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690 ( 48 / 36 / AWA 5.0 ) -MUST READ STORY-

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690 ( 48 / 36 / AWA 5.0 ) -MUST READ STORY- [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2010, 06:42
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Ladies and Gents,

There is a short story how I scored miserable 690 yesterday rather than decent 730+ because of my greediness for knowledge. I'm Russian, 28 years old, managerial. The story of my studying is not unlike to those of most of you and yet it is. Hopefully, a short debrief will be helpful to some of you. First of all, doing CATs and paper tests, I focused on understanding the concepts and not on the speed. And I bet that the approach is good because the quality begets quality and not vise versa. I stopped stop-watches every time I encountered a difficult question and resumed the test after digesting the challenge. This approach helped me to improve my speed very much and will help you.

Materials I used:
MGMAT SC
CR Bible
OG10
OG12
Kaplan_800
LSAT1000RC - I strongly suggest that you do ALL 1000 questions and do them with a timer.
LSAT1000CR - I found the questions too difficult and do not think that GMAT’s answers are dug so deeply.

CATs I used and what I think about them:
PowerPrep - Pretty representative Math and very easy Verbal compared to the actual test.
MGMAT 1-6 – good but convoluted math, decent verbal.
Knewton - Very easy verbal compared to the actual test. Moreover, the scoring algoritm is weird.
Princeton - Oversimplified questions in both sections. Do not be complacent if you score well in Princeton, try representative tests.
Mc Graw - The same story as with Princeton.
GMAT Club Tests - yet to try.
Kaplan - yet to try.

One day to my Test Day.
Three days beforу the exam I felt that I could solve almost every Math question except for some ultra-difficult ones and made my first mistake: I did not decrease the amount of time I had been spending in front of the computer because I wanted to go through all interesting questions I had solved before - I just wanted to refresh the approaches. After refreshing the Math I could not stop and went on with OG_12's SCs, then I practised with AWA. Just one day before the Test I sat at 2 p.m. and did one real CAT - just to accustom myself to the conditions and to the time-slot. After the CAT I came back to SCs. As you can see, I foolishly overloaded my eyes.

Test Day.
I felt so-so after the night, took breakfast, went for a walk, did some stuff and headed to the test-center. In front of the test-center I noticed that my energy was below the normal level, but I believed that my strong determination for success and my favorite energetic that I drink would boost my energy. Quite the opposite was going to happen.

AWA.
After registration I received very convenient writing pads and markers and, noticing that my eyes felt uncomfortable, I started the deal. There came the first trouble - I felt such a discomfort in my eyes that I had to reread the statements a couple of times - I simply did not feel comfortable with the screen. Considering both essays my failure because I did not show the best game I could, I calmed myself with the thoughts that adcoms would not bother themselves to look at my bad AWA result after seeing my soaring Math and Verbal scores; than I took a break. After washing the face and drinking a small amount of sugar water (we remember that the bladder is a vulnerability on our Test Day), I pressed the button.

Math.
The first 8 or ten questions were solved in seconds with minimum writing and then the eye fatigue came with mental block. The questions were of a moderate difficulty, but I could not concentrate on them, especially, on translating word problems into human language. Every question was very easy but I had to spend up to 3 minutes on each due to eye fatigue and mental block. In the middle of the Math my mental abilities evaporated, I understood that I had failed the test and, having been extremely angry, I steered all my emotions at one word question of a type I had not seen before and decided to crack it at any cost – I eagered revenge. I cracked it and enormous excitement revived me! I forgot about 250 dollars a had paid for the Test, I forgot about my admission being at stake (what admission are we talking about with such a mediocre performance?), I just wanted to annihilate, completely destroy those questions. There were only me and them. Yes, time was pressuring me and I, wanting to sell my life as expensive as possible, skipping long and convoluted questions, was carefully selecting my next victims. To my regret, in 10 seconds toward the end of the test, I saw a convoluted question, which simply asked to find a distance between a line and and a point (one of my favorite operations). After a quick glance on the timer and noticing only a a handful of seconds left, I ruled out two options and made a guess.

