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Failed once again: 460 to 540

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Failed once again: 460 to 540 [#permalink] New post 16 Apr 2013, 09:50
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Please see the following link for my 1st debrief for the gmat. http://gmatclub.com/forum/failed-the-gmat-460-need-advice-140741.html.

Just completed my 2nd attempt at the GMAT and I am completely crushed once again. I felt really good going into it this time and thought I would score much higher than I actually did. My score was a 540 - Quant - 36 and Verbal - 27. The below is my background, goal, materials used, test summary, and outlook. Any advice is much appreciated!

Background
26 Year Old Male
Double major: Finance/M.I.S
College: Top 100 state school
GPA: 3.5/ Major GPA: 3.75
Job: Advisory/Consulting- Big 4 firm

Goal

Get my MBA from a TOP 25 MBA program. I have not decided on part time vs full time. The schools i'd be aiming for are Tepper, McCombs, Kenan-Flagler, and Marshall. However, my top goal would be getting into the Tepper Part time program.

Materials Used

OG 13
Verbal Guide 2nd edition
Quant Guide 2nd edition
Powerscore CR Bible
All of the MGMAT Guides
Error Log
Thursday's With Ron Videos
GMAT PILL- Sentence, RC, Quant Videos

Study Strategy

My 2nd attempt started out 3 months ago as a new years resolution to once again take my GMAT. I also conveniently had a project end at work and had a lot of downtime starting at the end of February. I put together a study schedule that was going to consist of going through each chapter of the MGMAT guides(completed this the first time around as well), including problems in the guide, followed by problems in the OG that were related to these questions. As I was completing some of the MGMAT guides I would also include a video from the GMATPILL series or a Thursdays with Ron video to complement what I learned. Overall, I probably spent about 60-70 hours studying in February and 90-100 hours studying in march. I'd estimate around 200-225 hours of study time total including first week of april.

Once I finished through all of the MGMAT guides I would continue completing problems in the OG guide(1-2 RC, 5-7 CR, 5-7 SC, 5 PS, 5 DS per night) and began taking practice exams on the weekends. I bought the official notepad and marker for the exam to simulate the test environment. The following were my practice exam scores.

MGMAT 1 - 690 - Q44, V39
GMAT PREP 1- 620- Q42, V34
MGMAT 2- 690 - Q46, V38
MGMAT 3- 740- Q46, V45
MGMAT 4- 690- Q45, V39
MGMAT 5- 730- Q45, V45
MGMAT 6- 700- Q45-V40
GMAT PREP 2 690- Q47, V38

As I was going through the practice exams I did an analysis of the areas I needed to focus on and I would go back to the MGMAT guides or look for additional resources to get help on those areas. I also did a pretty solid analysis of my errors with my error log. The last week I focused on this error log and went back through the OG13 and looked over missed problems.

Test Day

I arrived to the testing center at 7:20 am and my test was scheduled for 8 am. I brought a banana and a Gatorade as a snack. There was 10 young college girls all waiting in line to take some other exam when I got there. I was the only one taking the GMAT on the list of test takers. Two of the girls were goofing around and laughing before their exam. I had my game face on so this bothered me a little bit. Obviously, none of the 10 decided to read the test instructions they were given when they walked in, and had to be told the same thing when going into the testing center. Before my number was called the lady signing everyone in made an announcement to all of the test takers that haven't gone into the room yet. "You cannot bring your cell phone in. You only can bring your ID in."

I was given 2 markers when taking the exam. I was already use to the test booklet due to the fact that I bought the same one online for my practice exams. When the instructions were on the screen I decided to write down 2 time tables for Verbal and Quant. I did this for all of my practice exams as well.

My essay was pretty easy. I started out by creating an outline in the testing window. I also followed the template on GMATCLUB for AWA 6.0. I thought this was pretty easy and finished with about 10 seconds left.

My IR questions weren't that bad, however I ran out of time with about 2 questions left so I quickly had to make decisions. It looked like my last 2 question were easy so I kind of regretted focusing so much time on the 2 MSR questions I was given. I took the break after the QUANT section. I washed my face and drank a little bit of water.

