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Update: From GMAT loser to fighter in six weeks... [#permalink]
12 Sep 2006, 06:34
This post received KUDOS
Worried about having a low GMAT score? Read this...
Guys, I don't know what to say. Got the two easiest essay questions you could possibly imagine and math seemed to be right in line with GMATPrep.
Took a break (had to go three floors down to use the bathroom) between Q and V and then encountered a little confusion with the fingerprint confirmation (had to rescan four times). Finally returned to to the station only to see the computer interface flash "break time exceeded by 4 min 12 sec., this time will be deducted from your actual test."
Knowing that I was going to be under the gun of "time pressure" from that point forward, I proceeded to dive into Verbal question #1 with the clock starting at 70:48. To stay keep from panicking, I hid the clock and systematically read each question as they came. SCs were a breeze compared to some of those posted on this site; especially the brutal 100 list. CRs were tricky and much more cleverly worded than I had ever seen before. RCs were, well RCs.
As might have easily predicted, I got to question #30 when the red "4:59" countdown timer flashed on the screen.
At this point I knew that it was GAME OVER.
Knowing that it was virtually impossible to finish 12 verbal problems in less than five minutes, I decided that this test was destined for disaster. Consequently, I just took my hand off the mouse, pushed my chair back from the monitor and did some serious self-introspection for about 30 seconds; why did you put yourself through a month of intensive study only to poorly manage your break timing? As a foreign language major, are your critical reading skills really up to par with those of your future b-school counterparts??? Why are you taking this test when you can't even focus clearly?? What the hell is your problem with computerized tests???
Anyway, I scanned the remaining problems just to see what PVue was testing. Had one moderately lengthy RC and the usual mixure of SCs/CRs remaining.
Clicked through those eight survey pages, and when the ultimate decision came, do you wish to cancel your score? I knew that this was going to be far below any performance in the past, but was still very curious to see how the math turned out because so many people on this site had given me so much help in that area: Jon, Laxie, U2Lover, Haas, Dahiya, Yurik, Ak, Yezz, Vivek ... and many others.
SHOULD HAVE JUST CANCELED THE TEST THEN AND THERE.
Rather than lie by saying that I did cancel, which is exactly what I should have done, I will tell all of you here at GMAT club exactly how miserably I underperformed.
Q38 V22 (Overall 500).
Nearly 100 points lower than last year's GMAT (590) and the worst of any practice CAT or paper test, GMATPrep included. I not only shamed those who supported me over this past month, I have disgraced myself to the point of utter humiliation. How can somebody be a GMATClub moderator, score consistently in the 600s on practice CATs, only to walk in and underperform when it counts the most?
If there is a hell on earth, I'm living in it right now.
The truth of the matter is, when it comes to the GMAT I only have partial confidence in one aspect of the exam: SCs. Because I am a translator. But even those comprise a mere 1/6 of the test. My math sucks, my reading comprehension ability (under pressure) is downright pathetic, and I have some inherent disability to critically read in a timed enviornment.
That being said, I'm going to take a week off and reevaluate the GMAT, whether or not I am a suitable candidate for b-school, and life in general.
For the greater benefit of my fellow club members preparing to take the test, here is a debriefing, if it can help a fellow member in any way??
1. The test is aesthetically identical to GMATPrep. 2. The markers do tend to dry out, so request a minimum of three upfront. 3. Security is tighter than the Pentagon. Be sure to bring your passport if you are not a citizen of the country in which you intend to take the test. No wristwatches or jewelry permitted.
Questions are straightforward from the OG. First one was the argument of "reducing campus housing rates to increase dorm revenue." Second was the issue do you agree that "in defining success, results are more important than effort."
