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Crushed by Verbal - 660 Score / GMAT Prep Practice Tests were 740!

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Crushed by Verbal - 660 Score / GMAT Prep Practice Tests were 740! [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2015, 04:56
Hey Y'all!

I sat for the GMAT on Monday and got my final score today - 660 (Q:48, V:32, IR:7, AWA: 6).

What was shocking to me was my performance on the verbal section. I am a native English speaker and my baseline score on the GMAT Prep 1 CAT was a 32 (a few months back). Since then, I had progressed to the 37-39 range on MGMAT and Kaplan Premier CATs in March before diving back into the GMAT Prep CATs 2-4 in April (Verbal score was between 41 and 42). For what it's worth, my average Q on the final 3 GMAT Prep CATs was a 49, so I theoretically should've been looking at a score in the 740s.

However, my goal is around a 720 (targeting a run at some of the top programs), so this was disheartening to see that while everything else went according to plan, my verbal was a far cry from what I know it should've been. I wish I could chalk it up to a bad day, but clearly that wasn't the case as everything else was in line with what I know I was capable of (on the flip side maybe it was a bad day and I should've gotten a perfect Q score :P ). I've already booked a GMAT retake for August and I am determined to show the verbal section who's boss. I think that the next 2 months will be more than enough time to improve on Verbal even more, while maintaining/refining my Quant score without having to sacrifice every moment of my spare time practicing or thinking about the GMAT (it is summer after all).

I wish I knew what part of my verbal I bombed out on, but at this point I'm going to try building up from the bottom again. I've already exhausted all of the OG material and am currently using the Economist free 7 day trial just to get a feel for different verbal topics I may have missed, but I don't think I'm willing to shell out that much for just verbal prep.

FYI - On my first go around I relied primarily on the OG books, perused the MGMAT books and did the tests, and used Kaplan for its CATs. Not that it adds much to this topic, but my SATs were a Q:750/V:700 (1450 on the old scale), so I feel like a 32 was simply appalling.

Are there any good resources I should consider using? Does anyone have any tips or suggestions for me as I approach the next two months? Thanks in advance!
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Re: Crushed by Verbal - 660 Score / GMAT Prep Practice Tests were 740! [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2015, 05:40
GMATinthehouse wrote:
I wish I knew what part of my verbal I bombed out on

You might want to consider the Enhanced Score Report option that will let me know precisely the information you are looking for.

Since you are a native English speaker, my guess would be that SC and RC would be your relative stronger areas inherently.
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Re: Crushed by Verbal - 660 Score / GMAT Prep Practice Tests were 740! [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2015, 07:09
Ah - Thank you! I had no idea that existed. This will definitely provide me with some clarity as to where I will redirect my focus.
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Re: Crushed by Verbal - 660 Score / GMAT Prep Practice Tests were 740! [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2015, 11:24
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Hi GMATinthehouse,

First off, a 660/Q48 is really good score (it's right around the 80th percentile overall), so you can comfortably apply to any Business Schools you choose. Given your past practice CAT scores, it's understandable why you would want to retest though.

I have some questions about how you took your CATs:
1) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections?
2) What time of day did you take your CATs and what time of day was your Official GMAT?
3) Do you take your CATs at home or do you go to a different location?
4) Do you do anything during your CATs that is not 'test-like' (skipping sections, pausing the CAT, listening to music, etc.)?

For what it's worth, you probably don't need another 2 months of study time before re-testing.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: Crushed by Verbal - 660 Score / GMAT Prep Practice Tests were 740! [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2015, 11:40
Hi Rich,

To answer your questions:

1.) I skipped the essays earlier on in my CATs (I took a lot, so I wanted to focus on the core Q/V section)
2.) Btwn 10-11am. Test was 11am
3.) Home w/ ear plugs
4.) The usual/nothing out of the ordinary - probably shorter breaks and different snacks (didn't feel like packing yogurt or perishable food)

Thanks for the vote of confidence. I just want to nail it and make a run on the top 10 programs, otherwise it might not make sense for me. To better my chances I think a 660 would be a negative for me, correct?

