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# 720(Q50, V37) - Totally bummed!!

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Manager
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720(Q50, V37) - Totally bummed!! [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2011, 14:31
I took the test yesterday and scored a 720 (Q50, V37). Here is the debrief as I had promised earlier. I'm quitted disappointed with the score, but before I delve into it, I'll give you all a little background along with the run up to the exam.

Background

Non-native speaker, engineering background.

Study Material

MGMAT strategy guides
OG12
Verbal Review
GMATPrep
MGMAT CAT
and of course this forum!!

I started my GMAT prep in early March and I started with Verbal. I focussed mostly on SC initially and later did some preparation for CR and RC. I found CR and RC quite easy as I worked through OG12. If I remember correct, I had over 90% accuracy in both. I continued to work through the MGMAT SC book and the OG12 questions. I wouldn't call this phase of my preparation serious. I was interrupted mostly by work - we have had record attrition this year - and by some stuff going on in my personal life. I didn't study much past mid April. I again started studying seriously from mid June and by mid July I felt was ready to give my first CAT. During this period in June, I focussed on SC and some CR, but also brushed up on my quant. I took the first GMATPrep on July 18 and scored a 750 and at this point I felt I was ready to take the exam over the course of the next 3-4 weeks.

Practice Scores

GMATPrep - 1 750(Q50, V40)
MGMAT-1 750(Q48, V45)
MGMAT-2 710(Q48, V39)
MGMAT-3 750(Q48, V45)
MGMAT-4 780(Q51, V45)
MGMAT-5 780(Q51, V45)
GMATPrep - 2 760(Q49, V45) - Exactly 1 week prior to the test.

All of the above CATs were taken in the last 4 weeks.

Actual test - 720(Q50, V37)

Test Day Experience

I'm a coffee drinker and I usually get my last caffeine fix for the day at around 5:30 pm. I had my last cup at around 2pm and left for the test center. My plan was to get a Starbuck coffee just before the test, but as luck would have it the nearest Starbucks was closed and I couldn't find another coffee shop around. So I decided to go in without the caffeine. I'm not sure if this played a role in my poor concentration in the verbal section.

I started the test at around 5:15 pm and cranked out 2 essays for the AWA. I didn't have any difficulty organizing my thoughts; I think I did pretty well on the essays. I then took a break and splashed some cold water on my face; I also has a chocolate bar, banana and some gatorade. I then divided into the quant section. The quant section was OK, largely in line with GMATPrep - I even had a couple of repeats with different numbers. I also got a couple of hard DS problems; I had to guess on one of them in the interest of time. I was chugging along quite comfortably when I got a string of hard questions. If I remember correct, they started around question 30. I had to guess a hard PS geometry question, but I was able to complete the section on time. I wasn't sure how I did in the quant section - I felt I didn't do well enough and was a little worried about my score. I then took another break - ate some chocolate, a banana and drank some gatorade, peed and got back 3 minutes early for the verbal section.

By the time I was on question #2 on the verbal section, I was glassy eyed. I just couldn't keep my eyes on the screen; Even though my eyes were scanning the text, I was taking very little in. I had to read, re-read and re-read the RC passages and CR arguments to the point where I was happy to see a SC. By the time I reached question # 20 on the verbal section, I wanted the exam to end. I was very tired and felt I had poor concentration. As the score flashed, I couldn't believe what I saw - V37!! Its my lowest verbal score till date and one of my lowest overall scores!

I don't think the questions on the verbal were significantly harder or different from the practice tests. I think they were mostly in line with the practice tests, especially GMATPrep. I really don't know what went wrong. It could be a number of things - stress, excessive practice in the last week leading to a burn out, test timing, scores peaking a week too early, lack of caffeine etc. Nevertheless, I'm bummed and I don't know what I want to do at this point. I fall in the Indian IT category and feel I don't have much in my profile to distinguish myself from the crowd. More importantly though, I feel this score doesn't truly represent my abilities. Not sure if I should retake the test, but even if I do I'm not sure how I should prepare. At this point, I've exhausted all of my prep material - MGMAT, GMATPrep, OG12, verbal review - and have very little material left.