IMHO slightly more difficult than GMATPrep. I scored a 620 and 580 on GMATPrep #1 and #2, respectively. Both had a Q range of 40/42. Dahiya once mentioned that, "GMAT tests an finite number of math problems in an infinite number of ways." This is absolutely true. The root of every possible standardized question is the same, just each is cleverly disguised in a unique way. First problem #1 was based on weighted averages. #2 was something like (changed) 1234*342*23, which digit would change the total product by less than 1000? #3 was similiar to (not the same) In the series S(1,2,3,...) S(400)=x and the function f(x)= (x-n) where n is an interger > 500, what is the value of S(4999)-S(4998)....or something like that, which required my feeble brain to just guess. Subsequently got a string of DSs requiring the visualization of inscribed figures, overlapping sets, calculating the mean of the sum of a consecutive set of numbers 1....250. One problem on mut ex probability. followed by your standard mixture of absolute values, inequalites, number properties, special triangles, distance formulas, and ratios. Somewhere towards #29 they started getting really easy, something like (changed) 9^x=1/3, what is the value of x? Given two points, which is the eqation of a line. Got to problem #37 and the clock had 1 second left. Went to click the answer and time expired, so I know for sure the problem was recorded as incomplete. Surprisingly, didn't get one work/rate problem or even one problem on combinatorics or SD. But then again, I didn't score highly either.
Started off with 70:12 and decided to hide the clock. Rolled with the punches as they came, first a few inference CRs followed by an RC on the hierarchtical status of the Anasazi Indians (spent 10 minutes on these four questions) then a half dozen SCs intersperced between CRs of all types; assumption, weaken, strenghthen, etc. The SCs were a a little more lenghthy than the OG, but not quite as difficult as some MGMAT style that I have seen posted on this site. Know your semicolon/colon usage, the S-V for "one of + group + verb" and inversion.
CRs were not overly difficult. Problem is I couldn't concentrate on many because I kept worrying about having to rush through to make up for lost time. Not one bold facer, but did get a inference logic CR early in the game that looked just like a disguised BF. Could have been experimental.
RCs were shorter, like two long CRs vertically stacked, and only 1/4 required the use of a scroll bar. Make sure you understand the difference among the following meanings: explain, detail, qualify, refute, and sustantiate. Topis were centered on history, government fiscal policy, astronomy, and .....didn't even get a chance to read the last one.
In retrospect, I took this exam with low levels of confidence and concentration, partly because of work related problems and partly because of personal issues. Having taken both versions almost exactly a year apart, I can honestly say to those of you who facing the beast, don't worry because I truly believe there is not much difference in difficulty between PVue and ETS, other than cosmetics and shorter, more detailed RCs. PVue screens are easier on the eyes with portions of the RCs "highlighted" for reference (vs. refer to line #35...).
Dahiya, Rudy, Haas, Ak, U2Lover, Yurik, TestPrepGuru, Futuristic, Sumit, Professor and all the rest of you guys "on deck" will do just fine. I know exactly how well each and every one of you would have performed had you been faced with the same set of problems that I saw today.
Sorry to bore all of you with a lengthy post from the one person who can now be officially titled the "biggest loser at GMATClub." Going to take a week off and seriously reevaluate my life completely...
I have had a number of set backs studying for the GMAT. In fact the majority of us have. Unfortunately, we never really hear such stories especially on this website. (i am now 13 days away from my GMAT test, so many thanks for being so selfless and helping us learn from your mistake)
From what you have written it seems that the only reason why you got a lower than expected score was because you werent there for 5 or so minutes of your verbal section. I bet if you gave your test to a 700 taker and gave them 5 minutes less to do the verbal and add in the pressure of the test itself that many wouldnt have done better than yourself.
So for what it is worth i say you havent got too many things to worry about. It is gonna sound painful but take it again and next time make sure that you come back in on time..
I was just thinking about you going in for your test today; I forgot that you are a day ahead in Japan. I know from your active participation here that you have put in the work. It's terrible that you haven't yet been able to get the result that you'd like. I think that if/when you take the test again, you should concentrate on techniques to reduce stress and improve your test-taking strategy because I think your knowledge of the test questions is not currently reflected in your score.
For example, some people just refuse to give up on questions, it's not in their nature. But wasting time can be a lot more devastating that just taking a guess and moving on, espcially on a CAT where you will have a chance to make up for it later on. Also, some people just get unreasonably stressed by tests like these, which causes them to perform below expectations even when they know their stuff. You might need to work on your confidence before you go in next time. It will be hard, because of your experiences thus far, but we all know you can do better; and you need to walk in with confidence next time.
