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Dismal score of 560 - How should I start again?

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Dismal score of 560 - How should I start again? [#permalink] New post 30 Apr 2012, 01:18
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After 5 months of study and getting good mock scores, I have finally scored meager 560 on actual GMAT. Math - 39 and Verbal - 28

I was blown over after seeing this score on the screen. I have no clue about what went wrong. I could not sleep the night before my test but I am not sure if this has made the impact? AWA was a breeze and I thought I have started well and I must carry this forward. My first question on math was relatively easy and I could solve it correctly in no time but then came the problem. I had not seen the answer options while solving the question. When I had a look at answer options I felt I as if answer options are switched with some other question. No option was making sense to me and they all were converted. To pick the answer I had to solve all of them one by one. I made a calculated guess and moved on. Difficulty level was going up. I tried hard not to judge my progress but couldn't help either. Suddenly question started to get too easy and I again judged my progress. One of the question was too easy and I told myself that I have blown up this section. Whatever be it, I still cannot accept that I have problem with concepts.

I started verbal section with confidence and was sure of scoring at least 38-39. SC was getting tougher (Or perhaps I felt that). I had a checklist for finding errors but on most of the question I was left with no option. All options were looking good. SC question were long. Some of them even 4-5 sentence long. I was not able to concentrate eventually and my mind stopped processing the information. And I was down to pathetic score of 28


Following are my mock scores:

GMATPrep Test 1 - 610 (Math - 44 Verbal - 29)
MGMAT 1 - 690 (Math - 45 Verbal - 39)
MGMAT 2 - 640 (Math - 47 Verbal - 31)
MGMAT 3 - 720 (Math - 48 Verbal - 40)
MGMAT 4 - 700 (Math - 50 Verbal - 35)
GMATPrep Test 2 - 700 (Math - 48 Verbal - 38)
GMATPrep new version Test 1 - 760 (Math - 50 Verbal - 42)
GMATPrep new version Test 2 - 740 (Math 48, Verbal 44)

My verbal score was swaying and inconsistent. But I had improved for sure. I have listed down following points from my experience -

1. Couldn't sleep the night before, how much impact has this made on the score?
2. Questions were too different. SC question were too long.
3. RC was ok and so was CR
4. Conceptual problem? I strongly feel I have no major conceptual issue
5. No similarity between tests taken and the actual gmat

Method of Preparation- I spent around 2 hours on weekdays and 5 hrs on weekends. I also took a day off from preparation every week. I majorly used Manhattan Strategy Guides. I used to study the entire chapter from the given book, solve the OG & review guide problems and track the timings with Manhattan OG Archer. I followed this method for all 8 guides. I also took notes for quick reference. I also did test analysis very thoroughly and identified weak areas. I used Video session from Thrusdays with Ron for the topics that I found difficult.

Books used- Manhattan Guides, OG 12, Verbal & Quant review 2nd edition and Aristotle SC-RC books.

Now, the crux of the story - How should I be looking at my actual GMAT Score? I will take the test again but rightn now I am totally lost and not sure from where should I start again? Should I take a mock before starting the prep?

Ameya
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Re: Dismal score of 560 - How should I start again? [#permalink] New post 30 Apr 2012, 08:44
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Firstly don't worry too much ! Your practice test scores indicate that you will score much higher the next time , don't give up ! Stay positive

Secondly , NEVER try to judge how well you are doing in a section based on whether you are receding a "hard" question or an "easy " one . The GMAT has a number of experimental questions in each section ! I think analyzing your performance ( while writing the test ) made you even more nervous .

Thirdly , yes lack of sleep would hav definetly affected you performances , that's why most people advocate that you should relax 1-2 days before your exam !

Just take a few days/weeks off relax and then get back into prep mode . Try to enjoy the GMAT experience , don't treat it as a burden that you desperately want to get rid of !

In summary , just relax , work smart and you will definetly get a good score ( based on your practice tests )

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Re: Dismal score of 560 - How should I start again? [#permalink] New post 30 Apr 2012, 08:49
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Hi Ameya,

I am completely in the same boat as you are. I took the test this past Saturday and scored only slightly better with a 580 Q34, V36. I was floored. I have no idea what happened. I prepped for 6 months studying about 3 to 4 hours on week days, practice tests and more review on Saturdays, and then I usually took Sunday off. I had been prepping since November and I already scheduled my re-take for June 9th. For all of the work and studying that I had put into it, I expected a much better outcome than the score I recieved.

My mock scores were very similar to yours, with 10 tests (All 6 MGMAT and then I took each GMATPrep twice) ranging from 640 (at the very beginning) to 700. My consistent score had been 680 on the 4 practice tests right before the exam.

