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Senior Manager
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First time - Expected more [#permalink] New post 24 Jun 2004, 06:40
Hey there....
I took the GMAT for the first time and scored 650 (Q47, V34).
I hope you can learn something from my experience, since this board has been very helpful for me.

English is not my native language and my practice scores were the following:

Kaplan - 610,600,580 (on two of them i got Q50)
Arco 1-5 - 670-690 (Usually about 2,3 mistakes in Q)
PP1,PP2 - 740 (Q50)

ETS paper tests - 670,670,690

PP was not representative because i rememberd a few questions from the OG, which i covered fully keeping an error log.
The test experience:
The test center was very quiet so i have no complaints.
I was really nervous a day before, but somehow i mangaged to contol myself and calm down when i got to the test center.
AWA was ok, and i even remembered the issue topic from the list in OG.
After taking the first brake, I understood that the test does not continue unless you confirm that you're ready.
First section - Quantitative
started with two easy questions and then the level just jumped and very difficult questions were appearing. The level of those questions was above anything i practiced but i knew that those qustions are important so i invested the time and i am sure that my 8 first questions are correct.
On question number 9 i took my first guess. It was the first time that i didn't know how to solve a question!
The level remained high and i got 3-4 combination and probability questions so i though that i was doing ok. Overall i took about 4 guesses on this section, and i was able to complete it on time. The combination and probability questions were really easy. Don't waste your time practicing on those if you already understand their concepts.
The qustions that i was forced to guess on involved strange equations. I never saw these kinds of questions before. I also had to guess on a geometry question that i knew how to solve but would take more than 5 minutes to solve. I could not believe it !
Word problems were easy and after the 15th question the rest of the questions got easier.

Was much more difficult than the verbal secotion on PP.
In the 20 first questions i had 2 RC and the rest SC. I knew that those first qustions are important so i didn't hurry while i was answering them . I think it was a mistake, because then i realised that I had less than 30 minutes remaining for the other half of the section, which contained mostly CR's and two more RC.
CR's were very long but manageable if you have the time to read them.
I had to guess a full RC and a few more CR's in the end.

When the test was over, a knew that i was not doing well on verbal but i was much more dissppointed with the final score of 47Q. I never got less than 48 on practice.

Anyway, it seems that i would have to take the test again since i'm aiming for the top schools.
If you have some advice about how to practice for the next test, i would love to hear it.
I have no idea how to better prepare for the Q, but i am sure i can improve in verbal. I have to be much faster next time..
I am aiming for a 700. Is it possibole to achieve this by next month ?
If you have any questions i am here.
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Senior Manager
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Jun 2004, 10:44
Dookie, for a 1st timer that's a very commendable score.........go through the forum and u will find some interesting stories about pple crossing the 700 mark from a score much less than yours. At least u know how to calm ur jitters next time u r at the center. Concentrate on improving ur timing in the Verbal, cos accordinf to ur post I think u kinda lagged in the Verbal section, which might have contributed to ur score. Thats all from me. U will be hearing from the more experienced pple and their advise, pretty soon. Stay tuned and good luck at ur next attempt.

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need help . [#permalink] New post 25 Jun 2004, 19:31
hi dookie,
Thanks for sharing ur experience.

I am also planning to appear for Gmat pretty soon but not yet taken the test date.I have Kaplan,priceton book but I would apprecaite if you can tell me from where i can get "ETS paper test" or is there any way out that u can share ur material may be throu mail or any other source.
Pls let me know.
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 [#permalink] New post 25 Jun 2004, 21:33
Hi dookie

A little mistake here and a little mistake there might have lowered your score.

It is obvious that time was the biggest problem for you. 47Q is not bad... but you certainly can do better. Overall, i think you need to work harder on verbal and focus on your problem areas more. Whether a 700 is possible is totally upto you. you have taken the test and now you know where your problem areas really are. Focus on eliminating those shortcomings. Also, try to time yourself in your prep. We generally do most of our stupid mistakes when we are under time pressure.

