Something About Everything

There is a story to be told!

Category: Uncategorized

This site is under construction

Hola.

I have decided to revamp the blog, try changing the CSS, move things here and there. I hope that that will rekindle my interest in blogging. Please bear with me while this goes on. One fine day if you land here, the blog might have a pink background with purple font color. There is nothing wrong. It’s just bad code. (:
Just saying.

Rohan

Life life, you surprise…

Mineta San Jose International airport- 100 meters beyond the glass wall in front of me, planes are taking off every two minutes.

Its the end of my internship, and I am headed back to school for the last semester of my grad studies. The best thing about the internship? The people. In my opinion, people around you directly affect your growth, be it career or otherwise. I got to work with some really good people, and thankfully, as it turns out, will continue working with them once my masters is done.

Well, graduating in 15 months was never on the cards, but that’s how its going be. Seems increasingly likely that I am going to settle in California’s bay area come this January. Well, frankly I admit I didn’t see myself in California after my masters- but man, I like how this is panning out. I wasn’t quite sure what was in store some months back, but now that its becoming slightly clear, I like it.

All right- Got to catch the flight. More later- maybe after I reach Vegas (my first stopover). Leaving you with a pic of my ride.

McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas- Rows and rows of slot machines at the airport, and shoe-shine booths with hot females, where else but Vegas?

The interesting thing is, there are very few seats at the aircraft gates, compared to the number of people here- and there are a lot of empty seats right in front, at the slot machines. Clever scheme for inviting people over to the slots? I wonder who owns them. Do ones at terminal A belong to Caesars Palace and terminal B to The Venetian? Interesting. I see all these people mindlessly plonking themselves in front of the slots while waiting for their next planes.

That’s what I like about humans- we never give up, do we? But Vegas looks very inviting. Luxor, the black pyramid shaped casino looked fantastic from up there. Definitely a must visit in the next year.

Slot machines at the airport

Anyway so now I am looking forward to being back in Raleigh and enjoying my last semester. This masters is probably going to be my terminal degree. PhD is a no no- its all about money honey. And I am not quite sure if I will go for a degree in something else. So well after 23 years of trying to educate myself, I think I am done. Twenty three years? Man that’s gone on too long, as it is. :P

Raleigh- Ah, I am back. My apartment in Raleigh is still being refurbished, so I am going to stay over at some friends for a couple of days. A dozen huge ass bags in the living room, a massive couch- and innumerable plastic bags lying around- get the picture of the living room? Now that I have stayed in California for three months, I think I have come to appreciate the old world, slightly idyllic, hi-fi research charm of Raleigh much better. This place is like the perfect setting for owning a house, having a family, maybe a dog or two. And yes, a 9-5 job, a pick up truck and a sedan. Very nice.

But who wants that right? :D

Now is the time for sixty+ hour weeks, clubs, some hot blood- you get the drift. But for now, I am content. Surprisingly, I think I have somehow learnt how to be satisfied. In the past, I always was in a hurry of- getting somewhere. You know, that whole anticipation of whats to come, which kind of makes you NOT enjoy where you are RIGHT NOW. But I think I have finally managed to get that under reign. Its just making me enjoy this whole ‘journey’, if I may call it that, completely.

Life is a surprise. But it is good.

So save me San Fransisco!

Oh man! Haven’t posted for a while. This is more like a ‘whats been happening with me’ kind of post.

So, I have now moved temporarily(interning) from east coast to the west coast of US. And I love California! Not only is it freaking beautiful, but it also appeals to my other senses- PEOPLE!! Its got lots of them. More than I have seen anywhere in US. So right now this summer intern seems like the best time I have had in my life. For once, I have some money to spend. (As a student, you feel like a cheap ass most of the time.) And if there is any place on earth you want to be single, its California! You will have a whole new life experience, believe me :D. Forbidden fruits.

Met my parents in San Fransisco yesterday. Felt amazing. Its been almost 11 months since I last saw them. Spent the whole day in the city with them. It was fun!
Leaving you guys with the shot of the day. Hope you all doing well, be steadfast.

South Main, San Fransisco

Yesterday’s history

Yesterday,
All my troubles seemed so far away,
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay,
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Suddenly,
I’m not half the man I used to be,
There’s a shadow hanging over me,
Oh, yesterday came suddenly.

