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# Dismal performance on my first GMAT attempt - 620 Q42 V33

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Senior Manager
Affiliations: UWC
Joined: 09 May 2012
Posts: 399
GMAT 1: 620 Q42 V33
GMAT 2: 680 Q44 V38
GPA: 3.43
WE: Engineering (Entertainment and Sports)
Followers: 30

Kudos [?]: 785 [1] , given: 100

Dismal performance on my first GMAT attempt - 620 Q42 V33 [#permalink]

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11 Jul 2012, 11:24
1
KUDOS
Hey guys,

So today I took my first GMAT and scored a dismal 620 Q42 V33.

Background: I started studying in April and was averaging about 2 to 3 hours a day on the weekday and 4 on the weekend. I've been out of school for five year now so I wanted to give myself time to get up to speed especially on the quants. I have been the following materials:

1. MGMAT Strategy Guides
2. Powerscore CR
3. OG 12 and 13
4. Kaplan Q Banks
5. GMAT Club Tests

In early Jan 2012, I did my first full practice CAT under test conditions with no study and scored a 570 Q36 V33. This was the free MGMAT CAT 1.

After going through all the MGMAT Strategy guides and end of chapter questions I started practising OG questions chapter wise based on the MGMAT Guides. After sometime, I also included the Kaplan Q Banks and GMAT Club tests and kept a good error log. I essentially ended up doing reviewing every question in the OG12 and 13 to the point where I was getting every single question right.

In June I stated practising CATS again.

1. The first CAT was a not so useful Princeton CAT with no essay and IR. 570 Q36 V33. I knew that this score was defintely off considering I had just put in 2 months of study.
2. Following that I did my first MGMAT CAT 1 but unfortunately I skipped the essay (but I did do the IR section. I scored a 670 Q45 V36 (virtually no repeats from the January test). I did have timing issues but I reviewed problems and worked on pacing.
3. I took my second MGMAT CAT 2 four days later. This time I did the whole test and I did well in terms of pacing. I made a 710 Q45 V41.
4. Ten days of more reviewing and I took my first GMAT Prep CAT 1 and scored a 720 V47 Q41. Absolutely no timing, stress or stamina issues.

At this point I was more or less in the range I wanted to be in. Many say that one should only take practice tests to see were one stands and to build stamina. Since I was doing well stamina wise and I was hitting my target score I figured now time would be well spent in reviewing concepts and practice especially in quants . My idea was to try and solve problems in more than one way in order to develop a flexibility in strategy. I also paid attention to my weaknesses; namely Geometry, Word Problems and VIC's.

Overall I was in a positive frame of mind and felt that I would do well on my first attempt. boy was I wrong!
Two days ago, I started developing a cold. I immediately went to a doctor and explained the situation to him. He prescribed me some medicine that did not make me feel drowsy and in fact I began to feel better. However, I noticed that the medicines left me a little groggy.

So come test day today, I woke up after a good night's sleep and my cold was pretty much gone so I decided to skip the medicines for today. I went to the test center and during the process of checking in I began to feel a sense of uneasiness creeping in. I was getting nervous and it surprised me. Anyways, I proceeded with the AWA which went smoothly for the most part but I was still feeling anxious. IR came next and like my practice tests I could never tell how I did on it. By the time I started Quants, I was getting even more stressed out. The first two questions were straightforward enough and then came this abstract number properties question involving factorials to the nth power. Thats when I got thrown off. Even then, I felt that I was getting thrown some hard questions but every now and then I got hit with some REALLY simple questions. As with the practice tests I did not analyse the quant section and readied myself for the verbal section.

By the time Verbal came around I was more or less calm and in a good frame of mind. I got a few bold face CR's and 'evaluate the hypothesis' type questions. I thought I was doing well because I say those types of questions in GMAT Prep. However, I also noticed some really easy SC's and that got me wondering. In any case I finished the section with about three minutes to go and kapow! 620!!

