Saturday, October 23, 2010

Tough nut to crack!!

Guys its been a while that I have been practicing for GMAT, and although I am able to crack the easy to crack nuts, the challenging ones still pose a challenge. Being always on the lookout for tough problems I linger around on forums, especially BeatTheGMAT, I like the way people post questions and there is a good amount of discussion and expert replies..

Say for example.. I am excellent at exponents and good at permutations, but was totally taken aback by this problem of the BeatTheGMAT practice questions.

How many integers between 1 and 10^21 are such that the sum of their digits is 2?

now how do I approach this problem?
should I even care to write 1 and 21 zeroes behind it to have better clarity of the problem.
I guess not.
We can have a case where we have 1+1=2 and 19 zeroes
21C2 which shall give 21*20/2 =210
and another set of numbers which has just the value 2
now this is where I faltered... I calculated the wrong number of zeroes.

If an integers is between 1 and 10^21 so 2* 10^21 is out of question,
there can be only 21 such numbers..
so in effect its 210+21 and not 210+22.
Just when I had thought the tough part in the problem the permutation was over and I kind of relaxed mentally, this problem shook me... I got it wrong!

Well.. while practicing such multi-layered tough problems, I have come to realize a few things...
Firstly... never relax in between a problem
Secondly..They just dont test only the basics in GMAT (as per my past GMAT experience, they try and make problems more and more complex and also try to trick you into making a mistake)
Thirdly.. never give up  ( I was around 720s in practice tests but in the real GMAT I scored a 670)
Finally...practice only on GMAT like material.

The first three points can come as a second nature to you after some practice, but the last point is of importance.Manhattan is great for Sentence Correction and PowerScore cricitical reasoning bible is a must do.But till date I haven't found much success in getting a good theory material for the Math section.
As far as the practice material is concerned there is TONNES of crap material (read 1000 series and similar material) available but its waste of time and energy and is not than useful. I guess OG11 and OG12 is a must.
Among the new materials I am referring to the practice questions of BTG is really good.
( especially the RC,SC and Math part.

I am glad to share this news with you all, well I was among the lucky few to win these questions in the 100k challenge.
The thing which sets it apart from other materials is it also give the Avg%Correct and Avg Time.
It gives me an overall idea as to how I fared compared to others, on any question.
Since GMAT also uses the same percentile standing, its good to have such an idea.
I wonder how in the good old days without internet, how people used to manage their studies,
decide when to take the test and know where they stand?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Reflections from a day of Festivity and thoughts about "The Statue of Unity"

Navratri or the "Nine nights" festival is and ode to Goddess Durga,
a Hindu deity who killed demons and brought peace and prosperity to India.
The festival is marked with rituals & prayer offerings to the Goddess.
In the western part of India especially in the state of Gujarat this nine week festival is celebrated by the traditional dance festival, the 'Garba'.
Here Navratri and Garba are synonymous. This popular dance festival is not only performed by the classes, but is widely popular in rural and urban masses.
Its an occasion for young men and women to socialize and meet, its an occasion for roadside kiosks to big businessmen to do brisk business, its an occasion for people to pray and cleanse their past sins and its often an occasion for politicians to forward their agenda. None the less whatever be the reason for majority of the people to participate in this big cultural extravaganza, its something nobody is going to miss.

This year on the state tourism department organized the "Vibrant Gujarat Navratri Festival" in its biggest city Ahmedabad.
Yes, with atleast over 1 square kilometers of area, the huge Garba grounds did provide the youth a chance to mingle and dance to their hearts.
Over 200 shops did provide for brisk business to the rural craftsmen and urbane entrepreneurs.
The larger than life idols and miniature temples did inspire people to worship as well as get themselves clicked on their mobile-phones.
The display was also of strength of India in general and Gujarat in Particular.

The State Government showcased its ambitious plan to build the world's largest/tallest Statue, "The Statue of Unity".
The Statue is of "Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel" the Iron man of India. "The Statue of Unity" has been correctly named so as it was Vallabhbhai who had pioneered in unifying India on its Independence in 1947. The fate of the 182 small princely states was sealed by this one man and his work can be paralleled to that Abraham Lincon during the Civil War.
Standing at 182 meters the statue shall be as tall as a 60 storey building and taller than the tallest Statue in the world  of Buddha at "Spring temple" China.
The monument shall be two times as large as the Statue of Liberty and 5 times as large as the redeemer and the tallest in the world.
Standing in the Sardar Sarovar dam's basin it would be 1.5 times higher than the Sardar Sarovar dam, India’s largest dam.
It would provide a view which can be paralleled to that of Niagara Falls.

The plan first time unveiled to the general public brought in long queues of viewership and gained more popularity than the Garba festival itself.
The best part is that the plan is permitted for the common man.. and in that sense, the politicians owe it to their taxpaying public.

This display reflects the Indian Mindset. "Megalomaniac" Biggest, Largest, Tallest!!!
The recently concluded Common Wealth Games too showed the same kind of mindset.
But in its pursuit to show that it is the best, should it not work on being the best?
Is INDIA forgetting what it should also invest in?
i.e. in Better Education, Nutrition, Security  & Climate ?
After all can the public live with the best figures in illiteracy, poverty, economic disparity, crime, malnutrition and pollution?

Perhaps more and more young people like us MBA aspirants should work more towards the betterment of the society, to try and apply ourselves each day to better the Climato-Techno-Socio-Politico-Economics of the society, country and the world. And perhaps that day we could live each day as a festival, without guilt.