The Quant section was very similar to the GMATPrep and much easier than the MGMAT questions that I faced. However, as my score shows, it must have not been that easy for me because I didn't do that great. I had about 3-4 Geometry questions. 2 of them were very tough and I skipped the one. I also had a very easy combinatorics problem that I know I got wrong thinking back about it. Overall, I didn't feel that bad about the Quant after taking it. I was hoping to score about a 40 at least.

Once again I took the break and splashed water in my face. I felt like I improved the most in verbal since the last time I took the exam . I had really focused on the CR bible and SC guide with about an 85%+ hit rate in the Verbal Guide 2 for SC and 85% for RC+. I was able to get through the first 5 problems very quickly(3 SC and 2 CR). However, with that said I am not really sure where I slipped up in verbal except maybe for the more difficult passages and a few of the CRs.. I felt like I was pretty solid with SC and verbal in general. I finished with about 25 seconds left.

I was estimating my score to be about 600-650 range. I was really shocked when I saw it come up on the screen. I felt like this time around I was going to score around 650-690 based on my practice exams.


Going forward

I am not sure if I really want to give up on taking the gmat exam. However, I have pretty much gone through the materials multiple times. I would need to get an new OG12 guide if I do. I also have invested a lot of time and money into this. I am looking at a over a year for studying 2 exams which I did terrible on and not sure if I can open one of these books again.

If I do decide to take it again, would you recommend taking it right away? I feel like I left too long of a gap in between my first take and my second take. How would you approach studying for a 3rd time?....When you have exhausted all materials and have received practice scores which do not align to the actual score.

Also, feel like a I have pretty decent profile with solid work experience. Would a 540 be a good enough to get into some top 25 part time programs?

Last edited by Big4Advisory on 06 May 2013, 05:10, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Failed once again: 460 to 540 [#permalink] New post 16 Apr 2013, 10:04
Hello, Please don't lose your hope. I think there is room for improving your quant score.
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Re: Failed once again: 460 to 540 [#permalink] New post 16 Apr 2013, 11:00
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Big4Advisory wrote:
Please see the following link for my 1st debrief for the gmat. http://gmatclub.com/forum/failed-the-gmat-460-need-advice-140741.html.

Just completed my 2nd attempt at the GMAT and I am completely crushed once again. I felt really good going into it this time and thought I would score much higher than I actually did. My score was a 540 - Quant - 36 and Verbal - 27. The below is my background, goal, materials used, test summary, and outlook. Any advice is much appreciated!

Background
26 Year Old Male
Double major: Finance/M.I.S
College: Top 100 state school
GPA: 3.5/ Major GPA: 3.75
Job: Advisory/Consulting- Big 4 firm

Goal

Get my MBA from a TOP 25 MBA program. I have not decided on part time vs full time. The schools i'd be aiming for are Tepper, McCombs, Kenan-Flagler, and Marshall. However, my top goal would be getting into the Tepper Part time program.

Materials Used

OG 13
Verbal Guide 2nd edition
Quant Guide 2nd edition
Powerscore CR Bible
All of the MGMAT Guides
Error Log
Thursday's With Ron Videos
GMAT PILL- Sentence, RC, Quant Videos

Study Strategy

My 2nd attempt started out 3 months ago as a new years resolution to once again take my GMAT. I also conveniently had a project end at work and had a lot of downtime starting at the end of February. I put together a study schedule that was going to consist of going through each chapter of the MGMAT guides(completed this the first time around as well), including problems in the guide, followed by problems in the OG that were related to these questions. As I was completing some of the MGMAT guides I would also include a video from the GMATPILL series or a Thursdays with Ron video to complement what I learned. Overall, I probably spent about 60-70 hours studying in February and 90-100 hours studying in march. I'd estimate around 200-225 hours of study time total including first week of april.

Once I finished through all of the MGMAT guides I would continue completing problems in the OG guide(1-2 RC, 5-7 CR, 5-7 SC, 5 PS, 5 DS per night) and began taking practice exams on the weekends. I bought the official notepad and marker for the exam to simulate the test environment. The following were my practice exam scores.