It's only now that I'm in a better frame of mind and able to reflect on today's events. My thoughts:

1. Anxiety got the better of me. I can't imagine how this could be as I was feeling very positive right until check in.
2. I possibly rushed through the first few questions in each section (out of nervousness perhaps?) because in both Q and V I found myself 5 mins ahead at one point.
3. A case of bad luck: I answered wrong the questions that mattered.
4. I'm not really a morning person and I tend to be the most mentally active in the afternoon. However I have been training myself by going to bed early and getting up at 5:30 am for the past two weeks.

So at this point I am wondering whether I should schedule again for next month. How should I go about studying. I have the whole of this month off so I can dedicate myself full time. My tentative plan:

1. Finishing the rest of my available CATS i.e MGMAT 3,4,5,6 and GMAT Prep 2. Possibly taking them at different locations eg. living room, dad's office, friend's place etc. Now I am also beginning to wonder if I should have practised more CATs? One thing is for sure; I'm going to take 3-4 days off and get in some good RnR.
2. Going over my error logs and reviewing all concepts.
3. Consider taking up an online course perhaps to keep me motivated and have an outside perspective on my progress.
4. Purchase OG Verbal and OG Quant for more official question practice.

Any thoughts, suggestions, insights and positive criticisms would be very much appreciated. Thanks!
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Re: Dismal performance on my first GMAT attempt - 620 Q42 V33 [#permalink]

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11 Jul 2012, 16:55
1
KUDOS
Expert's post
macjas wrote:
Hey guys,

By the time Verbal came around I was more or less calm and in a good frame of mind. I got a few bold face CR's and 'evaluate the hypothesis' type questions. I thought I was doing well because I say those types of questions in GMAT Prep. However, I also noticed some really easy SC's and that got me wondering. In any case I finished the section with about three minutes to go and kapow! 620!!

It's only now that I'm in a better frame of mind and able to reflect on today's events. My thoughts:

1. Anxiety got the better of me. I can't imagine how this could be as I was feeling very positive right until check in.
2. I possibly rushed through the first few questions in each section (out of nervousness perhaps?) because in both Q and V I found myself 5 mins ahead at one point.
3. A case of bad luck: I answered wrong the questions that mattered.
4. I'm not really a morning person and I tend to be the most mentally active in the afternoon. However I have been training myself by going to bed early and getting up at 5:30 am for the past two weeks.

So at this point I am wondering whether I should schedule again for next month. How should I go about studying. I have the whole of this month off so I can dedicate myself full time. My tentative plan:

1. Finishing the rest of my available CATS i.e MGMAT 3,4,5,6 and GMAT Prep 2. Possibly taking them at different locations eg. living room, dad's office, friend's place etc. Now I am also beginning to wonder if I should have practised more CATs? One thing is for sure; I'm going to take 3-4 days off and get in some good RnR.
2. Going over my error logs and reviewing all concepts.
3. Consider taking up an online course perhaps to keep me motivated and have an outside perspective on my progress.
4. Purchase OG Verbal and OG Quant for more official question practice.

Any thoughts, suggestions, insights and positive criticisms would be very much appreciated. Thanks!

Hey there - surprised with your result taking into consideration your performance, the well written posts, and practice scores.

A few questions:

1. What were your GMAT Prep scores? Did you take any of those tests?
2. What was your feel during the test? Did you feel the questions were easy or hard?
3. Did you time your practice questions with OG/MGMAT guides?
4. What results were you getting with the GMAT Club tests?
5. What score are you looking for?

I would take a GMAT Prep in a little while and use that as a judge of your mental state/condition.
Don't worry about being a bit anxious at the exam - that happens to everyone and you always have to discount your score a bit for that....

