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MGMAT CAT 1 - 540 (Q34, V31) - test in 2 weeks....help!

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MGMAT CAT 1 - 540 (Q34, V31) - test in 2 weeks....help! [#permalink] New post 24 Nov 2010, 11:52
Hello all,

Alright, after weeks of studying (i.e months) of studying (mostly math), I finally did my first MGMAT CAT. I scored a 540 (Q34, V31). It does not look too good on the surface... and my GMAT is in 2 weeks. Here's the thing, I guessed several quant questions (have not even covered geometry yet) and finished the section with 10 minutes to spare. For verbal, I got stuck on an RC passage for too long and was severely running out of time for the last 10 questions.

I am going to spend the rest of today, tomorrow and Friday studying before I do my 2nd MGMAT CAT on Saturday.

As I was doing the test, I was telling myself that I knew I was not going to get the greatest score but knowing full well I could do better.

My target score on the GMAT is 650. Basically, I need a score increase of approximately 100 points in 2 weeks time. I plan on doing a total of 6 to 7 CATS (4 to 5 from MGMAT and the 2 from mba.com)

Any thoughts? Would much appreciate it.
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Re: MGMAT CAT 1 - 540 (Q34, V31) - test in 2 weeks....help! [#permalink] New post 25 Nov 2010, 03:52
Did you identify the areas where you need to work on because both your Quant and Vebal scores aren't in a good shape.
Just analyse the MGMAT test really well and simultaneously keep revising your concepts. Keep us posted about your progress.
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Re: MGMAT CAT 1 - 540 (Q34, V31) - test in 2 weeks....help! [#permalink] New post 29 Nov 2010, 14:13
blitz,

I agree with Rishiraj - you really need to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Taking 6 to 7 CATs in the next two weeks won't help. Here's what I'd suggest:

1. Today: ID your areas of weaknesses (you can do this on the MGMAT website...let me know if you need instructions). A "weakness" is really anywhere that your assessment report tells you use are scoring less than 50%.

2. Spend the next few days drilling your biggest weaknesses through sets of similar problems. For example: Do 10 Critical Reasoning "Draw A Conclusion" questions in a row and really develop your strategy and your skills. This is generally more effective than just doing problems randomly. Think of a basketball player practicing his free throws. Instead of just practicing when he gets fouled, people will shoot 1,000 free throws in a row. Beyond this, for the first 100 he might just practice his balance. Then 100 more to practice the grip. Then 100 more to practice the release. 100 more for the breathing. Etc. The following is a crude way of thinking about it, but: The GMAT wants you to know how to do everything, so if you're scoring 750 on SC and only 400 on RC, then you'll never even get to see the 750 level questions and thus prove your abilities because the test algorithm will give you 400 level questions until you get them right. So you really need to work on your weaknesses before you can focus on improving your strengths.

3. Throughout the next week: Really focus on timing. If you can't get a problem right in 2-2.5 minutes, it's absolutely not worth getting it right in 5 minutes. If you had to guess on the last 10 verbal problems, chances are that hurt your verbal score by about 15% - a huge difference! Leaving 10 minutes on the clock in quant is nearly as big of a problem. If you divide those into 10 segments of 1 minute each and divide those extra minutes up to problems where you might have guessed too soon or not double checked your answer, you might have been able to get a whole bunch more right.

4. For one day in the next few days: For RC, develop a process to give yourself some structure. I'd suggest taking relatively good notes on the first sentence / paragraph and then pretty sketchy notes for the rest of the passage. The thinking here is that paragraphs 2-4 generally contain very detailed information that you do NOT want to learn on your first read. Instead, you just want to know where the passage talks about those things so IF you are given a question about that topic, you know where to look. Practice this process / note-taking technique on several passages over the next week.

5. One week before test day: Decide where you are going to guess. If you aren't going to have time to really learn the geometry, then you need to realize that you'll probably have to take a pretty random guess on some of the geometry questions. That, by the way, is completely OK. Everybody has to guess when taking the GMAT; your goal is to make sure you guess in the right places and at the right times.

6. The few days before the test: Don't burn yourself out. Study hard, but make sure in those last few days you rest enough that you are excited, rather than exhausted, when you walk in on test day.

That should be enough to get you started. If you won't to post another message with your strengths and weaknesses, I'd be happy to look through those with you.

Happy Studying!

Brett
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Re: MGMAT CAT 1 - 540 (Q34, V31) - test in 2 weeks....help! [#permalink] New post 29 Nov 2010, 14:44
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Brett, those were excellent suggestions!

