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Anyone Else? 130 Point Drop From Kaplan CATs to Test Day

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Anyone Else? 130 Point Drop From Kaplan CATs to Test Day [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2013, 15:38
I am a new user to GMAT Club and I ask for your forgiveness in advance if this isn't posted in the correct place or if I'm not using the proper site lingo.

I enrolled in the Kaplan self paced course, worked my butt off for 3 months straight and was seeing significant improvements over the 8 practice CATs I had taken over that time. By the time test day rolled around I brought my score up to a 640, continually ranging around the 85th percentile in quant and just below the 70th percentile in verbal. I studied well over the recommended 150 hours for a 700, burned through almost all of the medium and high difficulty Q bank questions, and was very confident that I would break the 650 barrier on test day.

I wrote the GMAT 2 weeks ago and was crushed by my unofficial score report. I received a 510, scoring in the 40th percentile on quant and in the 30th percentile on verbal. As confident as I was going into the test I had still prepared myself for some regression. Maybe 10, 20, or god forbid 30 points but at no point did I ever expect to see a 130 point drop.

If that wasn't bad enough, I enrolled in another Kaplan class last week and on my diagnostic CAT scored a 700 (92nd percentile on quant/89th percentile on verbal). At this point, as much as I want to believe I'm capable of a 700, I'm having a problem putting my faith in the Kaplan scoring algorithm. Also, during the diagnostic I recognized many questions from previous CATs (even thought I got most of them wrong).

I'm wondering if anyone else had a similar experience, and if so, where you able to do anything differently the second time around to get your score where you wanted it to be.
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Re: Anyone Else? 130 Point Drop From Kaplan CATs to Test Day [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2013, 16:55
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I'm sorry :( really

I do not know why that was happen. Usually who score well on kaplan score much better during the exam because kaplan is tougher than gmat (usually)

But unfortunately what counts is the GMAT exam

In a recent discussion gmat-prep-software-analysis-and-what-if-scenarios-146146.html we are testing the gmatprep software under different scenarios and we have good reasons to believe that:

- quant section is more tough than any official material (OG, Gmat prep and so on)
- verbal fairly reflects the real exam
- the algorithm is (maybe here we do not certainly) different in comparison with the exam, a bit (or greatly, but this last case is only a remote assumption)
- on the contrary of the commone believe (and this denies what gmac says) the first 10 questions both verbal and quant are essential to achive a great score, no matter what.

Back to study, stronger than before and beat the gmat :) (though here we are on gmatclub eheheh )

regards
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COLLECTION OF QUESTIONS
Quant: 1. Bunuel Signature Collection - The Next Generation 2. Bunuel Signature Collection ALL-IN-ONE WITH SOLUTIONS 3. Veritas Prep Blog PDF Version
Verbal:1. Best EXTERNAL resources to tackle the GMAT Verbal Section 2. e-GMAT's ALL CR topics-Consolidated 3. New Critical Reasoning question bank by carcass 4. Meaning/Clarity SC Question Bank by Carcass_Souvik 5. e-GMAT's ALL SC topics-Consolidated-2nd Edition 6. The best reading to improve Reading Comprehension 7.Verbal question bank and Directories

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Re: Anyone Else? 130 Point Drop From Kaplan CATs to Test Day [#permalink] New post 02 Feb 2013, 07:51
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Sorry to hear that the actual exam didn't treat you terribly well. A few thoughts...

1) If you've used a lot of Kaplan materials, you'll definitely get used to their writing style, which is different from the style of the actual exam. Inevitably, you'll learn to see Kaplan's traps, and you'll do much better on their tests than on the real thing. This is even worse if you've exclusively used Kaplan materials. I'm not sure that it explains a 130-point drop, but it definitely explains a large chunk of it.