I don't know that you need any of the additional books. I would recommend getting the GMAT Roadmap and just thumb through it. It may give you some ideas or reveal what is missing....
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Veritas Prep GMAT Instructor
Joined: 16 Oct 2010
Posts: 6681
Location: Pune, India
Followers: 1832

Kudos [?]: 11155 [1] , given: 219

Re: Dismal performance on my first GMAT attempt - 620 Q42 V33 [#permalink]

### Show Tags

11 Jul 2012, 22:25
1
KUDOS
Expert's post
My thoughts:

1. Anxiety got the better of me. I can't imagine how this could be as I was feeling very positive right until check in.

Anxiety before the test starts (when you can hear the pounding in your ears) is normal. In fact, it actually prepares your body for the upcoming challenge. What takes one down is stress during the test. After the first few minutes, you should automatically relax. In your subsequent attempt, the anxiety will stay. People who score 800 in the test are anxious too so your level of preparation has nothing to do with pre test jitters. Those who are not prepared are anxious because they are not prepared, those who are well prepared are anxious because they want the test to be in line with their preparation.

2. I possibly rushed through the first few questions in each section (out of nervousness perhaps?) because in both Q and V I found myself 5 mins ahead at one point.

Rushing through first few questions doesn't impact your test score if you do well later. People do tend to rush through the first few questions because of anxiety. Even if you make careless mistakes, the software adjusts it as you answer the later correctly. To be comfortable, I would expect one to be 5-10 mins ahead at all times so that they have extra time in case they end up wasting a few mins in one or two questions. Running shoulder to shoulder with the clock gives you no breathing space and that's not very good.

3. A case of bad luck: I answered wrong the questions that mattered.

All questions matter except some that do not matter. There are no 'questions that mattered'.

4. I'm not really a morning person and I tend to be the most mentally active in the afternoon. However I have been training myself by going to bed early and getting up at 5:30 am for the past two weeks.

You should always schedule your test according to the time that works best for you. If you not a morning person, do not keep the test in the morning. Rather than trying to train your body, listen to it. When GMAT affords that flexibility, why not use it? That's another reason why you should set your GMAT date early. You get the time slot you want.

As for things you should do now:

Dig into your tests and find out areas in which you are lacking. Find out whether there are conceptual gaps. Work on them. Try and understand 'why' and 'how'. Most CR and RC and more and more SC questions are based on logic. It makes our life easy if we are ready to think hard. Don't keep doing the same things again and again. Try and dig deeper into your weaknesses. In sections that make you uncomfortable, you might want to get some different material for a different perspective. Don't stop till you say to yourself in disbelief "It makes sense. Why didn't I see it before...". Very often, we know what to do, we just don't know why we are doing it. If that happens, GMAT traps you. An online class could help you stay on course and make you super regular. You may also pick up some very important points but mind you, you will already be familiar with many things. So don't expect staggering revelations from it. It will provide you motivation to work hard and that's all you need.
As for taking more tests, it is useful after you are pretty competent in most relevant topics. Practice tests are just that - tests for practice. They provide you serious practice but also drain you mentally so don't overdo it (else you will get a feeling of utter burnout during the actual test).
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Karishma
Veritas Prep | GMAT Instructor
My Blog