Takeaways

Unfortunately, I don't have much to say here. I've failed my own expectations and I don't think I'm qualified to advice others. If I figured out what exactly went wrong, I may be able to give you a Don'ts list, but I'm not exactly sure what went wrong and what I could have done differently. I can give you my study plan, but then you could end up like me if you followed it.

Nonetheless, this forum has been a rock bed of support and I wish everyone here the very best. Special thanks to whiplash and slingfox for the notes, bunuel for quant strategies, akhileshgupta05, chineseburned for the AWA template and bb for bringing us all together.
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Re: 720(Q50, V37) - Totally bummed!! [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2011, 14:55
While I see where your disappointment is coming from, a 720 is, by no means a bad score! V 37 is still over the 80th percentile, right? Depending on which rounds you're planning to apply in, you still have the opportunity to retake if you must. But I think this score will definitely fall into the average range of most schools. Good luck!
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Re: 720(Q50, V37) - Totally bummed!! [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2011, 14:58
Thanks whiplash! On all my practice tests, I scored a V45, except for one test in which I scored a V39. What happened yesterday was quite unexpected!
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Re: 720(Q50, V37) - Totally bummed!! [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2011, 15:23
It's alright. The Verbal on the GMAT is actually a tad bit more complex than the ones on the practice tests and GMAT Prep. It's not very visible at first glance, but I realized this because I remember being stuck on a CR question where two options were literally saying the same thing, and then I realized they had a play on words (like using hopefully, vs. I hope so type thing though it wasn't exactly that) and I figured that was the wrong option, lol.
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Re: 720(Q50, V37) - Totally bummed!! [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2011, 15:47
Hmmm...But that still doesn't explain the 8 point drop. I can understand a 4-5 point drop, but 8 points...
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Re: 720(Q50, V37) - Totally bummed!! [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2011, 16:07
It happens. Really. I understand that you're disappointed, but it's still a good score.
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Re: 720(Q50, V37) - Totally bummed!! [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2011, 18:50
Whilst 720 is "good", I think given your practice scores and your disappointment, you should retake. Perhaps schedule earlier in the day if you found fatigue an issue. Let us know how it goes!

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Re: 720(Q50, V37) - Totally bummed!! [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2011, 18:59
I also agree that retaking would be beneficial for you. It seems that your body condition during the test was the main factor in your lower-than-average score (which, I agree with everyone, is a great score, but I understand your frustration and disappointment), and you have the potential to do well on the GMAT with little extra preparation. Now that your body is accustomed to the actual testing environment, you will hopefully perform up to your expectation in the next attempt!
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Re: 720(Q50, V37) - Totally bummed!! [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2011, 20:48
Hey buddy,

Hope you are doing gr8..

Well, I am in the similar situation as u are.. infact I think i m in a far worse one ..

I took another shot at GMAT after 2 yrs (oh no, i dint prepare 4 2yrs man); At that time I had scored 720 and this time also I scored 720 ...

It might not reflect my disappointment, but I am very much sad and disappointed.. My plans have gone haywire because of this score ... I was hopeful of a 750/760 ..

If it is, it'll be my 3rd attempt.. and dat itself sounds scary, so I am kinda done with the GMAT now ...

Cheers!
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Re: 720(Q50, V37) - Totally bummed!! [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2011, 21:23
bschool2014 wrote:
I'm a coffee drinker and I usually get my last caffeine fix for the day at around 5:30 pm. I had my last cup at around 2pm and left for the test center. My plan was to get a Starbuck coffee just before the test, but as luck would have it the nearest Starbucks was closed and I couldn't find another coffee shop around. So I decided to go in without the caffeine. I'm not sure if this played a role in my poor concentration in the verbal section.

