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650(49Q, 29V)...An extremely long post on failure [#permalink]
20 Feb 2005, 13:21
Ok so now that I am over the disappointment and the hangover (mostly atleast ) I'll give you guys a sufficiently detailed account of my GMAT score and strategy. I think people often times like to write about their strategy when it is successful but when it's a failure nobody really writes much except,"Man I am so disaapointed..." I decided to write a detailed account of why I failed hoping that maybe people here would not repeat my mistakes.
I cannot give an exact date as to when I started studying for the GMAT. I knew about a year and half ago that I wanted to go to B-school so I started studying for the GMAT off and on. Two months before I scheduled to take the test I started studying every day. I used OG, Kaplan (2005 and 800) and PR. When I was studying off an on the only way that I would study was just do OG problems and see if they were right or wrong and briefly read what the answer was and why, thats really it. I would also do practice sections from the Kaplan CD but I never really did full length tests. But after I scheduled the tests I would do problems and try to understand why I would get the ones I got wrong incorrect and I would do full length tests to get myself trained for the timing of it all.
So for verbal I knew that I would have problems in everything. I am a native speaker, so really I have no excuse. But slightly in my defense I have moved around from country to country my whole life and none of the schools where I studied did I really get a solid foundation in grammar. I knew I had to work on all of these but the only way I knew how was to just do problems.
As I continued to do problems I did see patterns that I began to identify for SC (you know the typical parallelism, dangling modifiers, etc.) but I realized that if the questions were out of the scope of these kind of commonly occurring questions I would rarely get them right. For SC I went a lot by "feeling", does this answer sound right to me? Funny thing is if you look at many of my SC posts on this site, that is really all I write..."I think this is the answer because it feels right to me". And I have to say a lot of times I would get it right, but to be honest I would not know why.
For CR again I would do problems and never really understand why I was getting something right or wrong. It was until I found this site that I started explaining my answers and that I have to say REALLY HELPS A LOT!
RC was where I can say I made the most significant improvement over the course of my study. I improved RC significantly by just reading a lot. I would read New York Times Op Ed pieces everyday and just practice actively reading and all of those things really helped with my RC so much so that RC became my bread and butter for verbal.
For Quant I did a lot of problems. I started off getting comfortable with DS because I've never really seen it before so I did a lot of DS problems. I also had problems with Inequalities and work equations so I focused a lot of attention on those as well. Prob and COmb/Perm was also an issue for me and I used this site extensively for those types of problems. And even though at the end I was still uncomfortable with complex Probability and Comb/perm probs I knew that I had the basics down. I did not keep error logs but I would try to understand why my answers were wrong and since I am naturally a more analytical person a look over the answer really was enough for me.
TEST DAY The GMAT was always going to be a psychological test for me I knew that from the get go. I tried spending the days before trying to get in thr right mental state-of-mind before I walked in. I took two days off work before the exam to look over some stuff and just get into the Zen state of mind. The day of the test I got up early, my fiance made me breakfast and I was off...a little scared but mostly relaxed. IF any of you had seen the post three days before the test that I wrote I knew where I was deficient and that resulted in a lot of lowered expectations. I got to the test center almost an hour early and the administrator asked me if I just wanted to start and I went ahead with it:
AWA A week before I went to take the test I looked over some of the templates provided in the Princeton Review. Thise template really came in handy fr both questions. Honestly once I had the template the BS to fill in between just kept flowing. I was able to write two five paragraph essays with several examples backing up my points for both.
Quant The first question I got was a DS that was sooo easy that I spent 3 minutes on it trying to find the trick When I realized there wasn't one I moved on and encountered a whole slew of geometry, work, extremely simple prob and comb/perm, long word problems and a few in equality questions. Once in a while I was thrown a simple math problem that freaked the living hell out of me because it would make me think that they are giving me easy q's because I'm screwing up or something but I was done with about 5 minutes to spare. I was pretty good about my timing in quant...I was proud of that.
