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Getting nervous as GMAT day approaches!

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Getting nervous as GMAT day approaches! [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2011, 10:46
Hey everyone,

I've tried to frequent these boards as much as possible, even if I haven't been posting a lot, they are a great source of information and support. My GMAT date is August 17, and I can't help but feel burnt out at this point. Right now, I just feel that I've reached my potential and even if I studied extensively for the next 12 days, I would not improve. Unfortunately, I am working for the majority of the time before the exam, so while I do have some time to study, it isn't a lot. Here are my scores up until now...

June 3, 2011 - GMATPrep1 - 32Q/27V/500
July 6, 2011 - GMATPrep1 - 41Q/26V/560
July 10, 2011 - MGMAT1 - 35Q/32V/560
July 14, 2011 - MGMAT2 - 42Q/30V/590
July 17, 2011 - GMATPrep1 - 35Q/28V/540**
July 19, 2011 - MGMAT3 - 43Q/32V/620
July 25, 2011 - MGMAT4 - 44Q/34V/640
July 26, 2011 - MGMAT5 - 39Q/27V/540**
July 31, 2011 - Kaplan1 - 560**
Aug 4, 2011 - MGMAT6 - 43Q/30V/600
Aug 5, 2011 GMATPrep 2 - 38Q?/34V?/600

The ones with the stars by the final score indicate that I was distracted or wasn't really feeling like doing the exam, and it was definitely reflected in the scores. I couldn't find a breakdown for Kaplan, and I didn't realize that I couldn't go back to the score screen in GMATPrep when I did it today. I'm quite sure that my quant score was 38, so I think the verbal would be 34. I know for sure that the total was 600.

Anyways, I'm discouraged by these recent 600 scores, I would ultimately like to see at least a 620 or a 630 on the actual GMAT. I was also finally seeing some stability in my quant score, but it seems that it now has changed again. It seems like the scores tend to fluctuate quite a bit, and that makes me uneasy for the actual exam. When I did the GMATPrep exam today, I found verbal a bit difficult, but quant was okay, with the exception of a few questions, I thought I was doing better in it than I did, but I know for sure that I made a few silly mistakes early on.

I've mainly worked through the Manhattan guides, as well as most of the OG material (as much as time permitted). I'm just looking for suggestions for what should be my game plan for the next several days before the exam. I will be doing as much review as I can, and hopefully some more sample exams. I'm a little bit discouraged at this point, so any suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks...
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Re: Getting nervous as GMAT day approaches! [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2011, 11:22
Play a psychological trick on yourself:

We all know that some questions (there is debate about how many) on the actual GMAT are experimental. So some of the questions on test day don't count toward your score. To the best of my knowledge, none of the test prep CATs incorporate this factor (i.e. all prep questions count). That is a big test day difference you can harness to your advantage and keep your confidence up.

When you take the actual test, just tell yourself that anything you get wrong was surely an experimental question. Is there any way to verify this? no. Is it just as likely that one you got right was experimental than one you got wrong? yes. But one of the biggest things people do on test day to sabotage themselves is get hung up on a wrong answer and lose confidence ("I know I got the first one wrong, I'm done for"). Don't do that to yourself. The fact that some GMAT questions will be experimental and will not count gives you a glimmer of hope and a way to just move on from a botched question or a rough patch. It really could be true that the question you bombed is a freebie. If you got it wrong, it was experimental so who cares. Move on.

People have an amazing ability to psych themselves out. There's no reason you can't just as easily psych yourself "in." Again, if you got it wrong it was experimental
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Re: Getting nervous as GMAT day approaches! [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2011, 12:54
Hi JoelCairo,

So this means that if one get any question wrong and then suppose there is a experimental questions after that and we made it right, then what will be the difficulty level of next question. Is it would depend the on the question you did wrong or on experimental question you did right?

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Re: Getting nervous as GMAT day approaches! [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2011, 13:10
screwdriver wrote:
So this means that if one get any question wrong and then suppose there is a experimental questions after that and we made it right, then what will be the difficulty level of next question. Is it would depend the on the question you did wrong or on experimental question you did right?


