First, congratulations on the improvement! A 100-point increase, by any measure, is quite impressive. And thank you for the informative post, as it helps us better respond to your questions.
For starters, I think that you lost the opportunity to fully benefit from a practice test when you skipped the AWA. You need to mimic the test as closely as possible to the real thing. Otherwise, you leave yourself vulnerable during the actual test.
For quant, you identify timing as the culprit. But why was your timing off? You scored quite well on math, but did you refuse to let go of a problem sometimes? I suspect that you're fine in math, but your pacing might need to improve (as you already suggested).
For verbal, a score of 36 with approximately ten minutes to go on the last problem suggests that you're a bit trigger happy and fall for traps. Keep reviewing whatever verbal guidebooks that you have. Read them over and over. And during the test, pace yourself more deliberately. I also suspect that part of reason for the "silly mistakes" is fatigue. Once test takers get to the verbal section, they begin to break down and get sloppy. It's something that many people underestimate. That's why taking a FULL
practice test is vital. Also consider eating small snacks during the breaks. Here's a link
on that topic.
As for question review, read the explanation for any problem that you struggled with. Reattempt the question later in the day or the next day. For OG, I'm a bit more strict. Fully read every OG explanation (after attempting the question). It helps to reinforce the concepts, build confidence, and make you more aware of the test makers' logic and traps. And, of course, keep an error log
hey bmillan01, thanks for all these insightful tips.
You're absolutely right about skipping the AWA section. My reasoning behind not taking it was that I wanted to 'ease' in the pain so to speak
. I'm looking at this first test as a rough indication of where I stand performance and stamina wise. My next test hopefully next week will be the whole shebang AWA, IR Quant and Verbal.
It's sort of funny because I really wasn't expecting to do so well in Quants but I guess I was wrong! I did spend two much time on two questions; six minutes on one (yikes!!) and three and a half minutes each on two other question. That put me roughly twelve minutes behind and ultimately I had to answer the last ten questions on average under 1m 30s. Lots of guesses, some I let go and some I gave the whole two minutes. Earlier this evening I reviewed the questions that I did bad on (basically after the time crunch) and most of them could have easily been done had I given up on those two questions because I would have been calmer. Interestingly enough, three of those questions were VIC questions and unfortunately I picked a wrong combination of numbers where two choices matched my target. Had I let go on those two or three questions I'm sure I would have hit 47/48 because from that time crunch point onwards my percentile went down from 90% to 75% (hence the Q45). Secondly, I need to polish my number picking strategy for VIC's.
In this two month period I've focused more on Quant that Verbal so I guess now a change in strategy is in order. I went to a liberal arts school in the US, wrote tons of papers, read tons of academic books and I did really well with the OG questions as well as other questions (namely the Kaplan
Q Banks). I think that now I may need to focus on verbal. You pretty much hit the hammer on the head by mentioning fatigue and being trigger happy. Now when I look at some of those questions in retrospect, I can't believe some of the choices I made: definitely avoidable silly mistakes. I'm now toying with the idea of doing mini tests to simulate mental fatigue and to train myself to perform under these conditions.
As far as the food is concerned I'm all covered. I'm a gym buff and understand the importance of complex carbs, good fats etc. My morning meal is pretty much oats with a scoop of protein powder. My test break meal is half a protei bar with Gatorade.
Once again thanks for all the tips. Kudos to you!