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Category: Self-improvement

The timeless wisdom of The Highway Code

I recently passed my driving theory test – woo! The required reading includes The Highway Code, which can be found here, and I found it so useful I now think everyone should read it, whether they are a motorist or not.

Knowing The Highway Code is obviously helpful for understanding the rules of the road, but if you look closely you can also spot bigger lessons… These are the ones that endeared me to this seminal manifesto of British public behaviour.

PersonalSelf-improvement

How to get a decent GMAT score in 10 days

I’m a brand-new MBA student at Imperial College Business School. To get in, most MBA schools require a good score in a gruelling test called the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test). I too had to take this test, which measures all kinds of critical reasoning as well as verbal and quantitative information processing skills.

My problem was that I was a late applicant in an admissions process which normally takes a year. I had only ten days in which to prepare for the GMAT, and I managed a score of 620. The difference between my first practice test and the final test was pretty stark:

Total score Quant score Verbal score Quant % Verbal %
Practice test (estimated ranges) 370–470 6–18 37–39 0–6 83–89
Final test 620 32 44 24 98

Contrary to most of the advice I read online, it turns out you don’t need a minimum of three months, a private tutor or to be a maths savant. Here’s what I would say about preparing for the GMAT at short notice.

PersonalSelf-improvement

Experiments in body language

The inspiration behind this post comes from observing my fiancé. I say this with love: he is someone with a natural sense of entitlement – and I don’t mean in the millennial sense. I mean that he seems to feel entitled to exist and occupy a space in the world, and not ask for permission nor forgiveness for it. You can see this in his body language – for example, the way he stamps his feet coming up the stairs, or the way he belly-laughs at funny things on the internet. When he’s around, you hear it first.

Contrast this with me. My natural instinct is to deflect attention. I’m inclined to walk lightly, close doors gently, speak at the lowest volume that will still allow people to hear me, automatically walk on the edge of the pavement in case somebody wants to pass by, and generally behave as if I’m trying to minimise the signs of my presence.

Lately I’ve become really aware of the ‘minimising’ behaviours and tried a number of experiments to ‘maximise’ my presence, instead, and let me tell you – it’s fun. These are some of my experiments:

Self-improvement