That I'm not sure about. I once asked a Kaplan instructor if the experimental questions are adaptive the same way the real questions are (i.e. if you're on an upswing, getting harder and harder questions right, do you get fed a high difficulty experimental question?). He said he didn't think so, but didn't know for sure. I suspect they are just randomly distributed.

This is actually another useful psychological crutch: If you're not sure about the question you just answered, and then all of a sudden the next question seems really easy, you might freak out and think "oh no this means I got that last one wrong." Or, you could decide not to do that, and just reassure yourself that this easy question you're seeing is just a random experimental question, and reveals nothing at all about your previous answer.

My whole point is that the GMAT is the ultimate head game (like golf). You can easily under-perform your aptitude if you let yourself get frazzled, but you can likewise over-perform if you keep your head in the game the right way. You are going to get questions wrong, but the trick is not to let it rattle you.

On CAT practise tests, every question matters and factors into your score, this is not the case on test day. Use that fact to your advantage and stay cool. I know that my actual GMAT didn't feel any different than my prep tests while I was doing it, but my actual score turned out a full 30 points higher than my best practise test.
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Re: Getting nervous as GMAT day approaches! [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2011, 20:41
Wow! I didn't know the actual GMAT had experimental questions that didn't count towards the score. That explain why some people report scores higher than their best practice score. How many questions in each of the sections are experimental?

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Re: Getting nervous as GMAT day approaches! [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2011, 04:21
bschool2014 wrote:
Wow! I didn't know the actual GMAT had experimental questions that didn't count towards the score. That explain why some people report scores higher than their best practice score. How many questions in each of the sections are experimental?


Nobody knows except for the GMAC. You can google and see what people speculate.

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Re: Getting nervous as GMAT day approaches! [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2011, 12:46
mohater wrote:
bschool2014 wrote:
Wow! I didn't know the actual GMAT had experimental questions that didn't count towards the score. That explain why some people report scores higher than their best practice score. How many questions in each of the sections are experimental?


Nobody knows except for the GMAC. You can google and see what people speculate.

Treat all problems as though they are scored.


No one really knows how many questions are experimental or if that's the reason people score higher on their tests. Like, during my test, the last question asked me to plug values into an equation and tell them what it was. I was like, okay so I either completely messed up Quant or this is experimental. But this was after the test when I was contemplating life.

I would suggest that you do your best on every question and don't get complacent. Alternatively, don't freak out about every question either. Take your two minutes, maybe a minute more. If you get it, good. If you don't, pick the most rational one and move on and stop thinking about questions you have already attempted. And always remember, unanswered questions will kill your score a LOT more than wrong ones.
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Re: Getting nervous as GMAT day approaches! [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2011, 12:59
Thanks Whiplash and Mohater. I've my exam in 7 days and didn't know that some questions were experimental until I read this post!! I'll keep this in mind and try not to analyze my performance too much during the test.

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Re: Getting nervous as GMAT day approaches! [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2011, 13:18
whiplash2411 wrote:
No one really knows how many questions are experimental or if that's the reason people score higher on their tests. Like, during my test, the last question asked me to plug values into an equation and tell them what it was. I was like, okay so I either completely messed up Quant or this is experimental. But this was after the test when I was contemplating life.

I would suggest that you do your best on every question and don't get complacent. Alternatively, don't freak out about every question either. Take your two minutes, maybe a minute more. If you get it, good. If you don't, pick the most rational one and move on and stop thinking about questions you have already attempted. And always remember, unanswered questions will kill your score a LOT more than wrong ones.


