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A LONG analysis of my experience, comments? [#permalink]
21 Apr 2006, 16:05

In an effort to try and understand my GMAT exam results, I wrote down as much as I could about my experience. I thought I'd share in case anyone has any feedback, insight, or is just curious.

Practice Test Information (test #1)
Exam Date: 02/04/06
Score Range 640-660
Math Score 44-45
Verbal Score 40-46

Practice Princeton Exam (not Manhattan GMAT)
Exam Date: 02/05/06
Score Range 630
Math Score 37
Verbal Score 40

Practice Test Information (test #2)
Exam Date: 03/06/06
Score Range 610-630
Math Score 43
Verbal Score 36-39

Practice Test Information (test #3)
Exam Date: 03/07/06
Score Range 640-660
Math Score 46-48
Verbal Score 36-37

Practice Test Information (test #4)
Exam Date: 03/09/06
Score Range 640-660
Math Score 44-45
Verbal Score 36-39

GMAT Prep Exam #1 (official MBA.COM software)
Exam Date: UNKNOWN but prior to 3/13/06
Total Score 640
Math Score 44 (from memory may be wrong)
Verbal Score 38 (from memory may be wrong)

Official GMAT Information (actual exam!) (test #1)
Exam Date: 03/13/06
Total Score
Scaled: 640
Percent: 80
Math %
Scaled: 43
Percent: 71
Verbal %
Scaled: 35
Percent: 76

Practice Test Information (test #5)
Exam Date: 03/30/06
Total Score 640-660
Math Score 44-45
Verbal Score 36-39

GMAT Prep Exam #2 (official MBA.COM software)
Exam Date: 4/6/06
Total Score 720
Math Score 46
Verbal Score 44

GMAT Prep Exam #1 (after re-installation of software)
Exam Date: 4/11/06
Total Score 690
Math Score 42
Verbal Score 42

GMAT Prep Exam #2 (official MBA.COM software)
Exam Date: 4/16/06
Total Score 720
Math Score 45
Verbal Score 44

Official GMAT Information (actual exam!) (test #2)
Exam Date: 4/19/06
Total Score
Scaled: 640
Percent: 80
Math %
Scaled: 33
Percent: 41
Verbal %
Scaled: 44
Percent: 97

TEST DAY EXPERIENCE

Arrived at the test center well rested and fed. Test room was a little warm, but I quickly adjusted. Chair was comfortable. I donâ€™t feel the environment (in of itself) was a factor.

AWA:

I made it through the AWA without concern and took the majority of my 10 minute break. I found the questions reasonably straight forward but probably should have taken a bit more time to review my responses. I finished both essays with only a minute to two minutes to spare.

Math:

The first math question involved a parabola and a graph. I struggled for a moment as I did not realize the correct answer was in fact below the bottom of the screen (you had to scroll).

Subsequent questions appeared OK, but saw some questions that I would categorize as easy a few questions into the exam. I cannot recall at which point I saw this question, but it was during the first 1/3 or so of the math questions: I donâ€™t recall the exact numbers, but it was something along the lines of: â€œWhat is 10% of .0002â€

Anyways congratulations on your score though it does not reflect your true potential but with the self appraised feedback and your proposed structure of study should definetely yield you your desired results

Re: A LONG analysis of my experience, comments? [#permalink]
22 Apr 2006, 21:27

rhyme wrote:

The first math question involved a parabola and a graph.

Just curious when PVue is going to publish an updated OG 12, because problems like these never appeared in either of the OG predecessors. Another clear indication that the GMAT is evolving and becoming more difficult.

Re: A LONG analysis of my experience, comments? [#permalink]
24 Apr 2006, 14:15

GMATT73 wrote:

rhyme wrote:

The first math question involved a parabola and a graph.

Just curious when PVue is going to publish an updated OG 12, because problems like these never appeared in either of the OG predecessors. Another clear indication that the GMAT is evolving and becoming more difficult.

In all fairness, it was testing your ability to work with quadratics.

The problem was something like this... i dont remember the values, but whatever:

Which of the following represents the graph of some quadratic formula like 3/4 - 2x^2 bound by -5 <= x <= 5 ?

The answer choices presented you with 5 options (all graphs, which I canâ€™t draw, so I will describe)

a) Some graph with a vertex/y-intercept below zero and concave, x intercepts the same on both sides (by which I mean, y=0 when x = 2 and x = -2)

b) Some graph with a vertex/y-intercept above zero and concave, x intercepts the same on both sides

c) Some graph with a vertex/y-intercept below zero and convex, x intercepts different on both sides (by which I mean y=0 when x = 3 and x = -2 or something other than -3â€¦ )

d) Some graph with a vertex/y-intercept above zero and convex, x intercepts different on both sides

e) Some graph with a vertex/y-intercept above zero and convex, x intercepts the same on both sides

The trick was determining (1) the y intercept of the function, (2) whether the function was concave or convex and (3) determining whether the X intercepts (the roots of the quadratic) were the same on either sideâ€¦ If you did that, you could accurately pick the figure.

