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I choked... (took exam: Sept. 9, score: 570)

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I choked... (took exam: Sept. 9, score: 570) [#permalink] New post 19 Sep 2003, 12:22
Well, I feel like I have no business giving anybody advice at the moment, as I've just taken the exam with a poor score of 570. Maybe if someone has advice for me, or if by sharing my experiences it will help someone else realize that not everybody using this board got a 760, had an hour to spare, and is from Barcelona (haha..). Just so you know that I'm no dummy, my SATs were 1350.

That said, I'll try to sum up my experience in three words: environment, experience, and nervous energy.

Environment. First, I'll start by saying that I did not score anywhere near what I got on the ETS practice tests I took (this is atypical). The first PowerPrep I got a 700 and the second PowerPrep I got a 680, so I figured I'd at least be in the higher 600's. I'm not telling this to scare you, just to make sure you have ALL difference perspectives on the exam. I had been taking the pratice computer tests over a stretch of about three weeks in a totally quiet environment when no one was around. I took the real exam in a multiplex testing center here in Chicago called Prometric, and I wasn't expecting people to be entering and exiting the room quite as frequently as they did. It threw me off and I wasn't prepared for that. TIP: Be careful about studying in a completely isolated environment.

Experience. Additionally, looking back, I think that I did not take enough computerized practice tests. I took a total of five computer tests and about ten book tests. When I took the book tests, I was scoring 700-740, not because the questions were easier than the actual, but more so because I had not become accustomed to working with the computer. And looking up and down between the screen and my little sheet of paper on the desk ate up time, again that I wasn't expecting. Even though I had gotten to the point where taking an exam was second-nature with the book pratice tests, I needed more experience with the computerized one. TIP: invest in computerized tests, don't rely on a book tests to accurately reflect your score.

Nervous energy. Lastly, my biggest problem was that, in general, I had a hard time focusing, and trying to get my brain from going everywhere. I think I felt too stressed, and I'm honestly still not sure what I'll have to do to relax for when I take it again. One thing that was mentioned to me was that I had spent the last two months constantly studying and focusing on this test. I wonder now, if my day had been more balanced, if I could have put this exam in a decent amount of perspective, and been more relaxed. TIP: be totally relaxed; if that means postponing the test after you've studied to the max, just so you can relax for a week or two beforehand -do it.

Like I said, I hope this helps someone.

Oh, another thing, I haven't given up hope. I'm thinking about getting the Kaplan Quiz Bank 1000, which is supposed to have some good computerized exams in it. If anyone's used it before let me know what you think.

Also, if you're in a similar situation, I'll tell you a little story that happened to my sister. She took the real exam the first time... got a 570 too... she took it a second time and got a 660... she took it a THIRD time and got a 710. This month, she just started her first semester at Columbia Business School. TRUE STORY.

If this test is worth something to you -don't give up.[/img]
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 [#permalink] New post 19 Sep 2003, 13:43
Thanks for the information, may i asked what guides or books you used?
also did you feel that the powerprep tests were easier thatn the actual as some people suggested?

Thanks for the feedback, and best wishes
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books used [#permalink] New post 19 Sep 2003, 14:53
Hi,

Like I said, I'm not feeling all that confident about giving out advice on the GMAT. But to fill you in: my basic strategy was to block out the outside world and get through as much material as possible -seeing that this didn't work so well, and from posts that others have said, life-study balance seems to be important.

Well, I felt the math material was harder on the real GMAT than the PowerPrep. However, I found the verbal on the real GMAT to be easier than on the PowerPrep.

I used the same books as my sister, including OG, ARCO, NOVA, Math Builder (pub: REA), and, of course, Kaplan. For computerized exams, I used PowerPrep (download from ETS website), Kaplan CDs (the ones included in the book), and ARCO CDs (the ones included in the book).

In hindsight, I think the material that applied to the exam was emulated in Kaplan and/or OG, and it would have benefitted me more to have gone over Kaplan and OG TWICE, rather than wasting time with the other material I listed. Check out the "recommended" materials list on this website. I think I'm going to take his advice.
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Re: I choked... (took exam: Sept. 9, score: 570) [#permalink] New post 20 Sep 2003, 01:22
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mst039 wrote:
Well, I feel like I have no business giving anybody advice at the moment, as I've just taken the exam with a poor score of 570. Maybe if someone has advice for me, or if by sharing my experiences it will help someone else realize that not everybody using this board got a 760, had an hour to spare, and is from Barcelona (haha..). Just so you know that I'm no dummy, my SATs were 1350.

That said, I'll try to sum up my experience in three words: environment, experience, and nervous energy.

Environment. First, I'll start by saying that I did not score anywhere near what I got on the ETS practice tests I took (this is atypical). The first PowerPrep I got a 700 and the second PowerPrep I got a 680, so I figured I'd at least be in the higher 600's. I'm not telling this to scare you, just to make sure you have ALL difference perspectives on the exam. I had been taking the pratice computer tests over a stretch of about three weeks in a totally quiet environment when no one was around. I took the real exam in a multiplex testing center here in Chicago called Prometric, and I wasn't expecting people to be entering and exiting the room quite as frequently as they did. It threw me off and I wasn't prepared for that. TIP: Be careful about studying in a completely isolated environment.