I started the test at around 5:15 pm and cranked out 2 essays for the AWA.

I gotta be honest - and maybe this is just me, but starting the test at 5:15 does not seem like an ideal time to schedule your appointment. In my opinion (and people are entitled to disagree with me, obviously), that's setting yourself up for exactly what happened to you. Unless you are on a completely reversed biological cycle (i.e.) work from 10 PM - 6 AM, sleep from 9 AM - 4 PM, or something like that, then I think waiting to start a GMAT until so late in the day is really setting yourself up for failure. Even if that's when you're used to taking your CATs (post-work, or whatever), you can't reasonably expect similar levels of stress/relaxation on test day. When you know you're sitting for the real thing your hormone and adrenaline levels are naturally going to get a little crazy.

I think if you rescheduled for a morning appointment, when you're more refreshed and have more energy, you'd have a much higher likelihood of scoring well. Just my 2 cents!
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Re: 720(Q50, V37) - Totally bummed!! [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2011, 22:10
ebonn101 wrote:
bschool2014 wrote:
I'm a coffee drinker and I usually get my last caffeine fix for the day at around 5:30 pm. I had my last cup at around 2pm and left for the test center. My plan was to get a Starbuck coffee just before the test, but as luck would have it the nearest Starbucks was closed and I couldn't find another coffee shop around. So I decided to go in without the caffeine. I'm not sure if this played a role in my poor concentration in the verbal section.

I started the test at around 5:15 pm and cranked out 2 essays for the AWA.

I gotta be honest - and maybe this is just me, but starting the test at 5:15 does not seem like an ideal time to schedule your appointment. In my opinion (and people are entitled to disagree with me, obviously), that's setting yourself up for exactly what happened to you. Unless you are on a completely reversed biological cycle (i.e.) work from 10 PM - 6 AM, sleep from 9 AM - 4 PM, or something like that, then I think waiting to start a GMAT until so late in the day is really setting yourself up for failure. Even if that's when you're used to taking your CATs (post-work, or whatever), you can't reasonably expect similar levels of stress/relaxation on test day. When you know you're sitting for the real thing your hormone and adrenaline levels are naturally going to get a little crazy.

I think if you rescheduled for a morning appointment, when you're more refreshed and have more energy, you'd have a much higher likelihood of scoring well. Just my 2 cents!

I agree with Ebonn. I would drive crazy if I had all day to think about my GMAT in the evening - the anxiety and nervousness will sky rocket by the time GMAT time comes, and also the thoughts and the feeling of being blank all day will tire me. If scheduled for morning, before you have the time to be anxious, you will be already taking your test. Good luck!
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14 Aug 2011, 22:29
I agree with both the opinions above.

I waited for a month and kept checking for available appointments everyday. Finally I got an appointment for 1 pm! Its the perfect time. Not too early, not too late!

After taking 16 mocks already, I have realized that stamina issues and poor concentration affect performance more than does the difficulty of the questions. Plus the added pressure of the real GMAT, sitting away from your comfort zone, being watched on every second, time issues, etc. These all are major impediments to our performance.
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Re: 720(Q50, V37) - Totally bummed!! [#permalink]

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15 Aug 2011, 07:46
When you took your CATs, did you write your AWA's as well? Its crucial that you mimic your practice CAT experience similar to the actual GMAT. In fact, try not to take the 10 min break during your practice CATs, as it will increase your stamina. Also, another factor that could play in is the snacks you had. Perhaps eat more chocolate and a large booster juice!

I suggest another retake just because your practice tests are almost consistent in terms of verbal score. Good luck mate.
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15 Aug 2011, 10:38
@bschool2014

Buddy, do let me know what you decide on the retake?
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Re: 720(Q50, V37) - Totally bummed!! [#permalink]

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15 Aug 2011, 15:05
720 is a fantastic score! It should be very competitive even at the best schools. Congratulations -- I think you are being too hard on yourself. This is my opinion -- but beyond a certain number (700+) -- the gmat score is not that big a deal.

