Hi There! I’m Ismail and this site is about you making that dent in the world. I love to help others all over the world make a difference. To achieve their goals and get into the degree programs they dream of. To become world class engineers, doctors, lawyers, teachers and scientists.
Standardized tests are one of the many steps to get into a great undergrad or graduate program. It's a hurdle for many and a great deal of colleges cut-off students who score low on these tests. Trust me, you don’t want your career to end like that.
15 years ago, times were simple. You just downloaded the official test bulletin and the free practice software. Then bought one of the test prep books in the market and you'd be all set to go.
Resources were scarce back then. If you weren't in the US, UK, Europe or Australia, you had limited options. I used to travel 220 miles (~380 KM) every six months to get a calculus or a circuits book spending $200+.
University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Now things have changed. There are a myriad of guides, sites, books, courses, online communities, private coaching and practice tests. The options are endless. We're bombarded everyday with countless options struggling to catch our attention. The result is either Analysis Paralysis [i.e. not buying anything] or on the other end, the fear of missing out (FOMO) [i.e. going on a shopping spree].
My Time @ MIT
That’s what I’m trying to solve here. Provide you - the aspiring learner - a few simple prep options to successfully navigate passing your tests with flying colors and get the education that you deserve.
So ,what makes me qualified? Here’s my story and you judge!
I got my Bachelors degree in 2005 in Electrical Engineering. Then, studied my Masters at the American University of Beirut [on a full scholarship]. In 2008, I traveled to the US and joined Arizona State University (ASU). I accepted their PhD offer [on a full scholarship as well] after rejecting an offer from Imperial College London. As well as turning down a full-time research job at the Texas A&M campus in Qatar.
University of Washington
I only stayed for the summer due to various pressing family issues which forced me to go back. During my time in Arizona, I was able to publish two academic papers. Developed the hardware to make ASU's signal processing lab accessible online. I also received an unofficial offer to join Qualcomm in San Diego for an internship.
I also attended the launch of the Beagleboard in Boston. As well as hiked through the woods of Seattle in the memory of Twilight's first movie which launched that year. In addition to attending the festivities of Obama’s successful presidential nomination. It was a great four months and I met lots of lifelong friends in such a short period.
A dream I had during college was to start my own business. I was an expert on embedded systems (currently known as the Internet of Things). So, I started a business in the middle of nowhere (Middle East) and was quite fortunate to work on amazing projects. Such as building a medical ultrasound device for a client in Canada. Designing a traffic sensor network for Oklahoma's highways. Programming a chirp algorithm for the European Space Agency's Mars terrain mapping satellite. And deploying the largest Internet of Things (IoT) asset tracking system in Saudi Arabia.
Attending the entrepreneurship lab at Harvard Business School
In those years, we survived a regional war, a civil war, a rebellion and an unsuccessful coup. Consistently making six figures $$$ each year.
I got nostalgic in 2010, and accepted an offer to join MIT's Advanced Study Program. An amazing flexible program where I could attend any course I desired. I enrolled in the e-lab, a joint entrepreneurship course between Harvard and MIT where I spent a great time learning from the greats. Clayton Christensen (Author of the Innovator's Dilemma), Brian Halligan (from Hubspot). Not to mention, mingling with engineers from Dropbox and Raytheon. And finally, interviewing with Google (although I didn't get in).
By 2012, I joined the family business in Saudi Arabia [Hotel Construction] where I drowned in all the new lingo. Project Management, client negotiation, time schedules. bill of quantities, site visits and claims management. It took me some time to get around it. But, I finally got the hang of things and was able to triple the company revenues between 2012 and 2015 (which I'm proud of).
After 2012, I was passively managing my own business which was on autopilot. I had a small team running the business developing IoT solutions for our clients ever since.
Having a blast in Stanford
In 2018, I got restless again and wanted to try something new. I stumbled across Patt Flynn's site Smart Passive Income. Watched Neil Patel's youtube videos on digital marketing and read Tim Ferris's famous 4-hour work week book. At the same time, my Uncle called and asked me to build him an e-commerce site to sell cosmetics online. I helped him with that. But, I knew nothing of online marketing or "regular marketing" even. Not to mention, sales funnels, online courses, drip campaigns, Facebook marketing and Google Ads?
Signal Processing at its finest
Those concepts were completely foreign to me. All my experience was in building enterprise level hardware and software. Recently, also managing construction projects. The idea of e-commerce, drop-shipping, affiliate marketing and selling info products was new.
So, I wanted to start with a blog and work on monetizing it. That, while doing some good in the world with sharing information on topics I knew intimately. I found this site on Flippa and bought it from an Indian fresh grad.
My friend, Claude Shannon
Throughout the years, I remember sitting many standardized tests. The TOEFL three times. The GRE two times. The IELTS general test and the IELTS academic test as well as a few years ago the PMP (Project Management Professional) test. Therefore, I think I can add a thing or two to enrich your learning.
I truly believe that I can turn this site into something valuable. That is with your help of course. If you can spare any feedback, I'd appreciate your advice. What do you want to know? what would really make a difference to you?
Finally, enjoy the site and excuse the constant changes as I'm upgrading the content. Also, adding a personal touch to make any advice, review or recommendation real and valuable to you.
Lights, Camera, Action!
Have a good one!