I'd like to recommend a movie if you take some time off, The Count of Monte Cristo. It is based on the popular book, and it is not a great movie, but I find it inspiring. If you feel like giving up, if you feel like you don't want to prepare again or possibly wait another year, or if you don't feel you have the time to do what you need, check out this movie. It might help motivate you to undertake the challenge again.
God bless every one of you who has given me the strength to yet rise again from ashes of destruction and attempt to slay this PVue dragon!
Rhyme, Pelihu, Vivek, Dahiya, Yurik, Haas, Futuristic, Paddyboy and all you guys who have successfully overcome this hurdle while concurrently balancing a hectic work schedule, your suggestions for attempt #4 are most definately welcomed. What would you do in the same situation, given you had exactly 10 weeks to prepare for one final attempt this year (or maybe forever)?
First off, let me clarify that I am no different than many members on this site who may have similiar concerns, so such advice may be appreciated by others in a similiar situation.
The clock is ticking, R2 deadlines are in mid-January. I plan to retake, with better concentration and improved Q skills. Heck, I'll even wear a catherter if it makes the difference in not exceeding the break time.
But, there is a caveat. I have a demanding full time career (~60 hrs/wk), go to the gym a few days a week, and do the regular domestic errands/chores on the weekends. This makes sitting for long periods impossible, and therefore limits GMAT concentration to less than a cumulative 1.5~2 hours a day, except on Sundays.
For reference, here's a snapshot of a typical week:
Wake up at 5:45am, study 30Q problems for about 60 minutes, check the wrong answers on the 20 minute train ride to work (usually standing).
8:30 to 9am: Open the office, check phone/email messages, read the headlines in the morning paper.
9am to 1pm: Bam, the rat race is on!! Meet several morning clients (back to back) and translate multiple projects.
1pm to 1:30pm: 30 min lunch break. Eat a sandwich or boxed lunch while studying 10~15 CRs.
2pm to 3:30pm: Power nap at a local net cafe (20 min) and then do some weight training/kickboxing/meditation for stress relief (60min).
4pm to 9:15pm: Back to the rat race! Meet afternoon/evening clients (again back to back) and translate multiple documents.
9:30pm: Lock up and close the office. Walk back to the train station.
9:40 to 10pm: 1~2 RCs on the 20 minute train ride back home (hopefully sitting).
10:15pm to 11:30pm: Cook dinner, wash dishes, iron slacks/shirt, prep client agendas for the following day. Set alarm and shower.
11:30pm to 12am: Study about 10~15 SCs on GMATClub.
12am to 5:45am: Sleep
Half day at work from 9am to 4pm (10 minute lunch break). Sauna after work to wind down from the week, followed by a couple hours of mixed Q/V study before collapsing from six days of slavery.
Sunday: (The only real study day)
Wake up at 10am (recharge sleep) and run the usual errands; food shopping for the week, pick up the dry cleaning, do laundry, clean the apartment, etc.
1pm to 5pm: Take a full length practice CAT.
5pm to 8pm: Analyze -more like conduct a post mortem- on the CAT results, update error logs, and make some posts at GMAT club. Cook dinner.
9pm to 10pm: Watch either "Lost" or "Prison Break" on TV. This is the only hour of TV I get to see each week.
10pm to 11pm: Shower and prepare the upcoming week's agenda.
11pm: Back to sleep and repeat the same routine from Monday morning.
* I can't cutback on my working hours at all. Cutting back in my industry means losing precious clients. This option is out. Also, now that summer is over, I can't telecommute and do projects from the comfort of my home anymore. Fall is the toughest season because many translation projects that are due at the end of the year require face-to-face interaction with the clients.
* I simply can't get up at 4am. Four hours of sleep is not enough to stay alert during the 16 hour day outside. Even as it is, with less than six hours of sleep, I feel like a zombie by Friday of each week. Push comes to shove, I will wake up at 5am.