2) Non-official tests (anything besides the GMATPrep) are inherently unreliable, at least to some extent. The Kaplan tests are the work of some very smart people who are trying their best to reverse-engineer the actual GMAT test... but they aren't the actual GMAT. They differ from the actual exam in all sorts of subtle ways, and it simply isn't unusual to see huge discrepancies between Kaplan (or MGMAT or Veritas or PR) tests and the real thing. Sure, your gap is larger than most, but it isn't completely crazy.

3) Have you taken the GMATPrep tests before? If so, is the 510 close to your previous GMATPrep score(s)? If your GMATPrep and actual GMAT scores are in a similar range, then it suggests that the Kaplan test might be giving you the wrong impression, unfortunately.

4) Did you use the official guides, or just Kaplan materials? I'd argue that the single most important way to improve on the GMAT is to get used to the style of the actual questions. The math on the test isn't terribly advanced, but the questions are brutal because of the way that they're written. If you haven't been exposed to enough actual, retired questions, you probably won't do all that well. Kaplan is a nice supplement to official materials, but a terrible substitute.

5) Maybe nerves played a role during your actual exam? It doesn't take too many careless errors early in a section to send your score plummeting. If you're even the slightest bit jittery or rushing through things a little bit faster than usual, it can have a disproportionate impact on your score.

So depending on how much you've used the official guides, I'm not completely shocked by the score discrepancy. The good news is, if you can improve as much as you have on the Kaplan tests, you can do it on the real thing, too. It's just a question of getting better practice materials in front of you, and making sure that you have a better test day next time. :-D

This is just my opinion, but your situation isn't as strange as it may seem--and it definitely isn't as bad as it may seem. When you finally get that 650, it will feel even sweeter after this experience.

Good luck!
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Re: Anyone Else? 130 Point Drop From Kaplan CATs to Test Day [#permalink] New post 02 Feb 2013, 09:18
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GMATNinja wrote:
Sorry to hear that the actual exam didn't treat you terribly well. A few thoughts...

1) If you've used a lot of Kaplan materials, you'll definitely get used to their writing style, which is different from the style of the actual exam. Inevitably, you'll learn to see Kaplan's traps, and you'll do much better on their tests than on the real thing. This is even worse if you've exclusively used Kaplan materials. I'm not sure that it explains a 130-point drop, but it definitely explains a large chunk of it.

2) Non-official tests (anything besides the GMATPrep) are inherently unreliable, at least to some extent. The Kaplan tests are the work of some very smart people who are trying their best to reverse-engineer the actual GMAT test... but they aren't the actual GMAT. They differ from the actual exam in all sorts of subtle ways, and it simply isn't unusual to see huge discrepancies between Kaplan (or MGMAT or Veritas or PR) tests and the real thing. Sure, your gap is larger than most, but it isn't completely crazy.

3) Have you taken the GMATPrep tests before? If so, is the 510 close to your previous GMATPrep score(s)? If your GMATPrep and actual GMAT scores are in a similar range, then it suggests that the Kaplan test might be giving you the wrong impression, unfortunately.

4) Did you use the official guides, or just Kaplan materials? I'd argue that the single most important way to improve on the GMAT is to get used to the style of the actual questions. The math on the test isn't terribly advanced, but the questions are brutal because of the way that they're written. If you haven't been exposed to enough actual, retired questions, you probably won't do all that well. Kaplan is a nice supplement to official materials, but a terrible substitute.

5) Maybe nerves played a role during your actual exam? It doesn't take too many careless errors early in a section to send your score plummeting. If you're even the slightest bit jittery or rushing through things a little bit faster than usual, it can have a disproportionate impact on your score.

So depending on how much you've used the official guides, I'm not completely shocked by the score discrepancy. The good news is, if you can improve as much as you have on the Kaplan tests, you can do it on the real thing, too. It's just a question of getting better practice materials in front of you, and making sure that you have a better test day next time. :-D

This is just my opinion, but your situation isn't as strange as it may seem--and it definitely isn't as bad as it may seem. When you finally get that 650, it will feel even sweeter after this experience.