Experience. Additionally, looking back, I think that I did not take enough computerized practice tests. I took a total of five computer tests and about ten book tests. When I took the book tests, I was scoring 700-740, not because the questions were easier than the actual, but more so because I had not become accustomed to working with the computer. And looking up and down between the screen and my little sheet of paper on the desk ate up time, again that I wasn't expecting. Even though I had gotten to the point where taking an exam was second-nature with the book pratice tests, I needed more experience with the computerized one. TIP: invest in computerized tests, don't rely on a book tests to accurately reflect your score.

Nervous energy. Lastly, my biggest problem was that, in general, I had a hard time focusing, and trying to get my brain from going everywhere. I think I felt too stressed, and I'm honestly still not sure what I'll have to do to relax for when I take it again. One thing that was mentioned to me was that I had spent the last two months constantly studying and focusing on this test. I wonder now, if my day had been more balanced, if I could have put this exam in a decent amount of perspective, and been more relaxed. TIP: be totally relaxed; if that means postponing the test after you've studied to the max, just so you can relax for a week or two beforehand -do it.

Like I said, I hope this helps someone.

Oh, another thing, I haven't given up hope. I'm thinking about getting the Kaplan Quiz Bank 1000, which is supposed to have some good computerized exams in it. If anyone's used it before let me know what you think.

Also, if you're in a similar situation, I'll tell you a little story that happened to my sister. She took the real exam the first time... got a 570 too... she took it a second time and got a 660... she took it a THIRD time and got a 710. This month, she just started her first semester at Columbia Business School. TRUE STORY.

If this test is worth something to you -don't give up.[/img]



I can guarantee that not everybody gets 760 :lol:
But that's a good comment.

many arduous and devoted people from GC got under 700 and within 600. You can find Stolyar's post; he probably posted more here than anybody else and he still got 660-680, despite his night and day devotion to the GMAT. IT is a strange phenomenon.

But don't get discouraged - there is a post about a person going from 500's to 700's and I did smth similar.

Let me know if I can be of help in any way,
Bogdan.

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 [#permalink] New post 21 Sep 2003, 17:28
Hey Mst I hate to offer an obvious explanation, but here goes. Somebody scores very well on both the SAT and the powerpreps, then turns in a significantly lower score on the real gmat. This would make a perfect paradox question! I won't list the other answer choices but it seems to me that.......You had a bad day. People sometimes forget that going to a test center and focussing in a new environment is a significant change. Some people do better on test day and others, not as well. You can turn that around the next time you take the test. Good luck!
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 [#permalink] New post 21 Sep 2003, 17:32
Nevermind, I just skimmed your post. I offered you the same advice you gave yourself. Sorry.
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 [#permalink] New post 22 Sep 2003, 07:26
mst039

Thanks a lot for a good story about your sister :-D One GOOD reason why I like this site is that you have an opportunity to SHARE your experience and for those who are only preparing for the test it is a chance to get psychologically prepared for it.

Anyway, don't give up as you are not alone with this problem :oops:
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Will keep going! [#permalink] New post 22 Sep 2003, 07:51
Hi Gang,

Thanks for the encouragement! You guys are just great. I didn't expect anyone to respond to my posting at all, and I'm overwhelmed with the response it got.

Thanks a ton!

:-D
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Sep 2003, 17:23
Hi,
I'm really glad you wrote this...All day long I've been crying my eyes out and drinking glass after glass of wine to ease my misery. I've been studying for the past 3 months continuously, non-stop. i kept getting 700's on the stupid kaplan paper tests. then I took the test today and I swear they must have scored it wrong because I only got a 510, lower than even my kaplan diagnostic which I took with my eyes closed. But I'm glad you said your sister improved her score by so much...How did she do it? Does this mean I have to hit the books again and seclude myself from society? i sure hope not...pls let me know.
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Sep 2003, 20:08
Hi Amy..Sorry to hear about your bad GMAT experience! It does sound like you had an awful day, but please don't cry and drink away, we need to keep morales high on here!

I think you firstly need to target a realistic score in your mind, this depends on your background, how much study you can put in, recognizing your weak areas etc. and then work towards that score.

Many people who take the test a second time score much better than the first, I believe this is because they're more confident and relaxed and they know whats gonna hit them so they're prepared mentally atleast.

If you'd posted the break up of your scores, we could help with how to improve which section that you need to do better in. This website is a great resource, there are many many math and verbal questions which are very good practice so you must go through them and you'll start feeling better and confident. Needless to say, I do recommend a 2nd shot!...at the GMAT that is :-D :-D :-D
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Balance + Moderation [#permalink] New post 01 Oct 2003, 13:05
Hi amyp,

Hang in there!!!

I'm not going to pretend to have all the answers, but we all know that there are people who score in the 700s without even studying for the GMAT and there are people who score in the 500s who have studied lots for the GMAT, it just depends. It's a different experience for everyone.

