Monday, April 6, 2009

5 Tips for Skill Assessors

For those of you who are not attending the GSB next year, you can skip this post.

For those of you who are, read on if you would like my suggestions for tackling Stanford's required pre-matriculation skill assessors, especially the tortuous Excel assessor:

1. The Excel assessor uses the latest version (the one with file names .xlsx) so if you are on a Mac or an older version of Excel, you will likely struggle. Be ready to be frustrated and read on.

2. Go through it VERY QUICKLY once. Do not waste time trying to figure out answers that you do not immediately get (unless you are totally unfamiliar with Excel, in which case this post may not be for you either and you should probably read through one of the books recommended on the pre-matriculation website). I wasted so much time trying to figure out the idiosyncrasies of each formatting, printing, and saving function when in reality, I can figure this stuff out in <1 minute just by fooling around or by getting it wrong once and finding out the answer.

3. Review the questions you got wrong.

4. Immediately do another assessor. It will be much shorter because the computer will take out all subjects on which you did well. For example, if you got about 50% correct, expect the next assessor you take to be about 40% shorter. At least that is how I think it works from taking it three times in a row.

5. Repeat until you have reached the minimum acceptable cutoff.

Don't try to do both the Excel and quantitative assessors in one go unless you are happy to sit at your desk for a minimum of three hours. Last thing: the quantitative/math assessor has much less calculus than I was expecting. Aside from a few questions, your GMAT prep should suffice.

Sorry this post is so dry, specific, and generally boring. Let's get this crap out of the way so we can travel!

4/7 UPDATE: I lied about the lack of non-GMAT content, namely calculus and trig. I just completed the quant assessor and there is a fair amount of calc, in particular. However, it is pretty basic and if you have studied it in the past, it should look familiar. As I said, just go through the test quickly and either guess or answer "I don't know" for the questions you don't immediately understand and then go through the program's online content/tutorials to reteach yourself the stuff you missed.


Anonymous said...

Good stuff. Thanks for the tips.

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