Why she
Had to go I don’t know, she wouldn’t say.
I said,
Something wrong, now I long for yesterday.

Yesterday,
Love was such an easy game to play,
Now I need a place to hide away,
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Why she
Had to go I don’t know, she wouldn’t say.
I said,
Something wrong, now I long for yesterday.

Yesterday,
Love was such an easy game to play,
Now I need a place to hide away,
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Mm-mm-mm-mm-mm-mm-mm.

“What kind of music do you listen to?” is a very strange question for a person like me. It is also a pretty common conversation starter, and I suppose people think its quite weird that I do not have defined musical tastes (or they probably think I am not interested in the conversation-to-be). I listen to Coldplay, the normal techno songs that play on the radio- Usher, Pitbull, Black Eyed Peas, Far East Movement etc.

A month back, I stumbled across this huge treasure trove of the Beatles, Eagles, Bobby McFerrin, Don McLean, the Rolling Stones- and man! This is really my kind of music! A couple of days back, I was watching “Once upon a time in America”, and this tune of the Beatles’ song- ‘Yesterday’, started playing in the movie. I was like- wait a minute, isn’t that the same song I have played a hundred times past few days? Talk about co-incidences.

By now, I was curious and began to dig out the history of this ballad. My search lasted three days.

Yesterday is the most recorded song ever, according to Guinness Book of Records. Yesterday has been rendered via jazz, reggae, brass, salsa, synthesizer, soul, funk, folk, the Boston Pops and the harmonica. It hasn’t been so much covered as smothered. There are thousands of Beatles tribute bands.

Paul McCartney composed the entire melody in a dream one night. When he woke up, he played the tune on a piano next to his bedside, so that he wouldn’t forget it. Paul was concerned that he had subconsciously copied someone else’s melody. “It was just all there, a complete thing. I couldn’t believe it. It came too easy,” said he. So for a month, he went to people in the music business and played the tune to them. “Eventually it became like handing something in to the police. I thought if no-one claimed it after a few weeks then I could have it,” said he, in one of his memoirs.

Once Paul was sure that it really was his tune, he began to compose lyrics for it. The words did not come as easily as the tune though, and the Beatles called it ‘Scrambled Egg’ for some months. “Scrambled eggs, oh my baby, how I love your legs,” went the dummy lyrics. The breakthrough came when Paul was on a holiday in Portugal. “I remember mulling over the tune ‘Yesterday’, and suddenly getting these little one-word openings to the verse. I started to develop the idea … da-da da, yes-ter-day, sud-den-ly, fun-il-ly, mer-il-ly and Yes-ter-day, that’s good,” said he.

The song was recorded by McCartney on 14th June, 1965. Solo. In only two takes. The band tried to play it together, but no combination seemed to work. Till Paul sang it on its own. Although he had already fallen in love with the song, Paul had a hard time convincing the other members of the band that the song was worthy of an album place. The main objection was that it did not fit in with their image, especially considering that Yesterday was extremely unlike other Beatles’ songs at the time. This feeling was so strong, that the song was not released as a single in United Kingdom at first. It was however released in United States, and topped the charts for a whole month. The rest is history.

There is really nothing exceptionally different about this song- it talks about a breakup, like so many others do. As John Lennon said later of this song,”They’re good– but if you read the whole song, it doesn’t say anything; you don’t know what happened. She left and he wishes it were yesterday– that much you get– but it doesn’t really resolve.” Paul McCartney, only 22 at that time, was far too young to be looking backwards at life, and what’s more, to be so good at it. McCartney doesn’t sneak up on the song; he is already in the midst of it emotionally and vocally, and the artlessness of his approach is part of what creates the effect of fingernails scraping on the heartstrings. There is nothing sugar coated about the lyrics. They are adjective-free. They are direct. They hurt.

As for the ex-lover that McCartney is singing about – the one who “had to go” but why, “she wouldn’t say” – the lyrics are a classic piece of evasion. “You know perfectly well why I had to go,” millions of women are responding. “You hit me/flirted with the waitress/didn’t pick up after yourself/got fat/watched football during/fell asleep right after/had a sliver of glass in your cold, cold heart” Love works, or doesn’t work, both ways.

Everyone goes through this wretchedness. The genius of the song lies in its universality. Everyone, male or female, straight or gay, young or old, can identify with its theme of lost love.