What kind of material would you recommend for the next two months (July is quite busy so August actually was the only free Saturday that wasn't at a "weird" test time).

I'll have a better sense of what happened later tonight when I check my Enhanced Score Report if that helps you with determining what's the best course of action.
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Re: Crushed by Verbal - 660 Score / GMAT Prep Practice Tests were 740! [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2015, 12:12
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Hi GMATinthehouse,

A 660 puts you 'in range' of pretty much any School that you might be considering (albeit at the low end of the range). With competitive programs, a higher GMAT score is obviously "better" for you, but your OVERALL application has to be strong. If it's not, then no score (not even an 800) will be enough to get you an invite.

The extra information that you've provided is quite useful, as it helps to define what was "off" about Test Day. In real basic terms, you took your CATs in such a way that you were NOT properly training to face the Official GMAT.

Test Day is a rather specific 'event' - the details are specific and they matter, so you have to train as best as you can for all of them. The more realistic you can make your CATs, the more likely the score results are to be accurate. The more you deviate, the more "inflated" your scores can become - and that's what happened a bit here. By skipping sections, taking the CATs at home, and anything else that didn't 'match up' with the parameters of Test Day, you weren't properly training for the FULL GMAT 'experience.'

Thankfully, this is a relatively easy set of problems to fix. The big question now is "how long will it take you to properly get 'used to' taking the full GMAT?" You'll certainly need a new set of practice CATs to work with and you have to put in the necessary time to train your brain (and body) for the FULL GMAT. As far as new materials to work with, since your focus is on the Verbal section, I would recommend the EMPOWERgmat Verbal Score Booster. Most of our clients finish that Study Plan in under a month, so you could plan the specific time you want to use that Plan over the next 2 months and work from there.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: Crushed by Verbal - 660 Score / GMAT Prep Practice Tests were 740! [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2015, 16:07
So I just checked my Enhanced Score Report. Q was fine, but Verbal was weird. I thought I performed poorly across the board, but evidently not...

Breakdown of Verbal: 35 RC, 36 SC, 22 CR. I think that pretty much means I answered all of the CR questions incorrectly? I'm quite flabbergasted to be honest given my typical Verbal scores on MGMAT, Kaplan, and GMATPrep were 38-42. A 22 is simply unacceptable for me...

Based on the GMAT score chart I've seen floating around, it looks like the lowest score is a 470 (Q30, V25). It looks like I have my work cut out for me after all?
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Re: Crushed by Verbal - 660 Score / GMAT Prep Practice Tests were 740! [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2015, 18:46
Expert's post
Hi GMATinthehouse,

While you didn't get ALL of the CR questions wrong, you certainly missed a lot of them. From a tactical standpoint, I'm curious about how you were approaching those questions on Test Day...

What kind of notes do you take when you solve a typical CR?
How often do you just eliminate answers that don't "sound right" and end up at the correct answer?
How often do you find that you narrow it down to 2 choices, then "guess?"

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Re: Crushed by Verbal - 660 Score / GMAT Prep Practice Tests were 740! [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2015, 20:59
I approached the CR questions as I normally do, that is:

1.) Read the question prompt
2.) Read the argument
3.) Pre-think the answer
4.) Scan answers to see what matches #3

I usually don't take notes, nor did I find that I was making logical leaps to rationalize an answer choice. There were a few ones where I narrowed it down to 2 possible answers.

Before reviewing the ESR I thought that maybe I had done horribly across the board on Verbal or bombed RC, not CR.
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Re: Crushed by Verbal - 660 Score / GMAT Prep Practice Tests were 740! [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jun 2015, 09:45
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Hi GMATinthehouse,

It sounds like you have the right "order of steps" for dealing with CR, but by not taking notes, you're REALLY putting the burden on yourself to have perfect recall and make all of the necessary logical 'connections' in your head.