I'd like to add something. Use the assessment reports generated by MGMAT. These are a GODSEND. When I took my first MGMAT CAT I wasn't paying too much attention during verbal, so when I took the second CAT I only ran an assessment for that and I found that on most math questions I'd made really stupid mistakes. And I'd have switched answers on the verbal the last minute. They give you a detailed breakdown, identifying your weaknesses and strengths and fastest and slowest areas. These reports are very valuable and would be great. If you have access to their question banks, use those well. And I think identifying your weak areas and working on those will be way more fruitful than learning new areas, because, let's face it, you're likely to get one or two geometry problems on the test - not 5 or 6 like MGMAT. But that's cos they want you to get acclimatized to the higher levels. Don't be disheartened! :)

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Re: MGMAT CAT 1 - 540 (Q34, V31) - test in 2 weeks....help! [#permalink] New post 01 Dec 2010, 17:21
Thank you all for some very valuable advice.

After much consideration, I've revised my goal to hit in the low 600s (600 and up). Not much of a goal but my test is next week (December 9th) and the process has unfortunately led to this way (if only I would have started a few weeks earlier... which I should have.. but that's life).

Alright, so I took my second MGMAT CAT today. I scored a 520 (Q39, V22) (yikes!!!). So my overall score went down from 540 to 520. Discouraging but encouraging at the same time. On my first MGMAT CAT I scored a 540 (Q34, V31). My quant went up by 5 points (which I am very happy about at this point) but my verbal took a 9 point hit. I know we aren't really suppose to do this, but if I combine my new quant score (Q39) and previous verbal score (V31), that is pretty close to my 600 target.

I have a pretty good idea what I will review for quant in the next week but it seems like I am having pacing problems on verbal. For the second test in a row, I rushed through the last 10 questions. I did the same for the last CAT but the difference was 9 points higher. I know if I can fix pacing issues, that would be key. RC seems to be a place where I spend way too much time.

Goal: 600 (around the 65th percentile). This means that I'm a few points away from this score for quant (go from Q39 (MGMAT CAT 2) to Q43 and V31 (MGMAT CAT 1) to V33.

Any thoughts?
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Re: MGMAT CAT 1 - 540 (Q34, V31) - test in 2 weeks....help! [#permalink] New post 05 Dec 2010, 06:28
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blitz,

Since your test day is just a few days away, here is my advice:

1. Do not burn yourself out in the next three days. Very often students tell me they took a CAT each day for a week leading up to the test and then got tired during the actual test. Makes sense, right? You wouldn't run five practice marathons the week before the real marathon, and you shouldn't take full-length exams in the days leading up to a GMAT.

2. Decide TODAY if you haven't already where you are going to guess on verbal. Guessing on the GMAT is just fine, but you need to be the one that decides when and where you are going to guess. If you run out of time, you need to guess on the last 10 problems. That's no good. If you analyze your data and realize that long passages are your weakest area by a far and thus you guess more on the long passages than on your strong suits, that's better. You might as well guess where you are more likely to get a wrong answer, so spend a day or two making a list of where you want to guess.

3. Remember not to psychoanalyze yourself on test day. If you're trying to figure out how you're doing WHILE you're taking the test (i.e. "Wow this question is hard! I must be doing really well!) you set yourself up for disappointment. Thinking about these things does no good during the test. It does, however, distract you and often break your confidence. Once a problem is over, you need to forget that it ever existed and focus only on the problem at hand. Easier said than done, I assure you.

Good luck!

Brett
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Re: MGMAT CAT 1 - 540 (Q34, V31) - test in 2 weeks....help! [#permalink] New post 05 Dec 2010, 17:44
Brett,

Thanks for following up and giving me some good last couple of days advice. I really wish I could report my studying has been better over the last week or so. It has been 'ok' and I believe it could have been much better.. especially when it comes to practice tests.

I'm going to do 1 CAT practice this week from mba.com. I need to see where I'm at. I'm going to do it on Tuesday morning. Sounds crazy 2 days before the GMAT to do one but I need to gauge my performance. The rest of the time I'll be fine tuning some quant and verbal stuff by mostly doing practice questions and reviewing theory. I don't want to burn myself out.

As I wrote in a previous post, my goal is not crazy high.. 600 and up and I'll be happy.

Thanks again for all your help! I have some office hours scheduled tomorrow night with a Manhattan GMAT instructor.
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Re: MGMAT CAT 1 - 540 (Q34, V31) - test in 2 weeks....help! [#permalink] New post 05 Dec 2010, 18:53
blitz,

I anticipate your Office Hours instructor will share similar advice, but:

It's totally fine to do one sample CAT the week before the test, but make sure you take advantage of that time spent by reviewing the test results to refine your analysis of where you should guess during the real test.

Good luck!

Brett
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Re: MGMAT CAT 1 - 540 (Q34, V31) - test in 2 weeks....help!   [#permalink] 05 Dec 2010, 18:53
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