Get started with Veritas Prep GMAT On Demand for $199 Veritas Prep Reviews Senior Manager Affiliations: UWC Joined: 09 May 2012 Posts: 399 Location: Canada GMAT 1: 620 Q42 V33 GMAT 2: 680 Q44 V38 GPA: 3.43 WE: Engineering (Entertainment and Sports) Followers: 30 Kudos [?]: 785 [0], given: 100 Re: Dismal performance on my first GMAT attempt - 620 Q42 V33 [#permalink] ### Show Tags 12 Jul 2012, 00:02 bb wrote: Hey there - surprised with your result taking into consideration your performance, the well written posts, and practice scores. A few questions: 1. What were your GMAT Prep scores? Did you take any of those tests? 2. What was your feel during the test? Did you feel the questions were easy or hard? 3. Did you time your practice questions with OG/MGMAT guides? 4. What results were you getting with the GMAT Club tests? 5. What score are you looking for? I would take a GMAT Prep in a little while and use that as a judge of your mental state/condition. Don't worry about being a bit anxious at the exam - that happens to everyone and you always have to discount your score a bit for that.... I don't know that you need any of the additional books. I would recommend getting the GMAT Roadmap and just thumb through it. It may give you some ideas or reveal what is missing.... Thanks for the suggestion bb. I'm going to order the GMAT Roadmap and see what I've been missing. As for my scores. Here are the tests I took in June: 8th June: Princeton Review CAT: 570 Q36 V33 ( I did not do the AWA and no IR was available) 12th June: MGMAT CAT 1 670 Q45 V36 (No AWA but I did do IR) 16th June MGMAT CAT 2: 710 Q45 V41 (full test inc. AWA +IR) 29th June GMAT Prep 1: 720 Q47 V41 (full test inc. AWA+IR) GMAT Club Tests: Anywhere from 20/27 to 25/37. I never did these timed as I found them pretty tough. Do you think I should continue with MGMAT CAT 3 or should I reset the tests? After reading peoples posts it seems that as you get to later cats, the qbanks are depleted of tough questions and one sees inflated scores in MGMAT CAT 2 3 and 4. During the course of my review I timed myself on everything using walker's GMAT Club timer. During my actual GMAT I found a few super tough problems but also quite a few super easy problems that I felt were 500-600 level problems. I didn't have any timing issues on the real GMAT with either quant or verbal. Hopefully on my next take I would like to achieve a 700+ (680 worst case) I also believe I was experiencing decision fatigue during the test. I just wanted to move on without properly considering my answer choices. I think that this weekend I'll do the GMATPrep CAT 2 under test conditions and see how it goes. VeritasPrepKarishma wrote: You should always schedule your test according to the time that works best for you. If you not a morning person, do not keep the test in the morning. Rather than trying to train your body, listen to it. When GMAT affords that flexibility, why not use it? That's another reason why you should set your GMAT date early. You get the time slot you want. As for things you should do now: Dig into your tests and find out areas in which you are lacking. Find out whether there are conceptual gaps. Work on them. Try and understand 'why' and 'how'. Most CR and RC and more and more SC questions are based on logic. It makes our life easy if we are ready to think hard. Don't keep doing the same things again and again. Try and dig deeper into your weaknesses. In sections that make you uncomfortable, you might want to get some different material for a different perspective. Don't stop till you say to yourself in disbelief "It makes sense. Why didn't I see it before...". Very often, we know what to do, we just don't know why we are doing it. If that happens, GMAT traps you. An online class could help you stay on course and make you super regular. You may also pick up some very important points but mind you, you will already be familiar with many things. So don't expect staggering revelations from it. It will provide you motivation to work hard and that's all you need. As for taking more tests, it is useful after you are pretty competent in most relevant topics. Practice tests are just that - tests for practice. They provide you serious practice but also drain you mentally so don't overdo it (else you will get a feeling of utter burnout during the actual test). Karishma you're right; I kick myself for allowing myself to schedule a 9am test. However I really wanted to get the GMAT done in July and settled for what was available. Luckily there are a few 1pm openings in August and I'm considering one of those now. I definitely will go through the MGMAT CAT tests reports to dig into my weaknesses and also look into my error logs. I've pretty much exhausted OG 12+13. Do you think getting the OG Quant and Verbal review books will be worthwhile? I've heard they contain a lot of 500 level questions. Thanks for the help guys. It is much appreciated! Veritas Prep GMAT Instructor Joined: 16 Oct 2010 Posts: 6681 Location: Pune, India Followers: 1832 Kudos [?]: 11155 [0], given: 219 Re: Dismal performance on my first GMAT attempt - 620 Q42 V33 [#permalink] ### Show Tags 12 Jul 2012, 03:23 Expert's post macjas wrote: I definitely will go through the MGMAT CAT tests reports to dig into my weaknesses and also look into my error logs. I've pretty much exhausted OG 12+13. Do you think getting the OG Quant and Verbal review books will be worthwhile? I've heard they contain a lot of 500 level questions. Thanks for the help guys. It is much appreciated! No. At this point in your preparation, I don't see these books helping you out much. Most of their questions are lower level and they don't have much relevant theory either. _________________ Karishma Veritas Prep | GMAT Instructor My Blog Get started with Veritas Prep GMAT On Demand for$199

