If you have followed my update on part 1, I was preparing for to take the test the second time, which I actually did. I learned more of:
- Computer Architecture
- Operating System
- Boolean Logic
- Some graph theory
The topic I learned above were having a huge lacking on my previous attempt on test. My new score was:
With a few points extra, I made an improvement from 20th to 45th percentile (pretty bad, I know, but it is what it is). However, after communicate with the school I applied to (ASU), this score is still not enough for them to accept me. Later, I found out that 88th percentile is recommended for admission. Refer to the data from this document from ETS back in 2015 , I figured that I may need at about 170/200 which is 62.5% (50/80) correctness to fall into the 88th percentile (if the data here is still relative).
After trying for the second time and still not make this, I feel pretty tired with this battle on top of the busy duties at work. So I sort of gave up and stopped thinking about this. I also already accepted that Master in CS is not for me in the next couple years until I get pretty strong foundation/valid certificates to show the school, because having credits for pre-requisite courses from regionally accredited college is actually the first option.
So I started to look into BSCS program from Western Governor University who is actually regionally accredited, affordable tuition for unlimited classes per 6 month so I can finish the program on my own pace. Why the full BSCS is because that’s the only option, they don’t allow some separate classes. However, I honestly don’t like to go this route because I already did one BS in Engineering in my life and I don’t really feel like going through another one.
Then a friend told me about Study.com where I can study a full class, do the proctor tests to get credits if I pass and transfer those credits to other colleges who accept their credits. I checked with both ASU and WGU but only WGU would accept the credits from Study.com (if applicable, and I figured I can do about 6 classes here to transfer). My worst weaknesses are still in system related topics. So I signed up for Study.com and started the:
- Computer Architecture
- Operating System
Prior to Study.com and after the second test, I actually go through the Data Structure and Algorithms in Python course in Udacity. From my experience with the previous two tests, the programming questions are at the knowledge of what this course covers. They are not super tricky, just basic knowledge but require you to remember.
So, I’m not quite giving up yet as I had thought initially. I asked for a test invitation again in February and this will be my third time taking the test . Third time a charm, if I really don’t make it this third time…I will really put a year off from this and study seriously. The positive side of everything is, I don’t think my effort of studying was in vain. I forced myself to study new topics which are actually relevant to my job in “embedded systems” for robotics. So for better or for worst, I will keep studying for my sake of work improvement. (Update: work is too crazy, not taking it…so postponing again…not sure until when)
I remember some questions, not all, but I see many questions I saw on the first test. For those who would like to give it a first try and remember enough questions, maybe you can do better on the second time.
The after thought: I have my second opinion about the ASU MCS degree. The longer I’m waiting and learning, the less I’m actually interested in this degree. The reason is I lean more toward the Systems of Computing more and more after I prep for this test. I think I also want to apply to Georgia Tech OMSCS again some time in the future. Yeah, I did apply there too a couple years ago as well. But I had been even at worse stage than I was with ASU, so I am actually thankful that they rejected my application.
My honest advice: classes in CS are some serious business. The school advises you for certain pre-requisite knowledge for a reason, so please don’t have to feel pressure for taking your time to study the knowledge until you are ready.
If you did take the test, share your experience as well in the comments! Thanks.
I have not attempted another test after the 2nd time. Instead, I decided to take their pre-requisites courses. Surprisingly, they are not very difficult to pass. Nonetheless, it still requires some work to pass. My plan was to finish all pre-requisites courses then reapply to ASU OMCS. However, I decided to apply for OMSCS from Georgia Tech for Spring 2021 when I finished 3 out of 4 courses (Computer Architecture, Operating System and Data Structures & Algo), and good news is I got accepted to Georgia Tech.
Truth to be told, I applied to OMSCS in Georgia Tech in 2017 and got rejected due to no significant background in CS. But the OMSCS has more aligned course works to my professional career and personal interest which is robotics. So it is not a hard decision for me to pursue OMSCS.