Statistically, our poor scores were flukes, and the next time we take it we should hit our averages from the practice tests. Realistically, there might be factors -outside of studying- that greatly effected our strategy which contributed to these flukes. I, for one, was extraordinarily nervous, and, EXACTLY LIKE YOU, I put my life on hold for three months to study for the GMAT, not going out with friends, not having a life, skipping movies that I was dying to see, etc. When I saw you wrote this, I had to respond to let you know you're not alone.

My old mentality was: the more I study, the better a score I'll get. That is simply not true. I'm not sure what the correlation between "time spent studying" and "GMAT score" is, but I think it's really hard to take an exam if you feel like you've got so much riding on getting a good score. Someone on the board posted how they really wanted to get into HBS, for instance, that sort of mentality and stress is not healthy for me. Additionally, getting a degree from Harvard is not the key to financial success or otherwise -anyone with close friends at HBS or with close friends of HBS alums knows this for a fact. But, along the lines of having a lot riding on getting a good GMAT socre, it's not to say that that was the *only* reason we both didn't score as we hoped, because honestly, there were concepts that I needed work on, namely combinations and permutations (side note: I'd recommend Scham's "Probability" book, I got it at Borders) which would have been good time savers for me. So this time around, I'm putting less pressure on myself, spending time doing the things I enjoy, focus on things that I'm good at, hanging out with my friends more, and studying for the GMAT in moderation. One person posted on these forums who scored way below expectations wrote that they decided not to sign up in advance for the test, and just woke up and decided to take it that day (or the next) when they felt ready and got a 760. That method seems agreeable with me, if it's possible with the testing centers in my area.

Also, I've started a study group as a good means of interactive study (I found it to be very unhelpful to study alone in quiet places) and as a means of additional resources. So, maybe that'll be an option for you. I just posted a request on the "Sell/Buy/Do" forum on this site and got a reply in a couple of weeks.

As well, you asked how my sister made the huge point leap. Basically, she continued to study, but started going out more, planning short trips, spending time researching companies she wanted to work for, and going to the movies A LOT. Again, I'm not advising you to follow her path, I think the key here is: moderation and balance. Also, inbetween exams she waited between 6-8 weeks to retake. I hope this helps you.

Good luck!!!!!!!!!
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 [#permalink] New post 01 Oct 2003, 19:42
Mst039 has a point here. Not everyone responds to the GMAT like everybody else, every GMAT experience is unique in a way. Some people tend to get affected by things going on around them etc. but many don't. A key, I believe, to cracking the GMAT is intense concentration.

Alos, I think one can only improve to a point. The GMAT tests a lot of logic over complicated maths etc so there's no need really for pouring over books and making life changing sacrifices. A good healthy amount per day should get you there!
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Thanks for your stories [#permalink] New post 23 Oct 2003, 13:21
I too did not too teribbly well after studying for three months. After scoring in the low 700's on the PP tests and 710 and 720 on PR and 590 and 610 on Kaplan, I thought I would definetly score at least 650 on the actual GMAT. But I was so anxious and nervous, that I bombed the quant and ended with a 610 overall.

I am taking this exam again in November and I can completely relate to MST039 and AMYP. I spent the last three weeks crying and thinking that I should just give up. Maybe I'm not cut out for bschool - maybe I should think about something else. But, I am not giving up and neither should the both of you or anyone else struggling with this exam. So much of this is mind over matter. This is only one obstacle and it will seem like nothing a year from now when you're studying for mid-terms :-D .

Thanks for this great site and best of luck to all.
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Best of luck [#permalink] New post 09 Sep 2004, 06:11
Hi Mst,
Best of luck for future endeavors
Your post was too good .

With best wishes
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 [#permalink] New post 10 Sep 2004, 04:33
dont worry mst3
i scored 700 and 730 in PP.
590 in KAPLAN
660-700 in pr trests but only 570 in GMAT
i am now preparing with more enthusiasm,its just that we dont know what GMAT is until we really write it.so now that u r familiar with the experience everything should be fine
be ready to accept that there may be some really tough questions on the test ,just guess and move on through the test like u would on your practice test if u encounter something timeconsuming and leading nowhere

take care of timing,thats where i went wrong

ash
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 [#permalink] New post 10 Sep 2004, 05:44
I don't mean to deepen the wound, but just out of curiosity, did you give any thought to the option of cancelling your score ? Given that you were acutely aware of your negative state of mind and a potential poor performance, was this something that crossed your mind ? I am guessing it probably did, but you were too anxious to know how you fared anyway.

I am just wondering out loud if this is an advisable option given the circumstances.... Ignoring the monetary aspect of it ofcourse. It saves you the agony of knowing that you did bad, as opposed to a benefit of doubt. Do B-schools get a report of the attempt anyway ?

Has this been discussed before ? Thoughts anyone ?

BTW, mst039 - you are bound to do good the next time. Just stay focussed ! *Most* things in life are achievable through hard work & perseverance.
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  [#permalink] 10 Sep 2004, 05:44
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