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Need Help Interpreting Practice CATs

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Need Help Interpreting Practice CATs [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2014, 12:15
Hello All,
So I took a practice test today after a 20 day stretch where I went through the 5 Manhattan GMAT (MGMAT) Quant books for the first time and I was zero improvement in Quant and a huge drop in Verbal. Here are my Scores before my 20 day study period:

-GMATPrep 1: 650 (Q40, V40) March 1st

-MGMAT CAT 1 : 710 (Q42, V43) March 8th

-GMATPrep 2: 690 (Q42, V42) March 10th

Went through the 5 MGMAT Quant books

Test today
-MGMAT CAT 2 : 640 (Q42, V36). April 3rd

I feel like I am better at Quant...I know a lot of things i didn't know 20 days ago but am seeing no improvement in score. According to the analyses on the MGMAT website... My avg Quant score correct was higher (about a 680) but my avg score incorrect was the same (about 700).

As for the Verbal...I have no idea...this was a huge blow to my confidence. I had knocked off verbal %tiles of 90%, 96% and 96% in those first 3 test and then today fell to 78%.

I am starting to believe if I am to hit 700 then it will be due to my verbal score as my last 4 CATs have all been 57% in Quant.

Any thoughts on why my Q score didn't improve after the MGMAT series and what I can do to get my V up to par? Test is on April17th.

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Need Help Interpreting Practice CATs [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2014, 18:59
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Hi. I think your recent CAT score is explained by these two factors:

Did you practice any verbal while you worked through the five MGMAT Quant books? It seems like it would be tough to as you only had four days for each MGMAT Quant book. Taking a break from Verbal prep will cause that section score to dip. Both sections require regular practice to keep the skills sharp.

How well were you able to integrate practice of the concepts in the MGMAT guides? Again, your pace was very quick for books with that much depth. Learning strategies must be complemented by extensive, targeted practice in order to see gains from the strategies. As you said, you feel like you are better at Quant, because you learned a ton over those 20 days. But perhaps you didn't practice successfully enough to translate that learning into stronger Quant abilities in a timed situation.

You have 2 weeks, and you have already hit close to your goal score on the GMATPrep CATs, so you should be fine for you 700+ score. As far as a plan to follow and guidance on getting the most out of each prep hour with your limited time, I recommend GMAT Clarity.
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Re: Need Help Interpreting Practice CATs [#permalink] New post 04 Apr 2014, 05:44
Thanks Thomas....you are correct, I did not study Verbal at all over those 20 days. On the GMATprep test I only missed SC questions and felt I didnt need to study anything but SC once I was through with the Quant books...guess I was wrong. During yesterdays test I felt like I was foggy during the Verbal section....assumptions werent jumping out at me like they used to, and I was having to re-read question stems sometimes. Hopefully these skills will come back quickly with some practice.

As for practicing Quant...Monday through Wednesday this week was nothing but OG Practice. I made it through about 150 questions...going through the answers in detail (10 at a time then review). I am getting questions correct that I used to miss and was quite surprised my score didnt change.

thanks for the reply.

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Re: Need Help Interpreting Practice CATs [#permalink] New post 04 Apr 2014, 10:07
Hey FPBull. Yes, RC and CR require semi-constant practice to stay sharp on. They are very much skills that must be constantly honed. At one point in my prep, I did the same thing you did - focused only on Quant - and saw my verbal skills drop temporarily. So, at this stage in your prep, at least every other day, get some good RC and CR practice in.

I'm not sure I made it clear in my previous response, but I recommend practicing on specific Quant subjects to help integrate the strategies, not practicing on all of Quant. So, taking a session and practicing on lots of word problems for instance.

Good luck with your prep! Please let me know if I can help with anything.
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Re: Need Help Interpreting Practice CATs [#permalink] New post 04 Apr 2014, 11:53
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Hi FP,

Hope you are doing well. Excellent job on your verbal! If you slacked a bit on verbal then a dip isn't abnormal although I might contribute the dip to the MGMAT CAT verbal and its scoring. I don't like any "fake" GMAT verbal. I've seen big ups and downs from students taking the verbal section of MGMAT CATs. For the next two weeks you might consider blasting through the verbal sections of the GMAT Paper Tests. These are great practice. I might also consider getting through all the Medium/Hard verbal from the Question Pack 1 software. In addition, finish all of the Medium/Hard verbal from the OG 13. If you want to have the experience of a full test you can combine the GMAT Paper Test Verbal with MGMAT Quant.