Not sure where I read - one of the ton of articles on GMAT I have read :p - but somebody said these experimental questions are primarily at a level lower that your actual level. I would guess that, if at all, this applies primarily to ones in 700+ range (also 600+ range), in which case he or she will see most of these experimental questions in 200-600 range. Given one is in 700 range and these experimental questions are totally random, probabilistically speaking, one should find some random easy, easier than his or her level, popping up during the test. I sorta believe in this theory, just because of the fact that the question pool will have questions uniformly distributed (this is an assumption) in all the ranges 200-300, 300-400, 400-500, 500-600,600-700 and 700-800. So if one is already in ~700 range, he or she is more likely to find these experimental questions easier and HENCE will GAIN TIME DURING the test, resulting in extra time available for the real questions, which will be of-course in 700 range. Again I am assuming that easier questions can be solved faster than difficult ones. I believe that's a good reason why one - who is in 700 range - can walk into the test and be confident that he has more time to finish the test than he would have from other CATs. Does that make sense or sound total BS ? :P I love probability... On the sad side, the inverse is true for < 500 range students :(
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Re: Getting nervous as GMAT day approaches! [#permalink] New post 07 Aug 2011, 09:31
abhicoolmax wrote:
whiplash2411 wrote:
No one really knows how many questions are experimental or if that's the reason people score higher on their tests. Like, during my test, the last question asked me to plug values into an equation and tell them what it was. I was like, okay so I either completely messed up Quant or this is experimental. But this was after the test when I was contemplating life.

I would suggest that you do your best on every question and don't get complacent. Alternatively, don't freak out about every question either. Take your two minutes, maybe a minute more. If you get it, good. If you don't, pick the most rational one and move on and stop thinking about questions you have already attempted. And always remember, unanswered questions will kill your score a LOT more than wrong ones.


Not sure where I read - one of the ton of articles on GMAT I have read :p - but somebody said these experimental questions are primarily at a level lower that your actual level. I would guess that, if at all, this applies primarily to ones in 700+ range (also 600+ range), in which case he or she will see most of these experimental questions in 200-600 range. Given one is in 700 range and these experimental questions are totally random, probabilistically speaking, one should find some random easy, easier than his or her level, popping up during the test. I sorta believe in this theory, just because of the fact that the question pool will have questions uniformly distributed (this is an assumption) in all the ranges 200-300, 300-400, 400-500, 500-600,600-700 and 700-800. So if one is already in ~700 range, he or she is more likely to find these experimental questions easier and HENCE will GAIN TIME DURING the test, resulting in extra time available for the real questions, which will be of-course in 700 range. Again I am assuming that easier questions can be solved faster than difficult ones. I believe that's a good reason why one - who is in 700 range - can walk into the test and be confident that he has more time to finish the test than he would have from other CATs. Does that make sense or sound total BS ? :P I love probability... On the sad side, the inverse is true for < 500 range students :(


An alternative explanation..

All the Percentiles for any question are statistically calculated .....So if there is an experimental question that is never tried out in an earlier exam, you will decide the percentile and then that question may come in the next test as a valid question based upon how you answered that question...Again if GMAC wants to find the percentile of that new experimental question, the same question pattern will be administered to multiple test-takers to determine the percentile of that question...But again these percentiles are changing in every test based upon the last time the question was answered correct/wrong...So placement of the questions will matter because then the GMAC needs to calculate the test-taker's percentile and place the questions accordingly...But that said there is no guarantee that GMAC follows these methods.....

Never mind.....It is better to prepare well and keep things simple than to assume anything about experimental questions....You can use these freebie for your advantage rather than judging when you will get an experimental question...
As Joel said, use these to help your attitude and getting into groove even when you feel you had answered wrongly !!!!

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Re: Getting nervous as GMAT day approaches! [#permalink] New post 07 Aug 2011, 10:54
krishp84 wrote:
abhicoolmax wrote:
whiplash2411 wrote:
No one really knows how many questions are experimental or if that's the reason people score higher on their tests. Like, during my test, the last question asked me to plug values into an equation and tell them what it was. I was like, okay so I either completely messed up Quant or this is experimental. But this was after the test when I was contemplating life.

I would suggest that you do your best on every question and don't get complacent. Alternatively, don't freak out about every question either. Take your two minutes, maybe a minute more. If you get it, good. If you don't, pick the most rational one and move on and stop thinking about questions you have already attempted. And always remember, unanswered questions will kill your score a LOT more than wrong ones.


