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Devastated by an extremely low score and seeking help

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Devastated by an extremely low score and seeking help [#permalink] New post 08 Dec 2013, 02:35
Hi,

This is my first post on this forum. I do not know the protocols to be followed, thus kindly forgive me if my post sounds novice.

I gave my first GMAT exam on Sept 19 2013. I studied over a stretch of six months (though I was not so dedicated) and got a score of 640 (V-32 and Q-45). I knew I had the potential and thus I tried again, this time with full dedication. I studied for two months and gave approx 2-3 hours each day. Since I work, this was the max I could afford to give on weekdays. I spent 6-7 hours on my weekends. I took an off from the office for 7 days before the exam. For 2 months I was thoroughly dedicated. I gave the exam on 7th Dec-2013 and was devastated to see 590 (V-28 and Q-32) on my screen. My dreams shattered my hopes faded as I saw that score. I consistently scored 660-670 on the official GMAT prep exams. I gave 4 exams and my score varied from 650-670. I was hoping to see a 680 but this drastic 90 point decrease pulled me down so bad that I had no option but to post here. I improvised my work each day, studied hard, worked on my mistakes and most of all I gave my 100%. I was facing tough questions in the exam, I thought I was doing well. I am not so bad with verbal to score a 28 and definitely not that bad to score a 42 on maths. Please help. I am feeling hopeless. Most of the schools will have their second deadline in first week of Jan and thus I would not be able to apply. I wanted to score a 700+ and what just happened to my score is something which am not able to digest. I had not, in the most dreadful of my imaginations, thought that I'd score this bad. Should I re-give the exam? Was it the exam pressure that got me down? Were the questions really hard? Are my concepts weak? If I re-give the exam the pressure on me this time round would be super high. Do I still stand a chance to get a 700+?

I seek help....... The five schools I applied to were Chappel hill, tepper, NUS, york university and Imperial college.
Please help I really need to get into a good B-school and I am ready to work day in and out for it.
(I work as a Software Engg with an Indian IT firm. I hold 2.5 years of work experience. I am 24 years old.)

Regards,
A lost soul :cry:
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Re: Devastated by an extremely low score and seeking help [#permalink] New post 08 Dec 2013, 08:19
Can someone suggest :(
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Re: Devastated by an extremely low score and seeking help [#permalink] New post 27 Dec 2013, 13:22
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Sorry to have just come along this post. Did you get any advice from anyone?

KW
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Re: Devastated by an extremely low score and seeking help [#permalink] New post 27 Dec 2013, 21:14
I consulted a few people.. One of the teachers, from whom I took classes, asked me to wait and re-start all over again. Also, she was pressing on the fact that I should apply with my first GMAT score of 640. Personally, I do not want to do that. I do not want to apply with my first score.
A lot of people have suggested me to apply with 640. I do not want to I want to re-give it again.
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Re: Devastated by an extremely low score and seeking help [#permalink] New post 30 Dec 2013, 13:36
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manpritsp19 wrote:
I consulted a few people.. One of the teachers, from whom I took classes, asked me to wait and re-start all over again. Also, she was pressing on the fact that I should apply with my first GMAT score of 640. Personally, I do not want to do that. I do not want to apply with my first score.
A lot of people have suggested me to apply with 640. I do not want to I want to re-give it again.


It's all up to you. Are you trying to maximize your GMAT score because you need that to get into your dream school? If so, take a little break and then get back into the studies and push back your date. If the GMAT is a means to an end - getting an MBA - then applying with those scores makes sense. Perhaps you don't get into your dream school, but you might get accepted to one of your top choices.

Only you know what is best for you. I'm not an admissions consultant, but I have seen people get admitted with scores they thought were too low. The GMAT is one of many application elements - keep that in mind.

Best of luck!

KW
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Re: Devastated by an extremely low score and seeking help [#permalink] New post 01 Jan 2014, 05:47
I am trying to maximize my GMAT score because I need to get into my dream school. Also, GMAT is a means to an end - getting an MBA. What I feel is that 640 is too low for the schools I consider good. On the other hand, I feel there is no guarantee that things don't go terribly wrong the next time.
still confused :(
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Re: Devastated by an extremely low score and seeking help [#permalink] New post 03 Jan 2014, 11:58
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manpritsp19 wrote:
I am trying to maximize my GMAT score because I need to get into my dream school. Also, GMAT is a means to an end - getting an MBA. What I feel is that 640 is too low for the schools I consider good. On the other hand, I feel there is no guarantee that things don't go terribly wrong the next time.
still confused :(


Have you spoken to the schools themselves or chatted with an admissions consultant? They will often give you some good guidance about the strength of your application. You also need to look at the "range" of GMAT scores at each school, not just the median score, to see if your score fits into the range. If you are in the range, then it's a question of the strength of the rest of your application.