“I remember thinking that people liked sad tunes; they like to wallow a bit when they’re alone, to put a record on and go, ‘Ahhhh.’ “ - Paul McCartney

P.S: Used Wikipedia and references there as my references. Some of the quotes are directly taken off Wikipedia.
P.P.S: No hidden messages intended.

Lives of others

For 8 year old Jessie, it was a ray of hope. Born with a congenital heart defect, the heart transplant was a new chance for her- a chance to have a normal life, to play with friends in the park after school. Little did she know that the heart transplant would change her life in more ways than one.

Shortly after the operation, Jessie began to have nightmares- nightmares of an attacker and a girl being murdered. The nightmare used to plague her so often, that she was brought to a psychiatrist. The description Jessie gave was so vivid, that the psychiatrist was convinced that it was real. It turned out that the ten year old whose heart she had just received was murdered. Due to the violent recurring dreams, Jessie was able to describe the events of that horrible encounter and the murderer so well, that the police soon apprehended, arrested, and convicted the killer.

Science fiction? Not really.
This incident really happened in the early 90′s. I came across this fascinating phenomenon called as ‘cellular memory’ some time back. The theory states that the brain is not the only organ that stores memories or personality traits, and that memory as a process can form in other systems in the body like the heart.

Muscle memory, is of course a well known fact. Consider this- if you have played an instrument before, you would have realized that at first it is difficult to get used to the movements- for example, pressing the right piano keys. But as you practice more, you no longer have to think about the right keys. The hand just knows them. It is the same about any sport, or any kind of repetitive movement. The brain no longer comes into picture. You just know what to do.

Since most hospitals’ organ transplant programs do not allow the recipient to know the identity of the donor, most cases of cellular memory have been documented by scientists studying the phenomenon. The identity of the patients is normally not know, leaving the stories at large but in obscurity.

One of the few cases we know the patient’s name was a woman called Claire Sylvia who received a heart and lung transplant in the 1970′s from an eighteen year old male donor who had been in a motorcycle accident. None of this information was known to Sylvia, who upon waking up claimed she had a new and intense craving for beer, chicken nuggets, and green peppers, all food she didn’t enjoy prior to the surgery. Sylvia wrote a book about her experiences after learning the identity of her donor, called A Change of Heart.

Other documented cases have been perplexing and sometimes extreme. A 47 year old man receiving a heart from a 17 year old African American boy suddenly picked up an intense fondness for classical music. The boy whose heart had been donated was killed in a drive-by shooting, still clutching his violin case in his hands.

Fascinating stuff! Imagine waking up one day with someone else’s thoughts and feelings!

Wait

Guys,
Been some time since my last post. Last week was a blur. Had my submissions, and it got pretty hectic, because of my habit of keeping things incomplete till the last moment. My LAST submission. And- my last week of undergrad college. The weird part is, it went off just like that. Uncelebrated. Argh…

Lots of things happened though. Sunday evening was spent in front of the TV, watching Mumbai v/s Chennai. Cheering for Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. Hell yeah, I was even wearing the MI jersey, though I was watching all by myself. But things were not to be. In crunch situations, there is no scope for human error. Ah, but human error is random, so nothing can be done or said about that.

Meanwhile, two birdies tweeted and tweeted, till our ears got sore, and then finally someone whacked them off- you must have heard the story- Tales of Lalit Tharoor and Shashi Modi. Morale of the story- look what happens when you bang on the keyboard without thinking. Precisely why I dislike twitter.

And well- the real news is, I’m done with the admissions season. Finally.
10 Universities- 6 Admits, 3 Rejects and last one is inconsequential.

Everyone hates the waiting game. And the wait was long, stretching over past 6 months. Full of anticipation, then the frustration- that comes from checking the application statuses too often, happiness and thankfully, not much disappointment. The great part is, the friends got into places they always wanted to be in. Me too – in that huge university in not-so-huge Raleigh, NC. :)

The Wolfline

Well, in general, as far as I am concerned, the results were much better than I expected. I’d applied to pretty competitive programs, and getting in was a great thing. The University of Pune isn’t like the most sought after universities in the world, despite what they claim. Well, that’s what I think anyway.