Unlike you, however, my area of weakness is Quant. My verbal score was consistent with the practice tests, but Quant completely through me for a loop. I was asked about the most OBSCURE topics!! I had 3 questions on the area of a trapezoid (which I do think I got those right...) but my questions were consistently playing to my weakest areas and the areas I was least prepared for. Which were only a few sections, but I felt as if the entire test was only focusing on those areas. There was this one question (should have been easy... but I was also letting my nerves get the best of me and blanking) that I was asked twice. The first question was: "(2^-4 + 2^2)/(2^-3)" - or some variation of that, I may have the powers slightly off. I wasn't one hundred percent how to solve it, as I kept looking for a way to reduce it (in hindsight, because it's addition, there was no way to reduce), so I guessed and moved on. Then two questions later I got asked that same exact question, except with 3's instead of 2's. It was very frustrating!

Anyway, my plan is to really focus on those weak areas, while not totally ignoring my stronger areas, and just keep prepping. The problem is that I have most of the OG 12 problems memorized at this point... so I may invest in the GMAT Club questions for some better practice.

You're not alone and these things happen. The variables on test day, your nerves - all of it plays a factor. My advice would be to re-take within a few months (if you wait too long then you may start forgetting some concepts) and keep practicing.
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Re: Dismal score of 560 - How should I start again? [#permalink] New post 30 Apr 2012, 11:28
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It looks like its was a bad day for you. Do you have a timing strategy in place, do you when to skip questions and when to put some extra effort into the same. Watch this video closely and follow the template given.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doyvboIy3JU
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Re: Dismal score of 560 - How should I start again? [#permalink] New post 01 May 2012, 23:19
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Thanks all for your valuable inputs.

@georgepaul0071987: Thanks! I was not sure if lack of sleep indeed affected my performance. Not matter how hard I tried, I was feeling that I have conceptual issue and so I need to study more. To validate this I took a mock yesterday. Manhattan GMAT -5 and scored 730 Math - 48 & Verbal 42. Despite getting this score, I still feel that I have concept issues.

@actressinpink: Thanks for your encouraging words :) All the best with your prep. and calculating 2^-4 is easy, get the inverse and then take 2 to the power of 4. i.e. (1/2)^4 = 1/16 = 0.0625 :)

@AbhiJ: It is very difficult to accept this fact. Having bad day is indeed OK but to accept this after a poor score is difficult. Anyway I am trying to come out this trans and trying to study again. About timing strategy, I have a strategy but it's not very advanced sort of. On math I followed 65(5Qs) - 55(10Qs) - 45(15Qs) - 35(20Qs) - 25(25Qs) - 15(30Qs) - 5(35Qs). But on verbal I had no timing strategy. I was comfortable with solving verbal questions in the recommended timeline so never thought of having a strategy here. I was able to solve SC in 1.15-1.30 minutes RC and CR in 2 & 1.45 minutes respectively. But I have a similar methodology of timing somewhere on the forums. 66-57-48 and so on for verbal.

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Re: Dismal score of 560 - How should I start again? [#permalink] New post 02 May 2012, 01:20
hey ameya.
can you elaborate more on verbal. How was the verbal?
actually i took gmat on 28th april and scored 590(q49, v22) and was really disappointed after doing very low in quants.
Basically I was having trouble in the exam with verbal because sentences was too lengthy and difficult to read.
Also one more thing. MGMAT tests verbal is very easy as compared to actual gmat.
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Re: Dismal score of 560 - How should I start again? [#permalink] New post 02 May 2012, 02:05
AbhiJ wrote:
It looks like its was a bad day for you. Do you have a timing strategy in place, do you when to skip questions and when to put some extra effort into the same. Watch this video closely and follow the template given.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doyvboIy3JU


very good video abhi, very helpful - thanx!
@ ameya - dont get disappointed.
you yourself find out what went wrong. rectify it.
then attempt - to reach your goal
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Re: Dismal score of 560 - How should I start again? [#permalink] New post 02 May 2012, 02:20
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Ameya85 wrote:
Thanks all for your valuable inputs.

@AbhiJ: It is very difficult to accept this fact. Having bad day is indeed OK but to accept this after a poor score is difficult. Anyway I am trying to come out this trans and trying to study again. About timing strategy, I have a strategy but it's not very advanced sort of. On math I followed 65(5Qs) - 55(10Qs) - 45(15Qs) - 35(20Qs) - 25(25Qs) - 15(30Qs) - 5(35Qs). But on verbal I had no timing strategy. I was comfortable with solving verbal questions in the recommended timeline so never thought of having a strategy here. I was able to solve SC in 1.15-1.30 minutes RC and CR in 2 & 1.45 minutes respectively. But I have a similar methodology of timing somewhere on the forums. 66-57-48 and so on for verbal.

