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low GMAT score, suggestions needed

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low GMAT score, suggestions needed [#permalink] New post 19 Nov 2013, 11:54
I appeared for my GMAT yesterday and had a very dismal performance 560 (Q44/V22 I8), I am very disappointment with my score and still not able to understand what went wrong. While I was writing the verbal exam, I was fairly confident of selecting the best answer and I could see what was wrong with other choices. Somehow my score ended up just 22 for verbal. My past performance was much better in the mock tests, here is the quick summary.
GMAT Prep1 - 640 (Q49/V28)
GMAT Prep2 - 660 (Q49/V30)
MGMAT 1 - 660 (Q46/V31)
MGMAT 2 - 660 (Q46/V32)
MGMAT 3 - 680 (Q47/V36)
MGMAT 4 - 650 (Q44/V35)
MGMAT 5 - 650 (Q44/V35)
MGMAT 6 - 680 (Q44/V38)

I am still not able to understand what went wrong and what should I do differently now to crack the GMAT. I am planning to retake but don't know where should I start now in verbal. Please advise, if anyone had any such experience and what could be wrong with my approach?

Any help is highly appreciated.
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Re: low GMAT score, suggestions needed [#permalink] New post 19 Nov 2013, 12:37
Expert's post
Your performance on the real exam does appear to be an anomaly based on your previous test scores. Was there any particular type of question that bothered you during the test?

Your quant seems at least somewhat within your range during practice, but verbal was way off. What type of verbal questions do you remember struggling with? These are the ones you should probably review.

You should definitely retake the exam. But first, thoroughly review your past mistakes in all the practice tests just to ensure that some of the prior mistakes you were making did not all of a sudden come out during the exam.

You can even retake each exam and see if you can get 700 this time. See if the mistakes you are making this time the same as the mistakes you made last time. Or whether you are now making new mistakes.
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Re: low GMAT score, suggestions needed [#permalink] New post 19 Nov 2013, 12:42
Expert's post
thenits wrote:
I appeared for my GMAT yesterday and had a very dismal performance 560 (Q44/V22 I8), I am very disappointment with my score and still not able to understand what went wrong. While I was writing the verbal exam, I was fairly confident of selecting the best answer and I could see what was wrong with other choices. Somehow my score ended up just 22 for verbal. My past performance was much better in the mock tests, here is the quick summary.
GMAT Prep1 - 640 (Q49/V28)
GMAT Prep2 - 660 (Q49/V30)
MGMAT 1 - 660 (Q46/V31)
MGMAT 2 - 660 (Q46/V32)
MGMAT 3 - 680 (Q47/V36)
MGMAT 4 - 650 (Q44/V35)
MGMAT 5 - 650 (Q44/V35)
MGMAT 6 - 680 (Q44/V38)

I am still not able to understand what went wrong and what should I do differently now to crack the GMAT. I am planning to retake but don't know where should I start now in verbal. Please advise, if anyone had any such experience and what could be wrong with my approach?

Any help is highly appreciated.

Dear thenits,
I'm very sorry to hear about your trouble on the GMAT, and I'm happy to respond. :-)

First of all, I would like to recommend a three-month study plan that is designed for folks who struggle in verbal:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/3-month-gm ... l-focused/
Also, here's a free GMAT idioms ebook you may find helpful:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-idiom-ebook/

I think Magoosh verbal could really help you.
Here's a practice SC question:
http://gmat.magoosh.com/questions/3586
Here's a practice RC question:
http://gmat.magoosh.com/questions/3623
When you submit your answer to each of these, the following page will have a complete video explanation. Each one of Magoosh's 800+ GMAT questions has its own video explanation, for accelerated learning.

Finally, there was such a significant difference between your practice tests and the real GMAT that I strongly suspect exam anxiety played a big roll. Here's a series of articles that could really help you in this regard:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/overcome-g ... y-breathe/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/beating-gmat-stress/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/the-gmat-b ... g-picture/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/zen-boot-c ... -the-gmat/

I hope all this helps. Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Mike :-)
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Mike McGarry
Magoosh Test Prep

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Re: low GMAT score, suggestions needed [#permalink] New post 20 Nov 2013, 08:35
Thanks Mike for your valuable inputs, appreciate it. I am going through the material you have provided, I will get back if there are any questions.
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Re: low GMAT score, suggestions needed [#permalink] New post 20 Nov 2013, 08:41
GMATPill wrote:
Your performance on the real exam does appear to be an anomaly based on your previous test scores. Was there any particular type of question that bothered you during the test?

