Preparing for the GMAT/GRE

Progress Bar Uninstalling with the text: Anxiety

If you are feeling anxious or worried about beginning the journey to an MBA or PhD, you are not alone. In particular because the first step are the dreaded standardized exams.

There are many of us out there who don’t do well on standardized exams for a number of reasons. When I prepared to take the GMAT to get into my MBA and the GRE to get into my PhD, I was quite frustrated. English is not my first language. I had no money to prove I needed accommodations for my dyslexia. I was working full-time. Furthermore, minorities taking these exams usually fare a lot worse than non-minorities (Why Minority GMAT Scores Still Lag).

As a Latina, I felt that these exams were rigged to keep me and others like me from getting access to education and other opportunities. As a dyslexic, I found it hard to believe I could even complete the exams, let alone pass.


How to Read an Academic Paper

If you are brand-new to research, you will soon discover that academic papers should come with an instruction manual to understand.

The first time I read an article, I felt like I was going to cry! I could only understand one out of ten words. At some point, I decided to blame my dyslexia and English as a second language (because the alternative would have been me being too dumb to read). I thought that I had made a terrible mistake by deciding to do research. And was experiencing the terrifying Impostor Syndrome.

Thankfully, I was wrong! It just takes time and a bit of know-how to get used to the esoteric world of academic papers.

I will now discuss a not-at-all-scientific or responsible way to read an academic paper in three easy steps! (more…)

Day 42: Finding a Research Question


A few days ago, I talked about how to find a topic to study management. But the question that I should have been answering is: how do you find a research question?


Day 8: The Pomodoro Technique

Today was a day of meetings and errands. But I still need to get some writing done. Not just because crappy words on paper are better than no words at all. But because I have to send an update to my mentor tomorrow morning.

In the past, I have taken days of meetings as permission to not write or be academically productive. This is exactly how I ended up making no discernible progress on my dissertation for a year. (more…)

Preparing to Lead a Seminar

It is very likely that at some point during your PhD coursework, you will have to lead a seminar. Professors usually let the senior students do it first so that the junior students can see them in action.

In order to prepare to lead a seminar, you need to do the following:


Dyslexic Resources

This is where you will find my posts with resources for Dyslexic PhD Students.

These are my Guides and Resources:

These are my post that discuss Dyslexia:

Got any more ideas of what you would like to see here? Leave a comment!

What to Expect in a Doctoral Seminar

If you are anything like me, you are a professional who has been out of school for more than a few years. You might also be the first person in your family who went to college (not to mention getting a Master’s degree or PhD). If so, there is little in our networks that will help us understand how a PhD is inherently different than any other degree.

I described in a previous post the three stages of earning your PhD. Check it out!

Here, I will discuss how you will be spending two years on your education: taking seminar courses.

First, seminars are SMALL. You might take this course with as few as two other classmates, depending on your program. The smallest seminar I ever took, it was me, my classmate, and our professor.

Second, seminars are based on reading academic papers. Each week, you will be assigned to read as few as 5 and up to about 10 different academic articles, books, or chapters.

Third, you need to UNDERSTAND the papers. In undergrad and Master’s degrees, you read a chapter ahead to have an idea of what the lecture is about. In a PhD, you need to understand what the authors were trying to say and if they were able to accomplish it.

And last, you need to DISCUSS. You need to come prepared with notes, ready to talk about the paper. Check out my post on how to read an academic paper. I discuss in detail what you need to do to prepare.