Not sure where I read - one of the ton of articles on GMAT I have read :p - but somebody said these experimental questions are primarily at a level lower that your actual level. I would guess that, if at all, this applies primarily to ones in 700+ range (also 600+ range), in which case he or she will see most of these experimental questions in 200-600 range. Given one is in 700 range and these experimental questions are totally random, probabilistically speaking, one should find some random easy, easier than his or her level, popping up during the test. I sorta believe in this theory, just because of the fact that the question pool will have questions uniformly distributed (this is an assumption) in all the ranges 200-300, 300-400, 400-500, 500-600,600-700 and 700-800. So if one is already in ~700 range, he or she is more likely to find these experimental questions easier and HENCE will GAIN TIME DURING the test, resulting in extra time available for the real questions, which will be of-course in 700 range. Again I am assuming that easier questions can be solved faster than difficult ones. I believe that's a good reason why one - who is in 700 range - can walk into the test and be confident that he has more time to finish the test than he would have from other CATs. Does that make sense or sound total BS ? :P I love probability... On the sad side, the inverse is true for < 500 range students :(


An alternative explanation..

All the Percentiles for any question are statistically calculated .....So if there is an experimental question that is never tried out in an earlier exam, you will decide the percentile and then that question may come in the next test as a valid question based upon how you answered that question...Again if GMAC wants to find the percentile of that new experimental question, the same question pattern will be administered to multiple test-takers to determine the percentile of that question...But again these percentiles are changing in every test based upon the last time the question was answered correct/wrong...So placement of the questions will matter because then the GMAC needs to calculate the test-taker's percentile and place the questions accordingly...But that said there is no guarantee that GMAC follows these methods.....

Never mind.....It is better to prepare well and keep things simple than to assume anything about experimental questions....You can use these freebie for your advantage rather than judging when you will get an experimental question...
As Joel said, use these to help your attitude and getting into groove even when you feel you had answered wrongly !!!!


Agreed. But the main point I was suggesting is that probilistically speaking these experimental questions have more chances of helping you than defying you. GMAT after a point becomes a mental game, and anything that could help you look forward would help you in the whole process. So, rather than worrying about these questions, be positive as, if anything, these questions could only help you and do no harm. Of-course that's true as long as YOU DON'T FREAK OUT WHEN YOU SEE AN EASIER QUESTION than your level, because, if you did, only then it could harm you. Anyways, let's not side track the original post and keep the discussion up to here :-)
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Re: Getting nervous as GMAT day approaches! [#permalink] New post 07 Aug 2011, 14:09
Very interesting points, I will definitely keep them in mind. I write the GMAT in 10 days, and I just feel like I am at a standstill. Any suggestions of what I should be doing at this point, should I retake the GMATPrep or MGMAT tests? Not sure if there will be repeat questions, which will affect scores. I'm feeling like I can't improve anymore at this point and I don't really know what to do next.
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Re: Getting nervous as GMAT day approaches! [#permalink] New post 07 Aug 2011, 14:17
Identify your weak areas and tweak your study plan to target them. You can get aggregate reports from MGMAT that will help you identify your weaknesses. Also, go through every question you got wrong in the GMATPrep to know why you got the question wrong. Once you do this, you should be able to identify 3-4 top weak areas in each section. Work on these areas, while practicing questions in the others.

You can do a number of things to work on your weaknesses - use a tool such as gmatfix.com to do targeted practice of problems, watch videos of Thursdays with Ron, look for official questions on the relevant forums/sub forums etc.

Good Luck!

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Re: Getting nervous as GMAT day approaches! [#permalink] New post 07 Aug 2011, 14:25
Has anyone had any experience retaking the GMATPrep 2 test or the MGMAT tests (after the original 6)? Just wondering if a lot of questions are repeated.
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Re: Getting nervous as GMAT day approaches! [#permalink] New post 07 Aug 2011, 14:47
bschool2014 wrote:
Identify your weak areas and tweak your study plan to target them. You can get aggregate reports from MGMAT that will help you identify your weaknesses. Also, go through every question you got wrong in the GMATPrep to know why you got the question wrong. Once you do this, you should be able to identify 3-4 top weak areas in each section.
+1

Work on these areas, while practicing questions in the others.

You can do a number of things to work on your weaknesses - use a tool such as gmatfix.com to do targeted practice of problems, watch videos of Thursdays with Ron, look for official questions on the relevant forums/sub forums etc.
Not sure if this applies to last week.
Good Luck!


