November 7, 2011
I’ve got an interesting to story tell, and I’m pretty certain there’s a major takeaway in here. Just so you know, everything below is absolutely true. I’ve not embellished or constructed anything. This is an example of stuff I see every day, but the uniqueness of this instance is in its timing. Everything happened (actually, is happening at the time of writing) simultaneously and because of that, I am left with an indelible mark on my appreciation of test preparation. Check it out…
Student A and Student B are studying for the GMAT and aiming for the high-600s. Neither one has met the other. Both of them have about a month-and-a-half to devote to GMAT prep. That is, work and personal stuff is largely offline; all they plan to do is prepare for this test.
This is an enviable position to be in, without a doubt. The GMAT is a difficult exam that requires a lot of prep time. In most cases, I would say that six weeks is an unnervingly short runway. But since their waking life can be solely (or close to it) focused on the GMAT, I’ve got faith they can hit their targets. That is, as long as they are (1) committed, (2) disciplined, and (3) keep the right attitude. It’s the last point in this list where the stories of Student A and Student B diverge: keeping the right attitude.
At first, both of these students had all the qualities that command success on the GMAT. The manifestation of these qualities was apparent as their respective scores progressed along a similar trajectory toward the similar goal. Then, almost like a light switch, Student A’s attitude flipped.
Initiation to some of the more difficult concepts covered on the test followed by slightly decreased performance on a practice test rattled his cage. The change was obvious and drastic, and the results have been… unfortunate. I have all the faith in the world that Student A will break through this wall, but a wall it certainly is.
Student B, on the other hand, kept all three aforementioned attributes humming along. In fact, just when Student A lost ground on number three, Student B seemed to lean even more heavily on it. B’s attitude is, well, perfect. The subsequent power he is deriving from it is inimitable.
The other day, I was chatting with Student B about a new student of mine—let’s call this person Student C— just coming onto the grid. “So, I’ve got a new student right at the beginning of this road. Have you got any advice for him I could pass along?” I asked.
“Um, yeah, actually. I have some advice for him,” Student A replied. “Relax.”