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Happy Chinese New Year: 12 Proverbs for GMAT Success

Posted in Test Prep on February 4, 2011 by


As those who follow the Chinese Zodiac know, we have officially entered the Year of the Rabbit. If you were born in 1975 or 1987, then this is your year. I don’t know how much you believe in horoscopes and astrology, so I won’t bother with any predictions. Instead, I’ll give you some more practical advice for your upcoming GMAT.

In celebration of the year of the Rabbit, here’s a list of  12 Chinese proverbs to help motivate you to GMAT success. These are proverbs that have been passed down for thousands of years and have helped many Chinese students succeed in their studies. Hopefully they will help you too!

Since it is the Year of the Rabbit, that’s where we’ll start.

1. The Rabbit says, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

In other words: Having the answer is not as good as knowing how to find the answer. If you are stuck on a particular problem, getting the answer will get you past it. But understanding the method for solving the problem will also help you solve similar problems in the future.

2. The Dragon says, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

It is not enough to listen to the teacher and watch how the problem is solved. True mastery of a skill comes from repeated applications of that skill.

3. The Snake says, “The palest ink is better than the best memory.”

Memories are merely temporary synapses between neurons in our brain, but notes written down will be there forever.

4. The Horse says, “He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.”

Don’t ever hesitate to ask a question. A question is doubt that lingers until it is answered. Lingering doubts will lower your confidence over time. And confidence is critical for success on the GMAT.

5. The Ram says, “Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.”

Teachers only provide the tools that you need to be successful. You’ll have to put it in the hard work and practice on your own in order to achieve true mastery.

6. The Monkey says, “A book tightly shut is but a block of paper.”

No matter how great your book (or GMAT prep course!) is, not using it is like not having one at all.

7. The Rooster says, “Habits are cobwebs at first; cables at last.”

Bad habits are difficult to break, so why not install some good habits instead? Commit to a positive action for 21 days and it will become a habit you can benefit from for life.

8. The Dog says, “A gem is not polished without rubbing, nor a man perfected without trials.”

Do not be intimidated by tests. Tests are the best ways of finding your weaknesses. Overcoming those weaknesses will make you strong.

9. The Pig says, “Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.”

It may seem like you are just learning for the GMAT, but the skills you are acquiring will likely help in ways you can’t imagine. No effort is ever wasted.

10. The Rat says, “Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.”

Don’t get discouraged when your score isn’t increasing as fast as you wanted. Be encouraged by the fact that you are putting in the effort to master the necessary skills.

11. The Ox says, “Behind every able man, there are always other able men.”

Studying for the GMAT does not have to be a lonely experience. Reach out to others for support and you will be surprised by the amount you receive.

12. The Tiger says, “Men trip not on mountains, they stumble on stones.”

Are you struggling with solving equations? It could be that simple exponents are what’s tripping you up. Dig deeper to find what the real problem is.

I hope you have gained some wisdom from these proverbs. Now take these words and go make your ancestors proud!