One of the 'toughest' aspects in dealing with the Verbal section is that you will NEVER know if you made a silly/little mistake - you'll just choose one of the wrong answers and not realize it. For THAT reason, you really have to get in the habit of taking notes. Those notes will help you to zero-in on the FOCUS of the prompt, the ideas that the author is trying to connect and the little 'extras' that are included in the prompt that you're EXPECTED to notice.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
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Re: Crushed by Verbal - 660 Score / GMAT Prep Practice Tests were 740! [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jan 2016, 10:07
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi GMATinthehouse,

It sounds like you have the right "order of steps" for dealing with CR, but by not taking notes, you're REALLY putting the burden on yourself to have perfect recall

Hello Rich, can you suggest what kind of notes we should be taking?

The passages in CR are anyway quite long and take quite a good time to read. After that, if we takes notes as well, it looks like quite a time consuming strategy.
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Re: Crushed by Verbal - 660 Score / GMAT Prep Practice Tests were 740! [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jan 2016, 13:15
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Hi PrijitDebnath,

Every question that you face on the GMAT will be based on some type of pattern (and sometimes more than one) - and CR prompts are no different. By taking notes, you'll be far more likely to spot those patterns, which will help you to improve your accuracy AND save time. From the way you posed your question, it sounds like you think that I'm advising that you read the prompt twice (once to read it, then once to take notes) and that is NOT what I'm advising. There are a series of Tactics that you can use (that involve working through specific 'steps') that can help you to greatly improve in CR - and you can work through those steps as your read the prompt the FIRST time. Before we can talk about any of that, there's the matter of defining how YOU work through CR (and the broader Verbal section at large):

1) How long have you been studying?
2) What materials have you been using?
3) What 'steps' do you go through when dealing with a typical CR, SC and RC prompt?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: Crushed by Verbal - 660 Score / GMAT Prep Practice Tests were 740! [#permalink]

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New post 15 Jan 2016, 15:49
Did you retest? What were your scores?

GMATinthehouse wrote:
Hey Y'all!

I sat for the GMAT on Monday and got my final score today - 660 (Q:48, V:32, IR:7, AWA: 6).

What was shocking to me was my performance on the verbal section. I am a native English speaker and my baseline score on the GMAT Prep 1 CAT was a 32 (a few months back). Since then, I had progressed to the 37-39 range on MGMAT and Kaplan Premier CATs in March before diving back into the GMAT Prep CATs 2-4 in April (Verbal score was between 41 and 42). For what it's worth, my average Q on the final 3 GMAT Prep CATs was a 49, so I theoretically should've been looking at a score in the 740s.

However, my goal is around a 720 (targeting a run at some of the top programs), so this was disheartening to see that while everything else went according to plan, my verbal was a far cry from what I know it should've been. I wish I could chalk it up to a bad day, but clearly that wasn't the case as everything else was in line with what I know I was capable of (on the flip side maybe it was a bad day and I should've gotten a perfect Q score :P ). I've already booked a GMAT retake for August and I am determined to show the verbal section who's boss. I think that the next 2 months will be more than enough time to improve on Verbal even more, while maintaining/refining my Quant score without having to sacrifice every moment of my spare time practicing or thinking about the GMAT (it is summer after all).

I wish I knew what part of my verbal I bombed out on, but at this point I'm going to try building up from the bottom again. I've already exhausted all of the OG material and am currently using the Economist free 7 day trial just to get a feel for different verbal topics I may have missed, but I don't think I'm willing to shell out that much for just verbal prep.

FYI - On my first go around I relied primarily on the OG books, perused the MGMAT books and did the tests, and used Kaplan for its CATs. Not that it adds much to this topic, but my SATs were a Q:750/V:700 (1450 on the old scale), so I feel like a 32 was simply appalling.

Are there any good resources I should consider using? Does anyone have any tips or suggestions for me as I approach the next two months? Thanks in advance!
Re: Crushed by Verbal - 660 Score / GMAT Prep Practice Tests were 740!   [#permalink] 15 Jan 2016, 15:49
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