Ameya


If your timing strategy is not advanced please see the video i mentioned above. The most important is 5 wrong questions in a row hurt you much more that if they are spread through out the test. The video talks about how to achieve this.
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Re: Dismal score of 560 - How should I start again? [#permalink] New post 02 May 2012, 03:34
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Thanks AbhiJ, I will surely have a look at the video though I know 5 mistakes in a row is extremely dangerous. Thanks again :)
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Re: Dismal score of 560 - How should I start again? [#permalink] New post 02 May 2012, 03:41
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You definitely deserve a much higher score than what you recieved. I believe test day anxiety and lack of sleep have overly played their role in bringing ur performance down. Since, there will not be many surprises the next time you give the test, I am sure you will be able to achieve your dream score.
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Re: Dismal score of 560 - How should I start again? [#permalink] New post 02 May 2012, 09:29
AbhiJ wrote:
It looks like its was a bad day for you. Do you have a timing strategy in place, do you when to skip questions and when to put some extra effort into the same. Watch this video closely and follow the template given.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doyvboIy3JU


Thanks lot for that useful link !
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Re: Dismal score of 560 - How should I start again? [#permalink] New post 03 May 2012, 10:54
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Hey Ameya, I just read this. Here's some advice from a 3-time test taker (640/640/710)

Don't stress, and NEVER try to gauge your progress. Just move on don't think about the question difficulty. Difficult, but remember its a psychological test more than a content test. If you can beat it mentally you've won.

Your practice test scores are extremely high, especially on GMAC - which means you screwed up more on the non-content related things like sleep/timing/stressing over progress based on difficulty. I would highly suggest you take some time off (not too much so you don't forget, maybe 2 weeks), recover mentally and not just tell yourself, but KNOW that you can beat this test (and your GMAC test scores, which are btw good indicators, say you can), and then go wrestle this baby to the ground.

Believe me, I cried in my car after my 2nd 640, came home and wanted to throw my books into the trash so this test could not make me feel dumb again. I didn't, sense prevailed, I gave it a break and told myself I will defeat this test. So will you.

I brought up my verbal from a 36 to a 45 - you can bump it up too, let me know if you want to see my detailed Verbal strategy review on this forum. Quant I will not advise you on as I tense up on the first question till date and can't crack it.

Remember man, know that this was a one time aberration, the day was not right. Do an honest self analysis to gauge your weaknesses, you mentioned there are no conceptual areas, re-assess that. Once you're done figuring out where the issues lie, re-attack this test from the ground level and kill it. You'll be fine my friend.
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Re: Dismal score of 560 - How should I start again? [#permalink] New post 03 May 2012, 11:19
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So here is my take:

You will not get 'hard' questions in the verbal section unless you have a good level at that point. What is important is what is does to you, subconsciously after you let go of that hard question. You said your mind stopped processing information. From this point on, getting 5-6 questions wrong consecutively, when you are not in the last 10 questions, will make your score nose dive.
I think that is what must have happened to you in Verbal.


Did you have a positive time balance during Quant and Verbal? Did you guess a lot together at the end or somewhere?
The problem with such experiences is that one tends to remember less or remember events incorrectly due to the sheer trauma of the event.

I went through similar problems in all my not so good attempts on the GMAT. In fact I think all three were equally hard/easy and the only difference in the best one was that I had a positive time balance.
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Re: Dismal score of 560 - How should I start again? [#permalink] New post 03 May 2012, 19:15
Ameya,

I am in the same boat as you are. I took the test on April 27 and scored 620 (Q47, V28). My MGMAT and GMatprep mock scores were around 700 ( with verbal between 38-42). Even I have no clue as how did my verbal scores dropped so much that I ended up getting 28. I must admit that the questions in the verbal section were more difficult/tricky than those in Gmatprep or OG guides. In various forums, I have seen many guys complaining about the lower verbal scores in actual test compared to their mock test scores. Some attribute the lower scores to lack of stamina during the verbal section and some attribute it to lack of preparation. At this point in time, even i am unable to figure out what went wrong on the test day. One more possibility is that when the test nears its end, the anxiety to see the score gets over the accuracy of questions being answered. If this happens one may end up getting last 5 to 6 questions wrong in a row. I am doubting now, whether I felt for this trap. Unfortunately, I can not give my second test before june 5, as I will be travelling to home country. This means that for the second test I need to study an additional section.

Hope we all conquer the gmat in few weeks time. Good Luck.
Re: Dismal score of 560 - How should I start again?   [#permalink] 03 May 2012, 19:15
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