rhyme.. I feel bad for you because that was the last topic discussed in OG on Pg 139 of the book, and they give only one example of it in the entire book. No OG problem in the book discusses this.. but if you want to get to pg 139 of the OG.. it says potentially how to solve these questions..

in this case I am assuming, we would try to solve like this...
y = f(x) = 3/4 - 2x^2
find y intercept, x intercept..

so y = 0, x = +or-sqrt(3/8)
when x = 0, f(0) = 3/4.
I guess then just plot these three points atleast and a few more points... and then draw something up..

does this help? I would be stunned to see this question as the first question of my exam.. do u think that put u back? or was it more than that?

anyway thanks a lot for sharing this information.. its an eye opener for the rest of us to atleast do a few problems on quadratic eqns which generate parabolic graphs!

all the best.. i am sure you will be more prepared next time for these out of context questions!!!!!!!!!!!

One thing which jumped out at me as I read your narrative, is how you mixed what you knew with what you were feeling. Emotions are not reliable indicators of intellectual conditions. That is, a question might look "easy" to you because it's a level down from the last question, indicating you missed the last one, but it could also simply look "easy" because it's a type you are familiar with, or reminds you of a similar question you saw while studying. Therefore, it is possible that you scared yourself and damaged your concentration.

rhyme.. I feel bad for you because that was the last topic discussed in OG on Pg 139 of the book, and they give only one example of it in the entire book. No OG problem in the book discusses this.. but if you want to get to pg 139 of the OG.. it says potentially how to solve these questions..

in this case I am assuming, we would try to solve like this... y = f(x) = 3/4 - 2x^2 find y intercept, x intercept..

so y = 0, x = +or-sqrt(3/8) when x = 0, f(0) = 3/4. I guess then just plot these three points atleast and a few more points... and then draw something up..

does this help? I would be stunned to see this question as the first question of my exam.. do u think that put u back? or was it more than that?

anyway thanks a lot for sharing this information.. its an eye opener for the rest of us to atleast do a few problems on quadratic eqns which generate parabolic graphs!

all the best.. i am sure you will be more prepared next time for these out of context questions!!!!!!!!!!!

It was only necessary to determine whether the y intercept was positive (that eliminated 2 options), then determine whether the coefficient on x was positive or negative, (its negative), in which case that eliminates 1 more option, leaving you with a curve that has a y intercept above zero, is convex and either has x intercepts equidistant from zero or not.

It's was NOT necessary to actually find the exact values of the x intercepts (or for that matter the exact value of the y intercept). It was sufficient to determine their sign and relative positions. In fact, I know that the y intercept was something like 1/3, and the x intercepts were something like 1 and 1/4 and -1 1/4 ... not something you can easily identify on a small graph.

Absolutely, it threw me. I wasn't scared by it - that is, I didnt feel like "OH MAH GAWD, WHAT THE !@#! IS THIS?" when I saw it, but I did feel like "Hmmm.. this is a kinda new... I guess I'll pick points..."

Theres no question that, as a first question, it was not a confidence builder.

Drummond is also right that "what I knew" vs "What I was feeling" is a good point - and I agree that much of what looks easy.... etc... but when you get a question asking you what 10% of .0002 is, there's little doubt that this is not going to be a question that the vast majority of people get wrong.

Obviously, every question has its own bell curve, but after having done a bunch of percentage q's, you begin to identify which ones are clearly more difficult (and therefore logically have a bell curve indicative of this) than those where are clearly less complex.

The most basic (10% of 80 is what?)
The slightly less basic (10% of some fraction)
The slightly more complex sucessive percents q (If a price of a product is increased by 10% then decreased by 10% what is the new price relative to the old one?)
The complexity part-whole questions (If the number of people increased by 28 from 1997 to 1998, and there were 209 people in 1998, by what percent did the population increase from 1997 to 1998?)
The complex multiple-subject questions (If two containers are empty and x liters of water is poured into both containers making one container 1/4 full and one 1/3 full and then the smaller of the two is poured into the larger of the two, what percentage full is the larger container?)

While I agree that what seems "easy" and "hard" is subjective and not an indicator of how you are doing, there's little doubt in my mind that when you see a question like the one I described, it's pretty obvious its not a hard probability.

agree.. easy and hard is relative.. if one practices questions that he/she finds hard, it is going to get better...

but from your overall experience it sounds like the math was not that much more harder than the gmatprep.. atleast you did not find it that hard when you were doing the exam.. you were suprised more with the result than with the difficulty of questions.. is that right>?

rhyme, I have been using the Manhattan Guides except the CR/RC one, do you think it's as good as the other ones? I hear alot on this forum that the SC guide is the best, but no much about the other guides. Do you think other 6 guides prepare you well for gmat combined with OG? Thanks, and I am sure you will do great on your next attempt.

rhyme, I have been using the Manhattan Guides except the CR/RC one, do you think it's as good as the other ones? I hear alot on this forum that the SC guide is the best, but no much about the other guides. Do you think other 6 guides prepare you well for gmat combined with OG? Thanks, and I am sure you will do great on your next attempt.