But some of my friends/ my brother etc. are of the opinion that I under-applied/ did not apply to the top 10 universities in US or whatever. For me though, the choice of places was quite simple- cost, coursework, location and lastly, reputation. In that order.
I had no economic issues, but just because I have the entire savings of my parent’s lifetime at my disposal, doesn’t mean I would want to spend all of that money. And then have the pressure of staying on- earning the treasure back etc. etc. Master’s applicants are supposed to be mature people who apply their heads, and I think I did just that. Still, maybe my opinion will change few years down the line- if it does, I’ll definitely point to this post.

These days, apart from studying for the upcoming exams, I am moderating a couple of forums. You know, every new thing that you take up, makes you discover new sides of yourself. I’ve realized that I’ve got a low tolerance to people asking the same questions again and again. My natural instincts make me want to jump at them and tick them off, but thankfully, sensibility has prevailed and my tendency has been curtailed to being slightly caustic and mostly polite…till now anyway! :D

Anniversary Post..

Hi guys…

It’s Whiteopal’s first birthday today.  Been an eventful year, this one. And very happy one too. I hope it continues. And wishing a happy year ahead for all you guys…

I got back from Dubai yesterday. You might recall, that I had co-authored a paper, which got published by IEEE Computer Society. Had been invited for an oral presentation for the same. Well, had gone to Dubai for the conference, but must confess- it was more of a vacation. The fact that we’d presented the same topic at a number of places back home made us complacent- didn’t really hit us that we were supposed to present the same till the day of the conference. But it went of just fine. Had to present the paper towards the fag end, so had only a dozen or so bored Chinese listening to us, which was a bit of an anti-climax, but what the hell- the claps were loud enough!

The conference venue- Hyatt Regency

The flight from Mumbai to Dubai was of Air India, and we spent most of the time before the flight at Mumbai airport comparing the air-hostesses walking by. Verdict- Dr. Vijay Mallya really knows how to pick his gals. I mean seriously! Heard that he himself interviews them. That true? I knew the hostesses in Air India would be in saris. In my opinion, there is no dress in the world as elegant as a sari. But what I didn’t expect was 45 year old hostesses. I mean, cummon! The funny thing was, we’d asked for a window seat both times (to and fro) But Both times, we found ourselves at the Emergency Exit. With a rather serious looking air hostess asking us-”Will you like to assist the crew in case of an emergency? ” :P. And then proceeding to give us instructions…

Dubai itself was great. The Arabs have poured a lot of money there, I tell ya. What with intricate wooden dustbins. Everything is in superlatives over there. Tallest building, largest mall. All glitz and show. Name the brand, and you got it. Its clean, disciplined and $$$$$. If you ever want a reason for wanting to be a billionaire, go to Dubai. You’ll suddenly start feeling poor ;). And yes- the Arabs don’t like Indians. Literally, they put up with us just because they have to. They don’t like Pakistanis either. They seem to have  some preformed notions, as most Indians and Pakistanis they see are laborers. And yeah- Arabs don’t work. They don’t need to. They own all the places, and have Indians, Pakistanis and Filipinos working for them. Arabs are like the most chilled out people in the world, roaming around in pure white Jellaba shirts, looking very regal.

Luckily for us, we had a classmate who is from Dubai, and he showed us around the city. The first day we had to go to the conference venue to get ourselves registered. The next stop was Burjuman Mall, and then Mall of the Emirates, and finally Dubai Mall, the largest mall in the world. Right in front of the Dubai mall is Burj Dubai, the tallest building in the world, scheduled to be opened on 4th Jan. The fountain-dance in the adjoining lake is fantastic, and a must watch. We must’ve walked at least 10 km that day, covering most of the malls. I’d put that figure around 15, but my friends disagree. At any rate, it was enough to send me packing for the night.

Burj Dubai seen from Jumeirah beach- haven't quite been able to capture the size of it.

The next day, was the day of the conference. The whole thing got over by 6 p.m., after which we visited yet another mall- the Deira city Center, and then spent a leisurely evening at the Dubai creek. Lots of hotels had their private boats in the creek, and the city lights across it were fantastic. The breeze was quite chilly, but not uncomfortably so.

Dubai creek

The last day we first checked out of the hotel, and then went to the Jumeirah area. Our first stop was Madinat Jumeirah, a shopping mall selling Arab antiques and stuff. I absolutely loved this place. IF I have a ton of money one day, and want some decor for my house, I’ll buy it ALL from here *fat dreams* ;). Then we check out Burj Al Arab, the only 7 star hotel in the world- from outside. The entry fee is AED 200.