* I must work out three hours a week. Otherwise I get this "fat slob" complex and have very low self-esteem.
* No vacation time allowed until mid December.
* Calling in sick would require extra overtime on the weekend.
** My coworkers keep leaving anonymous post-its on my desk with inscriptions like "give it up already!" or "what the hell are you trying to prove?" The most recent one read "It doesn't take an MBA to figure out how to manage your own business. Put your effort into something more productive..."
Call me obstinate, but the fact is I simply will not stop until this quest is over. Just can't wait until the day comes when I can clean out my office and bid them all farewell because I have been accepted to XYZ MBA school on a partial scholarship. My current highest score is a 590, so essentially all I need is another 40-50 points to make a dream become a reality. But those 50 points won't come easy. Something inside has to change drastically.
Pelihu just shared some of his materials with me, so I look forward to getting into those documents soon.
Any and all comments or suggestions on how to better maximize or improve study time to close that 50 point gap given the schedule above would be most truly appreciated.
In the meantime, I'll be sharpening the sword and preparing for the next duel.
Last edited by GMATT73 on 08 Oct 2006, 03:17, edited 1 time in total.
Hah, I looked up the lyrics to that linked youtube...
Seems appropriate. With a few edits.
I don't know what to say really.
Fours hours to the biggest battle of our professional lives all comes down to this. Either we heal as a team or we are going to crumble.
Point by point, sentence correction by sentence correction, till we're finished. We are in hell right now, gentlemen believe me and we can stay here and get the sh|t kicked out of us or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell. One point, at a time.
Now I can't do it for you. My fingerprint doesn't match their database.
I look around and I see these young faces and I think I mean I made every wrong choice a mba applicant man could make.
You know when you get the GMAT books, things get taken from you.
That's, that's part of life. But, you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out that life is just a game of pointes. So is the GMAT. Because in either game life or GMAT, the margin for error is so small. I mean one half mouse click too late or to early you don't quite click "A". One half second too slow or too fast and you don't quite click "E".
The points we need are everywhere around us. They are in every break of the GMAT every minute, every second.
On this team, we fight for that point On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us to pieces for that point. We CLAW with our finger nails for that point. Cause we know when we add up all those points that's going to make the f*****g difference between WINNING and LOSING between LIVING and DYING.
I'll tell you this in any fight it is the guy who is willing to die who is going to win that point. And I know if I am going to have any life anymore it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that point because that is what LIVING is. The six points in front of your face.
I know that no words can pull you out of the mood you are in (Atleast FOR NOW). But believe me, life is not easy and loosing hope is the last thing anybody should do.
After Thomas Edisonâ€™s seven-hundredth unsuccessful attempt to invent electric light, he was asked by a New York Times reporter, â€œHow does it feel to have failed seven hundred times?â€
Sad story here for a such active GMATClub member...
I agree with Jules.
Your first attempt and the time pressure on Verbal are the 2 fundamental and negative factors of your story! The later one greatly and sadly multiplies the former one effect and both made your performance down... U value much more than this!!! Several times, I learn a lot from your posts : don't give up !
Re: A debriefing from the greatest loser at GMATClub [#permalink]
12 Sep 2006, 08:52
Worried about having a low GMAT score? Read this...
Keep your head up. Don't get too down on yourself. It is an exercise in futility. As for the GMAT, if you take it again, I'm certain you will score well over 600. If you don't take it again, then you move on and life goes on.
Are you the type of person to give up? Because if you are, you would be wasting your time at bschool.
If there is anyone in this club who knows exactly how you feel - that would be me I've been there, done that... What I can assure you and everyone else on this forum is that your attitude must change should you go for your next attempt. I feel that you stressed yourself too much, you put too much pressure expecting and doubting whether you can reach the sky.
And you know what? You can reach the sky and grab the star you want - it's only a matter of time. I can imagine how difficult it is right now not only to study for the test, but also to live in a country where English isn't practiced every day. Add the Japanese customs of staying late at work and being loyal to the boss (whatever that means ) and then it's really hard to find extra min to prepare. So the sleepless or late nights probably exhausted you mentally!