With only the data you provided, particularly your stated performance on practice exams, I would say you likely have the potential to score in the high 600s on test day. I would guess that what's happening to you on test day is that you have issues with either timing, test anxiety, weak spots in your preparation, or silly mistakes.

For timing, have you had any issues on practice exams? Do you use timing charts? Do you run out of time or spend too long on difficult problems and rush through easy problems?

For anxiety, do you get really nervous when taking the real thing? Have you experienced issues with poor performance on other tests in the past?

For weak spots, have you taken practice exams that give diagnostic results? (Manhattan GMAT CATs give full diagnostic results by question type. GMAT Focus is a nice diagnostic tool from GMAC). If so, do you show any weakness in a key area, like Algebra?

For silly mistakes, do you find yourself making small mental errors? Forgetting a negative sign, overlooking a part of the instructions, small arithmetic errors? These can multiply on test day and really impact your score.

KW
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Re: Devastated by an extremely low score and seeking help [#permalink] New post 03 Jan 2014, 22:43
No I haven't spoken to the schools or chatted with an admissions consultant.

I have issues with timing, test anxiety, weak spots in my preparation and silly mistakes. My major problem is exam fear. Second major problem is lack of confidence in myself. Third is timing.

For timing, have you had any issues on practice exams? Do you use timing charts? Do you run out of time or spend too long on difficult problems and rush through easy problems?
Yes I do have time management problems. I spent good eight minutes on the second question in my GMAT exam. Horrified, I screwed up the rest of the exam as well because of spending so much time. I do spend long on difficult problems n i do simpler one's in a jiffy.

For anxiety, do you get really nervous when taking the real thing? Have you experienced issues with poor performance on other tests in the past?
Yes a lot of times my anxiety takes a toll on me. I get really nervous and thus have scored bad on exams. I know its not a matter of life and death but I did consider it almost of that significance.

For weak spots, have you taken practice exams that give diagnostic results? (Manhattan GMAT CATs give full diagnostic results by question type. GMAT Focus is a nice diagnostic tool from GMAC). If so, do you show any weakness in a key area, like Algebra?
I have taken the Manhattan CATs. I have not tried the tool from GMAC. I worked on my weak areas. Inequalities, for instance, was one such area. Stats was one area. Weighted averages and Venn Diagrams still haunt me. There's one pattern I have noticed in myself. More is the length of the question, more scared I get before solving it. I make a picture in my mind that the question will be tough. I read the question stem three-four times before actually cracking the question and this thus leads to time wastage. At the end of the exam I am left with less time and more number of questions.
Verbal : I am bad with assumption questions and under time pressure the problem worsens. I "PANIC". I totally lose track of myself. In GMAT exam this is what happened to me. I merely remember any question. The only thing I remember is that I was tensed. I lost my cool in the mid of the verbal section. Somehow, I figured out I am not doing well, this fact even screwed my rest of the questions. I got majority questions of assumptions.

For silly mistakes, do you find yourself making small mental errors? Forgetting a negative sign, overlooking a part of the instructions, small arithmetic errors? These can multiply on test day and really impact your score.
Now, silly mistakes are one thing that have prevailed in all my exams since childhood. Overlooking a part of the instruction, reading 1 as 7 , not reading the -ve sign etc. I specially took a note of these things and was extra cautious on the exam day so as not to repeat the mistakes.

My lack of concentration and my fear are my biggest enemies. My hard work is my asset, but am losing out on this as well because each day makes me feel worthless. I feel that there's no guarantee that things will go right this time. I am taken aback by the fact that I might not get into a school like MIT , I thoroughly wanted that to happen.
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Re: Devastated by an extremely low score and seeking help [#permalink] New post 07 Jan 2014, 11:12
Expert's post
manpritsp19 wrote:
No I haven't spoken to the schools or chatted with an admissions consultant.

I have issues with timing, test anxiety, weak spots in my preparation and silly mistakes. My major problem is exam fear. Second major problem is lack of confidence in myself. Third is timing.