Verbal.
I washed the face, drunk my sugar water and dived into verbal, which welcomed me with ultra-difficult SCs. After wasting about 6 minutes on 3 SCs I mentioned growing eye and mental fatigue. Looking back, I must say that all SCs were brutal, CRs were very straightforward and RC were pretty enjoyable, but I had to reread the questions multiple times because I was completely exhausted. Needless to say that I run out of time and had to guess the last 9 questions. When it came to choose whether to cancel the test or to look at the results, I thought that I was strong enough to learn that I had scored below 550 and pressed “Yes” button. But 690 appeared on the screen.

Definitely, I did not perfomed on such a score. I think the only explanation of such an overrated result is that, due to a crazy coincidence, all the questions I skipped or did wrongly were among experimental questions. Because I’m not among those who think that GMAT can grant you 690 for almost 50% wrong questions. And definitely, my mediocre result is attributable to my low energy level on the Test Day.

What are the main takeaways from my experience?
1). Math is compared to that presented in OG. Yes, if you score well, you will face some more tough questions, but all of them will have straightforward shortcuts. I’ve spend much time preparing for math and must admit that Bunuel offers very good explanations and I advise you to look at what he says – he is Guru and his explanations are always fit the bills and are much better that those in MGMAT’s CATS.
2). Do not even hope to save some time on SC questions in favor of RC passages because SCs are made to prevent such attempts.
3). Do not be greedy for knowledge and make sure your eyes are ready to stare at a low quality monitor for four hours – this is a challenge. The quality of monitor matters.
4). Writing pads and markers and great and convenient.
5). The test is commanding, but easy if you are ready.
6). Wash you face every break.
7). And the thing of the utmost importance: Do nothing except for one CAT a day prior to the Test Day. Only relax and visualize your 750+ results.


Epilogue.
I took hard the result of the Test into which I’ve invested a substantial amount of time, energy, and money and will come back in a month. Freshed, relaxed and concentrated at the same time. By the way, I need several kudos to gain access to GMATClub Tests and would greatly appreciate if you, friends, could help me to acquire them. Thank you.

Last edited by Financier on 16 Sep 2010, 23:09, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: 690 (48/36) -MUST READ STORY- [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2010, 06:54
man even in such worst condition you have done exceptionally well.... :shock:

well I hope u bang next month with a great score............ :P

about gmatclub test +1 from me.
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Re: 690 (48/36) -MUST READ STORY- [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2010, 07:00
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hey ... not great to hear about the screens, that must be very irritating

i was eating bars of chocolate in between my exam. As i posted myself, I think 4 hours drains the life out of you ... Mine was at 9am as well, so didnt even have a chance to eat a big meal before hand.

I think you got the verbal stuff spot on ... The SCs are the killer bit and even I had devoted more than 2 minutes per question. Somewhere in the middle of the paper I had 40 mins and 25 questions to go which really made me go more quickly to the extent of trying to click next even without reading all the choices since I was afraid to miss Qs at the end

I think the 9 guesses at the end might have spoilt your score ... I am sure next attempt you'll cross 700 easily
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Re: 690 (48/36) -MUST READ STORY- [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2010, 07:08
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shrouded1 wrote:

I think you got the verbal stuff spot on ... The SCs are the killer bit and even I had devoted more than 2 minutes per question. Somewhere in the middle of the paper I had 40 mins and 25 questions to go which really made me go more quickly to the extent of trying to click next even without reading all the choices since I was afraid to miss Qs at the end

I think the 9 guesses at the end might have spoilt your score ... I am sure next attempt you'll cross 700 easily


I'm pretty sure that I could have scored at least 720+ with yesterday's questions but "experienced" test-takers report that the difficulty level varies from month to month and it may turn out that next time questions will be more challenging. I was surprised how easy 3 of 4 RCs were and I prey to get the same difficulty next time.
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Re: 690 (48/36) -MUST READ STORY- [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2010, 07:56
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good luck on your next gmat! kudos for you (give me one too :))
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Re: 690 (48/36) -MUST READ STORY- [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2010, 08:01
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+1 for you, not because you have asked but because you have written very nicely.

I thought the quality of the monitor and the keyboard must be good? Don't they give TFT monitors?

Good luck next time and keep your spirits high.