Madinat Jumeirah, with Burj Al Arab in the backdrop- the old and the new

Lastly we chilled on Jumeirah beach, and soon it was time to catch the flight back home.

All in all, it was a great experience, and a perfect way to end the year. Happy New Year to you once again :)

Blackle

All right. This one is gonna be a quickie. Exam times are extremely boring, eh ? Can’t help wanting to post something.

I came across this thing called Blackle. Well- all of you know what Google is. Its like the second brain to all of us. Blackle is nothing but – Black Google. Basically it is a non-profit website powered by Google Custom Search, which aims to save energy by displaying a black background color for search result.

blackle

Some years back, a research suggested, that if Google used a black screen as background instead of a white one, then it would save 750 mega watts/hour per year ! Why so ?

An all white web page uses about 74 watts to display, while an all black page uses only 59 watts. The concept behind Blackle is that computer monitors can be made to consume less energy by displaying darker colors. This concept was first brought to the attention of Heap Media which tried it by utilizing it for screens. A study which tested a variety of CRT and LCD monitors was carried out. Darren Yates, a technology journalist who reviews computer hardware, tested 4 CRT monitors and 23 LCD monitors, and found that the CRT monitors did use more energy displaying a white screen, but less than the calculations made by the idea that inspired Blackle.The LCD monitors tested showed slightly less power use displaying a white screen in the majority of cases, although most of the larger (24-inch) monitors did use slightly less power displaying a black screen.

However, an independent research carried put by Google showed that making the Google homepage black would not reduce energy consumption. To the contrary, on flat-panel monitors (already estimated to be 75% of the market), displaying black may actually increase energy usage.

Well – with contradictory research results, one is really left wondering which one to follow. Is black the new green? Who knows ! At any rate, i found the black screen refreshingly different.

blackle

P.S. I'm not self obsessed. Don't usually Google for myself. :-)

A second post in one day…

…….is a sure sign of resident idleness. Your’s truly is guilty of that, admitted. Just that…its hot outside, and the sun in scorching everything it sets its eyes on, but still, i can smell the rain in the air. Yes…it is coming. So, in keeping with the season, i’ve got a new theme, a new header and a new blavatar. Enjoy !

A GRE test taker’s experience ….

Hello !  So finally i’m back from my sabbatical…and happy to inform you, that i finished with the GRE yesterday…got a score of 1500… Quantitative : 780  Verbal : 720 :)

My test centre was Mumbai, and i stayed overnight at a hotel as the test was at 9.00 am the next day.

The Test : I left my hotel at 7.30 a.m, and reached the test centre ( Marwa House ) at 7.45. It was a big advantage that the hotel was close to the centre. Btw, if your test centre also Mumbai, then maybe it is a good idea to get there the day prior to the test date. The traffic in Mumbai is really horrible… i mean, Pune’s traffic is always written off as being unruly, but i’d stick out my leg a bit and say  that Mumbai’s is worse. Atleast we don’t get stuck up behind each other for hours together. Secondly, traveling from far off really saps your strength, and increases your stress exponentially…believe me, you wouldn’t want that to happen. I stayed overnight at Hotel Ashwin. Nice place.

8:00  : The guard at the gate of the building let us in, after signing on a log book. We were directed to go to the first floor. However, on reaching there, no board of either ETS or Prometric was to be seen. After waiting for some time, a guard came over and opened one of the shutters, which was of the actual test centre.
8:10 : After verifying our documents (passport and secondary ID at first), we were made to sign up in another logbook. Then we were assigned separate lockers and instructed to keep all belongings except the passport, secondary ID and the confirmation letter inside. After some more form-filling and signing (the confidentiality agreement), a lady came and explained the rules of the exam (normal stuff that they mention in the Power Prep CD ).
9:00: Finally, we were ready for the test. For some reason, i wasn’t nervous at all….or maybe it was just that i was knocked out stupid and numb…whatever…the calm did me good. We were led into the next room one by one. A nice lady (another one) again made me sign on some stuff…explained the rule about raising the hand and signing each time i left the room. Then she handed me a scratch pad ( pretty big-8 pages greenish colour) and 2 pencils. I was told that i could ask for new sharpened pencils by raising the hand. Phew…i took a deep breath and started off.

The tutorial: Standard stuff…how to use the mouse, how to scroll…all that’s given in the Power Prep. Do you want to proceed to the Analytical Section ? …you bet !