For timing, have you had any issues on practice exams? Do you use timing charts? Do you run out of time or spend too long on difficult problems and rush through easy problems?
Yes I do have time management problems. I spent good eight minutes on the second question in my GMAT exam. Horrified, I screwed up the rest of the exam as well because of spending so much time. I do spend long on difficult problems n i do simpler one's in a jiffy.

For anxiety, do you get really nervous when taking the real thing? Have you experienced issues with poor performance on other tests in the past?
Yes a lot of times my anxiety takes a toll on me. I get really nervous and thus have scored bad on exams. I know its not a matter of life and death but I did consider it almost of that significance.

For weak spots, have you taken practice exams that give diagnostic results? (Manhattan GMAT CATs give full diagnostic results by question type. GMAT Focus is a nice diagnostic tool from GMAC). If so, do you show any weakness in a key area, like Algebra?
I have taken the Manhattan CATs. I have not tried the tool from GMAC. I worked on my weak areas. Inequalities, for instance, was one such area. Stats was one area. Weighted averages and Venn Diagrams still haunt me. There's one pattern I have noticed in myself. More is the length of the question, more scared I get before solving it. I make a picture in my mind that the question will be tough. I read the question stem three-four times before actually cracking the question and this thus leads to time wastage. At the end of the exam I am left with less time and more number of questions.
Verbal : I am bad with assumption questions and under time pressure the problem worsens. I "PANIC". I totally lose track of myself. In GMAT exam this is what happened to me. I merely remember any question. The only thing I remember is that I was tensed. I lost my cool in the mid of the verbal section. Somehow, I figured out I am not doing well, this fact even screwed my rest of the questions. I got majority questions of assumptions.

For silly mistakes, do you find yourself making small mental errors? Forgetting a negative sign, overlooking a part of the instructions, small arithmetic errors? These can multiply on test day and really impact your score.
Now, silly mistakes are one thing that have prevailed in all my exams since childhood. Overlooking a part of the instruction, reading 1 as 7 , not reading the -ve sign etc. I specially took a note of these things and was extra cautious on the exam day so as not to repeat the mistakes.

My lack of concentration and my fear are my biggest enemies. My hard work is my asset, but am losing out on this as well because each day makes me feel worthless. I feel that there's no guarantee that things will go right this time. I am taken aback by the fact that I might not get into a school like MIT , I thoroughly wanted that to happen.


Ok - these are really good, honest responses here. You have some issues, but frankly that is probably a good thing because that means you have room for improvement. First let me say, don't give up on your dreams. All of the issues you noted are addressable, particularly given your work ethic (it looks like you are successfully managing the silly errors). The test anxiety is the biggest issue that you need to address and I think you have two ways to help with the anxiety: Address the anxiety directly and tighten up your test processes.

First, to address the anxiety directly you should look at getting some psychological help. I've heard people use relaxation/visualization techniques, much like athletes. You could probably learn a great deal on these techniques from some internet searches and self-help books. I've also heard of people meeting with a psychologist to work through the anxiety (might sound uncomfortable but those who have done it have seen great success). Take the anxiety seriously and find ways to manage through it.

Second, you have to be super tight on test process. Because you are already in a state of anxiety just by taking the test, you have to manage so as to minimize the stress/anxiety you create yourself. Timing is a key piece here. When you get off on timing, you will mentally fall apart and the your test results will do the same. As a top performer, it will be hard for you to "give up" on any problem, which keeps you working on problems well past the 2-minute benchmark. You have to learn to let go on these problems. Develop the internal clock that tells you when you've gone too long on a problem and have the discipline to move into guess mode and finish out the problem in time. Disciplined timing will have a big payoff for you.

You probably need to work on your guessing strategies too. As you prepare for the exam you should be doing everything you can to improve in your areas of weakness (i.e. inequalities). When you are getting ready to take the test, however, you have to be honest about who you are as a test taker. If at test time you are still super weak at inequalities, accept that and change your approach to inequalities problems. When you hit an inequality problem, don't stress out about it, but rather use it as an opportunity to bank some time for problems you can do. Give the problem a solid attempt (work on it for a minute or so) to see if you can handle the problem, but if you are stuck, move into guess mode and save yourself 30-45 seconds for another problem you do know how to solve.

I think you can score well, as long as you address your anxiety issues and tighten up your process.

Best of luck!!!

KW
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Manhattan GMAT Discount | Manhattan GMAT Course Reviews | View Instructor Profile



Re: Devastated by an extremely low score and seeking help   [#permalink] 07 Jan 2014, 11:12
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