My guess of what happened is just as good as everyone else's, but I think the negative thinking in the verbal, which started so abruptly, caused you to underperform. With no focus and with plenty of doubt one can't get the best out of him/herself. This is the problem which I faced many times and I believe many people do as well (they are just not talking about it). I am very pleased that you are a very honest person and shared with us everything you are going through, and I think I like you even more for the fact that you are so brave to show your struggle to everyone. After all it's just a misstep, not a humiliation and you are not a loser!!! Don't think of it this way!!! I am sure that many "silent" readers know the exact feeling that you have right now, but dealing silently with a mistake is much more difficult. I hope we can collectively lift your spirits!!!
Please regroup yourself and don't change your life plans because of this stupid thing... and I say it's stupid because it is only 1 factor in your application and if there is anything to take away from GMAT, it is good grammar skills (which you have ) and mastering stress management (which you will work on )
It's funny, but I was listening my CD on the way to work and Bono sang "YOU'VE GOT TO LEAVE IT BEHIND" So I am passing on his message from U2's "Walk on"
And I know it aches
And your heart it breaks
And you can only take so much
Walk on, walk on
Take a break, rethink your plan and continue to chase your dream!!! And we will be here to help!!!
All the best,
Last edited by u2lover on 12 Sep 2006, 11:46, edited 1 time in total.
Check out "What the bleep do we know"... it clearly talks about what your thoughts can do to you. The min you stop thinking negatively, your potential increases exponentially and your performance improves as well!!! The movie is more of a documentary and is boring in the beginning, but very inspiring in the end.
Things might seem extremely bad right now, but I know and I firmly believe that you have it in you to do better.
Its just one day that ended not to your expectation... don't let one day pull you down. These are not just words that I am saying to get you to feel better... you are one of a few people on this board, worthy of admiration to whom people look up to. Nothing can change that. Its just one day that turned out badly.
Give it a few days, take some time off and come back and lets all of us work on this together. We will all be rooting for you just as you have always been helping and rooting for us.
Take some time off and then come back ... we'll all do this together.
Cool down, no need to get disappointed. Yes, it is very surprising to see that kind of score for you, but certainly you deserve much more than that...You should be in 700+ club. THe way you contributed in the forum, the way you studied and answered the queries, your score is not reflecting your potential. THis is one unusual score, so certainly it was a bad day. Some nervousness or some anxiety which overpowered you at that particular period of time..Now that you hit the rockbottom, going forward from now,every single step will take you to the new heights and soon you will be on the path of recovery.
You don't need to give up here. Life is full of challenges and we need to beat them. At least for the sake of this club, you need to appear again in the test and prove everything wrong. We all are with you. if you succeed, it will be the biggest victory of all of us.
You had enough of studies, no need to do it again. Just Re-register yourself for test and probably join a meditation course to relax and calm the mind and increase your concentration.
You need to do this for all of us........You need to prove yourself, we won't let you go like this..
Its done with. Its over. Most importantly, it is NOT a representation of your abilities. This is not a time for long stories, and I know you will feel like tossing out all advice out of the window, so just know that we all feel your frustration.
So, refraining from typing out all the words of advice that I can think of (there will be a time for that), I insist that you put a smile to your face, knowing that you have all of us at GMATclub supporting you.
A debriefing from the greatest loser at GMATClub [#permalink]
12 Sep 2006, 13:26
Extremely sorry to learn about what happened. But dude I don't want you to lose hope because every single one of us in this forum knows that you are capable of doing much better than this. Every single one of us has always gained something from your posts.
From what I gathered from my experience and from others experiences is that yes the preperation definitely plays a vital role in how well you are going to do, but luck plays a major part too dude. Like sometimes we know that yes we can achieve it but its just that particular day was not good for us . It happens to all of us. So this has no reflection on your abilities.
And plus you were in a tight spot. I know you feel very bad( probably bad is not the word...) But like what others said, just take a step back and re-asses your plan, take your time, get back in the game, and we are all there for you.
A debriefing from the greatest loser at GMATClub
12 Sep 2006, 13:26