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690 (Q48, V36) - What happened? Kindly asking for help

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690 (Q48, V36) - What happened? Kindly asking for help [#permalink] New post 31 May 2008, 16:09
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So today was the scheduled day for my GMAT test. I have been prepping for the past 3 months pretty seriously and did upwards of 20-30 hours a week (largely due to the benefit of things being somewhat slow at work and being able to also do GMAT during work hours). Never a bad thing to get paid for studying for this painful test, someone should indeed pay us for all this stress, pain and tears that come with the process.

However, unfortunately I only scored a 690 (Q48, V36) which is way below my practice GMATPrep tests and pretty much any test I have done so far. The quant was a bit below my range (49-51) but the verbal was terrible as I typically averaged somewhere between 40-47 although noticeably with more variability than in quant. Looking back maybe the fact that I had probably seen some of the verbal questions in the OG and supplemental guides before the GMATPreps gave me a false sense of confidence?

The test started well, the first question in quant was extremely easy (I know people have recently encountered a tough one to start with, but that wasn't the case today) and the test progressed and got tougher as expected. Towards the later part I saw a couple of probability / combination / permutation problems which gave me a sign I was doing well. I was very nervous going into the test and on top of that had a rough day at work yesterday after getting into an argument with my boss but once quant was over I felt much more relaxed and was ready to do verbal. Going in I felt that CR and SC were my strong points. I hardly ever got CR questions wrong (95% hit rate) and I had an SC hit rate of 85-90% in practice. RC had always been problematic but I had not found a way to get better at it (had probably a hit rate of around 70-80% on these). However to my surprise the CR were brutal!! At times up to 3 of the answer choices could have been correct and I had doubts almost every time I picked an answer. Even SC seemed to be focusing on many odd expressions and not the typical paralellism, pronouns, idioms, structure, etc. I also encountered one long science passage that I actually felt was not that bad and 2 shorter business passages that probably gave me a lot more trouble (once again, many times down to two choices). I started getting a little tired towards the end and was also realizing that I am probably not doing too well. Not sure if this had anything to do with the verbal performance.

Needless to say I am dissapointed, depressed and not sure what to do from here. I would kindly welcome your guys' support, this thread has been one of the best things I discovered in my preparation even though I haven't had a chance to post much. I feel extremely burned out to the point of exhaustion. I am also starting a new offsite project at work which adds a four hour daily commute to my day so studying much during the week is going to be out of the question. I am also lost as to how to study for a retake. Please help! I feel like I have exhausted ALL materials. My strategy had been from the beginning to go through as much material as possible and assimilate along the way. I did keep an error log of the OG and supplemental guides but I tried to do as much and all material I could.

For reference here is what I used:
- OG 11 (re-did last 30 problems of each quant section a second time)
- Verbal and Quant Supplemental Guides (re-did last 30 problems of sentence correction, and quant a second time)
- Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction Guide (went through it twice)
- Kaplan GMAT 800
- Princeton Review - used it to get started
- Kaplan Premier Edition - used it to get started
- Manhattan GMAT Number Properties
- Manhattan GMAT Equation and Inequalities Book
- ALL GMAT Club Challanges including the 5 Verbal ones - by the way these are absolutely awesome! I managed to score in the 70-75% on quant ones and ironically in the 85% on the 5 Verbal Challanges
- 1000 CR and SC questions - went through maybe 50 of each, felt it difficult to gauge any progress since they do not have explanations for the correct answers.

Tests I took in order, although I did not keep track of the dates and lost my sheet with breakdowns for some;
- Princeton Review CAT - 650 - first test
- Kaplan CAT - 640
- Powerprep 1 - 700
- Powerprep 2 - 730
- Manhattan GMAT Free CAT - 670
- GMAT Prep 1 - 710
- GMAT Prep 2 - 750 (Q49, V42) had a bunch of lucky guesses on the quant part
- GMAT Prep 1 - (retake) - 710
- GMAT Prep 1 - (retake2) - 730 (Q49, V40)
- GMAT Prep 2 - (retake) - 770 (Q50, V47)
- GMAT Prep 1 - (retake3) - 770 (Q49, V47)
- GMAT Prep 2 (retake2) - 760 (Q51, V41)
- Also re-did the Quant portions of both GMAT Prep 1 & 2 a few days before the test and got a 50 and 51 respectively (skipped verbal)

As you can see my quant score averages 49 which is close to what I got today, while my verbal ranges from 40-47 and looking back maybe somewhat deceiving due to the OG repeats on the actual GMATPreps. At the same time I have a very good photographic memory - once I see a question I will almost always remember the answer to it even after going through 100's of other questions. So maybe another factor contributing to my false sense of verbal level?

