Hi, first time posting here. Seem to be a lot of motivated applicants posting. I joined a Princeton Review
class in late June and scored a 620 on my first practice test. I was pleased because my teacher told me that if I was dilligent I would be able to achieve a 100 point increase in my score. Well, it's about three weeks later and my second test score was lower than I expected it to be. I scored a 650, even though I have been studying both the official guide and the PR questions. It seems like no matter how hard I try I alway miss at least three questions on the math section that I'm capable of answering. My verbal score has always been solid, hovering around 40, with my math score being approximately the same. Ironically enough I was always much stronger quantitatively in my undergrad program. I wanted to take the test at the end of the summer(late August), before my undergrad classes start, but am now considering delaying the process. Any suggestions?
Good quant people sometimes get careless. I bet you know how to answer every question, but when you get the problem wrong, you notice that you did one of 3 things: 1) misread or misinterpreted the problem slightly; 2) simple dumb mechanical error (arithmetic, algebra, wrote down wrong number or variable, etc); or 3) found a specific "true" condition and prematurely assumed it held for all cases without thinking it through.
If addition to all the other good advice you will get here, I suggest you devise some systme that works for you to force you to be more careful. For example, I was also prone to "stupiditis" and so I simply got into the habit of rereading the question and confirming that I was actually answering the right question before confirming my answer -- every time. I also forced myself to do simple arithmetic and algebra drills just get "repetitions" under my belt so that the mechanics became natural. As for (3), I take one extra second to think about it before taking the plunge.
Hope this helps. Just eliminating stupid mistakes brought my score up from very good to GREAT.
Former Senior Instructor, Manhattan GMAT and VeritasPrep
Vice President, Midtown NYC Investment Bank, Structured Finance IT
MFE, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, Class of 2005
MBA, Anderson School of Management, UCLA, Class of 1993