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GMAT journey.... 590 to 560 to 600 to ??

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GMAT journey.... 590 to 560 to 600 to ?? [#permalink] New post 03 Jan 2012, 17:30
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GMATClubbers,

I gave GMAT ( yes, for third time) on Dec 27 and scored 600 (Q47, V25)- exactly the same split i got during my first tryst with GMAT.

May 2011- 590( Q47, V25) AWA- 4.5
Sep 2011- 560( Q47, V20) AWA - 5.0
Dec 2011- 600( Q47, V25) AWA- 5.5

I think I tried all the material( MGMAT books, Knewton, GMATPill, e-GMAT, MasterGMAT and misc material on the net), yet I failed miserably.

After 1st attempt, I thought it was RC and CR since i was confident about SC. I bought e-gmat (with Grockit) and worked diligently for SC and CR course. In sep 2011, I got V20 in second attempt. Disappointed and desperate, I bought master-gmat course and thought it'd help improve my verbal score this time. To my dismay, I scored V25 in third despite having 80% accuracy in the practice questions (mastergmat and e-gmat).

I heard that i shouldn't be taking many tests in order to avoid burn outs. So i took some of Knewton and MGMAT tests as i finished some during my first gmat attempt.

Knewton #5- 640( Q46, V31) - I got Q46 after 7 quant mistakes and V31 after leaving two questions unmarked. Arggggh)
MasterGMAT #1- 670-690 ( Q48-49, V35-37)
MasterGMAT #2- Skipped Quant ( V35-37)
VeritasCATPrep #1- 660( Q51, V32)
VeritasCATPrep #2-540( Q36, V26)- Didn't feel well and couldn't concentrate at all.
VeritasCATPrep #3- 660(Q45, V37) Got my confidence back.

I gave few GMATPreps but most of results were inflated because I knew most of the questions.

So, I went into my third attempt with high confidence. It was going perfectly fine until #20 in verbal, and after that, i saw some nasty SC questions and couldn't eliminate more than one option for grammatical errors. Even CRs and RCs were manageable. However, after #30 i couldn't concentrate at all because i had only 12 mins for 11 questions. I think i got most of the last questions incorrect, even though they might have been solvable. No matter what how much i tried to internalize the timing strategy, i couldn't follow it during the test day.

I wasn't thinking about 4th attempt, but after reading GMATLA's reply on another gmatclubber's debrief, i'm contemplating another attempt after practicing in the recommended fashion. But i'd like to give myself a break for two months to get other parts of the application ready, in case i want to apply. I'm targeting part-time or EMBA programs at NYU and Columbia.

Few Random observations:
- All practice tests use slightly different flavor of CR and SC question that we get in the real exam.
- Practice tests don't really mix SC, CR and RC perfectly as real gmat does.
- I faced SC's in which it was difficult to make 2/3 splits where as practice tests have many questions with clear splits and easily removable options.

Big question- Does stamina or endurance matter to the extent that it can drop your score by 100 points? Does timing strategy hold greater importance than concepts after a certain level of proficiency? I'm asking because i have grasped the fundamentals and even applied with good accuracy in various courses, and despite having the knowledge of the concepts and the knowledge of how to apply the concepts, i don't get the desired result.

Thanks
RG
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Last edited by rg1 on 02 Mar 2012, 20:43, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: GMAT journey.... 590 to 560 to 600 to ?? [#permalink] New post 04 Jan 2012, 08:55
Thanks for sharing.

I think stamina plays into stress. If you feel tired and fried, you may stress out about getting through it.

Did you feel like it would never end? That could contribute to careless mistakes and missing the fundamentals that you learned.

Just my 2 cents.


I wish you all the luck in your MBA goals.
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Re: GMAT journey.... 590 to 560 to 600 to ?? [#permalink] New post 05 Jan 2012, 07:50
Your score seems to be improving with time but I am not sure how much can you take further given that you have exploited almost all the resources out there
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Re: GMAT journey.... 590 to 560 to 600 to ?? [#permalink] New post 08 Jan 2012, 16:12
rg1 wrote:
GMATClubbers,

I gave GMAT ( yes, for third time) on Dec 27 and scored 600 (Q47, V25)- exactly the same split i got during my first tryst with GMAT.

May 2011- 590( Q47, V25) AWA- 4.5
Sep 2011- 560( Q47, V20) AWA - 5.0
Dec 2011- 600( Q47, V25) AWA- 5.5

I think I tried all the material( MGMAT books, Knewton, GMATPill, e-GMAT, MasterGMAT and misc material on the net), yet I failed miserably.