First thing I did when I got home (after feeling sorry for myself and being on the verge of tears due to the frustration) was to set a new exam date - July 2nd, the earliest I could do with the 31 day wait period. The question is how do I prepare from here on? I dont have a good strategy when it comes to focusing on a specific area and my strategy from the beginning has simply been do as much as possible and see where you stand. When I noticed a problem with my SC for example I re-read the Manhattan SC Guide but aside from that I cant honestly say I have a very tailored approach. It also looks I may not be as good as I thought with CR?

I am very worried guys and on top of feeling extremely, extremely burned out (to the point where I think my health is starting to suffer), even worse, I dont know how to prepare for the retake. Your thoughts are very kindly appreciated and please feel free to ask me any questions about the test today.
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Re: 690 (Q48, V36) - What happened? Kindly asking for help [#permalink] New post 31 May 2008, 17:10
Hey,

First of all congratulations on the 690, which is not a poor score by any means. The first admit at gmatclub to Columbia last year had a 690. Secondly don't kill yourself studying, especially in the last week. That almost always leads to disaster as, in my opinion, Verbal is a lot about focus and concentration.

You have a month. You should get 6 MGMAT tests with the MGMAT SC book. Do one every weekend. Do it properly (i.e. at the same time as your scheduled test time), and don't skip the AWA or any other part of the test. You will get poor results initially (since MGMAT is tougher than the real thing).

Download gmatter (http://www.gmatter.biz) and start solving SC and CR from it. It contains most of the SC1000, CR1000 stuff. There may not be any explanations for them, but it is imperative that you be able to explain WHY some of sentences that are wrong are actually wrong. If you find something that you can't explain. Post it in the verbal forums.

Good luck.
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Re: 690 (Q48, V36) - What happened? Kindly asking for help [#permalink] New post 31 May 2008, 18:06
Thanks for the positive words, I don't disagree that 690 is a good score I just feel I need at least a 710-720 to feel comfortable applying to my school choices. At the same time I do think I have the ability to score much higher than that.

Are there any other materials that could be helpful in tacking the Verbal part? I heard the LSAT book is good for CR and RC. Does anyone have experience with that. I am also worried that if I focus on verbal non stop for a month my quant skills will suffer (I prepared mostly for quant for the past month and a half and slowly came up from a 43 to a 49-50 average).

Also any other thoughts on strategies for re-taking are gladly welcome.

I feel like giving up but I know I shouldn't...
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Re: 690 (Q48, V36) - What happened? Kindly asking for help [#permalink] New post 31 May 2008, 19:53
you can download CR bin 2 for gmatter which primarily contains LSAT problems. I have the LSAT superprep and its an awesome book. I'd highly recommend it, however, why pay when you can get for free ...

To keep your quant skills fresh, purchase the gmatclub challenges. Those 25 challenges (for 80 bucks I think) will keep you busy for an entire month, especially if your Q skills are fresh from prepping for the gmat for the first time. A word of warning though, gmatclub challenges will kick your butt at first (they are called challenges for good reason), but if anything, they will improve your Q score.
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Re: 690 (Q48, V36) - What happened? Kindly asking for help [#permalink] New post 31 May 2008, 22:09
Thanks BSD, I have downloaded the GMATTER and will get going on this, also bought the LSAT book.

As far as quant goes I have already done all 25 challanges which I mentioned in my post. I had around a 70% average for the whole set of them, maybe go back a review them to keep fresh? I have read many stories of people retaking only to improve one part of the gmat at the expense of another. Hope that doesnt happen to me.
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Re: 690 (Q48, V36) - What happened? Kindly asking for help [#permalink] New post 31 May 2008, 23:00
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See my other thread - GMAT and admission to top school.

Good luck !!
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Re: 690 (Q48, V36) - What happened? Kindly asking for help [#permalink] New post 01 Jun 2008, 00:15
Good luck sebyb, I'd highly encourage you to participate actively in the forums as well. Often observing others' thought process helps one to improve.
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Re: 690 (Q48, V36) - What happened? Kindly asking for help [#permalink] New post 01 Jun 2008, 01:51
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sebycb976,

Even I am at the same stage. Don't worry. There is scope for improvement until you reach 800.