My buddy and I were joking around the other day -- and he said the only place where your *actual* score matters is if you want to work for a test prep company like Manhattan (that only hires people in the 99th percentile -- 760+). The GMAT is only one component of your application -- and a 720 score means the box next to GMAT has been ticked.

I humbly disagree with the good people on this thread who have suggested you re-take the exam. You got a 720 -- not a 670 or 680 (your typical borderline scores). I would think that putting that effort into your essays, recommendation letters, interviews and so on will reap better rewards. Ad coms realize that GMAT is a standardized test with a 30 point SD -- people have good days and bad days and some are naturally better test takers than others.
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Re: 720(Q50, V37) - Totally bummed!! [#permalink]

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15 Aug 2011, 15:21
If you're applying this fall, esp R1, I wouldn't retake. If R2, R3, or especially next fall, retaking is a no-brainer. Given that your quant scores are steady around 50, there's no reason to expect you won't score 49-51 on quant on a re-take. Verbal will likely be above 40, and you'll probably be sitting with a nice solid 750. Yes, GMAT is just a number that has a standard deviation, etc. etc., but there's no reason not to make that number the highest it can possibly be if it won't take away from essay work or anything else. A 760 or 770 will do a lot more for you in terms of "checking the box" than a 720. And as a non-native speaker, crushing the verbal portion would be awesome! Don't get me wrong, I think your stats are fine, you have a killer GPA and great score already with a 720. But since you so clearly seem intent that you could have scored much higher, and (in my opinion), your test was poorly scheduled so late in the day, why not give it another shot if possible?
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Re: 720(Q50, V37) - Totally bummed!! [#permalink]

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15 Aug 2011, 15:30
Thanks to everyone who replied!

I'm targeting two schools in R1 and four in R2. True, I've a great undergrad GPA and a competitive score on the GMAT. However, I belong to the over represented Indian IT pool. I can't do anything to change my demographic, but I think if I can score 750-760 on a retake, it may propel me ahead a bit. I don't think I've to pour hours into the preparation. I think if I keep up with an hour a day to stay in touch and take 1 CAT a week, I should be able to pull it off. I feel given my practice scores, I had a bad test day; Looking back I think I did a number of things wrong on the test day - change my caffeine schedule, schedule the test at the end of the day etc. and these should be relatively simple to fix in the retake.
Thanks again guys!
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Re: 720(Q50, V37) - Totally bummed!! [#permalink]

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15 Aug 2011, 15:32
bschool2014 wrote:
Thanks to everyone who replied!

I'm targeting two schools in R1 and four in R2. True, I've a great undergrad GPA and a competitive score on the GMAT. However, I belong to the over represented Indian IT pool. I can't do anything to change my demographic, but I think if I can score 750-760 on a retake, it may propel me ahead a bit. I don't think I've to pour hours into the preparation. I think if I keep up with an hour a day to stay in touch and take 1 CAT a week, I should be able to pull it off. I feel given my practice scores, I had a bad test day; Looking back I think I did a number of things wrong on the test day - change my caffeine schedule, schedule the test at the end of the day etc. and these should be relatively simple to fix in the retake.
Thanks again guys!

If in your shoes, I would apply to my 2 safety schools in R1 with your current score. Retake and apply with your improved score in R2.
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15 Aug 2011, 15:36
Thanks for your suggestion ebonn101. Sounds like a good plan..
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Re: 720(Q50, V37) - Totally bummed!! [#permalink]

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15 Aug 2011, 16:09
@ Ebonn101..

I swear I read your scores as Q51 V43 --- I thought my mind was playing tricks on me...but upon closer examination --- it was Q43 V51...

That's pretty amazing man...
Re: 720(Q50, V37) - Totally bummed!!   [#permalink] 15 Aug 2011, 16:09

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