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Bombed my gmats today, need advice

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Bombed my gmats today, need advice [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2010, 17:13
Hello all, I have been lurking for a bit and decided to sign up and post my results.

I started studying first week of February 2010, so I studied for about 2 months.

Here was my strat:

OG11
OG Quant Review
OG Verbal Review
Re did all above OG problems I got wrong
Last 40 problems of OG12 for both PS and DS
SC Manhattan Guide

1.5 weeks ago, I started doing the practice exams, pretty much 1 per day until the exam day today.

Results:
Gmat Prep 1: 600
MGMAT CAT 1: 580 Q35 V34
MGMAT CAT 2: 670 Q46 V35
MGMAT CAT 3: 660 Q46 V34
MGMAT CAT 4: 660 Q45 V35
MGMAT CAT 5: 690 Q46 V38
MGMAT CAT 6: 670 Q45 V36
GMAT Prep 2: 680
GMAT Prep Reinstall Q48 (only did Quant section)

And actual official score today: 530 Q36 V27

I was shocked when I saw this score on my screen, I really thought I was going to get a minimum of 650. My target score is 700. Need major help!!

I feel like I wasted a lot of time (a month) doing those OG problem sets, they are way too easy compared to the real thing.
Manhattan GMAT Discount CodesKaplan GMAT Prep Discount CodesVeritas Prep GMAT Discount Codes
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Re: Bombed my gmats today, need advice [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2010, 17:59
anon123 wrote:
Hello all, I have been lurking for a bit and decided to sign up and post my results.

I started studying first week of February 2010, so I studied for about 2 months.

Here was my strat:

OG11
OG Quant Review
OG Verbal Review
Re did all above OG problems I got wrong
Last 40 problems of OG12 for both PS and DS
SC Manhattan Guide

1.5 weeks ago, I started doing the practice exams, pretty much 1 per day until the exam day today.

Results:
Gmat Prep 1: 600
MGMAT CAT 1: 580 Q35 V34
MGMAT CAT 2: 670 Q46 V35
MGMAT CAT 3: 660 Q46 V34
MGMAT CAT 4: 660 Q45 V35
MGMAT CAT 5: 690 Q46 V38
MGMAT CAT 6: 670 Q45 V36
GMAT Prep 2: 680
GMAT Prep Reinstall Q48 (only did Quant section)

And actual official score today: 530 Q36 V27

I was shocked when I saw this score on my screen, I really thought I was going to get a minimum of 650. My target score is 700. Need major help!!

I feel like I wasted a lot of time (a month) doing those OG problem sets, they are way too easy compared to the real thing.


First and foremost, the MGMAT CAT is not that great. The verbal section of MGMAT CAT somewhat diverges from the actual GMAT (ie. there are MGMAT CAT verbal questions that involve calculations - you will never get a verbal question on the GMAT that involves any calculation at all).

Secondly, the MGMAT CAT SC questions almost all allow splicing in their answers. I noticed that in the real GMAT, there are certain SC questions where you cannot splice.

Third and most important, you will get a range of scores if you write the GMAT, even if you enter the GMAT each time in the exact same condition. My range on the GMAT was from 530 to 620 - even though my preparation/condition entering each one was similar. I got lucky and hit my upper range the last time I took it. Don't be discouraged if you got a low score - you may have to write it multiple times to get something in your upper range. I got rocked by an astronomy RC passage with my 530 score where I was guessing blindly - when I got my 620 score, the RC passages were much more easier for me to comprehend (trust me, my RC skills did not improve between the 530 and 620 score).

Luck is also a factor in other ways. Roughly 1/3 of the GMAT questions are "experimental" questions that don't count towards your score. What if you happen to guess on more of the experimental questions and spend time working on some of the questions that do count towards your score? If you take the GMAT a large number of times, luck becomes less of a factor but if you take it very few times, luck plays more of a factor with very few samples (ie. just like gambling in the short run vs long run).