Your quant seems at least somewhat within your range during practice, but verbal was way off. What type of verbal questions do you remember struggling with? These are the ones you should probably review.

You should definitely retake the exam. But first, thoroughly review your past mistakes in all the practice tests just to ensure that some of the prior mistakes you were making did not all of a sudden come out during the exam.

You can even retake each exam and see if you can get 700 this time. See if the mistakes you are making this time the same as the mistakes you made last time. Or whether you are now making new mistakes.


Hi Zeke,

thanks for you reply. There was not any particular type of questions that bothered me as such during the test. I used to struggle a lot in RC in my mocks but I found GMAT RCs easier as compared my the mocks and had no difficulty answering those.

I really liked your idea to retake all the mocks and check if I am still making the old mistakes. That should really tell me what went wrong. Thanks for your guidance.

Appreciate your help.
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Re: low GMAT score, suggestions needed [#permalink] New post 20 Nov 2013, 23:51
First of all, I am sorry to hear about your performance. Remember: Performance mocks is not truly representative of what will happen on the final exam and you should definitely discount it by ~60 points. Mock tests are in your comfort zone and the accuracy rates tend to look different in the test centers. Moreover, a lot of questions in the Mocks are repetitive and they tend to inflate your scores too much.

I will recommend you do the following: And it has been working for a lot of our applicants (Plan your work and work your plan)

Step 1: Identifying your Problem areas
1. Make a personal study chart and list down all the areas that feel snatch away your power. And when you describe your problems, do remember to be very specific I will share the examples
- Reading Comprehension
o Stamina : I am not able to do more than 5 passages in a single sitting and the accuracy tends to fall 45 minutes into the preparation
o Topics: I do not want to face topics from Biology or Sociology or other areas that may be relevant to you
o Question Categories: I am able to attempt all the fact based questions but fail miserably in inference based questions or idea based questions
o Any others that may apply to you
- Critical Reasoning
o Question Categories
o Assumptions
o Weaken
o Strengthen
o Etc.
- Sentence Correction:
o Topics: List them down ( if you know that you are not brilliant at handling problems of modifiers, or parallelism or any other areas that apply to you.
- Quant: Similar exercise( Be as detailed as possible)
Put this chart on display where you can see it every day.

Step 2: Put timelines around what will you be doing across these areas: And tell yourself that by Dec 25th, you will Nail “All the topics listed in the chart twice”
Use technology to make your calendar and have two study spots a day. Tell yourself that you will do RC and CR on Tuesday night, PS and SC on Wed Night etc. Assuming that you study for 6 days a week, you should have 12 study spots in a week and you have to distribute these across five areas: RC, CR, SC, PS, DS.
Use Google calendars to put reminders for yourself across these days.
If you feel that your reading skills are not promising enough at this stage, introduce another spot for Mapping the passages exercise. Essentially, in a mapping exercise, you need to
For example, if you are facing trouble with Stamina on reading comprehension, start doing 5 passages a day and finish answering first 4 questions of every passage in 7-8 minutes( Including reading the passage).
If you are facing problems in Critical reasoning, start identifying the particular categories.
43 days before your test, you should have accomplished the following:
A. Verbal Review
B. Official Guide: Same as Verbal Review: Please finish all the questions 43 days before your final test. In addition, you must do the sentence correction questions more than once..
C. Reading Comprehension: You should be able to solve first 4 questions within 7-8 minutes and this time also includes reading the passage. You should be able to do this for as many as 5-6 passages in a row. Your accuracy across 6 passages within time limits will be fairly representative of what you will eventually accomplish in the final test as your accuracy in that particular area.
D. Critical Reasoning: You should have a complete understanding of the 8 different categories of CR questions that have been discussed in the CR class, and in the expansive literature that was handed over during and outside the classes( DO it 4 Times). You should be able to do the following
a. Dissection and Identifying the Conclusion: Half of your job is done
b. Addressing the Four steps we talked about in the class on Weakening and strengthening. See that chapter again.
Do not have any internal voice related to any particular area in CR. If you still do, and if something is still bothering you, get it over with before approaching your –ve 43rd day( 43 days to the exam day).
E. Sentence Correction:
a. Mixed Tests: Wind up the 700-800 level question series at least twice. Make your error log right there in the hard copy.
b. Official Guide 13th and Official 12th Edition: These should be over at least once before the 43rd day.
F. Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency:
a. You should have completed the entire set of 500-600, 600-700, and 700-800 level series questions that have been provided to you.
b. You should not have any internal voice relating to any of the chapters. You should not hear yourself saying something like “ I still have to finish topic XYZ in Number System”. No! Please construct a personalized study chart and list down all your problem areas. Compile all the areas that you feel have not been addressed yet, and start checking them off one by one. You cannot carry them to the last “43 day PREP”.