Verbal The first SC I got in verbal I was like "Huh?" I looked for the obvious mistakes that I have seen in Kaplan, PR and OG q's but I didn't see them. I was able to knock off two choices for obvious grammatical errors but then the remaining three sounded (I emphasize sounded because I had no plan of attack other than that to asnwer these questions)fine. I got three SC in a row and then was hit with an 40 line pretty easy RC. Then I was hit with several very tough CR questions. And then another 70 line RC that was a killer! I then got a lot of SC and CR and then another 60 line RC....In this whole process I started loosing track of my timing and really I just screwed myself because I was on question 25 with 19 minutes left. Near the end I got another 50 line RC which put me at 4 RC's and then a bold-face CR to close it all out. I finished with 55 seconds remaining and near the end I guessed a lot.
My score Once I got my score I looked at my quant and verbal. I know there are many quant jocks in this forum who would be pissed with a 49 but for me that was a pretty good score and the funny thing is I knew that I could have done better if I was a little calmer. To be honest I was not shocked with my verbal performance. As I had mentioned before I didn't have an effective plan of attack for SC or CR and near the end I was so freaked out about time that I couldn't depend on my bread and butter RC for the points I was missing with SC and the tougher CR.
The Silver Lining I'm going to end this loooooong post with what I got out of this whole ordeal. I was so nervous about this test and even after my realizations three days before the exam I expected the worse. I walked in like a little timid rabbit about to face a lion and yes I walked away from it a little beaten up...but not a lot. The funny thing is when I started my GMAT prep I was hoping and praying for anything above a 700 now that I have taken the test I think I can get a 750 or above. You might be wondering how I can say that after getting a lemon of a 650. Look at my prep method. You look at it and you can see the glaring errors there. I saw it only three days before the prep and I pointed them out in that post. The great thing about that is that they all turned out to be true. And now I know what to do. I need to spend some time on the fundamentals, grammar etc (any suggestions on grammar books to get will be GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!), I will practice CR from now on explaining every answer that I get and I have to work more effectively on my timing for the verbal section...but really thats it. I have a two month game plan to do these things and I am pretty positive that I can.
FInally I would like to say a little something else. You see my name greenandwise comes from two things, it explains to some degree my personality and green and wise are two qualities that describe one of my favorite fictional chracters, Yoda.
You see, when I walked into the GMAT I pretty much knew that I was not going to get above a 700. And it remined me of something that Yoda says to Luke in the Empire Strikes Back. Luke, who is stuck in the Degobah system is trying to get his ship out of the swamp using the force and gives up claiming that it is too big for him. Yoda walks in and does it with relative ease and Luke looks at the ship and at Yoda with surprise and says, "I don't believe it!" and Yoda replies, "And that is why you fail". Regardless of my misguided prep I convinced myself walking in that I wasn't going to get a 700 and that screwed my chances more than anything....But now I know that I am capable of more than that and personally I think that alone is going to ensure my success. SO the point is walk in believing in yourself guys, you can't do it otherwise!!!!!
greenandwise, I don't know what to say, either sorry for your low score or congrat that you had been gone through a difficult test. But 650 is not too bad, even though it is not a great score. Will you retake this god damn test? I plan to retake it just because I was really mad for my first test.
If you feel like there is room for improvement, you should go for another test, greenandwise.
qhoc....well 650 is good...but for the schools I am aiming for it is not nearly enough...especially since my GPA is not that good. I intend on taking it again because realistically I feel that I can do better than a 650. I only really knew that after taking the test. I'm not mad about the first test or anything, I just really feel like I can do a whole lot better.
Alright, greenandwise. Good luck for your next one. Are you going to retake it sometime soon?
If I don't do good on my second test, it will be a while before I go for 3rd one. And I hope there is no 3rd attempt.
sorry to see u disappointed, but as a silver lining u have to just work on ur verbal side, u have ur Math part covered. So take it easy for few and then get back on the game, don't lose heart ......what were ur PP1 and PP2 scores and other CAT scores compared with ur actual GMAT ?