After 1st attempt, I thought it was RC and CR since i was confident about SC. I bought e-gmat (with Grockit) and worked diligently for SC and CR course. In sep 2011, I got V20 in second attempt. Disappointed and desperate, I bought master-gmat course and thought it'd help improve my verbal score this time. To my dismay, I scored V25 in third despite having 80% accuracy in the practice questions (mastergmat and e-gmat).

I heard that i shouldn't taking many tests in order to avoid burn outs. Some of Knewton and all of MGMAT tests i finished in first attempt.

Knewton #5- 640( Q46, V31) - I got Q46 after 7 quant mistakes and V31 after leaving two questions unmarked. Arggggh)
MasterGMAT #1- 670-690 ( Q48-49, V35-37)
MasterGMAT #2- Skipped Quant ( V35-37)
VeritasCATPrep #1- 660( Q51, V32)
VeritasCATPrep #2-540( Q36, V26)- Didn't feel well and couldn't concentrate at all.
VeritasCATPrep #3- 660(Q45, V37) Got my confidence back.

I gave few GMATPreps but most of results were inflated because I knew most of the questions.

So, I went into my third attempt with high confidence. It was going perfectly fine until #20 in verbal, and after that, i saw some nasty SC questions and couldn't eliminate more than one question for a grammatical error. Even CRs and RCs were manageable. However, after #30 i couldn't concentrate at all because i had only 12 mins for 11 questions. I think i got most of the last questions incorrect, even thought they might have been solvable. No matter what how much i tried to internalize the timing strategy, i couldn't follow it during the test day.

I wasn't thinking about 4th attempt, but after reading GMATLA's reply on another gmatclubber's debrief, i'm contemplating another attempt after practicing in the recommended fashion. But i'd like to give myself a break for two months to get other parts of the application ready, in case i want to apply. I'm targeting part-time or EMBA programs at NYU and Columbia.

Few Random observations:
- All practice tests use slightly different flavor of CR and SC question that we get in the real exam.
- Practice tests don't really mix SC, CR and RC perfectly as real gmat does.
- I faced SC's in which it was difficult to make 2/3 splits where as practice tests have many questions with clear splits and easily removable options.

Big question- Does stamina or endurance matter to the extent that it can drop your score by 100 points? Does timing strategy hold greater importance than concepts after a certain level of proficiency? I'm asking because i have grasped the fundamentals and even applied with good accuracy in various courses, and despite having the knowledge of the concepts and the knowledge of how to apply the concepts, i don't get the desired result.

Thanks
RG


Big question- Does stamina or endurance matter to the extent that it can drop your score by 100 points? Does timing strategy hold greater importance than concepts after a certain level of proficiency?--YES u bet. I have learned this the hard way too.

As you yourself mentioned-- 'I'm asking because i have grasped the fundamentals and even applied with good accuracy in various courses, and despite having the knowledge of the concepts and the knowledge of how to apply the concepts, i don't get the desired result'. If you timing goes haywire then you don't get time to apply the fundamentals/strategies you have learned so you solve in haste or guess questions leading to multiple errors and score drop.

Try and assess yourself by solving mocks with AWA section, the section adds to the endurance factor in the game.You might want to read the article below.

http://www.manhattangmat.com/blog/index ... ent-wrong/
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Re: GMAT journey.... 590 to 560 to 600 to ?? [#permalink] New post 08 Jan 2012, 16:35
Hey there,

Congratulations on your improvement! A 600 is certainly a good score, and you should be very proud of your accomplishment.

It looks like verbal is the place where you're having the most trouble, which is the exact opposite of my issue. A little bit of background on me: I started off in the high 500 range a few years ago when I was in college and got quite disappointed. I studied for a few weeks and went back and scored a 630. Because I wasn't in any rush to get to school, I took a few years off and am set to take it again this week. I've always been in the 99th percentile in verbal but the math has been weak -- under 50th percentile -- until my recent practice tests (scoring between 730-780 right now, hopefully it will stick!).

I think that there are a few things that you may be able to do to increase your verbal score:

(1) Practice smart, not hard:
It sounds like you've gone through a mass of material, but how much time did that take you? If you're aiming for a drastic score improvement, you need to spend quite a bit of time on each section that you're weak in. Spend MORE time on FEWER questions in your practice, making sure you're 99% confident in your answer before you even peek at the explanation. Racing through questions and material might cover a lot of ground, but very little of it will stick.