My plan.

1) Create a perfect error log. Stick to it - Best thing to do.
2) Have you completed LSAT superperp (RC), OG11 and OG verbal and quant review? Whether you have completed it or not, do it again.
3) As bsd_lover said, participate actively in this forum. People post only tough questions here. So if we work hard, we can push that 690 to 710 or 720.
4) Have a look at 1000 SC, 1000 CR, 1000 RC when time permits.

Come on! Lets do it together.....

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Re: 690 (Q48, V36) - What happened? Kindly asking for help [#permalink] New post 01 Jun 2008, 11:20
Thanks for the encouragement guys, I want to and will continue to push forward.

Leopard I am with you! We can definitely nail the verbal part with a bit of extra effort and some luck :)

I have just put an order for the LSAT book and will go through the CR and RC in the book. Did you find the Logic section in the LSAT book to be helpful? I have done the entire OG, Verbal guide and quant guide from start to finish and then went back and re-did the last 30-40 problems in each. As I mentioned in my post I feel I get dimished benefit out of re-doing problems, I tend to have a really good photographic memory and will remember the answer to a question once I have seen it once. I may not always exactly understand why the answer is what it is, but once you know the answer I feel it's tougher to get the benefit of revisiting questions.

So I am looking for some new sets to practice out of, I have downloaded GMATTER and will do the 1000 CR SC and RC out of that. I have also noticed that for some reason it's tougher to do the verbal section on the computer screen than in a book. It may be the layout, or the ability of reading something on paper, regardless I feel myself spotting out right answers much easier on hard copies than on the screen. So that's where I hope the GMATTER will add some value.
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Re: 690 (Q48, V36) - What happened? Kindly asking for help [#permalink] New post 01 Jun 2008, 11:33
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Hi sebycb976,

your story sounds VERY similar to mine. After studying initially for 2.5 months, I took the GMAT in feb after a few 730+ performances in my practice tests. I got humbled with a 690 (Q47/v36).

I then had a foray with a couple of R3 applications and got humbled yet again?

so I am back, scheduled to take the test in a few weeks. I hope 2nd time around is a better experience for me.

all the best!!
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Re: 690 (Q48, V36) - What happened? Kindly asking for help [#permalink] New post 02 Jun 2008, 08:25
Reschedule the test in a month and take it. If you were scoring higher on practice, you may just need another data point. Maybe you got a little unlucky with questions etc. You can't judge the accuracy of the verbal on gmatprep if you have seen the questions. Each question impacts your score a lot and less room for error I believe.
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Re: 690 (Q48, V36) - What happened? Kindly asking for help [#permalink] New post 02 Jun 2008, 19:58
Quote:
Thanks for the encouragement guys, I want to and will continue to push forward.

Leopard I am with you! We can definitely nail the verbal part with a bit of extra effort and some luck :)

I have just put an order for the LSAT book and will go through the CR and RC in the book. Did you find the Logic section in the LSAT book to be helpful? I have done the entire OG, Verbal guide and quant guide from start to finish and then went back and re-did the last 30-40 problems in each. As I mentioned in my post I feel I get dimished benefit out of re-doing problems, I tend to have a really good photographic memory and will remember the answer to a question once I have seen it once. I may not always exactly understand why the answer is what it is, but once you know the answer I feel it's tougher to get the benefit of revisiting questions.

So I am looking for some new sets to practice out of, I have downloaded GMATTER and will do the 1000 CR SC and RC out of that. I have also noticed that for some reason it's tougher to do the verbal section on the computer screen than in a book. It may be the layout, or the ability of reading something on paper, regardless I feel myself spotting out right answers much easier on hard copies than on the screen. So that's where I hope the GMATTER will add some value.

Luck never favors me. Each time I go to Vegas, I lose :-D
LSAT is good for RC. But if you are strong in CR (accuracy 85% for tough questions), it wont be that useful.