Ummm not sure about this advice; maybe that would work for few, but MGMAT experts recommend that one focus more on his or her strength than on his or her weakness in the final days, but definitely know your weak links - see more here http://www.manhattangmat.com/blog/index ... game-plan/

Although I am not sure about focusing "more" on strength starting 2 weeks in advance - that's a freaking too early to change gear! Or maybe that's legit for many ppl but def not for me. If I were you, I would change gears in my last week - as I believe I will have the stamina to still improve on my weaknesses even during the penultimate week :).

Just one comment: You know yourself better - ppl can only advice you. In my opinion: if you have historically been the last min crammer and have found success doing so, then perhaps you can improve by focusing on your weaknesses in the last week. BUT if you like most (here I am assuming MGMAT experts' words to be proven more often than not), you might be more benefited toward the very end if you solidified your strengths. Maybe you can look back in your past in-retrospect to see what has worked for you in-general :).

These are not my words - I am just reiterating what MGMAT experts have to say. Hope this helps!
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Re: Getting nervous as GMAT day approaches! [#permalink] New post 07 Aug 2011, 16:18
Thanks again! I think that I'm going to go over my last few CATs and work on each question that I missed and why I missed it. I know some on my most previous one were stupid mistakes. While I worked through all the OG questions for quant, I didn't get through all of them for verbal (mostly did SC). This concerns me a bit, but I didn't have a lot of time, and I felt that at least a couple more months were needed to improve RC and CR. That being said, I seem to be getting relatively the same number of questions wrong in each of the verbal areas, so there is no major weakness.

Sadly, I don't have a ton of time to work on it this week, but I will fit in as much as I can. Going to refine my AWA strategy, try to fit in another CAT or two, and look at my previous errors... hoping for the best, I'm pretty nervous at this point and feeling quite burnt out. :(
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Re: Getting nervous as GMAT day approaches! [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2011, 15:13
deebee29 wrote:
Thanks again! I think that I'm going to go over my last few CATs and work on each question that I missed and why I missed it. I know some on my most previous one were stupid mistakes. While I worked through all the OG questions for quant, I didn't get through all of them for verbal (mostly did SC). This concerns me a bit, but I didn't have a lot of time, and I felt that at least a couple more months were needed to improve RC and CR. That being said, I seem to be getting relatively the same number of questions wrong in each of the verbal areas, so there is no major weakness.

Sadly, I don't have a ton of time to work on it this week, but I will fit in as much as I can. Going to refine my AWA strategy, try to fit in another CAT or two, and look at my previous errors... hoping for the best, I'm pretty nervous at this point and feeling quite burnt out. :(


Keep us posted of your results.....

One thing - Do not burn yourself up in the last minute preparation and take it cool....Pressure can be good and bad...So use it to your advantage.

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Re: Getting nervous as GMAT day approaches! [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2011, 13:22
I'm feeling more and more nervous as it gets closer. I haven't really been studying the last 4 days or so as I work very early mornings and am usually too sleepy by the time I get off. I don't have any more early mornings before the GMAT, so it should be a little easier now. I don't know how to improve at this point, but I'm really hoping to see a 620 or 630. It seems that some people get higher scores on the actual GMAT, while others get lower ones. Would it be useful at this point to retake one of the MGMAT or GMATPrep CATs? or would there be too many repeated questions to get an accurate indicator of my score level?
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Re: Getting nervous as GMAT day approaches! [#permalink] New post 15 Aug 2011, 08:44
It's getting a lot closer now, tomorrow I leave to drive 7 hours to the GMAT test center, and then I take the exam the next morning. I did retake the GMATPrep exam yesterday (44Q/29V/610), and just the quant portion of an MGMAT exam and got 44. Seems like verbal is my biggest problem, but no time really to improve it. I will just take my time on the exam and really think about what the questions are asking. I always have time left over when I do the sample exams, so I'm not worried about that. I don't really plan on studying much tomorrow, I will go through my flashcards that I made a couple of times, and review the template for AWA (I haven't done a lot of sample essays). Today I am going through the MGMAT guides again. Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.
Re: Getting nervous as GMAT day approaches!   [#permalink] 15 Aug 2011, 08:44
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