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Am I choking?

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Am I choking? [#permalink] New post 18 Dec 2012, 09:39
Hi Guys,

Im a long-time lurker but never posted. This is a great resource and environment by the way.

I sat the GMAT for the 2nd time today and got 670 (Q42, V40). Im very disappointed.

Previous attempt clocked 660 (Q38, V41). The thing that particularly frustrates me is that Ive studied hard (almost daily for last 3 months), and my mock tests have been pitching much higher, especially in the Quant - see below list of GMAT test results.

Last time I told myself that because I was ill and slept about 3 hrs per night for the several nights before my first Actual GMAT Test I was not on my game. This time round I was feeling healthy but still only slept 3 hrs last night - started to feel very tired in later stages of exam today. My Quant is 3 points better, but Ive been getting consistently higher marks in my mocks (45+ in last few mocks). On the other hand Verbal seems to be true to form - around 40 every time. Im trying to rack my brains to find out where this discrepancy comes from. Why is my Quant not more consistent in the actual exam? Is it the sleep factor? Maybe Im choking? Maybe I just cant cut it?

Ive seen a lot of good advice on here and some very experienced people. I was hoping someone had been in this situation before, or knew someone who had, or maybe has some insight into why my Quant doesnt do as it should.

Thanks - result history below
AS

21/07/12 GMAT Prep 1 Q36 V31 560
17/10/12 GMAT Prep 1 (2nd) Q45 V38 680
16-Oct-12 MGMAT 1 Q37 V36 610
21-Oct-12 MGMAT 2 Q39 V35 620
02-Nov-12 MGMAT 3 Q42 V37 650
05-Nov-12 GMATPrep 2 Q48 V35 690
11-Nov-12 Actual GMAT Q39 V41 660
22-Nov-12 MGMAT 4 Q45
30-Nov-12 MGMAT 5 Q44 V32 630
09-Dec-12 GMATPrep 2 (2nd) Q49 V41 730
14-Dec-12 GMATPrep 1 (3rd) Q47 V41 710
18-Dec-12 Actual GMAT Q42 V40 670
Manhattan GMAT Discount CodesKaplan GMAT Prep Discount CodesVeritas Prep GMAT Discount Codes
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Re: Am I choking? [#permalink] New post 23 Dec 2012, 22:02
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Sorry to hear that the GMAT quant didn't go quite as well as you'd hoped, AdnanS. Congratulations on a consistently strong verbal score, though!

I can't help but notice that your practice test scores are somewhat inconsistent, and I'm guessing that there are some flaws in your approach that cause funny things to happen on test day. Some of the MGMAT scores were pretty weak, and then there was the 47 on your third attempt at GMATPrep Test #1... and I would think that you'd score at least a point or two better than that, since many of those questions must have been repeats.

I could be completely wrong, since I don't have much information about you, but is it possible that you've never really focused enough on accuracy? Is it possible that you're missing just enough easy questions to cause trouble? If you're not absolutely 100% obsessive about getting the "easy" questions right (whatever "easy" may mean to you on quant), then you run the risk of making just enough silly errors to keep your score down. And it doesn't take too many careless errors to drop your score, particularly if those errors occur early in the test.

Here's my advice: go through all of your practice tests, and count the "boneheaded" errors. If you're making more than one or two per test, then you might be the sort of guy who is just erratic enough to have some downside risk on test day. It's a fairly common thing, and it's solvable with enough focus and discipline.

I can think of a couple of other possible explanations for the score dropoff (inflated practice test scores or possibly some nerves early in the test?), but I have a hunch that you're making just enough "unforced" errors to cause some erratic scores. Does that sound plausible at all? You obviously know yourself better than I do. :)

I hope this helps!

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Helping students kick the GMAT in the nuts since 2002... www.gmatninja.com.

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Re: Am I choking? [#permalink] New post 24 Dec 2012, 09:59
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AdnanS wrote:
Thanks for the reply Ninja.

Your right - Im making roughly 2-4 bonehead errors per test. Also have noticed getting on average 4 wrong out of first 10 questions. DS is substantially weaker than PS.

Do you know what kind of plan I can put in place to counter these weaknesses?

Thanks

for DS.... GMAT club has a very good resource.... check this out...
ds-question-directory-by-topic-difficulty-128728.html
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Re: Am I choking? [#permalink] New post 24 Dec 2012, 14:02
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The bad news is that there really isn't a glamorous solution, other than tons of focused practice. Try to develop a better rhythm so that you avoid unforced errors. I usually tell my students to read every question twice before they start writing anything down, just to help ensure that they aren't missing a word or a modifier (i.e. "x is a two-digit integer") that will lead to a dumb mistake. Once they've found an answer, I encourage them to recheck any basic arithmetic or algebra, and then re-read the question again... just to make sure that they didn't miss something silly. Before you click "next", always ask yourself, "how is the GMAT trying to screw me?" Get into the habit of asking this question every single time, and your accuracy should eventually improve.

It sounds like all of this takes a ton of time, but it doesn't. Re-reading the question only takes a few extra seconds, and it's time well-spent, considering the damage that a careless error can cause on the GMAT. Ideally, whenever you see an easy question, you should actually slow down a little bit, and watch carefully for traps. And most of us usually have the opposite instinct ("this looks easy, so I'll save some time by doing it quickly!").

More importantly, you really need to hold your feet to the fire on your homework sets. If you do a set of, say, 37 OG problems, look through it carefully for the silly errors. Again, most of us have the opposite instinct: we're inclined to focus on the toughest questions, and we ignore the missed questions that we understood. Ask yourself what you misread or miscalculated, and try to figure out where, exactly, you need to slow down... or what sorts of traps you're falling into. The GMAT punishes you much more severely for missing easy questions than for missing hard ones, so you should be more worried about the careless errors than the questions that were genuinely hard for you.

In all honesty, you could use almost any quant problem set to work on these skills. If you haven't finished everything in the OG and the Quant guide, then use those; otherwise, any of the quant sets available through GMAT Club should help you to become more accurate.

Good luck with everything, and let us know how things go on your next attempt!

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Helping students kick the GMAT in the nuts since 2002... www.gmatninja.com.

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Re: Am I choking? [#permalink] New post 24 Dec 2012, 09:39
Thanks for the reply Ninja.

Your right - Im making roughly 2-4 bonehead errors per test. Also have noticed getting on average 4 wrong out of first 10 questions. DS is substantially weaker than PS.

Do you know what kind of plan I can put in place to counter these weaknesses?

Thanks
Re: Am I choking?   [#permalink] 24 Dec 2012, 09:39
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