MGMAT 1 - 690 - Q44, V39
GMAT PREP 1- 620- Q42, V34
MGMAT 2- 690 - Q46, V38
MGMAT 3- 740- Q46, V45
MGMAT 4- 690- Q45, V39
MGMAT 5- 730- Q45, V45
MGMAT 6- 700- Q45-V40
GMAT PREP 2 690- Q47, V38

As I was going through the practice exams I did an analysis of the areas I needed to focus on and I would go back to the MGMAT guides or look for additional resources to get help on those areas. I also did a pretty solid analysis of my errors with my error log. The last week I focused on this error log and went back through the OG13 and looked over missed problems.

Test Day

I arrived to the testing center at 7:20 am and my test was scheduled for 8 am. I brought a banana and a Gatorade as a snack. There was 10 young college girls all waiting in line to take some other exam when I got there. I was the only one taking the GMAT on the list of test takers. Two of the girls were goofing around and laughing before their exam. I had my game face on so this bothered me a little bit. Obviously, none of the 10 decided to read the test instructions they were given when they walked in, and had to be told the same thing when going into the testing center. Before my number was called the lady signing everyone in made an announcement to all of the test takers that haven't gone into the room yet. "You cannot bring your cell phone in. You only can bring your ID in."

I was given 2 markers when taking the exam. I was already use to the test booklet due to the fact that I bought the same one online for my practice exams. When the instructions were on the screen I decided to write down 2 time tables for Verbal and Quant. I did this for all of my practice exams as well.

My essay was pretty easy. The topic was on putting a gym in a municipality and therefore the towns health care cost would go down for all of the employees that worked in the town. I started out by creating an outline in the testing window. I also followed the template on GMATCLUB for AWA 6.0. I thought this was pretty easy and finished with about 10 seconds left.

My IR questions weren't that bad, however I ran out of time with about 2 questions left so I quickly had to make decisions. It looked like my last 2 question were easy so I kind of regretted focusing so much time on the 2 MSR questions I was given. I took the break after the QUANT section. I washed my face and drank a little bit of water.

The Quant section was very similar to the GMATPrep and much easier than the MGMAT questions that I faced. However, as my score shows, it must have not been that easy for me because I didn't do that great. I had about 3-4 Geometry questions. 2 of them were very tough and I skipped the one. I also had a very easy combinatorics problem that I know I got wrong thinking back about it. IT was around seating order for 3 boys and 3 girls in a row. The answer was 36 I believe and I selected 9. (Similar to the dolphin problem in the MGMAT guide). Overall, I didn't feel that bad about the Quant after taking it. I was hoping to score about a 40 at least.

Once again I took the break and splashed water in my face. I felt like I improved the most in verbal since the last time I took the exam . I had really focused on the CR bible and SC guide with about an 85%+ hit rate in the Verbal Guide 2 for SC and 85% for RC+. I was able to get through the first 5 problems very quickly(3 SC and 2 CR). The first passage I received was about the moon and was very long. I quickly skimmed through it. This one was really easy, I know for a fact that I did well on it. My other 3 passages were a lot more difficult with one science, one history, and I cannot remember the last one. However, with that said I am not really sure where I slipped up in verbal except maybe for the more difficult passages and a few of the CRs.. I felt like I was pretty solid with SC and verbal in general. I finished with about 25 seconds left.

I was estimating my score to be about 600-650 range. I was really shocked when I saw it come up on the screen. I felt like this time around I was going to score around 650-690 based on my practice exams.


Going forward

I am not sure if I really want to give up on taking the gmat exam. However, I have pretty much gone through the materials multiple times. I would need to get an new OG12 guide if I do. I also have invested a lot of time and money into this. I am looking at a over a year for studying 2 exams which I did terrible on and not sure if I can open one of these books again.

If I do decide to take it again, would you recommend taking it right away? I feel like I left too long of a gap in between my first take and my second take. How would you approach studying for a 3rd time?....When you have exhausted all materials and have received practice scores which do not align to the actual score.

Also, feel like a I have pretty decent profile with solid work experience. Would a 540 be a good enough to get into some top 25 part time programs?


Hi Big4Advisory,

Got your PM, but my response remains more or less the same, with minor changes.

I can understand your situation, but no need to be disheartened. You have a good job and great credentials, which will be really helpful in securing a seat at a good B-School. But, at the same time your job consumes almost all the time that you may have for your prep.

