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  1. Hi! I have a BA in Political Sciences, and I'm interested in pursuing an MPP/MPA, for two reasons: (1) I'm extremely interested in public policy development and analysis and (2) I wish to strengthen my quantitative skills. I'm sorry to say that while my undergraduate education was very proficient in qualitative development, it completely lacked a quantitative formation (the only quantitative courses I was required to take was a basic algebra and a statistic for social sciences intro course). I had a good math foundation in HS (algebra and trigonometry, statistics, probability, geometry and pre-calculus), but it has been more than eight years since I last touched a math book - it could be said that the scraps of knowledge I retained do me more bad than good, since I get a "feeling" of what I should be doing, but it only frustrates me to be unable to remember the basic concepts of how to do any exercise. I took the GRE last November after 2 weeks of study (I was overconfident/ignorant back then of the current status of my quant skills) and got a 144Q score (18th percentile). For the purpose of this post, assume I, as a test taker, have zero quantitative knowledge. If you all could be so kind, would you help me answer these questions? How much time should I take to prepare for the GRE? (I have read recommendations from 3 months to 1 year, but all for people with a math foundation) Where should I start? Should I even try to undertake the learning of all required quant skills? Is it a good time investment? Realistically, how much of an increase could I hope to achieve? (10 points = 154?, 15 points = 159?, 20 points = 164?) What resources should I use? I am considering using Khan Academy, Manhattan Prep Strategy Guides (2nd Edition), and if needed, Magoosh 6 month plan. Is there any guide for the math learner - not only the GRE-taking skills - that you could recommend? Can you recommend a study plan? I come from a cultural background that doesn't put any emphasis on quantitative skills or standardized testing (the majority of graduate students from local universities lack the skills to make them competitive in an international setting), and I didn't understood how following my recommended curriculum in college would affect my competitiveness for grad school. Apart from my lack of quant skills, my profile is competitive: I won an elite national scholarship (USA), have a 3.8 uGPA (3.9 major), have more than 2.5 years of WE in non-profits (poverty alleviation, community development and organizing and coalition building), and have strong LOR's (Ivy League grads, my state's ex-Secretary of State, etc.). I don't want to allow the thought that I can't be competitive enough to get admitted - and do well! - in grad school take hold of me. Thank you for taking the time to read this and, hopefully, provide me with some answers!
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