1. What should you be doing on 43rd, 42nd, and 41st day of your preparation?
Reading Comprehension Booster : This is the time to go for a booster. Please pick up 100 passages of Reading Comprehension passages and finish them in three days. Keep the following in mind while finishing those passages:
- Pick wide variety of sources for these passages as opposed to following one particular publication. One source may not be completely representative of the wide variety of GMAT RC Questions. Please follow Aristotle 99 Passages( only 50 passages from this book) + Do the remaining 50 from various official Guides( 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th edition).
- Please pick an appropriate mix of PHD and POET based passages. One guy is sitting in a chemistry lab and throwing too many facts at you at a very fast pace. However, on the other side you have a poet who is drunk, and sitting on a beach. He is writing crisp and more intense passages. First category will test your ability to assimilate too many disparate facts, and put them in to an order, in addition to testing your comprehension
- You should be able to finish your first 4 questions including reading the passage in 7 to 8 minutes. If your Average on SC is roughly a minute, you can afford to take longer on this section. However, you need to be able to assess your own equilibrium. After the first 4 questions of the passage, you should take 70 seconds per question for any additional question.
- A passage should eventually look like a COIN to you. It should be as small and simple, and you should be able to see the snapshot of a 4 to 5 page documentary. You should be able to see clearly the inflexion points, and the major AHA moments that the author is trying to create.
- You should have created a stamina of doing 8 passages in a row by this point of time. All of these 100 passages will be completed in sittings of 8 passages each.

2. What should you be doing in the last 40 days of your preparation?

Last 40 days of your test are for your STAMINA, and re-enforcement of your concepts. You had been working on individual body parts till now( Sentence Correction, Reading Comprehension, Critical reasoning) and are not used to addressing mixed set of questions. You mind is not well equipped with mixing different topics Just as you face them in the final exam.

THE GMAT CIRCUIT: Now you will do heavy lifting and will get used to doing all the topics together through the mixed tests.

Please cover the following:

A. You will be taking 8 Computer tests in the first 20 days of your 40 day plan.
B. You will be taking 10 Computer tests in the last 20 days of your 40 day plan.
C. 8-10 PDF Tests: You can do these PDF or paper tests without falling for any time pressure. The whole idea of doing these paper tests is to keep you exposed to the GMAT questions without creating an unnecessary pressure of timed environment. Lie down on your bed, relax, and open a test without even bothering about the time it takes. Take it Easy! Still, do not drink !
D. Taking one test will require 2.5 hours ( Without IR and ESSAYS) of test taking and 2.5 Hours of Analysis. Analysis is very important as that is where you are learning.

Between every two tests, you will ask yourself the following questions and take appropriate measures.

 Where was I challenged the most in this test? Fact based passages, Poet based passages, Inference on CR, or Data Sufficiency and Inequalities? You need to be very VERY specific while you are addressing your problem areas. You just cannot say that CR is your problem without knowing what portion of CR is actually still bothering you and how did you not have this covered before you started your –ve 43rd Day.
 How did I fare in stamina? Was I doing fine in the first half and the second half of the test?
 How did I do in overall timing? Was I running faster or slower during any of the intervals? Have appropriate time intervals for different PIT STOPS ( 10th question, 20th question, 30th question, and 37th or the 41st question). Identify what will it take to meet those timelines.


Regards
PythaGURUS Team
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Re: low GMAT score, suggestions needed [#permalink] New post 27 Nov 2013, 08:55
pythagurus123 wrote:
First of all, I am sorry to hear about your performance. Remember: Performance mocks is not truly representative of what will happen on the final exam and you should definitely discount it by ~60 points. Mock tests are in your comfort zone and the accuracy rates tend to look different in the test centers. Moreover, a lot of questions in the Mocks are repetitive and they tend to inflate your scores too much.

I will recommend you do the following: And it has been working for a lot of our applicants (Plan your work and work your plan)

Step 1: Identifying your Problem areas
1. Make a personal study chart and list down all the areas that feel snatch away your power. And when you describe your problems, do remember to be very specific I will share the examples
----------------------

----------------------
Regards
PythaGURUS Team


Thanks PythaGURUS Team, I really liked your way to build the stamina and the way towards it. I will certainly try to follow your instruction.

Thanks again for your input.

regards
Re: low GMAT score, suggestions needed   [#permalink] 27 Nov 2013, 08:55
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