Good luck!



you are definitely one of the most important tutor that I respect in the whole gmat world why ?? simply because you have the right, perfectly shaped attitude toward this (crazy) test :)

regards
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COLLECTION OF QUESTIONS
Quant: 1. Bunuel Signature Collection - The Next Generation 2. Bunuel Signature Collection ALL-IN-ONE WITH SOLUTIONS 3. Veritas Prep Blog PDF Version
Verbal:1. Best EXTERNAL resources to tackle the GMAT Verbal Section 2. e-GMAT's ALL CR topics-Consolidated 3. New Critical Reasoning question bank by carcass 4. Meaning/Clarity SC Question Bank by Carcass_Souvik 5. e-GMAT's ALL SC topics-Consolidated-2nd Edition 6. The best reading to improve Reading Comprehension 7.Verbal question bank and Directories

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Re: Anyone Else? 130 Point Drop From Kaplan CATs to Test Day [#permalink] New post 02 Feb 2013, 14:50
Thank you, Carcass! As usual, I really appreciate the kind words.
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Re: Anyone Else? 130 Point Drop From Kaplan CATs to Test Day [#permalink] New post 02 Feb 2013, 17:13
I hope the second Kaplan course was the free course you get when you are unsatisfied.

If you had to pay, I'd definitely choose another company not because Kaplan is bad (quite the contrary) but because it'd be good to get access to another test bank and maybe learn tricks from another company. I think the previous poster brought up a good point about learning Kaplan test bank tricks but not GMAT test tricks.
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Re: Anyone Else? 130 Point Drop From Kaplan CATs to Test Day [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2013, 19:58
AnthonyJ wrote:
I am a new user to GMAT Club and I ask for your forgiveness in advance if this isn't posted in the correct place or if I'm not using the proper site lingo.

I enrolled in the Kaplan self paced course, worked my butt off for 3 months straight and was seeing significant improvements over the 8 practice CATs I had taken over that time. By the time test day rolled around I brought my score up to a 640, continually ranging around the 85th percentile in quant and just below the 70th percentile in verbal. I studied well over the recommended 150 hours for a 700, burned through almost all of the medium and high difficulty Q bank questions, and was very confident that I would break the 650 barrier on test day.

I wrote the GMAT 2 weeks ago and was crushed by my unofficial score report. I received a 510, scoring in the 40th percentile on quant and in the 30th percentile on verbal. As confident as I was going into the test I had still prepared myself for some regression. Maybe 10, 20, or god forbid 30 points but at no point did I ever expect to see a 130 point drop.

If that wasn't bad enough, I enrolled in another Kaplan class last week and on my diagnostic CAT scored a 700 (92nd percentile on quant/89th percentile on verbal). At this point, as much as I want to believe I'm capable of a 700, I'm having a problem putting my faith in the Kaplan scoring algorithm. Also, during the diagnostic I recognized many questions from previous CATs (even thought I got most of them wrong).

I'm wondering if anyone else had a similar experience, and if so, where you able to do anything differently the second time around to get your score where you wanted it to be.


Hey Anthony, I had a very similar situation, though my first practice scores were not as high as yours. I took the Kaplan course after scoring a 450 on my 1st GMAT cold turkey. I scored a 510 on my diagnostic Kaplan CAT. 2 weeks prior to my 2nd GMAT, I had scored a 580 on my most recent CAT. I was confident that I would break 600 which was my goal. Unfortunately, I only scored a 490 on my 2nd Official GMAT. I was very disappointed. I like to believe that some of the drop was caused from Xmas/NYE commotion, but I've also learned that there's no substitute for knowing the material and seeing how the Official GMAT Reviews apply the material in questions. Kaplan taught me a lot of tips, tricks, and shortcuts... but ultimately I realized I need to know the material.

Good luck with everything moving forward.
Re: Anyone Else? 130 Point Drop From Kaplan CATs to Test Day   [#permalink] 06 Feb 2013, 19:58
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