I would like to see more solid effort in verbal from you. you certainly have potential, but just try to make your prep more methodical. Work harder on those idioms and those rules. You should have no doubt about these rules going into the test. Mastering SC and solving it as fast and as accurately as you can is your key to a 40+ Verbal. why? because the faster you solve SC's with great accuracy, the more time you have for RC and CR. In your prep, your goal should be to solve every SC question under one minute. Sure, you will make mistakes in your prep. But that sixty second approach will simulate the pressure that you are in on test day. In your prep, the more accurate you are under time pressure, the better off you will be on test day.

Now, we know that for math, you have 2 mins on average to solve a problem. throw that away. Reduce that number to 90 seconds. this reduced time will force you to work faster , think faster and thus would simulate the environment on test day. Again, you will make silly mistakes , but that is exactly the prep you need. Anybody can solve a problem sitting at starbucks with a laptop. but that apporach aint gonna work on test day.

Another tool you can add to your Math Prep is solve tough tough problems. I mean the ones that really make you feel horrible. why? this will enable to use all your concepts, all that you have learnt to solve this problem. will you see this problem on the GMAT? uh-huh. unlikely. but solving tough problems improves your concepts about a topic. It forces you to think harder. Knowledge is easily retained when you work hard to earn it. Solvign 100 problems a day is fine, but does it really add any value other than practice. I can promise you the GMAT will throw incredibly intelligent questions at you. add to this the time pressure and the pressure to perform and most of us cannot handle it. that is where the GMAT wins.

So, time yourself with a lesser time and solve and most importantly Learn concepts , not tricks. Tricks are good, but can you trust them on test day..Sure, but i can develop problems that simply cant be solve using tricks.... too much is at stake.. isnt it?

Finally, do try to participate ,post questions , get help and in turn, teach others. this is the best way to learn. period.

Hope that helps.

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 [#permalink] New post 26 Jun 2004, 01:04
I think praterion has given you invaluable insights. One thing which surprises me is the variation is total scores in relation to scaled scores. I mean 47 q and 34 v should give you atleasttttt 660!! Infact i know some people who scored 670 with exactly these scaled scores. In my last attempt I had 44 q and 35 v , which gave me 650. You scored 3 more points than me in quant and just one less in verbal, and we ended up with exactly same score.
In my first attempt, I scored 690 with 49 q and 35 v whereas I know scores of people who touched 700 with exactly these scaled scores.
It is really confusing.
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 [#permalink] New post 26 Jun 2004, 15:01
Thank you all for your comments.
Praet - I'm not sure that my problem in the math section was timing. It was the really difficult PS that i got in questions 9-15. One of them i just couldn't figure out, and the other (Geometry + Algebra) just took too much time to solve. When i tried it again at home i found a way to shorten the time it takes to solve it, but with the time ticking i wasn't creative enough.. So tricks ARE important! (After you know the concepts of course)
What i am hoping to do now is to collect enough math problems that combine question types like (ratio + probability), and practice them with limited time.

Thanks for your insights on the verbal section. Timing must be improved.
When i practiced at home before, i was timing myself this way -
25 min - first 12 question.
Next 25 min - make sure you pass question 25.
Next 25 - finish (26-41)

On the real test it wasn't possible because i wanted to check my answers, and because CR questions were really long! especially those BF questions!
It takes too much time to solve them. Maybe it's better to just guess and move on...
I will definitely use your advice and practice on solving SC in less than a minute.

Baruna - I am not sure yet where you can get the ETS paper tests.. i got mine from a friend. I'll ask...

crackgmat750 - Those variations in total score are confusing.. maybe ETS changed something. I got 670 on ETS paper tests.. If i got it on the real GMAT i would at least not be so surprised with my 650...

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 [#permalink] New post 26 Jun 2004, 20:44
thanks dookie..i will really appreciate if u can arrange the ETS paper test.
Wish u all the best for ur prepration.
  [#permalink] 26 Jun 2004, 20:44
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