After seeing the gain from my first to second CAT from 580 up to 640 I was really happy that the effort I had put into studying had directly translated through to results. Over the past 3 weeks I have put in about 55 hours of study, which I hoped would translate into another 20-30 point gain to around 660-670.
So this time around when I only got 600, understandably I was pretty gutted.
I sat down to do my third practice CAT yesterday, in my living room, as my girlfriend was out for the afternoon. She came home early however, half way through Quant, making a lot of noise, and it really threw me out and put me in a bad mood. I got stuck on quite a few questions, spending too much time on them, and was on question 31 at the 70 minute mark. I rushed through at the end, guessing many questions. Lesson learnt, next time I will go into my office in the city where there will be no chance of interruptions.
Having said that, when I sat down to pick the bones on my poor result this morning I noticed a few things that show progress sine the last CAT.
You can see that the average question difficulty correct has come up from 510 to 610 on PS, and from 590 to 640 on DS. Additionally the number of questions in the 600-700 and 700-800 difficulty range was much higher this time around. Possibly explaining the timing issues that I had. Either way, I am at least happy that these numbers are progressing, even if the overall score dropped.
When I got to the Verbal part, the poor performance on timing in the quant was getting to my head. It isn't shown in the numbers but I got to about the 30th Question hovering at the 99th% level from questions 10-30. It was about the 30th Question that i realised I was about 2-3 minutes behind on time. I panicked a bit and tried to increase my pace. Subsequently I answered a few questions incorrectly in the <1 minute time and got them incorrect. Only to be left with 5 minutes to spare at the end of the exam. One other thing I noticed is that I am quite fatigued by the last 10-15 questions on the verbal and it becomes harder to parse the sentences. Particularly when I get those scientific RC passages at the 700-800 level.
I did however, get much better at the RC inference questions, answering 4/5 correct compared to 1/5 last time. MGMAT CATs seem to favour inference q's at the higher level. Also, still having issues with CR - really need to nail down on that topic area.
Additionally, I had not studied much Verbal in the past 3 weeks as I felt Quant needed more focus. For this reason I felt I was rusty on the CR questions.
Overall I think the performance in this third CAT reflects poor timing and strategic decisions. I have a few quant areas with some gaps, that need serious focus. There are areas that I have covered before but just cannot remember the theory fast enough to answer the question in a reasonable time - such 3 overlapping sets. I think flash cards could really help with this.
I really need to push my quant up to >70% to get in the safe zone for my target schools and prove that I have that level. My natural skills on verbal could be honed to deliver me a Verbal result in the region of 42-44. So a Q of 44-47, and a V of 42-44, should get me in the 720-730 region. I'd really like to hit Q47, V44 - I think the Quant target is going to be the harder one.