[Also posted here]
Now that the 2011 Presidential Management Fellows semifinalists have been chosen and the PMF Program Office has posted the list, it's time to think about the next hurdle, the in-person assessment. 1530 people (congratulations to you!) will convoke in four cities around the country between mid-January and late-February for a day-long assessment that includes an individual presentation, a group exercise, and a proctored writing exercise.
This post, and the comment thread, can be used to share assessment preparation tips as well as general tips on navigating the cities in question, so hotel recommendations, flight options, eateries, and in-city transit means are up for discussion. If you would kindly indicate at the beginning of any city-specific information comments which city you are talking about, that would be helpful for people scanning through the comments.
A note on assessment tips: Let's do our best to preserve the integrity of the assessment process, at least during the assessment window. If, after the assessment window closes, you wish to share your experience in more detail for future applicants, I heartily invite you to do so. Remember that while this assessment window is open, you are effectively competing with one another; plan your strategy accordingly, especially if people start sharing detailed experiences. This, in fact, is the one major drawback I see to conducting this style of assessment: information provided by early testers may have an impact on the results of later testers. Note that this thread can also serve as a place to discuss the merits and drawbacks of an in-person assessment.
Please share with us your plans for the assessment: time and location you've selected, preparation tips or guides you think might be helpful, and thoughts on the process so far.