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Scored 610: Looking for advice on how to proceed practicing

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Scored 610: Looking for advice on how to proceed practicing [#permalink] New post 16 Dec 2013, 23:03
Hello to everyone,

this is actually my first post in this board, but I've been reading many threads here in the past few weeks, that were very useful to me. So first of all, thank you for that!

I had my first GMAT exam yesterday and I failed to meet my expectations and I hope you can give me some advice on how to most effectively proceed further :)


Let me start with a short debrief of what happened so far:

I'm a 22 year old International business student from Germany, currently spending my 5th semester abroad in Taipei, Taiwan. Since university isn't very time consuming here for me, I decided that I wanted to try getting my GMAT done while I am away from home and from all the distractions of everyday life. Well, I was wrong, I spend the first 2 months studying a lot for university and traveling and did nearly nothing for the GMAT, I only read the MGMAT Introduction To Math and practiced few of the drill sets. I also did my first offical practice test then to find out for which areas I have to study. After the mid-terms I was left with one class already finished and mainly course papers left, but no more written exams. The only GMAT appointment left at the local test center was less than 4 weeks away from then. So I decided to dedicate the following weeks as much to GMAT preparation as possible and booked the appointment. I then spent 3 weeks on all 5 Quant-Books from MGmat and a few days on practice exams and the first half of the SC book from Manhattan.



These are the results of my practice exams so far:

22.10: 1st Offical CAT: 540 Points, Q27 V35 (I only read the introduction to math so far)
25.11: 1st MGmat CAT: 620 Points, Q43 V32 (I only read the first 2 math books then)

08.12: 2nd Official CAT: 690 Points, Q44 V40
09.12: 2nd MGmat Cat: 640 Points, Q42 V 35
11.12: 3rd MGmat Cat: 580 Points, Q40 V31 (The internet connection in the library broke and I had to drive home after 3/4 of Quant, I was not really focussed afterwards)
13.12: 3rd Offical CAT: 710 Points, Q47 V40
14:12: 4rd Official CAT: 680 Points, Q43 V40
15.12: Retake of the 1st Offical CAT: 660 Points, Q47 V35 (I had a really hard time focussing in verbal)

16.12. Test day: 610 Points, Q39 V35

I took the last 4 tests and the official test while being ill. Since over a week I am feeling terrible with constant headache and a sore throat. I scored the 710 on two strong headache pills, but they weren't so effective on my last CAT and the official test day. On the test day I had severe headache before the test and had slept badly the nights before. I was not very nervous and I blame the constant rainfall on all the plastic roofs around my apartment for it, which is incredibly loud and makes it hard for me to sleep. During the exam I felt a little numb for the first 2-3 Quant questions, but afterwards I was calm. The questions didn't seem to get any harder and I wondered why I was so deep in the quant part already and still had so much time left. I apparently had a hard time really thinking myself into the material and it felt like I was only able to deal with the questions very rudimentary - apparently due to being ill, lack of sleep and medication. The score result was a little disappointing to me then, but I blame it on the circumstances and I definitely want to take it again. I expected to score something between 680 and 710 like in my official CAT exams.


I will be traveling Asia most of the time until the end of January and then I'll get back into everyday life at home, which means I will have significantly less time for studying then I had in the past few weeks. But I think I already gained a lot of knowledge in the past month and if I am able to maintain it, and only try to improve in some areas, I will have a fair chance of scoring around 100 points higher the next time. 680 would be a nice score because it would offer me a fair chance to get into nearly every german university. 720 would be absolutely awesome, because it would provide me a fair chance to get into the SIM Master in St. Gallen (Suisse).

I am not certain yet if I want to reschedule an appointment now, or if I should just try to get one rather spontaneously when I feel ready for it. My application deadline is the 30th of April (I would need the official score report by then), but I'd like to do the test earlier because I want to base my decision wether to take a TOEFL as well on the GMAT result. I feel like taking the exam again as soon as possible because I fear that I will not be able to maintain my current knowledge, but as far in the future as necessary to increase my performance and get more routine into it.


So, which areas do I want to tackle in the preparations for my next GMAT exam?

I think it might make sense to read a little more about the verbal section, because I did nearly nothing for that so far (only read the first half of the Manhattan SC book very quickly). I own all the manhattan books and I think about buying the Powerscore CR Bible, I've only read good things about it so far. According to my test exams I am equally good/bad in all of the verbal areas. My performance apparently depends a lot on the questions asked. I would love to make the 40 Points in verbal more stable & reliable and probably even improve them to 41 or 42.

I've got the feeling that my answers for Quant and Verbal are rather educated guesses most of the time than solid solutions. The only thing I can base my decisions in verbal on currently are the few rules about SC I read, but most of the time I still let my gut instincts decide.

I would love to improve my Quant score and I think it might make sense to spend most of my time on it. Actually I think math is more fun and its easier to improve my score in it, but I'm probably wrong ;P I've got the impression that my biggest weakness in Quant are the word problems, especially in data sufficiency. I have a hard time transferring them into equations and I almost never use tools like charts or alike, only venn diagrams sometimes. I'm also not really good with combinations I think, especially the advanced problems. Everything else should be equally bad. I've got the feeling that I already know a lot in math, but my knowledge is not really reliable since I had not a lot of time of practicing. I could imagine, that practicing and keeping an error log could be a good solution for that. But what materials to use for practice? The Official Guide? (I've actually never had a look at it so far)

And how can I make sure, that I don't get out of practice in general? I think it could make sense to subscribe to something like Magoosh or similar, because I really like video explanations and the possibility to practice on the computer. But since they are all internet based, I could not use them for practice while traveling. I also really like mobile apps to throw in some practice questions in between. I really liked the MGMAT app, but I already answered all the questions ;/ Some adaptive software would be awesome, that repeats wrong answers automatically and mainly asks questions in areas that I am not really good in - does something like this exist? :P


I would really appreciate any advice on how to proceed any further from you guys. I've already read some threads that deal with similar situations and I will go on searching for some more.

Thanks a lot in advance!
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Re: Scored 610: Looking for advice on how to proceed practicing [#permalink] New post 19 Dec 2013, 10:03
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Quote:
But since they are all internet based, I could not use them for practice while traveling. I also really like mobile apps to throw in some practice questions in between.

Some adaptive software would be awesome, that repeats wrong answers automatically and mainly asks questions in areas that I am not really good in - does something like this exist?

:P


Note that you can download 1,000+ videos through our GMAT Pill HD iPad app: http://itunes.apple.com/app/gmat-pill-h ... mpt=uo%3D5

You can also check out the iPhone and Android apps - though the video experience is not quite as good as it is on the larger screen for iPad. The Android app works on smartphones, not tablets.

So if you are traveling, you can download all the material the night before your travels, and then you can access all of them without internet. You can toggle between offline/online mode in the settings panel.

In terms of your quant - make sure you understand slight variations of the same question. For example, you might get a rates question where two people are walking towards each other - make sure you also know how to do that same question if the two people were walking away from each other--or at 90 degree angles from each other, etc. This is the best way to really understand how things work - by keeping everything the same and modifying one variable to see how it affects the problem.

You can see a portion of what's available for PS Pill students here: http://www.gmatpill.com/gmat-practice-t ... -questions
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Re: Scored 610: Looking for advice on how to proceed practicing   [#permalink] 19 Dec 2013, 10:03
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