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690 -> 640 -> 660 What do i do now? Please help

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UCLA Thread Master
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690 -> 640 -> 660 What do i do now? Please help [#permalink] New post 28 Jun 2011, 09:02
I just left the test center, and needless to say i am a bit dejected. I cant seem to figure out why i cant get over that 700-hump, and in taking the test for the 3rd time already would/should i take it again despite the appearance of taking it "too many times"

Here is a breakdown of my test scores:

1) 12/23/10 Q49 V35 690 5.5 AWA
2) 5/27/11 Q41 V 38 640 5.5 AWA
3) 6/28/11 (Today) Q49 V 31 660

I am most upset because I have been scoring fantastically on my recent practice exams:

6/26 (2 days ago) GMATPrep2 Q50 V44 770
6/19 (A week before that) MGMAT 6 Q51 V45 780

I dont know what is wrong, I cant seem to figure out what the disconnect is and why i cant come through on test day. I cant seem to do well on both sections on the same day!

Before I took the test in May i scored a 760 the night before. When i went to the test I froze on the 1st math problem, (a rate/distance) problem and was messed up for the rest of the section, I did however do well on the Verbal that day. After seeing my performance that time I was devastated and after talking with my girlfriend and family members figured that I had worked myself too hard and taking that last practice test the night before was a huge mistake.

So this time around I took the test two days before in the morning, then went over it right after and didnt do anything in between. I felt that I was ready after getting that 770. I relaxed, hung out with my gf, played some ps3, meditated and got my mind right, hoping to not have the mental collapse i had during 2nd try.
Today i go into the test center knock out the AWA and go to the restroom to relax myself before math. I felt fine starting the math section and felt that I went though it pretty well. The Verbal I thought I was doing good in as well and was shocked to see the V31 on my score report, especially after the V44 just two days earlier and the V38 on the last official test.

So in summary, what should I do now? I am extremely frustrated because i know I have a 700+ score inside me, i just cant seem to bring it out on D-day. I was hoping to apply for Round 1, and wanted to have the GMAT behind me after today and can begin writing essays and putting my Apps together, however I feel that I without a 700+ my application wont be competitive. My first choice is NYU, and I also wanted to apply to Columbia, Anderson, Marshall, Emory, and GaTech. I feel that with my current score, the 1st 3 if not more would be out of the question.

Do i take the test again later on and apply in a later round or submit scores after my application, and risk seeming to be a "score chaser" taking the test for a 4th time? What should my next move be?
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Re: 690 -> 640 -> 660 What do i do now? Please help [#permalink] New post 28 Jun 2011, 09:34
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I'm sorry to hear about your situation, it sounds really frustrating and I agree that there's a 700 score in you. The problem is 100% nerves though and unless there was something identifiable that messed up your verbal section (you felt physically sick), there is no way that you can go back into the test center and guarantee to get that 750+ next time. Retaking for a 710 or 720 at this point would not be worth your while.

If I were you and your applications/essays still need work, I would focus on those instead of taking the GMAT a 4th time. 690 is certainly below your potential, but for most applicants to NYU it's more than respectable. Essays are what will get you in at this point, not the chance for another 50 points.

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Re: 690 -> 640 -> 660 What do i do now? Please help [#permalink] New post 28 Jun 2011, 10:13
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I agree with gmatkoopa. 690 isn't a bad score after all, put some time and effort into essays. GMAT is one of the key points for MBA schools, not the "only" key point. Good essays and career goals can make a huge difference in the application.
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Re: 690 -> 640 -> 660 What do i do now? Please help [#permalink] New post 28 Jun 2011, 11:21
Thank you both for your replies.

I cant figure out what happened on verbal for me today, everything felt right while taking the test, it is very unsettling indeed.

I do think my next step is to start working on essays/applications. The problem is I have a poor gpa (sub 3.0, albeit with an engineering major from a top5 engineering school) and I wanted the other parts of my application to be air tight (~720 GMAT, Alt transcript, Great Essays and LORs, Solid though not blue chip WE). I plan on using a consultant on getting my apps ready for round 1. Do you think once I submit that I could give it another try and submit hopefully a better GMAT score afterwards? or will it just hurt me since it would be the 4th time I'm taking it.
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Re: 690 -> 640 -> 660 What do i do now? Please help [#permalink] New post 28 Jun 2011, 14:04
I'm not an expert in this field. If I were you I'd definitely take GMAT again after finishing essays and applications ( doesn't mean it would be wise to do so). Just like you said, I'd finish essays and application and then take GMAT again.

I read it on some universities FAQ's that they do take the university's level and standing and GPA into account because some of the top schools make it tougher for students to obtain higher GPA.