Analytical Writing: This one was pretty good. I mean, i had just written 4 issues and 4 arguments for practice. Considering that, the ideas came to me quite fluently. Well, the earlier day, i had been through most of the topics and had thought up of a few examples and ideas i could write about. That really helped. After finishing off with the issue and argument, i was given an optional 10 min break. I signed at the desk outside, then walked to the outermost room, relaxed for 4-5 min, then came back again.

Next section-Quantitative : This surprised me a bit. I was well aware that the verbal,quant and dummy sections can come in any order, but in all practice tests i had given, verbal was always first. So ok…first surprise. The section started off quite smoothly. With 22 min remaining, i had some 13 questions to go. Then all hell broke loose. Some weird shitty questions combining statistics (mean,mode etc.) and some graphs and stuff…yes ,individual one’s for each question started popping up on the screen. This really took my time. 5 min remaining,6 questions to go. By this time, i was really beginning to freak…2 min, 4 questions to go…FISH !! 1 min…3 questions…just marked off the answers at random…Ram Bharowse Sindhu Hotel !

“Wow ! That was CRAP”, i thought ,”Man…looks like you gonna have to visit Prometric yet another time….hope this was the unidentified dummy,and i get another quant section later….” Somehow i calmed myself again….waited out the 60 sec break,and sort of took control of the situation…, “Nerves of steel baby,nerves of steel….Lets see…lets try to make up in the verbal section….”

Verbal: First 8-9 questions were good…analogies and antonyms more and less from Barron’s word list. RC’s were from around 10-11 , 13-16 , 28-29. Was a little confused in the 5th question which was an antonym not from Barron’s, but sort of managed to figure it out.

Verbal section done, i clicked on the proceed button. At that point, i was really hoping that i would get another Quantitative section…alas…” This is a RESEARCH section. ETS will …blah blah .”  I clicked on the Exit Section button…by this time my heart is beating like mad, hitting the roof every single time.

“Do you want to cancel your scores ? ” —> NO
“Submit scores?” —-> YES     x 3

Verbal : 720  Quantitative : 780 Yippie !   :) :) Phew, that was close !

After submitting the scores to 4 Universities, i signed at the desk outside, collected my bag, and hurried out. Nice experience, but not exactly sorry that its over !

The Preparation :

So now i am going to preach a bit…about how i had prepared, what i had done , what i didn’t do and should have and my opinion about some of the books. I think i’d better write this section wise…

Analytical : I had joined the Dilip Oak’s Academy ( DOA here onwards) . Basically the ETS has published a list of 100-200 issues and arguments. So what DOA has done is, it has classified the topics into similar categories ( eg. Art v/s Poverty : Should all money used in art be used for poverty alleviation instead) and then mentioned the points along which one may develop an issue. Well,that helped a lot. Apart from that, i had been through Kaplan’s and Barron’s strategies. Kaplan’s is ok….but Barron’s has a good method. Start typing as soon as you can think of some examples. In the end, develop the introduction and the conclusion. I have noticed that writing an effective introduction, especially at the start itself wastes a lot of  time. So it’s best to write it after the rest of the body of your issue has developed.
Secondly, it helps to have some preconceived notions. Try to think about examples for the different topics. It’ll save you a lot of sweat in your final exam.

Verbal: DOA material was again irreplaceable. If you don’t have it, then solve all Kaplan’s, Barron’s, Nova’s , Princeton’s material and whatever else you can lay hands on. Btw, you should know all 4000 words from Barron’s list pit-pat. Try to finish them of once atleast 30 days before your test . I didn’t, and had to keep crazy sleeping hours during the last 20 days ! RC’s from big book are pretty much how RC’s in the test will be…actually i managed to solve just 8 big book tests , and it has 54. As for the RC’s, get used to reading it at top speed with full concentration and understanding it as you do so. It will help you. Kaplan’s has very little practice as such. It is a costly book, and i had bought it, but frankly it is not worth it…a lot of things having the tone of  ” Kaplan’s Quant Comparison Strategy” , “Kaplan’s Antonym strategy” …but nothing extra- ordinary.