The CR/RC, is in, my view, a mixed bag. The CR methods they teach did not help me at all, I found that they just used up time. This is the only Manhattan GMAT strategy that I do not use completely. They want you to diagram the CR statement and identify the premises and conclusions... I just focus on finding the conclusion of hte statement and thats it. I dont think their method for this is "ground breaking". In all fairness though, how do you teach someone critical reasoning?

However, their RC strategy is extremely powerful. They teach you how to do long RC passages WITHOUT reading the whole passage. You only read the first paragraph, and the first one or two sentences of each subsequent paragraph. It's a VERY powerful strategy, and boosted my RC scores a lot. They show you how to basically make it through a long RC passage in a few minutes, without jumbling your thoughts up... I found it extremely useful - it also saves you time.... I've finished practice exams with up to 15 minutes left over on the verbal and scored 44 or 45.

If you don't have the RC/CR book, I suggest you buy it for the RC strategy. The CR strategy is less helpful, but, out of all the strategies Manhattan covers, I was most impressed with the RC strategy for it's simplicity and effectiveness.

agree.. easy and hard is relative.. if one practices questions that he/she finds hard, it is going to get better...

but from your overall experience it sounds like the math was not that much more harder than the gmatprep.. atleast you did not find it that hard when you were doing the exam.. you were suprised more with the result than with the difficulty of questions.. is that right>?

I think the GMATPrep is a fair estimate of math difficulty, yes...

rhyme, I have been using the Manhattan Guides except the CR/RC one, do you think it's as good as the other ones? I hear alot on this forum that the SC guide is the best, but no much about the other guides. Do you think other 6 guides prepare you well for gmat combined with OG? Thanks, and I am sure you will do great on your next attempt.

The CR/RC, is in, my view, a mixed bag. The CR methods they teach did not help me at all, I found that they just used up time. This is the only Manhattan GMAT strategy that I do not use completely. They want you to diagram the CR statement and identify the premises and conclusions... I just focus on finding the conclusion of hte statement and thats it. I dont think their method for this is "ground breaking". In all fairness though, how do you teach someone critical reasoning?

However, their RC strategy is extremely powerful. They teach you how to do long RC passages WITHOUT reading the whole passage. You only read the first paragraph, and the first one or two sentences of each subsequent paragraph. It's a VERY powerful strategy, and boosted my RC scores a lot. They show you how to basically make it through a long RC passage in a few minutes, without jumbling your thoughts up... I found it extremely useful - it also saves you time.... I've finished practice exams with up to 15 minutes left over on the verbal and scored 44 or 45.

If you don't have the RC/CR book, I suggest you buy it for the RC strategy. The CR strategy is less helpful, but, out of all the strategies Manhattan covers, I was most impressed with the RC strategy for it's simplicity and effectiveness.

Other as in the Manhattan? Or other as in the kaplan / princeton?

I think the Manhattan books are worth every single penny you pay for them. I dont think that is true of the kaplan or princeton books. Kaplan, in particular, i think just fails to give you similar problems and makes the material much more complex than manhattan. Princeton was OK, but I've since put both books away in my closet and use only manhattan. The material is presented better, its clearer, the strategies are stronger, better explaned and they reference specific OG problems. This last point is big - this drove me NUTS on kaplan and princeton. When you cover a specific type of problem in manhattan, you can go 20 or 30, or in some case, 50 or 60 problems of that type. Six weeks later when you think you might have forgotten it... takes two seconds to find them again. Kaplan and Princeton were not organized like this...

Other as in the Manhattan? Or other as in the kaplan / princeton?

I think the Manhattan books are worth every single penny you pay for them. I dont think that is true of the kaplan or princeton books. Kaplan, in particular, i think just fails to give you similar problems and makes the material much more complex than manhattan. Princeton was OK, but I've since put both books away in my closet and use only manhattan. The material is presented better, its clearer, the strategies are stronger, better explaned and they reference specific OG problems. This last point is big - this drove me NUTS on kaplan and princeton. When you cover a specific type of problem in manhattan, you can go 20 or 30, or in some case, 50 or 60 problems of that type. Six weeks later when you think you might have forgotten it... takes two seconds to find them again. Kaplan and Princeton were not organized like this...

Let me know which you meant and I'll elaborate.

Thanks buddy you understood my question right, and sorry for the confusion. I am also using all the Manhattan math books and I am surprised how good they are, compared to them PR and Kaplan are not that good and like you I have also put them aside.

My main weakness seems to be math, especially the word problems, and the silly mistakes I make all the time. I have gotten better at CR, and I am ok with SC, however, I have not been able to device a clear strategy for RC. I guess I'll order the MGMAT verbal guide. Please do suggest any stretagies you think would benefit me. Thanks

My main weakness seems to be math, especially the word problems, and the silly mistakes I make all the time. I have gotten better at CR, and I am ok with SC, however, I have not been able to device a clear strategy for RC. I guess I'll order the MGMAT verbal guide. Please do suggest any stretagies you think would benefit me. Thanks

I have trouble with silly mistakes as well. Working on fixing that.

RC will be much clearer with the MGMAT strategy. Once you have that book, try it, if you dont see an improvement, let me know and I'll try to help.