You should take a break for a week or so, and then start afresh. First why aim for 600, try for a 650+ score. Seeing your score, I feel that you were not able to devote proper time practicing questions because of your busy schedule. A score of 540 means that you need to go through the basics once again before diving into the standard study material. I also think that, again because of your busy schedule, you may not have done proper analysis of the practice CATs that you took. I suggest that you start your prep with MGMAT foundations books (both verbal and quant).

Well, a score of 600 could be possible in a month's time, if you have enough time for your prep; but I don't think your current situation allows that. If possible chill for a week or two and take another 3-4 months time for your prep. Make sure to be consistent in your prep and keep on applying the concepts that you learn. GMAT is an application based exam, so you need to first understand the concepts, and then perfect their applications. A major chunk of your prep time, around 60 - 70%, should be devoted to practicing and analyzing the questions, preferably the official ones and the mock CAT questions. Take another practice test after a month and thoroughly analyze it; remember that you take the test not just to access your level, but to find out how you can improve further.

Try to complete the foundations books in the first 2 -3 weeks --> Take the first practice CAT + analyze (redo every incorrect question, determine your weak areas) --> Start the study material ( if you are using MGMAT guides then finish all its basic chapters first + related OG questions, then the advanced chapters) --> practice --> practice --> revision --> practice

take a practice test every 2 - 3 weeks + its analysis and again find out your areas of improvements. Do maintain an error log; it could just be a list of all the questions you got incorrect, but an error log, you must have. This will prove to be an ideal revision tool.


Above all, stay positive and motivated, you will achieve your target score. All the best !!!

Hope this helps,

Vercules
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Re: Failed once again: 460 to 540 [#permalink] New post 16 Apr 2013, 14:31
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I feel that u might have had time issues on quant sections....i guess u must have skipped 4-5 question...i think its easy to fix thns up ....dnt overhaul the system u been following..ur practice are good prediction fr dat....so take up the challenge build strategy...i mean just strategy....i guess u r a native speaker...so verbal may nt be a big issue.......give a shot again...80 point improvement is good improvement believe me.....u just need a bigger stride this time....

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Re: Failed once again: 460 to 540 [#permalink] New post 26 Dec 2013, 05:48
Hang in there. I used the GMATPrep Question Pack 1 and the GMATPrep Exam Pack 1. Those were very useful. They contain questions similar to the real GMAT and you should be able to have a good feel about your real strengths and weaknesses. Practice these questions and try retaking after two months.

Also, it seems you are doing well in the practice tests but not so good in the real test. Maybe you should try changing the test center and see what happens.

Wish you all the best!
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Re: Failed once again: 460 to 540 [#permalink] New post 27 Dec 2013, 14:19
Hang in there man, one thing you have to realize is that there are gaps in your fundamentals. As others have said, you need to analyze where your weak areas are. Mine are definitely some areas of arithmetics so I focus my quant time there.

Im not sure what to tell you other than statistics sucks.. Actually, probability sucks. Because judging by your practice CAT'S, you most definitely should be over the 600 mark, actually you should probably be at least around the 650 mark. But on that test day, unfortunately, there is some probability for all of us that everything will go wrong.

Also, when you did take the CAT's, did you do it in a complete D-day like environment? Meaning you do all the AWA's and do every single part in the allotted time, no more no less? Because I think that is essential; if you do not let your body and mind get used to test-day environment, you're letting your guard down for elements of surprise - in your case they seem to lead to a worse score.

Other than that, it's about understanding HOW to practice for the GMAT, I guess.. Im not sure Im practicing correctly but what Im trying to do is to thoroughly UNDERSTAND every wrong answer I make. Not necesserily why a specific answer is the right answer, but why and where I failed to solve it (did I calculate wrong was I too quick, did I completely misunderstand the question, silly mistake, or do I lack fundamental knowledge?). Basically it is about understanding the flaws in your mental process; focus on what you do wrong rather than what actually is the right answer. The right answer is irrelevant if it isn't on the actual exam, preparation is all about leaving as little to chance as possible so minimizing errors in process is key.
Re: Failed once again: 460 to 540   [#permalink] 27 Dec 2013, 14:19
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