Quantitative : There’s much to be said about this. First let me tell you a bit about my maths. I’m pretty fast….infact, make 30 people sit with me,and make us solve the same 30 q’s , and i’ll probably be in the top 3 as far as the speed is concerned (not always the accuracy ;-) ) I practised quant mainly through a lot of tests, and had no problem whatsoever with finishing it..be it kaplan’s, princeton’s or anything else. For practise , i had completed nearly all of DOA material. But actually i’m not very happy with it…because it focuses on hard word-problems types, but the actual GRE questions are of a slightly different type….a blend of statistics with a lot of tables. I felt the practice given for statistics sorely lacking. Not only in DOA, but also in Nova, Kaplan and everything else. Secondly, i think Nova is a pretty good book for maths. Don’t even bother looking up Kaplan’s. It’s crap with 5-6 questions for practice in each category. Do a lot of co-ordinate geometry , focusing on slopes of line. I can’t go into much details, because i don’t want to break any confidentiality agreements.

The CBT practice : It is vitally important having enough of this. I’ll mention which all tests i took,in order and at what point of time before my actual GRE date.

Davidson’s  :   40 days before . Score 800 Q    580V
Kaplan’s 1: 33 days before . Score 800 Q 550V
Kaplan’s 2: 25 days before . Score 800 Q 580V
Kaplan’s 3 : 10 days before . Score 800 Q 582V
Princeton’s 1 : 10 days before . Score 800 Q 720V
DOA 1 : 8 days before. Sore 600 Q 590V
DOA 2: 8 days before. Score 700Q 560V
DOA 3: 7 days before Score 780Q 590V Didn’t appear for any DOA test after this…i mean, well its too difficult…and “the more difficult the better” logic doesn’t hold good a week before your test.

Power Prep 1: 5 days before Score 800Q 710V
Barron’s : 5 days before Score 800Q 700V
Power Prep 2 : 4 days before Score 800Q 700V
Princeton’s 2 : 3 days before Score 800Q 740V
GRE Bible : 3 days before Score 800Q 800V
Gave Power Prep tests again…some 4-5 questions in each section get repeated. Got 1600 both times.
Actual GRE: 780Q 720V

As you can see, Princeton’s, Barron’s and most importantly Power Prep are the surest indicator’s of your score….as long as you remain dead calm at the test. Pay close attention to Power Prep, especially the type of questions. You’ll get similar stuff in the exam.

Wow….that’s a lot of preaching…sorry for that. But i tend to get a little verbose when i’m trying to help. My advice is…remember to keep your cool and hold your nerves at all times. While practicing, try to complete verbal in 28 min and Quant in 40 min…it’ll help you.Each person’s way of remaining calm is different. For me looking at my passport -  ‘Republic of India’  helped. Patriotism to combat nerves :) Psyching yourself is vitally important. GRE is all mind game, though the difficulty level is quite low. And the correct way of approaching Verbal is trying to reduce the amount of marks that you lose, and not by trying to score ‘as many marks ‘ as you can.

Lastly, i would like to thank Mukul sir, Atul sir, Anil sir and all others at the Dilip Oak’s academy for all the help and guidance.

If you are appearing for the exam, Best luck ! Be steadfast, God speed :)

PS: Whatever I have written above is of my own free will, and my opinion alone. Nobody has paid me to write it ( i wish they would ;-) ).

DOWNLOADS :

Princeton’s CBT
Kaplan’s CBT : Part 1 , Part 2 (Extract both parts. Then extract the kaplan_gre_cd.part01  first. Others will extract automatically)
GRE Bible
GRE Big Book
Kaplan’s Sample Essays (didn’t read much of this. Don’t mug it and write it directly in the exam. ETS uses a software which has all these essays in the database. A match of 75% will result in cancellation of your scores.)

UPDATE :

Got my score card the other day (24th April). Got 4 in AWM :-( . Perhaps i should consider abandoning blogging :-) . Anyway, guess you can’t have everything. Well, the main point is, when you get your score card, you’ll find a registration number on it. ETS provides a free service where in you can put in your registration number and check your performance. As in, they show you where all you made a mistake, and what sort of a question it was. I checked it out, and am posting the tables in the pics below. Please note that in the actual table, questions are clubbed type-wise, so i have reordered the table just to emphasize on the actual serial numbers of the questions and places where i made a mistake. This should give you a idea about the highly mysterious adaptive algorithms used by the ETS. Cheers ! :-)

Score Interpretation : Yellow=Wrong

Score Interpretation : Yellow=Wrong

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