I just printed off my SOI and double checked everything and the suit which I seem to only where once a year for government interviews or oral assessments still fits. I can't say that I had the sort of preparation as I did last year. There wasn't much if any of a Denver/Boulder contingent this time around, and I just had a hard time this year.
So I am hoping that the old adage that the best preparation is having taken the OA before. I remember when we had our final break last year and several of us went down to the Starbucks around the corner and I remember saying that I had no idea how I had done. I thought I had done well enough to pass, but didn't. I would definitely encourage everyone who does not pass or passes, but doesn't pass with a high enough score plus bonus points to submit an FOIA for your scores.
While I didn't pass last time it really came down to a lousy hypothetical performance during the SI. So I spent a lot of time going over that and I definitely recall a few things I said last time which led to the 4.8. I really thought I did well on the GE, but only scored a 5.3. I do think there is a degree of a rising tide lifts all boats during the GE. I was the only one that finished the presentation in time to allow for questions, and we wasted the first five to ten minutes going over things that could have been covered during the presentation phase. I honestly don't think I would have done anything differently. I drew out the two quiet members in our group, went first, asked questions, advocated, but evidently didn't do enough of the right things. The one part I personally felt conflicted about was walking the fine line between letting other members of the group have their voice versus stepping in when they took the conversation in the weeds. So I think this time around if that happens I will be a little more assertive.
I wrote several new SI stories and two for the one question that sort of stumped me last time around. I didn't think that I got off to the smoothest of starts, but wound up with 5.7 and 5.6 on those two components of the SI so I was wrong yet again.
The CM is the CM and seems to be the one section that gets the most people. Last time around I think I made a technical/admin problem so I really thought I bombed it. I won't make that mistake again, I will have my reading glasses in case the lights go out again so I can read the material in the binder, and I will make sure to ask the proctor what s/he wants us to do in case something goes wrong during the exercise. Our proctor said she would check in on us last time, but never did.
I guess I am going into the OA this time assuming that I will probably not pass the CM so I didn't do as much prep as last time, but did write two essays and read all of the sample answers. As bad as things went last time I don't think I can do much worse than a 4.9.
I can definitely improve on the SI. I was very strong on two sections and worked on my SAR responses to all of the testable dimensions and really practiced on my approach to the hypotheticals. So I hope I can raise my overall score by improving on that part of the SI.
I don't think I can do too much better than I did on the GE last last time. While I didn't do any group sessions I did five or six presentations in front of the video camera and worked on my presentation strategy and transitions from section to section of the presentation.
Since I have a job offer in the Middle East working in the West Bank and Gaza I think the pressure should be a little lower this time around. The good folks at the Board of Examiners definitely threw us a curve ball last time so I will be expecting something different than the practice materials which should help as well.
Good luck to everyone!