For Quant it looks like you have only taken 2 MGMAT CATS - I would take the rest of them and then maybe even reset them and take them again. People have different opinions on this but I am in favor of a lot of timed Quant the month before the real GMAT. While taking the exams focus on:

1. Organized problem solving (avoid careless mistakes)

2. Not rushing but keeping Forward momentum (if you don't have a plan after a minute or so then move on).

Remember that the review is the most important part so don't skimp on it. Maybe this post on GMAT Study Habits will be helpful. Are you consolidating the Quant formulas and strategies that you are learning in to some kind of notebook? That can really help get all of your GMAT magic solidified.

Good job working through the OG 13, in addition I would consider working on the Medium/Difficult Quant from Question Pack 1 and retaking GMAT Prep 1 and 2 (at least the Quant sections).

You still have the Exam Pack with tests 3 and 4 which you can take about a week from now. That 700+ is close - let's consolidate all of the things that you know and make it happen! Let me know if you have any questions.

Happy Studies,

A.
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Re: Need Help Interpreting Practice CATs [#permalink] New post 04 Apr 2014, 12:16
Awesome advice guys....thanks for the support. Now I just need to warm back up on Verbal! I just had a chance to evaluate my latest MGMAT CAT....timing issues were a very big deal. I had 6 questions where I spent more than three 3minutes on, and 3 of the 6 i spent more than 3.5 minutes. I got 4 of those 6 correct but those 6 killed me overall. Of the 11 questions I spent less than 1m 30 sec on I only got 3 of them correct (a lot of these were guesses to catch up on time). of these 11, most of them were easier difficulty that I most likely could have gotten correct if I had the 2 minutes to devote to them.

I tend to take a lot of time with heavy arithmetic....Any advice on how many to skip and when to skip in order to maximize my score?

I have seen the post by Bunuel where he was playing with the GMATprep CATS and it seems like spending more time on the first ten might be beneficial...thoughts?

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Need Help Interpreting Practice CATs [#permalink] New post 04 Apr 2014, 12:30
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Hi,

In general the GMAT doesn't expect you to do heavy arithmetic. So ask yourself before doing heavy arithmetic: is there another way? Can I simplify? Factor? Estimate?

Two things that can help improve your GMAT timing and accuracy:

1. Define the question before working out the details. This may reveal some way to simplify the method of getting there.

2. Always look for ways to divide before you multiply.

In terms of allocating time this article on GMAT Timing might help. In general keep your timing between 1:30 and 3:30. Usually below 1:30 you make careless mistakes and above 3:30 you are lost anyways and are just burning time and energy. Give a little more time to the first 5 or so questions. Not because of the algorithm but to get your feet on solid ground. To get yourself in a solid place mentally. Of course, still leave the option to move on if you get stuck on anything. Once you get your timing down you should be able to pick up all those easy/medium GMAT questions that you have missed.

Happy Studies,
A.
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"It is a curious property of research activity that after the problem has been solved the solution seems obvious. This is true not only for those who have not previously been acquainted with the problem, but also for those who have worked over it for years." -Dr. Edwin Land

GMAT Sample Questions to assess your GMAT Quant.

If you found my post useful KUDOS are much appreciated.

IMPROVE YOUR READING COMPREHENSION with the ECONOMIST READING COMPREHENSION CHALLENGE:

Here is the first set along with some strategies for approaching this work: http://gmatclub.com/forum/the-economist-reading-comprehension-challenge-151479.html

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Re: Need Help Interpreting Practice CATs [#permalink] New post 17 Apr 2014, 15:29
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Just finished the GMAT! 710 (Q46, V41) with an IR of 8. Good to have this one in the bag...I'll try to post a debrief this weekend. Thanks for the help everyone.
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Re: Need Help Interpreting Practice CATs [#permalink] New post 17 Apr 2014, 17:37
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Hi FP,

Great job!

A.
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"It is a curious property of research activity that after the problem has been solved the solution seems obvious. This is true not only for those who have not previously been acquainted with the problem, but also for those who have worked over it for years." -Dr. Edwin Land

GMAT Sample Questions to assess your GMAT Quant.

If you found my post useful KUDOS are much appreciated.

IMPROVE YOUR READING COMPREHENSION with the ECONOMIST READING COMPREHENSION CHALLENGE:

Here is the first set along with some strategies for approaching this work: http://gmatclub.com/forum/the-economist-reading-comprehension-challenge-151479.html

Re: Need Help Interpreting Practice CATs   [#permalink] 17 Apr 2014, 17:37
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