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Unprofessional Test Center: my tragedy

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Joined: 31 Oct 2011
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Location: United Arab Emirates
GMAT 1: 700 Q45 V40
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Unprofessional Test Center: my tragedy [#permalink] New post 02 Apr 2012, 07:40
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I have just arrived from the test centre and although my head is aching badly, I can’t keep myself from writing my GMAT experience here on this forum. The reason behind this insanity is that I consider GMATClub my GMAT buddy. Here, I have received invaluable advice, got very good study material, and most importantly found a companion during my GMAT journey.
Firstly, the scores: 700 q45v40

Let me take you through the journey (promise to keep it short, but quite a lot happened.). I started preparing for GMAT in December 2011, and with one month of Quant practice,
my GMATPrep Scores were 680 Q49V33.

For the next few months, being unemployed, I was able to give a few hours almost every day to my studies. I concentrated more on Verbal. The material I used were:

OG10,11; PowerScore CR Bible, MGMAT SC,RC and MGMAT number properties and inequalities.

By February I had a job and the amount of time I could give my studies decreased a bit. But I kept my focus on Verbal because my Verbal scores had remained in the 30-34 range for quite a while. By the time March arrived, my RC efficiency was down in the drain. I was touching 30-40% efficiency in RC during early March. That is when VeritasPrepKarishma advised that I practice 3-4 RC passages every day. I took her advice, and made sure I practiced 4-5 passages every day. I also concentrated on CR and used Powerscore Bible as my guide. Sc was not as great a problem so kept my focus on the other two.

During the month of March, I took 4 MGMAT tests and 1 GMATPrep. Here are the scores, in the order I took them:
MGMAT1:650 q46v33
MGMAT2:700
Kaplan: 700
MGMAT3: 700q48v37
MGMAT4:680: q48v34
GMATPrep: 690 q47v36
In the last 10 days I worked out 3RC passages,5 Cr questions and 10 Sc questions daily. I also continued practicing Quant in addition to working a little bit on AWA. I was struggling with keeping pace in the Quant Section and was a bit worried about it.
On the test day:
After finishing my AWA, I took my 8 minute break. I went outside, took a walk, came back and when there were almost 20 seconds left for the Verbal section to start, I pressed RESUME. And what do I see? A stupid windows screen asking for the Device Manager’s password. I raised my hand and waited for the instructor to come. I could see the clock eating away time from my Quant section. Tired of holding my hand up, I knocked on the glass door loudly and fortunately, a passerby(not an employee) saw me and ran to alert the instructors. By the time the instructor arrived, I had lost around 2 minutes of my time, add to that the time the instructor took to enter his password, and leave the room. Then by the time I realized what was going on, I skipped the instruction screen and came to my exam screen. I had lost some 3 minutes of my time and started to panic. I don’t even remember what the questions were like in the beginning and during the middle of the exam I was some 9 minutes behind the target time of 2 minutes per question. I raised my hand to ask for a new scratch sheet and again tired of holding up my hand, I knocked on the glass door loudly, and the lazy instructors arrived. I had lost my confidence and the thought that I had struggled with the Quant timing during my practice test kept popping up in my head and somehow with great effort I was able to keep my emotions of anger, worry and fear at rest while I wrote the exam. Henceforth I stopped looking at the time and concentrated. But by the time I reached the end I was in panic state again and was reading and guessing since I had no time.

I took my eight minute break after Quant, kept my feelings to myself, didn’t share them with the instructors/management outside, and utilized the time to motivate myself. I went to the washroom, spoke to myself in the mirror, and asked myself to give all that I have to Verbal since it was my only hope. I took an extra scratch pad in advance to be safe (and prevent the arm-ache that I would have experienced) and started my Verbal. I kept giving myself little pep talks whenever I felt scared. I finished within time and got my scores.

