shoes of Steve Jobs :). Realistically, I would like to apply the management and leadership principles learnt from the B-School in the growing energy sector in developing countries. However, it’s going to be a while before I start my dream job (whatever is in store), since I’m taking a break and would apply for next year admissions.

Can you tell us a bit about your experience prepping for the GMAT?

The GMAT prep for me was a stutter. Started preparing in end of May 2010 and took a date in end of June 2010, but I was on an out of state assignment and didn’t realize I had not carried my passport with me (the passport was needed since I’m not a permanent resident/citizen). So I had to cancel my exam one day before the actual test date. Got a bit frustrated and stopped preparations completely. Heard about Knewton and took the diagnostic in end of October. Thought it won’t be too bad, given the 50-point increase or money back guarantee :). Started the session in first week of November and took a test date of 4th December. Studied primarily at night on weekdays and on weekends – didn’t take any break from work. I knew I had to improve Verbal and working with Dave in the sessions gave me some confidence, although I did have my jitters couple of days before the exam. But, courtesy of Chris and Emma, I did take the test as planned and scored 770 (Q 51 V 42). I would note that on actual GMAT, Quant was far too easy and Verbal was way too hard – no regrets though.

Any Knewton teacher shout-outs?

Dave for his PEMDAS rap song and many more. Chris for dropping the “F-Bomb” live on camera. Emma for being a great and sincere TA. Great team.

Lightning Round: Favorite song right now?

“Higher” by Taio Cruz

Data Sufficiency or Sentence Correction?

Data Sufficiency (Sorry Dave :) ). This was close though; if it was CR/RC, these would have been given a hands down battering by DS.

Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?

Steve Jobs

Harry Potter or Twilight?

Harry Potter (even True Blood is better than Twilight series).

Student Spotlight — Tim Murphy: Auditor, Aspiring Entrepreneur, and 700+ Scorer

This Student Spotlight features Tim Murphy, a former Knewton GMAT student who saw his hard work rewarded with a sky-high GMAT score of 730. Read on to learn more about Tim’s study methods and future plans!

Name:

Tim Murphy

Hometown:

I grew up in Pine Plains, NY, but I now live in Harrisburg, PA.

Current job?

Group Leader, Internal Audit for The Hershey Company

Why do you want to get an MBA?

To position myself for a transition into the renewable energy industry and develop the expertise to succeed as a business owner / entrepreneur down the road.

What’s your dream job after b-school?

Owner / operator of a business that promotes and distributes renewable energy systems.

Can you tell us a bit about your experience prepping for the GMAT?

I started prepping with Knewton in late July 2010.  I took my diagnostic (scored 640) on 7/20 and scheduled my test for 8/30 (shooting for a 700+ score).  I used a mix of live and on-demand classes.  Personally, I found the on-demand sessions more helpful because I was able to rewind and review whenever I didn’t quite catch something.  When taking the practice tests, I soon found that my verbal skills were way ahead of my quant skills, so after session 6, I spent all of my time on quant review.  I wouldn’t suggest this for everyone, but I personally decided to focus my time to try to balance out my score.

I found Knewton’s materials really helpful and I really liked the course overall, especially the smooth online interface.  Additionally, I found the instructors and support team very helpful and responsive to my emails.  I even sent in two practice essays (1 issue and 1 argument) within a couple days of my test date and received timely and constructive feedback that helped me to achieve an AWA score of 6 both times I tested.

When my first test day was over on 8/30, I was happy with my overall score of 700, but my quant score (41/58%) was still off balance from my verbal score (44/97%).  It took me about a week until I resolved to retake the exam.  I knew I had rushed through some of the quant topics and felt I could improve on my score.  I took a few weeks in September to step away from it all and then returned to my studies.

In late September I began reviewing Knewton’s quant lessons and retaking many of the homework quizzes.  I also completed the Official Guide Quant Review book and two of MGMAT’s books on quant topics in areas where I felt I was weakest.  While Knewton was the foundation for my studies, I found having some diversity in the instruction to be helpful.  Different sources presented topics from different angles which eventually helped things that I previously hadn’t understood to just click.  Also, I was traveling a bit for work and needed something in hardcopy to take with me.

As my review progressed, I settled for a new test date of 11/22.  I set aside 4 days (Thu-Sun) to finalize my studies.  During these final days I reviewed formulas and spent a lot of time redoing problems that I had gotten wrong from all three of my study sources.  I only spent an hour or two studying the day prior to the exam and took the rest of the day to rest up.  On exam day I felt pretty confident my score would go up.

When I received a 730 and a much more balanced distribute between quant (46/75%) and verbal (45/98%), I knew my hard work and investment with Knewton had paid off.  Thanks Knewton!

Any Knewton teacher shout-outs?

I spent a lot of time with Chris Wu, I found him entertaining!  Really though, everyone was good.

Lightning Round: Data Sufficiency or Sentence Correction?

SC any day, but only because it was easier for me – I wish I could say the same for DS!

Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?

Bill Gates hands down – what would I do without Excel!  Plus, he’s doing good things with his $$$.

Harry Potter or Twilight?

Harry Potter?