(2) Read non-GMAT material:
GMAT material can get very tiresome after a while, and I think one of the best things you can do is read material from other sources but put your brain in a GMAT mindset. One of the best publications that I've found for this is "Scientific American."

(3) Get the mindset (even with non-gmat material)
For me, the verbal isn't as much about knowledge of concepts as it is about mindset. You have to approach every question (except sentence correction) with an eye of very critical analysis. As you've probably read in the MGMAT books, you need to have ideas about what the answer will be before you even read the answers. For example, in CR, the answer choice for any assumptions, strengthen weaken, or conclusion question type (most questions) will almost ALWAYS apply directly to the conclusion -- if the answer choice doesn't relate specifically to the conclusion, just forget it immediately. Only re-read it if you can't find one that does.

The more you practice this mindset, the easier it becomes. Because almost all questions follow the same basic structure, once you crack it, your score will skyrocket.

(4) Sentence correction -- practice practice practice
The sentence correction is a little different from reasoning and reading because it doesn't necessarily follow the same 'mindset.' Especially if you're ESL, this might be the hardest to improve on because of idioms. Just practice a lot of practice questions on this and make sure you understand the answers before you move to the next ones. Worst comes to worst, on the actual test, you can narrow it down to a few choices and take a guess quickly in order to give yourself more time on the other sections.

As far as stamina goes, yes, it's important. My practice regimen at this point, now that i'm in purely practice mode, includes 3 practice sets back-to-back each day to make sure that my brain is used to the length (I also always read 2 AWA prompts and spend 4-5 minutes outlining them). Since I started doing that rather than random questions until I got tired, my practice scores have gone from a 670 to a 780. Hard to tell if it's due to stamina, but I definitely give that a fair amount of credit.

Good luck!
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Re: GMAT journey.... 590 to 560 to 600 to ?? [#permalink] New post 10 Jan 2012, 18:45
Thanks Biscix1, dentobizz, and galaxyblue.

I've decided to give another gmat with very specific strategies. I'll practice mini-sets to improve timing along with developing skills such as letting go few questions, judging whether a questions too difficult in given circumstances and educated guessing techniques. I'll pick questions from old gmat paper tests or Gmatprep documents. Also, I'll attempt one full length every weekend with AWA using mgmat's laminated scratch pad.

Biscix1- Could you explain whether the mini-tests you take consist of all three sections i.e. SC, CR and RC? How do you arrange the material- questions on paper vs questions on the computer?
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Re: GMAT journey.... 590 to 560 to 600 to ?? [#permalink] New post 10 Jan 2012, 22:30
Good luck with your prep
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Re: GMAT journey.... 590 to 560 to 600 to ?? [#permalink] New post 11 Jan 2012, 09:00
rg1 wrote:
Thanks Biscix1, dentobizz, and galaxyblue.

Biscix1- Could you explain whether the mini-tests you take consist of all three sections i.e. SC, CR and RC? How do you arrange the material- questions on paper vs questions on the computer?


Good question. My opinion is that it really doesn't matter that much at first -- just set yourself an appropriate amount of time based on the question types you're doing. The manhattan gmat guides have some good gauges for time but here's an approximation: SC: 60 seconds, CR: 90-105 seconds, RC: 3-5 minutes for reading plus 1 minute per question depending on the length of the paragraph.

Most helpful for me are the GMAT Club tests because, though they're not CAT, they're timed and the question types vary. Frankly, the questions aren't always perfect, but i'd say in general they're a good tool. You can also make sets out of any of the books or other sources you have.

The more important thing is that you get yourself in the mindset and understand WHY for every question answer, both wrong and right. Before you start timing yourself and blowing through hundreds of questions, just make sure to do 50-60 difficult questions and spend a lot of time looking into every question choice, being 99% certain you know the answer before you select one. Between process of elimination and your knowledge, you should be able to narrow it down to at most 2 answer choices for almost every question (given unlimited time) before you start working on your timing. This is the main difference between verbal and math -- there's no formula or concept that will keep you from getting the answer if you don't know it. Every answer is within reach and is sitting in plain sight.

Hope this helps.
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Re: GMAT journey.... 590 to 560 to 600 to ?? [#permalink] New post 11 Jan 2012, 09:57
Wow... couple of observations... your practice exam scores were rather high... you have over a 50 point differential. This makes me think that you must have high anxiety on test day.

Second, your verbal is rather low. This means you dont grasp many of the fundamental gramar rules the GMAT tests. I would recommend revisiting those. If you feel this may be the case as well I would recomend the Foundations of Verbal book from MGMAT. However, another factor may be at play.