After the exam I went to speak to the management outside and they asked me my score and reacted as if I was a geek to complain about my scores because in their 4 year career at the centre, they knew of only one other person who got more than 700. I lost it that time and told him that he is nobody to pass comments on my scores or how perfect I want them to be. His senior informed me that he, himself was informed too late about the issue and although could have added a few additional minutes to my Quant to my time, didn’t do so because he didn’t want to disturb me further. Typing all this here makes me realize how ridiculous the entire staff was. I told him I will file a complaint with mba.com(somebody please guide me with this) and he said he will too inform VUE that it was their fault.

Dear GmatClub members, I do not know if I should retake the exam or not because firstly, I didn’t expect my scores in Verbal to be this great, although I believe that the hard work I put in has paid off. Secondly, it is a lot of money (financing it myself) to retake the test and also, is I analyze the schedule I have planned for the next couple of months, I am extremely busy at work and would find no time whatsoever to prepare. But when I think about what my score could have been had my Quant had stayed at 48-49 and my Verbal at 40, I feel very depressed, angry and cheated.

Please guide me one last time at this apparent last stage of the GMAT journey. Guess I haven't reached my destination yet, please hang on a little longer.
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Re: Unprofessional Test Center: my tragedy [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2012, 11:56
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Thank you guys. Yes, I do consider the risk involved. And the risk is even higher since I have absolutely no time to even keep up with the preparation was doing, leave aside improving it. I am still waiting for a reply from GMAC, lets see.

Anyways, near to my GMAT exam, my accuracy in RC was pretty good. I'd say it was close to 70-80 %. The key is to realize what works for you.Initially I went through the MGMAT RC guide, and spent a lot of time trying to adopt their strategy of making skeleton structures etc for the passages.But my efficiency never improved with that. Although it was a great strategy, and I am sure that it worked for many students, it simply did not work for me. I realized that I was writing the main points, but I wasn't understanding the passage clearly. And since I was taking around 5 minutes or so to make my structure alone, I had no time to re-read the passage after jotting down the structure.
Also, many people advise you to not read the passage at all. Just skim through the details, look for indicators in the passage. But again,that never worked for me. Towards the end of my preparation I realized that I performed the best if I did not make any notes at all. But , I would read the passage carefully and understand what it meant. That's it. That was my key. My accuracy shot up and I gained my confidence back. Also, I must add, towards the end I was practicing with some 4-5 passages everyday with this new strategy. My accuracy with Biology based passages was still in the dump though. I could never understand those. Luckily I never got any Bio passages in the actual exam.

So basically,here is what I did.


1. Got a very good resource of some 120 Passages. Courtesy GMATClub.(attached)
2. Did not make any notes/ skeleton structures of any passages
3. Practiced with 4-5 passages every day

The key is to find you own strategy. Find out what works for YOU.
Attachments

117 GMAT RC Passages.docx [458.88 KiB]
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Re: Unprofessional Test Center: my tragedy [#permalink] New post 02 Apr 2012, 10:21
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You need to file an official complaint with the test center or GMAC. I would go back to the test center, or contact them directly, and say that you want to file a formal complaint and that you'd like everything documented. They will not take your score back, or change it for you, but if you create a stink I would think they would offer you a free retake. I would definitely go for this free retake b/c you want to know that you scored every point you could.

Sorry to hear about your experience, but in fact I've heard MUCH worse, with much more drastic decreases in scores. So try to take it in stride b/c this is what the best test takers do. No test day experience will be perfect, but yours was much worse than typical.

