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My second FAILED attempt : 680

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Senior Manager
Senior Manager
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Joined: 08 Jun 2010
Posts: 397
Location: United States
Concentration: General Management, Finance
GMAT 1: 680 Q50 V32
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 55 [0], given: 13

GMAT Tests User
My second FAILED attempt : 680 [#permalink] New post 15 May 2012, 18:50
Terribly sorry I didnt update folks on my second attempt. I was too depressed with the result!

Got a 680 (Q-50, V-32) AWA 6.0.
A 30 point improvement considering. But absolutely no improvement in verbal concerns me a lot.

Key points to note:
1) I gave two practice tests very early on. One was GMATPrep1 I got a 720 and another Kaplan online test and I got 710. This was atleast 2 months before exam. I didnt give any other practice test.
2) I didn't study anything in quantitative for 2 months prior to the exam. I was only studying verbal. So, considering this the score is really really BAD.

Study Material:
I tried Kaplan notes ---> My opinion it is a serious WASTE of time and is totally not representative of actual test.
I used MGMAT all books --> By far the best notes for quant and SC. Skip the RC book. Use the CR book only for its problems. They got tons of practice problems.
I didnt use OG13 --> instead I looked through the quant problems on the GMATquantum.com. They are not significantly different from OG12. As for verbal, I have no idea of the new type of questions/
I used GMATClub tests --> I gave 8 to 9 tests. These are by far the best to improve your critical reasoning and avoiding silly mistakes and solving problems using shortcuts. Very very important for >49 performance. I wholeheartedly endorse these tests! Mind you in my first two practice tests I didnt once get 50. But in between the practice tests and exam, I only occassionally did untimed GMAT CLUB TESTS. Cause and effect reasoning shows that GMAT CLUB TESTS are partially responsible for my 50 point score.

Actual test day
Quant: I was cruising through quant. I was finding it so easy I thought I will get a low 40. I got max 1 probability question and that was very easy too. But I got a lot of simple tricky questions like those you get on MENSA tests. So, be very very careful. They are not conceptually difficult but very easy to make silly mistakes on. Quant was totally representative of OG type of problems nothing over the top out of syllabus. I finished 6 minutes before end of time.

Verbal: I was worried about quant performance and that played in my mind when I started verbal. I didn't see ANY bold faced question. In my previous attempt I saw one around the 25th question. Automatically, I realized I was doing BADLY. But I continued to persevere. I got four short passages and several RC questions on certain highlighted sections of the passage. In CR I noticed there were a lot more Strengthening questions. I think this is in line with the changes on OG I read on the MGMAT site. No bold faced CR questions probably meant I was doing badly on CR because I was breezing through SC and RC was not so tough. Anothe key point to note, there were NO questions based on IDIOMS. GMAT is tending to go towards a greater proportion of Modifier based question pool. So, another thing to note for future takers. I finished 3 minutes before end of time.

Key Takeaways:
1) Give practice tests (A lot and lot of em')
2) Learn the key trends of new OG, focus and practice on those types of questions (Bold faced, highlighted RC etc.)
3) Don't waste too much time on probability, combinations etc. It is not highly represented on new OG pattern.
3) Work on verbal section only when you are completely exhausted not when you are most active.
4) Like everyone says practice, practice and practice BUT only on GOOD material and not USELESS material.

Some key questions for those who have aced verbal: 1) On the verbal section I felt like all answers were all similar on CR and SC. Did anyone else feel this way? I can't figure whether I felt this way due to mental exhaustion or just that I didn't have the concepts right. Any suggestions on how I can improve verbal will be very much appreciated! I want to be absolutely sure I can get 80% percentile or more in verbal next attempt.

So, anyways I am still recovering from my pain and assessing the situation here whether I should put another good attempt on the GMAT and increase my verbal beyond the golden 80% or just apply with my profile. I have several key differentiators which could play to my strength.

Main problem to give GMAT again will be to learn the IR section. I have already mastered the AWA section :)
So, I need to give up an advantage in AWA to learn IR and focus on verbal.

I hope this helps future takers!! Cheers and good luck!
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Intern
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Joined: 02 Apr 2012
Posts: 9
Location: United States
Concentration: Finance
GMAT 1: 730 Q49 V41
GPA: 3.4
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 8 [0], given: 0

Re: My second FAILED attempt : 680 [#permalink] New post 16 May 2012, 11:09
I don't think you need to sit for the exam again. Your score is competitive (especially if you have other bright spots), but it won't be the highlight of your application if you're applying to top 10 schools.

Question: did you not put much into studying for RC?

one thought i had is that you could have improved both SC and CR, and then subsequently couldnt perform at the same level in RC. in other words, maybe you reached 80th percentile in SC and CR and were stuck at 60th percentile in RC. remember, RC is ~1/3 of the verbal section.

regarding bold face questions... i didn't encounter any when i sat for the exam and I scored 41 on the verbal section. however, i did come across a strange stem that I had never seen before (maybe a experimental question).
Senior Manager
Senior Manager
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Joined: 08 Jun 2010
Posts: 397
Location: United States
Concentration: General Management, Finance
GMAT 1: 680 Q50 V32
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 55 [0], given: 13

GMAT Tests User
Re: My second FAILED attempt : 680 [#permalink] New post 16 May 2012, 19:24
Hey Dav35,
Thanks for your post.

My Reading comprehension preparation was an "on and off" styled one. I did close to 7 or 8 passages the week before the test from the Verbal OG supplement and I was only getting one or two wrong per passage in those. Like you said RC could have played a part, but I didn't find the material of the RC hard to understand. Only on the last RC I was having difficulty with the material. I was pretty confident the last five questions (CR and SC) on the GMAT were all coorect. So, I must have made some back to back errors in the middle somwhere, probably the last RC. Maybe I should have spent more time on the RC and less on the SC later on because its easier to make back to back mistakes on RC and lose a lot of percentiles like you mentioned.

The other thing is I never had a comprehensive plan of attack for RC. We all have structures for SC and CR. We know that weakening questions have a plan of attack, and so do strengthening questions and so on; likewise on the SC we know 2-3 splits etc. For RC, my plan was to go through the passage at medium pace, understand the function of each paragaph and come back to the passage to attack detail questions but I decided I would not come back on main point and inference questions. Was that a blunder? I would never know.

In CR, I was getting bucket loads of strengthening questions. I saw a few explain the discrepancy and state the conclusion types but nothing out of the ordinary. SC questions were clearly tricky because unlike idiomatic expression were you could rule out the answers straight away now the structure depends a lot more on meaning. There is more emphasis on each and every word in the sentence. For example: Supposed and Supposedly types of modifiers. So, this means test takers will need to spend more time on SC than the usual 1 min. That's what i felt.

I am not sure how competetive this score is considering I am an Indian applicant from outside of India. My gut feel is that its not going to put in me in good stead amongst the billions from subcontinent from a purely score point of view. Having said that, there a tons of details which can differentiate me from others. For one, I am from a pure green business.

If I were to sit again for GMAT before September, I will have significantly improve verbal and learn IR. So, lets see.

My school list is : (First three are just stretches, the remaining are more plausible)
MIT
Wharton
Columbia
Tepper
Darden
Duke
Ross
Re: My second FAILED attempt : 680   [#permalink] 16 May 2012, 19:24
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