Congrats on your first and very good score. 650 is very good but it is true that 700+ is also within your reach. I'm sure you will reach it in your next attempt and stick to the club. We are here to help you and help each other out. I thank you for sharing your experience and especially liked your Yoda metaphore
It's OK greenandwise. It's your first attempt and I think you did pretty well. I made 510 in my first attempt and the pressure is on to turn it to a 780 on my second try!
You simply have to stay back and crack this nut. I have come to realize that one may not gain fulfillment in ones professional career if GMAT stands between ones present and future dream. So relax pal. You are just getting started.
I'm glad you know what your shortcomings were, and you should work vigorously on them. Continue to spend a lot of time with this big family and i'm sure you will do well. Offcourse, sometimes, in my verbal (SC), i select which choice 'sounds right', just like you do. Only recently did i buy a grammar book to learn the rules. Do the same.
For CR, practise and practise. I was worse than a dummy on my CRs, but today i realise i am steadily improving, though i am yet to peak. My improvement is solely because of the time i spend cracking questions in this group. Do the same.
On RC, you say it's OK, but see if there is room for improvement. I am still deficient in RC and i can offer you little advice.
Bottom Line: You can't and won't quit. First try, great score. You know your mistakes. Let's go get 'em again.
The best part about your approach is summarized in the first paragraph. You know you learned from your experience and that you were able to zero in on areas you lack. With this attitude you might fail once, but you'll recover and surely conquer any obstacle that confronts you.
Here's wishing the same for your next take on the GMAT.
Thank you guys sooo much for your words of encouragement! I just bought a book called "Grammar Smart". I'm going to read this book cover to cover for my SC fundamentals and just read all of Paul's posts . For CR I think I'll just stick to this forum because I can't think of a better CR question poster than qhoc0010. It sucks that I have to do this again, but I am SUPER MOTIVATED and it is sooo cool to have you guys helping out a rookie like me!!!
Maaverick and Baneerjea thanks for your words of encouragement!!!!!
And Arsene_Wenger let's kick the living crap out of this test!!!
greenandwise...good score kid....remember if you only could manage to get 2 or 3 more CR or SC problems correct you will be over the 700 hump....
I took my practice CAT at my GMAT test site yesterday (part of a kaplan deal, where you can go and give a kaplan CAT in the actual test site) scored a 700....(though, a lot of questions were repeats from past CATs...) All I can say is....just go through CATs to build up your stamina...
now, i am done with Kaplan prep...I am switching over to PP1 and PP2 and OG for my final prep round...[/list]
I bought Grammar Smart (which BTW is a Princeton Review Book) at Barnes and Nobel but it is also available on Amazon and other online bookstores for between $6-$9. I've only gone through the first chapter but so far so good. Very good refresher and it's not like one of those 1000 page Grammar Bibles which are extremely difficult for me to read. A friend of mine told me to get it before my prep but I didn't listen to him...big mistake on my part.
You will be alrigh bro, just focus on your weakness. Glad you bought the grammar book, SC is the cash cow of GMAT, if you can nail SC, i am pretty sure you have a legitimate chance to score above 700. For me it will be a lot tougher, since I am not a native speaker, those RC passages drive me nuts.
good luck on your preparition, I will go work on mine too. Let me know when you will re-take the test, we might be able to motive each other since both of us are so close to break that magic mark.
I like the fact that you can analyze your preparation and find ways to improve so soon after your first ETS exam. Just keep in mind that you have essentially created a floor for your score- it can always go higher but you know that you have at least a 650 when it comes time to apply. While it might not seem so right now, there are some great schools where a 650 would be viewed as a very competitive score.
I knew that you were taking the test yesterday, but didn't see your post last night, so I sent you a PM. 650 is not bad at all, but I agree with you that you can get a much higher score, now that you know what your weakness is. In fact, your math score is great, so you really only need to work on verbal. Same as you, this forum has helped me a lot with my verbal. The only "trick" that I would like to recommend to you, and the others, is to post your own thoughts, not to be afraid that you might be wrong, not to be afraid that you had a different answer from the others. This way if you were wrong you would know what you have been thinking and what's wrong with that. You all know how many mistakes I had made in the past, but I really do feel that I leant very fast here. I know for a native speaker it is very natural to judge a question by how it sounds, unlike us who are not so fluent with English who have to depend on the grammar rules and such. But I feel that if you could supplement your feeling with the more structural approach you would definitely benefit.