Good luck!
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Re: Unprofessional Test Center: my tragedy [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2012, 20:15
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Hi ijoshi
Bravo!!!!!!!
even in the worst situation you scored 700
Please file a complain and try again . you deserve more.
Congrates....
as you have written , you accuracy in RC was 30-40 % initially, Could you please state near to real exam time what was you accuracy level in verbal to score V40.?
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Re: Unprofessional Test Center: my tragedy [#permalink] New post 02 Apr 2012, 09:48
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Well done on your test score. Sorry about what happened to you at the test center
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Re: Unprofessional Test Center: my tragedy [#permalink] New post 02 Apr 2012, 16:12
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I'm pretty sure they have a typical form that they will fill out and then you can file it with GMAC. As them for an explanation of the situation and how it hurt your timing/mental capabilities, but don't expect them to take blame for it. It wasn't actually anyone's fault, this stuff just happens, and was a mistake. I have definitely heard of free retakes, so if that is your end goal (since they won't change your score or remove it from your report) I think this is what you should shoot for.
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Re: Unprofessional Test Center: my tragedy [#permalink] New post 02 Apr 2012, 16:30
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I agree with GMATLA, you definitely want it documented in an official way.
Rather than complaining about the behavior of the employees, you should probably go with the 'technical difficulty which wasn't anybody's fault and made you loose X amount of time' approach.
Given your score and the conditions you took the exam in, I am sure you will be even more successful at your 2nd attempt.
You have 2 months before they upgrade the exam...
Good luck!
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Re: Unprofessional Test Center: my tragedy [#permalink] New post 02 Apr 2012, 19:04
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Sorry to hear about the issue. Can you please post your experience in the Test Center Review area?
http://gmatclub.com/reviews/

You can file a complaint with the GMAC for a voucher to retake the test for free within 31 days. (if this would help). They would most likely grant it since your score is already high (700 is good) and it is obvious you are a guy with 400 complaining that your score should be 650.

That's assuming you want to retake. You most likely can get 20 points on top of your score if you perform as well. Is that a meaningful difference for you? (I am not sure if it is) but if you are Ok with essays and have time then may be worth to have it as an option at least (to have your voucher in back pocket).
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Re: Unprofessional Test Center: my tragedy [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2012, 10:44
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Take the scores with a pinch of salt and go ahead with the same score... You can't gain much in quant but what if u drop ur score in verbal ...that's quite possible becoz this score has been ur best score so far...
Give it a second thought before re-appearing.
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A WAY TO INCREASE FROM QUANT 35-40 TO 47 : a-way-to-increase-from-q35-40-to-q-138750.html

Q 47/48 To Q 50 + the-final-climb-quest-for-q-50-from-q47-129441.html#p1064367

Three good RC strategies three-different-strategies-for-attacking-rc-127287.html

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Re: Unprofessional Test Center: my tragedy [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2012, 20:35
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Sorry to hear that you had a troubled experience. However, I would not suggest that you retake the exam. It'll be too much of risk at the score you have.
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Re: Unprofessional Test Center: my tragedy [#permalink] New post 02 Apr 2012, 11:15
Thanks for the reply. I would be filing an official complaint, but could you elaborate on what exactly I should ask the center to document for me? Should i ask them to type out an admission that it was in fact their fault or something else?
And also, have you heard of cases where the complaint was solved? Where the person got a free retake or something similar?
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Re: Unprofessional Test Center: my tragedy [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2012, 00:15
Thank you all for replying.
This test means more to me than just academics. It is perhaps more important to me than it is to most people, I can say. But nevertheless, I want a retake but its just that I don't know if I will be able to find the time to study again with work and some family functions around the corner.I hope I don't mess up the retake, if I get one.
Will I be entitled to take a retest within 31 days from the date of my first test, or 31 days from the day they issue me a retake voucher(if at all they do)?
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Re: Unprofessional Test Center: my tragedy [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2012, 00:53
One question, which test center was this ?
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Intern
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Joined: 31 Oct 2011
Posts: 22
Location: United Arab Emirates
GMAT 1: 700 Q45 V40
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Kudos [?]: 11 [0], given: 26

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Re: Unprofessional Test Center: my tragedy [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2012, 01:00
This was a Pearson Test Center in Abu Dhabi , United Arab Emirates
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Re: Unprofessional Test Center: my tragedy [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2012, 09:57
If you increase 3 points in Q with your V score remaining the same, you'll increase your overall score by 10 points to a 710. That said, I think Q45 is below 80th percentile so may be thats one incentive for you to retake if Pearson gives you an opportunity FOC.
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Re: Unprofessional Test Center: my tragedy   [#permalink] 03 Apr 2012, 09:57
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