What I think happened during your last exam was you were doing fine during verbal for the first part and getting difficult questions. You clearly did not time yourself right. Difficult questions take more time after all. However, what you failed to do is walk away from a question which took you more than 2 mins to do. Safe to say that you did this a few times during the exam. Now you have 11 Qs and 12 mins. At least you did not leave them blank. However, rushing through them and getting say 0 out of 12 right probably decreased your verbal score by 5-10 points. (String of 10 wrong questions at the end lower your overall score by 15% according to GMAT)

I think a mix of mini cats (kittens) in 20 min sessions for 10 qs would benefit you a ton. Good luck!
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Re: GMAT journey.... 590 to 560 to 600 to ?? [#permalink] New post 11 Jan 2012, 21:01
Thanks for your feedback, wallstreetbarbie.

wallstreetbarbie wrote:
Wow... couple of observations... your practice exam scores were rather high... you have over a 50 point differential. This makes me think that you must have high anxiety on test day.
Agreed. Anxiety was definitely there, but i don't know why i couldn't overcome despite giving so many tests.

wallstreetbarbie wrote:
Second, your verbal is rather low. This means you dont grasp many of the fundamental gramar rules the GMAT tests. I would recommend revisiting those. If you feel this may be the case as well I would recomend the Foundations of Verbal book from MGMAT. However, another factor may be at play.
I kind of disagree here. If i didn't have fundamentals, i wouldn't get good/high accuracy while practicing questions for each section from various sources such as e-gmat, mastergmat, and i wouldn't be scoring higher on multiple practice tests. However, i can definitely take a look Foundations of verbal book. Does this book offer anything different from what MGMAT 8 books, Aristotle SC, e-gmat, mastergmat, and gmatpill offer?

Seriously, i've gone through so much material that i can't digest theory/rules anymore and everything looks repetitive. It may just be frustration or saturation, but this is what i feel while looking at few pages of mgmat books.

wallstreetbarbie wrote:
What I think happened during your last exam was you were doing fine during verbal for the first part and getting difficult questions. You clearly did not time yourself right. Difficult questions take more time after all. However, what you failed to do is walk away from a question which took you more than 2 mins to do. Safe to say that you did this a few times during the exam. Now you have 11 Qs and 12 mins. At least you did not leave them blank. However, rushing through them and getting say 0 out of 12 right probably decreased your verbal score by 5-10 points. (String of 10 wrong questions at the end lower your overall score by 15% according to GMAT)


I think a mix of mini cats (kittens) in 20 min sessions for 10 qs would benefit you a ton. Good luck![/quote]
Yes, this definitely i'll try. Making a set of 20 question sets from different books and word/pdf documents is a big hassle and sometimes time consuming. I wonder whether i need to 'utilize' my grockit memebership now;).
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Re: GMAT journey.... 590 to 560 to 600 to ?? [#permalink] New post 13 Jan 2012, 01:34
Just few thoughts.

Quote:
I kind of disagree here. If i didn't have fundamentals, i wouldn't get good/high accuracy while practicing questions for each section from various sources such as e-gmat, mastergmat, and i wouldn't be scoring higher on multiple practice tests. However, i can definitely take a look Foundations of verbal book. Does this book offer anything different from what MGMAT 8 books, Aristotle SC, e-gmat, mastergmat, and gmatpill offer?


Don't you think you are using too much material from varied sources? This could be a reason for overload and confusion. Most test prep. companies have their own methodology to attack questions, that tend to differ from one another. So using too many sources can lead to confusion , not to mention boredom reading the same rules from 6/7 different places. You surely can pick an extra rule or shortcut from different material, but beyond a point it turns to be counter productive.

Quote:
Seriously, i've gone through so much material that i can't digest theory/rules anymore and everything looks repetitive. It may just be frustration or saturation, but this is what i feel while looking at few pages of mgmat books.


Perhaps you should take a break for a while and skim through the material again with more attention to your weak areas only.I agree that things are repetitive during the retake but as wallstreerbarbie said there could be few gaps in understanding some concepts (esp. in advanced section of the book) and/or application of the concepts in problems. Personally when I feel bugged going through the material again, I read the material in tandem with application of those concepts (doing a mix of easy to difficult problems from the same subject area) , this has proved more helpful to re-enforce the concept rather than going through the concepts in entirety and then solving the problems at the end.


Quote:
Yes, this definitely i'll try. Making a set of 20 question sets from different books and word/pdf documents is a big hassle and sometimes time consuming. I wonder whether i need to 'utilize' my grockit memebership now;).



