Done with TOEFL

I wrote my TOEFL today. Overall I think I did well and expect a good score (110+) however I was greatly disappointed by center’s facility.

There were plastic chairs and keyboards with hard keys. 5 PCs were setup on a single table, which allows complete freedom to cheat if one wants to because all candidates receive same questions of one batch. (TOEFL is not adaptive like GMAT so everyone gets same questions!). Luckily the headphones were not so bad but I was asked to sit in place exactly opposite to an open window which caused lot of reflection and was really hard to read in RC. I could hardly complete it! By the way they didnt even offered pens to candidates. I had to use my own pen (luckily I took 2 with me).

I faced extra questions in Listening but overall the difficulty of questions was not more than what you find in official guide. I think TOEFLSIM tests were more difficult in RC and less comprehensible in listening. Oh I forgot – you really have to speak loudly to make sure your response is recorded properly. Don’t be shy; just shout out loud! Writing was easy (especially after GMAT essays!)

Overall a much easier test compared to GMAT! My advice would be to take 2 practice tests before actual exam and taking lot of notes on lectures/passages during exam. This can help you tremendously. I will post links and other resources for TOEFL on blog later…

I am going back to continue work on my HBS app…

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Spoke to recommenders

Hey all,

I finally told my boss that I am planning to go back to school. It was a shock to him as he would have never thought me going back to school or for that matter even leaving the company. But I had to tell him as I need a RECO from him. Despite of being shocked he gave me a patient hearing and in fact showed interest in knowing which school I am applying to or the specialization I am looking for and how I will manage finance. This discussion went on for 2 hours and he looked very positive about writing recommendation letters for me. I had to warn him that he would have to spend a lot of hours in doing so as I am planning to apply to almost 10 schools!

The other recommender is my Mentor and former boss. My current boss told him about me before I could inform him. So he was not much shocked. But he was very happy. He has been my inspiration since last 4 years so hearing encouraging words from him was quite satisfying. He was also ready to spend any number of hours for my letters! Infact he told me that if I need any financial help once I am in US I can count on him! Such a positive attitude!

I am yet to tell my 3rd recommender. He is a peer but plan to tell him around early next week. I think he would be a cake walk after speaking to the first 2. He will be shocked for sure!

I have almost finalized my resume and have now started working on HBS essays and RECO. I have rough points ready but need to work on putting on paper and mercilessly edit it. But before that I have to crack TOEFL this weekend. So, I will write more once I am done with my TOEFL. 

TOEFL or Resume or Reco?

As the first round deadline OF HBS (Oct-2nd) coming nearer day by day, I am getting more anxious on what all I should include in my resume, essays, reco, cover letter,etc… I have my TOEFL scheduled next week but somehow I cant concentrate on it.

People say if you have done well on GMAT and have good English skills then scoring 110+ is easy. Well I do have good GMAT score and (I believe) have good oral and written english skills but then a standardized exam like TOEFL is also important part of your app. I am going to give 2 TOEFL tests tomorrow to build up my stamina to and hope to do well. That will boost my confidence.

App Process – I have been working on my resume since last 4 days. I didn’t touch at it for last 4 years as I grew to higher designations every 12-18 months and have been with same company. But it presents a new set of challenges. WHAT and HOW MUCH I should include in resume. Some schools say it should be only 1 page (like MIT) whereas some says 2 are fine. I just can’t understand how to include your profile, edu, work history, extras in single page. But do I have an option of not following it? NO. So, will have to cut down my “achievements”.

What I am currently doing is put all that I can recall from my last 4 years at this company in a document and then trying to make bullet points out of it. As they say, I have to mercilessly edit my resume to make it less wordy, concise and to-the-point.

More on resume and other parts later… I have still not told recommenders but I am confident that they will write good recommendation letters for me. I may tell them today itself. Well, once I tell them I am sure I am not going to get that next promotion (which was very near to me!) but will not mind if I get in to my dream school. Let’s see how it goes!  

TOEFL Preps

My TOEFL is scheduled in 10 days and I had started with TOEFL prep with ETS book around a week back. I gave my first Kaplan Test with many interruptions and didn’t do that bad. But somehow I am not feeling satisfied with my preparations. That could be because we work so hard on GMAT that your PREP for TOEFL looks incomplete even though you are almost ready.

I am trying to find out some more listening section and speaking section practice questions. Found out Kaplan book and will go through its audio section CD for better prep. Found out CDs for Cambridge also but haven’t been able to locate corresponding Cambridge book so the CDs are of no use right now. If anybody reading this has it please forward the link of that treasure to this beggar!!

It was really awkward to speak and record your own voice while practicing but I feel much comfortable with it now. I guess my inherent nature of summarizing and opinionating helps me to talk about anything on various questions. But I need to be more clear and consistent in speech. I am praying that I don’t get cold and cough around my TOEFL days!

Well, once I am done with my TOEFL I will post some links for TOEFL resources till then keep doing the best in whatever you’re doing.

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