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Re: Dismal performance on my first GMAT attempt - 620 Q42 V33 [#permalink]

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12 Jul 2012, 06:01
1
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I am struggling with the test myself, got 680 on GMAT Prep 1, Q50 V31, still would offer my suggestions.

- You have not mentioned how many GMAT Club tests have you given.
- Q42 means you can definitely use and reuse GMAT Club tests.
- Stamina comes into the picture in a big way. People who score 730+ tend to give 10-15 full length tests.
- I am sure 700 is in your ball park.
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Senior Manager
Affiliations: UWC
Joined: 09 May 2012
Posts: 399
GMAT 1: 620 Q42 V33
GMAT 2: 680 Q44 V38
GPA: 3.43
WE: Engineering (Entertainment and Sports)
Followers: 30

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Re: Dismal performance on my first GMAT attempt - 620 Q42 V33 [#permalink]

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12 Jul 2012, 06:15
VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:
macjas wrote:

I definitely will go through the MGMAT CAT tests reports to dig into my weaknesses and also look into my error logs. I've pretty much exhausted OG 12+13. Do you think getting the OG Quant and Verbal review books will be worthwhile? I've heard they contain a lot of 500 level questions.

Thanks for the help guys. It is much appreciated!

No. At this point in your preparation, I don't see these books helping you out much. Most of their questions are lower level and they don't have much relevant theory either.

Thanks for the tip Karishma; I guess I won't be going to get those books.

AbhiJ wrote:
I am struggling with the test myself, got 680 on GMAT Prep 1, Q50 V31, still would offer my suggestions.

- You have not mentioned how many GMAT Club tests have you given.
- Q42 means you can definitely use and reuse GMAT Club tests.
- Stamina comes into the picture in a big way. People who score 730+ tend to give 10-15 full length tests.
- I am sure 700 is in your ball park.

Thanks for the encouragement AbhiJ. In my books good advice can come from anyone and I appreciate your inputs! You may be right about not taking more practice cats. However, I never really had stamina issues but I feel I may have experienced decision fatigue. The week before the test I really got hardcore and was putting in 6 hours a day until the day before the test. While doing the test, I just was not in my game and was just waiting for it to get over. Usually, I quite enjoy doing problems but that was not the case during the test.

Here's an interesting article by MGMAT on decision fatigue
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Re: Dismal performance on my first GMAT attempt - 620 Q42 V33 [#permalink]

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15 Jul 2012, 08:26
Hello mac. Sorry to hear about your exp, I honestly thought you would do better. But then again, 620 is not exactly a very poor score. Which unis are you looking at? Aside from the top 20 or so, I think most universities are open to applicants with 620. Specially with your GPA and WE (sadly, for me, both those areas are not so up to mark). From my research, even when applying to tier 1 unis, the rule of thumb is to stand out in 2/3 core areas (GMAT, WE and GPA) and of course interviews and essays matter too.

My point is, don't get too down. If you retake and score well, GREAT! but if you dont, it won't be the end of the world.

p.s. maybe you should make some flash cards? I have not done them yet since I'm still halfway through my prep, but everyone I have talked to, highly reccomends the flash cards.
Re: Dismal performance on my first GMAT attempt - 620 Q42 V33   [#permalink] 15 Jul 2012, 08:26
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