Definitely gathering 20 questions from different sources will be time consuming. As suggested by quite a few test takers earlier solving the OG questions in sets such as(1,11,21,31......,101,111,121..)gives a good mix of easy, medium and difficult problems and proves to be more efficient for practice. You may try this.
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Re: GMAT journey.... 590 to 560 to 600 to ?? [#permalink] New post 19 Jan 2012, 18:33
Thanks dentobizz. I'm currently practicing timing using old GMATPaper tests. Shuffling pages from a book irritates me, so i'm using old gmat paper tests. These questions are from GMAC and most of them are already in various OGs.

CR- 16 questions in 25 mins
SC- 22 questions in 25 mins

I experienced that i had around 10-12 minutes for last 10 questions and I was severely stressed during that time. Which strategy should I apply in order not to get panic attack at the end because of time crunch?

1. Should I implement educated guessing between questions 11-30 so that I have enough time ( approx 20 mins) for the last 11 questions?

2. Should I try to solve as many questions as possible between questions 11-30 and randomly guess on 2-3 questions so that I have enough time ( approx 20 mins) for the last 11 questions?

While learning concepts and practicing questions from various sources, i didn't have a glaring weakness in one specific section. Obviously, I'll have lower accuracy for tougher problems. But it was never the case that i'd always miss questions of a certain type irrespective of difficulty level.

Does it mean that educated guessing relies more on practice and intuition after solving 100s or 1000s of questions?

In these circumstances, which of the above two strategies is more beneficial?
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Re: GMAT journey.... 590 to 560 to 600 to ?? [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2012, 14:29
rg1 wrote:
I experienced that i had around 10-12 minutes for last 10 questions and I was severely stressed during that time. Which strategy should I apply in order not to get panic attack at the end because of time crunch?
While learning concepts and practicing questions from various sources, i didn't have a glaring weakness in one specific section. Obviously, I'll have lower accuracy for tougher problems. But it was never the case that i'd always miss questions of a certain type irrespective of difficulty level.


Apologies for the late reply. If you have 10-12 minutes for the last 10 questions that indicates you ARE definitely wasting too much time initially.When I mean that I am weak in an area--I imply that I don't know the content in depth or /and I KNOW the concept but my application strategy is either inconsistent or slow. You must be having some topics/question types where you generally take more time to solve IRRESPECTIVE of getting those correct/incorrect.You can save time by improving these areas/questions OR simply guessing & moving on,to use your valuable time doing questions at the end or solving questions that you are more comfortable with.
You always MAY NOT see a glaring weakness in a section in ALL your mocks, but on a average you can definitely spot few questions/concepts of the same type where you get stuck.The assessment report for your mocks will give you these areas automatically.

Quote:
1. Should I implement educated guessing between questions 11-30 so that I have enough time ( approx 20 mins) for the last 11 questions?

2. Should I try to solve as many questions as possible between questions 11-30 and randomly guess on 2-3 questions so that I have enough time ( approx 20 mins) for the last 11 questions?

In these circumstances, which of the above two strategies is more beneficial?


Well, If you ask me, I'd say none,because there is NO way to ascertain what type of questions will you be facing on the exam day.Let us assume I go with strategy 1 --(guess ques#11-30 and then take the extra time for last 11). What if I find that I can actually solve questions #11 to 30 easily or the questions are from topics that I'm good at (those topics I can correctly & confidently solve within 2 minutes)?? In this case why do I purposely take a educated guess on these questions? when I very well can solve them, that too w/o knowing what the last 11 questions will be.

Strategy 2 --should be applied to ANY (not just 11-30) questions you are stuck at (for more than 2 mins) or topics you know you won't solve correctly(may be a convoluted Permutation/probability question, or a difficult to grasp CR). Its best not to throw good money after bad. But then its easier said then done. It will need discipline & practice.

Quote:
Does it mean that educated guessing relies more on practice and intuition after solving 100s or 1000s of questions?


For me educated guessing means that I am down to 3 or mostly 2 choices and I take a shot at one of them and move on,after I have exhausted all possible avenues--direct solving, substitution, back solving or I am simply stuck & don't know how to proceed further.
Definitely the more number of questions you solve & Review the more the chances are that you can spot traps , patterns , shortcuts that surely will help you to make a correct guess . Hope this helps
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Re: GMAT journey.... 590 to 560 to 600 to ??   [#permalink] 06 Feb 2012, 14:29
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GMAT journey.... 590 to 560 to 600 to ??

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