PS: win-a-school-visit-of-your-dreams-register-here-100224.html
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Re: 690 (48/36) -MUST READ STORY- [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2010, 08:37
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I admire your determination and the way you have accepted responsibility for your mistakes. I really hope the next time you take the test, you are better prepared for these uncertainties and you score much better. Good luck.
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Re: 690 (48/36) -MUST READ STORY- [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2010, 08:51
Financier wrote:
shrouded1 wrote:

I think you got the verbal stuff spot on ... The SCs are the killer bit and even I had devoted more than 2 minutes per question. Somewhere in the middle of the paper I had 40 mins and 25 questions to go which really made me go more quickly to the extent of trying to click next even without reading all the choices since I was afraid to miss Qs at the end

I think the 9 guesses at the end might have spoilt your score ... I am sure next attempt you'll cross 700 easily


I'm pretty sure that I could have scored at least 720+ with yesterday's questions but "experienced" test-takers report that the difficulty level varies from month to month and it may turn out that next time questions will be more challenging. I was surprised how easy 3 of 4 RCs were and I prey to get the same difficulty next time.


One of my RCs was so tough, I could not for the life of me figure out what the f*** the guy was going on about in the passage. And to add to it, it was 4 paragraphs and didnt fit on screen so pretty long
Those were the 3 questions are promptly picked to answer quickly, not think about too much and move on ...

Just to be sure, test takers are not supposed to disclose passages or discuss actual GMAT questions right ? Some copyright issue ....
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Re: 690 (48/36) -MUST READ STORY- [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2010, 09:44
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Look at the positives out of your first attempt. In spite of the odds, you managed a decent 690. With little more preparation (GMATClub test practice will surely help :) ) you should sail past the 700 barrier quite comfortably.

Good luck to you and here comes your kudos for sharing your experience with us. :-D
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Re: 690 (48/36) -MUST READ STORY- [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2010, 09:51
talking about the RC i faced in real GMAT...it was horrendous science based RC dealing with temperature difference between mars and earth caused by sun....so complex it was that i just stared at RC for 10 mins...other 3 are also difficult ones.
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Re: 690 (48/36) -MUST READ STORY- [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2010, 10:06
I am sure you belong to the 700 club man.....wonderful debrief
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Re: 690 (48/36) -MUST READ STORY- [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2010, 10:10
i'll give you a kudos for the debrief, but the rest you will have to earn. ;-) +1

So wash your face every break huh? i'll make sure to dip my face into cold water when the time comes.
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Re: 690 (48/36) -MUST READ STORY- [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2010, 10:18
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gtr022001 wrote:
i'll give you a kudos for the debrief, but the rest you will have to earn. ;-) +1

So wash your face every break huh? i'll make sure to dip my face into cold water when the time comes.


This is an imperative moment and will help your blood circulate much better in your head.
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Re: 690 (48/36) -MUST READ STORY- [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2010, 10:32
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gurpreetsingh wrote:

I thought the quality of the monitor and the keyboard must be good? Don't they give TFT monitors?




The keybord was just the average one, one of those you will find in public places. There was TFT monitor, but not of the best quality and the color settings were far from the ideal. I think that keyboards and monitors tend to differ from one test-center to another whereas writing pad and markers are standart.
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Re: 690 (48/36) -MUST READ STORY- [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2010, 10:52
Thanks for the info.

Pls spare a minute and review your test center : review-gmat-test-centers-96476.html
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Re: 690 (48/36) -MUST READ STORY- [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2010, 11:19
Thank you very much for such nice debrief 690 is a super cool score ;)

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Re: 690 (48/36) -MUST READ STORY- [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2010, 11:21
What are you going to do differently this time to improve on your verbal?
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Re: 690 (48/36) -MUST READ STORY- [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2010, 11:54
Privet! Good job dude!

I wish I could score so "miserably" and receive 690.
I would buy a "yashik" (in russian -a box containing from 12 to 20 bottles) of vodka and drink for a week. :D :D
just kidding.

I had said you that you would score great, so next time you will definitely pay attention to your weaknesses and mistkes.
All the best!!!
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Re: 690 (48/36) -MUST READ STORY- [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2010, 13:44
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Thank you for the debrief! Great score!

Удачи!
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Re: 690 (48/36) -MUST READ STORY- [#permalink] New post 12 Sep 2010, 05:19
Thanks for the debrief and all the best for your retake.
Re: 690 (48/36) -MUST READ STORY-   [#permalink] 12 Sep 2010, 05:19
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