Fourth, concentrate on the latter OG questions and time yourself. Usually, the last 30 OG questions for each section are the harder ones.

Fifth, for my 620 score, I stopped preparing off of MGMAT's CAT, and reused GMATPrep instead, even though I had written the GMATPrep tests more than once. If you have written the GMATPrep test more than once, set a lower time limit to finish the second or third time around (because you have seen some of the questions). For instance, set yourself at 65 minutes for the Quantitative section the second time around taking GMATPrep test 1, and 60 minutes the third time taking GMATPrep test 1. There is no better CAT to prepare for the verbal section of the actual GMAT than GMATPrep. FYI, I found Kaplan's CAT questions also different from the actual GMAT and GMATPrep. I did one Kaplan CAT and never touched it again.

Finally, I have posted some timing tips that I found helpful in boosting my score. Please take a look:

http://gmatclub.com/forum/my-gmat-timingstrategies-tactics-that-got-me-from-530-to-91929.html
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Re: Bombed my gmats today, need advice [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2010, 20:43
Hi,
Looking at your quant / verbal split it seems that, while you will need to bring up your quant score to achieve your target, improving your verbal score must be a key component in your strategy. There are big gains to be made there. A few ideas might be:

1) Work on reading proficiency. (BB's GMAT reading list etc.) Regardless of what reading strategy you use on the test, (e.g., Rhyme's "power skimming" for RC) the ability to digest the content at a rapid pace with a high degree of comprehension will help on all aspects of the verbal section. Reading is a skill that improves with practice.

2)Your prep lists the Manhattan SC book, but no additional prep for RC & CR. These might be possible areas for improvement, especially if you approached them with targeted practice and well developed strategies.

3)The information in your study plan leads me to conclude that you did the practice tests in too short a time span. You need to not only digest what mistakes you made but also figure out why you made them.
Best of luck going forward.

Help!
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Re: Bombed my gmats today, need advice [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2010, 06:54
i'm just surprised at the large score gap between the cats and my official score ugh. now i don't know how to prepare since i feel like i can't rely on the practice cats anymore, and yes I probably should have started the CATs earlier
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Re: Bombed my gmats today, need advice [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2010, 09:14
In my opinion, all cats - kaplan, gmatprep, mgmat, etc - are essentially just more practice problems and nothing more than that. Certainly there is overlap in the areas tested but how those areas will be tested and the variations in between questions cannot be narrowed down. Cats are just a 'best effort' at trying to mimic content you are most likely to see on the exam. I don't think even gmatprep is a good indicator of what you'll see on the real thing. As others have posted on here, gmatprep vs real gmat are two entirely different animals.

While you can consistently score 700s on any all the practice cats you've taken, this does not necessarily translate into a 700+ score on test day.

I'm taking the exam on april 10th. :shock: I wish you the best of luck on your retake.
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Re: Bombed my gmats today, need advice [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2010, 12:39
anon123 wrote:
i'm just surprised at the large score gap between the cats and my official score ugh. now i don't know how to prepare since i feel like i can't rely on the practice cats anymore, and yes I probably should have started the CATs earlier


You're basing it off one sample, assuming you've only written the real GMAT once. This is equivalent to a gambler playing one hand of black jack, winning that hand, and concluding he will always have a 100% win rate against the house - we know that is not true in the long run.

Take into account that 1/3 of the questions on the GMAT are "experimental" questions that don't count towards your score, and it's safe to say the real GMAT isn't as accurate in determining your score as say, GMATPrep, where all questions count towards your score. If you take the real GMAT a few more times and your real score isn't close to your mock test scores, then there may be an issue (ie. the pressure/anxiety of the real exam is affecting you).

BTW, for what it's worth, I did all 6 MGMAT CAT exams too and I found the quantitative questions to be close enough to the real GMAT & GMATPrep. My beef is with their verbal section, which is not as accurate compared to GMAT & GMATPrep.
Re: Bombed my gmats today, need advice   [#permalink] 28 Mar 2010, 12:39
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