No, you will have some benefit, if you try this new way (I got this idea when trying to give you a better reply :idea: ) When solving OG, especially verbal, explain why each incorrect answer is incorrect. We must point out all flaws. That is if there are three violations, we must explain all three. Don't worry about the correct ones. I will also try this now.
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I tend to have a really good photographic memory and will remember the answer to a question once I have seen it once
Haha. Give me the question, I will get you the answer choices :wink:
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I have also noticed that for some reason it's tougher to do the verbal section on the computer screen than in a book

I have never faced this issue, may be because I sit before the computer at least 10 hours daily.
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Re: 690 (Q48, V36) - What happened? Kindly asking for help [#permalink] New post 02 Jun 2008, 20:08
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I have also noticed that for some reason it's tougher to do the verbal section on the computer screen than in a book


I have the same problem too. I can read faster and spot errors much better on paper. I get the same questions on the computer screen wrong when I got them right a week earlier on paper. I think it has something to do with attention span. On paper, the text are close to each other, whereas they spread out more on the computer screen. Having to scroll the text during RC is distracting, and you lose your place easily when you are in a hurry.
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Re: 690 (Q48, V36) - What happened? Kindly asking for help [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2008, 10:11
Quote:
I have also noticed that for some reason it's tougher to do the verbal section on the computer screen than in a book


That is the reason bsd_lover told me to download gmatter. I downloaded it and it is working great for me... Cos it gives me the same feel that I am looking at the PC for long periods of time with focussed attention. So it helps quite a lot....
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Re: 690 (Q48, V36) - What happened? Kindly asking for help [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2008, 10:46
I totally agree...thanks again by the way bsd. I'm definitely seeing the benefit of doing questions on the gmatter. Went through about 300 CR so far with a pretty good hit rate. Planning to switch over to RC next week and then SC for the final week. Doing some quant problems from the gmatclub website in between to keep my skills fresh.

Do you guys think it's worth to try to improve a Q48 score to 49-50 (which is closer to what I was getting on GMATPreps, but maybe because of some repeats) or should I focus on verbal?
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Re: 690 (Q48, V36) - What happened? Kindly asking for help [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2008, 11:04
Just a little warning… while you probably do need to study to do well on the gmat, I am a firm believer that the GMAT is best beaten by a fresh, energized, hungry mind.

I had a very similar situation to yours where my 1st gmat score was a good deal less than my gmat prep avg. I too rescheduled right away.

In the month I had to wait for the retake, I studied maybe 1 – 1.5 hours a day on the concepts that I was least comfortable. I don’t think I took any prep tests and I really didn’t pressurize my studying, because I believed that I was better than my first score. All I felt I needed was another shot at it.

Because I hadn’t taken 1000 prep tests in that final month, I was not burnt out for the real thing. It’s like the difference between listening to a song 10 times a day for a month vs. hearing it only once.

I did mess up my timing a bit on round two, but my final score was a 750.
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Re: 690 (Q48, V36) - What happened? Kindly asking for help [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2008, 11:31
GMATPrep retakes are good for practicing on new questions. It gives false confidence.
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Re: 690 (Q48, V36) - What happened? Kindly asking for help [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2008, 15:56
Your quant barely dropped at all from your GMATprep scores. Going from 49 to 48 is nothing and well within the normal range.

The more you retake the GMATprep, the less the score means. You got a 710 the first time and 750 the second time (but you admitted to a bunch of lucky guesses).

You got a 690, which isn't that unexpected from what your GMATprep scores were, althought it's probably on the lower end.

The fact your verbal scores are so variable is a big concern. You need to tighten that up. It's well known that verbal scores count for more than quant scores in the final score, so its especially important to focus on that area. So schedule another test, and focus on 75% verbal, 25% quant when studying. Do enough quant to keep your skills sharp, but focus on the verbal, especially the area you are weak in (CR, SC, RC).

Good luck!!

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Re: 690 (Q48, V36) - What happened? Kindly asking for help [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2008, 03:02
I made a 680 yesterday and a similar story to tell. 760, 730 in Gprep and 730 and 690 in princeton tests... ended the verbal 10 minutes ahead f time and screwed it big time.. not quite if i need to reatke it... looks like this 680,690 business is screwing our minds...
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Re: 690 (Q48, V36) - What happened? Kindly asking for help [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2008, 15:22
Zram,

How did you feel about the verbal section overall? I was surprised to how much more difficult it seemed than the GMATPrep's verbal sections.
I also finished with some 7 minutes to spare so in retrospect maybe I should have taken it slower and focused more on the questions, I kind of rushed through it and was losing steam towards the end.

I think you can definitely re-take given your practice scores, I am in the same boat and signed up for a re-take as soon as I got home. I have been practicing verbal ever since the first test and am focusing on each subject for one week at a time, with a mix of all for the very last week. Doing some quant in between to keep it fresh.

What's your strategy?
Re: 690 (Q48, V36) - What happened? Kindly asking for help   [#permalink] 18 Jun 2008, 15:22
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