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I just came home from the GMAT test and I scored only 600 (Q42 57%, V30 56%) My preparation was five weeks of which I studied the first three weeks around 5 hours a day and the the last two weeks around 7 hours a day. Because I just finished all my undergraduate exams, there was nothing else during these 5 weeks and I could exclusively focus on the GMAT. I used all the Manhattan Strategy Guides (except the CR and the RC guides), went through the Kaplan Premier and of course, I practiced with the OG. I am definitely better in the verbal part and CR and RC seemed pretty straight forwarding to me, that's why I didn't use the CR and RC Manhattan guides. I spent roughly 70 % of the time on quant and even though I have improved a lot, verbal was still easier and my results always better.
My score is really disappointing for me because I was able to achieve the following prep test results (under realistic conditions) in the last week before the actual test: GMAT Prep1: 640 (Q44 66%, V34 69%) GMAT Prep2: 690 (Q45 71%, V40 89%)
I thought with these results I am ready for the actual test and I could achieve at least 630 and my goal of 650+ is definitely realistic!
Personally, It's really hard to understand the score, because I felt really good, slept enough and was not too nervous. After the Quant section, I realized that my performance was worse compared to the quant sections of the preps because I just guessed more and did some stupid time consuming mistakes. The low score in the verbal section, however, is really disappointing and much worse than what I expected.
Now, I would appreciate some advices on how to proceed concerning the use of study material as well as the amount of time I need to achieve my goal of 650+. Is the volatility of your scores that high or were my expectations just too high?
Other than Gprep, are there any other mock CATs that you attempted? Did you go through the IR and AWA sections and adhere to the break timings?
Preparation times are usually different for different people, but the most of the folks that you will come across have prepared over a period of 3 months or more and given 10 - 15 mock tests (including diagnostic). As you build up muscle over a period of time, rather that in a short while with extensive exercise, so is true with GMAT prep. Skills take time to develop, unless you have been appearing for other exams such as LSAT or GRE, in which case your prep time should be less.
I strongly feel you should spend less time per day on prep books and stretch the preparation period to allow your brain to absorb the inflow of concepts. You can get a lot of help by reading GMAT fiction, not only because it will help you on the exam, but also while you are in BSchool and need to read a humongous amount of material.
3 weeks before the test >> Kaplan CAT: 580 (Q46%, V58%) 2 weeks before the test >> Kaplan CAT: 580 (Q40%, V74%)
I haven't mentioned them because they are supposed to be not the most accurate ones.
Now, I started studying again and that's my roadmap for the next month:
1. Manhattan Number Properties (I want to go through it thoroughly the second time, because I still see Number Properties as one of my major weaknesses) 2. Critical Reasoning Bible Powerscore (Haven't done anything special for CR, except the Kaplan Premier and a lot of people really recommend this book) 3. Manhattan Sentence Correction (I want to go through it thoroughly the second time) 5. Watch Thursdays with Ron 6. Two Manhattan CATs and analyze for certain area of weaknesses (especially in the quant section) 7. Tackle the areas of weaknesses by going once again through the particular chapters in the Manhattan Guides 8. Reset the GMAT Preps CAT Test and do them again 9. GMAT SECOND ATTEMPT !!!
One month to go through these 9 steps, but I'll study on average 2-4 hours a day. (It's anyway not that much time as it was in the month of preparation for the first GMAT attempt) If the Manhattan CATs and the GMAT Prep CATs are in a range of 650+, I will be ready - hopefully!
Well, it looks like I haven't improved at all. FRUSTRATING... However, I really like the detailed analysis of the Manhattan CATs and I spotted certain weaknesses: 1. DS is a lot worse than PS: Hit Rate DS: 40 %, Hit Rate PS: 62% (I really don't know how to tackle this weakness!) 2. Geometry 3. Only a 50% hit rate for CR (even though I went thoroughly through the "Bible")
Do you think I should give it another try? I am still shooting for at least 630-650.
Re: Unexpected low score - Next steps? [#permalink]
14 Oct 2012, 14:53
The goal is to improve confidence in question accuracy. The disparity between your practice score and actual score may have to do with exam day conditions - your adrenaline is up, your mind goes blank, you focus on getting through the test without taking a moment to confirm why your answer is correct before hitting next.
You can control a few things for how you perform on test day. You can also control your preparation in boosting up you accuracy. Both are things to consider. If you retake, you should consider learning a few new strategies that will help you answer questions differently. Obviously going through the books and resources got you this far, but you need some other resources in your next phase.
If you have a specific area to work on, select questions of those types and get some practice. You can try some questions on the Practice Pill Platform. Give yourself 1 month and really think about how your studying this time along is going to be different.
Re: Unexpected low score - Next steps? [#permalink]
17 Dec 2012, 05:56
SECOND ATTEMPT: 700 (Q 47 / V 38) I am so happy
Key Take-Aways: - The last 2 weeks I focused exclusively on OG Questions and I think this is an important point as questions from other prep material are kind of different - Timing is highly important. In the second attempt and in all the high mock tests I was able to have neither too much nor too less time at the end of each section. - The right "guessing strategy" is key: Be comfortable to do random guesses as well as educated guesses and try to recognize quickly whether you want to skip this question (and do a guess instead). - Red Bull haha - And don't be frustrated by a score which is lower than you prep scores because, in my opinion, there is a WIDE range of possible scores. It highly depends on your daily performance and how lucky you are! I think I am a 650-680 GMAT guy, especially when I consider my mock results. The huge difference between 600 and 700 exists more because of luck and day performance than on an actual improvement in understanding the GMAT stuff. However, I will not deny that the latter was not the case.
Re: Unexpected low score - Next steps?
17 Dec 2012, 05:56