Adcom would like to know why you had to take GMAT 4 times to get a 700+ score, so make sure you prepare for that. I would probably give them a reason to explain a zig-zag trend in my GMAT score even if they didn't ask but that's just me.
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Re: 690 -> 640 -> 660 What do i do now? Please help [#permalink] New post 29 Jun 2011, 04:25
thanks cvsmech,

After sleeping on it, and getting my head back together I realize that ill have to try it again, I'll just step back for a bit while I work on my essays. Although typically frowned upon I think I have to go at it a 4th time if i want to get into my dream school and I would rather have to explain a 730 than have to try and justify a 690 to adcom.
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Re: 690 -> 640 -> 660 What do i do now? Please help [#permalink] New post 29 Jun 2011, 04:28
@johnnyGMAT2k10, Good Luck :). Hope you get 720+ this time! Go for it !!

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Re: 690 -> 640 -> 660 What do i do now? Please help [#permalink] New post 29 Jun 2011, 04:34
subhashghosh wrote:
@johnnyGMAT2k10, Good Luck :). Hope you get 720+ this time! Go for it !!


Thanks buddy, i appreciate it
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Re: 690 -> 640 -> 660 What do i do now? Please help [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2011, 01:44
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I think your first try is enough for you to get MBA. Your AWA is very good. It is better than those get 700+ but AWA is low from 3-4..
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Re: 690 -> 640 -> 660 What do i do now? Please help [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2011, 03:52
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Quick question? Are you taking the same CATs over again for your practice tests? If so, they might be overinflating your score since you could subconsciously remember them. If that's not the case then it seem as though you have some pretty bad test day nerves. Some people, no matter how capable, are just not good test takers. It happens. Since you've taken the GMAT three times already I think it might be time to let it go.
I know all about the need for a high GMAT to offset a lower GPA. I wish my score was higher as well. However, at this point it really seems like a pride issue. You feel that your score doesn't truly represent your ability. However, the GMAT may not be an accurate measure of your ability. Hell there are many cases when the GMAT overestimates someone's ability. You see a lot of 99th percentilers with 3.7+ GPAs getting rejected from schools you'd think they'd be a shoo-in for. Why? Because ultimately the GMAT (GPA too) was only one part of the picture and the rest of it wasn't so rosy. You mentioned that you created an alternate transcript. If you did well in these classes then let those be your offset. A 690 shows that you're more than capable of handling the academic rigor of these programs. Put everything else together in a kick butt application. You've spread your apps across elite and near elite schools so you have a shot at getting in somewhere. This is just my two cents. Take it for what you will.

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Re: 690 -> 640 -> 660 What do i do now? Please help [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2011, 04:57
Thank you both tracy and cheetarah (Ive been reading your blog btw, good stuff!) for your responses. My next step is definitely to work on my essays and application, and I do feel confident that I can put together a pretty awesome package. I did have some mitigating factors during undergrad that contributed to my low gpa that I feel I can help explain in my essays. At this point I feel like I stand a chance at the bottom half of my list (USC, Emory, and GaTech) but I would still be well behind the competition for the other 3 schools, and since my goal is to transition from engineering into IB I think its in my best interest to get into one of those top 3. The problem is as it stands now, I am below average in the 2 objective metrics of the complete profile for these 3 schools.

As for my CAT practice, were they repeats, I would say yes and no. The 770 I got 2 days before was from a GMAT Prep test I took before, though I didnt notice any repeats during the test, but the 780 MGMAT i took a week prior wasnt a repeat. As for my 2nd test they were mostly new CATs and the repeats I did have were from over 6 months ago, before my first attempt, the 690. The problem with that 2nd attempt was I froze on the first quant question and couldnt recover from it, but I did well on verbal. Then the 3rd time I did what I was capable of in quant and didnt get it done on verbal. I was definitely a victim of test day jitters, which really bothered me b/c Ive always been a great standardized test taker. As for the pride thing, I do think that does play a part in it, but I honestly feel that i have a 730 score in me, especially after my staggered score on the last two tests, if I could have just put it together on one day I would be at about a 720 right now if not better.

Right now I am going to get started on my essays on my top 4 schools since emory has rolling admissions and gatech isnt due until january, and depending on if/when I get those done or close to done, i may try and study and give it one more go if I have time. Im not entirely sure at this point but I am going to get professional consultation and see if I should do this when the time comes. But for now and the rest of the summer its all about the essays for sure
Re: 690 -> 640 -> 660 What do i do now? Please help   [#permalink] 01 Jul 2011, 04:57
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