From your opening post and the post several days ago, I feel that you definitely have potential to go higher. "Hard, it may feel like, sometimes." Like what Yoda would say. "But provail, one day, you will."
I knew that you were taking it on 19th Feb, the same day I took it. It was a very bad day for me.
It was a pathetic score of 640.(Q48 and V29). I was atleast aiming at high 600s and cusp of 700 club, with some confidence of crossing 700. I always crossed 620 in my Kaplan Scores. I scored 650 and 690 in PR exams. I had 730 and 740 in PP tests.
My Quant was ok. I knew that I would have screwed up 3 - 4 easily in the range of 25th - 37th qn.I had 2 probability and 1 permutation qn. I liked one probability qn, because ETS mixed Coordinate Geometry and Probability in that qn. I was sure about that answer.But, I screwed up %s problem. I didn't probably get the trick in that qn and I didn't want to dissect it on that day. I believe that I messed up 2 Ds qns(One of some sequences, not of progressions) . So my score was 48. I was atleast expecting 49 and so I was Ok with 48.
Came the verbal, SC was cool.
3rd qn was RC(65 lines), a pretty easy one. then 7th qn was CR. Again, there was another RC of 45 lines from 8 - 11. It followed by some CRs and SCs. I faced another tough RC in qns ranging from 23 - 28. 31st qn was a bold faced qn. I thought that I am doing fine when I saw the BF qn. Then came another RC at 33rd qn, followed by some CRs.
I was expecting a decent score 35 - 37. But it popped me up with 29 and killed me completely. I felt frustrated and ashamed to see that score on that screen. I should have got atleast 4 - 6 qns correct to boost my score much further.
Honestly, I know that I deserve much better score, but I can't deny the facts and defy the verdict of ETS.
I was trying to introspect after the exam, I believe that the Achilles Heel for me is RC and tougher CRs. CRs are definitely tougher than that of OG. I believe that the key is to crack both of RCs correctly in the first 15 qns and get CRs correct.
I believe that I'm ok with SC. I could justify myself, why I'm marking each qn of SC. They were not tough, but were longer( in terms of Underlining part). They were ok, but not tough at all.
I want to go for this Fall 05 to UofM, but I've only 640( the median is 656). I've 90 months of experience. I believe that I would have strong essays also.I've medium GPA of 7.85/10. I am still working on my Recos. At the same time, I'm planning to take this beast again before the final date of interview and gamble my 250 bucks. BTW, I'm a very bad gambler( I never play in Casinos:-):-))
Hjort I'd be interested in what you have to say, but I'll PM you for more info.
HongHu thanks for the encouragement. I didn't see your PM until today....Thanks for your Yoda quote...if Yoda says it is true than it must be...
Aryan...640 is not pathetic! It probably isn't your personal best but definately not pathetic. In fact as Hjort commented on my site, if this is your first time to take the GMAT then thats is an excellent start! I mean seriously man wouldn't you prefer a baseline of 640 than a <600 baseline? Now your Kaplan and PP test scores seem great but I wouldn't take too much from those. The real test is always going to be different than any practice test you take. I used to put a lot of stock in that but seriously man don't. Your practice tests at best give you stamina, they give you an idea of what 3 hours sitting down figuring out math and verbal questions feels like...BUT THAT'S IT! On my practice tests I used to get near perfect verbal and semi-decent quant...and look how my actual GMAT turned out! Looking at your score breakdown it looks like we both have a lot of work to do on our verbal and less on our Math...so focus your energies on SC, CR and RC....personally I think your in a good position because RC is the place where you can quickly improve. All you have to do is read more passages. The OG has some great RC eg.s especially the first few passages which are extremely dense! Thats what I would focus on if I were you.