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Disappointing GMAT experience. Any advice appreciated

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Disappointing GMAT experience. Any advice appreciated [#permalink] New post 10 Sep 2008, 20:11
My test results are as follows
MGMAT1: 4/5/08 640 Math: 43 -- 70% Verbal: 35 -- 77%
MGMAT2: 4/22/08 650 Math: 45 -- 77% Verbal: 34 -- 72%
MGMAT3: 5/4/2008 730 Math: 48 -- 81% Verbal: 42 -- 85%
MGMAT4: 8/13/2008 650 Math: 45 -- 77% Verbal: 34 -- 72%
GMATPREP: 8/20/2008 670
MGMAT5: 8/24/08 700 Math: 47 -- 81% Verbal: 38 -- 85%
MGMAT6: 8/27/08 700 Math: 45 -- 77% Verbal: 40 --91%
MGMAT7: 9/3/08 760 Math: 49 --90% Verbal: 45 -- 99%


However my actual GMAT exam scores are as follows :evil: :
Official 1: 3/15/08 600 35 -- 44% 38 -- 84%
Official 2: 9/9/08 620 41 -- 61% 34 -- 69%

The main problem I have is that once I sit for the exam, I panic and everything I was confident about and well versed in just goes out the window. I'm sure a lot of the people here have some of the same issues, or at least did at some point.

Here is my most recent test experience recap:

The second time around going into the actual exam, I felt much more confident (having scored in the 700 range on my recent practice exams) and I managed my time a lot better. I had 7 minutes to spare on the quant section, whereas I left about 5 blank on my first test. For verbal I had about 5 minutes to finish the last question. This being said, I was definitely rushing during the middle part of both sections in order to allow myself time to complete the test. At the end (before I received my score) I was pretty confident on my verbal yet my math I was not too sure of. When I got the results I was in complete shock. How could I have only improved 20 points from March to September? Plus, I was doing great on the practice tests. This was an extremely frustrating result.

During the quant, I was struggling to pick a method that would work on certain problems and the ones that I did find a suitable method, I would test all the answer choices and they didn't give me the answer I needed. After spending a minute or two on a problem with no results, I panicked and just picked an answer. Toward the end, I was feeling a little more confident, but didn't know if I had fully recovered from the middle part of the test.

Either way, something is definitely wrong and I have no idea how to explain the large discrepancy in the practice test scores and the actual scores. In fact, my verbal score went down from my March test to my September test?!?!? I have spent a great deal of money and time on prep courses and other study methods, yet it hasn't done anything in terms of my score. The 20 point increase could probably be attributed to the fact that I didn't leave any questions blank at the end as opposed to an increase in mastery of the content. I am desperate for answers.

My study method is as follows:
I spent about 3 hours a day studying (about 20 hours a week). I would take a practice exam about once every 2 weeks. I completed all the official guide problems, and filed each problem with all the work, the correct approach and answer, as well as an analysis page that analyzed why I missed it, how much time I spent, any traps involved, did I choose the best approach, etc. I filed the problems according to problem type in a large file folder. I also did the official guide problems in timed blocks of about 20 problems each. I would enter the answer and time into the spreadsheet supplied by Manhattan gmat. Any questions I had, I would post to the gmatclub.com forum, in which I would receive an answer pretty quickly. I also did about 200 problems from the gmatclub.com forums posted by other users and posted my solutions and explanations. I would also print these problems out and file them with the official guide problems. With any problem I did, I would try to extract a lesson, specific strategy, or formula from it. I would track these lessons in a spreadsheet which I carried around with me at all times. This spreadsheet was categorized by strategies and traps, and then further broken down by problem type (divisibility and primes, fractions, etc.). I also did this for sentence correction lessons.

If anyone has any advice or suggestions, please feel free to provide them. I will be taking my test again in 6-8 weeks. Thanks in advance.
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Re: Disappointing GMAT experience. Any advice appreciated [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2008, 13:02
You should be taking more GMATpreps. at least take the #2 which you haven't done yet, and reinstall, and take #1 and #2 again. Do about 1 per week.
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Re: Disappointing GMAT experience. Any advice appreciated [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2008, 13:31
It sounds like a lot of your problems are with pacing (rushing in the middle and then having almost 7 minutes left over at the end of your math sectin) that's probably not good.

I agree with Tarmac that you should take the GMATPrep tests several times, you will get different questions almost every time you take them and they are pretty much exactly what you will see on test day. (Though after you take them the first time you shouldn't use them to guess your score since you will probably get some repeats) Also try to simulate the test as best as you can when you're taking the practice exams so you're not freaked out when you get to the test center.

Also you might want to get a supplemental book on strategies i.e. Princeton Review if you really know the material and are just having trouble applying it to problems on the test. I found them to be extrememly helpful in the test taking techniques that the OG just doesn't provide, particularly on Data Sufficiency. (I know most people hate Princeton but the book was the best 17 bucks I ever spent I think even if I wouldn't use their live course)

I don't really have a lot of advice for verbal since it was always my strong point and I didn't really study it. I studied LSAT books for critical reasoning and those really helped me understand what was going on since most of the CR on the LSAT is much more difficult (in my opinion).

Hope that helps... you can do it!
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Re: Disappointing GMAT experience. Any advice appreciated [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2008, 14:44
Thanks guys. I will definitely take your advice to heart. I have 2 questions. Since I have only taken the GMATPrep once, I tried to remove the program from my hard drive to just start fresh and then re-installed it, yet it still had my original score from my first test. Is it supposed to do this, or should it be clearing all of my data?

Also, which princeton review strategy book are you referring to?

Thanks!! :-D
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Re: Disappointing GMAT experience. Any advice appreciated [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2008, 16:30
brokerbevo wrote:
Thanks guys. I will definitely take your advice to heart. I have 2 questions. Since I have only taken the GMATPrep once, I tried to remove the program from my hard drive to just start fresh and then re-installed it, yet it still had my original score from my first test. Is it supposed to do this, or should it be clearing all of my data?

Also, which princeton review strategy book are you referring to?

Thanks!! :-D


You don't have to reinstall. Just click on the test you've taken and it'll ask you if you want to erase your answers and start over.
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Re: Disappointing GMAT experience. Any advice appreciated [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2008, 16:49
zoinnk wrote:
brokerbevo wrote:
Thanks guys. I will definitely take your advice to heart. I have 2 questions. Since I have only taken the GMATPrep once, I tried to remove the program from my hard drive to just start fresh and then re-installed it, yet it still had my original score from my first test. Is it supposed to do this, or should it be clearing all of my data?

Also, which princeton review strategy book are you referring to?

Thanks!! :-D


You don't have to reinstall. Just click on the test you've taken and it'll ask you if you want to erase your answers and start over.


Ahh. I see. Thanks
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Factorials were someone's attempt to make math look exciting!!!

Re: Disappointing GMAT experience. Any advice appreciated   [#permalink] 11 Sep 2008, 16:49
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